~ In The Valley ~
I lay soft and cool upon the earth
You bring the fire of passion’s rebirth
The waters ebb and flow and beauty remains
My breath and yours are one and the same
He was traveling into the Valley, meeting and speaking with common folk and high, marveling at the mosaic of spirit and essence, which randomly had touched him, roused him, and intrigued him. He had met Sages, prophets, mediums, and a shaman or two; it was everywhere, an undercurrent of mystery, fakery, and intentions running the gamut from curiosity to deep devotion. He knew that She was, also, a part of this company, although it was not quite apparent yet, at least to her.
He slung his cloth-covered sword across his back, keeping this fading characteristic close to himself and wishing to merge with the peaceful valley, made plans to find a resting place for his trusted companion; he did not need these implements here. His visage, fitting in to the natural settings of the water and trees, the friendly smiles be extended and received, made the thought of lessening his load, that much more comforting, and as the day wore one, he gained ground, closer to the heart of the valley.
Ravens (the corvus of the ancients) were flying overhead, a sure sign of Magic and intentions, and the animal signs were all around: fox, rabbit, squirrel, coyote and wolf; there were ravens, blue-birds, doves, hawks and eagles – yes, there were signs everywhere, if one were open to them.
The Father of the Sky, the One-eyed poet/warrior, Othin/Mitra, blessed the crops here, aided in the increase in children, and were looked after by Friea/Athena, the Mother of the Earth; here, and it was told to him, early on, that the great feminine was strong here and, He knew this to be true, as Albina – the White Goddess, ancient and mysterious, the theme of poets for thousands of generations was, most assuredly, taking a part in this own life.
Upon entering the valley, the only source upon which He would call, was the Father, and He knew that his life was in the hands of this spirit; he had not needed, or recognized the necessity of the Mother, but since he had met Her, many strange and wondrous things had taken place: Water had been her source, at the Well and the Spring she was there, at the opening of every flower, the petals unfolding, the Goddess was there, and She was close behind – always. Always a mixture of Eros and Grace, the two inextricably entwined, the balance of forces that, to many, was seemingly out of their reach, their daily lives being filled with the mundane, with war or peace, with sacrifice or labor, the daily grind of Men and of potency. Without the Mother, of course, there would be no balance, and Love would suffer, as would a proper balance of healing and intention.
He knew true warriors on the field of battle understood this, as the blades ran red with the battle-dew of their enemies, and the senses of war were receding, it was the presence of the goddess of Peace and Comfort, which would bring an end to the hostilities, and even opposing forces, would accept the rule of Brotherhood again. Those who were specially allotted the privilege, would be returned to the Corona Borealis, awaiting their return – for another cycle of birth, life, and death.
The Dyrwdds, as was well known, understood both forces, and worshiped under the great Oak Tree, in groves of splendor and display; the rites of Dionysus who, it has been said, was nursed by the White Goddess herself. Such was the belief of His people, and as far as he had traveled, he was to encounter similar stories and spiritual understandings.
The day was progressing, and his pace was steady, bringing him upon a large grove of Oaks, and in the center, was a Well of immense proportions, with a sculpture of both the God and Goddess, embracing, hair whipping in an unseen wind, and a sense of serenity and love surrounded them. At the Well, were men and women, children and animals, all resting and sleeping under the shade of the mighty trees. Horses were tied, and dogs lounged at the foot of their masters, while the Ravens, sent by the One-Eyed god, maintained a magical presence over all.
Salutations and smiles greeted Him, as he came upon the water, cool and deep, perhaps thirty feet or so, and he marveled at the splendor of the stonework, griffins and eagles, herons and hawks adorned the circular face of the Well and inscribed, throughout, were scripts of ancient origin, and as best he could decipher, were enchantments of strength to the weary, blessings to new mothers, and sharing the fullness of nature with the people of the valley.
As he circled the Well, taking it all in, and the pair of gods seemed to watch his full stride around the Well of Rest – for that was its name – and on the completion of his circuit, a group of Wise Men, gathered together, waved Him over, as if in unison. He moved quickly, as to be summoned was a great honor.
He approached with alacrity, and gave his salutations. All remained seated, save one, and as the man rose, his beard fell to the earth, his deep grey eyes, boring into Him, and quickly withdrawing their power, receded back into the unknown. He started to come closer, but was stopped by the outstretched hand, palm out, not in anger, but as a sign of friendship and respect – but He remained where he was – and the Dyrwdd began to intone:
God speaks and says:
I am the stag of seven tines.
Over the flooded world
I am borne by the wind.
I descend in tears like dew, I lie glittering,
I fly aloft like a griffon to my nest on the cliff,
I bloom among the loveliest flowers,
I am both the oak and the lightning that blasts it.
I embolden the spearman,
I teach the councillors their wisdom,
I inspire the poets,
I rove the hills like a ravening boar,
I roar like the winter sea,
I return again like the receding wave.
Who but I can unfold the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?
A cold shiver ran through the entire length of His body, and he well knew that, when a ‘speaker of the words’ entertained such rhetoric, that a special meeting this was, and He was bound to listen and learn – something that was new to his spirit, as his fire often ran hot, his mind quick – too quick, perhaps – and He squatted and sat where he had stood. He remained there, and the elder came to him, stroked his hair, and laid a feather upon him, and He felt the soft breathing of the man over his body, and a feeling of lightness, of spiritual traveling began to come over him.
He felt Her presence then, deep, close to Him, and yet not; it was the power of love and inspiration that was coming over him, and he embraced it. He felt the feather pass over his head, his face, then his chest, stopping at the heart, then quickly to his back, resting between his shoulder blades and, once again, he felt Her hands upon him, the power taking hold of him, the peace and strength, and he began to tremble. He tried to speak, but only turgid and remote sounds came from his throat:
Though I am Man – a god abides
My spear a token of my pride
My laughter and tears – like mortal men
Shall in my soul abide.
To the poet shall I return
In tears shall I embrace
For love and splendor – that rite of passage
Shall forever teach the wisdom of life and death.
To councilors, I bring knowledge
And their ears shall ring
With the wings of griffons
And on the cliffs shall I and fire be bound.
I search for wisdom in the daylight
From age to infant – into the light
At night I call Her name
The goddess of renown and fame
The White Goddess
Her arms outstretched
Pulls me closer to her breast – and whispers
All is well, be at peace and rest.
I bring chaos and change
She brings the calming of the sea
A change She brings to me
Wisdom and power to share with thee.
As He was held in what was, essentially, a trance, the Arch Dyrwdd had stood, wide-eyed, and his breathing had become shallow, for he knew that this man was under the protection of some god or goddess, and that there was deep magic in his words, for they cut deeply into his spirit; he watched, as the man maintained open eyes, yet He saw deep into the void, and more than likely, was not aware of what he spoke.
The Dyrwdd, motioned to his companions, and bid them rise – all eleven – for they were a company of twelve ordained and bespoke the Troth of the Three Crones and of the Great Father, who guided them in all things. As his companions rose, a chorus was sent up, each refrain being a statement, with the voices of the others repeating, to add effect.
By this time, the people were alarmed, as they felt a conflict of sorts, and seeing one man seated, and their elders, some of whom were well known seemed, at first, to cast the man out, but now a deeper mission was felt, and all knew Gwion, the Arch Dyrwdd, the longest beard in the group, and his magic was known far and wide. Mothers brought their children to their bosoms’, and men clasped their swords or bows, and the water of the Well became still.
In a low voice, Gwion began:
I am an Ox in strength—for strength
I am a Flood on a plain—for extent
I am a Wind on the sea—for depth
I am a ray of the Sun—for purity
I am a bird of prey on a cliff—for cunning
I am a shrewd navigator—
I am god in the power of transformation— (I am a god, a druid,
a man who creates magical fire to the destruction
of all, and who, under trees and on top of hills, makes magic)
I am a Giant with a sharp sword, hewing down an army—in
I am a salmon in a river or pool—for swiftness
I am a skilled artist—for power
I am a fierce boar—for powers of chieftain-like valour
I am the roaring of the sea—for terror
I am a wave of the sea—for might
He was still a prisoner of his numbness, his face and hands hot with a thousand sensations, but He heard every word that the Dyrwdd had intoned, and deep inside he felt the riddle unfold; the picture in His mind of the God and Goddess, held in tight embrace, was making itself known, and he sensed the harmony, the balance of the two. The Dyrwdd was, in a certain fashion, rebuking His sense of balance, as in the ancient days Odyn stood to Freia, Aesculapius stood to Athene, Thoth to Isis, Esmun to Ishtar, Diancecht to Brigit. Gwion seemed to be unsettled by the power of the two elementals, implied by His recitation, combined together, rather than the simple power of the One.
A sensation in the spine began moving throughout His body, and he began to feel life return to his arms and legs, a deep breath entered his body, He felt Her breath, merge with his, and the world could now be seen. He was soon on his feet, and looking into the mist-shrouded grey of Gwion’s eyes; thankfully, there was no anger, resentment or fear in his eyes, rather, He saw strength and compassion, yet a deep searching of His soul, questions ready to explode into physical resonance on Gwion’s lips.
COPYRIGHT © 2013 FRANK L. DESILVA
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
 From which the name Albion, is derived – Avalon, the Isle of the White Goddess. The White Goddess is known by many names, as each locale has its own unique variation, but the essence, the power and intention, is the same. She, is also known, as the “White Goddess of Birth, Love and Death.” FLS
 Song of Amergin. FLS