Pensive

The Story Behind 'The Augury of Gideon.'

This isn't showing on Amazon, yet, so I'm sharing it here as well.

I've long held the opinion that oral traditions were not entirely dependent on repeatedly telling the tale and memorizing every nuance that the story contained.  I am of a mind that there comes a point where spoken and written communication becomes embedded in cultural and racial consciousness.  Even if you've never heard a song or a tale before, sometimes you still recognise it.  Something within you resonates with an ineffable sense of truth that, to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, "surrounds and binds" you. More often than not, such transcendental familiarity can be associated with a person's ancestry.  You are experiencing a kind of sacred sentience that scientists, particularly in the field of genetics, are only now coming to understand.

This expansive consciousness is not limited to humanity.  It involves everything we think we know, and emanates far beyond the boundaries we have yet to imagine.  Our fellow Earthlings perceive existence in ways so alien to us, we can't even grasp the enormity of such a concept.  The more we learn about the world around us, the more obvious it becomes that our knowledge and understanding don't even skim the surface of the mysteries of creation.  One thing we have begun to accept, though, is the power of DNA. Within DNA rest infinite spirals of information that can be accessed as needed and enhanced by the epiphanies their current vessels' experience in their lifetime.  Looking at it from this perspective gives rise to the idea that sentience doesn't reside within us; rather, we reside in sentience. Everything we know, or think we know, has been discovered countless times before, and will continue to do so as the universe, or multiverse, seeks its own definition.

What does all of this have to do with The Augury of Gideon?  Everything.

First, the definition of "augury" as found on Dictionary.com:

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A great deal of the books of Daniel and Revelation are auguries in the Abrahamic religions.  Many Shamans, from the ancient past to the present, are augers, their knowledge, often acquired by rote, are auguries.  Some auguries are so old, their wisdom have become organic, inscribed upon the very atoms that comprise the spirals of DNA.  An augury can be quantum graffiti, the wall upon which it is written, creation's tabula rasa, eternally craving the to be filled with poetry, whale song, the repetitive patterns drafted in the path of stars and the whispered constructs of a virus.  It is known and understood on innumerable levels and in dimensions that may never be proven by humanity.

That said, an augury can be anything, not just a spoken tale or a series of letters chiseled into stone.  Pull away the veils that conceal its stories, and it will be revealed in an infinity of forms.  It can be the symphony of what will come, encrypted and replicated in every tiny cell that makes you you.

I first encountered the word "augury" when I watched Earth: Final Conflict in 1997.  One of the main characters, played by the brilliant Richard Chevolleau, had the nickname "Augur," which he acquired because of his almost supernatural computer skills, which included hacking and virtual linguistic gymnastics that helped the resistance better understand the true intentions of the alien Taelons.  Being a student of the prophecy, omens, and various forms of divination, I instantly loved the word and mentally bookmarked it for possible use in the future.  I got my chance two years later while I was writing Cadmus Pariah's biography, Sui Generis, which became one of the chapters in the first Relics book, The Chalice.  I started the story out with a strange little phrase that had been looping in my mind for days:  "The desert shakes with the footsteps of the Jinn, ascending for the perishing sun, owl and serpent alike."  After completing the bio, I attributed what looked to be a prophecy to one of the Original Ten Vampires, a Tarmian wood-worker, who became known as Gideon. The name was based on a bit of confusion on my part, at the age of 9.  In 1978, I watched an old Jack Benny movie called The Horn Blows at Midnight.  Mr. Benny played an avenging angel whose duty was to sound his trumpet to herald Armageddon.  I don't know how or why it happened, but up until I gave the Tarmian-turned-Upyr the name, I had always thought Jack Benny's name in the film was Gideon. Even though I discovered I was mistaken, I still kept the name.

During the time I was writing Sui Generis, I was learning more about Shamanism and the use of hallucinogens in various Shamanic rituals around the world.  Ever since I'd learned Syd Barrett's tragic story, I became resolute in the opinion that by way of LSD, Syd became hyper-aware of how vast and incomprehensible reality truly is and, because he apparently had little or no training in Shamanism, he was unable to process that which had manifested, and it drove him mad.

I could easily see that as a possibility, considering the presence of the archetypal mad man or fool making itself known in cultures throughout the world over the span of millennia.  Two modern examples of this would be the character of Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles, and Matthew Silver, who is a performance artist in New York.  He's the perfect modern example of the archetypal mad shaman.  Watch him in action, and you'll see what I mean.


So, taking the components of a Gene Roddenberry sci-fi show, a case of mistaken identity involving an old B&W film from the 40s, the tragic story of Syd Barrett, the theories of cellular and racial memory, combined with cosmic consciousness, I added the Fool archetype, and anchored the character to Dean Haglund in his role as Ringo in The Lone Gunmen to further flesh Gideon  out.

Gideon was the mad Vampire shaman, and his prophecies were known to exist by the entire Hive, but no one knew what all of them were.  No one could say if they came in the form of scrolls or were passed on in oral traditions.  His foretellings were collectively called The Augury, and it is this that became the third Relic, which was actually seen and held by at least two characters in the first Relics book, The Chalice. Even though Gideon is seen only in retrospect throughout the series, he and his message became two of the most important factors in resolving the arc story.

About half of the book was influenced by a song called 'Planet' by Shriekback, a bonus track on the now impossible-to-find "Cormorant" egg. I don't know what the true meaning of the song is; rather, I wrote a large portion of The Augury of Gideon based on my interpretation of the lyrics.  It certainly triggered thoughts of martyrdom and sacrifice in my mind, with some unexpected results.

As is expected, the final book of the trilogy brings a few storylines to close, and says goodbye to some of the Vampires at its end.  Given that The Augury is firmly based in the cyclic nature of existence, the immortality of genetic memory, and the indestructibility of sentience, I would suggest you compare the last story to one of Cadmus' favourite things:  a black hole.  Going into a black hole may very well seal your doom, based on what we think we know about how the universe works, but it could also be a tool of cosmic transformation, giving credence to the Pagan concept of the Goddess' womb to tomb aspect.  Who knows what may happen when you come out the other side of the black hole?

Perhaps we can find out together.  Until then, I hope you enjoy this book and the characters that told the story.  If anything in any of the three books inspires you to learn more about some of the concepts, traditions, cultures, music, and philosophies that helped inspire them, then I'd say my work is done.  You have the secrets of The Augury now.  It's time to pass it on to others.

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