Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mikelmerck - St Mikela, the Voice of the Head

Former home of St Mikela, the Voice of the Head.  Now a shrine.
The Legend of St Mikela has long been a popular subject for artists in Mikelmerck, but the best known example remains the Oltsow Tapestry.  Here all the major events of the saint's life are depicted in vibrant colour and provides the best introduction to this important figure.

St Mikela's birth was marked by the blossoming of the white pear tree outside Cooshboth's major temple in Jervich.  Her wealthy parents had quite other plans for their beautiful daughter, but Cooshboth's flame burned brightly in Mikela from the outset.  Agreeing at last to wed, she grew a beard on her wedding night and she and her nonplussed groom knelt in prayer to know the meaning of such a sign.

The following morning, she parted with her husband and retired to the cave that was to be her home for the next 60 years.  Here she rapidly acquired a reputation for wisdom.  Although much of her time was spent in contemplation, she readily accepted visitors and answered all questions with unfailing courtesy.  She was widely reputed to speak with the voice of Cooshboth himself - indeed, some said that he even dwelt at times within the cave.  Certainly her advice was heeded and few events of import took place without first consulting Mikela.

Mikela's advice of this period was collected by her devoted acolyte, the Blessed Aldern the Repeater and is noticeably practical in tone.   The Booke of St Mikela remains a standard text found in most Mikelmerckian homes and ranges over topics concerning the proper times for planting and husbandry as well as behaviour and the worship of Cooshboth.

Thirty years after she entered it, the saint's cave was seen to glow with a powerful divine light and Mikela herself was not seen for many weeks.  Fearing that she was dead, the people, lead by Aldern, closed off the cave mouth and built a small shrine in honour of her memory.  It was at this shrine that Mikela reappeared clad in sheep fleece and utterly silent.  It seemed that the Voice of the Head had been given a new role.

For the remainder of her life, she remained within the cave, speaking but rarely.  When she did so, the words made little sense, concerning events yet to come.  Nonetheless, she continued to welcome and bless all comers.  Her kindness extended to everyone.  Rich, poor, child or elder - any might make the pilgrimage to visit the saint.  After her death, her  incorrupt body remained in the cave.  Miracles were soon reported and the shrine remained a popular pilgrimage site.  Even after her death, Mikela continued to prophesie.  She chose her vessels from among the visitors  and they spoke in her voice.

In the view of many, the greatest sin committed by the Sarathame kings was the removal of St Mikela's body from her cave.  Taking her to their own crypt, she was reburied with great honour, but she seemed to disapprove.  From that time the saint has remained silent and the miracles have ceased.

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