Evocations of the Sabbats

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Litha: On the Plane of the Sun

by Melanie Fire Salamander

You wake up.  You lie on your back, naked, in a hollow among grass and wildflowers.  The sun hangs directly above you, in a clear blue bowl of sky paled with heat.  You are alone. 

You sit up, look around.  The grass is tall, almost on a level with your head.  Raising your head, you look over the tops of the grass.  There is no one around at all, only humming bees crawling among the wildflowers, grasshoppers, beetles, ants.  A white butterfly flits by your nose, and away. 

A wind rises, sweeping over the tops of the grasses, which bow before it; the whole field waves like the ocean, pale then dark then pale again.  The green smell of grass, the sweet smell of nameless flowers come to you.  You stand, brushing yourself off. 

The field stretches in all directions.  To your left lies a low blue- grey line of mountains, far away.  To the right, a few hundred yards away, stands a coppice, a few low trees.  The wind rises again, smoothing your body.  You don't feel ashamed of your nakedness; it feels liberating to stand basking in the sun.  Your limbs feel smooth, shining with light, free. 

Ahead of you, you notice a swath of white-gold rays of sun falling to earth.  They radiate brightness; you shade your eyes, It seems strange you can see them; there is no cloud or mist to define them; they define themselves, as if they were somehow more solid than light ordinarily is.  You walk toward them, wondering at them. 

As you close on them, they pour out heat, and a low buzzing sound that rises and falls.  They seem a little dangerous, their sound like raw electricity.  But they stand still, and they grow clearer as you near them, as if the light were solid. 

As you come nearer still, it's almost impossible to discern anything in the brightness; you have to squint to see.  But against the glare you discern forms like stairs in the center ray, defined in light. 

You come up to the rays of light and put your hand forward wonderingly.  Though your fingers seem to pass into the light, you cannot see to the other side, and your fingers come to a solid object, a step that feels like warm smooth stone.  You feel forward with both hands and find the steps are broad, perhaps three feet across, and neither tall nor shallow.  Standing again, you tentatively bring forward one foot, mount the first stair, then the next, then the next. 

Fear comes over you.  Is this possible?  Are you supposed to do this?  You hang a few feet above the earth, level with the tops of the grass.  You squint at your feet: they look solid, and below them is shining ivory light. 

This is strange.  But you feel you are meant to go ahead. 

You mount the stairs.  Going upward, soon you feel as if you've been climbing a long time, but you don't feel tired.  The steps are unnaturally easy to climb; if you'd climbed any usual staircase of such height you'd feel tired.  You wonder when they will end. 

You look to the side; you are high above the earth, as in an airplane.  You cannot see directly below, but off to the side fields lie checkerboard on the earth below, yellow-green and dark green, clumps of trees uneven blots.  Fear whispers to you; you look forward, toward the shining stairs, not to feel vertigo. 

Then your feet come to a flat space, a landing.  You go forward, eyes squinting, into brilliant ivory-white light.  You begin to discern things.  Black and white marble tiles in checker pattern make up the floor, and standing ahead is a figure, tall, golden.  You walk forward toward it. 

It's a man, naked, very tall, skin and all hair including his eyelashes golden, as if he'd been entirely gilt.  His hair flows down past his shoulders; he has a full mustache and beard.  Only his eyes aren't gold, their irises black on white.  They give the impression of inlay work, as if he were a statue, but he is breathing; you feel he is alive. 

"Hello," he says, in a bass voice.  "You are on the plane of the sun." 

"I'm on the sun?"  you ask.  You know that if you stood on the surface of the sun you'd vaporize instantly. 

"No.  On the plane of the sun.  It is midsummer, the time of the sun's height."  You nod.  "Here all is warmth and heat and light."  You nod again. 

"Take my hands," he says.  "Feel the sun."  You put your hands forward, into his gilded palms, which dwarf yours.  You feel calluses, but this sensation is swept away; from his hands comes incredible light and heat, but somehow insubstantial; it does not burn you.  You feel ultimate sky energy, the energy that pulses through the universe, the conversation of the stars: burning, sustaining.  You see the image of the sun, a star among stars; you feel light pour through you, the radiance of the universe, impersonal, made of spirit, always burning, pouring forth light. 

You still hold his hands as he speaks: "You see the sun is a star set in the dark and cold of space.  The image of the sun in space is the image of night, stars on the sky of night.  It depends on how close you are, and whether your face is turned to the sun, whether you see light or darkness.  Both always exist.  Both require the other to exist.  You see?" 

Silence.  In it, you hear a burning, crackling, humming sound, the same you had heard on the stairs.  "It is all energy.  You are learning this."  You nod, speechless. 

"Now I will send you back."  Ivory light fills your vision; you shut your eyes.  Your mind is filled with light.  You have the sensation of floating downward by stages, like a feather falling.  Around you strongly you hear the buzzing sound of the light.  Then it retreats.  Grasses brush your face, torso, legs; you land gently on the earth. 

You open your eyes.  You lie again in the hollow in the grass, clothes folded neatly beside you.  You realize now where you are. 

In your mind echoes a memory of ivory-white light. 


Copyright (c) 1995-2009 by Melanie Fire Salamander

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