The last star reader was called down from the hills to prophecy the outcome of the divide. He stood on the cusp of the morning, more sure of where he was going than all who stood below. To understand the language of the stars was a gift seeded into the womb and those who received it could not pass it along. Only their words carried forth the song of the light. A light to which he longed to return.
Yet it was his duty to translate when beckoned. How weary he was of trying to reduce the vast into the limited. Minds trapped inside longing were not easily opened, and for the star reader this was another futile effort.
“I see it!” hollered a tiny voice. “I see the dragon!”
“What is she talking about?”
“Shush the child.”
“What insolence. Put her back to bed!”
The crowd below grew angry together, feeding upon the rise of their wrath bestowed upon a wee child who spoke only the truth. The last star reader watched and waited. He listened to the rise and fall of dissonance and sighed.
“See what I mean?” he muttered up to the sky.
“What are you waiting for?” the sky replied.
“It will not work. It never does.”
“Speak to the girl then.”
“Come here,” he beckoned in the softest of whispers, yet she heard him.
Softly she crawled the tangled roots, grabbling hold of the grasses for support until she reach the last star reader. He said nothing, just nudged the staff towards her waiting hand. One finger and then another curled the weathered wood.
No one knew she was missing. No one knew she had left their masses. Filled with their wrath, they had forgotten all meaning.
“Why don’t they see it?” she asked the reader as she peered at the angry mob below.
“Because their eyes have turned blind.”
“But it’s so beautiful.”
“Those who cannot see truth cannot see beauty.”
So the wee child turned her head back to the sky and the dragon, every-so-gently, swooped down to receive her.
The raven circled in wait while the seeker studied the land. The bird knew her in the memory of her bones and the knowing had brought the raven into flight to follow the girl’s path. Finally she had arrived. Millenia had passed and the raven’s ancestors foretold that she would someday be there to recover the magic held inside the stones. They had watched time pass without judgement or remorse, tending the land as they did the skies with patience.
Some who traveled the land foretold doom in the birds’ black visage, shivering at the shadows cast upon their souls, unsettling the darkness they held within. It was not the raven’s darkness, but those that hovered inside their shadows. This the ravens knew as they circled the light and waited for the awakened one.
Still others shot pellets that brought pain and sometimes death to halt the mighty wings and silence the haunting calls, laughing as the ravens fell back to Earth not realizing that the fall was also theirs. Such was the way of the humans who walked with the pomp of fear hidden inside bravado. But the ravens forgave their young minds, knowing that this too was a passage and that each life circles back to the point of union when it is ready.
This one, though, walked as though she was the land and also the sky. The raven could see all elements inside of her, woven into the membrane of life that held her body close but not her mind. Open she was to all before her. Each footstep, each touch of the earth and stone, brought the call of home through her cells, and the girl began to hum the language once lost through the channels of her throat.
Above, the raven resisted the longing to call back. To respond to her and join their voices as one.You must wait until she finds the token, the ancestors had warned. Only then will you know with certainty that she is the one.
Each circling of the girl cast a shadow upon her, but the girl never wavered in her step. She had passed beyond the threshold of fear and the reasoning of the mind to the place of heart-knowing. And she was almost there.
They had dropped the feather under the mound of stones that led to the chamber’s opening, pushing the shaft with their beaks to pierce the ground. Buried under heather and bracken, above layers of soil, the sacred site had long been neglected by the touch of humans. Only the unseen passed its gates now, but the raven knew the time had come to mark the change.
She approached with love only. Slender fingers traced the outlines of form, and above the raven’s body began to rock in rhythm to the heartbeat of the awakened land. The black feather waved, but held fast to the opening. And as the girl entered the channel of the goddess’s womb, leaving the feather behind to dance her joy, the raven burst into song.
For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt #token. Please click here to see the original post to participate.
The giant had been there a long time. As long, they say, as the serpents themselves. His body nestled into the cliff face hidden except for his stone face. Brows furrowed with concentration and lined with age warned even the bold to keep their distance. Not many were brave enough to mess with a giant, even one who looked like he hadn’t moved in ages.
Most failed to notice what he guarded, or wrongly assumed he was guarding them from falling of the precipice. Fools! If they fell it was no fault for him to own. Let them do what they will. Humans were often such careless creatures, believing their bodies would somehow defy death. Yet they had long forgotten how to fly.
The serpents watched, unnoticed. Their twinned noses pushed into the wind while their bodies pulsed Earth’s veins. Few witnessed the power of their alchemy, because they had learned to fear lightning. But what a gift it was to watch! Fire called from the clouds as it sought the womb of water. To witness creation from their mouths…what a pity, the guardian often thought, that their minds had gone numb.
It was a strange morning, but that is not too unusual. There was a deal with the garden fairies before sleep and then a dream of a curious beetle before waking. The dream so vivid and Alice and Wonderland-like I knew it could not be ignored. I told myself, as I made breakfast, that if Sue posted a photo that somehow related to the dream, it would be another sign I needed to write its story. The room was indeed painted red and so was the beetle…
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lenora who lived inside a house with many rooms. Lenora was very spoiled. In her bedroom, Lenora had not one bed, but two, both doubled in size. One for her and one for whomever she chose to be her best friend, which changed often for Lenora was fickle.
Lenora’s bedroom was very large, and its walls were covered in wood like a cabin. It made Lenora feel cozy and secure. Attached to her bedroom, was Lenora’s own private bathroom so that she need not walk far to wash her beautiful hair and paint her nails and eyelids her favorite color of the day.
Inside Lenora’s room there was a staircase, but Lenora had long ago grown tired of climbing it to explore the magical room of her loft. Instead, she gave it over to her younger sister, Sarabell. Sarabell loved the Lenora’s loft where she spent many happy hours playing with all of its wondrous treasures in the companionship of her magical friends. Most of the time, Lenora didn’t even know she was there.
Lenora, you see, was too busy with growing up. She loved telling her maids what to cook her for lunch and what clothes to set out for her days. She loved pretending that she was a grand lady that everyone must obey. No demand was ever too large for Lenora. If she wanted something, she must have it.
One late summer morning, Lenora awoke in her big fluffy bed feeling horrible. Her body didn’t feel ill, but Lenora’s mind was filled with grumpy thoughts. To make it worse, Lenora couldn’t figure out why she was so unhappy. She searched back through her memories and found nothing that could have brought on her sudden gloom, so Lenora rolled herself out of bed and shouted at her maids to leave her be.
Lenora went into her bathroom, and pushed around her lovely powders and brushes, but their lifeless forms on her counter just annoyed her.
“I’ll go for a walk!” Lenora declared as she bounded out of her room.
Still in her nightgown, with feet bare like the day she was born, Lenora walked down the many stairs of her house and out the back door and into the woods.
Lenora walked and walked. As she walked, Lenora didn’t think about where she was going, or notice that her tender feet were stumbling over rocks and tree roots, stubbing her pink toes and chipping the purple polish off her manicured nails. Deeper and deeper into the forest walked Lenora as morning turned to afternoon and dusk began to take over the light of day.
Lenora stopped. She shook her head clear of thoughts. She looked around her, searching for the source of the voice that had ceased her footsteps. Her breath caught in her throat until it gasped for release. Surrounding her was a scene more beautiful than any painting that hung inside of her room. But there was something wrong with the painting, something horribly wrong. It was as though someone had taken a knife and stabbed the very center of it. At least that’s what it felt like to Lenora, who stood holding her hands against her heart as she began to sob.
At her feet, stretching like a bridge across the forest, was the trunk of a tree. Its width held the secrets of its long life, cut to a sudden end by the blade of a saw. Lenora could see, far far down the tree’s length, the full spread of its green leaves newly woven into the forest’s tapestry. Her feet stood at its base above roots that spread deep into the ground where Lenora’s eyes could not see.
Upon its stump was a beetle as red as blood. It was the size of perhaps two quarters, stacked side by side, not small, and longer than it was wide. The back of the beetle glistened in the sunlight, and as Lenora peered at its magnificence she saw that its armor-like back was not simply red, but inside the red were all colors, shimmering in the sun’s light. Never before had Lenora seen a creature more beautiful. And, as looked at it, the beetle seemed to stare back at her.
“You have lost your home, haven’t you,” Lenora sighed as her tears darkened the rings of the stump upon which it rested. “I will make you a new home.”
Once again, Lenora looked around her. She began to study the ground in a way she had never studied her books for school. She surveyed the trees that still stood and the one now fallen. Nearby, she noticed the brown husk of a seed pod, broken open into halves. Beside it, a seedling had rooted into the soil, its etiolated leaflets just beginning to open into a pale green.
Lenora took the beetle into her hands and cradled it in her palms as a mother would a newborn child. The heat of life spread its river through her veins and once again Lenora’s breath caught momentarily inside of her throat.
She didn’t know how she knew the way back, but as Lenora walked, cradling the red beetle in the open husk of the seedpod in one hand, and the tenderly released seedling in the other, Lenore began to find her way home. When she arrived at the door to her house, Lenora smiled at the maid that opened it, brushing aside her puzzled look as she made her way up the stairs and into her room.
“How long have I been gone?” Lenora exclaimed as she peered through the doorway into a room vastly different from the one she had left. The wooden walls suntanned yellow were now a deep crimson. She stepped inside and felt her feet sink into moss instead of carpet. Her double beds still stood, side-by-side, waiting for slumbering occupants, but their covers had faded into the tones of earth.
“It’s perfect, isn’t it?” Lenora sighed with joy as she lowered the beetle inside of its brown boat onto the moss. Digging into the pliable floor, Lenora planted the seedling beside the beetle and sat down beside it.
“I’ll never leave you,” Lenora whispered to the beetle as it turned on its back and crossed two of its legs over its abdomen and two behind its head. Beside it, the seedling grew and grew and Lenora closed her eyes in contentment.
They came to dance with the stones. Drums found the unheard rhythm of the mother beat, opening the sacred veins. Above, ravens circled the moon, full behind a mist that would soon part. Even the children were unafraid. Perhaps even more so than their elders, for they were closer to the thinning veil. The air, stirring the tide into spring, was cool, but the fires burned with heat.
They arranged themselves by order of birth. Those closest to the womb found the center and those nearest death, the edges, but the dance wove them together. Feet weaving the grid of the hidden lines, as the energy rose into the opening. And with it rose their song and the mist, which parted upon the sigh of the wind. One last breath and all was silent as night unveiled the path to the stars.
Time collapsed into dimension and space revealed no separation as one tiny hand reached through the veil to welcome them all home.
In the land filled with shadows hope slipped behind the clouds as the light receded. The great womb of the sea felt the hollow, pulsing the dull ache of emptiness. “What have we done?” the lonely souls called into the wind. Long ago they had given up a reply, but something was different about today. The breeze felt softer on their skin, like a mother’s caress, urging. It brought the scent of honey to their lips. “How can it be?” they wondered.
Resigned necks lifted tired heads, and eyes sought answers from the sky. How long had it been since they had looked beyond the horizon? Above, gray clouds morphed into shapes deformed and grotesque. Yet still the eyes gazed above, transfixed, for the eyes were seeing themselves. “Do not look away,” the voice whispered through their minds, “you must see who you are and who you can become.”
And so they looked, following one scene of horror as it passed into another. And as they watched, the earth below began to shift. Above, the gray of hatred gave way to pain. Bruised and battered, the clouds turned violet-blue until sadness released the heaviness and tears began to drop upon the lifted faces. They trickled down naked arms and fell, one drop upon another, into the womb below. Heavy with need, Her water’s broke in release and the causeway lifted their bodies to be reborn.
Together, they shuttered and sighed as their lungs released the effort of holding back. And the sky above continued to change. Pink bloomed around the edges of violet as their hearts softened into harmony. One hand reached for another, and then another, until fingers laced a pattern of unity. The wind blew away the final wisp of gray and the mirror broke into blue and gold. A warmth that felt like wonder filled the land as joy slid from the golden rays of a sun long forgotten. Cells felt the memory of truth and began to dance the feet back to life.
For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt challenge #causeway.
The fairies began to spread the blue bells soon after the last footstep had departed. In the center of their forest, they heaved the torn limbs of an ash into a pyramid. Gaia sighed relief as they gathered around the remains of the fallen and began to dance, calling in the salamanders to light the pyre.
Orange flames sang through the night as the salamanders caressed the broken branches. Sparks of light rose to taste the darkness, only to be caught on the tongues of the sylphs as they wove the invisible threads into a star.
Water arrived to collapse the flames, pouring down from the clouds to hydrate the hungry land. Undines rode the raindrops to the pyre, collapsing the flames. Out of the shadows, the columns of light appeared to take their places.
The lines of the hexagram glowed golden as the elements joined through dimensions, uniting the above to the below, and the ground began to rumble with life. The dragon was awake.
Hope took a deep breath and inhaled the sky. Fear slid behind her into the recesses of Night as New Day slipped over the land. A land long-troubled by the burden of Misuse and Misunderstanding.
As she stood atop the hill, Hope thought about the green spreading over the barren patches of earth. A sense of wistful longing took hold of her heart and she smiled. It had been a long time since she had smiled. Even longer since she had laughed. Yet, beneath her feet, Hope now felt a tingling. The Earth was waking her children. It was subtle, but Hope knew it to be Life stirring through the Long Darkness.
Her veins began to hum a quiet song, and Hope new it to be Harmony.
Harmony had not been a part of Hope’s life before the breaking of New Day. She had lived a long time. A very long time. She had watched and waited. Her feet stumbling over Dissonance. Cracks in the landscape ever-widening, instead of rejoining. Before the New Day had dawned, Hope was starting to feel Despair in each footstep. Faith had become a long-lost friend and Hope knew only Loneliness.
And then the sky had changed its worn and tattered cloak of gray and dawned the New Day filled with the blush of pink and Hope felt that stirring to breathe deep and full its promise. If she had felt it. So would the others. Soon they would return. Coming out of their caves of Isolation to feel the stir of Harmony. And when they did Love would rekindle its fire and spark the Light of Unity in each heart.
Hope could hardly wait for the Dance of Life to begin.
For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt challenge, #wistful
I had a feeling Sue was going to post a photo that would align with what brought me out of sleep early this morning…
The men saw the mighty crown rising over the earth and raised their spears in ecstatic joy. “The land is ours to claim,” they yelled, walloping each other on the backs. “Let us go now, before others find what we now see.”
So they set off, gathering their women and children, their knives and axes, and whatever provisions their horses could hold. They waited until night, carving a path through the land with their footsteps and scythes, oblivious in their revelry that they were walking the path of stars.
They arrived before dusk, to an eerie mist hovering over the stones. One man shuddered. Another gasped. It was the wee child, barely three years of age, who spoke what they were all thinking, “They look like teeth.”
And so they did. The crown, that seemed to shine golden in the light of the sun, now appeared as fearsome fangs. Monstrous in their size, the teeth pierced the mound of earth, rose above the mist, and circled the moon.
Only the women remained quiet. There was no need for them to speak. What they knew to be truth had stirred the embers of their hearts. Soon, they thought as one, the reckoning will begin.
Her spirit lingered above the water to watch it carry the remains of her body back to the Great Mother. Along the banks her people drummed to the rhythm of Earth and she could feel their love soar into the currents of the wind. She waited with them, in silent reverence to feel the pulse of the flow one more time between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead.
High above, nine ravens circled her beloved stones. She felt their presence and a pull of longing to sit once again in the place of the Seer. One by one they had left their gifts in the small hollow of her stone. Three black feathers and a turquoise stone. Now they soared in watch. Sealing the magic she had left behind. Below, a ring of white flowers lay like stars upon the trodden ground.
She had known death would bring peace, but she could not know how much she would long to return. Her body, already breaking apart to the elements as the water carried it home, was no longer hers. Yet she knew the stones held her secrets for those who would travel to them through the pull of the heart. Here they would sit, as she had done so many times, leaning against the stone to feel the circle. Some would close their eyes to see. Their bodies finding the pulse inside the rock would hear her voice. And, when they left, she would go with them through her beloved land.