Really starting to dig this new manuscript. ❤️
Well, I’ve been toying around with the idea of starting a new writing project. This series would take place hundreds of years before we meet Avelynn but the lineage would be the same. Here, back in post-Roman Britain, in the wilds of Paganism, I’ve chosen to set the stage for the first high priestess on English soil. The following is the very first piece of writing in a story that is as elusive as the mists of time. Will be interesting to see where this one goes. 😀
The hem of my dress rippled along the shimmering quartz path that cleaved the outer circle, the stones of the ancient walkway crunching faintly underfoot, their resting place firmly entrenched by hundreds of reverent feet.
There was a time when entire villages of people—men, women, and children—would walk the path from one side to the other, entrusting the bones and prized possessions of their loved ones to the goddess, but those ages had long since passed, and the inner sanctum was reserved only for the priests.
Though I had been permitted to approach the outer circle with my father, I could tread no further. But even then, standing on the outside, I had marvelled at the earthen ditch, carved from the hill by hands that laboured beyond a time remembered, which marked the boundary between the living and the dead.
I cradled the urn containing my father’s remains, holding it tight to my chest, the weight of my transgression heavier with each tentative step as I passed through the inner circle of polished stone. The smooth surface of the sentinels flickered in the torchlight, blinking as if waking from a dream to see what would happen next.
I stepped onto the stone dais and knelt in front of the timber shelf, a triple spiral carved into its broad surface. I whispered the chants I had been taught, as much out of fear as out of respect, repeating the words over and over until they whirled like tendrils of smoke around the clearing. A gust of wind lifted the hair from my neck and sent shivers down my spine as I placed the urn on the convergence of the spirals and hung my head in deference.
My heart shook and stuttered, my muscles coiled like a caged beast rabid to escape. I had only a few moments before the druids returned. Eyes shut tight, I chanted faster and louder. The words roared like the thunder of waves crashing against the shore in my own ears, until suddenly, the whoosh and clamour retreated into silence.
I knelt not in the clearing on the hill, but in the middle of a great valley, surrounded on both sides by scarred and jagged mountains that clambered to the sky. A mid-day sun shone high above me and I basked in its warmth. A single coracle lapped gently at the water’s edge. Pulled by a force that I could neither explain nor deny, I climbed into the small craft, released the cord tethering it to the bank, and watched the sail billow, leading me across the tranquil surface to the other side.
A faint rustle exhaled from the stretched hide as the bottom of the boat glided ashore and I stepped overboard, my feet sinking softly into the silt. A raven circled, like thread wound round a distaff, its distant call announcing my arrival. When my gaze drifted to the mountains before me, the whole scene ebbed and swelled, undulating like waves of heat rising from burning coals. When my vision cleared a woman appeared before me. Dressed in glowing robes, as bright as the sun, I gasped at her beauty.
Her mouth didn’t move, though, I heard her speak as plainly as if a song bird called out through the trees. Her voice enveloped me.
“We’ve waited a long time for you to come.” She extended her hand and I opened mine in response. She placed into my outstretched palm a ring of silver. The outline of a woman had been carved onto its surface. Her hips and breasts swelled around a deeply indented waist. Her hair swept into the likeness of a bird, and under her feet reposed a wolf. On the inside, Ogham letters stretched from one of the edges to form the word Mother.
The golden vision blurred, the waves transforming until I stood before not one, but four shimmering women. Still, only one voice spoke from the depths of the river and the expanse of the sky. “You are the chosen one, to speak with one voice the echoes of our world. A high priestess of your people, a woman standing with one foot on either side of the great river.”
I slid the ring onto my first finger, the smooth metal nestling into a hollow as if it were always meant to belong.
“As we will it, so shall it be.” The women merged into one and when I looked into the depths of her golden eyes, in an instant, I was transported across lands and time, mist and worlds until I stood shaken in a cold, harsh wind, bathed in moonlight.
I stood in the clearing, my father’s remains resting at my feet. The torches still flickered, though the stones seemed to have dimmed, unmoved by my journey, having turned their shimmering faces away once more. I grabbed the burial urn and backed away, the hairs on my arms prickling, as if a storm had raged over the hill and great forks of lightning had severed the sky. I passed the sentinels of the inner circle, my footsteps faltering in my haste to retreat. It was only when I passed the outer circle, the weight of a silver ring burning into my skin that I turned my back on the power within and returned once more to the world of the living, knowing nothing would ever be the same.
Dear Goddess: When your children are fledgling adults and make choices you can see are clearly stupid, how do you find the balance between fear and anxiety over their choices and letting them make their own mistakes?
I am the Goddess of death and rebirth, of destruction and transformation.
You stand here today, a product of your greatest mistakes and your biggest triumphs. You overcame adversity and surmounted obstacles placed in your path. You are stronger because of your experiences. You have gained wisdom and insight. You have lived and you have learned. You would not be the person you are today had you not struggled and fell. Trust that you have guided your children well, that throughout the turmoil, they will know they can turn to you. Be there, stand by their side, but let them falter. They will grow and become stronger because of it. The watching will not get easier, but hold fast to your faith that all will work itself out—that one day, despite your worries, they will forge their own paths and make you proud.
Goddess keep you,
In my debut historical novel, the Goddess plays an important role in Avelynn’s faith. But who are these mystical beings? Not only am I going to introduce you to the Goddess and her four distinct personalities, but I’m going to start blogging from their unique perspectives. Have a question for the Goddess? Wondering about love? Need strength and encouragement to apply for that new job? Let the Goddess help.
All comments and posts are for fun and entertainment purposes only. They are not meant to replace advice or guidance from a doctor or therapist.
If you’re ready to play, sit back and enjoy a conversation with the Goddess.
Is the creative, bubbly sprite. A Maiden, she is young at heart and playful, yet she embodies wisdom. She governs over magic and music, poetry and art. She is the gateway to enlightenment and higher planes of consciousness.
Symbols: North, Swan, Winter, Mental, Air, Moon and Stars
Is the Queen. She is the embodiment of feminism and femininity, empowerment and independence. She is the most passionate of the four sisters, governing over love and desire. Sultry and strong, she is like a kick-ass Venus.
Symbols: East, Horse, Spring, Spiritual, Fire, Sun and Sky
Is the Mother. She is the nurturer, the giver, and the sustainer. She governs over the home and hearth, over marriage and motherhood. She is judge, weighing and guiding morals, virtues and vices. She is warm and approachable, kind, and nonjudgmental.
Symbols: South, Cattle/Boar, Summer, Physical, Earth, Hills and Plains
Is the Crone. No old hag, Badb shape shifts and lures men to her bidding. She is dangerous and powerful. She can grant you strength and courage, but can just as easily strike you down with death and destruction. She promises rebirth. Like the phoenix, you will come through adversity transformed. She is sassy and calculating, alluring and captivating.
Symbols: West, Wolf/Raven, Autumn, Emotion, Water, Oceans and Rivers