Upon entering the Oberon’s Palace, the Captain of the Guard meets me and escorts me to the Inner Keep where the ‘relic’ has been left under watch. Just outside the Keep, the Oberon and Tatiana wait, with Faer’n nearby, leaning against the wall.
The Oberon speaks first.
“Glad to see you, Lady,” he says abruptly. And this puzzles me.
“Why so, my Lord?” I can sense much not being said, and an intense energy about his whole demeanor.
“As the sun began setting, the Relic seemed to be released somehow from its physical state. It began growing, expanding in all directions and dimensions. Merlin is holding the Keep in an energy field. Once this door is opened, you and Faer’n – if he still chooses – will enter, and then Merlin will seal the door after you. It is all we know to do. I’m sorry.”
“There is no need for apologies, my Lord. It is as it is meant to be. I am ready to go.” Looking at Faer’n, I ask, “and you?”
“I go with you, Lady. It is my destiny also.” And he lights his lantern.
“So it is, then. We shall go now.”
“Wait, my Lady,” Tatiana says. And then she holds my hands, catching my eyes, saying, “Come back.”
Then, Faer’n and I, almost as one, slip through the door.
Once inside the Keep, we are engulfed in brilliant light, completely filling all space and obscuring all sense of door, walls, ceiling and floor. Just bright light. But, once I acclimate to the intense brilliance, I begin to notice what look to be gigantic gold sparkling runes. Some I recognize on my own; some I remember from the outside of the Relic. Then I become aware of the fact that somehow, we are IN the Relic – in the flowing, fluctuating, pulsing aliveness of this sentient Artifact. As my eyes begin to focus with the remembering, I see manifesting more solidly before me what looks to be the rune known as Uruz, in the Norse Celtic – but to the Faery realm, it is the Giants’ Gate, the Archway of the Ancients and Ancestors.
Then, I notice that there actually is some sort of Pathway to follow, and I start walking through the Entrance Rune, with Faer’n close behind.
As soon as we step through the Gate, I feel a sense of the Monk-warrior guarding our back trail. I send thanks to Spirit, for however this was enabled, and – not having to worry about what might follow our trail, I pay attention to what lies ahead. Everything is still a very brilliant light golden hue, with more solid-looking gold sparkling areas that delineated not only the Runes, but the Path as well. Most of these runes are unknown to me, but it seems less important to know them than to just absorb their knowledge, their wisdom, and their message, as I walk on.
At a certain point, a darker gold hue appears, like a hole in the wall (I don’t know how else to describe it), off to my left. I stop before it.
“Do you imagine we should go that way, then?” Faer’n asks.
“I’m not sure. There is a draw to it, like a breath of fresh air, somewhat, but I need to know for certain. Let me light this candle gifted to me, and I’ll show you what we can learn.”
And so I light it from his lantern. Though the Faery flame is almost invisible in this incandescent place, we keep it lit because it is magic in and of itself and offers protection.
I let a drop of wax touch the edge of the floor just inside the hole or cave’s boundary. As it hits, the spot glows with emerald-green sparkly luminescence, and I know the truth, and the rightness of this new Path.
We walk into this cave, and within a few feet, there is no sense of an opening or room behind us. The trail behind seems to disappear at each choice. The Monk-warrior still follows, though, keeping watch. I can feel her. Before us, another rune rises, as high if not higher than the Standing Stones of Stonehenge. It is the rune, Inguz. At first glance, I am unsure of whether to go under, over, or through it. When I touch it, though, amazingly it separates symmetrically as doors, and we walk through.
Upon our path, for several yards, in all directions, stand runes all about, some known, some completely unknown, to me. Some are inscripted with symbols I have never seen, not even Mayan or Egyptian or those I have observed in the Faery Realm. But it is no matter; I follow the Path ahead, listening to its Call, and the song that whispers within it.
The runes that I recognize as we move through, or under, them are – in order – Hagalaz, Othila, Mannaz, and Ehwaz. Sometimes, in not knowing exactly how to maneuver them, I use the lit candle wax drop to determine the right path. I realize that the runes reflect more than their symbols and collective message, but I cannot know it now nor what is to come, and so I just make note of them, and continue.
The tunnel seems to be nearing its end, and feels no less bright than the previous room we left, except that the end is even brighter, almost like a nova, searing my eyes. Faer’n and I tie cloth strips from our clothes around our heads and over our eyes to eliminate most of the glare, but I continue to wish that there were a way to dim this light somewhat. A rune stands again in front of me, and I recognize Thurisaz, the Gateway. We must climb through its door, which is half-way up, or rather, about 6 feet off the ‘ground’. Faer’n gives me a lift up, and I grab his hands to help him up and through, as well.
There seem no more runes between us and the end of the ‘tunnel’ – at least, none on the Path. As I go to walk through the exit, however, I hit a solid wall… of energy. There is no other way around, as the path seems to go through this. Puzzled, I stand back with Faer’n and observe the ‘portal’ that appears to have no latch, or design, or hole, or anything that might grant egress. I sit down and try to think, for a considerably long time.
Suddenly, I hear a quiet voice behind us, still aways off, say, “Use your key, Lighthawk.”
I know it is the Monk-warrior, and I consider the words. What key do I have for this? And I remember being given the Willow-key by the Oberon and Tatiana, so many years ago, that I have carried since in my heart. I take it from my own inner Keep, and press it against the ‘portal’.
Nothing happens. And I stand there, even more puzzled.
Faer’n, just behind me, excitedly says, “Lady! Come back aways from there. See what I am seeing.”
As I do that, I can discern the faint lines of the Phoenix rune, Perth, upon the ‘portal’, and stepping up to it, I place my hand along the vertical line, and feel it open, as if a door. Cool…
Outside, we walk into a green meadow – no bright light obscuring everything – just a meadow… green grass, sunshine, blue sky, trees in the distance, butterflies, wildflowers, and meadowlarks singing. Awesome! I lie down in the grass, with my hand over my eyes, just to listen and feel, and rest. Faer’n does the same, close by. And all is quiet for several minutes.
“Ok, you, let’s go,” I say to him. And I start walking on, following an invisible trail that tugs on my sleeves insistently and incessantly. I remain alert for signs of the Path shifting, but it maintains a fairly straight course ahead of us. Soon, we come to a river that drops into a waterfall, to our right. The Path does not cross the river. It calls over the waterfall. Oh, great… I wander to the edge of river and waterfall, near boulders that guard them both, and look down. Straight down. Maybe a thousand feet down. I don’t know. It just seems like it goes down forever.
Still, I can hear the Path calling from closer in, and re- focusing, I realize there are flat stones that seem to head downwards from the side of the waterfall, like steps. They don’t appear very solid or reassuring, or even connected to the ground, but I know this is the way. I know it for certain, so it is a matter of figuring out how to maneuver this intriguing trail. As Faer’n holds my hand, I step out onto the closest one… and immediately fall. Were it not for him, I would have plummeted to my death, for sure. We step back onto the firm ground, and, as I recover my breath and heartbeat, I begin to wonder about this strange path ahead.
Softly, Faer’n remarks, “Lady, what if we use the candle again? Let it drip on the stones. Then we will know which ones are safe. We know there must be some. And you know this is the way.”
Agreeing, and thanking him, I take out the candle and re-light it from the lantern’s Faery flame. I let it drip on that first stone.
Where the stone has been, a void is revealed. It is like looking into deepest space – black with twinkling far-away stars, and I thank him profusely again for saving my life. Then, I drip it on the next closest stone that I can reach, and it bursts into emerald-green sparklies. Good. We have discovered a way to cross over on these stones. The Path leads into the misty cloud at the bottom of the waterfall. As we go, I leave a mark on the ‘good’ stones for the Monk-warrior that watches our back, following out of sight.
Reaching the mist, I realize that we have somehow arrived on the other side of the river, though I don’t remember sensing that change. The Path leads on to a sandy bank, and into a deep forest of cedar trees.
Now, the lantern actually comes in handy. And I feel safer with it, although there is no sense of danger here. After a bit, the Path opens onto a pool of water.
I know it goes through the pool, somehow. I mean, I know we have to go down through the water of the pool. And I can’t make sense of it – the Call’s direction – but it seems to want us to dive in, and find a Gateway underneath its water. There doesn’t seem to be a way of knowing for sure except by jumping in and looking.
Not being one to dive into things, I try to gradually step in, but it is solid to my foot. Surprised and caught off-guard, I stumble back into Faer’n. We look quizzically at each other. What now? So, he takes a step into the pool, but he also ends up on top of it, and begins walking around, enjoying his ‘walk on water’. So I sit down to ponder, which is where I do my best pondering of enigmas.
“Take your boots off, Faer’n. Try that.”
He does, and finds himself able to walk in to the point that his clothes touch the water. He cannot move further, or deeper. So, he turns and looks at me. “Lady, you know what this means, don’t you?”
I sigh, and answer him. “Yes. It means we will have to take all our clothes off to go any further into and under the water. Don’t you dare smile.”
“No, Lady. No, not this time. Not now. Promise. I figure you’re right about this, and – look – the lantern won’t go, either.”
As he lowers the lantern to the pool’s surface, it stops as if on solid ground. By experiment, though, the candle seems to be able to move through this watery veil.
Trying not to be embarrassed, both of us remove all clothing and set them in neat piles underneath the nearby cedar tree. I hold onto the candle and jump in, diving after I feel the water accepting me into its presence. Faer’n follows close behind.
I realize I have to open my eyes, so I can find where the Path leads, and am surprised by how crystal clear the water is - almost as if it isn’t water at all, but a dense form of light – however that can be. That’s how it feels to me. Swimming as deep as I can, I am frustrated in not being able to find any sign or gate or portal or cavern or – anything! Out of breath, I swim up to the surface.
And I come out not where I had been. Nothing is the same. My mind is filled with consternation, knowing how hard I have been trying to follow all the markers rightly, figuring out the Path, even as strange as it has been. But this… this is just too far beyond my logical mind – even what seems my logically-driven intuitive mind and imagination. I mean, of course, I accept that this is where I am supposed to be, and it’s right and everything. But this is weird. Way weird.
Faer’n bobs to the surface, also puzzled at not finding a ‘way’ out. Then, he really looks around. The expression of amazement on his face is just priceless. And I’m sure mine must have looked the same. There are no cedar trees. There isn’t even any sense of trees. There are, however, reeds, and cattails, and huge ferns surrounding this small pool. And there is a grassy area in one place that looks to provide a way to exit the pool. We swim over to it and get out of the water. Not three feet from where we exited lay two sets of clothing. Not the ones we had left, but just as obviously meant for us. They are all white – a glowing white: tunic, leggings, and soft boots… fitting perfectly. After dressing, I see that there is a third set, off to the right a bit, and I figure whoever left this knows about the Monk-warrior. Curiouser and curiouser.
The grass Path beckons me, and so we follow it through greenery that reminds me of ancient pre-historic Human times of gigantic ferns and such like tropical flora. Then, thoughts of dinosaurs flit through my mind, but I quickly dissipate them. No sense bringing more trouble than what comes. And this is not then. Or there.
The energy here feels like the Original Source of the Green Man and Green Lady – the Guardians of the Faery Realm back when it was just able to be, and not have to have Veils to protect and defend. Here, I can feel the Original sense of Oneness, before the Great Shattering and splitting of the Realms on the Earthmother. The energy is so intense that it fills me as if I am breathing the substance of the Holy Grail… as if we are somehow walking through it. Too hard to find words for this.
And then, we are in a Circle. Here, the ground is grass of only, say, three inches tall across a huge round clearing – which is surrounded by the five and six foot tall reeds, cattails, and ferns.
Then, I realize we are in the presence of people – or rather, sentient light entities. They appear somewhat of this world, with limbs, torso, and head areas, but not Faery, not Human – just glowing brilliant white light Beings. Awestruck by the sacredness that touches me, I am engulfed in love, and peace, and glory radiating almost tangibly from them. I drop to my knees, and look around. There seems to be about a dozen, standing at the edge of this Circle. My heart is drawn to a particular One. And I know it is She who has Called. Looking at Her is like looking at a Grandmother Angel.
I have no idea how else to explain it. I have to depend on my own cultural experiences just to touch the edge of the depths I know to be the Truth, here. There are no words.
I walk over in front of Her and sit. Faer’n does the same, off to the side. And, behind, I sense the presence of the Monk-warrior, and know she has dropped to one knee, in honor of Her.
So, here the three of us are.
In my mind, I can hear Her saying, “Welcome, Child. And welcome to your Friends. You have done well. We needed three, and you have come.”
I puzzle at that, for it seems more coincidental that the number of our party is three. And yet, I know there are no coincidences.
“Look at me.”
For surely, I have been looking at the ground all this time, unable to meet Her eyes. I don’t know about the other two.
“Tell me why you have come.”
And I look up into Her eyes, and I cannot speak. I am in the Presence of Light, and I can hardly breathe. I am lost in Beauty so deep, so pure, that my thoughts seem mere dust in the wind.
And then, She calls my Sacred name.
That wakes me up.
“Why are you here?”
“I’m hoping to find a Key or information or something to help us, both Faery and Human, to survive the Earth Change – to somehow transform, like, alchemically, with the Earth as She shifts… or something.”
And I look down again.
“Do you see that you have already changed somewhat just by getting this far?”
And I look around at us; we look at each other. There is a sense of that, yes.
“How much are you willing to give for that which you seek?”
“My life.” I hold no hesitation in this. “But not theirs.”
“Not necessary, Child. You followed the Call. You risked the Journey. Not for yourself, but for the Highest Good. It is enough.”
And She holds out a silver chalice, not visible before. I take it, and sip from the Cup. Then, I give it back to Her.
“Invite your friends to drink from it.”
Curiously cautious, I remark, “Holy One, let me check it first, please.” For, although I am all right from the sip, I’m not willing to risk my friends’ health with this. Although I cannot see Her smile, I feel it; and I’m glad She isn’t angry with my mistrust.
“Hardly, Child. It takes courage just to say and do what you have. You are reclaiming your warrior-self, and it makes me happy.”
I take the candle from a pocket, and then realize that Faer’n no longer has the lantern with the Faery flame. The Monk-warrior steps forward, then, and offers the ember of her Forever-flame. I light the candle.
I tip it so that one drop falls into the Chalice. This time, it is not the emerald-green light that manifests but silver incandescent sparklies filling the Circle and our minds with visions, and songs, and experiences far beyond anything I can imagine, never mind tell.
I give the Chalice to Faer’n, and then to the Monk-warrior.
Again, there is a sense of deepest alchemy occurring way past the edges of my Knowing.
I look at Her again, and speak.
“I can see how this can help us three to transform with the Earthmother, but what of the rest. How can I help all the rest?”
“You share; you exchange it like this.”
And She holds out Her hands.
I sit there, dumbly looking at Her hands. I hold unworthiness sharply in my thoughts and cannot move.
“You know. You fear. What have you to fear from me? I have nothing to fear from you. I know your heart.”
I set my hands in Hers, and allow for the Spirit-handfasting to move through me. I feel Her move through me. Pure light. Pure love. I can do nothing but hold on, with my poor heart as open as I can let it. Her energy flows through me to the deepest darkest parts. Nothing is left untouched.
And when She releases my hands, She says: “And so it is with your friends. Now, return, and share this Gift of Spiritual Alchemy with those who are willing. This is your answer, and your Gift.”
As I look around, I see that my two friends are just completing this Spirit-handfasting with two other Light Beings. When I feel like I can stand, and they as well, we leave. Heading off to the right of the Circle, I see the Path, and we begin our Journey back, together.
But it ends as soon as the Circle is out of sight. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Puzzled, I look around everywhere, trying to get a sense of any kind of marker.
Suddenly, I feel a presence behind me. Not one of my friends.
Then, there is a nuzzling in my ear.
Startled, I jump.
“Silly horse!” I kind of yell at it – not loudly, just enough to cover the fright it has given me. Sort of.
Standing there, almost impatiently, are three horses of different breeds and colors. We each walk over to one, and realize there are saddle blankets as well on them. No sooner have we mounted, when – galloping past us – goes a young Ute Indian on his pinto pony.
“Come on,” he yells. “This way!”
I don’t pretend to understand the Journey; I just follow my heart and knowing. Time is seeming to become very important, in some sense, because I can feel it, and not in a linear way. So we all gallop after him. The landscape abruptly becomes sandstone, as in high desert plateau rock, with awesome pinnacles and arches all around.
Because I’m preoccupied with wondering how long the horses are going to be able to gallop at this pace (and where in the world where we going anyway?), I miss seeing what’s happening until too late.
Following close on the heels of the pinto pony, we are going so fast that I don’t realize we have ridden off the edge of a cliff.
Oddly, like the water at the pool, however, the air doesn’t drop us the mile down into the canyon. The horses keep on galloping, as if on an invisible bridge – from one cliff-edge to the other. Then, the Path splits – diverges – into two Ways… and I think to slow down to figure this out, when the Ute yells at me, “You and your Faery friend, go there. Come with me, Warrior.”
And, as quick as that, we separate into two distinct parties, galloping onward. Theirs continues on into the distant mountains. Ours doesn’t. Ours goes straight down.
In my mind, I hear the Ute say, “Your Path is through the Creation portal in the Sacred Canyon. Trust me.”
What else can I do, anyway? And so, we gallop our horses through what seems like a transparent energy tunnel, heading for the bottom of the canyon. Then, I notice the wall, or end, or something, and pray it’s just the Veil of energy we can pass through and get home.
And we stumble through it, falling into each other as we hit the ground. The horses have mysteriously disappeared.
Now, where are we?
Green grass. Circle of tall stone pillars.
And an imminent Calling, intensely filling my whole mind and heart.
“Faer’n,” I call. “Handfast. Quickly!”
He sits himself in front of me, holding out his hands. There is no choice. I grasp his hands, and let go.
The summer solstice sun is just setting in Glastonbury, with its final rays reaching through the Stones’ Portal. Touching us, touching hands. And the whole Circle explodes in Light. Iridescent rainbow prism Light. From Stone to Stone to us, back and forth, like a laser light show, weaving Light fibers among the Stones, creating a holistic Sphere of energy, with us at the center. A multi-dimensional tapestry of such quantum mystical Beingness, and Life, and Aliveness, that I am filled beyond my ability to know or understand. I just am. But, at least, I am. And I am One. And yet unique. I am wave, and particle, simultaneously. I am stillness and motion. I am Being and non-Being.
Suddenly, I feel a floor beneath my feet. And I know I’m no longer at Stonehenge. As I gradually begin to focus my mind, I realize I am back in the Inner Keep of the Oberon’s Palace. Faer’n, too.
No bright lights. And no Relic.
Just the Keep.
And the door.
We look at each other. And then we walk out the door into the company of the Oberon and Tatiana, looking for a strong cup of Faery tea.