Kian and Aidan

 

 

Nizwa_Fort-Weavings_(1)

 

Late fall passed into early spring. Jimbo finished the cabin and moved in before the first snowfall. “Cozy as a bug in a rug” was Aidan’s comment. Rustic, cozy, and “just Jimbo’s style.”

Things had returned to normal for nearly everyone. Only Owen experienced anything “weird.” He had been walking through town when he spotted Kian with deep black hair, the kind of black that reflected blue in the moonlight. He called after her, but the woman disappeared around the corner. Seconds later, he rounded that same corner, but the woman was gone.

Perplexed, he called Kian that same evening to ask why she had ignored him like that. Kian only said, “You must be seeing things. My hair is still red.”

A doppelganger was Jimbo’s explanation. Aidan just shrugged and said, “Now if it was Raven with red hair I would worry.” The incident was forgotten.

Work on the Book of Knowings continued at a slow pace. Tied up in Washington DC, Aidan could only get away on weekends. It was then that he and Kian poured through the Book, but it was all mundane—births, deaths, years of drought, years of plenty.

Finally bored with the everyday, Kian decided to search further back and randomly chose a page for Aidan to translate. But he could not. Both language and alphabet were unknown even to his cadre of experts. So Kian decided to do what she had done as a child. She took the page in her hands and let the vision come. It was a long tale about a Weaver’s Box.

The first part of The Weaver’s Box will be presented next week.

 

Photo attribution:     By Ji-Elle (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Book of Knowings: Hermes and the Gift of Writing

Aksamitova_brána,_v_mlze-fog.jpg                   Photo by Juandev (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons                    (Faded out for effect)

She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. Each flame was different and she wondered what this one would bring. Her eyes softened their vision and she reached out to cup her hands around the candle itself. Cool, it was, cool and smooth, like precious white stone, only softer. The flame flickered then flared and dipped to the right, calling her attention back. As she stared, the flame grew more intense, expanding its light now until the corona filled the entire cave. Ah, yes, it was happening, that old familiar floating sensation. She allowed her eyes to grow softer still and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions.

Fog, there was fog all around me. Had I become lost in this land of ever-being? Stumbling, I move forward. Searching…searching….why had I been sent here?

 

The fog swirled and then resolved into shapes. In the distance I saw a tree rough but welcome. I grabbed at it and held on, trying as best I could to anchor myself in this reality—wherever it was.

Below me in the valley, a man passed by. He wore ragged furs about his waist; he was not imposing but rather cautious and timid. Was he, too, lost in this dismal mist-shrouded land? I followed him, keeping my distance lest he see me. For I knew not of what moral code he was made nor what psychic talents he might have.

He came to a rough dwelling of sorts, a cave that smelled of human life crudely lived. There were others with the same tattered furs, matted hair, and callused knurled feet wrapped in a mud-caked imitation of shoes.

One woman knelt by a cooking fire. She snorted, nodded, and the man sat beside her. He tore a joint from the roasting carcass on the spit, the grease dripping down his fingers and hands. She did the same and with dirty fingers, tore off a small piece of the dripping flesh. She shoved it into the mouth of a small naked child huddled next to her.

Why this thought came to me, I do not know, but as I watched the grease running down her fingers, I thought she would have no need of hand cream. She wiped her filthy hands on her protruding belly.

I heard a voice beside me. “What would happen if I gave them writing?”

Fleet-footed Hermes stood beside me.

“Do they even have language?” I asked, for all I had heard were grunts and nods.

“After a fashion,” he replied eyeing me with his usual grin. “But, they have less than 100 words among them all. And that includes their names. So, what would happen if suddenly they had writing?”

“Well, if only a small number of them had writing, I suppose they would be as gods, as goddesses, as wizards. Their secret marks would not be understood by the others. It would seem like magic. Like using magic symbols.”

I thought for another minute. “Or those who knew the secret marks would engender suspicion. Devil marks. Writing might be seen as devil marks. Then there would be fear. We often destroy what we do not understand and it might be the same with this new secret of communication.”

“But what if I gave then ALL writing?”

“ALL of them? Some would not know the gift you gave, for they have need of the lesson of hardship and the ever grinding out of a day-to-day existence.

“But some of them? It would change their lives, I think. They would no longer be content to live this minimal reality. Writing would open up something more for them.

“I cannot imagine a world without writing. It gives us ideas, concepts, an impetus to THINK. And the distances our thoughts can travel when we have writing. Think how far forward our thoughts can go—and how far back we can know the thoughts of others. Think what we can convey to others who live far, far away.

“With writing they would know so much more than the dismal lands through which I have traveled. And they would ban together in a different way, spend their time pursuing ideas and…well, culture. Something more….civilized,” I said. “They would not be content to rip meat at an open fire and shove it into their open mouths. And then they would have need of other things—like hand cream,” I said smiling at my own joke.

“Watch,” Hermes replied.

Just then man ran into camp, calling out in guttural speech. Six other men gathered around as the runner pointed to the woods from which he had just emerged. He made a fierce gesture and a loud snarling sound. The women cringed back in fear. Then he made a wide gesture with his hands.

“They only know two words for counting,” Hermes explained. “’One’ and ‘many’ which means two or more. But to know how many enemies is a crucial question. Two they can go out and defeat. But if there are ten, then they are outnumbered and need to defend themselves from a safer place.”

There was much gesturing and grunting for the men did not have the words to convey the information needed. Then one of the men, an elder, picked up a stick and pointed to each man in their small group, making a line in the dirt as he moved from man to man. After that he drew the figure of a man.

The man who had raised the alarm then took the stick and drew four lines in the dirt, one for each man he had seen. He then drew a stick figure of a man holding a club. As an after thought, he drew the other weapons the enemy carried.

“When they creep up on their enemy, they will have another advantage,” Hermes told me. “Instead of grunting their strategy at the risk being heard, they will write it with crude signs in the dirt.

“Soon they will learn to leave signs for each other to convey important information, where they have gone and what they are doing. The elders will write of their triumphs, not with pictures, but with more efficient symbols that will be passed on through time.

“It will be millennia, but one day I will teach them to make symbols for sounds and then writing will become even more efficient. The world will change. There will be scribes of high status and their hands will be soft and delicate, I think. But it will not be from the dripping grease of a roasting boar.”

With that, Hermes faded, as did the scene before me and I was back staring at my candle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of Knowing: The Burden Bundle

 

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. Each flame was different and she wondered what this one would bring. Her eyes softened their vision and she reached out to cup her hands around the candle itself. Cool, it was, cool and smooth, like precious white stone, only softer. The flame flickered then flared and dipped to the right, calling her attention back. As she stared, the flame grew more intense, expanding its light now until the corona filled the entire cave. Ah, yes, it was happening, that old familiar floating sensation. She allowed her eyes to grow softer still and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions.

This vision was darker than others, not what she wanted to see, yet there was truth in it.

 

The old woman carried her burden heavily upon her back. Stooped she was, stooped and worn with the long trek seeking a place of refuge for her and her people.

It had been a struggle—should they stay at the deep cave that had sheltered them from the scorching flares of the sun, or should they move on, looking for a place that had not been ravaged by the sun’s relentless fire. But then what little provisions they had ran out and there was no choice. Move on or starve. So now they trudged on, looking for a place they never could find.

The earth about the old woman was charred. Stumps of once mighty and ancient evergreens smoldered at her feet. Here and there a flame broke free, seeking any tiny bit of unburned vegetation. The smoke, acrid still, rose in tendrils about her.

Still she trudged on, more for the children in her keeping than for herself. Children? No, what they had seen had robbed them of childhood. Though still young in body, they were adults now and scoured the forest floor for the burnt flesh of animals left behind by the raging fires. Soon, even that would run out—or rot—and then what would they do?

When the rains came, they took what water they could from the skies. Scavenging, they looked for jars to store the rain water as the streams had all dried up. But, like the stone walls of their forts, they had all melted in the furious blasts from the sun. Vitrified, that’s what the potters would have called it. The world was burnt and vitrified. The children wept but had no tears to give, so parched were their shrinking bodies.

And still the stooped Sister trudged on, her woven burden bundle the only color in the dreary landscape. But even that was turning grey from the endless soot.

Inside her bundle she carried the sacred objects of her people. Inside her head, she carried their sacred knowledge. This was what carried her forward. That sacred knowledge must not be lost.

One by one, the children faded away and still the Burden Sister trudged on until she, too fell into the Mother, no longer able to move. She sent her love deep down in sorrow for the Earth Mother, now charred and lifeless.

But she had not passed on her burden.

When finally her breath gave out, some ghostly core of her rose up and watched as her body moldered into the ground. And then even her bundle was gone.

But the knowledge of the wise ones she kept inside, and so her spirit turned and continued trudging forward, looking for someone to take that burden from her.

So, in this vision, I called my thoughts after her, “How can we help you?”

A glimmer of recognition crossed her face. “Sister,” she said as she put down her bundle. “Look for us in your candle. Ask us and we will tell you of the old ways. Save the old ways. There is much good in them.”

And then a Light shone from the north and Sister was gone, but her Burden Bundle remains with me still.

 

 

Note: No blog again next week–this time enjoying family time!

 

Book of Knowings: The three gifts of Melchizedek

800px-Bee-apis.jpgPhoto by Maciej A. Czyzewski available under GNU Free Documentation License

She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions. Sometimes what she got was so strange, she could barely understand it. Yet those were the visions most true:

“The Solstice is not now what it was then. Then the sun was so close you could almost touch it. We called our sun Naireo and because of the Light he gave, we honored him but not as the life-giver you know. We honored him as the Light-giver for his illumination was so strong, he lit even the darkest places.

 “We did not know that one day an asteroid would come crashing down upon us and we would be tossed off our little planet in the sky, raining our gifts upon you.

After that the images tumbled a bit and she had to remove her censor, the one that told her this made no sense. Then the face of an insect appeared and after a bit more tumbling, this is what she got:

“Our sun is so close, we must live underground in what you would call the daytime. I am the Guiding One, a Guardian of sorts, a Priest of Malik Zadok and these are his three gifts to you.”

She watched as small beings, more insect than mammal scurried about. Or perhaps they were another form altogether, she did not know.

“During the day my beings lived underground to escape the harmful rays of the sun. They ate a fungus that grew there, nourishing our bodies. They gathered the stalks of this fungus and held them together as you and your kind hold together the wisdom from the knowledge we brought to you. This was one of my gifts, food for a growing consciousness.

“By night, as one, my beings filed out of their cave and one-by-one were turned onto their back so that they could absorb what moisture was there. There was no darkness, but a glow filled the skies, a Light of sorts formed as the sun radiated back due to the gases of the planet. This Light they absorbed, too. They were a community and had what can only be described as One Mind so what one experienced, they all experienced.  

“Each night, some of their number stayed upright to guard the others. Then as the first rays of the sun Naireo appeared, these guardians turned their companions right side up so that, as one, they may file back into the cave and give some of the moisture, some of the Light to the funguses that grew there. In this way they were all of service, one to another. And that was my second gift to you, service.

“Because the fire within and without their cave was so hot, these tiny being developed an armour that would not burn. It protected them from the fires of their world and when those fires grew too high within the cave, these beings covered their life giving fungus with their bodies, protecting them. That armour was my third gift to you for you see consciousness and Light are one energy and it cannot be destroyed. And just as their armour protected them, so your conscious awareness protects you from the annihilation of the Light until such time as you are ready transform with it. Then you may burn with the Light without being consumed.

She watched as the voice faded and then she saw it, an asteroid crashing into an infant planet, one where life was only beginning just as it was dying on the hot planet of the Guiding One.

The life forms, dormant within the hard rocky shell of the asteroid burst forth in the salty waters of their new home. The waves splashed upon them washing away the armour which would become the template for asbestos in this new world.

Over millennia, the insect-like beings sprouted wings and formed new colonies but always they carried the Light.

The fungus grew and re-formed as plants will until they grew into tall stalks of wheat to sustain the other beings that would come to be. These beings would gather wisdom just as they gathered the wheat to sustain themselves. But always there was the memory that the gifts were from Malik Zadek, a consciousness that emanated from a Primal Being without form and without end.

 

Note: According to esoteric lore, Melchizedek brought three gifts from Venus, wheat, asbestos and the honeybee.  Reality? Allegory? Or could it be the pre-cursors did come tumbling from Venus. We know that the building blocks of life may have fallen out of the sky on comets and other space debris. So what if….?

 

 

 

Book of Knowings

There have been many crossing to the New World by those seeking refuge. And there have been many Arks–boxes to hold strong secrets. The following is the Prologue to a novel I wrote but is not yet published:

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. Each flame was different and she wondered what this one would bring. Her eyes softened their vision and she reached out to cup her hands around the candle itself. Cool, it was, cool and smooth, like precious white stone, only softer. The flame flickered then flared and dipped to the right, calling her attention back. As she stared, the flame grew more intense, expanding its light now until the corona filled the entire cave. Ah, yes, it was happening, that old familiar floating sensation. She allowed her eyes to grow softer still and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions.

 

I, Ainan, Chief Guardian of the Ark, watched as Kyann, my priestess-wife, stared into the candle flame. “M’Lady, what do you see?”

“Our enemies have been blown off course,” she replied. “But the storm comes our way. We must prepare.” She stood with a stately grace and shook back her long auburn hair. “Get me the Ark. We need a weather-working.”

There were eight of us in the small below-deck cabin of the ship. Fear was heavy upon us, and I watched Yonos put his muscular arms around his wife Miryan before kissing her head gently. Gryffud reached for the hand of his wife to move closer. Ka’morion stood alone, deeply saddened for having lost his wife in our escape. Only tall lanky Oron, barely old enough to shave, stood apart staring at the floor.

I retrieved the Ark from under the small bed that served my priestess-wife and I.

As I set it gently on the small table, Oron spoke, tears rolling down his face. “M’Lady, it will not work.”

Kyann stared at her brother. “What do you mean?”

“I have used the Ark to bring the storm to our enemy. Now it cannot be used to stop it. I am sorry, I only wanted to send our enemy far from us.” Never looking up, he staggered up the steps toward the deck.

“How could you make magic that would hurt another?” Ka’morion shouted after Oron, pounding his beefy fist onto the small table. “You know it only comes back in kind! You know there is always a price to pay!”

But Oron was gone.

Our small ship started to jerk roughly. The pounding waves were mounting more of their fury against us now. One hit broadside as Kyann grabbed the table for support. Whether from shock at what her younger brother had done, from the fury of the waves, or whether from fear, I could not tell.

Then even stronger waves smashed into the ship. The boards creaked and groaned. Water splashing upon the bow trickled down into the cabin.

“I did not tell you all I saw,” Kyann then admitted. “There is more disaster to come.”

She told us she had seen us paddling our coracles—our life boats—on the open sea, our pursuers not far behind. With her voice rising, she shouted over the sound of the raging sea. “Our ship will be crushed. We must prepare for the worst.”

The bile ran strong into my throat, but I could show no fear, I knew that. Instead I asked, “Do we destroy the Ark, M’Lady?”

“No, I have a different plan.”

Kyann held the Ark gently in her hands. As designated Keeper of the Ark, she removed the two wings from the kneeling forms. “Miryan, you take these. Without them the Ark cannot be opened. You and Yonos take the smaller coracle and try to make your way south. We are not far from land, maybe two days. The rest of us will take the other coracle and go north if we can. Our only hope of saving the magic within this Ark is to separate the keys from it.”

At that point, tears streamed from Miryan’s eyes. “Kyann, I cannot leave you. Yonos and I are sworn as your Guardians.”

“You are the Ark’s guardians. Not mine.” Kyann kept her voice steady and calm. “And you have a duty. We will meet on shore when it is safe. But if I am captured, run and hide the wings. Do not try to save me. Do you understand your duty?”

“Certainly, M’Lady.”

I could see Miryan’s vexation as she silently wrapped the two wings into a dark silk cloth and tucked them in her ample bosom.

“Yonos, I charge you as Miryan’s Guardian. She is a Keeper until wings and Ark can be re-united. Do you understand your duty?”

“I do, M’Lady.”

I will not lie. Though we kept our manner and bearing strong, there was fear and dread in all our hearts. Had we come this far only to lose the magic of the Elementals to our enemy—an enemy that would use it for selfish means?

Moments later a huge wave smashed into our small ship tilting it sideways and knocking us all about. Then the groaning boards snapped and torrents of water poured in from above.

“Hurry,” Kyann said as she rose and shoved the Ark into its ebony box. “Let us save what we can of this day. Miryan, have no fear. If we do not find one another on the shore, the Great Mother will reunite wings and Ark again one day.” Then she added, “Tell your children that.”

With that, Kyann placed the Ark in a pack and strapped it to her back.

As we struggled up the steps toward the deck and into the pounding storm, waves continued crashing into our small ship and we desperately held on, calling out all the while to Oron, but he never answered.

With the help of Ka’morion, Gryffud, and Yonos, I managed to untie the coracles and just as we all started to climb in, another monstrous wave hit. How we were not crushed by our ship, I do not know. Instead we found ourselves in the raging sea trying to get to the wildly bobbing coracles. Yonos managed to push Miryan into one before climbing in himself. The rest of us somehow reached the second coracle. I took the helm, allowing our small boat to ride the waves rather than fight them, praying all the while that we would survive.

We never saw Miryan, nor Yonos, nor the wings again.

And now as the sun sets on our aging forms, we and our children continue to pray that they are alive and somewhere safe. What happened to them, we do not know.

Signed: Ainan, Chief Guardian- Book of Knowings,

12000 years before present

Book of Knowings: The Roman Grave

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions. They swerved and swirled before her until, finally she saw……

 

The sun no longer warmed the air and the priest and priestess often awakened cold and shivering. The priestess held her wee Boudicca close sharing warmth with her newborn. She wondered how they would survive the long winter to come.

The native people who had helped with the birth stayed. They gathered wood and hunted, adding to the stockpile the priest had already accumulated for the long winter; their help was appreciated.

In the evening they shared the warmth of a fire on the beach, but at night the priest and priestess entered their shelter under the coracle while the native people spread the embers of the fire in a long pit and buried it with dry sand. There they slept for the night, warm under a pile of furs and the next morning they would dig up the glowing coals to start a new fire. The priestly couple marveled at the ingenuity of it, but they knew it would not be enough when the snows fell. So they kept to their shelter finding ways to keep out the draft and keep each other warm.

One early morning just as the frost was melting off the land, the priestess called to her husband. “Look,” she said as she pointed to one of the native women writing with charcoal on birch bark. “Do you recognize it?”

“Yes,” the priest replied. “It is the script of the ancient Pharaohs. I learned it at the Serapeum as a young lad.”

“When you were sent to the lands of your Tuatha De ancestors? Tell me again.”

“Yes, it was the Storms of Thoth blew my ancestors to the land the cursed Romans call Scotia. It is the same storm, I think, that blew me to you and has now brought us to this new land, this new Scotia.”

“I love that story,” she replied.

The priest gave his wife a gentle kiss on the head and then took a step closer and looked over the woman’s shoulder. 

“What does it say?” his priestess asked.

“She speaks of us, how they found us, and of the birth a special girl-child. She writes it was omens brought them here.”

The priest picked up a stick then and made symbols of his own in the sand—Egyptian hieroglyphics the native woman understood. She drew more symbols then and called to her companions.  

“These people know the writing of the Pharaohs better than I do, I think,” the priest said as he puzzled over a few of her glyphs. “But this will do.” 

“Ask her about our people. Do they know of people who have come in ships?” 

The priest scratched out his question as best he could. “E’e,” the native man called Kal’boo replied. Then he drew the symbol for dangerous.

“Take me,” the priest wrote.

The two native men conferred, argued, but finally agreed. Kal’boo wrote the symbols for, “tomorrow, one day trip,” before he once again made the symbol for dangerous.

And so the next morning the two native men set off with the priest just as the sun was rising. They hiked across the island to the far shore before Ka’boo stopped and motioned to the priest and his companion. “Toqwe’gig,” he said and the priest knew he was to stay there.

Ka’boo took off, crouching as he went. He crested the hill and then crept forward on his belly. Minutes later he returned and motioned the priest forward.

When the priest crested the hill, he, too, knew this place to be dangerous. Not twenty feet in front of him, he saw a grave marker and on it was a Roman sword, a helmet, and a single coin to pay the fallen soldier’s passage across the River Styx. The ground was too rocky to draw out the glyph for enemy, but the priest’s companion seemed to understand. Ka’boo pointed to the bay below and with his gestures indicated that many ships sailed this way and that they must leave now, before they were discovered.

When the three men returned to camp, the snows had just begun to fall.

“You look upset, my husband. What has happened?”

“The Romans have been here. We found their grave. They travel up and down this island. We must leave this place and leave now. Before they find us.”

“But where will we go? We cannot leave with the snows beginning, not unless the people we seek are very close.” The priestess picked up a stick then and drew a picture in the sand. It was of a boat and of women standing as they had for millennia to greet the Great Mother.

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One of the women, the one called Amu, understood the picture. She smiled, nodded, pointed to the south and drew another glyph.  

“What does she write?” the priestess asked.

“It says that we would have to walk for a moon cycle and more to find this sign. And then who knows how much further to find our people.”

Amu spoke to Ka’boo and he stepped forward then, pointed to the west, and drew two suns in the sand. Then he pointed to the priest and priestess and motioned for them to follow him across the channel and into the forest beyond.

Amu took the priestess’s hand and smiled before drawing more glyphs in the sand.  

“She says that you are her Sister of the Sacred Flame,” the priest explained, “and we will be safe with them. She says when the spring comes they will take us south.”

That evening the priest and priestess packed what little they had in the coracle. The priest hefted it on his back like a pack. “I praise the gods that they taught us the art of making the coracle for it is truly a boat, a shelter, and a pack, all in one. I only wish we’d found a bigger one for the ocean voyage. But this one serves us well, I think.”

That night they slept under soft furs, the sand below warm from the glowing coals buried beneath them. And the next morning they took off with their new friends to winter in the Mi’Kmaq village. 

 

 

For evidence of Roman presence in the land of the Micmac and surrounding areas:

http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/unraveling-origins-roman-sword-discovered-oak-island-005112

http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/roman-sword-discovered-oak-island-radically-suggests-ancient-mariners-020663

 

For theories about the Tuatha De Danann and an Irish-Egyptian connection:

http://www.ancient-origins.net/opinion-guest-authors/thoth-s-storm-new-evidence-ancient-egyptians-ireland-005187?utm_source=Ancient-Origins+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2e95127c19-Top_Trending_Stories_Jan_No3_REAL_18_01_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dcd13de15-2e95127c19-74645365

 

Book of Knowings: A girl-child is born

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions.

The woman cried out in pain. When the contraction eased, he watched as his priestess tried once again to shift the head of their unborn baby. Why had the Great Mother spared her the journey across the sea only to have her die in childbirth on this lonely forsaken island?

Kneeling beside her, he mopped her brow. It was cold outside their make-shift shelter, but the upturned coracle placed over the crag in the rocks held the warmth of their bodies close. If only the baby would come. But for that to happen his priestess needed to turn the child and, alone, he was not sure she could.

 His priestess once again massaged her belly and tried to turn the girl-child inside. But once again, the baby slipped back around, positioning herself shoulder first at the womb’s opening to the world.

“Let me try,” her High Priest said. He imitated what his high priestess had done, but she screamed out in pain again.

“No, gentler,” she said, but he knew gentler would not help either.

As the hours passed, the woman’s screams grew fainter but the contractions grew stronger. “We have to try again,” he said but she turned her body away from him and seized up as another contraction took hold.

“It is no use,” she whispered when the pain had abated.

It was then light broke unto the darkness of their shelter and the priest turned to see the flap covering the entrance had been pulled back perhaps, by the wind. The mid-day sun was streaming in. Blinded by it, he crawled out to secure the flap once again, but felt himself grabbed by strong arms and hauled to his feet. The two native men who held him were dressed in leathers and had a fierce look about them. A third stepped forward and took the knife from his waist. What they said, he could not understand.

Two native women stepped forward then and the men shoved the priest aside so one of them could enter the shelter. Moments later the woman beckoned the second and, together, the women brought the priestess out and lay her on the ground before waving the men away.

But the priest would not budge. He stood staring as one of the women squatted, then propped his priestess up between her knees. The other woman began to massage his priestess’s belly. A contraction came and his priestess called out. The two women nodded to each other. Then they both took hold of the unborn child and deftly turned it around.

The priestess reached down to probe her belly and a faint smile crossed her face. “They are here to help,” she told her priest. “Leave us. We will be fine.”

He moved off then and collapsed exhausted onto the sandy shore as the native men gathered wood for a fire and set a battered iron pot on it. So tired was he that he did not think how they could have come by iron in this far-off land.  Instead, he watched as they boiled water, scooped it into gourds, and brought it to the two women.

And then he heard the cry of a baby—his baby and rushed back to his priestess.

Kneeling beside her he waited while the women covered his hands in yellow dust. “Hoddentin,” his priestess told him. “That is what they call it. I think it is a blessing.”

He picked up this daughter then and saw the baby had been blessed on her hands, feet, heart, and forehead with the same yellow powder. Then he watched as one of the women took some hoddentin on her fingers and placed a bit in the baby’s mouth.

One of the native men stepped forward. He took a rock and cradled it in his arms as if it was the baby. He turned to face the setting sun and lifted the rock to the sky. What he spoke, neither the priest nor the priestess understood, but they did know his meaning when he gestured for the priest to do the same.

As the priest lifted his daughter to the sky, the sun dropped below the horizon in a splash of glorious color, and the three native men said a prayer behind him.    

“Our daughter will be blessed in both our lands, I think,” his priestess told him as he handed the baby back to her. “Tonight I will present her to the Great Mother and our wee Boudicca will hear the sacred name of the Lady for the first time. We will call her Boudicca, right?”

He nodded. “Of course, my lady.”            

Book of Knowings: Autumn Equinox in the Time of Our Ancestors

 

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions. Snippets, the vision always came in snippets and this one was no different:

The woman sat in the boat, her belly growing fuller like the waxing moon. They needed to find land before the baby came. The coracle, the small leather-bound boat, was too small for even the two of them, and the idea of giving birth there was intolerable. Yet, it might be so.

They sat shrouded in the mighty waves of fog rolling past them. Through it they saw nothing but more endless waves of fog. No sky, no land. Where they were, they new not.

She dipped her hand in the salty water, so unnaturally calm. The vast ocean, it seemed, had fallen into a dark slumber.

Crouched between the legs of her Druid Priest who sat on the narrow seat behind her, she felt him gently stroke her head. “This fog will not last forever,” he assured her as she drifted off to sleep.

Her uneasy dreams were of her mother’s sister, Boudicca, slain in battle and of the sacrifice–three fold death her brother had willingly undertaken. He gave his life for the people, but it did not stop the invaders and so, as the last remaining woman of the sacred bloodline, she and her companion had taken to the road.

The Romans had been relentless to her people, but it was her they were after for she carried the next High Priestess in her body. Of that they and she were sure. The omens had told them so.

Her dreams turned to their flight across the British countryside, their pounding ride on the back of a horse, their escape into tunnels and caves, hiding, always hiding.

They had intended to find a sturdier boat when they cast off in the coracle barely an hour ahead of their pursuers, but high winds and violent seas tossed them further and further away from the shore. Until there was no return.

Her companion read the stars then, and they had used their one blanket as a sail when they tired of paddling.  They followed the ice flows and journeyed west toward the land they called “the Refuge of the Setting Sun.”

The rains had been good and they had collected the water, abundant enough this time of the year. But the dried meat had given out long ago and so they fished for what they needed. It was not pleasant eating the raw flesh and she hated watching as her companion killed the fish and scraped their scales back into the sea. But that was the way of the Mother—to give and take life when needed so that the next generation might live.

How long she slept she did not know, but the baby kicked and then she felt her priest, her companion stir.

“The stars are out,” he told her. “Look, it is the Hunter. See his belt and his blue dog star?” He pointed off in the distance. “That way. Can you paddle?”

“I can,” she said reaching for her oar. “Have we drifted too far back to the east?”

“I do not think so, but how far south we have gone, I do not know. Here, take the seat, I will kneel as we paddle.”

The waves picked up then, working with them now. They pulled on through the night and into the morning before her companion called a halt and pointed once again. “Do you see it?”

She strained her eyes and saw a dark patch on the horizon. Land she hoped and they pulled at their paddles once again, this time not caring that the pain of exertion tore at their shoulders and backs.

When she saw there were trees, she almost cried for the joy of it. But when she saw the waves crashing on the rocks, she grew anxious again. To wreck the boat now could spell their doom— even if their bodies survived, they needed the coracle to shelter them through the coming winter. Upturned it would be a secure roof over whatever they could fashion for a shelter.

“What do you foresee, my lady?”

She settled into her self and sent her senses out. “An island I think. It will be calmer on the other side. Follow the shore line. It will not be long now.”

“And the people Boudicca spoke of?”

“There will be a sign there, I think. An inscription in the rocks.” She opened her eyes and saw the sun was past its zenith. She prayed they would sleep on solid ground that night.

The sun had not yet set when they spotted a narrow channel leading to the far side of the island. The tide was with them and they came to a narrow beach. Her companion eased himself over the side and found footing. He guided the boat onto the pebble strewn shore and safety.

When she stepped from the boat, her legs threatened to buckle beneath her. How many months had it been since she had stood? It took a moment to catch her balance again. But when she did, she looked to the west across the narrow channel and saw land that was vast and fertile.

She boldly faced that land and, palms together, she pushed them forward and out from her forehead and then swept them apart. “I open my eyes, seen and unseen, to you, Great Mother. Welcome us.” Then she repeated the gesture at her chest, “I open my being you Great Mother. Protect us.” Finally, she repeated the gesture at her womb, “I bring this new life to you, Great Mother. Open the way for us.”

Then she turned and faced the direction from which they had come and repeated her small ritual, but in silence this time. When she had finished, she held her hands at her heart, “May we remember our past, may the old ways be preserved, may the knowledge pass down through our children until it is time to bring it into the world again.”

The last rays of the sun sank below the horizon. She turned to see her companion working his way down the shore gathering driftwood for a fire, one that would be welcome after so many cold nights in the boat.

Out of his earshot now, she raised her arms to the sky in celebration and sang the Mother’s name, the secret name that was tens of thousands of years old, the name only the priestesses knew. The name she would one day teach her daughter. 

The Book of Knowings

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She sat staring at the flame, as had her mother before her, and her grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers for countless generations before them. She allowed her eyes to grow softer and then she saw it, the dark tunnel that brought the Visions, the fragments from the past. This is what she saw:

In the time of tribulation when the earth stumbled and spun upon itself, the young woman gazed into the valley below, knowing what she had found—a home for herself and her adopted people.

 As she stood there, the fierce winds whipped at the warm furs wrapped around her thin woven shift. Her brother, Samus, put his arm around her. “You have done well. The Sight has not abandoned us altogether, I see.”

 She smiled. They were the last of their people to survive the journey from their sunken lands to the East. A dozen or so had made it to this wild shore. Now only a very few were left. They would marry into the people who had taken them in. Otherwise their line, their heritage would be forgotten. Mageon could think of a couple of men she fancied. Samus had already taken a bride and had a son.

 “We will put up stone shelters and cover them with earth. When the rock storms come from the sky, we will be safe there,” she told her brother. “The storms will not last forever, I think. One day the earth will find her balance and there will be peace again.”

 The thunderbirds, taller than a man and with wingspans to match, had followed the people west. But they, too, had diminished in number. When the rocks fell from the sky, it was hard for birds so huge to survive. Many had crashed to earth and died there. Now only a very few old ones flew overhead and Mageon wondered if the generations to come would even remember to celebrate the wonder of them. And so she decided to spin yarns to teach her daughters and, in this way, the majesty of the birds would live on, if only in legend.

 In the months that followed, the chambers were built. Stones were piled high, sometimes around dirt mounds to hold the corbelling in place. It was a technique known to the tribe that had adopted them, a technique adapted from building snow chambers, ones that had melted with the retreating of the ice sheets that once covered the land.

 It was the women who found the rocks for the walls of the chambers, choosing only the most beautiful. In the firelight, they sparkled, a suitable backdrop to the tales Mageon would tell her daughters so that they might not forget their past.

 The last stone–a large slab that would be the roof–was the heaviest and hardest to place. It was Samus who first fashioned sails from animal skins and tied them to these hulking stones. This Samus had learned by studying the dynamics of the thunderbirds. The fierce winds of the shifting planet quickly caught the animal skins and raised them toward the sky.  No longer a matter of lifting the rock, the men now had to hold them down and guide them into place.  

 Many shelters were made in this way, one for each family.

Then Samus’s medicine chamber was built. He chose the side of an earthen hill and fashioned a small window in the west so that the light of the setting sun would slip gracefully down one wall as it set on the two equal days of the year. With this, generations to come could track the seasons, knowing when it was time to plant the grains, to move out to hunt, but most of all they would know when it was time for the festivals that would balance the earth and keep her steady.

As an old man, Samus has one more task, to build a replica of his lost city so his sons and their sons would remember. Using fire and water, he shaped hard rock into crescents. These he placed in three concentric circles, each to represent a ring on the sunken isle that had once been home.

 If he’d had the right metals at hand, Samus would have lined each ring with the proper ore, making a coil that would…do what?

Old now, Samus’s memory was failing and he could no longer remember.