I felt the peak of the ceremony flow over me, my body bathed in star and moon.
Thanking the others, I performed the ritual of closing the circle, dismissing the quarters. Shrugging back into a comfortable robe, a witch is not without her comforts, I sat in the pentacle, eyes closed and meditated. It was a good event, as Jane and Andrea managed to keep their hands off each other. Keeping balance in the flow of energy, while keeping my coven happy were sometimes two different things. But so I was too, many years ago, more eager for the physical than the spiritual finale, so to speak.
I heard the fading of the last car into the distance.
The tree loomed before me, both in the physical world, and within my mind’s eye. I imagined what it may have seen, as it was easily over a hundred years old. It’s strong limbs tasting the air around it as a sapling, and seeing a world so large and yet so small. The feel of Mother Earth giving her life, and battling each winter, becoming a beautiful tree and surviving alone in the middle of this hill, yet surrounded not far on each side by forest.
I spread my hands across the tall grass, feeling the dew beginning to form. The tree roots as well, poking up here and there. The music of the wind was my comfort away from the life of the city. I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote my name on it, the name given by my matron of the order, and lit it with my lighter. I held it until my name was burned away, careful not to let any hot ash spread, and left the pentacle.
That was not my inner voice.
It spoke my true name.
The tree moved, and yet no wind pushed it.
The air rattled, and the earth spoke it from my bare feet. I had my share of LSD days, but these words were absolutely real. Communing with nature was what I did, but never had it, in a physical sense, spoken back. I absolutely felt the spiritual nature of becoming one with your surroundings, and felt the ebb and flow, but this was some Wizard of Oz shit.
With some hesitation, I reached down, and that’s when it grabbed me. The roots wrapped tightly around my wrists and went into my skin. Oh gods, the pain. I thought it was bad arthritis was coming on. They pulled my arms in, no resistance on my side could have stopped it. My face planted into the soil and my head exploded.
Stars spun and sun danced through my head. The feeling of thousands of days, hundreds of springs, and ideas that I simply could not grasp. The field before me grew and withered, and grew again. I felt myself growing smaller, both physically and in my mind. When I was small enough, I was transported again, but split into two. Many places at once began to flow through me, and I screamed, whether internally or not I don’t know.
The tree stood before me again, in a field of time.
Another figure was with us, I understood this to be a memory. It swirled and had no form. It burned but had no flame. It wanted out, but was kept in. It had been there a very, very long time, even with whatever I was seeing this through measured time. It was everyone, and nowhere all at once.
It turned on the tree, trying to touch it, but grew smaller and smaller, as the stars spun. I grew faint and woke up with a mouthful of dirt.
I looked around to see the world as it was, as it truly was. My eyes watered, it was as if the spirit I had explored so long inside was now shown to me. I felt a toughness on my arms, finding symbols, strangely familiar to me, yet nothing I had ever seen before. It was as if I had a scar made of wood. I arose, feeling better than I had in years, and no arthritis to boot.
There was so much work to be done, and so little time. Another voice called me, and I was not afraid this time. I set off into the forest.
My familiar awaited me.