I place my hand upon the stone & I intend: show me a life where I served Elen. Within the stone archway green bushes appear & push out – no wooden door this time. I push my way through the greenery, and falling on the other side.
I am a young boy – four or five years old. Dirty blonde hair straggles to my shoulders. I am lost, though not afraid. A beautiful, shining woman stands before me, bending over to offer me Her hand. This is the Goddess! This is the Woman of the Forest that my people have spoke about – She who calls to the deer who run upon the land. I feel that I am very far from my home, but I do not worry about that now. I am with Her.
I take Her hand and she leads me to a tree, where a small cave has been dug out underneath the roots. It is no more than a few metres across, and though dark, when we slip inside the light comes down through the opening to us. Here, I curl up to rest, feeling safe.
Time jumps forward, and I am once more in the cave, a young man. My dark blonde hair has a wave to it, and it falls down to under my ears, and I have tied bits of it back, but I can still feel soft tendrils against my neck. My body is so strong – I am years past adolescence, maybe mid-20s. Today is an important day, and I am eager to begin it. I know that I have serve the Goddess I met all those years ago, and today is about renewing that bond with Her and the deer.
I leave the cave and step out into the forest, and there are deer milling all about me – a herd, comfortable while I walk among them. The words, Stag King, seem to float in the air. We are all calmly waiting, and I run my hand over the brown coat of a deer near me.
There is no sound, but suddenly we are off, dashing through the forest. It is not a race as such – it is just important that I keep up with them. I feel as though my feet are fleeter this day. We all run very tightly packed, and I can sometimes feel a brush of a flank here, and a furred coat there, though I am safe and unharmed. In our running, there is no direction or purpose – just the exhilaration of the movement. Sometimes I can feel a set of antlers upon my head.
Time has jumped forward a little, and we have reached a destination of sorts. All the deer are still, calmly eating of the lush grass around a good sized pond. There is a woman waiting for me. At first I think it is the Goddess, for she wears antlers on her head. But when I am close, I see she is mortal, like me. My blood is rushing though my body, and my heart beats so fast when I look at her. This is the part of the experience where we will join our bodies together, and I am eager for it.
I remove her crown of antlers, her dark hair in a long, straight fall to her waist. I am kissing her mouth, and it is as though I have been thirsty for a long time. We make our way to the ground, and she rolls me over so she can straddle me. I am inside her, her knees bare on either side of my hips, and the feeling is powerful, her riding me and the deer around us, protecting us. I reach up to touch her, but she takes my wrists and pushes them back down to the earth by my head. I immediately feel the pulse of the earth underneath me. As I feel the energy of the earth rushing through me, I watch her. There is golden light shining upon her skin, and her eyes are closed in abandonment & physical sensation. In this moment, I am in awe of her, and I worship her with my eyes and my body beneath her, until we come.
As we finish, she falls upon me lightly, and I gather her small body into my arms, holding her against my heaving chest. I am feeling both gratitude and awe. But the rush of the run with the deer is still within me, and I need her again.
I am rolling her over, her hair spilling to the side and into the pond, we are that close to its edge. In one long slide, I am inside her, moving in slow but powerful strokes. I reach my right hand out and my palm touches on the flank of the closest deer. Now I am connected to them. First it was the land, now the deer, and I can feel the Goddess’ spirit within them, and now in me. I know that it is important that I am connected with the deer for this.
There is a renewing of faith, between I and the deer, a recognition and decision that I will continue to serve and protect them, even as the Goddess protects me. This is my life purpose & this constant renewal of connection is my ritual.