The Three Transformations
Why are we Pirates?
Because we come from being Sailors, and are on the way to becoming Captains of our life.
The Three Transformations
Or The Pirate’s Progress
By Captain Pipi Spielhand
Three transformations of the spirit stands the brave explorer of perilous modern seas. First the Landlubber spirit becomes a Sailor, the Sailor a Pirate, and the Pirate at last a Captain.
The ocean is a mystery for the Landlubber, the clumsy-legged Landlubber. She frowns at the far horizon and feels a lump in her throat. She hears the call to adventure but fears the edge of the world. Who could aid me? she asks; and longs for a helping crew, a pointing finger, a voice telling her what to do. So she turns Sailor and joins somebody else’s ship.
Stars sparkle in the sky as the land falls back. The Sailor is full of dreams but dwells in doubt: What should I do? she asks, and drops on her knees to scrub the deck. What do they want? she wonders, and bends her back under the bulkiest barrel. She feels small against the mighty sea; lost, without the officers’ laws; dubious, without the crew’s views.
I know who I am, says the Sailor, then shapes herself to fit the crew. It is custom to ignore one’s cravings for the sake of service; it is safer to stand behind those who know best. Life is a struggle for survival, so she softens her hopes to avoid upset.
The days are long and the stream uncertain for the submissive Sailor, but the boatswain’s whip sweeps her from idle thoughts.
The Sailor worries about the weather, and other forces she cannot control. She fingers at unlucky stars when she wanders off her charts. Or self-consciously charges others with the mistakes she has made. She invokes a hundred proofs that life is beyond her powers. When meeting struggle, she shrugs her shoulders and shrinks herself a bit more.
Countless tides come to pass under her numb navigation, until the Sailor strays to the ocean’s axis: The Pole of Emptiness. A lifeless region where everyone becomes Noone; a sleepy seascape where viewpoints fade before one’s face. A deathyard of dreams where passion languishes and hope sinks in the abysmal depth.
Many a star-crossed Sailor has met the end of adventure in this dismal gloom, for the only way through is by the massive sea serpent Youshould. Stalking down-drift, the three-headed snake would swallow any who seek to escape this desolate grey. So shit-scared Sailors, soft on the legs, prefer floating in circles in the Pole of Emptiness to avoid a gory end.
Some sailors try to sideslip battle by any mercy or means. To stay alive is enough, to avoid pain at any cost. But the more spirited Sailor shapes for her ship another destiny.
In the darkest night, a dim light within. The Heroic Sailor can see that better than to live as dead, is to gloriously die for living.
The thought turns to an emotion as impressive as the ocean; a compelling feeling that arouses in her soul the courage to be herself.
This brings about the second transformation, in which the Sailor becomes a Pirate. Emboldened to seize the helm of her life, she searches for the feared fiend, sloop surging towards the danger.
Hovering in the near distance, the growling menace sounds like a score of slaughtered seamen. It chills the Pirate’s backbone, still pitching her bow at full-speed. Pearly thorns gleam from the three monstrous mouths, each carved with terrible decrees of long-forgotten gods.
Fast approaching, the pitiless Pirate yaws her vessel and blows a full cannon broadside. Through the smoke, she sees the three heads cleanly blasted, and three infant noggins sprouting in their place on each blackened stump.
Nimbly grow the new heads, and the serpent is nigh upon the sails. Perplexed, but not missing a moment, the Pirate climbs the riggings, shimmering scimitar between her teeth.
The snake’s heads are now full-sized: nine looming freaks stretching-out of long scaly necks. The panic-stricken Pirate shrieks when one of the jaws stabs the mast above her, its ghastly teeth screeching as they clench.
Holding fast to the rope, she perceives another head stretching back to snap… and a bulge, a lump in the creature’s chest. She doesn’t stay for a second strike; with a mighty cry of I Will, she leaps at the giant’s gut, blade brandished in the air.
Tiny blood drops splash the Pirate’s hat, as the sword cuts through scale and skin, slashing a cleft in the breast of the beast. A piteous clamour springs from the cursed creature, more sigh of relief than cry of pain.
The Pirate catches a gem-studded talisman as it slips from the slit in the hydra’s heart; before the snake sinks softly into the depths, never to be seen again.
The fog clears from the Pole of Emptiness, and ghost-grey sailors, held for seasons in the haze, escape silently into the blue.
The Pirate pauses to peruse the boon of this journey, perhaps devoured with its owner one or many tides before: A Magical Compass, which always points in the direction of her yearnings.
Back in the open sea, the sun shines on the proud Pirate, her eyes on the glimmering horizon. She will follow no commands; she will find her own way at peril of misfortune.
Her triumph makes her expansive; she realises that the best booty is concealed behind her fears. An enormous curiosity springs within her soul, a desire to follow her fears till the end of the world.
Passion puffs her sails, and courage magnetises the hull of her vessel. She soon attracts other free spirits: A crew where she can invent herself many times over and be fully herself however she might be.
The Pirate sails with one question between her eyebrows: Who am I? She searches bravely for her castaway selves and brings out to the sunshine all her darkest shadows.
She doesn’t try to please, doesn’t care what others think. She’s in it for herself. The petulant Pirate is more interested in smashing the idols in her own mind; razing the whole fetid pantheon of old obsolete gods. And chasing the winds of her whim.
Freely following her desires, the Pirate does what she wants and answers only to herself. Her fears become her thrills; her emotions, the colours of her inner ocean.
She assumes responsibility for negotiating reef and rough weather. She observes herself cooly, never judging herself. Mistakes are only lessons, and she learns to learn from anything that happens.
The Pirate is present where she navigates. Her keen senses are essential to her trade, and she keeps them razor-sharp. She’s fully inside her body, and moves lightly, with grace.
Jolly and exciting are the endless waves. She prowls through marvellous landscapes and plunders prize of untold wealth. The more she demands from the adventure, the more the adventure yields.
The provocative Pirate dares to be herself. She doesn’t justify or apologise, for all actions are human. When she finds herself off-course, she just adjusts her rudder, and sails on. Another idol torn-down.
Playfully, she both follows and leads her comrades; each finding, deep among the treasures, that which attracts them most. What do I want?, is the sentiment in every Pirate’s potbelly as they rummage through the lavish loot. Everyone concurs to care for Number One, which means everyone is cared for.
Many seasons circle in this reckless exploration; until the Pirate exhausts much of her restless steam; until the pantheon of gone gods has hardly stone standing on stone.
All this time, she has given herself everything that she longed for; she lifted the veil of every sacred secret and drank deeply the sweet spirits of the sea. This powerful Pirate with sun-cracked skin has had her fill of Life.
But now her craft is pulled towards the most treacherous threshold, one that pompous Pirates are doomed to disdain: The Edge of the World, where the great ocean simply tips over and falls into boundless space. The destined death of those who lose sight of their inner compass for small stuff that sparkles.
Yet the persistent Pirate refuses to be weighted by her wants. She holds fast to the helm with both hands; heeding the hazard ahead.
As the current picks speed, she breathes slowly. The roar of the oozing ocean becomes deafening. She regards the foam, a few thousand fathoms forward, and wonders at her complete poise. She has no idea how to meet the coming chasm, but has learned to trust in her instincts.
The hull starts to shake and shudder from the implausible impetus beyond the bow. A few moments more and it won’t resist the whirling water.
A magical moment and everything is still. Then, with a prodigious effort of concentration and a loud cry, lost to the ocean’s noise, the Pirate distills all her experiences and learnings into a little star. An amazing energy explodes in her groin and cruises through her whole body, holding together the splitting planks of her vessel.
The instant she condenses her North Star, the third transformation takes place: the Pirate becomes a Captain.
The ship is now engulfed in the torrent, now whirling uncontrollably, now tipping over the Edge of the World. Out of the foamy blue and into the cloudy blue.
The ship is now falling. Free falling. Free falling into blue. Falling into sky. Falling into sky… isn’t that just like flying?
Which way is up and which way down in endless space? The crazy Captain resolves to will her fall. She concentrates intensely:
Abaft! and the ship falls forward. Aft, it falls backwards. Port. Starboard, the ship falls to either side. Then she focuses on Heave, and her vessel starts falling up, up… upwards beyond the clouds.
Who could cruise past the seven seas on soaring sails? The Captain courageously penetrates the mystical regions beyond the Edge of the World; places of unspeakable wonder where the forbidden knowledge of ages is stored.
Another manner of adventure, in which the doesn’t care for treasure, even as treasure flows more copiously than ever.
The carefree Captain navigates life as a celebration and pilots her flying ship above current and storm. Cheerfully chasing her North Star, she has never been so innocent and childlike.
She has mastered the art of surrender and learned to harness the energies around her. The Captain confidently creates the landscapes she chooses. And she chooses harmony.
A creative spirit, rather than a destroyer of idols; the Captain is driven by something greater than her desires; satisfied, she can look beyond herself and into the world.
She discovers the joy of giving; and when giving, love grows within her. This is a different offering than the anxious sacrifice of the Sailor, this is the giving of a full heart.
The Captain is conscious when lavishing her gifts. Anchored in self-love, she stays true to herself. She attends to her needs, which allows her to give richly and remain strong.
She has finally answered the great questions that drove her as a Pirate. She knows who she is, and can rest from the game of inventing herself.
The Captain carves an exquisite playground out of the bones of the old pantheon in her mind. There is no more anger, no more fear. She meets the everything with reverence and awe.
From the vantage point of her lofty ship, she can see above duality. She beholds an ultimate goodness in the world, the benevolence of a generous mother. Gratitude pervades her heart and healing peace radiates from her soul.
Three transformations of the spirit I have designated to you. How the Landlubber becomes a Sailor, the Sailor a Pirate, and the Pirate at last a Captain.
Editor’s Note: The author is the Captain of the Pirate Tantrics and, like his crew, is also a Pirate on the way to becoming Captain of his life. All similarities of this text with persons or situations of real life is purely coincidental.
Do or do not
there is no try