A boy’s voice, far in the distance.
“Do you even want to talk to me? Hellooooooo?!?!”
The image of the medicine wheels comes to mind, the one I made and created. I’m impressed to go retrieve it, and recount the events of last night – after the W left, and disappeared.
I return to the large, central fire ring in the woods. The sun was shining through the trees. The song of the mockingbird. The chirp of sparrows and small songbirds. The buzzing of a passing bee.
The distant cry of the falcon (or is it an eagle?)
I looked at the ashes from yesternight’s flames. Chalky chunks of little grey heaps.
Memories of last night’s fire begin to emerge into my awareness.
What was left undone?
And then I remember:
The Letter – “Cheat”
The Coin – “Liar”
I hear: “We shall make a fire and burn them before night falls.”
Who speaks? I look up and see a dark hooded figure. A man. A magician. (And a warrior?)
Who is he?
He stands between trees at a short distance away, looking at me… watching….
I leave the clearing to go fetch the coin, the letter, and the flame.
I return, carrying the fire.
I transfer the fire into and unto the hearth. I build up the wood around the small flame in bundles. The fire begins to catch and the smoke begins to rise, and the cracks and pops mix with the surrounding singing of the birds.
I looked up to where the hooded was previously standing.
He is nowhere to be found.
What transpired here last night?
“Deep magic,” came the answer from the hooded man, somewhere deep in the woods, somewhere I could not see.
And then I began to remember.
He called me to his cross, to speak with him. To bridge the connection following H.E.’s visit and lessons, and to point me onto the next.
Which he promptly did – and thus I created lots at his direction, coin-shaped stones with white painted on each side. And I cast them at his feet, just as he told me to, underneath his image and authority and consulting Wisdom for insight into the best course of action – as did the sailors, the soldiers, the disciples, and now I, with Him staring on and saying, “Ask the I Ching” – but not in those words.
What took place there?
What happened before?
And what did it lead to after?
I sat on the bench near the fire, reflecting on all this when I heard the man in the woods say, “It is time.” The song of the birds grew louder, and distant echoes sung in reply, only after the answers of other birds in the trees.
The flames leapt higher and snapped to attention.
“The Letter,” came the voice.
A pain and a screw (first, of sadness, and then of rage) and the woman returns – the Witch looks younger now, depleted and deflated, even; vulnerable, and wearing a loosely draped white undergarment.
She looks at me. There are tears running down her face, tracing paths across her dirt-stained cheeks.
I reach for the letter, and hold it up for her to see. The fire cracks and coughs in eager response and anticipation.
Is: You said you would not destroy me!
I: And I have not, nor could I, and nor will I by burning this.
Is: Will you take away EVERYTHING?! Is THAT the kind of GOD you are?I: I am not God. I am a mortal, and like you, but NOT. And nor are you God. But enough of this – this is a dance both of us can spar to for hours on end. I’d rather we got naked.
I: That’s right. Clothes off. No coverings, hidings, traps or tricks – let’s try Eden on and see how it feels.
Is: I’m game.
I: I’ll begin, then: See this letter? I remove her, and all things attached to her, from your uses any further. For it would please me far greater to gain the golden fruit from your doings here, and place this experience where it ought to be enshrined as a beautiful work of darkness, and bless YOU rather than her; for I can see that when I mistake HER for YOU, I become drunk and lost and therein I see the trap.
I: But, that is not my complaint (well, not any longer). Truly, I first want to say that you ought to be worshipped and admired for your genius and ingenuity. Incredible – your mind is, well, I don’t exactly have the words.
She stared at him, saying nothing, and he saw that he was trapped, and had been for some time now as he kept talking. For, in the midst of his discourse, the fire’s flames had begun to die, and the sun was now almost completely set, and the birds were all silent.
The wolf barked louder.
The eagle called.
“THE FIRE,” the hooded man called, watching on from the thick of the woods.
I quickly rose and ran to the outside wood shed near the blacksmith’s shop. I retrieved a stack of wood, and hurried back to the fire.
I quickly tossed them into the hearth.
The flames began to drink.
“Back to her,” he said. “And this time, use the wheel.”
I reach out and retrieve the wheel. It reverberates with energy and life. I place my thumb in the West and called to the dark black den of the bear.
The hooded man came up from behind. He placed his hands on my shoulders, and spoke into my left ear, whispering: “Open the bridges, and let us in, so that we may help; and You, remember.”
The air around me reverberated with his presence.
“Who are you?” I asked him, keeping my eyes forward and not seeing him not as he stood behind me. He replied: “One who serves the sword of the King.”
Tears filled my eyes as I heard him speak. I knew not many things and most; but I know my Master, and I felt my Master’s presence and assurance as he said the words, so much so that when I heard him speak his last sentence, I felt/heard him say it on the same somatic vibrational frequency as the one who says: “My sheep know my Voice.”
He spoke again. “You attach me far too much to your Old Man [H.E.]. I am not he. Nor am I Jesus, or any thing to be worshipped. Cease your attachments and listen, merely.”
I breathed and said, “I shall.”
“You do not have much time,” he said. “You give your mana away to too much – ‘too many rocks in your river’ as your Eagle says. I say to to you: Purge. PURGE them. Look at ALL. THAT. WOOD.”
I look and see the stacked piles of wood, ready for the fire.
The birds began clattering, chattering, talking amongst themselves.
The wolf had ceased barking.
The flames were dwindling.
I quickly repeat the replacement process. A small bundle. “Last one!” He warningly shouts as I retrieve a bundle of wood from the blacksmith’s shop.
Hurrying, I carry it back to the hearth.
I toss it in. The flames leap and grow. And the hooded man disappears.
She stands across from me, with the fire in the middle.
“I want no more games,” I tell her.
I lift the remaining letter.
“I carry this, and this experience forever with me in my world. For there, I – a mortal – carry the heart. And so, I return this to the flames, and thereby give it eternal life forever: a memory of heap and ash, and one I will honor and remember forever – for it has redeemed Me by itself being redeemed; for it contained a small kernel of gold, hidden deep within.”
And without hesitation or flinching or second-thought, I dropped the letter into the flames.
And I did not care to watch it burn, for my eyes were transfixed on her.
“You are not her. But you were within it all – the gold. I am not confused between the two any longer. And, in so doing, I see you, and I am yet desirous of you still –
She was amused.
W: laughing You are a fool. You sound like the old ones. And the young ones, in the oversized shoes of their fathers.
I: Come now. Sit closer to me. Listen.
And I conveyed to her the existence of rules and boundaries, and solicited our creating of a space and place and plain using the ability I have to thusly declare and create
W: Your rules
I: Not mine – I wish and will to create ours.
W: I’ve never done that before.
I: Nor I. But, being two who thus contain such powers creation –
W: Stop with that.
W: Alright. Yes. Tonight.
She adds before leaving:
W: And bring a beer.