A killing frost – almost a freeze took all the tender vegetation. But she isn’t after the delicate blooms, she is after the sturdy roots. Now is the time when the sap is concentrating in the roots. She needs the source, the roots, the ancient gnarled primal substance – because this is a special formulation for a special man.
She pauses, and notices that the ravens are still with her. Mostly they perch in the trees, but there is one, a shining beauty, with coal black feathers, who stays close by – observing her every move.
Letting her senses settle into the quiet – she feels the sun on her face and turns to the southeast. She sets her basket down, removes her cloak, and lifts her arms to the sky and murmurs a brief prayer of gratitude – to all the plants who give themselves to her medicine bag.
She smiles to herself and takes a moment to place her hand on a Grandmother Tree. “Grandmother – this is a good time for gathering, thank you for being here with me” and now back to work – gathering the roots and bark she will need for this full moon ceremony.
In the North where she lives, this is the Snow Moon, the Cooling Sun Moon, Moon of the Falling Leaves, Moon when deer shed antlers, Winter Divided Moon.
In the South where he lives, this is the Flower Moon, the Leafing Out Moon, the Moon of Clouds and Thunder, the Mulberry Ripening Moon.
Back at her cabin, she takes her mortar and pestle down from the shelf. Inhaling deeply, it carries the scent memories of many plants. Carefully, she selects a few dried leaves and adds them to the fresh pile of roots. Singing and chanting she pounds the roots, stirring, dancing, giving thanks. When the sap is released she sets the bowl aside and fills the tea kettle with fresh water. As the water comes to a boil, she leaves to prepare the space.
For this ceremony, she will use a low table. She covers the table with a thick, white sheepskin, and lights a small fire in the wood stove. Soon the fragrance of pine smoke fills the air and she listens to the sound of crackling flames. She selects a bundle of white sage and a sea gull feather. Lighting the sage – she closes her eyes – drawing in the aromatic perfume – remembering the day she gathered this batch of sage. Opening her eyes, she watches the smoke rise, carrying her prayers with it. She begins to walk earthwise around the room – using the feather to distribute the smoke to the four directions – and then to grandfather sky and down to grandmother earth, and then to her center.
The moon will be rising soon, the room is prepared, the drumming begins and she is ready.
He meets her eyes over the tea cup and she sees a twinkle. Below the twinkle, she sees the pain. Beneath the pain she sees his vigorous spirit. Frail in physical appearance, she senses he is living close to the bone. She takes the tea cup from him and is pleased to see that it is mostly empty – just a few bits of root fragments in the bottom. She takes his hand and they enter the sanctuary together.
Once he is settled on the table, she covers him with a wool blanket, places a pillow under his knees and makes sure he is comfortable and warm enough. She then takes a seat at the head of the table. Wordlessly, they breathe together – inspiring one another. He sighs – and relaxes and now she takes a single drop each of palmarosa, rose, and ylang ylang and mixes them with her fingertips.
Slowly she brings her fingertips near his temple, equilibrating, waiting, holding space, and when he is ready, she begins to massage both sides of his temples. Small circles, then stillness, small circles, and they listen to the fire crackling, small circles, and they smile in gratitude to all the drummers who circle around outside. He sighs again. As he exhales, the chattering in his mind slows, and he begins to relax – sinking into the sheepskin, feeling the weight of the blanket.
She stands and moves to the side of the table. Looking up, she sees the moon just coming over the hills. Looking down – she gazes into his eyes and smiles. Slowly she lowers her right hand onto his abdomen. They breathe together and he closes his eyes. She places her other hand over his heart – feeling its strong steady pulse. His breathing slows, and he feels warm – floating in the womb of creation – she feels the warmth too.
Together they attune to the heartbeat of the universe. In this place, everything exists as light energy. They feel weightless and awed at the beauty of their surroundings. No words exist for this dream state. Without the burden of their physical bodies, they move effortlessly through the space-time continuum.
Radiating from his center, the sense of well being quickly fills his entire body. Returning to the sanctuary – he slips back in, once again sinks into the sheepskin, feels the weight of the blanket. In his heart – a deep sense of gratitude for a well lived life. His breathing slows, he falls into a deep, restorative sleep.
Quietly, she adds a few logs to the fire. She opens the window where the raven is perched. As the raven enters the room, she slips away to join the drummers who are drumming up the moon.
With love, tenderness and affection for the Raven and her Soulmate…