From the Tale
My spine straightened by its own accord, sitting me up, tall, alert and enervated. I rubbed away my tears and carelessly wiped my sniffling nose on the dark sleeve of my best Prada suit. My consciousness expanded, as if a light had been turned on, and I peered, for the first time, into the vastness of my inner landscape. A nameless, formless hunger rose up and sucked me into its vortex, squeezing all the air from my lungs and thoughts from my mind, leaving me gasping like a beached fish, yet also wonderfully open and empty.
A gift of pure, crystal-clear awareness bubbled up into this emptiness that spoke to me in simple, strange words, but with the power to turn my life inside out, “You can no longer hide from me. I am your soul ache, come to guide you home.”
Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. I turned to the tinted panel of glass that covered one wall of my office. A spider web of ice crystals had spread across its flat surface, painted by the chilled exhalation of a December wind. An enormous, jet-black raven perched on the narrow, metal ledge outside my window, haloed by the neon glow of a waking, urban nightscape. Her hot breath melted a portal through the icy web into my world. She looked crafty, purposeful, as she called insistently and shifted from one leathery foot to the other, dancing her darkling shadow across the polished sheen of my desk. In my expanded state of awareness, the raven’s arrival seemed commonplace, expected.
I slowed my breath and opened to the fathomless depth of the raven’s twinkling, obsidian eyes. As if by magic, her rasping cries melted a portal into the icy interior of my heart, frosted over by the chilled exhalation of my unrelenting drive, and other deeper, hidden hurts that I could sense but not name. And in this melting a secret desire awoke within me, a yearning for something essential missing from my life, connected to my soul. An understanding passed between us, a promise that I would follow whatever path this raven, and my soul, laid before me.
Something seems to settle in the liquid darkness, like a silent sigh that ripples through the dream landscape and widens the pathway before and behind us. With a loud, resonate bark from the lead dog, the bright flicker of a hearth fire appears several yards away.
We stop at the shadowed edge of the firelight. The space appears empty except for the scarlet and amber flames rising to lick the night sky. A base, primal rhythm pounds in my chest. I scent the air and discern faint traces of wild rose amidst the stronger smell of wood smoke. Hecate is here; I feel Her presence, but I can’t see Her
Kayla’s lips are slightly parted and an intense heat rises from her skin.
“We’ve found Hecate’s hearth fire,” she says, her voice husky and eager, “Come, She is waiting for us.”
I pause, my upper torso extending forward and the rest of me frozen in place. Do I want this? My heart quickens within the narrow confines of my ribcage. Yes, absolutely, I want this. But do I belong here? Will I be welcome?
A cold, wet nose plays against my open palm and I look down into the glowing-coal eyes of our star-browed dog companion. An understanding passes between us. The Dark Goddess mysteries are now open to me; I have earned this moment. An overwhelming relief floods through me as I pass from the darkness into the light of Hecate’s realm, like a lost traveler who has finally found her way home.