The Ceremony of Ju

Submitted into Contest #205 in response to: Make your protagonist go through a rite of passage.... view prompt

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Fiction Science Fiction Fantasy

It began long ago. Too long to express in your language, unsurprisingly - but think back to the beginning of the universe.

What, Big Bang? Ha! I had forgotten about that, but no, I mean the beginning. While the fluffy stuff you call space was still in a jar and the thing which you call light was still enveloped in the dreams of my father.

You’re right, I’m not making much sense am I? Forgive me, for it has been a while since I have spoken.

In any case! Sat around the table, so to speak, was myself, still young then, gleaming with curiosity and mischief, and my brothers, Faa II, and Öm. It was the Ceremony of Ju, which, for the sake of communication, happened between us every millennium or so. And this particular time, the three of us waited for Sol, who was a leader of sorts. He was actually the father of us three, except more in a sense of consciousness rather than one of… biology. Yes.

It was unusual for Sol to be late. He was usually the first one to arrive as he had the fastest means of transportation, not to mention that he was unaffected by the ease of distraction which so often redirected us - the more youthful. But it was not a bother, to wait. We amused ourselves by sharing memories, which we did in a way akin to telepathy, except we were not bound to language. We could also create and manipulate matter and light at our will, so we could show with extreme precision, or perhaps slight exaggeration, the most interesting moments of the past millennium.

The three of us were laughing as Faa II shared with us his journey from Bak Bellu to the Dpla Contour, chased by a mass of dreaming dogs from the Fog Bog Planet who, to our amazement, all shared the same dream space. It was because of this, we decided, that the dogs of Fog Bog Planet did never fight or bicker over territory or other such matters of non-import.

Sol arrived through the mist of Faa II’s memory and, in simple terms, sat down in his place. So, the ceremony could commence, and we became at once to an air of seriousness, which was held, of course, in slight humour.

“Let The Ju begin!” boomed Sol who became surrounded in bright light of purple and white which shone throughout our realm, landing on every surface as a fine dust of sorts which glinted and sparkled as it disappeared.

Everybody’s attention had come to me, as it was my turn to take part in what was perhaps the most important ritual of the whole cosmos. I had come of age, you see, and my days of mindless play were over. The responsibility which I was about to be given was beyond imagination. I hid my nervousness under confidence, which may come as a comfort to you; to know that you are not the only species to act with such foolish distance from your true selves. There is a reason for this, which I shall come to soon.

I had observed my older siblings, as well as my father, perform this sacred rite with slight ignorance. It was impressive, without doubt, but when watching another perform a skilled task it is often easy to see only the task, for true skill does not show itself. I had thought, upon every millennium, thoughts such as: I could do that, or even, I could do better, and now that I had been given what I for so long had asked for, I squirmed uncomfortably as I struggled to remember the precise order of things.

It began with a dance, of this I was fairly sure, and so I rose from my place and my limitless body grew into the surrounding space and I moved, lights shining and shapes spinning and merging into one and other. It was of utmost importance, I knew, that my thoughts were kept true to my intention, as the manifestation powers during The Ju were infinite - and room for error was nil.

As I allowed myself to become to the universal rhythm of things, the others began to chant. Sol had the deepest voice and the whole cosmos shook slightly from its bass. Faa II had the most beautiful voice, and the stars could be observed to turn towards him to witness in awe the song that they had been missing for a thousand years. Brother Öm was shy, and his participation in the chant was empathetically intended to soothe me. I could sense him, and I knew that he was going through great effort to communicate to me a message without interfering with the flow of Ju that was growing at a tremendous rate. Do not fear, brother, he spoke. Do not think, brother.

I began to concentrate on the far away place that I had chosen for my first and most important Ju. I began then to envision, like I had practised, the oceans, as I had called them, and the lands, and the creatures. As I allowed myself into my manifestation, which was already taking place, the Sun already having grown from its original form as a tiny speck into a great, flailing body of warmth, I felt my body disperse much like powder in water, and the chants became one, continuous vibration.

The lands grew from the centre of the planet and took forms as I felt them. I had no longer a conscious will, or rather, there was no longer a space between intention and creation for thoughts to appear and manipulate the matter. The experience was pure beyond my ever having known possible, and in a way, I felt completely detached from it, as if I were simply an observer, and yet, I also felt like I were everything else but an observer.

It was beautiful. It was even more than I had ever imagined or dreamt before. The Ju was almost complete, and I experienced with delight the harmony that my new planet sang with. The plants, the animals, and the elements, all complimenting one and other. Where one fell, another grew, and the balance was so true that I could feel its strength and integrity that would not give for millions of years to come. But it was at that moment that I felt a tickle in my mind. It was a memory, I knew at once, and a ghastly one at that. I had not mentioned this fact until now for I am still embarrassed - but it is true: I had met someone the day before the ceremony.

The meeting was quite unusual, for it was while I slept. It was in a place that I had never before seen; awake, dreaming, or otherwise - but, I knew intuitively, it was far from my realm. I had fallen in love with them right then in our meeting; they were the most beautiful being I had ever seen. Not to mention the fourth being I had ever seen, and the first to not have been a relative.

We spoke for what seemed to be years, neither one of us wanting to wake up. We spoke of all matters: family, solitude, loneliness, love! Oh, my heart! But then I made my life’s most grave mistake.

“I am actually the king of my universe,” I blurted after a short pause in conversation. Why? I do not know. Silence makes me nervous. They may have been losing interest in me, who am I to say? I was just a child after all, I had never done anything of note. My father, Sol, was known throughout the cosmos and further, and for this I did not mention my father’s name. I wanted… to be somebody.

All this flooded into my being and my intention and creation became at once separated by the meddler of all things! I felt at once insecure, jealous, envious, ashamed, embarrassed, angry, and so, so, sad.

It was like this, in the final moment of my Ju, that your ancestors came to be. From a fleeting thought and rush of emotion. You see, how sensitive is Ju? It was a shock to me, because - since I’m being honest - you were a complete accident. I had never even imagined anything bearing any resemblance to you, and so when I first laid eyes upon you, I was disgusted. My beautiful world, I thought. What have I done?

When the chanting faded and I returned to the company of my father and brothers, they all were looking away. They could not even face me! After some time of silence, my father spoke.

“What happened, God?” he asked me.

“I’m sorry father. It was an accident.”

July 03, 2023 15:47

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1 comment

Imogen Bird
18:41 Jul 11, 2023

I love the rhythm, humour and quirkiness of your writing! The line- 'While the fluffy stuff you call space was still in a jar' is just perfect and sets the scene perfectly. Lovely work!


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