From the Tale
“This is the story seed of the master Tale of the Garden,” She says, “It shares with us the first turning of humanity when the world was young and fresh. Your primeval ancestors walked the earth at one with the Divine spark shining in their core and the sensuous powers of their living bodies. Goddess, Mother, Holy One — it was I who watched over and guided my human children, teaching them to honor the ways and mysteries of the wild earth. And it was they who delighted me, and their Godly Father, by giving voice and new forms to the earth’s wonders.”
I lock onto the lily white seed in Hecate’s cupped palm. I want this Garden seed world that Hecate has shown Kayla and me. I want to be whole, at one with the powers of my starlit core and earth-made body, like the raven-haired, green-eyed maiden. I want every kiss to taste like tart currants and the salt on my lover’s skin. I want to fly with ravens and gather nectar with bees. I want these things that I never knew were possible before I came to Salt Spring. I want them, even though they scare the hell out of me.
“What I ask of you, Kayla, I ask of all my waking children: to become powerful enough, wise enough and big enough to accept all that you are and to push nothing away. You must become the crucible that holds the truth and the tension inherent in your life story — the horror and the joy, and the beauty and the wounding — and let what wants to be born in you, be born.
“But why does it have to be so hard, so painful?” I say, “Why does it have to hurt so badly for us to change?
“There is no easy answer to your question. Humanity is part of the great unfolding Universe and, like all of creation, your evolution is driven by the collision of opposites. Within your inner landscape, you hold the opposing energies of the good dream of the Garden and the bad dream of the Fall, and the light and shadow inherent in your nature. With collision comes awareness of polarities, with awareness comes conscious choice, and with conscious choice you can heal and transform your life and your world. What has been lost can be refound, all the more cherished than if it had never been lost at all.”
The dog-man points to the right of where we are standing, extending a single, bronze-skinned finger with a curved, claw-like nail. The mutable mist of this place solidifies into a paved-over, asphalt road, bordered by grime-encrusted snowbanks. In the far distance, I glimpse a gray-tinged cityscape, with sky-reaching buildings frosted over by the harsh brush of winter. Then he points to the left and another road materializes, this one of loamy, dark brown earth, hemmed in on either side by lush foliage of waxen, chartreuse leaves and exuberant, fleshy splashes of orange, red and purple flowers. The road itself indicates some form of human presence, yet the feral tendrils of the green-growing realm overleap any attempts at taming its unruly nature. The roadways intersect at our feet, and extend diagonally, as far as the eye can see, in front and behind us.
Annie begins a rich, seductive beat on her drum, and sings, “She changes everything She touches, and, everything She touches changes.”
I rock my hips, with my legs wide apart, stripped down to my tank top and yoga pants, letting the building energy of the song undulate through my bones and muscles. With dream-hooded eyes, I watch the music ripple through the group; the song’s rhythmic spell catches us all, calling us to weave our voices and bodies as one expression of the liquid power moving through us. A kaleidoscope of enraptured faces, with mud-painted brows, pass me by; warm, moist flesh brushes up against warm, moist flesh, and I gather the scents of others on my body, like a lover with her beloveds.
As our heat and passion intensifies, so does Annie’s drumming, pounding out a tempo that moves our bodies faster and faster, with dancers egging on drummer, and drummer egging on dancers. The song’s lyrics drop away, and we utter, in gasps, just single words — touch, change, change, touch. My hips are no longer my own, nor my rushing blood. And then the words vanish, and there is only the insistent voice of the drum, and my dancing out a power too big and too beautiful for my body to contain.
My shoulders sag as all the fight leaves me. A profound sadness, tinged with an infinite sense of loss and lostness, hovers just below the surface of my flight instincts. All this magic has made me aware of who I am not, and what I do not have in my life, and the gap that exists between my fumbling experiences and Kayla’s subtle, expansive power that slips between her words like melted honey – delicious, nourishing and natural. Once again tears come, hot and unbidden, and with them a hot shame that I am not enough, out of my league, but too far down this road to back out of it.
Kayla takes me into her arms and rocks me. I don’t have words for these things that twist and tangle me up, but the feelings are there, as quivering bundles of energies and tremulous body sensations. And I let Kayla inside of me, deeper than I’ve ever let anyone before. I sense her brushing up against my fears and my desires, my shame and my hopes, my certainty that I cannot, will not, walk away from her, and my barely suppressed urge to bolt in the opposite direction.
When my crying slows, Kayla takes my wet face between her warm hands and speaks to the place in me that shimmers between my desires and my fears, “You are enough Sarah, for me, for the Dark Goddess, and for the magic coming into your life. All that matters is what you truly, deeply want.”
I close my eyes, and hear the echoes of Opa Kass’s wisdom: everything you need is within you; deep inside you know what matters most to you. My hands move to the center of my body, and I sense the soft, even breath of my sleeping beauty, my feminine soul, stretched out on the green earth in her pristine white gown. And I want, more than anything else in the whole world, to kiss her ruby lips awake.