Seasonal Salon

A Story From The Grove

I remember the grove. I remember the last night we met there. It was a dark time, a terrible time. The priests and village leaders had begun arresting those who practiced the old ways…one at a time. They called the old ways “the devil’s religion”, but it wasn’t about religion. We weren’t about religion. For us, it was a way of life, a way of life passed down by our mothers, our aunts, our grandmothers.

Another woman had disappeared in the village. We knew what it meant…those who disappeared never came back. Often, they were never heard from again. We had heard stories of torture, of beatings, even of burning at the stake. We had heard the Stories from our sisters in other villages.

We decided to meet together one more time…for the last time in the grove. Our sacred grove. So many nights we had met there with our herbs and potions, calling on the spirits of the trees, the birds, the animals, and our foremothers. We sang to our Mother. We celebrated births; we honored the passing of loved ones to death. We called for healings. There are many in the village who do not follow the old ways, but they know we do, and they come calling when they have a need.

We know our time here is short. We have made a pact amongst ourselves not to speak. I trust my sisters here, but it’s those who do not practice the old ways, the ones who come for our services. They will call our name out.

We met for one last night. Silently we slipped away from our homes, one by one; walking in the shadows of buildings in the village. We could hear them talking, out in the streets. The church leaders had come to town and were asking questions, asking for names.

It is a hazy night. The moon is almost full, but it is hidden behind the clouds. The clouds have given us cover. We have all arrived at the grove. The grove is such a special place, a sacred place. The trees are our mothers. They have been here for generations. They have been our teachers. They hold us in a protective embrace. Such a sacred place…. There is a small clearing…a circle. Some nights we would build a fire in the clearing; some nights we would dance and celebrate. Some nights we would work magic…we would practice the old ways. Tonight we have brought seed. The seeds have been passed down to us by our mothers and their mothers. Many generations ago, they knew this time would come. We have always known. We have passed the seeds on from generation to generation. Now there is no to pass the seeds on to.

 

My mother had told me stories of large celebrations and festivals on the hill, around the circle of stones. Whole villages would come to celebrate the festivals of the season with dancing, singing, and feasting. Celebrations would last several days. The whole village was involved. It has been many years since the last festival at the circle of stones. There have been none since I was born. All I have known is the grove.

The time has come. We make a pact. One by one around the circle, we promise. We promise this is not the end. We put all our wisdom, all our memories, all our knowledge of the old ways into these seeds, just as our mothers have before us. The seeds will carry the memory. The seeds will carry our tradition. We plant them, safe in the ground…knowing it will be many years before they return. They will be safe during the dark times. They will carry our secrets.

We promise to come back. We promise to return in another time, in another generation, to pick up the old ways, to re-learn the traditions, to re-tell the stories. And the seeds will be our teachers. The seeds will remember.

Category: Spring Equinox 2015