So, haven't really posted much about Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick. I'm a little over halfway through the book and am quite pleasantly surprised. She is a wonderful author, although seems to sometimes take an attitude of "this is what I believe/do so you should too" with certain aspects, but always makes sure to mention that it is just her process on it. I do also love how anally organized she is though hehe
I had never read this version of the charge of the Goddess before and loved it. It inspired the story I did for Pagan Culture's Pagan Fiction in 113 Words or Less which I have also decided to expand to hopefully submit to Realms of Fantasy magazine.
It is Midsummer Night's Eve -- the longest day of the year. This a unique time, full of unlimited power and mystery. You are standing in a large, secluded clearing, backed on three sides by the dark, evergreen skirts of Earth Mother. Behind you expands a rolling corn field in the cycle of infancy.
Above you hangs the moon. She is full and heavy, dripping her milkwhite light on the planet below, like a mother's breast that anticipates the nurturing of a child. The remainder of the heavens expands about the glowing orb, velvety and black, pricked by a multitude of winking stars. You take a deep breath -- heavy-sweet with the odors of a cooling summer day. The field, the dark, the sounds of the night, the forest and the moon all collide in time that does not exist.
As you look around the clearing there comes the realization that you are one among many -- old and young, robust and slender. They, as you, have come from many distant places to be here this night. A sea of faces, each barely masking the taunt anticipation behind them, utters whispers that merge with those of the nocturnal insects. An atmosphere of peace and unity with both worlds prevails.
A hush, like the roll of a soft wave, moves across the crowd. Silently, the people form a circle. A lone cloud scuttles to greet the face of the moon and veils its brilliance for a second.
In the darkness, man, woman, and child join hands. As the light once again filters down among the people, you hear the awed murmur of the crowd. The center of the circle, empty only moments before, is brilliantly lit by the aura of a single woman.
She is like no other. You search you memory, but you can remember no equal, neither in this life time or in any slips of memory that your stingy brain has allowed you to recall.
Her stance is straight and proud. Her strong yet delicate arms rise to the heavens, drawing down the light of the moon into her breast. Into her soul.
She is swathed in shimmering material that any human has yet to make; you marvel at how it ripples about her, like fine flesh that kisses the night.
Some in the crowd see her as a raven-haired beauty; others see her as a white-blonde princess. Yet there are those who observe a fiery, red-headed warrioress. To you her skin appears a musk-honey color, but to the man next to you it shines with polished ebony. It is then you realize that you are connected to the thoughts of all in the Universe. To look upon her radiant face is to have the air stolen from you lungs, and gasp, eyes fluttering in mild fear of drowning in the logic of nothing. The sensation flashes by; you are left with steady breath and a pumping heart.
To look within her is to experience the Divine . . . The Goddess!! The logical mind does not well accept the creative premise of divinity. Therefore, you internally debate whether you are looking upon human flesh or a figment of the heavens. You have been told by others that the human is Aradia, Queen of the Witches. Some have said she is the incarnation of the Goddess herself, others say she is the daughter of the Goddess, as She could not enter her full self in human flesh. Regardless of the debate, you know that you have waited a very long time to see her. Although the humans here are total strangers to you, you finally feel that you are home. This is the place where you belong. She speaks. Her silver voice rings loud and true. In amazement you watch as the tallest trees around the clearing bow down in reverence as she begins The Call:
Hear my words and know me! I shall be called a million names by all who speak! I am Eternal Maiden! I am Great Mother! I am the Old One who holds the immortal key! I am shrouded in Mystery, but am known to every soul!
She lowers her arms and holds them open toward the people circled around her. A small girl-child in the crowd cries out in fear, erupting the peace of the circle. Her horrified mother attempts to remove the child as the little one breaks into a lusty squall.
But Aradia only smiles and beckons the small one to her. She holds her arms in a cradling position, and where they once were empty, the child now materializes, encircling the child to her breast. The mother is left guiding only empty space from the circle.
If there was one among the crowd who does not believe in her reality, it surely blossoms in that moment, as the child nestles into aradia's shoulder in peaceful contentment.
Still holding the child, Aradia gestures one elegant arm to the sky and speaks:
Hear my words and know me! Whenever the moon rises in the Heavens shall my children come to me. Better it be once a month when the moon is full, shall ye assemble in some secret place, such as this, and adore the spirit of I. I, who am the Queen of Witches!
And under my watchful eye, my shildren shall be taught the mysteries of Earth and Nature, of the ways of all Magick! That which is unknown shall be known, and that which is hidden shall be revealed, even the secluded soul shall be pierced with my Light. From my cauldron shall be drunk all knowledge and immortality!
She pauses to caress the head of the girl-child, then lowers her gently to the ground. The tot scrambles quickly back to its mother, the cherub face serene, radiant, and blessed.
Aradia begins to glide slowly around the circle of people, looking intently into many shadowed faces. She speaks:
Ye shall be free from slavery and ye shall dance, sing, and feast. Music shall surround you, for mine is the exstasy of the spirit, and mine is also the joy of the earth!
Her eyes grow large and luminous and her voice flares with raw power as she proclaims:
I do not demand sacrifice! For behold, I am the Mother of all living things!
She places the palm of her right hand on one man's forehead. She shouts:
Create and heal!
The softens her voice and winks at another:
Be strong, yet gentle.
She turns quickly to an old woman:
Be noble, yet reverent.
She then tips the chin of an attractive young lady:
Bring forth and replenish.
And pivots with a seductive laugh. She moves about the circle, touching each individual, murmuring encouragement of hopes and dreams, laying aside fear and hatred.
And, as does the cycle of the Moon ever begin to wax and wane and to grow forth again, as do the seasons from one to the next flow in smooth rhythm, from sowing to reaping, to seeming death and rebirht . . . so will my children know their own pattern in both worlds!
Your heart begins to beat its own primal rhythm as she moves -- no, glides -- toward you. Your stomach does those familiar flippity-flops when you realize it is you she has singled out. She stands but a breath in front of you. You feel her warmth envelop you with the perfume of musk, or is it lavender? She is so beatiful you think your eyes will never see normally again.
Her hand delicately touches you shoulder, sending a rapturous vortex of power jolting down your body, then building in your belly. She speaks in a whisper that, amazingly, all can hear:
And ye shall say these words . . .
I Will love and harm none.
I Will live, love, die, and live again.
I Will meet, remember, know,
and embrace once more.
For the free will of ALL, And with harm to None
As I will
It now is done
So mote it be!
You speak the words. The people speak the words. She backs to the center of the circle, never appearing to move; but there just the same. Her power churns through every molecule of your system.
The circle begins to fill with drifting notes of pan pipes, whirling into a foggy spiral toward her. Where she once stood alone, now soidifies a towering being -- half beast, half man. His body is covered in fine, golden iridescence. His bronze, muscular arms encircle her gently, as if she were made of the lightest faery wing.
Two large, twisting horns protrude from His head, glowing with a light that appears to be all its own. His visage does not frighten you, for you realize that this is the God, the consort of the Lady, and that he is the golden half of her silvery being.
They smile deeply at one another. Their separate bodies slowly melt together into a single, blazing entity of light. And the human circle is plunged into darkness.
Your fearful heart turns your eyes to the heavens, but it is only another cloud that has passed before the face of the moon.
The light returns almost as quickly as it was stolen. Perhaps . . . not quite as mystical as before. All eyes turn to the center of the circle.
And it is bare.