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The Seeker paused and stared at the forest covered hill that rose beyond the lake. There standing high above them settled amidst thick oaks and pines was a beautiful castle. She had roamed these paths before, yet never discovered the fortress. She wondered who lived there.

As she stood there on the shore a family of swans floated into view. Two full-grown, a Cob and a Pen, and four cygnets. They were beautiful as were the little ones who had yet to grow their long necks and glorious feathers. It seemed fitting to her somehow that a family of the Creator’s most elegant creatures would inhabit the waters below the peaceful scene.

Seated on the bank of the lake, the Seeker smiled as she watched the babies paddle around in the water. Gazing up at the castle again she noticed a rainbow, its bow bent over the lake framing the beautiful structure in the distance. And within the rainbow itself she spied ten silver chalices. No longer surprised by the visions of this magical realm to which she had come, a thrill of anticipation rose within her as she sought to grasp what might be the meaning of the vision.

Surely the ten cups meant abundance while the calm waters below foretold that all was well. Could it be they were a harbinger of good things to come for her? A home nestled on fertile land, a family to raise in a caring community of like-minded people. She had been so caught up in her pilgrimage that she had not spared a moment to think of what she wished for herself at the end of her journey.

Was it possible this WAS the end of her journey? She felt she had found the answer to her faith. She had determined that faithfulness to the Sacred Scrolls without the actions that should spring from them was not what the Creator required. Nor did she wish to immerse herself in other people’s lives with the idea that it earned her standing in some future kingdom. The Holy One had said the Kingdom of all Creation was here and now. Though she longed for growth and intimate communion with the Creator, she would never consider going off by herself and devoting her time to foolish rituals such as the upside down man.

Looking across the lake at the castle she had the sudden thought she could walk away from the quest now and find a life for herself not weighted down by the deep searching that had always filled her soul. WAS it possible her quest was at an end? Is that what Death had meant by a new beginning?

But even as her heart began to pound with possibilities, something niggled at the back of her mind, and suddenly the air around her started to fill with dust. She turned looking for a place to shelter and saw a cave set back into the hillside. Quickly she got to her feet and took refuge within the rocks. Her eyes strained to see the castle, but it was barely visible through the thick, gritty wind. And just then out of nowhere a Wand flew through the air and hovered between the Seeker and the mouth of the cave as if to say, “Choose.”

A heavenly glow surrounded it and she felt a burst of creativity spark within. And just that quickly she realized the meaning of the vision and the castle. They were not for her alone, but for the whole earth as the Creator meant it to be. A place of peace and plenty full of life and community for everyone. That was the revelation she was finding at the core of her being.

Then as quickly as the storm had come, the Wand disappeared and the dust began to settle. She looked back across the lake to see the castle one last time, but instead saw yet another vision of a young woman sitting on one of the sacred lilies. She was dressed in the black of mourning, and for a brief moment there was a longing and a grief that engulfed the Seeker as she realized the world was not as it should it. Would it every be? Could it?

She sighed and turned her attention to the woman who was surrounded by five chalices. Three were upside down, emptied of their contents. The Seeker recalled the Priest, the Magician, and the Hanging Man and knew in her heart these were the three cups she had emptied of her own accord. Yet two remained upright. What would she find, she wondered, as she continued her journey. She had the strangest feeling her calling would take her far away from this place.





© Cheryl D. Carter

Part 34 — Confusion
Part 36 — Awakening


Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)