Thea & Athena

Thea didn’t know if Athena was inside her or she was inside Athena. She’d come to this spot, this moment intentionally. This was not a take over or a walk in…. at least it wasn’t meant to be. Thea had been hearing Owl’s call to go deeper ever since her soul retrieval and her conversations with Owen, Molly and the others.

She’d been lying in bed at 4 am going over and over the psychic openings that were continuing to escalate. Thanks to help from her new friends, she was increasingly at ease with this opening up to a world that had at first seemed so alien. Literally. At the same time she was pondering all that she could be releasing that her protective, egoic side had in place to protect herself from just these openings. Her belly, the extra weight she’d been putting on ever since consciously beginning this journey. Well, and since menopause. She was never sure how much the two were inter-related but certainly the timing was synchronous. It was during “The Change” that she’d begun to put on padding. Shields. Shields against getting hurt…..

“Gonna lay down my sword and shield.” She heard the song beginning in her head. “Down by the Riverside.” Black history come to haunt. Generations of soulful singers. She’d heard the kids at Illahee sing it too. “Down by the Riverside….” Who carried a sword and shield?

Athena & Her Medusa Shield

A picture of the Greek warrior goddess popped into her mind’s eye. Athena. Thea’s mother’s family was from Greece so she had always been drawn to those stories and Athena in particular. Her long elegant neck. Her head capped by a helmet pushed back off her forehead such that it seemed like she had eyes on top of her head. Her shield that carried the image of Medusa’s head. Medusa, ancient Gorgon and crone, slain by Athena herself in a fury. Afterwards Athena had regretted her rashness so much that she vowed to carry Medusa’s image with its snaky hair on her shield. Thea had been revisiting this pair of goddesses lately, not the least because she was so drawn to snakes. The snake that turned up in her soul retrieval and a recent dream of snakes crawling over her shoe. She was actually thinking of letting her hair grow into dreads – those snakey locks that reminded her of her power to be whoever she wanted to be. Maybe they’d be a kind of antenna into other realms….

There were also indications that in pre-history Athena had originally been one of the black goddesses whose story had wandered north from Africa…. This, of course, appealed to Thea, poly-racial as she was. And the similarity of her name, as the women the other day had pointed out….

Suddenly Thea knew she needed to get up and go down to the stream flowing past the corner of her lot. Drizzly rain or no. A little trickle most of the year, yesterday afternoon it had been in full flood, about 2 feet wide and lapping at the stepping stones placed there once upon a time.

She pulled on sweats and her warm orange “power” ruana. As she stepped into her rubber boots, she spied a flat clay disc on the windowsill with a bas-relief of Medusa on it. Thea had fashioned it several weeks ago at the Full Moon. Now it seemed appropriate at the new moon for it to go to ground. “Down by the Riverside….” The song still floated in her head so she began to hum it.

She made her way along the path, flashlight in hand. “I suppose if I were a real outdoor girl, I wouldn’t need a flashlight.” She could hear the Goddess laugh in her head. “I don’t want to have to go pickin’ you up off them roots. I’m not responsible for your lack of night eyes or knowledge of the woods. You make full use of your flashlight, Girl. No heroics here. Or should that be heroine-ics?”

“I’ll be as heroic as I want to be, damn it. I’m out here aren’t I? And I’m happy to be a hero thank you. Heroine sounds too much like a love-sick maiden.”

Good for you,” Athena intoned. “You’re ready for me then. I like that spunk!”

Soon standing by the water, she felt the Goddess come more deeply into her. Or herself go into the Goddess. Kneeling, she set an imaginary sword by the bank. She could see it glowing there for a moment before she nudged it into the stream and watched it out of sight on its short path to the ocean.

Next she buried the disc. Earthy and real. “It’s here at my boundaries if I need it. But it’s out of sight and hopefully out of body and mind. No more need for shields.”

Thea wondered what Athena would give her in return for the disposal of the protective albatross she’d been lugging around for so long. Like Athena and many women of this time, Thea had thought she needed to compete with men at their own game, and she did well at that, jock and smarty-pants that she was. But now she could take off the shoulder pads donned only slightly more gracefully than protection at a Powder Puff football game. She’d been good at that sort of warrior play but there was no need any longer. She could shed her disguise and come out into the light of day. Wise Woman, Artist. Witch. The artist part she was comfortable with, of course. The other two she wasn’t so sure of…. “Uh oh. What have I let myself in for now?”

She listened for some sort of confirmation from the Universe. Athena herself… or at least the woods around her. But it remained quiet. And peaceful now. “Guess that has to be confirmation in itself,” she muttered as she headed back to the house and her warm bed.

Soul Retrieval

From: thea@nekelew.net

To: owen@nekelew.net

Subject: Soul Retrieval

Owen – I’m wondering if what I need is a soul retrieval. I have a feeling that there is something that massage, tarot and even my painting aren’t getting to. Ursula mentioned that you are experienced at shamanic journeying. Do you have time in the next week or so? Thanks, Thea

 

From: owen@nekelew.net

To: thea@nekelew.net

Subject: Re: Soul Retrieval

Sure. I miss doing that and something has been telling me I should be doing more. Would next Tuesday at 1 pm work for you? The house is usually quiet that time of day.

 

Sitka House where Owen lived was nestled into the valley at the base of the Mountain. Tall conifers the house was named for stood watch over the evergreen huckleberries bushes and salal. Once through an ornate wrought iron gate, Thea walked past a cheery kitchen garden that filled most of what used to be the front yard. It was still full of kale, chard, collard greens, onions and lots of herbs. She snagged a bit of parsley as she came through.

Coming closer, she could see clothes hanging from a line around the side of the house. Bicycles of various shapes and sizes were draped on the front porch, some hanging from the rafters but most leaning along the edge of it. A red canvas hanging chair swung invitingly. A half filled teacup beside a wicker loveseat showed evidence of recent use.

Once up the steps, she lifted the ornate doorknocker shaped like the Green Man just as Owen opened the door. “Welcome,” he said, “I saw you coming up the path. Did you have a nice walk over?”

“Lovely. I saw a doe nestled in the bushes just across the way. She sat calmly looking at me. So I saluted her and came on in.”

“Well, that’s a great omen,” Owen said smiling. “Deer is one of my Power Animals. They are such gentle creatures. She will be a good guide for us both on our Journey today.”

Once inside, Thea added her orange slip-on crocs to the neat shoe lineup at the door and followed Owen through the open communal living room and kitchen area. The house smelled of recently cooked onions and something else. Curry maybe. Cumin anyway. Everything was surprisingly tidy. A laptop was open on the kitchen table alongside a basket of cloth napkins with brightly colored animal shaped rings. The remains of a Scrabble game were spread on the low table in front of one of the couches, but books and magazines were neatly stacked and musical instruments were hung along one wall. Bright Mexican hangings (Oaxacan she guessed) and local topographic maps filled the other walls. Even the kitchen sink was bare of dishes and there was only one plate and a small pan in the dish drain.

“We’re lucky to have June as a sort of house mother,” Owen said, seeming to read Thea’s mind. “She keeps after us to pick up our projects. And woe betide anyone who leaves spaghetti sauce to grow green fuzzies in the fridge. We don’t have a cool box like Pia and Raven, but we splurged on an efficient fridge. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about that but it is nice to have the freezer for my comfrey compresses and the nettle and chickweed pestos. It also means we can stock up on meat from the farmer’s market.”

Thea tried to imagine even thinking about not having a fridge, but didn’t say anything. The alternative, backwards-seeming technological bent of some of these people continued to startle her. She’d yet to try lighting her woodstove. Gadgets like her blender and popcorn popper were so handy. And she did love her sporty little Mazda having only a vague idea what gas mileage it got.

“Come on back to my room and let’s get started,” Owen said, leading the way down the hall.

The room they entered was more cluttered than the shared spaces. Bundles of drying herbs took up most of the closet nook, consigning his clothes to hooks on the wall or the dresser, she supposed, whose top was full of odd bits of bones and shells and beads. Not quite an altar but it probably served as such if the candle there was any indication. A clutter of assorted empty bottles, droppers and blank labels were piled under the long worktable (made from the closet doors she realized). The big window behind it had a tiny glimpse to the sea through the Sitkas. A few potted plants were clustered on one end of the wide sill, notably a large aloe and a spider plant. A hanging crystal cast rainbows merrily here and there. Books lay open on every surface, most of them herb identification books. She recognized the Pojar and Makinnon Northwest plant guide on the bed like the one that she had just bought at Ursula’s suggestion to help her do specific plants in her paintings. But she also espied some of her favorite novels tucked into the shelves – Starhawk’s Fifth Sacred Thing that had been so inspiring to her and several Barbara Kingsolvers. And there were Alberto Villoldo’s autobiographical books about his shamanic training, plus Elliot Cowan’s Plant Spirit Medicine. She’d heard that Owen had something akin to that plant connection.

“I’ve been meaning to explore Villoldo’s books,” said Thea, “May I borrow them?”

“Of course. They are a terrific read. Pia and I have just been talking about his descriptions of conscious death processes. Sometimes I wonder if we really just came into this world to learn how to die properly so we can choose our next lives with more awareness.”

As Owen talked he spread out two yoga mats side by side, covering them with several of the short orange wool blankets that Thea recognized as being from Peru.

“Have you traveled in the Andes?” she asked.

“Yes, it was an important turning point in my opening to shamanism,” he replied. “I took the vision medicine Ayahausca in the Amazon headwaters area and Wachuma (what others call San Pedro) near Machu Picchu.”

“Wow! I’ve always wanted to go there. But I won’t be doing any traveling any time soon.“

“If you are meant to you will. It just sort of calls you.”

“I know how that works.” Thea smiled ruefully. “That’s how I came down here to live at the beach, but I need to get to know this place before I go gallivanting off again.“

“It’s a different sort of Journey we’re doing today. Do you have a specific question you want to explore in the Spirit World?”

“No, I just have the feeling there is something important missing in my inquiries. I’ve uncovered a lot through my paintings. I’m in the middle of a series that is hinting at some interesting things about the Mountain. But I feel like I’m just scratching the surface in them. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I’m only seeing the first, most obvious layers in my interpretation of the paintings. Every time I look at them I learn more about them – and myself – but I need a new hit to carry me to the next level.”

“Okay, that’s enough to go on. I want you to lie down here on the left side and I’ll lie beside you on the right. Is that pillow a good size for you to be comfortable? Here’s something to lay over you.” He handed her a bright rainbow-colored Mexican cotton blanket. “Is one enough?”

Once Owen had Thea settled he lay down himself. But not before putting a little piece of lapis and a flicker feather under his small faded red velvet pillow. “They help me Journey,” he explained. “Sorry about the tape recorded drum beat. We need it to trance properly. I learned to do this with someone else drumming but I just don’t have enough hands to do it myself and am too cheap to pay someone to be here for that part. Sometimes I can do it in my head but more when I’m totally on my own. I’m also going to use another recorder so you’ll have a tape of the proceedings.”

“Do I need to do anything myself?” asked Thea.

“Nope. Just breathe deeply keeping your mind as clear as possible.”

“More easily said than done,” thought Thea lying there a little stiffly. The floor was hard and the covering scratchy…. She hadn’t wanted to say anything but the pillow was rather small, though soft enough really. She could have used something under her knees…. She was acutely aware of Owen lying there on his back, his body touching hers all along their lengths. He smelled like cumin with a whiff of rosemary, surprisingly feminine culinary odors for such a bear of a man. The beat was more monotonous than she expected and soon her nervous noticing dissipated and her breath evened out. She wished he would say something….

Owen took a deep breath and allowed himself to be lulled by the familiar drumbeat. He could feel Thea breathing softly at his side, their bodies touching at shoulder and hip, a subtle scent of coconut wafting over him. She must use it as a cream. A fitting smell somehow with her exotic coffee au lait skin.

Soon, however, information from his five bodily senses faded, even the bird song outside, and he was deep in that internal landscape of his Journeying Tree, that beloved huge Sitka up in his family’s forest land, its presence particularly fresh after his recent sojourn there. Over the years he had developed a quick mental passageway through an imaginary door into the tree and down its roots to a stairway that lead deep into Mother Earth…. At the bottom of the stairs there was a heavy wooden gate which when opened brought him out onto a landscape totally different from the green world where he had started…. Aaahhh…. The  Underworld…. He’d made it here yet another time. Always there was a question in his mind about whether he could find this place again…. For him it was dry and sandy, the vegetation sparse and differently unfamiliar every time he visited there…. He was not actually there…. or rather had no physical sense of his body being there. It was a place in his head that connected to the Spirit World.

And yet…. his “body” floated lightly and today, noticing this, he felt himself land more firmly and his feet begin to crunch on the path. Path? There wasn’t usually a path…. As he took this in he saw a little brown girl huddled weeping in the middle of a grassy patch…. Yellow dandelions blazed around her and she clutched a bundle of them in one clammy fist….

“Little girl…. little girl….” He tried gently to get her attention without startling her. The crying subsided but she did not look up. She seemed to be about seven years old – that age when the material world becomes all too real, and one is no longer encouraged to believe in Santa or fairies, even in the most imaginative households.

“Little girl, why are you crying?” This time he patted her gently on her back. She lifted her head and showed him her swollen brown eyes and tearstained face, not yet ready to trust him with words. Her blue dress with delicate smocking was stained from the grasses.

Suddenly a twitch in the very physical arm next to him, reminded him that he was here on a particular mission and he began to communicate what he was seeing to Thea. It was always tricky to describe the scene to his client without losing contact with the little one, in this case undoubtedly Thea herself at a young age. A lost part of herself that had been thrown off in defense of some trauma. It might have been what a grown-up would recognize as traumatic such as abuse of some sort, or it might reflect a seemingly minor slight or mischance that nevertheless loomed large in this child’s personal landscape. The loss of this soul part had created a wound or a scar in Thea and it was time to reclaim her so that Thea could move forward with a new sense of wholeness and wellbeing.

“I am asking the little girl why she is crying…. I’m telling her that you have come to meet her and want her to go home with you. That you now live at the beach which she would like very much.”

Thea had to strain to hear Owen’s voice, now gone surprisingly soft compared to his usual deep bass. He sounded very far away. It made sense that he would see a little brown girl. She knew exactly what that little girl looked like….

Owen quieted tuning in to the steady drumbeat taking him inward again.… At the mention of the beach the child brightened a little. Then her face fell again. “But I can’t go to the beach,” she said. “I have to take care of my sisters and brothers. I have to be sure Mama is okay and that Gran is taken care of. Mama doesn’t have time to do all the things she needs to. I have to help her.”

“Sounds like you’ve needed to be pretty responsible,” said Owen. “But now you can be with the grown up Thea who will take care of everything for you and you can just be a little girl playing at the beach.”

She looked doubtful.

“Would you like to have a spirit friend with you to be sure that grown-up Thea keeps her promise to you?”

“There is now a large snake wrapped comfortably around the little girl,” Owen relayed to the grown-up Thea. “Not tightly but in a protective sort of circle…. I asked her if Snake was her new friend and she says, as if about a familiar and much loved guardian, ‘No. Snakey is always here. I’d like someone new to help me at the beach.’ As soon as she says this, a large cougar appears and the little girl greets it with a hug. It bowls her over and they tumble together happily on the ground…. They’re having a lovely time…. Now I’m asking her if she is ready to come to the beach with you and she says that yes, she is ready…. But first she wants to know if you will play with her. She says she is afraid that being all grown up you will be too serious all the time like her Mama is. I told her that I think you will play but that she might have to remind you how and that the two of you will have to work this out together…. She says as long as you are willing to try and if she can bring Snakey and Cougar, she’s ready to come home with you…. “

Thea was baffled by both animals Owen was describing. She shivered uncomfortably at the idea of a snake, unable to think of any who could have been familiar to her during her childhood except maybe some scary ones from the reptile house at the zoo. Ugh…. Not even one in a book. And connecting with an imaginary cougar….? She didn’t want to sound unwelcoming, however, so she murmured what she hoped was an acquiescent sort of noise.

“Now I’m checking to see if there are any other soul parts to connect with…. No, that seems to be it for today.”

Owen reached out and turned off the tape recorders. There had been something else that he saw but he got a strong message that it wasn’t time to mention yet. The journey back up the stairs inside his Tree had been a quick one and he had reentered the material world with only a slight moment of disorientation. He leaned over and cupping his hands on Thea’s chest, blew three times infusing her with the beings of Little Girl Thea and her companions.

“Now they are part of you,” Owen told Thea, as she too rubbed her eyes and sat up. “But you still have to get to know the child self you left behind. I have a handout from my teacher that tells some of the ways to process this. I want you to commit to following the steps outlined in it. Your little lost soul self is skittish and easily lost if you don’t talk to her and build a connection. And as she requested, you must play with her.”

“How on earth am I going to do that?” Thea asked uneasily. “I barely know how to play!”

“Obviously,” said Owen. “And I’m not likely to be much help on that score. But the little lost part of you is requesting play. That’s what you left behind and what you must recover. She’ll help you and so will Cougar. Snake probably has another gift for you that you will discover by paying attention.”

“I’m actually afraid of snakes.”

“Most people are in our culture. That’s why they show up so often symbolically. I’ve seen them a lot in your paintings.”

“I never understand quite what they mean though I know they are about power somehow…. And I do keep making drastic changes in my life which I think of as shedding skins.”

Both standing now, Thea helped Owen fold up the blankets. “Don’t forget the books you wanted to borrow.”

“Thanks so much, Owen.” Thea got out her checkbook but Owen gestured her to put it back in her bag.

“I would love a painting of yours. Would that be an okay trade?”

“Certainly. Do you know which one you want?”

“If I come by in a week or so you can let me know how you’re doing and I can choose a painting then.”

Mother Daughter Ritual 1

From: Pia Rosen – pia@nekelew.net

Subject: Women’s Medicine Circle Ritual

To: Women’s Medicine Circle list

We are doing a ritual this coming Friday night involving Demeter and Persephone, the archetypal Greek mother and daughter duo. We’d love to have women of all ages play either of the two roles – the daughters who leave to spend the winter months with a lover in the underworld and the mothers who resist their going and stop things growing, bringing on the winter season. Roles are not age dependent, i.e. there can be older daughters and younger mothers. You’ll know which part you want to play. Seems like there’s grist here for all of us, whether we’re mothers and daughters or not. No prep necessary. Pomegranate seeds will be provided. The ritual will take place at Ursula’s house on Mountain Lane.

 

“Looks like you’re off to an early start,” said Charley on Friday morning coming upon Ursula cleaning the toilet still in her blue flannel nightie. “I have meetings ‘til late this afternoon so I’ll just grab a burger at the bar and go straight to the Men’s Group.”

“That works for me,” replied Ursula. “I’ll be able to really sink into my ritual prep.”

“No coming up for air, huh?”

“I want a leisurely day to play with the energies.”

“Will you all still be speaking to us rapacious men when the evening is over?”

“Hopefully we’ll have cleaned out another layer of the ancient stuck and hurt places in us around the patriarchy. We trust you will be doing the same,” she chuckled.

“Have fun,” he hollered as he headed out the door toting his heavy backpack as usual.

Ursula had woken very conscious of a pressure to get the house clean for ritual. It was always a delicate dance. Once her cleaning eye was activated it was easy to fall into tension about getting everything done (as if there were ever a “done”). It wasn’t exactly what her mother called “house-proud.” She knew nobody in this bunch would judge her housekeeping (or fuck ‘em if they did), but she did love it when everything looked and felt beautiful.

Yet, inevitably there were more grimy corners lying in wait and it was easy to get sidetracked into tackling accumulated piles, not to mention drawers…. None of which anyone else would ever notice, yet could make for an underlying freshness that added to the whole in a subtle way…. But she could also wear herself out and not have energy for the ritual itself. That would be a mistake….

She wanted the house to feel “right” – not “right” in the sense of “correct” but rather in the Buddhist sense of aligned and in true with what wanted to happen. Clear. She didn’t know ahead of time what that looked like exactly but she knew if she stayed attuned the unfolding day would show her what “right” was for this particular occasion, different from any other time. If she stayed relaxed and open, the process would take her deep into the ritual space she craved. “Sounds like a few drops of Oregon grape essence is called for here,” she counseled herself, remembering Owen’s description of it as bringing one “into True.”

Rummaging in the cupboard for the Mahonia, she also came across some usnea tincture – always good for clearing the air and for inspiration. She took both and then noticed a woven band of orange and yellow on a hook by her dresser and tied it around her head. A deep breath signaled to her that she was taking the first steps towards her conscious priestess self. The headband tingled around her forehead – echoes of ancient crowns and sacred headdresses? Inspiring, anyway, and grounding at the same time. “I can’t recall a single detail of the Demeter-Persephone story right now. Hopefully it will come to me during the day.”

Time for a pipe of locally grown. She took the sacred smoke deep into her lungs and then blew it towards the houseplants (“which need watering,” noted her cleaning self).

A tarot card was next. “The Empress,” she said aloud. “Help me connect with the earth today and stay deeply in touch with my ancient motherly self….” She propped the card up on the mantel against the little rotund Venus of Willendorf. “Sorry, Old One. I’ll get this jumble including the jug of feathers all sparkling again…. Oh yay. The snake earrings I’ve been looking for. Help me be in transformative, priestessy power today.”

She dug into the hall closet for the bag of dust rags, sidetracking for a minute to clean up the mouse droppings in the corner behind the spray bottle. Then Loreena McKennitt went on the CD player, her Middle Eastern rhythms just right for Ursula’s dance with dry mop and broom.

“Cleaning and clearing is sacred feminine work, isn’t it, Dear Mother. And not just for women,” she added as an aside to the statue of an antlered elk she dusted.

“I remember now.” She took a centering sigh. “The house is a temple and cleaning a renewal of its sacred space. Let it go too long and the energy stagnates. Our uneasy dreams, harsh words and unfinished business get caught in the corners. It’s not house-proud at all. It’s being in touch with the energetics – the Feng Shui – of the space we occupy both in its everyday functions as well as its reverent and celebratory ones. Over and over, we renew. The ritual times force the cleansing and the cleansing inspires ritual….” She lit a yellow candle made by Illahee children last spring…. which act brought the children present energetically….

Thus went the day. Her grandmother’s silver vase got polished, ready to be filled with Demeter’s grasses Pia was bringing. She picked new lavender for the cut glass vase her son Salal had brought her from his travels. A sweater was mended as was the broken wing of a ceramic dragon. An errant tie-dyed sock turned up under the ottoman in front of Charley’s old-fashioned easy chair and her antique blue sparkle earrings fell out of a book of Greek myths that was overdue at the library. Photos of her off-spring and ancestors were lovingly dusted and blessed. Not quite seven generations behind and ahead but the best she could do today. Spiders were carefully set outside or allowed to scuttle into crevices in the rough-hewn walls to watch while Ursula gave them opportunities to renew their own homes. Old candle drippings were scrapped out and the new beeswax ones from the market installed…. Pea soup and chocolate kept her going.

Late in the afternoon Ursula shut the door firmly on the still messy study. “The rest is as clean as it’s going to be,” she declared. “I don’t need to tackle that space today.” Her final act of this stage was to walk slowly about the living room and kitchen with a burning wand of sage and cedar, smudging out the last of the old energy and calling in any friendly spirits who were hovering. “Come in, come in,” she invited feeling the arrival of the trancey space the sage always called up in her. “Join us in our sacred play. Are you bringing tonight’s story to me?”

Ursula now set about getting her own self prepped for the coming ritual. A soak in the hot tub cleared off the dust and cobwebs from the tasks of the day, though she didn’t dare stay too long, being in danger of going all limp. She also discarded the idea of renewing her morning smoke, letting the fresh air center her mind towards the next steps of adornment.

She felt drawn to a green ceremonial dress whose soft draping folds always made her feel like a Greek goddess, particularly appropriate for this night. “Yup, confirmation shivers.” She added the amber necklace she’d been wearing ever since she’d begun this journey with Demeter the previous week. She left the woven wool band around her head but stuck short pieces of grass in it making it more than ever like a crown.

Heading outside again, wrapped in her blue chenille power shawl that dangled with meaningful beads and nature objects, she walked slowly in the misty late afternoon light to the Stone Table. A slight drizzle was falling now and the large flat rock was wet as well as sticky with Sitka pitch. She stepped up tall on the slab. “Figuratively tall,” she giggled thinking how very short she actually was compared to most grown folks. “At least for the moment I am fully into my own height.”

She looked south out over the magnificent expanse of ocean and coastline and, raising her arms to the sky, felt her priestess self pour down into her crown chakra with a shiver of familiar electricity. Turning north to salute the Mountain, she grounded down into its depths until she was as rooted as the Sitkas around her. Knowing another degree deeper now that all would go well tonight even though she had never gotten around to rehearsing the story. She turned to each of the four Directions asking for the wisdom of the old tales, the inspired discovery of new ones, a kindled open heart, and a washing of tender emotions.

Was that what tonight’s ritual was about? New tales out of current emotions? She had been feeling odd with this delving in the Greek stories. Although they were the ones she had learned first in childhood, they were not the ones that inspired her most often. Yet, Demeter had come unbidden to her recently and she had learned to trust such notions when they arose. Had Demeter appeared to help Ursula and the other women clear the decks? “Are we to bring about a healing of the old so that the new can move in? Whatever that may be….”

She knew for herself it was time to surrender to what the Mountain and this place wanted of her and of her children. She had stopped cajoling her offspring a while ago but the mourning for those birds flown from the nest was still thrumming inside her. These feelings weren’t doing her or her fledglings any good. They were on their path. She and Charley had sent them out of the nest with the best their own skills and love could provide, which she knew was very good indeed. Throwing her hands up into the air she felt a gust of wind blow a more serious flurry of rain around her.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she called out to the elements and to the Mountain itself. Dashing the raindrops out of her eyes, she stepped down off the rock, satisfied that she was prepared for the evening and trusting that it would bring a release of this particular tension and longing inside her.