The Pagan Ways

The fire pit burned brightly as Abaka entered the sacred circle and greeted us. Her physical strength showed as she held the djembe drum in front of her, rather than standing it upon the ground, and began a slow rhythm for the gathering of souls. Drums answered from the forest as women walked in single file down the paths that led from the surrounding woods to the community fire. Most of the women were skyclad or in robes draped freely about their shoulders; each carried her medicine tools and filed in silently, encircling the fire.

Abaka slowed the beat of her call to a whispered thump of a heartbeat as somewhere deep in the darkness a low tone split the air and each womon raised her eyes to the sky and lifted her voice to join the harmonious tremor that sheltered them in chant.

Into the firelight stepped seven veiled women, each limber dancer glistening in her glorious skyclad beauty. Veils lifted to enchant the drummers who now filed in to stand behind the novices and elders. A steady heartbeat thickened by the numbers surrounding the fire and the vespers began, the low moans raised to the challenge of the drums and the dancers spinning to the energies of the rhythms. The swaying of the women about the circle became an undulating mass of flesh and frenzied energy.

Suddenly, the sound of a shell horn pierced the darkness and all fell silent. It was as if the veins of the Mother had been severed, the woods stood quiet, eerie in the silence as White Shadow Womon made her way to the fire.

"Sisters," she said, as she extended her wrists in blessing, "welcome and blessings upon you for the joining of your spirit to the web this moon. Many among you have found new sight and new sources. It is good that you follow your heartstrands to the fields and bless the land and ask mother to source us into tomorrow. Blessed be sisters! In the sacred joining find your way home to the mother, and look not beyond the flame, it too stirs as the illusion of the heart's desire and will fade as all does, back to the mother. Care well for your people, your path and your journey ...you are going home...Ho!"

In unison the gathered women answered, "Ho!"

White Shadow Womon took up the smudge pot and began the opening of the circle to call forth the spirit totems that would cast forth the webstrands to each warrioress and vessel womon.

Drummers began to dismount their drums as Abaka gave them the signal that she would carry the heartbeat alone, and did so. Each touch of her fingers to the skins was a caress inviting those in the firelight to find source in each other ...and they did. Each warrioress took the hand of another womon, a vessel, and made their way into the fields to lie in one anther's abandoned self, seeking to source and heal and lay aside wounds from the lifestrands they walked. They sought to be nurtured in Goddess love, each needing to be sourced by the one that led her to lie skyclad beneath the stars and a full buck moon.

The womon's camp sang with the pleasures of the Amazons, and as she laid hand to her drum Abaka's spirit soared toward the circle of complete contentment. Her webstrands vibrated with each stroke taken by warrioress upon vessel. She claimed her own euphoria, and moaned her acquiesce to the Goddess. "Yes, mother, we hear you! Under our feet ...mother we hear your heart beat ...mother we know ...we as sisters and elders do not walk alone. We come to cast circle and ask that you share your healing wisdom and ways.... ho!"

Throwing back her head, Abaka let forth the banshee scream that greeted the dawn, and set down her djembe. She stepped silently across the now dead embers and walked to her place in the woods. She knew she would again return in mid of night to this, the community fire, and next time she would lead a sourcing vessel womon to the fields. For now, she would rest, and bask in the residue of the lingering scent of the fire behind her.

© Melody Adams ~Splitfeathers

 


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