(Story begins here) Pete turned to Hypatia. “But surely you were allowed to preach the great truths unharmed?” Hypatia exchanged a glance with Mani.
“No Mr Goodshaw. All I did was preach the truths, the same ones as Mani, just explained in a different way, but soon the authorities started spreading rumours about me. Many of them particularly unpleasant and untrue. Especially as I was a lifelong virgin.”
“You were a virgin all your life?” said Pete, looking slightly wistful. Hypatia pretended not to notice.
“Yes, Mr Goodshaw, I was a virgin. Well, up until my last few moments anyway.” Hypatia’s dignified, matter-of-fact teacher’s countenance slipped slightly. Even the heavenly soul that Pete was talking to couldn’t fully forget the events. “I was dragged into a church by a gang in the employ of the local bishop and they, well I’d rather not talk about it. Hardly relevant now,” said Hypatia with a little too much brightness. Pete was puzzled.
“You were murdered by Christians?” Hypatia looked briefly horrified.
“Oh no Mr Goodshaw.” A Christian could never do anything like that.
“But, surely they have quite a lot over history?” challenged Pete. “The inquisition, the restoration in England and so on…”
“A follower of a spirit at Christ’s level could never do such things,” said Hypatia firmly. “Only those falsely claiming to be such followers could do them. Just as Bishop Cyril, the man who had me raped and murdered was no Christian, despite being a Bishop.”
“People in your time think spiritual stories are so irrational and yet they are just more flowery representations of truths taught by some of the men and women like Plato who practically invented reason.”
“Anyway, let us move on to more productive topics,” said Hypatia. “You were talking of Primeval Man, Mani.”
“Indeed Hypatia. Pete, you question why I alone would refer to Primeval Man if he did not exist.”
“I did,” said Pete, sheepishly.
“Well, the simple answer is that I am not alone in mentioning this in my teachings. In Judaism, Primeval Man is called Adam Kadmon.”
“But, surely these are just myths, legends?”
“Hardly Mr Goodshaw,” said Hypatia “another name for Primeval Man or Adam Kadmon is humanity’s Platonic Form, on a certain level anyway.”
“You mean the perfect idea of something? The concept behind it?”
“Yes, Mr Goodshaw, the fire of true reality as opposed to the mere reflections or manifestations of it which we can only see as shadows on the cave wall.” Said Hypatia. “People in your time think spiritual stories are so irrational and yet they are just more flowery representations of truths taught by some of the men and women like Plato who practically invented reason.”
“But the five shields, thought, reason, understanding and so on,” said Pete, “they can’t be real?” Hypatia and Mani exchanged knowing glances.
“Oh but they are Rafiqem,” said Mani, “I called them reflections of thought, reason and so on.
“But as a Neoplatonist, I would call them manifestations of the forms of thought and reason,” added Hypatia. “The fundamental lesson being that the mental is more real than the physical. You can channel mental qualities of strength and compassion and many more from heaven whenever you need them.” Hypatia turned, “might I borrow your tinder box please Mani? I’m assuming that Hookah contraption of yours doesn’t light itself.” Mani fumbled in his robes and handed a small shiny object to Hypatia. The philosopher daintily plucked a single blade of grass and set light to it, producing a tiny flame.
“It looks like this will be a slightly more gentle lesson Hypatia?” said Pete hopefully. In reply, Hypatia looked up and fixed the young man with a stare from her luminous blue eyes. Without breaking eye contact, she fished out a small hand-ground lens from the folds of her Tribon and held it in front of the miniscule flame, angling it carefully. Pete immediately screwed up his eyes in pain and clapped his hands over them. “Sorry Mr Goodshaw, I didn’t mean to do it that much, but you get the idea. The power of light is down to focus, not greatness. Just as a human’s power can be supreme simply by focus.”
“As above, so below,” said Mani mysteriously. Hypatia held up her hand and the gardens quickly morphed into a wood panelled study, in the centre of which was a desk scattered with parchments, the whole room flickered by the dim light of several candles. Behind the desk sat a broad-faced middle aged man, quill in hand, scribbling furiously.
Occasionally he would reach out to a small harpsichord next to the desk and try out a few notes, but his gaze never left the parchment in front of him. “This is Beethoven,” whispered Hypatia reverently. She pointed at the parchment, “he’s writing his 5th symphony. Take a look at his eyes.” Pete saw in those eyes something he’s never seen before. They looked less like human eyes, more like lenses focusing pure consciousness onto the parchment in front of him. Pete half expected the parchment to catch fire under Beethoven’s furious gaze.
“You see,” said Hypatia, “he has his hundred million neurons like every other human of your eon, but see how he uses them, how he focuses them. He is reaching up to the heavenly realm of the mental and channelling it fiercely onto the parchment in front of him. Like all true artists, he is channelling heaven down to earth and capturing a tiny piece of it in this lower world as a thing of priceless beauty for all to behold. By which all have their souls temporarily elevated every time they hear.”
“Amazing,” breathed Pete, “what a thing to witness.”
“Indeed Mr Goodshaw. What Phaethon is doing for you artificially to hold you here in heaven, Beethoven is doing entirely unaided.” Mani materialised next to Hypatia. “When I talked of my heavenly twin during my lifetime, this is what I meant,” he said, sharing Pete’s reverence for the great composer at work. “Having a heavenly twin probably sounds like mystical clap trap in your time, but this is Beethoven’s heavenly twin talking to him. You’re seeing it. You’ve no doubt heard the result, the 5th, many times.”
“Or instead of heavenly twin, I would call it the form of Beethoven,” said Hypatia. “The perfect, eternal version of himself, the blueprint for Beethoven if you will is channelling down into the imperfect earthly Beethoven. It’s all a matter of focus. In your time, when people say, be the best that you can be or be the best version of yourself, this is what is meant.” Hypatia waved her hand and the hanging gardens materialised once more around them. (continue)