I walked slowly up to this figure with fascination. He was perfect. The man was wearing an expression I could not decipher. It was a knowing smile, a look of intense passion and total relaxation at the same time. He seemed unaware of my presence. Jo`caar had left me so I was alone. The sky shifted to a blue and the Goddess spoke from the silent clouds. She told me that I was not allowed to touch this man. If I did I would never meet him, never see him in my waking life. If I left him alone and simply stared then he would come to me and we would be together for a long time in perfect love. I wanted him the moment I saw him. This was undeniable. I wished with all my being I could feel him- make sure he was real. I wanted to kiss his perfect lips and feel his body close to mine. Yet I resisted and in my haste to remove myself from this temptation I turned right towards the ominous glade. I knew not what awaited me there but my mind suddenly flashed back to Maurice. Before I had left on this particular journey she had asked me the strangest question. She had asked me if I had ever died. Then she answered this question- Of course I had not died. She asked me if I knew what it was to die. I told her I had no idea and had asked her why she asked me such dark things. She remained silent and simply stared at me hard. Then she had warned me to not give up. Ever.
I regained composure and walked into the trees that held the darkness close like a cloak to shield it from the twilight. I walked for a while unaware of the surroundings; assuming they were just more trees I ignored them. This was folly. I noticed suddenly a movement all around me. I had no time to react. I looked around and surrounding me were snakes. A great many snakes, more than I could count suddenly covered all the trees and all the ground around me. I put up shields and these held for a little while but they made me weak and eventually I had not the strength to hold the snakes off any longer. Then the first bite was administered. These snakes were poison. This I felt as the venom spread throughout my body like fire. Then another bite and then many more. And as I tried my best to move-to escape to anywhere, to transform, they consumed me whole. I lay a skeleton and I was dead. I could not move; I could only see myself. I was dead. A goner. There was no return from this. I was in the bellies of a thousand snakes. Then there occurred a miracle. I felt a spark of energy. And as I felt this the snakes all began to squirm viciously and then they all disappeared and I was slowly, very slowly, put back together bite by bite. I knew there was a truth here somewhere and suddenly I learned an unknowable thing. I cannot type it here. It would overtake this Confession and turn it into a Testimony. This is not my desire. I will tell you however that the spirit of Snake transmitted her knowledge to me, that the end is only the beginning and each beginning is the end of something else. I was to be an Initiator, one who began things and set people on the right path by giving advice and letting them know that which they most needed to know. I was not in the clergy, so I could not initiate Witches, but I could set people toward finding their own truth.
I transformed immediately into my Raven form and flew away from this place. I flew and flew until I could not fly any longer. I began to circle, gliding down to a height I was most comfortable in when an arrow from the sky flashed down from above me and struck me right through the heart. Again I fell, losing all control, losing all maintenance over my direction. My luck, how vicious it was, I hurtled toward the very center of a volcano. I knew that again this was annihilation. I didn’t fear it as much though the pain was excruciating. I landed with a silent plop in the middle of this pool of molten rock and sank, and as I sank I was burned so quickly through and through that I had no time to scar. My black feathers melted on contact and I knew more pain than my mind could handle. Again I saw myself dying, this time not even a skeleton remained. I had no form and my consciousness remained in the middle of the inferno. I saw a white light, and then I was sitting on the edge of the volcano, totally reformed, put together from the most molecular of destruction. I was not invincible and this I knew, but these were lessons and I had more lessons to learn and therefore I was not allowed to come to an end, no matter how untimely.
I went on to find a way back. Two deaths a day was kind of my limit. I went back to Maurice and thanked her for her advice. She nodded with a smile, and handed me a bowl of something similar to food. I sat by her fire and ate with her in silence. Then I walked back to my portal and awoke. I was sitting in my attic bedroom in the new house. I sat up with a dry mouth and my tongue was bleeding. I fell asleep that night a dreamed of nothing.
Let’s go back in time a minute to explain how I ended up in the bedroom and on that particular journey. Reading back on my account I found I got ahead of myself and left out much of the events that occurred in the third world.
As we moved I said I had spat upon the doorstep. This was true. I hated the spirits there for besting me. I had once been under the impression that as a conduit I could pack an unlimited amount of power, yet this was not true. I had my limits just like everyone else. When I first moved there I had bought a pack of Tarot cards. I bought a pack from the only store in town that was stocked with metaphysical supply and as I walked home I felt somehow empowered. It was hot and the door was locked when I got home but they occupied my mind so wholly I attempted to read them and ended up just sitting there looking at the pictures. I knew very little about how to use them but I was extremely persistent. I could read them if I really focused and they were more complex than the regular playing cards I had been using before. I was worried about them at first. One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, had called them a “vicious pack of cards” and this worried me. Many people lumped them in with Ouija Boards and such and condemned them as access to demonic information. I did not buy this. It was ridiculous. I felt I would know a demon if I saw one, would know an instrument of a demon if I came in contact with it. Energy patterns never lie. I would smell the sulfur and feel the flame.
I tried time and time again to read them and I took the approach of just reading them and then observing the results throughout the day. They were very accurate once I began to interpret them correctly, and soon I was skilled. I began to offer readings to some of my more respectful acquaintances at school who trusted me and took the advice I gave. This made manmy of the adults very uncomfortable. I would simply ask how it was any different than the youth ministers allowed to hold mini sermons and prayer meeting within the confines of the school. I asked how it could be solicitation if I got nothing in return and the people that received the readings came to me for them and not the other way around. Eventually they accepted and left me to it. I also studied how to read palms and how to tell what people were thinking by reading their energy patterns. This last one is a difficult one but I finally got it right in the end and I learned that this skill is somewhat more of a burden than a help because while you know what the other person is thinking you often haven’t enough time to change the course of their actions that result from such thoughts.
As my family began to pack their belongings into the new house and such I picked out a bedroom in the attic. Mainly because this bedroom would be my own where before I had to share with the young boy who didn’t yet understand not to mess with certain things or how to pick up the messes he made. I set out all my things and assembled a new radio with two large antique speakers. The only station that came in came in perfectly. It played classic rock music and this was awesome. I made an altar here and made the blue walls my fortress. This room was mine. I felt a strange energy emanating from the closed off portion of the attic and so I drew a pentagram right on the door with a permanent marker.
One day as I was walking to school through the wasteland between my house and a church in front of the school, a big crow came flying by and hit me hard in the back. It fell, wings flapping furiously to the ground and I felt sorrow for it. Corvids were after all my favorite of all animals and I held it in my arms and walked a little further until I was standing in front of the school. The crow eventually got better and hopped up on my shoulder as the buses were unloading hundreds of my classmates, many of whom stopped to stare at this occurrence. There he perched and I was wary. I knew they would peck at you if you weren’t careful so I tried not to move too quickly.
An acquaintance of mine walked up to me and asked me if that was a crow on my shoulder. As she asked me this, it flew off toward the sun. She just stood there with her mouth open and I was laughing, trying to explain to her what had happened. I didn’t need her believing something untrue, or making hasty assumptions. But she was silent as we watched the crow fly away. She smiled at me and all I could finally say to her was that yes, I guessed it was a crow.