Relax and get comfortable
Close your eyes and take three deep breaths
You have traveled far, through land and air, to search for the realm of fire. Now you find yourself standing on a dusty road and you see, up ahead, a copse of trees, tall and dark. It is near midnight and there is little light from the waning moon overhead.
The path leads to the grove. The night is warm and the gentle breeze carries the lingering heat of the day.
The trees are mingled oak and cedar and alder. Here and there a rowan hangs heavy with berries and holly peeks out of the corners. As you enter the forest, a strange tingle runs up and down your arms and you feel suddenly drowsy, all of your senses are alert, yet it feels as if something's taken hold of your conscious mind and it is lulling you into a hazy, drifting fog. But you feel no sense of fear, no sense of danger, only a sense of a great power watching you.
You pass through the wood, quietly now, drifting along the path. Every sound seems heightened, every movement catches your attention. It is as if you are supersensitive and you realize you could pass through this wood blindfolded now, if you had to.
As you continue, you see a deer flit into the undergrowth, and an owl swoops down and passes you overhead. And then, you feel someone following you and you stop and turn around. Behind you, you see a ball of light, glowing with green energy the color of peridot, floating gently in mid-air.
"I am to be your guide in this part of the realm of fire." The voice echoes inside your head and you know it's from the globe of light. "I am a will-o- the-wisp, and I belong to the realm of faerie fire, through which you must first pass. Follow me then, to the grotto ahead, and do not tarry, for the realm of faerie is quick to catch the unwary and the foolish in its snares and weavings."
You follow the will-o-the-wisp as it leads the way through the forest.
Now you begin to notice a shimmering on the trees, their auras glowing and sparkling bright. "This has always been, you can only now perceive it, " says the globe. "Your first stop is over to your left."
Just up ahead, to your left, you see a darkened patch in the foliage. As you near it, a shiver runs through your body and your mind quakes, for there is a stirring of power around you and you know something very ancient, very primal, is there. You creep forward and turn to gaze in the dark space between the trees.
The blackness is so dark you know it must be supernatural, for it's the dark of the void and the abyss that you are gazing into, and it holds you hypnotically. Then, just as you think you can't stand gazing into the emptiness any longer, you begin to see a swirl of sparkling color, a spiral, and the spiral forms itself into two glowing red eyes that pierce the abyss far better than any lantern or torch.
The gaze of the red eyes strip away your outer facades and masks, delving into the inner self you keep hidden away. It is not malevolent, but strong and male and watchful.
"The red eyes in the forest at midnight," whispers the globe of light. "The Hunter, the Heart of the Forest, and He exists in the realm of faerie fire. Watch your step and mind your actions when crossing the woods at night, for He will be there watching you. "
Quietly, you may ask the Hunter what He has to teach you about fire, and listen well for his reply.
"Now, follow me, " says the will-o-the-wisp, and you pass through the forest, listening to the calls of the birds. You come to a place where the path diverges to the right. The will-o-the-wisp floats down that fork and you follow. The ground slopes steeply, and you see that it leads to a beach down below. When you hasve walked and slid your way down to the sand, you see a small bay that kisses the shore. The water is shimmering with lights, green and blue and pink and yellow.
You are overcome with a rush of joy and you dash forward, drawn in by the glittering lights. With every step sparks fly from the sand and you stop to press your hands on the ground. When you lift them, they are covered with sparkles. Suddenly light hearted, laughing and unable to speak, for the joy in your heart is overwhelming any words you might have to say, you dance on the sand and watch the sparks fly. If you like, you can wade into the water, and it seems like your wading among the stars.
Finally the will-o-the-wisp speaks and it says, "You see, faerie fire is an uneplainable feeling. There are few words for this happiness, this intoxication, but it exists and is real. Now come, back to the path, for I have one more stop to show you and then you will go forward without me."
As you return to the path, you find your clothes are dry but the phosphorescent sparkles of faerie fire still exist within your heart and memory. The will-o-the-wisp guides you along the path until, up ahead, you see a purple fire dancing across the road. You must pass through it to continue your journey.
"Go now," the globe says, "and when you pass through the fire of the phoenix, you will find a fine layer of ash covering your body. The wind will blow it away, and with it will go pain and anger and old bonds that chain you. The purple rays of the phoenix are hotter than flame, hotter than fire, and they will burn through to the core and leave you purified and new, ready for the next stage of your journey. After you have passed through it, you will find yourself at the end of the forest, and a green fire covers that part of the road. It is the purest essence of faerie fire and you will pass through it
and out to the next leg of the journey. Good luck and good-bye." And the will-o-the-wisp fades into the forest.
You approach the flickering purple flame and the heat is so strong that you can only feel it as waves, not as actual warmth. Take a moment, think of what you would have burned away from you, what you are tired of carrying around, and then pass through the flame, bathe in it, and come out the other side.
When you emerge from the phoenix flame, you fine that, indeed, a fine layer of ash covers your body. The breeze sweeps up and blows it away. Underneath, your skin is new and clear, and your heart is lighter.
The forest comes to an end up ahead, and there you see the green flame waiting. You take one last look behind you and then pass into the flame of the faerie fire, the green fire in the forest at midnight, the green fire of Midsummers's Eve.
It crackles around you, sparkling and magnetic. It resonates within you and you feel your aura shift and change. You body moves with more grace in the fire, and you feel it slide up your arms and legs, seep into your belly...sensuous, it leaves you breathless and waiting.
And then...you find you can shape your aura, you can change and alter it to your liking. Do you want to appear taller? Thinner? More voluptuous? Do you want to radiate confidence and strength? All you have to do is use the faerie fire to shape your will. When you have thought and done your working, step through to the other side and look at yourself again to see what changes you have made in your energy.
Now you have stepped out of the forest. Look around you. You find you are in an open plain. The grass is thick here, but grows sparser up ahead and you see the light of dawn rising to the East. There are no trees after then line of the forest, and the path leads a gentle graded slope upwards. Follow the path and continue your journey as the morning light grows and the stars fade from the sky.
It looks like the morning is going to be hot. There are no clouds in the sky and the forest has become a distant memory. You walk along the path, and up ahead you see a well. There is a sign on it that says, "Last water for many miles." There are many canteens here, and you might want to fill one, for the journey is sure to be hot and thirsty.
The grass is sparse now, the dirt faded and compacted. You start to see cracks in the ground as you go along; no rain has fallen here for a long time. The sun has now risen above the horizon and you are already starting to sweat.
You wipe your forehead and look around. To all directions, it seems there is only the desert, with occasional outcroppings of stone. As you continue your journey, your feet become hot and weary. You sit on a rock to rest. While you are sitting there, you hear a rustle and look down to the side of the rock.
A large lizard is sitting there, patiently watching you.
It is red, with stripes of orange, and golden eyes stare up at you. Its long tongue forks out and it says in a wheezing, whistling voice, "I'm your guide for this part of the journey. I am the Salamander Flametongue. I will guide you to your destination in this part of the realm of fire. You will need a walking stick. Look under that rock over there." It waves its tongue towards a low, long rock near you and you find a walking stick that's just the right height for you underneath it.
"Well, then, " flametongue says, "it's time we were off. Come now, follow me." The salamander leads you along the path, which is now a steeper grade. You pass through the barren land, and when you reach the top, you see a mountain ahead. It is dark, with streaks of rust-colored rocks trailing down its side, flowing over blackened lava that covered the land long ago.
The black lava lies in waves, pillows of rock, thick and glistening with volcanic glass. Strange configurations, some look almost human, stand frozen over the land, and the flow goes on for miles and miles, so vast and immense you can only imagine what it must have looked like when it first covered the land.
As you start forward you find the path no longer exists. You must cross the hardened lava, and so, using your walking stick to steady yourself you forge ahead, slowly working your way around the twisted rock. You must be careful here, for the lava is sharp and full of rough edges. IF you fall, you could hurt yourself.
Flametongue leads you along the surface of the jagged rock. Your feet slide along the smooth obsidian rock. It is difficult to keep your balance here. At one point, your stick breaks through the lava and you see the end of it smoke as it touches still cooling rock. You pull it out quickly, and beat out the flicker of flames that starts on its tip.
The salamander leads you a wide berth around that area and you find yourself having to really concentrate to keep your footing as you realize how dangerous this realm can be.
Now the grade is rough, and you are breathing heavily. The taste of sulfur fills your mouth and you must stop and pour a little water on your handkerchief and tie it around your face so the bitter, acidic fumes don't overwhelm you.
You are climbing higher and higher up the side of the mountain, and you see stream rising from cracks in the lava around you. Flametounge turns and says, "This is a place of massive destruction. But out of that destruction, new land is born, nutrients will weather down and feed the soil and plants will grow again."
You curve around the side of the mountain and when you look over the edge of the roughly worn path, you see a long drop, two hundred feet down, into a lake of lava. It boils and turns, twisting red tongues of flame dance on its surface. At once terrifying and mesmerizing, it churns constantly as you watch.
"Come," says the salamander, "we shouldn't linger here. The Queen of Fire awaits you and she's not one to be made angry."
The path twists away from the lake of magma and back around the blackened mountain. You pass into what once was a forest. The trees are now black; hardened charcoal and ash cover the land. The salamander leads you off the dark lava and you are sifting through the ash, into the desolate forest, where you hear ghostly voices traveling on the hot wind.
"The flame consumes, " says flametongue. "It can burn brightly and drive you onward, or it can consume and destroy, leaving only the ash behind."
Now you find your throat parched and dry, and you stop to take another drink from your canteen. Your skin is cracking from the heat and you desperately wish for a cool bath, somewhere far away.
"We are almost there" says the salamander. "You are nearing the home of the Queen of Fire."
Ahead you see it. A great fountain made from blocks of frozen lava, sitting in a clearing full of ash. It's a fountain of flame, and in the center of the flame, you see a woman bathing. She is crimson and vermillion, and her eyes are the brightness of the so that you cannot look directly at them. She motions you near.
As you approach, the heat intensifies until it feels like your skin is just about to burn. She holds up her hand for you and in a voice low and crackling, throaty with passion, she says, "Come no farther or you will hurt yourself. I am the Queen of Fire. Welcome to my realm."
She is sensuous, her body ever shifting shapes in the flames, and you feel the passion that throbs just below the surface of the energy here. She speaks again. "Hold out your hand, so that you may feel my power. " You hold out your hand.
At first you feel a warm glow, the warmth of spring mornings, the warmth of a breezy day when you're in the garden. Then, the warmth increases, and it's the heat of the woodstove, warming you on crisp autumn evenings...and then the heat changes again, and its the crackle of bonfires and the smell of burning wood...then once again, and the heat is the sweltering heat of noon on a summer's day, and sweat pours down your face.
She speaks again. "I am the drive of passion, and I am the creative force that refuses to be squelched. Try to repress me and I will rise up and burn you to ashes. Embrace me, use me with foresight and I am an ally you cannot afford to lose. I heal with my golden rays and I destroy to make way for new creation with the rivers of molten rock that pour from within the earth. Now, what would you have me do for you? What do you wish to create? Tell me, and then listen and I will give you advice."
Think now for a moment, then answer and listen for her to reply.
When she has spoken, the Queen of Fire bids you leave. "This is not a place where mortals may stay for long. The heat will burn you ragged. Go now, there is a path beyond this fountain. Follow it and it will lead you home."
You follow the path and it leads you down a slope. The sun is now a bit lower in the sky and the salamander waves good-bye. The walking becomes a little easier, the ash thins out as you go and you see less and less of the stunted trees.
As you proceed down the hill, you begin to see wips of grass, growing through the soil now free from ash. You follow the open path by a low cliff, and looking over, you see the path leads to the shore below.
You twist and turn, going down, and find the walking easy and pleasant after you sojourn in the realm of fire. When you reach the shoreline, there is a horse waiting and saddled.
You climb on its back, exhausted, and as it moves out, following its sense of internal direction, you find you can rest. The spray from the water cools your dry skin and there is a fresh canteen hanging from the saddle.
You ride for what seems like hours, and the horse takes a fork that leads away from the water and you find yourself traveling through late evening on a path that is gradually going uphill. At the top of the slope, just before twilight, the horse stops and you climb off. You see, ten steps in front of you, the place where you started your journey. The horse has brought you back.
Now, take those ten steps and each one will bring you closer towards waking consciousness...... Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two one.
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