~ On The Altar Of ~
Your hands tremble and shake
Your eyes so aglow –
As your breath becomes one
He left as soon as Gwion and the crowd had departed. It was getting dark, and he needed shelter, a fire, and something to eat. He wanted to pray to the gods for guidance, and invoke this new power of the Mother, that essence which, for whatever reason, had taken him into her, led him to beauty and grace, had been received, and each moment had brought him closer to Her, and heavy in Her arms, he wanted to remain. It would only be a few days until the Temple of the Sun would be available for the presentiments, which he wanted to deliver to the Gods and Goddesses.
For now, however, a hot venison steak was in order.
He broke camp the next day, and headed east, toward a hallowed spot, frequented by travelers the world over, and harkened to the weary travelers that, among other marvels, told him he would find a Spring and Well, a place to rest, collect one’s thoughts, and experience the power of nature, and of the Goddess.
She filled His thoughts with colours and roses, of pines and water, and He hoped to see Her again – their personal interactions were rarely planned, and He was about his own affairs, even as She; the power of attraction, however, was building, and soon it was, that their meetings began to take on a rhythm of their own, and their meetings taking on a more intense and mutually understood quality. She was endeared to many projects in Her life, and this had created a tension – mostly on His part – and it had been several days since a flush had come to His skin, and in an irritated voice, had allowed his mundane appetite to interfere with his rational mind, and fire and storm had, albeit briefly, passed between them. Cresting the low lying hills to his right, he descended into a verdant and richly coloured plain, all types of animals were scurrying about, and Hawks passing overhead gave Him a feeling of moving into a magical place, deeply imbued with a peaceful and nurturing environ, which eventually led him into a small glen, where he soon began to hear the bubbling of a spring or brook, and he followed the sound. He passed a small Well, crystal clear its contents, with a hand basin near by, kindling was packed neatly just to the right, with a small covering of oil-cloth, and he saw smallish footprints leaving the Well, and followed them to a medium-sized pool, its fountain-head coming in small rivulets, keeping a steady stream of water available for small creatures, birds mostly, and squirrels were sitting atop an out-cropping of singular stones, embellishing the playful mood of the dancing surface of the water.
He felt the Goddess here, the small footprints could be a sign, but He was not sure if the Goddess would actually walk the earth. The Sun was still visible, not sunset for many hours, but He felt tired after his long walk, and laid his bed upon the ground, with His head facing north, as was the ancient custom of his people, and drank a few droughts of water; laying down, he fell quickly to sleep, and to dreams.
He dreamed, and fully.
Colours came and went, Songs, of a nature and quality that he had not heard before, also came and went in melodious cacophony. He saw birds of prey, Hawks and Eagles, a Vulture, also, there was, with bees and rabbits, hummingbirds, and snakes – there was no fear or resignation, but a universal appeal to harmony, beauty, and a sense of power building – then, of a sudden, a terrible screaming, of agony and conflict, superimposed between the cacophony of emotions and the feeling of inner turmoil, He saw Her face in a contorted and painful expression, hands reaching out to Him, but he was unable to attend to Her needs at the moment, and He struggled mightily, a huge wind coming out of the east, pushing him back in place, and then more; He strove mightily against the wind, but could gain no ground. He awoke, breathing heavily, and he was upright, standing next to a large Oak tree, some fifteen feet away from where he had lain to rest, and his outstretched hand rested upon a limb. He was dazed and confused for a moment, and the clouds began to lift from his eyes fully, as he took the scene in, entire. Overhead, he heard the screeching of a Hawk. Looking up, he saw the spiraling descent of this majestic bird of prey, but also knew it to be that of a messenger, a figure holding the distance between the earth and sky, and it began to fall closer and closer to him – faster and faster it descended, in tighter and tighter spirals until, of a sudden, it appeared that it was coming straight for Him – and so it was!
Taking cover, He moved to the other side of the limb upon which he had been leaning, and kept his eyes close to the Hawk, still descending when, suddenly, the bird took to its outstretched wings and, almost instantly, seemed to stop in mid-flight, and rested lightly on a limb just feet above His head with a flurry and screech. He could feel the rush of wind across his face with the final settling of the bird’s mighty wings as it sat, perched, atop the limb. He could see the golden-eyes of the creature, blinking, and staring that sideways stare, cocking his head to and fro. This was a marvel.
This was Magic, He thought, and quickly stepped away from the tree, so as to view the messenger (for, truly, this is what it must be), and called out, “What, great traveler, who dwells between earth and sky, do you bring to me?” and with a wave of his hand, he acknowledged the presence of something greater than himself, and sat cross-legged where he had stood.
A few minutes past, and nothing out of the ordinary happened. He was becoming uncomfortable as, perhaps, he might be too impatient, or had read the events in a sense that was not what he perceived it to be (after all, sometimes, ‘perception is not fact’ ), and his legs began to tell him to rise – and so He began – but as he began to rise, a shocking and miraculous thing happened; the creature began to speak:
Someone comes who
In pain and suffering not
Knowing why –
Or how to remain.
In conflict and inner doubt
Afraid of the void
Has on Her face
A terrible voice.
Seeking understanding and release
No longer sure
Or Strong in their state.
Torn asunder in Her mind she is
Doubting her place
Her grace and strength.
To You she is calling from afar
She is crying out
And to You, She abides.
She is coming near
Her time is soon
Attend to Her state
Or forever remain in fear.
From chaos and gloom
A ray of Hope
Yet remains –
Do not fail to lift and carry.
The path has been chosen
For two and not one
Attend in respect
Or all is undone.
With the ending refrain, the great bird took to flight, screeching and pounding its wings against the unseen forces of the sky, and disappeared into the depth of distance and time.
Shaken, He remained in his position on the earth, and thoughts and turmoil surrounded Him, the sweat on his brow beading and cascading across his face, into his eyes, and the sting was a message for him to remove himself, and wash in the pool, cleansing himself of his own inner turmoil; he needed to bathe in the waters of the Goddess, and ask for aid and strength, for he knew the Goddess would attend to him, and to Her.
Stripping his garments, his skin laid bare, the gentle breeze twisting and turning around his nakedness, and a quick sensation passed through him, over him, and his manhood joined in the fullness of the pines, and He quickly dove into the water.
The chill of the water, the sanctuary of the place, made for a deeply personal experience for Him, and a full hour it must have been, that he rested, played, and marveled at the beauty of his state, the turmoil longgone, but for the sentient knowledge of knowing that, soon, the prophecy (for, of course, that is precisely what it had been) would come to pass.
He removed himself, dried, and wanting to rest for a time, laid his head on his arm, and fell into the deepest sleep of his life – this time, without dreams.
He woke to a terrible noise – a weeping and gnashing of teeth, of pain and conflict and, certainly, a sundering of a spirit, was taking place. He was quickly on his feet, looking and listening for the direction of the agony and, moving quickly through the trees and low-lying bushes, found his way closer to the origins of the sound, and it was Her.
Her mien was dark, and great tears ran from her eyes, swollen and red, a rainbow coloured blanket cast about her, her hair askew, and He was upon Her, arms embracing, and looking into Her eyes, said, “I stand with you, do not fear, let us sit and let me listen to your tale.” She ruefully followed Him, her eyes downcast, and her small hands, weakness having replaced Her natural strength, looked older somehow, and they continued apace to a small clearing, two large stones offering a warm space in the early morning mist, which was moving slowly away, down into the valley behind them. He sat her down gently, and looked into Her deep emerald soul, searching for a rhyme or reason for the deep melancholy, which hovered around her
like bees to honey…