The story begins with Tilo, a young Indian girl with the gift of prophecy. While her ability to see brings her fame and fortune, it also brings tragedy. Pirates want to profit off her talents and they come and kidnap her, killing her parents. We know that someone with this kind of spiritual power needs to learn how to control it, and soon learns that it really can't be used for personal power and gain. That's what happened with Tilo and her family. Tilo has to learn the lesson of offering selfless service to others.
She takes this path when she leaps into the ocean, escaping the pirates. She is eventually washed ashore on a magical island, where First Mother has gathered young girls to teach them how to care for and understand Spices. She teaches these girls so they can go out into the world and keep the magic of India alive for those Indians who have immigrated to foreign lands.
First Mother warns the girls that serving the spices demands that they give up their lives for the spices. The path of their service demands self-sacrifice. They are charged with three rules when they go out into the world to be of service: They must never use the spices for their own desires, they can never leave their shop and they must never be touched. The girls must be free of personal desires; if they fail in their duty, they are told that the spices will punish them.
Here is the old belief that serving others entails self-sacrifice. It is true with regard to the issues of power and control. Serving others can't be about the ego, because then you don't listen to what others really need. If power and domination are the end-game of spiritual powers, we walk a dark path indeed. Since these powers are very real, they need to be used responsibly and in service to the world.
But the Piscean vision of service has been one of self-sacrifice -- of the body, of the emotions, of one's very freedom. The First Mother's rules are very much like a nun's vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These rules bind women's lives until all that is left for them is service. This form of service constellates when a Virgo gets so consumed with work that there is nothing else in her life. She must make things perfect and perfection is a hard taskmistress.
When these young "mistresses of spices' must remain so virginal that they are literally "untouchable', the Virgo archetype is clearly out of balance. Virgo's virginity has nothing to do with sexuality, but rather with having your own sense of purpose. Virgo's true virginity is fresh and full, bringing with it a sense of "belonging to oneself' in the midst of endless possibilities. Our old beliefs about virginity and service are being questioned here. Do these old rules and beliefs still serve a purpose or is it really a matter of consciousness and choice?
Tilo finds her place in Oakland/San
Francisco, where she runs a Spice Emporium.
People come to her with their problems and joys, and she listens to what
the spices tell her is needed. And so
she counsels and cooks and helps them get through their lives. She believes that each person has their own special
spice. Her spice is sesame, the spice of
nourishment, which is what she gives to all who come into her spice shop. And while she might not be happy, she is
content. Until the day she looks out her
window and sees Doug, an American architect, working outside her shop.
Continued at: The Bard's Grove