She looks even more like the Fairy Queen than ever in her ceremonial garb. She notices me out there, and is not fooled for a moment, even though I am striving to appear casual as I lumber past the space they will be using for the Trance Dance.
I am one of the tribe's Guardians. Strolling around the grounds of the Gathering is kind of what I do. To the casual observer, I am not doing anything. But the Queens and the other Guardians know; I am working. I am observing, reading the scene. A moment's conversation, a flirtatious remark, a casual touch on the shoulder are, to those who recognize, the tools I use to move the energy.
She sticks her head out into the hallway and says my name. I turn my full attention to her; she is not the Priestess whom I serve, but it is my nature to be attentive to any of Them if They have need of me. She says, "Would you be interested in doing some Guardian work with us for this ritual?" I smile, and follow her into the space.
I am given a role, and I line up for the procession, alongside Her personal Guardian, Barb. Barb is My Bredu (my sworn sister); we have discovered shared memories. We are to lead the procession, carrying the tree banners into the space. I have not had opportunity to work energy in partnership with this warrior before. At least not in this lifetime, or in the same room.
We lead the procession into the space, stand the banners in their places and turn to stand shoulder to shoulder in front of the fireplace, watching Her as She enters the circle. As she crosses the membrane, she hesitates for a moment. Her eyes show us the joy and excitement She feels, seeing us stand together, holding the circle.
I glance at Barb and smile. She touches my shoulder, and I feel more at home than I have in 3000 years. In my heart is a picture of us, standing on a bluff, overlooking our village, shoulders touching just like now. The Priestess looks me in they eye, and I know She sees it too. She recovers Her composure and enters the space, and the ceremony begins. I do not know if a split second has passed, or an eternity.
The music begins, and all the guardians in the room follow our lead, and pick up the bamboo poles provided, drumming a counter beat on the floor as the women begin to dance. Over the next two hours (or was it a millennium?) something astounding happens; the Guardians play. We play!
The music and the dancing and the drumming amplify the great joy that we have just found in one another's company. For the first time since IT happened, there is innocent joy, unrestrained by the Shadow that normally permeates our souls. Barb and I end up swinging the sicks, clacking them together like children having sword practice. Other guardians dance around and between us, laughing. She has admonished us not to do that, but we cannot restrain ourselves. We grin like children. Even I dance.
The next morning, as the camp awakens, I am again strolling around the grounds. It looks the same as yesterday, women beginning to stir and sleepily move toward the dining hall. But everything has changed; it is a new day. We, the Warriors have connected, shown ourselves, and found the joy of being together. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Yes, the sadness and the pain and the wounds are still there for many of us, but today we know that we are healing, and that we never have to feel alone in our pain anymore.
And the Wheel goes round. Blessed be.