After my evening talk with my lady I fall into bed asking for the bliss of sleep which has eluded me this week.
I drift off but I’m woken by a tapping on the front door.
I go downstairs followed by Saffie cautiously open the door There before me is my lady Hekate she smiles and steps into my house.
As always I am struck by her beauty and although no words are spoken she tells me to collect what I need from around me.
She opens the door for us to leave. I look around its 3am where are we going?
I pick up my ritual bag and call Saffie we follow Hekate along the tow path catching in with her step her staff on the ground is the only sound of the night, her cloak seems to blow behind her although there is no breeze.
As we reach the top of my street she smiles we are standing on the cross road.
‘Your mountain’ I ask?
‘Yours’ she answers.
We walk the familiar path Saffie and Hekates hound like two shadows walking in step like two shadows before us.
As we reach the mountain she removes the hood of her cloak.
I feel that familiar knot in my belly.
She holds up her torch to the familiar wall of granite she moves the torch points back at the way we have walked together.
No words are spoken but no I don’t want to go back.
She smiles you have all the tools you need my child.
I open my bag take out my robe undress but the robe has gone.
I look at her she smiles ‘Open the gateway you are safe here’
I take out my blade. ‘It isn’t finished.’ I here myself say handing it to her feeling foolish as the words leave my mouth.
She takes it and as the polished copper glints despite the darkness of the new moon the yew handle seems to be transformed into part of her hand.
She holds it out to me and for a second our hand is one.
I feel a bolt of energy surge through me she nods
‘It is finished.’ she says.
‘Do not fear my daughter.’
I draw a line along the wall of granite the width of us both, as we stand before this mighty mountain.
A gateway opens and there is loud roar of water fierce and rapid through the archway a wooden bridge visible spanning over a fierce river below.
She holds up her torch taps her staff and both dogs lie either side of the gateway.
My bag beside her Saffie looks the other way.
I follow my lady across the bridge. she stops as I reach the middle the shadow stops and the bridge seems half light half dark.
We stand there betwixt and between watch the rush of water passing bellow us in the shadows.
The water splashes and rushes on logs and sticks are tossed this way and that.
I breath in and smell the wet earth and leaves but feel safe here on the bridge.
In the faint glow of Hekates torches
Hekate steps into the darkness her torch seems to dim but still she lights my way.
‘What can you hear she asks?’
As we walk deeper into the cave I stand still and listen the water runs down shiny red tinted walls reminding me of blood. With a metallic essence I can taste it in the spray.
‘I hear the rushing of the river mother.’
‘Then quieten it she tells me gently.’
I breath in close my eyes feeling the earth beneath my feet the sound seems to hush.
‘Now what do you hear?’
‘I hear magic the growth of the roots, Journeys of animals and insects of life I hear the earth all around us and I hear your heart beat mother.’
She wraps one side of her cloak around me. ‘Our heartbeat child.’
‘When you call me look within yourself and around yourself land sea and sky we are one I am always here.’
‘The paths you have walked I have always lit but you have always chosen.’
She holds up her torch to a familiar door scratched in the peeling paint is ‘keep out’ in ballpoint pen.
It’s my childhood bedroom door.
She nods the choice is mine I open the door step inside.
I’m not afraid.
Humpy Dumpty beer ad posters still on the wall purple curtains on a droopy wire green carpet I spin around on the tallboy cupboard is my old record player I hear myself laugh AC/DC’ Let there be Rock’ album is on the turntable next to it on the bedside table are a pile of sticks acorns and feathers are just where I had left them.
I walk over to the curtains and pull them open birdsong fills the room the old oak tree outside my bedroom window stands blowing in the breeze like an old friend. I can smell the cut grass and sunshine I see the old gate leading into the woods behind the house where I had climbed trees built dens, read my favourite books escaping to magic lands like disc world and Neverland.
I turn around and there on the bed is my Nan wearing her apron long silver hair tied back shopping bag by her feet my old dogs lady, Toby, and lucky wagging their tails pleased to see me. I catch my breath ‘Nanny!’ I hear myself say and a tear runs down my cheek.
‘I’m not bloody staying’ she says laughing,
I hug her ‘Nanny I’m sorry’ ‘What bloody for now?’ she says wiping my tears.
‘For not being there when you died for not being at your funeral dad wouldn’t let me come. I came to the cemetery stood on the hill I watched from behind the tree.’ I cried again on her apron as I have so many other times.
‘I know you did my girl I was there with you behind that tree.’
We hug for quite some time I’ve missed her everything about her I inhale the essence of her I feel safe.
‘Let me look at you.’ She says.
She holds me away from her and smiles. You can still smell the sunshine and the storms she laughs. I nod.
A hundred beautiful memories flash before me like old photographs ‘What was that?’ I ask.
‘Love’ she answers.
‘You did it my Lass what did I always tell you?’
‘Trust the universe that was love.’
She wiped my face as I hugged my dogs.
As I stand up I’m bigger than my little Nan now.
She picks up her old shopping bag pats my dogs blows me a kiss and they are gone.
Leaving nothing but the pile of sticks acorns and leaves.
I sit on my bed listening to the buzz of summer outside and the heartbeat of me and my lady I can feel everything I whisper.
The door swings open I walk over to my lady and
The door seems to melt back into the granite wall leaving no trace that it was ever there.
We walk back to the gateway the path feels less rough and there where we left them across the bridge Saffie and her black companion lay together.
We stand together on the other side the bridge now bathed in mid-day sunlight
She bids me to take note of the river.
It’s meanders slowly and smoothly beneath us.
We cross the bridge side by side.
I pick up my bag and she bids my to close the gateway I trace the edge with my blade. The bridge between the worlds is sealed.
My clothes are gone.
She hands me a cloak I swing it around me she fastens it.
We walk back home she stays by my side until I reach my garden gate by the canal.
Everything looks the same but somehow I know it’s all completely different.
I kneel before her thanking her for this journey this lesson.
She kisses me lightly on my fore head and hands me a small saffron flower she smiles and I watch the billow of her cloak in the sunshine as she walks back to the cross roads.
Thank you my lady I whisper as she turns the corner.