Prehistoric Connections: Spirit Vortex
The following is an excerpt from my novel Spirit Mound (2005) in which Veeluk, son of deceased Oonah builds several rafts to sail south from the Boyne River Valley, Ireland to the Wicklow Mountains south of what is today Dublin. He and his father and the grandson are in the process of building a spirit connecter or spirit burial mound 5,000 years ago to be lined with white rocks occupying over an acre of land. A vision led them southward to obtain sacred white stones. However, the Raven people attack Veeluk and his Wolf Tribe people while they are rolling stones downhill. A wolf defends its people by attacking the Ravens. Veeluk manages to sail away with four rafts loaded with stones. One of the rafts sinks and Veeluk dives overboard to see if he can save his men, but he encounters Raven spirits. The issue of this section of the novel is: who controls our thoughts? Are we masters of our thoughts or slaves to outside influences that control our thinking?
Veeluk's soul swirled downward through prickly seaweed and kelp. Mackerel and cod and herring bumped into his chest as he sank deeper and deeper in search of his men. A wounded squid, thrown overboard a few moments ago, grabbed his arm with one of its tentacles. Its suction cups hurt him. But it sank as rapidly as did he to the bottom of the sea where ten human skeletons lay twisted among white rocks dimly reflecting the sun. The ghost of Oonah appeared, but said nothing as he removed the squid's tentacle from his son's arm. Oonah led him beneath the log raft where ten spirits swirled in a vortex. They almost blurred into one another as they went around and around in an endless circle. Oonah communicated in silence with Veeluk saying that his spirit, though still attached to a body up above, must enter the vortex to liberate his men. He must break the hand-held chain in order for their spirits to come out of the water and soar to the Boyne River Valley not so far away.
Veeluk bravely entered this vortex to be swirled into a world without time or space. Even though he swirled, things stood still. Everything remained quiet and calm. The sun shone brightly and juniper trees grew in profusion up and down the hills. Raven tribesmen ate raw hawk guts in the branches of prickly junipers. They stared at Veeluk with hateful eyes and communicated in their language, the surface words of which were unintelligible, but Veeluk clearly understood what they said. Wolf tribe people are evil. They have their dogs to do the dirty work for them. They can't defend themselves against our war clubs except with their miserable dogs' teeth! And not only that, Veeluk, you miserable example of a human being, you let the wolves eat our bodies as though they were nothing more than deer meat! You are a horrible example of a leader since you represent all that is rotten with humanity. We have trapped your men's spirits at the bottom of this juniper-forest sea. They are lucky ti have spirits at all. You heap of rotting mushrooms!
Veeluk communicated in interior fashion with the ravens asking them why they had attacked his men with war clubs in the first place. Was that a nice thing to do?
They replied was it a nice thing to strip our mountain of its sacred white rocks?
How did you know that we came for these rocks? You attacked us before we took them.
We knew what you were doing. Don't be foolish. We saw your rafts to carry your stolen cargo! Do you take us for fools?
We Wolf people are building a Spirit Mound to be lined with these beautiful rocks. They were seen in a vision. We did not remove all of them! How could we?
You removed them nonetheless, Veeluk! You are a bastard!
Why am I a bastard for building a Spirit Mound?
Do you remember, Veeluk, the witch woman whom Oonah encountered?
Yes, Oonah interjected.
Well, the witch woman is our goddess. She controls the mountain and seas. You people are building a Spirit Mound to rob her of her powers!
No, we are building this mound to help all those of us who are living to achieve what we must achieve.
Says who? You? Who are you? Nothing but an imposter.
Veeluk, I'll take over said Oonah. You ravens can only be guided by what the witch tells you as an exterior force, not by your own inner convictions.
Convictions? We ravens know not what convictions are. We must be guided by the exterior teachings of our goddess.
Convictions? What are convictions? Oonah explained, form the basis of life. Without inner convictions we are nothing more than squids with tentacles obeying our beak!
Well, did these convictions allow having your wolves eat us?
Obviously not! Did you not see poor Veeluk destroy his own beloved wolf dog for having done this?
Oh, how noble, said the ravens in mockery.
The point is, Oonah explained, that the wolves acted own their own, not through our will.
Oh, why then, Oonah, do you associate with such creatures?
Because they have their faults just like you and me. We accept them as beings with fault. You, on the other hand, blindly accept this exterior witch goddess as though she were flawless with no ulterior motives.
There you go again, Oonah, said the ravens, how noble you are!
I am not claiming nobility. I am a human being with deep faults trying, struggling, to follow a vision of inner conviction to create a spirit connecter that will guide all of us and all future humans through our woe of being.
You are our woe, said the ravens. Who do you think you are? The witch goddess herself?
No, Veeluk and I are not the witch goddess herself. We do not wish to control people. We wish to help people.
There you go again! said the ravens, cocking their heads with certainty. You took our rocks!
Rocks, said Oonah, are everybody's. Let's ask them! Rocks, who is your master?
What a foolish question, said the thousands of rocks atop the sea in rafts and here at the bottom. We were made by fires and flames long ago to simply be. If our being forms part of a mountain or part of a Spirit Mound, we still continue being! Only if we are crushed and melted by the flames of man do we cease to exist as beings, though our atoms will re-surface in some way.
What are you saying! demanded the ravens. Who are you to talk? You are under the witch's control!
Which witch? asked the rocks.
Oonah and Veeluk roared with laughter as the spirits of the ravens retreated deepeer into the prickly junipers.
Oonah confronted the witch woman herself.
You heard the rocks, did you not?
You, Oonah, have humiliated my ravens. Take your damned rocks! But you will have the ravens paying your pathetic people a visit one of these days.
Oh, we'll welcome them. Send your slaves to us any time you want!
You wolf tribe dog!
There you go again, said Oonah, as he took jis son's hand and returned to the swirling vortex to liberate the spirits of his ten lost men.
Readers who may wish to read the whole book out of which comes this story should buy Spirit Mound: A Novel of Ancient Ireland(2005). See capsule. In writing this narrative of 5,000 years ago I had no textbooks to guide me on the nature of tribal society that long ago; therefore I had to use my poetic imagination. For some weird reason this out-of-print book is now a collector's item.