Blue Heron Visions

COLLAGING THE ALCHEMY OF WORDS AND IMAGES

Short Story


The CIRA Quest

Once upon a time in the here and now (because all good tales take place in the here and now, you know), there are six goddesses who are wise and wonderful and have an amazing friendship. Each goddess brings her own particular power, strengths, and gifts to this unusual alliance:

 One carries a marvelous shield and sword. She is a mighty warrior with a heart of extraordinary tenderness. With courage, she vanquishes fear by overcoming dragons and accomplishing her warrior tasks with determination. She is the first in a line of mighty women warriors. She guides and trains each young trainee in her charge with gentleness and wisdom.
One wears a crown of beauty and vision and carries the scepter of self-respect. She extends a gracious hand and a loving heart to women whose crowns have been tarnished and whose scepters have been lost because of the tortures and trials they have endured in their lives. Her vision of women as powerful goddesses is transformational.
One has flaming red hair that symbolizes her wild creativity. Powerful ideas flow from her heart and mind like the mighty waters that rush over the falls of Niagara. In addition to her wildness, she has a loving, generous, and playful soul. She shares her secret wisdom with all those she knows, teaching them to find the still waters abiding in their own souls.
 One, whose eyes shine with joy and Grace, has extraordinary experience in the ways of both worlds-seen and unseen. A seeker of wisdom with a heart of compassion and tender caring, she gleans and integrates knowledge and then generously shares with all those who come to be trained by her. She is esteemed for her marvelous communication gift that brings wisdom and peace to all who listen.
 One, warm, caring, and kind, has the unique gift of balancing inner and outer worlds. She digs inside herself for precious wisdom and brings these gems of life to the outer world of corporations and business. She exemplifies balance as she honors her Self and her gifts and honors those who seek her gracious assistance. Her marvelous worth is a gift she bestows upon herself, and others benefit by her example and by the love she shares because she knows who she truly is.
 One goddess studies as an apprentice with a wise and intelligent wizard. While this goddess is known for her supportive gifts of research, choosing just the right word, and helping others to shine, lately her soul has been calling her to reach deep inside to find the extraordinary magic in what most people view as ordinary life. She is learning to see illusion as the manifestation of her own beliefs through the wizard’s curriculum of awareness training, intuition development, and Self-approval exercise classes. This goddess is determined to fulfill her vision of a magical, mystical life.

These six wondrous goddesses decide to go on a Quest. They have many discussions about what would be the perfect Quest for them-one suggests they find the Island of Atlantis; another thinks climbing Mt. Everest and howling at the moon would be a truly worthy Quest; a third believes that finding the Holy Grail is certainly the Quest for them. Finally, the goddess with the wild red hair suggests an unusual and remarkable Quest.

She has heard of a unique star called CIRA that only shines its most magical light in a particular grove of trees once a year during the month of December. Anyone touched by this light will be empowered and mystically blessed by the Great Goddess to accomplish the most amazing tasks. These tasks would not only benefit the one so blessed but would also give the blessed one power to bring peace, love, and hope to all of humanity.”

Imagine what could happen if the CIRA star shines its light on all of us. Imagine the possibilities that would abound! Imagine what we could accomplish for ourselves and the world!” the red-haired goddess joyously exclaims. All of the goddesses quickly agree. The Quest to find the special grove where CIRA shines its light once a year is a Quest most worthy of the six wondrous goddesses.Together, although in their separate corners of the world, they begin to prepare for their marvelous Quest. Each meditates and prays daily to the Great Goddess for the wisdom and guidance to find the special grove of trees. Each prepares her heart to receive the magical and mystical CIRA starlight. Each creates a vision and intention of what she will do with the special blessing and power she will receive.

The first day of December arrives and the six goddesses meet to share their visions and discuss their plan. Each talks of the guidance she has received. The warrior goddess explains she has heard in her meditations that they must go through a dark forest full of dragons and trolls to arrive at the special grove. The goddess whose gift is digging for gems says she has been shown that there is a mountain through which they will have to dig to come to the special grove. The red-haired goddess says her guidance revealed that they must sail on a boat to find the CIRA star. The goddess with crown and scepter says the guidance she was given told her they must go through a particular village because the special grove of trees lies just beyond. The goddess who has eyes of joy and Grace says that the path is simple through a lovely meadow, and she has been given the exact location of the special grove of trees.

As she listens to the guidance each goddess has received, the goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice is confused. For her guidance, she received the vision of a map with nothing on it but an “X” marking their Quest’s starting point and another “X” marking the ending point-the special grove of trees. The goddess wonders what belongs between the two “Xs”-a body of water? a dark forest? a village? a mountain to dig through? a meadow path?

Each goddess makes her case for the guidance she has received. Each knows that the special grove of trees lies is beyond the location she has been given. Each is sure that she knows the way. These discussions (and yes, sometimes they are heated discussions) continue for several days. Finally, there is silence. All of the goddesses sit perplexed for a moment. In that silence, an idea forms in each of their minds simultaneously. In unity they exclaim-”We need to go through each of these places to get to the special grove of trees and the CIRA star!”

Even though they do not know the actual path, they realize that the Great Goddess has given each of them a portion of the Quest map. They decide to start their Quest journey the very next day, the fifteenth day of December. The goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice will draw the map as they go.

The fifteenth of December dawns cold and clear. The goddesses with their belonging bags packed full of food, important tools, and magical belongings, link arms, and start down the path before them, singing a Quest song that came to each of them in a dream the night before. Unified in focus as never before, they begin their search for the special grove of trees and the CIRA starlight.

After walking for half the day, they approach a dark forest where no light can be seen. Before the goddesses enter the forest, the warrior goddess reaches into her belonging bag and gives each of the others a sword and shield, a smaller version of the sword and shield she carries. These are magic swords and shields that strengthen the minds and hearts of those who bear them. Then, the warrior goddess, who recognizes this dark forest as the one she saw in her meditations, leads the way. As she holds up her shield, a wondrous light shines, showing them each step along the path. Ferocious roars, glowing eyes, and sulfur scents penetrate their senses with fear thoughts when their focus strays from the path before them. The warrior goddess shouts encouragement, standing ever ready to fight any dragon or troll that may make an appearance. Fortunately, because of the goddesses’ steadfast focus of mind and heart on their vision and Quest, dragons and trolls approach the path but never block their way!

Finally, they emerge from the dark forest. The goddesses rest a moment while the goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice draws the forest on her map. She names the place Gloom’s Dark Way Forest. Once she completes her task, the goddesses look down the path and before them lays a village. The goddess with the crown and scepter immediately takes the lead for this was the exact village about which she received guidance. She gives each of the goddesses a crown to wear and a scepter to carry. They begin their journey through the village.

As they walk through the village streets, women come from everywhere to see the six goddesses. These are women that have lost their crowns and scepters. Each of the goddesses gives away crowns and scepters that the lead goddess has in her belonging bag. Each village woman so blessed with a crown and scepter walks away with a new vision and purpose for her life. As the six goddesses come to the outskirts of the village, five very poor women approach them. The bag with crowns and scepters is empty! The five goddesses who do not usually wear crowns and scepters give their crowns and scepters to these five women. The five goddesses wisely realize that they wear crowns and carry scepters wherever they go, whether visibly apparent or not.

Just outside the village, the goddesses rest for a few moments so that the goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice can record the village on her map. Below the drawings of tiny houses and buildings she writes, Village of Lost Visions. When she is finished, the goddesses continue their Quest.

As the goddesses follow the path before them, they begin to hear the sound of rushing water. The sound grows louder and louder. Soon, the goddesses find themselves standing on the banks of a massive mighty river. Quickly, the red-haired goddess takes the lead. She is well acquainted with this river from her meditations. Her keen eyes spot a small sailboat, just big enough for the six wondrous goddesses and their belongings.

The goddesses climb aboard the sailboat, and the red-haired goddess patiently teaches them the fundamentals of sailing. Because the red-haired goddess is a very experienced sailboat racer and knows exactly what each goddess needs to do so they can arrive safely on the other side, she assigns each of them a particular responsibility. The red-haired goddess reminds the other goddesses that they must focus on their responsibilities and not on the thoughts that will flood their minds as they cross the rushing river.

The water is very rough and choppy. The wind is blowing with great force at times, but the red-haired goddess knows all the special tricks to make the sailboat obey her commands. She encourages each goddess, giving instructions to keep the sailboat steadily sailing toward the shore. Each goddess does her best at the job she was given, constantly keeping her mind on the task at hand. There are many exciting and fearful moments as the little boat rides the waves, as water sometimes flows over the sides of the boat. Finally, the six goddesses land at the other side of the river.

The goddesses jump out of the boat and gather their belongings. While the red-haired goddess ties the boat to the small dock, the goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice adds the roaring river to her map, naming it Racing Thoughts River. When these tasks are completed, the goddesses turn to see what lies ahead.

As they focus their eyes on the path, there looming very large directly in front of them is a most awesome sight-a mountain whose summit reaches high into the clouds, a mountain whose summit is higher than Mt. Everest’s! Recognizing this mountain as the one she saw in the guidance she received, the goddess who knows about digging takes the lead. Immediately, she reaches into her belonging bag and finds six magical shovels, one for each goddess. These shovels are her gift to her sister goddesses. She tells each goddess to use the shovel to dig through the mountain, following her example. She instructs them to find and collect special stones as they dig. She knows any stones they find will be of great importance once they emerge from the mountain’s dark underworld.

Slowly and carefully, the goddesses dig their way through the mountain. Once again the warrior goddess uses her shield to give them light even while she digs. Her light, although small compared to the immenseness of the mountain’s inner darkness, reveals the precious stones each goddess needs to collect. The work is hard and painstaking. The goddess who has had much experience digging continually shouts out encouraging words, filling the tangible darkness with the light of her words. She knows that digging in darkness requires stamina and courage to face paralyzing fears. But she knows her companions; she trusts in the inner strength she knows each goddess possesses. After several days of digging, the goddesses complete their journey through the mountain. Together they break through the mountain’s other side into the brightness and warmth of the sun, which they have not seen for so many days.

As they emerge from the mountain’s dark interior, the goddesses see a beautiful river flowing down the side of the mountain that ends as water falling into a still pool. Around the pool are many beautiful trees. The goddesses decide to spend the day refreshing themselves, cleansing and readying themselves for the next part of their Quest.

While the other goddesses enjoy the pool, the goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice adds details about their journey through the dark mountain, which she names Mountain of Infinite Fears. As she is working, the goddess with red hair comes up to her laughing. She’s rejoicing because the goddesses have discovered that the pool is filled with warm water, heated by a hidden hot springs high up on the mountain. She convinces the goddess to leave her map making and join the others swimming and frolicking in the pool. The goddesses spend the rest of the day and the night relaxing and resting from their long labors in the mountain. Being wise goddesses, they know that rest is just as important as accomplishing tasks if they want their Quest to be successful.

As the sun rises on the next day, which is the Winter Solstice (an auspicious day, you must admit), the goddesses ready themselves to begin the next part of their Quest. Each is refreshed and rested, their goddess gowns clean and shining. As they start down the path, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace immediately recognizes the landscape from her meditations. Before them lays the path, straight and simple, which is surrounded by a most beautiful meadow of wild grasses and tiny white fragrant flowers. How unusual to see grasses flourishing and flowers blooming in the cold of winter!

Quickly, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace takes the lead. She reaches into her belonging bag and pulls out six sterling silver mirrors. She gives each goddess a mirror with very specific instructions. “You must always look in these mirrors as we walk the path through the meadow. These mirrors have mystical and magical properties. If you concentrate on what you see in the mirror, you will see who you really are and the path before you will be clear. If you focus on the meadow instead of your mirror’s reflection, you will wander off the real path and be forever lost in your illusions about what you think you are!” she explains. She stresses to the goddesses that this part of their journey is very treacherous because the meadow is so beautiful and the fragrance of the flowers so sweet. To avoid looking at the meadow will require each goddess to call on her inner belief in herself and the courage to face those parts of herself that live in her Shadow.

As soon as she is sure that each goddess understands and will follow her instructions, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace starts them on their path through the meadow. While the six goddesses walk on the simple path, the fragrance from the tiny flowers grows ever more intense. The goddesses hear the flowers calling to them with their pleasure-filled scent, “Look at us. We will show you your ‘true’ self. You can trust us and what we show you.”

To dispel the flowers’ attempts to force them from the path, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace reminds each goddess to be brave and look in the mirror of Truth. As different visions of the goddesses appear in their mirrors, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace speaks of the gifts and wisdom that each goddess possesses. She wisely acknowledges their weaknesses as parts of them needing love and acceptance. She retells the story of their Quest, reminding them of the challenges on their journey and how they have overcome every one. Her encouraging voice and strength-building words enable each goddess to keep looking in the mirror of Truth, to keep accepting the marvelous being that she sees in the mirror, no matter what characteristics she sees.

Finally, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace announces that the path is no longer surrounded by the meadow. Each goddess can put down her mirror and observe the beauty of Nature around them. As each goddess surveys the landscape, the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace notices up ahead a unique grove of trees. She joyfully exclaims, “There it is! The grove of trees where the CIRA starlight will shine this very night!”

All of the goddesses run to the edge of the grove. As they arrive, each goddess returns her magic mirror to the goddess whose eyes shine with joy and Grace. She accepts each mirror which now has the true reflection of the goddess who used it. She proclaims, “Beloved Sister Goddesses, tonight, we fulfill our Quest!!”

The goddess who has experience digging tells the goddesses they must ready themselves for tonight’s special ceremony. She instructs the goddesses to choose two stones from the precious stones they each collected in the Mountain of Infinite Fears. In addition to that task, each goddess will meditate to remember and reinforce her vision and intention for the CIRA starlight. The goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice has the additional task of completing the Quest map. She draws the meadow with its wild grasses and tiny white flowers and names it the Meadow of Illusions. Then she draws the grove of trees where the ceremony will soon take place, putting the name she was given in her meditations for this special place, Revelation Grove. The Quest map is finished.

The six goddesses begin their preparations. There are only a few hours until the CIRA star will rise in the sky over the grove of trees. After completing her meditation, each goddess adorns herself with her special ceremonial gown, focuses on her vision for the starlight, and carries in her hands the two stones she selected especially for the ceremony.

As darkness falls softly around them, the six goddess line up to enter Revelation Grove. The goddess who is the wizard’s apprentice is chosen as lead goddess. Gently humming, the goddesses enter the grove and form a circle. Each goddess places one of her precious stones behind her and one before her. In unison they say their special prayer, the prayer they use each time they meet:

As we gather this evening, goddess-to-goddess, I release the pressure and stress of the daily life and enter into a Sacred and Divine communion with each of you. I surrender in this moment that opens up the eternal dimension within me and prepares the way for mystical friendships and partnerships to emerge. I honor the hearts and minds of each of you and support the growth and evolution of your Souls, both professionally and personally. I honor the Light in each of you and will hold you in your highest place. I honor the Wisdom of this union, that is a creation of Love, and I trust its power and strength to lift our lives to the place where we each see it most clearly. I come to this place knowing that I am safe and that we are one.

When they finish their prayer, the six goddesses look up to the heavens. There, just above the tallest tree in Revelation Grove, is the CIRA star. The light from the star streams down and is reflected through each goddess’s precious stones so that before the goddesses is a circle of colorful starlight and behind them is another circle of colorful starlight. As the goddesses are bathed in beautiful light, they hear the voice of the Great Goddess.

“Welcome, my dear goddesses, to the fulfillment of your Quest. I hear your prayers always and understand your visions and intentions for the CIRA starlight. Your souls possess wisdom, generosity, and love. I know for I planted each gift myself. You truly are marvelous beings! Now, my dear ones, I will reveal to you the blessing you have won by completing this amazing Quest.”

The goddesses scarcely breathe as they each wait in anticipation for the blessing they have worked so hard to achieve. The moment stretches on in brilliant silence. Then the Great Goddess speaks:

“Goddesses of the CIRA Quest, look carefully. Do you not see the blessing which is yours? Revisit your journey to this grove and to the star above. In each part of the journey, the light of the CIRA star was already with you, shining on you, revealing your inner beliefs, strengths, wisdom, love, beauty, and vision. Your goal was never this grove where the starlight falls; your goal has always been the discovery of your True Selves individually and collectively. The promised blessing began on the day you decided to make your Quest together and will continue for as long as you accept and respect yourselves first and foremost, then support and respect each other, and finally trust the Love that unites you and all of humanity. My unconditional blessing that includes peace, love, and hope follows you forever. I freely give this blessing to you, asking only that you share my blessing with each other and with everyone you meet. Well done, my dear goddesses.”

A blissful silence fills the grove. The goddesses let all that was said to them by the Great Goddess flood their minds, hearts, souls, and spirits. As they remember their Quest, they recognize the blessings they had throughout their journey. All they had need of during the Quest- whether tools, food, water, abilities, strength, wisdom, knowledge, encouragement, love-had been provided through their individual gifts shared generously with one another. Together, with a unified focus, the goddesses had faced and overcome every challenge. The spiritual growth they had experienced was magnificent.

As they continue to bask in the CIRA starlight, the six goddesses join hands and sing their Quest song with grateful hearts for each other and for the Great Goddess and her magnanimous blessings. Their Quest accomplished, they look to the future with hope, anticipation, and the realization of the mystical and amazing blessing they carry in their souls for now and eternity.

Namaste-May the Light and Love in you bless everyone you meet until we are together again.

Story and artwork copyright © 2003, 2004 Vicky Lynn Macchione