Saturday, October 27, 2012

Initiation by Imagination- Lost story of Gye

“Elder we hear many stories in Gye-Nyame, but very few about Gye himself.” I stated as we sat in the shop drinking coffee and smoking hookah. This elder was hard to catch up with, and even if you caught up with him you were not guaranteed to be blessed with a conversation. So I planed to take advantage of every minute that he blessed me with.
“You are right young man there are not many stories about Gye that we share, but they do exist, and at the right time they appear to those who earnestly seek them.” the elder said as he sat back holding the hookah stem enjoying the flavor he had chosen.
“Elder will you share one with me?” I asked hoping for a yes...
“Young man it will be my pleasure, I have heard a lot about you and the work you have been doing in the tribe, so I feel it is time for you to get more info about our mythic founder.” He then passed me the hookah, and took a sip of his coffee. Looking at me very seriously, “make sure you take care of this story and do not pass it to anyone unworthy of it. In this story there is great wisdom listen closely.”
He took another sip of coffee and began.

“Now before Gye disappeared, it is told to us that he had two last students one by the name of Sage, and another by the name of Elder. Both of these men are remembered in history for their names have become synonymous with being wise.
In the final years of Gye it was said that he had a strange way of picking his initiates, because he wanted to find people who could truly represent what Gye-Nyame people should stand for. He had begun to give up on the Gye-Nyame people and had witnessed them devolve into a greedy, war like state. They had begun to use the wisdom passed on to them by Gye via the Nyame people for material gain alone. Gye had separated himself from the Gye-Nyame and lived a more recluse type of existence.”
The elder stopped and took the hookah and took a hit and then took another sip of coffee.
“It was said that Elder sought out  Gye to learn the true wisdom that it was said that he had. When Elder approached Gye, he was welcomed with open arms. Gye offered Elder a meal after his long journey. Elder was happy to feast with this legend. So Gye called for water so that they could prepare for the feast, but no one ever came. Gye began to wash his hands and look at Elder as if something was wrong with him. Gye then asked Elder why he was not washing his hands. Elder was standing still not knowing what to do because there was no water or a servant present with water for him to wash his hands, but Gye was washing his hands as if someone was there. Elder figured that it was a joke and decided to play along with Gye. he sat down and began to act as if he was washing his hands. Elder even thanked the imaginary person for bringing the water. After this Gye order for the food to be brought out, and they waited and as far as elder could see no one came. Gye began to thank the servants for the imaginary food that began to fill the table before them. Gye began to eat, and looked at Elder as if he was crazy for not enjoying the food. Gye told him to eat as much as he wanted and Elder looked at him as if he was crazy, but decided to play along. Gye began to describe in detail each dish that was laid before them, and also discussed how good each dish was. Elder played along, and also complemented Gye on his choice of food. Gye began to describe each dish in detail, and they ate or pretended to eat for hours. Elder acted as if he enjoyed each dish and continued to compliment Gye on his choice of each dish. When they finished eating Gye order for wine to wash the meal down. By this time Elder had got the hang of it and he also thanked the imaginary servant for the wine and began to drink up. They drank and had a good conversation about life, and the joy of a good meal. Strangely Elder felt full and also began to feel the effect of the wine.  
At the end of dining Gye asked Elder to follow him outside. Elder got up and followed Gye. Gye looked out at the night sky as Elder stood next to him. Gye pointed up and described a bright star in the western sky. Elder could not see the star. He squinted and stared and continue to look for the star. A few moments passed and Elder began to see what looked like a star, but it was very bright and eventually began to block out all the stars around it. Elder yelled out of excitement that he could see the star, and Gye asked him to describe it. Elder told him that he saw a silver star shining so brightly right above the horizon that he was surprised that he had never noticed it before. Gye hugged the young man and said, “My son, I have found you”, Elder was shocked by this and wondered what Gye meant by this statement. Gye told the young man, “I have not taken any students from the Gye-Nyame lately because they have lost the internal sight and they have ignored the power of the internal vision. You my son have demonstrated the ability to use your internal eye to see all that I have offered you. Rather than immediately protesting that their was no food you still sat and ate with me, rather than protesting that there was no wine you sat and partook, and even began to feel the effects of both. You unknowing witnessed the power of your own mind and its ability to guide your axe’. “ Gye passed and waited for a question from the young man. When he did not respond Gye continued. “ You have also generated your personal star of destiny that will guide you from here throughout your life. That star that you described is yours and only you can see it. My son that star will guide you to greatness. Take care of it by looking toward it often. I will continue your lessons, but for now we can return into the tent and eat.” When they entered the tent all of the food that Gye described during their game was present. Servants had made their presence known and placed all the dishes down. The two now entered not as two strangers but as teacher and student. Gye sat down to eat, and Elder looked at him and said “Master I hate to turn down the meal that you offer but I am full from the meal we just ate, and I am feeling a little shaky from the wine can I please have a place to lay down.”

The elder was still holding the hookah and smiling as he finished the tale. “Elder became one of Gye’s greatest student and eventually kept the true teachings of Gye alive after Gye vanished from this world. Elder and Sage where the last two to have sat at the feet of Gye and our tribe owes their existence to the fact that Gye’s true wisdom was passed down to us through these two men.”
I was grateful for the story but it just caused more questions to rise up in my mind.
What happened to Gye?
How were this lessons passed down?
If Gye didn't rule the Gye-Nyame people who did?