5 9 3 2 -

The Wayward Vine

The Vizeirene Asenath’s fatal calling on the aid of the scorpion--a goddess in Mizraim--continued, drawing the Topaz closer and closer.

Wary and reclusive, it took some time--though very little in its own reckoning--for it to decide to land on the planet. What was one hundred and seventy years to an star-stone anyway? A most ancient celestial entity, it could hardly be described as knowing temporal boundaries imposed by time.

By the time it set down on the planet, the third from the illuminating, single star in the solar system, the source of the attracting transmissions had since died and the reason for them had been resolved, but the Topaz was not at all interested in the source as such anyway. Besides, the setting it chose had supplanted Machitha in producing far stronger transmissions of the type that first drew the Topaz’s attention.

What was a few hundred miles between Machitha and Ibbatha to a star-stone that ranged across the Universe with ease?

Now this was the original Root of Bitterness that Asenath, in her troubled state and slipping mind, called to the Earth. It was the thing that first grew in the vast heart of the splendid Lucifer in the long ago, while he trod the garden of God among the stones of fire. No other created being in the heavens exceeded his brightness and splendor and powers, except the Uncreated One, God alone.

Gaining his heart like a soil, the Bitter and Wayward Root grew apace, and his praises of God in the multitude of his gifts and music declined, then ceased. Lucifer, disappointed with his created splendor and brightness, began thinking them a little thing because they were not equal to God his Creator, nor his powers and office equal to the Majesty on High.

Disenchantment and ingratitude, envy, resentment were the branches of the Root that enclosed Lucifer’s heart and being until one day he aspired to be God.

Then, with this one thought as his aim, he rebelled, and God gave him over to every evil way and spiteful deed, the utter darkness that Lucifer had chosen as his dominion.

Only the Lord God did not take away his brightness and splendor. The Lord God took away only his place in heaven, when Michael and his army threw out the rebellious, warring Lucifer and his army, separating him forever from the garden of God and the stones of fire that he kept.

To one Earth, one Heaven, he was confined, and the Fiery Stones to another--lest he gain ascendancy over Michael’s forces with these great, now malignant powers. It was he that put in the Topaz star-stone his own bitter spirit, with this aspect predominating (as given in the Holy Scriptures):

“Each hunts his brother with a net. Put no trust in a neighbor; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”

Whenever Joseph looked at his wife, and especially whenever he took her in his arms as a husband and lover, he felt the blessing of God on his life as he did not feel it in equal part elsewhere. Asenath--her beauty, her love, her lovely ways as wife and mother--were truly a gift of the Most High God, to his mind. He knew she had a great mind, with a great mind's aspirations, but that did not cloud or darken his joy of possession in the least. He admired her for it, since she did not stupidly and slavishly sit at his feet but as if equal, she graced his side whenever he sat in public for dispensing justice or largesse or simple administration of the Two Kingdoms.

Yet Joseph, though he took the gift of the sun-god as the gift of his own Most High God, was not unmindful of certain signs that she was a mortal woman with a mortal woman's flaws. A touch of coldness where warmth might be expected, a distance in her eyes when closeness ought to be seen, a drawing back a step when an approach would be the better course--these and others were not totally ignored by him, but he covered them with his love, and put them down to her past upbringing, not her present disposition. She could not help her heathen root, and even if it were severed by marriage to him, the bit that remained in her still exerted some life and influence, he realized.

Should he attempt to pull it out himself? He dismissed the thought immediately. Why wound her, this most loving and beautiful woman, whose companionship and breasts in privacy delighted his heart so?

Nevertheless, when the signs increased in number, or at least came more to his attention, he took notice and began to wonder how he might deal with her in love and correction. Their sons, for example, she began treated increasing as HER sons. That could not be the case, but she was clearly intent on raising them as Mizraimites. He spoke to her, once, then twice, and was ignored. She continued raising them as Mizraimite, and the boys answered to her instead of to him. He did not like her increasing mention of Mizraimite gods and temple ways to them, while they took her word as greater than his own about his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their Most High God, who had chosen them out of a heathen people to make them His Chosen, Covenanted People. These things they showed they despised, preferring Mizraimite ways and things, over his people's.

When Joseph saw he was losing, or had lost, his sons, he gave orders and removed his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, from her presence and authority. He put them under his own Hebrew teacher and a schooling of his own choosing.

"They are Hebrews, to be trained in the true knowledge of the Most High and in the ways of my people," he said to Asenath, when she came to him, in public, demanding why she could not see her sons.

Forced to humiliate her by giving her his answer in the hearing of others, Joseph watched the effect. He saw, unmistakably, the lofty pride of Mizraim the Two Kingdoms rise up in her eyes and countenance, as she gathered in the full meaning of his words and decision. Without a word, she had slightly bowed, then departed from his presence with her women-servants, without asking a wife's leave of her husband and master. He, in turn, was humiliated, for everyone present, the bodyguards, ambassadors, officials, and guests of the court, not to mention foreign suppliants for favor, and others from the lower orders that conducted his least affairs, could not help but note her breach of court etiquette and also a man's rights over his wife--however noble or royal in blood that wife was.

Troubled in heart, Joseph cut the day's business short, and went alone to think and pray. Later, he went to his wife, but found her chamber door shut and also locked against him. Knocking, he heard nothing for a long time. When he called for a man-servant to force the door, only then did she open. "I am ill, Joseph" she said to him, her eyes boldly holding his, though he knew she was lying. And why had she used his Hebrew name, which she did not prefer above his Mizraimite name? Was she saying that she had cut him off from her own people and also from herself?

Joseph turned away. He could not let the household witness any more than it had already witnessed. It would soon become the talk of the whole court, he knew, if he gave the fire any more fuel. As for Asenath, he had to let her go--if she wished to escape out from the courtyard of his love and authority, growing and spreading like a wild vine. If he forced her to submission, he knew he would have an enemy in his own house. As it was, she was becoming a stranger--and by her own choice, not his. All he could do that was wise was to wait--wait in love for her, not in anger. Perhaps her mind would turn back, and she would come to him as she had come before. He wanted her willing heart most of all. To command a woman was impossible for him--after all, she was a gift of God to him. Could he command a gift to be given to him a second time. No, now that it seemed to be stolen from his hand, he had to let it go on its own for a time, even a long time, in the hopes of getting it back.

Such was Joseph's high hopes, but increasingly, he saw that waiting would not be enough to win back her heart. Asenath separted from his own household, taking her servants to herself, and conducting her life as privately away from him as possible in her quarters. He had to choice but to sleep apart from her as well. She showed him no wifely ardor as before, and it was useless to insist on his rights or her duties toward him--he encountered only stiff resistance if he insisted on anything in those ways.

A year, then two, passed in this unhappy way.

The boys grew rapidly to manhood, learning as many Hebrew ways as Joseph's school-man could teach them. They didn't like it very much at first, crying out for their mother and refusing to learn, but as father he could deal with sons even if their mother was beyond his discipline. When he told them his father Jacob's vision, picturing it for them, he expected respect, if not awe.

Instead, both laughed. "Why didn't your father ride his chariot up to heaven? Why didn't he ride his horses up?" Ephraim had jeered. Joseph was shocked. He did not like what he had to do, but as he took a firm hand of discipline int he days ahead, they both learned respect for him as their father, and gradually they began using Hebrew in their speech instead of so much Mizraimite. By the time he took them to his father Jacob, when his father was failing in health, Joseph was proud of his sons. They no longer resisted his love and resented his authority, and seemed to respect their holy, chosen people and their ways over the Mizraimite's and their many gods. As for their mother, they seldom saw her, and then only when he was present, and so very little passed between his sons and her.

Yet Joseph saw that Asenath's Mizraimite training had not been altogether in vain. If the boys were fighting, they sometimes let loose a Mizraimite oath against the Most High God, and he even heard Ephraim call Manasseh a Hebrew dog when Manasseh happened to throw his brother to the ground in a test of strength.

Asenath herself did very little for herself as the months and years passed. She no longer read books of any kind. She did not cook or clean, or do anything domestic. Her own person became neglected, as she turned the women way when they came to bathe her, or dress her. She relished and ate many sweet fruits and cakes, and had them delivered to her daily. She grew in size, and her clothes were enlarged or rewoven in size for her.

Joseph sorrowed at her, as she was turning. "My wayward vine, where will you end in your sad journey?" he wondered.

"Once so beautiful and fruitful, will you become a briar and a thistle? You were a noble vine in my household, and I rejoiced over you! But now you have cut my heart in twain..."

Truly, the blessings of the breasts, once so great, had been stolen from Joseph's life--and his enemies, as in the old saying, had become the men (in his case, a woman he loved) of his own household.

Yet when they both had grown old, heaven smiled once again on their bond. Asenath awoke to her right mind one day, and turned to him in good humor. Her face shone. She began dressing herself again, only now she preferred Hebrew clothing--a thing that astounded her maids. So in this turn Joseph was comforted. The sunset shone full on them, a golden light that reflected in Asenath's face, that turned in love and laughter toward his instead of former dark hostility and suspicion. It was her "golden year," for after that time she did not know him, nor even her own name, though the smile remained, fading ever so slowly like a radiant memory of great blessings.

Retro Star Directory and Linking Page

Copyright (c) 2004, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved