Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
Seeking Ana, Our Mother Goddess
(Originally published in Ripples, Fall Equinox 1995)
Darkness hung heavy in the cloudless sky as night breezes pushed ripples across the black surface. It began during the hour of silence before the first light, before the first birds awakened to herald the late spring dawn. Nestled in little clusters of houses that crowd the shore, the residents slept peacefully unaware as the crunch of gravel revealed three vehicles sliding into the parking lot.
Emerging, a small crowd moved to the shore beneath the oaks. An ordinary lot at first glance but different somehow. The informed eye picks out an earring here, a necklace there, telltale signs that children of the Earth, pagans, had arrived. After some quiet talk some returned to unload a hand-made canoe and send it gliding silently into the night.
This was not their first visit to this place. Scouting groups of two or three had frequented the area for weeks before, sitting on the shore or roaming through the woods, searching, planning, communing. A week prior to this night a number came to sit and meditate on the shore. Barely noticed by those roaring by in boats.
These people came to make contact. They respectfully gazed out into the blue and searched within themselves for images and voices. Occasionally one would stand to drop a bit of silver or stone into the water. Another bent to touch the water and reverently anointed her brow. And make contact they did. Many images and sounds were reported as one was moved to tears by the power and peacefulness of the spirit of the lake. With fond last looks out upon the water they left to plan their return.
Out in the darkness the canoe made a gentle arc to glide back to the shore. A young man joined the first in the boat as the small crowd sat in quiet contemplation. With him came a basket filled with objects that each had given. All eyes followed as their humble treasure of jewelry and stone was paddled out to the deepest part of the lake.
Nearing the spot, the canoe slowed and turned to face the shore where the small party began to concentrate more earnestly upon the task. They reached deeply within and called to the lady of the lake. They asked that she accept the gifts that they had given and searched within for her touch. The young man lifted the basket out over the water as he spoke to the lake.
It began as the faintest shudder; the man thought that his companion in the boat was merely chilled by the night air. But as he spoke the shudder grew to strong tremors, violently shaking the small craft as he opened his hand. His companion felt nothing but a gentle breeze as the basket drifted out of sight, sinking into the black depth.
The canoe slowly returned to the shore as the men became suddenly aware of the huge presence waiting silently beneath them, awed by the its feeling of consciousness. Stopping briefly at the shore they again turned to the center with a large blue glass bowl as light began to gather on the horizon.
Again the small band on the shore began to concentrate along with the men in the boat. They asked the lady to grant a gift in return, a portion of her healing waters, charged with otherworldly power for healing and blessings. The man held the bowl in the water for a moment and then with a scooping motion lifted it from the lake.
When the canoe again reached the shore the bowl of water was handed to one of the young women in the crowd. She turned and led the way to the top of an oak covered rise. She took up a position with a clear view of the sunrise. They all stood in silence, facing the brilliant red sky as she raised the bowl before her. The huge orb of the Beltaine sun rose above the horizon, its first rays captured in the bowl of water, energizing and fertilizing its powers.
They stood in silence until the sun had cleared the hill to begin his vault into the sky. Turning to each other they hugged and talked of their experience. She had spoken strongly to them again, repeating the same images and sounds as before. She told them that her name was Ana and she appeared to them as a young and gentle Native American woman. She had accepted their gifts and was pleased but remained skeptical of their promises to honor and protect her land, preferring to see what time would tell.
When all was complete they returned to the vehicles, packed the canoe and drove away, returning to their sacred place in the forest. They left no mark of their passing and were soon forgotten by those who saw the strangers at dawn. The motor boats and jet-skis again flashed across her surface noisily unaware of the spirit below. She remains there still, watching and waiting for the return of her newly adopted children.