I spent last night communing with my barking watchful dog, MacDhu, and before I went to bed earlier this evening, I posted pictures of snow...I had a slight headache and was very tired. So, relieved that my puppy seemed quiet and content, I took myself off to bed with no expectations of anything but sleep. I figured that, yes, if my dreaming vision returned, all well and good, but frankly, I was setting aside expectations, meditations, or visualizations and concentrating on rest.
SO OF COURSE, I now find myself wide awake, absolutely shaking and aware, having found my way to the heart of these dreams...for continuity, anyone reading this, go re-read my post "Dream or Vision from last night....Descent into the Abyss" Post, because I am picking straight up where I was plunged back into this.
...I am stumbling down the stairs in total darkness. And I have no sense of time, or space around me. My body is exhausted, my feet are battered, my hands are scraped and bleeding. I am chilled and naked, thirsty and tired and disoriented. I no longer am thinking about what I must be doing here, or feeling anything, I am simply running on instinct to arrive somewhere. And I still cling to the vast wall of the Abyss, moving so slowly, by touch and feel in the dark.
And the wall is suddenly gone, as I feel with my foot for the next endless step which is not there and I go sprawling to the ground. It is still pitch black, cannot see the hand in front of my face, but realize that I am no longer on stone but on the ground. I eventually struggle to my knees and crouch there, confused and frightened: the wall was at least some way to orient myself no matter how many times the stairs switched back and forth, no matter how many times I fell. Now I am completely without guidance, and I know that I cannot go back the way I came. I don't even try. All I can do is stand and edge forward into nothingness, a blind man walking, a child trusting.
And then in front of me, almost beneath my feet a wall of fire rises. It is so abrupt that I am blinded for a moment, and so intense, I stagger back in terror of being burned. I look around wildly, but there is nothing visible but the dark and the fire...I look down at myself and realize how bruised and cut and scraped I am from head to toe, but that I am still marked with the dark spiral of the One who sent me down the path.
Behind me is still the featureless dark, before me, above my head and out of sight to either side stretches a sheer raging barrier of flame. I have one choice, one way to go...I stagger back a ways, and run head long into the flames, closing my eyes and leaping at the last possible moment. Behind my closed eyelids I see nothing but red and gold, and feel burning pain beyond words, and then I hit the ground rolling. I might be screaming, I don't know.
Time must have passed. I realize that I am huddled into a ball, but alive. I get up and the fire is behind me. I am singed and blistered and hurting, but appear to be whole enough to continue, so I start limping slowly forward. The light of the flame slowly dims behind me, and I am almost in darkness when I feel a movement of air across my skin. It becomes a breeze, cooling and soft on my stinging burns and cuts. It strengthens, a wind and then it becomes a howling primal force in the dark, pushing me randomly one way and then another. I go to my knees and then the ground, clinging desperately, fingers dug in as dirt and rocks blast against me. Then the rain begins. I find myself in a pouring wind driven torrent - a storm in utter darkness, pounded by a vertical flood of water stinging mercilessly on my bare skin. Lightening strikes all around me with great drum rolls of thunder. I realize I am actually laughing and I roll on my back, eyes closed against the onslaught to open my mouth and gulp down the water.
The rain slows, the wind drops, and I get up slowly as the last few drops spatter here and there. I shiver a little, cold and wet and muddy, and begin to move blindly forward again. Slowly I realize, that the ground is rising, then I stumble over a stone...more than one...a line of stones. Feeling my way, I am aware I am finally on a path lined with rocks on either side, not very wide, going up the side of a hill. My eyes strain and ache trying to see something, anything in the darkness, and I feel my way with my feet, staying in contact with the rows of rock. The rise has become steep, and grows softer under foot. I begin to smell grass, and earth - a powerful green scent, overwhelming in the blackness. The climb has grown so vertical, that I am now on my hands and knees, crawling upwards.
And then I top what is obviously the edge, and I realize that I have been dimly seeing for awhile. I see shadows of grass and stones, and my own shadow silhouetted against the earth. I resist the temptation to look about or up for a moment, and press my hands and face into the soil and the green growth there, savoring the feel of living earth on my sense deprived skin. It has grown colder and I can see my breathe vaguely hanging before me as I lie there. I am crying, but I don't know why and close my eyes. Finally I rise up on my knees and slowly open my eyes...
I am at the top of a great hill, and before me is a stone circle...it is old, ancient old. The rocks are cracked and covered with dark patches that must be moss, but they are whole and none missing. It is as though I see Stone Henge, or the great Avebury Circle before time and chance brought them down. I still see dimly - my hand's shadow moves on the stone in front of me and I look up and gasp. Above me are the stars, but they are not the stars of the world I have left. These are what we saw before the invention of time and electricity and light pollution. These are of this world, this place and are what our ancestors saw - the milky way so bright that it is casting my shadow around me, each star individual, brilliant and vivid beyond compare. I see great Orion to my right like I have never seen him before - Betelgeuse glowing fiery red, Rigel cold crystal blue, and I stand transfixed - the cold, the dark, the strangeness, the very vision itself forgotten. Tears run down my face for I know I will not see the sky like this again in this life. Finally, I begin to walk the outside of the henge, touching the stones one by one. I feel and faintly see spirals, runes, triskeles, Celtic crosses carved into the surfaces of the rock beneath my hand. I know that I am to go in...but where? I wait to see what I may see as I walk and finally there is a path I come to, leading in between two great tors. It is, as far as I can tell in the strange light, on the opposite side of the circle from where I came up, and I know it for my road out and up and home, once I have seen or done what I am meant to see or do. I step up between the stones, brace myself against them and step through.
I know what I will see almost before my foot comes down.
(I know on some level that where ever I am, what I am experiencing is also called forth out of my deepest symbols in my subconscious, however real my aches and scrapes and burns may feel.)
I stand on the beginning of a labyrinth - not a maze, but the old unicursal labyrinth found in almost every ancient culture back to the dawn of man. I breathe for a moment, and let go of all things, all thoughts, all self and begin the walk. It goes back and forth, circling in and out, coming closer to the center, then turning away from it. The night grows colder and I have lost count of steps and turns. Fear returns a little...in this place I could spiral forever and not come to the center. And then with one last abrupt turn I step out of the pattern into the middle ring - the center - evidently the heart of where I am suppose to be. I stand...and wait.
And I wait.
I am cold. I ache and I am hungry and thirsty. I become lonely. I am afraid, and suddenly know I will be left under this mad sprawl of stars forever. I become aware that I am pacing. I make myself stand still. I am bored. I become frustrated. I am angry. I realize how great my fear has become.
I hunker down on my heels with my head in my hands and wait. I become nothing but silence and stillness and I wait. And then a glimmer of light, a mist, a blaze, a growing fire in the center before me rises and I stagger to my feet. But this is not the hot red fire that blistered me before. This is soft and shining and beautiful beyond words...it is white, with color - all colors - shifting and turning. I stand awestruck and try to fathom it as it grows higher and higher. I want to touch it. And it seems wrong and it seems right. My heart cries out. Finally, daring to do what I hope must be done I step forward and into the center of the center, into the fire and the light.
It does not burn, in that sense, but it fills and overwhelms every sense I have, too much, too great...I am aware of life, of lives, of the living earth beyond the Abyss, beyond vision, beyond comprehending...it is connection. It is what I must some how serve with all that I am for the rest of my life and I am so small and insignificant by comparison - and yet I am a part of it. It is holy, it is sacred, it is...there are no words...
I realize I am sitting in the starlight, crying. The light is gone, fading, I cannot hold on to the moment, but I know that it holds me - I am a part of it and in it's keeping forever. It is not Deity, but the world, the life I am meant to live and be. I am exhausted, and I look around and see there in the center with me a cave formed by rocks with posts and a lintel. I do not question anymore the strangeness of what I see, but crawl to it, into a darkness that feels safe, unlike the blackness that I have crossed to get here, and fall asleep in my dream. What do you dream, within a dream? I waken, in my dream, in darkness that feels like a beating heart - all safety, all warmth, all close and still. More than ever, I feel the duality of my situation...the ground beneath me, the stone around me, the faint light of what must be the night sky and those amazing stars beyond me through the dolmens entry way. And yet on another level I know I am in my warm bed, with cats curled up around me, my dog stretched out beside the bed, my lover asleep next to me. I have been an eternity in the Abyss....perhaps only seconds pass as I sleep. This is lucid dreaming which I have never before experienced or understood until now. I never want to move again. No child wishes to leave the womb. And yet, at some point I must waken, must journey, and go on. So I crawl out the opening, back to the labyrinth and the night sky. And I begin my walk out.
I come to the ending of the Labyrinth far more quickly than I reached the center going "In", and I hesitate. Next to the path "Out" , is the ending of the path right into the center. One step sideways. Beginning and ending. Alpha and Omega. One and the same. I have to take the final step out and begin down the path beyond me through the great stone ring into the darkness of the Abyss. The star light will not follow me there. The next time I return to the Abyss, it will be different and this great Center, this Living Heart of the World will not be there. But it will be here, within me. I must trust that. I look down at myself. I feel rested and whole, but I am still filthy and muddy, cut and burned, beard stubbled and naked. Strange reality for a dream. I realize though that the great spiral that the Horned One drew on my chest is no longer crusted blood, but rather a dark tattoo of a spiral - permanent, perhaps even burned into my skin. I am forever marked by this and I call myself blessed. I finally take the steps between the giant stones and head down into the dark....
And woke into this world, tears running down my face, tangled in the sheets, three cats on my legs, the dog snoring, and Dreamweaver curled against me. I have no idea if I have reached the ending of these visions, or if I must follow the long dark back out as well....Only time will tell.