On the edge of a small village, on a cold winter’s night, as the ground was freezing hard under a clear sky, lit by an almost full moon, and whilst all the usual inhabitants slept warm in their beds, a lone woman, clothed only in some dirty torn rags, lay shivering and exhausted in a field under a great gnarly tree.
The crust of salt around her eyes told of the tears she had shed yet she was now too tired even for that. All that she could now manage was to let the flesh of her body fall over the ground, close her eyes and give herself to the blue-cold night. She was broken and defeated.
She had been a woman of reasonable status, according to the world. She’d had a reasonable job with a reasonable income, a reasonable home, a reasonable social life and a reasonable family life. She had every reason to be content with her lot.
And yet she was not content. Beneath the surface of the life she lived, her inner self was parched and worn. The light of her creativity had grown dim and she had wandered far – too far – from her true self.
And so little by little, and then finally with great speed, she had watched as her reasonable life crumbled around her until all that was familiar to her was gone. Her job, her health, her finances, her family life – all were in desperate tatters and she did not know where to turn.
And this is how she had ended up lying in the field under the great gnarly tree.
If you had been there that night, you would not have been able to notice by eye what happened next, but it was happening nevertheless.
Through the icy ground, the warm pulse of the earth’s core rose to meet the woman’s body and whispered, “You are made of this earth. You came from this earth. You belong to this earth.”
And the stars in the clear sky sent down threads of silvery light which met her body and spoke, “You are made of these stars. You came from these stars. You belong to these stars.”
And the great, almost-but-not-quite full moon reached down a golden arm and wrapped it around the woman’s shoulders and sang, “You are one with all things. You will not be left alone.”
And then out of the forest on the far side of the field, a line of women appeared and moved, whilst singing something low and sweet, towards the lone woman.
They knelt to form a circle around her body and set about their work. From their hearts they breathed love and warmth into the woman’s heart, as other women had once done for them. With their hands they reached out to soothe and comfort her tired body, as other women’s hands had once reached out for them. With their mouths they spoke to her of her goodness and worth, as other women had once spoken such words to them. And with their bodies, they prayed for her to know herself and rise.
And so with the warmth of the earth, and the silvery threads of light from the stars, and the golden arm of the moon, and the tremendous love of the women, the woman found her strength and rose. A great woven shawl was wrapped around her body and a simple silver ring of sisterhood placed on the second finger of her right hand.
Together now and led by the light of the moon, the women retraced their steps across the field, back into the forest and beyond to wherever they were needed next. Somewhere, another sister was in need of help.
Come morning, no trace was left of what had happened in the field under the great gnarly tree and the inhabitants would never know about the strange events that had occurred on the edge of their village that night.
But somewhere out there, one more woman’s heart had returned to life and the whole world had been lifted a little more out of its darkness and further into the light.
Love and courage,