The Witch

Within the corner of a darkened room a woman sits on a chair and hums a repetitive tune. Her eyes are closed and she rocks back and forth, back and forth, back and forth — seeming to sway in some invisible wind like the rushes on a lake shore. Her hands are moving between threads as she weaves and plaits them, every now and then stopping to tie a knot; the silence more permeable for the lack of song.

She sits, thus, for hours until the room lightens with the glow of the rising Moon, the shafts of which pierce the window to land at her feet. The monotonous humming stops, the rocking stops, the dancing fingers stop — her eyes are open.

She stands and walks to the center of the little room where her table is set with the instruments of her birthright: cup, picking up the glow of the moonlight and dipping it into the cloth beneath; knife with the hilt as black as jet that glints with streaks of silver that have been set into the ancient runes that surround the base, and with a double-edged blade that flares and tapers finely to its point of power; pentacle that glows with burnished light, the symbols on its face deep and meaningless to any save its owner; wand of willow wood, finely carved with her own hand into an intricate set of spirals and swirls, worn in places where it has been lovingly worked; unlit candles of purest white to compliment the Moon’s glow, and a heavy silver medallion on a cord, older than even she knows, that has been passed down, along with her knowledge and her sword, the Initiator, from one to the other, in secret nights and ancient tongue, from one to another, by right of succession and ancient oath, until to her it was bequeathed with all that belongs to the passage; a bowl of burning coals that glow and shed warmth round about, upon which she drops juniper twigs and wood from the dead bough of an apple tree. From the coals she lights a taper, then the candles, one by one — all in silence and certainty of what is to follow.

Her shapeless dress is unbuttoned and dropped to the floor; her hair, bound about her head in a tight braid, is unraveled and spreads around her in a wild, burnish copper haze. The medallion she takes lovingly in her hands to greet with a soft kiss before raising it to the Moon’s glow for approval; she then drops its cord over her head onto her breast, drawing comfort from its familiar coldness on her skin.

She kneels, raises her arms above her head, breathes deeply, and waits. Very soon the Moon is fully risen and the shafts of silver cover her body and radiate around her. She cries out, in the ancient tongue of the Lands of Lirian, that she is ready to greet her Goddess, whose name she summons by the name she knows, and it rings around her thrice, like the secret chiming of bells.

The air is still and expectant.

She slowly stands and takes the cup, this sacred chalice, now filled with water, later wine, and walks around the little room sprinkling as she goes. A soft, melodious chant is rising, rising from her as she quickens her pace, deosil, deosil, leaving trails of moonlight in a circle all around her. She feels the force field, an almost imperceptible swishing that grows to a hum. When it is constant she stops, moving back to her table, proclaiming it altar. Now she dips her wand into the cup and uses the sacred water to seal her body from all things impure or mundane, thinking, “Be ye far from us, oh ye profane —” She kisses the wand’s tip and lays it back on the altar. She refuels the brazier and inhales the sweet-smelling smoke — a tribute to her Goddess. She takes the pentacle between her two hands and raises it above her head, calling forth the force of the Four Winds to act as sentinels to her rite. She takes the dagger, the power of her birthright, and presses it to her breast to fill it with her own essence, and then she stands. The dagger is now athame. She raises it slowly; her whole being is poured from its magnetized tip in shafts of blue fire as it pierces the night for the acknowledgment she knows will come.

Her breath is still. The night is still. The forces of life wait expectantly, and suddenly the light returns to flood the room — the priestess of the Moon cries out to the primordial mother, to whom she was bequeathed before the dawn of time.

The mother answers with the heartbeat of a thousand million lives and acknowledges her daughter, sister, self. They fuse and are one — was it ever any other way?

The cycle is complete, and the priestess of the Moon is assured. The magick of her fingers will soothe where they lay, and the magick of her voice will heal where it is heard, the magick of her eyes will light the Earth, and all things will grow where she looks upon them.

The Way of the Goddess will continue, though to most her name is unknown. As long as even one remembers will the knowledge proceed and the Earth be sustained.

Though the foolish fear what they don’t understand, the magick goes on and the secret survives, for the priestess of the Moon is witch, and what she represents is at one with what’s living, and all that she is will continue — for without her the Earth would weep and the night would ever understand and so would cease to be. She is the spiral of life — the oceans, the rivers, the falling of the dew, the changing of seasons. She is the corn at harvest and the birth of birds. She is the wind on the mountain and the spider’s web at dawn.

All things of beauty are the name that she summons, for she is the mirror of the Goddess that is life, and the mother of all living things. If she could not continue, or was the last of all, then all hope would cease to be.

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