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,
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.


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About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.