In spring-tide, when the snow had melted and the roots of things soaked in cold waters, newly flowing, a vision of the spirits came to me. I saw the snows vanish away and the green wave sweep the world. Imbolc turned to May in the sweep of the Queen’s sleeve and the crowd of the Noble Ones showed themselves to me.
I beheld the Queen of the Sidhe, in her beauty and strength, and with her the Chief of Clans. Their loveliness was both deep and glittering and if I gazed straight upon them they might seem to be a woman and a man. Yet their presence seemed to call away from form, and to draw me toward the Other.
“Tell me, mighty Queen of Spirits, whether it is better that form rise into essence, or that essence should descend into form.”
I stood with the Fire and Water in my hands, and dared to question her.
The Queen of the Land kissed the Chieftain, and he departed into the forest. Then she raised her arms and the robes fell away from her, so that her raiment became her beauty, and her beauty became her power, and her power became the Sovereignty of the Land. By her power she called form out of potential, and the clans of the Sidhe emerged.
It was said in ancient days that the People of the Mound loved to process and to parade. So they appeared to me, coming in troupes from every quarter. From out of stone and soil, from the green of the forest and the waves of the sea they rose and marched, totems and standards raised high. Pure white and storm-black they came, red as blood and green as sap. Like hounds and like ravens they came, like stags and songbirds and like flights of bees. From out of the halls of the Lord of the Dead came heroes, mighty ones of the spear and of the plow, and of the Druid’s Wand. Striding across hilltops or mounted on horses of lightning-shadow, they rode among the hosts. At their head came the Chieftain, in wizard’s array, hazel-wand white as he led the Host that he had called.
Shining folk of silver and gold streamed from above; wild, lovely and mighty. Winged and horned and hoofed, in cloaks of leaves and light and shadow they joined with the scuttlers and slitherers, with the small folk of stone and bark. Together they came, summoned by the sorcerer Chieftain at the command of the Queen of Elfhame.
The Queen rose into the air before me, and spoke, saying:
“See you – it is never still. The fallen must rise, and the high must descend. All is reflection and refraction and unceasing motion in all the worlds.”
So I understood that the Work of the Wise is to come to stand at the Center of that Great Dance. As that understanding filled me, the Queen and the Chieftain came together before me, and raised their own hands as if to invoke a greater power. Before me the vision flowed and shifted, and two greater beings appeared – the Mother of All, and the Lord of Wisdom.
The Keeper of Gates, the Teacher of Heroes came to me then, with the Mother of Fate all around us. Before me, my vision coming to earth, I beheld my nemeton; Well and Tree and Altar of Fire, the iron cauldron, the forked staff, the ring of stones and earth on which the Fire burned. Over the Bile, wreathed in the smoke of the flame, stood the God of Magic. Robed in shadow with symbols sewn in twilight, he bore his staff and cauldron. His uncut hair and beard flowed around him and the Other Light shone in his eyes.
“Tell me, Lord of Secrets, how it is that a fire of human kindling may be a gathering-place for the Gods.”