Friday, July 7, 2017

Princess of Swords

There, cloaked in darkness, I find myself silent and still. Slowly, a light breaks and seems to shine from behind me, illuminating a large and ornate wooden door just in front of me. There is nothing else in this dim room. I study the door. Dark, heavy wood and intricate paneling seem to draw me towards it. I take one step and then another and reach for a large antique brass handle in the middle of this grand door. Slowly I push down to hear it click and struggle forward on old and rusted hinges. A misty cold air assails me and I am drawn through without stepping at all.

I find myself in a misty place, obscured by millions of tiny droplets of water. I reach my hands in front of me wondering how far I can see and my eyes water to feel the mists so close and me unable to see farther than my fingertips. I realize I am finely dressed in an ancient, green brocade gown that weighs me unnecessarily. I cannot shake the feeling of being almost unable to move or even breath. Multiple, heavy skirts pull at my body and I find myself wishing to sink to the ground below to relieve this weight. I feel trapped and something strikes at my heart, a deep and irrational fear and I glance about myself to realize I can see nothing beyond myself. If a predator is watching, I am unable to know.

I feel this deep seated fear pawing at my deepest core. I struggle against this fear of my surroundings and try to walk away from this dread I sense. The air is heavy, moist and dank. It is fetid and thick and I draw each breath with labored effort. A bird begins a call somewhere in front of me, steady and calling. The sound draws me towards this bird but I listen with fear building in me and wondering what she knows that I cannot. Then she quiets and I am again left in this unearthly, muffled stillness. Slowly I take a step forward and realize I am walking on thick mud that sponges a bit with each step. I reach down, pulling on the hem of the heavy gown to look at my feet. There, I notice thick mud oozing about my toes. For some reason this sensation makes me feel a bit better. I notice that I am connected in some way to the earth and I am a little less fearful.

Something shifts around me. It seems the mist has lifted a bit from my shoulders and eyes and I peer to my left to notice an elaborate stone altar. Gray rocks and intricate details strike me. It is artfully made and constructed. This pagan altar has been filled with all manners of strange and gruesome things. I find a bloody wing, a black and twisted ribbon, an old bone still with wilted skin, and another, a garish mask contorted in a last breath. I recoil to see these things. They repulse me. I look away.

And yet again, the misty droplets lighten. I notice that I am in a forest glade and all is deep wet greens and dark woods around me. The air has cleared a bit more and I can smell a bit of pine and juniper in my breaths. I breath a bit easier and deeper and feel strength in those familiar scents. Apprehensively, I glance back at the altar and realize the pile of things has grown and yet I cannot make out their exact form. I find myself angry at these things that ruin so beautiful a place and I reach my hand up to swing at the pile and knock it off the altar. In that second, I feel a sharp and terrible pain in my right foot! I fall to the side gasping at the strength of the pain that reaches through my every fiber and causes me to feel faint. There in the grass, a small dark snake is slithering away. It has red spots down it's back and it hisses an angry retort before slithering away. I shake and tremble in abject fear and terrible pain. I reach to lift the skirt of my heavy gown and see blood running down my foot; the pain intensifies. I gasp to feel it and at that moment realize the mists have retreated even farther from me. The day grows brighter now.

I look again at the bite mark and realize that is glowing from within me and that glow is spreading thru my foot and up my leg in a rapid ascent. There is almost a sparkler like quality as it crackles and begins to transform my skin and burn the dress away. Large pieces of dark green fabric fall way and shrivel into ash as they float to the ground; each piece, and I feel lighter. My legs are lit by this otherworldly golden glow and I watch the fire spread thru me and in the end I am dressed only in the lightest of garments, feathers of a sort. I reach my hands up and allow the searing power of this transforming venom to perform its magic on me. It reaches higher and higher and I find my being enraptured in a pain that is almost pleasure and heady awareness. And I feel myself begin to scream, and then the scream turns to this note of purest intensity and I am singing so fully at the top of my lungs. I feel my throat open and I turn and turn, slowly, allowing the scream to fill me and all of this sound to pierce the remaining mists before me. The sound fills me so entirely and I feel consumed by it and as if I will consume the world before me with it.

The mists lift with each tone emulating from my being until they have fallen away entirely to the deep blue sky above me. The now fiery and radiant gold of my skin joins the radiant burning yellow of the sun. I feel my self lit from within and without. I revel in the brightness but my eyes struggle to adjust. And now I notice, a sacred white Ibis stands at my right side and I reach for it, sure I am to mount it and take flight. But as I reach, I realize my arms have become wings and my body is light and covered in white feathers. I bend my legs and leap up and up and begin to soar. All of this is below me. The altar is fading now, these gray stones turned white and shimmering in the brightest of early morning suns. I feel the warmth of the sun on my back and the wind flows under and over and around me.

I am the beginning of wisdom and all knowing.

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