How and Why.
I wrote this piece and when I had finished, I felt it needed an introduction. There are several sources of inspiration for it. Firstly I have been to the light place - the place where time isn't. I have been there several times and before witnessing someone close to me die, I wrote it off as synapses firing in the brain. I now think differently, but that is a story for another time.
My second source of inspiration in Caiseal Mor - I am an avid fan of his novels as well as his music - and I have used a scene from one of his novels to create the feast. Caiseal Mor changed my life. That sounds rather dramatic, but his books are the reason I realised I was Pagan and they are the reason I follow the Druidry path. There are very few things in this life that are capable of doing this and I feel that credit should be given for having such a profound influence on somebody.
Thirdly, I am useless at saying the right thing when people lose loved ones. I wanted a friend to know how I felt and what I wanted to say to her. I am glad to say she approved and this is for her.
I am Dead.
I am dead. I have been dead for countless weeks. I have been to the light place, the big nothingness that tells you that part of your journey is over, and a new part has begun. How do I explain that part of the journey? It is calm. It is the most tranquil experience I have ever stumbled upon. It is the brightest light you have ever seen but it doesn’t hurt your eyes – do I still have eyes? You know that you are no longer living and that is OK, it is better than OK; it is good. You think of your loved ones and you feel reassured that they will be fine, they will grieve, but they will continue, and they will thrive. You are happy.
Here you stay, for time… time is no longer a thing, it is gone. Everything is happening now, and everything is happening then. Strange, but comforting – the lack of time. You are alone. That is fine too, you are happy – are you happy? You are calm and relaxed and at peace. Is that what happy is? There are so many questions to this part of the journey. Sleep, there is no sleep. There is only awake, but time is gone so there is no need to sleep. You are there, and you are real, and this is a surprise. No matter how much you believed in life after death, you still worried that there could be nothing. There is nothing, but this nothing is good.
I close my eyes and suddenly I am back – am I alive? There is now and there is here and there is my family. They are grieving. Why are they sad? I remember, I am not here, I am just watching – an observer of time and here. To see them cry is strange, I don’t feel sad – I am not certain that sad is real anymore. I am not afraid. There is time – oh yes, there is time, but it is different. They are happy now, my daughter has given birth, but she was not due for some time yet – there is that word again.
I close my eyes – the light is back and time is gone. I am happy. My memories are brighter than before. I remember with vivid colour and a sound that is clearer than anything I have encountered. I close my eyes.
It is Samhain – nearly or now, I am unsure. Time is so strange. My family are getting ready to celebrate. The dead have been collected and they are preparing the pyre. Am I dead? I follow my loved ones as they make their way up the hill to where the pyre will burn, where I will burn. They walk ahead, between the rowans and I follow and suddenly everything changes. It is day, it is green and there are no people. Where am I?
There is a green everywhere – but so very green, different to the green I know. There are flowers, it is summer, how is it summer? It is warm and there is only one path, I feel confused and hungry. When was the last time I was hungry? Do I need food or is this a memory of what hunger used to be? I walk the path and see colours that I have never seen before. I see flowers that seem to dance in the wind, but there is no wind. This place is beautiful, how have I never seen this place before?
There is a building – is that what it is called? My memory of things is dimming, but family are there and brighter than ever. Things are slipping from my grasp – is that grass or water? I am unsure. I make my way to the building and suddenly I am there – it was so distant just a moment ago. I am so very hungry.
A flock of ravens stand between me and the door. They are strange. They seem to know me. They do not fly, instead they create a walkway and allow me to pass, the doors open – I feel a pull to the place where time is real, to see my grandchild and hold her, to hug my daughter, to hear tears, is that what it is called? No, laughter. It is laughter I yearn to hear. I am so hungry, maybe there will be food, maybe they will feed me here.
I feel change. I am young again. I am so pretty and I wear clothes far above my station in life. I feel special. I feel celebrated. I feel loved. A beautiful woman, so very tall – or is she? She wears black, she wears feathers, so many pure black feathers – no blue, this seems strange, but she is so very beautiful. I suddenly realise that the room is large and filled with people, they are all staring at me with smiles and they are all so beautiful. I feel welcomed, but I am so very, very hungry.
The room is silent. As the woman in black approaches and takes my hand, there are no words but I feel safe and this woman feels like mother. Is she my mother? I do not know. She leads me to a table filled with every food you could imagine – and many I never have – and without words she instructs me to eat. I look at her, suddenly feeling unsure and she nods, and she smiles. I know that I must take the food – she cannot pass it to me. I know that this is important, I must make the choice. I think and look around the room, everyone is so very happy. Everyone wants me to eat. I reach for the bread – everything else looks so rich, I want bread, something to remind me of the place where time is. I take a bite and it fills my whole body with warmth.
Suddenly I see everything, I see my mother on the day I was born. I see my husband’s hand fastened to mine. I see so much. I see The Morrigan smiling at me and she speaks, words that you would never understand, but were oh so very clear to me. I now know, that until I drink for the well; that special well filled with water from so long ago, I am alive.
Pictures sourced from Pixabay