Saturday, October 27, 2007

She who is the dark, dark earth …

Queen’s Wood - Saturday October 27, 2007:

Carefully we picked our way over leaves smeared by the recent drizzle, down the steeply sloping footpath. The woods were damp and pungent under the grey still sky. The traffic faded behind the watching softly breathing trees.

Holly snatched at our faces as we ducked to scurry into a new place to circle. An elicit fire was smouldering innocently on one side of the space; the womb of immortality (a pop up tent) was being erected on the other. I leant against an oak tree and felt the earth beneath my feet and knew I stood, held on the palm of her hand.

From the dark wet earth, from the underside of glistening fallen leaves, from amongst the moss and the mushrooms on the fallen trunks, she came, stepping quietly and purposefully into our circle. Veiled with softly falling leaves, she stood amongst us as we circled the fire, her voice our voices raised in chant she, the smoke curled around me. She held me, I was hers totally.

Voices united, breaking into harmony, the words the same
“Hecate, Cerridwen, dark mother take us in.
Hecate, Cerridwen, Let us be reborn”

I crawled into the womb and lay down flat on my tummy. Rough wool scratched my face as I curled into the curve of her belly. And it seemed she held me and the earth moved beneath me gently like the slow deep breathing of a slumbering woman.

Whose heavy arm was that laying across my shoulders, pinning me to her belly? I breathed her musty, earthy smell and felt safe. Rocked in the arms of the dark mother, I lay and was still. And an old, old, old voice whispered over and over again;

“You are love, you are loved, know this and let go, let go, let go.”

The voices rose, holding the space in song. Reluctantly, I crept out of the soft warmth into gentle hands that stroked and rubbed me, tenderly bringing me back into the world.

I crawled through the hands and climbed to my feet. In front of me, a rough oak tree with bulbous root ball at its base, soft with moss invited me to sit. I leant into the tree and raised my voice with the others.

Later, we circled the fire and the alter, dancing a stately spiral, raising our voices to the loosely falling leafy canopy, to the watching trees, the soft loamy soil, to the fire, the sky, the gentle not quite rain and to each other. And she who was all of these and more watched and listened and was.
“The blood of the ancients, it flows thru our veins,
The forms change, but the circle of life remains."

And I bent down to the ground and pushed my fingers into the leaf-mould. I scooped up the loose rich earth, raised it to my face, the better to breathe in its dark richness, then opened my fingers and let it trickle back to the ground.

“You are love, you are loved, know this and let go, let go, let go”, I heard the earth murmur. Tenderly I touched the small twigs and fragile leaves scattered there and was suddenly overwhelmed. It was so simple, so simple.

We feasted amongst the watching trees and then crept back to the world through the snatching scratchy holly trees, our feet slipping on the still smeary footpaths. Behind me, the ever-changing, always beautiful woods lay, for ever a symbol of her.


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