We tell a story of a sheepherder who happened to be a magician, and a very lazy one. He didn’t want to bother to build a fence to keep the sheep inside. The sheep were always escaping and exposing themselves to danger. The magician decided to employ his abilities to keep the sheep inside, hypnotizing them. He made them believe that they were free and safe inside the fence. In fact, he made them believe that whenever he fleeced them, that it was for their benefit. Once in a while, one would disappear, and the sheep were conditioned to believe that she had gone to a better place. In fact, he not only convinced them that he was acting for their benefit, but that they were not sheep at all, that they were human beings. Some thought that they were doctors, lawyers, priests, business people, seekers on a spiritual quest—all approved by the great magician, of course. They thought they were attaining powers and learning secrets. Of course, if they did not know that they were sheep, they would never try to change their situation for real; they would never try to escape; never attempt to evolve. Some even thought that they were magicians and knew the secrets; and all of them had the same fate.
Now, there were a few sheep whose fleece was not as valuable because they were black. Black wool was not as useful as white in the marketplace, so the magician did not pay as much attention to the black sheep, only the white. So, some of the black sheep woke up because the magician wasn’t making sure they remained hypnotized. They realized what they were and what they were doing there. If one black sheep knew the truth and tried to tell the others, the hundreds of white sheep would not listen. Why would they? After all, they were having good lives. They had their problems in their fake realities, but they were fine. Some black sheep managed to escape, and many of those succumbed to predators, but they were free.
Eventually, you had some spotted sheep. With those you could never tell: sometimes they would learn their nature and sometimes not. Of those who knew, some would decide to stay with the white sheep and become completely white.
Most of us are spotted. Part of us wants to be free; part of us wants to be taken care of by the Great Magician. That’s why I say, be careful with your gifts. Some of those are fake, given by the Great Magician. Someone said to me, upon hearing this story, “Be careful with your words because they can get you in trouble.”
I make my words so they get me in trouble. I am at war with the Great Magician. I am the black sheep. I am black, all black. My wool is not for the marketplace. My wool is the obsidian black of the eternal night sky, and its shine is the silence of the endless.
2 thoughts on “The Great Magician and The Black Sheep”
konya the shepherd
(for lenny kaye)
by Patti Smith
this is the story of konya the shepherd. the land was parched and dry and throats of the women were dry and folding. the sheep had long ince been slaughtered and no lamb had escaped ritual. none, that is, save shamsa the black. the people had given up the will to dream their desire for prayer and even the need for visitation. only the arched necks of scourged believers, the pop eyes of the lookout station and the ancient holy men insuspension remained. relics. that was all.
but the radiant thythum of change…potential change…the reign of words that whetted the palates and plates of man…the charge of light that electrified sky and eye…days and nights that made the earth moist and caressed the mouths of flowers…dew on the lips of creation…the expectant pouts of wet and static children…all were going…leterally gone.
there was nothing. nothing save konya the shepherd. resting his head against a stone and gazing at the crisp dry sky. black and white–a spray of diamonds on a sheet of carbon. sometimes the soft dust would cover him and he’d awake covered over with layers of black mist. travelers who passed would laugh and say that he had been kissed by shmsa the black. shamsa–the only survivor of the great flood of prayers that induced the great myth and the bloodbath of the lamb.
the bells toled and the world turned. he was no longer the shepherd. he was konya the amateur astroner–the watcher. the guardian of night. he had been kissed by shamsa the black and so he was kissing the sky. night after night. star upon star. night of planetary harmonics. might of perpetual change. each night each night. soon the night was wet with kisses. soon there was a storm brewing and the rain was also soon in coming.
there things were springing. the flock. the songs of women and the porayters. tehy sang not of the bad season but of konya–the sky kisser–the spook sheep. soon the harvests would come. they soon would be threshing and weaving the prayer mats. soon the lambs would be fat and the stones of ritual cut.
the bells tolled and the world runed. kony the boy aimed arrows into the sun. konya the boy shot arrows into the profile of a butterfly poised on the nose of a stalk.
Thank you! I am not familiar with Patti Smith. I’ll seek more of her writing.