04/09/15 | By
Articles, Roundfire Books

Transforming Pandora book coverWith Autumn on the way, here's a bit of seasonal fiction in this extract from Chapter 33 of ‘Transforming Pandora’ by Carolyn Mathews.

Rosemary, a tall, middle-aged woman with short, fair hair, dressed in a white robe which reached her feet, stood facing a stone altar in her garden. Circled around her, several Glastonbury residents, including Frankie and Charles, watched while she conducted the Harvest Moon Ceremony. The altar was dressed with sheaves of wheat, small pumpkins, and overflowing baskets of russet apples picked from the ancient apple tree which stood directly behind the altar.

Four people were holding different coloured candles: green, yellow, red and blue, positioned at the four points of the compass. They each lit their candles when directed by Rosemary, but the light wind kept blowing them out. The large, fat, white candle in the middle of the altar was protected by a candle sleeve, so it flickered on regardless. But it was nothing in comparison to the size and splendour of the pink harvest moon, which hung low and vast in the sky. So low it almost seemed to touch St Michael’s Tower, which could be seen clearly from the garden, silhouetted against the night sky, sitting on the tall mound they call the Tor.

I was resting in the conservatory observing the scene behind glass, huddled in a blanket, having excused myself from the great outdoors on the grounds of period pains. The cramps had come on that afternoon, and no amount of whisky, lemon and honey, liberally prepared by Charles, had eased them. Frankie had been convinced it was the effect of the full moon and was evidence of my ‘divine feminine’ aspect synchronising with nature. I suppose someone of my age should have been glad to see evidence that my oestrogen was still pumping, but actually, only just, as it had been three months since the last menses.

Snuggling down in my blanket, I couldn’t help sniggering as first the drumming, then the dancing, got going. To begin with, the dancing was quite sedate, in single formation, moving round the circle. Then the Great Mother Goddess, whom Rosemary had earlier invoked and now seemed to be channelling, encouraged them to go freestyle, whereupon a couple of them started bounding about like mountain goats, their silver-grey ponytails tossing as they leapt. I’d noticed a chalice of cider being passed round the group earlier, which was regularly refilled, and I think this might have contributed to their gay abandon.

I must have dropped off, because the next I knew, Frankie was shaking me.

‘Wake up, Pan.  We’ve finished now.  Do you want anything to eat before we go?’

‘How about some apple pie and custard, made with our own apples?’

Rosemary had appeared, divested of her white robe, and was offering me a steaming bowl which spoke of cloves and vanilla.  As I devoured it, my eyes were drawn to a large picture of a beautiful woman in a long, violet robe, holding a bough of flowering hawthorn, who appeared to be walking on the surface of a lake with a swan beside her, the Tor in the background.  Beneath the portrait, inscribed on the golden frame, were the words: ‘Lady of Avalon – Mother of Transformation’.

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  • Jan 25, 2013

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