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Prophecy from the Peruvian Elders
Beware the second blue moon’s rising. Stones will speak to men, and the song of Pachamama and Inti will fill your hearts. Tremble at the dark moon, which heralds the Light’s return. Only those who tread the Path of Knowledge may rise among the First Men and quench the flames of doom.
In my young adult contemporary fantasy, The Labyrinth of Time, the Prophecy of the Peruvian Elders predicts a comet’s return to Earth at the time of a rare occurrence – the total eclipse of a double blue moon.
While researching moon cycles, I discovered a double blue moon occurs about four or five times in a century. A blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month, and a double blue moon is when two blue moons occur in a calendar year. The last double blue moon was in 1999, and the next will be in 2018 (Jan. 31 and March 31).
A total lunar eclipse that’s only partially visible from Peru will occur on Jan. 31, 2018, which is the first blue moon of the double blue moon that’s central to this story (March 31, 2018). The next total lunar eclipse that’s visible from Ica won’t be until Jan. 21, 2019, which was too long for Jade and Felix to wait for the comet’s arrival!
EXCERPT from THE LABYRINTH OF TIME (told from Jade’s perspective):
9 p.m., Friday
I looked at my grandmother and tried to imagine her at my age, meeting someone like One Reed. Then I looked at Felix and knew exactly what it had been like for her—the electricity of his touch and the amazing feeling that someone so mysterious and knowledgeable thought she was special. Yes, Felix was my One Reed. She never forgot that brief meeting, and their feelings had been strong enough to lead her to Peru decades later. I wondered if our connection would remain as strong.
“Grams, why didn’t you come here before now?”
“Oh, honey, of course I thought about it. If he’d asked me to follow him into the desert in the middle of the night, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Even if we’d been in a foreign country I knew nothing about.”
My mouth dropped open. The sheer stupidity of what I’d done was so apparent when she put it that way. I looked at Felix, who examined his shoes to keep from catching her eye. Then Grams laughed.
“It’s okay,” she said. “Even I was young once. Just don’t make a habit of not using your brain.”
“I wouldn’t let anything happen to her,” Felix said solemnly. His glance made me breathless.
“I know your intentions are good.” She reached over and patted his knee. “To answer your question, Jade, you have to remember Peru was even harder to get to then. I was too young to manage it on my own. By the time I could’ve made the trip, I’d met your grandfather and my world revolved around him.”
“But you never forgot?” I asked.
“Of course not! How could I forget someone who stirred my heart like that? And I knew I was special to him in some way I didn’t understand, much more than just a physical attraction. I treasured this stone because it linked me to him–it was as if our souls were connected.”
I looked at the two moons and felt a pull like a tidal force, drawing me into a mysterious world where anything was possible. I wondered if that was what she felt.
Grams turned her attention to Three Eagle and Thirteen Knife. “One reason my connection to your grandfather remained strong through the years was because he appeared in my dreams.”
“Yes,” Three Eagle said. “He often traveled between the worlds and visited my dreams, too.”
“Eventually I realized it was more than the usual wanderings of my dreams–he was truly with me,” she said. “That’s not something I acknowledged easily, being brought up in a traditional Christian family. But I finally saw the pattern. He visited on nights of a blue moon.”
“That’s why you knew tonight was special–the second blue moon in a year!” I said.
“That’s right,” she said. “I paid special attention to such things after I realized my connection with One Reed.”
Thirteen Knife nodded. “After he passed, he returned and told us to journey here tonight to meet the Daughter of Moon. When we met Jade, we thought we’d found her. Instead, it was you he sent … the one he chose so long ago for this journey.”
I saw tears glistening in her eyes as Grams bowed her head and continued. “He started me on another journey when we met, too. From our conversation that night, a whole world opened up to me I’d never been exposed to in school or at church. Since then, I’ve learned as much as I could about ancient cultures and their spirituality.”
“I knew you were always interested in some pretty strange things, but I never knew why,” I said.
“I learned to keep such things to myself unless someone asked a specific question,” Grams said. “As the Eastern traditions say, when the student is ready, the teacher will come.” She held out her hand, offering me the stone and exposing the birthmark above her wrist identical to mine.
“We both bear the blue moon’s sign,” I told the shamans, but judging from their surprised expressions, they’d already seen it.
“If you can hear the stone’s message, I’d say it’s your time to be the teacher,” Grams said. “I’m ready to learn.”
I checked with Felix, who tipped his head in agreement. I reached out and felt the smooth weight of the stone as it settled on my palm. The image was subtle at first, hard to distinguish from the firelight. Then I realized I was no longer inside the cave, but seeing the brightness of the full moon in a dark sky. The place felt familiar, though it took me a moment to figure out why.
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