Salome: The Seventh Queen:15:The Green Angel

Salome: The Seventh Queen:15:The Green Angel

by Aline deWinter


The song of the ney, high and wild, floated above the whispers of many serpents deep as the stones below the earth. The Princess was a lighted torch, a flame undulating  to sounds voluptuous, and strange. The music grew louder and faster. She fluttered in the wind, flew and spun about, insensible to the thorns that cut her bare feet. In the desolate garden she was a blood red moon.  Salome fell to the ground and writhed over the broken soil like a snake, rolling over and over, crying out for the living flesh of Jokannaan.

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“Ahhh, Jokanaan! I am amorous of thy body, Jokanaan! Thy body was white, like the lilies of a field that the mower hath never mowed. Thy body was as white as the snows that lie on the mountains of Judæa, and come down into the valleys. Ah Jokanaan, I must possess thy body.”

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“Mistress! Mistress!” Etana’s voice cut through the heavy water of the music. “The Sixth Gate is nigh.”

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Salome rose up on one elbow. “Soon we shall cross the forbidden garden of the Great Goddess —She who shall bring my beloved back to life.”

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The Sixth Gate was covered with dust and the desert winds blew against it. Salome stood before the high pillars crowned with sphinxes and challenged them to riddle her. The sphinxes only stared, though their eyes glittered.

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“It is almost time. Are you not rapturous, Jokannaan? The Queen of Heaven shall restore your body and you shall let me touch you, for there is nothing in the world that will deny she who wakes the dead.” Salome’s voice soared over the top of the gate. It was so tall, and so worn with time, her voice merely fell like dust.

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“Is this the Sixth Gate, oh, Princess?” Alliyah asked breathlessly.

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“Yes,” Salome said. “Now we enter the Sixth Garden and approach the final Gate to the Kingdom of Ishtar, She Who Rules Over Life and Death.”

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The whistling desert wind carried the smell of amber and fire as if all the cedars of Lebanon were burning.

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“Open the gate!” shouted Salome.

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The sphinxes looked at the sky where the nightjar whirled and lights fluttered in the trees like moths.

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“Why does the gate not open?” Salome shouted.

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“ Perhaps it will never open. Oh lets us return home, mistress Salome,” Aaliyah said.

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“Be quiet. I will have what was promised me.”

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“Why does the Gate not open? I command this Gate to open. Open, I say. I Salome, Princess of Judea command that you open this Gate!”

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At that moment a gust of dry wind blew the last of Salome’s veils away and floated them into the air like streaks of fire. Her cloak swirled around her as a chorus of muffled voices vibrated the Gate.

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“Gatekeeper!” Salome cried. “Open the gate! Open the gate so that I may enter!”

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Still, the Gate did not open, for it was sealed shut by time and stone and desert winds so that it was no more than an indentation in the rock. Then before her eyes, the wall grew transparent, and the austere figure of an Angel robed in emerald green shone through. The angel looked at Salome without speaking or any sign of greeting.

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The Princess flew into a rage that even she did not understand.  She shouted at the Angel. “If you do not open the gate, I will smash the door!”

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“Do not be so violent, Princess,” said Etana.

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“Yes, Princess, be not angry and disordered in your mind,” Aaliyah said.

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Salome drew herself up and raised her fist high. “Open this Gate. I will go in. Allow me to enter or I will smash the gate and topple the pillars.”

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The door continued to dissolve. The Angel gazed at her through a serene golden light around his face. When he spoke, his voice was  deep with the sound of many voices.

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“There is no need. I have come to announce your arrival to the Most High Queen. Behold, beyond that stretch of sand, on that high hill, is the Gatehouse to the Rose Palace of Queen Ishtar. You will know by the many votaries set afire along the way to the threshold.”

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“At last,” said Salome. “Lead me to Her.”

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“First, you must surrender that that girdle of birthstones from your hips, for all women are subject to the Great Goddess, Mistress of Life, Opener of the Womb.”

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“My birthstones are my life. I give to you my life so that the dead might live again.”

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Salome removed her girdle of birthstones and gave it to the Angel. And now naked but for her scarlet cloak, she went through the Sixth Gate.

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The Angel led them forth across the wind swept sands that rose and fell like the waves of the sea. There was a star sitting on the horizon shedding its rays between pale earth and indigo sky, bright as a cluster of diamonds. The Angel kept turning to gaze at the casque that held the prophet’s head, and Salome shuddered with the sudden apprehension of how alike the Angel was to Jokannaan. The casque blazed forth so brightly that Aaliyah complained her hands were burning.

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“Surely an Angel of God can come back to life,” Salome said softly. “One such Angel, as Jokannaan is, must be immortal after all.”

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Salome: The Seventh Queen

Alla Nazimova as Salome, 1923

New improved version: Salome:The Seventh Queen

I have finally begun. My novella, Salome: The Seventh Queen will be serialized here. Not quite a Faery Tale, but very Gothic and very decadent. I hope you like it. It goes places you never dreamed before…

My story takes up where Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play left off. I played the role of Salome ages ago when I was dancer in The Companions of the Musavir in Seattle in the 1980’s. This story always had a strange effect on me, though I think Wilde’s glorious writing may have had a part to play. This fascination goes on in this story: What if Salome, had lived to regret her demand for the ‘head of Jokanaan”?

Richard Strauss, Salome

Enjoy Maria Kouba’a decadent Salome. She has just the right quality I think.
This is Richard Strauss’s opera televised in 1960.  Oh TV what has become of you?

R. Strauss SALOME TELEVISION FILM (Black and White) Final 1960 MARIA KOUBA (SALOME) HANS HOTTER (JOCHANAAN) KITSA DAMASSIOTI (HERODIAS) JULIUS PATZAK (HERODES) WIENER PHILHARMONIKER HANS SWAROWSKY

R. Strauss
SALOME
TELEVISION FILM (Black and White)Final1960

MARIA KOUBA (SALOME)
HANS HOTTER (JOCHANAAN)
KITSA DAMASSIOTI (HERODIAS)
JULIUS PATZAK (HERODES)

WIENER PHILHARMONIKER
HANS SWAROWSKY

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