Dreaming in The Dark…
The veil between the worlds grows thin. We can feel it. As Pagans across the globe decorate their altars and prepare to celebrate another turn of the wheel of the seasons, we can sense the subtle difference in the air. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is Beltane. Wildflowers and the first fruits of the land are heaped high amongst the ribbons and wreaths of pink and light green. Here in the Northern regions, pumpkins and Indian corn nestle in harvest baskets while orange and black candles flicker away the shadowy shapes of the evenings that now seem to come too soon. Whether we are welcoming back the strengthening sun or bidding farewell to our long summer days, Pagans can feel the energies changing. Another season has passed. A new beginning approaches. And it is somewhere between what was and what will be, that we now stand.
But it is more than the shifting of the energies that we feel. There is also an increasing awareness of something else afoot. A swift shape slips by and is visible only for a fraction of the second that it takes us to turn our heads in its direction. The tinkling silver sound of ethereal laughter is carried over the treetops only to fade away in the very same instant that we realize it is there. There is definitely more going on here than meets the eye or greets the ear. We can feel it: We are not alone.
All moments of birth and of death are great mysteries. Even as we shed our tears of joy as a new life begins, somewhere there is another who weeps for one that has just ended. And each of these moments –that of birth and that of death — contains something of the other within it. At birth, we leave our suspended state within the womb and begin our journey into this life. Whatever past we may have had before our lungs again drew breath is lost to us save for that brief flash of odd recognition that we might experience from time to time. And at death, we once again must leave behind all that has become so familiar to us in order to enter into the realms where the bodies of flesh have no footing and the thoughts of men have no words.
When we come to realize –as most Pagans do — that the same comforting embrace of our state before birth is the very state to which we shall return, then death no longer conjures up any terrors for us. It is a natural changing of energies. And just as the seasons flow seamlessly from one into another, so too can we. Even if the outward circumstances of either our coming or our going seems abrupt, sudden or violent, still the prepared spirit can pass easily from one state to another. We have done it before. We shall do it again. And we are not alone.
In the times of transition, in the seasons of change, we can catch glimpses of those who are never far off. Spirits of nature, spirits of the elements, visit us in our dreams. Dreams are an in-between state. While we are neither fully conscious nor totally unaware, our bodies may slumber but our spirits wander the corridors of timeless space. In these realms, we may meet the Others who live on planes much different from our own.
Figures from our long distant past wander here also while awaiting some new adventure. Some may appear simply to offer a bit of timely advice or a word or two of inspiration just when we need it the most. Our Ancestors too, we can greet once again and then talk for a while of fond memories. They also appear to remind us of something of value that we have overlooked. It is no big wonder then that upon awakening, we so often have a taste of immortality upon our lips. For we have been in the presence of immortal things and of the Immortals Themselves. Therein the past and the present and the future exist together. The boundaries between finality and possibility are as close as one second is to the next. Nothing there is stagnant. Nothing there is really dead. There the energy of the past still exists — as it must — in order to give birth to the future.
We are someone’s future. Just as we look forward to the future embodied within our children and our children’s children, someone in the past looked into what was their future and it was we whom they saw. We are someone’s hope. We are someone’s dream. We are those whom our Ancestors dreamt of and upon whom they placed their trust of a future. We are the proof of their faith, the product of their love and the culmination of their present. They desired us. They looked for us. They live within us. We are not alone.
And so it is not so very strange then that in the times of transition, at the changing of the seasons, we who now are here should look both into the past and into the future. Yet nowhere do we feel that this is a contradiction. The Earth is both awake and asleep. At Beltane, the Earth is just awakening from Her dreams; at Samhain, She is once again falling into slumber. As She awakens, She tastes the immortality of all of the spirits that share Her energies and as She is falling asleep, She draws them around Her in comfort. Somewhere She slowly awakes. Somewhere She drifts into sleep. She is beginning to dream. She is remembering the dream that She had. She is always in a state of transition.
And perhaps that is what, in the end, sets Witches and Wiccans and Pagans apart from other folk. For it is we who recognize that it is no contradiction to say that we believe in “what was, is, and shall be again”. We have lived before. We are alive today. We shall live again. We are the past of the future. We are the present. We are future of the past. We each are one person who holds all of these things within him or herself without contradiction.
If this is indeed possible, we can understand now too that the past is not dead nor the future unborn. All exists. All can be found if one knows how to seek it out. And we Witches know how. There is nothing unnatural or supernatural about it. In the times of transition, it is simply easier to see. The hard part is in the believing of the possibility itself. And that is why we are not alone.
They come to help us to see. They come to help us to believe. They come because we are the future that They hoped for. They come because we are the future that They saw. They come because we are the future that They believed in. They come because They care for us. They come because They care about the future that we now shall shape. They come. In the times of transition, They come. While we are dreaming in the dark, They come. We are not alone.
We are never alone.