The drum became a heartbeat, drawing me deeper into the earth. Down past peaty layers, past ancestor bones, down, down, down. I emerged in a tunnel, deep with the mountain. Huge rib bones formed the curvature of the tunnel, I walk stretching out my arms to feel the walls, feet gingerly and slowly following each other.
I emerged into darkness , yet sensing a vastness. Slowly my feet begin to dance, a dance to bring all of the world into being, a dance to birth the world into being. As I danced I became skeletal, with tall antlers, wrapped in a black cloak whose layers are infinite. I am aware of both ‘me’ existing within this ancient creature.
I am dancing, like a conductor commanding the sun to rise, guiding it up across its pathway until it sinks in the west. As the sun dips and we enter into twilight I look up to the stars but they aren’t familiar – and so I dance, with sweeping movements until they are in their right positions. She danced for the moon to rise again plotting its course out across the sky, leading it towards setting. Days and nights flashed by, the sunlight marked like a stobelight before darkness came, impossibly fast. She continued to dance this bone mother, as I waved my skeletal hands, conducting the path of the sun, moon and stars over the seasons – creating their sky routes.
The she stepped back, as if observing her work, turning her attention to the land. With one swoop of her hand the land was in winter’s grip, white and frozen. Stretching out her long skeletal fingers, she ushered a thaw and a green emerged from the great melt. The green then intensified, then slowly died back into a burst of orange and browns before the white took over again. The came ice ages, impossibly fast – covering this land in ice miles thick, then a great melting. She danced a dance of color, over and over as if well rehearsing the seasons, ensuring each happened at their right sequence. At times I was merged with her, in her eternal dance, dancing to bring fish to the loch, she danced to bring in great clouds from the west, who released their rain when they met the great mountain. Water trickled down the mountainside in small tributaries, gathering in streams until they poured into the loch. It was there in the peaty darkness of the loch waters I really saw my reflection, long curved antlers above an elongated deer skull. I knew this was simply a form she was wearing, for she is formless and has existed before time.
Suddenly she bounded off from the top of the mountain and in a few leaps landed on the islands off the west coast of Scotland. I lost sight of her but could see her leap high from island to island. I felt bored, alone and wondered why, realizing as there was no-one else, this was a time before ancestors, no people had yet stood anywhere on the planet. This deer goddess is a creatrix, she was weaving life, creating the patterns, weaving the luminous strands out over the land.
Then people came, these were the people who followed the reindeer. They wove their own stories to the land, following the luminous strands the great goddess had embedded in the earth.
Among these reindeer people were the women who wear the deer skins, adorning themselves with reindeer antlers, around fire they give thanks and present their offerings to the creatrix. They are the deer priestesses, the ones who can still feel the presence of the old one. The ones who on moonlit nights climb in pilgrimage to the top of Ben Lomond and dance her ancient dance under the full moon. Their steps following her steps – steps that take them between the worlds, and in that dance they dance their intention into the star patterns, and down into the luminous strands which carry out throughout the network out over the earth.
The deer goddess watches, she is old, oh so old and tired. As she lays down, her bones sink into the great mountain. She dissolves into the luminous stands and is aware of every living thing. Her rib bones form the walls of a tunnel – a sacred place where others will travel in order to talk to this most ancient deity.