On this brisk autumn morning, I find myself walking along the banks of a small, undulating river. I am on my way to the covenstead which is situated off in the distance atop a steep and wooded hill. Like a beacon of mystical energy it draws this old witch ever nearer, much like a moth is drawn to a bright light.
As I walk along I notice the small eddies of current that are formed as the river passes over unseen barriers lying just below its surface. And I think of how my son passed ever so quickly through this realm. And though his passing was brief, it made an everlasting ripple deep within my heart. Seconds later I notice a Crane standing in the water just ahead of me. His deep yellow eyes are gazing intently at me. Standing on one leg in the fashion of a wise old shaman he exhibits a patience that is not of this world. For a moment I experience a bittersweet memory of a father and his son. As a father I think of what may have been, but then as a pagan I realize that he is with the Sacred Mother and such is a moment worthy of joy. And so I look at the Crane, keeper of the Gate to other worldly realms, and I nod in a manner of understanding and acceptance.
As I walk further along, a bronze colored bass erupts from the depths of the quiet river, droplets of water are scattered all about as he casts himself into the air, and then he returns to his natural element with a loud plop.
And I ponder on how humans will on occasion leave their natural element by way of astral projection, casting themselves into the ethereal waters before returning to their bodies. And I wonder when we project in such a manner do we also make ripples in the spiritual ocean that lies all about us?
Or are our comings and goings from the physical plane to the astral plane and back simply insignificant. Is our sense of self importance greater then the sum of the Great Mysteries which lie just beyond our own limited awareness? Or is there a greater reality that we have yet to understand?
When we walk the path of paganism are we seeking these absolute truths or simply hoping to confirm our own sense of truth as we currently know them to be?
Up ahead there is a large boulder situated in the middle of the river, the Meditation rock as it is known. Though, its real name has long since been lost in antiquity. Over the eons, many a seeker has perched atop its smooth façade, each one engrossed in thoughts on the complexities of life, thus creating a nemeton extending back into the mists of time.
Here, as each child of the Ancient Ones sit and contemplate, they leave a bit of their spirit in this special place, thus resulting in a chain of energy without a beginning or an ending. Is not such action the true meaning of lineage?
For man, is naught but a passing moment, whereas the energy imbedded within this magical boulder has always been and will always be.
Just in front of this stoic boulder is a small water falls. Gaily providing a natural symphony of complex sounds, a backdrop to the sounds of nature that provide a plethora of stimuli to the enquiring senses.
How often I wonder does humankind become deaf to such offerings in favor of the un-natural sounds and grating notes that make up our insular world. Have we become tone deaf to the songs of nature? Have we forgotten how to dance with the Sylphs and to sing with the Undines? Have the ancient odes of the Dryads become forgotten memories?
Such sage wisdom is paramount to our spiritual growth, if lost by the hand of man, oh what shall we do, and what shall we do?
As I near the foot of the hill I can see waves of energy emanating from its crown. And I think of all of the seekers over the ages whose footsteps I now follow as I begin the climb. Each being, drawn to the crest in an effort to be that much nearer to the rising of the sun and the setting of the moon. Such is a moment in time when humankind is as one with the Ancient Ones. For our sacred Father and Mother, rise up to cast their warm rays of love, over the shadow of their adoring children. For a moment I lose my breath in anticipation of such an exhilarating moment.
As I continue the arduous climb up this steep hill, the wind begins to gently swirl about. To my left is an old Elm tree with three mysterious holes within its worn trunk. As the wind undulates through these holes a sound of times long past begins to form. As it sends forth its forlorn song, I begin to have visions of hunter/gatherers migrating through these lands. And their sense and respect of Spirit touches my soul in ways beyond description.
I stop for a moment and reflect on my personal understanding of Spirit, only to realize and thus appreciate that this brief experience has served to expand ever so slightly my own small knowledge of such a deep and encompassing subject.
And so with a sigh of acceptance I climb the last several hundred yards to the top.
Here upon the crest, overlooking the gentle river below, is situated the covenstead. Just prior to walking between the upright staves, marking the entrance to such sacred grounds, I take a moment to reflect on the gifts of this day. I silently give thanks for the opportunity to experience life in this realm as a witch. And with that I step into the covenstead where I am immediately caught up by the waves of energy created by those who have gathered here in times past, in honor of the Sacred Ones.
As I slowly descend to one knee I reach out and place my hands upon the womb of Gaia. A sense of grounding and contentment rises up through my arms and completely envelopes me; it is at this moment that I know that I have finally returned home. As I stand back up I begin to twirl about, deosil, deosil, deosil I turn. And then I fall back to the earth, for it is from the earth we come and to the earth that we shall return.
As I lay there laughing without restraint, I think to myself, what more can a witch ask for on a brisk autumn morning?