Light a candle and close your eyes. Be aware of the flame within you, burning at the edge of the void, and be aware of the candle flame before you. With your inner vision, you look at the candle flame and it grows into a column of fire. The fire is inviting and you edge closer to it.
The closer you get, the more you wish to step into the fire. The urge becomes uncontrollable and you step boldly into the flames. The flames are not hot; rather they cool and refresh you. You find yourself cleansed and regenerated by the flames. A voice urges you to step through the flames and as you step forward, the flames fall away.
You find yourself in the convocation of Priests and Priestesses; the timeless communion of consciousness at the edge of the void. The hall is filled with priestesses and priests from all worlds, all times and all beliefs; together they circle the central flame.
Circle with them, find a peace and sense of belonging you have not felt before. As you circle, a horn sounds and all the assembled company turn to the east. You turn also and watch as the beautiful gates to the east swing open and the guardians on either side step down. A sound comes from the east and you strain to hear. The sound of weeping and despair drifts out through the gate and your heart lurches.
You are called to pass through the east gate with the others assembled. Stepping over the threshold you find yourself in an old stone and wood church with a high roof. You emerge from behind an altar and to your left is a man kneeling on the floor before a painting. He is holding paintbrushes in his hand and he is weeping.
Approaching the man, you begin to get a sense of why he is weeping. The sense of frustration is all around him and you watch as he battles with his inability to paint the immense beauty that is in his heart. He is painting a sacred image of the mother: her power is within him, burning through him, and yet he finds that no human can paint her grace. The frustration and despair eat at him as he struggles with the sacred task to which he was appointed.
Looking at the painting, you see the face of a beautiful woman, her skin dark and her eyes full of compassion. You see no reason for the man's frustration, as the image looks perfect to you.
Exhausted, the man falls asleep at the feet of the near completed painting. Some power from the east asks you to stand behind the painting and place your hands upon the canvas. Upon doing so you feel the hands of many descend upon your shoulders. The weight of the many hands is heavy as you try hard to stay upright.
The power sensation increases until you begin to feel a power reaching through you. The sensation gets stronger and stronger until you feel that you would not be able to bear it any more. Just as you feel that your body is about to collapse, a shift within you happens and you feel something reach through you.
A power of stillness and compassion moves through you and without thinking you reach down and touch the forehead of the sleeping man. Something passes through you and into him and you watch as he smiles in his sleep.
The power builds within you again and you place your hands on the canvas once again. This time, you recognize the power as it flows through you into the painting. The power of the Mother flows through you and into the painting. She looks through your eyes at the world around her. She sees the wars, famine, hatred, bitterness and anger as men war against men.
She sees children abandoned and going hungry. She watches as people turn away from her, denying her and cursing her. The sorrow builds up within her as a mother watches her children turn upon her and turn away from her. And yet her love for her children remains unbowed. Her compassion for them in their suffering flows from her and her sadness is held in her heart.
As any mother does, she reaches out to join in their suffering. She does not take it away from them, for she understands their need to grow and learn. But as in true compassion, she keeps vigil with their self-inflicted pain and takes some of the experience upon herself.
In her pain and anguish the Mother reaches her hands to her face, shielding her sorrow from her children. And yet, as she removes her hands, slashes of blood appear on her face: her sign to her children that she joins with their sorrow and pain.
The emotion is too much for any one human to experience and you pull your hands away from the painting. The disconnection changes the energy within the room and the shift awakens the man from his sleep. He looks up and sees the slashes of blood upon the face of the Madonna. Astonished, he looks around and then down at his hands. There is no red paint anywhere.
He touches the painting gently and tastes the red. Blood touches his lips. The man falls to his knees in worship as the eyes of compassion look down upon him from the painting.
A door opens at the far end of the church and priests file in for the early prayers of the day. You withdraw quickly back through the east gate and find yourself back in the convocation of Priests and Priestesses, standing before the central flame with the east gate at your back.
All of the assembled company is still, their eyes focused on the central flame. From within the flame steps a female, her inner light so bright it is impossible to make out any features. As she steps away from the flame you see that she wears a cloak of blue with many stars. Walking towards you, she opens her cloak.
You stand transfixed before her as she reveals the void within her. She stands holding her cloak open and you see the void, the emptiness, with all beings streaming out into manifestation. Her hair connects to each being as they pass out into the world and her eyes follow them wherever they go.
It is at that point that you feel a hair from her connected to your heart and you feel the love of the Mother flowing constantly to you. You realize that it has always been there, but that you had forgotten it.
She reaches out and touches you on the forehead and you fall forward into the flames. The flames burn away your blindness and you begin to see all the times in your life when the Mother has been there, watching, guiding, and keeping vigil with you.
At that point you pass out of the flames, back into the room where you first started. You remember what you have seen and experienced and you remember the hair connected to you from the Mother. When you are ready, you open your eyes and look at the central candleflame.
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