By the fourth night of sleeping alone
at St. Nectan's Glen I'd finally cracked.
The visions had started and I couldn't handle it -
even though it was what I came here for,
was a crucial part of my training.
The fasting, the constant meditations -
all were taking their toll. I felt weak,
light-headed and shaky.
What a fool!
Naivety had fostered the expectation
of some gentle, easy transformation,
not this gruelling hardship
that seriously challenged my understanding
of life, time and being.
The biting wind and dampness of the forest
did little to help either. I felt myself
physically and mentally fragmenting...
Bells tolling in the dead of night.
Struggling to my feet, half asleep.
Scrambling through bracken, ankle deep in mud.
Following the sound.
Up steep stone steps,
feeling my way in the darkness,
through dense blacked-out woodland.
Then, just as the ringing ceased,
I found the Hermit's Cell:
Much like my spirits.
Then the rain came.
Thick, penetrating drizzle
so typical of this part of the country.
Shivering, soaked to the skin and thoroughly miserable,
I'd finally had enough. Reaching
into an inside pocket for my phone,
intending to call my mentor and plead for a reprieve.
Sense of total isolation and helplessness.
The rain ceased and a full moon appeared between the trees.
I stood motionless, watching the strange shadows
that seemed to flit around those crumbling walls
that were reputed to have once been home
to the tutor of Merlyn Himself.
The very stones appeared to be alive
and the unmistakable scent of incense
filled the damp air.
It was then that I noticed the figure.
Clad in hooded grey robe, it's face obscured
in shadow, I was sure
it was looking directly at me.
I froze, acutely aware of my extreme vulnerability.
But gentle words uttered in a language not my own
began to flow through me like Prana, allaying all fears.
And I understood them!
I haven't the slightest idea how.
I just did.
A kind of spiral enclosed me then
in soothing golden light - yet, simultaneously,
I seemed to be outside of it all,
observing the seasons, the planets, the suns
cycling through the aeons - and
I felt a part of this stunning spectacle,
so knew I had no end myself
and that only this body would eventually perish,
not this I who thinks, feels, and now
was just beginning to grasp the unfathomable.
And that knowledge filled my entire being
with an ecstasy like nothing I'd ever known before.
It was moving way beyond personality,
beyond thought or emotion -
even fear could no longer touch me.
So this is what it meant to be Druid -
to be part of the Old Gods' Grand Plan:
a messenger, an open channel...
with the Universe in her eyes.