This is the story that links with the Wild Mother Calling cloth – the cloth is the story – as the cloth unfolds so too the journey of Morgaine. This started life on a Soul Food Cafe blog called the SSVulcania, this is being closed down now so I thought it appropriate to incorporate the story here. It was originally titled Cruising with a Shadow Dancer. The cloth has subsequently been renamed the Cailleach Cloth as it seemed more appropriate.
Chieko had had a message to tell her that she had to leave her place by the Stream . She had been there for many hours dipping her cupped hands into the waters, drinking and remembering. The call had come for her to travel so she gathered up her bag, checked the contents, ensuring she had the gifts from L’Enchanteur as well as her own belongings, all was well.
She crossed the green pathways and made her way to the stables. All was silent as she approached. She stuck her head around the side of the stable doorway…not a soul to be seen, even the horses were quiet. Not sure what to do she decided to sit and wait, surely someone would come and provide her with her ride, so she pulled up a bale and made herself comfortable. Her mind drifted to the creative projects she was presently involved with and those she had yet to start. Thoughts abounded, her mind a maelstrom of ideas tangling themselves around each other, distracting her totally from her present surroundings.
She fell sideways with quite a thud….something/someone had pushed her, snapping her out of her reverie, bringing her sharply back to the present. The most enormous shire horse was looking down on her with, what she felt was a definite air of impatience and something else that she couldn’t quite figure out.
“This is Dina, she has chosen you”, a small voice emanated from behind this magnificent creature.
“Wow, thank you”, Chieko responded, whilst wondering how in the hell she was going to get astride Dina.
The small voice belonged to a rather large woman who appeared beside Dina with a broad smile on her face and a set of steps in her hand.
“Here, let me help you”. She placed the steps next to Dina who was standing stock still. The woman placed the reins into Chieko’s hands and advised her to hold on tight, not a necessary command as Chieko had never ridden before and has already hanging on for grim death even though Dina was stationary.
“Dina will take you to your Dream Master, she knows the way, trust her”. “Ok, now remember, hold on tight”, repeated the woman as she slapped Dina’s rump and off they went, Chieko quickly burying her head into Dina’s mane, too terrified to look up. For such a large horse Dina went at a hell of a pace. Chieko’s initial fear abated and she was soon raising her head, just a little. From her vantage point she had a good view of the open countryside they were travelling across. Far, far in the distance she could just make out some kind of building but, as yet, it was indistinct.
Forgive me for not introducing myself before now, I have been suffering from some malady which laid me low. Poor Gwaelyan has had to sort everything out and she has done a wonderful job, my cabin looks and feels like home. I barely remember anything of coming aboard or the ensuing days, except for an awareness of a lot of laughter and song, it is a shame I missed all the fun and games. However, I am sure there will be more to come. I understand that we are docked at The Island of the Temple People. Once I am fully recovered I shall go ashore and meet up with some old friends.
A little about myself. At heart I am a reclusive yet I venture out into the world to find community within which to learn and to grow. I was not at all ready to begin another journey but The Mother insisted, She said it was time and when The Mother speaks, I listen. I was named after Morgan le Fey, the Lady Morgana , an ancient descendant of mine and with whom I have some attributes in common. Although under the influence of fever I have been acutely aware of the presence of those belonging to the Faerie, they have a resonance to which I am attuned. More of that later no doubt.
As I am emerging I can see my way forward perhaps. I am an impetuous, stubborn creature, born a child of the fire, I do not wait and always think I know best. I started out on this journey with reluctance in my heart, my whole being already consumed by another only-just-begun journey of the inner variety but as the fog in my brain clears I can see that they are interlinked, conjoined, one with the other. Of course, in my rashness I set up two journals, two very separate journals – what do I do now?
I am very far from new to this earth and I frustrate myself in that I do not wait, do not trust somehow. However, in the rashness often the unexpected grows and it could be it was time for a new start – rather a cyclic returning to roots and from those roots this new beginning. The Mother once said to me that I compartmentalise everything – I shrugged as I saw nothing amiss in that. Now I am beginning to see how it can hinder. I have compartmentalised these two journeys which are, in fact, one and the same. Well I will find a way. For now I am here in my cabin recuperating still and I am delighted at last to have joined you all wholly – in spirit at least, the body will follow.
It Started with a Dream –
I awoke this morning with a start. The dream I had been having was so real, so lucid it took me some time to re-orient myself to my surroundings. I sat up and had some water, seeing a note that had been propped up against the glass I took it up and read it. It was an invite from E to join the precarious ride on the Train of Thoughts on the Island of the Temple People. This train would take me to the deep, dark caves within which I would meet with my Dream Master, who would lead me to the Land of Dreaming. Now there’s a coincidence! The dream I had moments ago awoken from was very similar in that this too was the beginnings of a journey to meet my Dream Master. It was obviously a portent which indicated I was well on the mend. In the lucid dream I was in a Maiden form and I feel that for the journey ahead I should remain in my present state of Apprentice Crone, I have the sneaking feeling that to enter the caves will take someone with more experience than a Maiden, in all her innocence, could bring.
I will pack a few things to take with me, my cloth journal which is essential and will be my record of my time in the Land of Dreaming, the gifts from E – the walnut and bag of essentials, pens and pad and my special stones. My needs are few and I prefer to travel lightly, but I do have the sense that I shall be gone a long time, although when one travels between the realms time becomes irrelevant.
Before I leave I shall offer up prayers to the Mother to watch over us all.
Gwaelyan I shall leave on the Island of the Temple People to enjoy the various festivities and to visit with old friends as she wishes. She is a wonderful apprentice and an excellent friend, it will be a great gift to her to have time for herself – it has been a while.
So….I shall make ready. It is time to depart for the Island.
I left the Vulcania with every intention of heading directly to the train station from where I was to board a train taking me on a somewhat perilous, or so I had been told, journey to the caves wherein I would meet with my Dream Master.
The irony of the timing of this venture had not escaped me. Imbolc is fast approaching, the ritual lighting of candles and fires to welcome the slowly increasing power of the Sun with its promise of good harvests in the year to come and yet here was I, not for the first time in my life it is true, going in entirely the other direction, headed inwards to the dark when all around are beginning to turn outwards to the sun and the light.
However, on my way to the station I was brushed by someone obviously well versed in the art of shadow dancing. S/he appeared as a wavering of the light, quite, quite indistinct to most eyes yet I could define a figure within swathed in rainbow silks. This person laid into my hand an invitation. It was to the Sementivae Seed Festival and although I knew the meeting with my Dream Master was somewhat overdue, I would not ignore this opportunity to plant for the future before turning inwards.
I followed the sign to the Temple which lay within a grove – a place of great natural beauty and peace.
Above the entrance to the grove:
I entered and was amazed at how the outer look of the Temple belied what lay inside it……as the inside was, in fact, open to nature. I took my place to sit quietly to meditate on the year to come and to offer up prayers of gratitude.
This place resonated deep within me, transporting me to another time. I was once again walking in meditation the spiral path of the Tor on Summer Isle. I was hearing clearly the chanting and footfall of those who accompanied me as I took the circular route to the top, whereupon we would welcome back the light and pray for fecundity in the year to come.
View from the Tor across the Summer Lands (Avalon):
I was connected to the earth beneath me, feeling my roots sinking ever deeper into her welcoming arms, the energy of the earth rising in me, awakening the snake energy which lies within us all, travelling from the base up through the spine. I am at one totally at peace, connected and energised. I am ready for the journey which lies before me.
High pitched singing brought me back to the present. Slowly I returned, my vision adjusting itself to the here and now. Stretching and looking about me I saw the masks hung to one side of the Temple. I was instructed to focus and choose one to wear for the planting. I chose a simple full-face one – the blue of which drew me to it, it being the blue of our robes on Summer Isle.
I was feeling quite wistful as I made my way down the path towards the meadow, holding the small hand-crafted pouch which contained the seeds.
On reaching the meadow I closed my eyes and let my feet guide me to the correct planting spot. On opening my eyes I saw before me a small stone circle, it looked to be a medicine wheel and I knew this was my place.
I sat in quiet contemplation for a while, offering up my prayers for the futures of us all whilst very slowly and deliberately planting the seeds.
I stayed a while breathing in the wonderful surroundings, reluctant to leave the warmth and peace of this place that reminded me so much of my ancestral home, but I knew I must.
It was time. I arose and set out for the station.
To the Caves
I have been very lax in keeping my journal, from hereon-in I shall endeavour to make regular entries, my memory not being what it once was.
I have been distracted by so many visions, memories, thoughts arising during and after the planting ceremony. Voices of the distant past softly whispering to me – calling me.
I could still hear them as I walked slowly to the station. As I approached the ticket office a figure within waved me through – indicating the train already at the platform. I boarded and took my seat. No sooner had I settled than the train set off. As it departed I could hear the siren from the Vulcania calling all passengers to return as it was ready to leave for the next port of call, Owl Island.
Much as I would love to visit I know now is not my time. I am not concerned about finding my way back to the ship as I have the walnut gifted me by E which, apparently, acts as a transporter which I may need should my own wings fail me.
The train accelerated at an alarming rate, hurtling towards the very tip of the headland – I could not see where the track went – it just disappeared. Over the edge we went! The track with the train upon it somehow clung to the side of the cliff. It was not hanging as a cable car, the track was flat against the cliff face, the train rattling along seemingly defying gravity. Now I of all people should not be surprised by this, I know only too well how time and space can bend and curve – what appears solid and fixed not always being so. However, it was a most peculiar and extraordinary experience – I sitting, still upright in the compartment, not a hair out of place, whilst the train itself travelled on its side.
It is often best not to question these things or examine them too closely, acceptance is safer and gentler on my sometimes fragile sense of sanity. I am intrigued though.
Not that I had much time for thoughts of any sort. I felt the train rise and then descend quite sharply, slowing as it did so.
I noticed a definite change in the light and atmosphere as the train came to a halt, both having an indefinable quality of shape as if full yet appearing empty.
Shaking myself down mentally I took up my bag and left the train. As soon as I had stepped down from the compartment the train set off again. I have taken out my journal here to make these notes before I go further.
Where I am can hardly be described as a platform, nor a station. I have descended from the train into open meadowland. I sit here writing on the soft summer grass. It is absolutely silent, not a sound, no birdsong, no rustle of wind, nothing. Directly in front of me is a pathway which leads to what I can only describe as an entrance and as there is nothing else in view for miles around me it is there I must go.
I think I had assumed the caves would be on the shoreline and be large, open, dank and yet airy, suffused with the salt water scent of the sea. I had not anticipated that I would be entering into the depths of the Mother Herself.
Crossing the Threshold
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 was 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 the 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”.