Quiet tears rim the eyes of the slim figure, back-lit by a honey coloured moon that hovers over wine-dark seas, it’s light flaring across the path its reflection makes and climbing in through the creeper framed tower wind eye. The glamorous light also picks out a brace of looms and whalebone chairs in the floor’s centre.
A second source of light grows brighter. This light is warmer, the scent of resin and burning herbs fills the heavy night air. Above the fire is a cauldron, hanging by a thin chain from a tripod. There is little smoke. This is a witch-fire. A strong enchantment is being prepared. There is much to be asked for; and it must be done well; done without fear. In all honesty.
She is humming, chanting, hair crackling with otherworld energy now.
Clear words leave her mouth, though her lips are still and closed.
“I look to you my spellcaster pot to right the wrongs that I may have done, may have caused.
I look to you now, though I have been guilty of neglecting you, preferring rather to tarry with loom and thread … in the hope that you can balance what needs to be done with what is just, humble and seemly.
For I have offended the High Gods by plain speaking; and cannot believe that that can be wrong, or that I will be allowed peace when tomorrow is closed by the sinking of Apollo’s carriage.
The fire lit below you burns eight logs of sandalwood and seasoned pine, strewn with the same number of pine cones and sprigs of rosemary. You are filled with eight ewers of wine that is eight years in the amphorae, with eight added drops of blood from my right forefinger, pricked by the oracles dagger.
And I stir with owl-feather decorated olive branch in the tradition-writ pattern: eight turns the way the moon travels across the sky, eight in opposition. Eight times. Breathing steadily.
I confess to a childish and stubborn pride, but cannot deny my weaving skills. Neither mortal nor other can compare their tapestries and patterns to mine. I can feel the colour of a thread by sense of touch alone and my muse bends my fingers around the warp while I am tranced. The act of weaving to me is a holy tribute dance that tempts the nymphs and shepherds to pause and stare, the hungry to forget their gripes, the aged to forego their pains, the vanquished to forego their vengeance mutterings.
Where can be the wrong in such?
But soft and still, I know that I have offended Athene sorely; that there will be a terrible price to pay … tomorrow … so soon!
I feel the dark presence of Athene, summoned by my summoning spell. She has to know that I worship her, but seek not to be intimidated. I want fairness, fair goddess. Will it be possible?
…inspiration I need you now … come to me as you always have …
… and the patterns sing to my pulse. Zeus and his conquests, the Highest of the Immortals taking careless advantage of their inferiors, dalliances that they will not answer for, but their victims must, oh how many, many times will this echo down the histories?
Rains of gold
There, the mixing is done, my eight sided cauldron squats among the skeletal embers of my last fire. I know now that the goddess wrought work will not be finer than mine. But I have seen that her fury will know few bounds. She cannot declare me the winner.
I will be undone.
Will I miss my life? Me? A princess of Lydia?
I think not; my life was always a toy of the cruel Olympians was it not?
Is it not, indeed the same for you, my writer-confidante?
But I will miss my joy, my skills and my craft, and would not wish its absence on the world that must continue!”
* This post comes as part of an exciting, inspirational – if challenging – workshop at
My thanks to everyone involved; here’s to the next taskette eh?
Bring it on!
- video love :: Arachne versus Athena (loops.typepad.com)