The walk to the mountain range was not as far as it had seemed from the village. Though there was no discernible path, the Seeker had crossed acres and acres of meadows and reached the foothills by noon. In the shade of a large oak tree she lay down her staff, dropped the pack the villagers had given her, and settled on the leaf-strewn ground to sort through its contents. They had been generous with their offerings. In addition to enough food to last for several days and a cup for drinking, there was a blanket and a change of clothes. And buried beneath them a pair of sturdy boots. The Seeker looked longingly at the boots. Her feet had grown sore, then hard and calloused from her walk down to the valley. As much as she would have loved to wear them, the words of the Mother regarding her bare feet still echoed in her mind.
“There are two reasons. First your feet must connect to the earth for it is a living, breathing thing. It will be one of your greatest allies on your journey. Secondly, your bare feet are to remind you that you will always be vulnerable.”
Since there was no reason to add the weight of the heavy boots back to her pack, the Seeker tied the laces together and hung them on a low tree branch where, perchance, someone in need might find them. Then she ate a lunch of bread and cheese and fruit. She wondered if there might be a spring nearby from which to draw some water. Repacking her bag, she retrieved her staff and continued her climb. It was then she noticed what appeared to be an over-grown path leading up into the foothills. Pushing the low bushes aside with her staff she found it could be easily followed. A good sign, she thought. Perhaps she would find water after all.
The Seeker had not gone far when a great marble building loomed in the distance ahead. Excited, she quickened her pace. The building stood in a clearing on a mound of earth. The door was a beautiful archway not unlike the doors of the temple.
“Hello…” she called timidly from the bottom of the stairs. “Is anyone here?”
When there was no answer, she walked up the steps and entered beneath the archway. To her amazement, ten large coins hovered in the middle of a cavernous room, and beyond them a perfect miniature likeness of Mother Earth spun in a misty field of stars and clouds.
Her forehead wrinkled in thought as she studied the coins. Something about them seemed so familiar. No. Not the coins themselves but the shape. And then it came to her. They were in the shape of the Tree of Life from the mystical Qabalistic tradition.
The top five coins, she knew, represented the spiritual realm. The bottom five, the physical aspects of the earth. Thinking of her life so far, the Seeker could see her own history in the tree. Her education in the temple had been concerned only with the inner spiritual disciplines, though she had begun to think of them more as rules and regulations. Her time in the village, on the other hand, had shown a dedication of sharing with one another and tending to the great garden of Earth the Creator had placed in their care.
In that moment the Seeker felt an inner knowing come alive. The sacred TRUTH of the Creator encompassed both traditions, she realized. Neither tradition was entirely right, and neither was entirely wrong. Each left their own lasting legacy. And suddenly she knew that everything the Creator had made had a reason and a purpose for being. Including her. She knew now she had been right to question. She had chosen the correct path. Inside she felt an old cycle end and a new one begin. What, she wondered, would HER legacy be when her time on Mother Earth was at an end?
With that question in mind, the Seeker stepped around the coins and walked toward the world and the clouds and the stars. To her surprise the image was not solid. With her hand stretched before her she found herself walking through the vision as if it were a portal to a new life. A life she had yet to discover. And where, she wondered, should she begin?
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)