The heavy iron gate clanks shut, the echo ringing through the empty courtyard as I feel coldness grip my heart for the first time. The Journey has begun.

Walking on, I resist the urge to look back. The sun, the excitement and the physical exertion finally take their tole and I trip over the small root of a tree that has emerged into the narrow foot path. As I fall, I furtively look behind, but the sun’s glare prevents me from seeing the familiar gates of home.

Lying on the ground, I recite the chant of initiates and wait for an answer.

“Wheel, wheel spinning, spinning; Wizard, wizard grinning, grinning; what will be my future fate? What lies for me beyond the gate? Wheel, wheel spinning spinning; Wizard, wizard grinning, grinning; What will be my future fate? What lies for me beyond the gate?”

The rumble in my belly reminds me that I have not eaten. Wanting to remedy that, I shift my body to lean against the trunk of a large tree. My eyes are attracted to the exposed root that caused my fall and I gently stroke the top of the root and then the top of my head where the blood is still drying. The sun is full upon my face. The warmth is soothing and friendly to my body.

Then I remember the spinning wheel and a fragment returns to me from a dream. “Your task is died within the yarrow.” What does it mean? My task is to accept all in love. I have barely started, and I am feeling nervous and fearful. What would happen if I chose to turn around and return home?

“Oh Morrigan,” I say out loud. “I need your earthly counsel. What have you told me about yarrow? It is an herb. A perennial. It makes beautiful flower arrangements. It is hardy and has a beautiful golden color, like the sun. That does not give me much information. Oh, my head is aching and my stomach empty. A drink of water, some bread and cheese from my pouch may help.”

Opening my pack, I select my repast and take a long drink from my leather water bottle. Then I pour some of the water on top of my head, take a cloth from my pack, and dab the water and the blood from my hair. I rest beneath the oak’s shade, enjoying the subtle taste of the cheese and the hearty texture of Idun’s bread.

My mind reviews happy events from the Temple and my home. Thoughts of my loving family, the warmth of the Temple fire, the Pool of Love, and Hector’s spring garden in riotous boom brings a smile to my face. The Goddess is within me. I love her fiercely.

Finally, refreshed and feeling cooler and strong, I pick up my pack and staff, then move out of the tree’s shade and cross the open meadow. A wisp of smoke can be seen in the distance.

“Perhaps there will be soup and a bed and friendly people if I follow the smoke.”

ZARDA is available at Bookbaby.com as an eBook or a paper back.

Thank you for reading. Leave a comment if you so desire.

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