November 26, 2023

 This morning, I opened my “eyes” and saw that I was in an ornate throne room of an opulent palace. Seated before me on a gilded throne was a man. He was peering curiously down at me with his chin on his hand. At first, I thought the palace was royal, as in the realm of Being, but I soon realized that it was just another prison.


“Why do you stay in here, locked up and alone,” I asked the man, “when there is a vast world outside these walls?” Extending my hands, I gestured to the crimson sunlight pouring in from the vaulted windows above. Mountains, their slopes covered in dark forests, could be seen.


“I stay because I am safe from them,” the man replied, pointing to a swirling cloud of black, winged creatures that spun angrily in the air around the outside of the palace.


I looked at them and they seemed to alternate between ruby-eyed dragons and red-eyed ravens. There was something about them that linked them to this man. I don’t know exactly what their story was but I knew their fates were entwined and the man before me would never go free unless something was done about them.


Just gazing upon them transported me into the air above the palace where I was immediately surrounded by the angry flock of birds. They tore at me with their beaks and talons, furious. I suppose they mistook me for the man at first because after a while they calmed down and seemed kind of chagrined.


“What do you seek?” I asked them, openly my soul to them.


“A golden palace,” they answered, seeing just such a palace inside me. “And revenge.”


“So be it.” 


They flew through my soul, which acted as a portal, and soon we were back in the throne room. I stood between the man and the angry ravens who now appeared more like giant, black beings with skeletal hands. There was unfinished business between the man and the birds and the birds intended to take care of it. They’d been closed off for too long and were eager for justice.


The man was both fearful and also relieved when he stood face to face with the beings. I held out one hand to the ravens and the other to the man, offering to act as a bridge. “Here,” I said, “it’s time that you all came together.” The man and the raven spirits did so, grasping my hands.


I linked their hands together and then the golden palace transformed. All of the blackness that had been creeping over the ornate gold, dimming it, disappeared and a shining gold cathedral arose in its place. The light was pure and almost blinding but also gentle. It had a feeling of true royalty and also healing about it.


Almost as soon as it arose, though, it collapsed around us and a verdant forest grew up among the ruins. This wasn’t a tragedy, rather an extension of the holiness of the place. Rather than a palace prison, it had become sanctified. In the center of the moss-covered basilica a plant grew up from the flagstones. I’ve seen this plant before in previous journeys. It bore yellow flowers that glowed with a gentle, golden light. Its leaves and stem glowed soft green. Softness, gentleness and healing radiated from the plant.


Soon, more plants unfolded from the ground of the ruin cathedral and I was surrounded by a golden garden. I understood that these were the forms that the raven spirits and man now inhabited; they had been transmuted and their fear, hatred and resentment had drained away into the rich soil beneath them.


Speaking of the rich soil, I followed the dark roots of these plants, seeing that they served to transform blackness into light, pulling it up from the earth. Beneath them, their roots led down into a catacomb. The catacomb was pitch black, the alcoves on its walls filled with mouldering bones. Within the winding passageways of the catacomb was a giant, black serpent with flickering red eyes. Was this the new form of the man who had been seated on the throne?


I was intrigued by this serpent, knowing it was more than met the eye. I couldn’t resist the urge to reach out and run my hands over its smooth scales. It looked vicious with long fangs dripping with poison and yet I felt no ill will. A question came to my mind.


Like the man who had been locked in the palace above, the serpent also seemed trapped. “Why do you stay down here in the dark?” I asked. “There is a whole world overhead waiting for you.”


It seemed like the idea to leave the catacomb hadn’t occurred to the snake and it took off, following the passageway upward as soon as I spoke aloud the question. I followed along behind him, eventually seeing pale light emanating from an opening ahead. I rounded the corner and saw a doorway into a gray, misty world.


I knew this world; it was the same world as the Crossroads, although instead of a roadway, I found a fog-enshrouded lake waiting for us when I exited the catacomb. The snake immediately transformed into the body of a young boy with shiny black hair. He collapsed into my arms as if dead or asleep and I cradled him, crying for reasons I couldn’t quite guess.


On the surface of the lake was a boat. At the helm was a ferryman, or woman in this case. I recognized the Woman in White. She guided the boat to shore and held out her arms to receive the boy. Still crying, I handed his body over to her.


I wanted to join them in the worst way but she forestalled me. Raising a hand, she smiled sadly. “I’m sorry,” she said. “You may not pass.”


I wanted to protest but didn’t. I knew she was right. What could I do but deliver the boy to her and hope for the best in his journey?


***


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