I am coming to the end of a year long priestess program. This is my summary reflection:
You chose this path. You heard the call and it pulled you. A cord below your heart, tugged, kite-string of hope. You answered. You stepped onto the road, skipped, stumbled, danced your way, dizzy with possibility into a new journey.
At the start, as in all good stories, your way is clear. Sunlight falls dappled on the track, the earth is clear and dry, soft and mossy beneath your toes, there is a warmth in the air, and freedom and possibility call your name like a robin’s song. You feel the clarity in your heart and mind and make each step willingly and without effort. You name your intentions with bravery and courage, I will be connected, I will be strong and bold, I will be bathed in magic, I will stand in my own power, I will be creative and fierce. These words are true, they are stones set in a cairn by the wayside, they are marks scratched into tree-bark, chalk etched on paving, to show the way.
The change, when it begins, is subtle. Maybe it is a chill in the air, a shift in the light? You are aware, just out of sight, of a shadow, edging her way into the extremity of sense, felt in the scalp, in the nape of the neck. Who is this? Who ghosts your steps and breeds dis-ease? The way is more difficult now. Roots tangle your footsteps, you begin to fear, mists creep up to cover your ankles and you cannot see your footsteps, mud holds you at each step, sucking you down, hindering your dance, slowing your progress. You feel there must be some mistake, maybe you missed a turn? The shadow takes shape. She is familiar; from dreams perhaps, or nightmares? The sunlight dims, dusk begins to creep in from the trees around.
In the dimming light the questions come. Who do you think you are? Why did you think you could? How dare you? What a presumption! To give yourself this name, to stand in that company! Delusions of grandeur. Laughter echoes, unfriendly, taunting. The shadow is close now, you feel her presence, her eyes of fire, the smell of her, the deep, earthy fragrance. You stumble forwards, limbs shaking with fatigue. The early optimism is gone. Now there is only the journey. Only the next step. You dare not look too closely at the forest around you; who knows what it will show?
This is the path for the longest time. Continuing. Breathing in and out. Lungs burning, limbs aching, feet bruised and battered. Next step. Next step. Your hope that this would be a path to freedom seems mistaken and you laugh at your childishness, the fairy-tale romance you had envisioned. Bitter thoughts crowd in, regrets, fears, disillusionment. In the dark places you are alone, consumed by your foolishness.
Time after time and then time. A half-light returns, another dawn? A new day? So many days, none as you imagined, you are thirsty. Finding a pool, you stop to wash your feet, your face. Heart in your mouth as you look up you find the shadow before you and know her for the first time. Wild. Fierce. Unfettered. Spirit-fire pulsing through her eyes as she holds your gaze. Earth-born goddess. Your soul self. This moment, when she stands so close, at the end of need, and you allow her embrace, allow this connection, blood and bone, earth and fire. When the old self disintegrates and the new is born and you can only think, this isn’t what I expected.
People will ask you what you learned on this journey, on your priestess-path. They will want to know answers, truths which can be digested over coffee or lunch. And you will not be able to show them…the raw beauty, the alchemy, the transformation, the descent and return, the dark path and the shadow. How could you explain this? The way expectation is lost at the edge places, how you lose yourself there, and come back changed?
You are peeled. Stripped bare. Scoured clean. Old patterns and habits, old thoughts, shed. You are no longer certain. No longer clear. You have shifted; from the known to the unknown. Tame to wild. Good girl to wild woman. Princess to hag. Unboxed, unbound you step forward. New-skinned. No velvet robe here, soul bare, eyes full of fire, a heart burning with the blue flame of divine love.