Experienced and written by Āgiknos
Everyone is always looking for something. When it comes to our beliefs, we are always reaching out for something concrete and solid, sometimes desperately. Sometimes we wander, looking but not finding, all the while we are being called and we do not hear.
The following is a recounting of personal experiences that I have had during my journey into Celtic Polytheism, specifically into Senobessus Bolgon. The Fierce One is very real to me, and I believe her to be a Scâxslâ sent to “guide me”. We often seek signs from the Gods, listen for affirmations in the wind, and look to the heavens for answers. For me, what I have written below was revealed to me over several weeks during my initial hearth cult rituals and through several dreams. I have since written them into a cohesive storyline for ease of understanding.
The path and answers I was always looking for were right at my feet. More often than not, what we seek is right there. We just don’t listen closely and look through the eyes of one who is ready to learn. If you are looking for the way, stop, close your eyes and listen. The path you seek is already laid before you.
The Way Ahead
The man had been lost.
The man had been lost in a dark wood, and his path had not been known to him.
He was a wanderer.
Onward he walked, seeking his path but not finding it.
Until one day, in a moment of clarity, he realized the Gods and Spirits had been calling to him. They had called him into this wood. It was no longer dark and he could see around the forest. He began to take heart.
He stopped and prepared an offering to the Gods in profound thanks, building a small fire and preparing that which he was to give.
It was at that moment The Fierce One, the Daughter of the Forest, looked to him from behind a great oak tree.
“I see you,” the Scâxslâ whispered to the man.
Her yellow eyes, like those of a wolf, glowed in the firelight. Her fangs, like those of a wolf, glistened. But the man was not afraid.
“And I see you,” the man said back.
The Scâxslâ hissed and bared her fangs, but the man was not afraid. She disappeared into the dark wood.
The man knew right away he was to follow. The man knew that the path he was searching for had always been under his feet. The path was the one he made even if he was not sure where it might lead.
He no longer wandered.
The man no longer felt lost.
The man followed the Daughter of the Forest through the misty, dark wood. He began to hear voices in the forest as he went deeper. They seemed to be whispering and laughing at him. The man could see no one else. As the man walked on, the laughing grew more incessant. He began to hear words clearly, carried to him on the wind.
Failure. Unlucky. Lost. Insignificant.
After travelling for some time listening to the voices grow in volume, he came into a large clearing where a small fire burned. The air was so still. It was so dark, yet the voices swirled around him like a storm.
His mind was a tempest of emotion. He felt like it was all wrong. He recognized the voices. Some were friends. Some, family. Were they right? Was he lost still? Had he failed? Was he truly unlucky and insignificant?
The Fierce One was there. Waiting. Watching from just outside the edge of light from the fire.
Next to the fire, was a cup. The man knew it was for him. Calmly, he walked to it.
The voices screamed for him to stop. He could feel their words, arrows to his soul, wearing down his resolve and will to continue.
The cup was empty. He felt defeated, drained. He yearned for a cool drink of water…he yearned for the voices to stop, for the fear and doubt to subside. The man hesitated, his mind screaming at him to set the cup down.
His heart won over in a flash of anger. Despite the fear and doubt, he raised the cup to his lips and drank.
The voices died away in an instant. The air was still again. Quiet.
The Fierce One smiled as blood ran down the man’s chin. He felt refreshed.
“Those that would have conquered you, are now conquered,” said a whispered voice in his mind. The Fierce One, one hand on the trunk of an old oak walked slowly around and peered towards the man.
“You must conquer those who would see you fall, who do not believe,” the voice whispered. “They empty your cup, always. Their negativity and empty words will drain your soul. It is up to you and you alone to fill it back up.” and then she was gone.
The man walked further on. Time seemed to have stopped. It had no meaning anymore to the man. He did not hunger for food, nor thirst for drink. Rather, the man hungered for insight and thirsted for knowledge.
After some time, the man came to a river. It was narrow, shallow and flowing smoothly. The man could see the bottom clearly. He prepared to cross it, but sleep overtook him.
The man stared in wonder. The river was no longer idyllic and calm, rather a raging tempest of frothing waves and debris. The clear water was a muddy yellow-brown. The man was afraid. He could see The Fierce One on the far bank, waiting. He knew that to swim was certain death, but swim he must. His mind and body screamed for him to turn around. The fear was palpable, a lump in his throat. It gnawed at his belly, just as the Morodrîx gnaws at the roots of Drus.
He paced along the bank. One breath. Two breaths. He knew he had to swim. Three breaths.
The man jumped. The waves rolled him, pulled him under. He gasped, struggling against the vicious flow of water. He felt himself being pulled away. He could feel death. Yet the man struggled, pulling against the rushing water, pulling even when he felt hope was lost.
He woke on the far bank, exhausted and soaked through and through. The Fierce One was waiting. He looked back at the River. It was calm and running clear. “You have conquered that which would have conquered you,” she said. “It is so that your fear may be irrational. It may make you run away and rob you of your fighting spirit. You must face your fear and pass the impassable to truly be on your path.” And then she was gone again, moving further still into the dark wood.
He followed. His steps became innumerable, his direction always forward even if his destination was unknown to him. His steps became more determined. There was a cold fire in his stomach, a new desire. Eventually, he came to a clearing.
There was another small fire, and next to it, another man. The figure at the fire stood up as the man walked into the clearing, and turned to face him.
The man from the fire drew his sword, and lunged.
The man could not believe what he was seeing. Was he attacking-or being attacked-by himself? He rolled away from another thrust, the man from the fire disciplined and accurate with his sword work. The man was able to draw his own sword and parry another thrust from-himself? Who was attacking who? Was this a dream?
The ring of the steel seemed real enough. The stress of a sudden attack, his racing heart, the desperation in his eyes…
Finally, he locked swords with the man from the fire. He stared into the eyes of…himself? A sudden head butt, and he dropped right alongside the man from the fire. He closed his eyes. The world went dark.
The man groaned. He was exhausted, beyond spent, but he felt free.
He woke with a start, rolled over grabbing his sword, and found himself alone with the Scâxslâ in the clearing.
“It is never easy to get to the end. You will be tested by those you trust and love, and by those who do not know you. Empty, painful words and deeds will drain your soul. You must first conquer those that would see you fall. You must fill your own cup.”
The Scâxslâ took another step towards the darkness of the Forest, but continued: “Your fears will rob you of your ability and desire to become MORE than what you are right now. Your fears will rob you of your future if you let them. You must conquer your fears to live in the here and pursue life in the now.”
The Scâxslâ took yet another step back into the deep shadows.
“You are your greatest enemy, and most capable ally. To conquer oneself is to gain the world through discipline and confidence. You will be that which makes you fail or succeed. Conquer the naysayers. Conquer your fears. Conquer yourself. Ambuidibiie natriken: Beware the Serpent that would pull you into chaos. And then, when this is done, you will be on the path that the Gods wish you to pursue.”
And then with that, the Scâxslâ, The Fierce One, was gone, leaving the man to contemplate the words he needed to hear to live this life as his Ancestors would have him live it.
Ambuidibiie natriken. The world is mine to conquer.