So this is a transition in whatever the heck this journey is. I am not happy with what I’ve done with it, but for the life of me I can’t seem to get a better handle on it. The only thing I felt strongly about (for some weird reason) was that she needed boots! There is something important to be taught with this transition, but I’m not getting it. Yet… Oh well. It is what it is. And we shall see what it shall be! Let the cards fall where they may!. 😀
For the rest of the day the Seeker worked in the garden alongside other guests. Working with her hands was new to her, and she found it fulfilling. She thought of the villagers who had banded together to plant the new kitchen garden for the family whose crops had failed. Was it like this, she wondered? The chatting and laughing with others as they harvested the food that was ready to eat. Food that would be shared by one and all? This feeling of togetherness and service was new to her as well. When she had set out on her journey she had believed it was something she had to do by herself. But that was before she knew there were other Seekers like her.
Again that aching feeling of being alone took her heart captive. THIS was what she longed for. A home, a family where she could fit in and have a purpose. Where she was accepted for who she was and held no impossible expectations for herself. Where her heart found joy in even the simple things of life and her praise to the Creator was from her whole being. But even as she thought about staying, something inside her whispered that her journey was not yet finished.
For several days the Seeker pondered the possibility of staying with the Queen. Then one evening after their meal as she sat outside on the porch looking off across the misty lake into the forest, the Queen approached her.
“It is time for you to continue your journey, Seeker.”
The Seeker was surprised to see the Queen was carrying her pack and staff. A cape was folded over her arm, and she was cradling a bundle of burlap. The Queen set the pack on the floor near the steps and leaned the staff against the railing. Then she turned to the Seeker and held out the bundle. Taking it, the Seeker opened the burlap bag to find a pair of leather boots, much like the ones the villagers had given her.
“I don’t understand,” she said. “The Mother said I was to wear nothing on my feet, that I need always be connected to the earth and aware of my own vulnerabilities.”
“And so you are. These past few days your hands have worked the soil of the earth. It is now a part of your being. And your preoccupation with your shortcomings has shown you are well aware of your vulnerability. And so your time with us has come to an end. Spirit has sent a message with the dove that you must take what you have learned into the Greater World where others are in need of your new-found wisdom and knowledge. And your love… Only in that way can you make what you have learned your own truth. Only in that way can you find the true purpose for your life.”
“And the boots?” the Seeker asked.
“The land in the Greater World can be much harsher than the mountainsides and valleys of the Realms of Faith. The boots, like this cape,” said the Queen, draping the thick material around the Seeker’s shoulders, “are to protect you and remind you of all you have learned.”
Caught off guard, the Seeker was feeling confused as she put on the boots and tied the laces. “But why must I leave now?”
“Because tonight there is a full moon to guide you as you cross the misty lake.”
“But may I not say farewell to the others before I leave?”
The Queen slipped the pack over the Seeker’s shoulder, gave her the staff, then took her by the hand down the steps toward the misty lake.
“They will understand. All come to the retreat house alone for respite and healing. And when healing has run its course, each must continue their journey alone unless the cups declare it otherwise.”
“There are nine cups in all that mark the boundaries of the Realms of Faith. If all nine are present on the night of the Guiding Moon, then your journey has ended, Seeker, and this house shall be your home.”
When they reached the edge of the lake, the Seeker was sorely disappointed to find only eight gold chalices settled in the sand in the shallow lake. Within she felt greatly conflicted. She was not certain she wanted to give up the pleasure and security of feeling like she belonged in order to pursue her quest. She looked back across the meadow at the house with lights shining invitingly from it’s windows and sighed.
“You are wondering if you are willing to forsake the comforts of the material world in the pursuit the Creator,” said the Queen. “That is a decision only you can make. There is no shame in not yet being ready to find your spiritual self, Seeker. But if you would do so, change is necessary. For once you have learned the great truths of the Sacred Scrolls there is no going back to not knowing.”
The Seeker looked one last time toward the house, then let go the Queen’s hand.
“I have chosen,” she said. Then with a quick embrace, the Seeker turned and began wading through the cups into the shallows of the misty lake.
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)