Copyright (C) 1998 by William Mistele.  All rights reserved. From the
article--The Undine Istiphul

They feast on raptures unconfin'd,
Vast & luxuriant, such as prove
The immortality of Love/
For who but a divinity
Could mingle souls to that degree
And melt them into Extasy.

     --William  Blake, Memoranda from the  Note-Book 1807

                  The Undine Istiphul 

Have you not heard this tale, never been sung the song of 
Istiphul?  Then let us begin!
     Istiphul is the most beautiful creature on this 
planet Earth other than a goddess. If it were possible, 
her beauty would rival the goddess known in Hindu mythol-
ogy as Dawn--the first feminine form born of Creation. 
Istiphul is that undine, that spirit of the sea, whose 
touch more than bliss bestows and whose eyes know secrets 
no sailor on earth will ever discover by sailing the 
seven seas. 
     In the past bards did not sing of Istiphul nor 
mention her name aloud--Mankind  was deemed too weak to 
endure such beauty.  
     But my voice is not bound by the laws governing 
former bards.  And where they would have kept Istiphul 
secret, to have her for themselves alone, I am more 
generous than they--I speak aloud and I offer my songs 
freely to the entire world. 

This bard? 

And what of me, you ask, this bard?  How did I happen to 
meet Istiphul and what was my response?  
     I find what I search for.  
     And when I first met Istiphul decades ago I entered 
that place we all know so well but can not name--in quiet 
moments an uninvited feeling may accost us--an indescrib-
able sadness fall upon us.  This sadness is perhaps an 
echo, a reverberation from feeling separated, but we do 
not know precisely from what.  And the instant I saw 
Istiphul I said to myself--

 I will never meet a human woman who is this beautiful.

This thought was like a lightning bolt hurled through an 
empty void within my soul, a void her face had just 
revealed.  It spoke of an unnamed loss--a tension with no 
     And though many others would have fled thinking this 
was knowledge too forbidden to behold, I stayed and faced 
it.  I felt the emptiness which griped my soul.  And I 
tasted every bit of that bitterness which lingers in us 
all from being so shut out from Nature. 
     But you know, looking back two decades later, I 
think I was quite wrong about the beauty of human women 
compared to the pure enchantment concealed within na-

   For one of Life's greatest secrets I have found is:  

                She is full of surprises.  

Though I have kept Istiphul's existence secret for these 
many years, I am now fully "authorized" to sing of her 
beauty--that mankind might be informed of the power of 
love hidden within the secret depths of the Sea. 
     Ah Istiphul!  
     She is the essence of feminine companionship!  More 
skilled than a magician is she--when I first touched her 
aura with my hand, I realized I had just met a woman who 
could and would willingly create out of her inner being, 
out of her feminine essence, the perfect counterpart to 
all of my desires.  She even perceives unknown needs I 
have not yet discovered within myself. 
     My dreams, what I have sought, what I have lost, she 
comes weaving a spell of love that harmonizes all that I 
am.  But Istiphul is not a fantasy.  She is a person who 
is real with breath and life, a woman throbbing with her 
own desire.  The deepest place within me which I can not 
find, she is alive there already shining with beauty that 
radiates and flows freely throughout my soul. 
     This is not a game for her, not a snare she sets as 
a trap.  Rather, she is a master of what magicians call 
the magnetic fluid:  the feminine counterpart to the 
electric masculine element in the universe.  
     And these two together are a part of every creative 
act whether it be conception, the moment of inspiration 
in art, or the birth of the universe.  When these two are 
acting together, the magnetic and electric fluids, Fate 
Herself comes forth to bargain and accept them as payment 
for changes you wish made in reality--so great is their 
value and their influence. 
     It is not that Istiphul is sensitive to my imagina-
tion.  She is not as many mortal women who out of inse-
curity create something fake to please their mate, sur-
rendering their own will and life in the bargain, as 
     No! Istiphul senses my whole being and weaves a 
spell of completion.  She creates a space of love where 
two separate and individual souls may find each other and 
unite as one.  Her great gift and mastery is nothing else 

            A knowledge 
            All those on earth 
            Who have found True Love 
            Practice and Celebrate.

There is a second secret of Life I had best state here at 
the beginning since my whole poem sings of this: 

     The ocean itself is alive and has Intelligence
     And I am not speaking in metaphors. 

A Secret Longing of the Kings of the World

I tell you, Istiphul is the one whom the kings of the 
world have longed for to have as their consort.  But 
their bards, poets, wise men, sages, priests, druids, and 
Brahmans, at least those who knew of her, they would not 
disclose her name nor reveal her existence--due to self-
ishness, yes, but there is more.  They were strangely 
silent as if something they could not even bring into 
their consciousness did bind them, forbidding even one 
song to be written or spoken--

     Lest human evolution take a different turn from that      
     which has been ordained or from a course which moves      
     within acceptable boundaries. 

And so it has been that some bards have had a distinct 
advantage in living their lives with a zest unknown even 
to kings.  And sensing some unknown and remote possibil-
ity, the kings of old made it against the law to inter-
fere with the work of bards--they were waiting to hear 
songs such as this that it might lighten their woes and 
replace the darkness in their souls with songs "of mirth 
and rapture blended."
     And so it is no jest--I tell you if Helen of Troy 
had been as beautiful as Istiphul it would not have been 
just the Greeks and Trojans but the entire world at war 
over the right to kiss these lips.  
     And Lancelot, our knight in shining armor, would 
have overcome his obsession with Guinevere though not too 
many knights would have been left to quest for the Holy 
Grail if they had know the name Istiphul.  
     And forget not that Merlin too met his match in 
Niniane who made a fool of him and trapped him under a 
rock.  Yet Niniane was but a mortal woman and in truth 
had a lessor charge, lessor skill, and lessor magnetic 
powers of attraction than Istiphul.  
     And Henry the Eighth would not have embraced Protes-
tant Christianity nor have pursued so many wives seeking 
an heir if there had been a John Dee who had shown the 
king Istiphul in his magic mirror; no, the king would 
have lost his interest in posterity and in preserving 
history with distractions this ripe.  
     And even Hegel and Marx would have had second 
thoughts.  They would have added a new twist to the march 
of their dialectic, a pause let us say, where both the 
Geist and the human heart would retreat periodically for 
sweet renewal.  And Kierkegaard too would have renounced 
despair and angst had Istiphul's touch traced lightning 
through his bones; that's right, his "fear and trembling" 
would have had an entirely different meaning--on this I 
speak from experience! 
     In fact, if my own master William Blake had seen 
Istiphul as more than a blur in the distance his visions 
would have rivaled Isaiah's and the apostle John's. 
     To say the least, then, we would have had a differ-
ent world had Istiphul's song been sung from the lips of 
bards.  Had her limbs and face, and her angelic, inno-
cent, (yet heart rending) smile ever graced the halls of 
palaces or been sketched on the canvasses of artists?  
Even for Leonardo there would have been no Mona Lisa and 
her smile.  Leonardo would have, like Gauguin, retreated 
to a Tahitian Isle to meditate on the sea and to refine 
his impressions of delight run wild. 
     And the sages who sang the Vedas and Upanishads into 
existence, they too did not know of Istiphul--barely an 
echo of her is heard anywhere in the world's mythol-
ogies--for if they had known her, the poets of India 
would not have been so fanciful in populating the celes-
tial realms with such a glittering array of gods.  No! 
They would have been more empirical and stuck closer to 
Nature as they fashioned images--their mystical dreams 
would have been more concrete and more a reflection of 
waves, wind, rain, and the seas. 
     And that other child of India, the Buddha, with his 
gentle, enigmatic, and transcendental smile, a smile 
inviting us all to melt into infinity--his smile would 
have been kinder, less monastic and stark, had India 
sculptured statutes of Istiphul from ivory and marble.  
     Others, of the Tibetan inclination, say that the 
Buddha already knew of Istiphul.  The Buddha once changed 
his form into that of the Kalachakra at the request of 
King Suchandra who was from Shambhala.  At that time, the 
Buddha included Istiphul as one of the seven hundred and 
twenty entities within the mandala of planetary libera-
tion--though she is known there by another name and is 
not so clearly seen in her magnetic beauty as she is 
within this poem. 
     But my songs of the four elements on earth and 
beyond would not be complete if I did not sing of 
Istiphul.  And though until now no bard was free to speak 
her name aloud and reveal her beauty to the world, no 
seal nor secret on earth may limit or bind my voice--you 
see, my patron, Divine Providence, has so ordered it.  
     And so this song of grace, this hymn to the beauty 
of the sea, its potency and magic, a magic which often 
appears dimly when human lovers embrace--this I offer now 
to all lovers on earth that they may be empowered and 
blessed to transmute desire into True Love. 

A Few Historical Tales to Scare Off the Faint of Heart

Poor Donovan

It is like this: often the songs of gods and goddesses 
arise from our dreams and the lips of priests, poets, and 
mystics.  But not so Istiphul.  She is not a goddess but 
Nature in its very essence and she existed before the 
human race was born.  Though I be a bard and known on 
occasion to jest, and this is after  all but one of my 
songs, I tell you she is already a legend among magic-
ians--many have met their match at the hands of her 
beauty and charms. 
     Take, for example, Donovan.  Have you heard the tale 
of poor Donovan?  Quite adventurous he, with his eyes 
full of second sight and faerie realm mysteries.  He once 
walked the shores of Ireland not far from Dublin.  
Donovan knew well the charms and the cold call of the sea 
for his father was a fisherman, though oddly some say 
noble blood had he. 
     Ah, young Donovan: at night he could hear the songs 
in the stars and they shown even brighter for him than 
for Van Gogh, but Donovan was not so mad.  Donovan's 
sight had that light--he could see the inner essence of 
whatever he gazed upon. So it is no mystery when I say 
the ocean waves and their spray continuously called him 
to come dance and play in a place of pure delight. 
     Though Donovan had no formal magical training, he 
had no need of black cat magic to gain a woman;  nor was 
poetry an art he would bother to acquire if wooing a 
woman was his aim.   Donovan could hold the image of a 
maiden's face in his mind's eye for five hours.  As he 
concentrated, the maiden would then walk fifteen miles to 
his house to spend a night with him though she be but a 
virgin--such was his telepathic power of suggestion.
     Ah, you already get the drift of this tale.  Donovan 
was about to meet his match in Istiphul, but first let me 
say this: Donovan could also bind with his eyes and his 
mind's might the elves who drift in the air called 
     Calling the sylphs with his voice as fair as the 
open sky in full sunlight, he could command them to hurry 
the clouds along.  He could tell them when and where to 
pause and to rain--too much on a neighbor of whom he was 
not very fond.  
     Of course, I doubt Donovan would have been so fool-
hardy as to try to bind Capisi with his voice.  With the 
air element, Donovan was cautious. The singing of birds 
at dawn, though reminding him of the Blessed Realms, did 
not inspire him to go on any quests--getting out of bed 
in the morning was effort enough for him. 
     And the treasures found within air?  They did not 
haunt his desires.  They did not sneak into his nervous 
system with hungry fingers, with shivers, nor did they 
taunt him with their songs.  His lust was not for the 
blissful caress hidden within the winds.      
     But with the water element, Donovan was not so 
circumspect.  One  night, unfortunately, Donovan dreamed 
of Istiphul who dwells under the sea.  He saw her dancing 
naked and it was more than wonder and curiosity that from 
that moment had a hold of Donovan.  He wanted to know her 
charms even though he knew full well her limbs shown with 
the light of the mysteries.  He wanted to taste her 
beauty though his own conscience informed him he could 
not stare her down nor bind her by voice nor hold her 
with his mind's might.   
     One day, extremely agitated and unable to bear the 
torment of his desires any longer, Donovan sent his mind 
into the sea. Understand, the power of his intuition was 
such that he could already feel Istiphul's touch. And so 
he was not surprised when an emerald path of light lit up 
as he wandered in search of Istiphul beneath the sea's 
     Donovan came directly to Istiphul's palace.  She 
greeted him there at the gate and invited him in.  For as 
"the Sea refuses no river," Istiphul refuses none who 
seek her and wish to know the mysteries of love.  
     Her magnetic charms, like Nature's as well, are for 
all to drink freely.  Her embrace is for all to receive--
as much so, I tell you, her gifts are like unto sunlight, 
moonlight, starlight, dawn and sunset.  Who would con-
spire to bind or limit beauty such as this?  Who would 
blind our eyes and deny such wondrous gifts because they 
do not support human morality?  
     Perhaps I should state my case differently.  What 
general has ever refused to stock his arsenal with a 
weapon because it gave him an unfair advantage over his 
enemy?  What scientist has ever refused to probe a secret 
of nature because some things are best left unexplored?  
Or what poet has ever said, "These poems I write should 
be locked away, perhaps even burnt someday, because they 
are too beautiful to be shared."  
     I do not think Donovan's infatuation was unnatural 
or his quest excessive. Instead, I would say this: I 
think Donovan did not adequately prepare himself.  He did 
not honor the mystery he planned to taste.  He did not 
enter a sacred space where he and the undine could meet 
on equal terms.  He did not hold in his heart that wisdom 
every true magician knows: when to guard the boundaries 
of the world and when to dissolve them for the sake of 
     Here is what happened:  Istiphul's touch and embrace 
were so compelling, so mind altering, poor Donovan forgot 
there was a Donovan left without a mind back on the shore 
not very far from Dublin.  To wit, Donovan forgot to 
return to his body.  This was a serious problem.  
     So strong can be the power of desire that breath, 
heartbeat, and the hunger of the flesh are not enough to 
stay the quest for satisfaction.  This was such an ex-
ample.  Young Donovan's body fell into a comma.  The body 
was without a soul and it did not last very long, only a 
day or so.  It soon grew cold and the heart forgot how to 
beat--there was no sign that the soul of Donovan would 
soon be back.  
     So let us say for the sake of argument if you must 
know of these things, that Donovan's soul was out of its 
element so to speak.  The soul no doubt washed up upon a 
shore when the season of desire had past and found 
another body in which to be born.  This was a boy child 
who, when he grew to be a man, found work far from the 
     A  desert would not be dry enough for his liking! He 
did not wish to hear any reminder of that terrible, 
heart-wrenching longing and soul shattering call of the 
sea.  Hidden in waves and even in the smell of salt comes 
that specter of beauty with which the ocean does call--
"Come Donovan, I will be your lover again;  Come far from 
land and be with me under the sea--ride your dreams to me 
young Donovan."  
     But you see, it was not Istiphul who called but only 
his own past life memory and unfortunate deed.  Too faint 
to recall, a man is haunted by the choice of another who 
unwisely sought to have intercourse with an unfathomable 
beauty, a beauty wisely hidden in the mysterious depths 
of the sea. 

Ahmed the Wizard

And another brief tale I will tell of Ahmed the Wizard. 
He, with the power of Merlin, could call Istiphul and 
hold her no doubt.  But Ahmed did not realize that when 
it comes to Enchantment 101, the issues are seldom those 
of the subtle nuances of servitude and domination, of 
mastery over nature, or of Mars over Eros.  When it comes 
to Istiphul and the intricacies of magic, the issues are 
altogether quite different.       
     Ahmed was a giant of a man.  He had a thick neck, 
dark eyes with an uncanny, penetrating gaze.  He had a 
lion's roar for a laugh.  And though Ahmed was jovial 
most of the time, when he was not, he could be seen with 
a fiendish look on his face.  Something was devouring him 
from inside, an insatiable hunger.  The cook's wife or 
room service maid could have seen that in an instant.  
     But what was his hunger for?  For knowledge?  For 
mysterious ways to attain and hold power?  For some dark 
mystery hidden beyond the stars?  No one could ever say.  
After all, as everyone knows full well, magicians and 
wizards are half-breeds.  Their blood lines mix with that 
of dragons or salamanders, devils or angels, creatures 
known or unknown, or celestial beings galore.  Who can 
ever really say for sure?  
     Oh, I know, I know.  You think I have lost touch 
with reality when I start imputing to this or that indi-
vidual a soul which possesses magical powers. I have 
heard this kind of argument from a female psychologist.  
She said to me, "This story of Istiphul is not a part of 
the real world."  And I have heard it from the editor of 
a poetry journal.  He said, "To write like this you have 
to be taking drugs."  And another man who was disap-
pointed in love said to me, "You are foolin with us--no 
man ever finds a woman who loves him with all of her 
     Ah, but there is a difference between the aims of 
psychology and these of the mystery religions.  Psychol-
ogy takes society just as it is.  It then says, "Let me 
help you adjust, to become successful within the `real 
world' just as I am."  
     But bards, if of they ever have any affiliation, 
they partake of the spiritual quest.  Here the first 
principle is attaining to transcendence--to see the world 
through eyes of wonder, awe, and beauty.  Only those who 
taste such things have the power and inner conviction to 
move within society and yet to transform the world.  
     And as for taking drugs?  Not so.  Just as with any 
bard who has a Muse sitting on his shoulder, I spend more 
time than others immersing myself in pure perception.  
Each of the five senses is already charged with beauty in 
its design. If you allow sensory perceptions and sensa-
tions to flow into the brain without too much thinking, 
they explode in ecstatic visions.  Any artist can tell 
you this.  Artists just become weary and give up trying 
to explain to others about their sources of inspiration.  
     And as for getting a woman to love you with all of 
her heart?  Humm.  In part, that may be what my bardic 
quest is about.  I search through every element in na-
ture. I seek out the sources of love which flow into and 
animate the human soul.       
     As with Istiphul or Capisi, I speak with the very 
beings appointed by Divine Providence to sustain and hold 
in harmony all life upon this planet. And they, in turn, 
responding to the light burning in my heart and to the 
power in my voice, they share with me the wisdom of love 
as they know it.
     These poems I write, they can only be found and 
heard within the hearts of those who love.  For others 
who are neither blessed by love nor who hold any dream of 
love within their hearts, let them pause and reconsider 
before they read on. Let them beware, lest they journey 
too far too quickly into the mystery and be unable to 
find their way back. 
     Some have already told me my poems evoke their inner 
demons--hungers which undermine their personalities.  The 
truth is, every desire exists to be fulfilled. I chart 
the paths to the Center where Love governs all power.  
But some are not ready to behold this mystery. 
     But good poetry, like pure love, is a magic mirror. 
Look into it and you will discover what is hidden within 
yourself.  To love another with all of your heart you 
have to be prepared to pass through your own greatest 
darkness.  Love takes us through the core of our being.       
     Love draws two souls together.  It asks us to join 
as one.  Who but a Lover is prepared to become so trans-
parent, to undertake such a quest?  All others who know 
not such commitment, let them heed Fredrich Von 
Schiller's exhortation that they "creep tearfully away 
from our circle."  Only Lovers are safe in this sacred 
space.  Here we celebrate the Great Pageantry for which 
the universe was created.  Here, the power is very great, 
for Love encompasses every particle of matter and every 
heart within its Sacred Dance.  
     You see, we middle-aged men have a prerogative that 
psychologists and theologians alike are not at all com-
fortable discussing.  Like Virgil, Dante, Goethe, 
Beethoven, even J.R. Tolkein, the opportunity is given to 
each of us to step back from life for a short period of 
time.  We have the power to reflect upon and to discover 
what is missing from our lives. 
     Hidden within our very genders, male and female, is 
the authority to dialogue with any power with which we 
need speak that exists within society, Nature, or the 
Divine.  We have the right to reinvent the meaning of 
life.  We may do so even if this means we are compelled 
to populate the celestial realms with new and mysterious 
spiritual beings. 
     Do not mistake us for the young idealist who rebels 
against the world by simply refusing to conform.  If we 
have lived our lives right, with a quarter-century more 
experience, we have the power to fulfill our quests and 
to make our visions manifest.  
     Make no mistake. Each of us has the power to trans-
form ourselves, to discover a spiritual dimension within 
the ordinary world of daily life.  I speak of wizards, 
poets, and bards.  But this is because they usually make 
it a vocation to taste directly the mystery and beauty of 
     Oh, there are faults and errors in their ways.  On 
their quests, their selfishness and insecurity often 
prevents them from seeing the truth.  Yet each and every 
one of them knows better than to rely on secondhand 
information and hearsay evidence when it comes to exper-
iencing Life.  
     As for Ahmed?  He was systematic in his quest for 
knowledge.  The secret knowledge hidden within Nature was 
the gateway he sought to enter.  He felt he needed this 
in order to satisfy his hunger, a hunger perhaps even he 
could not fathom.  
     And so one day when he turned his gaze upon his 
crystal ball in search of the knowledge of water, he 
spoke aloud as was his custom.  He drew a sigil or two in 
the air.  He burnt a little incense.  He set a jewel in 
the sunlight in front of a mirror.  He waved his hand 
over a silver bowl filled with sea water.  And then he 
spoke to his crystal with a quiet voice which resonated 
throughout the room.  He said, 

     Show me the sea and the spirit that dwells within 
     it.  Show me the sea's essence pure and clear.  Show 
     me that very being, that creature so hidden that 
     mortals are forbidden to speak of her. Bring her 
     here for me to see, to touch, to taste, to smell, to 
     feel.  Materialize her presence so she is real!   
     Transport her here and now.  I will have nothing      
     less than her caress to ease the pain within my 

Well, you can get a feel for Ahmed from those words, huh?  
Quite a bold adventurer also was he.  A good sense of 
command--a high caliber will, a massive power, a hunger 
like a raging dragon when he unleashed it.  
     With the intensity in the air the instant before 
lightning strikes, he set about drawing another into his 
will. Few spirits could very much resist--all in all, 
even I would have to admit, Ahmed had the typical profile 
of a wizard who belongs to a small and elite social 
group.  Obviously, Ahmed was more to the point than poor 
Donovan and not one to lose his body over some babe who 
dwells in the sea, right?  Well, let's find out--
     Within moments after he had finished calling, 
Ahmed's crystal filled with a cold, shining, soft but 
burning light.  Within that light Istiphul appeared.  
This was not a mere image or a reflection.  This was a 
direct link--a presence unmistakable.
     Ahmed's first thought was: What is this?  A garden 
in a wilderness? An oasis within the eye of a desert?  A 
well of living water?  I see a light which shines even 
amid the greatest darkness of the soul?  A light which 
pierces Vishnu's knot in an instant! 
     And there he sat entranced, neither blinking nor 
moving.  No one would have been able to tell if he was 
even breathing.  Ahmed dared not lose even for a moment 
what he held in his gaze--tracing every thread of the 
connection, memorizing it, analyzing it, devouring the 
pathway that linked his mind and Istiphul who dwells in 
the sea. 
     But Istiphul saw it all quite differently.  To her, 
Ahmed was someone with a need.  Clearly, many women know 
their own soul only as a man brings the light of the sun 
to appear within it so vast and mysterious are they. Even 
so, Istiphul was ready, friendly, and more than willing 
to respond to Ahmed's call. 
     With a note from her lips, she can call the flowing 
essence of the entire sea to caress her shoulders, to 
shine from her breasts, or to radiate from her belly.  So 
when it comes to uncanny, to spells of enchantment, or to 
wagering sheer power of will against the distilled es-
sence of magnetic beauty we might do well to place our 
bets on Istiphul.  When it comes to the magical, ocean-
styled arts of playing with sensory bliss and pure, 
erotic energy, Istiphul's skill has no compare on earth. 
     Istiphul saw clearly that Ahmed knew himself to be 
like a giant cavern unlit beneath the earth--at least his 
mind anyway.  And as Ahmed had walked deeper into his own 
mind, he had found it could neither be lit nor did it 
have any end--it merely grew greater and vaster, without 
limit.  But for Istiphul, this was not an insatiable 
hunger, no, not at all.  Ahmed simply had a need like any 
other--to find a place of peace, a place of rest, a place 
where bliss is unleashed by a caress. 
     And since Ahmed's mind was not up for swallowing the 
ocean whole, at least not by any thought or concentration 
he could evoke, she offered to him her knowledge and the 
release hidden in the sea: a place of enfolding depths, a 
place to drift and to float.  Here he could wander.  He 
could open to expansive feelings without measure.  
     She offered Ahmed a path of beauty enclosed alone by 
the sky and moon and the starlight.  This is a wilderness 
belonging to the heart:  a place very comfortably yield-
ing and surrendering itself to a thousand beaches and 
even more islands--and these, somehow, without diminish-
ing or restricting, give the vastness of the sea defini-
tion and enclosure. 
     And so countless nights did Ahmed project his mind 
and walk with Istiphul on countless beaches of the world 
and its seas.  Ahmed learned to see through Istiphul's 
eyes the night and the sky and the sand.  He listened and 
learned the ways of the waves as they blessed the shore 
curling over each other and caressing in countless sounds 
of lovemaking.  Need I speak of her limbs and thighs 
giving a little bit more to Ahmed than a blessing?  I 
think you understand, as do I, that Nature and the female 
form have more than a little in common. 
     And as wizards are want to do, he also could fill 
his tower room with the element water, so much so that 
the air flowed blue-green and felt thick and salty.  And 
there Istiphul did appear with him.  She held him ten-
derly.  She caressed him with the bliss of pure magic.  
She spoke to him softly of mysteries and wonders still 
unknown to mankind.  
     And so it was that within that giant of a man with a 
giant, fiendish hunger like a giant cavern without end, 
Ahmed discovered that a sea was there at the end of his 
mind's journeys.  At the end of his desire, standing amid 
the sea, was this creature of beauty.  Istiphul already 
knew far more than Ahmed had ever dreamed to discover of 
the roots of his own desires: she knew his quest, loneli-
ness, pain, sorrow, and tension, and his path of fulfill-
     And in truth, she learned from Ahmed as well.  She 
learned how to gather her magnetic power and to focus it, 
to gather his whole being within her feelings.  She 
learned to encompass his whole mind and spirit by the 
powers of the sea, by the charms of her body and her 
     Well, needless to say, Ahmed let slip his systematic 
method and his quest for knowledge.  Mysteries enough 
were here with his mistress.  The rest of the world 
seemed gray by comparison next to the light shining from 
Istiphul's face. Even that city, Isfahan, where he dwelt, 
that city of splendor and unmatched beauty, it grew pale 
and uninteresting when Istiphul's lips sang to him. 
     A king may lay claim to the treasures and resources 
of a realm.  Other than an occasional need for entertain-
ment or diversion, he will occupy his time with securing 
his borders and administering his kingdom.  Similarly, 
Ahmed occupied himself with Istiphul. 
     What happened then was this: rather than being the 
leviathan of a mental giant with a hunger of will search-
ing the universe, Ahmed's will did weaken.  It became 
enough to enter the sea with his mind and to float, 
dream, and drift with Istiphul by his side--her body's 
magnetic field caressing and illuminating his heart and 
wandering through every fiber of his being.  
     Oh, I suppose Freud might say Ahmed regressed back 
to the state of an infant being rocked in his mother's 
arms.  Ahmed did have a rather horrid childhood--what 
with wars, chaos, slaughter, and this and that as he grew 
from childhood to manhood.  
     But just for the record, in the city, Ahmed was seen 
to have lost his fiendish look and his joviality as well.  
He became absent-minded.  But it must be said, he had a 
powerful, magnetic touch and could heal if you could ever 
find him.  He could heal just about any disease with the 
stroke of his hands.  And his eyes many had noticed of 
late had a feeling of a great depth and a small but cold 
and burning light shining within them.  
     So, was this really a sad tale?  Istiphul only did 
her thing.  She embodied the magnetic essence of water 
which she offers to any who would drink from her well--
the pure essence of needs felt fully and then fulfilled.  
It is not for her to be her own polar opposite, to com-
pliment herself, nor to counsel and guide those who seek 
     But Ahmed did in fact lose his destiny.  It has been 
set aside for him to become wise in all things, as a 
Gentile prophet we might say.  His task was to set forth 
wisdom that would guide many nations, illuminate many 
minds, and bring order and peace to the world.  But his 
obsession with the sweet peace of the sea led him to lose 
the gift he was to receive.  
     Destiny and desire often strive against each other 
in a wild dance of ambition and surrender.  How many 
sages and magicians have yet to learn that ecstasy is not 
the reward nor the path but a wondrous treasure hidden in 
every moment, in every breath? 
     So, need I summarize these two stories of Donovan 
and Ahmed?  Is there a moral?  Are these tales going to 
scare off the faint of heart?  I will just say simply, 
Love is the center around which the universe turns.  If 
you treat it as less you will not find it.  And if your 
quest for it is weak or half-hearted, you will only taste 
its shadows.  

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