DRINKING THE NECTAR – EARTH & SKY

We do not walk into the forest

and accuse the trees of being off-center,

Nor do we visit the shore

and call the waves imperfect.

So why do we look at ourselves this way?

                                                   ~Lao-tse

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Table of Contents

1, Travels with the Ancient Ones

2. Magical Flight

3. The Flowering Triad

4. At Home in Another World

5. Like Angels

6. Connections

7. Shemale

8. A Morph in Time

9. Cooperation

10. In the Beginning

11. Strengthening the Hoop

12. Ceremony

13. A Few Good Men

14. Reflections

15. Ceremonial Imperatives

16. Jealous Moon, Jealous Sun

17. Love: a Unified Field

18. Deer Me

19. Enchantress

20. Circles of Stones and Trees

21. Goddess as Earth Lover

22. The Blessing

23. The Blesséd

24. Daughters of Goddess

25. Drink the Sky Nectar

26. The Dawning

27. Inanna’s Crown

28. Revival

29. Manifesta

30. Highest Calling

31. Kindness

32. She Who Binds Hearts Together

33. Ferment: A Hymn to Her

34. The Great Rite

 

Travels with the Ancient Ones

The way we look to a distant constellation. . .

These are the days of miracle and wonder. . .

                                                     ~Paul Simon

“I’ve been having some strange experiences.”

“Are you surprised? We talked that this could happen.”

Camille was speaking with Granny Eva. She had gone to see her precisely because she was having strange experiences and hoped to get some guidance, some illumination, some sense that she was not just lost in space. Her child, her little boy, the love child conceived by the sacred triad of Camille and Will and Nina was almost a year and a half old. He had thrived in the love and attention of his three parents, two sisters, and an ever-growing community.

“I am surprised. I don’t know what I expected, and then I am suddenly in these trance states, I guess you’d call them.”

“Yes,” Eva responded expectantly. She waited and finally added, “Continue.”

“I’ve talked to Will, and I’ve talked to Nina and even to Nan. Nobody thinks I’m weird or crazy. They all think it’s kind of cool, and then they all said to come talk to you.”

“Maybe you can surprise me.”

Camille laughed, breaking some of the tension she felt, and just then the sun shone on them from between the clouds that had hung over the New Mexico mountains most of this late spring morning. They sipped the coffees Eva had prepared. Camille looked at her and was overcome by a wave of love and trust that served to further break up the ice and fear inside her.

“You have all the time in the world, Eva added. “Just start somewhere whenever you’re ready. Whatever has happened to you, I’m sure it’s important and positive.”

“Okay,” Camille took a deep breath and plunged in. “When I am in these trance states, I’m another person in another place and another time. It feels very long ago, like thousands of years. I’m seeing everything through the eyes, not just the eyes. I am this other person living this other life.” She paused.

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“We call this ‘the before time’,” Eva responded.

“Before what?” Camille quickly asked. She was stirred up and was trying to be patient and polite, but some primal part of her brain wanted answers. Now!

“Before lots of things. Your Garden of Eden story is not very accurate. Like most stories in modern times, it was changed and changed again to fit the purposes of whoever wanted to be top dog.”

“What do you mean by modern times?”

“Oh, some thousands of years. Most of recorded history, kings and warriors and battles to be top dog. The dimming of the light happened later and slower here in the Americas, different costumes, different war gods, different priests.”

“I feel I’m in Europe. I’m sure I saw a mountain that I’ve been to in this life.”

“You have lived in this land as well. You’ve had many lives. You never felt like you fit in this modern world. You still carry the ancient truth, the ancient ways. You haven’t totally forgotten, and now you’re starting to remember.”

It had been almost a year since Camille had seen Eva. She and Will and Nina had brought their infant to be blessed by Eva. Ben and Nan had come along too. It had been mostly a social gathering with a bit of ceremony, but in a moment when Eva and Camille found themselves alone (the others had gone for a short hike), Eva looked deeply into Camille’s eyes and told her, “You are very connected to the ancient ways, and you will learn much much more. It is time that these things be part of how we live again. There will be huge changes in your lifetime. The ancient ways will be like a lighthouse in a storm for those who are willing to look and see. Your Femmes Violettes are a good beginning. There will be more, much more. Your are one of the chosen ones, self-chosen before you were born this time, to receive these ancient truths and then figure out how to share them with others.”

Having little idea at the time what she was in store for, Camille went on with her life caring for her little boy, loving Will and Nina with all her heart and all her soul, and helping Nina build the infrastructure of her cooperative corporation dream. As the baby grew into a toddler the journeys to the distant past began. There were a couple of very vivid dreams and then trance states that came on her when she was fully awake in the middle of the night. They were so far beyond the typical scope of dreams, she was initially astounded and even a bit fearful, but she knew from the first such experience, it was important to write down as much as she could remember from each journey.

Eva broke into her thoughts, “So what do you think these journeys are about?”

“Clearly I’m being shown some things in great detail. It’s like watching a movie except that I’m in the movie too. The life I’m living is quite wonderful. It is so pleasant and full of harmony, peace, love, understanding. I don’t know why I’m so afraid.”

“The life you are seeing, the life you are re-living, is heresy. The final vestiges of these ways were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, but the Earth People had struggled against wave after wave of violent men for thousands of years. The ways had become so distorted that they were hardly recognizable to those who had lived by the Original Instructions. Your fear is about all that history of death and destruction, suppression, oppression, slavery, rape, and the reversal of all natural patterns of life.”

Camille sat with what Eva had said. After some reflection, she responded, “You’re right. I’ve always been afraid of that threat. I could not just do what I felt like doing. Someone would say it was wrong. En France in some ways we are very enlightened, but we are still a Catholic country. The priests are still there. As much as we enjoy our pleasures, pleasure is still bad. Women who love women are bad. Women who dance naked under a full moon are bad. And already what I’m seeing and experiencing in these journeys is way beyond that. It is so far from conventional wisdom, I fear most people will have a negative reaction, at least initially.”

“That will be your challenge, how to tell the story you are being given.”

“So you don’t want to know the details of my journeys?”

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“I can see enough, and with your permission I can look and see more. Some of us still know about the ancient ways, because we have been traveling back to these times ever since the conquerors took over. We knew we could never talk about, never share these things until the time came that the children of the conquerors began to travel in this way. It is still up to you to plant the seeds, to light the candles, so that someday we can live again as we are naturally destined.”

“So that’s what I am, a child of the conquerors?”
“It’s not all you are. You are also a shining light, one of the great winged spirit beings from the other world, come to bring us back into balance and harmony and spiritual fulfillment.”

“That sounds like an awfully big job.”

“It is, but you’re not alone. Others like you are beginning to travel with the Ancient Ones. It is time.”

“Can I tell you the first dream that I had? This was a few months ago, but it is as vivid now as it was then. I keep going back to the same place and having other experiences. Like I said now it’s happening when I’m awake.”

“Of course you can tell me what are experiencing.”

“Okay, so the first feeling I had was that wherever I was, it was a long time ago, thousands of years ago. The weather felt warm and the countryside was green. I was with other women. There were women of all ages, but I seemed also to be with a group my own age, which felt like maybe twelve. I had not been in this place for long. The other girls and I were like new arrivals. Most of the women wore only skirts of various lengths and sandals. So I saw the breasts of many women, so many shapes and sizes. We girls were also topless but most of us had not developed or had only the slightest swelling. The older women all seemed so serene. It was like they floated by, rather than walking. Except that often they would stop and embrace, even kiss each other on the lips and hold each other for a few minutes and gaze into each other’s eyes before moving on to wherever they were going. The girls and I were watching somewhat in awe. We knew we were in a special place, yet everything felt very natural.” Camille stopped and took a deep breath.

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“That’s all,” Eva asked.

“That was the first dream.”

“How did you feel?”

“I felt two things. I was still myself looking at all this that felt so strange and otherworldly. I was also seeing through the eyes of the young girl and feeling her feelings. I felt very safe and warm and natural. I knew I was there to learn, like a school but a school where you learned by doing not books and classrooms. I had come to this place from my family, but that’s what all girls did at my age. I hadn’t made close friends yet, but I wasn’t worried. There was no sense of threat. Everyone was sweet and loving. There was no meanness.”

“It was all women?”

“Yes, it was all women, and if I was to describe the atmosphere among all these women, I would say, casual affection.”

“Casual affection.”

“Yes, as if affection was the easiest, most natural, most common thing that humans could engage in. No one seemed to give it a second thought, like everyone had the relationship that we see between mothers and small children.

“It sounds quite wonderful.”

“It was quite delightful, even in that first dream when part of me was still getting used to the how strangely different it all was.”

“So there were more dreams?”

“Yes, there were two more before I started my travels while awake.”

“You are going to tell me?”

Mais oui, bien sur. Each dream added more information about where I was and nature of the community I was living in. By the third dream it struck me that there had been no talking, yet it felt like a profound communication was going on all the time, as if I was a part of a larger organism like an organ in the body of something greater than myself. The communication was implicit, neural, cellular. The affection was one of the ways the communication system was maintained. Another was meditation  There was a  meditation arbor. There were always some women sitting serenely in the arbor. All the women were stunningly beautiful. There wasn’t formal instruction. We were learning by being there, by doing, by copying what the older women were doing. The group consciousness was so powerful. Our individuality was less important and yet we were all individuals dancing and floating through each day. There were gardens and kitchens and very comfortable places to sleep. Sometimes a woman would gesture to us to follow, and then we knew to do as she was doing. There were lots of hugs and kisses. It didn’t take long before all us younger girls felt completely a part of the circle of affection. We were learning so quickly how to be full members of the community.”

“It sounds lovely.”

“It feels so good to be there. Now I don’t want to leave. Sometimes when it rained all the women would take off their skirts and dance in the rain. Then there was singing, not like words but more like sounds that are feelings, expressions of joy, gratitude. The rain was definitely welcomed and celebrated. We were learning to give each other pleasure. There was much love-making mostly at night, but sometimes around the baths and occasionally in the gardens. It was the fuel of the ongoing communion. We girls watched and learned and played with each other, but also there were times when we were all together at night. Everyone was touching everyone, but it was all so unhurried. There was no destination, just a never-ending journey together. The answer to any problem, any hint of conflict, any glitch in the tranquility of the waters was love, and love in a very physical and emotional play. Before long I was in love with all the women I lived with. We were more and more included in everything the older women did, not segregated out as immature girls. We were young and eager and wanting to be a part of all the good feelings. We learned about our bodies, how to touch ourselves and each other in the places that made us feel so good and so connected with each other. The modern part of me had a hard time grasping how I could be in love with dozens of other women, who were also in love with each other. These dreams were so erotic and so spiritual and so affectionate all at the same time, as if these were not separate categories but three aspects of a singular phenomenon simply called love.”

When Camille looked up at her still somewhat nervously, Eva was smiling her biggest, broadest smile as the sun shone golden upon her face and reflected the colors of her multi-hued huipile, Slightly non-plussed, Camille asked, “Please tell me what you’re thinking.”

“We have such stories, but they only hint at what life was like. You know, the stories are told like your fairy tales, ‘And everyone loved everyone. There was almost no conflict. They lived in a time where things were easy, and even the work didn’t seem like work. Food, clothing and shelter came to them easily.’ All of these characterizations lack substance. They lack the detail of a really good story. It seems you are being shown how things really were at some place, some time long ago.”

“Yes, it feels a long time ago, many thousand years, but these are not cave people.”

“No, they seem very civilized, don’t they?”

“Yes, even the sex is not like sex.” She laughed. “I’m not being very clear. As this young girl I’ve experienced a lot of holding, kissing, fondling. I touch other girls on their nipples and on their little mounds between their legs, and they touch me, but it’s almost as casual as a hug or a long handshake. It’s just how we greet each other. Even at night we’ll rub each other a little bit, softly, gently, but there seems to be no particular goal. I’m not sure anyone has an orgasm, but we’re all in this state of mild to moderate stimulation, just enough to feel really good, but not so much we feel compelled to build to some release or climax. It’s just unending waves of play and pleasantries and soft pleasure. It’s not ecstatic, but it is blissful.”

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“It sounds quite wonderful.”

“Yes, it is. It’s just so different. What we might call sex-play is the predominant form of communication, but getting down, really going at it might be impolite or improper.”

“That does seem strange doesn’t it? Does it remind you of anything?”

“Nina and Will and I have studied these ideas of tantra. We seize opportunities to pleasure each other, to show affection, without there being an end goal. We’ve learned that often not seeking orgasm is as fulfilling as going for it. It’s that idea of maintaining a certain level of elation, so we feel good but still feel like doing other things at the same time. You know, driving down the road, sitting in a cafe, taking care of our child. It keeps us relaxed and satisfied. With a young child we don’t always have the opportunity for the fireworks, the passion. It’s good, but we stay connected with a lot of touch and breath awareness and gazing into each other’s eyes and just holding each other. We can fondle for pleasure, knowing that most of the time it’s not leading to some hot and heavy passionate love-making, and that’s perfectly all right.”

“So these ancient people are not so different from you?”

“Well, it’s like a whole society is practicing tantra as a way of life, and I haven’t seen any men yet. I have no idea where the men are. I’m not complaining. I like being immersed in this women’s culture, but I’m curious where the men are.”

“If you continue these journeys, I’m sure eventually you’ll find out. Right now you are living in a totally female culture. And you like it?” Eva suddenly asked.

“I like it very much. It’s very pleasant. I feel so safe and comfortable and taken care of. It’s like I have dozens of really close sisters and dozens of loving mothers. I feel special even though I’m treated no differently from anyone else my age.”

“How marvelous! Is there anything else.”

“Yes, the other night in the wee hours of early morning, it started happening when  I was awake, and it was different. I felt myself flying from my bed. I had wings like an angel. I looked back at my body lying in bed. Another angel flew with me and spoke to me. She said, ‘You have been visiting your ancient home. I live there too. You can go back there consciously like we are doing now.’ We flew together for awhile. I don’t know what we were flying through. It was rainbow colorful at times, pearlescent gray at times. The other angel seemed to know where she was going. And then we came to the familiar place with all the peaceful women. I just flew into the body of the girl I was there. The other angel flew into another girl. I noted she was a girl I had noticed a bit more than the others and had found myself sleeping next to. We had already exchanged a lot of affection in my dreams. I went to her immediately. We hugged, then gazed into each other’s eyes with this deep feeling of affection. Then we kissed and walked in some direction holding each other’s hands.

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“Our destination was a large circle. The dirt had been packed hard and smooth by thousands of feet. A group of women were practicing some physical discipline. They wore only the shortest wraparound skirts. Perhaps I should call them breechclouts. They were dancing or doing a martial art. Their movements were slow and precise. Each of them seemed to remain totally aware of the other women and move in response to them. Some of the movements seemed powerful and even confrontative, but they would be followed by the acting out of an incredible sense of emotional longing, affection, hands lightly stroking each other’s face and bodies. We watched while the sun moved through the sky and this rhythm, I would call martial/affectional, replayed itself a number of times and in many variations. I was in awe as I watched. I could feel the energy of what they were doing. It felt intensely powerful and pleasurable all at the same time.”

Camille paused, and Eva stated matter-of-factly, “The ancient ones in many places did these things.”

Camille was in awe again as she described the scene to Eva, and she asked, “What is my purpose in this?”

Eva was quizzical in her response, “I think there are many purposes. The first one is to write down everything you remember from these journeys. This story is to be shared, at least with a few others. What you do beyond that is not something you do alone. You are being shown a community, a society of women in very intimate relationship with each other.”

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“Are we supposed to create a society like that?”
“That answer will come after you’ve been shown everything you need to know right now. Once the story has been transmitted and recorded by you. Then the next step will come to you.”

“That does make sense. It’s just all so strange. I don’t really think I’m in some crazy pipe dream, but then I get worried. I guess that’s why I came to you.”

Eva continued to smile and took some time before replying. “Do you know stories from Mexico and Native America?”

“Not very much.”

“Our stories are called legends. Your stories are called history. Is there a difference?”

“Our modern cultures believe that our stories are more factual than yours.”

“Exactly. Your Bible, is it history or legend?”

“Is that a trick question?”

“Let me tell you one of our stories. Not so far from here are a people known as Hopi. They have a story that has been passed down from generation to generation. They say that this story or prophecy was given to them by Creator. It takes four days to tell the entire story.”

“Okay,” Camille replied somewhat dubiously.

“I’m just going to tell you one small part. I haven’t heard the whole story myself. Our Mayan people have similar stories. Both the Mayans and the Hopis tell about previous worlds that reached a point of self-destruction, and that before the destruction they were told where to go in order to be safe when the destruction happened. The Hopis say that at the end of the last world, they went to live underground with the ant people. They were there for a long time before it was again safe to live on the surface of our planet. Do you think that happened the way they say?”

Camille deliberated before responding. “Our science would say that’s not possible, not literally.”

“So what do you think happened?”

“Umm,” she pursed her lips. “I think they were living in a parallel universe, a different layer of reality where such things are possible.”

“Ah ha,” Eva exclaimed and then waited.

“So your saying that my dreams and journeys are about life in another reality where even the laws of science would be different.”

“What do you think?” Eva asked.

“I think it’s very possible.” Camille could feel herself relaxing as she made that assertion.

“Yes,” Eva exclaimed emphatically and then continued. “Our shamans, our medicine people, our dreamers, have continued to tell the old stories. Some of them still take journeys, but all these things have had to be so hidden. They were all said to be works of the devil. We still do not trust when the Anglos and the Latinos come to us and say, ‘Now we are interested in what you have to say. Now we want to know.’ Our medicine people, our storytellers, our healers, were killed just for being who they were, just for trying to hold onto the ancient ways.”

“Do you trust me?”

“You? Ha ha,” Eva laughed. “You are who you are. You are not pretending to be something else to try to get something from me or get the dirt on me. ‘The children of the conquerors will embrace our ways.’ It is happening. It took many generations, but it is happening.”

“Was that a quote?”

“Yes, it’s from one of the prophecies, and here you are. You are being shown things by beings from the other worlds. You are invited to travel with them. This is the beginning of the rebirth. You are one of my allies, and your little boy has such an opportunity to learn from many traditions. It will be important that people have this knowledge and wisdom again. In the next century the failures of the modern world will complete themselves. The ancient ways are the ancient ways because they have sustained people for many centuries. They have stood the test of time. The technologies are just as sophisticated as splitting atoms or making microchips.”

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Camille had barely heard of microchips. She wondered how Eva knew, but decided it wasn’t relevant to ask. She became so relaxed in the afternoon sun she dozed off in the chair and had a few images of flying and wings as if she was part of a large flock of winged beings describing pirouettes and swirls in the air. The background oscillated between black and white and a dazzling array of rainbow colors. When she came awake again, Eva was just returning with small plates of beans and tortillas and another cup of coffee for each of them. Camille felt utterly at peace and ready for whatever was coming next. When she drove down the mountain in the waning light of early evening, she felt like she did when she’d been at a new activity just long enough to feel she was beginning to get the hang of it.

Feeling so blessed she consciously sent out her blessings to Eva, Nina, Will, Nan, Ben, lots of others in New Mexico and California and France and her beautiful little boy. She knew that motherhood had a lot to do with the spiritual opening that was happening. She knew that she was held by those closest to her, and whatever she got into would be not only just fine with them, but a subject of their genuine enthusiasm. They were explorers together, and how cool was that?

 

Magical Flight

I kissed the winter from her lips and licked the frost away                                           

and summoned the muse between her hips where words bell to ballet 

                          and when our souls began to rise and rode upon her sleigh,                                          

she kissed the winter from my lips and licked the frost away.                                                                                                                                      ~Giselle Magnin

“So I’m being taken somewhere not even I imagined. You know I’ve had a lot of ideas, and stories have come to me. You remember the one about the playful nymphs.”“Of course I do. That’s what first attracted me to you. After I heard that story I wanted to know you. I loved your imagination. I didn’t know then how much I would love everything else about you.”

Oui, you sought me out, and then I found you.”

It was a day later. Camille and Nina had gone for a walk on the land. Will had young Sam with him taking part in the multi-age children’s activities. So many of the older children wanted to hold, cuddle and play with Sam that he never lacked for attention, and his three parents rarely felt burdened by his presence in their lives. Often he provided the connection between them and others, those who were already friends and those in the process of becoming friends. They had named him Sam in reference to the conjoined Buddhas, Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri, who sit blissfully in the tantric repose of yab-yum. Because their lovemaking had increasingly taken on a tantric flavor, the image had deep meaning for all three of them. Their love for each other had grown more gentle as Camille progressed through her pregnancy and then gave birth to their son. They loved to cuddle, to stroke and caress without needing to build the energy beyond a pleasant wave of pleasure and affection. They played with each other while playing with and caring for their little person.

“So tell me about these journeys,” Nina continued. “And what does Granny Eva say?”

“Granny tells me I’ve been chosen by spirit-helpers or angels or whatever I choose to call them. She tells me to go with the experience and write down everything I can remember. Everything is so vivid, so captivating. It feels so wonderful to be wherever it is I go to.”

“And where do you go?”

“I don’t know. I just feel that it’s a very ancient time, many thousands of years ago. I thought maybe it was Europe, but it might be Asia. I really don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter.”

“I’m going to shut up. Just tell me your story. I love your stories anyway. They always feel true, even though they are so different from other stories.”

“It is not my fault. These things just come to me.”

“I’m so glad they do.”

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“Okay, so far I am often in the body of a girl/woman. She’s more than a girl, but not quite a woman. She is maybe twelve or thirteen years old. It seems that she has not been at this place for very long. Everyone is older except for a few girls her own age. I do not know where she came from. This place seems somehow set apart. It is only women. I have seen no men. The women seem ethereal and earthy all at the same time. They wear few clothes, mostly skirts, no tops. It was like I was seeing this all through the eyes of the girl and being fascinated by all the breasts: big, small, perky, saggy. My breasts were just starting to develop. The older women all walk very erect. They appear to float underneath their long skirts. They often stop to caress each other, and they touch or almost touch their most sensitive and intimate areas, as if this is absolutely common and ordinary behavior. They don’t linger long, but I could feel a subtle wave of pleasure each time I was near to one of these encounters.

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“We younger girls were like fillies, a little awkward and gawky. It’s like we’re all trying to figure out where we are, what we’re supposed to do, but no one tells us anything. In fact, it seems that there is a vow of silence. No one talks. The only time I heard sounds was during a rainstorm. The women all came out in the rain without their skirts. It was a warm rain. They sang, but it was not words, just sounds, as if they were crooning along with the rain. They did strange things with their voices like trills and some very high-pitched wailing. It could have been sad, and maybe it was, but more strongly it felt like a celebration, like they were welcoming and thanking the rain in a variety of moods. The only other time I heard human voices was my last journey, which was quite different.”

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“Different how?”

“I was taken in hand by a winged being, like an angel. She lifted me into the air, and then I had wings and could fly with her. We flew through spaces of silvery darkness and rainbow light. It felt like we were in infinite space. I felt very safe. She would often reach out and softly touch my hand. Finally we came to what seemed like this same community of women. They were dressed in very short skirts that looked like leather. They were not trimmed in any way, dressed but not cut. They simply tied them around their waists. These women looked very strong, very powerful. They even had defined muscles. They were dancing together, but it also looked like a martial art. Sometimes two or three would be in a routine, sometimes larger groups. They leaped. They kicked. They twirled and swirled and delivered a semblance of blows. They flung their arms in great circles, but always with a sense that at the end they were making serious contact with something or someone. Yet they never touched each other. The women with larger breasts had bound them tightly with cloth so they didn’t get in their way. Sometimes the movements were very slow and gentle almost like a dance of love, simulating caresses, entreaties, and longing for each other. Still there was no actual physical contact. They could get so close without actually touching. Then I saw it.”

“Saw what?”

“The radiations of energy flowing from their hands and feet, from their entire bodies but especially strong from their hands and feet. Like ripples that matched the shape of their bodies, ripples like a stone makes in a pond. These ripples flowed into each other and intermingled, but the discharges from their hands and feet were almost like slow-motion explosions, and when they struck another person, I could see that person absorb the energy as if it was a gift. I thought it would knock them over, but somehow they knew how to take it in. Not only didn’t it harm them, they actually seemed to enjoy it. I began to feel this subtle level of pleasure that pervaded the whole group, like they were getting high from their dance and part of the high depended on being able to smoothly take in the energy they were throwing at each other.”

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“Wow! So each time you just get shown a little more and a little more.”

“Yeah, so far that’s been the pattern.”

“I can’t wait for the next installment.”

“I guess there’s one other thing that stands out.”

“What’s that?”

“It feels like everybody loves everybody, no, more than that. It feels like everyone is in love with everyone. Tout le monde est en amour avec tout le monde.”

“How wonderful!” She leaned over to hug Camille. Their lips met, and they kissed long and slow and sweet, going nowhere, just content to be where they are with each other at any moment.

Nina could feel Camille relax in her arms and open up to whatever Nina had to offer. Nina looked into her eyes radiating warmth and love to her sweet soul sister. She held her tenderly, one hand behind her head, the other behind her heart.

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Je suis content,” they murmured simultaneously and then giggled at their immaculate timing with each other.

There was far more activity in the community at Calabasas than there had been two years ago. The adobe construction had proceeded apace, so that most families had their own permanent structures and used their old school buses and other live-in vehicles as auxiliary space. News had spread of the novel concept of the new corporation which encouraged lots of sweat-equity by property owners. Often one or two of the “mud-boys” or increasingly “mud-girls” would come to a piece of land, research the viability of the soil mix and teach the owners how to make their own adobe bricks. The construction company was equipped to do as much or as little of the entire process as each group of owners desired. They could do the whole process from brick-making to finish work or they could provide guidance as consultants for those wishing to do all or a substantial portion of their own work.

Joe found himself traveling a lot from site to site overseeing, making sure that everything was up to their technical specifications. More and more people were learning adobe construction. Teenagers could become workers and stockholders in the corporation. They were encouraged to be full adults in every way except someone had to hold their financials in trust until they turned eighteen. For some of the native communities, the tribe itself could act as the trustee. More and more young people were becoming skilled at adobe construction and its related techniques of rammed earth and straw-bale construction. These latter two were learning curves for everyone, but bottom line Calabasas Construction Company was growing and bringing relative prosperity to many young people and others.

Francisco and others were exploring windmill technology and whether they could actually manufacture or at least assemble and install windmills in their local area. It was initially looking viable, particularly if they began by contracting out the fabrication of the parts. Nina was working some contacts in Cincinnati through her uncle Mel. Metallurgy might be beyond the scope of Calabasas Corporation at least in its primary stage of development.

The romance between Joe and Francisco’s daughter, Madalena, had continued to flower. Francisco appreciated a hard-working young man who was also quite bright in spite of a lack of formal schooling. Madalena went away to college but only as far as Albuquerque. She was quite taken with Joe and his practical hands-on skill set. She compared his manliness to the boys she met at college. Joe always came out far ahead. They arranged to spend most weekends together.

Nina often came to New Mexico to take part in the councils which had become the decision-making bodies of the emerging corporation. Her primary role was to simply keep the council functioning as a council, to facilitate clear and non-defensive communication, to assert the agreed-upon methods and goals when anyone seemed to be seriously forgetting. There was a growing faith that everyone could be heard, that all viewpoints had merit, that there was no need to hurry. They could, in fact, chart a course together, but it was okay to deliberate, to devote adequate time to making any major decisions.

A few days later they drove their luxury camper, as modified by Will to accommodate their family of four, up the road to Granny Eva’s place. She always delighted in seeing young Sam and made quite a fuss over him. She had special treats for him that looked homemade. In any case she would never reveal their source nor their ingredients. Sam loved them and loved Granny Eva. They would chase each other around the open area by her old adobe cabin and make faces at each other until both were laughing uproariously and had his parents caught up in the merriment as well.

“He can stay with me tonight, if you’d like to take some time with each other. You could take your camper down to the hot springs and spend the night. I still remember what it was like with a little one, no time or space for your original beloveds.”

“Oh, thank you, Granny, that’s so sweet,” Nina responded. She felt more acutely the lack of opportunity to be with Will and Camille. They were often at home together when she traveled for the cooperative corporations.

They prepared and ate a modest feast. Granny had long ago welcomed their help in the kitchen, treating them like family not guests. As the evening shadows lengthened Camille asked, “Do you have any directions for us tonight?”

“Yes, enjoy yourselves and each other. It’s a full moon tonight. Drink in her energy. Let her be your guide.”

“I think I know how to do that, but it’s always different, huh?”

Everyone chuckled and Granny replied, “That’s why she’s called Changing Woman.”

Sam seemed perfectly content in Granny’s arms as his parents showered him with kisses and tickles and hugs and choruses of, “Bye Sammy, bye love, and ma petit fils.” The adults clambered into their camper and drove the short distance to the hot springs arriving just as the sun approached the western horizon. It would be light for awhile yet. They looked at each other and smiled like the cat that ate the canary, acknowledging in that quasi-silence their hunger for each other. But first, they stood together holding hands and watched the golden orb of the daytime disappear behind the distant mountains.

Will spoke with soft strength, “Thank you, Grandfather, for blessing our days, past, present and future, and this day of time spent with family and loved ones. Help us as we endeavor to make a better world for ourselves and the seven generations to come. We are your children, bur also your partners in an adventure of grand design.”

Camille followed, “We ask for special blessing and guidance for our little man, Sam. Help him to grow and develop into a fine young man, a man of Spirit and understanding, a leader for his time, a servant of the Medicine, an inspiration to himself and others.”

And Nina, “Bless us this triad of holy matrimony. Always allow us to love and be loved by each other, as we have in the past, so into the future. Onward and upward. Let us not just be a stable foundation, but a path of soul evolution rising into the heavenly realms, three angels, three voluptuaries, three pillars of light and three fecund flowery meadows of delicious darkness.”

The way they wove Native American and old pagan ways in their thoughts, feelings and expressions had evolved during the time they had known each other, communed in various ceremonial gatherings and spent time on the land in New Mexico. They definitely felt a spirit more ancient than the cliff dwellings and as imperishable as time itself. The high deserts of the Southwest often exuded a sense of being closer to the Spirit World than other places they frequented.

They laid towels around the hot pool so they could lie about in the cool area without getting muddy. They were not, after all, newcomers to this sacred spring. Eva had reassured them that anything they did with respect and sacred connection was more than okay. For awhile they laid in the warm waters hardly moving, feeling the gentle wave sensations of any inadvertent movement. Then Camille encouraged Nina to hoist herself to the edge of the pool and lie with her legs comfortably spread. She motioned for Will to join her. They lolled to either side of Nina so she could drape a leg comfortably over each of their bodies. Nina was already so thoroughly relaxed from the subtle ministrations of the warm water, she laid back ready for anything from her lovers.

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Camille moved between her legs and ever so slowly and softly reached out with her tongue. Her touch was so faint, Nina wasn’t sure she was being touched but for the feelings that began to radiate up and down her body from her tiny cosmic center. Camille licked and flicked slowly and casually like working the flavor from an ice cream bar. Nina began to moan and roll from side to side, but trying her best to keep the bud of her flower in contact with Camille’s tongue. Camille did not speed up. She licked slowly over the blooming of Nina’s floret, delicately inserting her tongue, wiggling, holding for a moment before withdrawing, licking and easing her way inside again. When after a time she moved back, Will replaced her, imitating Camille’s tempo and delicious daintiness. Nina was in ecstasy, holding tightly to Camille’s hand as Camille stoked and gently squeezed her breasts and nipples with her other hand, as Will’s tongue and lips rove over the pink petals offered to his relish. He savored her sweet tangy taste drinking it down as it flowed into his mouth. He licked and probed with his large tongue as Camille scooted up to curl her body around Nina’s and kiss her wanton mouth.

Nina surrendered to both of them riding a cloud that raised her in successive billows, each one accentuating a bit more the pinnacle she might have thought she couldn’t go beyond. Will began to hum, and the vibrations carried along the inner walls of her sacred channel all the way to her womb. Her lovers were entirely content and intent upon bringing her to the heights of her own capacity for pleasure, love and holy communion all rolled into one. Her legs began to tremble as she felt herself rolling and crashing over the top in spite of her lovers’ meandering pace. They had brought her to that threshold of screaming, moaning ecstasy. She could only ride the wave as it crashed all around her. Camille embraced her in a great circle of love as she shook and thrashed and groaned from deep inside her belly. Will continued to slide his tongue over her slick membranes as the quivering and quaking slowly subsided.

“Umm, I want some of that,” Camille murmured as she brought her head back down between Nina’s thighs. Then she and Will took turns licking and stoking all around Nina’s rosy aureole as Nina continued to tremble and moan. She reached down and grabbed each of them by the hair, pushing them more fiercely into her Goddess self.

“My lovely lovers,” she gasped breathlessly as they licked her, licked each other and dissolved into a collective pool of consummation, ecstatic release and quivering expectation. They knew they were not done. Nina was amazed that she still wanted more. She wanted to give back. Will and Nina kissed each other. Nina slid into the pool still glowing and vibrating, but strangely energized as well. As her lovers kissed each other she slipped a hand between the thighs of each and began to toy and play with what she found there. They responded by each laying a hand on Nina wherever it happened to land. Nina tried to stay with the downtempo spirit of inordinately slow. She dawdled; she played; she was impish as if her purpose was to turn them on but simply play like a child with what she had found, a magnificently swollen member and the soft flesh of a fully blooming flower. “This is the rose that is a rose that is a rose,” she thought, laughing that she could have any thought at all, as she lightly bit first Will and then Camille, eliciting a moan from each. She wanted simply to support whatever they were doing with each other.

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Will lifted Camille out of the water and set her where Nina had been. Camille obediently spread her legs and surrendered to whatever her lovely lovers had in store for her. She was already awash with feeling, a strange sense of gushing in every direction yet being totally at peace. Nina moved between her outstretched thighs and began to kiss and lick. She used her lips to gently draw the bud of her clitoris into her mouth and then slide it out again. Tremors of ecstasy trembled through her body. Her head lolled to one side, and she moaned softly. Without abandoning the labial stroking of her clitoris, Nina slowly slipped a finger inside and tenderly massaged the slick passage. Camille moaned louder and began to murmur their names, “Nina, Will, Nina, Will, ooooh, it’s so good.” Then something otherworldly began. She could see the Great Goddess kneeling over her offering her ample sheela na gig to Camille’s waiting mouth. As they made contact, Camille drifted into another world entirely. The jade passageway of Goddess was a warm flowing stream in deep and delicate purples and shades of blue from ultramarine to teal. The colors and shades of colors flowed into and out of each other. Camille felt baptized as the warm sweet-smelling stream flowed over her. Joy, bliss, ecstasy, rapture–all of the above and more–she had entered the other world on the wings of sensual pleasure but found herself in a lovely landscape of water and fertile earth, apparently able to move through it with ease, swimming, floating being carried by the flow of Mother’s vessels. She was totally immersed in Goddess and absolutely delighted to be there.

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When she was again aware of her lovers and their care for her, Nina had moved to her side and cradled her head with one arm. Her fingers maintained their slow massage, feeling, slipping, sliding, probing to find and caress her most special spots. Will was massaging her legs very lightly, stroking her inner thighs right up to Nina’s hand. Camille began to shake, almost violently. Nina curled more closely to her. Will wrapped his arms around her waist and hips and laid a cheek on her smooth round belly. Camille released one long scream of ecstasy and then dissolved into waves of rapture craving all the connection her lovers could give her.

They lay half-in, half-out of the warm water and cool air for some time as the full moon rose higher in the sky and illuminated their shining bodies intertwined with each other in the first ease of night. They had lost all sense of time. One of the women softly asked Will, “Do you want anything?”

He chuckled and replied, “No, I felt everything you felt. I’m blissed out, happy as a clam and so in love with you unbelievably beautiful women. I’m in awe that I even get to be here.”

“Adulation will get you everywhere.” Nina murmured.

Camille released a long sensual moan, shifted her body, but appeared to remain unconscious. Nina kissed her on the cheek. She and Will joined hands over the silky supple fur of Camille’s Venusian delta, while she again floated in that dark pallet of Oshun, the Orisha, who had hovered above her and drawn her into her riverine realm, sourceless yet ever profusely flowing. They crept into a restful sleep on the pads of feline hunters, kindly bent to fit and flow like three perfectly formed parts of a greater whole.

When the moon was approaching its zenith in the southern sky, the threesome roused, toweled off and helped each other to their cushy camper bed. Soon all were again in a deep soothing sleep. Will lay in the middle. The women each draped an arm over his torso and the other’s arm. They hardly moved for several hours.

Camille’s dream journey began with the appearance of her angel friends. She flew with them through a similar heaven-scape alternating between silvery darkness and swirling rainbows and feathery clouds. She recognized their destination from the air as they descended out of the clouds. She already felt this to be a kind of second home as she saw the girl-woman who she became when in this place.

Soon she was seeing things once again through the eyes of this young female, who seemed to be in a kind of class or council, yet no one was talking. Then Camille as Zephora (suddenly she knew she had a name) noticed that thoughts and feelings were being exchanged without any audible language. One woman was apparently leading this silent seminar. She was silently lecturing, “All of you learned to speak with your families. You learned the language we are now using except we are making no outward sounds.”

Camille/Zephora found the woman quite beautiful. She was ageless. Her face showed the lines of years lived. Her body was quite voluptuous. In fact Camille suddenly realized that she was or she looked exactly like the Goddess Woman who had stood above her hours ago so powerfully, as if in a position of giving birth. Her appearance morphed into many faces and bodies as she talked, but the love she radiated flowed as steady as a river as powerful as blood. This was Oshun, the Orisha, instructing a group of girls on the threshold of womanhood. She was demonstrating how   communication happens in this special place which felt like a temple without the gaudy buildings or any of the false piety. Her eyes ever so slowly opened and closed as she sat cross-legged in her full skirt. Zephora could feel the girls around her radiating back the love they were receiving. Oshun continued to flow from one beautiful image of womanhood to another and then another. She was maiden; alluring, attractive. She was mother with milk flowing from her ample breasts. She was the ancient one, whose deep wrinkles drew one to her, whose eyes were still unfathomable pools of wisdom. Zephora felt a passionate urge to merge with this Goddess-Teacher-Mother-Grandmother, and she felt an acknowledgment come back to her. The words might have been, “We are one. Feel it. Know it. See it. Be it.” Oshun’s love and spirit and wisdom pervaded the circle.

Oshun completed her message by beaming them, “Practice with each other. Stop, look in each other’s eyes, and send simple messages. It is just like talking, except the minds are talking instead of the mouths. Go now and wander our divine land. Children of our Great Mother, know that you have been made beautiful and perfect, each of you in your own unique way.

As they rose to leave and wander, Zephora turned and met the eyes of the girl to her left. She had light blue eyes and blond hair, but the same golden-brown skin that they all had. Quite spontaneously the thoughts rose in her mind, “You’re beautiful. I love you.”

Zephora felt the feelings coming back to her warm and captivating. She felt instantly attracted to this girl from every spinning wheel of energy inside her body. Suddenly she could see the other girl’s chakras lit up in radiant colors. They were spinning wheels but also flowers of many petals endlessly blooming–rose, lotus, zinnia, chrysanthemum, dahlia. She lost track of all the flowers. Nothing was static. As soon as her mind grasped something, it was already changing. She was dimly aware that other girls seemed to be doing very much what she and her blond friend were doing, looking deeply into one another, seeing and feeling things at an energy level, individual energies swirling and merging, identities expanding and contracting, making love standing up without ever touching bodies.

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It was all so languid, no rush. She was feeling intense pleasure and yet standing and continuing to look in the eyes of her new friend with greater and greater love, a confluence of souls, and a holy communion as casual as shaking hands might be in future times. There was also an exchange of personal information as if that part of their minds was also linked and the facts just flowed from one to the other. Within minutes they knew each other’s personal history, families, villages, siblings, etc. All of this happened while the sense of holy erotic communion continued to flow between them as they stood casually in the sunshine and rested in each other’s souls without barriers, without preconceptions, without concerns for the future, just blissfully wedded to a wholly wonderful now.

When Camille’s angel friends arrived to convey her back to her life in the modern world, for the first time, she intensely didn’t want to leave. They comforted her by beaming to her, “Take all the feelings with you. You can. That’s one of the things you’re here for. You’ll be back. This is not some temporary arrangement. You will remember all of this, sitting inside yourself at home, holding your little boy, being with your husband and wife and bringing some of this into your life in the modern world. It’s not time for that yet. You have much to learn and experience. You are meeting more and more of your beloveds. How do you like them?”

Camille forgot and spoke out loud, “They’re exquisite, each and every one of them. Can we all just live together?”

They beamed back, “Yes. . . we are.”

Camille remembered and returned to telepathic mode, “Okay, take me wherever I need to go. Show me what I need to see. I am at your service.”

“And your own, and we are also here to serve you. You are already getting how reciprocal this all is.”

Camille smiled and soared, feeling ever more comfortable in her wings.

 

The Flowering Triad

Then she was told:

Remember what you have seen, 

because everything forgotten

returns to the circling winds.

                           ~Navajo Chant

They stirred and moved and gradually untangled arms and legs. Camille was instantly aware that she been on another journey. She began to go over the details in her mind accompanied by the sighs, stretches and moans of her companions’ awakening. They all piled out of the camper to relieve themselves on the dry open ground. Pleased with each other’s disheveled nakedness, they hugged and held each other for a few moments. Will’s erection sprang to life.

Nina noticed immediately and asked, “You sure we shouldn’t do something with that?”

They all laughed, and Will replied, “Let’s just go in the water.”

They walked the short distance the spring. Their towels were still laid around the edge. They settled into the warm water. Nina nestled her head into Will’s chest and shoulder and lightly fondled him under the water. Camille was still preoccupied with her journey but lay on Will’s other side arms and legs spread to float on the water. The heat relaxed their bodies and induced a delicious physical laziness. Camille allowed her mind to drift back into sights and sounds and feelings of last night’s journey to the distant past. They were again in the timeless now, unhurried, goalless, kindly bent to ease.

“Let’s see if Eva has some coffee for us,” Will broke the silence.

“You sure that’s all you want,” Nina asked.

Je suis content,” Will replied.

The women laughed at Will’s French, and Nina raised her head, smiled her warm and sweet smile and said simply, “All right then.”

Will offered an explanation, “I really like maintaining that state of mild to moderate excitement or stimulation. I read about it in the tantra book, and now I find that I prefer it, not all the time, but often. Last night was just perfect for me. I felt like you two were the ocean, and I was this surfer totally immersed in your gentle undulations, your crashing waves, your thunderous climaxes, and I just kept riding and riding, feeling all the thrill of the ocean, yet still not totally carried away.”

Voulez vous etre emporté?” Camille asked in her most seductive accent, as if she had suddenly come present to the conversation.

“Would you like to be carried away?” Nina translated with a French accent and pouted her lips.

Will grinned and chuckled, “Sometimes. . .but last night was absolutely perfect just the way it was. I love our passion. . . , and I love our play.”

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Each woman was now wrapped in the strength of one arm. They interlaced the fingers of their free hand and lightly enclosed Will’s erection. They looked up at him and returned his grin. He kissed each of them briefly and warmly and then exclaimed, “Let’s get some coffee.”

The women held on a moment more and Nina said, “We’re always ready to play with you, aren’t we Camille?”

“Oui, toujours,” she replied as they clambered out of the warm pool and headed for the camper to don their clothes.

Will drove the camper up the hill. The women walked together. Nina’s exuberance was uncontainable. She was skipping and dancing and literally jumping for joy. “I felt so incredibly loved last night,” she began. “I know I’m full of superlatives, but you guys are the bestest best. I could not have better lovers, partners, spouses.”

Camille took in the appreciation feeling a warm glow around her heart. She regarded Nina with a characteristic Gallic air that is often seen as arrogance. Then she dissolved into the warmest of smiles. “C’est vrai,” she responded. “You are the best. From the first time, you let me in like no other, and then you’ve shared your wonderful man with me. I never thought I would love or trust a man again, but you found one, and you brought me to him.”

“All I want to do is give to you. You make it so easy to give and receive.”

Oui, la meme chose. It is the same for me.”

Eva sat in her usual spot in front of her old adobe. Sam was toddling around the flat smooth ground. Soon all the adults were sitting with cups of coffee. After some lightweight pleasantries and banter, Camille stated rather matter-of-factly, “I had another journey last night. This one came in a dream, but again I flew with the angels.”

“Your journeys are coming more frequently.”

“Yes, and each one seems to go more deeply into the essence of this ancient culture. They seem so different from us, yet similar in some ways. I heard my name.”

She stopped. Everyone else looked at her expectantly, She seemed lost in thought, but finally continued, “That was very strange. It was like I was hearing my name being beautifully sung by many voices, you know, like the songs of angels, but they were all saying it just a bit differently, but all so beautiful and harmonic.” She paused again as if listening, and then she began to sing in a soprano voice none of them remembered hearing before, “Zefra, Zefira, Zofar, Zomfra, Zoria, Zalamfara, Zalate, Zofreea, Zefara`, Zaloreea. . .” The variations seemed endless. The sounds were haunting.

When she finished, there was a pause, and then Nina exclaimed, “That gave me chills, like I was hearing something so old but so familiar, like I was flooded with millions of baby names, but they came from some other world.”

“Why baby names?” Will asked.

“I just felt so innocent. I didn’t need to be washed in the blood of the lamb. I came from some place pure and good and ice-blue in color.”

“I saw that color too,” he replied.

“That is one of many vibrant colors I’ve been seeing,” Camille added.

“You can sing like that anytime,” Will declared passionately. The others murmured their assent.

“Many strange things are happening, but they all feel good. I am invited. I am never scared. I always feel safe, like there is no threat. There is no danger. I keep being shown more about a way of life that is so far from how we live, I could not imagine it.”

“You must write everything down,” Eva spoke for the first time.

“I am, but also I do not forget. It is like everything I see, everything I experience is sketched in my mind with India Ink.”

“Indelibly,” Nina offered.

Oui, indelibly, I like that word.”

“I’m really excited.” Will was positively bubbly, especially for him. He usually exuded strong and calm. At this moment he exuded a boyish exuberance.

Eva looked around at them and declared, “You will always be my children, but you have become my partners, my allies, my compadres and co-madres. What is happening is exactly what is supposed to happen in these times. The time of darkness is not over yet. It hasn’t even begun to diminish, but the light is getting stronger, and the ancient wisdom is coming to us again. You three are such an important part of that. Camille may be the medium, but she cannot do it without you, without your love, your support, your belief in her and what is coming through her.”

Nina reached for the hands of those next to her, and they all joined hands. Just then Sammy wandered into the circle. Nina lifted him onto her lap, and he grasped the joined hands of Nina and Camille with both of his. There was a moment of still silence filled only by the twittering of birds and the soughing of the wind. In the distance a band of coyotes suddenly came to life with a chorus of yowls and howls. The group felt the immense love among them all.

Eva broke the silence, “It is quite unusual to hear coyotes in the daytime.” Without saying another word they all took it as a sign.

They ate and relaxed and played with Sammy and took turns feeding him from their own plates. Then Eva said, “I want to talk with Nina for awhile, and there’s a place I’d like the two of you to find.” She looked at Will and Camille. “There’s a trail beyond the fire pit where you’ve done your ceremonies. Sammy can stay with us.”

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Camille preceded him as they moved into the tall trees. She wore hiking boots and a soft cotton skirt that fell just above her knees. He loved the shape of her legs and the swaying of her butt as they went further into the darkness of the forest. She looked over shoulder and smiled and exaggerated her French accent. “Are you checking me out, Will?” she played with him.

“Of course I am. I never tire of looking at you, touching you, gazing into your eyes. . .” he trailed off.

“I am glad you do not tire of me.” She turned back to watch the trail. “I do not tire of you.” They proceeded in silence, but a warm glow had been elicited by their short loving exchange.

After about a half hour the trail opened to a small circular meadow full of wildflowers. They danced around delightedly naming all the ones that they knew: columbine, bluebells, milkweed, penstemon, wild rose and others that neither of them knew. They held hands like young lovers, and after a few minutes they settled in the center of the meadow. Will sat cross-legged after removing his boots. Camille took hers off as well and sat on top of him and wrapped her legs and arms around him. They kissed and gently explored with tongues and lips and no sense of urgency, stopping, pausing, gazing into each other’s eyes and exchanging a few words: “Mon amour, light of my life, my twin flame, my goddess. . .” They were so relaxed in the warm sunshine, happy in the moment.

“Would you like to slide inside me?” she murmured in his ear. Her voice was breathy.

“Very much,” he replied. She wore no panties, and his soft drawstring pants caused no encumbrance. She caught her breath as he slid inside her. Then all her muscles just let go. He could feel her melt in his arms. Her head rested on his shoulder and she moaned like someone receiving a massage.

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C’est merveilleux, c’est comme cela. This is wonderful, just like this,” she sighed.

They hardly moved, sitting instead in a blissful contentment, like a god and goddess contemplating the innate love of the universe. They simply drifted in something like a meditation. Will’s only thought was moksha, a term he’d read in his tantra book. Neither had any desire to pursue anything. This interval frozen in time was perfect, and they basked in its perfection. Once he though he heard her say, “Will I love you so much.” Perhaps he had heard her thought.

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Then his peripheral vision picked up some movement. He paid attention without moving his head. Numerous butterflies had flown into the meadow. It was strange, though. They were of many different colors, and then he noticed that they had bodies very much like tiny human bodies, and heads and expressive faces. As he came to the realization, he heard in his mind, “Yes, we are fairies.” They described beautiful patterns of coordinated flight but also fluttered in solitary motion not far from the loving couple. Now Will really didn’t want to move for fear he would startle them away. Camille was in a euphoric half-sleep, comfortably limp in his arms.

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Will decided to do nothing but observe. After a few minutes the fairies flew away. He had acknowledged them. They had acknowledged him. He decided that was pretty darn good for a first contact. Camille shifted slightly and straightened up a bit. She sighed pleasurably and mumbled, “Feels good,” before she lapsed back to her semi-conscious state. She moved her hips and moaned in soft pleasure, opened her eyes and looked up at Will. “I was asleep, wasn’t I?”

“You were.”

“It was a delicious sleep.” She moved her hips again and smiled at him coquettishly. Then she tightened her arms around him and rested her cheek against his shoulder and spoke into his chest, “I love you so much. You’re the perfect man for us.” Will could feel his heart glow. For anyone to tell him he was the perfect anything was pretty special. To be told by someone whose feelings and opinions were so important to him, that was just off the scale. He hugged her back. “I feel so safe in your strong arms.”

As Sammy made his circuit between them and forayed into the surrounding area, the older woman and the younger woman sat and talked enjoying a gentle breeze that eased the heat of the day. “How are you feeling about your life,” Eva asked.

“Wow, what a huge question! I’m giving myself time. The business ventures really seem to be taking off without me. I show up and make some adjustments or suggestions occasionally, but the people have embraced the ideas. They see how they work for everyone. It already feels self-sustaining.”

“Wondering what to do with yourself?”

“A little bit.”

“Something will come to you this year, something big. I don’t know what it is, not exactly.”

“So what do you know?” Nina was very direct, and now her curiosity was piqued.

“All three of you are very gifted in spiritual matters. Camille seems to be leading the way right now, but just as it has been in the rest of your relationship, you three travel together and ultimately are equals. That’s why you’re so well matched. You are here to rediscover spiritual gifts, things that used to be the birthright of human beings but have virtually disappeared in these darker times. I don’t even know what they all are, even though I come from an unbroken shamanic tradition. Even our people have had to adapt to modern times, not just the last hundred years or five hundred years. I’m really talking thousands of years. The information that is coming through Camille I would take as literally true. You will have experiences too, maybe not like hers, but just as important. You know there are lots of possibilities.”

“Yes, it’s one of the areas I studied a lot in college.”

“It’s like you’re in a hallway of doors. Some of them even have signs on them. One of those doors is going to open to you. It won’t be a long time before this happens.”

“Like months?”

“Yes, like months.”

“Wow, you’ve got me excited now.”

“Excitement is good. I don’t think I have to reassure you about your menage a trois.”

“You remember the French term. It sounds so much better in French, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, and you three are such role models. It’s like I told you before. These things are not unusual among our people. It’s only the Christian Churches that make it a bad thing, an ugly thing. They have always wanted to build  fences and brick walls around love. It doesn’t work that way. Love is like water. It flows where it’s drawn to flow. That’s its beauty. That’s its nature.”

“Your understanding is so important to us. We live mostly among liberal people here and in Northern California, but some of them look at us like we’re weird and wrong.”

“I know. The white people and their priests have looked at us that way for almost five hundred years. We’ve had to be fierce to survive as a people, fierce inside of ourselves while looking compliant on the surface. You know what I mean?”

“Very much so, anyone who’s different, anyone who doesn’t fit the prescription, anyone who dares to live it like they feel it. As simple a thing as men growing their hair long or women not wearing bras. Is that really so important?”

“So now is the beginning of the revival. We always lived in cooperative societies. Sharing was a necessity. Everyone knew the luck of the hunt, the timing of the harvest. You provide the feast today. I provide it tomorrow. You receive today. I receive tomorrow.”

“Is it more blessed to give or receive?”

Eva smiled at her. “You know the answer.”

“Both and that’s what keeps our relationship going. None of us worry about who’s being loved at the moment. There’s more than enough to go around. If you want some, join in. I’ll bet Will and Camille are making love right now. I’m happy for them. I’m happy for me. I fell in love with both of them. I wanted both of them in my life. I was overjoyed when they made such a lovely connection with each other. And this child, I’m his mother as if he’d come out of my womb.”

“Of course you are. In the old ways no one would question that. All the wives are mothers to all the children, and sometimes all the husbands are fathers to all the children, not to mention uncles and aunts and neighbors. Nobody owns children. They belong to everyone. I hear what you are saying about Sammy. I feel what you feel.”

“We are so lucky to have you in our lives.”

“I am lucky too. I can support you like I am, but you are and will be carrying the torch. Students need teachers. Teachers needs students.”

“That sounds very Buddhist.”

Again Eva just smiled. Just then Sammy ran up and leaped into Nina’s lap and laid his head against her chest. She cradled and cuddled the squirmy little body and cooed in his ear. He relaxed his body into hers and was temporarily still. “You’re just like your daddy,” Nina thought . . . “and your other mommy  . . . and me.”

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There had been time for Camille and Will to share their latest experiences with each other and with Nina. Nina seemed particularly aroused by the new information. “This is something we have to bring into Les Femmes Violettes. It’s really time to try to bring something through into these modern times. We already have a foundation with Les Femmes Violettes.”

Are you suggesting we go to France?” Camille asked.

“Maybe . . . we’ve talked before about having gatherings here, but we just haven’t quite made it happen. I don’t think we start with what you’ve been experiencing in your journeys. We start with what we were doing in France and get a good circle of women happening here. Then we take it to that next level, whatever that turns out to be, and yes, eventually we reconnect with the group in France.”

“What about me?” Will interjected in a mock tone of the kid who’d been left out.

“Not sure,” Nina replied. “I think you make some things happen with this men’s circle you’ve been part of, lay some groundwork. Then at some point we bring the men and the women together. Maybe Camille will see more about how that works. We still know nothing about the men in those ancient times.”

“Seems so,” Camille joined the conversation. “The time must be right to get something going. Eva is pushing us to realize that our mission together is spiritual, so let’s make it happen.”

“I think California will be an easier place to get this going,” Nina continued. “You already have your Redwood Men’s Group. Northern California is still more hippy-trippy than New Mexico.”

“Yeah, it’s interesting the cooperative cooperation idea hasn’t taken off in the same way as it has here,” Will responded, “but I think you’re right about anything that smacks of new age woo-woo. It’s an easier sell in California.”

“I will bow to your assessment of the regions of your country,” Camille added with an accentuation of her accent, which brought a chuckle from her partners, as it usually did. “So we can begin to plan, yes?” She looked to her beloveds. They nodded and murmured assent. “Right now our daughters are coming, and Melanie is coming with them, so much of our time may be focused on children.”

“This is the informal brainstorming stage,” Nina declared. “And how is your writing coming?” she asked.

“Well, I am caught up until the next journey, and then we’ll see. I feel very good that I’ve been able to remember and record what has happened.”

“Wonderful! That may give us some guidelines at some point.”

“Yes, oui, bien sur.”  Camille felt a surge of excitement just talking about her journeys.

“I am so impressed with what a good marriage you seem to have,” Melanie told Will.

“Thank you. I never would have predicted this in a thousand years, but when it began to happen it felt so right and has continued to feel better and better.”

“I’m really happy for you.”

“Thanks again. So did Nan show you where you and the girls can reside while you’re here.”

“Yes, it’s very impressive how much this community has grown and evolved.”

“There’s definitely more a sense of permanence than when I first came here. I think they or we (I’m part of this, but not yet a permanent resident) we’ve avoided some of the pitfalls of hippy communes. We cooperate and work together around things that go more smoothly if it’s a group effort. We don’t try to make everything a joint effort. It’s kind of like a marriage.”

“How so.”

“No matter how good the marriage is, the individual should not disappear into the collective and cease to exist.”

“Is that how you guys do it?”

“Pretty much. I think we have an advantage. Whenever one of us goes away for whatever reason, there’s still two at home to take care of kids and to be company to each other.”

“Does one person ever get left at home?”

“Not often, and it’s usually me. You know I still have the full-time job. I don’t mind. I get some alone time. I get some time with the girls by myself.”

“You must think I have a lot of questions.”

“It’s all right.”

“Okay, the big one I think I’d have a hard time getting over, is there jealousy?”

“Not really.”

“I’ll be blunt. Why not?”

“I think we’re really good at reassuring each other. We really do all love each other. I think the other reason is how we came together. First, it was just Nina and me. Then she was in Paris and had this powerful connection with Camille. I think the most awkward moment was when I met Camille. Both of us were in love with Nina, but she and I had never met. Was that third connection going to happen? Was it going to work? Would we be an equilateral triangle?”

“Obviously it did.”

“And how. I think we were all surprised when she got pregnant so soon, but again, it just felt right to all of us. We both doted over her when she was pregnant, and of course we all dote over Sammy.”
“I’m so glad you have a son.”

“Thank you again. You’re just full of gifts today.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way. I still love you, Will. You’re the father of my kids. I want you to be happy, for their sake, but for yours as well. We didn’t do real good at being married. I never thought you were a bad person. . .well, maybe a couple of times. We were both unhappy, and the patterns had become so repetitive. I know it was driving me crazy. I couldn’t keep doing it.”

“I know the drinking didn’t help.”

“Yeah, that was your part of it. I had my own ways of avoiding. I didn’t want to deal with anything difficult any more than you did.”

Will felt something release inside of him. A weight had been lifted. He felt so grateful to Melanie for taking 100% responsibility for her 50% of the problem, like they say in AA. “You just gave me another gift,” he said.

“What?” she replied somewhat distracted.

“It wasn’t all my fault.”

“Well, it wasn’t. Did you think that?”

“Pretty much.”

“Oh Will, I’m sorry. I was pretty angry about things not going the way I had it pictured. I guess I did take it out on you, especially that last year or so. And then I got desperate on some visceral level. I just wanted someone to want me, not even love me, just want me. You couldn’t want me the way I wanted to be wanted. You were too scared by then.”

“Yeah, I was kinda gun-shy. Still don’t know how I got into drinking so much.”

“You were pretty much of a drunk there for a year or two.”

“I was, and by the time I sobered up, it was like I couldn’t find you.”

“I was pretty well hid.”

“So how are things goin with the new guy?”

“He’s not so new anymore, almost a year. I like him. I’m fond of him. I like how he treats me. I like who he is. I feel secure with him. I know he wants me enough to put up with me.” They both chuckled.

“Do you love him?”

“Yeah, I love him,” she said with a shrug. “I’m comfortable. I can see living my life with him. He’s great with the girls, and they like him. I don’t expect to fall in love like I did in my twenties. Maybe I don’t even trust that. But there’s definitely affection between us and caring and passion. So I’m pretty satisfied.”

“That’s great.”

“Yeah, it is.”

“I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks, and you can call him by his name.”

“What was that again?” he teased.

“James, you fool.”

“That’s right, James, not Jim. So where did the girls go?”

“Runnin the countryside with their friends. This has really become their second home, and they love having a little brother. They talk about him all the time when they come back from your house.”

“It’s great we can all be together like this. Maybe next time you can bring James.”

“Yeah, he wanted to come, but he got bombarded with a ton of work. He says he’ll try to arrange things better next summer. How’s that for commitment? He’s making plans for next summer.”

“Gotta mean something.”

They had been walking as they talked and had completed a wide circle around the settled area of the property.

“I’m glad we talked like this,” Melanie offered. “You’re still my friend, aren’t you?”

“Always. . .You have other friends here too.”

“I guess I do.” She smiled, acknowledging to herself the sense of acceptance and support from this community and specifically at times from Camille and Nina. In fact, she often noted to herself Camille’s graciousness and ability to go with the flow and include everyone in her flow.

George dropped by about dinnertime. He had an instinct for showing up for community dinners. Some of the men and women had been collaborating for several hours to put together a community feast with adequate amounts of fruit, vegetables and barbecued chicken.  Korean war vet, anti-war activist, counselor for other vets, recovery person with lots of years of sobriety, George was a welcome addition to any gathering. He was playing a role in the cooperative corporation. No one could say exactly what his role was, but he often spoke up, seemingly off the wall, when things were beginning to get heated or conflictual or unproductive in some other way. He had a knack for waiting for the slightest sliver of empty space, but then firmly planting himself there until he’d had his say. He’d been one of the first to totally get what Nina had initially presented, which had only been a set of ideas at the time. All he needed were a few basic principles that didn’t violate his personal philosophy.

George and Francisco had become friends through the council meetings. Two men of such different backgrounds yet they deeply respected each other. Francisco had succeeded by the standards of mainstream society, but he was still from a marginalized minority that many people simply expected to be lower class in some way. His business sense was excellent. His heartfelt humanity could not be doubted. He and George had become two of the elders present at nearly every council, guiding, formulating and fashioning. Francisco’s skills helped immensely with the technical aspects of running a business. George knew how to keep the communication lines open and clear, talk through disagreements and occasionally call people back from their lengthy tangents. His years in AA had helped him to be a good moderator without formally taking the role.

Ben and Nan’s kids, Josh and Viv, led the children who clustered around George just before the food came out. “Are you gonna tell us a story after dinner?” Viv asked.

“I’m not sure I remember any stories,” George replied.

“Ahhhh. . . “the kids groaned in unison.

“Well, I might remember one. Maybe there’s some brain food bein served tonight, and all my memory will come back to me.”

“Is that a promise?” Viv shot back.

“I’m very hopeful.” He loved to pull their legs and keep them a little off balance.

Numerous conversations ensued during dinner. Everyone was included. The permanent residents showed genuine curiosity about visitors such as Melanie. She felt very included in the energy of the community. The kids finished first and most of them ran off to play together. They were kicking around an old soccer ball but without any real competition. It was more like the point was to make sure everyone got a touch even toddlers like Sammy. “Don’t forget,” Viv called to George as she went to join the others.

“You got your work cut out for you. My daughter’ll never let you off the hook,” Ben said to George.

“Yeah, I better come up with something good, huh?”

“You could always tell em Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

No, no, they depend on me for a story they haven’t heard before. I got somethin in mind. I think I’ll give em a cliffhanger. That way next time I’m here I won’t have to rack my brain.”

“There you go. How’re things in Albuquerque?”

“Some a the boys are startin to turn things around. I been gettin em to meditate. They’re gettin better at tellin what happened to em, what they did, all the guilt and shame. Self-forgiveness is so hard. How d’ya let go a that crap. But like I say, some a these guys have been at it for a few years. They’ve stuck it out. They’re seein progress. They’re feelin better. That’s an inspiration for the whole group. It’s like AA. If that sorry son-of-a-bitch can do it, then maybe so can I.”

“That’s great to hear.”

“Yeah, I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been.”

 

At Home in Another World

Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane

by those who could not hear the music.

                                                        ~Friedrich Nietzsche

The three lovers were back in California before Camille had another journey. She had been feeling low-energy for a few days, so when Will and Nina offered to take the kids to the beach and let her rest at home, she was happy for the opportunity. Their usual rhythm of life together was more than pleasant. They never lacked for affection. The child care was shared joyfully for the most part. Will’s daughters were easy on the spectrum of kid behavior. Camille was puzzled that she had fallen into a kind of funk and hadn’t been able to shake. She felt like sleeping more, yet she wasn’t really sleeping well.

She laid down for a nap in the afternoon, and afterwards was not sure if she was conscious or unconscious when her angel friends arrived to convey her back in time. As yet there had still been no conversation with them or with any of the other girls in her other world. That’s how she had come to characterize what happened to her. “Well, I go to this other world,” she would say when asked. So once again she flew away with her wingéd friends wondering what might be in store for her on this journey.

1dnymph_P

When they alit in the community it was daytime and there seemed to be nothing special happening. She saw the girl with whom she usually merged, but this time she and her two wingéd friends merely observed from a distance. It was different for Camille. From the outside all she really saw was a group of half-naked girls walking about. Her friends gestured for her to join with her partner across time. When she did so there was an immediate acceleration of the energy running in her body. Outwardly everything was drifting in a kind of slow dance, but inside her body was the characteristic exhilaration that she often felt in this place.  There was nothing speedy or frantic about it. Paradoxically there was a languid ease combined with an edge-of-a-thrill-ride excitement. It felt like a mild to moderate sexual-sensual stimulation, yet there were no outward signs of any such interaction. The part of her mind that was still observing puzzled over this odd combination.

1dwalktogether_PES

Then she remembered her last lesson here. Probably the girls had progressed in their practice so that this joie de vivre was an everyday occurrence. She thought of some of the things that Will had shared about the philosophy of tantra, the maintenance of flow, the joy of nursing a baby, riding and loving the small waves, not looking for or seeking the big crashing ones. The idea was that when one or two people or more could in fact maintain at this level, it was so satisfying that the desire for something more intense or more dramatic simply became less and less important. It was the idea or the reality, crazy to the modern world, that someone could be so thoroughly and adequately loved that at whatever age she could totally relax into an ecstatic spiritual oneness. “Wow, wow, wow,” her observer brain exclaimed.

1dnymphs-bouguereau

Then she did just relax into that ecstatic spiritual oneness of which she was a part. Some of the girls were indeed floating, not sitting or walking, but floating through the air as if they were as light as feathers. She felt a contemplative smile on her face that reminded her of pictures she’d seen of some Buddhas and Indian deities. In particular she remembered a representation of Krishna and the Gopis, the cowherd maidens, he the perfectly conjoined lover to all of them simultaneously. “The old stories do make sense if you know what they’re really about,” she thought and then again drifted into a oneness without thoughts.

When she became consciously aware again, she wasn’t at all sure how much time had passed. It was still daytime, and the scene around her had hardly changed. Then there occurred another step in the progression of the never before experienced. A white shining, but spectral being seemed to separate from each girl and join together in what was approximately the center of the group. They were nowhere close to a circle in shape, more like an ever-changing amoeba. These white light beings coalesced as if they were more naturally one than many. Camille herself merge with the others. Again the feeling was one of moderate ecstasy. It was also like part of a dance that felt as natural as walking across a room, holding a baby or drinking water. Again there was a period of time before she returned to herself. A residue of rapture remained with her. A sense of being more than her solitary self remained with her. She totally relaxed again and resided comfortably in all that remained with her, an ongoing sense of rapture, a sense of imperishable connection with others like herself, and the never-ending dance that was, is and will be. Contemplative like Buddha, dancing like Shiva/Shakti, flying with the angels, all was present in this moment. All would be with her forever.

Maximilián Pirner (1854–1924), 'Nymph’s Funeral', 1888

As her wingéd spirit-helper lifted her from her host body, and she began the return flight, she could see in the distance that there were other loose circles of women, in fact many of them. She was comforted by all she had experience and by the thought that their would be many journeys and she would know more about these women, especially the older women. Her curiosity was piqued, but she knew enough to know not to rush things, to take it all step by step. The knowledge and wisdom she received would all come at the right time with adequate preparation. She was aware at this point of totally trusting the process, totally surrendering to those who had reached out to join with her, to invite her to join with them. They flew through a familiar atmosphere of silver light and rainbow light. Camille was feeling more and more at home.

1dangelninfa-dellacqua_P

When Camille returned to this world the house was still empty, and she was able to go over in her mind what had occurred on this latest journey. She found that if she took that opportunity, it did highlight the events, feelings and impressions in her mind so that when she subsequently found time to write, it was relatively easy to scribe a coherent chronicle. In time she basked in the latest revelations of a life not previously imagined, but which was becoming more and more real to her with each visit she made to this wondrous other world.

When her loved ones returned home she was more than ready to welcome them. Her mood of a few hours ago had not only lifted. She was floating in the ethers, full of love and implicit understanding for her entire little family. The children came to her like a magnet and soon were sprawled over parts of her body, the bed and each other in a delicious comfort and tranquility. Will and Nina commented to each other on how quickly the kids had gone from intense activity to utter repose. Camille smiled at them as her arms encircled the nestling children.

“You’ve been traveling, haven’t you?” Nina questioned softly.

Camille nodded and smiled and puckered a kiss to each of them. “Let’s go make some food,” she murmured in Will’s ear and drew him away by the hand. In the kitchen she drew him to her for a deep lingering kiss. He held her with his strength. “I’m melting; I’m melting,” she breathed against his lips.

“Then I can drink you,” he replied, “and become even more intoxicated.”

“Only if I can drink you, too.”

“Ah, liquid love! That’s an image I could go with. I love my family.”

“What about us?” she teased.

“There are always surprises. I never get bored. New feelings, new ideas, new ways to love each other.”

“I like it, too, a lot.”

“New worlds,” he added.

They looked at each other with a certain knowing intensity and then exclaimed simultaneously, “Yeah!”

Dinner required some prep, which gave Camille and the kids plenty of time to recline in their warm pool together. Sammy fell asleep, and the girls closed their eyes and drifted. Camille visualized the silver-blue-white light swirling around them and forming another entity, as she had experienced in the other world. She could feel it happening. She could feel them being transported into another consciousness, a oneness of love and trust with nothing held back. She knew they were blessed, and she heard faintly in the background of her mind Bob Marley singing:

One Love! What about the one heart? One Heart!

What about – ? Let’s get together and feel all right

As it was in the beginning (One Love!);

So shall it be in the end (One Heart!),

All right!

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;

Let’s get together and feel all right.

“As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end,” was that what she was experiencing? The thought penetrated to that place deep inside of her. It was the first confirmation she had gotten, maybe not confirmation, more like some kind of philosophical foundation to support the experiences she’d been having. And what a strange other source. She didn’t know much about Bob Marley, Jamaican, kind of mystical, definitely feel-good, definitely inspiring. Another song drifted across her mind: “There’s a natural mystic blowing through the air–Can’t keep them down–If you listen carefully now you will hear.” She chuckled softly to herself, wondering if other songs she’d heard many times would now take on new meaning.

The girls began to stir, and shortly thereafter Will peeked into the bedroom. Seeing her awake he came to her and leaned down for a soft kiss. Kayla woke up enough to mumble something unintelligible. Pretty soon they were all stirring, and Will announced that dinner was ready.

“You must have really worn them out,” Camille looked at her belovéds with a hint of a smile.

“We did our best,” Nina offered and leaned over for a brief kiss. The kids had all conked out and were already sleeping deeply.

“Would you like to try something?” Camille asked.

“If you’re offering, I don’t see how we could go wrong,” Will replied. “Whatcha got for us?”

“Is this something from your journey?” Nina asked.

Mais oui,” she replied, “quelque chose de spécial pour toi.”

Will looked at Nina, who translated, “She said she has something special for you, maybe for both of us.”

They looked at Camille. She smiled her most mysterious smile. Then she began, “Let’s sit her just with our knees touching.” They sat on the floor cross-legged. Will slid a cushion underneath himself. Camille continued, “At first, I will say nothing. I will see if I can send you the images directly without describing them with words. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try again with words.”

“Those are not many directions,” Will responded.

“I think it is more than enough for you,” Camille threw out her accentuated sultry French accent and smiled warmly at him.

“You could melt gold with that smile, not to mention convince anybody of anything. Do your thing. Knowing you, it’ll probably work.”

Camille looked at Nina, who grinned back an answer, “Sing your silent song, babe. I’m with you all the way.”

They closed their eyes and relaxed. Camille began by remembering herself in the other world with her body becoming pure warm white light. She could see her belovéds also beginning to lose corporeal specificity and dissolve into a pattern of swirling, intertwining light patterns. One thing was different. The lights were all the colors of the rainbow. Camille decided to go with this change. It would not be surprising if there were some differences between the two worlds.

As they sat quietly together in the warm softly swirling rainbow light, each of them could feel a sense of dissolution. The hard edges of their bodily reality became less and less defined. A euphoria gradually increased, nothing dramatic or intense, but rather low-key and pleasant and sustainable. Soon their identities were subsumed in the growing appreciation of their oneness transcendent of any personal singularity. This loss of personal identity felt more like a relief than anything else, as if the maintenance of an ego was more of a burden than anything of value. Aspects of personality floated and morphed between them shared by all without regard to their source, if they even had a source. They were merging and emerging as a new collective entity or perhaps simply a new awareness of the group mind, body, and soul, which had always been there but only glimpsed in moments of sexual ecstasy or other peak experiences.

The usual striving for distinction was definitely gone. They continued to sink into a deeper and deeper state of repose. Camille’s last individual thought was being amazed at how well her little experiment was working. “Must be my helpers,” she thought.

1dthe-vision_PE

The last sensation Nina remembered was something about floating down a pleasantly warm clear river. Then she was absorbed in the flow itself. Will was experiencing an intense love for his two women just before his individual consciousness dissolved into what he later called the gathering. He had a sensation that some fourth entity was gathering them together. It definitely felt beneficent as he went with its tidal flow. Before his self-reflectiveness entirely dissolved he recognized something that he later described as meditative bliss. He also remembered a momentary vision of floating or soaring beings. He wasn’t sure if they were in water or air, if what he saw projecting from their shoulder blades were wings or fins. It was a slow heavenly or undersea dance, ethereal/aquatic bodies that slid over and around each other almost but not quite touching in a grandly perfect cosmic choreography. The perfection reminded him of pictures he’d seen from electron microscopes, the movement of molecules and subatomic particles in relationship to each other. He remembered a book title, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, written by a quantum physicist with a bent toward Taoism. Then his conceptual mind dissolved into the dance.

Some time later when they began to come out of the trance they had entered into together, Nina had similar visions. When they felt sufficiently returned to talk about what had happened, she pointed out the beings all appeared to be female, if they had a gender.

“You’re right,” Will exclaimed with some surprise in his voice. “They were all female and incredibly beautiful.”

“Welcome to my other world,” Camille said softly. “Yes, the women are exquisite, or they appear to be. There is nothing objective, but there is definitely an aura of beauty and easy natural affection that feels inexhaustible.”

“So this is where you’ve been going on your journeys?” Nina asked.

“Not exactly. This was different, but it felt very much the same, close to what I experienced on my last journey.”

“It felt to me like the essence of tantra, or what I understand tantra to be,” Will added.

“And that would be?” asked Nina.

“Maintenance of a blissful connection without striving for any fireworks.”

“What if fireworks happen?”

“Sometimes it can’t be helped,” he smiled wryly, “especially when one’s partners may be trying to create fireworks.”

“It takes so much discipline to hold back,” Nina mock-whined, “to keep going so slow. It just sneaks up on me anyway, and then I want company.”

Will laughed. “It’s really all right. We have plenty of time to practice. It’s not like it’s some kind of prescription anyway. It’s just another scenic pathway.”

“I like that,” Camille interjected, “scenic pathway, like many different walks in the woods or by the ocean. They’re all good. They’re all beautiful. Each journey has been wonderful. They’ve all been different, but each uniquely wonderful.”

“Yeah, every one of your stories has been knock your socks off, and unlike anything I’ve heard before.”

Nina readily agreed and added, “I just love the way we play with each other. No one ever says, ‘No,’ to anyone’s suggestion. I’ve never felt so free to be spontaneous.”

There was agreement all around. Then Will asked, “Do you think we’re supposed to share what we’re learning and experiencing with a wider circle?”

Oui, I’m beginning to feel that very strongly. Everything we’ve all seen has been all women. I think we should pay attention to that. But I also feel very strongly that you should be part of whatever we create at that larger level. Maybe you can just be a Buddha kind of figure for awhile, you know, present like a silent partner.”

“Yeah, Will,” Nina jumped in, “an opportunity to practice your tantra in a whole different way.”

“I like that,” Will replied. “You all create whatever you’re going to create, and I’ll be the receptive male, just soaking it in for the time being. That’s actually a directive to the male in tantric practice, you know, to be the receptive partner and let the female or females design and create as they wish.”

“I think that could work,” Nina replied excitedly. “What do you think, Camille?”

Camille responded slowly accentuating her accent, “I think. . . we have just formed the seed of something very beautiful which we will create together. I feel our helpers gathering with us. I have already talked to some women who do pagan ceremonies, full-moon dances, Goddess celebrations. Perhaps we learn from them, and they learn from us. We may not be the only ones having revelations.”

“I agree,” Nina opined, “but I am sure that you are unique.”

“We are all unique,” Camille smiled.

“But some animals are more unique than others,” Will tossed in, paraphrasing Orwell’s Animal Farm.

They all laughed, and Camille went in a new direction. “I wonder,” she proposed, “if we can include the children in these group meditations.”

“Let’s try,” Nina replied.

“Let’s see what happens,” Will added.

They didn’t have to wait long to take part in a local pagan happening. One of the women that Camille had mentioned invited her to attend a full-moon celebration. Camille asked if she could bring Nina and Will. Her new friend was apologetic, “Thus far we have just been women.  That could change sometime. I’m sure most of us would like to meet Will, but this time perhaps just you and Nina.”

Camille was agreeable and reported back to her partners. Will encouraged his wives to go. “Think of it as reconnaissance,” he said with a smile. “Besides we have the girls that weekend, so I get to be the single parent. I haven’t done that in a long time.”

“Will you be all right?” Camille purred.

He returned her over-weaning concern with a warm smile. Somehow he found it endearing that she babied him even though he didn’t need it. Nina commented, “Sometimes you two are like a classic movie that I never got around to watching.” Then she turned to Camille, “It’s just you and me, babe.”

Camille smiled at her just as warmly as Will had smiled at her, and replied, “Yeah, we know how to do that.”

The group of pagan women assembled at a site in the redwoods. There was a large open area that had clearly seen numerous ceremonies. It had the smoothness of ground trodden and danced upon by many bare feet. When they removed their shoes the bare ground was quite pleasant to the touch of their soles. In the waning sunlight things were slowly coming together. Women circulated in an easy flow. Some introduced themselves to Nina and Camille. Camille’s friend, Rhiannon, came by and extended a hand to each of them. She provided some slight orientation, “Things aren’t highly organized. Certain women are chosen each time to cast the circle. After that it’s pretty free form voices and dance and whatever there is inspiration for. We’re kinda following a Celtic tradition, but nothing terribly rigid.”

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“Sounds good to us.” Camille looked to Nina, who nodded and smiled. Rhiannon moved on to make contact with other women in the growing circle. As the sunlight waned the women configured themselves in a circle. A small fire was lit in the center. Four drums took up a steady beat at each of the four directions. Some women closed their eyes. Others began to sway to the rhythm of the drums. Everyone’s focus shifted to the emerging ceremonial space and their own inner space. Nina experienced the  community as peaceful and affectionate. Camille was already watching a flow of images behind her closed eyes.

The drummers abruptly stopped. Beside each drummer stood another woman. The one in the east began with an invocation partly spoken, partly chanted, partly sung. She had a wonderful lilt in her delivery that seemed to tickle soft dark places inside many of the women. There was an almost instantaneous group response on an emotional and spiritual level. Nina and Camille were pleasantly caught up in it.

Her words felt ancient and imperishable:

Breath of the Shee, lighting at dawn,

Sun rising in the wake of night’s last dream, 

Sigh of the harp’s steel strings,

First breath of awed wonder. . . 

Out of the coming of morning light,

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Sister Hawk rides the updrafts of wind,

Haloed in the first light of dawn,

She dances the currents of air

And blesses us with the breath of life reborn with each sunrise.

O Sister Owl, hasten now before us.

Guard us as we tread the paths of Magic,

And dream in the deep night.

Spread your wings about us as you take the tower of the East,

Guarding and guiding us between the sacred worlds.

Something registered in Nina’s mind. Shee, she’d heard that term somewhere, probably in one of her classes. Quick mental note to look that up when she go home. Otherwise she was more and more caught up in a melange of rhythms and feelings that were delightful and at times capricious.

The woman in the South continued the casting of the circle. Her voice was deeper, more resonant, more earthy:

In the blazing fire she sings,

In the leaping flames hear her hiss.

The power of Life and Death and Rebirth are Hers,

Her shedding skin proof of Her awesome Power.

In Her eyes one may read the fate of the world,

Or see the changing Universe in the patterns of Her scales.

She is the Horned serpent, the one who lures, the one who teaches,

A flowering staff whose power is the very essence of Life. . .

O Sister Serpent, the living embers are the jewels of your eyes,

The white heat your fangs.

You are the spiraling power of the Great Mother,

The teacher of Wisdom older than the stars.

O Sister Snake, hasten now before us.

Guard us as we tread the paths of power and create in the deep night.

Coil around the Towers of the South,

Open your serpent eyes wide,

Guard us and guide us between the sacred worlds.

snakelylover

“Between the sacred worlds,” thought Camille. “That’s where I have been, but not on the wings of a serpent, at least not yet.” Then her inner vision focused in on an image of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. “Sacred messenger between the worlds,” she reflected.

Nina was remembering stories of the priestesses, who used snake venom as a conduit into visionary experience. Very ancient practices, roundly condemned by the churches of the modern era. Still, try as she might she couldn’t muster any warm and cuddly feelings for snakes. “I must be missing some key ingredient of the recipe,” she thought.

Camille cycled through many images of dragons, scaly beings with wings, and Quetzalcoatl, who felt like Jesus, in spite of the half snake, half eagle costume, awesome but compassionate, cosmic yet personal.

The cantor of the West wailed her lines sounding very wind-like and voice of a will-o-the-wisp. But it was wind whistling through the underground cracks and caves of Earth Herself. Echoes bounced off the moist walls to form haunting harmonies. “Mother Earth is breathing, and her breath is speech,” Nina mused.

In the heart of the world there is a well,

A well wherein a slice of silver and pine glistens in shimmering twilight.

Gracefully flowing, the salmon swims in silent meditation,

Humming to itself as the world drifts away and forgets things so ancient.

The salmon is wise with all the world’s knowledge,

This hazel-fed creature in her twilight home

Whose eyes are the eyes of a Mage:

Deep and knowing beyond human ken.

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Sister salmon, dancing in the waters of life,

Mad with the moonlight that veils you in silver, hasten now before us.

Guard us, Sister Salmon, as we tread the path 

Of ancient wisdom and image in the deep night.

As the well is a tower guarding the holy waters of life,

So be our guardian and guide between the sacred worlds.

Camille was blown away by the words of the West. So many images flooded her consciousness. Clearly someone knew of her journeys, if not these women then certainly the source of their enchanting songs. Her sense was that the words of this ritual were extremely ancient, back to a time when such traveling between the worlds was commonplace, and the love of women was one form of the love for nature, one form of the love for Spirit.

“How sweet and wonderful,” thought Nina, “the salmon, a being of the water to represent the direction of the water.” She felt herself traveling with Sister Salmon upstream through pristine blue waters, seeking by scent, by sense, by some magnetic pull, the place where she had hatched from a pink egg and begun her journey downstream hundreds and even thousands of miles ago. “Ah, when the waters were pure,” she murmured to herself. “and this swimming of birth and death and life was a simple delight.” As the cantor sang, she felt herself being the salmon, no separation, truly Sister Salmon, Salmon Self, swimmer of the seas and rivers, spawn of gravelly creeks in alpine forests, and food of bear and eagle on the great wheel of transformation.

Camille was repeating to herself like a mantra, “Between the sacred worlds, between the sacred worlds.”

When the priestess of the North took up the refrain of the directions her voice rang with a soprano clarity as if she sang from the top of a glacier in a resonance of blue-white ice.

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In the deep forest She comes to meet us,

Her white coat shining silver beneath the moonlight.

The power of Her ripples through every muscle,

Like an earthquake on the move.

She is the power that will not be denied,

Instincts as old as the world,

Holy messenger from the world of Faerie that guides us to the inner realm,

She is the power of leaping into that which could be,

The mystical made manifest, the mystical made ecstatic.

She is the master of the ancient forest

Who knows the inner paths and where they might lead.

O Sister Deer, wondrous Queen of the Woods and Hills,

Guard us as we tread the paths of strength and conjure in the deep night.

Stand at the North Tower, ancient and sure,

Guarding us and guiding us between the sacred worlds.

 

Nina remembered all the times she had stood still in the woods, eye to eye with some sweet doe, as their souls washed over each other through the doorways of their eyes. “Ah yes, Sister Deer,” her mind blinked in the night, “I’ve hung out with you. Your gentle heart has already been guiding me on my life path.”

Camille remembered the fairies she and Will had been with in the meadow Eva had directed them to. She had a sense of shock and relief that others knew what she had been experiencing. She wondered if that was true, if anyone in this circle had direct experience, or were they merely repeating formulas, beautiful formulas, but formulas nonetheless. Yet, the words were incredibly beautiful and were moving her, touching her, bringing tears of gratitude to her eyes. She so wanted comrades, comadres on this journey. It was wonderful to have the support of Eva and Will and Nina. She so wanted to talk with someone who had traveled as she had been traveling. She felt herself involved in something earthshaking. She wanted some company.

Nina became more entranced in the dance of the deer than she had with Sister Salmon. She already had some experience from which to launch her ceremonial visions. She danced with the deer as the sharp soprano continued to cut through the night.

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She was followed by a woman at the center of the circle beside the small fire, whose voice could have been the rumble of hooves she sang about. Power reverberating from the smooth earth and a hundred feet slapping and stamping in time to drumbeat this resonant contralto.

Strong hooves are striking sparks in the night,

Sparks that might be stars in the making.

Flying mane is lashing the wind

Creating a whirlwind of sudden power. . .

From timeless plains She has come striding.

Proud head cleaving the night in two.

She moves like a ghost in the glowing moonlight,

Majestic, strong and sure. . .

HORSE

O Sister Horse, hasten now before us.

Guard us as we tread the paths of transformation

And manifest in the deep night.

Stand before the Central Tower, balancing upon sturdy legs,

Connecting Wind, Fire, Water and Earth in one perfect Ring of Power.

Guard and guide us between the sacred worlds.

Horse-girl and horsewoman that she was, Nina was blown away by the introduction of her old friend, mentor and ally into the circle being cast. At this point she was totally sold on this circle of women. The entire invocation had moved within her awakening old and new parts of her spirit and soul. But Sister Horse was the piéce de résistance. With that addition to the circle Nina was totally carried away and ready for whatever came next.

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As soon as horse arrived, Camille thought of Nina and a wave of love welled up inside of her and rolled across her sandy shores. She loved her horsewoman. She had just been recognized and loved along with all the other horsewomen in the world. “So different from horsemen,” she thought and filed that thought for pursuit at some later time. Something in the intonation had connected her with that deep and old connection that Nina had for Sister Horse. She heard a voice from somewhere, “I am here to provoke, invoke and convoke.” She opened her eyes and looked around and decided the voice must have come from the other world or inside her own mind. She noticed that the women were moving like the waves of a gentle sea and beginning to hum and chant. It was very free-form yet somehow held together as a coherent harmonic expression of the unanimity of Spirit invoked and affirmed thus far by the ceremony.

Individuals began to separate from the body of the circle and dance their unique articulation of what they were feeling. Many twirled with arms out. There was a gracefulness to the expression even by the women who were more heavy-bodied. They had obviously been doing this for awhile and had discovered and developed their own particular beauty of movement. As they all continued to move and vocalize, more and more individuality was expressed without losing their essential unity of voice and organism. Thus everyone felt responsive to everyone else and in concert with the sound and motion of the group as a whole.

The four drummers picked up their drums and rumbled in the background of the symphony of women’s voices and a few panpipes and rattles also joined the euphonic polyphony. They danced and sang into the night as the full moon traveled her course across the sky above and cast shadows on the soft-packed earth. Their bodies and voices ebbed and flowed, ranging from roaring their collective power to murmuring their sensitivity. Were they creating anything?

“Love,” thought Camille and felt it as she said it.

Love! The thought and feeling reverberated around the group. When some women shed their clothes, their dances tended to be softer and more vulnerable, as if truly their partner was Sister Moon, flying slowly across the sky.

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Like Angels

I felt myself a pure part 

of the abyss,

I wheeled with the stars,

my heart broke free on the open sky.

                      ~Pablo Neruda

“It was like the place I go to on my journeys.,” Camille mumbled still half asleep.

Nina was sitting up in bed in their camper. She’d made coffee for both of them and held a steaming cup. She waited for Camille to say more. She reached over and lightly placed her free hand on Camille’s bare shoulder. Camille looked up at her with an adoration that Nina knew must be real. There’d been no time to put on faces. Anything that happened now came directly from the unconscious, directly from soul. She set her coffee down and scrunched down in the bed, the better to encircle Camille with her willowy arms. Camille nudged against her with her nose and face like a dog or cat.

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Then she softly encircled one nipple with her lips and nuzzled just like a baby. Nina felt a quick surge of light pass through her. It was so sudden, so unexpected and so intimate. Loving feelings like melted butter bathed her, washed over her and extended through her body and into and through Camille’s body and being. They moaned simultaneously. Camille stayed there for awhile suckling like baby. Nina was suffused with primitive maternal feelings. For a few moments she felt like First Mother, all her love, all her focus of attention on Baby Camille.

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When Camille released her breast, just like a baby who’s had enough to eat, she rested her head on Nina’s chest. Nina stroked her face and ran fingers through her hair. “Je t’aime, bebe,”  she whispered in Camille’s  ear and watched a sweet satisfied smile form on her lips. Camille squirmed comfortably under the covers and began to throw them off. “Quiere café? Nina asked.

Camille looked up at her, slightly astonished, and then she laughed. “Tu parle espagnol?”

“Oui, pourquoi pas?”

Camille laughed again and replied, “You are just a rascal.”

“I know,” she smiled, and handed her a cup of coffee.

They sat up in bed sipping coffee and caressing each other with their free hands. They had developed a level of playing with each other’s bodies that often led no further than a warm and pleasant stimulation, just enough to accentuate their loving connection with each other and remember each other even during days spent apart. It was quite handy for days when it was the two of them and baby Sammy. At first they were amazed at how satisfying such casual play could be. Soon it was a part of their daily repertoire. Will called it their version of tantra. And always there was the love that poured from their eyes and was received by the eyes of the other. Most of the time, what more was necessary?

“So this was like your journeys?” Nina asked.

“Did I say that?”

“Yes. Maybe you were still asleep.

“I think this group has done ceremony together for awhile. They seem so tuned into each other, responsive without losing their own autonomy, a kind of perfect spontaneous symphony.”

“Yes, I felt that.”

“In the other world that I go to it feels that way most of the time.”

“Wow, okay, I see why you might be compelled to return there as often as possible.”

“That’s the thing, so far it just happens when it happens. I can’t make it happen.

And it’s usually in the early morning when everyone is asleep. But what I’m so impressed with is that this group of women is achieving that same feelin in ceremony. You remember our experiences with Les Femmes Violettes. They were good and had some hints of what we experienced last night. Now I would say that the violet women were holding back. They didn’t know they were holding back, but they were. Still just going through the motions, but governing themselves, not getting too wild. And maybe they have progressed. We haven’t been there in more than two years.”

“That’s what I was thinking. Who knows how long the group here has been really breaking through into something transcendental. You know, the longer you practice, the better you get.” She looked at Camille with her distinctive girlish grin.

Camille laughed. “You always look about ten when you do that. But you’re right. It’s like you and I and Will. We seem to get better and better at being together, because we’re are practicing at it in a certain way.”

“Yeah, we don’t take each other for granted. We keep each other alert.”

“Yeah it’s like the parrots in Huxley’s Island, ‘Attention! Here and now! Attention!’ I think that’s one of the most important parts of our relationship, our commitment to being present, being honest . . .”

“Not losing the love.”

They looked at each other again with full adoration. It was something that they seemed always able to easily find and convey. It was mutual. They could look at each other again and again as if they were gazing at a living altar of the most holy woman either one of them had ever known. Will had said more than once that on top of falling deeply in love with each of them, he felt ultimately privileged just to be around the aura of love these two women created and sustained with each other. “It’s one of the things,” he said, “that draws me back to the two of you even when my mind is on other things. I’ll just feel this wave of love. I look up, and it’s the two of you, not doing anything in particular just being with each other. I feel so blessed.”

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They gazed into each other’s eyes for a while. Finally Camille had to say it, “J’adore.”

“La meme chose pour moi. And Will adores both of us.”

“And we adore him. We are very blessed.”

“Like angels.”

 

Oui, I want to talk to you about my angels. They are feeling more and more familiar to me, like I’ve known them for a long time, or I used to know them a long time ago, and we were really close.”

Before they left the gathering they shared some light food with the other women, wandered around the grounds a bit and had some random conversations. Camille asked Rhiannon about other activities in addition to the ceremonies.

She replied at length, “We have many interest groups that get formed because somebody has an interest and puts it out there and if a few people want to get together then we have a group. We try to keep a master list and keep updating it and we have a long outgoing message on our phone where we try to list all the upcoming activities. What are you interested in?”

“I’ve had some really other worldly experiences, and I’d like to talk to anyone who’s had similar experiences. The words in the invocation, ‘between the sacred worlds,’ that really means something to me.”

“We actually have a group called Between the Sacred Worlds. Many women are starting to have extraordinary experiences. The group is a place to share and explore and encourage. I’m in that group.”

“Oh, that’s great. I’d like to come.”

“You are welcome. We’d love to have you. And what about you, Nina?”

It took a moment for Nina to refocus. She’d been drifting on the lilt of the other women’s conversation. She went for what was familiar to her. “I’m really interested in social action, cooperative action and business. I helped to vision and start a cooperative business in New Mexico. I might like to do something like that here.”

“We do have a social action group. It’s broad-based, but you could start there, and if your needs or interests are more specific, perhaps you’ll form your own group. I think the social action group is a good place to start.”

“This all sounds great.” Camille looked at Nina who nodded and smiled. “One more question. Are any of your activities open to men?”

Rhiannon chuckled and shook her main of blonde-white hair. “Yes, we have a dance group. It’s a group with a leader, who actually choreographs some routines. It’s not all free-form like last night. She likes to have men to work with, and the men who dance tend to be the kind of men we like to have around. They know how to tune in on an interpersonal love and act from a place of togetherness.”

Now Camille and Nina both chuckled, and Nina offered, “We might have a man for the dance group.”

When they told Will about the dance group later that day, he was non-committal.

“Think about it, darling.” Camille cooed in her best seductress voice, almost Marlene Dietrich in Blue Angel.

It could be an aspect of your tantra practice,” added Nina.

Later when the kids were in bed, Will brought it up on his own. “You’re right. Tantra is characterized as dance. I could probably learn a few things and have some fun and maybe meet some interesting women.” He grinned at his wives.

“Shall we take the bait on that?” Nina asked Camille.

Camille sounded her most serene, still channeling Dietrich. “Remember, darling, everything must be shared.”

They all burst into uproarious laughter accompanied by attempts to tickle the others. When they settled down, Will replied with a note of seriousness, “I do share everything with you. I don’t want it any other way. And you’re my family, you and our kids.”

The next Friday Kayla was having a slumber party. Will had taken her to her mom’s house following an after-school activity. She asked if Sammy could be at the slumber party. “I’ll do a really good job of taking care of him, and I’ll have lots of help,” she pleaded.

Will looked at Melanie. She shrugged, “None of her friends have siblings so much younger. I think it’s kind of a novelty, and he’s such a sweetheart. I’m there for back-up. If they wear him out too much I’ll make sure he gets some sleep. Do you want to call Camille?”

“Sure, I expect it’ll be all right, but it’s good to ask, huh?”

Melanie looked at him knowingly acknowledging the old Will, on whom such niceties were sometimes lost. He called his home and explained the situation to Camille. On the other end he could hear her talking to Nina. Then she was back. “We think it’s a wonderful idea. Makes it even more like we’re really one family. And we’ll pick him up midday on Saturday?”

So the three of them had some unexpected adult time with each other. So often their early evenings were spent in child-play of one kind or another. They decided to go to the beach. It was a balmy evening not uncommon for autumn along the North Coast. Once there Nina invited her mates to stand in the water with her. “It’s a kind of meditation,” she coaxed.

Soon they were standing at the edge of the waves. The women had tucked their skirts fashionably into their panties. Will rolled his pants above his knees. Nina stood in the center holding a hand to either side of her. “I used to do this with my dad when I was a girl. He always made sure I didn’t fall from the force of the waves or the sand washing from beneath my feet.”

“That’s so strange,” Camille exclaimed, “and the waves are so strong, and the water’s so cold.”

“You’ll get used to it, or your feet will fall off.”

Will began vocalize as if singing to or with the ocean. Soon the women joined him. They stood together singing and chanting and becoming more connected with the majesty of Mother Ocean. They continued to hold hands occasionally steadying one of their compatriots, but mostly dancing with the waves and maintaining good balance. Nina felt all her horse-riding instincts kicking in. Will was being swept away by the whole experience, quite amazed at how connected he felt with the motion and feeling of the ocean and how quickly the communion had happened. He was riding the waves inside of himself as if all the water composing his body was in sync with all the water surrounding him.

Camille struggled with the cold at first, but then she relaxed feeling an uncanny warmth from Nina radiating and warming her. Then the ocean felt warmer and more comfortable. Then she sensed spirit beings, different from the ones that she’d gotten to know in the air. Her mind generated names and memories of mermaids, selkies, sea horses, sea fairies. “Ah,” she thought, “another whole realm of elemental beings.”

They stood for close to an hour watching the sun sink beneath the distant waves. When, at last, they withdrew to the still warm sand, they instinctively hugged each other and held on for a few minutes, still savoring what had come to each and all in the arms of Mother Ocean. They slowly walked to the car, found a cafe with local seafood, and further treated themselves to the bounty of Mother Ocean.

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“Mother Ocean, she is very real,” Nina broke into the thoughts of the other two. “She is called Yemaya in West Africa, and she is Mother Goddess and protector of pregnant women and her name means mother whose children are like fish.”

“Where do you come up with these things?” Camille asked.

“Lots of mythology in school, and it meant something to me, so I remembered.”

They easily fell into a deep and restful sleep together that night, compensating for the sleep disruption of having children and particularly Sammy, who still didn’t always sleep through the night.

Towards morning Will had quite a vivid dream, which woke him up. Nina was already making coffee and brought cups for all of them. They sat up in bed and sipped their coffee as Will told his dream:

I’m swimming under the ocean. I have no trouble breathing. It is very beautiful, blues and greens and luminescent fishes. There are also seven extremely beautiful females swimming with me. You are two of them. I cannot tell if they are fully human or mermaids or some other hybrid. It’s like they keep changing form. They are teasing me. They like to swim into me, lick my balls and then swim away laughing. Every time I’m distracted by one of the other women doing something alluring, and suddenly I feel the flick of a tongue on my scrotum. Just as quickly she is gone, like a lightning fish. They’re definitely teasing me, but it’s not malicious. It’s like a game, but I’m getting more and more turned on, and my erection is impeding my swimming, which just seems to add to the women’s delight.

Amber G - Jan 3 2008

The women burst out laughing. “Oh, poor Will,” Camille cooed. “We’ll have to take care of you.”

“But not now,” Nina added. They giggle, and both reach to toy with him, as they grin at him and each other.

“I surrender,” he cried in mock desperation. “Do your worst or do your best. I’m outnumbered.”

The women turned to each other with a gleam in their eyes. Nina voiced their question, “Shall we?”

“Let’s” Camille replied sounding as witchy as she could and rubbing her hands together.

They pushed him back on the bed and threw back the covers. “Don’t move,” commanded Nina.

“I’ve heard that before . . .’

“And don’t speak,” attempting to sound even more severe. Then she looked at Camille, and they burst out laughing again. “And you,” she directed Camille, “get a rein on that levity.” Then they laughed some more, and Nina suddenly grabbed her and kissed her fiercely at first, then gradually softer and sweeter. When they parted lips they gazed into each other’s eyes. The familiar affection was there. They were ready to continue.

Will had dutifully lain quiet as his women played with each other. They turned to him and began to stroke his entire body with just their fingertips, working around his erection, barely brushing it as if by accident. They raised his knees so that they could be like the ocean women and lightly run their fingers and tongues over his wrinkled sac. Camille grabbed the massage oil they kept by the bed and rubbed all around his erection without touching the hard shaft at all, pretending she didn’t even notice it. Will began to moan and breathe more deeply.

In the spirit of gamesmanship Nina lightly grasped his shaft with her fingertips, “What have we here?” she queried in her best British accent.

“I don’t know, professor,” Camille replied. “Perhaps we should examine it.” She placed two fingers and a thumb on the glans and lightly squeezed. “Interesting consistency, professor,” she exclaimed and leaned forward and gave one quick lick to the underside. The two women’s eyes met mischievously. Nina surrounded the glans with her lips and withdrew again.

They continued to alternate, one flick, one quick kiss, plying different spots on his shaft and balls. “Cojones,” Camille stated matter-of-factly, as she lightly held them in her hand. She lightly squeezed, and again said, “Cojones, couilles, coucougnettes, and what a fine schlong you have.” All of this was said like a lab worker filing an oral report.

Nina picked up on it and echoed in her British accent, “Yes, what a fine schlong. Surely we can find some use for this object.” She was lightly rubbing the oiled erection.

“Perhaps,” Camille replied totally non-committal, but she wrapped her lips around his glans and this time lingered a few seconds and licked the tiny opening as she pulled back. “It may have some use,” she declared.

“Let me see,” Nina mimicked Camille’s actions but lingered slightly longer. The two women got into an alternating rhythm. Will was trying not to move but failing at the task, so the women focused on each other kissing and caressing each other’s breasts and nipples. A stray hand occasionally found Will’s shaft. Then they held hands encircling the firmness. Very slowly and lightly they stroked while continuing to kiss and fondle each other without any sense of hurry and an attempt to maintain their facade of scientific objectivity. They continued like this for minutes adjusting their pace to the intensity of Will’s response, backing off to a tease whenever necessary.

“I think we should do further examination,” Nina declared suddenly. She slid down beside Will holding his shaft so she could lick one side and occasionally take him fully into her mouth. Camille followed her lead licking and taking turns. They kissed each other with Will’s glans between their lips. Never having discovered this before, they got intrigued and continued to explore. The sensations were new and delicious to Will, driving his sensual pleasure into novel vicissitudes. He groaned loudly for the first time, unable to contain himself. Nina and Camille parted company with his rod and each other’s lips and tongues. When they looked into each other’s eyes there was an aching desire beginning to rise like flames.

Nina straddled Will and lowered herself onto him. She moaned but controlled herself and just as quickly raised herself off of him. Camille took her place but only for a few seconds before she handed the reins back to Nina. Like this they alternated each penetration reaching slightly deeper taking all of him inside but not keeping him there. Then Nina straddled Will’s face and offered the lips of her thighs to his waiting mouth. He went at her slowly using lips and tongue to caress the sweet slickness of her intimate gateway. Camille had lowered herself on his throbbing manhood, but merely held him deep inside her totally relishing the sensation of being so completely filled. There was no empty space inside her. She and Nina kissed wet and sloppy and kneaded each other’s backsides and butt-cheeks.

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Abruptly Nina pulled away from Will’s mouth and exchanged places with Camille. Now she felt the full-to-the-brim sensation of her sister-lover a moment ago. Will strained to penetrate Camille with his ample tongue. She was wild with delight and rapidly losing control. They had all reached the point of no return. The fluttery edges of orgasm got larger and intruded more and more on any remaining control that any of them were trying to exert. Will licked in and out Camille’s satiny gateway and kissed and sucked her pink pearl, feeling her beginning to tremble all over. He was driven to lick all the sweetness from her honey pot and quaff it like the delicious elixir it was. He could feel himself on the edge of explosion. He grabbed Camille’s hips and pulled her to him the better to immerse himself in her velvet passage. Her hips bucked and drove her pearl against his lips again and again.

Nina was riding Will like a horse and was on the edge of a full gallop. She began to gasp as if finding breath hard to come by, and then the familiar quaking and shaking began to run through her entire body. Her panting became audible. They all dissolved into a chorus of “ah, ah, ah” and “oh, oh oh”.  As Will came inside of her she imagined the sweetest milkshake she’d ever tasted somehow whirling and blending inside of her before she dissolved again into wordless, imageless ecstasy and wave after wave of body pleasure.

“Camille, take Will inside of you.” It took all her effort to slide off of Will, grab Camille and pull her down beside her. Will was still in the game of following orders so he rolled over, actually glad to get off his back. His phallus was still somewhat erect, and Camille’s velvet passage was soaked in many juices. He entered her from above this time and heard her sharp intake of breath. He began to move inside of her hoping to maintain enough of an erection to accomplish whatever Nina had in mind. Pleasantly surprised he still had a lot of sensation and found himself engorging once more as he kept a steady rhythm and Camille moaned in response. Nina held her and kissed her becoming stimulated again herself.

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Camille pulled her mouth away and in a low throaty growl ordered Nina, “Sit on me. Sit on my face.”

Nina swung a leg over and soon was straddling Camille and facing Will. Camille grabbed her thighs to control her and began feverishly working over the silky smoothness of her wet ripe flower. Nina gasped at the suddenness of the sensations and soon began to tremble. Will stretched to kiss her and then they held each other’s gaze as the women rose toward orgasm once more. Camille’s head thrashed from side to side, but she kept a semi-rigid tongue sliding over and over Nina’s’s soft kernel of pleasure. As the moans and yowls of rapture crescendoed, Will was amazed to feel that another climax was building in him. When the ripples reverberated through her silky tunnel, it was just the locomotion he needed to take him over the top. Still holding Nina’s gaze and pouring a passionate love into the windows of her soul, he shot once more, filling Camille’s crystal cave with droplets of honeydew as she shivered and shuddered and directed all her intensity of feeling into a fitting conclusion with the sweet source of nectar she had attacked with all her desire to give pleasure to the woman she loved as much as herself.

As her own waves subsided she continued to kiss and lick and bring some final tremors from the body of her sister-lover. And she tasted so good, the sweetest fruit and the most fragrant of flowers all rolled into one. She didn’t want to stop, but the drive of her own orgasm finally subsided and she lapsed into a deep and wonderful afterglow. Nina slid to Camille’s side and held her both tightly and tenderly. Will collapsed on Camille’s other side and draped an arm across her thighs pleasantly connecting with Nina’s thigh in the process. They murmured “I-love-yous” to each other, moaned and hummed and yummed. Nina could not resist. She laid her hand over Camille’s vulva and wiggled her finger on her still swollen bud.

“Oh don’t, oh yes,” Camille gasped and turned toward Nina and wrapped her in her arms and planted kisses all over her face and upper body. Will could enclose both of them in his arms, feeling Camille’s luscious pillowy butt against his belly and squeezing Nina’s slightly smaller, firmer cheek with his free hand. Afterglow drifted into unconsciousness, a place they all floated in, on clouds or in water. It didn’t matter. It was very warm and cozy.

It was mid to late morning when they roused again feeling satisfied, satiated and so loved. Camille asked, “Must we go on with the daily fare now? Can’t we stay in this beautiful bubble together? I feel this way when I return from my journeys, only more intensely right now.”

“Oh baby, we’re right here,” Nina sounded almost like Camille’s pouty seductive voice and she gave her a long slow kiss running her fingers through her hair.

Oui, I know. I’ve never loved like this before. I feel so sensitive to everything, and I want to cling. I have never wanted anyone enough to want to cling.”

“You can cling. It’s all right.” Will spoke for the first time. Camille turned to him grabbed his pectorals and the hair covering them. Then she pulled her face into his chest and bit, not hard enough to cause real pain, just like she was biting to not let go. Will held her and crushed her to his chest. Nina slid in behind her so they had her in kind of a sandwich. She began to cry. Then she was sobbing. She let her hands slip around Will’s torso and buried her cheek in his chest. Her lovers held her like this for many minutes, letting her cry as much as she needed.

“Don’t ever leave me, neither one of you,” she sobbed.

“We won’t. We won’t,” they instantly responded.

“Sometimes I’m so scared. I think I can’t go on. Then this strength, this power, comes from somewhere, and I’m fine, and life goes on.” She had raised up now, sniffling back the last of her tears, leaping somewhat sheepish at Will and over her shoulder to Nina.

“Honey, it’s okay, Nina began. “We all get scared sometimes. That’s what we’re here for. ‘All for one and one for all’.”

That got a chuckle from Camille, “Now you quote the three musketeers.” She turned and smiled at Nina and gave her a quick kiss.

“You know us guys hate to admit we’re scared, but Granny Eva told me it’s totally a hangup of our culture, and AA teaches us that the greater strength is talking about our fears. We’re all terrified when we first get sober. It’s like losing our best most reliable friend by finding out they were conning us the whole time. More importantly, I’m in all the way with you two. I also never imagined I could love like this, I could be loved like this. I’m praying everyday that we all do the right things, and our spirit helpers keep helping us so things turn out well.”

“That power that you get when you really need it, that’s what Eva calls Medicine Power. Your Medicine is good, Camille. It’s really good. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here with such outstanding lovers/friends/spouses, whatever we call ourselves. The three musketeers works for me.”

“Oh Nina, I was attracted to you the first time I saw you in Paris. I never imagined something so deep and beautiful could happen. These tears are partly tears of joy.”

“Can I read something?” Nina asked suddenly. Her friends nodded and mumbled affirmatives. She reached over to a bookshelf and extracted a familiar looking folder. “You remember this?” she asked Camille.

Mais oui, I gave to you for the airplane.”

“Well, I’ve added some quotes that I’ve found since then. I really like this one. I think it points toward what we’re all feeling and struggling to understand and articulate. So here goes: ‘What I feel for her is a wholly different emotion. It stands and walks on its own, living and breathing and throbbing and shaking me to the roots of my being.’”

“Wow,” exclaimed Will.

Camille relaxed and leaned into Nina, who held her gently. They each had a hand over the other’s heart. In that moment Will looked like his best Buddha self.

Later, after some food and more coffee, they all went to pick up Sammy, planning to go with him to the park. Three of Kayla’s friends were still at Melanie’s house. Sizing up the situation Will offered to take Sabrina to the park with them. He looked at his two women. They both nodded agreement. Melanie was grateful for a partial break. She characterized the situation, “I expect these girls will collapse in a heap and sleep for awhile. They certainly didn’t sleep much all night. They weren’t noisy. I checked on them  a few times. But you know how it is with a slumber party?”

The other three adults looked at each other and shrugged. None of them had much experience with slumber parties. Melanie continued, “There’s usually a conspiracy to keep each other awake or to wake up anybody who tries to fall asleep. So I’m sure they’re exhausted. The rest of us slept pretty well. I checked on them a few times.”

Sammy did wonderfully well in the baby swing he couldn’t fall out of. He loved it, chirruping and eliciting other delightful little kid sounds. Sabrina chose Nina for her playmate, and they roared around the park together, two bundles of energy, swinging, sliding, leaping from the play structure, chasing each other across the grass, whooping and hollering.

Will and Camille hung out with Sammy alternating pushing him and placing face and language games. Then Will offered to go across the street to the deli and get sandwiches and drinks for everyone. It was a wonderful pleasant harmonious afternoon in the park. After lunch Will played tag and duck, duck, goose with Sabrina and Nina. When they returned Sabrina to Melanie’s house she was worn out enough to join her sister in a light snack and an early bedtime.

Back at their house Sammy also went to sleep easily having had lots of activity and fun with his sisters and his parents. The triad were feeling mellow, not exhausted yet, but definitely laid back.

“What a wonderful, beautiful, lovely day,” Nina expressed.

“It was exquisite, but only because of you, my co-creators,” Camille replied. “You love me so well and let me love you the way I want.”

“I’m the luckiest man in the world to have the two of you in my life.”

“I would like to read a bedtime story,” Camille offered.

“Is this one of your stories?” Nina asked.

“Yes, but not one I’ve shared before.”

“You’ve been holding out?” Will teased.

Oui, peut-etre, I just was not ready.”

“I’m ready if you’re ready,” he replied.

Oui, after the events of today I am ready. I just keep feeling closer and closer, more and more in love with you, both of you. I never thought such a thing was possible. Such things only happened in my stories or some other story I read. Now I am believing. You have made me a believer.”

“Oh, my dear sweetheart,” Nina responded. “Your words touch me and open me up more than I already am. I love you so much.”

And then Will spoke from his heart, “Camille, I hope you know what a special person you are, and how special you are to me. I’ve never met anyone so naturally sweet and open and loving. I just keep trying to meet you where you are.”

“You do a bang-up job, both of you,” and then she laughed as she often did when using odd American idioms.

“Let’s hear the story,” Will urged.

“Okay,” she began: “I especially hope you like this, Will.”

The great Sky God plunges out of the heavens naked with desire for She who is the source of all things. He thinks His enormous swollen member can more than fill Her up and impregnate Her with new life. But He finds that She is unfathomable with realms and creases beyond his wildest imaginings. He is lost in Her. He is totally caught up in Her. She takes Him even as He cannot find Her. Yet He feels Her all around Him. She touches every inch of Him inside and outside. He is suffused with Her liquid pleasure, as She teases, licks, flicks.and caresses Him, a feast of delectable delights.

Evelyn de Morgan (1855-1919), 'Boreas and Oreithyia', 1896

He feels Her tongue but can never see Her face. He feels her fingers but can never grasp Her body. He is tantalized, driven mad, enraptured, totally fulfilled yet never getting enough. And finally She takes His seed. Was that not what He came to deliver? Bittersweet this drawing from Him of His essential gift of life. “May I come again,” He asks immediately. His question echoes through the deep, and no answer comes, though He knows She still holds Him close in every way. He is in Her element, and He is Hers. Finally a throaty whisper reverberates endlessly, “Can you find me?”

Soon after He breeches the surface, which He had so recently and impetuously plunged beneath. His hair glints in the sunshine which warms His face. He spreads His wings and soars back into the sky from whence He came. He is, after all, the Son of the Sun.

 

Connections

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. 

They’re in each other all along.

                                               ~Rumi

“Surrender was pretty easy at a certain point. I felt like I’d lost everything that was important to me, and it was mostly bad decisions on my part. I was pretty happy to turn that over to someone else, something else. I left Northern California wondering if I’d ever return, wondering if that was my way of severing all ties with the past.” Will was talking with Paul after an AA meeting.

Paul, Naive American, alcoholic and subsequent boyfriend to Will’s only AA girlfriend, replied, “You didn’t think you were just pullin a geographic.”

“Didn’t care. Just had to get away for awhile. You know that old song, ‘How can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?’”

“Yeah.”

“For me it was, how can I find out what has value for me if I don’t leave it all for awhile. Almost as soon as I got to New Mexico I missed my kids, especially with all the kids runnin around the community there.”

“What else did you miss?”

“Not much for awhile, and then I met Nina, and she totally swept me off my feet, so young, so strong, so capable, and she looked at me like I was worth something.”

“Well, you are worth something.” Paul grinned at him.

“Hey, watch yourself.”

“So what else made a difference?”

“I had this sense that spirituality was real. Went back to the sixties. I’d never lost that. It helped get me well a lot quicker, you know, get over myself.”

Paul chuckled in acknowledgment, “Yeah, that can be hard sometimes.”

“I had so little idea what I wanted when I met Nina. She’d ask me if I could do something, I just said, ‘Sure.’ I didn’t know any better than try to make her happy. Turned out a lot of the time it made me happy too.”

“Service.”

“Yeah, I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time. She touched my heart and I wanted to help her and take care of her and not screw it up.”

“Looks like you did purty good.”

“I still think I’m just hella lucky.”

“Give yourself some credit. There was some ‘right effort’ in there as well.” Paul had practiced some Buddhism, so that was part of his recovery language as well.

“Okay, you’re right. I was tryin real hard, and prayin like a crazy man, and then I took the leap. Talk about pullin a geographic. Nina dragged me along to Ohio, New York, France, but it was great. It was more and more like a pilgrimage. I was a new man before I ever got back to America.”

“Would you like to be a speaker at a meeting. I gotta keep linin people up.”

“Sure, can I say whatever I feel like sayin?”

“Hey, man, it’s AA.”

“Okay, but you know how much these two women have made a better man outta me.”

“How would you present that, ‘cause, as you know, even in AA there’s a fundamentalist faction that might wanna bring out the tar and feathers. You know, I don’t think it’s a problem, not in my heritage.”

“Yeah, what I’d really want to present now is that the healing for me had a lot to do with letting in the female wisdom, something most of us men don’t do very easily. We drink and get angry and violent instead.”

“What is this female wisdom of which you speak?” Paul grinned at him again.

“In one word?”

“Sure.”

“Attunement.”

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“I like that.”

“You know, payin attention to others’ needs and desires at least as much as your own. You should see Nina and Camille with each other. It’s the most beautiful love I’ve ever seen in my life. I just try to do what they do with each other.”

“Again, don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you do fine.”

“I do, but they’re my teachers in so many ways. I’ve truly never seen any two people be as consistently loving with each other as those two. And Nina is so damn smart. She should get a PhD in something. She remembers what she learns in school.”

“Now that’s impressive.”

“Yeah, and now it’s just more and more complementary between the two of them. So I’m a history teacher, and I’m pretty good. I work at it. When I first met Nina she’s tellin me stories about layers of history I hadn’t even thought about. Like way back the takeover of the world by violent materialism, and most of what we study as history is after that happened.”

“My people could tell you a lot about that.”

“Yeah, it happened here a lot later, but in Europe it happened thousands of years ago. I was always focused on things that happened a lot later, like the Catholic Church massacring so-called witches and heretics in medieval Europe, or the violent conquest of the Americas. I hadn’t really thought about indigenous people in Europe living essentially an earth-based spiritual cooperative existence for thousands of years before all the infamous empires, Rome, etc.”

“Good stuff, really good stuff.”

“Just one more thing. I know we both gotta get goin.”

“Take your time.”

“So Camille has started having these spiritual journeys. She just goes, flies with angels and goes back to some ancient time way before the violent materialism. We’re startin to get a picture of how life might have been. It’s way stranger and more magical than I’d ever imagined, and so far she’s just goin to one place and time. What she’s bringin back from these journeys is so complementary to what I already learned from Nina. It’s like they’re this partnership without even tryin.”

Paul reflected, looked at the sky, and looked at Will and simply said, “She’s travelin like the old time shamans.”

Will looked at him, like, oh yeah, now that you mention it, that makes perfect sense. “Thanks, Paul.”

“Anytime, brother.” They hugged and departed.

“See ya next time.” Will reflected as he walked away how in certain contexts he dropped into country dialect, and other times he spoke perfectly standard English. “Still just tryin to fit in,” he thought.

Back at home he told his women about his conversation with Paul. Camille was the first to speak. “I agree with Paul. You should not sell yourself short.” She chuckled at the American idiom and continued, “Before meeting Nina and then you I did not believe I could ever be with a man again, certainly not be in crazy love with a man. You must know how you stand out as a man, and it is a strength, not a weakness. Your receptivity, your attunement, as you call it, your ability to just go along when there is no reason not to, these are good things, wonderful things, amazing to find in a man. And you don’t do it in a weak way. You do with all your gentle strength, your quiet power. We love that about you. It’s something we talk about with each other.”

She looked at Nina who continued, “You have a knack for getting out of your own way. Many men don’t know how to do that. They seem to think it’s unmanly not to take up space, to be ready to fight, to try to dominate. That is a very primitive image of man, and that is not you. You are the Taoist man, the tantra man, the man who knows how to subordinate his greater physical power to the wisdom power of the feminine. It is no small achievement, and you do it all the time.”

“Wow,” Will radiated in reflection of their admiration, “you keep talking this way, I might start to believe you.”

“Believe!” Camille commanded.

Nina was more clever and said, “You must believe because we have said that it is true.”

“Good point,” Will acknowledged. “I’ll add that to my program.”

That night Camille awakened around 3:30. She propped herself up in bed and was almost back asleep when felt the familiar sensations of travel. She was rather immediately transported to the community of women. It had become familiar territory so perhaps she didn’t need as long a transition to feel comfortable in the other world. There was a surprise this time. All her young friends had sprouted wings and were flying about in some elaborate game or dance of which she was soon an integrated part. They soared; they swooped; they fluttered, all with an extraordinarily delicate grace. Their gossamer wings added to the impression of being airborne ballerinas.

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Time was an extremely fluid dimension in this other world, so Camille or the person she became there had little idea how long this airborne dance lasted before they were all flying in one direction seemingly with there being a destination. Indeed they were next hovering above a group of animals, hairy primates. It was shocking for Camille or Zefra to suddenly be in proximity to other members of the animal kingdom. There had been no such contact for a long time. Their womanly leader obviously wanted them to observe what was going on below and to draw as close as they needed to observe closely what was occurring. The hairy primates did not seem to notice the young women hovering in close proximity.

Camille noted that these primates, who looked a lot like small chimps, were quite affectionate with one another. They were male and female, and there were children of all ages and sizes. They held and cuddled each other, male-female, male-male, female-female. They fondled and caressed and played. It was obvious that sexual stimulation was an acceptable and desirable medium of social exchange. They also ate, mostly fruit from trees close at hand. But what stood out was the amount of sensual and sexual interaction. Over time it appeared that this group of primates spent most of their time eating, sleeping, and stimulating each other sexually and sensually.

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After awhile the ballerina fairies fluttered up and flew back to their settlement. Surely each of them reflecting on the strange attractiveness of what they had observed, but most particularly on the phenomenon of gender. None of them had experienced much less suspected that there was a separation of beings into two types. As Camille/Zefra listened to the unvoiced gossip, the thought forms and feelings floating thickly in the group airspace, she was more shocked by the apparent ignorance of these young women. She questioned her own view of them as women, as female. A revised concept formed for her, that perhaps these entities of the other world were spirit beings without gender, who happened to be in the habit of looking like her image of female.

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The buzz circulating among the young women was only partially stilled by the appearance of one of the older women. Camille was already questioning her concepts of young and old. What did they mean in this context? Were they any more reliable than concepts of gender? Camille had seen this older woman before. She had presided at the martial arts/dance lesson. She was clearly a mentor and radiated a sense of calm, waiting until the silent clamor began to subside. Her thoughts formed clear images for all the neophytes to see and understandings that suddenly existed where before there had been nothing palpable. The sense of her message was to meditate, to contemplate what they had seen and felt and experienced. See where it led them. Camille was further amazed by the precision with which this elder communicated telepathically with a combination of words and images. It was an excellent mode of communication but far different from the land of millions of spoken and written words that earth had become in the modern age.

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Camille wondered at what had most recently appeared to her as a kind of fairy realm strangely juxtaposed with scenes far closer to an earthy nature than anything previously seen in the other world. Clearly there was a wealth of possibilities in this other world. Still, why these two? She was not able to linger much longer before she felt herself transitioning once again. She very slowly faded out of her lithe fairy body and then slowly faded into her still reclining body. Her contemplations continued with regard to what she had seen or been shown. More than ever it felt very specific, that somebody wanted her to see and experience certain things. There must be some ultimate purpose. Thus far it felt like a lot of data gathering without an assigning of meaning. She was mostly content. As she reflected on flying like a ballerina fairy, she became more and more ecstatic. She loved the sensations of flying so gracefully and easily. For the next several hours she remained transfixed and reviewed the images of effortlessly flying like a fairy with the other young women and observing the intriguing behavior of the hairy primates.

1dwisewoman_P

Until now there had been nothing overtly sexual in the other world. Certainly there was a sense of affection, communion, flow of positive energy and ongoing pleasant feelings. Her experience had been more like a member of a larger organism. The thought had often come to her, “We are many, but we are all one.” That feeling of connection was always present. There seemed no need nor desire to act it out in a more physical way. Now, all of a sudden, they had been treated to scenes of blatant physical affection between hairy beasts, and some of them were male. She tried to imagine what it would be like to be one of these sisters of the other world, who had never seen nor heard of a penis and to suddenly see an erection for the first time. What a stunning sensation! How shockingly different!

Each visit to the other world was a feast of new sensations, visions, skills and possibilities, each journey also raised a passel of questions. As yet there was no coherent panorama, just a series of snapshots. Camille felt like she’d been given a puzzle to put together, and it was missing more than half its pieces. She shared her conundrum with her friends later that day while describing the elements of her most recent journey.

Will turned to Nina, “You remember those stories I told you about the Bird Tribes?”

“Tell me!” Camille pleaded sounding delightfully naive and girlish.

Will gazed at her fondly. “How do you do that?” he asked.

“Do what?” she pouted, protruding her lower lip. Nina burst out laughing.

Will replied, “Go from proud and capable woman of the worlds to the little girl that anyone would willingly provide a lap for.”

“It is something our mothers teach us in France, but only in France.”

Nina laughed again. Will smiled, still gazing at her with complete love and acceptance. “I suspected as much,” he stated simply, then added, “Vive la France!” and they all laughed heartily and hugged and caressed one another.

“Okay,” Will began, “this is how I remember it. In the way back, the way far back, earth was primarily inhabited by those we refer to as the Bird Tribes, so-called because they were humans with the capability of flight. That wasn’t their only ability that we would call paranormal. They could fly between the worlds. They could shape-shift in other ways besides having wings. They could also be at home beneath the seas, under the earth’s surface or inside of fire itself. Their capabilities included everything in the plant and animal realms, but also the shamanic above and below worlds. Earth was a garden for them, a kindergarten, a child’s garden. They played with their powers and their creativity. For millennia everything was free and easy and innocent. For our modern perspective they were truly like Gods.

1dfairybubble_PE

“I believe their relationship to each other was much like you describe in your journeys, a state of ongoing communion, individuals unified in a collective. Somehow they sensed each other in the way that a flock of birds all turn simultaneously and can create immaculate patterns in the sky together. Yet each individual was still an individual capable of her own flights of fancy. I had never thought of gender until it was such a theme in your journeys. Now when I tune in, it seems that they were all one gender and more female than male.

“It is said that at some point there was something like a fall, though that’s probably not the best word. Certainly there was a fascination with the biological world, a temptation by some to go farther into it. As that happened, for some reason other abilities were gradually lost. There was probably not one temptation but successive temptations to travel more completely the biological road. And what was different about that?” Will stopped for a moment as if considering his own question. He continued, “Primarily the phenomenon we call death is the biggest factor in biological existence. Life forms decay and die and live off of each other. Spiritual existence is eternal. It does not have the dramatic dynamics of biological existence. But, as well, it does not have the pain and suffering of biology.

“There is much that is true in our Eden story, at least in a metaphorical sense. Our biological world, as symbolized by the snake, is a world of extreme opposites: good, evil; light, dark; love, hate; life,death. The list goes on and on. Spiritual existence was not fraught with such extremes of heat and cold, emotionality, ethical dilemmas, and the struggle to survive. Biological existence is full of highs and lows. Spiritual existence more resembles a gentle uninterrupted flow.

snaketrre_PES_2

“Those whose desire for certain experiences drove them to choose incarnation as a biological organism found themselves caught within the contingencies of biological existence. There were still options as your latest journey demonstrates. Not all apes were automatically killer apes. Biological existence encompasses a stockpile of drives or instincts that comprise a large proportion of our human brains. Your hairy primates were demonstrating the drive for attachment or emotional connection, affection, pleasure, belonging to a group, the ability to comfort and soothe one another. All of that looks pretty attractive. But there is also the drive for territoriality that can lead to enormous conflict, violence, and ultimately organized warfare. As those driven by the territorial imperative proliferated and populated more and more of the earth, there was less and less room for biological entities driven primarily by desires for love and belonging, and there was less space for the original bird tribes who still had the ability to move in and out of biological reality. Of necessity they retreated into the spirit world and waited for the outcome of this other biological experiment. They were also challenged to figure out ways to interface or interact with the more purely biological entities, to try to provide them some guidance, to reduce the suffering of their biological existence, to temper the more extreme bloody competitive predilections of the bio-entities.

“Once the experiment was set in motion largely through curiosity and a desire for new and different experiences, it had to be allowed to play itself out. No one in the spirit world could fully predict the outcome. There seemed to be some parameters, but individual choice all along the way could alter the course of history or evolution. The visitations of spiritual entities, great teachers and such were all attempts to have a positive influence on how things unfolded without totally changing the nature of the experiment. Ideas, such as redemption or enlightenment and their accompanying methodologies, were floated through the human awareness to provide some guideposts for a return to a more fully spiritual existence. They sometimes seemed diametrically opposed to the dictates of biological survival, or they might provide enclaves of relative sanity vis-a-vis the horror show of cutthroat biological survival.”

Will stopped to take a breath. Eventually Camille broke the silence and asked, “Is that a lecture that you just prepared in your mind to deliver anytime.”

Will looked at Nina, who replied, “Pretty much, but it gets better each time he tells it.”

Camille was captivated. She asked, “So do you think that all the stories we have of nymphs and fairies and parallel worlds, these are remnants of these Bird Tribes?”

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“Yes, that’s what I think, and also the great teachers or incarnations like Jesus or Buddha. They are also consciously coming to earth to tone down the violence and destructiveness of primitive biology. This whole experiment may end up in some carnival of cataclysmic self-destructiveness. The spiritual teachers and the remnant populations of Bird Tribes are here to provide another choice for all those who have been caught up in the biological experiment. Some will stay tuned into the ancient spiritual truths or be reawakened to them. I think we are among those who’ve been chosen or have self-selected to teach. And if we make a difference in one life and the choices that person makes, it’s all been worth it. At least that’s what I believe.”

1dfairy.ru_19629

“Will, my love, you have a lot of wisdom.” She turned to Nina, “Doesn’t he?”

“Oh, yeah,” Nina gazed at Will adoringly. “Once you get him going, it’s amazing what he’s got inside that mind.”

Camille was on a roll, contemplating the nature of Will. “This reminds of one of my quotes,” she said, “the way you can be so present, yet so unobtrusive. Sometimes it’s almost easy to forget you’re there, but you’re so necessary, so integral to our existence together. Then when I notice, it’s like wow; you are this big energy, this big medicine, and I think, ‘How could I not have noticed?”

Nina laughed and agreed, “I know, you can be so quiet, so peaceful, so content, and then I look and sure enough you’re there.”

Will gave them his best “aw, shucks” look as he shrugged and smiled. He could feel their love and recognition. He liked how they were talking about him. “So do you have that quote?” he asked.

Camille grabbed the folder of quotes that never strayed far from the bedside table or the kitchen table. “Here it is,” she said after a few moments of looking. “It’s from Margaret Atwood.

I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of blue-green leaves
with its watery sun & three moons. . .

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

“I feel like that describes how you are, Will. You’re almost invisible at times, but so vital, so . . . can’t do without you. I feel like you’re with me all the time, and then that story you just told us about the bird tribes . . .” She lapsed into speechlessness.

Nina picked up the thread, “Knock your socks off, awesome, blow my mind. It’s the historian, Will. When we were traveling in France, between you and Pierre, I was treated to story after story, and they all had a philosophical point. They were all wisdom stories.”

Will decided to just relax and take in the adulation that was coming his way, as Camille again became the speaker. “This story of the Bird Tribes feels totally apropos to what I have been experiencing on my journeys. It’s some perfect pieces of information about where I might be going, who these people are, and what I’m being shown.”

Will replied, “The story is called The Return of the Bird Tribes. I believe we are among those preparing the way for them, making sure they have a place to land.”

Several days later Will attending his first dance group at an actual dance studio. The teacher/choreographer called herself Cybele. She was overjoyed to see Will, who arrived slightly late, having gotten slightly lost on his way to the studio. There were seven women and two other men, who looked at first glance like experienced dancers. Will began to wonder, “What am I doing here?”

Cybele did everything to make him comfortable while the rest of the group warmed up and seemed to be practicing a routine with each other. “What’s your background in dance?” she asked.

“I’ve done some martial arts and I used to dance a lot in the sixties and seventies, nothing organized, just usual free-form, hippy, dance in the park kind of stuff.”

“That’s excellent,” Cybele replied. “What kind of martial arts?”

“Some kung-fu and aikido.”

“Aikido, excellent. So you’ve done partner work?”

“Yeah, I really like the dance of aikido.”

“You think you could be a tree?”

“A tree? I guess so. Just show me what to do.”

Cybele did need a tree. She had choreographed a dance of satyrs and nymphs. The satyrs chased the nymphs as they twirled and swirled around the floor. Cybele wanted the tree to be their safe haven like a base in a game of tag. So long as the nymphs were in contact with the tree they were safe from the satyrs. At times it seemed like they wanted to be caught, but they were enjoying the game and the tease so much they wanted to keep it going as long as possible. So nymphs jumped in his arms, leapt and clung to his back, slid to grasp a leg, always with a sense of being protected as soon as they embraced him or he embraced them. Several nymphs were always being hotly pursued. As a tree Will moved when no one was clinging to him in great galumphing steps with arms extended like drooping branches.

1dnymphastayr_P

At times the nymphs turned into witches and rose up as if to prey upon and eat the satyrs, and the chase was reversed. But it was like they couldn’t maintain as witches and always transformed into nymphs again. Will could see that the loose pattern of the dance could be maintained for quite a long time and provide lots of lee-way for individual flourishes. He was charmed that he got to be the strong protective male figure, the good guy as tree. At the end of the dance he got to come to life and throw a variety of martial arts kicks. He essentially chased away the satyrs. Then all the nymphs clustered around him, in his arms, on his back, clinging to his legs and leaning into him from all sides. As he held them some of them actually held him up, a final posture of perfect symbiosis.

Cybele was pleased with what he was able to do on a first night with the group. It was ragged at times but at other times flowed amazingly well, and the entire group looked close to professional. “I hope you’re coming back,” she told Will.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “I’m totally intrigued, and it’s so much fun to be part of a group activity that doesn’t involve words. Besides what man could resist seven women crawling all over him like he is the prince and the knight to each on of them. But instead I get to be a tree, such a different image of strength and protection.”

“That’s great. You really get it. I love it when people get my concepts.”

As the women and men left each of them made a point to say something to him like, “Welcome to the group; hope to see you next time; enjoyed dancing with you.” Will definitely felt welcomed and included, even integrated already. Back at home he could truthfully tell Nina and Camille, “It was a blast. I’m really glad I went.”

The next week Nina went to the social action group. She brought copies of the page of notes she had written two years ago, her senior year in college, describing in a letter to Will some of what she had learned about the essence of cooperatives. That all seemed a long time ago, touring Paris and southwest France with Will, meeting their Basque guide, Pierre, and getting the grand tour of Mondragon, the famous cooperative corporation that began in Basque country.

Thus far the social action group had been focusing primarily on protest politics. The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was still a hot topic with this group of women who numbered about twenty. There had been a variety of “take back the night” events around the country to address issues of violence against women. The social action group had its own brochure which included sections on reproductive rights, economic justice, violence and sexual violence, racial justice and sexual orientation and gender identity. The other women invited Nina to present her ideas. As a newcomer she felt totally welcomed. Most of the women were older, but they didn’t treat her like a kid. She passed out her page of notes:

Definition: A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

1. Voluntary and open membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic member control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

3. Member economic participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co- operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership

4. The cooperative solution

 Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

5. Autonomy and independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

6. Education, training and information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public— particularly young people and opinion leaders—about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

7. Cooperation among cooperatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

8. Concern for community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

She began a short presentation that she’d given considerable thought to. She felt very strongly that this group might provide the nucleus for expanding the cooperative corporation concept in Northern California. “I really appreciate your inviting me to present my ideas. I’ve looked over the brochure, and I’m in league with you to address the issues of social justice that negatively impact all of us. I’ve been coalescing some ideas around empowerment that take another approach to achieving equality and justice for women. I know I’m not the only person working with these ideas. I helped to form a cooperative corporation in New Mexico with a strong indigenous base. It is viable. It is employing Native Americans and others who were not previously employed. It began as grass-roots meetings very much like this one, and is already providing a steady income for more than one hundred individuals in rural New Mexico, and is continuing to grow. Most importantly it is worker owned and operated. Democratic councils and representative councils make all business decisions.

“Since celebrating with many of you at the full-moon ceremony and getting referred to this interest group, my thoughts have turned to a cooperative corporation owned and operated by women. We don’t have to invent how to do it. The Mondragon Corporation in Basque country has been thriving since its inception in the fifties. It now has thousands of worker-owners and has diversified into many fields. We essentially followed their model in New Mexico. One decision we had to make there, and we would have to make here is, ‘What will we, the cooperative, produce and/or provide? What is our product and/or service?’ In New Mexico we began with adobe construction and windmills. The question is wide open here. Market research is undoubtedly important, but equally important are questions such as, ‘What appeals to you? What kind of business would you like to be involved in? Do you have a pet project that you’ve never been able to get off the ground?’

“I would like to work with some or all of you to create a cooperative corporation together. Perhaps it is a separate group from the social action group. I certainly don’t want to dilute the energy that is focused here around social and political action. I do, however, passionately believe that the ideas I’m presenting could be an important avenue for women to have more control over their own destinies. There is evidence that cooperative corporations can compete on the marketplace, while providing dignity, equality and economic justice for their members.

“I don’t want to take up a lot more time in this meeting today. My phone number is on the handout. I’m available to talk with any of you, answer questions, share ideas. I’d love to have a subsequent meeting totally devoted to exploring if we would like to pursue the idea of cooperative corporation and how we would do it. I’m looking for collaborators. I’m looking for people with ideas, and I’m looking for people who are just interested. Maybe something today has sparked something in you, and you’d like to explore further, see where it goes.”

The social action group decided to entertain the idea of a separate group meeting for those interested in exploring further with Nina. Such a meeting was scheduled two weeks hence. They would activate the phone tree of the larger group to get the word out. Nina felt accepted, heard, validated and joined with. Several women came up to her after the meeting to talk further and ask questions. Clearly there was enough interest and enthusiasm to get something started. On her way home, she reflected, “Native Americans in New Mexico, pagan women in California. Somehow it feels totally congruent.” She smiled, feeling confident and optimistic.

 

SheMale

I have been in many shapes;

I have been a narrow blade of a sword;

I have been a drop in the air;

I have been a shining star;

I have been a word in a book;

I have been an eagle;

I have been a boat on the sea;

I have been a string on a harp;

I have been enchanted for a year in the foam of water;

There is nothing in which I have not been.

                                                     ~Taliesin

1dmeditation1

Sometimes Camille desperately wanted to return to the other world. Everything felt so easy there. It was like meditation without any effort. No, it was like samadhi without any effort, transcendental while still moving about in something like a body. And what a body! The ability to morph, change, grow wings, clearly these bodies were not the arbitrary rigid bodies of the modern age. Just that ability to alter the nature of one’s own body was so far the most impressive experience she’d had on her journeys. Certainly the ability to communicate without vocalizing was also quite impressive. She had a sense that she might still be in kindergarten or perhaps junior high school with regard to the wisdom and abilities that existed in this ancient culture. Will’s story of the Bird Tribes had touched her and further awakened feelings of familiarity. “I know this is not the first time I’ve been in this time and place,” she often thought. She wondered if her concepts of dimensions even applied in this other world. “Space, time, what are they really?”

She found herself curling around her baby boy when he slept, and reconstituting the blissful state of the other world. She could float in this state of suspension for hours, not really asleep, not really awake. Samadhi was the best word she knew to describe where she went. Often she would leave Nina and Will in the big bed in the middle of the night to curl up with Sammy in his little bed. One early morning Mother Camille felt the familiar sensations of the beginning of a journey. She stayed relaxed and felt herself floating through time and space as if sitting cross-legged on a magic carpet that was really a cloud. Soon she had arrived in the now familiar community where she took on the identity of Zefra.

1ddesertmeditation

The community was more astir than usual. After a few minutes she gathered that they were going to try something together. Still unclear she sat in expectation until images began to come to her of the hairy primates she had seen on her last journey. Then quite slowly she could feel her own body morphing into a male version of herself. She had never seen a male in this other world except for the hairy primates. Now all the girls had become boys or young men and what adorable creatures they all were. A collection of Adonises, each different, each equally beautiful, what a feast of attractiveness. Then very slowly they morphed back to their beautiful female selves. This happened several times, as if to emphasize how easy it was and how arbitrary these female and male bodies were. They were getting the fact that they were indeed both or either one or whatever they might choose to be.

1dshemale_P_P

The strangest sensation was the growth of a penis. Camille could feel her focus of attention drawn there, each time she became male. This strange shaft of flesh with its own sensations that generated a whole raft of differently pleasurable sentiments and sensibilities. She was still adjusting to the disparate wonder of maleness when the long skirts slipped from the hips of she and all of her sisters. Now they could not only feel the changes in their own bodies but see them in the bodies of those around them. This visual stimulation heightened the awe and excitement of the entire group as the slow oscillation continued. Then as one of the repetitions of the pattern began, half the group remained female while the other half made the transition to male. Camille immediately recognized the powerful phenomenon of male-female sexual attraction. Such intense biological urges had thus far not been a part of this other world. She could feel a powerful maternal energy like an umbrella of this group of youngsters, so that they could encounter the intensity within themselves without spinning out of control.

1dsherect_P

To have a penis and experience an erection was quite daunting for someone who had identified so totally female. Since the rhythm of transformation kept moving neither she nor any of her fellow beings could get stuck in any one state. As females they found themselves fascinated with the erections of their fellows. As males they were looking at their sisters in a way that had not occurred to them before. The desire to move towards the other with an intensity of passion had not previously been included in their life-ways.   Camille/Zefra was struck by how odd it felt to have all or most of her sexual feelings concentrated in this long pole that grew between her legs. She was used to having that intensity distributed throughout her entire pelvic region, her belly and womb and even her nipples. The feeling in her penis was harder, more intense, as if ready to burst at any moment. She vaguely wondered how Will could remain so meditative, so lacking in urgency when making love with her and Nina. “It’s truly a spiritual practice. You have to work at it,” she thought. In her first encounters with her own maleness she just wanted to grab one of her sisters and mate with her. Probably she would have, but right at that crucial moment she’d find herself transforming again, losing her maleness and reassuming her femaleness.

“What an odd lesson,” she thought, “but effective. We can feel everything but can’t act it out.” She was more and more enjoying the ability to be both female and male. “I’ve never understood the male urgency before. I didn’t like it. I preferred the gentle touch of another woman, but I’m liking the feeling of being male, the raw power of it. It feels so deliciously green and juicy and primitive, like giving birth.”

As she and her sisters repeated the cycle, they began to feel more at home in both versions of their bodies. They understood themselves to be both female and male. In the silent language of the culture, Camille wasn’t sure the concepts were exactly the same, but close enough in that world of images and impressions. Eventually the transformations subsided, and they all returned to their female forms. Not long after that Camille could feel herself floating through time and space. Soon she once again found herself curled around her beautiful boy in the half-sleep that had become for her a familiar state of being. “So,” she mused, “now I know some of what’s in store for my boy-child.”

1dmaternal_PE

A lot of what sustained Camille as she journeyed more and more was the support of her partners. They always listened with rapt attention and often contributed insights to the ongoing process of deciphering, “What’s the message?” or “To what purpose am I having these experiences?”

Nina had an immediate response to the latest journey. She began, “In my anthropology studies there was a specific term to designate this kind of experience. It’s called shape-shifting. Usually only shamans were able to do it among the peoples I studied. Clearly for the people you are visiting, it is a skill or ability that everyone has.”

Oui, at first it was so strange. but by the end it felt almost ordinary, like acrobats who say, ‘This is just what we do’. Certainement, they are a society of shape-shifters, who learn to do it as young teens if not before.”

Will jumped into the conversation. “The male-female shift wouldn’t have much point until at least puberty.”

Both women gave him her version of a withering smile. Then Nina poked him playfully in the ribs, and Camille responded, “Of course, you’re right, Will.”

He continued, “Perhaps they do other shape-shifting earlier on, like flying or turning into trees.”

They laughed, and Camille responded, “When I first went there I felt I was with a group of girls who were just emerging from a girlhood that was rather innocent compared to what we were being initiated into.”

“That would make sense,” Nina added.

Later that week Camille went to her first meeting of the group called, “Between Sacred Worlds.” She felt welcomed by all the other women. There was an exchange of names around the circle, a beginning to actually learning the names of all present.

Perhaps because she was a new-comer, the leader for the evening provided a brief introduction. “We are probably the most ‘out-there’ faction of all the sub-groups that have been formed. By ‘out-there’ I mean avowedly mystical, avowedly interested in and taking seriously shamanic approaches to bending reality or entering other sacred worlds. We are interested in traveling to places we haven’t been before by whatever means. Some of us took the route of psychedelics in the past and probably exhausted the possibilities there. Now we like to induce trance by other means, meditations, prayer, ceremony, fasting, sex, you name it.” Then she looked right at Camille with a smile on her face and asked, “Well, have I scared you off?”

Camille replied in her thickest French accent, “Not at all.”

“Wonderful! Okay, moving right along, I think someone had a topic for tonight.”

After a short pause another woman began to speak. “I’ve come across some information about the ancient concept of sacred marriage. I haven’t heard it in this group before so I thought I’d present it to all of you tonight.” There were murmurs of assent, so she went on. “As most of you know, I have taken the name Asherah, one of Her names from long ago, and by Her I mean our lovely sweet Goddess, whom we most commonly remember by Her name Isis. Many of you call me Ash, which helps me to remember whom each of us is honoring in this human life we are blessed to be living.

“The stories I am carrying today come from that era when the honoring of Her had become more formal and full of pageantry, I think largely because of the increasing influence and power of the patriarchy and their kings. This comes not from that time of harmony when we all lived in the cycles of earth and fertility, and there was no need for grandiose leaders. This is that later time that got somewhat recorded in history when Goddess and the patriarchal kings were still trying to work out some kind of accord with each other, some harmonious sharing of power and influence. In the beginning some of these experiments worked fairly well. Later on it all became more problematic, and there was a significant loss of a sense of the sacred in daily life. We’ve talked about some of these elements before, but these stories really explicate the change in consciousness that we all suffer from.”

1dZelda Nayru Ora

At this point she began to read from some papers she’d brought with her:

I had a dream in which I “saw” the Sacred Marriage ritual that took place annually in Sumer and Babylonia for thousands of years. I was sure that I had been there and that part of the dream was regression, yet my sense of self was vague. The sense of the ritual was, however, strong.

I was the priestess, the Kadesh, who invoked Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, into my own body during the ceremony. In ordinary life, I was a powerful priestess, but in the ceremony, the Goddess inhabited my body and I was her. I was surrounded by incense. I could hear a strange flute music and lots of metal bells and gongs, a music tuned to induce trance.

Young priestesses were anointing me, massaging every inch of my body with sacred oils. The oils contained herbs that would make me utterly powerful, take me into trance and open my body to the presence of the Goddess until she was me.  I became hyper sensual, my senses were all alert, my mind was still. Pleasure flowed through my veins, as if my very blood was pleasure. The love of the Goddess was within me. I was ready.

The young neophyte priestesses dressed me and put make-up on me. They placed a tall, cone-shaped crown on my head. They put jewelry around my neck, my wrists, my ankles. As they withdrew, walking backwards and bowing, I knew that they saw the Goddess in me and that I was indeed ready.

I walked out onto a large stage overlooking the city. There was a huge marital bed on the stage. I turned towards the cheering, chanting crowds. The cheers and the chants were ecstatic, the whole city was in trance. I raised my arms and invoked the Goddess for all to see. The ecstasy was within us all, the pleasure of the Goddess ran through all veins. The Goddess had descended from Her High Heaven and had entered our bodies, but her heart and soul was in me, I was the center point, I was now the Goddess.

Two older priestess approached reverently and took me gently by the arms. They led me slowly to a throne, on which I sat down. Then the guards started chanting and beating their large sticks into the ground, and the King entered.

Bowing several times, he approached my throne. The male priests were chanting his ancient lines, praising me, praising the Goddess, praising Inanna, the Queen of Heaven. They sang of his love for me, the love of the King for me, his faithfulness to me, his adoration of me, the Goddess of all Hearts. They sang of how the King submitted to my will, how the King would do my will, how the King would be my hand and arms and eyes. And then they sang the promise that the King would satisfy me, that he was mad with desire for me and mad with the desire to love me.

All the while, the King ceremoniously opened up his many presents to the Goddess and Her Temple. I looked at each present and nodded. Then the King had reached my feet and bowing down to kiss my feet, the priests sang of how much he wished to possess me now, how much he wished to enter my sacred womb.

I rose. The two priestesses supported me as I slowly walked towards the marital bed. The priestesses now started singing of how happy I, the Goddess, was to receive my King, my husband. They sang of how much I expected him to please  me, honor me, love me, adore me and do my will. They sang of the pleasure I would feel when he entered my sacred womb.

In fact, the king was young, it was his first time and this ritual was part of his consecration as king. I was older than him and remembered the previous king, and I felt slightly suspicious about this one. But the City Council and all the priests and priestesses had agreed that he would be the one to rule from now, under the supervision of the Temple and the Queen of Heaven, whom I was impersonating.

The king had been anointed with oil and herbs and was just as hypersensitive as I. As he knelt before me and the priests and priestesses were singing, I could speak to him in his mind. With mental words I told him what to do next. Then the ecstasy and power of the age-old ritual took hold of us both, and there was no longer a Goddess and a worshipper, but two equal powers blending together, becoming one. The ritual was no mechanical, theatrical act. It was for real – the power of the Goddess really was invoked in the hearts of men and women, the power of the Goddess was bestowed upon the King and possessed him.  The entire city was united in this ritual and the fertility and wealth of the land was strengthened by our massive, common purpose. In this ritual there were many dimensions, both inner and outer.

In the bed, we made ritual love, like a dance, for the whole city to see. We were intoxicated by the sacred herbs, excited by the erotic songs, the music and the incense. It was a sexual union where we both were sitting, like equals, moving according to the rhythms of the drums and the words of the chants, and the whole lovemaking was more a spiritual, energetic event than physical. It was amazingly powerful. But my orgasm and the orgasm of the King at exactly the same moment was absolutely necessary for the ritual to be successful, and that was something we had been forced to rehearse. I was experienced and knew how to lead the man, and as we both screamed with pleasure, the drums beat, the priests, priestesses and the whole city screamed all together, as if we all together partook in this climax of heavenly pleasure.

1dmarriagesacred_PES

Later I saw a few other things too. I saw children running through the temple corridors, I saw the councils and the tense co-operation and power struggle between me and the King. I saw bearded foreigners thinking that the gifts of the king to me was prostitution and dirty, and that all the little Sacred Marriages occurring in the temple between the men who sought exaltation and the priestesses who invoked the Goddess of Pleasure within themselves was an act of shameful prostitution. And it angered me because these bearded men knew nothing of the Mysteries and of the power of the Goddess.

I even saw later times when priestesses, even the Kadesh, were lying on their backs in the ritual and the only thing of importance was the squirting out of semen by the King, and where the ancient mysteries had turned into a sham. The ritual had become distorted, merely a way for the conquerors to publicly legitimize their rule by taking possession of the Goddess of the land.

1dangellove

But I woke up feeling happy that I had seen the Sacred Marriage the way it had once been.

Many of the women sat in awe-struck silence. A few nodded subtly and looked around the circle. Finally the leader for the day, who had introduced herself as Diana suggested, “Maybe we could just go around the circle. Say one word or a paragraph. I know I feel deeply stirred by this story that Ash brought to us tonight.” She paused and looked around, then looked to her left.

“We’ve talked so many times,” the woman began, “about how things just don’t feel right to us in the modern world. It’s not a political thing so much as it is spiritual attunement and a sense of what’s right.” She looked to her left.                                         “I would like to be adored like that, just once.” the next woman stated simply. The sharing had quickly begun to flow as each woman spontaneous said a few words in response to the reading.

“Doesn’t it seem like life is better for everyone when women are at the center.”

“I’m struck by the power of archetype. Clearly this ritual had been done for generations in pretty much the same way, and the power of that sustained each participant each time it was done.”

“I felt like deity truly descended and took part. Goddess was there in the body and soul of the priestess.”

“I just wanted to be there.”

“I was scared that something would go wrong, and it would turn into a rape.”

When it was Camille’s turn, she chose her words carefully. “I believe that we human beings have lived in so many different arrangements, all of which were considered normal at the time. How to successfully invoke the presence of spirit or deity can be challenging when the prevailing society of the time does not support that.”

“I wish we could wave our magic wands,” the next woman stated, “and transform our lives into something like this story, or maybe something even better.”

When the circle came back to Diana, she asked, “Are we ready to consider what we might like to do with this story.” The women in the circle nodded and murmured assent. Diana looked to her left again.

This woman ran her fingers through her long white hair pondering the question and finally spoke, “I think I’d like to savor it for awhile, let it sink more deeply into me and see what else it stirs.” Some women were nodding in agreement, and some similar sentiments were expressed.

One woman had a different take and spoke to her vision. “Maybe we could collaborate with the dance group and put on some dramatization of the story. I think that might help us and the larger circle to further glean the spiritual beauty of what we have just heard.” There were signals of agreement to this woman’s words and feelings.

When it came back to Diana, she asked, “Would someone like to be our liaison to the dance group to share the essence of our thoughts and feelings?”

Camille raised her hand immediately and replied, “My husband has just joined the dance group. I would very much like to be our liaison. I think this dramatization is a wonderful idea that all of us can contribute to. I hope all of you will contact me with your thoughts and feelings. Je suis trés excité.” Then she laughed at her lapse into French, and the group laughed with her.

Another woman responded, “Perfect, our dance group which welcomes the participation of men, and perhaps you will be the sacred consort with him, initiating him into kinghood.”

Camille began to demure. Then she stopped herself, let the idea sink a little deeper and answered back, “I would be honored if that is everyone’s choice. I can probably speak for Will as well. He is already the kind of man who rarely sees a good reason to contend with wisdom of his women.” She raised her eyes and smiled. She felt herself glowing in all this sudden positive attention.

The group expressed their gratitude and support, making various sounds of approval and appreciation. Only two women in the circle knew of Camille’s ménage å trois. They exchanged a quick smile of knowing acceptance. Camille felt totally welcomed into her new circle. She like these women, and they all seemed to like her. In some strange way it already felt more intimate than Les Femmes Violettes had. Of course her last contact there had been more than two years ago. They had probably progressed. She knew she had grown tremendously in the last two years, particularly in her ability to love openly, freely and more fully. She already really felt quite connected with these women.

When Camille got home, Will and Nina were in a relaxed cuddle on the couch. They quickly made room for her between them. She was positively gushing. They had never seen her quite so exuberant as she shared with them the events of the evening.

Will was the first to respond. “So you and I will be the Goddess and the God?”

1dmarriagsacrd_

“Something like that.”

“Wow, that’s crazy cool, and a little bit scary. I mean it’s a lot of responsibility.”

Nina laughed and teased, “You sure you guys are up to it.”

“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Will shot back in mock effrontery.

Vraiment!” Camille continued in her best Gallic disdain.

Then they all dissolved in laughter, and Nina stroked their faux ruffled feathers by saying, “I think this is really wonderful.”

“Do you want to be part of it?” Camille asked.

Nina pondered, “Maybe, but I think I’d really like to watch you guys.”

“Maybe,” Will contributed, “there could be twin Goddess/priestesses, you know, kind of interchangeable, support the idea that all women are Goddess. So one or another could slip in and out of the active role in the play or the ceremony.”

“That’s a crazy good idea, Will,” Nina exclaimed. She squeezed Camille’s arm. “What do you think?”

“I love it,” she replied without hesitation. “Oui, c’est vrai. We are all Goddess. We can take turns just as the priestesses did a long time ago.”

“Let’s see if it can be choreographed, and let’s see if we get agreement from the other women. We might have to do a lot of explaining about why we want to do it this way. We’d all have to be in the dance group.”

Sounding blasé, Will interjected, “All we need is a new concept like democratic Goddessness.”

Again they all laughed and then Camille added, “That just might work.”

The excitement generated by Ash’s reading of the “Sacred Marriage” spread through the circle of women like the news of rainfall after a prolonged drought. Women had begun desperately seeking alternative models to the organization of modern society, which just felt profoundly wrong to many of them. That marriage would be one of a number of elements of human existence that would be held in sacred trust by women, the idea just felt so right. A ferment of delicious elation brought forth further contributions formulating clearer pictures of how life might have been at one time.

Some women were reading feminist histories that had begun emerging. When God Was a Woman was a favorite title among this neopagan group of feminine celebrants. The little story of sacred marriage was not the first wave that had passed through the group from the times when Goddess was the primary influence on earth-based humans, but there was a marked increase in the creative fervor that ensued. Many of the women definitely wanted to do something tangible with this evocative story. The ideas that Camille had explored with Nina and Will were among many that buzzed through the larger circle, being shared, explored, modified, polished, broken down and started again. Everyone was having a lot of fun and trusting that the process would eventually lead them to some crystallization or constellation of all the wonderful images and ideas, and they would perform/participate together in something gloriously numinous.

Meanwhile a few days later in the early morning hours, Camille was invited on another journey to her sacred world. Af first she found herself among the familiar group of girls who seemed older and more womanly each time she visited them. She wondered what the lesson would be this time. From each visit she had returned to her own time profoundly and sagely touched by the what she had seen and experienced. She was not long in finding out.

She felt the presence of a circle of the apparently older women hovering above and around her group. At first it felt like a huge group meditation. Had there been sound it would have been hmmm or aummm. There was a consensus feeling of relaxation and safety which pervaded the entire group for awhile. Then Camille/Zefra began to feel her body begin to morph, changing form and substance and feeling. Af first this was a repetition of her last experience, feeling her body move slowly and subtly from female to male and back again. There was still anticipation and awe as this happened. It had not become passé to anyone. The thought came through the group that they could touch themselves, pleasure themselves as their bodies assumed both female and male characteristics. A wave of passionate thrill swept through the group, similar to sensations Camille had experienced before, but also different, especially when she had the liberty to stroke the length of her male member; this was new and different.

The in-between space as they morphed between male and female returned to the peaceful meditative oneness where they had begun, and then they’d be off again to one side or another of the flow of yin and yang. After some time Zefra noticed that they were not all on the same rhythm. Looking around there were those who were male when she was female and vice versa. Almost immediately she felt attraction for those who were different at the moment. It felt to her like time was slowing down. They were all still morphing but the pace had slackened considerably. She reached out for the closest body to her own, and they began to touch and explore each other. The sensation of being a man touching a woman was new and a little bit crazy to her as was having this strange rigid appendage between her legs radiating its own bodily sensations like a non-stop factory. When those feelings reached a peak beyond which she couldn’t imagine, just at that moment the morphing would begin slowly back into peaceful contemplation and detachment at all levels. Bodily states of being seemed totally arbitrary and a bit strange, particularly given the oscillation between complete identification with the current state one’s bodily self, complete self-absorption in the pleasurable sensations and passionate feelings. Then they would slowly as by magic fade away to nothingness and then after awhile slowly build in the other gender direction.

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Throughout it all an uncanny atmosphere of innocence pervaded the entire group. They felt like children simply playing with new toys. There was also a feeling of the eternal, as if they were indeed doing all of this within a vast cosmic flow of yin and yang. There could only be a building so far on one side of the equation before automatically it began to flow into the other. There was no frustration in this pattern. The longer it went on the more she and the others relaxed into what was happening, playing with their sexual aggression and watching how the quicker and more intense they were with it, the quicker they began to morph in the other direction. They played with the different possibilities as if playing music with one another. They also switched partners with an ease of a well-choreographed dance. And they were literally swimming in air from partner to partner, coupling and uncoupling like mermaids and selkies. Camille marveled at the ongoing sense of safety and innocence. It was so unlike sexual relations in her world, which always felt a little dangerous, forbidden, and/or disapproved of, even in an apparently liberated culture like France. To feel like such playful children, what a gift! And to move with the ease of her favorite sea mammal, an even greater gift.

She had loved the stories of selkies, the women who removed and hid their sealskins to temporarily live on land, but had to return to the sea periodically or die. She remembered Will’s dream of the tantalizing sea creatures who drove him wild with touching and was able now to graphically imagine what that would be like as she and her fellows swam among each other, reaching out and touching and stroking at will. She was in a sea of sensual delight, learning about all the feelings and sensations of men and women, and the innocence pleasure and play when driven by nothing from a world of power trips. She basked in her experience and knowledge enjoying as well her ability to swim like a seal, to be the selkie she had always imagined herself to be. The coupling and uncoupling of all her shemale compatriots and herself happened with a mysterious ease, a new dance they were getting better and better at. They passed into and out of each other’s bodies like ballerinas exchanging arm and leg positions. Because they were swimming in air, not water, their erections did not impede their progress, but did provide targets to touch and stroke in passing.

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Because time was always an extremely malleable dimension in this ancient world, Camille did not know how long she cavorted with her cohorts. It felt endless and eternal until it began to fade. They looked at each other with a small amount of longing but the thought was immediately there that they would get to do this again, and in the meantime they would be in other states of intimacy and even rapture with each other, so not to worry. They all reassumed their female bodies, wrapped themselves in their long skirts and sat in quiet contemplation regarding all that had just happened. Their mentors drifted away, leaving them to experience the oneness of their own circle as it had just played out in so many dynamic ways.

Camille felt very full and at peace. She was struck with how extraordinarily beautiful all of her cohorts were. Sure, they knew each other ever more intimately, which bred such a perception of beauty, but she had just seen all of them morph through an infinity of different forms and images. Throughout she had been awestruck by the beauty of those around her. “They must see me in the same way,” she thought blithely. “But that’s how I see Will and Nina, too. They are always beautiful to me, no matter what. To feel that way toward such a large circle of other beings, that is truly amazing. Perhaps this is what is meant by The Beauty Way.”

 

A Morph in Time

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when

a man stands full, present, and unreactive

in the midst of his woman’s emotional storms.

When he stays present with her, and loves her

through the layers of wildness and closure, 

then she feels his trustability, and she can relax.

                                                               ~Osho

“Tiresias.”

“What?” asked Camille.

“Tiresias is a who not a what,” Nina answered.

Camille had been sharing the events of her latest journey with Will and Nina. They both were silently enthralled as she described in great detail the continuous morphing she had experienced. The interactive coupling, uncoupling and re-coupling was a particularly fascinating dance.

Will had asked, “So you really got to fully engage as a man and as a woman?”

“Yes, completely, and it was like your descriptions of tantra. Each time when I was about to go over the top, the transformation would begin. We all would return to this blissful meditative state before we became the opposite of what we just had been. It was marvelous.”

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“So which was better?” Nina asked.

Camille paused and seemed to go deep in thought. She was remembering her sensations from a few hours ago. After some consideration she responded, “It was definitely different. As a woman I felt with my whole body, and my emotions were very connected. I was falling in love each time. I felt I could wrap my entire being around the man I was with.” She paused.

“And as a man?” Nina pursued.

“It was so different. I had this strange rigid appendage that took center stage. It was all about the penis. It was concentrated there. It was all focused there, and it was so intense. Any other sensations were simply in the background. This hard rod between my legs had its own mind and just wanted what it wanted. I didn’t feel responsive to the woman. I just wanted to penetrate her, to possess her. How can you be so gentle, Will?”

Will smiled and replied, “That’s what tantra is all about, as I see it. It’s a man learning to approach and experience sex more like a woman does, to allow the sensations to spread out over the whole body, to open up the energy centers. It certainly helps if you’re in love.”

It was then that Nina had blurted out, “Tiresias.”

After the initial interchange Camille requested, “Tell me more.”

“Yes, tell her the story,” Will urged.

Nina’s lightning mind and brilliant recall went into gear: “One day Tiresias came upon a pair of copulating snakes. He hit the pair a sharp blow with his stick. Hera was not pleased, either because of his ill behavior toward her sacred snakes or because he had also dishonored sexuality or both. She punished Tiresias by transforming him into a woman. As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married and had children. According to some versions of the tale, Lady Tiresias was even a prostitute of great renown, kind of like those versions of the Magdalene story. After seven years as a woman, Tiresias again came across mating snakes; this time she made sure to leave the snakes alone. Hera then allowed him to resume his life as a man.

“Some time after this Hera and Zeus got into an argument about who gets more enjoyment out of sex. They decided to consult Tiresias because he had lived as both a man and a woman. Hera, whose cleverness included allowing Zeus to believe that men were better at everything including sex, was outraged when Tiresias replied that love gave women ten times more pleasure than men. She punished him by striking him blind, but Zeus rewarded him with the gifts of prophecy and longevity.”

“Wow, how did I never hear this story,” Camille gushed.

“So do you agree?” Nina asked.

“Not exactly. I can see what he means, but I would say it is a trade-off between intensity and being pervasive.”

“What about multiple orgasms?” Will asked.

“Well, there is that. Perhaps there is no trade-off there.”

She looked at Nina who shot her a conspiratorial smile and said, “There’s research to show how much more complex our matrix of nerves is. We have erogenous zones everywhere. As long as we’re relaxed, it’s easy to get turned on and feel it everywhere.”

“If us guys work at it,” Will added, “we still only partially catch up with you.”

“Poor Will,” the women cooed almost in unison.

“It’s really all right,” he grinned back at them. “I think it’s pretty arbitrary which body we end up in in each life. And if I do the tantra right, I get to feel everything you’re feeling, and have the honor of holding you in your wildness and beauty. It’s something like having the whole world in my hands, in my heart, in my soul, in my whole being.”

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“Wow, that’s incredibly beautiful,” Nina picked up the thread, “and the deal about what kind of body we end up in, that’a a whole other question,”

And Camille added, “I have a feeling my journeys will reveal more about that.”

“You know,” Will reflected, “that story about Hera has to be from that transitional period when the Goddess ways were still alive, but a central challenge was how to accommodate the power madness of the new patriarchies, how to be the power behind the throne still honoring the priorities of Goddess while pretending to bow to the macho male military power.”

“Well said, Will,” Camille complimented him.

“Yeah,” Nina added, “even the story of the sacred marriage has to be transitional ritualizing of some accommodation between those same elements.”

“It still feels in some kind of balance at that point.”

“With the impending imbalance just around the corner.

Will rejoined, “Your journeys seem to be from a much earlier time when the balance was implicit and built into everything. It was truly the natural order, and there was nothing fixed about gender or sex, and shape-shifting was a regular part of life almost taken for granted.”

“I think it was respected and taken seriously the way we take electricity seriously. There had to be ways of misusing or getting into trouble.”

“Maybe that came later as well,” Will replied. “History has done an entire 180. Nowadays if your gender or your body parts are not in one category or another, you’re some kind of freak, instead of it being seen as a gift.”

“Look at us,” Nina added. “We’ve received the gift of a ménage å trois that works so well, that truly is a more-than rather than a less-than. I’m sure many people would judge what we’re doing as negative, as somehow being deviant.”

“In America especially,” Will continued. “The sixties and seventies are over. We’re in the backlash now.”

“We cannot worry about these things,” Camille augmented her accent. “We must live our lives as we have been guided, as examples of what can be with faith and love and the expectation of beauty.”

They looked at each other and began kissing each other’s cheeks in concert to a wave of affection that came over all of them. Just them the three kids burst in from outside. “Ooh, mushy,” Kayla exclaimed in mock disapproval. They all laughed and hugged each other.

“So,” Will began, “I keep thinking how much better off we’d be if women ran things. . .And I don’t mean women who’ve become patriarchs themselves, the Margaret Thatchers of the world.”

“What kind of women are you talking about?” Camille teased.

“Women like you, of course. I feel so blessed just to be here with both of you. I’m in awe of the love that just seems to flow naturally from you guys.”

“Don’t build us up too much,” Nina chimed in.

“I want to. I am  so in love with you, with us, and a lot of it comes from just being blessed to be here to be part of the love that flows between you women. I see how you look at each other. It blows me away. It melts everything hard and harsh inside me. You gaze at each other the way you gaze at Sammy. It reminds me of those pictures of Holy Mother and Divine Child we saw in France.It warms my heart. I don’t see guys being able to do that, no matter how hard we try. If we do manage sometimes, it took a lot of hard work. It wasn’t some easy natural flow.”

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“Oh, Will, you provide other things,” Camille cooed.

“I know, but I really want to talk about this. I think it’s important. I know it’s important to me. It’s like when we’re making love, and the two of you look into each other’s eyes with so much love, I’m in awe, and I feel the love building inside of me, but it starts with you guys. I don’t want to over-think this, and I definitely don’t want to make you self-conscious, but I’m so touched when I see that and feel it. You’re so beautiful, and I’m so in love with you, and like I say, I feel so blessed just to be part of this relationship.”

“I never thought about this,” Camille responded, “but I think you’re right. There is a difference. I see it at the park, mothers with their children and fathers with their children. Most women are so comfortable with many ways of expressing love. They are physically close. They are emotionally close. The men can be very interactive, but they are more distant. It’s like their love repertoire is more limited than a woman’s. But I think the difference really starts with biology. Being pregnant, giving birth, having a newborn, we’re awash in these delightful hormones. It’s really like the best drug you’ve ever taken. It shows you something about yourself that you don’t forget.”

“But you guys were like that before Sammy came along.”

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Nina spoke up. “Yes, perhaps we are in some way equipped to open up to this love that feels like it has no beginning and no end. Perhaps the pregnancy hormones are simply one way that we get there, one way that we turn ourselves on to our inborn capabilities, an intensification of what’s there all the time. It’s like you might be a musical genius, but if you never heard music, who would know?”

“So perhaps you are doing something that is somewhat unique for a man in modern times and therefore important.” Camille asked.

“I’m not sure . . . ,” Will began and then stopped as if stumped.

“You hold us,” Nina answered. “We get to do what you describe and other things, because you are holding us. We are safe inside your strength, and you do work at it. It’s the male way. You have to practice to get strong.”

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“She’s right,” Camille continued. “I’ve never felt so safe and so relaxed as I do with you. The connection that Nina and I formed in Paris was marvelous, sweet, romantic, but soon after I came here something inside of me let go that had never let go before. I know what it is. You didn’t want anything from me. I didn’t have to take care of you in some way for things to be all right. You are so accepting of everything we do, everything we are. I just melt inside the circle of your arms.”

Nina picked up the thread. “I felt that from you soon after we met. I was comforted by your presence, happy just to be with you . . . and safe. So many women have been injured by men, we are overjoyed to feel safe and protected by a man’s power, rather than threatened or intimidated. You know the history. It’s part of what you teach. In the natural order of things men take care of things that they’re better at. Women are grateful for the care, the attention, the holding, the protection. We would do almost anything in return.”

“Yes, and when men can do what they do without expectation, without obligation, without strings attached, the love is returned many times over.” Camille rested her hand lightly on Will’s arm and gazed at him adoringly. Nina had moved behind him and circled his chest with her arms.

“You two are the greatest, and I agree with everything you just said. I’m reminded of the story about the inquisition coming into Basque country. Did I tell that story before?”

“Not sure.”

“If you did tell it again.”

“Okay, the inquisition had been terrorizing Europe for many years before the first priests came into Basque country and began rounding up women suspected as witches. As in other places, these were the wives, sisters and daughters of ordinary citizen. Somehow word was sent to the men who were fishing in the ocean. They returned immediately, tracked the priests with their prison wagons and caught up with them. They freed their women, beat the priests soundly and told them if they ever came into their country again, worse things would happen to them. The Basques stood out in their successful resistance of the inquisition. The men protected their women as in few other places.”

Nina had an immediate response. “We look to our men to protect us from greater evils and hope that they will not succumb to the pressure to join other men to merely dominate the world for their own profit.”

“We look to our men to know better and resist those who don’t,” Camille added.

And Will rejoined, “And it is certain eternal feminine values, no, it’s not even values. It’s an essential feminine nature that needs to be cared for, protected, and nurtured. It facilitates love, dignity and beauty for everyone.”

“How do you know this, Will, or how did you learn it?” Camille asked.

Will smiled. “The first time I took mushrooms out in nature back in the sixties, this beautiful feminine being came to me. Now I would say she was clearly Goddess. I felt a warm and powerful radiance from her. It penetrated my body and being. It was like sun-bathing only better. I sat and soaked in her essence for awhile. Afterwards I knew I had been changed, that my feminine side had been awakened. I never forget that and throughout the many mistakes I made over the ensuing years, I knew I had to get back to her. I had other experiences that reinforced that first one and reminded me when it seemed I had all but forgotten. She called me, and she didn’t stop calling.”

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“Sounds like you were shape-shifting,” Camille responded. “You know, we seem to be learning that the separation between women and men is a later development in human history. I’m thinking your role in this is to explore and show that a modern man can find his way back to balance and completeness.”

“I like that. I’ll take that on.” There was an obvious burst of enthusiasm.

Nina changed the subject. “I gotta satisfy my curiosity. How did you get off track?Why all the mistakes, the drinking and bad attitudes?”

“It seemed I had to play out my father’s karma until I could figure my way out of it, until I could figure out how I was supposed to live with Goddess in this crazy modern world. There are so many influences to sort through, to distill what is really truth. For awhile I didn’t have guides or teachers, not even someone like Granny Eva.”

Nina pursued, “So what turned things around for you? What was the turning point?”

“My wife leaving me. I knew I had to be on a very wrong path for that to happen. I had envisioned our family as something permanent and beautiful. I had no one to blame but myself. I knew I needed to get back to the basics I had discovered in the sixties and early seventies, so I did. And then I met you. You were such a pure soul, young and fresh and bright. You were Goddess as maiden. That king in the sacred marriage ceremony, that was me with you. That’s how I felt. You brought out the best in me. I haven’t had any desire to return to those bad old ways.”

Nina exhaled audibly, “I had no idea how powerfully I affected you. I knew something happened between us very quickly, this connection that never went away. Within a few weeks I knew I wanted you in my life.”

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“You were an incarnation of Goddess,” Will repeated. “I was healed, loved, enlightened, enlivened, and I was so grateful  . . . to you and whoever sent you to me. That’s why I’ve never questioned your judgment. When you told me about Camille, all I could say to myself was, ‘If Nina says it’s true, then it’s true.’”

“Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility.”

“Well, was I right, or was I right?”

“You were right and so was Nina,” Camille stated adamantly. “We have a mission together, but first we all needed to be healed from our wounds. You were right to trust Nina, and so was I.”

Will looked at her, feeling all the love in his heart as he did so. “And we were right to trust you and love you. And you are also my priestess and my Goddess.”

They reached out to each other from where each sat. They dissolved into a somewhat misshapen but effective group hug, feeling the love that so easily flowed among them. This love whose center lay somewhere between blissful serenity and delicious passion, they had discovered it with one another and cultivated it ever since.

“I’ve really thought about what we were talking about the other day,” Nina began. “Of course I found you attractive, Will, but absolutely the most important feeling was that you wouldn’t hurt me. Maybe it was familiarity, like you were almost family, but really, I think my intuition told me you were not dangerous.”

Camille continued, “I felt the same thing almost instantly. Of course, Nina had built you up to me as this wonderful strong but gentle man, so I was prepared to have a good opinion of you. Still I had reserved my final judgment. Within two days my reservations were gone.”

“I want to say something about how special you women are. You are not just averagely wonderful women. From the very beginning you accepted me, and I was not feeling so great about myself when I met you, Nina.”

“You’re not a bad person, Will. You’ve undoubtedly done some stupid stuff, but when I met you, you seemed so determined to do things right. I was impressed, and you never betrayed my trust in you.”

“I will second that,” Camille added on. “You have never betrayed my trust. You are who you say you are. I can depend on that. If you make a mistake, you admit it, not like so many men who want you to believe they are perfect and will fight you to prove it.”

Will was not done. “I love the way we work things out. It’s always a question or a request or an invitation. So many couples dissolve into a cesspool of resentments based on disappointed expectations. And I don’t feel resistant to doing things with you or for you. It makes me feel good. The way we all pitch in with the kids. I think all kids should have three or four or five parents.”

“Or more,” Camille added. “It is so artificial the way we are cut up into these nuclear families, cut up and cut off.” She chuckled at being able to manipulate the vicissitudes of the English language to make a point.

There was a lull in the conversation. Will launched a new topic. “I’ve though a lot about your journeys to the ancient world. There’s so much there and apparently more to be revealed. I’ve put together a story in my mind based on everything you’ve told us.”

“Of course you have,” and Camille blew him a kiss.

“Well, let’s hear the story,” Nina feigned being demanding.

“Okay, let’s say that what you are part of when you take these journeys is in fact the Bird Tribes, the first spirit beings to come to earth, and they are travelers, kind of like Star Trek without all the technology, just traveling around and exploring.”

“I like it,” Nina interjected. Camille just gazed at him with rapt loving attention.

He continued. “Their abilities were obviously quite amazing. The education of the young people is where you have come in on the story. But the most striking and important thing to me is that these beings are all female. There has been no male presence until the shape-shifting exercises began, but even there it was females becoming male, not the other way around. The story seems to be that the male was created out of the female based on some observation of a biological existence that the Bird Tribes discovered on earth and were obviously quite fascinated with.”

“Would you say,” Nina asked, “that what you call Bird Tribes, we could just as accurately call spirit beings or angels?”

“I think so. The important thing is that these explorers stumbled across planet earth, and it already had a biological existence that was ongoing. These Bird Tribes were curious people. They had inquiring minds. They looked at what was going on on earth to see if it might give them some new and different experiences. They investigated  and decided to experiment with experiencing some aspects of biological existence, kind of like taking a psychedelic drug.” Both women looked at him somewhat skeptically but said nothing. He continued, “The most important thing, if my interpretation is even somewhat correct, is that there was no gender before the interface with biological existence. And for whatever reason, all the spirit beings appear to have female bodies, at least in the beginning.” The women were smiling and nodding again. “This being we refer to and experience as Goddess, her minions, her angels, were in her image and capable of giving birth to themselves. I suspect at some point in your journeys you will see and experience the process of making little angels, and it will be quite different from biological birthing.”

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“Wow, Will, keep going,” Nina exclaimed.

Camille joined in, “Everything you say feels right.”

“Okay, so now I’m taking a big historical leap. Clearly, in the beginning or in the way back times, everything was either without gender or at least more female than male to our eyes. Thousands of years later, with a whole lot of human history to be filled in, the male-dominated world, the world of the patriarchy, reverses the story so that Eve, the first woman, is created by a male god from Adam’s rib. It is a story designed to establish or reinforce the primacy of the male or the female. It is one hundred and eighty degrees from the truth.”

“So how did we become trapped in biological reality,” Nina asked.

“Hopefully we will find that out. Hopefully Camille will find that out.”

“If that is what they believe we need to know,” Camille added.

“Can we put in requests?” Will asked with a smile.

Peut-etre,” she replied as coyly as she could.

Camille called Cybele, the leader of the dance group, and a lunch meeting was arranged. In the meantime she and Nina played with ideas and envisioned what they would like to portray in a dance. They had both held back from joining the dance group in order to give Will a place that could just be his. Now this exciting new idea had come up in which the three of them embraced. Will didn’t feel at all invaded. He could care less about that. He told them, “I think I’m pretty clear about my role. It’s often true in dance that men seem to have the less active, more supportive role, so just let me know what you want me to do.”

Nina and Camille entertained the possibility that they could jointly dance the Kadesh role. They liked the idea they just weren’t sure how to make it work in a dance. They had both done some dance, but virtually no choreography. Camille proposed, “Let’s just get clear on our concept. Then hopefully Cybele or someone can make it work as a dance.”

Nina agreed, “Yes, that totally makes sense. So here’s what I’m seeing. There’s some kind of throne or dais. It is the holy place of the Kadesh. We are both dressed fittingly for a Priestess Goddess, though we could have very different costumes. We keep offering the seat of honor to each other. One of us might sit for a short time, but then we invite the other. Sometimes we even sit together among the robes and cushions. We could act out intimacy with each other, demonstrating that there is a deep genuine love between us. Eventually one of us would have to withdraw and leave the dais to the other one. But the one who withdraws does not go far. She stands behind the dais with her arms outstretched and her eyes on the sky.”

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“That is fantastic. Did you just come up with that?”

“Some of it, and the other women and men are dancing around us in a kind of outer circle making gestures toward us to clearly make us the focal point.”

“You sure you haven’t done this kind of thing before?”

“Only watching lots of tribal dances in anthropology movies.”

“That must count. I can see it as you’re describing it. So at some point Will enters the dance?”

“Oh yes, I see him, the king, coming in very weak, having to be supported by dancers on either side of him, but who ever remains on the dais at that point welcomes him with open arms. She does not seem to notice his weakness. He is clearly buoyed by her attention and able to come to her, first as a supplicant on his knees, appealing to her. But she welcomes him and draws him to her, making a great fuss over him as if he is the greatest and deserves all honor and glory.”

“Wow, I love it. And then?”

“There are many air caresses as they play out being totally enthralled with each other. Eventually she wraps a long robe around them, and we see only their heads still moving through the motions of loving caresses. I see this lasting as long as it lasts. It could be two minutes. It could be fifteen. Meanwhile the other dancers become more energized, more dynamic, more turned on, more passionate, stronger in their movements. There is a gradual crescendo at the end of which the couple collapses on the dais, and the music sinks to a murmur. Slowly the king comes awake, kisses the Goddess, who is still unconscious, unwraps himself and rises from the dais, emanating all the strength that was formerly weakness. He takes center stage as the music again slowly crescendos, and the other dancers circle around him. He assumes and reassumes stances of strength and benevolent blessing of all the dancers. He is joined by the other Priestess Goddess who comes from behind the dais to stand at his side. He looks down at her with adoration, then kneels at her feet. She raise him up and hugs him fiercely with her head over his heart. He caresses her and kisses the top of her head. He wraps his cape around both of them.”

1dpriestesslovers_P

“Is that it?”

“Yes, I think so, the end, douse the lights, dissolve to clatter of drums and cymbals and then silence.”

“That is marvelous, my darling, beautiful, creative sister.”

“Thank you, it does feel inspired.”

“It feels so perfect. Can you describe it just like that to Cybele?”

“Something like that. Est-il vraiment parfait?”

“Je t’aime quand tu parle français. Oui, est parfait.”

“Seulement quand je parle français.”

Camille gazed at her with a radiance of love. Nina returned her gaze and then spoke softly, “That’s exactly the look Will was talking about.”

“We are so blessed. Nous avons beaucoup de bénédictions.”

So you three are a threesome?” Cybele asked. She was about Camille’s age, thirty-five or so with long blond hair and tan skin, a contrast to the dark-haired beauties that sat with her. She could easily have been the Southern California beach poster child.

“Yes, we are,” Nina declared forthrightly.

Oui, une ménage å trois,” Camille answered with a smile.

“That’s wonderful,” Cybele exclaimed. “I mean, is it?”

“Yes, quite,” Nina replied as she as she took Camille’s hand and looked at her with love.

Oui, c’est merveilleux,” Camille stated softly.

Cybele paused, taking in what she had just heard. Then she continued. “There was something Will said. He referred to you as his special friends, but his feelings were unmistakable.”

“Yes,” Nina replied, “there’s not much dissembling with Will.”

“Well, I’m really happy that you’re here and we’re talking about a ceremonial dance, and all of you want to be part of it. Is that right?”

“Yes,” Nina replied, “and we have some ideas.”

“That’s fantastic. Let’s hear them.”

Nina outlined what she had initially explored with Camille. She was able to recapitulate their conversation almost verbatim. When she finished, Camille looked at her with amazement and said, “You’re memory blows me away. Such precision! School must have always come easy for you.”

“I guess it did. I really didn’t understand why others weren’t as good at it as I was. I wanted them to be. I didn’t really get that till I got to college.”

Cybele jumped in. “I love your ideas. It was a vision listening to you, and I saw some other things as well.”

“Nina came up with all that in a conversation with me.”

“You’re a natural,” Cybele said to Nina.

“Natural what?”

“A natural choreographer; you can see the dance in your mind.”

“That’s true. I can.”

“Okay, if I may add to your vision?”

“Absolutely.”

“Okay, I would really like to include the three part Goddess. Here’s what I see. The dance begins with the two of you dancing as lovers. We’ll make it very intimate and very equal. Who leads; who follows; who knows?” She laughed. “You’ve done dance before?”

Spring to Summer; Morgans of Water

“Some.”

“Some.”

“Great! Just so you’re not total beginners. So we’ll work to together to create this dance for the two of you that really portrays your love for each other. The group will already be dancing around you and obviously tuned in and sending you energy and good wishes. There will also be a crone. We have an elder woman who dances with us. She has long white hair. She will make her own outer circle, sometimes doing a traditional Plains Indian two step, sometimes dancing with her arms extended as if she is describing a circle around all the other dancers.

“Will will be brought to the dance on some kind of wheeled conveyance swaddled in cloth. Camille will be sitting to one side of the stage. (I’m going to say stage even though we’ll probably be outside in our ceremonial ring) The four dancers will take him off of the wagon and lay him so his head is in her lap. She will cradle him like mother and newborn, holding him to her breast and acting out the Mother Goddess. Gradually he will stir beneath his swaddling. Camille will gradually unwind him, so he can move about. He will crawl on hands and knees to the dais where Nina awaits him and sit in front of her in prayer position as a supplicant. He goes through all the motions of petitioning her attention, her grace. Eventually she rises from the dais raises him up to her, and they dance as you described. He definitely isn’t at full strength. You guide him and support him as he gets somewhat stronger. Then you lead him back to the dais where the other dancers loosely wrap you up together as you described. You have your time of intimate connection while the others dance slowly around you gradually increasing their pace toward a crescendo or climax.

“The crone begins behind the dais and the mother in front. They slowly circle with their arms extended. Their pace never increases, as if they are providing a protective inner circle for the holy royal lovers. Will and Nina will signal the end of this phase by throwing their hands in the air. Then the dancers will unwind them from the bolt of cloth, and the dance proceeds pretty much as you described, Nina. What do you think?”

She looked from one to the other and back again. “I think we’re a great team,” Nina replied.

“I love it. It just feels right,” Camille responded.

“Okay, that’s our rough draft. We’ll keep refining it. We have as much time as we want, and you three can practice some of your parts together. This feels really good.”

The three women sat and sipped tea and got to know each other on the more mundane levels. Cybele was also the mother of one child, a few years older than Sammy, and she had grown up in a Southern California beach community. She had more questions about the ménage å trois. She posed them as discreetly as she could, but clearly was more than averagely curious. Nina and Camille, each in her own way, expressed the love that flowed among the threesome, the embrace of all the children, and the strange fact that it usually felt so equal among them. No one was the lead. No dyad took precedence over another dyad. If they had a model, it was inclusiveness, and they found themselves strangely and wonderfully able to live by that.

 

Cooperation

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.          ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

A letter arrived from Nan and said in part, “ Ordinarily I would just call you, but I wanted to pass along what I have enclosed. One of our newer members of the cooperative passed it out at a meeting. I don’t yet know if he is Hopi or if this is simply something that came into his possession. It seems like a lovely set of guidelines, similar but different from the Mondragon principles. Hope you find it as striking as I did. Also I don’t know how ancient this might be. You know how it is with oral tradition that eventually gets written down. Anyhow our new friend here said we’re welcome to use it any way we choose, but it would be respectful to always attribute the Hopis as the source. Hope you all are doing swimmingly well. You say you miss the Southwest. I miss California. We both need to travel more.” The traditional values and vision of a Hopi came on a single sheet of paper which read as follows:

A Hopi…..is one whose lifetime quest is to gain strength and wisdom through prayer, education and experience; to acquire a practical & spiritual understanding of life in general and to acquire the ability to address life’s circumstances and community needs from an eagle’s viewpoint with a caring attitude & humility;

A Hopi….is one who fulfills the meaning of Kyavtsi by maintaining the highest degree of respect for and obedience to moral standards & ethics, so as not to knowingly abuse, alter or oppose the progressive order and cycle of nature and the  sacred manifestations of the creator’s teachings;

A Hopi….is one who fulfills the meaning of Sumi’nangwa  and will come together to do activities for the benefit of all, out of a compelling desire and commitment to contribute or return something of value or benefit to the society;

A Hopi….is one who fulfills the meaning of Nami’nangwa  by helping one another or give aid in times of need, without having to be asked to do so and without expecting compensation for the deed;

A Hopi….is one who fulfills the meaning of Hita’nangwa by having the initiative to take care of something without having to be instructed, asked or reminded  regardless if anyone will notice your effort but that it will make a difference;

A Hopi….is one who places the society’s and/or community’s interests and benefits ahead of individual and personal interests and gains;

A Hopi…is one who understands that to realize a dream, one must not only pray for his or her desires, but must make a sincere commitment and work diligently to pursue the dream or goal until it is achieved;

A Hopi….is one who understands that the creator has provided all the necessary resources needed by all living beings to co-exist here, including the means by which the human race can achieve a happy, healthy and self-sustaining life; 

A Hopi….is one who understands that the greatest feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment is one’s participation in social and community functions or activities and knowing that your contributions have resulted in benefits to the community and people.

Nina thought, “No wonder the cooperative movement is going so well in the Southwest. If this is their basic background, I didn’t bring them anything new other than the means to apply the principles in the modern world.”

Later that evening when Will was home from school and Sammy was in bed, Nina showed the other two what she had received from Nan. After they’d both read it she shared her reflections about Mondragon, “I think Mondragon’s striking achievement has been to formulate a cooperative economic model within the capitalist system that successfully competes with more stereotypic capitalist corporations.”

“That’s right,” Will jumped in immediately. I’ve been looking at what went on in the region that led up to the Spanish Civil War. Apparently workers had taken over factories and peasants had taken over the great landed estates and were running them on a cooperative model, but they had violated the sacred cow of private property. It seems whenever so-called private property is confiscated, there is a backlash and often bloody warfare. In Russia and China the Communists won the civil war but the bloodshed was enormous. In Spain the forces of the old order prevailed with Franco as the leader, but likewise the bloodshed was enormous. At least half a million were killed in the Spanish Civil War and the socialistic or cooperative experiments were wiped out.

“Mondragon was built on the knowledge of the failed experiments that had gone before, so it was designed to work within the existing system, and it obviously has. No seizing of power or property, no revolution, they simply created their own wealth and power to compete in the existing economy. They’ve done it without bloodshed. They’ve done it without incurring the wrath of the old order. They’ve done it without the brutal dictatorships of Russia and China that felt they had to murder a portion of their own population just to secure their power and maintain order.”

When Will took a breath and paused, Nina replied, “Wow, you have been looking into the history. I guess I never really got what the underpinnings of the Spanish Civil War were.”

“Yeah, the Republic was too radical for the Western democracies, whereas Franco fit perfectly with Hitler and Mussolini. Only the Soviet Union supported the Republic even though it was a legally elected government. And, you know, support from the Soviet Union was like the kiss of death.”

“At least,” Camille added, “Mondragon could not be declared heretics and burned to death like the Cathars.”

“Yeah,” Nina commented, “I guess we have made some progress over the centuries.”

“So this came just in time for your meeting,” Will remarked.

“Yeah, I think I’ll pass it out. I want to establish a clear foundation. What’s less clear is what kind of business the group here might engage in. That came so easy in New Mexico.”

“Hopefully that will emerge from the group,” Camille suggested. “These women don’t seem to lack substance.”

There were eight women assembled in addition to Nina and Camille. There was a buzz of excitement in the room sparked by the idea that these very women might own and operate their own business and not be trapped in meaningless jobs merely to make a living. The hostess offered up a variety of teas and refreshments. When everyone was more or less settled in, all eyes turned to Nina. She had no prepared statement, but rather just began talking about how her own ideas had evolved from an interest in utopian experiments most of which had not sustained themselves. Then she had stumbled across Mondragon which had not only lasted for thirty years but continued to grow and thrive and diversify. Beginning with a nucleus of six individuals in the beginning,t the owner-workers now numbered in the hundreds of thousands with dozens of different business ventures ranging from manufacturing to education to banking. She talked briefly about what was going on in New Mexico focusing on how the group there decided what kind of business to launch, that their decision was based on a local needs assessment and what the original members thought they were capable of doing. “That,” she said, “could prove to be very different for this group in this area. So I would like this to be a wide-open brainstorming session. Perhaps someone can take notes. Let’s just throw some ideas out there, and there are no stupid ideas when you’re brainstorming. Whatever occurs to you could be the seed of genius.”

The women did not hold back. Soon ideas were flying around the room.

“We could sell sex toys.” That brought laughter to the room and further loosened the atmosphere.

“I’d like to produce something as well as selling it.”

“What does our local community need?”

“Could we do environmentally sensitive construction like the folks in New Mexico?”

“I like it, a women’s construction company.”

“Might be a hard sell.”

“What else might put us on the social/environmental cutting edge?”

“What about food?”

“We could do an all organic restaurant with a strong vegetarian flavor.”

“Yeah, buy only from local small farmers.”

“We could grow the food too.”

“Do we have a land base?”

“Can we provide a model that could be followed by other women in other areas?”

“Food, clothing and shelter, those are the universals.”

“And sex,” brought more laughter.

“Mondragon started by manufacturing washing machines, but they already had some background in manufacturing.”

“Everybody needs washing machines.”

“I used to work in a bakery.”

“That might be a niche. Suppose we became the organic bread queens of Northern California?”

“We could do pastries.”

“Cheesecake,” one woman exclaimed with lust in her voice, which elicited another round of laughter.

“Is baking too traditionally women’s work?”

“Who cares?”

“Not really, not at the commercial level.”

“Maybe we could be the bread queens and the cheesecake queens.”

“Maybe we could produce shopping bags, you know, get people away from throwaway bags.”

“We want to be avant-garde without being so far ahead that nobody’s interested in our product.”

“Maybe do several things, ones we know there’s a market for and some we might have to promote or create a market.”

“That makes sense; be conservative and radical at the same time.”

The ferment in the room bubbled and flowed for more than an hour as a host of ideas popped up. Some seemed to have immediate resonance with a desire among the group to further explore them. By the end of the evening two working groups had formed, one to explore the bakery concept, the other to look into producing bags. That idea had expanded into the possibilities of artistic decoration, various styles of bags, a short discussion of all different kinds of bags.

Nina was extremely pleased with the enthusiasm of the women. She felt optimistic that they might be the nucleus to launch some form of cooperative corporation in California. It sounded like it might be quite different from the one in New Mexico. The question of whether, when, and how to include men came up but was tabled as not the most pressing issue. There was a strong feeling that whatever they did they did not want to give away their power one more time. One woman had summarized the issue by saying, “When we get to that point, we’ll probably need a good lawyer to explore what we can and can’t do under the law, or how we would want to structure things so that at the very least we remain woman-run and woman-oriented.”

The excitement level was high enough that they did not want to wait a month to meet again, but the subgroups needed time to meet and do their research so they set a regular meeting time for each month. Hugs and cheek kisses were exchanged and they parted on a definite high.

Often Will came home from school and took Sammy to the closest park, which they could walk to. He could easily spend a couple of hours following Sammy around as he investigated in detail everything that came in his pathway. Will let him explore, just staying close enough to keep him away from anything truly dangerous. Sometimes other people’s dogs were a challenge, and Sammy had to be discouraged from eating sand. They utilized the play equipment. Sammy loved to swing in the kiddie swing that he couldn’t fall out of. With Will’s reassuring hands in contact with him he squealed delightedly sliding downhill just fast enough or maybe slightly too fast. Sammy’s mothers got a break and the two males of the house generally arrived home just in time for dinner.

When the whole family was together, their favorite activity was the beach. Will had taken the girls to the same safely protected beach since Sabrina was Sammy’s age. The worst that could happen was someone might fall down in the cold water. Once again Sammy could explore to his heart’s content and everyone else took turns accompanying him. Sammy liked to chase after the shorebirds. He clapped his hands and whooped when they flew away. They never flew far so he could do it all over again. The plovers scurried away with their legs looking as fast as hummingbird wings. If they couldn’t outrun they a short distance together and continue patrolling the beach right at the edge of the waves for marine invertebrates. Their groups kept together as did the sandpipers and the gulls.

The girls prevailed on Will to build sandcastles. He had a way of dripping wet sand and create towers as much as three feet high before they would partially collapse of their own weight. They dug channels to create moats around their towers. Nina brought the more traditional castle building tools, buckets of various sizes both square and round. She shaped the substructure of an elaborate castle complex while Will concentrated on his towers to the sky. The girls and Camille joined both processes, and Sammy occasionally walked through everything like the bull in the china shop. Then someone would whisk him away for awhile so the others could concentrate on their serious construction project.

The ease with which the three adults conducted their lives with each other spilled over into the children. Lacking any serious conflict or tension in the household they thrived and had every opportunity to explore their interests; athletic, artistic or even academic.

At one point Will followed Sammy following the birds down the beach. The girls tagged along. Camille turned to Nina with a sudden serious reflection. “This is one of those in between places.”

1dyinyabgdance_P

“Go on.”

“Where things turn into other things.”

“Okay.”

“It feels like I feel when I’m on my journeys, when I’m making the transition from here to there. It feels like I’m passing through some edge, some boundary, where sights and sounds and feelings gradually transform. But when you’re in the middle of the transformation it’s very special, like here.”

“How like here?”

“This is where water meets earth or earth meets water. When we stand in the waves, are we on land or in the water?”

“Good question.”

“It’s kind of both. They’re mixing together. Any spot you stand in is more water one minute, more land the next. You’re always in transition.”

“Okay, I’m getting it now. You know in Celtic traditions edges, places where things are indistinct and might become something or might become something else, such places are revered and approached with caution, but also with excitement and expectation. Avalon was always hidden behind a thick mist that you had to pass through on a special boat in order to get there.”

1dtreepeople_P

“I love the fog. It always feels magical, and I expect something really fantastic to appear out of it at any moment.”

“We might get some fog tonight. See that bank way off shore?”

“You call it a bank of fog, like the bank of a river.”

“Yes.”

“Not a bank with money in it.”

“No.”

“Different words en Français.”

“You haven’t been on a journey for awhile. Do you have any advanced warning that you’re about to go?

“Usually, no. It happens in the dark of night when everything is most still and our part of the world is asleep. I  sometimes feel like I’m ready for the next chapter. Maybe you feel I’m ready for the next chapter.”

“That’s it. I’m so tuned in. I know it’s time,” she said with an ironic smile.

“Anything’s possible.”

“I wonder if anyone else will travel with you, ever.”

Oui, qui sait? Who knows?”

Sammy ran up and ran full force into the sitting Camille. She went with his power falling backward with her arms around him. Then she blew wet splurples on his neck and checks, and he giggled and waved his arms as if to escape the tickling sensation. Everyone laughed along with the show. Kayla tickled him in his ribs. Then a mass tickle-fest commenced. Everyone tickled and got tickled. Everyone collapsed on the blanket at one time or another in the general upheaval.

Camille was beginning to have questions about her journeys. Everything she was  shown made her wonder about all that she didn’t yet know. She knew that what she’d seen and experienced thus far was a vignette within a much larger picture that she knew almost nothing about. Her experiences had been provocative, intriguing, and ecstatic at times, but she was a young person experiencing all of it. She was increasingly curious about where the adults were and what were they doing. There was very much a sense that she was in a type of school or training program for young girls, and she was learning a lot, but who was running the school and to what purpose.

Several days after the beach trip she came awake in the early morning time and almost immediately felt herself beginning to travel through time and space. She found herself with the same group of girls/women. After her last journey she wasn’t sure what to call them or herself when she was there, perhaps simply beings. She came into the more or less familiar body she merged with in the other world. Rather immediately she and another “girl” were in an embrace together, and then the blurring of all standard definitions began again. They were positioned in the classic yab-yum posture of tantra. They were, however, conjoined female and male.

1dmarrysacred_

At first she felt the familiar sensation of a male member inside of her. As she was relaxing into it and feeling waves of pleasures building inside of her being, she could also feel a distinct flow between the two beings. Gradually the distinction of which she was, who she was, totally evaporated. She was a two-in one body/being with a flow of pleasure or bliss bordering on the ecstatic but never quite tipping over the top. The swirls of energy streamed through the conjoined being without regard to previous body/being boundaries. As an energy being they were truly one, one field, one circuit, one in all ways. Camille could vaguely distinguish thoughts or feelings or impressions that were new to her, personal memories that were not her own. These were way in the background, almost unconscious. What was in the foreground was and eternal now, an unending cascade, like multiple mobius strips surging through this one being that was only individually distinguished by having some female and male parts. That too slowly shifted. For awhile she was the female, then the male, then back again. The circulation of energy was uninterrupted as these gender transformations ensued.

A small part of her mind reflected that this experience was somehow qualitatively different from her last one in this place. This time they never moved from what was essentially a posture of mutual meditation. The sensation of oneness was quite profound and quite wonderful. She felt unhurried. She felt could remain as she was for a long time blissful time, perhaps forever. She went more deeply into the oneness wherein there were few if any other thoughts or impressions, simply one unbroken continuum of peaceful rapture. When another awareness began to intrude, she had no idea of time, no sense of how long she relaxed into this apparent state of samadhi. There only a sense of having being there for eternity or perhaps only for a brief but complete moment. It did not matter. She knew she would carry this rhapsody with her forever. It was now imperishably part of her being.

1dShakti2_PE

As she reflected on what had just happened she could feel her self moving again, floating, drifting through space. Below her she saw a circle of women. They were clearly adult women sitting together in a circle, knees almost touching, dressed as always in long loose skirts. Their breasts were proudly displayed as they all sat in exaggeratedly erect postures. They appeared to be meditating. Camille slowly descended into the being of one of these women. The feelings of bliss she had so recently come out of returned to her. She noted that the flow of energy in this circle had no discontinuities in it. These thirteen were in as deep a state of oneness as she had just been with only one other. She was able to relax into this new circumstance. Again all other thoughts and impressions disappeared to be replaced by a now almost familiar sense of blissful oneness. Then that awareness also disappeared, and she was simply in it, unabashedly and without reflection.

1dgoddesswatches

When some awareness returned to her, she could feel oneness of consciousness among the entire circle. They were visualizing or seeing together. What they were seeing was the group of girls that Camille had so recently been a part of. Then she realized that they were projecting their consciousness into that other group. They were, in fact, creating or co-creating the experience of the “trainees”. Certainly it was all being carefully guided and held by these more mature beings. This had to be part of the cultural training program. Ever so slowly she could feel her current group withdrawing their collective energy from the group of youngers. Then they were simply sitting together in their own circle for awhile before another transformation began to take place. Camille could feel herself and all the others in the circle aging ever so slowly but noticeably. Her energy being took on all the aspects of aging in a physical body. Things got looser and even felt like they were sagging. So odd to feel so physical in this place where everyone had the appearance familiar physical form but were composed of energy and light.

Now she felt herself in a very old physical body, barely able to maintain her sitting position. Then she felt the energy leave her body and her whole composition as an entity begin to dissolve into random energy patterns. Just as she was about to lose any sense of personal awareness she noticed a girl emerging from the center her decomposing light particles. The energy was defining this new being with edges and boundaries and a sense of selfhood. She could feel her own sense of soul, that entity that she distinguished as Camille, was now flowing into this young girl, who seemed about six, if she had to assign an age based on her physical appearance. This young girl took the place of her ancient self sitting in the circle with other such young girls. After a time she could feel herself maturing. At a certain point she begin to grow breasts. What a strange sensation to have this happen in a time frame where she could actually feel the process of growth and development.

1dmotherbornof_P

Again there was no way to distinguish an objective time frame, but slowly she again passed through all the stages of life and development, again disintegrated and reintegrated as a younger, smaller self. This time the progression stopped when she and the other women reached the approximate maturity that they were when this transformational process had begun. She could feel that her visit in this world was coming to a close for this time. Indeed she could feel herself rising out of the beautiful being she had just inhabited, drifting and floating through time and space. She vaguely reflected on what kind of boundaries actually existed between her and the two other beings that she had merged with. Did they just welcome her in, allow the merging to take place and then bid her goodbye at a certain point? She definitely felt that they had incredible power to reformulate time and space in ways far beyond anything known in the modern world. They felt like Creators. Thus far she had seen and experienced only a very small piece of the Creation.

1dmotherschild_

When she found herself once again in the king-sized bed she shared with Nina and Will, a broad smile crept across her face. She thought, “Some questions were answered, but of course the answers breed further questions.” The phrase came to mind, “They were like Gods.” She couldn’t place it, but it definitely sounded familiar. She knew she’d heard it or read it somewhere. These beings of the other world, which she felt herself more and more a part of, they were Bird Tribes but so much more. She wondered if she and Nina and Will could morph and transform and feel that total blissful sense of oneness that lingered in her consciousness as she reemerged in her modern world in Northern California. “Perhaps,” she thought. “All we can do is try.” Her love for her two partners came over her like a sudden wave. She wanted to hug them both and tell them how much she loved them and how blessed she felt, but it was quite early yet. She didn’t want to wake them so she simply gazed at them as they slept, which only intensified the love she was feeling. She felt like the most blessed and beatified being she could imagine, the very incarnation of Lady Fortune, no, she saw an image in her mind’s eye. She was a Magick Faerie of Fortune, comet trails of light streaming from her Wand of Creation.

1dfairangel_P

“Wow” she thought, “where did that come from?” And then, “Silly question. Now I kind of know where such things come from. But, of course, each revealed mystery leaves so much more unrevealed, but that’s what the journey is about, to keep discovering and to know there is always more to discover. How exciting!”

In the Beginning

In the beginning was the big mama.

From her moon-breasts flowed the milky way,

the stars and planets, streams, rivers and oceans,

all that ebbs and flows, all that expands and contracts,

returning always to mama’s breast.

                                                      ~Patricia Lynn Reilly

When she shared her latest journey with Will and Nina, they both responded with a lot of fervor. Nina began, “The more I listen to your experiences, the more I think about all the stories, myths, legends, and gospels, which reference some kind of lost paradise, whether it’s called Eden or Zion or Jerusalem or Valhalla or the Golden Age. I really think that’s where you’re going. You’re actually seeing and experiencing what was and what was lost to us not in some symbolic or metaphoric or derivative story, but this is it; this is the way it was.”

“Yeah,” Will continued, “when you listen to all the hymns and gospel songs, there’s this theme of what’s been lost, but what we’ll return to someday. I have the same feeling. You’ve gone there. This is the lost nirvana. Of course, thus far there is no answer to the question, ‘how did we get from there to here?’ That’s where most of the arguments begin.”

“Are you talking,” Camille asked, “about some kind of Fall?”

“That’s the Christian term, for sure.”

Nina picked up the theme. “Many cultures have a story of a slow devolution from the high spiritual state. The Hindu story of the four great ages from greater light to greater darkness. The Mayan calendar, same theme, things slowly disintegrate over thousands of years culminating in an end point and the dawn of a new age of great light. It’s cyclic, not progress, quite the opposite.”

“Yeah, more like a holding pattern,” Will chimed in. “Just trying to hold on while things fall apart in super slow motion. No wonder systems like Buddhism so emphasize no attachments, no expectations. Affirm the oneness, expect nothing more, also nothing less.”

1dbuddhatree_PEs

“Suppose Buddha saw what I’m seeing when he sat under the Bo tree and became enlightened. I felt like meditation, the meditation I experienced on this last journey, is the primal state of being. That’s where we came from, an experience of total oneness, that is always there. I can drift in and out of identifying with that awareness, but it is always there, and I’m always part of it. It felt like making formal contact with that core reality was a central practice or life-way of these people, of my people.”

“You’re starting to identify, aren’t you?” Nina asked.

“That I’m one of them or part of them. Yes, I am. The sense of connection when I’m there, it takes me over. It becomes me. I become it. It became more than connection this last time. It was immersion, as if each time that I’m there, I’m experiencing a baptism, you know, the real baptism, and each baptism is a more profound initiation than the last. I was totally in the Holy Spirit, and it was in me. There was no separation, and yet I am free. It’s not like I’m trapped in anything. I’m still me.”

“it’s both and not either or,” Will offered.

“Yes, that’s it. And I’m totally convince that what are called scriptures in our civilization are all horrible corruptions. They are the opposite of truth. In the beginning was Goddess. She gave birth to everything including the Gods. It was the warrior men, the killers, the enslavers, who made the Supreme Being into a man and made woman an afterthought created out of Adam’s rib.”

“Yeah, what a crock,” Nina picked up the refrain, “and then she became the corrupter of all mankind single-handedly with her wrongdoing plunging us all into the Fall.”

“Yes, the perpetrator of original sin,” Will continued. “The original sin was all those violent men abusing women, abusing the earth and abusing each other. No child of Goddess would ever do such things. But how did that happen? How did this group of tribes get so off track?”

“I think,” Nina answered, “that no one in those early times, those Goddess times, would even have been able to contemplate harm to another. The attunement was so complete that any pain caused to another would immediately come back on the perpetrator. Some terrible trauma must have happened to those tribes who became killers.”

“Perhaps they forgot to practice.” Will and Nina waited expectantly as Camille formed her thoughts. “It was like a virus, the fascination with blood-lust thrill. What I’ve been experiencing and observing is a human community that if they need to eat at all, they eat of the fruits and nuts and leafy plants that can easily be grown. They don’t keep animals for any purpose. They don’t eat animals. They don’t make animals work for them. The only animal contact was our observation of the hairy apes and the way they soothed each other with sexual and sensual stimulation. So animals existed, but there wasn’t any interaction with them.”

“Maybe that’s it,” Will interjected. “It had something to do with animals.”

“What about a natural disaster, some kind of cataclysmic event?” Nina offered.

“Our problem,” Will continued, “is we’re getting a picture of how things were in the beginning, and we know the last five thousand years of violent history. We have some idea of what immediately preceded that five thousand years, but there’s a whole lot of time and transformation we know almost nothing about.”

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“We know,” Nina added, “that the patriarchal killers made horses their allies in war. That’s just so twisted. When you’ve had the relationship with horses that is so full of mutual affection and spirit, I can’t imagine turning a horse into a warhorse.”

“Hopefully Camille will continue to journey and bring back some of what we’re looking for.”

Camille replied, “I have the feeling I’m being shown exactly what they want to show me. To what purpose, I don’t know, but it is going deeper each time that I journey.”

“Do you think,” Nina asked, “that shamans have always been able to make contact with these other layers of our existence, but mostly they just saw and experienced only what they needed to see and experience for their purpose at the time, healing, soul retrieval, comforting souls on their journey after death, scrying where the animals are that the tribe wants to hunt.”

“We only know of Buddha going so far into the other world that he came back in an unshakeable state of oneness, and we still have that as a model. Perhaps there were others in the mountains of China and India and South America. They didn’t come back with the mission to teach about their experiences the way Buddha did.” Camille’s last statement plunged the group into a contemplative silence for awhile.

Will broke the silence. “The Tibetans were one of the last cultures, living in the ancient ways, to be overrun by the patriarchal imperialists.”

After a pause Nina continued, “We’re still left with the conundrum, why. Why did all this destruction have to happen?”

“Do you think it’s really as the Buddha says, our suffering is directly related to our attachment to the material world?”

“I don’t want to believe that all of our attachments are bad.”

“Suppose that the lesson is always pointing us toward some greater reality, some greater truth, like that story you told us about the Hopis coming into the Fourth World and the Creator welcoming them into this new world with one provision, that they had to accept death as part of the bargain. Then he showed them that death is not any kind of final end. The body dies but our existence continues in another world. No one wants to lose a loved one, but if we were able to actively maintain connection to affirm in a very tangible way the oneness of our existence then the suffering of a loved one’s death would be softened.”

“Yes,” Camille , “if we could try to pass between the worlds as easily as those Bird Tribes you told us about, there would be no problem. And what did you say happened to them. They became to embroiled in this world to such an extent that they began to lose their ability to pass between the worlds.”

“Yeah,” Nina asked, “what could be so compelling that a person would get so caught up in the machinations of this world, that they would forget about the other world and forget how to go there?”

“That’s the key question.”Will responded. “You know how easily love can become possessiveness?”

“Oh, I know,” Camille blurted quickly.

“Oh, sorry,” Will’s professorial tone softened as he reached out to Camille. Camille took a hand from each of them and spoke softly, “I’m okay. Keep going.”

“Crimes of passion really have to do with attachment masquerading as love. The eternal justification, ‘I’m only doing this because I care for you.’ So many crimes done in the name of love.”

“And religion,” Nina added. Both her partners nodded vigorously.

“But what started the downward spiral?” Camille was trembling. Nina and Will moved closer to her and wrapped her in a double embrace.

Will spoke softly. “The Bird Tribes guy says it started with fear.”

“Fear of what?” Camille blubbered. She had given into her tears with the comforting support of her beloveds.

“He says it was fear that there wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough to go around. There wasn’t enough for everyone.  So began the need to hoard, to compete for the stuff, the goods, the spoils. Thus began blockages of the flow.”

“Yeah,” Nina jumped in excitedly, “the aborigines don’t save up for tomorrow. They trust every day that they’ll find enough food, enough water and anything else they need. That’s some kind of ultimate faith.”

Oui, that is Jesus saying, ‘Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not.’ Civilization is like one vast insurance policy that could be summed up as, ‘Oh, ye of little faith’.”

Nina took up the refrain again, “Each form of insurance serves to make life that much more precarious. Look at nuclear power, a cataclysmic accident waiting to happen, for what? So we’ll have enough electricity. What a crock!”

“So when did the Bird Tribes, or we could call them the ancient human beings, pick up the primitive survival mechanisms, because there’s no evidence of that being a part of the mix with the people you’re hanging out with, right?”

Oui, c’est vrai.” Her sobbing had subsided, but tears still trickled down her cheeks.

“So,” Nina declared, “suppose there was some rather large-scale natural disaster. Instead of it being seen and experienced as a temporary condition, part of the ongoing cycle, a few days of hunger and other deprivation had some people feeling desperate. When such people ran into other such people there was contention instead of the age-old cooperation. The contention itself further impeded the flow of natural bounty. The experience of scarcity, of being cast out of the garden, began to predominate the consciousness of those in that area. We know how wars, once begun, tend to escalate. Before long, a different consciousness was prevailing. Once that happened it was increasingly difficult to assert the ancient ways. The dialogue shifted to the question, ‘Which side are you on?’ All the conflict and violence served to create more scarcity, and we were off and running toward where we are now.”

“Yes,” Will continued, “with millions going to bed hungry every night while a small minority live in opulence.” He turned to Camille and asked, “Do you want to talk about what happened?”

“With my beloveds? Oui, I think I’m ready. I have much more insight into what happens inside of me, but it doesn’t stop it from happening. At the most unusual times these feelings will just take me over. It’s fear. It’s hurt. It’s sorrow, regret, anger.  Crying feels the best. I don’t think I’ll ever get over what happened to me. I’m not paralyzed like I used to be. With you guys I can just cry, and then it’s over, and I’m okay until the next time. It so catches me off guard and seems so out of proportion. You know, it’s so many years later.”

Nina spoke with great empathy, “You were grossly violated by someone you loved and trusted. I don’t think we ever fully get over something like that. The only thing that could have made it worse was if you were a child.”

“I felt like a helpless child, and I felt so worthless. That was what he communicated to me. I was worthless. I counted for nothing. He said things like ‘worthless piece of shit’, but it was the hate I felt from him and the blind violent rage. How easily my life could have been over. Just that one incident rearranged my feelings and attitudes, my trust, especially of men, how I felt walking down the street. . .So when we talk about what happened to the ancient ones, I think how easy it is to get blown off course, one traumatic incident, and you’re a different person. Before that incident I never thought of physically attacking another person. Since then that impulse has come up quite spontaneously. I’ve never acted on it, but it’s disturbing to feel it.”

Will and Nina continued to hold Camille and press their lips agains either cheek. Camille relaxed and let in their love. They whispered endearments into either ear. She smiled and felt the warmth of their love for her. She spoke barely above a whisper, “You guys are the greatest. You are my healing. You’re always with me, always. I’ll never forget that. It makes everything all right. It makes everything possible.”

“For me as well.”

“And me.”

Camille tended to feel extra-vulnerable and super-sensitive after a triggering of her traumatic memories. She found herself over the next few days easily drifting back into very vivid memories of her last journey to her other world. The sensations were extremely pleasant, peaceful and nurturing. She felt herself in some way being held, perhaps in the arms of Goddess though it didn’t manifest that specifically. She recognized that as her own feeling or perhaps desire. She didn’t resist the desire, but went with it. She cycled through multiple images of a nurturing Mother Goddess holding her, enclosing her within a protective aura of divine bliss. She was totally at peace during these episodes. One happened while Sammy slept in her arms on their big family bed.

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For some reason upon coming out of these semi-trance states, she would reference her traumatic memories, the violent assault by the man who had been her lover. Each time she felt less fearful, less attached to the negative images, as if they were slowly drifting farther away from her core. “Another unforeseen consequence,” she smiled to herself. She knew she was receiving a healing. She wondered if other trauma survivors could be similarly healed. She also knew that it wasn’t simply her journeys to the other world. It was the ongoing support of living in a family that consistently held her to their bosom. The whole family was a nurturing mother. . .and nurturing father. She smiled again thinking about what a unique man Will was in her entire experience of men. He did not lack in manliness, strength or even the ability to be one of the boys, but he was such a gentle soul especially with her and Nina and the kids. He had a knack for filling in the blanks, doing whatever needed to be done that others hadn’t gotten to. And he cared so deeply; that was the best thing of all. Camille never doubted his love for her or for Nina. They both lived in an aura of his adoration for them, and that wasn’t too strong a word. He often told them how lucky he felt to be their man.

So Camille continued to drift back into an awareness of the other world without leaving this one, and the healing continued. The feeling that she might physically attack someone dissipated the more time she spent cradled in the arms of Goddess. She noted herself being less stirred up at the core. She was less reactive to whatever life was throwing her way. The phrase, “Go with the flow,” actually began to make some sense to her. “I’m becoming a person-between-the-worlds,” she said to Nina one day.

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“What does that mean?”

Camille described the states she was spontaneously entering into, going to the other world without leaving this one. She explained how the trauma that had periodically plagued her was losing it’s power, becoming a memory like a movie happening to someone else. Even the details were becoming indistinct.

“So this is a really good thing,” Nina replied.

“Yes, I’m experiencing a healing each time I go there now. It’s taking more than one treatment, but it’s happening.”

“That’s wonderful. Have you told Will?”

“Not yet. At first I didn’t want to mess with the process, and I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening. Talking to you today is the first opportunity I’ve had since I felt like sharing.”

“This is really a ‘wow’. Do you think you could take others with you? There’s a lot of people who need healing.”

“I have a strong feeling that once I’ve completed my own healing cycle, I’ll be shown how to use my experience to help others, perhaps facilitate the kind of journeys I’ve been having recently, perhaps design some processes that can happen in this world. You know how healing you and I and Will are with each other. We’re a circle of three. Perhaps there could be a larger healing circle with some of the women we’ve begun working with.”

“And playing with.”

“Yes, you’re right. The spirit of play is definitely part of it. We’ve had that with each other all the way. Also the spirit of adventure, being willing to try something we haven’t done before.”

“That’s always easier when you have a partner or partners. There’s lots of things we will do if someone holds our hand and does it with us.”

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Camille leaned over and kissed Nina full on the lips. They held the kiss long enough to feel the warmth rising in both of them and began to explore with their lips and tongues.

“Where’s Sammy?” Nina asked.

“Napping. We’ll see for how long.”

Their hands roamed over each other’s bodies, stroking cheeks, running fingers through hair, reaching underneath clothing. They both were dressed in loose skirts and blouses which made it easier to explore each other’s bodies. Nina slipped down between Camille’s legs and removed her panties. Camille reclined on the couch and yielded to her girlfriend’s ministrations. Nina played with Camille’s gradually opening flower sliding tongue and lips back forth over the silky petals. Camille moaned and sank deeper into the couch. The sensitivity she’d been experiencing extended into the waves of pleasure that quickly began to cascade through her body and soul. Far more quickly than she was used to she began to shake with the leading edge of orgasm. Nina smiled inwardly as the waves rolled over her as well. She felt what Camille felt even though her body was less aroused.

As Camille’s trembling subsided, Nina slid beside her and one arm cradling her head and neck. They resumed the deep kissing that had started this sudden interlude.

“Mmm, I taste good,” Camille remarked. “Glad I bathed this morning.”

“You taste heavenly.”

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Camille reached one hand to Nina’s moist opening and softly rubbed and stroked through the slick material of her panties. “That’s a lovely sensation,” Nina murmured as she began to relinquish all control. Camille held her with her other arm so she didn’t slide off the couch and continued to rub ever so slowly. Nina was already half-way there so it didn’t take long before her body began to shake and tremble. She leaned into Camille and bit her softly on the shoulder as the waves rolled over both of them. They relaxed into each other’s arms on a couch barely large enough to accommodate both of them.

A few minutes later Sammy’s cries reached them from the other room. Nina was on the outside so she popped up and retrieved him from his crib. She brought him to Camille who cooed to him and brought him to her breast. She had continued to nurse him because they both found it comforting and enjoyable. She relaxed into these different sensations. Nina sat beside her and rested a hand lightly on her mound and played casually with her still slick lips. Camille moaned softly with the blithe sensations elicited by her soul-sister’s gentle fingers and the lips of her beautiful son. Sammy fed contentedly. “What a picture of family bliss,” Nina mused.

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In that moment Camille could feel herself between worlds, but this time she felt her sisters from the other world had come into this one. She could see them surrounding her and Nina and Sammy in a grand circle of light and warmth. “How could life be anymore perfect,” she reflected.

Nina could feel an intensification of the bliss they had already elicited. She didn’t know where it was coming from, but decided to go with it and found herself basking in ripples of warmth that touched a deep place inside of her. Something was shifting ever so subtly. It felt right, like a delicate rebalancing was happening some place in her that was rarely touched or brought to awareness. She went with it.

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That same evening Will went to his home AA meeting. There was a newcomer whose share touched everyone in the room: “I haven’t been out of the Army all that long. Actually it’s already fifteen years, but it feels like another lifetime that I spent in Nam. The thing is I can’t forget any of it. I don’t know if this is the right place, but my friend told me it’s a place, and people listen and don’t judge, and I know I need to talk. I been drinkin way too much for way too long.

“I was religious when I was a kid. I was a good kid. Didn’t wanna hurt nobody. I wanna tell you how I became a trained killer and what it did to my soul. First six months in Nam I was just a regular grunt, goin on patrols, gettin shot at, shootin back, nothin too bad, nothin too good. Then I got an offer to be the gunner on a helicopter gunship. There’s a crew of three, pilot, spotter and gunner. The pilot flies it. The spotter says, ‘Shoot that!’, and the gunner shoots. I shot whatever the spotter told me to shoot: obvious civilians, farm animals, really anything that moved. And I was getting off on it. Helicopters got shot down all the time, but that was part of the adrenalin rush. We were on the edge. We were like super alive. I dug it so much I signed up for an extra half tour of duty so I could keep doing it.

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“Everything was fine. Everything was great until I decided to come home. I’d been in Nam for nineteen months at that point. I was discharged right back to my little old farming town in the Sacramento Valley. The second night I was back, the adrenalin wore off, and the nightmares started. I see all those people I shot. There’s one woman in particular, running in terror as we flew over. I shot her as she ran. She was an enemy combatant. That’s what we were told. She was Viet Cong or a Viet Cong supporter. Really I didn’t care; I was a marksman; I was a shooter. I was good at it.

“The nightmares haven’t stopped. Was what I did terribly, terribly wrong. My government says, ‘No, I was just doin my duty.’ My soul says, ‘Yes, you killed people, innocent people, and you didn’t care.’ The VA offered me lots a different drugs, you know, psych meds. I liked what I got on the street better. I used everything. It all worked. None of it worked very well. No, more accurately, it all wore off, and I had to take more and more to keep the nightmares away.”

Will looked around and saw others nodding in commiseration with the speaker. There were a few tears. “Thanks for listening,” the speaker concluded.
Next to speak was a woman also around forty years old. “I was a nurse in Vietnam. I saw broken bodies, broken souls, guilt and shame. It drove me to drink. Never got into the illegal stuff. Maybe I should have.” A ripple of laughter went through the room. “Too scared to break that taboo, I guess.” She paused as if collecting herself. “Vietnam injured every one of us, whether we went there on not. Wives, mothers, brothers, other family members, friends. Nobody escaped. We all knew someone who was affected. We all got hit by one of the shock waves. It changed our lives and not in a good way. I’ve been sober for two years now. It gets better. I’m finding some faith again. I’m healing. I wish that for all of us.”

At the end of the meeting Will moved toward the veteran. The nurse reached him first. He was already responding to her. “Yeah, I did finally get connected with Vietnam Vets of America. It was helpful. I began to feel something again. At first it was easier to relate to somebody else’s pain than my own. There was no judgment. You know, I tried livin in one of those encampments way out in the woods. They’re all over. Anyway it worked for awhile, a bunch of guys as crazy as me. But after awhile I hit the road again. Something about just movin, just keep movin, it wasn’t great, but it was better. At least the constant change was a good distraction. I read somewhere that people are naturally nomads. I believe it. Course most nomads travel around with their families.”

Will introduced himself and exchanged phone numbers with Jack and the nurse, whose name was Renee. As he moved away from them, he ran into Paul. “I didn’t know you were here,” he said with obvious delight.

“I saw you from across the room. Pretty big meeting.”

“Yeah, hey, do you folks do anything special with returning veterans?”

“Ceremony.”

“Okay, tell me more.”

“Different tribes to different things, but the main thing is to welcome the warrior back into the community. There’s the usual stuff like sweat lodge and being honored at the pow-wows, but for the tough cases, the guys who’ve really been trashed, we do a four day ceremony. The guy or gal sits in the middle of the circle. The whole community comes out to sing and dance and drum. It doesn’t stop for four days.”

“What happens?”

“Usually that’s long enough for the walls to crumble, and the grief comes spilling out. Then some of the circle draws closer in to make some physical contact. It’s the beginning of coming back into the world of the living.”

“Warriors are stuck in the land of the dead?”

“That’s where they’ve been. That’s what they’ve been doing. That’s what they’re haunted by.”

“You think that would work for us palefaces?”

“Sure, but you’d have to have a community that was willing and able to do it,”

“To be there for four days.”

“Yeah, and beyond the four days. Most of you don’t live in communities. You live very isolated lives, rugged individualists, nuclear families. It’s the ongoing support of the community that keeps people on a healing path, like AA. You know people do well in AA who really embrace it as a community.”

“Yeah, they rely on it in that way, and they’re there for others.”

“If you got that you can do amazing things. It’s not just the ceremony. It’s the ceremony happening in a supportive community that’s going to be there to continue holding people as they heal.”

“Generally you all did not fight wars for the profit of banks and corporations.”

“Generally we didn’t fight wars until Europeans came and started putting pressure on land and life. Tribes got pushed one on top of the other, pushed out of their ancestral lands.”

“And horses made it that much easier fight a war.”

“So true. You know, here in California there was hardly any tribal warfare. What’s the point? There was plenty of game and acorns and salmon. What would we fight about? And the invasion happened so quickly, we had no time to turn on each other. We were all dispossessed simultaneously and scuffling to survive.”

“So your entire culture was instantaneously suffering from post-traumatic stress?”

“That’s one way to put it.”

“I think it’s important. Otherwise the focus remains on what’s wrong with Native Americans when what’s wrong is that everyone is suffering from post-traumatic stress far worse than most Vietnam War veterans. And our veterans had something to come back to, not the wholesale destruction of every aspect of culture that you all went through.”

“Yeah, you’re gettin it. Maybe I’ll use this new language, post-traumatic stress. We usually just say, ‘You stole our land. You destroyed our herds. You denied us our religions. You stole our children.’ I would only use this term if it helped us. If it just makes us sound pitiful in a whole new way, then it doesn’t help.”

“Has the healing begun?”

“Our healing began as soon as we woke up from our wounds. Trouble is there keep bein more wounds. You’re talking about the big social healing. Yeah, just barely, Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, The American Indian Religious Freedom Act. You know there used to be laws against us doin our ceremonies. We were called pagans, devil-worshippers, idolaters. Had to be a special law to give us first amendment religious rights. We might make some money off of gaming. That would be good. We all need money, you know, housing, health, education.”

“You think that’ll happen?”

“We been arguing the sovereignty issue for a long time. We got better lawyers now. I think we might win this one.”

When Will talked about what had come up in the meeting, he related it to their earlier conversation trying to decipher what caused human beings to decline from the meditative spiritual beings with whom Camille was consorting to the vicious killers who stormed across Europe five to seven thousand years ago. “This vet described himself as a good kid, religious and everything. For the first six months in Vietnam he just went along with the program. Then he got into it. He started to dig it, the danger, the power, the killing, the adrenalin high. His identity shifted. He became a warrior. Nonetheless his soul suffered when the adrenalin wore off.”

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Nina caught the drift. “So you’re supporting the idea that at least one tribe got very very traumatized somehow. They didn’t heal from it and come back to the old baseline. They stayed in fight mode. That vibe rippled through the surrounding tribes especially when that first tribe went into attack mode. Pretty soon the whole region had converted to a warfare mentality with no thought of trying to get back to the original teachings, the original understandings.”

“What happened to the women?” Camille asked.

“Maybe initially these nomadic raiders had drifted away from their home peoples. They were already self-proclaimed outcasts. While the mainstream of the culture was applying the ancient wisdom to come back into harmony with the larger circle after some natural disaster, there grew this tribe of men only. They only had women by stealing them and holding them as slaves. They evolved their own set of rituals and practices that supported their warrior ways. Within a few generations they were powerful enough to challenge the peaceful peoples in their region. Then they captured and mated with many more women, and there was a population explosion, such that this crazy new way soon predominated and began to expand outward.”

Strengthening the Hoop

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the universe.

                                          ~White Buffalo Calf Woman

The rehearsals for the ceremony were a lot of fun for the threesome. They were destined to be the stars of the show, and a lot of the time the other dancers related to them in their roles as the Kadesh/Goddess, the King and the Mother Goddess. As they practiced the dance moves with each other, the entire group felt more at ease and more intimate. Some of the group had learned a bit about the relationship of Nina, Will, and Camille.

During one of their breaks one of the women asked them directly, “Would you be willing to talk about your relationship, how it came about, how it works. I know I’m really curious.” There were murmurs and nods of assent from others in the group.

The three looked at one another, each seeming to wait for the other to speak. Finally Nina said, “I think we’re willing to do that, but we would also like to know about your relationships. Perhaps we could go around the circle and all share a few things.”

Cybele looked around the group before making an offer. “We’ve had a good practice. Maybe we’ve danced enough for one evening. We could have some refreshments and share something of our lives.” Again there were nods and murmurs of agreement.

Soon everyone was munching on snacks and sipping tea. Nina had offered to tell their story first, and then insist on hearing some others before they continued with Will’s version and Camille’s version. So she began, “I met Will in New Mexico when I went to visit my cousin who’s like a sister to me. We connected in that delicious, oh-my-god, I think I’ve found someone who’s right for me way that takes your breath away and makes you glad you’re alive. He is the most gentle man I’ve ever met. He was and still is my prince. He followed me to Cincinnati when my mother had a bout with cancer. Then we went to New York and to France. I had a semester abroad in Paris. So we met and inadvertently had a honeymoon, and then I went to the university in Paris and he came back to California where his kids and his ex-wife live.

“I met Camille in Paris in a class we were both taking. She read a beautiful mythical fairy tale to the class. I was instantly attracted to her and didn’t know what that meant. I’d never been with a woman. I’d never really been with a man before Will. Camille seduced me, and I was a willing participant. We were and are another love story. Within a couple of weeks I told Will what had happened, and what did he say to me? ‘I trust you. If you say it’s right, then it’s right. I love you.’ I assured him that I hadn’t stopped loving him. When my semester concluded I came to California. Camille came to be with us soon after. Fortunately for all of us, Will and Camille developed a very beautiful loving bond with each other. Since then all of us do our best to love each other, to never leave anyone out, to talk about anything that needs talking. It’s been amazingly easy. Oh, and Camille got pregnant very soon in our relationship, so we have a beautiful boy named Sammy, and we have Will’s daughters. Some goddess must have blessed us because it has all happened so easily, and the love is still with us guiding our path together. We are truly blessed.”

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Her share was followed by numerous “wows” and sounds that might accompany the enjoyment of a scrumptious meal. Finally someone said, “That’s a tough story to follow.”

“This is not a competition,” Cybele felt compelled to interject. “Everyone is different and has a different path which is right for them.”
“I’ll go. Maybe I’m the counterbalance. I kept my name Sandy because I’ve always loved the beach. I know Cybele from Southern California. I’ve been with the same woman since high school. We met. We knew, and it’s been fabulous. It’s difficult right now because I’ve come up north here for a job, and the love of my life remained in Laguna Beach. Fortunately the job is time-limited. I do consulting. I wouldn’t have come except that the job sounded damned interesting, and it is. My sweetheart and I are enriching the airlines. We can’t go two weeks without seeing each other, and often it’s every weekend. So I’ve been in a monogamous lesbian relationship for my entire adult life, and I’m in my mid-thirties now.”

Another woman spoke up rather immediately, “I haven’t found the love of my life, and it’s not ‘cause I haven’t tried. I’ve been in a lot of relationships, mostly men. The women didn’t work out any better than the men. I’m officially single right now. I want kids, and the biological clock is ticking. I’m almost willing to have a kid without a relationship, but I’d rather have a partner, and I don’t really care if it’s a man or a woman, just someone to be with and love and be loved.”

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The older woman who’d been chosen or volunteered to dance the part of the crone spoke next. Brushing back her long white hair with her fingers, she started out so softly that everyone leaned forward the better to hear her. She noticed and adjusted her volume. “My first husband died of cancer when our two kids were teenagers. Fortunately he had a hefty life insurance policy. I couldn’t replace him in my heart. I focused on my kids until they were both away at college. Then I began to look around and consider that I might be with someone else. Jim is like a very dear friend. In many ways we’re more compatible than my husband and I were. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He is a great comfort to me, a soft place to land. I couldn’t ask for more.”

A younger woman who had a boyish  quality about her spoke next. “My name is Keri like the Goddess Ceridwen. I just love women and girls. I’ve had a lot of intense short-term relationships. I’m the one who sets it up that way. I see someone. I want to be with her. Then I am, and it’s great, but pretty soon there’s expectations and plans and hurt feelings and people trying to control each other. I can feel that coming, and i’m gone. I guess freedom is the most important thing to me. I love those old cowboy songs, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’, “I’m a Rambler; I’m a Gambler’. If I ever meet my life partner, we’ll have to dance with a lot of autonomy. I’d like to be with someone, but she’d have to be as crazy as me.”

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Camille whispered in Nina’s ear, “That could have been me.”

Nina whispered back, “You want to tell the group?” Camille sat silently. No one immediately spoke up, so she took a big breath and began, “I could have been you, Keri. In fact I was a lot like you and might still be if I hadn’t met Nina. Something about her just got me. With her I never felt the walls closing in. It’s like we both knew from the beginning; this is about each of us being who we really are, not who the other one wants us to be, not that we don’t enjoy pleasing each other. There’s never been a ball and chain. It’s not like that Janis Joplin song. Things might have been different if I hadn’t had Sammy. By the time I might have run in any other relationship or at least started to get uncomfortable, I was pregnant, and I was thankful to have two partners to have a baby with. It all happened at the right time. I really wanted that baby, and I wanted the people who made it with me. I never thought I’d be with a man again, but Nina assured me that Will was different.”

She looked at Will and continued, “I’ve never met a man like Will. He’s truly a spiritual being. He lives it, and he’s so good to Nina and me and the kids. It’s never about his agenda. We all feel his love, his consideration, his care. I’m so in love with these two people.” She extended a hand to each of them. “We are blessed. It’s amazing grace.”

The sharing was amazingly deep for a group which had mostly danced together, not really sat in conversation about their own lives. Perhaps the ceremonial setting of what they were working on together facilitated a sense of trust and safety with each other. The story being told about the dance ceremony was that they were all sacred dancers, priestesses, priests, goddesses, kings. They more and more got into their roles, being and becoming something they hadn’t been before. The trust of those who perform together, who have to depend on each other, extended into the more personal sharing they were engaging in.

One of the young men, Sean, (there were two besides Will) spoke next. “I’m not gay, but I’ve often been referred to as effeminate, and frankly I prefer the company of women to the company of men. I’ve always loved dance, especially ballet, but also jazz and modern. Dance teachers treated me special because I was a guy, and I took dance seriously. I had a long-term relationship with one of my dance teachers. I wasn’t quite out of high school when we started, not quite eighteen. It lasted for five years. She was almost forty with a lithe well-toned dancer’s body. She was petite, which made her less intimidating to a young fellow like me. She taught me everything about making love with a woman. I was a willing student. She’s a tremendous choreographer. She got an offer and moved to New York to follow her dream. We never broke up, just acknowledged that our paths were diverging at least temporarily. She sends me flyers from her shows and notes that say things like, ‘You’re still my number one.’ I still love her and miss her. I think I’ll go to New York next summer and see what happens. I don’t really worry about the age difference. We call each other soul-mates. We are soul-mates.”

“I think you should go to New York,” Will declared.

The ensuing silence was broken by Cybele asking, “Does this relate to your story, Will?”

“I guess it might,” Will replied. “Nina changed my life. It’s like she just reached out and grabbed my heart and pointed me in a direction. I liked the way that direction looked and felt, so I stayed on that new course. For awhile I was totally content to just follow her around until I absolutely had to go back to a job and being a parent to my daughters. We went to New York together and Paris and Southwest France. Along the way a new me emerged. I became the guy who knew how to be responsive, be tuned in, to care what she cares about. I was always praying to Higher Power. Somewhere along the way I realized Higher Power was Goddess, and it felt like She was arranging all of this. If we were willing we could play by Her rules, let her Spirit invest our lives with meaning and with luscious, delicious, sumptuous helpings of pure joy and delight and celebration of life. None of this would have happened without Nina. She’s a prodigy. I’ve never met anyone so bright and tuned in and and full of the spice of life. And then she brought Camille into our lives, as if we were not already blessed enough. Camille is also one of a kind in my experience. She has this relaxed French view of life, and she was already cultivating the Goddess Ways in France. I never imagined myself loving two women, being in love with two women. It wouldn’t be happening now if they both weren’t so special. All of us have been willing to be guided by our familiar spirits, Goddess, fairy realm, nature spirits, it doesn’t matter. They all love us and want the best for us, if we can get beyond our fear and just dance with them.”

“So you’re saying you feel their guidance in your daily lives?” Sean asked.

“Yes,” Will answered unreservedly, “I wouldn’t be here with these two sweet, wonderful, powerful women if it wasn’t for constant guidance from Higher Power in various forms. I probably would have run away at some point like some people have talked about in this group. I used to be really good at that. Higher Power/Goddess soothed my flight response and helped me simply be present for what my lovely partners have to offer. Sometimes I feel like their servant, but I’m more than happy to serve them. I’m just trying to figure out how to give back for everything I receive.”

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“Wow,” exclaimed Sean, “I get it. Thank you.”

Cybele asked, “Is everyone still connected to the process. We may not get to everyone this time, but we can do some more after our next practice.”

The group voice was, “Let’s keep going awhile.” “I’m not tired.” “This is fun.” “This is exhilarating.” “I love getting to know all of you.”

The youngest member of the group spoke next. Her name was Simone, and she had the fair complexion and dark lush hair of Nina and Camille. “I’m just starting out. I can’t say I’ve had a serious relationship, boy or girl. I’ve kissed a couple of boys and a couple of girls. It’s great for me to hear all the stories. This just doesn’t happen most of the time. People my age don’t get to hear older people talk about their relationships, certainly not their sex lives. It makes it all less of a mystery, and maybe there are some general guidelines that might be useful to follow.”

“I think we’re all pretty special,” stated a woman with close-cropped hair and a broad face. “The level of acceptance for all the variations, all the differences. Good to know we’re not eternally damned sinners for having feelings that don’t match some outmoded cookbook that wasn’t a great set of rules in the beginning and really doesn’t fit now. I grew up wanting to be a boy. To a certain age it’s ok to be a tomboy, but then you’re supposed to straighten up and fly right, you know, fit the mold. I never did fit the mold, and when I noticed myself being attracted to girls in high school, you know, more than friendship, I knew I couldn’t be open about it, not where I grew up. So I played sports and took every opportunity to be part of outdoor ventures. I’m a qualified climber and raft guide. Most people were pretty accepting of me out in nature. Girls weren’t resented as much for having competence, not when you’re rock-climbing or negotiating a class-5 rapid. I couldn’t come out until I got to college. I still feel kind of shy in intimate relationships, you know, waiting for the other girl to make the first move. I’m in a new relationship right now. It feels good. It feels the most comfortable and most enjoyable I’ve ever had, so wish me luck.”

“Good luck”, echoed through the circle, before the next speaker. Kim spoke about serial relationships with men. “They always end up disappointing me,” she lamented. “I think I can depend on them and then the rug disappears one more time. I’m glad I have my kids, but I wish I was with one of the fathers. Sometimes I wish I was attracted to women, but I’m not.”

Cybele spoke, “ I think I always depended too much on my ability to attract men or boys. I grew up a stereotypic Southern California beach girl. I attracted a lot of guys. They didn’t take me very seriously. Fortunately I didn’t take them very seriously. I could have been the source of a lot of blond jokes.” A ripple of laughter went through the circle. “I always loved to dance. I took dance seriously. There weren’t a lot of boys in dance classes, and some of them were gay. That was okay. It allowed me to do something that I loved doing and not think about my appearance all the time. Sure we got made up for performances, but most of the time it was practice, and we got sweaty and our hair got wet and stringy. Those were the best times of my life. I still don’t take relationship very seriously. I suspect that more often than not it’s based on really superficial factors. I guess sex hasn’t been that important either.”

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The other young man spoke, “I am gay. I really love dance. I get to be mostly with women. There’s no pressure. I always feel pressure around guys, even if they’re gay. With women I just get to be myself. I had a boyfriend in high school in Southern California. When his parents found out about us, they sent him away to boarding school in Europe. He kind of went along with it. I’m not sure if we had something or not. I’ve fooled around since then. Never met anybody I really wanted to be with.”

A petite redhead spoke next, “My lover and I live with another couple. We’re old friends, and we’ve all been with each other along the way, and we settled for the current arrangement because overall it works better. We all took Celtic names. I’m Siofra, which means elf or sprite. My dark-haired beauty sitting over there is Branwen, meaning fair raven. We’ve all known each other a long time and our friendship together is the most profound thing in my life. We know we can all depend on each other, and we do. It’s very comforting to have more than one other person to depend on. We all bring different gifts to the household. Branwen and I love to dance. Saoirse and Bree love to play music together and Bree paints. We all have good jobs, but if one of us was unemployed for awhile we’d be quite fine.”

There was a period of silence, and then Cybele asked, “Has everyone shared who wants to. . . Does someone have a closing statement.”

“I have both,” a woman spoke up. She had prematurely gray hair which she wore long. She carried herself like an elder, but had a disarmingly young face. “We inevitably find ourselves in relationship, relationships of all kinds, intense, mellow, short, long, passionate, Platonic. Is one better than another? I don’t think so. What’s better is what works for each of us, and if we find something that works better, we move on to that. You’re all so beautiful. I could fall in love with any one of you. Who knows if it would work, but the falling in love part would be fun. My wish for all of you is to know how lovable you are and to love yourselves at least as much as you love that other person. I’ve had two great loves in my life. They both ended tragically. I don’t regret a single minute. Both times I’ve been thrown back into my spiritual beliefs and practices. My loves are still with me. I feel them every day, and even if I don’t one day, it will be all right. We’re all part of the Great Oneness, whether we call it God or Tao or the Great Mother. I feel myself being actively part of that every day, and it’s wonderful.”

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The circle joined hands and sat in silence for a few minutes. Cybele spoke softly, “This has truly felt magical to me tonight. I am so touched by the deep level of sharing. Let’s remember to hold the confidentiality of this group, so that we remain a safe place to be. I feel that our dancing together is feeding a kind of emotional intimacy that was manifested this evening. That emotional intimacy will add to our ability to dance in harmony with one another. I loved all of you before we began this venture together. I love you even more now. I look forward to our next time together. Be well. Be gentle with yourselves and your loved ones. We have become a sweet and powerful circle. It feels like we’re doing something really great together. Thank you for being.”

Numerous hugs and cheek kisses were exchanged before everyone drifted off into the night. Sammy’s babysitter was a neighbor girl, who was able to walk home when the parents relieved her. Sammy was already asleep. The threesome sat down to cups of herbal tea. Nina exclaimed as if she’d been waiting to let it out, “Wow, I’m not used to talking so much about us, thinking about why it works and how it works.”

“How was it for you?” Camille asked.

“Somewhat intimidating, but also good. It was like coming out of the closet. I’m glad we got to hear about other people. How was it for you?”

“The same I think, but I have already have developed some trust for this circle of women and a few men. No one feels dangerous. It’s like we were all coming out of a closet. There were different kinds of relationship but also expressions of grief that might have been even more difficult to say. Tell us how it was for you, Will.”

“I was really glad both of you spoke before me. Then I relaxed. Your expressions of love are so reassuring for me. Did we all talk about the equality among us, you know, the love flows easily in all directions. We’re an equilateral triangle. And what did I do to make this happen. I simply said, ‘Yes,’ and kept saying, ‘Yes.’ I like the way we describe each other as special.”

“We are special,” Nina interjected with feigned petulance. “And what’s this about me being a prodigy?”

“That just popped out, but you are a prodigy. In some ways you’re more mature than either Camille or I.”

“What ways?”

“Particularly the way that you conceptualize community. You look over a community like an elder does, the grand overview, being concerned about every individual’s well-being, being concerned about inclusion, that everyone has a place and a role that has meaning for them.”

“I do all that?”

“Yes, you do,” Camille replied. “It seems to come quite naturally, like you don’t have to think about it, but it’s quite beautiful. It’s like you’re already the loving mother or grandmother. You inspire me. I think your ideas of community-building inspire a lot of people. And Will, you probably don’t realize how you stand out. You’re a man who inspires implicit trust. Do you know how rare that is?”

“I owe it all to being so thoroughly loved. I stopped trying to get something. I really do let it be most of the time. I don’t have anything to prove. No matter what I might do, could I be loved anymore than I already am?”

“But, there’s a reason we fell in love with you. Maybe it was just potential in the beginning, but no, it was more than that. When we first met in New Mexico, you were so accepting of me. I didn’t feel I had to live up to any expectations.”

“That’s true. You didn’t. I was so smitten with something about you. You could do no wrong. I was just fascinated to be in your presence and see what would happen next. Part of it was and is how smart you are. Your mind is entertaining. The way you think about things keeps me coming back for more.”

“I think we’re all pretty doggone smart or talented or tuned-in, and we have a way of putting each other at ease.”

“We all inspire trust, and we trust one another,” Camille added.

“I’m here to support you, both of you,” Will stated somewhat emphatically. “Something powerfully important is happening with us. Your journeys, Camille, it’s like the missing pieces of the story we’ve been waiting for for so long. The Cathars, the Gnostics, the Neolithic Goddess cultures all still had some connection with the ancient truths. You get to go there and experience it first-hand. When I meditate I often have moving pictures that I imagine are based on what you’ve told us about the ancient world. It feels wonderful. It feels like I’m gradually pulling more and more of that essence into my own being. I’m more and more walking in a state of primal oneness.”

There was a pause as they all took in what Will had said. “Spiritual nutrition,” Nina declared. The other two looked at her as if waiting for more. “That’s it. That’s all I got.” Will and Camille smiled at each other and Nina continued, “So Will, was it only my entertaining mind?”

“I hoped you would invite me to be with you. From the beginning I found you to be take-your-breath-away beautiful.” He turned to Camille. “That goes for you too.”

She smiled and fluttered her eyelashes. “Perhaps we could make love.”

“There’s an offer I’ll not refuse,” Will responded immediately.

“Who wants to be in the middle?” Camille asked.

“I love being in the middle,” Nina jumped at the chance.

After washing up they retired to their king-size bed. Nina lay down in the middle and Will and Camille reclined on either side of her. They started by stroking her entire body as lightly as they could possibly touch her. She began to squirm beneath their silky strokes. She began to beg, murmuring, “Please, please, please.” Camille rested her hand lightly over Nina’s velvet mound and leaned in to kiss her. Nina’s mouth was voracious, reaching to encompass more of Camille, who teased a bit but also gave in and let Nina have her way with her lips and tongue. Will began to lightly tongue around one nipple and then slid between her legs to kiss her more intimately. Nina’s lips easily spread wide open. She moaned as Will’s tongue slid between them and up along her joyful protuberance, drawing the nub gently into his mouth and letting it slide out again. He licked Camille’s fingers in passing, and she began to play at Nina’s opening sliding one finger just a ways in and out. She and Will worked fingers and tongue around each other. Will licked the probing fingers as often as the blossoming flower and swelling mushroom cap. Then Camille pushed down on his head as she straddled Nina’s expectant face feeling her own juices flowing and dripping as Nina applied her wantonness to Camille’s eager opening.

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Will was settling in when he felt Camille’s fingers drawing his head toward her. She kissed him ferociously sucking his tongue into her mouth and nibbling on it. Nina found his erection and guided it inside of her. He groaned from deep inside his chest. Her hips moved toward him and then pulled away. He matched her rhythm in a slow cadence while Camille ground her hips into Nina’s full soft lips. The crescendo was overtaking them much more quickly than usual. Will breathed, relaxed and opened to the energy of the two women. Camille pushed him backward and straddled his magnificent pole, taking him inside her with one long slow exquisite slide. Nina moved around and straddled Will’s face grinding against the strength of his jaw as he worked his tongue in around her ripe lips. She groaned and trembled the ecstasy overtaking her  in waves and tremors. Camille looked into her eyes with ultimate love, and Nina’s eyes melted before her gaze. An act of pure spontaneous devotion, they caressed each other’s left cheek holding the tenderness of the moment, each in one hand.

Nina gave into the chasms opening up inside her, plunging into delicious thick warmth and sweet surrender. She was bringing Camille along who now slid up and down Will’s proud growth. As she melted into warm glow and unmistakable waves and undulations traveling through her soul, she suddenly slid off of Will, pulled Nina onto him as her replacement. The change of sensation rocked Will beyond any ability to control. As Camille straddled his face and finished with a gush of juices into his awaiting mouth, he began to shoot from the depths of his being and the sensation sent Nina into another round of rippling explosions. When their moans and squeals subsided the two woman kissed each other deeply and passionately pouring all the affection, devotion and adoration of their total immersion into each other’s delicious open submission to each other.

Not done yet they slid to either side of Will and hovered over his tumescence kissing each other and licking him like a warm popsicle they were sharing. He drifted in his own evanescence, waves of tender love for his two women interspersed with feelings of cosmic oneness and images of sea creatures dancing in the blue-green world of Neptune and his many mistresses. When the ladies shifted themselves and kissed each other sweetly above his head, he opened his eyes a bit. They first kissed and nibbled on his cheeks. Then he turned to kiss first one and then the other, not sure for awhile who was who but delighting in the sweetness of the overwhelming love he felt for both. The women lowered their mouths until the three of them were all kissing each other so far as that was possible, tongues and lips and murmured ‘I love yous’ intermingled with caresses of hair and cheeks and occasional forays to toy with the parts that had recently given them such immense delight.

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Finally they lay in a pile of arms and legs and bodies more or less spent but still desiring however faintly to pleasure and be pleasured, more importantly to maintain that luscious connection that so pervaded their lives together but still required some cultivation to keep it alive and lively. Nina idly stroked Camille’s wet slit and circled around the pearl that crowned it. They all felt stirrings of a new beginning but were content to just roll with the flow of afterglow with a little help from inquisitive fingers at the slick edge of sweetly blown open vessels and the remnants of engorged sleekness. They held onto each other drifting through cloud-lands of images not even formed and swirling ribbons that might have been threads of consciousness or unconsciousness or the place where one becomes the other.

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They glided together through a realm of sugar-plum fairies, elf-queens, and beautiful beings endlessly morphing between female and male, each as attractive as the other. Someone managed to pull a blanket over them and they slept the sleep of bliss until the morning sun began to warm their room and Sammy crept into join them, and fall asleep for awhile draped over one or more bodies. When he began to fuss, Camille turned to him and offered her ample breast, and they sank into their special liquid oneness together.

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“There was such an urgency to our love-making last night,” Nina commented as they munched contentedly on a brunch they had put together close to noon that next morning.

“I felt it too,” Camille confirmed.

They both looked at Will, who first of all grinned broadly, and then spoke with some seriousness, “I think that last night’s discussion made us all feel a little insecure or ‘vulnerable’ might be the better word. I wanted to grab onto you and hold on for dear life. I felt clingy, needy. I wanted to connect intensely. It was a thunder and lightning storm, not a gentle tropical rain.”

Camille continued, “I don’t usually like to be so visible. I mean, I am what I am, but I don’t like to announce to everyone.”

And Nina took up the theme, “It’s like one of those stories where speaking about something will make it go away, or Amor and Psyche, where he tells her the only way she can screw things up is by trying to see his face.”

Camille, “Yeah, and then she sees his face and loses him. What is it about being seen?”

Will, “What was it in Genesis about hiding from God because now they knew they were naked after eating the forbidden fruit.”

Nina, “It’s like coming out of the closet. If you’re used to being hidden, it’s pretty scary to announce yourself.”

Camille, “There were many tender feelings exposed last night by the whole group. That feeling magnified among all of us. You didn’t seem clingy or needy, Will.”

“I wasn’t in my usual relaxed place that feels like I just open my arms and we hold each other in this blissful kind of nirvana. I wanted to take, ravish you.”

“You didn’t.”

“No, you ravished me instead, and I had no resistance. I wanted to meet passionate intensity with passionate intensity.”

“That would be all right sometimes,” she turned to Nina, “wouldn’t it?

“By all means.”

“We are not the wounded women you met two years ago. And we can always say, ‘Stop’ or ‘Slow down’, cant’t we?” she turned to Nina again.

“We might want to try it sometime, you know, unleash the wild male.”

“I’m a little afraid of that wild male. It feels a bit like the drunk.”

“I think,” Nina replied, “there’s a healthy wild male as well as an unhealthy one.”

“Remember,” Camille added, “the satyrs and nymph. It was all profoundly innocent or natural, nothing forced or perverse, just a mutual seduction. Sometimes the nymphs teased and toyed with the satyrs to make them more aggressive, so when they finally gave in, it was a bigger gift to both of them. It was a different way of building the energy than your tantra approach.”

“Will, we know you would never do anything to hurt us like we’ve been hurt before, but we can be playmates in this adventure together.”

“I’ve been so comfortable letting you guys to be the provocateurs. I’ve established a real comfort zone just being responsive to your overtures. It’s like playing a whole different style of music, but if you’re inviting me, then I guess I’m okay with it. It might even be fun.”

“That’s a good way to look at it,” Nina replied, “just a different style of music, and don’t worry, we’ll keep you in line if you start to do anything too weird.”

“Okay, it’s like I’m scared of losing control, but if you’re still my safety net, then I’ll explore taking a new route up the mountain.”

“Cool.”

Merveilleux.”

Sometimes we’re going to put you in the middle.”

“Sometimes you get to say what you want.”

“I just don’t want to ruin a good thing.”

“I think,” Nina reflected, “even if we make mistakes, we can recover from them. I know we got stirred up by last night’s sharing, but we are the sacred triangle, and there’s no geometric form more stable than that.”

“Wonderful Will, you’re so kind, so considerate, so giving. We want to give to you too. And don’t worry, we’ll keep you safe. I don’t believe you’d ever do anything to intentional harm us, and anyway, there’s two of us and only one of you.”

“Yeah, we got you outnumbered,” Nina playfully punched him on the shoulder, and they all laughed, Sammy joining in the merriment.

Putting on her best Gallic accent, Camille purred to him, “We are just giving you permission to be a little bit crazy.”

Will sat back, palms up, and shrugged. “What can I do? They say they want the crazy Will.”

“A little.”

Un peu.”

He reached over and tickled each of them. As they squirmed away, he grabbed Sammy and whirled him around. “What do you think of these women, your mothers? I think they’re a little bit crazy!”

Nina extended her hand. Camille took it in a mock serious handshake. They grinned at each other, a twinkle in their eyes like the most devious of co-conspirators.

 

Ceremony

The only way to get change is . . . through a change of human consciousness and through a change of heart. Only through the arts — music, poetry, dance, painting, writing — “can we really reach each other,” 

                                                            ~Leslie Marmon Silko

The evening of the dance ceremony was rife with anticipation. When the idea first came up as a result of the story that Ash brought to the group called “Between Sacred Worlds,” it was only the seed of a crazy possibility to actually perform the ancient ceremony. But that seed had grown and flourished with long healthy tendrils reaching out, touching and drawing in women as participants in various capacities. The outer circle, wielding drums, rattles, bells, tambourines, panpipes and voices, had met together to provide some coordination to what they would do together and to synchronize with the dance. It was the full moon closest to Halloween or Samhain.

The “Between Sacred Worlds” group had designed everything except the dance itself. Diana and Cybele had been in close contact to ensure that their efforts and the efforts of their groups were well integrated. When all were assembled the ceremony began with a series of invocations pronounced by various women from the Sacred Worlds group. The full moon appeared over the horizon shortly before the first invocation.

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“Dark Goddess,

Hear us this full moon night!

Mother of death and cauldron of rebirth.

Be with us for the start of a new cycle, new circle, new year.

Help us wash away the old and welcome the new.

Welcome Lady!

Blessed Be!”

“Greet Waxing Moon, with uplifted face

dance in the shadows, brighten this place.

All Hail to the North, a place of the night,

respect her wisdom, revealed in moonlight.

All Hail to the East where each day is born,

stretch out your arms and mend what is torn.

All Hail to the South, the sun heats her blood,

Embrace each other to understand love.

All Hail to the West, it’s where we shall sleep,

Let go of longing, desires will keep.

But here is the Moon, to heal us all through.

Dance in the moonlight and make your life new.”

“Maiden, cast Your circle white

Weave a web of glowing light

Stag and bear, hawk and wolf,

Bind us to thee.

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Mother, cast Your circle red

Weave the strands of glowing threads

Earth and Air, Fire, Water,

Bind us to thee.

Old Crone, cast Your circle black

Weave the wisdom that we lack

Sunlight, moonlight, starlight’s shimmer

Bind us to thee.”

“I am now in that place,

In that sacred space between the worlds.

I am where my ancestors have gone.

I am where my loved ones watch me.

I am in a world beyond time

Where the goddess guides me

Where I am one with the world

Where I open my heart and mind

Where I love and learn.

Blessed be.”

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The drumming began softly at first as if each drummer was tapping as lightly as possible on the stretched hide of the drumhead. The rattles joined in with a similar quality of faintness, as if barely mustering a distant echo and then the tinkling of bells seemed to descend lightly out of the night sky. The chorus of dancers entered the sacred circle. They had small wings affixed to their backs giving them a fairylike quality. They danced lightly and glibly as if lacking any sincere care in the world other than their own enjoyment, delighting in responding to one another’s movements, spinning lightly on the ground as if they truly were winged beings.

They were followed by another group as the drumming became more ponderous and solemn. This group wore long loose caftans and moved with great deliberation and sense of purpose. They described a space, clearly demarcating with their arms and legs  something that took on a distinct presence, as several women carried in a raised platform, cushions, pads and lush fabric. The platform was placed in the very center of the demarcated space on the north side of the larger sacred circle.

Then Camille and Nina entered the circle, Camille in a full purple skirt and gold top, Nina in a full gold skirt and purple top. They danced a duet of love with each other, lingering eye contact, fingertips that took forever to separate from one another, circle kicks over the kneeling other, and dancing wildly around the circle like some mad polka. Then resuming the delicate intimacy of small movements performed inside each other’s circles of space, hands caressing cheeks, fingers trailing through loose flowing hair, caressing in space within inches of each other’s bodies. The drums and rattles did their best to accompany the changes in mood and pace. The pan-pipes moved in and out of the sound collage as the intimacy of the dance peaked and valleyed. The two younger men from the dance group came in dressed as Pan or satyrs, goat-footed rascals for sure, and danced around the outer circle in pantomime of the goat-footed Gods. The two women kissed passionately and gazed into each other’s eyes. Then Camille led Nina to the platform gesturing for her to take her place there.

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Nina arranged herself in regal posture and expectation. Camille slowly swirled her way to a velvet blanket on the southeast of the circle. She sat there and waited, while the two choruses whirled and twirled themselves around the ring and each other and then withdrew to the outer ring bowing to the center of the circle. Just then Will was wheeled into the circle by four women. His conveyance was draped velvets and brocades, he wore a purple and gold brocade caftan. He appeared to be asleep or dead as they wheeled him once around the circle before bringing him adjacent to Camille. They lifted him from the royal cart and laid him down as gently as possible as if they had a baby in their arms. She cradled his head in her arms, as his apparently lifeless body sprawled across the blanketed ground.

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The music hushed to the lightest tinkling of bells and shushing of rattles. Camille shed the shoulder straps of her top exposing her milk-laden breasts. Treating his head exactly like a baby she drew him to her breast and rolled his head towards her. He toyed with her at first seeming to need guidance in the most basic of human activities. Finally he latched onto her nipple and began to suckle. Camille was amazed at how stimulated she felt. Milk began to flow from her other breast. Will stirred in her arms, showing signs of life. They hadn’t pre-planned how long this segment of the ceremony would last. They were both enjoying the sensations. Will wrapped one arm around her torso and pulled himself into her more getting bathed in milk as well as drinking it. The bells and rattles increased somewhat in tempo and volume in response to his signs of life. Stroked his hair and murmured sweet words of love very much the way she talked to Sammy when he was nursing.

Will raised his legs and kicked like an infant causing another crescendo in the bells and rattles, and the drums joined in with the hint of an African beat. Clearly Will, the future king, was fully alive and active. He looked up at the face of his beloved Camille. They nodded slightly to each other. He pulled away from her nipple and said loud enough for her to hear, “I could stay there forever.” He felt the cool wetness of the milk that had spilled on his neck and shoulder. She made as if to help him to his feet. Then he lifted her up beside him. Close to each other but with Camille leading they made a slow motion walk toward the platform. The chorus of dancers moved from the edge of the circle to dance around them even touching them slightly as if to confirm their realness, nodding their heads in confirmation with each brushing of fingers over the bodies of the holy couple, mother and child.

When they reached the platform, the crone stood behind, her arms outstretched as if encompassing this circle and the larger circle of the cosmos. She circled her arms in front of her in the largest circle she could imagine. Nina sat impassively as Camille delivered Will to her, helping him negotiate the step up onto the platform. He turned back to her. They bowed to each other, palms joined in front of them. Then they brought their hands in front of their mouths and opened them in an act of offering kisses and love. Camille turned away from him and made the same gestures to the entire circle. Will fell to his knees before Nina as if struck by some force. She remained impassive. He bowed his head to first touch the hem of her garment with his forehead and then kiss it. She spasmed once as if touched by some unseen force, but then returned to her Buddha-like meditation. The drums and other instruments continued to grow very gradually in volume and tempo. Will stretched his arms out and place his hands on her crossed thighs, still no response from her. He pantomimed getting a bright idea and slid to one side of her and assumed his own meditation posture. They sat that way for a few minutes as the dancers increased their pace and the slow crescendo continued.

Nina turned toward him as if noticing him for the first time. She dramatically poked him with one finger. He didn’t react. She made as if to ignore him, but that didn’t last long. It was her turn to act getting a bright idea. She uncrossed her legs and slowly crawled in front of him. With no help from Will she grasped his shoulders, wrapped her legs around his waist and laid her head on his shoulder. The fairy chorus sprang into action. They had bolts of purple and gold cloth which they wound loosely around Will and Nina. Nina lifted Will’s caftan so his lower body was naked to her. He had made sure to place his naked butt on the platform so she was able to accomplish this with ease. Her own skirt billowed around them underneath the layers of cloth laid down by the fairy dancers. A sense of excitement and anticipation pervaded the group as the two choruses paired off and danced with each other in intricate rhythms and gathering intensity. They did all they could to express their passion for each other.

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On the platform all was apparently quiet. Will and Nina remained in the posture they had been swaddled in. They had not pre-planned this segment either, Will was incredibly turned on. Nina could feel his tumescence underneath her. Her body responded with a gush of juices that saturated her jade gate and the rising stalk beneath her. She didn’t hold back. She raised herself enough to accommodate the rising God inside her. She sighed as she lowered herself onto his magnificence and again rested her cheek on his shoulder. That sat like that feeling the energy of the whole group, the whole ceremony, channeling through them, augmenting their excitement. They stayed focused on each other, as if they were the only two humans in the universe, and there were no witnesses. With no movement from Will or Nina the waves of pleasure shot through their bodies, almost electric in their intensity.

In every way this ceremony ran by its own rules. They both knew that they were not in control. What happened from here on out came from some ancient well-worn pattern that they were only the latest to fulfill. Nina leaned back and looked Will in the eyes. A conspiratorial smile spread across their faces. They both mouthed the words, “I love you,” as the frenzy of the dancers and drummers continued to build. Before they were really ready the ripples of orgasm began their tremors in Nina. Will felt her and felt inalterably pulled along. The climax built and built and built before it finally exploded over both of them accompanied by screams from Nina and deep-throated bellows from Will. The circle around them was transfixed. The sense that all were touched by the divine in that moment left no one unmoved by what they had just created, by what had just happened to all of them. A spontaneous cheer erupted from the group, and then the drums picked up again at a more sedate pace. Will and Nina held onto each other in the throes of afterglow.

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” she murmured in his ear.

“Right now, we are the Holy Couple. I could not love you more.”

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As the accompaniment settled into an easy-going rhythm, and the dancers eased their pace as well, the couple relaxed into the waves of warmth and love flowing ardently through their vulnerable beings. Nina’s memory brought her pictures of she and Will sitting together like this in the blue grass of Kentucky, early in their relationship. The feelings blended in a particularly pleasant way. Will saw himself with Camille in the meadow near Granny Eva’s place when the fairies had visited them. The woman in his arms became Camille then slowly transformed into Nina again. One flowed into the other like an ongoing yin and yang until he wasn’t sure which woman he held in his arms and didn’t care. He knew it didn’t really matter. He loved them, two as one, two together, and each one individually with all his heart and all his soul.

They were lost in their reverie for awhile. Suddenly Nina asked, “Is it time?” She didn’t know why, the question just abruptly came.

“It must be,” Will responded.

Nina raised her arms from within the wrappings that enclosed them. This was the signal to the fairies to begin unwrapping them. As this ensued, the royal couple had the urge to kiss and did so, deeply and passionately, leaning back for moments to regard each other and then kissing again. Once they were unwrapped, two fairies helped them to their feet, and another spontaneous cheer erupted. With a fairy on each side of them they were able to step off the platform in unison and take a few steps to the center of the circle. Nina could feel their combined juices streaming down the insides of her thighs. She was tickled by the sensation and oddly gratified to feel the cool wetness beginning to congeal in the night air. Almost imperceptibly, Camille had risen from her place and slowly wound and swirled herself toward them. Nina leaned against Will and raised one leg high above her head, holding it there with one hand. Her sacred yoni, the yoni of the Great Goddess was revealed to all, the entrance to the Holy of Holies. Another cheer erupted from the rest of the circle.

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Camille knelt down in front of them. She reached under Will’s caftan and grasped his still half-swollen Godhead. She licked her way up the soft flesh of Nina’s inner thigh; then ran her tongue slowly around the graciously parted lips before sedately gliding inside Nina’s jade gate as deeply as she could extend. She reached around Nina and hugged her girlish cheeks while pouring all of her affection into her pink aureola. The taste was sweet and salty at the same time and strangely compelling. Nina gasped and shuddered leaning into Will’s support, but held tight her upper leg wanting to give Camille full access. In that moment nothing existed but the three of them, a sacred triangle within a halo of light.

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Relinquishing her grasp of his jade stalk, Camille stood and licked Will’s lips with the same delicacy she had just applied to Nina’s labial flower, and then slid her tongue inside and explored his mouth just like she had reached into Nina’s inner mystery. She held the nape of his neck with one hand and pulled him to her. Then she turned to Nina enclosing her arisen leg in the circle of her arms as she did so. Nina relaxed her hold and allowed her leg to droop over Camille’s shoulder. Camille intentionally repeated her ritual kiss with even greater initial daintiness, lingering around Nina’s luscious lips and half-open mouth before languidly slipping in with a surge of leisurely craving. Nina moaned softly, and Camille answered her. At last she stepped aside, slowly lowered Nina’s upraised leg and grasped the hand that had supported it. She and Will steadied Nna until they felt her legs securely underneath her. She slowly looked from one to the other her eyes filled with gratitude and open anticipation. Will and Camille gazed at her with brazen adoration. They moved to either side of Nina, and each held a hand.  The crone had moved behind them and with her hands described an aura of energy around the three of them. They raised their hands over their heads. The group greeted them with the longest loudest triumphant cheer they had yet mustered.

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Are there directives for the aftermath of such a ceremony? The sacred threesome instinctively retired to a dark place beneath a large oak tree. Will was able to comfortably recline against the trunk. Nina and Camille nestled on either side of him, each enclosed in one of his strong arms. Cybele brought a soft quilt and some cushions and tucked them in like sweet children. They were deliciously warm and still drifting in a lovely reverie together.

Soft voices and hushed tones drifted through the night air. All were in awe of what they had just experienced. They knew without knowing that something profoundly sacred and extraordinarily special had occurred in their presence, and they had been a part of co-creating it. Those who might only have embraced Goddess in a willing suspension of disbelief, had been touched unmistakeably by something powerful and otherworldly. For some it shook their basic assumptions about reality, even though they had been participating pagans for some time. The most profound feeling being felt and expressed was, “Wow, this is really real.”

A few days later Camille picked up a phone-call from Cybele. After a few pleasantries she tentatively put out a feeler. “Some of us were wondering if we could talk about the ceremony.”

“Well, yes, perhaps. We have not yet talked among the three of us. I think we have just been floating. Let us talk and then perhaps we talk with the larger group.”

“There are only a few of us, Diana, Ash and me and maybe one or two others. I understand we are in uncharted waters, and something very intimate happened.”

“Yes, we didn’t plan half of what happened, and no one gave as a guidebook for what we are supposed to do after the ceremony. Perhaps we will receive some guidance. I am not pushing you away, just not yet sure how to proceed.”

“I understand. So we’ll wait to hear from you. I just want to say, I have never felt such an intense wave of love among such a large group of people. It felt like a bonding among all of us.”

“Yes, I suspect that’s true, and what do we do with that? What do we do now?”

“That’s the question we’re starting to wrestle with.”

“I’m sure we’ll want to be a part of that. Thanks for the call.”

Camille passed the message along to Will and Nina. They set aside a time after the kids were in bed. They had been, as Camille had told Cybele, pretty much floating on a pink cloud ever since the ceremony. What had happened there had taken each of them further than they had imagined or envisioned as they had practiced and rehearsed their parts. They looked at each other like the cats that had swallowed canaries, waiting for someone to begin talking.

Camille began, “I’ve been thinking about this ever since Cybele called. I feel fine. I feel wonderful. My mind asks many questions. What happened? How did it happen? When I got up from my place and came to the two of you, it was like I was not moving my own body. Something was moving me that felt big and strange and powerful. It was like in that moment I had become Her. There was no separation. I was acting out her will or more accurately her desire.”

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“An embodiment of her desire, I like that,” Nina picked up the theme. “Yes, it was my way of displaying what is sacred to us all. Instead of a crucifix, a dead God hanging on a tree, I would display my own Sacred Feminine that which we all carry, source of pleasure, source of life. At that moment it was an act of reverence, an opportunity for all of us to be reverent to that which we all carry. We are, each and every one of us, Goddess. We become Her by declaring ourselves to be Her. And when you knelt before us and completed the circle, the energy of that moment was as intense as when Will and I came to together, and it felt like the whole circle was coming together. It’s not over for us. The pleasure continues. The life continues. The interconnectedness of all life continues. When you put your tongue inside me, I almost fell over. I would have if Will hadn’t been holding me.”

She looked at him lovingly, and he continued the story, “I felt honored to be there, to be in a sense the Chosen One, chosen of Goddess, chosen by you two, my Goddesses. I was surprised at the intimate sexual excitement as soon as we were wrapped up together. There was no audience but Goddess, and She was blessing us, as She has been blessing us all along. I felt Her sustaining me, even possessing me in all Her ecstatic glory. When Nina raised her leg and pointed to the sky, I had a brief image of the showing of the bloody sheet to prove the new wife to be a virgin, such a patriarchal perversion of the showing of the sacred yoni. I also felt such a completion when Camille joined us. She was with us all the time, but it had to be acted out and was, so beautifully affirming our circle of three.”

“Our mouths, our sexual juices, all joined together with the larger circle as our witnesses, all hearts beating as one, our sacred pleasure the tangible touchstone of Holy Matrimony. It was our marriage ceremony,” Nina exclaimed with sudden excitement. “When Will and I were wrapped up together I lost myself. At times I felt like I was you.”

She reached out and touched Camille, who responded, “Yes, I was you, and you were me, and we were both something greater, that eternal, all-pervasive feminine that gave birth to all of us.”

“How sweet it is,” Will declared blithely, for the moment as if he had not a care in the world. There had been many such perfect moments that came unsolicited in the aftermath of their Holy Marriage Ceremony.

Nina continued the marriage theme, “Yes, we got married in front of Goddess and everybody, the three of us, with our community as witnesses. How lovely! How perfect!”

They invited the other women to come to their house one evening at a time when Sammy was usually in bed. The plan worked, and Sammy settled in as if the spirits knew to haul him off to slumber land. Diana, Cybele, Ash and Elizabeth arrived in two cars. Elizabeth was the crone in the ceremony. She was always striking with her long- long, white-white hair which she usually wore loose to her waist. Sean also came, apologetically asking if it was okay for him to be there. Diana spoke for the group, “If you’re here, it must be meant to be.” She looked around the room and saw no dissenting looks, no dissenting voices, rather a collection of nods and murmurs of agreement.

“Glad to have you,” Will stated. “I’m not the only honorary male in this collection of Goddesses.” Will had felt a kinship for Sean when Sean had told his story on rehearsal night. Then Will added, “I see you haven’t left for New York yet.” Then he extended his arms to hug the younger man warmly.”

The women followed suit and hugged each other as well. Their low voices stroked his concerns with messages like, “You’re welcome, brother,” and, “Glad to have you here.”

Couches, chairs, and cushions on the floor accommodated the group as a loose circle in the threesome’s living room. After some small talk and exchange of pleasantries, while everyone was provided with a hot cup of tea, Diana began the discussion by saying, “I have no idea how to begin, I’m just jumping in. I hope everyone will feel free to express their true feelings and thoughts about what we experienced together. There is no judgment here, only acceptance. I’m sure we all have been a part of something truly unique. I think our purpose is simply to share with each other, to savor and augment our experiences, and perhaps to address where we go from here.”

After a moment of silence Ash spoke up, “ I brought this ceremony to the circle. When I first read it myself, I wondered if it would be possible to perform such a ceremony here in our modern lives. Clearly others were touched in the same way. Little did I know or expect that we could enact something so powerful, so beautiful, so. . . awesome. It’s like I understood for the first time what ceremonies are about and specifically what this ceremony is about.” She paused as if gathering her thoughts

The group waited, and finally Diana prodded, “Is there more?”

Ash smiled wanly, “I don’t know why this is so hard. I’m on the edge of tears, but I need to say what is in my heart. I felt the love of the Goddess. She was inside me and all around me . . . unmistakably. She was with us. It’s like the ceremony opened a doorway, and She walked through to embrace us all. There was no doubt in my mind, if there ever had been. She is real. She walks in our lives, holds our hands, stands behind us with all her power, and most importantly guides us to enable us to live in and be a part of the Great Way, which has been, is, and always will be.” She looked up at the group, some tears streaming down her face. The women on either side of her laid their hands on either shoulder. She allowed her gaze to slowly travel over the whole circle, her broadening smile met by other smiles.

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Elizabeth spoke next. “All my life I’ve felt that God is a woman, but She is something so much more than the Virgin Mary. She is like us. We are in her image. We are alive, full of joy, and lustful. We are sexual beings, and our sexuality is holy. She blesses us with every orgasm, with every kiss, with every faint trace of falling in love, with every desire to pleasure one another. She is the Holy Mother, but She is also Aphrodite bringing us Her Divine Ecstasy, Her Sacred Pleasure. Men were always a part of this, but men did not run the show. When they were our willing partners in the ways of Goddess, we all got to be held in Her rapturous embrace. Sometimes there was a lack of initiated men, and holy women would retire to Lesbos or one of the smaller British isles. We knew how easy it was to live the ways of the Goddess. Since men have taken over the world with their wars, their theories of domination, and their disregard for all lower life forms including women; since then it’s been increasingly difficult to find or create spaces for Goddess to come through in all her glory. When the sacred groves were cut down and the meeting places defiled by the Warrior tribes; since then we have struggled to keep Her in our hearts, to hold onto Her as a guiding light in our lives. What we did together was open up a doorway so that She was able to walk through and embrace us all, and even more importantly we could embrace Her without reservation. We had an experience of being immersed in pure divinity and being shown what is possible when She is with us, possessing us with Her immaculate spirit. She brought us her Holy Rapture, her Sacred Pleasure, because we were willing vessels asking Her to come and fulfill us. I particularly want to thank Will and Camille and Nina for being such willing instruments of her dispensation.” She put her hands together and bowed lightly to each of them.

“Camille and Will and I have talked a bit. We all felt at a certain point taken over by this beautiful heavenly Spirit. All we had to do was not resist, just let it happen. This ceremony is much older than history. We enacted something that the first people were given to remind themselves of the holiness of their lives, the holiness of nature, and the interconnectedness of all that exists. Goddess is in our lives. We can ask for her presence, her blessing, her guidance, her understanding, her intercession in circumstances we struggle with. She chooses us, but we can ask to be chosen. We can ask to play on her team. She is love everlasting. She is Holy Mother, a very sexy, very ecstatic Holy Mother. She will give us comfort, and She will give us a thrill ride. We know we were chosen for this mystical ceremony. All we had to do was be willing participants.”

Sean spoke up, “I just have to say how beautiful you all were and are. There was a radiance around you that was visible the whole time. The crescendo of sound was accompanied by a crescendo of golden light beaming out into the universe and everywhere on earth. I felt a sense of renewal for the whole circle of life.” He looked at Nina. “When you emerged from your swaddling of purple and gold and raised your leg, I knew I was seeing the Holy of Holies for the first time in thousands of years.

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In my mind I fell on my knees and bowed in supplication and gratitude. You made all of us a part of your Holy Trinity. You’re all so beautiful, but even more is how elegant you are with each other.” He turned to Camille. “The way in which you enacted the connection between the three of you was just awesome. If I live to a hundred and ten, I doubt I’ll ever see anything so touching, so lovely, so pure in spirit.”

Cybele spoke next. “I totally agree with everything that’s been said and can’t really add anything to the sense of awe and wonder that we are all still feeling about our ceremony and particularly toward our Holy Triad. For some reason I’ve been reflecting a lot about the extreme disparity between the Sacred Marriage Ceremony and other ceremonies that I’ve experienced in the Catholic/Christian context. What we did was so oriented toward life, pleasure, fertility, lushness and love. I think about being in Latin America for Easter watching the reenactment of Christ dragging his cross through the streets, His suffering and the agony of His Death as the focus of a ceremony. Rather than feeling uplifted I always felt guilty. Christ died for your sins. It’s like a double damnation: first, the emphasis on my sins, and second, that God in some form had to die in payment for my sins. I never felt released from my guilt, more like it had been reinforced. My burden hadn’t been lifted. I turned to Goddess because I simply felt better with the practices. Goddess blesses me and wants me to experience the joy of my own body and soul. There’s nothing to compensate for. Come, dance with me; that’s all that’s required. Come dance with me and be my love. No ceremonies of death, or if there are ceremonies of death, it’s death/rebirth, rebirth into another world or rebirth back into this one, not death pounded into you like some punishing lesson.” She stopped temporarily out of breath and surprised at how upset her share had made her. She took a long slow deep breath and let it out. “I feel so released. I feel so connected with True Spirit.”

Diana looked at Will and Camille. They were the only two who hadn’t talked yet.

Will glanced at Camille and nodded as if to say, “After you.”

Camille had sat within the reverberations of her experience for days now, various reflections arising at different times. She began, “I was in a trance the whole time, certainly as soon as Will was laid in my lap. There was a group orgasm, wasn’t there?”

She glanced around the group. There were nods of affirmation and murmurs of ascent. “Well, then everything was afterglow. My body was moving, but I wasn’t moving it. I needed to complete the circle with the Maiden and the King, but had no power of my own to make it happen. It’s like I was lifted up and placed with them. It was personal, my two beloveds, but it was also universal. I kissed the Holy of Holies for all of us who want that connection more than anything. Our Darling, Maiden, Mother and Crone endlessly becoming one another and being reborn, ever renewed and eternal. I kissed her for myself and for all of you. I was so filled with ecstatic light in those moments, it’s a wonder I have memory. Somehow we are exemplars of a love that renews itself and flows beyond personal boundaries to give new life to everything in the circle of creation. This is the ancient ceremony that brings Goddess to us and us to Her.”

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She bowed her head and leaned into Will. Nina placed a hand on her other shoulder. Will had waited as he often did, not wanting to initiate a direction, quite content to lend his power to a course already charted by his women. “What is the righteous role of a man in a Goddess culture? he asked. “I’ve pondered this question ever since I’ve been with these two breathtaking women. They are the lights on my path. So long as I am a willing participant, a willing supporter of them, a willing supporter of the feminine as being the original source of everything including the masculine; so long as I remember to remember that basic principle, I am at peace inside myself. This ceremony enacted that for me. I was the King, yet every move, every action was generated by women holding me, carrying me, guiding me to my next station, offering themselves to me, feeding me, opening themselves to me. As men we should use our strength and power to support and protect the feminine in all forms from the women and girls in our lives to Earth Mother herself. This was my wonderful opportunity to enact what I believe with a circle of Holy Women as my witnesses and co-conspirators.”

“May I make a comment?” Elizabeth asked.

“Certainly.”

“Your words sound patriotic. In my entire life I’ve heard men talk as you just did, but only about God and country. I’ve heard soldiers talk about their service with the kind of devotion you just expressed. I’ve never heard a man talk about women that way, maybe in the throes of first love but not sustainably. As a woman it is so refreshing and so touching to hear a man talk as you do. It even makes me wonder; how did this happen? How can we make it happen for other men?”

Will responded, “I’ve truly been touched by Goddess. It happened early in my knowing Nina. She touched me. I saw something exquisite and special in her, which I wanted to protect and nurture. When she brought Camille into our relationship, I soon felt the same way about her. Would all of this have happened, had these women not been who they are? I believe we were all touched by Goddess, and now we’ve been possessed by Goddess, and it’s the most wonderful thing that could happen to anyone. It’s our birthright to be able to walk in beauty and experience true rapture. ln this ceremony we did together we were all possessed–guided, encouraged and caressed in a direction of fulfillment. We do all this in a circle blessed by Her, endowed by her, pervaded by Her.”

Cybele asked, “So being a devotee of Goddess doesn’t make you less of a man.”

“Quite the opposite, I feel like I’m completed as a man. I am the man I am supposed to be. At times I feel like a holy man, but not some ascetic holy man, a holy man who uses his man strength to support Her, to support the women in my life to be all that they can be?”

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“Are you being all that you can be?”

“I have my mission. If there is more, if there is something else for me to do or be, I’m sure She’ll lay it on me, and I will do it gladly. How else could I have such an ecstatic life?”

“Wow,” exclaimed Diana, “we need more men like you.”

“And,” Will returned, “we need more women like all of you. We all went into this ceremony with enough openness to allow it to happen. We went with something that has been forbidden to us for centuries. It was the collective openness that made it happen. We are all seekers, willing to take some risks, willing to dare to explore. We are simply reclaiming that which was taken away from all of us by thousands of years of brutal patriarchy. Men have been denied their true natures just as much as women have been.”

“Will,” Diana continued, “would you be willing to come to our “Sacred Worlds” group and say what you’ve said here.”

“To the best of my ability. I am more than willing to be the token man until there are more of us. And maybe there should be a men’s group where we can begin to explore how to be men in a Goddess culture. We could start with the three men who took part in the ceremony and just see where it goes.”

“That’s a wonderful idea,” Elizabeth interjected.

And Sean simply added, “I’m with you.”

“Yes,” Diana stated, “the ancient pagans were women and men. Eventually we have to figure out that part of it. We can’t just be a society of women.”

Will added, “Men have been more brainwashed than women by the patriarchy. We’re led to believe that there are advantages to having power over women, to having power over earth. It’s just a crazy out of control power trip which has ruined us, has destroyed many of the best things about being a man or a woman and is on the edge of destroying earth as a nurturing home for us. It all has to change.”

Ash spoke for the first time, “You sound like a feminist.”

Will paused before replying, “I’m a lot of things. Mostly I’m a humanitarian and an environmentalist. My explorations have led me to the conclusion that the earth was in better shape and all human beings were doing better in the ancient times when we looked to our beautiful Goddess for wisdom, understanding and guidance. If that makes me a feminist then I’ll gladly embrace the epithet.”

“We will call it your sobriquet,” Camille interjected in as thick an accent as she could muster.

Will looked at her with eyes that softened and almost melted. “That sounds even better,” he purred like a big cat. Then to the group, “For all of us it’s ultimately about, ‘Keep the faith,’ and now I’ve said enough. Right now I feel like for the most part I should just be a silent partner, supporting you all with my presence, devotion and admiration, but it’s your time to be the leaders. Someday it will all balance out, and we’ll be partners in a way we can hardly imagine now.

A Few Good Men

Horned God of the Wilderness, Lord of the Wild Hunt

racing through the skies to harvest the souls from the earth 

and translate them into the other world,

pause with us as we look deep into our living hearts

to find the true purposes of our being.

~Invocation of Cernunnos

Before the group dispersed that evening there was the beginning of a discussion that might have been titled, “What Now?” There was general agreement that probably everyone who had taken part in the ceremony would like to have an opportunity to talk about how it had touched them, what it meant to them and how they saw it affecting their daily lives.

When everyone had left they sat together with new cups of herbal tea. At first they just looked at each other with sly smiles on their faces until Camille kept her gaze on Will. He met her gaze with full openness. “You had very much to say,” she began.

“Did I say too much?”

“Not at all. I have not heard you talk about what you believe. I heard your passion for what we are doing together. I love it.”

“I don’t want to take over a women’s group.”

“Your voice is important,” Nina joined in. We want to hear men who speak like you do. We’re hungry for that. It’s all the macho garbage that we’re tired of hearing and feeling. These women know that you treat us and them with the utmost respect, and it’s not an act. You’re not some smooth operator.”

Camille added, “Women crave the kind of man they can trust and relax with and be themselves. We are so lucky to have found you.”

“Is that true for lesbians too?” Will asked.

Camille answered, “Women turn to other women for a variety of reasons. As you know there is a sweetness and gentleness we experience with each other. You said it once, there’s a way that we look at each other. We know our bodies, where to touch, and there is a tuned-in responsiveness that is just a woman’s nature. I think a man can learn that. You have. Many men are not interested.”

1dcerrunos_elfwood_PE

“Yes, there’re only interested in themselves, in their own pleasure.”

“Truly,” Will picked up the theme, “the road to ecstasy is not about focusing on your own pleasure. I get more from giving. It’s a circle. It comes right back to me.” He changed the subject. “Is anyone else worried that talking about the ceremony too much will take  the power out of it. You know, ceremony expresses what can’t be expressed in words.”

“Sure, I get what you’re saying. I think this is all so new that a certain amount of talk is necessary so people don’t feel overwhelmed or go all dark side or something. I think the full moon ceremonies did not push anybody’s edge, or at least by the time we got there, everyone was accustomed to what happened at a full moon ceremony. What we did this last time really pushed the edge. There has to be an opportunity, even a process, for integration. It’s possible that there were those who weren’t entirely enthralled by what happened.

“It’s not like we had much opportunity to look around and notice how people were reacting,” Camille added, “but I just thought everyone was touched or even possessed by the same divine energy as we were.”

“So what do we want to do next?” Will asked.

“I been thinking,” Nina replied, “that maybe we begin designing a ceremony for Beltane.”

“Whoa,” Will almost gasped, “that sounds a little scary to me.”

“You have time to get accustomed to the idea,” Camille purred.

Nina continued, “We just set things up, and if the inspiration or possession comes, then there’s nothing to worry about. If Goddess doesn’t possess and use us for her purposes, then maybe it’s just a romp in the woods.”

“A romp?” Will was quizzical.

Camille and Nina burst out laughing. Then Camille addressed him directly in her best accent, “Don’t worry, my Will, we won’t push your edge too far.”

“Just far enough,” Nina added. Then they surrounded him in a warm tight hug.

Camille murmured in a throaty whisper, “We are going to turn you over to a gang of Maenads, who will madly chase you through the countryside until they run you down and have their way with you.”

“You may not survive,” Nina teased and then couldn’t contain her laughter.

“If that’s what you want me to do,” Will acted as if he was turning it over.

Nina and Camille looked at each other as if seriously pondering the question, and then Nina simply declared, “Peut-etre.”

“Whatever you decide,” Will dismissed his fears and their teasing.

“Oh no, Will,” Camille cooed, “we need your help to design this ceremony, and we will only do it if we all agree that it’s what Goddess wants.

Will extracted his arms from inside their hug and encircled his two women. “You are rascals, you know, especially when you gang up on me.”

“Oh, you love it,” Nina tossed back at him.

“Umm, peut-etre.”  They laughed together.

For some reason Sammy woke up just then. Camille fetched him from his crib and laid down with him in the middle of their king-size bed. Nina and Will undressed and curled around her and Sammy on either side. They touched and stroked one another intimately before drifting into a blissful slumber.

Sean phoned Will two days later. He asked if they could get together and talk some more about what was coming up for him since the ceremony.

“Coffee shop or park?” Will asked.

“Park sounds good,” he replied, so next Saturday around noon they met in a local park and sat down on a bench together. After some pleasantries Sean jumped right in and asked, “What do you think it means to be a devotee of the Goddess?”

Will was silent for awhile. “You ask great questions,” he began. “You make me think about things I’ve only just begun to try to define for myself. My first thought was, ‘Am I a devotee of Goddess?’ The answer to that is ‘yes’. I guess I’d like to reframe the question as, ‘How has being a devotee changed my life?’ Starting more than two years ago I began to have experiences that unmistakeably marked me in some way. Perhaps I could sum them up as opening me up to the Sacred Feminine within me and outside of me. I had visionary experience in which I experienced my self as a woman.” He paused and they both listened to the twittering of children in the nearby playground and the chirping of songbirds closer at hand. “Are you with me so far?” Will asked.

“Most definitely,” was the reply.

“Okay,” Will continued looking at the younger man with a certain admiration. “I was with Nina at the time. Camille was not yet a part of our story. She and I had simultaneously experiences of morphing into the other and back again. We were many miles away from each other when this happened, but the timing was pretty exact. In her absence I was meditating and studying tantra. In my meditations I felt a presence which I was able to Identify as Tara, who is both Goddess and female Buddha. As I continued to meditate, her presence became stronger. It was like I was becoming Her in my meditations. She is quite lovely. She is ageless. She can manifest as maiden, mother, or aged one. She is equally beautiful and sexy, however she manifests.” Again he paused, and looked around the park enjoying the sunshine and the still slightly crisp air.

1dtara green_PE

“Perhaps I should explain, in tantric practice the meditative and the erotic are seen as one energy. The practice is about a blending of the two, so that the joy and the peace are experienced simultaneously regardless of one’s age.”

“Cool!”

“Yeah, it is. My experiences of deity were and are so overwhelmingly female, that after awhile I felt very powerfully that the female is really the original energy of our lives. It is definitely that way in mine. That’s where I go for guidance, wisdom and understanding. As a history teacher I am very distrustful of the patriarchy in all of its forms. It’s a bloody disaster politically, socially, spiritually and environmentally. My studies indicate that the previous cultures that were Goddess-oriented, Goddess-guided, were more peaceful, more egalitarian, more dedicated to the joy of life. Warfare is distinctively a practice of the patriarchy. Goddess cultures were more oriented toward pleasure, ceremonies that produced a joy that could be experienced simultaneously by the whole community, no winners or losers, simply a communion of all.”

“I get it; like the ceremony we did.”

“Yes, precisely, and you should know. None of us knew how far it would go. We were, all three of us, possessed and carried along, I think, to show us what is possible if we get over the taboos that we’ve grown up with. But we need a lot of guidance to do it in the right way. It is not just a sexual revolution; it is a spiritual/sexual revolution. The spiritual has to come first, and our personal desires can be our own worst enemy. We all need to reorient, to put the needs of the community first or at the very least of equal importance. It’s like if everyone of us treated everyone else like a beloved child, as our beloved child. Jesus said, ‘Become as little children, and you will enter the kingdom of heaven,’ and one of the psalms says, ‘You are gods; all of you are children of the Most High.’ My experience tells me that the Most High is Goddess in some form. Are you with me?”

“I’m totally with you. You are putting words around a lot of feelings I’ve been having for a few years and increasingly in my relationship with my one-time dance teacher. I thought maybe I was crazy or way out there somewhere, because I never heard anyone talk about the kinds of experiences I was having with her. Sometimes I don’t feel like a man or a woman. Sometimes I feel like both.”

Will smiled, “I think the revival is starting to happen, and we really need each other, all of us who are feeling these stirrings of the Divine Feminine. It has been taboo for so long. The patriarch called her the Great Whore of Babylon, and maybe she was quite licentious in Babylon, but that’s all part of Her as surely as all the images of Mother Mary. I also think that the images and practices got distorted a lot during the time of the takeover by the patriarchal empire builders. You can’t deal with a bunch of bloody warriors without your own beliefs and practices gettin skewed in the process. It takes a powerful lot of imagination, meditation and vision to connect with those old ways of Goddess before the killers and enslavers began to dominate the known world.”

“Universal military draft.”

“Say more.”

“You will be a soldier for us, or we’ll kill you.”

“Yes, precisely.”

“So, is there more?”

“There’s always more.”

“I know, silly question.”

“I want to tell you about being in one of the great caves in the French Pyrenees. I simply assume there’s some reason for you to know about this at this time.”

“Great.”

“So Nina and I went to Niaux, which is like Lascaux, huge underground cave with paintings of animals, human handprints and an intoxicating sense of the mysterious. I’ve remembered being there as if I was there thousands of years ago when rhinoceros roamed in Europe and horses were our spirit partners. It definitely feel like these caves were places of initiation deep within Mother Earth. I know that men were taken there to experience directly the mysteries of Goddess, far from the sun far from the fertile surface in the womb of the Mother, so to speak. Sometimes I’m able to go there in my meditations. So far I haven’t gotten specifics as to the practices, but the feeling is intense and wonderful and loving when I’m able to go there. I’m not sure how it fits with everything else. I know that the Hopi men spend days in their kivas below the earth’s surface as preparation for the kachina ceremonies. They fast and pray and chant, purifying themselves in order to embody the kachina spirits in the ceremonies.”

“Yeah, I get the connection.” Just then a mockingbird nearby trilled its complex song. Both men tuned in and listened.

Will continued, “There’s an invocation I came across and memorized because it felt like a clue toward elucidating the mystery of the cave and the underground aspect of Goddess. It’s part of an invocation to the ancestors:

May their souls be at peace,
May they be washed clean of trauma and may they be cleansed in the Cauldron of the Goddess and be reborn in Her womb (if they so choose),
May they reflect on their experiences, learn from them, be purified of destructive patterns and attachments and move on to the next step in their development, fresh and renewed.”

“Wow,” exclaimed Sean, “that really says it. It sounds Buddhist.”

“Yeah, isn’t that crazy. It’s straight out of Goddess lore, something that’s recited during Samhain.”

“That’s just crazy good. I have one I memorized, same reason. It just touched me. It feels so true.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“Okay, hear goes”

1dcosmic_PES

We all come from the Goddess,
And to Her we all return,
Like a drop of rain,
Flows into the ocean;
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn,
All that dies shall be reborn;
Corn and grain, corn and grain,
All that falls shall rise again.”

I like that too,” Will rejoined. “So are we going to have a men’s group. We could call it Men of Goddess.”

I like it. Yes, I think we absolutely have to put it out there and see what happens. Shall we just invite people?”

“Yeah, let’s do it word of mouth. I have a friend, Paul, who might be interested. He’s Native American. If he comes he might have some really provocative perspectives, you know, earth-based cultures versus the industrial patriarchy.”

“And Jamie, who took part in the ceremony.”

“By all means, the more diversity the better.”

“I’m excited.”

“So am I.” Long pause before Will continued, “So when are you going to New York. What’s your friend’s name?”

“Rhiannon. She wrote me and invited me to visit. I’m going to make plans.”

“Did you write her back?”

“Of course.”

“Just checking.” Will noticed Nina, Camille and Sammy headed for the kid’s playground. “Hey there’s my family. You wanna come hang with the clan, or you got something else to do?

“I’ve got a few minutes.”

Greetings were exchanged all around as the four adults stood in the soft sand surrounding the play equipment. Sammy was oscillating in a kiddie bucket swing. Camille gave him an occasional push to keep him going.

Nina addressed Sean, “Good to see you again. How’d your meeting with Will go?”

“Really good. We’ve decided to announce a men’s group and see what happens.”

Will interjected, “Yeah, if it ‘s only the two of us, we enjoy each other’s company. You know, when two or three are gathered in Her name, She is there.”

Nina grinned at him, catching the Jesus reference. Sean turned to her and asked, “We’ve decided to call our group Men of Goddess. I’ve heard Will’s story about becoming a devotee of Goddess. What do I want to ask? . . . How does a woman perceive and experience a man of Goddess?”

“Great question! Let’s see if I can answer it. . . From almost the first time I met Will, I felt he was devoted to me. How did I know that? He went out of his way to be tuned into my needs, my feelings, my desires. It felt genuine, and it didn’t feel like he was looking for anything in return. He was just there with all his strength like a gentleman-in-waiting. He was asking or expecting anything in return. He wasn’t doing it to be a people-pleaser. I had never experienced that from a man before. He made me fell safe. He made me feel free. At first I just wanted to play with him. Eventually I wanted more. I felt I could have more with him and not get hurt. I’d only felt that way with family before.”

“You three seem to have such a powerful bond. How did that happen? How do you keep it going?”

“We’re all explorers, adventurers. Sometimes I think Camille and I just drag Will along, but he’s often said to us that he would follow us anywhere, and he does. We don’t just accept each other. We truly love each other. Let me clarify that. We really like who the other person is. Each of us can say about the other two, ‘I really love who you are.’ That’s a magic that can’t be manufacture. It just is. I truly believe that spiritual beings guided us to each other’s paths. We are extraordinarily blessed. And you know the old saying, ‘Those to whom much is given, from them much will be expected.’”

“Such as playing the major roles in an ancient Goddess ceremony that pushed all of our edges.”

“Exactly.”

Camille spoke up, “I began to change from when I first met Nina in Paris.

She drew something from me that still feels like the basis of our menage a trois. It may sound strange, but I felt like a mother or big sister, like I was watching out for her, and yet wanting to share with her the pleasures, the solaces I had found in myself. Very soon I got from her as much as I had given. I feel that all three of us treat the others like blessed children that we want the best for. I would do anything for Nina or Will. I believe we also have a pact with Goddess to bring her ways back into our modern world. We are all Her devotees. We have a mission together. We will be faithful to each other, perhaps more importantly we are together in being faithful to Her. It is through Her that we maintain the harmony and goodness of our lives together. She may ask some extraordinary things of us, but her energy, her Spirit is always there to sustain us in completing these challenges.”

1dcosmic mother_PE

“Like the ceremony.”

Oui, comme la ceremonié.”

“What else?”

“The way we came together, the three of us. Such arrangements do not usually last even in France. To hold in faithfulness and trust not just one other person, but two others, is usually a big challenge. For us it has been easy, but I think it is only because She is with us. We feel Her presence. We go with Her guidance. She helps us resolve any difficulties usually before they become difficulties. I come back to what I said. Each of us treats the others like a good parent to a good child. That is number one. Number two is we are all graceful at giving and receiving. Sometimes two of us will conspire to take care of the other one in some special way. It is like each of us has two devoted spouses.”

“Wow! I think I’m getting it. You are on a spiritual journey together, and in the realm of Goddess there is no conflict between spirit and pleasure.”

“Very good, Sean,” Will broke in. “You are a quick study.”

“Well, he is a very tuned in young man,” Camille added and kissed him on one cheek.

“Thank you for welcoming me into your family. I am in awe.”

Camille looked deeply into the sky and then knelt with her palms facing Earth Mother. She looked up at Sean. “You will go New York some months from now. You and your dance partner have an incredible destiny there.”

Sean put both hands over his heart and took what Camille had just said. Finally he spoke, “Thank you for the encouragement.” And to Nina and Will who were now swinging Sammy, “All of you.”

“Our pleasure,” they replied almost in unison and then chuckled at how often that happened.

Sammy squealed and babbled excitedly. He reached up to be extracted from the swing. He was ready to run around and explore. Sean reached out for a circle hug. Will held Sammy who continued to babble. “Thank you,” Sean said softly, “all of you.” Sean took his leave.

“Nice young man,” Camille stated the obvious.

“Yes, he is.” Nina agreed.

“I’ve got a feeling this men’s group is going to be a lot of fun,” Will added.

When they got home, somewhat ravenous for a lunch snack, Will make sandwiches, while Nina tended to Sammy’s immediate needs. Camille fetched a book she had only recently purchased. “I want to read you some Mary Oliver,” she announced.

“Great, I always love what you come up with,” Nina replied.

“By all means, read on” Will added.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves. …

The world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

“That’s wonderful,” Will exclaimed. “I want to read it at our first men’s group meeting.”

Nina mused, “So sweet, so lovely, so true, so us,” adding extra emphasis to the last phrase. “Who wrote that?”

Mary Oliver, she’s an American poet I’ve just discovered. This is an excerpt. I want to get one of her books. She’s lesbian.”

“All the better,” Will declared boldly smiling warmly at both of them.

“How did you become so accepting?” Camille asked. “No, it’s more than that. You embrace,”

“She claimed me as one of Her own. Resistance is futile, and why would I want to resist. She is sublime.”

Wolves and Girls

wolves and girls, girls and wolves

oh, so the stories go

what all these poets dare not say

is that every girl has wolves

pacing rhythms in her heart

~m.j.

Nina imagined that everyone who had been there continued to feel the reverberations of the ceremony moving in them. Certainly she did, some days more than others, and then she sat within the circle of her own feelings, savoring every sensation she could remember in her body and soul. As the focal point of the ceremony, the embodiment of Goddess, she had received the awe, the adulation, the admiration of her entire circle. Words could not describe what she had felt. She had tried them all: rapture, ecstasy, bliss, euphoria; all words paled in comparison to the divinity that had moved through her, had circulated through every living cell and had not entirely departed. She was ecstatic, but it was a serene ecstasy, not at all overwhelming, as comfortable as her favorite pair of slippers. At times she felt like she personally in that moment encompassed all that was Goddess. These feelings came up quite spontaneously and then were gone again, and she was Nina, one of the many representations of Goddess. The reminders of the infinite were pleasant, even reassuring in some strange way. She thought, “Each of us is for brief moments the entirety of what is. I am quite blessed to be given a conscious experience of that reality.”

She had begun a conversation with Camille late one afternoon when Will arrived home. Sammy had a variety of toys spread around the living room, but rushed to Will as he came through the front door. Will tossed Sammy above his head, then squeezed him in his arms before settling on the couch with his son on his lap.

Camille continued with what she was saying. “For me the questions that arise are what kind of world would have this sacred marriage ceremony. How would people be different from the world we live in?”

“I’ve been thinking about that too,” Will interjected.

“You mean a ceremony of love and pleasure instead of pain and death,” Nina added.

Oui, I think precisely that,”

“What are our biggest ceremonies?” Nina asked. She had answers but wanted to hear from the other two first.

“Super Bowl,” Will blurted out. They all laughed. Sammy laughed along with them. Will continued, “A grand violent competition between men only, definitely winners and losers. Most years it is the most watched TV show of the year.”

Nina grabbed a note pad and wrote SUPER BOWL  in block letters. “I think the crucifixion,” Camille stated matter-of-factly.

Nina added that to her list and asked Camille to elaborate.

“Everywhere we have representations of the crucifixion. There are more crosses than McDonald’s arches.” The last comment got a laugh from the group. Camille went on. “We here on the radio, ‘Christ died for your sins!’ The death of Christ is more important than the life of Christ. In some Catholic countries the stations of the cross are acted out during Easter Ceremonies.”

“Do you think his death is more important than his birth?” Will asked.

“It is more emphasized.”

Nina cut in, “It is the transformative symbol. We commune with Christ by drinking his blood and eating his flesh. It is an act of cannibalism sanctioned by the Church. Our Goddess Ceremony was an act of love. Do we eat the body of our dead God or partake of the pleasure juices of our live Goddess?”

“I can tell you which one tastes better and makes me want to come back for more.” Camille’s comment brought more laughter from the others, which she joined in on.

“Would you rather be a vampire or a French lover?” Nina asked in the thickest accent she could muster. There was more laughter.

“In American movies graphic violence is more acceptable than graphic sex. Your movies glamorize violence, but sex, even sex which is portrayed as very loving, very romantic, has been more controversial.”

“Make Love not War!” Will offered. “Maybe it really does come down to which basic instincts are emphasized or glamorized.”

“My journeys have obviously gone to a place and time where the loving instinct is preeminent, the sense of connection, the fluidity of sexual roles and identities, the resolution of conflict through the pleasuring of one another.”

In her turn Nina rejoined,“Your stories make it sound like there was no need for set apart ceremonies. Life itself was ceremonial with that ongoing sense of the sacred.”

“Yeah, we have live sex shows now in America,” Will contributed, “but their set and setting is the farthest thing from sacred. It is more like relishing the portrayal of sex as bad or dirty, so they perpetuate the split between the sacred and the profane with our sexual beings remaining on the side of the profane.”

“How sad that is,” Camille lamented. “What a loss of potential, and Goddess and all women are boxed into very narrow definitions of goodness, of spirituality. Even the nature of nature is perverted.”

“Even our sense of what’s normal, and what’s not,” Will added.

“So,” Nina redirected the conversation, “I want to bring this back to what we experienced and continue to experience in and through our ceremony, and how do we communicate that in a way that doesn’t get marginalized by those who are steeped in the standard cultural stance.”

“That’s a huge question,” Will acknowledged.

“Mmm,” Camille mused, “I think we start by doing what you’ve been doing: savoring, remembering, reinhabiting the ceremony in our minds’ eye. That has been happening for me when I’m curled up with Sammy or when we are making love together. Mmm, sweet nectar of the Goddesses and Gods!”

“You are my Goddesses even more since we took part in the Dance of Divinity.”

“Did you just come up with that?” Nina asked. “That’s a wonderful characterization of what happened. We all became divine, and we knew it very intensely during our ceremony. Of course we all are divine all the time. . .”

1dnymphs wi pan-

“But it’s a matter of our awareness.” Will finished her sentence.

“Yes, precisely,“ Camille continued. “It’s all about what we do with our awareness, what we cultivate.”

“Are you able,” Nina asked, “to go back and run it like a movie in your mind.”

Oui, something like that,” Camille answered.

Will surprised them.“I actually feel like I go back to the place and time that you describe from your journeys, that feeling of total immersion without regard for forms or categories that usually dominate our thinking.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool,” Nina exclaimed.

“It’s all pretty cool.”

“Agreed, still, do we try to communicate our experience outside the circle of pagan women?” Nina asked.

“I’m not ready. I just want it to be mine for awhile,” Camille immediately answered. “I’m afraid of what might happen. We are already on the fringe of acceptability living as a menage a trois.”

“Would you be comfortable if someone else told the story, and we were not identified,” Will asked.

“Peut-etre,” she replied coquettishly, cocking her head to one side and winking at him.

Nina chuckled at the interplay, but continued the theme. “If one of the other women told the story, and everyone was anonymous. That might work.”

Bien sur, I just don’t want to kiss and tell . . . not yet.”

“I agree,” Will added. “I don’t want publicity, but the story might be inspirational in the right way.”

Sammy had slipped off of Will’s lap and was out of sight for a time. He returned with his talking stuffed cat and regaled his parents with many variations of “Meow”. The adults joined in and began rubbing up against each other and Sammy like sensual cats before they all dissolved into laughter together.

Sean and Will decided to meet as soon as possible, get the men’s group off the ground while both of them were so motivated. Will contacted Paul, and Sean phoned the friend he had mentioned and Jamie. Everyone made a commitment to at least come once and check it out. They met at Sean’s place, a converted outbuilding on a small ranch. He referenced the panoply of art objects and other items around his house. “I’m keeping some of Simone’s stuff for her. Simone’s her name,” he said to Will.

Sean offered them green tea, so they accepted. During the evening he would brew several pots and keep them supplied with the mild stimulant. The other guys looked to Will to make some kind of opening statement, so he did.

“I’m really excited about this group coming together. When I first began to follow the Divine Feminine, I had little idea how to even do that. I was at a loss for guidelines to show me a clear path as a man who is devoted to Goddess.”

“So what did you do?” Sean asked.

“I found a younger woman to follow around. She had studied some of the lore in college. In the beginning we were like fellow wanderers or seekers, holding each other’s hands and searching for clues. I’d read some Asian philosophy, Taoism and such, that kept saying things like, ‘The balance of the universe is maintained when the strong male principle is placed below the supple female principle.’”

“What did that mean to you?” Sean’s friend, Sid, asked.

“In the most blunt way I can think of, it meant that women should be running the world, that the male energy unbridled becomes out of balance and destructive. The balance is that masculine power would be guided by what we associate as traditional female values.”
“Such as?”

“Cooperation over competition is the biggest one; non-violence including non-violent communication. One World Family as a great circle of light, in a fundamental way I began paying attention to women in a way I never had before. I listened to them and respected their feelings and opinions as at least as important as mine, maybe more so. I trust women’s instincts as implicitly carrying more wisdom than men’s basic instincts.”

“What got you started down that path?” Sean asked.

“As you know I met one incredible woman.”

“Was that Camille?”

“No, in the beginning it was Nina. Here she was in her early twenties, and every time she opened her mouth I was awe-stuck by the implicit wisdom in what she said. ‘How does she do that?’ I often asked myself. I don’t know if I ever told her, but the feeling I had was, ‘I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.’ Every chance I had, that’s what I did.”

Paul, who had thus far been silent, looked intently at Will, “Can you give an example of male energy run out of control?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“Yeah, but I asked you first.”

Will pondered and then answered, “There’s a story that the British taught the aboriginals in Australia one of their games. I think it was soccer. The aboriginals took to the game and were very good at it. They had one curious habit. If one team got too far ahead, the other team would lay back and let them catch up. The British tried to impress upon them that that was not how to play the game. The aboriginals smiled, nodded and continued to play their own way. To me that’s a society in balance, where competition might be fun for awhile, but cooperation is the preeminent principle.”

“Women always had equal status,” Paul stated. “We could not imagine it any other way; and in the way back time when animals could talk they had equal status. That’s why it’s so important that hunting be done with a lot of acknowledgment of the animal and gratitude that she died so that we could live.”

Sid asked, “Are empires the best example of male energy run amuck.?”

Ever the teacher, Will asked back, “What do you think?”

“Well yeah, competing empires, it’s like who can be the most efficient slaughterhouse. The winner is the best killer. How do we get away from that without becoming victims?”

“I guess that’s one of the things we’re here to find out. Right now, I think we’re mostly trying to figure what a sane society would be like: to create, sustain and live in. At least I’d like that to be one of our points of discussion. I’m also interested in the experiences that have brought you here. I don’t want to be the only guy talking about my relationship with Goddess, although I feel like I’m far enough along to say, ‘Not only do experiences with Goddess not make you weird, they are damn cool and a path to blissful enlightenment and knock-your-socks-off ecstasy.”

Jamie spoke for the first time, “I believe you, based on what we all felt during the ceremony. It’s funny. One of the sneers toward gay guys is that we’re effeminate. I read for that, more in touch with the feminine side of our nature, not universally true but true enough.”

“You’re very refreshing, Will. You’re not gay, but you’re not afraid of your feminine nature.”

Jamie was close to Will’s age. Sean and Sid were the younger half-generation. Paul was the oldest by a few years. He spoke again. “I think you know that Earth Mother has always been so important. We cannot live without her. We are part of her. We were confused by the Black Robes stories. The only Goddess was so lacking in anything having to do with nature. We wondered how they could live that way. Our shamans and visionaries told us to be patient. This one-sided way of life could not survive. It would destroy itself. Earth Mother might be injured, but she would not die. Our prayers are to Grandfather Spirit and Earth Mother, but in our teaching stories women is also spirit, sometimes Creator Spirit, often giving birth to everything that is.”

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“Are you speaking from a particular tradition?” Sean asked.

“Yes and no,” Paul grinned. “One grandmother and grandfather came to California from the Southwest. They were migrant farm workers. My granny said she had a vision of the Pacific Ocean when she was a little girl. She felt pulled west. My grandfather followed her because he was in love with her, and I think he thought there might be some opportunities. My other grandparents grew up in California pretending to be Mexican at a time when that gave you a better chance of surviving. By the time it was safe to be an Indian again, we’d lost most of our culture. We didn’t know what it meant to be Wappo or Ohlone. I know more Diné or Navajo stories than anything else, Changing Woman, Spider Woman.”
“Will you tell us a story?” Sid asked.

“Sometime, not tonight. I want to hear from everyone tonight. I’d like to know where we think we’re going.”

Light laughter from the group followed that statement.

Will jumped in. “I thought of calling us the ‘Men’s Auxiliary’.” More laughter.

“I like the balance of that,” Sean said. “We’ve had enough Women’s Auxiliaries. My mother was one.”

“Yeah,” agreed Jamie, “I think our job is to turn everything upside down.”

“So you approve of me following my older woman girlfriend to New York,” Sean asked.

“Absolutely.”

“You better.”

“What else would a good man do?”

“She wants you there, right?”

Camille had not journeyed to her other world for quite awhile, so she was not surprised when several days later in the early morning she could feel herself drifting in that direction. She was not as awe-struck as she had been in the beginning of her journeys. The other world had become her second home.

She merged with the same being as always, the one called Zefra, but something was missing. She felt distinctly different, but couldn’t at first identify what that difference was. There was an aching loneliness that she’d never experienced as Zefra. She didn’t have long to contemplate her sense of difference. Her group of a dozen or so began to rise in the air forming a perfect circle. She was reminded of flying saucer representations. The sensation was one of group levitation, rising from the earth and then moving off in a direction.

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They hovered above a group of men. There was a powerful sense of longing coming from everyone in her circle as they observed the men below. Zefra felt an intense desire for one man in particular. The men were dancing in a circle accompanied by drums and their own chanting, which sounded like various forms of “huh”. They seemed oblivious of the women hovering above them.

“How could that be?” thought Camille. “The passion we are exuding is almost visible.”

The men were entirely absorbed in what they were doing together. There was a singularity of focus that Camille had not previously experienced in this world. The men felt wild and primitive, but there focus was like another form of meditation. They wore only breech-clouts. Their single-file circle dance built to a final crescendo. They all shouted as loudly as they could. Then each grabbed a spear from a nearby pile. Together they took off at a dead run, fanning out as they did so. As the distance between them grew, there was nonetheless a strong energetic connection among all of them like they were parts of one body. This was the first time Camille had ever seen weapons in this world. It was the first time she had seen men who were not somehow an integrated part of a woman.

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The women followed along watching the whole panorama unfolding below them. They could see that the men were quickly surrounding a small herd of some kind of antelope. It all happened so quickly and silently that the antelope were encircled before they had any sense of another presence, and by then it was too late. The men fell on them from all sides. Spears flew. Antelope fell to the ground mortally wounded and bleeding. The men rushed to them. Each had a sharp flake of obsidian. They extracted these flakes or chunks from pouches hung around their waists. They sliced open the still writhing bodies of the antelope extricating livers and hearts still dripping with live blood. Each man took a good bite of the raw organs. They again whooped as loudly as they could. The energy was almost orgasmic. The women felt it pass through them like a shuddering shock wave. There was a desire right then to drop out of the sky and join the men, but something restrained them. They continued to feel and observe.

Some of the men smeared blood on their bodies and faces. Then almost as rapidly as they had come, they slung the still bleeding carcasses over their shoulders and headed back toward where they had come from. They veered toward a still rising sun and soon came to a small stream. They dropped the carcasses, entered the stream, and rolled around to wash all the blood of the hunt from their entire bodies, and then they walked away after living their obsidian tools on top of their kills.

When the men disappeared the women including Zefra/Camille descended and applied themselves to skinning and cutting up the antelope. They worked in pairs. Camille was amazed at how quickly they/she were able to process the meat into usable chunks. Then they all washed in the creek as they men had done, after which they ascended once more to their floating circle.

Then men soon returned carrying firewood with them. They gouged deep holes in the soft earth near the stream. One of the men brought out a hot coal from a pouch he carried. Using the coal they started a fire which soon produced beds of coals for each of the holes they’d dug. The women continued to watch in fascination. They had seen many new things this day, among them male rituals, hunting, and fire. It was a lot to integrate. There remained a fierce urge to join with these men in some way. Obviously that was not the lesson of the day. Soon Camille felt herself separating from Zefra, moving through time and space to find herself among her beloveds in her predominant world. This journey had been so different from previous ones. She shook her head and went back to sleep, mumbling to herself, “I’ll figure it out later.”

After breakfast that same Saturday morning, the family retired to the back yard. The adults continued to sip coffee and take turns being Sammy’s playmate. Camille felt a degree of desperation in wanting to share her journey with her husband and wife. She had grown rather comfortable with the ethereal images of her previous journeys. This latest one had brought up new and somewhat disturbing feelings. She needed feedback from her soul-mates.

She described the journey and then lingered again over the complex of feelings. “When we first saw the men, I was powerfully drawn to them and to one in particular. I wanted nothing more than to mate with him immediately. I knew he was my other half, somehow split off from me. It felt so strange to have that part of me missing. My strongest desire was to reunite with him. He and all the men were totally focused on their hunting ritual. I definitely felt they were building up their mojo for a successful hunt. I think all of us women just wanted the men to notice us, and they were oblivious. I got no sense of what they were focused on, not on each other. They were in a trance. I don’t know how long the drumming and dancing had been going on. The energy they were building was extremely attractive. I would call it ‘erotic’, because I have no other word. It was not blood-lust. That came later during the hunt. They were pumping themselves up. I loved their raw strength. I wanted to get close to it. When they burst their circle and began running with their spears, I wanted to run with them. In a sense I was. I could feel a part of me going with the men I recognized as me.

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“The thrill of the hunt, I thought there was nothing more ecstatic than sex/passion/romance, but the thrill of the hunt was amazing. The kill was like a massive orgasm but a disappointment too, because the hunt was over, and the hunt had been so exciting, so exhilarating. I didn’t want it to be over. Then there were the blood rituals. I was with my male half. I could taste the fresh blood and the raw liver. I was life-blood. It was an infusion of life essence. At the moment it was the best drug ever invented. I wanted to bite, rip and chew and bolt down whole chunks of raw bloody meat. I felt like a wolf in a pack of wolves. I wanted to rip and tear with my long pointed teeth and eat until I couldn’t eat more. And then, only then would I fall over entirely satiated and sleep. But I couldn’t do that. That one taste of raw liver had to be enough. Something wouldn’t allow me to just become a wolf. Something held me back. I felt the power of the ritual structured some very primitive feelings and kept us all within the human realm, while allowing us the some of the pleasure of our most primitive beings.”

After Camille stopped speaking there was a long silence. Finally Will, sounding all most absent-minded, softly said, “Yeah, I think I’ve always been afraid of that.” And then, “Leave it to a woman to lead me there.”

Nina spoke up, “I’m fascinated by this longing, this passionate desire to rejoin with the split off male part of yourself. I get it. It’s the separation that makes us ache for the other.”

“Yes, it’s like there’s something missing inside of us. I wonder if men feel that.”

“Something like that,” Will conceded, “but it’s more like going home.”

“Going back to the womb?”

“Yes, but that’s not quite it either. The woman feels that a part of her has left and she wants it back, to take him in her arms and reabsorb him. The man wants to return, but he’s going back to his original part. That’s why the woman always feels like mother to some extent. It’s not returning to the womb; it’s returning to the whole self or completing the whole self.”

“I see the difference,” Camille rejoined. “If in the beginning, our form was female, and the male came out of the female, then we women experience the sense of incompletion and fill it with children and sex and other things. It seems what I was shown was a specific purpose to the male that he can get all wrapped up in and for awhile entirely forget the female because there is another object for his passion.”

“Yeah,” Nina came in excitedly, “I remember reading about male initiation in one of the California tribes. It involved waiting in a tree above a deer trail until a deer came underneath. Then the boy pounced on the deer’s back and killed the deer with his knife.”

“The Masai boy has to kill a lion with a spear,” Will added.

“No one really talks about the thrill, the ecstatic aspect of the hunt.” Camille went on. “The hunt is not just about getting food, it is an ecstatic, full of life act in itself. It’s wonderful that it also provides food for the people.”

“Maybe it was the hunt far more than sex that tempted spirit beings into bodies. They already had forms of sexual expression. The hunt is far more biological. It’s a blood ritual.”

Nina asked, “Were there particular ways you wanted to reconnect with your male self?”

Mais oui, it was definitely sexual. All of us women wanted to get part that was under the breech-clout. We wanted to possess it and him in any way we could.”

“Wanton women just want to get back what was once there’s,” Will commented. “What a story!”

“It was so strange. So many journeys, and they all felt like being in some form of meditation, and then, bam, biology takes center stage, but still with rituals that had their spiritual or trancelike quality.”

“How do you feel now?” Nina asked.

“Turned on, randy, can’t wait for tonight?”

“Maybe Sammy will take a long nap.”

“I have never felt so sexually aroused, like pure biology.” She looked at Will, her eyes drenched with lust. “I just want to jump on you and take you right here, right now.”

“Whoa, girl! I believe you,” Nina exclaimed. “I definitely wanna be in on this.”

“The more the merrier,” Camille rejoined.

“Unleash the beast,” Will quipped.

“That reminds me.” Nina hopped up, went in the house and returned with the notebook of quotes that had begun with Camille, and now all of them contributed to. Nina leafed through some pages. “Here it is.” She looked at Camille. “Maybe you forgot this.” Nina read:

1dwolfgirl'_P

Give yourself over to the wolf; let it eat the parts of you that are sick, that are damaged beyond salvage. Let the wolf in and let it clean house, and let it leave again. The wolf knows which parts must be swallowed. You do not need what it takes, and where it bites you the wounds will heal. Let the wolf in and let it eat you, and let it leave again.  

There was a long silence punctuated by squeals as Will played a mock game of keep-away with him and then let him have the small ball they were using. Sammy would run around with it, then bring it back to Will to start the game again.

Nina continued, “Some people I studied believe that humans evolved from wolves, that the missing link would be a kind of wolf-man not ape-man.”

1dwolfgirl_PES

“Let’s not move on yet,” Camille interrupted. “I still want to see what more comes from the feelings of this last journey. When I was running inside my male half and longing to reunited, when I was able to just be totally identified with his experience, it was so pure. There was the hunt and nothing else. There were no thoughts only action, and my body felt tuned and toned to a kind of perfection. He did not seem aware of my presence, while I was vacillating between being totally at one with him and being separate and desperately longing to merge with him.” She paused.

Will softly asked, “Do you think women do that with their men even now?”

“Say more.”

“You know, identify with their heroic successes like it’s their own success. Mothers do that, but then be in this separate place of longing to come together in some kind of ecstatic union.”

“Makes sense to me. What about you, Nina?”

“Mmm, yes, I think so. It can be the woman identifying more with the man than with herself, and through that being willing to play a secondary role, a supportive role.”

“You guys don’t do that with me,” Will interjected, “or do you?

“Not so much,” Camille answered, “but I’ve had those feelings. It’s why betrayal is so devastating. It feels like a part of yourself has betrayed you. How can it not be your fault? If only I had treated him better in some way, the abuse, the philandering, none of the bad stuff would have happened.”

“As the original entity, we still believe we should be able to control all the offshoots,  “ Nina picked up the theme, “whereas a central part of the male makeup is this fierce independence. ‘I’ll do it myself. I’ll do it by myself. I’ll do it my way. Don’t anybody tell me what to do.’ I had no idea these primal feelings were . . . well, so primal.” All three of them laughed.

“Yes, especially we’re not to let women tell us what to do. ‘Who wears the pants in the family?’ and all the other ways in which that is reinforced. Are we doing that differently?” Will sounded a bit uncertain.

“I think we are,” Nina replied. “In this family we all wear the pants . . . and the skirts.” They laughed again. She continued,”Nobody tells anybody what to do in this family unless we’re temporarily playing a game. We don’t have to do anything against our own wills . . . do we?”

Will answered, “The deep truth for me is I am almost mesmerized by the harmony of my two women. It’s like you’re communing without words all the time, and then when there needs to be a decision, you’re already there in agreement with each other. I see your wisdom and your love and desire only to be part of it.”

“But we listen to you, don’t we?” Nina asked.

“Yes, you do. When I have something to say, I feel very listened to, respected, and best of all admired. I’m never made to feel less than you guys. It feels like a part of our love for each other is a fascination with what creative marvel the other is going to come up with.”

“That’s true.”

“Yes, I agree. Absolutely! We know each other so well and yet we remain in awe of the next surprising evolution of our beloveds.”

Will added, “I think our conscious, acknowledged connection with Goddess facilitates this harmony, this creativity, this mutual awesome regard. How are you doing, Camille?”

“Still having strange thoughts and images. The most troubling one is a group of savage-looking women pulling down a man, who looks royal, ripping him apart and eating him all raw and bloody.”

“Isn’t that like the maenads?” Nina asked.

Will suggested, “Maybe this king just got too uppity and the women had to eat him to make him part of them again.”

“Seems pretty extreme form of reunification.”

“Maybe not when bodies were more fluid than they are now. Maybe it wasn’t in the beginning the bloody rite described in our mythology. It was simply women enforcing a particular order that included calling back the male self when it became too independent, too disconnected, and perhaps too anti-social. You know, that tendency to just go one’s way without regard for the feelings or opinions of the rest of the circle, especially the women.”

“Can’t we reinstitute that in some form?’ Nina quipped. “I know some men I’d like to recall.”

“Politicians?” Will asked.

“Politicians, bankers, the entire military of the whole world, rapists . . . There would be quite a list.”

“One of our lost arts,” Camille mused. “Perhaps some of us are in training to regain that ability.”

“Just recognize a male self on a bad path and say, ‘You’re recalled’.” Nina chuckled.

“Something like that, but then I’m worried about having that disharmonious energy/entity inside of me. Would it be anymore controllable?”

“Maybe there’s a better way to disarm the wayward souls?” Will offered.

Camille replied, “It seems in our times, this soul-mate connection only happens when there is an implicit recognition of compatibility or similarity.”

Nina added, “I wonder if sometimes the most disastrous relationships are women who feel this soul-mate connection with a man, who is incurably a wayward soul, who can’t be called back into harmonious compatibility, who instead uses and abuses her.”

“That’s really scary,” Camille acknowledged, “but it might be true.”

“You’ve seen images of these ancient spirit women just giving birth to new entities that were female, before there was the awareness of the possibility of a male half. Each of us is a part of our original entity which may have divided or split off or given birth numerous times. Each of us has many potential soul-mates. Some have obviously not evolved as quickly as others.”

“Clearly there also had to be a Fall of some sort, a gigantic leap backward.”

“Maybe it’s as simple as getting too fascinated, too wrapped up in the contingencies of biological existence.”

“It was raw. It was primitive. It was strangely and intensely compelling. It was so unlike anything we had experienced up until that time. Perhaps it was a challenge, even a wager.”

“Like Coyote rolling dice with the Lords and Ladies of Death.”

“Or God and the Devil wagering the fate of Job.”

“The elements are there in our remnant stories,” Will stated, sounding like a history teacher for the first time in this conversation. “I like the idea that spiritual beings got fascinated by the possibilities of biological existence. They thought they could have physical bodies and not get sucked into the many bloody pitfalls of such existence. Once they did, then the task was redemption, how to become spiritual entities again. All the great teachers were trying to point the way with one or two clues: meditation, prayer, pipe ceremonies, grief rituals, communing with the ancestors, drum, dance, chanting and the kind of grand ceremony we did recently. The thorniest problem was when some of these wayward souls lost their connection with Spirit and became nothing but warriors, killer and enslavers. Are they redeemable? Are they in the process of blowing the whole experiment with their viciousness, their violence, their seeking of unfair advantage. They became nothing but ravening wolves.

 

Ceremonial Imperatives

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses,

just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

                                                      ~Oscar Wilde

Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone

and finding that that’s okay with them.

                                                 ~Alain de Botton

A few days later Nina and Camille walked through the nearby park and into the open space beyond. They brought a snuggly and a big-wheeled stroller, so Sammy would have options other than walking all the way with them. It was a splendid late fall day, clear and sunny. Another day could easily have been cold and foggy. The well-maintained trail wove through a melange of oak trees interspersed with a few evergreens as the trail rose in elevation. Their pace was determined by Sammy’s ability to manage the trail. He had amazing stamina for a little guy and loved any kind of outing in nature.

They chitchatted about Sammy, about food, and the new friends they had been making in the pagan circle. Camille launched into a more serious conversation, “I’m still troubled by my last journey.”

“Talk to me, girlfriend.”

“I love it when you call me, girlfriend. All the things we are to each other, girlfriend still feels the most special.”

“That’s how we started.”

“I love being your girlfriend, ma petite amie, ma cherie.”

“So tell me what’s troubling you?”

“My last journey, I’m still turning it over and over in my mind. It scares me.  All of my contacts with the other world had been so peaceful, so full of pleasure and ethereal at the same time, and suddenly I felt plunged into something primitive, violent, bloody and exciting. The male part of me loved it. It was a high as good or better than the best sex. The hunt, the kill, the thrill of it all. It’s like I understood American football. I even understood my boyfriend, no, I can’t call him that; that man who hurt me. I knew what went off inside of him. The rapists, the killers, the enslavers, I got it.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“I don’t want to understand them. I hate them. I’d rather continue hating them.”

“Yeah, I get that.”

“Does this mean we have to stop hating them?”

“You used the word, ‘understand,’ several times. It seems these journeys are about understanding . . . understanding a lot of different things. The first lessons were easier. They were sweet and loving, serene, meditative; I’m going to say one side of our nature. My feeling is that it’s about the spiritual beings who are our ultimate ancient, ancient ancestors, and are still at the core the most important part of us.”

“So what’s this last part about?”

“Well, somehow we became biological beings. It’s like biology has a whole different system that it runs by, different rules or laws. Included in that is this odd phenomenon that biological beings live off of other biological beings by killing and eating them. We are less shocked by the eating of vegetables. Carnivores, on the other hand . . .”

“Scary as scary can be.”

“And thrilling for the hunter.”

“Yes, I’d never experienced anything close to that before. I’m really struggling with the thrill of the kill.”

“You were almost on the wrong side of that.”

“I was on the wrong side of it; I just didn’t die.”

“So this hunter impulse, this biological imperative to live by the killing and eating of others, do you think that’s what turned into warfare, turned into dominance competitions between groups of humans?”

“That feels right. Warfare is very similar to hunting. What’s that old saying, ‘The most dangerous prey, man.’ But, why? Why get stuck in all the ugliness and pain of biological existence? Why not just remain spiritual beings?”

“There must have been some payoff, or at least some temptation.”

“But what?”

Nina contemplated. “Think of the way we give birth and bond with our young. Would you want to give that up?”

“You’re right. That’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Fortunately we mostly forget the pain of childbirth and get all wrapped up in the loving bond.”

As if on cue Sammy ran up and embraced Camille’s legs in as powerful a hug as his little being could muster. Camille lifted him up into her arms, snuggled, kissed his cheeks, blew in his ear and whispered tears of endearment in French and English. She looked at Nina and smiled. Nina wrapped both of them in a big hug. Sammy squealed as she squeezed both of them.

Nina stepped back and continued, “And romantic love which partakes of that same kind of bonding seems only to happen among warm-blooded biological creatures.”

“It’s a hell of a trade-off, love and death.”

Eros, Thanatos, Freud contemplated that conundrum at length.”

“Maybe Freud missed something. Didn’t he see Thanatos as kind of an instinct toward self-destruction?”

“Sounds right.”

“What I am seeing is that the killer instinct, the death-dealer, is the most basic kind of survivalist, simply having the narrow focus of his own biological survival. It’s not a death-wish at all.”

“Yeah, you’re right, and the context that you’re seeing it in, where it is so carefully contained within ceremony, it is another spiritual act of the community, and the hunt itself is to benefit the community, not just the individual.”

“So you are saying that the hunt, perhaps, is a righteous act, but it became perverted into warfare and dominance and the killing of other humans.”

“Yes, some peoples even eat their enemies. Those who don’t eat the enemy steal his valuables, mate with his women by force and enslave to provide labor for the most onerous tasks. The primitive hunt had not gone off the deep end. The bushmen in Southern Africa do their ceremonies; the men go hunt and bring their kill back to the community. It ends there. They have no warfare. They do very basic ceremonies of opening up to Spirit. There are other examples of people who didn’t forget the ancient ceremonies, who kept the killer instinct within some decent boundaries.”

“In our own history we have the spectacle of public killings as both entertainment and moral lesson for the community, the burning of so-called witches, public hangings, crucifixions.”

“Yes, our God is a victim of man’s inhumanity to man.”

“Don’t you think Jesus came from Goddess, but He couldn’t say that in the context of the world He was born into. His values definitely have the ring of Holy Mother Goddess; ‘turn the other cheek,’ love your enemy,’ forgiveness. This is how a mother is towards her children, especially the little children like this bundle of joy.” Sammy was beginning to squirm, so she set him down.

“‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’ You’re right; he and the other great teachers were trying to call humanity back to our spiritual center, call us back from the out-of-control male-dominated world that had replaced the old balance of yin and yang. The gifts of biological existence were running amuck in an increasingly destructive way, and it’s still going on.”

“So you think that becoming biological entities was in the beginning an experiment, but then the experiment escaped the laboratory and became more and more out of balance.”

“Yes, it’s a kind of addiction to the blood-lust high with less and less of any other elements to pull people back into balance with the Feminine and with Spirit. In the patriarchal scriptures we have God ordering the Israelites to practice genocide. The Old Testament is full of admonitions to kill non-believers, mediums, fortune-tellers, homosexuals, people who live in a town where there is one non-believer. It just goes on and on. The same kind of thing is found in the Quran.”

Camille sighed. “It’s all so overwhelming. To think that we were like innocent children wanting to have some new experiences, and then at a certain point it just spun out of control, and here we are struggling to maintain connection with Spirit in a material world that seems dedicated to killing.”

“Do you think it’s that bleak?”

“Remember! I am European. Two world wars were fought in France. Millions died. We try to learn and move on, but it’s been going on and getting bigger and bigger and more brutal for centuries. So far I am part of the first generation in centuries to not experience war on our land. We are hopeful, but there is this terrible legacy.”

“My sweet sister, we are going to make a difference. Your journeys are one sign of reconnection with what’s important. The destroyers may destroy themselves, but we are already building a new world.”

“I love you. You give me hope, you and Will and Sammy.”

That evening after Sammy was asleep Nina and Camille recapitulated some of their conversation for Will. He took the discussion in another direction. “Maybe the death wish is simply a wish to return to the previous spiritual condition, the primordial oneness, that existence that you’ve been immersed in  on all of your journeys except the last one. Such duality as exists is reconciled in a harmonious flow of yin and yang without apparent conflict, pain or suffering. Who wouldn’t want to return to such a state of being.”

The women sat in silence. Finally Nina asked, “Do you think that’s what Freud envisioned in his commentary on Thanatos.”

“I don’t know, but if he didn’t, he should have. I think Freud lacked a particular spiritual orientation. So I’m thinking that envisioning a glorious spiritual existence that people would yearn to return to was not part of his system.”

Camille entered the conversation. “I am still quite disturbed by seeing and even being the predatory male. Freud did say something about the thin veneer of civilization covering up our baser instincts.”

“I remember studying that idea as put forth by various authors. Thomas Malthus: ‘Civilization is no more than a veneer through which barbarism is always about to extrude.’ And Freud thought that guilt was the main thing keeping us in line.”

“Sounds like the Catholic Church,” Will interjected.

Nina continued, “Yeah, I don’t remember the exact quote, something about the veneer is threatened moment to moment by destructive and selfish impulses.”

“We’re all so well educated,” Will commented, and they all chuckled. Will went on, “If your theory is based solely on biology, then Freud and Malthus and the others are absolutely right, and it’s a very scary world. We’ve all experienced a spiritual reality. It’s not just some theory. It’s like knowing where we’ve come from and where we’re going back to.”
“I’d like to go back right now,” Camille said with a note of desperation in her voice.

“Oh honey,” Nina responded. “You’re safe here with us. There are no predators here.”

“Only me,” came the meek reply.

Camille curled up small as Nina encircled her with her arms, and then Will surrounded both of them in his strong embrace. Nina asked, “Ma petite amie, what can we do to help you?”

Camille snuggled in their arms silently for a few minutes, rubbing her head against Nina’s breasts like a cat or a small child. Nina and Will’s eyes met in a mix of sadness and compassion. As if from far away Camille’s voice came to them, “You remember how you welcomed me when I first arrived in California?” Hearing their affirmatives, she continued, “Can you do that again? I feel so bereft, so scared, so disconnected. I just want to feel. I just want to feel you.”

Nina looked at Will, who nodded. “Of course we can do that, girlfriend. We’d love to.”

“What ever you want.” Will added. “I give it all gladly.”

They unwound themselves from each other. The women went to the bathroom together. When they returned holding hands Will took his turn. When he returned, he situated himself at the head of the bed. Camille lay down with her head in his lap. She spread her legs as an invitation to Nina. “Do me. Love me. Pleasure me. I want all of you,” she half commanded, half pled. Nina needed no further urging. She brought her head between her sweet sister’s legs, and began to lick and prod with her tongue, sliding over the slick surface of her labia and clitoris. She brought one hand behind Camille’s hips and drew her closer pressing lips to lips and nibbling her pearl with just her lips, then sliding her tongue back and forth, rolling the little mushroom cap round and round.

Camille was soon gasping with pleasure. Will could feel the trembling traveling through her entire body, transmitting already the loss of control that brings so much delight. His hands lightly massaged her breasts and nipples drawing further moans of pleasure from her. Her head began to thrash back and forth in his lap. He had never seen her so consumed, so awash in ecstasy, so abandoned to the passion of the moment. She began to buck and shake. She reached down and pressed Nina’s head harder into her velvet valley, shuddering from the heightened sensation. “Give it to me,” she moaned, holding Nina’s lips and tongue as tightly she could to her silken passage. When she was right at the edge of the crashing wave, Nina pulled back from her and slowly inserted two fingers, easing them around and over her G-spot. Camille’s moans were instantly deeper sounding like they emanated from the very area where she was being caressed. Grunts and groans escaped her throat as Nina continued her easy rhythm knowing as only a woman can just where to touch. Soon Camille dissolved into a series of “ugh, ugh, ughs” and groaned from deep inside herself, and the wave crashed. Light particles exploded in every direction. Steam heat rose in waves. Nina replaced her fingers with her face, and once more Camille clung to her, wanting to keep her there forever. Nina’s tongue flicked in and out of Camille’s swollen portal extending the waves of sensual delight, a sumptuous feast for a wanton gourmet.

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As the trembling subsided, Camille rolled over on all fours and took Will in her mouth. She slid his shaft in as for as she could and slowly pulled away as her tongue licked back and forth, entering, withdrawing, entering, withdrawing. Then she looked at Nina over her shoulder. “Trade places,” she bid and immediately moved to allow Nina to replace her. As Nina took Will’s throbbing shaft deep in her own mouth, Camille slid underneath her and guided Nina’s hips down over her own mouth. Her honey pot was already drenched, and Camille lapped up the sweetness like a thirsty cat, pulling Nina to her and then pushing her away. Nina went with Camille’s rhythm, already feeling tremors traveling the length of her body. She moaned into the shaft she encircled, sending new sensations through Will’s lightning rod. His hands gently cupped her cheeks as she worked him over. Camille popped out from beneath Nina and inserted her fingers from behind going for that most sensitive area. Nina gasped and groaned. Unable to do otherwise, her head dropped to Will’s lap, one hand still holding his erection. She cried out as the full force of orgasm rolled through her. Camille kept her fingers inside until the trembling and moaning subsided. Then she withdrew them slowly and kissed her girlfriend intimately and passionately just like they were kissing face to face. Nina sighed and whimpered as her girlfriend lavished such love upon her dew-drenched flower. Camille kissed her passionately, still energized from all the released and pent-up emotion. She didn’t feel done.

She drew Nina down and away from Will until she was lying on her back. She swung around and again placed her face in the luscious junction of Nina’s thighs. Her own pink cleft was pointed right at Will’s face. He took the hint and entered her with his tongue. Soon the women were singing a chorus of “oohs” and “ahs”, another slow-building crescendo of seemingly inexhaustible pleasuring of one another. Camille looked over her shoulder and gasped to Will, “Fuck me. Please, fuck me.” Will repositioned himself and entered her from behind. She said only one more thing, “Hard.”

Will complied, grabbing her hips and slamming into her with all his might. Camille did her best to keep her tongue inside of Nina and then her fingers as she screamed out one final blood-drenching orgasm, shaking head to toe and finger-fucking Nina as vigorously as she could. Nina and Will came almost simultaneously with Camille. Will hollered out his punctuation to successive quakes that had finally entered his deepest recesses and shaken him out of any semblance of control. With some final thrusts, he finished his climax, circled his arms around Camille enclosing her ample breasts from behind. He held her securely. She relaxed in his grasp finally feeling entirely spent and without fear. She didn’t remove her lips from Nina’s well of newly formed memories, but continued to kiss her sweetly and romantically. Nina raised her legs and squeezed Camille between her thighs. Finally Will and Camille rolled to one side. Nina repositioned so she could kiss Camille face to face, intensely adrift in all the love she felt for her girlfriend, sister, partner, lover, wife and grande dame. Will had slid his half erection back inside of Camille and lay that way as he floated into a deeply pleasant slumber. Nina and Camille continued to kiss until exhaustion overtook them. The threesome slept most of the night without stirring. If there was a dream-state, they were in it together, and it was warm pearlescent gray, and they were curled up together in billowy clouds just as they were on their bed.

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When Camille came to consciousness, she felt wonderfully at peace, centered within the circle of her beloveds. For awhile she didn’t want to move, just lie curled within the safety of their arms and legs and bodies. There was another energy in the room, which felt like beings from her other world were in attendance, in some way blessing her and letting her know that everything was really all right. She felt warmed and soothed by their presence as well. “Life could not be better,” she mused. Sammy was not awake yet, so she got to bask in the comfort of knowing herself loved body and should, loved completely in whatever tangents her life might lead her. “I’m so lucky to have two people who respond to whatever need arises. We really are a solid triangle. I could not be more blessed.” She reached between her thighs. She was still wet, and a flood of wonderful images and memories washed over her waking mind. She remembered being so loved, so intensely loved with so much care. She lightly rested a hand on each of her lovers and drifted into a mellow reverie again.

A few minutes later Sammy padded into the room, crawled up on the bed, and made a space for himself within the circle of bodies. He nuzzled up against Camille’s breasts and took one nipple in his mouth. Camille soon returned to her reverie with this extra loop of loving vibration further feeding her heavenly state of mind.

The next to stir was Will, who made his usual morning round even on a Saturday. First the bathroom, then the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, he returned to their body and propped himself in a semi-reclining position. Noting the lovely madonna and child scene next to me, he grinned broadly. Camille beamed a smile back to him and fluttered her eyelashes.

When Will went to retrieve cups of coffee for all of them, Nina began to rouse. As he returned she raised her head and mumbled half-intelligibly, “How are my girlfriend and boyfriend this morning?”

“We’re great.” Camille answered.

“Ready to jump out of airplanes,” Will added. He distributed the coffee mugs and settled back against the headboard with his free hand draped over Sammy and resting on Camille’s hip.

Nina raise her head again and blew him a kiss. Then she kissed Camille on the back her neck long and slow, before taking her own bathroom break. Sammy had finished suckling, so she handed him to Nina and took her own break. Will moved to surround Sammy between his body and Nina’s. When Camille returned, she harrumphed in mock seriousness, “So, no room for me.”

“There’s always room for you, sweetheart,” Nina replied, still not awake enough to do anything but be sincere. Will turned and extended an arm to her. She nestled into his free side and playfully burrowed her face into his armpit, which tickled him and brought laughter from all of them including Sammy.

“The girls aren’t here,” Nina suddenly noticed.

“Both at slumber parties. Melanie’ll call when they’ve regained consciousness.”

“I’m hungry. I’ll make some breakfast,” she announced, “if you two can spare me for a few minutes.”

“You’re not going far, are you?” Will rejoined. “In case we get lonely.” She kissed him sweetly, then reached across him to kiss Camille, finishing with splurply kiss on Sammy’s cheek, which made him squeal.

Over breakfast Will observed, “You seem to be all better.”

“I am. I’m better than better. You guys cured me. How are you doing?”

“I’m great,” Will began. “It was strangely different, raw, primitive, but I felt connected to both of you the whole time.”

“Me too,” Nina added.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Will asked.

“Yeah, I do. I don’t think it will spoil it to talk about it. A healing happened. It could only happen through my body, because the fear was stuck in my body. You both just blew it out, blew it away, blew it up and blew me.” She was playing with her grasp of American idioms. “I have some thoughts forming about biological reality. For instance, the intense fear we can experience only because we are biological, only because we might become prey for some predator; we can assuage that only by doing things that soothe and comfort our bodies. We see it all the time with Sammy. When he is in distress, we automatically pick him up, hold him, caress him, stroke his little body, and even nurse him. We adults are not so different.”

“So the pain of being biological can only be soothed by biological methods,” Will got the concept immediately. “So you don’t think that tantric love-making would have worked last night?”

“I know it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t have touched that primitive place that needed the comfort. I might have freaked out and screamed out my pain, if we had tried tantra. It wouldn’t have felt as good. I don’t think it would have worked as well.”

Nina spoke up, “I think it works because we’ve built so much trust with each other that we can get pretty freaky, and it’s still okay. If one of us is struggling the other two will go along for the ride, I mean, do whatever the sufferer asks of us. That’s just fucking beautiful.”

“It was fucking beautiful last night.” Camille pronounced it “fooking” like the double “o” in “fooling”. They all laughed.

“Was that new territory for all of us? It was for me.”

“Since I’ve been sober. Before that I can’t remember. I don’t think I’ve ever received such an invitation or was it a command?”

“Which would you like it to be, Will.” Camille thickened her accent as she often did when teasing.”

“Both are good, but you can tell me what to do anytime you need to.”

“I might take you up on that,” she replied, still in a teasing tone.”

“Does that go for me too,” Nina asked.

Will looked at her with a big grin on his face and stated as forthrightly as he could, “Absolutely, whatever either one of you needs.”

“In all fairness we should make the same pledge to you,” Nina offered.

“If you like,” he teased back.

Nina and Camille looked into each other’s eyes. Seriously and almost simultaneously they replied, “ You have it.”

“Thank you, both. In all honesty I was at one point last night shocked with how out of character we were. Somehow in the heat of it all, I knew it was connected to your journey, Camille, and it was territory we had to explore.”

“i love the gentle way we make love most of the time,” Camille replied.

“So do I,” Nina added.

“Last night I felt carnivorous. I could have eaten you, and only because it felt like it was a way to get even closer to you. I needed the big bang. I know that all that fear about predators and being a victim, it’s still out there somewhere. It’s not stuck inside of me making me feel like I’m afraid to live. It was our ceremony to bring me back into the circle of the living.”

“Like the ancient hunters and warriors,” Will continued the thought.

Nina continued, “If they’re not welcomed back in some intense, impactful way, they will become a danger to the community. Their bloody mammalian, reptilian brains could run amuck at any moment. To be part mammal requires a lot of responsibility and a lot of consciousness, or our spiritual selves will get lost in a collection of biological imperatives.”

“Well said,” Will commented.

“Yes, good summation, girlfriend.”

A few minutes later Melanie called and asked if they were ready for her to bring the girls. Will looked at his women as he replied, “Yes, make sure they have their beach clothes.”

Nina and Camille nodded affirmatively. They set about packing a picnic basket while Will washed the breakfast dishes and Sammy absorbed himself in a toy train. By early afternoon they were at their favorite protected beach where the waves would not carry any of them away. They played frisbee, built sand castles, and chased each other in and out of the mellow waves. As they say on a blanket enjoying sandwiches, chips and juice drinks, Kayla surprised them with an announcement, “Mommy asked me what life is like at Dad’s house.”

“What did you tell her?” Will asked.

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“I told her there’s a lot of kissing and hugging. I told her we play games, but nobody seems to care much about winning. Sometimes we do things in the garden, you know, plant things, cut flowers to bring inside, pull weeds.”

“Did you tell her we make you and Sabrina pull weeds for hours every time you come over?”

“Oh Daddy, she wouldn’t believe me if I told her that.”

“That’s what my father made us do.”

“Really?” Nina interjected in genuine astonishment.

“Well, it felt like that.” He turned back to Kayla. “What else did you tell her?”

“I told her you guys are a lot of fun, and I really like having a little brother, and you must love each other a lot.”

“How do you know that?” Camille asked.

Sabrina cut in, “You’re really nice to each other all the time, and you’re really nice to us and Sammy.”

“Your mommy’s nice too, isn’t she?” Nina asked.

“Most of the time. Sometimes she yells.”

“What does she yell about?”

Kayla answered, “When we make messes or goof around too much at bedtime or not be ready for school on time.”

“Is your mommy happy?” Camille asked.

“Most of the time . . . She doesn’t have a boyfriend.”

“It didn’t work out with Rich.”

“No, she goes on dates.”

“But there’s nobody special.”

“I don’t think so.”

Camille turned to Will, “Can you ask Melanie if there’s any way we can help? We have the time.” She looked at Nina who nodded. Just then a cacophony of gulls interrupted their conversation. A little boy was trying to chase them down. Typically they took flight with a lot of chatter, and landed a little way down the beach, ready to repeat the cycle.

“I wanna catch a seagull,” Sabrina announced.

“Let’s go catch seagulls,” Will responded.

“I’ll join you after I put the food away,” Camille offered.

The rest of the group headed down the beach to join the gull-chasing boy and his father. Nina ran ahead with the girls. Will paced himself with Sammy, who kept up pretty well. They soon caught up, and in a few minutes Camille joined them. She took Will’s arm and declared, “What a magnificent day!”

Will turned and kissed her running one hand through her hair. “You’ve not only recovered. You seem better than ever.”

“I feel absolutely vibrant, like I’ve never felt so gloriously alive.”

“I was a little worried. That last journey so went in a strangely different and disturbing direction.”

“It certainly did. Now I think it’s all part of the education. I’m already wondering what’s next.”

“You are intrepid!”

 

Jealous Moon, Jealous Sun

The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, 

just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.

They could see how love might control you, from your head to your toes, 

not to mention every single part of you in between.

A woman could want a man so much she might vomit in the kitchen sink 

or cry so fiercely blood would form in the corners of her eyes.

~Alice Hoffman

“I need to talk to Granny Eva,” Camille announced over dinner a few days later, “and I’d like someone to go with me.”

Will and Nina looked at each other, simultaneously raised their eyebrows; then looked back at Camille. “Still processing that last journey?” Nina asked.

“Yes,” came the instant reply, “I think I’m done and more feelings come up; more thoughts flood my mind.”

“How do you want to travel?”

“If I have a companion, I would like a road trip. I need some time on the land, you know, the wide open spaces.”

“Can you go with her, Nina,” Will asked. “I would love to go, but I have classes to teach.”

“Will you go with me?” Camille entreated.

“Of course I will, sweetheart. I hear how important it is to you. I’d love to go on a road trip with you and Sammy.”

Camille turned to Will with her most alluringly vulnerable eyes. “Can you spare both of us for awhile?”

“Just find a pay phone and call me every night, or as often as you can. Of course I’ll miss you, but I’ll be okay.”

“You won’t find another woman while we’re gone,” Nina teased.

“If there were any more like you two, maybe.” Will teased right back. “I’ll probably try to spend some extra time with Kayla and Sabrina.”

“Your other women?”

Will just laughed at that and poked Nina playfully in the shoulder.

So it was decided and preparations began for a road trip. Will got the camper ready for travel. Nina left a message for Nan and Ben. Camille worked on a present for Granny Eva. That weekend they spent extra time in bed. The women lavished extra attention and affection on Will. At one point he said, “Not that I don’t like it, but this isn’t really necessary. I’m not going to forget you.”

Saucy Nina replied, “We know. It’s just such an opportunity.”

“I have not resistance to you,” Will replied.

“Why would you want resistance?” Camille purred. “We have no resistance to you, only affection.”

Will definitely had no resistance when she sprinkled her native French through their communications. Their love-making had returned to their more typical patterns: sweet, gentle and meditative. The affection was flowing at a higher than usual rate. Will commented, “Absence makes the heart grown fonder, even before you leave.”

“May the blessings continue, and our return be even better.”

“just be safe, and take care of each other and Sammy. Do what you need to do. Let the spirits guide you. I’ll be here, ecstatic to see you when you return.

On Monday morning Will left for the high school, and Nina turned the camper south and east, taking the first shift behind the wheel. She was as confident steering vehicles as she was on the back of a horse. Camille had gotten more used to driving and more confident since she had been in the United States. Nina was a good teacher and role-model. They hadn’t talked a lot about itinerary. Suddenly Camille stated, “I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon.”

“Then we should go. It’s only a short side trip from our most direct route. Anything else?”

“I would like to see cliff dwellings.”

“Maybe on the way back. We’ll ask Ben and Nan what’s best this time of year.”

Camille extended a hand and laid it on Nina’s thigh. Nina covered it with her own and gave a gentle squeeze. “Are you excited,” she asked Camille.

“Yes, I’m very excited about this whole trip. I feel we will be touched in special ways.”

“Me too,” she reflected as a shiver of delight passed through her body. She was realizing as the miles passed by how elated she was to be on the open road. After trading with Camille for a few hours, Nina was again at the wheel as they headed east across the Mojave Desert. The Mojave was a harsher desert than most of New Mexico, but she experienced the same sense of enchantment, so a broad expanse, so few people. She remembered and especially loved the road that paralleled the Colorado River down to Needles. It was always had an eery quality for her almost more enjoyable in the daytime, maybe a little too intense at night.

Sammy traveled well, sometimes in his carseat, sometimes playing on the soft mattress in the back with one of his mothers. At times he jabbered a blue streak with a few intelligible words. They stopped several times to walk in the desert. The air was bracing and stimulated them to play impromptu games of tag, which Sammy sort of understood but always won. They picked up rocks, felt their texture, looked at the designs of their strata and kept one really colorful one after asking the rock’s approval to travel with them.

They found a campground near Kingman. Sammy slept through the night surrounded by his two mothers, who caressed him and each other before falling into a deep and restful sleep, the kind of sleep one has in nature more often than in the city. When Camille awoke Nina had already made them coffee. They sat up in bed sipping their coffee as Sammy continued to snooze..

“I’m so glad we’re doing this,” Camille exclaimed.

“Me too.”

“It’s . . . exhilarating!”

“I miss New Mexico.”

“Yes.”

“I feel myself getting closer.”

“Mmm. . . I feel when I am in New Mexico, I have left part of me in California. When I am in California, I have left part of me in New Mexico.”

“Is part of you in France.”

“Mmm, peut-être, but you and Will and Sammy are not in France.”

“Do you ever want to go back, just for a visit?”

“Sure, but only if we could all go.”

“Mmm, maybe that can happen. Maybe next summer.”

“We’ll see. I’d like my mother to see Sammy again, but she can always come here. She loves California, the big trees, the wild ocean. It’s really a treat for her.”

“Let’s invite her. Maybe in the spring.”

“Yes, spring would be good. We might go south, that place we went once . . . Big Sur, tres dramatique.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Of course, always.”

There was a long pause. “This is hard for me,” Nina finally began.

“It must be. You are never lacking words.”

“I’m trying to sort out my feelings. . . You were dealing with some scary feelings after your last journey.”

“Um-hum.”

“You did what you needed to do to take care of yourself.”

Oui.”

I got scared too.”

“I’m not surprised. When did you get scared?”

“When we were making love, and for the forest time it felt like it was just about sex. I could not feel either one of you the way I always want to feel you. I was carried along by the all the stimulation, the waves of pleasure, some primitive instinctual drive, but I suddenly felt so alone and empty inside at the same time. We were coming like crazy, and I felt disconnected, like I left my body and I was watching it all from some terribly insulated place. I felt so alone, and then it was over. I was back in my body shaking with that final orgasm. At that moment I felt totally connected to both of you again, that feeling I’m so familiar with and love so much like we’re one continuum, no separation, one body, three in one, all the ways I’ve described the wonder of it to myself to be so so in love with both of you.”

“That is really scary. I left my body when I was raped. I’ve been afraid ever since to want a man the way I wanted Will in the moment. Something came up inside of me so primitive and wanton. I have enjoyed all of our love-making. I have been ecstatic to have Will inside of me, and yes, it has always been with a sense of connection with both of you. I cannot say I ever just wanted to be fucked, wanted to scream, ‘Fuck me; fuck me; fuck me hard. I can’t get enough. Give it to me; give me everything you have.’ I had never felt that before. It was deliciously dark and primitive and scary, and something got healed in me. I’m not a victim anymore, or at least I am also the predator. I could never see myself on that side of it, ever before.”

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“You seduced me.”

“That’s different.”

“How is it different?”

“It’s girl-girl. I’m talking about being a predator who wants to swallow up as much cock as I can get.”

“Oh, my God, I never thought of that.”

“That we could be predators?”

“Right.”

“It was some kind of completion of the circle. I felt it as a man on my journey. That split-off male part of me, the hunter, I could still feel him, feel everything he was feeling. It felt totally natural and thrilling and scary. But to experience myself female and a predator, I could not have imagined that until felt it. It was raw desire not to penetrate with a spear or a penis, but to pull everything inside of me, to swallow the whole world if I could, and for a short time it felt exactly like that.

“Like some infinite cosmic dong had come inside of me, and I was large enough to take it all. I was the infinite cosmic vagina and womb, and the orgasm we were slamming our way toward would be cataclysmic, an explosion of worlds, and I wanted it; I wanted that more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.”

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“Wow, I think I get it.”

“Momentarily I was convinced I would not survive, and I didn’t care. If I, if we, exploded into individual atoms, it didn’t matter. It was quite fine. It was all part of some grand cosmic process, some evolution or transition, merely a change of form, but a dramatically wonderful change of form.”

“Do you want to feel that again?”

“i don’t know. Maybe . . . maybe once was enough. It was a collision of forces and feelings. I don’t think I could make it happen again. That feeling came from somewhere not easily accessible, and as we experienced, both wonderful and terrible.”

“Spears, arrows, projectiles are not the only way to hunt. There are snares and nets and dead falls, all of which have a more female shape and function.”

“Oh yes, that’s right, luring the prey into something that surrounds and encloses it. Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. The temptress is a predator, luring the prey into her trap her, her snare.”

“Her pitfall . . . So you felt like a predator when Will was fucking you as hard as he could.”

“Yes, I felt like the aggressor, egging him on, doing everything I could to make him give me more of himself.”

“That was the other scary part for me. I felt like it was just you and Will forever. I was no longer part of us.”

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“There is that place of total primitive possessiveness. He/it is mine, totally mine, because of I have eaten up everything. There is nothing except the cosmic lingam, which is everything, convulsing, agitating, shocking everything inside of me. I don’t know where you were at that moment even though I had my tongue as far inside of you as I could make it go.”

“Yeah, it’s like I disappeared. I ceased to exist, or I went to some cosmic observation deck. I wanted to be you. It was not enough that you were still making love to me. I must have felt how big your experience was. I wanted that too, and I was afraid of losing both of you. I was glad it was so temporary, even though it felt eternal for a few moments.”

“Yes, it did.”

“Don’t every leave me,” Nina suddenly exclaimed, a note of desperation in her voice.

“Oh, my sweet love, it’s you and me and Will forever. I promise; I would never choose him over you. I would never choose you over him, not for more than a few moments in the heat of passion. What we have is so very special, and I believe important. We bring something to our people by keeping the faith with each other. Obviously it’s not always easy, but I pledge to keep talking. I would never sacrifice what we three have together for some temporary pleasure.”

Nina leaned into Camille’s body. Camille wrapped her in her arms holding Nina’s head to the soft pillow of her breasts. Nina looked up at her and smiled. “A soft place to land,” she murmured in a throaty whisper and then nestled her head into the plush ease of Camille’s bosom.

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Camille relaxed and held her and kissed the top of her head nuzzling her own nose and cheeks into the thickness of Nina’s tousled morning hair. “No one will be left out,” she spoke as if she were not the speaker, but merely the channel for some divine message. Then more personally she said, “We are a menage a trois. We are soul-mates.”

After some breakfast they drove on east. Some miles down the road, Nina asked, “Do you think we could experience that raw wanton passion with each other?”

“Two weeks ago I couldn’t have imagined any of what happened in the other world or in this one, so now I think anything is possible. We’ve let the wildness in. We’re like wolf-girls now.”

“We are the wolf and that which the wolf eats, but is this a dangerous path. Do we need to know ceremonies or something to keep us away from some destructive aspect? Are we playing some edge between sex and violence?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I want to see Granny Eva. In some ways we’re in uncharted territory. Would I like to experience that primitive intensity with you, just with you, just with another woman? All of this like forbidden fruit.”

“Yes, I don’t know about France, but in America just to talk as we have talked about raw sexual desire gets a girl labelled a slut. We may have had a sexual revolution and women’s liberation, but a woman who expresses her sexual desire, who talks about it, who tells stories about how she has acted it out, that woman will be marginalized in some kind of negative category in America.”

“In France perhaps we are a little farther along, but you’re right. How sexual can you be; how aggressive can you be without being looked down upon? It’s very double-edged. To have too much sexual aggression might be considered unfeminine. I think we’re always supposed to be alluring, seductive. A woman cannot openly hunt like a man can.”

“What about women with women?”

“There is more freedom there to be just be the way you feel it, be the way you want to be.”

“Will never stops us, never tells us we have to be a certain way.”

“He’s almost one of a kind. Where did you find him?” She grinned at Nina indicating it wasn’t a serious question.

“He says when he surrendered to sobriety, it was a total surrender and a reopening of some spiritual places he’d visited in the sixties. Back then he just couldn’t figure out how to live in accord with his spiritual visions. And you know how often he tells us how blessed he feels just to  be in relationship with us.”

“I know, and I believe him. I’ve never met a man who expresses so much gratitude.”

“I think his sense of humor helps too. Nothing is that big a deal to him.”

“Okay, we’re in love with Will, and in love with each other. What’s next?

“The Grand Canyon.”

They came upon the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in early afternoon. Camille was appropriately awed by the immensity of the geologic formations. Nina commented, “I’ve been here a few times, but it’s not something you ever get used to.”

“Have you ever gone down into the canyon?”

“No, I’d like to take a raft trip on the river sometime.”

Sammy looked off into the distance a bit but was predictably more interested in little rocks he found in the dirt around the edge. The group did not linger long and soon were back on the interstate headed east. Camille returned to their earlier serious conversation while Sammy napped. “I’m more aware of it in America than in France. The sexual awakening, the coming of age for girls is often traumatic in this country. A first sexual experience for a boy makes a man out of him. For a girl it’s an assault on her reputation and often something she did not choose. It was forced upon her in some way.”

“Certainly true for me,” Nina was quick to respond. “The sixties, the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, at this point it feels that little has changed. Certainly the same attitudes prevail. Some male relative takes a boy to a brothel to make a man out of him. Would a mother ever do something similar with a girl, and if she did, would she be seen as a good mother? Or could a girl ever be safe expressing sexual desire the way a boy can without being put in some negative category?”

“It was not always this way. My journeys have shown me that. When the male became too separated from the female, things began to spin out of balance. Now there is hardly room for a healthy female, who is assertive, affectionate and has passion, has sexual desire.”

“Is that why you were only being with women when I met you?”

“I had never met a man who truly treated me as an equal. I didn’t believe you when you first told me about Will. I never would have been with him if you hadn’t been there.”

“So what do we do?”

“I think we need to figure out some appropriate way to initiate girls, ease them into the pleasure of their own bodies, let them discover desire in a protected environment.”

“That makes sense. If we’re going to change the system, we have to change the system. It’ll be a big leap, lots of negative judgments even from those we thought might be allies.”

“Gotta start somewhere,” Camille declared. “Too much damage keeps happening to too many girls and women.”

“We would have to create a context of acceptance, no, more than that, a way for some few allies to embrace what we’re contemplating.”

“We could start with the pagan women. We could start with a community of women and girls. That’s what I’ve seen on my journeys.”

“As soon as the male is a separate entity, the troubles begin. I absolutely get what you’re saying. It’s like this is the true women’s liberation, re-owning ourselves as the source of life, the original Spirit behind everything. After that we might ask the question, ‘What would it be like if women ran the world.’ There are a few men who seem to get it, Will, Sean, Jamie.”

“We’ll figure out how to bring them in later. Right now we have to determine how to be healthy women and how to pass that on to our daughters, so that we begin to have a tradition of strong, healthy women who own their power, their passion, their desire, and somehow this is transmitted to the younger generations.”

“There’s something else I want to explore with you,” Nina declared with a hint of seductiveness in her voice.

Oui, ma petite fille. Qu’est que c’est?”

“I want to feel that raw desire, that primitive animal wanting, and I want to experience that with you.”

“You can still surprise me. That’s wonderful. C’est merveilleux! I would like nothing better, my love. Whatever happens, I’m sure it will be good.”

After another night at a campground warmly bundled in their big bed, they were on the road and within a few hours of Calabazas. Camille returned to the conversation of the previous day. “I’m having some doubts.”

“About what?”

“You know I love you with everything I have. You’re the best girlfriend, the best partner. I couldn’t imagine doing what we’re doing with anyone else. You and me, you and me and Will, there’s a magic we’ve been blessed with, like the fairies just dumped and entire wheelbarrow of fairy dust on us.”

“But . . .”

“There is no but. I’m worried about this primitive animal thing that has come upon us. I’m not sure we should pursue it or try to make it happen. I think I was shown something that’s part of this whole unfolding story about our origins, like a true book of Genesis. This primitive male animal nature frightened me . . .  a lot. I acted something out that night. I felt possessed. You know those African drumming rituals that cause possession by deities?”

“Of course.”

“I had seen the actions of the split-off male. It was part of me, but it had become separate. There was blood and killing and a predatory enjoyment. The split-off female, the me that was watching, felt vulnerable but also fascinated. I could feel primitive pleasure of the hunt and the kill, but I also felt how easily I could become preyed upon. How could I make that raw male power part of me again. It was instinctual to want protection, but also take that male power and balance it out again, so it wouldn’t be dangerous. I didn’t want the pleasure or the passion so much as I wanted the reunification. I didn’t like being only feminine, not in that context. I felt weak and soft. I had nothing to combat those hunters. They could so easily overpower me. All I had was the ability to take some of that power, take it inside of me, pull it out of him and into me. Then maybe we would both be more in balance. He would be mellowed out, and I would have some of the power. . . Am I sounding crazy?”

“No, not at all. I’m understanding your experience. I think I can relate. I also understand your reluctance to go there again, even with me. It feels unpredictable. It feels like someone could easily get hurt.”

“That’s it. I’m afraid that I’ll get hurt, or you’ll get hurt. And I don’t want to feel that desperate vulnerability again, like my survival is on the line in some way. I love our girl love. I feel like Will is part of our girl love even though he’s got that marvelous appendage that we like to play with. With his tantra practice it’s like he’s one of us. I’m totally happy. I don’t want more than that. I don’t want to mess with success. I don’t want to unleash something that maybe we can’t call back.”

“Like trying to stuff the cat back in the bag.”

“Something like that. It also felt like something you could get addicted too, like cocaine. You know it’s bad for you but there’s that one sensation you keep chasing after.”

“I don’t want to mess up what we have either. I really hear you.”

“I love you desperately enough already, you and Will.”

Nina felt herself melting inside. She was glad she wasn’t driving at the moment “My sweet Camille, you’re such a blessing in my life.”

1dgemini_PE

Oui, la meme chose.”

Thus they decided make no extraordinary effort to experience the complex of primitive emotions that been bestowed on Camille. If such experiences arose again spontaneously, so be it, but they weren’t going to try to make them happen. Nina crawled in back and played games with Sammy while Camille continued to drive. They switched off about an hour from Calabazas.

When they rolled onto the land at Calabazas, Ben was the first to greet them, “Welcome to the second and third most beautiful women in the world.”

Nina replied, “You are ever the charmer, Ben,” and planted a kiss on his cheek. Camille held Sammy as he adjusted to the new environment. She smiled at the comfortable familial interplay.

Nan appeared next, exclaiming to Ben, “You flirting with my cousin again,” as she hugged Nina and kissed her on the cheek. Arms extended to include Ben and Camille and Sammy in the group hug. Sammy squealed. Camille set him on the ground and knelt beside him. The other adults knelt and formed a circle around him. He kept his arms around Camille and looked over his shoulder at everyone else. As he grew more comfortable, first he reached out to Nina, then to Nan who looked and felt a lot like Nina. Then he ran at Ben and hit him in the chest with both hands. Ben pretended to be bowled over and took Sammy with him. Sammy squealed in delight and babbled some sounds that were close to words.

“i think he remembers us,” Nan declared.

“Love what you’ve done with the place,” Nina responded. Indeed there was a lot of new construction since they had last been there including a windmill on a knoll near the edge of the compound.

There was a lot of catching up to do. The occasional phone calls and letters barely sufficed to maintain connection. Ben had talked with Joe about Granny Eva. Her family would move her down the mountain in about a week before the winter snows hit in earnest, so Camille and Nina would be able to visit her on the mountain. “Probably best to go up there as soon as you can,” Ben concluded. “I’m not sure what day they’ll move her, probably on the weekend.”

“We can go tomorrow,” Nina replied, looking at Camille who nodded.

“I can keep Sammy, it that’s okay,” Nan offered. “Josh and Viv would love to have him around, their little cousin. They’ll be back for dinner. There’s a school field trip today.”

“Where did they go?” Camille asked.

“There’s a potter and a weaver a ways north of us. Joe knows them and asked if they’d be interested in a handful of school kids coming to see them. He said they’re always looking for serious students they might pass their skills onto. We’re just doing our, “Expose them to as much as possible,’ philosophy.

Nan continued, “Viv is really interested in weaving. She sees designs. She really wants to know how it all fits together.”

“That’s the right kind of curiosity,” Nina added.

The next morning Camille and Nina drove toward Granny Eva’s. Nan provided them with small gifts of food. Nina remembered how to get there, but Ben wrote out directions anyway. Slowly winding upwards on a road more rutted and potholed than previously experienced, Nina turned to Camille, “Have you talked to Will about what happened?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, fill me in.”

“I’m thinking . . . It was very interesting what Will said. He said that of course he did what I asked of him or demanded from him, because that’s his pledge to both of us. When I asked him how he felt about it, he told me it made him uncomfortable. He said he even felt guilty for awhile.”

“Guilty. . .  Really?” Why?”

“He felt that predator, domination thing inside of him. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like the feeling. He said he didn’t want to feel that way toward me even if I wanted to be the other half of that.”

“Wow, Will, you continue to amaze me.”

“He’s never been anything but kind and gentle with us.”

“He said he was reminded of the whole history of abuse of women by men. For a little why he hated himself.”

“What did he do with that?”

“Meditation.”

“What he does with everything. I’m not surprised. That’s been his path in recovery since before I met him. When in doubt, meditate. The whole tantric practice is an outgrowth of that. So  did the meditation help? No, that’s not my question. Did he say exactly how it helped?”

“Yeah, he did. He said that when he meditates every event just becomes another event. All extra meaning and interpretation is drained out of it. It doesn’t affect that core self that is at the center of meditative practice.”

1dshakti meditation_P

“That level of detachment is a little scary.”

“Well, he said the only other principle is compassion. He said he felt sorry for me. He could feel I was in pain, and he wanted to do anything he could to help me.”

“That is so Will. Your pain is more important than his discomfort, his guilt.”

“I know. I was so touched, and I didn’t want to put him in that situation again. He feels when things go out of balance . . .”

“. . . As acutely as we do,” Nina finished the sentence.

“Yes, he doesn’t want to feel less than fully integrated, male and female together in some kind of harmony or flow of the Tao.”

“Did he pass some sort of test in your mind?”

“Not at all. I would have had no judgment no matter what he said. I brought this into our circle, not intentionally but still I did. If he had said he totally loved fucking me as hard as he could, we would have talked more about that. But Will wouldn’t have remained attached to that either. He would have meditated, summed it up as another experience and done his best to meet every day, every moment, with fresh eyes, no expectations, no preconceptions.”

“Yeah, he probably would have said, ‘I totally dug it, but we don’t have to do it again unless you want to or all three of us decide that’s what we want to do.’ He’s so reliable that way, nobody left behind.”

“As you say, ‘He walks the walk.’ How did he become such a good man.”

“He told me the last year of drinking really scared him. He saw how bad he could become. When he made his move he ran the other direction with increasing speed and motivation.”

“He told me once, ‘I’ve already made enough mistakes for one lifetime. I know better. It’s up to me to act better.’ You know how earnestly he can talk when he’s not joking around?”

“Yeah.”

“I had no doubts about his sincerity. I believed then, and I believe now . . .”

They looked at each other briefly and repeated in unison, “He can and will do whatever he sets his mind to.” They had put this phrase together months ago in the abundant time they had with each other when Will was at work. They talked about Will a lot, often sharing their sense of good fortune as he continued to be on a daily basis that seriously dedicated spiritual person he said he wanted to be. They were not disappointed with his performance, and sometimes pinched themselves and each other in bewonderment at the miracle of their lives.

Soon they were drawing near to Granny Eva’s place. Eva came outside to greet them as they drove up and parked. It was a clear day so the sun would warm them in spite of the still crisp air. “You did not bring Sammy?,” she asked.

“His social calendar was too full,” Nina joked.

“I’m sure that’s true. I hope I can see him while you are here.” She embraced each of them individually. Then she looked at Camille and spoke to her directly, “I know you are here with a purpose.” She offered drinks, and then they sat in her outdoor chairs in the gradually warming sunlight.

Camille talked at length about her latest journey and its effect on her life and the lives of her beloveds. When she felt she had encapsulated the story to Eva, she was silent. “Yes,” was all Eva said and then she was silent for awhile. When she at last spoke, it sounded as if she were choosing her words more carefully than ever before. “You have been shown things that I only know of from our legends. I have told you that we are the Ancient Ones. We know our ancestors as far back as you have been traveling. Only from the storytellers of my lineage have I ever heard these things spoken. You have gone to an ancient ancient time, as you say, before things began to separate into so many many parts.”

She paused again before continuing, “You are troubled by what you have seen this last time, and the unusual feelings you are still having. This is some of what happened to us human beings a long, long time ago. No one really knows why. There are many stories. They are legends. They might be true. How to respond to this crazy new way of being was and is the biggest challenge we face in continuing to live as spirit beings. Yes, we have biology. How can we keep it sacred? How can we not be pulled into everything that drives biological beings and forget where we have come from.”

“It seems like that’s exactly what’s happened to many people,” Nina spoke for the first time.

“Most people,” Eva responded. “We ancient ones who remember all the way back, we have become a remnant, very isolated, hidden away from the empires. But what is most important is the spirits have decided to work with you. They have been waiting a long time to have allies. to have partners who have not forgotten everything. It is time for our true history to be known by anyone who has the ability to recognize it. You two, you three are living a life truly guided by love. You have thrown away all the stupid rulebooks. You’re following your hearts. The love that you live by is an example to everyone around you. That already makes you more like the Ancient Ones. Do you have other questions?” she waited.

Camille responded, “All of us have been shaken by the bloody primitive experiences of my last journey. I think we don’t know what to do with what we’ve seen and experienced. I’m probably most shocked by my own sexual behavior,  which Nina can attest too.” She paused not knowing what else to say.

Again Eva spoke slowly and with a sense of purpose. “There is a very serious question in your culture, even in France,” she looked at Camille, “whether it is all right for a woman to have sexual desire, whether it is okay for her to want sex in the same way a man does. Raw sex, give it to me right now, fuck me sex, does it not put a woman in some negative category? I hear these words: slut, whore, tramp . . . You know  . . .”

Both Nina and Camille were nodding and murmuring assent. “Why is that so?” Eva continued. “Why is a woman’s sexual desire less moral than a man’s? You know, raw, dirty sex, am I shocking you?”

“Maybe a little,” Nina acknowledged.

“No, please continue,” Camille answered.

“You women have to be so careful. You are always walking a tightrope between the virgin and the whore. We do not have such concepts in our culture. Our legends tell us many things but not that. We have no Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalena. We have Xochiltquetzal, the mother of Quetzalcoatl. She is fully sexual. Everyone desires her. She seduces everyone, man and woman. That is her power. We desire her. We are in awe of her. She is not dirty or evil. She is nature in all its raw, luscious beauty. She is life. She is our mother, lover, consort and totally sacred. We invite her into our ceremonies that she will bless us. You have some experience with this happening.” This time she looked meaningfully at Nina, who nodded and smiled comfortably under her approving motherly gaze.

1dxochique_P

“The other complication,” Eva continued,”is this raw sex is such a small part of what’s important, and yet it is more and more promoted in this modern world: pornography, live sex shows. There is nothing wrong with that except it is so overemphasized. It is so incomplete, kind of like getting drunk. I think that’s what you felt, Camille. Maybe it is pleasant to get drunk, but there is a hangover and questions about whether drunkenness is the right way to be. Maybe it’s better to have at most a glass or two of wine, not drink the whole bottle.” The three women chuckled at the obvious example. “But to feel that raw animal desire does not make you a bad person. We all can feel that. If you decided that was what you wanted as a steady diet and began to pursue it more and more, that would probably be a problem.”

“Agreed,” Camille responded, and Nina nodded in understanding. “So what about the historical aspect?” Camille asked. “I had been visiting this idyllic spiritual community, and then like a lightning strike there appears this completely different culture.”

“What do you think it means?” Eva asked.

“Part of my emotional intensity was a feeling of being abandoned by my male half. He was running amok. I missed his presence with me, and he was doing such strangely different and appalling actions with this frighteningly powerful group of men. I’d never seen anything like that bloody hunting scene. I was distressed, and part of me wanted to be part of it. If he was going to do it, I wanted to be there with him doing it. I felt left out even though I kinda hated what was happening.”

Nina jumped into the conversation. “I wondered if what she was seeing was some kind of original split, male from female, but also biology from spirit. It felt like the beginning of a dangerous adventure, but also like something  very important had been lost. Up until then spirit was so intrinsically interwoven with everything, it was taken for granted. Suddenly there was an intimation that there might be life that wasn’t totally infused with spirit. It was both frightening and intriguing. At this point we might wish it had never happened. Back then we didn’t know. It was novel. No one could have known how bad it could get, how totally split off from spirit human beings could become.”

“So there must have already been biology on earth.” Camille interjected. “Human spirits saw it, got intrigued, and then we must have gotten stuck.”

“But remember your chimpanzees,” Nina rejoined. “They seemed to be doing fine, not so different from your human spirits.”

They both looked to Eva, as if to say, “Help us out here.”

She paused, again weighing her words carefully. “Yes, some of our human ancestors became enamored of blood ritual and the thrill of the kill. Some male halves liked the freedom that felt unencumbered by spirit and the divine feminine. They truly just wanted to run and run and run, and they did. They could not be called back to the pre-existing unity. Some females in their loneliness and desperation did go with them. It did not require many to begin a breeding stock. By the second generation things had altered considerably. Could they find their way back even if they wanted to. There was not a total abandonment of true spirituality. That feeling or inclination or instinct would always be part of the human condition. But it became more specialized, only experienced during ceremonies, set-aside times, not a constant as it had been before. Some of the ceremonies were very effective at temporarily recreating the conditions of spiritual oneness. Nothing too dire happened for a long long time. People were content to hunt in small groups and do their ceremonies, raise their families and experience the kind of wonderful affection that all mammals feel for their mates and their children. Those who remained in the spirit world tried to help. Some humans were more sensitive to the spirit world and worked directly with the spiritual humans. In these times we call such people shamans.”

Nina spoke almost unbelievingly, “So it was really that innocent in the beginning, like kids at a carnival. That ride looks like fun.”

“And then we couldn’t find our way back,” Camille added.

“Still trying,” Eva concluded.

“When did women lose their status?” Camille asked.

“Very gradually over time. It was not a straight line. There were thousands of years when the feminine was in the center again. Life was peaceful and full of spirit. There is something in the male part of us that loves to grab the dragon of power and ride it to the ends of the earth or the end of time. That part reasserts. It is in control now and has been for several thousand years, this time thoroughly trying to erase all remnants of the old Goddess ways, spirit ways, nature ways. It is all male god, male privilege, male superiority, male dominance of the sexual and other human relationships. This cannot last, but the material power is so great this time, that the destruction is likely to be enormous.”

“What do we do?” Nina asked.

“Keep bringing in the ancient wisdom: Goddess, unified spirit, cooperation, reviving the ancient stories. This cycle has happened before ever since the original split. Each time is different. We are building a new golden age as the age of darkness and disharmony more and more rapidly destroys itself. You understand that we are primarily spirit beings, so everything is okay in the spirit world. It’s all about how the drama gets played out in this one.”

1dyonimothe_PES

Camille looked at Eva. “I’m always amazed at how articulate you are. You explain these things, and I feel like I really understand.”

Eva smiled. “I grew up in this country. I went to English language schools. I’ve had many advantages to prepare me for what I do. Most importantly the old ones told me their stories before they passed on.”

“Perhaps,” Nina asked, “you will tell us some of those stories.”

“Oh, of course, and if not to you, then to Sammy or Viv.”

“Of course.”

“Does Joe know the stories?”

“A few, but not to worry. There is always someone in each generation.”

 

Love: a Unified Field

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.

Pablo Neruda

Their conversation turned to more everyday matters. Eva wanted to hear everything about Sammy, so the other women filled her in with descriptions of him playing with his wooden train and climbing fearlessly on the play structure at their local park. Eva delighted in every story they could tell her. After awhile she suggested that they go for a walk while they still had sunlight.

They took the path up past the fire circle into the woods until they came to the meadow that had been so magical for Camille and Will. Camille had brought a blanket and spread it out over the grass.

“We didn’t bring any food,” Nina commented.

“Guess we’ll have to make do,” Camille replied as she lay down on the blanket and gestured for Nina to join her. “Come be with me girlfriend.”

Nina slowly lowered herself to the blanket, teasing a little, but she couldn’t keep it up. She found a warm familiar place inside Camille’s arms, and then looked up at her. “Now what?” she inquired rather bluntly, still not totally at peace with the recent upheavals.

Camille leaned down and kissed her long and slow and sweet. Nina responded and twisted her body to accomplish more contact with Camille bosom to bosom. They moaned easily and naturally to each other. “I know I love you,”, she whispered in Nina’s ear, “That doesn’t change. I expect it will take us a long way..” They continued softly and sweetly for awhile, occasionally shifting positions and coming up for air. A number of hummingbirds were working the meadow for their last tastes of autumn before speeding on elsewhere for the winter months. They buzzed closely by and one with a green throat hovered above the couple for awhile as if bestowing on them a traditional blessing.. They looked up and blessed the hummingbird before it sped away.

“You know,” Nina offered, “they can fly upside down and backwards just as fast as they cam frontwards.”

“How fast is that?‘

“Top end, about 35 mph”

“Maybe they should be our totem or logo or whatever you call it.”

“Okay, I think I like it, but say some more.”

Camille explained, “They respond quickly to their whole environment. They can change directions in a moment’s notice. Then suck the nectar of flowers. They stick their long tongues and beaks down the flowers’ throat to partake of the sweet honey.. You want more?”

1dhummingbird_

“You got more?”

“They just blessed us. Don’t they represent love? They share sweetness with one another. But it’s the instant responsiveness I like the most. They feel a need to change and they’re gone, no deliberation, just action in the right direction. That could be us. So tuned in, we just know what to do and we do it.”

“I like your image of us. I think the women will go for it. ‘Hummingbird Bakery,’ for instance.”

“There’s one other thing.”

“What’s that?”

“There’s gotta be a horse in there somewhere.’

“Yeah, like a rearing horse with a hummingbird hovering above it.”

“But the hummingbird has to be la lot larger so it will show up, and maybe its got a wheat straw in its beak.”

“This was a fruitful make-out session,” Nina concluded.

“That’s what you call it.  . . . I’d say we made out pretty well.” The double  entendre was not lost on either of them.

“Shall we go back. I’ll bet Eva made food of us.

“That’s a sure thing.”

 

Always simple but delicious, as their bellies warmed and filled, Eva’s talk turned to further encouragement of the younger women. “You two have been chosen . , , , if you want to be .

“Chosen for what,” Nina asked, a complex of emotions swirling inside of her.

“The spirits want to work with you. They’ve been waiting for hundred of years to have allies.”

1dnymph forest_

“These are all good spirits?”

“Only the best. We’ll worry about the others later.” She grinned mischievously.

“I’m just not sure what this means, working with the spirits.”

“You’ve already done it. What did you think was happening in that ceremony? Your familiar spirits were all over that, to help it come out right.”

Nina sat silent remembering a sense of spirit direction and even possession during the ceremony.. She had felt totally protected and part of something much larger than herself or even the whole circle of women. “Okay, I get it,” she said. “To what end is all this?”

“What do you think?’

“I think this is a time of revival, specifically revival of spirit. It’s the time for the time of rampant materialism to be over, before everything is destroyed.”

“The spirits want to help you do that. They want what you want. They want to be human beings on earth again, some of them.”

“Sometimes I feel like I”m not doing enough. There’s so much to do.“

“What do your guide spirits say?”

Nina sat quietly for awhile. Camille was getting Eva’s recipe for posole, “Something to remember me by when I’m not there,” She declared quite powerfully. Are you camping at the hot springs tonight?”

“That’s our plan,” Camille replied easily.

“Good, perhaps the spirits will visit you tonight. Just do what you would normally do. If they want to make direct contact , they will. They know you. They know everything about you. Don’t be shy. They’ve been waiting for you to make conscious contact with them. At first they may just want you to play with them. It’s always different.”

“Yes, it is.”

Nina looked at both of them like the kid sister who’s just committed to some wild scheme, and now her older sisters are filling her full of propaganda to get her to go through with it. At least Camille would be with her. All jokes and teasing aside, she totally loved and trusted the other woman. They had each other’s backs. And Camille had already had so much contact and interaction with the spirits. Nina always looked forward to the hot springs. So much magic, so many breakthroughs had happened there. She decided she had little if anything to worry about. Good place, good company, hopefully smooth sailing.

They drove to the hot springs so they would have their bed with them if they wanted it. The last rays of sunlight tickled them as they eased into the warm water after depositing a pile of towels nearby. They lay back and allowed the heat to permeate their flesh and bones. “The air was already getting cold,” Nina said slowly as if stoned on something.”

“I’m already melting,” Camille replied. They floated lightly touching each other and the bottom of the pool.

“If only the witch in the Wizard of Oz had realized that melting is a good thing.”

“What?” Camille asked.

“The story might have turned out totally differently.”

“Like everyone would have ended up in a hot spring together.”

“Something like that.”

1dbathh_P

Neither Camille nor Nina could have said exactly when the consciousness shifted, and they were no longer simply two women reclining and relaxing in the deep warmth of earth herself. There was a shift at some point. Their supine bodies fitting to the form of the pool gradually became less important. Camille was dimly aware of being mostly a spectator as beings that looked a lot like hummingbirds fluttered around Nina. Nina was delighted. They had come in a form she could easily embrace, even when she noticed very human-like bodies with arms and legs as well as wings. They smiled at her so disarmingly. She felt no fear, only attraction. They wanted to take her somewhere, and she wanted to go. It felt like the most natural thing to do. She rose on a whirr of wings, her own and those of her companions. Camille floated along as if conveyed by some completely different energy.

To the extent that she was consciously aware, Nina felt that there was no message except the sheer elation of flying, particularly the kind of synchronized flying that flocks of birds often accomplished. And somehow she was simply one of the birds feeling/knowing just when and how to tilt her wings, flap, soar, swoop all in perfect harmony with her winged friends. It was a flying lesson, no more extraordinary than a horseback riding lesson.

1dflight_PE

Camille observed all of this delighting in the complex ever-changing patterns of the winged ones in flight. They changed colors from pink to deep blue to bright yellow and then began to intermingle so the designs became evolving rainbows of multi-colored motifs, each one unique and ephemeral. Camille had never really considered the intricacy of flight, especially a flock of birds flying together. It was like the best choreographed dance, except that it wasn’t choreographed. It was happening spontaneously in each moment, and somehow each winged one was precisely positioning her piece of the dance without thinking about, without any apparent pre-thinking. As a rank beginner Nina was already an expert. Whatever guided each individual to create such synchronous flight, Nina had it. Didn’t know what it was; didn’t know what to call it, but she most definitely had it. Camille had already seen and experienced many amazing happenings and events. each new one put her in awe all over again. She realized she was simply seeing one of the wonders of nature for which she had no immediate explanation. Would they ever know from a scientific viewpoint? Did it matter?

1dflightfrmtree_

She felt her brain being massaged by all the color and motion she was observing. The massage was very centering and balancing. Nina continued in her effortless flight feeling so thoroughly a part of this group of winged ones. They danced together for the sheer joy of it.

An eternity had passed, or no time at all had passed, when they discovered themselves again easily at one with each other and the water of the warm pool. Instinctively they reached out to each other for the reassurance of a hug and a full-body embrace. They kissed and then looked deeply into the pools of their eyes, as if scrying the reflection of a silver bowl in moonlight, They inadvertently smiled simultaneously and then exhaled a loud but breathy, “Wow!” They liked the future they saw cast in the reflection of the reflection of the liquid love that flowed between them. They had no inclination to stir from the languid warmth they lazed within. They simply held hands and gazed into the infinite clarity of the night sky. They knew themselves to be part of some immense circle of light constantly eroding and rejuvenating as the healing waters washed over them. This could be a permanent state of being. All that was required was their conscious awareness to make it so.

Eventually the desire to be warm and dry superseded the comfort of being warm and wet. They helped each other out of the pool, and wrapped in soft towels they retired to the camper. At first the inside of the bed was freezing to their simmered skin, but they clung to and rubbed each other and radiated their accumulated heat into the smooth bedding. As soon as they were warm they began to drift into sleep. They both had a strong desire to make love, but fatigue proved stronger than desire, and they were soon floating in dreamland where the desire to make love was just as strong and the ability to follow through just as weak. They were suspended in a state of loving expectation for much of the rest of the night. Their sleep was very restful physically and emotionally. They felt healed from the turmoil engendered by their more primitive male selves. Somehow the circle of birds and light was stronger than all that primitive fear. Their bodies curled around each other in various patterns for the rest of the night and into the first light of morning.

Camille arose to pee outside the camper. As she returned Nina opened her eyes, caught just a glimpse of the naked Camille backlit by the morning sun. “Oh, my loving Goddess, you are so beautiful,” she exclaimed, then fell back into a deep sleep.

Camille joined her. As she curled around her warm body she whispered in Nina’s ear,”I could lick you all over.”

Nina moaned as if in recognition of Camille’s sweet promise.

The sun was still hidden behind the trees. Camille wasn’t sure if she was awake or still dreaming of warm oceans with her lover swimming beside her. The sensations were unmistakably pleasurable. She became aware of the lightest of touches between her legs. She had spread her legs to welcome her lover’s touch, and she was already wet. She heard Nina’s throaty whisper as if coming from far away, “Don’t wake up.” Doing her best to comply she kept her eyes closed and focused on her tropical lover dream images. In the dream Nina was darker and strangely had bright white wings even though they were swimming together underwater like dolphins. She didn’t try to make sense of it, just went with the melange of images and ripples of pleasure lapping at the edge of her consciousness. Muted moans escaped her lips. Nina rested her head on Camille’s chest and casually licked and sucked her nipples. Everything felt like it was in slow motion.

Nina had awakened in a mischievous frame of mind. When she relieved herself and returned to their bed and Camille was still not awake, she was filled with feelings that had rolled over both of them during the night, as if Camille had licked her all over, and she had returned the favor. Nina just went with her desire to touch her lover in her most intimate places. Their bodies belonged to each other. They affirmed that fact every time they made love, knowing just how to touch, stroke and lick, to tease out the most exquisite and delicate of bodily commotions. The fact of their love and devotion to each other only served to augment a surfeit of emotional connectivity that had grown over their years together. Will still often observed how good he felt being in the presence of these two women’s love for each other. These romantic sisters felt totally safe with each other.

So Camille lay half asleep and received as Nina slowly took possession of the slick lips of her vulva and lost herself, nuzzling in the fullness of Camille’s womanly bosom. Such a joy just to receive, to not have any responsibility to do anything for anyone, just indulge herself and let herself be taken fully and completely by her beloved. Already she felt her legs begin to quiver. Nina felt the trembling too. She didn’t change her pace, moving her fingers slowly and easily as if barely touching the unfurled lips and pearly button. Droplets of milk seeped into Nina’s mouth. She hungrily swallowed and went for more. Juices flowed over her fingers and moistened the fabric underneath. Camille’s moans rose and rumbled from deep within her belly and the shaking pervaded her whole body. Despite feigning sleep or maybe because, she was coming from somewhere at the center of her being. She couldn’t resist and didn’t. Tremors spread down her legs and down her arms and convulsed her torso, arching her back and relaxing it again as each wave passed through. Her panting groans accompanied her rhapsody of divine pleasure. She wanted to reach out to her lover but was incapable until finally she grasped Nina’s head and pressed it to her aching breasts.

1dnippling

Attempting to maintain her same slow motion pace, nonetheless Nina’s excitement had been slowly building. She was practically breathless herself. She went with being crushed into Camille’s bosom and slid two fingers inside of her going for that special spot. Camille began to thrash from side to side and gasp and pant as if she were suffocating. Then she screamed several times and collapsed and lay still continuing to pant and catch her breath. Nina moved her head to Camille’s shoulder. Camille turned to her, kissing her passionately, like they didn’t have enough tongue for each other. Nina withdrew her fingers and brought them between their kissing lips. The two of them licked her fingers thoroughly sharing the sweet smell and taste of their love. Then it was more mouth to mouth until Camille suddenly threw off the covers and dove between Nina’s legs continuing to passionately kiss her in the new location. She cupped with her hands the cheeks of Nina’s derriere and drew her even closer. Unable to hold back or go slow, she licked and kissed every tender spot of Nina’s blooming flower. Nina grasped Camille’s head and pushed it harder into her blessed opening, for a moment feeling she could push Camille up inside her. Instead her own quaking began. As Camille licked and stroked and then her fingers inside Nina’s throbbing honey pot. It took only the lightest stroking as she continued to lick and kiss and suck, drawing smooth sweet petals into her mouth and releasing them again. As Nina’s hips bucked Camille did her best to stay in contact and push the waves of ecstasy over the top and into the next world.

Nina screamed and moaned as Camille stayed with her continuing a subdued level of ministrations, precipitating aftershocks that further blessed both of them. Camille withdrew her fingers and stuck her tongue as far inside Nina as she could reach. Nina convulsed one more time, and Camille moved beside her. They kissed and cuddled and stroked and looked into each other’s eyes, as if they still were unquenchable, unable to get enough of each other. The afterglow continued until the sunshine reached their camper and began to overheat the air. They lay naked beside each other on top of the bedding. Nina turned toward her and spoke adamantly into Camille’s cheek, “That’s the way I want to feel toward you.”

Camille breathed back to her, “Anytime, girlfriend. . . Me too. May it always be si merveilleux between us.

C’est un miracle.”

Soon they burst from the confines of the camper. The still brisk air tickled their sensitized skin. They submerged briefly in the warm pool, and then toweled each other dry. “I’m still so turned on,” Nina gasped as Camille drew the fuzzy towel between her legs.

“For me too.” They clung to each other as goosebumps erupted on their silky skin. “Shall we go see Eva?”

“Before the whole day is gone?”

Oui.”

They dressed in layers and walked up the hill. As they drew near, Eva exclaimed, “Where have I ever seen two such lovely women, and so in love. You’re glowing like the stars you are.”

“How sweet of you to recognize us so well,” Camille responded warmly. “We love you too.”

“I continue to be amazed at how you honor us for who we are,” Nina added.

“I did not grow up with the prejudices of Anglo-Americans,” Eva stated blithely, “and I love being around you. I’ve known very few people who can love so nakedly, so passionately and so sweetly. You really let your love lights shine.”

“You bless us every time we see you,” Camille’s voice dripped with gratitude.

“That’s one of the things I’m here for.”

“So what else?” Nina asked mischievously.

“Fetch us all some coffee, and we’ll get into that.”

As they sipped their coffee, Nina described her journey from the night before. Eva declared, “What did I tell you?”

“Yes, you did. But I think we both want to know more about what else we’re supposed to do with these experiences.”

Eva waited, looking meaningfully from one to the other. “It’s about medicine. It’s about you discovering your medicine; who your allies are, who your helper spirits are, what circles you are part of. How did that feel flying with the birds?”

“I was just amazed to be part of this immense group moving in unison. I couldn’t figure out how it was happening. Somehow we were all connected perfectly to some invisible conductor, which was us just being perfectly connected with each other. We were one interconnected being. The way it felt . . . the closest I can compare . . . when we did the sacred marriage ceremony . . . “ She turned toward Camille who nodded a vigorous acknowledgment. “Such an experience of oneness, that concept that I’ve heard, the many in one. We were the many in one or the many as one.”

1dfairies and yoni_P

“So this is medicine for your life . . . “ Eva purposely left the incomplete statement dangling.

Camille had a flash of insight. “We’ve both participated in activities that affirm a profound interconnected oneness, a number of beings acting in unison with a flow that feels perfectly natural. It feels easy when you’re in it. This is a medicine that human beings desperately need in these times. We rarely if ever feel that sense of interconnected unity. If we did, perhaps life would go more easily, more peacefully.”

“Yes, yes, that’s very good. All three of you have received visions and information about a more harmonious way of living. This is your medicine individually and together. All these images, all these experiences are happening so that each of you knows without a doubt that such harmony in human life is possible. You’ve seen it in your journeys. You’re living it in your lives together. To live as you do, how do you call it?” She looked at Camille.

Menage a trois.”

“Yes, it sounds so beautiful the way you say it. To live in a such a loving relationship was not unusual in ancient times. Now, very unusual, almost impossible, but you three are doing it. It’s just one example of people being able to live in closer association and greater harmony, but it’s an important example, and you do it so gracefully. You have such rapport with each other. You are like the birds when they are flying together.”

Both women murmured, “Thank you.” Again they were touched by being seen so clearly by someone they so deeply respected.

Eva asked, “ Do you know what those birds are called when they’re doing their dance together?” They both indicated that they didn’t, so Eva continued, “I just learned this last year from one of my grandchildren. The birds are starlings, and when they flock like that, they’re called a murmuration.”

1doriginal_murmuration-of-starlings-p

“That’s so cool,” Nina gushed, “like what they’re really doing is murmuring together.”

Camille wanted further clarification. “So our medicine is at the core of everything we’re doing? Our loving relationship, the ceremonies we do together . . . “

“The cooperative economy,” Nina added.

“Yes, and there will be more. You’re just getting started.  The ancient ways will be the new ways. As you learn and practice your harmony with each other, you are more and more able to spread the consciousness to those around you.”

“What about the predators?” Camille asked with a note of anxiety in her voice.

“Ah yes, that’s a whole other topic. Let’s have some food and come back to that. I’ll fix something. You two, walk up toward the fire pit. Don’t talk just walk.”

As bidden Nina and Camille walked away hand in hand. As they walked, the ambience of the morning quickly returned to them, as if they were floating effortlessly up the trail. They both concentrated on fully feeling the flow between them and feeling the freshness of all the life around them. They felt themselves moving in tandem to each other. They were only walking, not flying, but there was a definite sense of automatically moving in just the right way to accommodate the other. It was effortless and happened without thought, and they just let it happen, as if harmony was a rather ordinary birthright.

When they reached the meadow, another of their magical places, they strolled a circle along the entire outer edge, and then began their return trip to Eva’s place. The sense of flying together in some kind of miniature murmuration never left them. They could have been floating like clouds. Occasionally they turned toward each other; their eyes embraced; they smiled and continued to drift along the trail.

Beans, rice, salsa, avocado, tomatoes, tortillas and fruit greeted them when they sat again with Granny. Nina declared, “You’re just the perfect grandma. You feed us good food. You tell us how wonderful we are.”

“You are wonderful,” Eva replied, “and I love you very much.”

“See what I mean.” Nina grinned at her. Then appreciative sounds of eating took over.

Camille asked, “When we were walking, did you hear something far off in the distance like Tibetan bells?”

Nina replied, “I thought I was hearing church bells, but they never stopped until we were almost back here.”

“They both looked at Eva. She smiled. “You heard them,” was all she said.

They ate in silence again. Not to be denied, Camille stated boldly, “We were going to talk about predators.”

“Yes, how did you like being a predator?” Eva asked.

“I didn’t like it. It scared me. I wondered what I was supposed to be learning. The killing shocked me. It felt like such a violation of everything I’d been learning to live by. It’s still hard to reconcile.”

“Did those antelope really die?”

“They ceased to be antelope.”

“What did they become?”

“I guess they became part of the humans who ate them. Is that right?”

Eva held up one finger. “Among my people in the Sierra Madres, nothing is eaten without acknowledging that by eating we are becoming part of what we ate. So the deer becomes us, and we become the deer. In the deer dance, one of us is always the deer. We dance the pain of transformation, of dying, but doing so willingly. Something always dies so that something else might live. We also become the corn and the sacred peyote. We are all parts of one large organism. It is inescapable. The scientists invent fancy words like biosphere. It still says that all life is interconnected. We are all part of each other and a part of the whole. Each one of us is the whole. It is all there kind of like DNA, a blueprint for everything is carried by every living being. Killing is a very dramatic way of making something or someone part of you.”

1ddeer dance_P

The women sat in silence mulling over what had been said. Nina spoke, “So the killing in warfare makes the enemy part of you?”

“Go on,” Eva prompted.

“So then you’re stuck with their karma or their destiny.”

Eva nodded.

“For how long?”

“However long it takes. It is the same when a forest is clearcut or thousands of buffalo are killed only for their robes, and they are left to rot on the plains. A debt is created. Eventually that buffalo medicine or that tree medicine must find a resting place, a place to continue living.”

“So warfare,” Camille rejoined, “accomplishes the opposite of what people think. They’re trying to get rid of something, but they make it a part of themselves.”

“Make love, not war,” Nina added, “a less painful way to accomplish oneness.” They all laughed.

“Just as threatening to some people,” Eva commented.‘Love your enemies’, the Great Ones say.”

“Still, why even go down that road,” Camille asked. “Is all the pain and fear worth it? And what about when you are the prey? What are you supposed to do then?”

“Prey always tries to get away. My ancestors were successful in running and hiding. When it was still held within the circle of ceremony, and the prey was honored by the predator, it was simply like trying out a new dance, kind of like discovering rock and roll when all you’d seen was ballroom before. There was a willing and knowing sense of transformation on both sides. You felt the unity of purpose and motion that the hunters had with each other. It feels just as magical as when the birds all fly in coordinated patterns. When the celebrations became about victory rather than honoring the dead, then things were already spinning out of balance. It probably didn’t happen all at once, but at some point a line was crossed where the predator thought of himself as better than the prey.”

“You make it sound so innocent,” Nina remarked. “Reminds me of something I heard a Vietnam Vet talk about,” Nina interjected. “Combat is like doing crack cocaine: incredible high, enormous consequences. The thrill of that your primitive hunters exuded is heightened even more in combat with all of one’s capabilities and training at their absolute pinnacle of intensity, the ultimate competition, definitely a kind of peak experience.”

“Well, at first it was innocent. You know how it goes. One thing leads to another, leads to another until you forget where you came from. That’s why we use peyote in our ceremonies.”

“Why is that?”

“So we don’t forget. The peyote and our ceremonies take us back to the ancient times. We are totally in that harmony and oneness. It’s not a concept. We see our energy flowing to and from the corn, the deer, the peyote, the snakes.

1dgarcialopez-la vision-l

“It is a self-evident experiential truth like it is in my journeys,” Camille added in acknowledgment that she got where Eva was going.

“That’s right. If you are living in that awareness there is much in the modern world that cannot be taken seriously. We simply know there is a better way, a truer way. That is some very powerful medicine, a medicine that you have become part of. It is not always easy. When the conquests happen with all the violence and killing and violations of other kinds, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the prevailing beliefs, that you must fight back, kill them before they kill you. It’s very compelling. You’ve felt that.”

“Yes, I felt I would do anything to feel safe, throw myself at the mercy of the strongest male in hopes I’d be protected from the worst things. Use my sexuality to tie him to me, so I could feel more secure.”

“Yes, as you know all these things have happened. My people in the high mountains are among the few who have not been taken over by the crazy new way of being. I’ve been told that up here in the north, there were medicine people who simply walked into sacred fires and disappeared into the other world, knowing there would be no room for them to live their truth. They will return when the time is right. Maybe you are some of them.” She stopped and let the last statement sink in. The younger women had no more questions.There was a sense that they’d gotten what they came for.

Camille instinctively reached for Nina’s hand. Nina extended her other hand to Granny Eva. The three women sat in silence for some time feeling the freshness of the mountain air, the waning warmth of the sun, the trilling of birds from every direction and their own sense of completion and oneness with each other. After some time Eva spoke, “Grandmother, Grandfather, Spirit, thank you for blessing us always with your presence. Help us to maintain are constant awareness of how you move in our lives and in all things. These are my daughters. Guide them and protect them. They have important work to do. We are in the time of revival. Help each one of us to do our parts to bring us back into balance, harmony and a knowledge of oneness. The great circle of life, it is ours to be with and maintain.” Then she prayed in one of her native languages, looking to the sun, reaching down to touch the earth and holding her palms to the sky. Then she stood and placed a hand on the crown of each other woman’s head, obviously praying for them, as they heard their names within the words of the ancient language. They both experienced a pleasant warm glow pass through them from top to bottom, out of the sky and into the earth.

 

Deer Me

There is a Feminine path that does not fit into any system or structure~ in fact it melts through all structures and systems. You cannot draw a map of the Feminine way or break it down into bullet points. It is a pilgrimage through the labyrinth~ an untrodden path through your own unique Enchanted Forest~ it weaves in ways that baffle the mind~ and grows the Soul in Love. 

                                                                                         ~Seren Bertrand♥

forest_fairy_by_1

“Let’s stop at the phone in town and call Will,” Camille suggested.

“Yes, let’s.”

Soon they were standing at the outdoor phone with the receiver held between their ears, so they both could talk at once or listen simultaneously. Will answered the phone, “Oh hi, I just walked in from work. How’s New Mexico?”

“New Mexico is magical as ever, and we’re fantastic,” Camille answered.

Almost talking over her friend, Nina added, “We’re having a lovely time. We just came from Granny Eva. She sends her love.”

“Yeah, I miss her. I miss you guys. So it’s a good trip?”

Nina answered, “Yes, very affirming for me, for us, for all of us. Granny Eva really admires us. She talks about our ability to love each other seeming and being so special in the modern world, but very normal and natural in ancient times.”

Will chuckled. “It’s always good to have her approval.”

“It’s more than that,” Camille cut in. “She really loves us and totally supports us. She loves the term menage a trois.”

She’s really a gift to us.”

“Yes, a treasure,” Nina added.

“You are my treasures. I feel happier just hearing your voices.”

“We wanted to hear your voice too. How are the girls?” Nina asked.

“They’re doing well. They miss you. How’s Sammy?”

Camille answered, “I think he has left the nest. We’ve barely seen him since we’ve been here. He has so many big brothers and big sisters.”

“He’s so comfortable with everyone,” Nina added. “He stayed with Ben and Nan while we went to see Granny Eva.”

“That’s great. So you two had some time together. Did you make the most of it?”

Nina giggled. “Yes we did.”

“It’s wonderful to be in this place together. There is something so open and so compelling. I feel that something beautiful is happening all the time or is about to happen.”

“Or just happened,” Will added. There was a pause. Will continued, “I came across a quote the other day. I don’t know who it’s from. It reminded me of you.”

“Who?” Nina teased.

“Both of you, of course.”

“Okay, quote away!”

“Here it is: ‘She says things with her eyes that men can not put into words’.”

“That’s totally Nina,” Camille teased.

“Shut up! It’s you too.”

In his best parental voice Will intoned, “Now girls, no fighting. It’s not a competition to be more gracious. Your are both abundant with grace in countless ways.”

“Oh, he says the nicest things.” Camille cooed.

“Yes, my prince, you are still my prince.”
“And you are ever my queens.”

Nina could not resist and queried, “Queens of Heaven or Queens of the Underworld?”

“One of each.”

“Which is which?,” Camille asked.

“It keeps changing like the yin-yang.”

They all laughed, and Nina mumbled, “Fair enough,” and looked into Camille’s eyes.

There was a long pause, and finally Will asked, “Hey, what’s going on there?”

Nina replied, “Talking with our eyes.”

“I can feel it all the way here in California.”

“It’s that strong,” Camille declared.

They drove on to Calabazas. When Camille emerged from the camper, Sammy ran to her as fast as his little legs could churn. They wrapped in each other’s arms. Camille sat on the ground with him. Nina waited a moment before sitting beside them and asking, “Hey, do I get some sugar too?” Sammy reached over to her and gave her just as big and strong a hug as Camille had just received.

Later Ben reported, “Our coop corporation is meeting tomorrow. I’m sure they’d love to see you both.”

“That’d be great,” Nina replied. “We’re just beginning to put something together in California. Maybe we can learn some things from your successes.”

“And our mistakes,” Ben continued.

“Have there been a lot of mistakes?”

“Not a lot and no really big ones.”

The following evening a group approaching two dozen gathered in the community hall at Calabazas. Half the group were familiar to Nina and Camille. The rest were new faces. As the group assembled there were many greetings accompanied by hugs and exclamations of joy in seeing Nina and Camille. Francisco and his daughter and Joe sat together, indicating a progression of what had barely been a budding relationship the last time they’d all been together.

The group met as a loosely defined general membership once a month. It was a meeting open to everyone including those who just wanted to come and scout out the landscape and see if they wanted to become more involved. Day-to-day business was handled at more regular times during workdays. At the general meeting there was open discussion of philosophy, principles, directions and desires.

Francisco introduced Nina and Camille and Sammy to the group explaining Nina’s role in envisioning a cooperative corporation loosely based on her study of the Mondragon Corporation based in Basque country. Then he asked if they had any opening remarks.

Nina looked around and jumped right in. “I have a question I’ve carried from California. We are just beginning to put something together with a group out there. We are a year or two behind you developmentally. Do you have any suggestions for us?”

There was a long silence broken by Joe, “Roles and relationships.”

“Can you say more?” Nina asked.

“Who’s responsible for what.”

Someone else took up the theme, “It’s fine to say we’re all in this together, but individual tasks still have to be done by some individual, so get commitments, especially in the beginning before things are well-defined.”

After a pause another member offered, “Start every meeting with five minutes of meditation with the thought that we’re coordinating our minds to work in harmony.”

A  voice softly said, “We forgot to do that tonight.”

“We could do it now.”

“Let’s.”

So the group ceased their discussion, fell silent and sat with their eyes closed and the comfort of their own breathing. Another question came up for Nina before she surrendered peacefully to the silence: “How about relationships with the larger community?” Then Nina sank into an immense well of gratitude, reflecting on the growth of this community, Calabaza and the cooperative corporation. From an idea she had pursued and researched as a university student, there was now a thriving business with over twenty employee/owners, and it was continuing to grow.

Camille’s reflections went to how her life had changed since meeting Nina at the university in Paris. It seemed unbelievably magical that she was sitting her on this land in New Mexico,USA, a mother, a wife, a participant in several social experiments: deeply in love with two equal partners, a member of two cooperative cooperations, an active co-creator in the revival and embellishment of ancient ceremonies and a traveler to other worlds, other times. She felt both awed and blessed by the direction her life had taken her.

Sammy quietly wandered around the circle, finding knees to lean against, not really disrupting anyone’s meditation, more like he was attracted to the peaceful warmth and participated in it more directly with a few individuals.

Everyone felt more centered and present when the meditation ended. Several newcomers asked basic questions about the structure, business plan, relationships among the members and how to join. One modality was a kind of intern concept. It was for the most part an open invitation to come to worksites, observe how an average day unfolds, begin to take part and find ways to be useful. If a person is still interested after several days at that level of participation then they could request consideration for provisional membership. At that point they began earning money and after six months could advance to regular membership by a vote of the regular members. That had been the typical pattern. Occasionally someone would decide it was not their cup of tea or the regular membership found reasons either let the person go or give them some feedback and keep them provisional for another six months.

In addition buyers of adobe construction or windmills could participate in the construction for some markdown in pricing. A few buyers with requisite skills and time took advantage of that offer. One of those buyers was now a member. The windmill project was investigating the possibility of doing their own fabrication but had not discovered a way for that to be cost-effective, so they continued to buy pre-fab kits which they assembled on site, as well as providing all the adaptive on site construction for the installations.

The company already had developed a reputation for quality work and reliability. They were becoming a recognized name in the nearby towns and getting requests from farther and farther away. Growth had its challenges: training new workers, organizing work crews farther from the central office and maintaining quality control.  Joe and Jose were each running their own crews and visiting other sites to advise and trouble-shoot.

Francisco and others who had taken administrative and financial roles struggled with maintain the concept of approximate equality. They had settle on a principle of earned equality, that everyone had the potential to come to the same level of income and responsibility, but that might be attained only after some time spent achieving the learning curve and truly being of equal valued to the corporation. That principle seemed to work for most everyone.

Nina was quite impressed with what had been achieved. She had planted a seed and come back to find a healthy plant. What college student gets to write a term paper and watch it be transformed into a model program in the real world outside of academia? The creative input of the growing crew in New Mexico would indeed be helpful as they evolved their model in California with the pagan women. She noted that as far as she could tell much of the Mondragon model, which she’d observed in Basque country and used as the nucleus for her initial paper, was being followed quite closely.

When the formal part of the open council was over, there was time for some personal contact with Francisco, Joe and others. George had wandered in a bit late. He immediately came over to Nina and Camille. “Whatcha think of your baby?” he boomed in his big man voice.

“It’s outgrown me. I assume you’re talking about the business, not this little guy.” She scooped up Sammy as he trotted by and held him up to George. “Say hi to your Uncle George.”

“Looks like he’s already outgrowin you too.”

“Outrunnin us, that’s for sure. How ya been, George.”

“No worse. They’re still keepin me busy, makin me feel useful. Plenty of vets still lookin for their lost souls.”

“Findin any?”

“Yeah, that’s what keeps us goin. How’s that lucky guy who stole you away from me?” He grinned and winked at her from behind the huge white beard he still carried around.

“He’s great. We can’t find anything to complain about, and you know how hard we look.” She grinned back at him.

“Is he gonna make it out here sometime?”

“I’m sure he will.”

“Tell im we miss im.”

“I will.”

The next morning was brisk but still warm enough to enjoy coffee and breakfast outside with a few layers on. Camille turned to Ben. “So your number one recommendation is Canyon de Chelly?”

“Absolutely,” he replied. It’s got the cliff dwellings you’re looking for. It’s just an awesome red rock canyon that goes on more miles, and the Navajos will be your tour guides and offer you some uniquely beautiful pieces of art. To get all that in one place is pretty rare even in the Southwest.”

“All right,” Nina replied. “I think you got us convinced.”

After breakfast there were lots of hugs and kisses and a few tears before Nina, Camille and Sammy loaded up and headed back west. At Ben’s direction they had called ahead for reservations, so when they reached Chinle, the entrance to Canyon de Chelly, they had a room for the night and a guide with jeep lined up for the next day. They definitely felt themselves at the heart of Navajo Nation. They discovered that one of their options was to camp near one of the larger cliff dwellings which was partly built into the cliff and partially at the ground level of the canyon floor.

It was the middle of a week near the end of tourist season. They were deposited near the White House ruins with tent, sleeping gear and food for two days. This provided them with one non-travel day to just be in the canyon, explore and commune. Camille wasn’t sure what she was seeking. She only recognized how drawn she was to come to this area of ancient dwellings. Nina had studied the Anasazi in college and remembered them as peaceful agrarians with a rich ceremonial culture. The Puebloan peoples of the modern Southwest are presumed to be direct descendants of the Anasazi or “Ancient Ones”. Their guided pointed out features of the canyon, other ancient dwellings and the contemporary hogans of the Navajo families currently living in the canyons. Their guide asked if they were interested in visiting with a traditional weaver. They were enthusiastically affirmative. “I will arrange for the day I pick you up,” he told them.

The women noticed that they were camped on somewhat higher ground. The guide indicated the possibility of flash floods, but assured them that the weather was predicting no rain while they were camped. He pointed out the nearest family dwelling back down the canyon about a mile just in case there was an emergency. “Be aware as you explore. Our people are farming here, but it is still wild country, not like your farm towns. There are snakes.”

“Rattlesnakes?” Camille asked, a little wide-eyed.”

“Oh yes, but you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you. Don’t put your hands or feet where you can’t see.” After helping them pitch their tent, he left. They would have forty-eight hours to soak the atmosphere and archives of this unique place.

As soon as they were alone, Sammy wanted to explore. Nina went with him while Camille organized their camp. Sammy headed for the watercourse creeping under cottonwood trees and occasionally pushing through thickets of Russian olives. He picked up random objects, sticks and stones, examined them and dropped to the sandy soil again. He began to tire after awhile, and Nina had brought no water. “Good thing to remember,” she noted. When they returned, Camille had imposed some order and laid out dinner snacks of dried salami, cheese, bread, peanut butter and jelly. They mostly had food that required little or no cooking and several gallons of water. A one-burner camp-stove would provide their morning coffee and instant oatmeal In the waning light of late afternoon/early evening they watched the shadows move along the tall sheer walls. In places they rose straight up for a thousand feet or more.

The women began adding layers of clothing as they felt the temperature declining and the darkness thickening. Sammy was bundled in his warmest pajamas with feet and snuggled inside a blanket wrapped around him and Camille.

“There is absolutely no light here,” Nina commented.

“Except for the stars.”

“Even at Calabazas there always seemed to be a few lonely lights emanating from one of the families.”

“We could turn on a lantern.”

“I think I’d rather see what I can see, let my eyes adjust.”

“Good idea.”

Later Camille said, “Sammy’s almost asleep. I’m going to lie down with him.”

“Let me know if you’re not warm enough. I’m going to sit up for awhile. I have this wonderful warm blanket, and I’m really enjoying being immersed in the darkness.” Nina sat cross-legged but propped against the flat face of a large boulder. She was so still and comfortable that she nodded off more than once, but still didn’t want to move to their sleeping bag. After one such short nap she opened her eyes wondering where all the light was coming from. She was not startled. The light felt warm. At first she couldn’t decipher its source. Then she saw what appeared to be a family walking slowly across her field of vision. They were a white line drawing against the black background of the night, spectral but not eerie.

As she noticed them, the father appeared to notice her, turned and approached her. He stopped and stood a few yards from her. She waited, already anticipating that she was about to receive something: a message, an insight. She was no longer the naive traveler in the other world she had once been. The white-light man extended his hands toward her palm up. Nina began to hear words and then sentences in her brain. “You are our direct descendants. We have been together in the Spirit World. You are on assignment from our band within the larger sacred circle. We are feeding you and Camille information and understandings as quickly as we can, as quickly as there is space in your aura to receive from us. We are far more ancient than those you know as Anasazi. This place was also our home long long ago. These red rocks have seen hundreds of generations pass by.”

1dangel_of_light_PES_

“Our assignment together is to revive the travel between worlds as something that all humans are capable of, like eating food or drinking water or walking. It is a natural human ability. It is time for the old ways of harmony and bliss to reenter your war-torn world. To look beyond all the pain and heartache of our recent history is not easy. The great teachers, the Buddhas point the way, but it takes extraordinary effort to follow their guidelines. We are here with you to help you help others. We are here to make it easier to practice harmony, love, and peacefulness. Know that we are always with you. You can always ask for and receive our help. Your people need to know this. You have torn down the stone wall between us and you. Many people in your time maintain their wall without even knowing it. They are not aware of us. They are not aware of their stone wall. You and Camille and Will and one day Sammy are Wayshowers. As the world teeters on the brink of destruction, we will retrieve many lost souls. They will have the opportunity to return to the Circle of Light and reclaim their birthright as blissful souls on the continuum of spiritual existence. You may think of me as The One. If you want a more personal name, please call me Shen. You may call on me anytime. I am your primary guide, ally, spirit-helper. All these names fit with what we do. Experience me as part of your family, a wise ancestor for all of you. We support you and protect you, all four of you and the others you are working with. We love your creativity. You will remember everything.”

With those last words the image of light turned from her and walked slowly away. The light faded as he moved into the distance and eventually disappeared entirely. Nina sat in the darkness for awhile, absorbing and reabsorbing everything she had just heard and seen. Much of it jibed with the accumulation of source material which had come to her and Camille. As with each of these experiences of spirit, there were also new pieces to chew on.

Nina joined her belovéds in the tent. There was barely room to slide in. Camille moaned softly but didn’t awaken. She was curled around Sammy on the far side from Nina. The warmth emanating from them was a pleasant relief to Nina. She didn’t know how chilled she had become sitting in the night air. “I guess I wasn’t really in my body,” she mused as the warmth relaxed her, and she was deeply asleep.

Camille arose first and had hot coffee for Nina when she arose. Sammy wandered the nearby area poking in the sandy soil for treasures.The two women sat in the warming air underneath several layers of clothing. As Nina became fully awake she began to relate the tale of the light being who had visited her. Camille felt a stirring of recognition as the tale unfolded. Finally, she exclaimed, “I know him from somewhere. I’ve seen him.”

“Wow, where?”

“I can’t place him, but I’m getting chills of recognition as you’re talking about him.”

“Well, he did make it sound like we all know each other. He said, ‘Our assignment together . . .’ like we’re part of the same gang or task force.”

“Okay, that makes sense. That’s how it feels.”

They munched on fruit and cheese and crackers. Camille announced, “I’d really like to sit in one of the dwellings for awhile today.”

“Would you like me to look after Sammy?”

“That would be great.”

When the day had warmed sufficiently, Camille wandered in the direction of the ground-level ruins. It was almost Sammy’s nap time. Nina lay down in the tent with him. He was soon asleep, and Nina moved out of the tent and found a comfortable place to recline in the sun. She was soon drifting in and out of consciousness suffused with feelings of love and gratitude. Meanwhile Camille propped herself up in the corner of one of the small Puebloan rooms. She could see out and across the canyon from her vantage point. She decided to meditate, gently shifting her focus to the rise and fall of her own breathing and allowing her eyes to flutter shut.

The first things she saw was many, many eyes gazing at her with wonder and love. She felt as if she had just awakened in the bosom of the most loving family in existence.. For awhile she just basked in the loveliness of being looked upon with such love. The eyes ranged through every possible color from bright blue to almost black: green, hazel, almost violet, gray, chocolate brown. It felt like every ethnic group in the history of human beings was represented by this collection of eyes. She felt a sense of kinship with each one of them. “This is the human family.” That thought drifted through her deep awareness.

After awhile the scene slowly shifted. She was part of a family here in this very dwelling. It was in its heyday, solidly well-built and housing several families. She didn’t get clear images just a sense of the movements of daily life. Perhaps the details were not what was important. She tried to just relax and go with the flow. Similar feelings of love and wonder began to flow through her. She felt herself to be an integral part of this group with almost overwhelming feelings of awe, wonder and familial affection, as if that were the normal daily fare of these people. The complex of feelings reminded her of her journeys into the far ancient times. They were constantly touching one another with their minds.

The scene changed one more time. It felt to Camille as if an immense amount of time had passed, perhaps centuries. Now there was fear as she and her family clambered up the cliffs utilizing footholds and handholds to reach the dwellings built within the caves of the canyon wall. The languorous feelings of the previous scene had almost disappeared. The family was in flight from some kind of predator. Then as they reached safety behind the higher walls, she saw below other people, people who felt menacing, people with an intent to rob and kill. Fortunately her family and the other families of her band had sequestered corn and water in storage areas of the cliff dwelling. They could live for quite some time perched like great birds on the outcroppings of red sandstone.

After all have scrambled to safety they sit in a circle leaving only one of their members as a lookout. They don’t exactly pray, but Camille can feel the yearning of their heart and then an answer on an energy level. There are a few words: “Fear not. You are always part of the One. If your bodies die, if you are killed, you will merely join us in the Other World. We are always with you. Be comforted. Feel our love.” The fear gradually drained out of the circle. They all felt themselves as part of the One. This time the predators scavenged what they could from the lower levels and left with their booty.

“Now only your conscious awareness can bring you back to experiencing the One.” These last words reverberated through her mind as she began to emerge from her trance state. She was both shaken and reassured by what had happened. She wanted to remain among the more ancient people when everything was such a delightful easy-going oneness. She was beginning to understand that the experience of separation was totally illusory. There was no separation, even though a person could experience such a deep and intense feeling of separation. Connection cannot be severed even by the predators. Dimly the question floated in her mind, “Yes, but how to convince those that feel so totally alienated?”

As she opened her eyes she thought, “Why is it that each answer brings forth more questions? I guess we just start where we are and keep building on what we know.” She looked at her surroundings which were now “ruins”, and wondered out loud, “I wonder what else this place has planned for us.”

When she returned to their camp area, Sammy ran to her and grabbed her fiercely around the legs. She lifted him up and then at with him beside Nina, who reached over and embraced her. Camille wrapped her legs around Nina’s torso. Sammy situated himself between them. They both stroked him and kissed the top of his head, and stroked and kissed each other. Ah, sweet contentment, for awhile they felt no striving nor need to do anything else. Camille eventually leaned back, and the two women reclined side-by-side while Sammy crawled over and around both of them.

Sometime that night when the moon was highest in the sky. both women felt themselves moving into another realm. They were aware of being together, but were quite surprised to find themselves as members of a herd of deer, calmly grazing in a lush meadow. It seemed to both of them that they were there as deer for a long time with little or no human thought or thought of any kind.

1ddeer woman_

When they discussed their journey the next morning. Nina asked, “What was your impression?”

“So sensitive, so tuned in, so aware of all the life around me, so aware of the other deer, all of us so gentle in action and vibration. Why do you think we went there?”

“Animal allies. Up till now we’ve been with angelic beings. In the shamanic world there are alos the allies from the biological realm.”

“So we are Deer Women.”

“Looks like, feels right, doesn’t it?”

“So much,” Camille almost gasped. That tuned in sensitivity. It felt extra-sensory, maybe just because it was so keen.”

“I know what you’re talking about. It was like being in love with everything: all the other deer, the trees, the flowers, the little critters in the grass, even the bears and lions.”

“Yeah, what about that?”

“I think the deer are among those who in a sense willingly sacrifice themselves so that others may live.”

“The give-away.”

“Yes, like the buffalo, which is why the sacred connection must always be maintained by any human predators. There must be gratitude and honoring.”

“So here we are in the modern world, and the nature of deer has not changed. Deer medicine is still available to us in its pure form.”

“Yes, unsullied by history or the cruelty of humans.”

“Okay, I’m getting this animal wisdom, animal medicine, why we might want allies from the lower world.”

“The purity transcends thought or goes deeper than thought. Even the predators are simply following a nature that has nothing to do with good and evil. Things eat each other and become each other.”

“I think I still prefer deer medicine.”

“Me too, but I understand that lion or bear or eagle are simply more challenging to work with in the right way. But if we’re not being shown that, it’s not for us.”

“I’m good with that. I like being deer together. It felt a lot like being with the very ancient ones in my journeys.”

“Maybe some of them incarnate as deer.”

“Wow, that feels kinda crazy, but you might be right.”

After a pause Nina continued, “You know how easy it is to spook a deer?”

“Yeah.”

“So deer medicine has to be approached softly and gently, or it will run away.”

“Like us?”

“Yeah, we have to be approached softly and gently, don’t we?”

“Absolutely.”

“And look where we are in our lives.”

“What do you mean?”

“We are affirming and acting out gentility and oneness and learning how to work with our sensitivities so we’re not blown away by them.”

Camille concluded, “I like your double entendre. I’m with you all the way, girlfriend.”

For awhile they relaxed and ate and wandered a bit. Later in the afternoon their guide picked them up and took them back to their camper. They called Will again from a pay phone in Chinle. Nina was bursting with enthusiasm. “We have so much to tell you about.”

“There’s more?” he asked.

“Oh, much more, my darling Will.” Camille replied. “Too much for a phone call.”

“How’s Sammy?”

“He’s wonderful. I think he got as much from Canyon de Chelly as we did.”

“That’s fantastic. Well, have a safe journey home.”

“We will. We love you,” Nina assured him.

Nous te aimons,” Camille echoed.

“I love you two. Give Sammy a big hug for me.”

Camille held Sammy up to the phone. “Say hi to dad,” she prompted.

Will’s voice came out of the phone, “Hi, Sammy. How’s my boy?”

Sammy looked quizzically at the phone; then squealed just once.

“Did you hear him?” Nina asked.

“Yeah, that was great. See you soon.”

Camille drove the next morning while Nina played in back with Sammy. The miles went by, and eventually Sammy fell asleep, and Nina joined her partner in front. “Do you want me to drive?” she asked.

“Not just yet.”

“Where are we?”

“You will see.”

“Oh, I get it I’m in for a surprise.”

Peut-Être.”

“So just sit back and relax.”

“Pretty much

Some miles and minutes later Camille turned onto a side road that wound up the side of a mesa. Nina smile in acknowledgment that her girlfriend still had some tricks up her sleeve. They came up onto a very flat mesa top. There was an open area with a few parked cars. Camille parked and turned off the engine. Extending across the mesa top were houses comprising the Hopi Pueblo.

“So now will you tell me where we are?” Nina asked in mock exasperation.

“You remember that set of principles that Ben and Nan mailed to us. They added it to their operating principles for the cooperative business.”

“Yes, the Hopi Way of Life or something like that. . . Oh, we’re in Hopi-land,” she almost squealed in girlish delight and clapped her hands.

“You are such a fun date.”

“How did you know to come here?”

“I was here a long time ago.”

“Your first trip to the States”

“Oui.”

“I’m glad I’m still learning things about you.”

“The same for me.”

“So what do we do now?”

“We can walk.”

“Has Sammy slept long enough?”

“Let’s see.” Camille out, went around and opened the back door. As she did so, Sammy roused. “Allo, my sweetie,” she singsonged. Sammy crawled toward her. She picked him up and swung him in the air before smothering him in hugs and kisses. As they headed toward the dwellings, he trotted ahead. Nina and Camille held hands as they walked, keeping pace with Sammy.

The passageway between the buildings was deserted until a woman emerged and invited them into her house. Her skirt appeared to be homespun cotton in a traditional design. “You have such a beautiful child,” she commented.

“Thank you.”

“Perhaps you are interested in pottery,” she inquired.

“Oh, yes,” Camille answered immediately.

“Please sit,” and she motioned them toward two straight back chairs at a kitchen table. The inside of her house looked and felt much like the combination of rock and adobe where Camille had sat in Canyon de Chelly.

“You made these?” Nina asked.

“Most are mine.”

A bowl with two deer facing each other appeared on the table. Nina and Camille looked at each other. Camille picked up the bowl. It was finely made and felt like it belonged in her hands. She stroked it lovingly and then handed it to Nina. Sammy wanted to touch it too. The Hopi woman brought out a few more pieces, but the decision had already been made.

“You like the deer,” the Hopi woman observed.

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“Very much,” Camille answered.

“Your work is very beautiful,” Nina added.

They settled on a price, and then the woman queried, “Perhaps you would be interested in deer kachina.”

“You have such?” Camille asked.

“Yes, my son has begun to carve.” She brought out a deer kachina about half a foot tall. It had antlers and everything.

“Yes, we would like this too,” Nina asserted.

Before they left, the woman asked if she could hold Sammy, who went willingly to her lap. She softly spoke to him and over him in her native language. It could have been a prayer. Then she reached out and held out her hands to Nina an Camille. The three held hands in a circle enclosing Sammy for a few moments. Then she looked at each of them with a subtle warmth in her eyes.

Back on the road asked, “Did I ever tell you the story of the fawn and the monster?”

“Don’t think so.”

“I learned this at Sarah Lawrence. In think it’s Native American:

Once there was a cave on a mountain that was guarded by a monster. Legend had it that there was treasure in that cave, special treasure for each individual that might go there. All the animals wanted to find a way to get past the monster, so they could claim their treasure.  Many different animals went up to the cave, but when they saw the monster, they became so frightened that they ran away. One day Fawn said, “I’ll go.” 

The other animals laughed, and some expressed worry, but Fawn was steadfast began to climb the mountain. When she came near the monster, she called out, “Hello, Monster, how are you?”

The monster stared at her with as much menace as he could muster. Fawn looked back at him with all the gentleness of her true nature and with love for what she perceived to be the monster’s true nature. The monster began to shrink from a being several times Fawn’s size until he was no larger than a thumbnail. Fawn learned her head down until her nose was close to the thumbnail monster. The tiny monster reached up and touched her nose and then stroked it. “SO SOFT,” he exclaimed.

After that all animals were able to claim their treasures.

“What happened to the monster?” Camille asked.

“I think he joined the little people.” Nina laughed.

Enchantress

Look at Mother Nature on the run

In the nineteen seventies . . .

They were flying Mother Nature’s

Silver seed to a new home in the sun.

~Neil Young

Upon returning home there was something that pulled all three adults in a direction of domesticity, mainstream, and desire for ordinariness. “Let’s just focus on being a family together. That’s enough,” could easily have become their slogan. But the other fire burned in all of them ever stronger. They knew themselves to be wayshowers, leaders back and forward to a better way of living, a commitment to save the world before it was too late. They returned from Hopi-land with one other item, a chapbook size publication about Hopi prophecy. It was haunting in its imagery and its core theme: when human beings stray too far from their spiritual paths, it becomes harder and harder to find their way back, to even remember where they left the spiritual path. There was a sense that the Hopis still knew that this process had been going on gradually for thousands of years but had accelerated in the last few decades.

In their prophecy they were told to be on the lookout for three signs, and that when these symbols appeared, it was an indication that the time to turn things around was short, probably within an average person’s lifetime. Two of the signs were a man traveling under the sign of the swastika, and a man traveling under the sign of the sun. These easily were represented by the World War II flags of Germany and Japan. The third sign was especially shocking, “a hot gourd full of ashes that falls out of the sky. It burns the grasses and boils the rivers so that nothing grows for a long long time.”

If the images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not enough, there was the recent reminder provided by the Chernobyl disaster and the swath of toxicity carried by the prevailing winds north and west of the site itself.

“Whatever we think might turn things around, we have to do,” Will opined one day, “for ourselves of course, but even more so for Kayla, Sabrina and Sammy.

Nina picked up the theme, “Hopi prophecy really puts things in a sharp focus, doesn’t it? They’ve been carrying their story as oral tradition for thousands of years. The rudimentary way they describe complicated modern technology in the language that was available back then is quite striking.”

“How do we change people’s hearts and minds?” Camille asked. In France it took two world wars to finally say, ‘Enough.’ And then we still tried to recapture our empire, Vietnam, Algeria. But somewhere in that post-war process, some simple but incredibly important decisions were made in France and elsewhere in Europe. Everyone else thinks that the French have always been in favor of love. That’s true, but it did not translate into taking care of each other and the less fortunate until quite recently. Remember Les Miserables. . .Now there is an emerging understanding that universal health care, education, housing significant time off work to enjoy life, such things simply build a more pleasant society for everyone.”

“How crazy is that?” Nina interjected ironically.

“From what we’ve been learning, only as crazy as most societies for most of human existence until the last several thousand years. When I was sitting with the remaining structures of the Anasazi, it was with that same idyllic sense that I’ve experienced on most of my journeys. And then it changed. There were enemies or predators that had to be considered if my people wanted to survive. Such a vast difference in consciousness! How do we communicate that truth? How do we live it, moment to moment, day to day, as if the predators had never come?”

“I think we do what we’ve been doing and trust that other people in other places are doing something similar. The great teachers have given guidelines for living in these dark times. Buddha demonstrated how to live as if the predators had never come. Nina’s research at Mondragon was such a turning point for me. Suddenly I had a cooperative model that didn’t need a violent revolution to institute it. We have made the Mondragon folk our mentors.”

Nina followed Will with, “At least equally important is our revival and creation of ceremony. I think we all experienced how powerfully ceremony changes consciousness without a lot of talk, talk, talk, in fact, more efficiently than all the talking. We’re opening up positive possibilities with everything we do.”

“You’re right,” Camille responded. “We can’t give into fear. We just have to do what we can do, stand up for what’s right . . .”

“And keep on truckin,” Will concluded, and they all chuckled.

“So what’s next?” Camille asked.

“We’ve begun working up a new dance. I think I’m getting typecast as the king. It’s another old story, about the crone who guards the well. Many men come to try to procure water from the well. They all fail. Some are injured by their own inappropriateness. We three men do some quick costume changes. Meanwhile women come to the well and almost automatically receive water. Finally one of the men approaches the crone in the right way and receives water and also turns into a king. Then we dance a portrayal of great blessings coming to the land, you know, sunshine, flowers, and a lightness to everyone’s moves that didn’t exist before. In the beginning of the dance even the women danced as if there were some restrictions on their ability to move freely.”

“So what’s the right way to approach the crone?” Camille asked.

“With respect, of course, but more importantly to look beyond her surface ugliness, to look into her eyes and see her wisdom and her underlying beauty.”

1dcerridwen welsh

“I like it,” Camille exclaimed.

“So do I,” Nina added. After a pause she asked Will, “Would it be all right if I joined the dance troupe? I don’t wanna horn in on your thing.”

“Of course you’re welcome,” he replied. “I’d love to have both of you.” He looked at Camille.

“Thanks. I’m not strongly attracted to dance. Anyway I’d like a night that’s just Sammy and me every once in awhile.”

“You can change your mind any time.”

“Thanks, and I might just do that. Can I ask you something, Will.”

“Sure, anything, fire away.”

“Do you ever get discouraged or angry or afraid or just plain stuck?”

“Sure, of course I do.”
“You never show it. You always seem so balanced.”

“I don’t have a simple answer.”

“That’s okay,” Nina interjected. “We got time. I’m curious, too. There’s no criticism in this question, just curiosity. I think we like your even keel. It’a a wonderful secure anchor for us.” She looked at Camille who nodded and smiled.

“Okay, here goes. As a kid I learned to rely on myself. Expressing my feelings got me nothing but grief. I didn’t really trust anyone very much.”

“When did that change? No, how did that change?” Camille asked.

“I became a hippy. For a few years in the sixties, there was this total acceptance. It didn’t matter what kind of weird freak you were, you were still part of the circle. Bottom line, if you were there the joint got passed to you. And pot really broke down a lot of social barriers and created a kind of euphoric acceptance of most everything and everybody. It was like suddenly having a family when you’d never had one before. And I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. We were all misfits.”

“So you had been also a social misfit, un paria, you understand.”

“Yes, it’s the same in English. Up until high school I didn’t have a best friend or really even a group that I belonged to. My best friend from high school joined the army and went to Vietnam and was never the same again. When I got to the Bay Area to go to college, it was the beginning of the hippy thing. A few hits of weed, and everyone was my best friend. There was finally a group where I felt I belonged, and they didn’t reject me. I met Ben, and our motto was, ‘Let it all hang out!’ Life was a party. Lotsa whooping it up.”

“I guess I’m more focused on the negative emotions. If I feel depressed or discouraged, I talk to Nina, and she talks to me. Do you have down times, and do you talk to anyone?”

“I go to AA. I talk to Paul sometimes. In New Mexico I’ll talk to Ben or George, but mostly I meditate. I started in the sixties, and I haven’t stopped. In Buddhist meditation we’re taught to observe all of our feelings, not reject them, but not take them too seriously.”

“And that works for you?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“That’s quite fascinating. I’d never thought of it that way. I think I’m more used to talking until I feel better.”

“Were you social? Did you have friends?”

“Not until university. I knew I was bisexual from an early age. That created some barriers, even in France. After I was assaulted, I lost most of my trust for men. At first, I trusted you because Nina trusted you, and I was already so in love with her. She spoke so highly of you. I felt her love and trust for you. I wanted some of that again even though I was very afraid of getting hurt again. I just focused on all the good things I felt for Nina. You’ve never done anything to scare me. That makes you unique among men I’ve gotten close to.”

“I always feel so honored by both of you. I work very hard to never turn into that scary monster, predatory man that none of us likes. For me it’s about practice, practicing Buddhahood, really. There’s so much in this modern world encouraging us to be violent, self-centered assholes. If we want to be something else, we have to work at it. Being a hippy was a good start. At least we knew we weren’t gonna go to war. But I think you’re asking something else as well. If something was disturbing me about you or Nina or Sammy or whomever, would I bring it up. The answer is: if the meditation didn’t work to bring perspective, then, yes, I would talk about it with either one of you. I’m not trying to be Mr. Perfect. That’s not Buddhahood anyway.”

“You make me so happy, both of you. I am content to just sit in a room with you. Of course, I also love making love.” A spontaneous smile spread across Camille’s face as she gazed at her lovers. “I never thought I could feel this connected to another person. To have such a marvelous connection with two of you. I did not expect such good fortune in my life.”

“Spread the love: that was another sixties motto.”

“So you’re finally living out the dream of the sixties.” Nina reached over and gave him a light shove on the shoulder.

“More fundamentally, and I hear this all the time in AA. It’s the struggle to feel good enough, to feel deserving of the love.”

Nina asked, “Do you think that’s more characteristic of alcoholics and addicts.”

“Used to think that. Now I think it’s everyone in the modern world.”

“That’s what I think too.”

“Me too,” Camille added. “We are so far from the sense of connection that I have experienced on my journeys to the ancient times. We are all isolated inside of ourselves, and you’re right, Will. We have to work very hard, not just to be peaceful, but to stay connected. When we did the ceremony together, I felt this marvelous oneness with the entire community. It seemed to me that we were all feeling that oneness in those moments. It lasted for awhile, but now it has faded.”

“Maybe we need to do it again.” Nina’s words visibly startled the other two. She quickly added, “I’m not saying the same ceremony, but something equally powerful . . . What happened just then?”

“I think you surprised our modern selves. There’s a part of me that’s still shocked by what we did. Doing it the first time was kinda easy, because we didn’t know exactly where it was going, and then one thing just led to another.”

“Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. I call it the slut factor.”

“Huh,” Will inadvertently let slip. Camille was listening intently.

“It’s okay for a woman to have sex in America as long as she didn’t plan it, want it too much, as long as it just happened.”

“If a woman plans or wants it too much, she’s a slut. To be sexually aggressive is really not sanctioned for a woman. A good woman is supposed to be seduced or even forced a little, resistant at first but then carried away by her feelings. It’s a very delicate dance to not activate the slut factor. Another example from my personal experience, a woman can have a few drinks to ‘loosen her up’, but if she gets stinking drunk and then a bunch of guys take advantage of her, then she’s a slut.”

“Do you struggle with that in France?”

“Not as much, but I’m really thinking about whether it’s okay to be sexually aggressive. You know when two women get together someone has to be aggressive.”

“That’s for sure,” Nina interjected.

“My understanding of tantra,” Will contributed, “and I’m assuming any culture which had tantra as its model of how to be . . .” he paused as if struggling for the right words. “All the directives seem to have the man being the passive recipient. The preferred positions are woman on top. It’s like reverse polarity in the interests of balance. Encourage aggression in women and receptivity in men.”

“If that’s what you’re doing, it definitely works for me.”

“Yes,” Nina continued, “I always feel so free with you, like it’s okay for me to do anything. I don’t have to please you. I want to, but I don’t have to.”

Oui, it’s the same for me. I feel free and safe with you, even aggressive. Not afraid to say I want you, both of you.”

“Can we help teenage girls to make an easier transition?”

“I was shocked,” Will said, “as we moved into the seventies and the attitudes of the next generation of kids had not changed that much. I heard words like slut being used again.”

“Often the women’s movement doesn’t get embraced by younger women, like being a feminist would make you less attractive to men.” Nina commented.

“Weak men,” Will uttered.

“Say more,”

“Weak men think they need weak women or submissive some in order to be okay. Have to be in control. Have to be top dog.”

“Why aren’t you that way?” Camille asked.

“I think it’s boring, and what an act many women have to pull off just to not threaten the egos of their men.”

“Yes, it comes back to that. Does a woman believe she can live her truth in all her power and still attract a man?”

Nina responded, “It’s a tall order for teenagers to resist all the cultural programming.”

“Yeah,”Will declared, “hippies are not mainstream. Feminists are not mainstream.”

“Can we bring more younger women into the pagan circle?” Camille asked.

“I’m sure some would be open to it.” Nina replied.

“We have to start somewhere.”

Warming to the topic, Will offered, “Perhaps there could be youth camps for girls, which would include a real education about sex and emotional attachment, not just the boring anatomy lessons that public school provides, but the stuff that girls and boys are dying to know about.”

“We’d have to be very explicit about what we’re offering, so parents could knowingly sign off on it,” Nina added.

And Camille observed, “Pagans are not mainstream, either.”

“But just suppose that we had a few girls who knew what’s what, who were operating with some knowledge of their bodies and emotions. They might have some effect on their peer group.”

“At least form a rival gang,” Will chuckled.

“Would you send your daughters to such a camp when they’re thirteen.” Camille asked.

“Yes, I would, and I think Melanie would sign off on it as well. We were always in favor of knowledge and truth. We just didn’t always know how to make it happen. I saw a lot of parents jump ship in the seventies, like they didn’t want to make the narrow-minded mistakes their parents had made, but they didn’t know what to do instead.”

“The daughters of hippy mothers,” Nina mused.

Will observed, “The sexual revolution didn’t get completed. It’s kind of half-baked with another generation struggling with incomplete information. Would you feel comfortable providing such a retreat for teen girls?”

“I’d do it with Camille.” They looked at each other.

“I’d do it with Nina.”

“Okay, sounds like a new focus group for the pagan circle,” Will concluded.

“We just keep pushing the edge, don’t we,” Nina drew her own conclusion.

“It must be what we are here for,” Camille asserted.

“Definitely one thing.” her girlfriend responded, “but Will, shouldn’t there be similar opportunities for teen boys.”

“Of course there should, but we need to start somewhere. The pagan circle would probably host the girls’ groups. We’d have to find a context in which to develop a similar program for boys. In a very selfish sense, Kayla is the closest to needing this kind of education. We have a few years before Sammy is there. Maybe by then we have a pagan men’s auxiliary fully functioning.”

“It doesn’t have to be an auxiliary. You could just have your own circle.”

“I like the symmetry of it. You know all the women’s auxiliaries there’ve been.”

Camille spoke up again. “I’d like to see what a group of men would come up with if there starting point was Goddess.”

“There might be a lot of groping.” They all laughed at the unintended double entendre. “You know,” Will tried to recover, “wandering around in the dark with no women to guide us.”

The women both laughed at that characterization. Then Camille cooed, “Are you so lost?”
Will paused for effect, looked at both of them long and slow, and in separate syllables drawled, “May-be.” which drew peals of laughter from all of them.

“So it’s agreed then,” Nina declared, “one more project we’re taking on.”

“We’re not trying to change the world all by ourselves, are we?” Camille asked.

“Oh, no, we’ll need plenty of collaborators to pull all of this off, “Nina replied. “Remember what Eva told us. We’re the visionaries., and we haven’t even had a chance to tell Will about our visions in the Southwest.”

Sammy burst in on them just then and bounded onto his mother’s lap. Nina offered to make some snacks for everyone. When they settled in again on the sectional couch which dominated one corner of their living room, Camille was nursing Sammy as he slowly relaxed and drifted toward sleep.

“You are just the picture of Mother Goddess,” Will observed matter-of-factly.

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“I agree,” Nina added.

“You are flattering me,” Camille replied, “and I accept it wholeheartedly.”

“We are simply in awe of you,” Nina continued.

And Camille rejoined, “I think all of us are awesome and divine. So I want to share what happened in Canyon de Chelly.”

“I want to hear your story,” Will replied enthusiastically.

“Okay, my feeling as I sat in the ancient ruins and drifted into that familiar other world was that again in a different way from my initial journeys, I had gone to a very ancient time. It was more physical, more ordinary reality, but the feeling of being in a very idyllic existence really stood out. There was a powerful sense of bonding as a family, clan and community. The love was so thick I felt I could collect it in a gourd and it would something like golden honey. There were no predators, or if there were, we were entirely safe from them. Then there was this time distortion; much of this I’ve pieced together as I have reflected on what I experienced. It seemed that thousands of years had passed. Yet I was basically the same person in the same place, but now there were predatory others. Much of our existence was devoted to how to stay safe from them. There was still this profound connection with my family and community, but there was a big difference, like the difference between driving on a smooth freeway and driving on an old road full of potholes. The potholes are very jarring. The journey is rougher.”

As Camille paused Will asked, “Still no sense of how the transition happened?”

“It is true. There was the before and the after, but no sense of what happened or where the predators came from or came to be. I felt profoundly robbed of time and space, less time and space for ceremony or to make pretty things. Our ability to grow our food was limited by these pillagers. In modern times it is taken for granted how much time and energy is devoted to ‘national defense’. And no wonder, in this century two great wars have claimed the lives of millions.”

“And the weapons become more and more destructive,” Nina added.

Will interjected, “But isn’t it all illusion? I think of the zen story. There was a general who had heard that zen was really something he should have. When the general arrived with his army and demanded of the zen master to know the meaning of zen, the master simply bowed. The general demanded more adamantly that the zen master reveal the meaning of zen. Again the master bowed. The general became threatening, ‘If you don’t tell me the secrets of zen, I’ll take my sword and cut your arm off.’ Once more the master bowed. The general drew his sword and whacked off the master’s arm. Again the master bowed.

“The general redoubled his threats. ‘If you don’t tell me the secrets of zen, I’ll cut off your other arm.’ Again the master bowed. Before long the master was entirely dismembered. The general sheathed his bloody sword, remounted his horse and rode off with his army never realizing that the zen master had answered his question at least five times.”

Nina broke in, “In the early years of Communist China, all the monks were slaughtered, and the monasteries destroyed. A few individuals were able to flee or hide in the hinterlands, the predators destroyed a whole way of life, a way that was peaceful and hearkened to the ancient ways.”

“Where are we going with all this?” Camille asked.

Nina replied, “Kinda seems like we’re free-associating stories of what happened when the predators arrived. Seems like we’ve all heard this kind of story, but people have done different things in different places at different times.”

“There are too many stories.”

“What do you mean?”

“In my own country hiding from the Nazis, so many stories. Do we have a purpose?”

Will spoke up, “Perhaps we are trying to figure out what we would do if we have to deal with predators. Do we have options?”

“Okay, I guess that makes sense.”

“I think,” Nina suggested, “we are still trying to figure out what happened, how we went from the world of Goddess-oriented nature with the feminine at the center of all things to an existence dominated by brutal, predatory, power-hungry male energy.”

“Yes, yes, I understand. We may proceed. I have a story, but I want to hear more before I tell mine.”

Nina resumed, “This Cherokee woman teacher came to a class at Sarah Lawrence. Apparently she has a center for meditation and other things in Vermont. She said that before the conquest the seers in her tribe knew what was about to happen. Before the conquerors ever arrived, the most gifted elders and medicine people built a sacred fire, walked into it and simply disappeared. It is said that they withdrew to the Other World and are awaiting a time when there is space in the physical world for their wisdom. I believed her because of how the room felt when she walked in. The energy changed, as if Holy Mother had just arrived.

“She also said she was recognized by the Elders as a special one before she was born. She was trained from an early age. When she was a little girl, the grandmothers would take her into the woods to sleep with the deer.” She looked at Camille recalling their deer experiences in Canyon de Chelly.

“That’s beautiful,” Will exclaimed. “Stories like that give me hope that good things, magical things can happen in the modern world. All is not lost. We have allies.”

“We definitely have allies,” Camille responded quietly.

There was a long pause as if all of them were digesting a host of possibilities. Nina turned to Camille. “Can we hear your story now?”

Camille smiled wanly. Her eyes looked more gray. “I guess I’m ready. This is a hard story. I heard it from a woman at a gathering of Les Femmes Violettes. We had a group devoted to learning about ancient witchcraft. One of the women told us her grandmother had told her this story. Her grandmother was originally from the East, maybe Hungary. It doesn’t matter. I will begin.

“In ancient ancient times for many eons witches ran the world. They were women of great talent and great compassion. There primary purpose was to help others evolve, help the sick, to instruct to transmit their talents to others who wished to serve, women and men. It was known that women were predominantly the more talented because of womb power, but men were welcome to all the same mysteries and were not disparaged in any way. The witches maintained the harmony that we have some familiarity with from what we know of the Neolithic Nature-Goddess peaceful egalitarian societies of seven thousand years ago and more. This convention of witches had already existed for thousands of years, helping to maintain the balance of nature and harmony among all that lives over the whole earth, adjusting their rituals to the plants and animals and topography of each place that they lived and practiced their arts.

“It still remains a mystery exactly how the predatory impulse got out of control and then got organized into violent tribes, ultimately into empires, how the focus of some individuals became organized around the gaining of power for its own sake. The most popular theory is that there was a trauma of unknown origin in a relatively isolated place. There was a loss of the true and ancient teachings. The survivors were in desperate circumstances. They killed to live, and no one among them knew the ceremonies to bring them back into harmony. They experienced fear and deprivation in ways not previously even envisioned. There was a turning in their minds and souls toward a belief that only power and more power could bring them safety and the other necessities of life.

“By the time we hear stories about them they have become very organized, like military organizations, and are overrunning the peaceful societies that had occupied the whole earth forever and ever. The most talented witches retreated into their own enclaves where they could defend themselves with force fields and other methods beyond the knowledge of the predators. But time passed and some among the predators became more and more fascinated by the witches and more and more focused on trying to gain their power somehow. They copied what they had gathered one place and another and learned a great deal until they were able to penetrate into the protected territories of the witches’ realm. As they had done with the common people they used rape as a technique for quashing the witches’ power and stealing it for themselves. They often even called themselves ‘The Brotherhood of Rapists’ or simply ‘The Brotherhood’. That use of sex purely for power was a total reversal of the natural way of sex as an expression, an acting out, of love and communion with each other and with Goddess.

“As the Brotherhood gained more and more success with their brutal empires, their enslavement of others, especially women, the world changed. Now it is almost unrecognizable from what it once was.”

She paused, and there was a long silence until Will asked, “Is there more?”

“Ah,” she waved her hand in a characteristic Gallic dismissal that was so uncharacteristic of her, “there’s always more, but that’s enough for now.”

Nina asked, “Why haven’t you told us this story before?”

“I don’t like it. Specifically, I was there. Years ago long before these journeys that now come so regularly, I had a dream, but what a lucid dream shortly after I was told this story. I was there. I was one of those women being raped and brutalized and left as a shell of my former self. My sense of beauty was gone. My talents were gone. I forgot how to be a Goddess-Woman. I was little better than a slave. I still feel the horror of that time, the trauma unhealed, myself as one of the walking wounded. Our whole condition of subjugation for millennia is not pleasant for me to look at and feel, even now.”

Nina and Will both moved to enclose her in the most gentle of hugs. After some moments of holding each other, feeling the warmth and protection of one another’s bodies, Camille continued, “The worst part for me is the way in which sex went from the most holy beautiful act of love and communion with fellow humans and Goddess to such a perverted shadow of itself, a brutal act totally devoted to power and having nothing to do with love or spirit. It makes me want to vomit or kill someone.”

Nina reacted, “Wow, those are quite some options, but I understand.”

“So what do we do now?” Will asked barely above a whisper.

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Camille waited as if looking for something and then proceeded, “I have this clear image of the beautiful shape-shifting ancient witches holding the harmony and balance of Mother Earth. They didn’t just heal humans and do ceremonies for communities. They had the responsibility of maintaining the relationships among all that exists. We know that modern technology is destroying the fabric of life on earth. I think the destruction of the witches began the unbalancing act that we are now suffering from. Not only is technology doing its destructive thing but the ceremonies are NOT being done to maintain the balance and the right relationships. We are about to reap the whirlwind. . .That’s a biblical image isn’t it?

“Suppose things more or less hold together for another fifty years?” Will asked.

“And they might,” Nina added.

“Clearly,” Camille responded, “we are being guided to spend more and more time in the Spirit World. I think our answers must be there. I feel this ugly, mean system beginning to decay, and as it does so, there will be space for a return of the spiritual ways which were taken for granted in the ancient times. They will be reintroduced and enlivened by us, by people like us and by helpers coming through from the other world to provide guidance.”

“Aid and comfort,” Nina added. “Are we doing enough?”

“It seems that when they want us to do something they have their ways of letting us know. We keep being drawn to ever deeper and more enlightening experiences. The ceremony we did together, I am sure that way back in the way back, in the long ago times before there was any sense of shame or dirtiness about sexuality that the witches played with sexual energy as the energy of the universe. It’s only in relatively modern times that soldiers with guns marching in formation is a more acceptable social activity. The witches were also nymphs. They delighted. They played. Life was a carnival.”

You can walk on the water, Will sang, “drown in the sand. You can fly off a mountain top if anybody can. . . Life is  a carnival—believe it or not.”

“Do you think,” Nina asked, “there will be a time again on earth when ordinary people will fly and shape-shift, heal themselves and each other and dance like nymphs in meadows full of wildflowers?”

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Will answered, “I think the essence is play. When everything is done in the spirit of play, then all things are possible. Play is the mode of children, and Jesus, that emissary from the wisdom of Goddess, Jesus said, ‘Lest you become as little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’ It’s the wisdom of innocence, and innocence is not ignorance. Innocence is an attitude that expects nothing bad, contemplates nothing harmful, is unconcerned with power, and seeks joy.”

“And we need a better word than witch. It brings up too many negative connotations. It’s one of those words that’s become corrupted by the way it’s been used. There’s a word in French, enchanteresse. Do you have such a word in English?”

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“Yes, we say ‘enchantress’, don’t we?” Will looked at Nina who nodded in agreement. “Yes, that’s a beautiful word, reminds me of the Land of Enchantment.”

“Where we just were,” Camille added.

“And it connotes,” Nina declared authoritatively, “one who creates delight or rapture.”

Nina and Camille attended the next monthly meeting of the social action group of the pagan women. They had missed the previous one while traveling in the Southwest. The group had grown to more than a dozen women. Discussion included everyone’s evolving dreams of how to make the world a better place for women and families, but a lot of focus was being applied to the group-dream they were forming together. There had been progress in the absence of Nina and Camille. The group was leaning in the direction of a combination commercial bakery and restaurant. The bakery could easily grow as it built a clientele. The restaurant could initially be a captive outlet for the baked goods, a way to promote by serving their wares fresh from the oven. Breads and pastries never seemed to be a saturated niche in the marketplace. At least, that’s what the women’s  initial research had indicated. The combined expertise of the group seemed to be adequate to their initial tasks. They believed that they could solicit expertise in their expanding community, when they needed anything they didn’t already have available in their working circle.

The question of financing had come up and initial exploration had revealed that the federal Small Business Administration and other sources were beginning to earmark funding in the form of loans and sometimes grants for women-owned businesses. Two women who had worked in the financial sector had taken on the task of further researching funding sources. There was the possibility of structuring themselves as a non-profit, but that involved some fairly specific guidelines and limitations.

Two other women who had backgrounds in real estate were searching for possible business sites ranging from storefronts to warehouse locations. The woman with commercial baking background had given them some space and configuration models to focus their search. One of the new members had owned and run a restaurant with her now ex-husband. She didn’t want to be involved with single-handedly running a small restaurant business ever again. As she said, “The hours are too long and the job never ends.” She was interested in a model that shared responsibility among a larger group of owner-operators. “I’m not burnt out on providing delicious food for people, she said. “I am burnt out on running a small business with too few allies.”

One woman had taken the list of traditional Hopi values and visions and done a beautiful calligraphic version on a large piece of art paper. Her work was prominently displayed at every meeting.

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There was discussion of the need to incorporate, just to do business in a sensible way. One of the financial women, Anna, volunteered, “My friend is a paralegal. I think the basic paperwork is pretty straight-forward. She said she’d be glad to steer us through it. She’s interested in what we’re doing but can’t come to meetings right now. Her kids have lots of activities, and her husband works evenings.”

The real estate women pledged to bring a few examples to the next meeting of what their research had turned up. The financial women likewise expected to be able to present some concrete possibilities about funding sources. They definitely would need to be an incorporated entity with a name. They decided to brainstorm names for awhile. The first opinion was, “I’d like sisterhood to be part of our name.”

Camille thought immediately taken back to her story about the Brotherhood. She lost track of what was being suggested as her mind drifted into all the implications of that story. She knew sisterhood was different but couldn’t shake the disturbing elements of the story. Just then she heard Nina suggesting, “What if we call ourselves the something-or-other Sisters? It carries the meaning but sounds a bit less political”

 

There were murmurs and some louder declarations of support for Nina’s suggestion.

“Perhaps something alliterative would be catchy and easy to remember.”

Someone suggested, “The Serpent Sisters,” which brought a laugh from the group.

“I love the mythology but probably not a good business decision.”

The note-taker acknowledged she was writing everything down, including the funny and silly contributions. Then the ideas came near the speed of popcorn, “Sizzle Sisters, The Sinuous Sisters, Special Sisters, The Sharing Sisters.”

“Like special needs,” brought another laugh.

“Smiling Sisters, Soaring Sisters, Sparkling Sisters, The Stand-up Sisters, Skillful Sisters, Sisters of the Sun, The Sassy Sisters, The Sage Sisters, Shimmering Sisters.”

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They continued until the contributions slowed to a halt. Copies of the list were generated so that each woman could take one home to peruse over the next month. Otherwise those with assignments knew who they were, and everyone left the meeting with a sense of purpose and progress. On the way home Camille turned to Nina and asked, “Are you pleased?”

“Very! So much progress in so little time. I didn’t get to see things unfold in New Mexico. I gave them the idea, and then I was gone. So yes, I’m having a blast being part of the action this time.”

There was a pause before Camille shared more of her thoughts: “You know, I look at those Hopi principles, and I remember your stories of Mondragon . . . Are we building a model that is neither purely capitalism nor communism?” She continued without waiting for an answer. “I studied the dialectic, you know, thesis and antithesis inevitably form a synthesis. It’s the way of nature. Those who cling to absolutes and refuse to change are really acting against nature. I like it where the Hopi say, ‘So as not to knowingly abuse, alter, or oppose the progressive order and cycle of nature . . .”

“‘And the sacred manifestations of the creator’s teachings,’” Nina completed the phrase.

“So nature and Goddess were the same thing for thousands of years, and the maintenance magic of the ancient sisterhood, les enchantresses, was to learn the nature of nature and learn how to work with it the way a surfer rides a wave or the Polynesians understood how to steer their outriggers for thousands of miles by acting in harmony with the ocean currents.”

“Yes . . . where are you going with this?”

“I feel very strongly; we must remember this principle in everything we do. It will help us avoid creating the kind of negative consequences we are seeing all around us, mostly because someone simply got fascinated by some sparkling new idea, and in a very short time the world has become full of chemical poisons and radioactivity and the ability to kill more with less.”

“What a motto, eh? Kill more with less.”

“One bomb can kill millions.”

“Yes, I’m with you. Can we create something that loves more with less?”

“I think that’s what we’re working on. I think that’s what the ancient ceremonies did. They were acts of love that spread love throughout the entire community.”

“Yes, they were enacted in that context and with that purpose.”

The next morning was Saturday, and the three adults talked over coffee and a continental breakfast, while Sammy alternated between his toys and jumping up on the lap of one of the adults. “The more I journey in the Other World, the more I prefer it there,” Camille declared.

Nina responded, “I’ve heard that’s an occupational hazard, but we who are born in this world must somehow strike a balance between the two worlds.”

“I even prefer the life of a deer. I know there are predators, but in between there is that pure attunement. You know what I mean.”

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“Oh yes, I loved being a deer. I could feel all the life around me like a concert, but I could feel each individual being with all my senses and something I don’t even know what to call. It’s a sixth sense, but hard to describe in our language.”

“Maybe the ancient languages had such words.”

“I want to try. It is like clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience, telepathy all rolled into one.”

Will spoke for the first time. “If we’re looking for one word, I think attunement is the best we have. It is used to describe what is going on in forms of energy medicine like Reiki and Qigong. It is about feeling the other person in every way you can and then transmitting healing energy through therapeutic touch or some form of channeling.”

“Okay,” Nina rejoined, “we’re building our vocabulary, the attunement of the enchantresses. I love how that word sounds, enchanteresse, especially in French. I want to be one. It makes me feel good about myself.”

Camille had obviously been thinking deeply about her experiences. “Suppose,” she posited, “that the natural order of things was to play with sexual energy, that what I saw in my first journeys was a teaching that was not supposed to be forgotten. Sexual loving energy is the creative energy of the cosmos. When it is blocked or turned backwards it becomes fear and violence. The great lie that we live with is that sex is dirty and evil, while violence and warfare are normal and natural parts of our existence. This dark brotherhood told some big lies and kept telling them. They used churches and governments to purvey their evil ways. They turned what is natural backwards. They attacked nature. They attacked Mother Goddess who stands for the natural order of things and replace her with brutal war gods.”

“They even turned our lovely horse friends into warhorses,” Nina interjected.

“Overcoming millennia of messages that shame us about our sexuality,” Will added. “That becomes a battle in itself.”

Nina immediately followed, “Even the sexual revolution was turned into something brutal and violent, exploitative and male-dominated, certainly not about love. Maybe we can love more than one person, but our training films are all about gymnastic sex and nothing about a flow of loving energy.”

“The shame is still there in most of the characterizations. They are not about loving connection. They are purely about sex, and it is still dirty and shameful. We could make better movies,” Camille concluded, and then added, “It is far worse in America than in France.”

“Remember,” Will turned to Nina, “the story we were told about Marie Madeleine. Yes, you could say she was a prostitute, but so far from how that term is used these days, it’s like night and day. The men came to the Goddess temples to be healed. They were bathed and pampered. It was understood that the woman, the priestess was totally in control. The men were cared for like babies including a lot of loving sexual energy. The intention was that they would leave the temple remembering, if they had ever forgotten, that they were still loved by Goddess, still special to Goddess. Hopefully that renewal would make them somewhat more kind and gentle in their lives for awhile. It was ceremony, and Madeleine was one of the priestesses.”

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“I have heard such stories. They fit with everything I have seen on my journeys. It is so wonderful that you know about our special Sainte Madeleine, the bride of Christ and so much more. I believe she and Jesus were emissaries from the old Goddess ways, but were quickly usurped by the violent patriarchs, the dark brotherhood, and turned into apologists for a malicious system that still runs the world.”

“So we’ve been called,” Nina declared. “Obviously we’ve been called for some purpose. It starts with our ability to love each other fully and totally without restraint without jealousy, but t341his is only the beginning. Perhaps our most important mission is this healing around love and sexuality.”

“What do you think?” Camille asked, “more ceremonies?”

“Perhaps, but we have to be so careful. How quickly things can be misinterpreted. Everyone at the pagan gathering seemed to get it. We definitely don’t want to get  classified as  some new category of pornography.”

“Nor do we want to be marginalized as another sappy new age movement just preaching, ‘Love, love, love’.” He made his voice all breathy and stuck his chin out, unmistakeably the caricature of someone with a heavy dose of guru.

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They all laughed, and Camille commented, “All this talk makes me want to make love.”

Voudrais-tu fait l’amour?”

Oui, avec les deux de toi.”

Can we make a date for tonight?” Will asked.

Oui, I have a request.”

Will and Nina looked at each other, nodded and smiled, “Absolutely!” Will replied.

I want both of you to make love to me. I want to be the passive one. And go so slow, really as slow as you can. Make it last forever.”

“Sounds wonderful,” murmured dreamily.

“And what will you do?” Will asked playfully.

“Mmm . . . I want to see in what ways can I play with the joy and pleasure and love we create together.”

“Test out our theories?”

“Perhaps, and perhaps I am just feeling self-indulgent.

They all laughed again, and then Will replied, “Either way, we’re at your service.”

That evening after bathing Sammy and getting him to sleep, the three adults showered and retired early to their king size bed. It was clear that Camille was the director of whatever was going to happen next with joyful acquiescence from her lovers. She lay in the middle of the bed semi-propped up by several cushy pillows. “I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. I think they’re talking to me in some way.” Her spirit contacts had become so regular that all of them had began to refer to them simply as “they” or “them”.

“Okay, sweetheart, what are the directives?” Nina asked.

“Just tell us what to do,” Will added.

Mes amoureux, you are so good to me. Here is what I am drawn to do. I would like you on either side of me as I pleasure myself. There must be some reason for this, but then we have not done this before.”

Will and Nina situated themselves on either side of Camille. “You want us to do nothing else?” Nina asked.

“Put your hands on me or under me. Just hold me gently or touch me, nothing else. I will tell you if I want something else, d’accord?”

This is your dance,” Will affirmed.

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What was unfolding was indeed new territory for all of them. Camille moistened her fingers with her own saliva, laid back and closed her eyes and began to lightly stroke between her legs. The moistness of her finger combined with the juices beginning to flow from her silken membranes. She was in no hurry, slowly moving across the satiny surfaces of her petaled lips and over and around the hardening bud still half hidden with the folds her cleft. Already she began to moan softly and gasp on each out-breath, and a throbbing sensation pulsated from the center of her womb. As she proceeded she moved slower and slower drawing out and savoring every sensory impression, moaning more deeply  her self satisfaction. Barely penetrating her swelling valley with one finger, slowly sliding, prolonging, prolonging, prolonging. Her velvet sheath opening incrementally, she continued to tantalize and tempt. Yet something relaxed her, held her back from any impulse to quicken or intensify, and her pace never increased.

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Will and Nina were fascinated, watching their belovéd sinking into her self-generated reverie. They both felt the arising of their own pleasure, first as a profound vibration emanating from Camille, then complimented from inside their own matrices. They looked into each other’s eyes with all the love they had shared for more than two years. They felt some ancient wisdom that was at the same time youthful and newborn in every instant. Camille seemed to be drifting away from the present physical moment, yet her ecstasy was mounting unabated.

Camille was in fact drifting into the Other World. Her efforts to self-stimulate were slackening as she found herself in a time and place as yet unexplored. “She’s gone,” Nina whispered, and Will nodded. They maintained their positions of contact with her, both sitting cross-legged. Will was fully erect. Nina looked at his tumescence, licked her lips and grinned at him. Both maintained their positions relative to Camille. Their arousal did not diminish. They found themselves in a strange new tantric position they had unwittingly stumbled into, as if they were all intimately connected to each other without being physically coupled.

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Camille found herself with a group of twelve other women all clad in long purple and gold caftans. They were in a circle of twelve upright stones. The women appeared to represent an entire span of racial and ethnic diversity. Each one appeared extraordinarily beautiful to Camille. She felt herself to be a member of this circle and to implicitly know what was about to take place. She heard flute music coming from various directions but hidden in the oak forest which surrounded their circle of stones. Each woman slowly twirled with arms out until each stood with her back to one of the twelve stones. The thirteenth woman stood on a flat stone flush to the earth in the center of the circle. That stone glinted and refracted the light of the brilliant overhead sun.

The central woman who had cascades of flaming red hair removed her caftan, folded it and carefully laid it aside. Strangely her skin was golden tan and her features Amerindian. She took a broad stance with arms raised and outstretched. That seemed to be a signal: all the other women including Camille slowly slid down the rock that supported each of them pulling the skirt of their caftans in such a way as to bare their thighs. That sat cross-legged gazing intently at the central woman. There was a perceptible quickening of the panpipes while the other flutes continued to slowly wail. Each woman stretched her arms and hands in a gesture of giving and openness toward the woman in the center, who had not moved. Then each woman withdrew her left hand, licked her fingers, deposited a small amount of saliva on them and moved her left had to the cleft between her legs. There was an uncanny synchronicity to their movements. Camille began to give to herself as she had so recently been doing in bed with Nina and Will. She rubbed and stroked and explored ever so slowly. Her right hand remained extended toward the motionless woman standing firmly on the center rock.

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She felt the reverberations of delight flowing through her entire body, but also flowing out of her extended right hand toward the woman at the hub of their circle. Then she knew that for today this bountiful dark-skinned redhead was Goddess, as if she could feel the descent of the Goddess energy into the wheel that the women formed together. The Goddess-Women accepted and received the fervent flow of everything being generated by the twelve. In turn Camille could see a growing radiance emanating from her fingers, from her crown and from the soles of her feet. This radiance flowed out into everything in the natural world, sustaining and feeding a harmony that was already there. Camille felt profound awe and reverence for what she was seeing and participating in. She felt she could see the plants and rocks and creatures of the natural world being awakened, energized and loved by the energy of this ceremony. She saw again the soft liquid eyes of the deer and knew them as her special sisters, more attuned than most four-leggeds to the divine love that was everywhere in this world.

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There was a steady pace to everything that was unfolding, no propulsion toward any kind of climax, just this feeling that combined sexual pleasure and divine love and generated that life force for the benefit of all. She felt that she had done this many times, that each lunar month a different woman took the central position. She was one of the thirteen, the twelve and one. As she was thus reflecting, Goddess-Woman briefly knelt on the stone and then lay spread-eagle and face down. The twelve did not alter what they were doing. Camille watched and intense flow between the womb of Goddess and Earth Mother herself as if deep inside the earth there was indeed a womb, and these two wombs were communing with each other, feeding and nurturing both. Goddess-Woman’s womb was brilliantly illuminated but the colors were soft pastels of peace and pink and lavender. The combination didn’t exactly make sense, but that’s what she was seeing, and it felt totally right.

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Nothing else changed for awhile, and then once more Goddess-Woman assumed her standing position for a goodly length of time. Camille now felt more flow coming back in her direction from Goddess-Woman, and she could see that all of the various flows were loops that went out and came back. This uninterrupted circle of radiance was what maintained the balance and harmony of the natural world, one great circle of love and light emanated from every living thing flowed to every other living thing and then returned to its sources. “We are all the recipients. We are all the Source, Goddess, Holy Women, all that lives and breathes, Earth Mother herself, Sky Goddess, the sanctity of the divine in all that exists. We help to maintain this circle of the sacred. It is our responsibility, an act of love and devotion, now and forever.”

With those last words Camille could feel herself drifting through time and space back to from where she had come this evening. Soon she was aware of being in her body lying between Nina and Will. They felt her return. She opened her eyes and said simply, “Hold me.” They lay down beside her and enveloped her within their arms and legs. They lay that way a long time.

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When Camille stirred from her reverie, she turned first to Nina and kissed deeply and passionately, holding her tightly. Then she turned to Will and similarly kissed and clung to him. When she pulled away, she requested, “Please kiss each other.” They were more than happy to comply, leaning above Camille’s supine body to seal the third side of the triangle. Camille joined hands with the other two as they held hands across her belly. “It’s so wonderful to feel you with me when I journey.” The heartfelt intensity in her voice was beyond her usual depth of feeling. It hit both of them like a wave of pure love.

With the same depth of feeling Will replied, “I’ll go with you and be your partner anytime, anywhere.”

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Nina gazed into her lover’s eyes with a look of precious adoration and simply said, “The same,” and then added, “I want to be your ‘co-pilot’.”

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“Is it still early?” Camille asked. “I want to tell you about my journey.”

“Early enough,” Will replied.

At the end of her story Camille declared, “I’m really believing that these ancient Women of Spirit truly held the world together through their ceremonies. It was a responsibility they were given by even higher beings, or they took turns with other members of what you call The Bird Tribes. Back then we were co-creators, co-maintainers of the fabric of life. We experienced no separation from everything that we lived with. It was one great circle of love.”

Will waited for Camille to pause. “I’m quite fascinated by the subtle use of sexual energy to maintain the connections among the humans and all the other relationships.”

“It was the holy of holies,” Nina offered.

“Yes, how wonderful,” Camille jumped back in, “and how totally opposite of how things have been in recent centuries.”

And Will, “It really is an evil male conspiracy that’s been running the world, using it up, talking without giving back. To see how sublime, how pure, how sanctified it all was before the violence and brutality and felt necessity to dominate at all costs: dominate women, dominate the earth, dominate other peoples, dominate all other species.”

“The circle you describe,” Nina added, “ feels so blissful. Life must have been waves of harmonious rapture.”

“I think it was long before materialism and egomania took over, long before any dark brotherhood set out to rule the world at any cost.”

“It’s hard to imagine,” Will said, “ a world without violence without all the distractions of attack and defense. You just go there. If we were looking at this in Biblical terms, you are going to a time before the Fall. I feel so blessed to get a glimpse into the way things were. I feel a sense of reverence when you tell the story of your journey, the innocence, the total trust; it truly was a Golden Age.”

“How did you feel when you were there?” Nina asked.

“Sublime,” was the one word answer followed by a numinous silence.

“I’m curious,” Will rejoined. “Your journeys have few images of men, and they’re not flattering. When you were with the hunters, I felt they were barely restrained from spilling over into unacceptable modes of violence restrained by some combination of magic and ceremony that once again emanated from the women.”

“Are you feeling left out, Will?” Nina asked.

“Not at all, well, maybe a little bit. I’m really just curious about the role of men in what we imagine to be a golden age.”

“This is just coming to me now,” Camille responded. “What I was shown was a representation of ceremonies that were going on all over the earth. The thirteen women had flown. or more accurately they had traveled instantaneously through space, what is that word, ‘teleportation’, from their geographic locations to the place of the ceremony I saw and participated in. They represented the thirteen original clans who lived in various places around the earth. They were the ceremonial leaders, the enchantresses, for each region that they came from. This ceremony that I was part of happened once a year at the summer solstice. Each region had its own group of thirteen women who conducted the ceremony on the full moon. Their science told them that women’s sexual energy emanating from their root centers and their womb centers was the connective tissue of a life in balance. There were other ceremonies that both utilized and celebrated this concupiscence. It is the basic energy of all life, but also transformative in innumerable ways. It is the basis of healing, although in those times there was little need for healing because disease is a consequence of life being out of balance. Mostly they used it to maintain connections, right relationship in your Buddhist terminology.”

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“That is absolutely fascinating and beautiful, but still there is nothing about the men.”

Camille chuckled and then closed her eyes. All three sat in silence for awhile. Nina and Will regarded each other with looks of wonder in their eyes.

After the space of a short meditation, Camille opened her eyes and shared, “I was just shown something. It seems that the information is coming in a variety of ways now.”

“You are an open channel,” Nina offered.

“So it seems. I saw the same ceremony, apparently in one of the regions, because the women were similar in appearance. For some moments I was one of the women. Each woman had a male consort, similarly dressed in purple and gold robes or caftans. In this rendition of the ceremony the man had his back to the upright rock. The woman had her back to him. He entered her as they both sat cross-legged. There was little movement, very much like the tantra that we sometimes do. The women touched themselves lightly just as I had already experienced. They also slid their fingers around the man’s shaft, so that he also received some very light stimulation. Otherwise everything seemed similar to what I experienced previously.”

“You called the men consorts. Are they co-equal with the women, or are they simply supportive in some way?”

“The men are magicians or enchanteurs, as well. The only thing they lack is their own womb center. Their energy is from their root chakras. As consorts they can learn to circulate the womb center energy of their women, but they do not have their own womb center to generate from. In the societies of the time, men were eligible for most of the same spiritual/magical training as women. As you know, Will, they could learn to direct their sexual energy toward goals other than immediate orgasm. In fact, among this class, orgasmic sex was relatively rare and seen as an inferior form of practice.”

“Wow,” Nina exclaimed, “where is all this coming from?”

“I don’t know. I’m not even sure I’m doing the talking.”

“It feels right,” Nina responded.

And Will cosigned, “Yes, it definitely has the ring of truth. How often did the men participate in these ceremonies?”

Camille closed her eyes again, and soon opened them. “Four times a year, the full moons closest to the solstices and equinoxes.”

“Can we go there and live?” Nina asked semi-seriously.

They all laughed, and Camille responded, “I get that our work is here, at least for now.”

“Perhaps when we transmigrate,” Will appended.

“That’s a whole possibility I’d never considered,” Nina almost gasped. “When we reincarnate, we don’t necessarily go forward in time. We could also go backward.”

“Increasingly I have the feeling that wherever I go on these journeys, time is not linear, that everything that has ever happened or will happen is happening right now.”

“Wow, that is mind-blowing.” Nina sat back and stared at the ceiling, trying to integrate the realization that had just come to her.

“Yeah, that’s hard to wrap your mind around. I think there’s a dilemma with regard to free-will, whether the future can be changed by present actions. Can the past be changed, or is all of it already written?”

“The feeling I get is that it is so multi-layered and full of possibilities that we rarely get even the glimpse that I have gotten, because it is so overwhelming to the human mind. Definitely we still have the responsibility to do our very best right now.”

“And where it leads is on a need-to-know basis,” Will concluded.

“Yes, that sounds right.”

Nina rejoined, “Yeah, we’ve learned just a few things, and I know I’m struggling to hold all the possibilities.”

“The knowledge is never meant to be disruptive. We are allowed to say, ‘That’s enough for now.’ They want us to know these things for some purpose as yet undisclosed, but only at a pace that we can handle and integrate and understand in whatever way we need to understand.”

“Makes sense,” Nina responded. “You know what works for me?” The other two looked wonderingly at her. “As long as I remember how loved and in love I am, I’m fine. Just now I felt overwhelmed. I stared at the ceiling, and then suddenly I was awash in our love. It was like an instant baptism, and it works every time.”

Will declared, “I think we are one another’s own best parents, lovers, siblings, spouses and friends. That doesn’t go away, and it’s the foundation of everything else we are able to do.”

“Did I fail to mention,” Camille asked, “everything in these ceremonies was extraordinarily loving. I’ve just gotten so accustomed to things being that way in the Other World, sometimes I forget to mention it.”

“In that sense we are already living there,”Nina concluded.

“It is also true,” Will continued, “that we are receiving pieces of the wisdom that has always set aside this special class of people; call them shamans, witches, enchantresses, magicians, lamas, gurus, holy ones, medicine people. It does not matter. We have been known by many appellations over the centuries and millennia. It is important that there always be those on earth who know about the Other World, where we’ve been and where we might go.”

“Your book of quotes.” Nina went to the bedroom and returned with Camille’s well-worn collection. “Here it is:

And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle~ wide as daylight and as starlight~ and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.

Black Elk,” Will declared.

The women looked at him as if to say, ‘Of course you would know’.”

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Goddess as Earth Lover

Takes to the sky like a bird in flight

and who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen

woman, taken by the wind

Would you stay if she promised you heaven?

~Stevie Nicks

Camille and Nina went to the next meeting of the Sacred Worlds group. They had missed one while traveling in the Southwest. Nina had participated in this group ever since the Sacred Marriage Ceremony. After her recent experiences in the Southwest she felt like she was definitely supposed to be involved in the exploration of sacred worlds. The group also welcomed them back as if they had been gone a lot longer than they actually had. There were hugs and cheek kisses all around the circle. Diana, the unofficial leader, and Ash, who had brought the manuscript describing the Sacred Marriage, were particularly happy to see Camille and Nina.

“I know it was only one month, but we really missed you,” Diana said holding a hand  and looking from one to the other.

Ash was more direct, “After the way that Spirit came through you at the ceremony, I’m expectant of more ecstatic breakthroughs. You’re in touch with some core essence of what we’re seeking here. I love you both.” Camille and Nina stood closely side by side, so Ash kissed Camille’s left cheek and Nina’s right cheek. They simultaneously kissed Ash’s cheeks.

Camille said to her, “I have often thought of you as Asherah, wondering when something will come to you so that you can embody Her in the same way that Nina and I become the roles we played in the ceremony.”

“Oh,” Asherah gushed, “I hope so.” She was slightly older than Nina and felt terribly open but not very grounded yet in her own experience.

Nina added, “You have lots of time, but think about this: Asherah was associated with lions (symbolizing strength or power, serpents (representing immortality or healing), and sacred trees (signifying fertility). Maybe you could write something about lions and serpents and sacred trees, or design a ceremony.”

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“You think I could do that?” Ash was still breathless.

Nina replied, “You don’t know until you try. Maybe your first effort will be just that, a first effort. I’d be happy to work with you after you have put some things on paper. Maybe it’s a story or a poem or a dramatic dance. Just open up to Spirit and see what comes through you.”

“But your first effort was so beautiful, so perfect.”

“It was not our first effort,” Camille responded. “I was involved with Les Femmes Violettes for many years, and Nina for some months, and she studied much mythology at the university.”

“Yeah, it wasn’t our first rodeo,” Nina added.

“That makes me feel better.”

“Just do whatever you are called to do,” Camille advised.

Nina added, “You’re one of our sisters, and for some reason a very powerful name has come to you. Now you have to figure out how to live up to it. But we’re all here to help you. There would have been no ceremony if you hadn’t brought the story of the Sacred Marriage.”

Ash took a breath, looked at them with a lot of gratitude, and said simply, “Thank you.” Then she moved to them for a group hug. All three experience an extra level of warmth and vibration.

When the group settled into a loose circle for the informally formal meeting, Diana began by stating, “I think we’re all still resonating with the effects of the beautiful ceremony we partook in a few months ago. Maybe we can go around the circle and just come up with one word to describe the ceremony or your feelings about the ceremony. Does that work for everyone?” She looked around the circle and received nods and murmurs of approval from the group members. “Okay, let’s go, ‘luscious’.”

“Lascivious — spiritual — blissful — attractive — exquisite — awe-inspiring — winsome — gorgeous — holy — magnifique — compelling — sublime,” the words came with such rapidity that before they could take a breath a second round was in progress: “honored — honorable — chosen — sweetness — ravishing — rapture — ecstasy — loving and being loved — divine — blesséd — enchanted — joy — sumptuous — possessed by Goddess.” As suddenly as the outpouring had begun, it suddenly stopped with the last share. The women looked at each other as if everything pointed to that last characterization, ‘possessed by Goddess’.

After a few moments of silence, Diana suggested that perhaps that was their topic for the evening, ‘possessed by Goddess’. Then like a true facilitator she was quiet and waited.

Nina began, “I would like to talk about my experiences in the ceremony. I did not stop being myself. It was more like I was aware of sharing my beingness with a Higher Being. Now I think She is with me all the time, but I’m only consciously aware of her sometimes. Her presence was wonderful, to have her with me inside of me was ecstatic. To know myself as Goddess was way beyond affirmation or self-esteem. I loved myself and felt myself loved by the entire web of life. I was Spider-Woman, Changing Woman, Inanna, Isis, Aphrodite; I was all the Goddesses or every form of Goddess, and I was still myself and I was in beautiful loving relationship with my sacred consort. All of you were present with me, and our circle was a small part of an immensely greater circle that was celebrating with us all over earth. . . There’s probably more, but that’s enough for now. When I talk about it or even think about it or go back there in my mind, I feel so much love. It’s a never-ending rhapsody.”

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After a short pause, Ash spoke, “I felt so blessed to be there. I had read that account of “Sacred Marriage” so many times. I had never imagined I might be present in the modern world for such a coming together.” A chuckle reverberated around the circle at her inadvertent double entendre. She got it and giggled and then continued, “I still feel the blessing, like some chosen one, but may a mistake was made. I didn’t deserve to be there. The spirits got me mixed up with someone else.”

Laughter accompanied this last declaration and a few murmurs of support the loudest being, “Of course you deserved to be there, sweetie. We’re all the blesséd children of Goddess.” It came from the older woman, Elizabeth, who had been the crone during the sacred marriage. Her comment brought chortles of glee from the group.

Ash continued, “Obviously I have some issues about being good enough. The support of this circle and the way we call Goddess into our circle and the way She answers, well, all of this is so important to me. I’m healing and growing every day. We are the Goddess people.”

Elizabeth spoke directly to Ash, “You were so eloquent when we had our first meeting after the ceremony. Has doubt crept back in and begun to rob you of that power?”

“I guess it has. At the time I felt so strongly that I had experienced imperishable truths, and they would never go away.”

“You’ve been at our full-moon gatherings. . .”

“Yes, and they help. There was just so much power in the Sacred Marriage. Some of that has worn off over time.”

After some moments of silence Cybele spoke, “If I didn’t dance every day and dance with others every week, those feelings would begin to fade for me. We don’t get support from mainstream culture. We can’t even talk to everyone about what we’re doing. It’s hard to maintain, I think, unless you have a daily spiritual practice, and even then we need to have these powerful ceremonies where we commune with Goddess as a group. As often as we can, as often as possible, we have to have our ceremonies.”

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Rhiannon spoke next. She had not previously been one of the more vocal members of the group. “Something has been awakened in me. It’s a hunger that I didn’t know I had until it was satisfied by our ceremony. Now I crave that intensity of communion again. I want to feel Her presence the way I did that night. I feel as fanatic as some Jesus freak. I am riding the euphoria of Goddess. I want Her to possess me as often as She is willing. I think we were all possessed that night.” Rhiannon looked around the circle and noted the nods of affirmation. “It felt so right, so perfect. She filled the emptiness inside of me. I need to be filled like that . . . often. It was more fulfilling than the best sex.” A laugh of enjoyment escaped the circle in response to Rhiannon’s last comment.

Diana remarked, “Maybe we’re moving in the direction of planning another ceremony tonight. But first, I’d like to hear from everyone who wants to say something.”

There were a few more comments and then silence, which Camille tentatively entered into.and began to fill with the story of her latest journey. She introduced her story by talking briefly about the journeys she had been experiencing for some time. This was the first time she had spoken of her journeys outside of the triangle she formed with Nina and Will and the wise blessings of Granny Eva. She spoke slowly, looking around to note the reactions of the other women, which ranged from mild embarrassment to obvious enjoyment. Even those who showed some embarrassment seemed also to be drawn into the story of the thirteen women channeling their sexual energy to maintain the fabric of life on earth. They were intrigued that something so pleasurable could also be at the core of their spiritual existence. There was so much in the story: teleportation, 13 Original Clans, time travel, and priestesses doing ceremony for the tangible benefit of Mother Earth.

Gathering her presence of mind and some external source of inspiration as she proceeded with the story, she felt more and more comfortable, in essence, exposing some of her most intimate understandings of herself as a woman and herself in relation to Goddess in her innumerable forms. As she completed her telling of the tale, she suggested that they all sit in silence with their eyes closed for at least five minutes and let the elements of her journey do their work. She didn’t know exactly why she said, “Do their work.” It just popped out and yet immediately felt right, as if her telling of the story was in itself a way of directly transmitting an experience of altered consciousness or alternative reality. She had never before felt like a shaman nor a bard, but in those moments she felt a bit like both. By the end of her story she felt that most of the women were responding in the way she hoped they would with a mixture of awe, reverence and pleasurable excitement.

When the conversation began, there was a lingering sense of a mild trance state. As the women continued to savor the openings that had just experienced, they opened to each other to share their intimate experiences in what had become a guided meditation for most of them. Ash shared first. She was fairly bubbling with enthusiasm. “This feels like exactly what I’m looking for, a way to penetrate deeper into the divine feminine, my own divine feminine.” She was gushing. “It feels so right, like this is our birthright. This is what we’re supposed to do. This is why the world is so out of balance, because we haven’t been able to do these ceremonies. One of the many things we women have been prohibited from doing. It’s time we renown ourselves and our divine power.”

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Cybele chuckled and licked her lips, “There’s not a lot of dance in this, but I’m sure I’d like to do it anyway.”

A woman who hadn’t spoken yet, Annika, asked somewhat in disbelief, “Are we seriously considering doing this ritual?”

Diana answered, “I don’t think we’re there yet. We’re just sharing our responses, feeling and thoughts. We may get to that question later.”

Elizabeth shook her long white hair and spoke next. “My reaction is similar to Asherah. I love the permission to even think of myself as a woman in this way, a holy woman and a sexual being all at the same time. It felt wonderful. It felt like the unification of some split that happened a long time ago, and may be now we can heal; we can reunify.”

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“Yes,” Megan picked up the thread and spoke passionately, “we debate these issues among ourselves as well as having them thrown at us from society at-large. Can you be sexual and be taken seriously? Do you have to choose between being labeled as a feminist or labeled as a slut. Our feminist ancestors debated and expressed themselves on all sides of the sexual, spiritual, and/or politically serious spectrum. I also felt like this story provided us with a model of integration. Perhaps we can be all of the above. Each one of us can choose to be complete women, not two-dimensional cardboard caricatures of roles not even created by us.”

“Precisely why we have to be really careful, lest we be marginalized.” Annika interjected.

“It’s not like we ever make public pronouncements about any of the ceremonies that we do, “ Rhiannon spoke up. “It’s all word of mouth, by invitation only. Perhaps we need to be more explicitly confidential with what we do, but I definitely feel that Camille has brought us a message and a challenge about how to carry our work forward. This has everything to do with the status of women, the role of Goddess as central deity and our liberation as sexual, sensual, spiritual beings. I feel very strongly we’re supposed to do something with this, and we should figure out what.”

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“Any ideas?” Diana asked.

“Maybe it’s two steps. The first step is our own healing as multi-dimensional healthy women. When we are secure in ourselves, secure in our identities being sexual, spiritual and socially active, then we might try to take the message to a broader audience. We might be months or even years away from that second step. I’d like to see what we can do with each other around the issue of our own healing, our own completion as women.”

“I agree,” Rhea spoke for the first time, “It’s clear that we’re not totally at ease with the story we’ve heard. It’s extremely attractive to me, but also a bit scary. I’m as reticent as the next person to step out of line, to do something that might lead to condemnation, yet I consider myself a feminist, and I have stood up for many things that I believe in, for which we’ve received considerable negative attention: women’s right to choose, equal pay, even sexual freedom. I know you can’t run a crusade and expect everyone to like you. Still, every time I time come onto a new issue I feel that queasiness in the pit of my stomach and even wonder if this is the one that gets me killed.”

Several women reacted to her last sentence, instinctively agreeing with her. Ash spoke again, “Maybe I have the naiveté of youth, but I feel like I don’t have a choice but to push forward. I’m certainly not going back to the world my mother grew up in. Certainly we need to exert great care in how we push forward, give ourselves the best chance of success, not engage in self-sabotage.”

“So are we in agreement?” Diana asked, “to focus on ourselves and what we might do together. And I want to say; maybe it goes without saying; only do what you’re comfortable doing. Only do as much as you feel comfortable with. If you want to hang back as an observer instead of a participant, please do. We are always about individual freedom, woman’s right to choose, the right to say, ‘No!’, if that is your truth, or to say, ‘Yes’, if that is your truth.”

One woman, Tamara, who had been silent thus far said simply, “I think I’m going to hang back for awhile. It’s not that I’m really uncomfortable. It’s just so different from anything I’ve done before. I think I just need some time.”

Diana responded obliquely, “We been hassled and we’ve hassled ourselves so much about our sexuality. The work is far from over to even reach a point of being okay with ourselves. I’m sure what we’re contemplating brings up stuff for most of us. We’re going to take this whole process really slow, so that all of us can get comfortable. When we did the sacred marriage ceremony, we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. It just happened. Going into something with full foreknowledge is entirely different. We know we’re responsible for co-creating and responsible for the outcome.”

“Not only that, Diana,” Megan interjected, “we’ve lived in such an over-sexualized environment for the last fifteen years or so. I”m sure some of us have a few conflicts over any presentation that includes overt sex. Most of the sexual portrayals are so devoid of soul or spirit. Rather than our sexuality leaning back toward the sacred, it’s been cheapened and commodified, and we’ve been placed on the defensive with regard to self-image. I’d like to be able to say whole-heartedly, let’s just get after this latest portrayal of ancient ceremony. What d’we have to lose? What d’we have to be afraid of? Unfortunately the context in which we live still judges women and places us in very narrow categories and punishes us for being in the wrong category.”

“Megan’s right,” Rhea picked up the theme. “We’re barely half-way liberated, and I still feel somewhat paranoid about how we might be treated by the so-called mainstream. Prominent feminists have begun the attack on pornography as universally exploitative of women. We don’t want to find ourselves identified as somehow a new enemy of women’s liberation.”

“Does anyone really believe that the story I have told and what we are contemplating doing with it would somehow be identified as pornography.?” Camille asked.

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Rhiannon broke in, “I believe so strongly that one of the most important rights we are fighting for is to identify ourselves in whatever way we choose. That includes our sexual identity. I think it’s important to say explicitly: it’s ok to be promiscuous or chaste; it’s ok to be gay or straight, it’s ok to not like sex or to like sex a lot. By being in this circle we are identifying as children of Goddess. Is that Aphrodite or Hera or Artemis? Can we simply be whatever Goddess we choose to identify with? We might encounter some opposition to our view of women’s sacred sexuality. That concept has been doggedly opposed for thousands of years by churches, governments, militaries, and other patriarchal institutions. I think it’s time we not let them scare us off from speaking our minds and acting as we choose to act, especially regarding this topic.”

Again there was a period of silence before Diana tried to summarize. “Hopefully our concerns have been fully expressed. Again I will say, let’s keep this among ourselves for the time being. Let’s continue to explore. Do we want to contemplate actually doing this ceremony?”

Ash spoke up immediately. “I want to do it. I want to do it precisely because it’s edgy and scary and way beyond my previous comfort zone. I want to do it because it feels liberating. I want to be that free. I want to believe that my sexuality, my ability to create my own pleasure has a sacred purpose, that it is part of what makes me a spiritual being.”

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“I’m in too,” Elizabeth continued optimistically, “I thought I’d never see this day. I couldn’t even envision it till now. I’m happy for myself. I’m happy for all of you.”

Megan declared, “So long as everything we do is held within our circle, I’m in. I’d love to be more brashly courageous. I’m not, not yet.”

“Pretty much the same for me,” Rhea added.

As others expressed commitment and/or misgivings, the distinct possibility was emerging that they would inaugurate a ceremony as described by Camille from her journey. Diana asked for a head count and found nine women ready to commit including Elizabeth, Ash, Camille, Nina, Rhiannon, Cybele, Megan, Rhea and herself. The remainder of the women were supportive but not quite ready to jump in. Cybele offered to recruit among her dance troupe by inviting a few women to a special discussion. Camille said she’d be glad to tell her story again to such a group. By the time all of that was settled, it was getting late. They made plans to meet again hopefully with some recruits from the dance group. There was a sense that the elements they needed were gradually aligning to facilitate their ceremonial lives.

The drive home took few minutes, but Will and Sammy were asleep when they arrived. “Would you like some tea?” Nina asked. Their evening with the group had begun with tea, but everyone got so embroiled in the discussion that their cups had never gotten refilled.

Camille answered, “Yes,” and reclined on the couch until Nina returned with two hot mugs of Sleepy Time tea. They’d have a half-hour to wind down and process with each other before the tea began to kick in.

“Do you feel well received,” Nina asked.

“Yes, there is not negative judgment. I like the open discussion. I’m not surprised there are so many considerations. This is, as you say, a hot topic. Mostly I felt very genuinely supported. I think our friends were touched, as we were, by the nature of this ceremony. We all fear backlash, the possibility of retaliation in some way or other.”

“It’s true; the women’s movement has not been a cakewalk, nor has it lacked in controversy. It seems the battle will never be over for reproductive rights. We get them; they try to take them away. Women standing up for themselves is controversial. It’s revolutionary.”

“Perhaps some women want a revolution without breaking any eggs.”
Nina grinned and looked at Camille sideways. “I think you’re going to have to explain that.

Camille grinned back, “Is old French saying; if you want to make an omelette, you’re going to have to crack some eggs.”

“Who said that?”

“Robespierre.”

“French Revolution.”

“Right, and then Lenin repeated it,” Camille added.

“These are not our role models, are they?

“Hopefully not, but you know your history. The extremity of the rebellion is in direct proportion to the extremity of the oppression preceding it. We all know how horribly brutal the czars were. The last kings of France were not much better. Too many poor people, too many dispossessed.”

“Too many people with nothing to lose.”

“Yes, the women’s movement is mostly a middle-class revolution. A handful of leaders stick their necks out. The discomfort level for many is not sufficient to generate radical measures.”

“But this is happening in Western democracies where presumably the power of the ballot box should be enough to bring about social change, and it has. It is a peaceful revolution like civil rights and the peace movement in the sixties.”

“So what,” asked Camille, “will it take to stop the world-wide violence against women?”

“Do you think we’re exposing ourselves to violence by what we’re doing?”

“Outside of Northern California, even here, look at the attitudes toward lesbians, the language often borders on incitement to violence.”

“So we’re not as safe as we might want to believe?”

“Do you know when the first massive encouragement of women to speak up about their mistreatment happened?”

“You got me on this one.”

“China after the Communists took over in the late forties.”

“It’s a shame that was the same government that killed all their Buddhist monks.”

“You think that was more eggs than necessary?”

“Yeah, whatever revolution we’re having let’s avoid those excesses.”

“Can we?” Camille asked.

“It’s why I keep coming back to Mondragon as a model. They learned from the disasters of the Spanish Civil War. They launched their venture during the fascist government of Franco. Arizmendi and his collaborators did it in a way that they achieved their goals without raising the hackles of potential opponents.”

“I like that, and we’re following that with our cooperative corporation projects. How does that apply to the restoration of power to women as the arbiters of their own sexuality and spirituality?”

“Not as easy to precisely define the goal?”

“Not as easy to know when we’ve reached it. It’s a status thing, not a business plan.”

With some excitement Nina continued to expand on her brainstorming. “Suppose our goal was to establish a network of Goddess temples where women were free and safe to participate in ceremonies with an overtly sexual component, and they served as havens or healing centers for men and women whose healing treatments might include an overtly sexual component.”

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“Like the ancient temples of Isis that we believe Marie Madeleine was part of.”

“Yes, we’re not there yet. We’re just beginning to generate an infrastructure of like-minded women, willing and even enthusiastic to do the ceremonies.”

“So you’re envisioning healing centers where many disciplines would be utilized, but we would not shy away from taking on the healing of sexual trauma. That would be an integral part of our sensuous spirituality.”

“We healed ourselves from sexual trauma. Will helped us. We have some ideas that have worked. If we go for it, others with expertise and motivation will join us.”

“So this is the business you really want to create?”

“Yes, it’s evolving as we’re talking, but there’s enough that’s been accepted in our world, enough to build on. For instance, sex therapy is an accepted concept. Massage modalities include reiki, qigong, shiatsu and therapeutic touch. Hypnotherapy, guided meditation, yoga, we could have our goal to be the most comprehensive one-stop shopping chain of healing centers in the world.”

“Girlfriend, I love the way you think, and I will work with you on this. It’s really exciting. Perhaps we will create a new class of priestesses of the Goddess, some of whom will be priestesses of Isis or Aphrodite.”

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“And you will continue to learn more from your journeys to help us create from the collective wisdom of all our ancestors.”

“How much does Will get to be a part of this?”

“I think everything is open to him except these initial ceremonies that need to be all women. But Will and other enlightened men have to be part of what we are doing. What their exact roles will be . . . “ she shrugged. Certainly they can be practitioners of the healing arts. You know how it is now. You go to a spa. They ask you if you prefer a man or a woman masseuse. The three men who took part in the Sacred Marriage ceremony were wonderful: tuned-in, sweet and caring, didn’t take up too much space like a lot of men. There will be other men who get, who want to be part of something this deep and wonderful, who are as sick and tired of the old ugly ways as we are.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Camille declared and then added, “I want you to be.”

“What’s the hesitation?”

“Sometimes I’m haunted. Sometimes I remember like it was yesterday how easily things can become violent.”

“Oh, my sweetheart, I don’t want you to expose yourself any more than you feel comfortable. Some women may never want to move outside the community of women. There must be a place for them to feel safe and do what they want to do in this Goddess revival we’re fomenting.”

“I’ll see, but thanks for that. It needs to be said periodically to remind us all that it’s ok for us to be where we are with whatever has happened to us along the way.”

“Absolutely,” Nina concluded.

A few days later they were all at the beach, three adults and three children. It was a perfect, unseasonably warm, late fall day. The girls and Sammy were wading in the shallow water of their favorite kid-friendly beach. Nina had had the opportunity and desire to put on paper much of what had been discussed between she and Camille after the “Sacred Worlds” group meeting. The present moment was the first opportunity to share with Will. Camille indicated she would pop up if the kids required tending, and she did leave and reenter the conversation several times.

A light breeze ruffled their hair reminding them of the transitory nature of the phenomenal world and simultaneously providing a mildly pleasant physical stimulation to combine with Nina’s ferment and the intellectual excitement she was communicating to Will.

When she completed her presentation, he loudly exclaimed, “Wow.” Then he looked at her and declared, “I’m not a bit surprised. Camille has the visions and you revision them into models of social action.”

“Thank you, Will, that’s very perceptive of both of us.” She looked at Camille who smiled and nodded. Then she continued, “So what do you think of the ideas?”

“Revolutionary, nothing short of revolutionary. You too may actually change the world.”

“With your help,” Nina replied.

“Of course, whatever you want me to do.”

“Right now, just keep telling us how wonderful we are.”

“That’s an easy assignment. But seriously, it’s like everything that’s happened up until now has been leading to this. You two together are the Arizmendi of America. I will call you Marie and Madeleine Arizmendi or M&M for short. Done right, what you’re talking about could begin to fundamentally change our crazy culture toward something that makes more sense, is more fun, generates less trauma, and provides an environment that children, women and men can thrive in.” Will was glowing. The women reflected his glow and added to it.

Camille spoke for the first time during this interlude. “When I first met you, Will, when the possibility dawned that we might be together, the three of us, I felt very strongly that this had to be happening for a reason, a reason as big as what has just emerged for us. We are the nucleus. The trust and freedom and love that we share is the center of the matrix, and now we are talking about our most central purpose. I feel it very strongly. It doesn’t mean we stop doing anything that we have begun, but I agree: it’s all been leading to this vision that Nina began to articulate the other night and already has grown and been fleshed out in her writing. I feel I have the easy part, being taken on these journeys and telling the story when I return.”

“We all have our talents. That’s why we are the solid triangle at the center of all this amazing initiative. Don’t you feel again that the spirits are chuckling as they prepare us for a new wild ride?”

The superfluous responses were drowned by the loud dramatic revival of three aggressively affectionate children, each of whom pounced on one of the adults: Sammy on Nina, Sabrina on Will, and Kayla more gently on Camille. Among the general chatter could be heard requests or demands for hot chocolate. The adults decided to honor their children who had for the most part played among themselves for a couple of hours providing time for the adults important communion of the day.

They packed up in order to head for the nearby ice cream and hot chocolate stand. Nina exclaimed, “You’re the best kids in the world,” and swung Sammy around in a goodbye to the beach. The girls wanted to be swung too. So Will swung first Sabrina and then Kayla, who was clearly too big for Camille, who grabbed Sammy and swung him around again. The children squealed delightedly in a range of pitches while a chaotic group hug ensued.

The Blessing 

The relationship between sexuality and spirituality

was so obvious to me in those moments

that I wondered how so many of the world’s religious hierarchies

had managed to get away with suppressing it.

                                                                         ~Hank Wesselman

When the two women were next able to talk at length with Will, they laid out the basics of their conversation after the meeting of the “Sacred Worlds” group. Will was receptive, supportive and excited about what they were envisioning. He had one consideration. “I really hate to say this because it kind of writes me out of the script so far as any active role, bur I really think your chances of success are better if you start out as ‘women only’.”

When the women both pressed him for his reasoning he continued, “As soon as you bring men into the scenario, you’ll have the accusations of prostitution. I don’t think that’s the first battle you want to take on, and it’s multi-layered. What women do with women might be seen as risqué but not illegal. Once you get men involved the projections get thicker, meaner and more intense. How do you distinguish yourself from sex workers, most of whom are illegal? How do you not incur the wrath of right-wing religion. If you work with women only and make it a membership organization, you’ll be free to explore for awhile and really refine what you’re doing. When you get around to working with men, you’ll have your act down. You may even know what you want to call yourselves. I don’t think it’s a term that we already have, such as sex therapist or courtesan . . .”

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The women laughed at the title ‘courtesan’. Camille blurted out, “Fille de joie.” They all laughed.

“So you see,” Will was on a roll, “how carefully this has to be packaged to give just the right connotation, just the right nuance?”

“You are certainly convincing us,” Nina responded.

“I think this is at the core of everything that has happened to us and everything we’r trying to accomplish. We have to really do it right, or we might not get a second chance. If you have helper spirits,” he turned to Camille, “call on them now. We need all the guidance we can get. And the pagan women are your best place to begin. There’s an acceptance of sacred sexuality. There’s an understanding that women’s legitimate right to define themselves sexually, to create and enjoy their own pleasure, has been horribly distorted by five thousand years of patriarchy.”

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“Will, can I ask you something?” Camille asked in her most seductive tone.

“Of course,” he answered, trying to match her tone even pouting his lips.

They all laughed.

“Why are you not threatened by powerful women. You never seem to need to be in control. I don’t know many men I could say that about.”

“True for me, too,” Nina added.

“I love women in all their power. They’re so much more interesting, beautiful, sexy. Women who do that old game of trying to figure out what the man wants and then playing to that, I find that fairly quickly boring and too predictable. It’s simple how to please me. Just be yourself. Surprise me. Go after your own fulfillment, whether it’s power or pleasure or both. Be everything you can possibly be. Realize your potential. I’m like the guy in the “Adoration of the Magi” picture, except I’m in adoration of Aphrodite or Artemis or Persephone.”

“Or Tara or Shakti or some other lovely wise dakini.”

“You’re lucky,” Nina teased, “You’re just the kind of man we’re looking for. We’re not looking for a man to tell us what to do.”

“So we won’t have to be responsible for the outcome,” Camille added.

“So that’a a slick way of maintaining the blame game.”

Nina responded, “Yeah, if we never take our power or our responsibility, then the crappy state of the world is still all the fault  of men.”

“Can’t we just reverse roles? I’ll give you all the power, and then the world going to hell will be all on you.”

The women laughed and looked at him dubiously as if to say, “Good luck on any part of that ever happening.”

Picking up on the unspoken message, Will replied, “I think the blame part works. Blaming mothers is a very popular pastime, the schizophrenogenic mother, for instance.”

“Point taken,” Nina replied. “So what’s our next step?”

“Sounds like you’ve got two things happening at once, but one has kind of led to the other.”

“Yes,” Camille agreed, “we are planning the next ceremony. This time we enter into it with full knowledge that we are calling up and directing our sexual energy as a group.”

“And,” Nina continued, “that has led toward a different kind of business than has yet been talked about with the social action group.”

“You guys have your hands full.”

“Can’t you help us with some of this?” Nina mockingly whined.

“Behind every great woman there’s a great man,” Will paraphrased and then continued, “I can always be the primary parent; also your secret sounding board. I’ll continue building the men’s auxiliary,” he chuckled, “so that when it’s time to bring men into any of these processes, hopefully we’ll have a group of simpatico men. I can help you research. For instance if there are models of sexual healing or healing using sexual energy, maybe something has been published, maybe in the category of tantra.”

“Okay,” Nina teased again, ‘just so you’re not lying about eating bonbons and watching soap operas.”

“I’ll do my best to resist that.”

“Are you excited?” Camille asked slowly.

“This is a new chapter,” Nina replied. “We don’t get to rest in the same place for very long before those spirits start pushing us. Are they in a hurry?”

“I think they are,” Will suggested. “Consider the prophecies, the earth changes. It’s like we have decades not centuries to do something about the state of the world.”

“I am sure the spirits know that better than we do,” Camille declared. “Do you feel Granny Eva with us?”

“Yes, often. I see her smiling like she did when we were just there,” Nina replied.

“Do you think,” Will asked changing the subject, “that we will ever have a group of men as engaged in pagan ceremonies as women are?”

“Wow Will, that is the $64,000 question.” Nina exclaimed. “Why not?”

“There’s much more programming to overcome with less obvious motivation. Explain the benefits to a man who has grown up in Western Civilization and swallowed implicitly all the programming about male privilege, male superiority. Then explain to him how he’s going to be better off if the Divine Feminine is at the center of everything, and his testosterone impulses have to be retrained.”

“How did you get there?” Camille asked.

Will paused as if lost in thought. “That’s a good question. I think, no, I know it all started in the sixties with a handful of psychedelic trips that gave me a glimpse into another reality, or, I should say, a number of alternate realities. Among those were some pictures that stuck in my mind. I later saw them in Tibetan art. I remained curious, and then my reading into tantra confirmed my suspicions that there were better ways to live life than the world I was raised in.”

“Don’t you think there are others like yourself?” Nina asked. “I mean, I know you’re pretty special and all.”

Will grinned at her, appreciating both the sincerity and the teasing. “There must be a few, at least,” his voice dripping with irony.

“So where do we find them?” Nina pursued.

“Maybe you place an advertisement,” Camille suggested.

“And what do we say?” Will was still a bit incredulous.

“How about,” Nina was almost combative, “men interested in tantra and other forms of meditation; group forming.”

“That might work,” Will acknowledged.

“And where do we place this ad?” Camille asked.

“Actually, that’s the easy part. There are lots of magazines that have sprung up in response to the visions of the sixties. There’s New Age Journal and a magazine, I think it’s just called, Yoga.

“I’m sure there must be others. We’re not as alone nor as special as we might think.” Nina declared. “Lots of people took psychedelics. They might be hiding out in Tennessee or New Mexico. Some are probably right here in Northern California. You know, tantra was part of the lore of the Farm that Nan and I visited in Tennessee.”

“You’re right,” Will acknowledged. “I think I better look at my resistance or, more accurately, my fear.”

“I think it’s very understandable,” Nina responded. “It’s one thing to declare, Free Love; even to have slogans like, Make Love, Not War, but we’re taking a next step in challenging the establishment. We are declaring female sexuality to be some kind of transcendent spiritual magic, in essence, better than God, better than Jesus, or at least just as good; and certainly the missing link in why we’ve got all this religion, and things are still so screwed up.”

“You are very passionate about this,” Camille observed.

“Yes, I am. You and I have both suffered from the other world view. Men have exploited us, used us, abused us, brutalized us , , ,”

“Yes, you’re right,” Camille rejoined, “and the saddest part is that it’s not getting them what they want, and they don’t know how to get what they want. Maybe we can teach them, at least some of them.”

Will asked rhetorically, “Is this in the category of Goddess blesses those who bless her. She is the source of all joy, all fulfillment, all love and ecstasy.”

“Yes, it is very sad. Children only resort to power when they can’t get the love and positive attention they crave any other way; or so they believe at the moment. Modern men in the Western World are like chronically deprived children who don’t know what to do. So they keep playing their power games and their revenge games, even though they don’t get them what they’re really after.”

“Is it the same in France?” Will asked.

“In France it is more sugar-coated, but we had our empire and our wars. Europe is less brash than America because we all suffered so much in the wars. We are trying to go down a different path, but the old ways remain very powerful. The patriarchy has not given up in Europe, but it has learned to negotiate better. It is like your Basque friend told you. Yes, the Basque men returned from fishing in the ocean to save their women from the Inquisition, but their rescue depended on their willingness to do violence to the priests of the Inquisition. They all went home, and the women remained powerful in Basque society, but everyone still had to be Catholic. It’s not like they went home and performed pagan ceremonies.”

“Did anyone in Europe escape the Catholic totalitarianism?” Nina asked.

“It was a compromise at best. In the South of France where you travelled, it was Marie Madeleine and a different telling of the story by the Cathars and others, but that story of Jesus and the Holy Land became the predominant story, the only authorized access to spirituality.”

“Perhaps there were Celtic people, Celtic women, in certain isolated places, the Misty Isles.”

“The fairy lore, the leprechauns and elves,” Will commented, “those traditions are treated as rather cute and harmless, but there are many serious stories of Celtic heroes who were enchanted or challenged in the realm of the fairies.”

“There were undoubtedly places,” Camille granted, “where the women could remain hidden, the high mountains, certain small islands.”

Will, the historian, contributed, “There are stories of the queens of England knowing the ways of Wicca, wielding the powers connected with nature, being able to call up storms, for instance. The most famous incident was the sudden storm that wiped out the Spanish Armada and saved England from the domination of Catholicism.”

“Yes, relatively speaking,” Nina added, “probably better that England won than Spain.”

“Are we now talking relatively benign patriarchies,” Will asked.

“It’s a dilemma,” Camille continued, “as we’ve talked about before. Once the ways of warfare take over, many things that used to be part of the way of life are no longer possible. There just isn’t the safety nor the space to accommodate Goddess in all her resplendent beauty and sensuous openness.”

“I like that,” Will enthused. “That’s a very simple statement about what we’re up to.”

“I like it, too,” Nina extolled. “We are reviving the ways of Goddess in all her resplendent beauty and sensuous openness.”

Like a sports team they joined right hands at the center of their little circle and sat in silence for a few minutes savoring the conclusion they had come to.

Will was almost as involved in small group gatherings related to the pagan women as Nina and Camille were. He continued with the Men’s Auxiliary and the dance troupe. Nina and Camille met regularly with the group responsible for ceremonial happenings. By the next meeting there were thirteen women willing or even eager to take part in the cycling of sexual energy for Goddess/Earth Mother. The excitement built as they talked and planned. Doubts were gradually replace by a growing revolutionary fervor. It felt like all the women were shedding layers of sexual shame. Much of it they were not aware of until it was gone, and they felt relatively lighter and freer and ready to do anything together.

Meanwhile the cooperative economy group decided they wanted to pursue both ideas that had been presented. Since this group had generated a lot of interest, it was easier to divide it into too groups and still have adequate numbers to develop each project.  The concept of women’s healing spas that had first emerged between Camille and Nina driving home from the “Sacred Worlds” group, was generating its own bubble of excitement as it rippled through the full circle of women. Ash was one of several who enthusiastically joined the “Healing Spas” circle. Clearly Nina and Camille had found a home for their ideas and more importantly a place to be fully themselves. There was a remarkable lack of negative judgments among this circle of women. The more earthy idea of a bakery/restaurant still had its energized adherents. There was a general feeling of a lot of progress on a lot of fronts happening in a relatively short amount of time.

Coming up with a name for the envisioned ceremony was not easy. The group decided to take the question to their next full moon ceremony and see what emerged from members of the circle while in ceremonial space. The full moon ceremony was a comfort zone for the women. They had been doing this ceremony thirteen times a year for a number of years with only small variations over time. Several women had the same name come to them during the dancing and drumming. One woman felt it had ridden to her on the wings of a lilting flute. There was easy consensus on the name, “Blessing Mother Earth”. Within days the easy reference became “The Blessing Ceremony”. Several women volunteered to sew the purple and gold caftans. After one more planning meeting, the group felt ready to embody the ceremony during the next full moon.

One logistical impasse was the lack of a circle of upright stones as ceremonial space for the Blessing Ceremony. Their ceremonial space was a circle of trees but not encompassing exactly twelve trees symmetrically arranged in a perfect circle. They settled on a type of stadium chair that rested flat on the ground and provided rigid back support. The actual construction of a stone circle appealed to some of the women, but all acknowledged such a project would be lengthy and daunting. The stadium chairs seemed like an adequate compromise for the immediate future. The caftans were sewn and came out in an arte moderne design such that one half was purple and the other gold. The main seamstress said to each of the thirteen women, “You are now Changing Woman.” All the caftans were very loose fitting and comfortable. They had hoods of the two colors. Elizabeth who would be their Goddess-Woman the first time found a twelve-pointed star covering the front of her caftan. The points progressed through the colors of the rainbow. The rest of the group exclaimed over the beauty of her robe, while noticing that were sewn from double layers of velvet so there was a soft side facing in as well as out. One woman gushed, “Ooh, so soft, I want to just rub myself all over.”

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“Soon enough for that, but feel free,” came the reply. Hearty laughter ripple through the group. There was some reluctance to end this final planning meeting even though each woman knew her role. There would be drums and rattles and flutes but with the intent that they be played softer than usual. When finally no one had further questions nor contributions and they all felt confident in their upcoming roles, the women hugged each other a bit nervously and disappeared into the night. For most of them the next time they saw each other would be at the ceremony. The feelings of the inner circle ranged from apprehension to anxious delight. They were experiencing something akin to stage fright. All knew they were an the edge of an adventurous unknown. One woman commented, “If I can just get through the next week, I think I’ll be fine at the ceremony.”

Another rejoined, “Yeah, waiting’s worse than doing.”

And another said, “I’m already so excited, I don’t know what to do with myself. Do you think we’re doing something that hasn’t been done in thousands of years.”

“I do,” Camille concluded with a sense of finality to the discussion. The woman looked around at each other savoring the magic of the moment what lay ahead.

Ash commented, “I think we’ll all be profoundly changed by this ceremony.”

So the expectations were high as the women scattered into the night. Some had ridden together and continued their conversations. The overall all feeling was one of awe and reverence.

Nina was driving. She momentarily looked at Camille as if to say, “What have we stirred up?”

Camille responded verbally, “Yes, we are so in league with the Spirits of the Other World, I sometimes wonder if there is a place where we begin and they end, or is it just an endless continuum like a yin-yang or a mobius strip linking our two worlds through us and through others who choose to journey.”

“Wow, that is profound,” Nina enthused.

Camille grinned at her and said as if with great authority, “I know!”

On the night of the ceremony Will had all the kids. His two women checked in with him. He was almost blasé, stating, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. We’re going to a Disney movie. By then it’ll be bedtime. You guys concentrate on what you’re up to. I’d love to be there. I’m just happy that you get to do this together. You all are pushing the edge of awesome one more time. Really, don’t worry about me. Just bring some of that Goddess-love home with you.”

They smiled lovingly at him and assured him he would be the number one recipient. He smiled back, and then there were family hugs and kisses all around before Nina and Camille drove off an hour or two prior to sundown. They felt fortunate that the day had been one of those sunny and warm winter days that they sometimes got on the North Coast. They were glad that the caftans were double thickness. Otherwise both were looking inside themselves, aligning with there spiritual guidance and silently asking  for support, clarity, guidance and protection.

There was a buzz of excitement as the women gathered around their ceremonial space. Nina and Camille circulated as did many of the other woman, holding hands, hugging and exchanging simple pleasantries. When the drums began they knew it was time to take their places. The inner circle took their stadium chairs and arranged as symmetrical a circle as the could, reckoning their positions in twelve approximately equidistant points around the circle. The four flute players  stood near the cardinal points with drums and rattles filling in the rest of that circle. Other women nestled in found spaces within the surrounding trees.

When the flutists began to play it was soon evident that they had rehearsed a piece together. Their haunting rhythms and harmonies set a haunting otherworldly atmosphere for what was about to ensue. The women felt the arrival of an ethereal visitation. Some of them looked around as if they might catch a tangible glimpse of the visitant. The phenomenon did not coalesce in one place but pervaded the entire area. Each women felt something blissfully spiritual enter her body and remain as a comforting presence.

When the drums entered they sounded distant as if the almost silent pulsations were arriving from somewhere deep within the surrounding trees. The rattles entered as a subdued shushing suffusing the entire sacred area as if a thousand voices in unison were urging quietude. Sitting in their purple and gold robes the coterie of the inner circle sat impassive aware of each other and the outer circles as if they were awaiting a signal to begin.

Almost imperceptibly the flutes moved into another melody. Each woman knew it was time to begin. If they needed a further prompt, just then Elizabeth, who had been standing motionless in the center of the circle, slowly removed her caftan, carefully folded it and laid it on the ground. Legs apart she stood directly over it and extended her arms, palms up, expectantly awaiting the love and adoration of her devotees. Her body retained a beautiful tone, and her long white hair streamed behind her. There was no apparent embarrassment as each woman extended her left arm toward Elizabeth and snaked the other arm inside her caftan an. began the lila, the play of the Goddess. A feeling of possession by a holy of holies permeated the group.

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As the women ever so slowly touched themselves upon and around their own holy of holies, they knew they had stumbled into something ancient, beautiful and sublime; an act of unity or unification with She Who Nurtures All, in which each of them was in those moments the Divine Nurturer, giver and receiver of holy bliss. The lightest touches on the petals of their aureolas sent waves of easy contentment throughout their bodies and into the airspace around them. They could see the golden-white light energy streaming from their extended hands. Elizabeth stood and received, and the energy streamed into her heart chakra and then outward toward her hands and feet and crown. She smiled blissfully, stood and received, an active channel for Goddess in all Her glory.

The flutes and drums and rattles played on, all the women feeling sustained by the energy they had called up and opened themselves to. There was little sense of individualness. They had become one organism with a center and many appendages. To feel such an utter sense of oneness with so many others was a new experience all who were present. Even the women almost hidden in the surrounding trees felt it and moved in muted understatements to the energy flowing through them. The women in the inner circle found that they needed little if any active stimulation of their rose blossoms. The fingers hat rested there hummed and vibrated with the energy flowing through their bodies. They felt themselves purring like kittens, a lovely heart-centered vibration that added to the totality of their immersion in some ancient ancient mikwa of the divine. They trembled but not with an intensity that ever became unpleasant. The primal energy of the universe flowed through them. The sensation was timeless and without spacial boundaries, probably happening all the time, but within the context of this ceremony they could feel it, feel the interconnectedness of all that is, was and will be.

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The flutists could not have explained what caused them to simultaneously move into yet a third melody, but they did, and when they did, Elizabeth brought her hands together in front of her heart, knelt down on her folded robe and then lay face down, spread-eagle on the earth using her robe as a pillow for one cheek. The incoming energy converged on her womb, and from their flowed straight into the earth. The women felt their own wombs light up. They could see and feel the golden-white light of their womb centers. Elizabeth shook with the intensity of what was passing through her. It was orgasmic but not in a way that she reference in her own memory. There was a loop between her and Mother Earth, a relationship like lovers, a relationship like mother and child, yet it was also more than all of that. As the trembling of her womb intensified, she began to yell, a yell halfway between and orgasmic lover and a triumphant warrior. All the power of the feminine from time immemorial was passing through her. She was yielding, receptive and fierce all at the same time.