Fifty-Five

Shadows walking among shadows, we were in the forest with the Siberian man and a few others. The Sun might have been setting or rising: everything vibrated in shades of red, green and violet.

Suddenly, we spotted a herd of yellow deer browsing in the woods. They started to run, then slowed down and returned. Their leader was a golden buck with green leaves on the tip of his antlers. He was magical. And we were mesmerised.

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Thirty-Two

We were in a cave, the walls were lit by an unknown source, or maybe they were glowing by themselves. The Siberian man was behind me, and we were following a row of figures, enrobed in white, semi-transparent cloth. I asked him who they were, but he didn’t reply. “Is this some kind of procession? of whom?”

No reply.

Then I looked up at the ceiling of the cave, and to my surprise, I saw the stars.

“How can this be? How can we be down in the belly of the earth, in a cave, and see the stars at the same time?”

The Siberian man didn’t reply. The starry sky above was so vast, so beautiful, so alive, it took my breath away. We started to float, both the translucent beings and I. The Siberian man got hold of me by the ankles, and while we were flying higher and higher, he climbed up on my legs, until he was hugging my waist. I could feel his breath on my nape. We were floating among the stars, feathery, iridescent, luminous. Merging with the infinite.

“This is amazing. I want to stay here.” – I told the Siberian man.

“Like hell you will. We’re going down… gently, gently.”

“Do we have to? Why?”

“Because we are going down.”

And he was becoming heavier and heavier, weighing us down, until we arrived, feet on the ground, down in the cave. It was empty, and I felt sad.

“Did we really have to come back here?”

“Yes, we did”

Then the old woman dressed in white descended from one of the paths of the cave.

“Oh, look at you” she smiled at me “oh, the flight of the soul, beautiful, isn’t it?”

I didn’t reply. I felt sad. They exchanged looks with the Siberian man. The old woman nodded:

“Let’s sit down a bit, shall we?”

We did.

“Who were they? The beings? Did they just die, or something like that?”

“Well, they were never actually alive, you know, not the way you mean it.”

“You mean not in a body?”

“Oh” she sighed, with a little shake of the head, smiling. I understood she meant it was complicated.

Suddenly, I was in a winter forest. It was night. Snow everywhere. And wind. I saw a fox, chewing the bark of a tree. Then I saw a pack of wolves, and they started to run together, all like one, swift and quiet.

They were running through the forest, among the trees, from a hill or mountain, down into the valley. I saw an owl on a tree branch, turning its head around and around. Then I was with the wolves, running, and the Siberian man was with me. Suddenly all stopped. No animal moved, no wind stirred. The world stood still.

And then I knew why. Now I could hear it, too. A baby, crying. As if we all rushed there for this child.

The wolves gathered in a circle, and in the middle, there was a basket. The Siberian man went there and lifted it up, checking if the baby was alright. He smiled at me.

Twenty-Four

I was on a mountain, riding a horse. It was almost dark, foggy, the air was damp and cold. I felt sad. The horse was slowly moving ahead on an invisible path.

My hands were in my lap, and a glowing ball started to grow there, it gave warmth, and its light was cloudy and soft. It reminded me of the Moon. There was something comforting about it.

My horse went on steadily. I thought we were descending. It was getting darker and darker. We were in the night forest I already knew from other journeys. I could see the bee coming out of the glowing sphere, it cheered me up a bit to see him/her. It flew a bit ahead, as if trying to light the way.

I suddenly had a memory of my father pulling me on a sleigh. It was dark, we were in one of the neighbouring small streets. It had just snowed, but people were inside, it was just the two of us. The streetlights were on, snowflakes were whirling, floating, glimmering everywhere. All I could see from my father was his coat and his boots. I could smell the fresh snow. He sped up until I started to laugh. It suddenly hurt to remember him. I missed him so much.

Next, we were in the living room, it was dark, the shutters were closed. My father had taken a white bed sheet and fixed it on the doors of the wardrobe. We were watching filmstrips. All afternoon long, he was holding me in his arms, reading the words written under the pictures. When the projector got too hot, we took a break, brought some food and hot tea. As I came out of the room, I could smell his shoes on the shelf, they really stank. I told him, and he laughed. I suddenly didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to miss him. It hurt. I wanted to get away.

Then I was in the dark forest, again. The bee was in front of me, leading me somewhere. His light was very feeble, but I could see something like a wooden statue. I went to it, it looked like my father. I wanted to stroke his face but I was too small, I couldn’t reach it. I was a child. I wanted to grow so that I could touch his face, and I did. I was stroking him and suddenly the left side of my head started to go numb.

“Don’t let it go, keep it together” – the bee said.
And I tried. I tried not to go numb, but it hurt. I was chasing after the numbness, trying to catch it within my head.

Suddenly I was in a snowstorm, at night, in the middle of endless plains, chasing a figure wearing a white fur coat.

“Stop, please stop” – I shouted after him.

Running hurt, my head felt like it would explode, but I kept on running, faster and faster. I reached him, touched his fur coat. He turned and I realized it was a large polar bear. He went for my neck, grabbed it with a single move and held it tight. I could feel its teeth in my flesh, my blood flooding my throat, I couldn’t breathe, I was suffocating. I could see myself and the bear from the outside. He finally let me go.

My throat was a bloody piece of unrecognizable flesh, and I was choking in my own blood. I sounded just like my father after he drank the acid. But there was no blood then, and I did not see him, I could only hear him from the next room, I was frozen to my chair.

I was still looking at myself, but I didn’t make sounds anymore. maybe I was dead. I was staring at the dark red pool in the snow.

Suddenly, the bear transformed into the Siberian man. He gently put his hands on my tattered throat. I wasn’t outside anymore, I could feel the warmth of his hand, and pain. Then I saw ourselves from the outside again. The Siberian man let his hands go, and my neck was completely healed. He was kneeling in the snow, lifted me up. He held me in his arms, stroking my head, gently rocking me, softly murmuring, full of love.

Seventeen

I wanted to meet Jupiter, but I could not see him anywhere. I was on the rocky side of a mountain, very high up. There was hardly enough room for my feet. I looked up and saw a figure standing on the top, with the head of a bull.

“What the hell”, I thought to myself, and I remembered that I had Taurus intercepted in the tenth house. I started to wonder what it actually meant to be intercepted. I was hoping the Siberian man would turn up soon, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I could smell snow, and I was visited by a memory from my childhood: my mother and I were walking in the town centre, it was already dark, and soon it would be Christmas. I needed a pair of boots, and my mother was dragging me by the hand, pulling me to go faster, faster. I was staring at the shopwindows as we hurried by, I knew my mother wanted me to hurry so that I wouldn’t see them, all the Christmas decoration, the toys, the lights… our Christmases were always disastrous, lots of tension, rows, and cold… it started to snow, and it looked so beautiful, snowflakes glittering in the lamplight… my mother was talking to me but I couldn’t get myself to listen, I just wanted to let go of her hand and stay there, staring at the sparkling snowflakes dancing between my fingers…

Suddenly, I was back on the rocks, again, very high up, and I remembered that I had always thought that’s how I would end up one day: jump from a very high place. On my way home from school, I had to cross a railway bridge, and each time I stopped in the middle, stared down and imagined what it would be like to jump. I wouldn’t have to go home, never again. And then took a deep breath and walked away, walked home.

Then I noticed the Siberian man, he arrived at last. I asked him: “What is Taurus doing there? he’s not even my actual midheaven, he’s intercepted. I wonder what interception is about anyway…”

The Siberian man started to laugh “why don’t you ask the Sun? He knows all about it”. I shrugged. “I don’t know, all that Scorpio stuff, I don’t feel like meeting the Sun, it would be like being a child again, I hated being a child. Do we have to see him?”. The Siberian man stepped closer, embraced my face with his hands and looked deeply into my eyes. Suddenly I could see myself through his eyes, as if we swapped bodies.

And behind me, I saw the Sun climbing the rocks. He was young, probably under 18, wearing a long, white shirt, like a dress. His hair was blond, and he had golden flames around his head, like a crown. “Oh, shit” I thought, and I was myself again, “what is he doing up here?”. But the Siberian man shrugged, smiling.

Then I felt movement above us, too, and I saw that Taurus was descending, he was coming to meet us. The Sun arrived, smiled at me, but I was not at ease. He offered his hand, and I took it. By that time, Taurus arrived, too, and he took my other hand. We were staring down into the depths, and I understood what we were going to do. I got frightened, looked back at the Siberian man behind us.

“Won’t you come with us? please come with us.” – (“Don’t leave me alone with them,” I thought, but didn’t dare to say it out loud, I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the Sun and Taurus).  The Siberian man nodded and hugged me from behind.

And we jumped.

We were falling, falling, falling into darkness. Sometimes I saw roots of plants, sometimes I smelled soil. When we landed, we were in a night forest.

“is it always dark here? do you live in darkness?” – I asked the Sun.

He smiled, holding a candle in his hand “I am kind of a midnight Sun, after all. But no, how could I live in darkness, I am the Sun, I take light with me wherever I go”.

Of course, I thought to myself, I was stupid.

I still had no clue what Taurus was doing there, but he was coming with us anyway.

At one point, I saw something like an owl on a tree branch, but it changed into something else, with strange eyes, and it was shifting fast, couldn’t even grasp how many things it was at the same time.

“What is that?” – I asked the Sun.

“Oh, it’s one of Venus‘ creatures”

“Is she some kind of a witch? did she bewitch that poor animal into some kind of a hybrid?”

The Sun started to laugh, and so did Taurus.

“No, Venus is not a witch. She doesn’t make these creatures, she gathers them”

“Gathers them what for?”

I suddenly saw something like a cross between an old woman and some kind of an animal, but again, changing shapes so fast I could not even register what was going on.

“Is she one of them?” I asked. “Is Venus some kind of a hybrid? or a monster?”

“Don’t say that, she’s hurt enough. She’s not a monster” the Sun replied.

Then I saw a young woman, who came to meet us. Her hair didn’t look like hair, more like feathers, and I noticed she had feathers on her arms, too. I couldn’t resist touching her, and I felt embarrassed, hoping I did not offend her.

Eight

I was in the forest, again. I heard birds, and as I looked up, I saw a group of cranes flying by. They turned and started to fly in the opposite direction, as if they bumped into a wall and had to change course. Then they turned again, to and fro, as if they were sewing the sky together, and the distance between one end and the other was becoming smaller and smaller, and I saw that indeed there was a wall, one of water at either end, closing. I was not sure whether the cranes were bringing them together or the walls were pushing the cranes, but at one point they touched and the whole world submerged in water, including me. I saw sunlight filtering through, playing on the grass, and it was so beautiful, so peaceful…

But then I noticed something moving, something red, like a snake. When it came closer, it looked more like a Chinese dragon. It got quite dark, all I could see was a big, gaping wound, I don’t know whom it belonged to, but I heard my mother and grandmother panic “we should call a doctor”, telling each other what to do, shrieking, I couldn’t understand them anymore, and I couldn’t see them, either, or anything else.

Next, I was in the forest, again. It was almost night, and a group of crows were flying to and fro the same way as the cranes before, but it was not water they were welding together and pouring down on us but darkness…

When the night fell, I saw a figure made of bright smoke. I couldn’t make out its shape, but it had wings. As it was approaching, it looked more and more like somebody riding a winged horse. As soon as it reached me, it froze, went black, and made a clanging sound, like metal hitting metal, and I heard my mother say “it is cast iron, it’s from the factory” (my mother used to work in a cast iron factory called “Vulcan”). She went on clanging and clanging, but I could not see a thing, it was so dark. Little by little, it started to sound more and more like a bell, a huge bell… For a moment, I was in a cemetary.

I saw the group of crows again, tightly clinging together, facing me, cawing, and their cawing was more and more like words, until they were screaming “it was you, it was you, it was you”. I got frightened, couldn’t move for a moment, and then when I could have moved, I decided I would not, happens what happens.

Then, from behind me, came something like an old peasant woman dressed in a large, black shawl. She charged at the crows, “shoo, sparrows, shoo, shoo! shoo pidgeons, shoo, shoo!”, again and again. I recognized the words from a folk tale.

These words are uttered in the story when the young couple – who were kidnapped by the devil when they were children – decide to escape from him. The devil sends his servants after them when he realizes they are gone, and each time the girl can feel him coming, the boy casts a spell and they turn themselves into something else. The servant doesn’t realize it is them and goes back to the devil empty handed. First time the boy tunrs himself into a priest and the girl into a church. The second time the girl turns into a field of wheat, and the boy into a man guarding the field. When the servant of the devil comes and asks him whether he saw a boy and a girl running this way, he just keeps saying “shoo, sparrows, shoo, shoo! shoo pidgeons, shoo, shoo!” until the servant’s had enough and goes back to the devil. The third time it is the devil himself who comes after them, this time the girl turns into a lake and the boy into a golden duck. When the devil arrives, he knows the duck is the boy, but he has to go into the lake to get him. When he enters the water, the duck keeps swimming towards the middle where the water is the deepest, and the devil drowns.

I decided to let the woman deal with the crows, and slipped away. First I was going slowly, then I to run, and at one point the world was turning upside down, around and around.

When it stopped, I was relieved because I first thought that I was on the upper side, but then I noticed that what surrounded me were not winter branches but roots, I was below the ground, and I got really scared. I saw a pool of water, and as I started going towards it, the world turned around, again. I realized it was more like a river… I sat down on the bank and put my hands in the water. I saw something that looked like roots growing into the water, but they moved. They started to look more and more like human hands, and my own hands looked small in comparison. As the branches or roots were changing into a person, I knew I should look at my companion, but I just couldn’t get myself to. “it’s okay” – he or she whispered “everything is okay now, you don’t have to look at me, you will look when you are ready, it’s okay, it really is”. It felt warm, it felt safe, just sitting side by side, the sunlight playing on the water…

Seven

I was in the forest again, by the yew tree, and wondered if I could meet Jupiter. There came the golden bee and told me to clench my hand around her. We started to fly upwards, spiralling around the tree; higher and higher, until we felt surrounded by water, as if diving. But it was calm only for a minute, then we started to whirl, and we were rocking more and more fiercely… suddenly, we found ourselves in a large boat or ship. The old woman was sitting there, waiting for us. Surrounded by a raging sea, a swirling, furious darkness, we could feel nothing but a fresh breeze on our face. We were moving ahead gently and steadily in the stormy waters, untouched. “where is Jupiter?” I asked her.  – “You’re on his ship”, she smiled, “makes a difference, hm?”, she beckoned towards the gale.

Six

I was in an old forest, it was late afternoon or evening, and a group of children was running around, laughing, chasing each other. Then it started to snow… I was surpized, because it felt like summer, warm and green… but then I realized that what surrounded us was not snow but seeds from a cottonwood tree. There was hardly any wind, we were enveloped in small, luminous feathers, playing in the colours of the setting sun. The world was in slow motion, as if we were all floating. I looked around, observing all the details, the lights, the colours, and I noticed that there was a river close by, and a boat on the bank. There was an old couple sitting by the boat. I remembered the woman from previous meditations. I didn’t recognize the man, but I could tell from the way they looked at each other that they were intimate.

Then I saw the great yew tree… I was mesmerized and went closer. It had a cavity at its foot, and there seemed to be some light within, red, like fire, but I didn’t want to go down there. I stared upwards instead, and pondered whether I could climb up. I suddenly remembered an old dream with my “home”. In my dreams, I am usually either in an unknown place, or somebody else’s house, but in this one I was in my own home:  a tree house with colourful, translucent veils instead of walls, high up on a big, old tree, in the middle of an ancient woods…

Three

I was in the forest. I recognized it from a series of dreams I had some ten years ago.  They were powerful and scary dreams, but I only remember the last one in detail: I was facing an army of the dead, and in the end, I buried them all with water, fire, soil and Sun.

This time, though, I was just there, not sure what I was, man, bug or stone,  lying in the grass. I saw a huge yew tree, but I was not sure whether to visit… so I just stayed there, in the grass, the wind gently blowing, and the days passing fast, evening, night, dawn, morning, afternoon, evening, dusk, night, and so on, a day in a few seconds, I don’t know how many weeks. Then I was in a field, it was the field where my mother took me a few times to harvest cucumbers, from morning till evening, hard work. But now it was just me there,  nobody else, there were no cucumbers, either, the clouds sweeping fast in the sky, and I could smell the soil. Then I was in another field, where we harvested corn when I was a kid, and I remember playing hide and seek with my cousin in a haystack when the adults were not watching. This field was empty, too, it was just me, the grass, the sky and the smell of hay… Then I was in yet another field, this one in France, where we once stopped with my husband to have a picnic and stayed for quite a while, just enjoying nature… now I was alone here,  too, surrounded by  wild flowers, feeling the Sun on my skin and enjoying the smell of wet grass…

Then I was in yet another field, one that I did not recognize. And, lying in the grass, I noticed a young woman stretched out not far from me. I saw her from the corner of my eyes, her skin was very pale, her hair long and reddish, and she did not move. “Is she one of the dead?” I wondered, and started to feel uneasy. I could not turn my head to see her properly. “Don’t worry” the bee said. I didn’t realize she was with me, until now. I wanted to perceive more of the woman, but she did not seem to move. I tried whether I could smell anything, and there was some bittersweet smell, I could not tell what it was… the bitter part reminded me of moss, I did not recognize the sweetness, though… I wondered whether it was some flower nearby, but I could not look around. And that’s when I realized that I could not move at all. I felt puzzled, but not scared.  “it’s okay” the bee said, and I opened my eyes.

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