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Chapter 11: All hands on deck

April 13, 2013

The second afternoon of a gathering was the most interesting time, Lena always thought.

The life and spirit of the festival had begun to emerge. There had been time to bump into old friends, and to begin recognising a few new faces. Yet there was still a sense of anticipation, an air of expectation and excitement, the thought that there was better yet to come.

They’d had a busy morning in Earth Ministry, and it was just beginning to quieten down, although a fair few people had begun to gather at Mike and Jono’s next door, eating lunch and drinking tea, killing time. There was to be a drumming workshop, always popular. She noticed a few familiar faces.

There was her old friend, Helen, a soul-wife from just over the river into Wales.
“Hey!” she called. “Merry meet! Having a good day?”
“Merry meet to you too, sweetheart,” smiled Helen. “Have you had lunch yet?”
“Not really,” said Lena, glancing over at Hazel.
“You go on,” said Hazel. “The rush is off for now, take a break.”
“Thanks,” Lena smiled. “You want me to bring you something?”

It was always good to catch up with Helen.
“How are things with you?” she asked as they strolled together towards the noodle stand.
“Good,” said Helen. “Quite good.”

“Quite good?” Lena was not convinced. “Your aura is troubled.”
“Oh, it’s nothing too terrible. Just having a bit of a challenging time with the Women’s Tent.”
“Yes?” said Lena. At her workshop yesterday, she had noticed a certain reticence in the group.
“The vibrations are all wrong,” Helen said. “People aren’t talking. I can’t seem to get the place balanced.”
Lena nodded. “There’s something blocking the energy flows.”
“Yes,” said Helen. “Yes, that’s exactly it.”

Lena thought about it as they got their Thai noodles and turned to walk back.
“I think perhaps we need to unleash the Goddess,” she finally suggested.
Helen glanced across at her, pausing over a forkful of noodles. “What did you have in mind?”
“Emergency convocation – all hands on deck?”

They got back to Earth Ministry and finished their noodles. There was still plenty of time before the drumming was due to start. Lena went to have a word with Mike and then called out for volunteers.

“Good afternoon everyone!” she said. “The drumming’s going to start in about half an hour, so I’d like to ask for a few minutes of your time before then. We really need some people to come and unleash the Goddess down in the Healing Fields. We’ve got some bad energy to drum out!”

“Great, I’m in!” A Scandinavian blonde stood up right away. “You too, Fatima?”
Lena recognised the woman who had brought her sage and purple ribbon the day before. She looked self-conscious but she stood anyway. “Alright. Coming, Zane?” she said.
“Thank you.” Helen smiled at Fatima and introduced the blonde as Birgitte. “We’ve all been hanging out this morning. These ladies are such good spinners.”

“Come on, who else will join us?” called Lena. “Hey Mike, can we borrow some stuff?”
Mike nodded. “Help yourself, just leave the bigger drums, yeah?”
“OK, everyone,” said Lena. “Grab some bells or a clacker or something. We’re going to make some noise!”

Everyone picked up an instrument of some kind, and now that it looked like fun a few more volunteers came forward.

“So what do we have to do?” asked one of them, a pretty, round girl that Lena didn’t recognise.
“The energy in the Women’s Tent is blocked. We need to release the Goddess and free the trapped vibrations.”
“Yeah, but what do we actually have to do?” persisted the girl.
“Don’t worry, just follow me,” smiled Lena. She was happy.

She went back for Hazel.
“Hey,” she said. “We need some goddess action down in the fields. Mike’ll watch the shop.”
“You want me?” Hazel seemed surprised.
Lena grabbed her hand and pulled her out. “Yes,” she said firmly. “I definitely want you.”
Hazel laughed and abandoned her resistance.

By the time they set off, there was a mini Mardi Gras.

The earth, the air, the fire, the water,
Return return return return.

Lena and Helen led the singing, Birgitte and a few others joined in almost immediately. More joined as soon as they understood the song. They banged and jangled and sang, a carnival procession, gathering force and numbers as they marched down the canvas street towards the Healing Fields.

Eye-ay, eye-ay, eye-ay, eye-ay,
Eye-o, eye-o, eye-o, eye-o.

They reached the women’s tent and circled it, Lena leading the procession and the others following until the group had gathered in a circle around the tent.

As they did so, a dozen or so men came out of the adjacent Yurt of Man. Lena recognised the guy who had been weird with Hazel yesterday, but she ignored him. She was buzzing with the energy raised by the impromptu convocation, and she wasn’t about to let anything put her off her stride.

“Join us!” called Helen. They did, all of them, even the arsehole. They squeezed into gaps in the circle, joined in the song, and watched as Lena raised her arms.

She waited until she had everyone’s attention.

The earth, the air, the fire, the water,
Return return return return.
Eye-ay, eye-ay, eye-ay, eye-ay,
Eye-o, eye-o, eye-o, eye-o.

As they all sang the words around, one more time, Lena gradually lowered her arms until they were out in front of her, horizontal, palms facing downwards. Taking the cue, the singing and the music faded away to silence.

Lena breathed in deeply.
“We call to the Goddess of the Elements!” she cried out.

She felt a shift within her.
She was high priestess now, and determined to play her part.

We call to the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone!
We call to the North, The East, the South and the West!
We call to the Earth, the Air, the Fire and the Water!
We ask for your guidance and love as we strive for understanding,
We ask for your shelter as we share our hurts.
Peace be upon you!

A few of the people called out in reply: “Peace be upon you!”
So mote it be!” called Lena, good and loud, feeling the energy of the Earth channelling up from her feet and out through her outstretched fingertips.
Now everyone answered: “So mote it be!”

Lena lifted her arms again, pointing towards the sky. She spoke out once more.

I now call on you all here to unleash the positive energy we have brought here, and to release the negative vibrations trapped within this place. Follow me!”

She crouched down, touching the ground with both hands, feeling the current of the earth-spirit move inside her. She waited until the others had followed her lead.

Rise up!” she called. “Rise up and release!”
With one flowing movement she unbent, rising, extending her body. She reached out to the Heavens, allowing the unearthed energy to free itself into the atmosphere.

Release!” she shouted.
“Release!” they answered.

She let out a wordless howl, unintended. An inspiration of the moment. Some of the others joined in and it became a whooping, a joyous, a liberating yawp!

Helen began to clap.
Lena clapped too. “Blessed be!
“Blessed be!”

“Thanks everyone,” she called, and now everyone began to clap, and slap each other on the back. “We did great!” She turned to her friend, intoxicated with the beauty of the experience. “It’s wonderful to see what we can do when we combine our energies so powerfully.”

Helen ducked into the tent and looked around.
She came out smiling. “Wonderful,” she said.

Even the arsehole looked happy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2013 12:49 am

    Word count – 1302
    Prompt – Calamity, all hands on deck! (BrendaAlicante)

    Please leave a comment with a prompt suggestion for Chapter 12
    (Check the sidebar for a link to more info about this interactive project!)

  2. brendaalicante permalink
    April 14, 2013 8:05 pm

    I don’t suppose all of my comments are welcome but I did notice a tiny thing. At the end of chapter 4 Lena asked Hazel if she could bring her anything and Hazel didn’t answer which kinda leaves a reader hanging. Just saying. I really do like your story.

    Prompt – A secret shared.

Comments very welcome!

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