The real mystery does not behave mysteriously, but speaks a secret language.
–Carl Gustav Jung
Bird poop is the Prima Materia of the opus, the alpha and omega of the great work of the philosophers. Transmuted and transfigured by the alchemical fire in the sealed retort of the adepts, the excretions of our winged brethren reveal the grand pageant of creation on the microcosmic scale. I shall endeavor to elucidate the arcana of avian excrement and thereby elevate my humble office of brush bearer to that of high art; to seek amid the white glyphs that adorn the docks a sign that might illuminate secrets of a hidden world.
Bird poop is the mother of all elements, without beginning, existent from all eternity and mixed with the handful of primal earth Adam brought forth from Eden. It is found always and everywhere. It contains the Divine presence in the obdurate whiteness of its adamantine– and often goopy–reality. It is both the beginning and end of the great work, the primal ooze from which the aspirant takes flight into the rarefied spheres of heavenly gnossis.
This post is the first in a series logging my daily circumambulation, bearing the broom of my high office. The broom is the emblem of adepts, the standard of those who seek the philosopher’s stone among the crustacean beasties that reign over the intertidal zone.
Came the loud scratchy blare of loudspeakers over the still anchorage.
“Ilaha illa allah…”
I rose disgruntled and ascended the companionway to see McWhirr standing on deck, still in his black watch coat despite the fast-
rising heat. His normally stark, grim profile appeared transformed by the dawn light with an aura of rapturous praise.
Not wanting to disturb his meditations, I returned below and put on a pot of joseph.
After a harrowing passage through
the Sunda Strait, we’d anchored in the Sunda Kelapa harbour the night before under the tall spires of north Jakarta. I’d had a fitful sleep, and the portentous imagery of my dreams had been confounded by a blasted, bleeping racket that still echoed over the calm anchorage. Turns out we’d brought up just off the Ancol Theme Park.
McWhirr came below. I handed him a cup and ventured:
“Captain, why have we sailed into this steaming latitude?”
For indeed, it was cruel muggy and a pall of charcoal gray hung over the city.
McWhirr lit his pipe and said:
“I was but a green swab surfing the long fetch of the seven cyber-seas when I first heard of the East Indies. That was a simpler time, when a single multinational corporation called the IndiaRubber.com ruled the whole archipelago. Now it’s dog eat dog, with upstart pirates trying to challenge the Dutch spice monopoly and their quasi-governmental powers by fair means or foul.”
“But take care son,” he said darkly, “one word from the Dutch, colonial CEO and we could be standing before a firing squad before you can say: Garcia Lorca.”