Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 14, Vol. 2. Vernal Equinox 2008

Dancing by Flame and Shadow

by Wolf

That spark is dim that settles to the west
The waning of the day is at its height
A lonely star is hanging in the east
A sole and single herald of the night

And the shadows say:
   Know you the dark behind the moon?
   Hear you the song behind the tune?
   Dance you about at the height of June
   Then will you know, and that right soon

Lost are you now to your kin and clan
Swept all away by an era’s span
Wanderer you among beast and man
But, bide your faith in a larger plan

   Seek out the sign that will call for you
   Beckon you home to the tribe you knew
   Love is the light that will guide you through
  If you can trust it will turn you true.

Gathering boots as all falls faint and still
Crossing the fields where the cattle stir and low
Far past the limits of town and tower we range
Following trails that were trod so long ago

   And whither we go, the shadows go
   Treading those trails from long ago

That road is long which leads beyond the hill
But we must walk it ‘ere the moon’s light fade
For we must go and greet the Sabbat fire
Where dance the little gods of brook and glade

When last of daylight fell beyond the west
Both priest and master safely now asleep
We took our leave of farm and field and bed
For we have work to do and pacts to keep

Quick and quiet, past the towns we go
Stealth and stillness cloak us in our flight
We must remain concealed and hid from view
Or suffer priestly wrath and sacred spite

And the shadows say:
   Travel the late and lonely road
   Call on the name that love bestowed
   Leave all the grain and the seeds you sowed
   Come with us now to the gods’ abode

By foot and furlong follow we that trail
That winds its way through heather, brush and mire
No sign but starlight there to point our way
Until we spot the distant Sabbat fire

   See past the hoe, the seed and the crow
   Look to the seasons, the cadence and flow

Upon the heath it burns high like a tower
That lights the course of sailors where they roam
It sparks high now to hear our swift approach
The Children of the Twilight have come home

The turf is rough, so far are we from sight
No building marks these hail and holy grounds
But board and beam are dust wherein no love
Can stir our blood and drive us in our rounds

No book is here wherein is kept the word
No steeple stands to raise the blasting bell
Only the rolling fields of green, unswept
Only that space wherein our gods may dwell

And the shadows say:
   Bind up the bales and burn them high
   Call to the night with a ragged cry
   Raise up your voice to the broken sky
   Listen! His coming is all but nigh

No tongue can shape the words that speak our joy
No song can sing the tune that is our glee
Whatever hardships we might meet come day
Tonight, by fire and starlight, we are free

   What can be built from clay and silt
   That time won’t bend and ages wilt?

My eyes have witnessed ancient wonders done
My ears have heard the living Goddess speak
My heart has felt the pulsing of the earth
That bids my body dance and stirs my feet

The beat! The beat! The heart that calls me forth
The heart! The heart! The womb is open wide
The womb! The womb! The living cup is full
The cup! The cup! The lance now lain inside

The lance, the cup, the womb, the heart, the beat
I see, I feel, I taste, I dance, I turn
From every corner now the shadows watch
In every eye I see the fire burn

And the shadows say:
   Love you the Lord, who is the groom
   Love you the hand that is his doom
   Love you the Lady who is the tomb
   Love you the promise within Her womb

I feel no feet where fall the steps that turn
I know no sight but crimson on the hill
I have no voice but what the wind will bear
I cannot hear but what my gods might will

   He is no slave who chose the grave
   For what He bleeds is what he gave

Turn, oh turn! And there I see the shade
A robe that rises ‘gainst the firelight’s blaze
So black! So dark! And crowned with seven tines
I cannot choose to do but dance and gaze

My pulse has quickened as the fire is fleet
I feel his eyes though I see not his face
Some steel within his stare has me in thrall
Of what I am by day there is no trace

The land might burn, the oceans dry to sand
The world and all its woes might wash away
And I would be there dancing, turning still
I cannot stop, nor would I choose to stray

And the shadows say:
   Where is the hand that turns the tide?
   Wherein do stag and stone abide?
   Where lies the God who lived and died?
   What secrets does the cauldron hide?

O Mighty, mild, majestic mystery
That stands before me proud as any King
We cheer to see him rise like sprouting grain
And weep to hear the solemn scythe’s blade sing

   And where does he go, the shadows know
   Down in the earth with the seeds, laid low

The fire, now coals and smoldering black remains
The last of nightfall dwindling now to day
In love, by night, we came to celebrate
In peace, by light, we silently turn away

The sun shall rise to greet what night has left
When dew and daylight glisten in the dawn
Upon the hill, now silent and serene
All frolic, flame and frenzy shall be gone

Like dust and dreams the Sabbat’s night is spent
Whatever might have been the silence veils
What’s passed the fields and flowers won’t betray
Cold ash upon the wind can tell no tales

And the shadows say:
   Go you back now to your waking sleep
   Rising as mist from the arcane deep
   What has been sowed shall divinity reap
   His blood is shed and for that She must weep

And should some shepherd chance to pass that way
And faintly note some charred and acrid smell
He may just pause and wonder what took place
But what the shadows see they never tell

   But come you back soon by the light of the moon
   Dance once again to the beat and the tune