this week's rainbow dreams is brought to you by the Inner Child Tarot, winkies, and divine madness.
being clothed only in one's own skin never mattered if you were on the grounds of the Menstrual Temple. if anything, there were some rites you could not experience unless you were wearing the full and gloriously free beauty of your own skin.
the magical thing about the Funky Grail was that there was no room in it for modesty, or self-consciousness, or even that hateful, wriggling little worm of self-loathing as it criticized every wrinkle and stretch mark, every saggy spot and jiggling lump and scar. something about the Temple would bear no ill thought against the Self. and admittedly, after eating candy calaveras and talking to clouds, drinking rainbows and holding the laughter of the earth in the crude matter of my body, it was impossible to even remember what those things were i hated about this glorious vehicle i'd chosen this time around.
the grass was soft and cool beneath my feet, which had been softened by an Age i spent in the mud learning to leave myself only to find the most magical destination was...mySelf.
instead of continuing to search for the path through the wood which had led me to the valley, i decided to walk the length of it and see where it took me. the sun was warm on my skin and turning it a beautiful golden brown. i could hear birds singing and talking in the trees. when they weren't chattering about the weather, their eggs, or scrubbing around for grubs and beetles, they were squawking variations of, "hey! hey! HEY!" and somewhere in the deadfall was an absent-minded squirrel muttering as it forgot where it had placed a well-stocked cache of nuts.
"do you like the Valley?"
there she was, the pomegranate priestess. the sight of the blood red robes and red tattoos made the scar on my breastbone itch, the one where a half-moon sickle had laid my breast open to the sky. this particular priestess wore her hair loose to her waist with only one narrow braid behind her ear and tied with golden thread. it was adorned with seashells and glass beads, small semi-precious stones carved into shapes like leaves, stars, spirals, and even the sillhouette of the venus of willendorf. a similar piece of jewelry adorned her ankle, complete with bells so her every other step was music. her tattoos sparkled in the sunlight, as if there were glitter, or ground mica, in the ink.
blood red, with a touch of gold.
her palms and the bottoms of her feet were completely inked, and it traced up her feet and hands in what were now familiar patterns of dots and whorls. only these traced up her legs to disappear beneath her robes, and up her arms to her shoulders, and beyond. i could see narrow tendrils of the gold-glittering red ink at the nape of her neck, at the hollow of her throat. one tattoo fell across her brow and beside her right eye, almost like delicate vinework...only those curves were serrated, and at the tip of each was a teardrop-shaped rhinestone.
like drops of blood glistening at the tips of the cruel sickle of the vulture goddess.
never had i seen such intricate tattooing on a pomegranate priestess before. never had i trembled so in the presence of one of them, though well aware of the mortal dance that was any interaction with them. the presence of a pomegranate priestess was blesséd danger. holy risk.
but for all that, where before i would have bowed with respect before speaking, instead i planted my feet firmly and stood tall. "the valley, Lady?" i asked.
she smiled, and i saw approval in those honey-brown eyes. "Valley-in-the-Glade," she replied. "few know to search for it. fewer still find it. none stumble across it unknowingly. the Valley calls whom it calls."
"then i am a denizen?" my palms were sweating the longer i stood in her presence, and it made my grip on the vial of springwater unsure. i kept twirling it in my hand, working it like a worry stone.
"all are denizens of the Valley," was the reply. "it's a simple matter of acceptance."
"and what is it i have acc--"
"your wounds are healed, then? you choose to use your gifts rather than be nourishment for those who would not waste their talents?" those brown eyes glittered like the rhinestones on her face. it was a challenge, i knew, and a threat if i gave the wrong answer.
She giveth, and She taketh away.
i let my own eyes glitter. "i am of Those Who Bleed But Do Not Die. i bleed to nourish others, i leave a river of blood as a path to guide others into wisdom. i bleed to remember what it is to be human, to always relate to All That Is. if others wish to devour me for their own ends..." i gave her my best feral smile, "let them come take me."
she raised a brow at me, but there was approval in how she held her head, in the set of her shoulders. "you once allowed all others before you. you sacrificed your Self, your Selflove, and even began to do their work for them. you said it was your place, that you did it out of love. what such Love is so twisted you would throw yourself away and deny yourself happiness? what sort of god allows such precious children to create such misery in their souls in the hope of a later joy? it seems to me a lifetime of sorrow does little to equip a soul to handle the undiluted Joyful Funk that is Oneness with Her."
i laughed at her challenge. "such a soul wouldn't begin to know how. such a soul would shy away from it. only a soul who knows she has a right to such happiness would even be willing to reach out and take hold of it. but such a one must first Know their importance and sacredness as a shining being."
she laughed at me. "and you think you are such a one?"
in one swift move, i snatched her sickle from the loop on her woven belt and cut a length of her robe. her eyes never so much as flickered as i did this, nor did her unreadable expression grow any clearer as i wound that length of blood red, billowing fabric around my head and let the rest of it trail down my back. i handed her back the sickle.
"i know i am," i said.
and then my breath caught in my throat as she bowed to me, palms pressed together, fingertips resting just beneath her chin. "welcome, sister," she purred. then she straightened, took my head in her hands and kissed my forehead, my eyelids, and my lips.
"the journey is now truly begun," she said. "most do not come this far...
...most do not survive it."