CENTERPIECES


Parable of the Coyote


Late one crisp spring night, a multi-dimension apparition emerged from my computer terminal, blurring the boundaries between the Real World and Virtual Planes of existence. I looked the window and the West Side Highway had been replaced by towering stands of birch, white pine, hemlock, fir and cedar. The aroma of oxidized gasoline and raw meat modulated into the heady perfume of the black locust.
I recognized the mysterious shape-shifter called Coyote. Coyote is known to anthropologists and students of comparative mythology as an American Indian version of the ancient archetype of the Trickster. Like the cypherpunk virtuosi of remailers and steganography, Coyote has many identities, but the key to Coyote's character can be divined from prolonged meditation on Tarot Trump #1, The Magician. According to Robert Wang's Qabalistic Tarot, the Magician is the First Key of Enlightenment, and represents the Twelfth Path of Wisdom, "the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions (That is the prophesies by seers in a vision.)" Coyote, Hermes, Thoth, and Mercury are one and the same deity, always associated with the magical power of words. Coyote is the messenger of the gods and goddesses, and it is through the power of words that Coyote works his magical will in the world. Coyote is the patron deity of cypherpunks and all those in cyberspace who use words to create, through the power of digital incantation, entirely new "virtual" personae on the Net.
As Coyote and his beloved mountains billowed like smoke from my monitor, I felt for one lucid, laughing moment that I could see myself clearly for the very first time--CL


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