All-Mother was always her happiest when she was with all of the lovely animals She and All-Father had created for our blue-and-green jewel in a far-flung arm of the Galaxy and Universe. She would walk through the wilds and Her animals would put aside their daily lives and follow her in growing parade; where wolf and deer, bear, Cougar and sheep walked peaceably with small furry things, lizards, snakes, birds and frogs chatting as they scurried in the leaf-mould.
The larger birds all wished to perch on her shoulder in a friendly manner, but she had to remind them frequently to take care with their talons on her bare skin. All of the animals knew that they could wound All-Mother without meaning to, despite being as careful as they could.
At night, All-Father and All-Mother rested beneath a blanket All-Mother had woven from bits of the animals’ shed fur that was caught on thorns. She spun it in the evening, singing a wordless lullaby in time to her foot on the pedal of her spinning wheel.
One such night, while All-Father and Mother slumbered, the animals met deep in the forest.
“All-Mother needs some protection, not just from our claws, but from the weather as well. In deepest Winter I have watched Her shiver as She scattered food on the snow so we would not starve.” Bear spoke in his slow, deep-thinking way.
“What can we do? Any of us would gladly give Her our skin, but She would not allow us to harm ourselves so.” Wolf’s yellow eyes were sombre.
“Some of our hides would do less than nothing for our Dear All-Mother!!” Chipmunk’s busy little voice was barely audible.
“My hide would not protect our All-Mother from the cold.” Snake’s words were sibilant and hypnotic.
“Agreed, my skin will only repel water.” Salamander ‘s words were mournful. “That would not keep her warm at all.”
“No it would not work for warmth, but she would appreciate shelter from the rain.” Owl spoke from his perch on a hollowed oak. “Perhaps what we should do is this…” He laid out a plan all creatures thought was brilliant, and all agreed joyously to participate in.
Night after night, every animal in the wilds passed by Owl’s tree to contribute to the gifts for their All-Mother. Every animal gave a piece of hide; each allowed their own choice of where the hide came from. Almost unanimously the animals chose a place closest to their hearts to show how much they loved All-Mother and Father.
Pride after pride of Lions strode to the secluded glade; those noble kings donated two kinds of hide. The males shared their glorious manes, and the females shared their bellies, warm and golden. That is why to this day Mother Animals will have bare places on their bellies.
The Zebras all offered either white or black stripes, so that their stripes could be reproduced. On the soft ground their hooves made no sound as the herds deposited their gifts
Bears all shared their shaggy hide, whether it be black, white or any colour in between, they took the hide from nearest their hearts, to show their love for All-Mother.
The wee rodents also offered their hides; tiny bits could be added together to make a section of squirrel, or chipmunk. There were also small pieces that fit a place too small for a large animals’ hide.
Other great cats, the leopard and cheetah, jaguar and tiger also gave of themselves happily for All-Mother’s comfort.
The wee housecats also gifted their fur, and stayed to encourage others when they came, as well as guard the glade from All-Mother during the day. Their defence consisted of racing through the trees until they met up with All-Mother, and then they tripped her up ecstatic snugglings, silken head-butts and purred cries for attention.
Wolves, by the pack, or the Lone Wolves who forsook their solitary ways to give their coats to All-Mother, even the cubs added their baby fluff to the Wolves’ donation.
Dogs trotted in with their tails wagging and tongues lolling, as happy as could be to be serving the All-Mother. The ones with the greatest hearts remained to soothe the tender places left after the bit of hide was gifted. They also set themselves to lead All-Mother astray from the glade; they would easily inveigle Her into a game of tug-of war or chase-the-stick
The horses trotted through, gifting from their long, graceful manes to trim the fronts of the cloaks, they studied the growing pile of gifts and nodded their heads approvingly. They also offered to carry the hide from animals that could not travel on land.
The seals, sea lions and Walruses gave their waterproof hides to go around the face of All-Mother to keep ice from forming. Their barks of happiness could be heard in the faraway glade.
When the parts for the gifts were all together the insects took every little piece and cleaned off any mess on the skin, and then combed them with their legs. When everything was perfect spiders took their turn, as did the silkworms.
Slowly, four magnificent cloaks began to take shape; all of them held a small piece of every animals’ hides. The spiders and silkworms sewed them together, with all of their eyes focussed on how prettily the pieces were fitted, and how the patterns and colours complemented one another.
Often the spiders and silkworms would stop to exclaim in delight at how well certain pieces of fur would match. ‘Look here, how the mane of the lions looks with the coat of the panthers next to it’, or, ‘Doesn’t the red of Foxes’ coat look even more striking next to Zebras’ stripes.’
Two cloaks were all of fur, warm and comfortable; and would fit All-Father and All-Mother perfectly. The second pair was of the skins of snakes and reptiles, and rubbed to a soft gloss with the oils donated by otters, beavers, and other water mammals.
The birds were unhappy about being unable to contribute to the cloaks, until Owl told them what they could do for All-Mother’s comfort and pleasure. Bird after bird perched next to Owl and pulled soft down from nearest their hearts.
The Spiders and Silkworms wove soft grasses, and then they were stuffed with the down to form a soft bed for All-Mother and All-Father. There was enough of the soft grasses and down to make small cushions for them to rest their heads on as they slept.
Finally all of the gifts were ready. The animals were all in a swivet awaiting All-Mother’s response to their generosity. The next day as All Mother visited Her creations the animals began to slowly lead her in the direction of the cloaks.
The flowers scattered petals on All-Mother’s path, as they always did, as the leaves on the trees danced for joy when All-Mother came their way. She would pause to smell a flower here, and embrace a stout tree as She was led by the parade of animals closer to the Glade of Gifts as it became known.
The All-Mother entered the Glade and stopped with Her mouth open; from sturdy branches hung two cloaks in a patchwork of all of Her animals’ fur, more branches held the cloaks of reptile skins; before this was the soft cushions full of down.
“Oh! My dear Creations, such love is in these gifts!” She turned to the animals with tears in Her eyes, now She could see the small patches where they had donated their hides for Her comfort. Overflowing with love and reverence All-Mother healed all of the small patches, leaving them bare.
And that my loves, is why all of the animals will have a bare patch somewhere on their body. So now, when you see your animal’s bare spot you will know that the All-Father and All-Mother do exist and that they love us very much indeed.
What has this to do with our Tarot Journey? The High Priestess is the one that teaches us how to honour the All-Father and All-Mother in everything that we do.
Mysteries are not communicable
Save to those who know.