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Warrior’s Welcome : Faithful 44

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Editor’s Prologue

January 25, 2015 — Philippines National Police Special Actions Force commanders enter the jungle to “Arrest” a suspected Islamic terrorist.  The PNP’s SAF commandos end up engaged in a firefight with “The Enemy.”

January 30, 2015 is declared “The National Day Of Mourning” to honor the memories of the brave men who engaged and fought the criminals and terrorists in the jungle.

I am a retired United States Air Force photojournalist and editor.  I am a pro-military writer.

Christy, my wife, is a Filipina.  My children, Samuel Ranilo Warren and Donna Junea Warren are Filipino-Americans.  My father, Samuel E. Warren served in The United States Army Signal Corps in the Philippines in World War II.  I was assigned to and served at Clark Air Base in the Republic Of The Philippines in the 1980s.

Needless to say, whenever anything happens in The United States or The Republic Of The Philippines, I and my family feel “Connected.”

I have been fortunate to meet and work with members of the Armed Forces Of The Philippines and The Philippines National Police.

I can understand and related to the grief of the families who lost loved ones in the combat in the jungle.

As a writer, I felt the best way I could express my condolences to the family members was to author a short story to celebrate the devotion, duty and dedication of the Philippines National Police Special Actions Force commandos.

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One Warren Way

Barangay Baras, Republic Of The Philippines

Warriors Welcome: Faithful 44

FALLEN 44 Graphic e164b190-a820-11e4-b9c1-bf0dde9868b9_Screen-Shot-2015-01-30-at-9-32-29-AM

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Trumpets Of The Universe sound.  Planets in space reverberate. 

Comets and asteroids brighten for an instant and shimmer as the celestial symphony of sound passes them.

The solar bodies of stars glow with renewed radiation, which causes them to shine light Gold, Ruby and Lapis against The Eternal Charcoal Of The Universe.

For an instant, The Celestial Trumpets Sound and The Universe is a Crystal Of Courage And Compassion, which spreads throughout the infinite canvas of Eternal Night. 

Not a single scientific instrument on Earth or adrift in the Infinite Celestial Sea will record the miraculous music.

The Archangels and Angels, in their dress uniforms, stand in their positions, on both sides of The Red Carpet Corridor.

The Souls arrive at the end of the carpet and begin their measured step down the great corridor.

At the end of the red carpet is The Mystical Presence Of The Stranger.

The 44 Souls stroll the carpet past the formation of archangels and angels, who stand in Admiration and Respect.

The 44 Souls stop at about six feet away from The Mystical Presence Of The Stranger, which has the energy form of a human, but not the definition of flesh and form.

Before their eyes, the 44 watch The Transition.  The Stranger’s energy takes on a human form in a military dress uniform.

“Welcome To Valhalla !”

The words are spoken and emerge as English, Tagalog, Cebuano, and Waray.

The stranger smiles and nods.  “Call me, what you will, ‘ God’, ‘Mars’, ‘Ares’, ‘Thor’, I am your host for this ‘Welcome Reception.”

“You, Gentlemen, are ‘The Fallen 44 of the Philippines National Police Special Action Force’ we are assembled here, this evening. to salute, honor, witness and testify to your courage in battle.”

“You all perished in combat.  None of you made the conscious choice ‘To Die.’  All of you fought diligently and courageously to protect yourselves, your comrades-in-arms and to achieve your Mission.  No one in The Universe can question your courage and dedication.  You died in service to your country, your families and your fellow citizens.  There is No Greater Selfless Sacrifice In The Universe.”

“Tonight, this feast is to ‘Welcome You To Our Immortal Ranks.’  Tomorrow, you will witness from your positions here in Valhalla, ‘The National Day Of Mourning’ in the Republic Of The Philippines.  It will be a challenge for you.” 

“As Souls, you have your celestial bodies.  You retain the memories of Love for your families on Earth.  Grief, is difficult for humans to understand and express.  It will be difficult for you to watch your families grieve and it will be hard for you to accept and acknowledge the intense emotions.”

“Here, I have designed a way that you can welcome and accept the true emotions without you experiencing overwhelming grief for the families you have left behind.  Yes, your loved ones remain on Earth.”

“They are angry.  They are upset.  They are broken.  They are confused.  In time, they will understand your devotion and dedication to duty demonstrated your undying Love for them.  You sought to protect their Lives and an infinite number of lives around the globe by the successful execution of your Mission.  There was a definite valid reason for your sacrifice.”

“You, Gentlemen, are representative of what humankind was intended to be.  Caring, humane, selfless individuals who lived your lives in appreciation of each sunrise and helped other people on your journey through Life.”

“I salute you.  We salute you.  The Archangels and Angels Of The Universe salute you.  Gentlemen,  I welcome you to our ranks.”

“You, now, stand enshrined in eternity as “Heroes.” 

You out rank every prophet, saint, pope, ecumenical patriarch, archbishop, grand mufti, rabbi, ayatollah, imam, cleric, priest, preacher, or evangelist who has every lived, who lives or who will ever Live.”

“This is Warrior Heaven.  This is Warrior Paradise.  You ended your lives on Earth trying to protect and save the lives of others, there is No Greater Love.  You perished in a thought for your comrades-in-arms, your families, your country and your world.  No God, No Goddess, No Entity In All Of Creation could ‘Ask’ more of any mortal in The Universe.” 

“I Welcome You To Valhalla !”

God salutes the assembled 44, who stand at attention proud, but, slightly uncomfortable at the celestial pomp and circumstance.

The Archangels and Angels salute.

God smiles and nods.  “Gentelmen, the Valkyries, Amazons and Archangels stand ready to help you settle into your quarters at the conclusion of our formal dinner this evening.  Saint Michael and Saint Samuel will show you gentlemen to your seats at the head table.”

God winks.  “Tomorrow, will be a challenge for you, gentlemen.  Tonight, you dine and rest to witness tomorrow’s activities on Earth.

God smiles and gestures to The Official Reception Line.  “Gentlemen, this concludes my official welcome speech.  Here in the reception line are The Ancestral Comrades-In-Arms who are anxious to congratulate on your acceptance into our ranks at Valhalla.”

“I believe, many of you, gentlemen are familiar with the combat records and historic valor of your hosts this evening.  Allow me to introduce General Emilio Aquinaldo and General Paulino Santos of the Republic Of The Philippines and General Douglas MacArthur and General Mark Clark of the United States Of America.”

God smiles and steps back to allow the 44 Souls in their dress uniforms proceed to the reception line.

God proceeds to His Throne at The Command Table and raises his glass to the assembled heroes, “Gentlemen, I salute, ‘The Fallen 44’ !”  God renders a salute.

God raises his glass at the table and looks at all of the honored souls in uniform and into their eyes : “I welcome you into my presence.”

“I welcome you into Valhalla.  I hereby confirm your immortal rank, honor and glory and welcome you, as the risen ‘Faithful 44 ! ’”

The End

Philippines National Police Special Action Force National Day Of Morning Jan 30 2015 Image

Philippines National Police

http://pnp.gov.ph/portal/

Philippines National Police symbol 1017742_710715138969745_6654143956528279625_n

Philippine National Police — Quezon City — facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pnp.pio

Fallen 44 Links

Acting PNP chief: Retrieving, treating casualties in Maguindanao clash a priority

January 25, 2015 11:48pm

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/416668/news/regions/acting-pnp-chief-retrieving-treating-casualties-in-maguindanao-clash-a-priority

At least 30 elite cops killed in clash with MILF

ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at 01/25/2015 7:18 PM | Updated as of 01/25/2015 10:57 PM

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/01/25/15/govt-milf-report-casualties-rare-clash

Editor’s Epilogue

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I am not a religious man.

I do believe it is logical that there is an intelligence in The Universe beyond the understanding and comprehension of humans.

Thus, I tend to believe in “A Spiritual Intelligence” in The Universe.

In my mind and heart, I believe, “Heroes”, especially “Military Heroes” are always honored for their selfless dedication to their country and their fellow citizens.

I choose to believe “The Fallen 44“ have an immortal place of honor in the ranks of all the military warriors who have always served their nations and fellow citizens.

I salute “The Fallen 44“ as “The Faithful 44“

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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February 8, 2015 at 1:58 PM

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Sam,God At The Tailor by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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The Prologue

of

Book One and Book Two

 

Sam,God

At The

Tailor

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

The handsome, well-dressed man in the tailor-made business suit sits relaxed in the chair in the small tailor shop.

 

He peers up at me through his fashionable glasses and smiles. He gestures to the chair, beside him, and I sit down.

 

God,” I whisper ?

 

In the flesh,” he chuckles. “Welcome to Luzon. Manila, actually. Technically, we are in a tailor shop in Bulacan,” he grins.

 

God turns his head and whispers, “Good Morning, Sam, Ole Buddy.”

I settle into a chair beside God. He nods at the young Asian tailor taking the measurements of the young boy.

 

God takes off his glasses and uses the frames to point at the young boy. “Fernando Dantes is getting measured for a new school uniform.

 

Tomas Tolentino, the young bespoke tailor, is learning the art of becoming a professional tailor. Tomas has five brothers and three sisters.”

 

God winks at me. “It is the Philippines. In this country, they really take the phrase, |”be fruitful and multiply,” to heart.

 

Obvious, economic considerations aside, Tomas is a dedicated young man, who is working hard to make a future for himself and is working on a plan to help support and educate his siblings,”

 

God looks at me. “I figured you had some things on your mind. The old year ending and the new one beginning.”

 

I frown. “I realized since I retired most people don’t even know I exist, but, my wife might miss me.”

 

God chuckles. “The nice thing about being The Creator Of The Universe is you have all the particle physics, quantum physics, string theory and all those other fancy,smancy scientific scholastic theories and natural laws that languish at the back of your mind.

 

Long story short. You are here. At home, there is a genetic golem that is your twin. Your stand-in clone will be you at that point until you return.

 

My clone ?”

 

God laughs. “Haven’t you ever wished there was more than one of you ?”

 

All the time. Especially, back in the days when I was on duty. I took that whole “Fate Of The Free World Rests On Your Shoulders” literally,” I admit.

 

Indeed, you did.” God admits.

 

Relax. I remember you made regular visits to a tailor shop in Okinawa. Even, in Thailand, you used free time to get suits made at the tailor.”

 

I nod. “In the single days, I believed clothes impressed the ladies. The suits did.” I smile. “I did appreciate my tailor-made suits and I loved the comfort and the fit,”

 

Young Dantes dashes past us and out the door. Tailor Tomas Tolentino smiles at God.

 

God points at me. “My friend is overdue for a new suit of clothes. It is my belated Christmas present to him.

 

Three Suits, three shirts, and three ties. Then, we’ll look at the handkerchiefs, shoes and accessories.”

 

Okay, Mr. Godwin.”

 

I step into position. The young tailor uses his cloth tape measure to take the measurements and write down the numbers in the notebook on the desk.

 

I know you have had a year of challenges,” remarks God, still sitting in the chair. “Give me an idea of where you want to head in the new year.”

 

Overwhelmed. All year long,” I remark, my arms outstretched for the tailor to take the measurements.

 

Everyday seemed like an uphill battle. The nice thing about the holidays is you crawl in your cave and lick your wounds,” I retort. God sits in the chair and jots notes in a small notebook,

 

I feel like a gun shy dog, who is shot at and missed. It is one of the few times in my life, where instead of moving forward, I want to turn around and walk back,” I explain.

 

The tailor slips the tape measure under my arms and around my chest. I put my arms down.

 

God nods. “What can I do ?”

 

I grin. “You are a big player in the world economy; fix it.”

 

He laughs. “Even as we speak, people are working on it. Actually, they are ‘arguing’ about it, but, sooner or later, they will have to settle down and be rationale.’

 

God stands up and watches the young tailor work. The tailor takes my neck measurement. I turn around. I feel the tape from the back of my shirt collar go down the small of my back to my belt. The young tailor jots the measurements in his notebook.

 

My guess is your business plan for the year is you want to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction,” remarks God.

 

Leadership is a challenge in any culture and when you have a language barrier that only complicates understanding.

 

One of the most difficult tasks is to try to get people to share and work toward a common dream.

 

The tailor measures around my waist and looks at the measurement. He looks up at me and smiles. He takes the waist measurement again.

 

Your tape measure is right. I’ve always been skinny. I’ve always had a slender waist,” I explain. The young tailor nods and jots down the measurement.

 

I shrug. “This year was rough. I feel empty. At this point, I look at the next year as “switch to auto pilot” and hope the turbulence does not slam me into a mountain.”

 

God nods. “It was a rough year for a lot of people. I’m surprised that you are still on the mat.”

 

I grin. “If you stay down, then, you don’t get beat up.”

 

Seriously, the lumps and bruises don’t heal as quickly when you get older. And, disappointment is a difficult emotion to deal with at any age.

 

The real pain is the disappointment, when you get in the ring, you swing for a dream. You figure out too late that the fight is fixed.

 

Everyone apparently thought they would hit it big; if we failed. We failed at what we tried to accomplish. The naysayers lost out too, which serves them right for their lack of support.

 

I was naive. As a child, I learned to give people the benefit of the doubt. As an adult, I should have been more pragmatic and cynical about my fellow citizens,”

 

In the 20th Century people had The Cold War and The Atom Bomb Paranoia. Still, families usually stuck together, despite the persistent paranoia.

 

The early 21st Century seems to have become a global “Dog Eat Dog” culture that relies on the selfish paranoia of the individual, rather, than the strength of family.

 

The young tailor measures the cuff of the trousers and glances up at me.

 

Tomas, you have to forgive my friend he is an old skeptical reporter turned philosopher,” smiles God. The young man nods,

 

The young tailor makes a few quick pen strokes to sketch out the overall design on the notebook page and smile up at me.

 

I have your measurements, sir. Do you want to go ahead and choose the material for your suits.”

 

God speaks up. “I’ll choose the cloth and the fabrics.” I step over and sit in the chair.

 

God takes off his sport jacket and lies it across the desk. He removes his cuff links and puts them in his left trouser pocket. Then, he turns up the sleeves and steps into position.

 

The young tailor smiles. “Mr. Godwin, I already have your measurements.”

 

God grins. “I know. The holidays. I always tend to put on weight, which makes my shirts and trousers tighter.

 

I think we need to revisit my neck size, my last blue satin dress shirt is a perfect fit, but. I think the neck size is about a quarter of an inch too tight, even unbuttoned.”

 

The young man nods and goes to work with his tape measure.

God looks at me. “The Manila to Tacloban City cargo truck idea wasn’t a bad idea.”

 

A day and a half to two days to transport cargo from Manila to Tacloban City is a decent idea,” I admit.

 

Of course, you have to consider the condition of the roads. The wear and tear on the vehicles,and even though it is the tropics, weather conditions are still a factor.

 

Heat, in terms of temperature. Salt, in terms of salt air and how it works on steel and iron, in terms of a truck chassis.

 

Employees means you have to know how many you need, especially, mechanics to keep the trucks on the road.

 

How expensive are the trucks going to be ? Do you buy, rent or lease the trucks ?”

 

God smiles. “You did your homework.”

 

I nodded. “It was a great idea on paper. Of course, the devil is always in the details.

 

The big detail is everyone had details to add to the idea and project. The day to day operating budget only pointed in one direction: mine. I was not in the mood to change my last name to Risk.”

 

Christy has a good head for business on her shoulders,” God acknowledges.

 

She does. She knows how to put any project together and get it to work as long as people are willing to work with her,” I admit.

 

Teamwork isn’t always a concept that translates. Sometimes people only see the short=range quick peso. People don’t always see The Big Picture of trying to build for the future.”

 

The new year means I’ll stick to what I do best – writing and photography.” I grin. “Perhaps, I will inspire someone.”

 

The young tailor puts the tape measure around God’s chest a second time and looks at the measurement.

 

God laughs. “It is all the fruitcake and egg nog of the holidays. The food and drink does a number on the physique.”

 

God straightens up and looks forward for a moment. He glances at me.

 

Another year of writing and photography, then,” He asks ?

 

It is what you put me here to do,” I observe.

 

He smiles. “You, my son, thought you could make a difference in the world by the stories you would write.”

 

The foolish optimism of youth, no doubt,” I reply.

 

God chuckles. “That is what I admire about ‘youth’ the ‘utopian optimism’ to look at the world and see what it should be and not what it really is,” remarks God.

 

The young tailor carefully takes the measurements and then takes them again before jotting them down.

 

God remarks, “Now, that the holidays are ending, I guess it is time to hit the gym again.” He winks at me.

 

The young tailor jots down the measurements on the notebook and steps through a back door in the shop.

 

God fidgets with the open collar of his dress shirt. “I could use a little more starch in this shirt,” He observes.

 

I appreciate the suits and shirts,” I admit rising out of the chair. “I’m curious though, I figure with the whole switch from one year to the next you would have your hands full.”

 

God glances over his shoulder. “Nice thing about ‘The Creator Job’ after ages of new years, millennium scares and the whole switch from one year to the next, “ God pauses for a moment to listen for the tailor’s footsteps.

 

You kind of get your procedures down and know how to roll with the flow.”

 

God looks at his reflection in the shop window and raises up his chin and turns his head from side to side. “Human life is often about image.”

 

I always enjoy my fittings at the tailor. Your tailor is meticulous in creating your suit,” remarks God.

 

You look good in the suit, but, every time you put on the suit; it is the tailor’s reputation that stands out to the world.

 

Tailors and dressmakers may well be the last bastions of craftsmanship left in The Real World,” proclaims God.

 

Tailor Tolentino comes out of the back with two suits in plastic bags. He beams. “Mr. Godwin, your suits are ready.”

 

God smiles like a little boy at Christmas. The young tailor motions to the dressing room. “Feel free to try them on and see if I need to make any alterations.”

 

God takes the suits and walks toward the dressing room.

 

You and Mr. Godwin are friends,” the young tailor asks ?

 

We have been friends for so many years, I can’t even begin to count all the years,” I remark.

 

He has a very definite opinion on fashion and what he wants.”observes the tailor.

 

I nod. “It is safe to say, you will never meet anyone with more style and panache. He knows what he likes. He knows what he doesn’t like.”

 

Mr. Zeus Godwin is definitely a man, who knows the value of a peso and how to get every centavo out of it.”

 

God steps out in the double breasted gray business suit with the slender pin stripe. “This is a masterpiece ! The fit is exquisite.”

 

God grins and rubs a button. “I can pick this suit up on Tuesday of next week. I would like you to take a look at the buttons.

 

My thought is the thread might not be strong enough. You might want to check with an older tailor, I believe it was beeswax that was added to thread to make it stronger.

 

Beeswax,” remarks the young tailor. God steps back into the dressing room to try on the other suit.

 

The young tailor looks at me.

 

I smile. “Mr. Zeus Godwin, knows all. Mr. Zeus Godwin sees all,” I tease.

 

The fact that he is here means you must really be a tailor of merit.”

 

The young man shrugs and smiles. “It is one of those strange stories of Life. The day I went to be measured for my first school uniform. The tailor was being precise in his fitting of a priest in a robe.

 

The tailor checked the hem a couple of times and adjusted how the robe draped on the priest’s instep.

 

The priest told the tailor it was a great fit, but, the tailor convinced the priest to let him make a couple of alterations.

 

Suddenly, a high-ranking Philippine National Police officer and his wife rushes into the shop.

 

The woman was in tears. The poor lady she was coming apart at the seams. She was talking mile a minute Tagalog and crying like it was the end of the world.

 

The man had a doomed looked and put his dress uniform on the desk. The woman had heard of an inexpensive tailor, who could do uniforms in a rush. She had convinced her husband to go to the tailor.

 

I watched the tailor calm the woman down and look over the uniform with the officer.

 

The officer tried on the uniform. The pants were waiting for the flood pants,” smiles the young tailor.

 

The jacket was tight through the chest and the sleeves were short. The uniform look like it had shrunk in a washing machine.

 

My mother put her hand over my mouth, so no one could see me laugh.

 

The tailor hunkered down and used his tape measure to check the hem in the pant’s legs.

 

Then, he stood up and went and took the jacket off the mannequin in the window.

 

He held it up to the officers back to check the width of the shoulders. Then, he suggested the officer try on the jacket.

 

In a few moments, the officer returned and the tailor checked the balance of the jacket and the sleeve length. I saw the officer smile.”

 

The young tailor smiles. “It was a complete catastrophe. Yet, the tailor assured the officer that he could fix the length of the pants and make a slight alteration to the jacket, so the officer would have the uniform for the next morning.”

 

The young tailor closes the notebook on his desk and looks at me. “Like they say, that is the rest of the story.

 

I started hanging out around the tailor shop and noticed how happy people where and how they smiled when they had on a shirt, suit or dress that was made for them.”

 

Pure Michelangelo,” chimes God stepping forward in the navy blue business suit.

 

He flicks the lint off the sleeve and smiles. God smiles at the buttons on the suit sleeve cuff. “Savile Row. The last time I wore a business suit that felt this comfortable I had it tailored for me on Savile Row.”

 

God nods. “Now, let’s look at the bolts of cloth and pick out the material for the shirts.”

 

Tailor Tomas Tolentino smiles. “Wait just a moment, I have put some material back for your next visit, Mr. Godwin.” The tailor turns and steps out the back.

 

God looks at me. “Are you ready for the new year ?”

 

Ready or not, it will come,” I tease.

 

That it will,” God grins. “You put one foot in front of the other and move forward like you always do. You will be back up and running in no time,” God advises.

 

I nod. “I know, no one is getting any younger. I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and realize that this is the point in life that I am suppose to be at.”

 

It is the assurance that your journey in Life brings you to a point to where you feel you are suppose to be.”

 

I nod my head up and down. “Now, I get why God takes me with him to a new tailor.”

 

To shoot the breeze with a mortal and do the cosmic male bonding routine,” teases God.

 

Perhaps.” I grin. “I would interpret it as a Life lesson. When Life doesn’t fit, don’t hesitate to make alterations.

 

Everyday may seem like it is off the rack, but, you should be able to tailor it to fit.”

 

Hemmed in and restricted by seams; you need to find a way to let it out and add some elastic to life.”

 

You shouldn’t always feel like Life is ready to wear and you don’t get to make any changes or decisions.”

 

If you get steamed, relax; you can iron out the wrinkles in your Life.”

 

Like a tailor, take your measurements, look at your patterns and decide how you want your Life to be sewn together.”

 

If you need help, find the tailor, or the professional, who can help you do the job.”

 

In the grand scheme of the Universe, Life can be tailored to allow you to dress for success in almost any event.”

 

God laughs. “Writers. I love you guys and gals. You take a simple act and put universal meaning to it,” remarks God. He lowers His eyeglasses and winks.

 

The tailor returns with the cloth. God smiles, “Now, for the dress shirts.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Sam,God,Satan New Year Proposal by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Book Two

Sam,

God,

Satan,

The

New Year

Proposal

TICK TOCK TRAVEL TIME_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

God brought me to a Time and Space Dimension, outside the realm of The Real World.

 

God and Satan sometimes “Shoot The Breeze.”

 

Today, New Year’s Eve, God decided to select a human to attend the session.

 

It is obvious, that this brainstorming session is setting the stage for A New Year’s celebration unlike any other.

 

Satan did not like the location, so He teleported all of us to His penthouse in another dimension.

 

God in his white tuxedo seems to have a New Year’s Proposal in mind.

 

God crushes out his cigar butt in the ashtray and finishes off His brandy. He stands up.

 

Satan, Ole Buddy. You are just too serious. It is time to lighten up and party. I’m thinking a uniform change is in order,” teases God.

 

No !” Satan shrieks. “No ! I sense where you are going. The idea is not warranted and it certainly is not funny.’

 

God spread His legs into a Parade Rest stance and lifts up His head. A supreme ball of intense white light radiates from within His solar plexus.

 

Satan smirks, “His sense of humor will be the death of me one of these centuries.”

 

The rays of light cascade around God’s human form for a moment and then vanish.

 

Call me, ‘Goddess,” proclaims God, who now, stands embodied in the form of a tall, large redheaded woman in a floor-length eveining gown.

 

Satan shakes his head, “You just had to be a Momma’s Boy; didn’t you.”

 

An unseen force thrusts Satan back and He is on His knees on the floor staring up into a pillar of intense energetic blue light. “Alright. Alright. I get it.”

 

The light vanishes. Satan stands up in the stance that God had used. An intense orb of yellow, then, orange, then, blue light casts our rays around His body. “This isn’t funny,” he groans.

 

Satan drops to his knees and stretches out on the floor. The light radiates under Him against the floor for a moment and then vanishes.

 

A large, tall black woman lies on the floor in the place of Satan.

 

Goddess sashays over and looks down. “The process requires an intense amount of focused energy. If you don’t fight it; it is harmless. Poor Satan, all these centuries and sometimes He forgets to roll with the flow.

 

Satan slowly sits up. “Call Him, Santanna,” remarks God. God reaches down a hand.

 

A flustered Santanna rises to her feet. “i can do it. You and your silly little jokes and pranks.”

 

Goddess grins, “When I do it; it is jokes and pranks. When Satan does it, of course, it is procedure, rules, regulations, i.e., business.”

 

Why,” asks Santanna ?

 

In this dimension of Time And Space, we did The Universal Macho Male Bonding Exercise,” smiles God.

 

You guessed it, Santanna. Sam is a Momma’s Boy. In his Real World dimension, he can and does relate to a woman, whom he trusts, loves and respects. Santanna you are long overdue to feel some human emotion.”

 

Santanna looks down at the evening gown.

 

Goddess steps back and looks at Her evening gown. “Exquisite.”

 

She smiles at me. “Since I plucked this design out of your mind, Sam, you get to explain it.

 

Santanna moans, “Great. Time out for Fashion Week In The Mythic Zone.”

 

I know my terms won’t be fashion terms, but, I’ll try to explain the style and design. Goddess wear a full-length evening gown of satin blue.

 

The bodice is, essentially, a strapless bustier. It is an exaggerated M design to suggest the natural peaks and valleys of a woman’s breast.

 

The M provides two functions. First, it calls attention to the breasts. Second, it can provide a Public or a Privacy function.

 

If you wish to suggest, but not reveal, then, you choose the Superheroine Style that stiffly towers over the breasts and casts a shadow to conceal them.

 

Goddess wears “This is The Freedom Of The Press Style. “ The wearer has nothing to hide.

 

The large M cut design simply shields the breasts behind reinforced comfortable material. The design is suppose to gently lift the breasts and allow them to rest on a comfortable material shelf that feels as natural as if a woman is lifting up her own breasts.

 

To provide the support a woman’s breasts stand out like the prow of a ship. “The design to allow the breast to stick out forward is intentional. Men are men. Women are women. God purposely designed the bodies to be different.

 

The physique of a man’s body and the physique of a woman’s body should always be celebrated.

 

Under the breast is layers of cottonballs arranged to provide a cushion to allow the breasts to stick out forward and rest comfortably. It is the only idea I could come up with to replace an underwire. I’m sure someone in the industry can refine the design.

 

Santanna snickers, “We get it, Sam. You are a breast man.”

 

Goddesses frowns at Santanna.

 

I step out and gesture at the cup area of the evening gown. “If I knew more about synthetics, then, I might have been able to suggest a Kevlar, diamond, lycra or latex alloy or composition that would be sewn into the lining and really protect the breasts from injury.”

 

I point to the bodice. “The body of the garment is suppose to be comfortable because at a formal social fuction then you should look impressive and still be comfortable.”

 

My concern is the way the material is gathered together at the small of the back. I had hoped the overall design would allow for a more natural flow like how drapes hang straight down.”

 

It looks like some of the material may have been bunched and is creating an unnatural padding situation. Perhaps, a heavier weight of satin would provide the vertical flow, although sharkskin would probably be cheaper and maybe easier to work with.”

 

Regardless, I chose to embed two structural supports at the side of the garment to allow the bra section to remain suspended. When a woman puts her arm down to her side you do not see the support.

 

I believe with an evening gown a woman should have the matching gloves that extend half way up past the elbow.

 

I step to the back of Goddess. “The back is open to reveal the shoulder blades. I imagined this peaked V at the bottom of the bustier bodice, to allow the material to flow natually over the posterior.” I hunker down tto show how the material hangs down to the instep. “At least, the design rides to an inch or two above the instep.”

 

I look up and Santanna shakes Her head. “Sam, you really need to get out of the house more often.”

 

Goddess reaches down and help me to my feet. “Pay no attention, Sam. Some people and some entities are just wet blankets.”

 

Goddess winks and whispers. “I think you are on to something. You should sketch it out on paper and go from there.”

 

I shrug. “Basically, it was just a mental exercise. You see an actress at the Academy Awards on TV and you imagine designing her a more eye-catching andcomfotable gown.”

 

Santanna claps and steps forward. “I’m really going to be interested in how you explain this design.”

 

Like the previous evening gown, it draws attention to the woman’s breasts. It has the strapless M design.

 

The inverted W calls attention to without demanding attention. The red satin evening gown material flows down to full-length.

 

I etched in embroidery at the side seams of the bra to outline the front panel of the dress.

 

The gold embroidery suggests an Oriental flavor. I used oversized peal snaps at the seams to suggest a Western flavor.”

 

I open one of the snaps. “ The snaps work. They are in line from the armpit to the top of the hip. Two rows of three snaps are above the top of the hip to prevent the dress from accidentally coming apart in public.

 

This is my East Meets West Evening Gown.”

 

The front panel hangs down. The two inch wide Oriental design originates at the top of the hips from the bottom of the structural piping and flows down, along the bottom and up the other side.”

 

I step back and point at the thigh. “ The graduated slit of the evening gown allows the wearer seductive freedom of movement. Here, of course, Santanna has decided to go with black hose garters to Her nylons.”

 

Santanna steps forward thrust around Her shoulders and casts a seductive look over Her shoulder. “I have to hand it to you, preacher man, you really know how to design a comfortable evening gown.”

 

Then, Santanna winks, “You are going to have to pay attention to the shoes though. “

 

High heels may go with everything, but they are not always the comfortable footwear choice.”

 

I step back and look at Goddess and Santanna. “Thank you.”

 

For what,” smirks Santanna ?

 

It is always nice to see an image from your imagination in The Real World. . .or, at least, in a realistically virtual dimension.

 

Goddess smiles and steps back. She lifts up Her hair and it flows. She smiles into the ornate silver full-length mirror.

 

Roman women’s formal hairstyles were hard to beat. They did make every woman look like a goddess.” Goddesses’ hair finishes and a large silver ornamental comb appears at the back of the hairstyle.

 

Santanna smirks at Goddess. “The Punk Rocker, Spike and Mohawk look I take it are out for this evening gown.”

 

Fine.” Santanna firmly plants her feet on the floor and the scattered strands of hair rise to create a formal Korean hairstyle.

 

The large ornamental gold and jade dragon comb appears in the hair.

 

You know, professor, I think, I’m going to spend more time looking in on your mind.

 

I got a tall, busty, black bodybuilder physique out of your subconscious. The end result is I like how this dress hangs and swings on my body.”

 

Santanna don’t try to intimidate Sam. It is New Year’s Eve. We want to party. I think Sam is in the inner reflection mode.

 

Goddess gestures to me. I step up and take her hand. Santanna steps up and takes mine. “Relax, human. You ain’t my type.”

 

I step forward and the two buxom women in evening gowns stroll toward my front porch.

 

Goddess laughs. “Relax, Sam. You don’t have to worry about your neighbors. We are still doing the old spatial time displacement routine. We are at a level in your world, but we are still transparent.

 

Santanna staggers around on the heels and finally reaches the porch. Santanna takes off the heels and drops them on the porch.

 

The guests in the Real World look for the disembodied sound. Santanna smirks.

 


“Shoes, gentlemen. If we ever play this game again. We bring along a shoe designer.”

 

Santanna sits on a porch railing and begins to massage her feet. “My dogs hurt.”

 

Santanna roughly massages the bottoms of her feet. “Ouch,”

 

Santanna stands up and looks at the evening gown.

 

Well, if I have to be in this ridiculous skin wearing this ridiculous get up I really want to look like a woman. . .”

 

Santanna thrusts out her hip and places her hand on it. “Goddess is American 38G Cup,” Santanna proclaims and smiles.

 

Santanna’s breasts start to grow. “Santanna will be an American 40 G Cup,” Santanna proclaims.

 

Santanna swishes her hips and walks up behind me to breathe on my neck. Santanna whispers her best Mae West voice in my ear, “What do you think, big boy ?”

 

Goddess rises and walks forward. “Stand down, Santanna. If only the humans of earth could see The Ultimate Evil Of The Universe has gender issues. And, He, She still has trouble playing it off.”

 

Santanna nods. “Fine. Gender switch is an issue with me. Lilith will scatter my atoms across the universe if she sees me like this.”

 

God laughs. “You are immortal.”

 

And, Lilith is creative,”

 

God nods. I step forward and Pseudo Sam, the genetic golem, becomes a part of me.

 

I stand back in The Real World. I smell the food and notice the hunger in my stomach.

 

I sit down at the head of the table. Goddess stands to my right and places Her hand on my shoulder. Santanna stands to my left and places Her hand on my shoulder.

 

I express my Real World appetite. The Universal Energy flows in a circle inside me. I look at the porch railing in the distance and there is the momentary reflection of Goddess and Santanna standing by my side.

 

Once everyone finishes eating. The men move to an area to talk. The women sit at the table and talk. I step to the porch, look out into the night and light a cigarette,

 

I exhale the smoke.

 

Suddenly, my golem strolls toward the men.

 

Goddess, Santanna and I watch. “The TV is tuned to the New Year’s Eve countdown. The men are drinking tuba and the women are drinking wine.

 

Even without the spatial time dimension, I doubt anyone would notice us,” remarks Goddess,

 

Oh, no, Goddess. The way you look in that evening gown, you would definitely stand out, “I comment.

 

Goddess smiles. “This is New Year’s Eve. My wife is shopping somewhere in Paris for the evening and your wife, , ,” Goddess looks at Santanna.

 

She is at some party in Florence or Milan. She mentioned something about swinging by Greenwich Village or Haight Ashbury. I swear that goddess is lost without the 1960s.

 

We had better watch Lilith or She is going to gesture and re-create Woodstock right next to The Dome Of The Rock in The Holy Land,”

 

Goddess laughs. “Lilith isn’t the loose cannon, you think She is. You just get jealous whenever She negotiates a successful business deal that you overlooked. Bottom line, She has better control of her emotions than you do.”

 

Santanna leans against the porch railing and massages the bottom of Her feet, “I’m getting out of this ridiculous evening gown.”

 

You will do no such thing,” admonishes Goddess !

 

Relax,Satan ! Every millennium or so, we owe it to ourselves to do something unusual for New Year’s Eve. Who says we can’t put a little Halloween into New Year’s ?”

 

Santanna eases her right foot down on the porch, “I did like the feel of my tux.”

 

Goddess shakes her head. “You are not fooling anybody, Satan.”

 

While you have one presence here, I am aware that you are have your cloned presence suited up in a variety of tuxedos and dinner jackets and are in attendance at various New Year’s Eve Parties around the globe.”

 

Santanna grins. “The problem with being the Dark Half Of The Creator is I am the half, which means that you always know what I am up to.”

 

Goddess laughs. “Ah, the challenge of being a twin.”

 

Santanna slides off the railing and limps around in Her stocking feet. “With only a little time left until the New Year, I’m curious. If you aren’t going to pursue a career as a shoe designer in the New Year; do you have a direction?”

 

I nod. “Yes.”

 

Goddess smiles. “Speak your mind, Sam. Satan’s bark is often worse than His bite. He does have a talent for getting the right people to spread the word to enhance His “EVIL” reputation.”

 

Goddess smiles, “But, even with a reputation; sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. He usually comes up short on the follow through.”

 

Says you,” smirks Santanna.

 

Actually, I was going to give Satan credit for snakes, lawyers, Rap music, jocks and computer games,” I smile.

 

Goddess chuckles. Santanna bursts out in laughter and gestures. The porch lengthens and a round dining table with a lace table cloth appears.

 

Two bottles of champagne are in the silver chilled ice buckets standing by the table. A bucket of ice with tongs sits in the middle of the table.

 

Santanna grins at Goddess, “You might want to do your thing and slow time in The Real World. This sounds like fun.”

 

Goddess nods. I notice people in The Real World dimension, do seem to be moving slower.

 

We sit at the table. “I give you credit for snakes. A truly worthless lifeform that causes problems, spreads venom and kills numbers of people each year.”

 

Since the snake bite fatalities of a single incident don’t rank up there with bomb explosions; humanity at large doesn’t pay attention.”

 

Santanna nods. “They are worthless. I figured within a week, the slow-witted humans of old would have had them wiped out from the planet.

 

Of course, it only took one fool to look at a snake and decide it reminded him of a certain part of his anatomy.”

 

Santanna laughs. “There have always been stupid people in the world. But, for an ancient twit to look at an ugly snake and make that connection is the height of stupidity.

 

Of course, other slug-witted humans come along and the next thing you know, the nuisance creation genetic material is being plugged in as a symbol in stories and religious cults.”

 

Santanna hold up Her hand and the silver cigarette case appears. “Lawyers,” smirks Goddess. Santanna lights her cigarette and offers me one. I accept. I light the cigarette and exhale.

 

Lawyers,” I smile.

 

Granted. A lawyer does solve problems. The catch is when they solve a problem, often they are only setting things up to create more and bigger problems.

 

Humanity will never evolve to the point to where people can compromise, so, unfortunately, you will always need the occupation of a lawyer in humanity.”

 

Santanna grins, “Rap music is cuss words set to noise.”

 

I nod. “Simple. When it starts up, the promoters whine that once society rejected to rock and roll, jazz and other forms of music. No one wants to be guilty of stopping a valid art form, so suddenly you have rhythmic noise pulling down big bucks,” I decree.

 

Santanna leans across the table and looks me in the eye, “Jocks ?”

 

I lean across the table and look Santanna in the eye.

 

Pure Satanic Genius,” I grin.

 

The gladiators were true athletes, who used their brain and brawn to earn their freedom,” I point out. Santanna and Goddess nod.

 

I lean back in the chair and blow a smoke ring. “A jock is a man or woman, who never grows up. As a child, they are usually a bully or hang out with bullies.

 

They may make tons of money playing in public, but, they never really do anything for anyone other than themselves.

 

People buy into the whole silly fairy tale because it is suppose to be physical fitness.

 

Jocks are just supreme time wasters that drags along tons of people with them to waste their money and lives on primitive grunt and groan theatrics,” I explain.

 

Santanna laughs loudly and wipes at a tear in Her eye.

 

Goddess lights a cigarette. “Sam, why do you think Satan created computer games.”

 

I was yanking His chain,” I grin.

 

Computer games can be important to teach hand and eye coordination and to teach someone how to use a computer, the Internet and other tasks,” I explain.

 

A major downside of humanity is how quickly humanity can get addicted to something.

 

Whether a computer game is simple or complex, if the right person sits down in front of the screen, hours of their lives slip away wasted and unused.”

 

Everyone fights boredom. Computer games are a great way to fight it.”

 

When the entertainment becomes an obsession then it is a habit, which is an addiction, which is basically a way to waste large chunks of your life. Everything in moderation.” I smile.

 

Santanna laughs loudly. Goddess exhales smoke and grins. “I have a game for you.” Goddess winks. “If you were granted immortality and God status, what would you change ?”

 

World peace,” teases Santanna

 

I shake my head. “World Peace is a silly fantasy. No way to achieve it on an earth full of humans,” I retort.

 

Really,” inquires Santanna. “Do tell.”

 

God could wave His hand and walah, suddenly there would be Peace throughout the world.

 

Peace is boring. Everyone would deal with their happy, happy, joy,joy modes for a few hours, days, weeks, months. Humanity might even make it to a decade.”

 

Sooner or later, one person, a few people, or a group will get upset or disgruntled over something. Dissension Discontent, Disappointment, Discord. Disagreement.”

 

I shrug. “Whether it is one person, a few people or a group; once people don’t see eye to eye on an issue and they can’t reach an agreement, then, the stage is set for all that negative energy to grow and multiply.

 

World Peace is an unrealistic fantasy of humanity.”

 

Santanna lies back in the chair and points at Goddess. “If you did have immortality and God-like powers what would you do ?”

 

I smirk. “Grant my wife, immortality and God status.”

 

I inhale and exhale the smoke. “Then, I would convince Christy move to a distant planet in the universe. There we could try to enjoy our immortality.

 

Of course, once we got to the planet, we might give up the immortality to return to a mortal life. Life without end, never sounds as attractive in your senior years as it does in your youth.”

 

Santanna waves her cigarette. “Humanity. If you had to use your God powers for humanity what would you do ?

 

Honest,” I ask ?

 

Honest,” grins Santanna.

 

I look at Goddess. “I would thank God for the magnificent opportunity, but I would request not to be given The Power.”

 

Yeah, right,” smirks Santanna. “You have been offered The Power to be a God and you turn it down.”

 

I nod. “As a child, I was optimistic about humanity. I have lived in The Real World.

 

People don’t want to be “Holy.” People just want to live their lives.

 

People don’t even really care about “The Big Picture” issues of Life unless they think it will affect them.”

 

At Christmas, people go out of their way to help the homeless. Pick any day of the year before the Christmas season and people usually ignore or don’t think about the homeless.”

 

There are people, who can live their lives and still help others.”

 

You don’t know where to start,” grins Santanna ?

 

I wish I could be more optimistic about the human race,” I smile.

 

Unfortunately, in the Grand Scheme Of Gods, You, Satan have The Best Job. You get to put obstacles in front of people and challenge them to overcome them.”

 

I look at Goddess. “With all due respect, God has the worst job because He gives people the benefit of the doubt and tries to help them.

 

People usually only really drop to their knees to “worship”, during an extreme personal crisis. God always gets the short end of the stick.”

 

Santanna frowns. “You want my job ?”

 

No. It is obvious you, Satan, enjoy your job immensely.”

 

If I had The Power and could fly, teleport between dimensions, change the molecular structure of items just by thinking or wishing about them. . .obviously, all these aspects of The Power would be great to have.”

 

Imagine being a human with super hero powers. The catch is the universe expects you to use those powers to help your fellow humans.”

 

But, when you try to help one human, then, sometimes you cause problems for another human. It is a proverbial, endless loop cycle,”

 

The temptation, then, is to become just a selfish God intent on satisfying your own needs.

 

You can be human and be selfish; you don’t need God-like powers to be selfish,” I explain.

 

I shrug. “I want to live out my little,mortal Life and then go Permanent Change Of Station into The Afterlife.”

 

Goddess leans on the table and looks me in the eyes. “If you were offered The Power Of Creation And Immortality To Be A God; you would reject it ?”

 

I nod. “Yes.”

 

Where humanity is concerned. Evolution is a slow process. Earth is a classroom. People live and learn lessons. “

 

I doubt humanity will ever evolve anywhere near being “Holy” or a God-like status. It is too easy for humans to get sidetracked by trivial issues in The Real World.”

 

Santanna grins. “I have to hand it to you, human. It is rare, when I meet a human, who has actually examined their hopes and dreams.”

 

Goddess rises from the table and walks around the porch. Santanna watches.

 

Santanna looks around. “Retirement is nothing like you expected,” Santanna asks ?

 

Not in my wildest dreams,” I reply and open one of the cold bottles of rum.

 

Can I help,” offers Santanna ?

 

Probably not,” I grin.

 

Santanna snickers, “You’re still holding that Misawa Air Base thing against me; aren’t you ?”

 

I nod. “Until The Day Eternity Ends.”

 

Santanna shrugs. “Life is a slow pace in the country, huh ?”

 

I nod. “I’m not going to ask for your help, if that is what you are waiting for. I simply, don’t have any issues that require your level of expertise,” I smile.

 

Nothing,” whines Santanna ?

 

I sip the rum. “For the last year, it has been frustrated dealing with the electric company.

 

But, electric companies, internet service providers, cell phone companies, telephone companies, satellite companies – they are all alike. They give you ho-hum service and send you a huge bill each month.”

 

The electric company. Is that a request ?”

 

No. It is not a request,” I emphasize.

 

I understand the challenges the electric company faces. Weather, terrain, budget – I know all those issues play into the kind of service a company can provide. I get it.”

 

Nonetheless, every business in the world ends up with the dead weight employees, who get their game down pat. They don’t rock the boat and stay under the radar.

 

The dead weights go high enough to be comfortable, but, never high enough to be noticed. Then, they sit back and “Fat Cat” off the system. They collect a paycheck for the least amount of work possible.”

 

Santanna smiles, “You think one of the electric companies in Leyte has gone ‘Fat Cat’?”

 

I shrug. “As a human, I’m not impressed by their so-called service.”

 

I’m sure an Immortal, perhaps, a God, might have the opportunity to see behind the press releases.”

 

Santanna leans across the table and grins. “Are you sure this is not a request ?”

 

This is not a request,” I emphasize.

 

I am simply calling your attention to a matter that may have escape the attention of God and Satan.

 

I’m sure one of you or both of you might check out the matter when you have time on your schedule,” I explain.

 

Santanna sits up in the chair and sips Her liqueur, “Sam, do you think we will do any business in the coming year ?”

 

I shrug. “Anything is possible, I guess.” I reply.

 

Good enough,” grins Santanna.

 

Goddess returns and sits down at the table. “Remodeling ? Renovation ? What are you thinking,” asks Goddess ?

 

Inspiration,” I reply. “Once I am inspired I will move ahead with an idea.”

 

My wife, Christy is a pro-active person. She has an idea; she goes for it. My drawback is I stroll toward an idea. I don’t charge, head-first into it.

 

The last couple of years. I have tried to be a nice guy and be kind of laid back.”

 

In the New Year, I’m going to pursue the dream Christy and I want. I’m ready,” I proclaim.

 

Santanna holds up her hand and an open bottle of Benedictine brandy appears. A glass appears in her hand and She pours the liquid. “I like the irony.”

 

The story s that the Benedictine monks came up with the drink. The story isn’t true, but, it has been told so often that the brandy is associated with the monks,” Santanna teases and takes a swig.

 

A champagne flute appears in Goddess’ hand and She sips. “A few minutes until the New Year,”

 

A cold bottle of rum appears in my hand. I sip.

 

Goddess leans against me and whispers, “Remember, even in the tropics, there is a colds and flu season.”

 

Goddess steps forward and stands in front of me. She looks me in the eyes.

 

Your mother asks that I pass along her love,” smiles Goddess, who raises Her arms and an intense beam of light radiates from each palm into my body for about five minutes.

 

Santanna stands up and steps to the other side of the table. She uses her half-filled crystal glass to point at the TV screen. “The countdown to the New Year has started.”

 

I stand up. Goddess winks at me. “You will be okay.”

 

Everyone yells, “Happy New Year !”

 

I stand near the TV. Everyone is shouting, “Happy New Year !”

 

I embrace and kiss my wife, Christy.

 

I look up.

 

A cold shiver runs up my spine, I hear Santanna’s whispered smirk in my ear, “Go get ’em, country boy !”

 

A feeling of warmth causes me to turn and look at the porch entrance. The rest of the guests are laughing and talking and watching the TV coverage of the New Year being celebrated at the precise instant in various locations in the Philippines.

 

Santanna nods, smiles and fades into the dimension of Time and Space.

 

Goddess appears and smiles. “ Samuel, you are more ready than you realize for this year.”

 

I watch Goddess fade into the dimension of Time and Space and only a small dot of light remains.

 

Christy steps up to my side. “Look, a lightning bug.”

 

Happy New Year, honey.” I put my arm around her.

 

I watch the firefly flutter around past the banana plant.

 

The firefly flies further out into the yard into the night.

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Crucifixion ! Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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The Crucifixion !

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Soldiers Stand Guard – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. Filipino citizens assume the roles of Roman soldiers and stand guard at the crucifixion site on the grounds of the Metropolitan Chapel in Palo, Leyte, during Good Friday’s Holy Week observances.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Mourners Approach – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.   A raised mound in the courtyard of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Palo, Leyte serves as the site of the three crosses.  Statues on the crosses enhance the eerie feeling of realism.  The soldiers stand their post as people dressed as mourners approach the three crosses.  People who attended the Good Friday observance were able to watch the re-creation of the crucifixion, during the Holy Week observance.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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Crucifixion Cadre – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  Citizens assume the role of the Roman soldiers of the Crucifixion Cadre.  The citizen-soldiers’ acting abilities enhanced the experience of witnessing the Good Friday, Holy Week observance on the grounds of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Palo, Leyte.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

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Witness to the Crucifixion – Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  People who attended the Good Friday observance at the Metropolitan Chapel, in Palo, Leyte, were witnesses to this choreographed crucifixion.  The significance of the ritual symbolism, could best be described, as the emotional feelings of the individual — within the multitude of witnesses.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sermon to the Masses–Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Sermon to the Masses – Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.  People make the pilgrimage through the gates of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Palo.  In the courtyard, people gather to witness a modern day display of the crucifixion, during the Good Friday observance.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Holy Week in Leyte 2012_A 124 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

Saint Michael On Duty In The P. I.

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Saint Michael On Duty In The P. I.

 

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

SAINT MICHAEL ON THE GROUND IN COUNTRY AND ON DUTY IN THE P.I. I

Saint  Michael, On The Ground, In Country and On Duty In The P.I. – Photo by Retired United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Samuel E. Warren Jr. – My wife, Christy Warren purchased this statue of Saint Michael The Archangel as a gift for me from the Holy Rosary Religious Store in Tacloban, City, Republic of the Philippines, March 13,2012.  Saint Michael The Archangel is known as The Patron Saint of all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of all nation’s armed forces in peace and war.This Saint Michael is on the ground, in country, and on duty at my home in the Philippine Island of Leyte.  The coconut trees stand at attention against the blue skies of Barangay Baras.  Photo by Retired United States Air Force Public Affairs Staff Sergeant Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

I am not a religious man.

I am a spiritual man.

As a child, I always knew “There Is A God.”

There is a supernatural entity beyond humankind’s logical and scientific frame of references.

Everyone knows that “Angels Are The Messengers Of God.”

In paintings, books and movies I have always been attracted to The Military Angels Of God, even as a child.

I believe The Armed Forces Of God, like any professional military unit stands ready to carry out their objectives.

I believe that Saint Michael is the ranking “six-star” Commanding General Of Heaven, who oversees, directs and answers to his Supreme Commander-In-Chief.

As the Patron Saint Of Global Military Forces Saint Michael – I believe, there has never been a man or woman who joined the military or went into combat that Saint Michael did not know about.

The Seraphim, are “The Enlisted Angels” and they are “ on the ground” and “in the action” – they are responsible for being alongside their human counterparts. Seraphim as “Sergeant Angels,” know they are tasked to make sure the mission is completed.

I believe, in human combat, The Sergeant Angels are always alongside their human counterparts fighting “the good fight” to survive and obtain the objective. And, Saint Michael sword in hand is always on the field of battle, land, air and sea.

Since I believe that God Almighty has his standing Heavenly Armed Forces, I believe that Saint Michael and the other Archangels are the “Celestial Pentagon” that serves alongside humans in combat and on active duty in peacetime.

I believe that once a man or woman has donned a uniform of their nation to serve as a soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine, that the members of the Celestial Pentagon are always with them. Once that human veteran or military retiree goes off active duty, I believe, they remain on the Active Duty Roster Of The Celestial Pentagon until the human warrior retires his or her earthly life. “Once a G.I., Always a G.I., In Heaven, or On Earth “ – Samuel E. Warren Jr.

While everyone will not share my beliefs about God’s Armed Forces – that is alright. I have worn and served in my nation’s armed forces, so I have earned the right to my Military Angels Beliefs.

SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL STATUE PURCHASED AT THE HOLY ROSARY RELIGIOUS STORE IN TACLOBAN CITY PHILIPPINES

 

This Saint Michael The Archangel statue was created in Manila and shipped to the Holy Rosary Store in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.  This statue is about four feet tall and the wing span of the sculpture is also about four feet.  Prices always fluctuate in all businesses, but on the day of purchase this sculpture cost 7,000 pesos.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In the Philippine Islands, the sunshine, blue skies, coconut trees, and sapphire ocean waves are my Real World version of The Garden Of Eden. But, even in the P.I., you have to go about the daily matters of your life to earn a living and put food on the table. In the course of daily affairs in the barangay or in Tanauan or Tacloban City, my wife, Christy, often makes the time to stop by a church. The statues of Saint Michael always catches my eye.

A couple of weeks ago, when my wife, Christy,was shopping, near The Santo Nino Shrine in Tacloban City, we browsed the religious artifact vendors near the church and strolled along to the religious supply stores nearby. My eyes automatically scanned the religious merchandise and my eyes always “lock on” to the statues of Saint Michael from the smallest to the biggest statue. After all, a G.I. Always Recognizes Another G.I., In Uniform Or Out.

 

 

 

 

Christy had noticed me intently studying the colors, artistic composition,sculpture, and craftsmanship of all the Saint Michael statues and listened as I asked the saleswoman, “Do you have any Saint Michael SMALL SAINT MICHAEL STATUEmedals ?”

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – Christy, Marife, Ninoy and I strolled into the Holy Rosary Store in Tacloban City. My eyes widened when the smiling salesman walked past me carrying the large Saint Michael statue and I watched Christy takes the pesos from her wallet to pay for the statue.

This small Saint Michael statue is about 10 inches tall and has an approximate wing span of about 7 inches.  The size of this statue would allow it to ride on an automobile dashboard or to be sat on a dresser.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In the Real World, when a general or admiral walks into a room, the modern day warrior rises out of protocol and respect. At home, I rearranged things to give Saint Michael, his place of honor. A senior military commander, officer or NCO, should always be treated with honor and respect. Since the statue of Saint Michael represents a Heavenly Host Commander and the Ultimate Armed Forces, it was only appropriate to find the statue the proper “Command Post.”

My Saint Michael statue arrived with “Permanent Change Of Station” orders to go “PCS” to my home. This General Saint Michael is now “On Duty” in my home, which in a military literary sense, makes my home a “Base Of Operations,” for Saint Michael. I trust that the general will watch over this old soldier and his family. I believe, Saint Michael is now “In Position” to watch over any of my nieces and nephews, who may answer their nation’s call to don the uniform and serve their country, on land, in flight in the air, and afloat on the sea.

“Present Arms !”

SALUTE 001A

“Order Arms !”

“Hoo-rah !”

 

Death Anniversary Ceremony Considerations

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Plans, Procedures, Performance

Death Anniversary

Ceremony Considerations

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you are interested in the Death Anniversary Ceremony there may be other sources on the Internet with this information. If you are fortunate enough to know a Filipino man or a Filipina woman, then, they might be willing to explain if their family observes this type of ceremony or tell you the procedures their family uses.

Annual Observance

I used the basics of a ceremony that I witnessed in the Republic of the Philippines in 1989. While the family explained that the ceremony is conducted every year for 10 years straight on the anniversary of the day of the death of the Loved One – they did explain that families sometimes do continue the ceremony for a number of years past the 10 year date.

The point is that the family conducts the observance to remember the Loved One who has passed on. And, even without a formal observance, the memory of the Loved One is kept alive by family stories of their lives that get passed on to the younger generations.

The Significance Of Ritual – Focus

I adapted the Death Anniversary Ceremony to fit my understanding and needs.

Papa Warren had been a Mason. Daddy had been a Mason. When I was 13, I joined the Order of DeMolay and learned the significance and importance of formal ritual. Ritual often becomes so rooted in tradition and history that people forget someone had to sit down and come up with the original procedures.

When I began to research Magick, it became apparent that even the old alchemist and ancient magickians knew the significance of ritual causes the mind to focus. The Altered State Of Mental Consciousness allows you to focus intently on the issue at hand and to ignore any petty concerns that aren’t important to the the matters at hand.

Another tactic of the ancient magickians is they would tinker with their procedures until they came up with rituals that they believed worked for them. Then, they wrote down the procedures and would use them as need. They had created their own rituals.

Candle Choice

In the article, Momma’s Death Anniversary, the candle in the photograph, is a light blue eight inch taper candle.

Blue Candle - In the Philippines, I learned that a candle lit to honor a Loved One is watched closely for indications of the Loved One's reaction of pleasure or disappointment with issues in the family at an Annual Death Anniversary Ceremony. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

There are books on candles that cover color and candle making. Candles are often associated with religion. However, candles share a long history of use in magick.

Some sources point out that the colors of candles suggest the use. White, basically is an all purpose color. Green is often mentioned to use for health or money. Purple is a color to set up to request or perform physic awareness. There are various sources that suggests various colors for various functions.

Some people who work with candles will have a preference of the material that the candle is made out of. Again, there are books and sources on the Internet to explain the various materials used to create a candle.

I used the light blue candle simply because I could not find Momma’s memorial green taper candle that I had put away last year after the ceremony.

I believe the Universe has dealt with people long enough to understand that often times we use what we have on hand at the time.

The Power Of A Candle - A candle is a light in the darkness. Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. Visit a bookstore, a local library or surf the Internet for books on candles. Some authors point out that color should be considered in their use and explain the different materials that can be used to make a candle. Llewellyn Worldwide is one publisher of books that offers an assortment of information on candles. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Naturally, children should have parents set up the ceremony for them. And, if a candle is used then Mom or Dad lights the candle and makes sure it is watched until the candle is out.

The Time Factor

In The Death Anniversary Ceremony, you light the candle at 6 pm., and let it burn for an hour. The 6 pm, time is used, as it was explained to me, because of a cultural belief in the Philippines that when the sun goes down around 6pm, then, spirits have the ability to stroll about in The Real World. Thus, beginning at 6 pm, in the evening, it is considered relatively easy to establish contact with spirits. At sunrise, supposedly, spirits return to their own dimensions.

Spirit Communications

While Americans might consider only a day or two before of after Halloween as the time when The Veil Between The Worlds are thinnest to allow for Spirit Communication; in the Philippines, in the late 1980s, any day after 6 pm, was considered a good time to try for any type of Spirit Communication.

The cultural belief on Spirit Communication is easy to understand when you realize The Republic Of The Philippines is a devoutly religious country with also has centuries of belief and traditions in folklore magick in the rural provinces.

In the Philippines, the candle flame was watched for a response. Flickering candle flames were a sign that a spiritual presence had made contact. Based on the way that the flame reacted it was believed that the spirit was trying to convey either pleasure or disappointment at some of the family’s actions, during the past year. The way that the wax pools underneath the candle flame is taken as a sign of spirit communication, as well as, the manner in which the hot wax flows down the side of the candle is an indication of the spirit’s approval or disapproval of issues going on in the family.

Ritual Tool

In the Philippines ceremony that I witnessed, once the candle was extinguished it was saved for use the next year. In formal rituals in all ceremonies you have ritual tools that are kept packed away until it is time to use them and then they are carefully packed away until the next use in a formal ceremony. In essence, the candle used in the Death Anniversary Ceremony becomes a ritual tool. Thus, it is carefully put away and not used again until the next year.

Usually a candle will not melt away with only an hour’s use. Thus, a Death Anniversary Candle should last for a few years.

Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. One magick belief is that basically a candle can be seen in other dimensions or to send a message to other spiritual realms. To 21st Century Americans this might seem like a quaint idea, but, if you consider how limited life must have been, even in the United States from the 1700s to the 1800s before electricity finally became commonplace – then, you can appreciate the significance of a candle. In rural America, when the sun went down you either went to bed or used a “coal oil” (kerosene) lamp until bedtime.

Fire Safety

Make sure your candle is in an appropriate holder that will allow a candle to sit upright and burn safely.

Always remember to watch your lit candle. Never, ever leave a burning candle unattended.

Your Procedure

Once the candle is in the holder and lit, you can sit and look at the candle. If you find thoughts in your mind are directed toward the candle, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

If you talk to your loved one in a chair behind the candle, then, that is your way to perform the ceremony.

If you want to look at the candle and pray silently or pray aloud, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

The point is whatever procedure comes to your mind is the technique that will probably help you to feel the most relaxed and at ease. One major purpose of the ceremony is to help you to feel at ease and to experience a sense of peace.

Candle Snuffer

If you use candles, then, you probably have a candle snuffer. Mine is a black bell shaped snuffer. The snuffer is a clean, safe way to extinguish the candle. In magick work, you do not blow out a candle.

Candle Snuffer - A candle snuffer lowered over the flame of a candle is a safe way to extinguish the blaze. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When an ordinary candle is used up, people traditionally make sure it is cold and can be placed in the trash.

Expiration

Eventually, the candle will have melted away. Once the natural expiration occurs, then, you have to decide how to properly dispose of the candle. A ceremonial candle used in an observance: personal, religious or magick is traditionally treated with more concern than a candle used for a romantic dinner or for a power outage use.

A Death Anniversary Candle is a ritual tool and a symbol of a somber observance, thus, the demise should be appropriate. The candle remains, melted wax and any of the pieces can be placed in a paper towel and then placed in a little hole you dug in your yard and covered over. In contemporary America this is an easy way to recycle the candle remains into the earth. As a traditional magick belief, Earth as one of the elements absorbs the candle pieces to purify them and prepare them for rebirth and renewal.

Another option is to place the candle pieces in a nearby stream. Again, in contemporary America, placing the candle pieces into the water is a simple matter of letting nature do the recycling. Water is one of the major elements in Western Magick, thus, by placing the candle pieces in a flowing body of water like a stream, creek or river, you are allowing the earth to recycle and purify the candle pieces.

The Death Anniversary Ceremony is an observance that I witnessed and adapted to fit my personal needs to deal with the grief of the loss of my mother.

Your Personal Grief Ritual

If people feel they need some type of ritual to deal with a personal loss, then, by all means seek out a ritual. Keep in mind,

Rosary Beads On Cathedral Amethyst - Catholicism has a long history of formal rituals for use in worship. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

we all have daily rituals like shaving in the morning. We have rituals like what time we go to lunch and even rituals of – we eat lunch at our desk or leave the office and go somewhere for lunch. Everyone’s life is composed of a series of rituals that we perform so often that we don’t even recognize these actions as small daily rituals.

Holy Bible - Religious books are a source of inspiration in designing a ritual for a specific, personal purpose. Every photo has a story. When I went outside to use the Bible for the photo shoot, when I opened it - it opened to Second Samuel. After trying some different natural backgrounds, I tried this one and opened it to a chapter in Samuel. I had the Bible positioned on the TV snack tray table to take the photo. The sun shined and there were no breezes. As I snapped the shutter a breeze caught the page. I leave it to the reader to determine the meaning. Since the Universe had recommended Samuel when I began selecting natural backgrounds, it could be the Universe might have a subtle sense of humor at times. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Observances are usually formal rituals. Church on Sunday is a ritual. Every Faith has a series of rituals that begin once you step through the door and the rituals are designed to focus the mind on the matter at hand.

You can surf the Internet or stop by the local library to research the different types of rituals used for funerals, memorials and observances. If the chosen ceremony seems elaborate, time consuming, requires a lot of props and gear to carry out – remember: Adapt.

Pentacle In Spheres - My research into the Wicca religion suggests that it is a religion concerned with nature. Wicca, I believe, encourages people to try to live in the flow of the Universe, on earth or beyond. There seems to be a wealth of rituals that can be practiced or used for inspiration to create your own. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use What Works

Spiritual Beliefs - Death of a Loved One is a Major Challenge to your personal spiritual beliefs. The Personal Grief might force you to look inside yourself and examine your beliefs in the smallest details. I sought out resources from the religious community and decided to try and find a spiritual path, which led to a ritual - The Death Anniversary Ceremony - which has helped me. Anyone should be free to search out a path that works in the time of loss and personal grief. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use what works. Jot down the information on the ceremony that you find at the library or while surfing the Internet. Work a pencil to add to and take away from the ceremony, until you have come up with your own personal ritual that will be of meaning to you. We are all human, but we each have different needs, attitudes, personalities and life experiences – What works for Aunt Darlene might not work for you.

Use what works for you.

Best Wishes - Best Wishes In Your Journey Through Life. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 Sam

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