The Secret Spring and her Child Phanduan

The following is an excerpt from Phantammeron Book One by Mitchell Stokely.

The Secret Spring

Often in religious or mythological writing, we associate Nature, the Gods, and the cosmological play with relationships and people…the anthropomorphic “play” that forever fills the stage of our personal psyche. We as Humans associate best with the powers that be through the “Human condition”. And so that is why Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, and others fill our religious views and are the epicenter of all religious faith.

Mythological writing is no different.

In this sweet tale of a mother and her fallen child, I have tried to portray the loving sacrifice of the Human condition in a way that lends itself to the tragedy and loss in relationships with those we love. But underneath this tale is a connection to something more mysterious. Inside the story is an ode to Nature, to Light, and to Water, the deeper archetypes of the Human subconscious mind whose symbols confound us yet connect us to the world. But in the story of the Secret Spring and her dead child reside something much darker and forbidden. In this tale moves the “mystery of the death of the Self” and the immortality of the Earth Mother that lives in us to sustain and nurture us.

The death of the child, Phanduan, represents the death and yet rebirth of the Self. For in later books her strange ghost will appear to give a reason for her death, and a strange gift to the world that is spiritually new and which heals the world. The love of the Secret Spring, her mother, represents the infinite love of the mother and yet the sadness of living that only the Eternal Mother figure may succor. For she lives in us to protect, nurture, and defend us. Yet, here in this sad tale she fails to stop much less understand her child’s death. In listening to its little ghost, she will only find heartache, her own broken heart releasing the waters of the world into it. But from death will Phantaia grow and thrive, and thus from her sadness and suffering will come new life in the World of the Phantammeron. And so, these two characters form a spiritual basis of something deeper in my mythology.

The Death of Phanduan

“Unknown to all others had one of the Secret Spring’s two daughters died at birth. This child she carried forth to the top of the hill, where she buried her in a secret grave upon its height. And there grew many poppies about its grave, born of the tears she had shed for her fallen child. There its spirit dwelt, forsaken and alone. Strangely had the Sacred Light once more rested within a hollow grave, awaiting some unknown fate.

But with that child’s death would the golden heart of the Secret Spring shine no more. And so, this world again returned to darkness and gloom. But as the Secret Spring sat beside her grave, the spirit of the fallen child returned to her, bearing strange words, saying, “Mother, I have returned to you. Do not be sorrowful for my passing, for I bring good tidings.” The Secret Spring then looked in amazement at her child standing before her, saying, “My beloved child, you have returned to me!”

But as she reached up to touch her face, she saw that she was but a ghost. Smiling, but with tears in her eyes, she said, “Know that my love for you endures, my child, though your form has left me in this world. I had feared your spirit had been taken by the evil that creeps about the fringes of the world. And so, in my deep sorrow, is my heart also overjoyed. For your loving spirit has returned to me.”

The smiling child then said to her mother, “Mother, know only that it was not my destiny to remain here. For it was my will and fate that I should perish and leave this world. With my passing, I have left behind the light of my own spirit, and the light of the world, within my grave. These twin fires the children of this world shall someday find. By their many graces will this world soon be saved. And by their guiding lanterns, shall all those born anew within the world be granted the power to chase away the darkness that fills it, and the shadows that fill their own hearts, if they so choose.”

She then looked into her mother’s tearful eyes, saying, “Mother, do not cry for me. Nor be fearful for my spirit. For I shall now go forth to the Lands of the Afterlife, thy father’s house that lies beneath the rocks and sea. For the dead may easily follow the ethereal paths that lead to him, should they not stray. I hear him, even now, calling for me, as he blows upon his mighty horns.

For there he has waited with great patience for my spirit to return. It was set by our Creator, long ago, that I be the first to dwell in the house of the dead. Upon those solemn shores I shall now stand for all eternity, welcoming the many spirits that come to me upon their deaths. I shall be their guide, as they board the many ships that set sail for those timeless lands. And so, I must now depart. But know that we shall meet again.”

As the child disappeared from view, she reached out to touch the hand of her mother. The Secret Spring cried as her child’s spirit fled away into the night.

Excerpt From Phantammeron Book One

– the Author



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