Welcome…the word drifts on the air, soft and billowy like smoke from the incense you smell burning but cannot see. The whisper caresses your ears and the chords in your throat resonate as if plucked like the strings of an ancient instrument though you haven’t uttered a word. The vibration travels down into your belly, past your heart that cannot decide if it wants to race or relax, where the original meaning of this simple word reveals itself, settles and rests. ‘A person whose coming is pleasing.’ Your arrival is a thing of celebration, you hear, as if someone had spoken though your ears heard no sound. In half a breath you simultaneously sense two oppositional forces. One, a mysterious familiarity of your surroundings as something within you cries out in the joy of a longed-for homecoming and the other, a soul-trembling terror that steals the second half of the breath from your lungs. Your eyes struggle to adjust to the glowing light of the space. Your mind’s attempts to organize, make sense of, and compute the experience reach desperation just as a less tangible, though no less substantial part of you, gathers itself and expands in the calm of stillness. The warring of the disparate energies within dizzies you, and you collapse to your knees on the stone floor, chest heaving.
You raise your head to see a face in front of you, as familiar as your own yet Other. Wild. Male, female, both, neither, child-like, young, middle-aged, wizened, skeletal. The personages shift like a rapid, three-dimensional slideshow, chasing each other then beginning to slow until the skeletal remains. Fear races against longing through your veins. You have been searching, seeking for so long that your own bones themselves ache with it. Maybe you knew it, maybe you’re just realizing it. And as you stare into that skull, into those dark orbs that somehow hold comfort and challenge, constancy and change, you hear the question. The one that’s kept you awake at nights, that’s dogged your days, that’s driven you from place to place and person to person, that’s haunted you or whispered to you, that’s chased you or dragged you, pushed or pulled you. It lingers in the air. And as you stare through it into the face in front of you, a knowing begins to form and coalesce in your belly. The answer is here, in this space, in this Being. Conviction vibrates in every cell of your body. The figure in front of you bows its head and, just as quickly as the knowing formed, a new knowledge follows: the way will not be easy. With that realization, a multitude of fears and doubts, hopes and desires explode, competing for your attention and energy, paralyzing and exciting, terrifying and promising. The skeletal figure stands, takes a single step backward and extends a hand. A door appears behind the figure. The door to the Temple of the Wild.
You have a choice to make. A beginning is offered, but it begins with an end; one you’ll never be ready for until after it’s over.
Will you enter the temple?