Sunday, March 25, 2007

The hare and the challis

A Flower-faced goddess
As young as the sun
In the heart of the maze
Greets the leaping hare.
Ostara Blessings!

The green room was softly lit. In the centre of the alter table, daffodils “liberated” from a local park bowed their heads coyly, seeming to smile into the long green vase in which they sat.

The drum pulsed, at first a heartbeat leading me to the doorway beyond which, the green sword stretch velvety and verdant as a springy thick pile carpet. This night, the evening after the midnight balance point of the Equinox, I was here to follow the hare wherever she might lead me. My quest, to meet the goddess and to learn what might be learned.

As I stood waiting the call, I turned over in my mind the dull ache that is disappointment in having yielded to a habit not yet broken. I wondered if my journey would bring me wisdom to understand what this was about and courage to face this addiction.

The drum sounded the running beat and I pelted through the gateway onto that expanse of greenness. But the field was empty. Where was she? And as I thought this, something gold moved across just outside my field of vision, I turned and saw her, and she was indeed “haring” across the open grassland. Something inside me shifted, like an erupting joyful fountain, and I took chase.

We ran across open spaces, scrambling through hedges, down little paths between fields and the edges of woods. My feet hardly touching the ground, I danced across the landscape, diving through bushes, brambles, between trees and across streams, fleet and surefooted as the happiest of happiest young rabbits. The sun shone, the sky was blue and the air cool and fresh.

We came to a bank. The hare dived into a hole and I pulled up abruptly, panting yet laughing.
“Oh shit” I thought, examining the hole for surely it was too small. Determined to follow, I got down on my hands and knees and began to crawl in. It was a tight squeeze, but I did not care.

The warm darkness smelt earthy damp, edged with the sharp greenness of crushed new grass. All was silent but I knew it was also waiting. I wriggled through, feeling my way with my nose, which surely was a little bit whiskery. Hmmm. But no time to think of that now, I continued to scrabble forward until I saw the light of the tunnel opening.

Emerging into the light, I looked around and saw the hare sitting patiently on the grass at the edge of a lake, looking out to a small island. Knowing that’s where we were destined, I had only a moment to wonder how we would get there before I realised that we had already arrived!

The undergrowth WAS TALLER THAN ME. Great flowers bent to peer at us as we pushed our way through. It was tough walking and I quickly began to feel tired. We twisted and turned until soon I had lost all sense of direction. All I knew was that the sound of running water was getting louder and closer and the curious flowers were scrutinising us as we passed them.

The hare led me into a small central clearing. A spring bubbled up onto rocks. Swaying above it, the most extraordinarily beautiful flower creature stood. She was one flower and a million flowers, tall and graceful yet many stemmed. In her leaves (or was it her hands?) She held a crystal goblet, blue and green and gold and translucent all at once. She bowed down and offered it to me, inviting me to fill it from the spring at her feet (or were they leaves?).

I knelt and filled the challis. Raising my eyes to what I think was her face; I poured some of the water onto the leaves at the bottom of her stem. Her head nodded imperceptibly (or was it the wind) and I lowered my lips to sip the cool fresh water.

Gentle and subtle was the taste – as water is always. I felt it reach into me, as though to say to every cell in my body “wake up, its spring!” and immediately I felt refreshed and full of life.

But I couldn’t move. I sat at the feet of the tall swaying goddess flower, wonderingly adoring her. She was so beautiful. Life was so beautiful.

In time, I caught the movement of the hare from the corner of my eye. It was time to go. Bowing low to the Lady, I got up and moved back through the flowers, retracing my steps to the gateway. Turning to thank the hare as I stepped through, I saw again, the empty green field. All was still … or was that something moving over by the hedge?

The beat slowed, returning me to now. I knelt by the challis at the west point of the alter, gently taking the lapis lazuli stone waiting there for me.


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