Treading the Gate

She rises out of the deep blue cauldron of night like a promise and a blessing, this perfect round of luminous ever-so-slightly waning moon. Watching Her climb through the trees, I lean against the counter by the kitchen window with a mug of Darjeeling in my hand. I remember, and in my remembering, I am renewed - I am replenished to overflowing, restored to wholeness.

Putting on my hiking boots and picking up my trusty blackthorn walking stick, off I go into the evening light. In my innermost thoughts, I am treading the gate and the winding trail beyond it that leads up into the cool air of the mountains - there are adventures somewhere up ahead and just beyond the next turning, wide vistas across dreaming valleys, inns, caravanserais and tea houses along the way. Perhaps I have been here all along. Perhaps I never left the path at all...

Approach the gate as a pilgrim, a seeker,
wear sturdy boots for walking,
go cloaked and hooded against the wind,
blackthorn staff and lantern in hand,
an abundance of candles in your pack
for the long journey ahead.

Bring gifts and offerings for those who
dwell beyond the ancient gate, bundles
of sage, clear water, kindling, earth and salt,
bring flasks of tea, incense and bread,
bring tales and laughter to share around the fire
with those you will meet along the way.

Travel lightly and make your journey by the moon,
taking the owls, true kindred, as your
fierce and tender companions, feel
their breath along your own wings, share
their dark and watchful wisdom as you flow.

Let the song you sing as you are questing
be your own sweet music, and the stories
you spin by the fire in the nights ahead
be the narratives of your own wild and shining life,
this journey you are making into an unknown land.

Listen to the night and be content, for you are not alone—
around you is a vast and singing throng,
the very stars are singing with you as you go.

Cate Kerr