I have been on this threshold for a long, long time, reluctant to step over, that age-old fear controlling, allowing myself to be distracted by all that is around me both within and without.
This stasis is now affecting my physical being, my every nerve ending feels to be on edge, jangling, the sensations sent throughout my body screaming for movement.
I breathe deeply, moving towards the entrance. I stop, peering into the murky depths. I can see very little. Again the question in my mind – why, why am I so feared to enter. I shake myself in order to discard the thoughts and, at long last, take that step over the threshold. No crash of thunder, no lightning bolts – all is as still as it was on the other side. Breathe, I must remember to breathe. I take a few steps forward following the only path. It is much lighter here than I anticipated yet there are no signs of torches or the like – seems there is a natural luminescence in or of the rock walls which is giving off a mustardy yellow glow, certainly light enough to see my way by. There is also a scent pervading the air which is familiar, the essence of which evades me. I stop to breathe it in. Whatever its source the effect is calming.
I move on. I have not gone far when the path which, up until this point, had been straight and single, suddenly divides into three. From the approach this was not at all apparent. No signpost, no markings of any kind to show which way to go. I close my eyes in an effort to centre myself hoping, I suppose, that some kind of intuition would guide me. Perhaps that, indeed, was what it was, but I have always favoured the number three so plumped for the third path. For all I knew they all led to the same place and as I didn’t know where that was or what I was going to find there my mental machinations were somewhat redundant. As I start up this path I smile to myself thinking of the Buddhist Third Way – so many things conspire in the subconscious on which we unwittingly base our decisions.
I come into an opening, the size of which is unclear as the light is so dim. I can, however, make out a figure directly ahead of me. I draw closer. All is still and silent. As I approach the face of an old woman becomes clear – she turns to look directly at me, stopping me in my tracks. I feel no fear. She moves her head only slightly but I understand that she wishes me to come closer. I do so and begin to see her more clearly, her body now visible, her face before had appeared to be floating in the air. As I look at her, her cloaked form is at once clear and indistinct – it is hard to describe. Before her a most fabulous cauldron, both she and the cauldron seeming to be standing or emanating from a stream which flowed from a crevice in the wall. It reminded me very much of the dream I had had of being at the stream of remembering, the Stream of Mnemosyne.
The cauldron bubbles as all good cauldrons do. This is confusing. How could it be that it is standing, or appears to be standing in water whilst clearly happily boiling away. It is solid and substantial. She, on the other hand, looks to be melting into or rather merging with the background, seemingly at once emerging from within the cauldron whilst also standing behind it coming from the stream. My mind is all over the place trying to make sense of what I am seeing. The scent, still present, is very strong here indeed originating from the steamy cauldron combining the aroma of freshly dug earth with the salty ozone of the sea – wonderful to the senses.
As I am observing, so too am I being observed. I look up into that face, into those eyes which I could see are clearly capable of causing terror to one who gazed upon her if that were her desired intention. Thankfully what I feel as I meet her gaze is a sense of warmth and safety being carried deep, deep within me.
Still she does not speak. Nor do I – unusual for me when I am nervous or in a new situation – I usually compensate for those nerves with words, asking questions, generally babbling etc. Here I feel no such need.
A sudden noise off to my left distracts me. A large crow descends and lands on her upturned and welcoming hand. She turns to look at crow as s/he caws to her. She speaks, welcoming crow home. They both turn and rest their eyes upon me – I could swear crow is smiling. She speaks:
“Welcome. Do you know who I am Morgaine?”
“You are Crone, the Wild Mother?” I hesitatingly respond.
She laughs. Oh not the cackle we have been taught as children to associate with such women, but a wonderfully warm, buttery laugh – deep throated and sensual.
“You know me by various names, Baba Yaga, Hecate, Cailleach, Ma-at, and many more besides. Do you know why you are here?”
“I was supposed to come and meet my dream master?” I mutter.
“And so you have” she responds, “Not quite what you were expecting I assume”.
It is more of a statement than a question and again that wonderfully rich laughter.
Crow cawed. Actually crow spoke, either that or I now somehow understand the language of crows. Crow asks:
“Do you know why you are here?”
“No – other than it was time for an end to my stasis” – the only thing I can think of to say.
Wild Mother asks: “See these in my left hand?”
I have not been able to see her left hand too clearly, but as I look now it was as if a mist were lifting and there, nestled in the palm of her hand are what looked to be seeds and/or tiny flames.
As I do so, the seeds begin to sprout – stems and leaves grow.
“These are the seeds of possibilities, of dreams, stories, tales and wishings which can be made real by your creative hand”
“You know this cauldron is one of regeneration and inspiration. It is where fears are put to death allowing the energy that is released to be born again in a new and fruitful form. If a person has the courage to come to the cauldron, then that person has the courage to continue their journey. And so you have”.
“All that is required of you is that you sit by the fire burning within Hestia’s Hearth and let the creative flame that she placed within you at your birth, bear its fruit. Nothing more”.