The Third Mariam

This myth was given to me by my sister Marie.

Our mysteries bear the name of my grandmother and mother, while my original one is lost to history.
It’s easier to let the people call on anyone but me. I want nothing to do with most of them. They have designs on me I can’t abide.
Some say my mother died giving birth to me, some say she wandered off to fulfill another destiny in the wake of Yeshua’s death.
I was a frail and sickly child, spiritually afflicated as they say he was, torn between soul and body.
Mariam held a bitter regret, and an anger towards those that continued to pursue me. She argued with her daughter of before about the best way to preserve me. She had a human enough heart that life, she could not bear to see me go with them. She wanted for me what she had wanted for herself: to be free, to be one with the planet. She did not want me to become like them.
It pained her when I whispered to her the visions I saw: the crimson towers, the crystal palaces and golden streets, the great thrones, a place I called “Home” though I had never seen it. Yeshua did the same to her and she cursed every one of those moments–though the Writ say she kept them in her heart.
There are as many stories on how I met my mortal end as there are stars in the sky. Mariam saw a loving opportunity as I lay bleeding, though, and she rushed to my side with the Anqa’s cup, filled with the forgetting elixir that absolves the drinker of both sin and memory, setting them free in the next life.
In letting me perish, she could save me.
Death…
I could not bear the thought of starting over, of leaving the space I was in suspended between the planet and the stars. I was in love with my experience: with power and deity and transcendence. I bent my ear to a little whispering, rumbing voice that had been chasing me since my earliest memory, and during the rite, I poured out the elixir and replaced it with the Water of Life–blaming it on Auntie Brhenti.
My struggle was still over, but rather than becoming fully human, I became as my aunties were, and Mariam went into the ground with a broken heart and without drinking of the elixir herself, knowing that the only way I would follow her was if I chose.
Mara had caught my lie. Brhenti doted on me, giving me territory in the southwest: rich farmland, lush forests, and a marvelous view of the sea. Mara grew bitter.
I was afraid of the daughter of earth, and my once respect for her turned to fear, then petulant anger. People still remembered my mother and grandmother, and venerated all three of us for the miracles we brought with us from the Southern lands. I called on the lands of the Near East, using my grandmother’s name to secure gifts from the Anqa and tutelage from the Dark Lady through import of her bravest devotees interested in mysterious new lands.
My kingdom was decidedly of this earth: a decadent place of beautiful gardens and sparkling fountains and magically powered automatons to dazzle and astound centuries before they would be known across the continents. My palace filled with the voices of philosophers and the bubbling of flasks and the ardent proclamations of the poets. I shone my little light, and I drew the world to me in lavish parties buzzing with new wine from my fertile valleys.
But the fullness of my sparkling jewel made me full of myself, and I played poor politics–the grave mistake of a new god. I set my sights on conquest of the land as I had so many hearts, and that’s when the old gods acted rightfully, putting me in my place.
I could have reigned as a divine and long-lived queen if I was but humble. Instead, I retreated north into the cold, under the mantle of Brhenti who made a treaty with Mara that left me a string of ascetic mystics and mystery cults that chase after me to the sneers of the population. In exchange, she presides over her kirks at home not under the veil of “Mariam” but in her own name, unlike the many regional and local goddesses that divided up my kingdom. My lovely city? I have no idea what has become of it or its many collections of precious, magical relics. I don’t… care? Moments pass, and we dance on. Besides, my Gardens are lost, never to be found. No matter what the stories promise about Paradise.
I do still hold the cup–it is my charge now. I will not tell you if it is filled with the elixir, or the Water, or even my own blood. I will not tell you if it will taste bitter to you, or sweet. But I can give the drink that offers salvation, that offers a peace of the soul. I can spare a soul from even a god’s wrath, and I can offer comfort to those dying before their time. I am the flickering flame of the traveler’s candle in the window, I am the hearth fire that protects a family from the winter’s chill. I am the dawn that puts to rest the spirits of the night.
But beware before you ask to drink, because my mercy is for those that have respected their own law, not for those who seek to injustly escape their consequences. To be truly ‘fair” means to turn a deaf ear to the screaming pleas of the traitors to kin and the transgressors of the laws of Nature. Don’t be guiled by the delusioned guilty, for I am not a great goddess of naive righteousness.
I am a fickle little girl with a great golden cup.

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