Latest Post

Guest Story: “The Professor,” by Joshua Bertetta

{I welcome a special treat to share with you today: a story from (professor) Joshua Bertetta. This story, inspired by our weekly topic of the Twelve Universal Archetypes–especially The Teacher– transports us to the depths of the unconscious. I like how the Teacher archetype here also reflects our topic of next week: Guardians of the Threshold. An interesting connection re. Teachers as Gatekeepers…! Thank you for your story, Joshua. – Linda}

Universal Archetypes—The Teacher

 hombre-color-1113fg-v-1026

“The Professor”

By Joshua Bertetta

 

“Is it true? That there was once a monster who guarded these hills?”

“Ha!” The ragged man bellowed, then leaned close to the boy and for whatever reason, began in a whisper. “Monsters, my young friend, lurk everywhere. And I mean more than just the si’lahs and the sa’alus and the abominations raging in the Fire. The Cedars of El-Banon grow in the cities too, but there the lurking monsters do not look like those in your dreams or in your fancies. Some are real, others, your own making. Have you ever heard about the ghuls who rise from the dead?”

“Ghuls that rise from the dead? I don’t think so.”

“I’ve been hearing a lot more about them lately. That is, did, before I left.”

“What do they do?”

“They eat human flesh.”

“Like the si’lahs?”

“Yes, but they’re dead.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“I know. That’s what I think too. But what they say about them is what, I guess you could say, intrigues me the most. They say the only way to kill them is to destroy the brain. Piercing their heart won’t kill them, cutting off their head won’t kill them. And if they bite you, you’ll turn into one too.”

“Gross.”

“So what I’ve been thinking is that these ghuls are us.”

“Now that’s just crazy.”

futuristic-grunge-background-with-ear-913-800

“Wait, wait. Hear me out. See, I would say I myself was a monster, maybe I still am. You see, mine is the type of mind that seeks answers through reason. But I forgot how to dream. Since I left, I began to dream again. For me, the academic life, a mind focused only on the reasonable, the rational, is nothing short of a nightmare. In more ways than one. On the one hand, many like myself will do anything for a name—oftentimes to the extent the name means more than the students, than the teaching. And what do we teach?” His hands matched the veracity with which he proceeded. “Nothing new. Sure, some say they are blazing a path unwalked, but really they are just wrapping old ideas in new parchment and calling the whole package new. So focused on ideas, and when one becomes so particularly focused on one idea and starts calling it the idea, telling everyone he has the right idea? They lose sight of the bigger picture. Those are the ones you really need to watch out for. But I digress…where was I?”

“Monsters, you yourself, a monster.”

markovka_simmetr4-120813-timo1

“Oh, yes, well…maybe I didn’t digress. Maybe I did. Anyway, what are monsters other than those who settle for contraction? People nestling themselves in their single idea and around their idea—an idea they tell everyone else they must believe or agree with—they build bigger and thicker walls. Harder crusts. Walls built around the nightmare of a single idea are made from the failure to live, to expand, the mortar that holds them together made from the failure to love. Life out here produces peace born in slow movement. You know the city—it’s too fast. We try our best just to keep up and it just whizzes on by. Out here, there is no contradiction…Well, that’s not exactly true—there is contradiction when I find myself in my old way of thinking. Paradoxes, things that just don’t make sense. Do you see?” He clapped his hand and looked overhead. “That’s when I understood! As much as I have tried to unravel contradiction, paradox, they just made a mockery of my mind until I realized its futility. So out here my mind no longer gets stuck—not as much as it used to—and in those moments I hear song.”

Heart Floating Away Showing Loss Of Love And Broken Heart

Joshua Bertetta, an aspiring fantasy author, holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with a degree emphasis in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is currently on the adjunct faculty in Religious Studies at a private university in central Texas. He maintains a blog at jbertetta.wordpress.com which contains excerpts from his novel in addition to short stories and thought provoking essays focused on mythology, religion/spirituality, and culture.