She strayed too far from the beaten path through undiscovered woods, naively forgetting the dangers of wandering. It happened in cycles, but her brain blocked it out in self-protection. She can't turn back now. She had to follow the road to where it bends in the twilight.
The only light from the stars above. Even the moon was in its dark phase. Not even an ominous sliver of opal in the dark obsidian of the sky. Though she could feel that the moon was still there, its gravitational pull, causing a deep ache like the quickening of a womb, the banishment of this celestial object from the light of the sun, congruent with her impending dislocation from the world of the living.
The doom arrived, unsolicited, as the ground ripped open beneath her and she started slipping through the arms of her life as she had known it. Fated on this night of the dead. Precipitated by shock. The cruelty of reality. Loss, shame, grief, despair. She started to feel the descent, transcending the limits of her ordinary senses. Dragged down through the trapdoor of her doubt and disappointment. Clammy hands of fear, frisking her as she felt the drop. She landed in dirt; the air felt as cold as the ground. A screech owl bellowed from below. The laws of physics now bent with the fragility of her sanity.
She just knew in her bones now that the moment was grave. She had slipped too far to return, at least without the trauma of transformation. She just knew she was in the realm of another world.
A chthonic dimension, female in nature.
Here lives the soul of the grandmother, the one with infinite names; Baba Yaga, La Santa de Muerte, Lady Death, Hecate, Louhi, Erishkegal, the Cailleach. Kali, the ancient one. The crone. Snatched away from her mother. But now this was home. She sat quietly at the crossroads. She just knew that the comfort of her old life, its familiar terrain, had been brutally stripped away. She no longer knew the shape of what was yet to come. She waited. She was waiting for the wisdom of the one with a hundred faces. She heard the howl of a wolf nearby, but knew it was not what would ultimately devour her.
The agony of her waiting was met with reflection as she sorted through distant, yet vibrant memories and tentatively licked at grapefruit flavoured truths. What did she want? What could she no longer bear? What would she want to go back for? What would she have to release? Visions took shape in what felt like the waking from a dream in R.E.M. sleep. Something emerged in her mind’s eye and then it drifted back. Formless again.
Gradually, she took comfort once more in the familiarity of being neither here nor there, now nor then, awake nor sleeping, alive nor dead. She dangled on the precipice between past and future. Peeked through the portal between her descendants and ancestors. She just knew that the veil was at its slightest. She palpably felt her wounds reopen, just enough to let some light in.
Then in a sudden flush her amnesia lifted, and she remembered how she first got here. A flashback told her of how her innocence was ripped away. All trust in goodness dissolved by the knowledge of evil. It all came back. The blackened nails of Hades scraped at the epithelial layers of her innards. The delicate linings of her sacred chambers. The softened edges of her shame. She had choked on the smegma of his sin. She blamed herself. She allowed him to debase her. It was all her fault for being attracted to the beauty of flowers.
Her heart had broken for all she had to leave behind. As the old one appeared from out of a bush of thorns, she offered her a half a pomegranate. Its rubine juices seeping out from the sweet jewels it contained. Her inner voice told her to eat of the fruit of death, which is also life. She just knew to eat just nine seeds, the power of three squared, the number of endings. She indulged in their bittersweet taste as it lingered on her burning tongue. It imparted to her the divine knowledge that there is a little death in life and a little life in death. The hag cackled but gave her a penetrating gaze. No words were spoken but the old one pointed with a gnarly finger to one of three roads and Persephone just knew she had the freedom to choose which realm she wanted to visit.
She was no longer trapped. Not frightened anymore. For now, she was queen of the Underworld. Not even Hades himself was more powerful. She could withstand more pain than he could even imagine. It made her stronger. She could now bear to look upon his face. She could dig even deeper than he. For this dark place was a part of her now. And she remembered that it always was. She is not separate. Her love is more powerful than his cruelty. She is connected to all things. She is forever sitting on the threshold and this is a gift as well as a curse. She can decide to stay and rule her domain. Or she can choose to return to the surface whenever her soul decides it is time, through the cracks of her open heart.
Leanne Webber is a mother of two children, three cats and a kitten. Her poetry and prose are inspired by the esoteric and working with trauma in various roles. Leanne has a degree in psychology, and five years’ training and clinical experience as a gestalt psychotherapist. She now works as a senior children’s advocate, a rape crisis worker, and an intuitive guide and cartomancer. Leanne also writes moon energy forecasts. She identifies as a solitary eclectic witch and an oracular poet.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.