I have undergone many transformations, as we all have done over time, weary and much travelled. The lands travelled through have been those of the inner self, from the centre of the labyrinth and back again. It has involved pain, sacrifice and rebirth, spiritual as well as physical. The journey towards wholeness is not an easy one, it is filled with many distractions, some self-generated, some not. Vainglorious ego may try its utmost to lead us astray – offering power, knowledge, position and safety most of all, but to what end? I have had many difficult choices to make, as shall you. We have all of Time to make our choices and learn the lessons. Eternity belongs to the Goddess, so she watches over those that are Her children, as she has done over me.
The land was young when I began my vigil and now that you have emerged from the mists gentle traveller we can journey together to the West. I see many questions in your eyes and they will be answered. The Soul must rest after such a journey, for we are to embark upon another long and perilous undertaking. You will be armed with the tools of my knowledge and those of our ancestors, for I am obliged to help you by any means the Goddess allows. I shall recount my life as it has passed up until this moment. Listen well.
I entered the world on a still moonlit night, the hare being midwife to this little scrap of life. Mewling this life burrowed into her fur seeking nourishment and warmth, she gave until the Goddess commanded “no more”. Then my instruction began. I flew on the wings of the wind over vast mountain fortresses, silently passed through forest and marshland, and swam deep within the waters of Her womb. This is what it means to enter into the life of the Universe. The ears, eyes and heart must be keen to capture every breath, every movement. Life after life the Moon drew me down and I emerged from the East, full of promise of the harvest. Life sprang from the dark, damp earth reaching ever upwards towards the light, touched by the Child of Light it ripened ready for the sacrifice. The sharp yet merciful knife of fate cleanly cut the thread and I lay on the ground bloodied and breathless. My death gave life to others, as yours must.
I journeyed through the worlds, the words of my ancestors sustaining in their wisdom and beauty. Cycle after cycle I rode the wheel of life, all that was seen and heard giving cause for much sorrow and joy. I searched endlessly for the One, his misty form haunting my dreams, just within grasp at one moment and gone at the next. Once under a burning sun I approached a figure on a cross, we looked at each other but he was not the one my heart craved for. Despairing I sought shelter within a nearby cave. Sleep overtook me and my dreams transported me to strange and fearful places. My child was safe inside me, cocooned in my waters she slept soundlessly. I sang many songs to nourish her, tales of bravery, of wisdom, of magic. Her answers were clothed in words of honey and music of such unearthly beauty it took your breath away. She also told of a time when her life would be cut short to make way for a new age, I knew this well but would suffer great pain in letting go of her each time.
At her birth they gathered in silent ranks around me, the High Priest anointed my forehead and the birth pangs ceased. My daughter was held aloft, bathed in blood and tears, and then darkness shrouded me as her life ebbed away. A strong green shoot sprang from the bloody soil and grew up towards the sky. The shoot grew thicker and was looking more like a vine now, luxuriant leaves hiding full grapes. I looked on in wonder and approached the vine, took one grape and ate it. The fruit transformed into new life, my child was returned to me once more, her heart beating out a rhythm, which echoed mine. It is hard letting go of possessions, emotions and people, but you must realise that new life springs out of sacrifice and death – we all have to go through that gateway in order to be reborn. It is an eternal cycle, even I am not immune to it. Does that give you hope?
Look, the dawn approaches, we must rest now. Take this bearskin and place it in that hollow, it is out of the wind. There is no need to be fearful, I shall return once more. She whose gave life approaches, no harm shall come to me. You are my heir and shall carry on the sacred tradition laid down since the dawn of time. Let that give you strength. So soon Life ebbs away from me, but I can feel Her hands wrap the bearskin around me as she lays me to rest. Her luminous face gazes down at me, it is imprinted upon my heart. Such power flows from her, her very presence full of love and compassion. What did I have to fear with my Mother by my side? The blood in our veins dances to an ancient drum beat, this was Her gift to me. Gentle hands brush the hair off my face, their touch warm and comforting. The song of a blackbird carries me over the threshold between this world and the next and the mists close in. In my dreams I enter the cave of my ancestors, to seek their counsel and join my essence to theirs, this was our tradition from the dawn of time and will continue until time ceases to be. To enter the cave is to enter the Void, within its darkness we are able to gain strength, regenerate, thoughts are born, answers are given. Mother bear your cub has returned to the heart of the Labyrinth.