Root of Desire
Chapter 1: Chalice
An empty chalice, open, to be filled by spirit’s essence, placed according to ritual, waits for its turn.
Goddess of so many duties, so many eras, so many sorrow-filled worshippers, She feels the tears, the emptiness.
“I cannot fill you. I can not fill the chalice of emptiness. That is not my gift or purpose. I can offer only what is already within you.”
Almost quiet, sea sounds, dank odor of lowtide, creeping Spring carries melt of harsher climes. She stokes the fire to remember warmth when the Sun was high and strong, and present. Fire has its own secrets, its own order. As do we all, each our own furnace, nurturing a flame that is destiny. So old, She has been burnt by many flames — blistered, scarred, hardened. She still feels every one, tastes fiery spice, seasonings, marinades. It all moves Her to cackling hysteria. You don’t want the pain of knowing what She endures. You just want soothing stories, fantasies to believe in.
She understands your fear, and withdraws. No need to escalate sorrow. She is self-contained in her work and close-knit layers of exquisite aeons, sense memories, distilled lives.
“Was I a woman, then, upon the Earth, feeling sweet breeze of early Spring uplift my being when returning birds and budlings made ready for new beginnings?”
In the dark, in the cold, enclosed below that hopeful ground, stirrings still find Her. She can not miss the Sun, the Sky, the open fields. They are ingrained in Her, as there and intense as ever they could be. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow. Always all times, all places, all emotions, overwhelm, yet gentle strand by strand amuse. She has no pity. There is only action, including the action of long enthrallment, of stasis within unfolding storms. There is no room for judgment, no excuses. She sees all the rationales, the weak flailing attempts at blame, at justification.
Laughter takes Her. It makes so much more sense to revel in explosion, expelling, cleansing for exploration, for readiness to take the next step.
The Goddess stands over Her cauldron, deep in a hidden chamber of Her chthonic cave. She tosses in the herbs, reciting the liturgy, long-practiced but never without supreme concentration.
Sprite sparks, disembodied voices, curls of smoke stained with potent ash, swirl about, crazily careen, above and around Her energy absorbent pot of charming, of magicks.
The rampant confusion clears. She sees the moving scenes, hears the clamor of supplications, feels, breathes, the stories. She cocks an ear, widens the circumference of her eyes, takes in this kaleidoscope of landscape, of cacophonous data. As She minutely discerns cloying strings of powerful souls as yet unaware of their gifts, gladly grasps familiar flavors, She narrows in Her focus, becomes more attentively intent in Her seeking, in Her imagining of journeys to be undertaken. It has never been that She demands worship. It is, She is fully aware, Her responsibility to those few who demand Her influence, those who, knowingly or with but strange intuition, claim kinship.
Chthonic wilds, primordial, ancient castings, building over eternity, silent, archetype of will, ponders life. Intrinsically senses dispair, bottomless sorrow, waste of intent of expression on such a merciless plane. She is challenged, gives challenge to her wards. Find me, at the root of desire. Your truest wish of will to be fashioned, you must give only the price of who you were made against your nature.
Renata would not get her breakfast today. She was being unbearably willful. Certainly a Princess is expected to want her way; but there are some subjects a child of any class should be taught to shun.
Poor, motherless child. She is really such a sweet soul. She just does it for attention. She must be taught. We don’t want to attract attention of the wrong kind.
Born into royalty is just being born, thrust into a time and place, people, conditions of behavior having nothing to do with survival, other than it is learn or die defying.
“No time for me” wasn’t in Renata’s thinking. Accustomed to her own company while all hue and tumult went to her brothers’ training and vying for dear King Papa’s throne and favor. She carried secret smiles, knowing her bravery and sharp wit belong to her alone. No, not alone. All that she can mean belong to the Goddess who carries her, from within her first principles, before awareness. This motherless daughter, before the end while birthing her, last and only conscious gift from death to birth, was consecrated to her mother’s Protector, Friend, Purpose.
“His precious sons are his, to carry his legacy. I have paid that price. You, daughter, are mine to gift to Her; and She is my gift to you.” Renata feels her mother’s gift as the air of life, flowing through, in, sparkling energy, surety, allegiance.
“My life is mine,” a sweet phrase she might sing, even knowing that in this world it is anything but.
Look at them, the twins, ambitious, rambunctious, ready to the rule besting each other; little Terrence, bright warrior in the Queen’s (his mother’s) eyes — sons, heirs, worthy by their birth.
Renata knew she had been sold. Nothing so crass was said, or thought by any but her. She was betrothed to a man she had hardly met — seen perhaps on numerous occasions in close repartee with the adults who had sold her. She was part of a treaty, a sealing of a deal for mutual gain. What should she complain of? She was to be a Queen, of a nearby Kingdom — with all the rights of a young and pliant slave. Though she had not engaged in conversation with her husband to be, she knew enough of him to understand he would not be seeking her counsel, consolation, or companionship. He would expect to enjoy her body at his whim, at least while she was young and comely. He would provide the comforts of his opulent home and the companionship of guards and gossips, watchfully assuring her loyalty and continued ignorance of any means to power.
It could be a pleasant enough life, one certainly admired by girlfolk, frivolous women, or those in need of romantic fantasy. There would be no lack of the kind of luxury she had grown up within. Another woman would have been content if not thrilled by the prospect of such a destiny. Renata was not that other woman. She had always believed in a special destiny, perhaps implanted at birth by her dying mother’s promise.
Long that Full Moon night she stood on the balcony, staring at Lady Moon, breathing in sweet night blooming herbs from the garden. She fancied hearing faint music in the rustling wind. Slowly, not knowing that her body moved, she danced, the wind carrying her like a lover’s arms caught up in dancing slow and closer than a kiss. She felt helpless, unloved, unsupported. She felt a slow, undulating anger move through muscles and mind.
“Goddess?” Her voice quavered at the audacity; but she felt surer of her course.
“Goddess, I am your child.” Nothing had ever felt more true.
“I am of you; and in need of your aid. You know I have not asked anything of you before. We are an independent, self-dependent kind. We enjoy challenge, figuring out the puzzles, crafting our own prize, facing the demons square on with defiance and grace. I know these are your attributes when I seem myself thus behaving.
Tonight I am lost. I have lost my lust for challenge. I am defeated, unable to marshal the means to fight.
I beseech you, turn to you in supplication. Tell me, what can I do? How can I escape this false fate that will seize and drain my very soul, if I can find no exit?”
She continued in the ecstasy of the dance, eyes closed still facing moonlight. She felt a calming presence, so near, palpable. The perfume was like sleep, intoxicating, evoking dreams. That funny way that dreams have, half-baked images, fragments take on narrative.
She was somehow, without memory of travel, deep in the forest, archetypal forest. It was deadly dark; but the trees, the moss, flower petals, glowed, an unearthly light from an unannounced source.
She was drawn to a particular tree, indistinguishable from many others, yet a presence unto itself. Without segue, a shovel was in her hands, shoveling. Her apron pockets (an apron that had apparently fashioned itself and appeared atop her dress) had supplied themselves with a mixture of particular herbs, most of which were unfamiliar. Somehow her arms and shovel had excavated ground to reveal the roots of the tree.
Strange roots, these, alive. Yes, I know roots of a growing tree are alive; but these were lively. They wriggled, pulsed, seemed to dance, though in circumscribed place.
The shovel was now a knife. She cut open a finger of root. It bled copiously, a brilliant green. She mixed the root blood with the herbs from her pockets. A song came from her lips, from her throat, from her gut, bubbling through her as the herbs and tree blood mixed into a viscous paste.
“Root of desire calls
binds the seven seas
spills through centuries
cast out among the stars
essence of who you are.
Feel the root of desire
enflame your heart
realize your part
play its haunting melody
charm vibrations repair your fears,
released from harm, from chains
find your destiny
rooted in the throes of desire.”
She recognized the Goddess’s chalice that held the potent mixture as it touched her lips. Drinking the potion of the root, she felt light and free. Viscous green light poured through her, igniting every capillary, every neuronal fiber. The dream receded; and she slept deeply.
The Goddess smiles, spent for this evening. She fills her chalice with consecrated wine to drink, savor intoxication of liquid fire, as embers of her night’s workings settle, gently, into history.