Friday, February 27, 2009

The Tale of Vuzhí

Spring is just around the corner. Vuzhí is coming! In fact, the planet Vuzhí is high in the evening sky, shining Her brilliance down on us all.

Hooray for Vuzhí!

14-Lewisia Osborn Pt

When Vuzhí was born, daughter of Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, and Sozho, High God of Air, Sozho promised Her eventual hand in marriage to His brother, Pétíso, God of the Dead. Neither Nuvíní nor Vuzhí knew of this promise for many years. Nevertheless, Nuvíní kept Her daughter hidden from potential suitors, for Vuzhí was so beautiful that Nuvíní knew that trouble would ensue if any of the gods or demigods were to cast His eyes upon Her.

So Vuzhí would pass Her days wandering through the wilderness with Her goddess friends, bringing life to flowers and trees, granting fertility to rabbits and chickens and such, and generally spreading joy everywhere She went. All of this was well away from any roads or routes that any gods or even any mortals would ever use. Vuzhí quite enjoyed Her life as the maiden goddess. It was quiet, peaceful, and full of bounding energy.

One day, Vuzhí was in a mountain meadow with Hívuítoví, Goddess of Rain, blooming the wildflowers and picking them to make chains to wear upon Their heads. A colony of rabbits danced around Vuzhí, attracted by Her fertility. Using Her Golden Egg, Vuzhí would touch a dying plant and it would spring to life. She would touch the Golden Egg to a horse and soon the mare would have a foal. The rabbits loved Her dearly.

Suddenly, while Hívuítoví was at the far end of the meadow giving extra rain to a wilted shrub, the ground beside Vuzhí ripped apart. She fell down onto Her knees, looking up to see a team of black horses erupt from the chasm, pulling an ink-black chariot guided by Pétíso.

Before Vuzhí could scream, Pétíso reached down, snatched Her up, and absconded back down the chasm into His underworld. Hívuítoví turned around and frowned when She didn’t see Vuzhí. She called out, but there was no answer. Hívuítoví crossed the meadow to where Vuzhí had been, but the earth had sealed as it had been, so nothing tipped off the rain goddess as to Vuzhí’s abduction. The rabbits hopped around in confusion. The maiden goddess was simply gone.

Hívuítoví looked around for Vuzhí, but soon had to let Nuvíní know that Her daughter had disappeared. The earth goddess searched relentlessly for Vuzhí, to no avail. She didn’t want to ask for help, since She was trying to hide the beautiful maiden from the gods. While hunting for Vuzhí, Nuvíní neglected Her duties. Plants withered and died. With no food, animals began to die, as well.

Meanwhile, in the underworld, Pétíso took Vuzhí to His castle and treated Her to a fabulous banquet. Vuzhí refused to eat, however, and demanded to be returned above ground. Tenderly, she cradled a rabbit who had fallen through the chasm with Them.

Pétíso proffered a bowl of beef stew. The smell was intoxicating, but Vuzhí turned away. Pétíso poured a cup of wine and held it out for Her. The wine glittered in the torchlight, severely tempting Vuzhí, but She managed to decline. The King of the Underworld picked up an apple and suggested Vuzhí needed to eat at least something.

Vuzhí eyed the apple, golden green and without a blemish. The rabbit sniffed it, but rabbits don’t like apples. Vuzhí was indeed hungry and the apple seemed pure and harmless. She took the fruit and ate it.

Pétíso smiled wickedly. He informed Vuzhí that once anyone eats the food of the underworld, they cannot leave. She was stuck with Him for all time. He then told Her that Her father, Sozho, had promised Her hand in marriage to Him, and said that as long as She would be in the underworld for eternity, She might as well wed Pétíso.

Vuzhí broke into tears, screaming that it was not possible. She had to return to the world of the living and help Her mother. Vuzhí called out to Nuvíní, but the earth goddess did not hear Her. Desperate, Vuzhí called out to Zhíanoso, High God of Fire. Zhíanoso appeared and asked what all the ruckus was about.

Through Her sobs, Vuzhí told Him about Pétíso’s claims. The fire god shrugged and confirmed what Pétíso had said. Zhíanoso had witnessed Sozho’s promise. Vuzhí was promised to the King of the Underworld.

Composing Herself, the maiden goddess stopped Her crying and wiped Her face dry. If She was destined to be married, Vuzhí would wed with aplomb and a calm demeanor, accepting the marriage and all to follow. In that banquet hall, with Zhíanoso presiding, Pétíso and Vuzhí wed. The maiden goddess was now the Queen of the Dead.

In the world of the living, Zhíanoso tracked down Nuvíní and informed Her of Vuzhí’s whereabouts and Her updated marital status. Outraged, Nuvíní screamed at the fire god. She hurled boulders His way, but Zhíanoso fluttered like flames, unharmed. He ran away laughing. Nuvíní pelted Her husband Sozho with full mountains, but the air god ran away and hid.

Eventually, the earth goddess calmed. She descended through Her earth to Pétíso’s castle and demanded that Pétíso return Her daughter to Her. The God of the Dead refused, for They were husband and wife. Vuzhí ran to Her mother’s arms, but acknowledged Her marriage. Despite Her longing to return to Her previous lifestyle, She had responsibilities at Her husband’s home.

At an impasse, with neither Nuvíní nor Pétíso backing down from Their demands, Vuzhí had to make a decision. She announced a compromise. She would stay with Pétíso for half the year and travel the world with Nuvíní for the other half, bringing life to all the plants and animals. Reluctantly, Vuzhí’s mother and husband agreed.

Vuzhí kissed Pétíso goodbye and returned to the surface with Nuvíní and the rabbit. Thus began the first season of spring. Vuzhí traveled the lands, touching the Golden Egg to every plant and animal She could find. Flowers bloomed. Trees bore fruit. Animals and humans bred. Life and the vitality of youth filled the world. Overjoyed, the rabbits prospered.

Unfortunately, half a year passes much too quickly for a goddess. Soon it was autumn. Distraught but with Her chin held high, Vuzhí said goodbye to Nuvíní, Hívuítoví, and the rabbits, and descended to the underworld. Upon entering Pétíso’s castle, Vuzhí kissed Her husband, Who She had begun to miss. Together, They climbed the dais of Their great hall and sat upon the giant throne, King and Queen of the Dead.

Wrapped around Her shoulders, Vuzhí wore a constrictor snake as a shawl. Upon Her head, She wore a viper for a crown. Pétíso gave Her a huge dagger to wear on Her belt, to help guard the souls of the departed until their resurrections.

The spirits of the recently deceased would enter Their great hall and face judgment. Some souls knew what to expect; others did not. This upset Vuzhí, for She had explained the mysteries of the afterlife to Her mortal followers. She knew Her followers were trying their best to let everyone know, so long as they agreed to worship Vuzhí.

Some souls were good. To these people, Vuzhí granted a pleasant and short afterlife, to be followed by a privileged resurrection. Some souls were evil. Vuzhí sentenced these people to a long, painful afterlife, filled with fire, torture, and psychological agony. The evil souls would eventually be resurrected as lower life form, such as mosquitoes or rats.

Occasionally, a living mortal would venture into the underworld. One such mortal was Surovíhoso, a musician whose wife had recently died. She was a good soul and should have been enjoying her afterlife, but she was instead moping around the underworld, quite depressed. Surovíhoso was also exceptionally melancholy.

He managed to get past Pétíso’s guard dog by lulling him to sleep with a song. Surovíhoso then entered the great hall, carrying his harp and a dour expression. Pétíso exploded in rage at the sight of a mortal in His castle, but Vuzhí calmed Her husband and asked Surovíhoso why he dared to appear before Them while still living.

As a reply, Surovíhoso began plucking a soulful melody on his harp, soon accompanying it with a haunting song he had written on his way to Their castle. He sang of his lost love, their future plans destroyed, and the meaninglessness of his life without her. The song was so gut-wrenching that Vuzhí wept. She agreed to let Surovíhoso’s wife return to the world of the living as herself and not a typical reincarnation, under certain conditions.

Surovíhoso’s wife would have to follow behind Surovíhoso for their ascent to the surface, they would not be allowed to speak during the climb, and Surovíhoso could not turn to look at her till they reached daylight. Vuzhí wanted to test Surovíhoso’s willpower and his trust in Her.

The musician widower gladly accepted Vuzhí’s conditions and stood by the doorway with his back turned. Vuzhí had his wife informed of the deal and brought in. She then told the couple it was time for them to leave. Quietly, they exited the great hall and Pétíso’s castle, passed Pétíso’s guard dog, and began up the path to the surface.

With the circle of daylight in sight ahead, Surovíhoso’s longing for his wife overcame him. He turned to cast his eyes upon her beautiful countenance. Instantly, Pétíso sucked her back down to the underworld, to forever be separated from her husband.

Surovíhoso erupted in tears, knowing how close he had been to happiness and how he had erased that chance. He crawled out of the cave, not caring if he should live or die. He knew he should have trusted Vuzhí. He should have believed Her. Surovíhoso had doubted the Iron Queen and received a life of misery for that doubt.

Trust in Vuzhí. She wants what is best for you -- in this life and the next. Honor Vuzhí and She will bring you fertility and growth. Listen to Her and She will prepare you for the afterlife. Live to please Vuzhí and you will have a good soul. Have a good soul and the Queen of the Dead will make sure your afterlife will be pleasant. Ignore the Iron Queen and your afterlife will be an eternity of pain.

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