In The Mists

Eight of Cups from the Robin Wood Tarot

I know this place,
I’ve been here before.

I always loved the forest, and
it was right outside my back door.
But times were hard and
I would wander in and out,
never truly seeing what I saw,
afraid to stray from the straight and narrow,
and besides, the path of concrete and steel
looked so enticing, so real.

But the forest was always there,
and if I looked closely enough,
quietly enough,
I could see movement in the trees.

In the land of the Dark
I saw the Light
and in the distance
for the first time
I saw the Stag.

I stayed on the edge of the forest,
still wandering in and out,
a little deeper now,
but always fearful of becoming lost.

Nine years ago I found the mists
or the mists found me
and the Stag spoke clearly:
“You cannot stay here.
Follow me deeper into the forest
or return to concrete and steel.”

I followed.

I journeyed within
and I built on the foundations
laid by the sages of Old and New.
Fear was pushed out by Love.

The Stag led me further.

I found a home and I found a voice
and I learned to serve.

The Stag led me further.

I found a path and I found a teacher;
I learned the Wisdom of the Trees.

I found a vision
that looked so perfect,
so easy
it had to be mine.

The Stag waited patiently as
the vision crumbled.

The mists rose.

I know this place,
I’ve been here before.

The mists are cooling, soothing,
restful.
I will stay here.

“The mists will leave soon,
and you must choose.
The path leads up the mountain.”

That path is steep.
“No steeper than other paths you’ve travelled.”

I cannot see the top.
“Could you see this place nine years ago?”

My load is heavy.
“Then set down what you do not need.”

I cannot suffer loss.
“You will lose what you do not need
or you will lose what lies ahead.”

I am tired.
“The time grows short,
and you are not yet so old.”

I cannot die having not seen the mountain.

“There is work on the mountain that must be done.”
Few see it, but I do.

“Someone must work the magic.”
I can, but not yet, not here.

“You will learn on the journey.”
I have before, I will again.

“There will be sacrifice.”
Nothing of value comes cheaply.

“Shall we begin?

I know this place,
I’ve been here before.

Yes.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.