It had been a long and tiring journey. Yet exhilarating. We were all wet, and a little cold and definitely very dirty. Our boiler suits were caked in a mixture of almost painted on limestone and soil. We had been the following the water flow upstream through the labyrinth of the Long Churn cave system.
For the first time in several hours there was a light which was not projected from our foreheads. It was a real light – almost a divine light. It shone down into the cave over a small cascade, which represented our exit. The light reflected in the falling water like faeries dancing around a shower. Or maybe they were.
The cave was almost perfectly circular with a shallow pool in the middle, which received the falling waters, and then issued into the stream that continued off into the depths of the cave system. The noise from the cascade made the spoken word pointless – but the natural splendour and beauty of the location defied the average lexicon anyway, so none was particularly concerned.
Our guide pointed to the cascade and made a climbing gesture – after a short contemplation of the unreal (slightly surreal) physics of climbing up a flowing liquid, I noticed a knotted rope hanging down on one side of the waterfall. I signalled to my colleagues that I wanted to stay alone for a while, so it was agreed that I would bring up the rear when I was ready.
I switched off my helmet lamp and sat down in the shadowy half-light, the noise of the waters soon overcame my consciousness. I closed my eyes and allowed my soul to merge with the primordial spirit of the cave. I felt the presence of millennia, as if time were was now one; everything apparently co-existing around me in that single space. I began to be aware of movement, and outlines of a seemingly formless image drifted across the vision of my inner eye. My soul sensed another, almost winding itself around mine. It was not scary. It simply was. It hugged me.
Actually, it was simply love. The purest love.
I opened my eyes. I was facing away from the surface light, but as my eyes focussed I could make out that there seemed to be points of light ahead. A pair; wide golden oval lights. Eyes. With pupils like slits that cut across the light. They were both curious yet a little wary.
Somehow I was still calm, I did not start, nor recoil; perhaps it was the love which had wrapped my heart that told me this was a safe encounter. As my eyes began to accustom themselves I could make out a head and neck outline around them. They began to move around me like small balls of lightening, transported by a large bulbous crane of a neck that appeared to me as the darkest of shadows. Their shape slightly changing as they apprehended different parts of my physical and conscious form.
I began to be aware that I could make out a gentle mumbling in my head that seemed to reflect the transport and shape-shift in the eyes before me. It was as if I could actually hear the mental processing that was occurring behind the observation. “I think I can hear you”, I offered, tentatively.
Eyes squared up to my face; they drew closer. I could now make out the scaled face in front of me. A gentle visage. As comfortable with my presence as I was now with its. I could feel its heart. In fact I felt our two hearts beating together, each an echo of the other. I could feel the slow and drawn out exhalations brush my cheek. Beyond that breath I was aware of taste, and olfactory engagement; both senses connecting with deeper primeval and long unacknowledged memories.
“We know you” came the voice in my head. “You are part of us you know; you always have been. And shall always be. Together we are stardust.”
As she finished speaking it was like I could feel the entirety of physical life in that moment. We were the earth. We were the oceans. We were the winds that circled in the heavens.
This was the first time I applied the feminine pronoun. Why? I just knew.
She spoke again:
“We shall always be with you, even if you cannot perceive our physical form, we are there for our vitality is everywhere; all of life carries with it the signs and symbols that are our gifts.”
The golden eyes burned before me.
“You can see our breath, for our breath is the winds that drive the clouds in wisps and coils about the skies. You can feel our life in the energy that flows in the land, let the meridians of the earth flow through you, we shall be there; cast your shoes from your feet and ground yourself to the earth. You can touch us, in the beasts around you, in their hearts beat our hearts.”
She continued: “cast the noise of your consciousness aside, park the aspiration and let yourself drift into the moment. For there is where you will find us. And it is there where we shall await you, when there is knowledge and wisdom that you need to assume.”
“Close your eyes again,” she instructed.
I do not know how long I kept them shut, but I soon became aware again of the noise from the cascading waters. I opened my eyes and I was alone, but I was not, for my heart remained in the caress of that gentle soul.
I closed my eyes again and could now see the golden eyes before me.
I knew that I would never be alone again, and that I would never be without love.
It was time to return to the surface and I waded slowly through the pool to the rope at the side of the cascade.
One last gesture, I tipped my head in farewell to the faery folk gambolling in the ripples and waves at the foot of those tumbling waters and started the climb towards the light.
© The Mindful Horse
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