|The Lady of The Mountains
You perceive a mountainous island alone on the sea. Grey rain clouds hang over its misty moors. The
mosses, heather and bracken create an oasis of vibrant colour on this dark sea. Your vision turns to a
solitary tree that stands alone on the island. It is Autumn, or perhaps Winter, for clusters of bright red
berries hang from its leafless branches. This is a Rowan tree, The Lady of the Mountains. Alone she
stands. Perhaps a single seed blew across the great ocean and lodged in a nook or cranny on this rocky
landscape and survived and flourished against all odds. Now her berries add bright gems of glowing
colour to this desolate place.
Now you stand before the tree. Walking closer you see that a gully feeds water to the tree's roots, from a
spring higher on the hillside. Or does the spring come from the tree's roots? It is all but dry now, but the
dampness and lush green vegetation downslope testify to the flow of water that still trickles beneath the
The air is cool, but oh so fresh! A gentle wind blows rain-laden clouds in from the sea. What is the
meaning of all of this?
It is the Quickening. The island appears almost lifeless, and yet water courses within the rocks and the
tree bears fruit that may yet set seed. In time the wheel will turn and Spring will bloom. For this is the
Mountain Ash, though never in great groups is it found, it is able to survive high on mountainous slopes.
According to certain myths, the first of the new race were made from the wood of trees - the man from
ash, the woman from rowan. Together the ash and the rowan symbolise the two aspects of the single
Tree of Life - the two opposites that intertwine to keep all things in balance.
You taste a fruit from the tree. In spring the tree will put out feathery green leaves. Near to the tree a
river flows, forming a small mountain lake. You walk across to look into the misty waters. The waters flow
slowly here, as the lake acts as a reservoir of mountain water that keeps the river flowing to the sea. The
waters are fresh and clear and good to drink. The spring near the Lady of the Mountain trickles into this
lake. Peering into the waters, you see a record of changing seasons, but are they past or future?
Images of autumn and winter, reflected from the hills around, to images of spring and summer with clear
According to Greek mythology, a great eagle guarded the Cup of Life and fought with demons that tried
constantly to steal the cup. Wherever a drop of blood from the wounded eagle fell, a rowan tree grew.
As you watch a new vision unfolds. You see the World of humankind. First you see a beautiful garden in
which children play whilst a group of people relax about a table and talk and laugh together, drinking
wine. Another man is tending the garden, whilst the others talk. Thanks to the balance of their labours
and their joys, the garden is a rich paradise of colours, a kaleidoscope of flowers and verdant hues. The
whole scene is serene and content. The image fades to one of grey people walking through crowded
grey streets. All look distant or even troubled, silently slumbering along as the newly risen Sun struggles
to burn through the morning haze. These people will return as the Sun sets, and continue their silent
march all over again, day after day. There are no birds to be heard, only the sounds of haste and
frustration from anxious people moving too slow.
Again the image shifts. Now you see the whole Earth, it turns from a beautiful green-blue to a horrid
blackness, then it seeps rivers of blood, bright scarlet, like the juice of the berries of the Rowan. You
hear the terrible mourning of a dying World in your mind, like a thousand cries of sorrow. You look away
for a moment, but on turning back to the water, you see an image of the rowan tree, now transformed
into a great serpent coiled around a magnificent shining gem, glowing like a brilliant star. Then the
image of the blackened Earth returns, but now you see a feint red glow within the dying heart of the
Earth, giving one last plea to the heavens, as it flares up, waxing and then waning. As if hearing the
cries of its wounded child a bright golden star descends from the skies and touches the ground. The
whole Earth responds, glowing with a warming light and you see all things restored - the barren soil
flushes green with new growth and trees spring up where ashes and broken concrete lay scattered, the
dark sky clears and the trees blossom and the flowers bloom in a cornucopia of colour. Life and Light
are restored to the dying World.
The will is not free if bound by delusion.
Finally you see a vision of a field of flowers blooming. As the flowers unfold, some are damaged by wind
and rain, others by frost, and some are trampled by wild beasts, and some are partially eaten by insects
and other creeping things. A few, by chance, reach their true potential, opening out into near perfect
flowers in a spectacle of colour and form. Nevertheless, fate, by 'accident' and of necessity, has
lessoned the beauty of the meadow. You must know yourself, before you can be yourself. Things that
stop people reaching their potential state of inner beauty are bound to happen, alas. If only people knew
themselves they would know what they were meant to be, and if only they could be themselves ...
You turn to look back at the tree and are astonished to see that it has transformed into a wooden staff
with a serpent entwined about it's length. You rush back up the slope and see strange symbols, ancient
glyphs, engraved upon the staff. Then, before your eyes, the staff turns into a resplendent sword, again
with the symbols engraved upon it. Next you see the serpent turn into two serpents, each entwined in
opposite sense about the sword. You approach nearer, perhaps now you could take the sword, or the
staff, but instead the rune or rowan tree stands in their place.
It is said that two trees were planted in the middle of the garden, the Tree of Knowledge, of good and of
evil, and the Tree of Life, yet in truth there is only one tree, for the two are one, as the many are one.