Neil Barrett: Theology

            The Daughters of Albion had been monitoring metempsychosis since before the death of Orpheus, whose latest resurrection was documented by the Daughters when he reincarnated as a sapling in the Amazon rainforest, having spent an eternity circling the alternate histories of Roman conquest.
            Souls tend to circumnavigate human, vegetable, and animal life until reaching epiphany, which the Daughters facilitate for a chosen few.  Prior to their mediation, disembodied souls wandered space and time with reckless abandon.  If transmigration ever has a purpose, it is all thanks to Becky, Tammy, and Maud. To them, the collected universe was like a spreadsheet or a map, and they watched everything collect in cells and spread in rivulets across the canvas of its history.  In the year 2020, Maud tracked Adam’s soul on her tablet.

             “Where do we place this one?” she asked the others. 

             It had spent early human history migrating oceans as starfish, kelp, occasionally sharks and whales.  The soul didn’t break onto land until floating as a seed into a Chinese forest.  Impressively, the Soul clung tightly to that sap as an arrow in the Mongolian army, returned to the forest, and later lasted one hundred years on the pages of a manuscript in a library of the Yuan Dynasty.”

            It was an impressive run.  Not many souls lasted long as pages in books.

            “How many human lives have they had?” Becky asked.

            “This will be the first.”

            Maud flipped a switch and The Daughters all stood to greet the passing soul.           

            “Imagine a bright summer day,” she says, “when the sky is bright enough for you to squint.  Now, imagine staring, straight into the sun.  Three white cloaked women block the light enough for you to make out silhouettes, but you still can’t see.”   

            Becky, Tammy, and Maud each waved. 

            “Your body aches where all of your other senses soon will be.  Your ears are hungry and your fingers ring. 
            “As a human being, every thought that you imagine splinters off and grows into a cosmos all its own,” Maud says.  
            “You’ll never see these star systems that you create, but we will.  We will care for them, prune and grow them into blooms.
            “Know that this is an oppressing thought for souls with human pasts, for those who think themselves exempt from being servant to the evil that they fancy.  Seeds upset at falling trees.  But to you, this first thought is, as yet, endearing and beautiful.  

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