Hebe took a third sip of kava-kava tea and waited. When no goddess energy touched her skin, she opened one eye and looked around her studio apartment. Her secondhand furniture wasn’t shimmering with celestial glow like the ritual had promised. “What do you think, Sophie?” Hebe’s yellow lab lowered her lashes, covered her face with a paw and let out a sigh.
Hebe glanced in the direction of her stove. “I should probably drink the rest of the kava-kava infusion.”
Sophie sprung to her fours, barked three times and ran to hide in the bathroom.
Hebe sighed. “Even my dog knows that’s dumb.” Kava-kava was a great inducer of visions, but consuming too much of the plant was murder to the kidneys. “Hm,” Hebe muttered, eyeing the yellow crocus Mrs. Candela, her downstairs neighbor, had given her for her birthday. She had almost convinced herself that burning the pretty yellow blooms would be just fine, when she thought of something that would put her in a trance faster than any herb.
She dashed towards the round oak kitchen table that doubled as a desk and grabbed her laptop. Reclaiming her old spot in the middle of the living room floor, Hebe clicked play on one of Dr. Bolas’ old lectures—the monotonous tone of her philosophy of religion professor sent Hebe into a dreamlike state. It left her entranced enough to ignore the physical world, while leaving her mind free to ask the question.
The caress of a summer breeze opened Hebe’s eyes. The sight made her gasp. She was sitting crossed legged in the middle of an ash grove, her ethereal body encircled by a group of glaring goddesses and three equally pissed off dogs.
“Well?” said a tall goddess clad in a white, gray and black dress that seemed to hold the secrets of light and shadow. “I don’t have all night, witch child.” One of the three dogs, pacing around the goddess, growled at Hebe.
“Calm your energies and your hounds, Hekate,” said a goddess wearing a kimono with large flowers growing out of a mount of skulls. Leaning on a staff-like spear, the goddess turned towards Hebe. “The woman child is frightened,” she said.
“Frightened or not, Izanami-no-Mikoto, Hekate is right,” the brown-skinned goddess, whose aura seemed to illuminate the entire grove, walked closer to Hebe. “My people are waiting for dawn. Night won’t go away if I don’t chase her. Ask, woman child, ask your question.”
Hebe’s tongue was an inert boulder. She wanted to say, I need to know how you feel about the current situation…, but her mouth only uttered “Um… um… um…”
“Sun,” said a goddess wearing a golden Egyptian headpiece. “We know what she needs. You’ve mothered dozens of worlds; you understand our children are scared of us.”
“Scared,” said a many-armed goddess clad in flowing silks. “Scared of us?” Her beautiful accent made the question sound like a song. “Can you believe Isis’ words, Proserpine?” The goddess with the singsong voice cocked her head towards a dark figured dressed in night.
“It’s mortality, Parvati,” the pale-skinned goddess in the dark dress bit into a pomegranate. “It makes humans bizarre.”
“Maybe she needs a little color,” said a very young looking goddess right before creating a rainbow.
Hebe’s body jerked. She had not expected the rainbow to be so warm.
“But Ix Chel, she looks not interested in your hue. Maybe, a little mating will encourage the woman child’s tongue,” the naked goddess smiled. Her dark skin seemed to chuckle with her.
“Talk to Oya, child,” the plump, red-lipped goddess actually touched Hebe. Her skin felt warm and it smelled of wilderness. “Pay no mind to Ishtar’s hungry flesh. She cannot help it. It’s the fertility and the lust. She’s who she is.”
Ishtar grinned at Hebe as if agreeing with Oya. Hebe wanted to ask the question, but the energy was so extreme. Her lips didn’t remember how to form words, “I…” she said.
“Mhm,” said a goddess holding a torch that had begun to throw sparks. “You, yes, go on; once this blazes up,” she chin-pointed at her torch. “I have to leave.”
“Gnowee?” a goddess, whose skin seemed to be painted on her, stepped between the torch-holding goddess and Hebe. “You need to take the sun further away from the child. And from me, too. My canvas still holds a scorch mark from the last time this,” she aimed an index finger at the torch, “blazed up.”
“What is it that you are trying to say, Chiu T’ien Hsuan-nu?” the goddess’ torch was beginning to burn. “You teach one puny human how to fight, and all of a sudden you are all-knowing?”
The three hounds howled.
A blast of fire engulfed Hebe, and its brightness blinded her.
Hebe was still screaming, her skin sweaty and smelling of ash and smoke, when she reappeared in her living room. Sophie howled by her side. “Weird dream; weird, weird, weird. Oh Sophie, what a crazy…” Hebe’s voiced trailed off. Her eyes followed the dog’s gaze. “Oh, my, god,” Hebe said.
“Goddess actually, witch child.” Hekate sat; no, she didn’t sit; the Goddess of the Crossroads hovered over Hebe’s kitchen table. “Glad to hear your tongue works. Ask, witch child,” said the goddess.
Hebe’s mouth was sandpaper and stones. “I… um… who do you think should make decisions concerning women and contraception?”
“And here I was thinking woman had grown unwise,” Hekate grinned.
|Goddesses Dancing by Charlotte Backman|
Weeks of 3 to 13 of
Hosted by Timeless Rituals
“drawing, painting, bead work,
woodcarving, papier maché,
mixed media” and, of course,