(This is a really, REALLY rough draft. Needs a lot of work yet.)
Not wishing to be overcome again with the sadness of the evening’s farewells, the Seeker left before it was full light. She took with her only a small pouch filled with food for the journey to the valley. The Elder Sisters had explained that once there she would be dependent upon others’ kindness for her sustenance. She also carried with her the white rose she had taken from the vase in the Hall of Gathering. She had been surprised to find it as fresh this morning as it had been the evening before. Something in her heart knew it was a bond to her life in the Realm of Grace, a bond representing the love of the Creator for all creation.
The path to the valley was well traveled, which the Seeker found odd. She knew there were others who dwelt in the realm who lived on the hill sides in farms and orchards, the faithful who provided food for those abiding in the temple. In return, the Mother and the Elder Sisters guided them with prayers and principles for living, and became a voice for them from the Creator. She found herself wondering again why she would want to leave such an idyllic life. But she could not deny the call of the heavens in her heart. There was more of life to be experienced. Of that she was sure, and she longed to seek out all of creation.
For two days the Seeker traveled. The hills became lower, the grasses not as tall and wild. At night, after a simple meal of bread and fruit, she would lie in a grassy knoll with her head on her pack. Once she used her staff to call forth the symbols again and lay studying them by the light of the stars. Then on the morning of the third day the land began to level out, and fields of golden grain dotted the landscape in orderly fashion.
It was then she came upon the strange stone circle. Rocks the size of loaves of bread were lain end to end surrounding a pit of ash. Around the stone circle stood four gold wands much like her own staff, but each capped with a round, golden orb. Their ends had been thrust into the ground to hold them upright, and a garland of flowers in colors she had never seen was draped from one wand to the next uniting the four.
The Seeker was amazed. She had never known flowers of any color save white. The rich blues, reds, golds, and purples nesting in lush green leaves glowed in the rays of sun streaming through gray clouds of a rain storm creeping slowly across the horizon. The blossoms full took her breath away.
It occurred to her finally to wonder what the stone circle was for. Looking down she noticed the pattern of warm energy rising from the pit. She knelt, reaching out her hand and passing it over the debris. It was warm as if it had been burning only recently. The heat radiated up and the Seeker looked heavenward remembering what the Mother had said, “Always keep looking up, for from thence will come your greatest help.”
And as she did there appeared before her two white doves. They hovered silently, peacefully in the air, their wings barely causing a stir as they basked in the warmth of the circle. Then to the Seeker’s amazement one began to speak.
“You have come to the Stone Circle of Blessing which burns eternally. It is here the Creator will reveal to you the first truth. A truth that all those who come down from the mountain must learn.”
The Seeker was taken aback! “All those who come down from the mountain?”
“You are not the first, dear one,” said the dove, “nor will you be the last.”
Before she could question the meaning of the dove’s words, the second bird settled onto the golden bulb of one of the wands.
“Your lesson is this,” it said. “When one enters the Realm of Grace, they are instructed they must give up their individuality and become the same as all others, believing as all others, acting as all others. To be different is not acceptable.”
“I don’t understand,” said the Seeker. “I am different, yet I always felt loved there.”
“This is a hard truth,” said the dove. “But consider, you believed flowers to be only white, yet in the many realms of life flowers are a rainbow of colors. All are flowers, yet each kind is unique and beautiful. In the Realm of Grace, could you have seen them in their true form you would know this. But in that realm all color is rejected and reflected back to the cradle of reality. In that realm there is only white as there is only one truth.
“And so it is with people. Each person has their own gifts, their own paths to follow, yet not all ascribe to the principles taught in the Realm of Grace. Not all are good and wise, but all are made in the image of the Creator. And all are to be loved. And so YOU, if you wish to follow the truth of the heavens, must needs love all of creation and its creatures.”
The Seeker thought then of the sameness of her sisters. Though they looked different from one another, their lives mirrored the Elder Sisters in every way. Except for hers… She was the one who always questioned, who always longed for more and deeper communion with the heavens. And now here she was having left the Realm of Grace and following her own path on a quest to experience all of creation.
A peal of thunder shook the heavens just then and rumbled through the growing clouds. The Seeker noticed a path that led down the hill to a settlement of cottages. She must find shelter and soon.
“Go now,” said the first dove, “knowing that all creation has been given to you to love and care for. The blessings of the Creator go with you as your heart seeks a home for its worship.”
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)