Saturday, March 5, 2016

The 2nd edition of Fairy Godmothers of The Four Directions is underway and will be at the formatters very soon. We strive for the very best for our fans and readers. Thank you.
2nd Edition Sample Chapter
Chapter Fourteen

The Metaphysics of a Slippery Slope

The next morning the house was still. Alone again, longing for Blackie, Cinderella found a note on the table. The Fairy Godmother asked her to pick out a staff from wood stacked in the corner.

The note said: “Cinderella, in the world of Fairy Godmothers, a staff is both a mystical and utilitarian tool. You may use it for balance or defense. More importantly a Fairy Godmother’s staff is a reflection of personal authority. Draw or carve symbols specific to your version of beauty, your understanding of power and dreaming.”

Cinderella sipped hot tea and read on.

For example, your first symbol might be roses. A flower’s beauty is important to you for many reasons. Time spent gardening with your mother. Roses reflect this connection. Draw or paint a rose on your staff. What are the other symbols of your love and purpose Cinderella? Will you follow your mother’s path as a healer?”

Pouring tea Cinderella murmured, “I will be honored to follow mother’s path as a healer.” She sat and dipped a spoon into yogurt and oats blended with dried fruit. Licking the spoon she said, “I’d like to learn more. How do we heal the mind and heart? Where does spirit interface with the body? Is it in the central nervous system? Does ceremonial intent translate into our bodies, minds and hearts through the central nervous system? Can we refine these dimensions with prayer and ceremony?

How do we sever our ties with what’s detrimental to us and enhance our ties with what creates well-being? These are the questions I need to answer to become a healer.”

She picked up the Fairy Godmother’s note finishing the last sentence.

Today you will cross the mountain pass. It is a treacherous trail. Stay alert. Drink water. I send you blessings on your quest.”

Cinderella searched the staffs with a clatter of wood. One staff when her hand tightened around the circumference made a great cracking noise followed by a flash of light. Radiance filled the cabin. Intensity so brilliant Cinderella squeezed her eyes shut. Her grip melded to the stick now the weight of heavy iron. Her legs gave out. She tumbled to the floor. Every cell vibrated with the enormity, the unfathomable echoes of light, reverberating through her.

It was too much. It was too much to bear the weight of the light, and the darkness in its wake. Cinderella fainted into a place of great balance. Standing at the threshold of spirit, where substance and spirit meet. Bits and particles of light dancing around her staff, light as a feather, floated in front of her.

Reaching, her trembling hand encircled the wood. She felt a rush of inexplicable joy and she was explosively propelled into her body. Pinned down on the pine floor by the ironwood weight of the staff, aching and stiff, Cinderella felt an unquenchable thirst. Light had parched every cell. Pushing the great burden off her chest the staff clattered and rolled across the floor. She ran to the sink. Water flowed down her throat. Cool and sweet.

Afraid of what the staff might do next. Wondering if it was dangerous, she gingerly placed it by the door with her pack and hat. She washed the dishes, made the bed and swept the floor. Looking around with satisfaction at the cheerful cottage Cinderella gathered her equipment. The magical staff, now as light as a feather, masqueraded as a walking stick. 

Pulling on her pack she cried out in surprise. Muscles across her shoulders, the blades where angel wings grow, burned with the ethereal fire of her staff.

With her hand on the door knob she paused. She ran back to the kitchen and drank an extra glass of water. Her eye fell on a pencil. Swiftly sketching a rose twining around the stalk of her staff she tucked the pencil in a pocket. With a prayer of thanks she opened the blue door and stepped out into the sunny day.

She was at a loss to explain what happened when she put her hands on her staff. That she was transfigured in the light she knew. “What does it mean?” She had no idea. While the experience happened in the blink of an eye, she consoled herself, “some things just take time to understand.”

Did she vibrate now at the frequency of joy? Her face softened. Lips lifted, her eyes sparkled. Beauty flowed out of her. Of course she had no idea. Following the trail behind the house led to another series of stone steps carved into the mountain. Her legs recovering from the strain of yesterday’s hike had no stuffing in them. She felt light and free. It wasn’t her legs propelling her up these mountain stairs. It was her lightness of spirit. She floated on the residual glow of light.

Stairs gave way to shale and dirty snow. Cinderella was grateful for the hat shading the glare of sun glinting off snow. The staff gave her support yet her knee strained against the exertion. When she came to the edge of a glacier she stuttered to a stop. Her gaze fell across the vast expanse lost in the white hot wilderness.

Reflected heat from the sun poured off the glacier; a horizontal wall of ice, a sea of endless blue white. Sugary snow blew in drifts. The drifts magnetized into bristly ice spikes. Heart pounding she took a tentative step onto the glacier. Had she ever felt so terrified and alone? The layer of ice under the thin layer of snow made navigation slow and treacherous.

Going back was not an option. Slipping and sliding Cinderella fought her way around the spikes. She circumnavigated the stalagmites of snow, to the far corner where shale met forming a ninety degree angle. It was the only avenue to continue her climb. Her mouth was dry and gritty. She licked chapped lips. Arms and legs screaming with oxygen deprivation at the higher altitudes grew heavy and clumsy. Could this be where she was meant to go? It seemed far too dangerous.

She would give anything to be in her mother’s garden pruning and weeding. She’d rather be washing dishes for her stepmother than climb this crevasse. Looking for hand holds she realized her staff would be the best support available. Freeing her water bottle with shaky hands she drank. In the blink of an eye her mouth was filled with the cotton of dehydration.

Wedged into the crevasse she began climbing slippery shale. Walking under a lip of granite hung with icicles as thick as a tree she reached out to touch one. A thunderous pounding, was her only warning followed by tons of granite and ice, poured off the mountain. She threw herself deep into the ledge slamming her face into the granite wall seeking safety. Blood poured from her nose and lip. She cowered in corner where the ledge met the mountain. Avalanches go quickly, but Cinderella continued to shake glued to her corner.

Icicles fell with a thud and the tinkling of a crystal chandelier. Cinderella shuddered. The mountains of her childhood had gone from playground to killing fields. Her heart hammered. Blood miraculously for high altitude, clotted her split lip.

She felt confused. Even the clearest directions would be hard to follow. Part of her wanted to sit down. Wait for the aching cold to transform into drowsy warmth. Surrounded by miles of snow and ice, she was ravenous for water. She finished her first bottle and packed it with fresh snow. Pulling her hat with the flopping brim firmly down to shade her eyes she continued walking the steep incline, disoriented each step herky-jerky.

The glacier, a sea of pearlescent whiteness dazzled her in its glare. Sliding in the freshly fallen sugary snow the inevitable happen. Her foot, weakened in the previous day’s fall, slipped. Arms waving, her staff clattered off the mountain’s edge. Eyes following the staff’s trajectory Cinderella’s body followed. Sailing off the mountain into blue sky and white snow, her stomach twisted with instant nausea. Her weakened ankle threw her flat.

She slid to a stop.

Cinderella felt hysteria bubbling up. Rolling over she lay on her back looking up at the blue sky laughter surged from her like a river. Surrounded by water she could smell and taste, without a drop to drink. The situation seemed both comical and absurd. In the background the frontal lobe part of her brain told her she was in grave danger. A curtain had come down shielding that part of her mind. Although she heard its faint alarm she was disconnected from its urgency. She could only feel the vast expanse of mountain wilderness pressing against her soul. She was awed but permeated with a feeling of doom.

She did a quick mental scan. She didn’t seem to be leaking any fluids. She felt a stark craving for Blackie’s presence. Shifting her pack she took a cleansing breath. She would rest. She would pause. Inhale and exhale intentional rest. She was alone, isolated on an endless glacier of blue white snow.

She had to figure out a way to care for herself and to combat the feelings of doom. In a wilderness beyond her comprehension no words described the massive desolation pressing on her. And yet the endless blue sky, just beginning to build thunder clouds, the unremitting white glacier were stark with a beauty that seared across the hard wiring of the amygdale transporting her from terror into serenity.

How was this possible?

She was irrevocably alone in this moment; dependent completely on her own resources. Was this the lesson of the North? To be an adult is to be thrown onto your personal capacities. To find and carve out a path stamped with a singular identity? But did anyone really have a personal identity? Weren’t people in-part a product of interactions with others?

Here in the land of adult, at the mercy of her own resources, the terrain was both sacred and menacing. The air was charged with the mountain’s enormous spirit. The moment required simple acts. Her survival depended on her ability, surrounded by unfathomable amounts of spirit, to take the right action.

She rolled onto her side. Just one more quiet breath and she would get up and find her way out, beyond this glacier. Pushing with her hands she sat up. Her ankle and knee throbbed. Rummaging in her pack she found the whisper thin cashmere scarf. Then she realized. She couldn’t take off her shoe in this cold. She could be bitten by the frost.

Her staff was not far. Cinderella crawled on her hands and knees to collect the piece of wood her survival now depended on. She took out her second bottle of water and drank. Drinking mechanically knowing it wouldn’t resolve her thirst. Only finding her way off the mountain would take care of her craving for water.

Hauling herself up to standing by climbing her staff hand over hand, Cinderella stood. She stilled the wobble. What next? Surrounded in uniform whiteness which way was North? Disoriented, now her heart began to thunder. Her lip throbbed. Her ankle ached. She was going to have to find the quickest way to safety. Which way was safety? She couldn’t stand here in indecision. Yet her feet were rooted to the spot. She wanted to run in every direction at once. She longed to run in circles yet stood paralyzed. The mountain’s spirit, the unseen force, was holding her still. She wasn’t frozen. She was gripped, owned, by the mountain. A speck within its vast unknown, was this a lover’s embrace or death?

Standing, caught, in the spell; a great wash of transcendent fire, inscribed this immeasurable, pristine wilderness of whiteness on the bones of her soul. In a roar of jubilation Cinderella’s soul and spirit were one. Soaring in the freedom of this union she had a passing thought. “Didn’t the Fairy Godmother of the West give me a compass?”

Back in the confines of her body she ached with cold. It was a bone chilling misery. A misery she was never happier to feel. Pulling on her extra mittens and alpaca hat she stamped the snow off her boots. She didn’t notice her ankle and knee no longer hurt.

Pulling out the compass she began walking North. The mountain stole her hunger to feed its soul walking in the unending whiteness.

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