Peace

The Case of Roland Bertin

Not all werewolves are evil. From the book Werwolves, by Elliott O’Donnell, first published in 1912, we have this account of the case of Roland Bertin.

Andre Bonivon, the hero of the other incident, was eminently a man of war. He commanded a schooner called the “Bonaventure,” which was engaged in harassing the Huguenot settlements along the shores of the Gulf of Lions, during the reign of Louis XIV.

On one of his marauding expeditions Bonivon sailed up an estuary of the Rhone rather further than he had intended, and having no pilot on board, ran ashore in the darkness. A thunderstorm came on; a general panic ensued; and Bonivon soon found himself struggling in a whirlpool. Powerful swimmer though he was, he would most certainly have been drowned had not some one come to his assistance, and, freeing him from the heavy clothes which weighed him down, dragged him on dry land.

The moment Bonivon got on terra firma, sailor-like, he extended his hand to grip that of his rescuer, when, to his dismay and terror, instead of a hand he grasped a huge hairy paw.

Convinced that he was in the presence of the Devil, who doubtless highly approved of the thousand and one atrocities he had perpetrated on the helpless Huguenots, he threw himself on his knees and implored the forgiveness of Heaven.

His rescuer waited awhile in grim silence, and then, lifting him gently to his feet, led him some considerable distance inland till they arrived at a house on the outskirts of a small town.

Here Bonivon’s conductor halted, and, opening the door, signed to the captain to enter. All within was dark and silent, and the air was tainted with a sickly, pungent odour that filled Bonivon with the gravest apprehensions. Dragging him along, Bonivon’s guide took him into a room, and leaving him there for some seconds, reappeared carrying a lantern.

Bonivon now saw for the first time the face of his conductor – it was that of a werwolf. With a shriek of terror Bonivon turned to run, but, catching his foot on a mat, fell sprawling on the floor.

Here he remained sobbing and shaking with fear till he was once more taken by the werwolf and set gently on his feet.

To Bonivon’s surprise a tray full of eatables was standing on the table, and the werwolf, motioning to him to sit down, signed to him to eat.

Being ravenously hungry, Bonivon “fell to,” and, despite his fears – for being by nature alive to, and, by reason of his calling, forced to guard against the treachery of his fellow creatures, he more than half suspected some subtle design underlying this act of kindness – demolished every particle of food. The meal thus concluded, Bonivon’s benefactor retired, locking the door after him.

No sooner had the sound of his steps in the stone hall ceased than Bonivon ran to the window, hoping thereby to make his escape. But the iron bars were too firmly fixed – no matter how hard he pulled, tugged and wrenched, they remained as immovable as ever. Then his heart began to palpitate, his hair to bristle up, and his knees to totter; his thoughts were full of speculations as to how he would be killed and what it would feel like to be eaten alive.

His conscience, too, rising up in judgment against him, added its own paroxysms of dismay, paroxysms which were still further augmented by the finding of the dead body of a woman, nude and horribly mutilated, lying doubled up and partly concealed by a curtain. Such a discovery could not fail to fill his heart with unspeakable horror; for he concluded that he himself, unless saved by a miracle – a favour he could hardly hope for, considering his past conduct – would undergo the same fate before morning.

At a loss to know what else to do, he sat upon the corner of the table, resting his chin on the palms of his hands, and engaged in anticipations of the most frightful nature.

Shortly after dawn he heard the sound of footsteps approaching the room; the door slowly began to open: a little wider and a little wider, and then, when Bonivon’s heart was on the point of bursting, it suddenly swung open wide, and the cold, grey dawn falling on the threshold revealed not a werwolf, but – a human being: a man in the unmistakable garb of a Huguenot minister!

The reaction was so great that Bonivon rolled off the table and went into paroxysms of ungovernable laughter.

At length, when he had sobered down, the Huguenot, laying a hand on his shoulder, said: “Do you know now where you are? Do you recognize this room? No! Well, I will explain. You are in the house of Roland Bertin, and the body lying over yonder is that of my wife, whom your crew barbarously murdered yesterday when they sacked this village. They took me with them, and it was your intention to have me tortured and then drowned as soon as you got to sea. Do you know me now?”

Bonivon nodded – he could not have spoken to save his life.

“Bien!” the minister went on. “I am a werwolf – I was bewitched some years ago by the woman Grenier, Mere Grenier, who lives in the forest at the back of our village. As soon as it was dark I metamorphosed; then the ship ran ashore, and every one leaped overboard. I saw you drowning. I saved you.”

The captain again made a fruitless effort to speak, and the Huguenot continued: –

“Why did I save you? – you, who had been instrumental in murdering my wife and ruining my home! Why? I do not know! Had I preferred for you a less pleasant death than drowning, I could have taken you ashore and killed you. Yet – I did not, because it is not in my nature to destroy anything.

I have never in my life killed an animal, nor, to my knowledge, an insect; I love all life – animal life and vegetable life – everything that breathes and grows. Yet I am a Huguenot! – one of the race you hate and despise and are paid to exterminate. Assassin, I have spared you. Be not ungenerous. Spare others.”

The captain was moved. Still speechless, he seized the minister’s hands and wrung them. And from that hour to the day of his death – which was not for many years afterwards – the Huguenots had no truer friend than Andre Bonivon.

Beannacht – A Prayer For Peace

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come
across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

By John O’Donohue

Baha’i Prayer For Peace

O Thou kind Lord!
O Thou Who art generous and merciful!
We are the servants of Thy threshold and are gathered
beneath the sheltering shadow of Thy divine unity.
The sun of Thy mercy is shining upon all,
and the clouds of Thy bounty shower upon all.

Thy gifts encompass all,
Thy loving providence sustains all,
Thy protection overshadows all, and the glances of
Thy favor are cast upon all.

O Lord! Grant Thine infinite bestowals,
and let the light of Thy guidance shine.
Illumine the eyes, gladden the hearts with abiding joy.
Confer a new spirit upon all people
and bestow upon them eternal life.
Unlock the gates of true understanding
and let the light of faith shine resplendent.

Gather all people beneath the shadow of Thy bounty
and cause them to unite in harmony,
so that they may become as the rays of one sun,
as the waves of one ocean, and as the fruit of one tree.

May they be refreshed by the same breeze.
May they receive illumination from the same source of light.

Thou art the Giver, the Merciful, the Omnipotent

baha’i prayers ~ `abdu’l-bahá

Asking For Your Great Favor

Oh Allah!
I consult You as You are all Knowing,
and I seek ability from Your power and I ask you for Your great favor,
for You have power,
but I do not,
and You have knowledge,
but I do not,
and You know all hidden matters.

Oh Allah!
If You know that this matter is good for me in my religion,
my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter,
then make it easy and bless it;
and if You know that this matter is evil for me in my religion,
my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter,
then keep it away from me and keep me away from it,
and choose what is good for me wherever it is,
and make me pleased with it.

~Prophet Muhammad
7th century

The Snow Drift

My body was blue as Thine, O Beloved, when they found me. I was stiff as if held in a close embrace. Nor was I conscious of aught but Thee, till the small fires of Earth brought me back with an agony of tingling pain.

How came I to be lost in the snow-drift?

I remember how I had taken shelter from the blinding storm. The snow fell about me, and I waited, turning my thought to Thee.

Then did I realize how every snow-flake is built as a tiny star. I looked closer, burying my face in the white pile, as in Thy Bosom.

Mine arms embraced the snow-drift; I clung to it in a mad ecstasy. Thus would I have pressed Thy Body to mine, wert Thou not Infinite and I but as tiny as a star-flake.

So was my body frozen – as by the utmost cold of interstellar space.
It was blue as Thine when they found me locked in Thine embrace.

From: Hymns To The Star Goddess

Oceans of Energy

If you could shift
your point of view for just a moment, as you
now grow still
and silent within,
without a thought or care,
without a thought of worry or desire,
then you might just begin to feel:

A power tingling in your fingertips,
a breath that draws to you
a part of all there is, of which
you are a part,
and that surrounds you, buoys you, nourishes, protects
and reaches far and wide
and further still
into the deepest blues of oceans
the deepest greens of mountain lakes
and all the creatures that reside
in forest groves, eternal deserts
as above,
the stars are dancing.

Oceans of energy
and they lie at your fingertips,
for you to navigate and learn
to know the ancient arts
of balance, deep release
and once again restore
the Even Flow,
the perfect state of being.

Silvia Hartmann, 2001

Deep Peace

Deep peace I breathe into you,
O weariness, here:
O ache, here!

Deep peace, a soft white dove to you;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to you;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,

And from Bridget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
Peace!
In the name of the Three who are One,
Peace!
And by the will of the King of the Elements,
Peace! Peace!

By Fiona Macleod – 1895

If There Is To Be Peace

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

~Chinese Philospher – Lao-Tse – 6th century bce

A Prayer for the World

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.

Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.

Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.

Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.

Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.

Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.

Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

Amen.

By Rabbi Harold Kushner

Soul of Our Souls

Soul of our souls, Spirit of our spirits,
And the One embracing All,
Divine One, of infinite names and none:
Powers of East, South, West and North,
And all who weave the Universe:
I call to you, within and without –
This night, this rite.

Divine Air – bring imagination and creativity to the world.
Like the far-seeing hawk,
May we see this situation as the whole complex tapestry that it is,
And be in-spired with fresh and virgin weavings.
Like the unfettered winds,
May we be freed from old assumptions and patterns in how we respond,
And breath in new possibilities.

Divine Fire – bring clarity and compassionate passion to the world.
Like the bright light of the Sun,
May we see clearly the way-forward of “what is necessary” for all life,
And the time to come.
Like the transforming flames,
May our grief, fear and rage be transformed into compassion for all –
All victims and perpetrators alike.

Divine Water – bring yielding and wisdom to the world.
Like the gentle erosion of water upon stone,
May we release our personal and cultural biases,
And acknowledge the ‘wrong-thinkings’ that we may harbour.
Like the deepening twilight upon the earth,
May we remember the lessons of the past,
And contemplate their meaning for the future.

Divine Earth – bring greening and surety to the world.
Like the stretching branches of the tree,
May we stretch ourselves
Into the life-affirming paths of reconciliation and healing.
Like the deep peaceful dome of night,
May we stand firm in the Goddess and the God,
Through this ‘dark night’ of confusion and fear, and false ‘stars’.

May our souls be strong, steady and revealing.
May our spirits be en-lightened, faithful and sure.
May our choices be wise and enduring, for the generations to come.

By all that is Sacred and True,
So Mote It Be.

Pashta Marymoon

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