Hello again, Asylum Seekers.
I would like to expand upon the mortal idea of what the middle-place, we call the Asylum, really is.
I would say throw your organized religions out of this conversation. However, I realize how powerful those institutions have affected your thought process on the nature of things, so I’ll entertain such notions.
The ancient Egyptians spoke of Duat (pronounced “do-aht” for you perfectionists). It was a realm that very much resembled our own, yet now and again you would stumble on massive walls of iron, lakes formed from fire, or trees colored in vibrant azure. In this place, the heart was weighed against a feather and, if heavier, would be eaten by the devourer of souls, Ammit. Which is foul, to say the least. If the heart weighed lighter than a feather, the deceased would be accepted to Aaru, a plane that consisted of golden fields of plenty and an abundant crop.
Tibetan Buddhists called it Bardo. It was a transcendental state between death and rebirth, for in that religion everything is cosmically recycled. While awaiting rebirth, the intermediate being (or soul) goes through a process of both euphoric reality, and terrifying hallucinations. Like your version of a particularly bad acid trip. Not that I’ve indulged... Perhaps once or twice.
Now, the Christians... Where do I start with the Christians?
To make it simple, the varying concepts of the middle-world, within the Christian denominations, have run the gamut between a place of purifying (and I’m guessing “painful”) fire, and an excruciatingly long process of silent reflection. There has been debate over Baptism and original sin, whether a child is allowed to suffer such a fate (we will talk more on that at a later time), and the role of their Jesus Christ in the whole ordeal.
Back and forth, back and forth. It is a lot to process in the bureaucracy of what has become such a prevalent religion the world over. Although, I must confess, one of my guilty pleasure movies - which has a Christian spin to it – is What Dreams May Come. It always brings a tear to my eye. It is the concept of “love conquering all.” Not to mention, I was always a fan of Robin Williams. I have heard he is still making them laugh up north.
Now, in Islam, it is called Barzakh: the stage between the worldly and otherworldly. Muslim scholars put forth that, in this place, a spirit is separated from its body to contemplate its actions on earth and consider an appropriate landing spot for the hereafter. They didn’t live a good enough life to enter Paradise, and they didn’t gather enough sins to allow passage to Hell.
That last part rings true of the Asylum. We are here to measure a soul. Not every mortal aspires to reach that light-created paradise that the Authority runs. There are souls that just as comfortably fit with the dark place that is inhabited by the Malifecium.
Our responsibility is to offer every soul the opportunity to find where they best fit.
There cannot be light without dark. And vice-versa. This place I invited you into is a prison of sorts, but there are no eternal sentences here. Inevitably, every essence that walks these corridors will eventually give itself over, completely, to good or evil. How quickly that is accomplished is up to each individual soul.
My daily warning: This place has its trappings. The darkness can be a powerful temptress, just as the light can manipulate in its own way. I encourage you to embrace your true-self, mortals. Then you’ll walk the path you were meant to and neither the dark, nor the light, will sway you from it.
Walk your path, Seekers.