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The Enchanted Forest (Fiction)

Chapter 1: The Shadows

I was waiting in the prayer room. Prayers where about to start soon. The room was silent with a certein eariness. I looked up to the golden statue on the altar of the room. It looked at me with a cold lifeless gaze.

Yet I felt a presence in the room that was not coming from this deity. It was faintly recognizeable, I felt it before and strangely comforting.

The door opened and the master came in, followed by several students. The prayers where about to start.

Troughout the ritual I was not paying attention, cause all I could do was focus on that presence that remained, trying to discover who or what it was.

When the prayers were done I went to my own private quarter being alone once again except for that familiar presence that seemingly accompanied me everywhere.

I layed in bed, intent on finding out who this presence was. I layed still for many hours, while I could feel this presence staring at me.

Slowly I could feel my consciousness fading, feeling myself falling through the thick muck into a dream…

It was night and I was walking in the middle of a wide dark street made of cobblestone.

I still felt that presence, but it was stronger now and more familiar, yet I could not discover its identity.«

On the side of the street where brick houses and in their windows I could see dark shadowy digures watching me. They ceeped me out so I picked up my pace and walked faster.

A figure appeared in front of me wearing a dark red robe. He had a serious and confident face, but also friendly.

He pointed upwards and said: “Its them. The watchers. Always watching. Always here. Never resting. Just watching.”

I looked upwards and saw them in the thick dark clouds. The presence. I recognized it now. With its invisible eyes watching me. Watching my every move.

When I looked back the figure from before had vanished.

I looked around, but it was difficult to see as there was a thick fog that appeared.

I tried walking towards the houses, but it became incredibly hard because the stones underneath turned into a deep mud.

I trudged through slowly. Each step making me tired as my feet sank into the mud.

With quite some frustration I made it to the side of the street and I stood in front of a house.

A non-distinct shadow figure stood in the room watching me.

“I see you! I see you watching me!” I called out.

The shadow figure dissipated into smoke.

I great realization came over me.

Are the watchers me? Is this my own self watching myself?

After this realization, in the blink of an eye the streets and houses turned into a field of grass surrounded by dark forests.

The fog cleared up and sky became clear with twinkling stars.

I looked around and saw the shadows watching me from between trees.

I laughed and called out again: “There you are! You shadows. You watchers.”

I looked straight up into the sky and the moment I did a bright flash of golden light filled my vision.

I woke up in my dark room. With the presence still there I grinned and whispered “I can still see you. You shadow, you watcher.”

After saying this the presence became clear and I recognized it as myself watching myself.

My thoughts dissipaded and I felt relieved to discover the identity of the shadow presence.

I fell a sleep with a content smile.

Chapter 2: The Abandonment

The candle flickers were barely lighting up the room, casting a strange lighting on the faces of golden statues.

The master’s stern penetrating face glowed up from the darkness.

“Are you serious about this?” He asked me.

“Altough I am not absolutely sure, I am serious.” I responded.

The previous days I told the master I wanted to leave him, something that was on my mind for a few weeks now. And this evening was the time I was going to leave him.

“I know we already discussed this, but why exactly is it that you want to abandon your faith?”

I asked myself that question many times before and my answers were full of doubt and confusion, but this time it was clear..

“Because, I am an individual and God is universal. When I look around in this temple and the followers of this faith, I see universality and human made order everywhere.

The same robes, the same speech, the same thoughts, all the same same same. Our faith speaks of creativity and spontaneity, but where do you see the creativity in this place?

We are individuals, yet us followers are dissolved into the universality of God, we become nothing. But I am individual, the very thing that makes me free.

And you may claim that being dissolved is the way to freedom and happiness – but if I were to reject this “Dissoluton into the great beyond, the cosmos of all things” you would say I am a bad and selfish person that should be punished by God.

And now I have chosen to reject this entire notion. You have told me there are evil and good spirits, but this too I reject. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that spirits are much the same like humans and animals.. They have their own desires, fears, emotions, intentions, and life. Spirits, like humans sometimes act evil and sometimes act good depending on their emotions, but nobody acts evil or acts good all the time – We act as individuals and as individuals we are chaotic and I am here to fully embrace the chaos both inside and outside of me to accept fully who and what I am. I will no longer reject myself in favour of a kind of universal abstract non-being.”

“But have you not felt it? Have you not felt God? Have you not felt it’s presence? Have you never felt the great joy of being connected to God? If you have, how can you reject that?”

“Of course I have felt connected to God many times including the great joy. Certeinly I do not reject the belief in God and I still feel God’s presence. But I wanted to be connected to God as individual. In your faith the only way to connect to God is to be dissolved into it, but this loss as individual and the great joy also comes at a price. If I act not saintly or good enough, if I make mistakes, if I sin, if I cling too much to individuality I will be punished by God. Simply said if I do not completely reject my own being I will not be accepted by God.

But I am starting to believe there is another way. I want to connect to God while still keeping my individuality, my dignity.”

“Yet surely you understand that if you do wrong, wrong things will come to you? And that this is the universal law.”

“I understand this, but the question is from who does the wrong thing come to me? If I hurt another person and that other person hurts me back. Does the hurt that I receive back come from the Almighty God or from the other person? As individuals the other person has every right to hurt me for hurting them, and I fully acknowledge that right and am responsible for my own actions, further the other person also has the right to not hurt me back after I hurt them, if that is the other person’s personal decision as an individual.”

The clock rang an alarm. It was time for the evening prayer. The master’s face suddenly became more focused and decicive. Like a slave on breaktime who is suddenly called to his lord for service.

“Will you at least join me for prayers before you leave?”

“What would I pray for? To lose myself in God? The structure and order of this temple does reflect the God you have faith in. The great timekeeper; the knower of all things, the one who maintains order. You wake up everyday at the same time, you eat exactly on time, you pray when the clock tells you to, you go to sleep when the time is just right. To me it seems you have lost all creativity and spontainity – the very things that make you individual.

No, not for me. I wish to remain orderless, timeless, limitless; not bound by the structures God has imposed on me. I think it is time for me to leave now.”

“Well, so be it then. Of course I wish you would stay and I can not endorse your views, nor your leaving, but if this is your wish and if you think this decission wil help you grow then so be it. All I can say now is that I wish you a lot of strength and courage in your journey and of course I hope to see you again some day.”

Chapter 3: Entering Into

And so it was… I left.

I ventured out into nature. I walked over the pastures of human civilization, perfectly ordered squared plots of lands in wich cows grazed. Cows selected and bred for centuries to provide beauty to the human eye and food for the human stomache. And fields of vegetables perfectly ordered in neat rows without weeds.

It seems a good analogy for the God of human civilization. Only the good vegetables, the good humans that please this God remain in good order, the weeds: the bad people are damned and burned in hell.

But beyond the fields is the unspoiled forest. Which was were I was headed. The forest is so dense it’s darkness surrounds you completely when you are in it. Plants of every kind grow in ever corner. As I enter into the forest there seems to be a path, but the path is so overgrown it can barely be made out from the surroundings. I wonder to myself have other people walked this path before, maybe it was used frequently. But nobody has been on this path for a long time as the vegetation is almostmo swallowing the path. Maybe this is a path used by animals of different kinds. Or maybe I was simply imagining a path, an opening in the forest were there was none at all. Whatever the case, the path would surely dissapear soon, after being taken over by the forest.

I continued on and on. Wherever there was some space I would go. Most of the time there was no space to walk at all, crawling under or climbing over branches was the only way to proceed, but I was determined. I was finally free, I was alone, and I was lost.

But was I really free? Or did I simply went from one prison to another.

And was I really alone? Sure there were so nobody around for a long time. But there were countless trees covering me, embracing me. Birds were chirping and flying from branch to branch. The forest floor was covered with ants and other critters walking around. In the air insects were buzzing around: wasps, mosquitos, bees, butterlfies, you name it. Life was abundant.

What about lost? Was I really lost? “Lost” is a concept used for people who have lost their way back, those who do not know how to return home. But I had not nothing to come back to, nor had I any place to go to. So then I could I be lost? I simply am where I am.

I remember a time when I was a child playing in a park. I lost my mother and felt so alone. I cried and wailed until my throat started hurting. I felt so desperate and I was sure I would never go home again or see my mom and I would die all alone. Then suddenly my mom ran up to me. She picked me up and held me in her arms. She was worried and comforted me. I felt so happy be in her arms.

But this is not like that time. I am in solitude, but not alone. I can feel my mother; mother Earth supporting me. It feels more like I am returning home than running from home.

I was walking and crawling and climbing through forest for what seemed to be an eternity. It is almost as if the forest was speaking to me. Luring me in deeper and deeper. Every step I took became more exciting, more filled with wonder and amazement. When I looked back the path seemed to have dissapeared, but when I looked in front the path magically opened up.

No part of the forest was ever the same. New arrangements of plants, trees, and flowers appeared with every turn of the path.

The presence of God dawned on me, I felt it deep in my heart, yet it was different than what I felt in the temple. It was more alive, more coloful and creative.

Chapter 4: Opening Up

My journey let me to an open field in the forest. It was refreshing to see the sun again, to see the blue sky with white clouds. One would assume this field to be human made, but it definitely was not. Simply it was an open area the forest allowed to be there for whatever reason. The open field had a change of vegetation compared to the surrounding forest.

A mixture of tall and short grasses, flowers, and herbs of different kinds. In the middle of the open area was a thorny tree with underneath it a bunch of boulders.

I climbed up on the biggest rock and was able to overlook the surroundings… In whatever direction I looked there were mountains covered with forests as far the eye can see.

From the direction I came I could faintly make out a city, but it was so far a way it nearly vanished on the horizon. Truly I was now in the wilderness. The realm of the tiger’s roar; the wasp’s sting; the bite of a snake.

Tired, I decided to rest on a stone underneath the tree. The shade of the tree nearly enough to protect me from the burning sun. At first I sat, staring at the stalks of grasses flowing in the wind but as I relaxed more I laid down and fell asleep.

I heard a whisper. I was not able to make out the words, but I was sure the whisper was speaking to me. I opened my eyes. The canopy of the tree hanged over me.

I looked around if someone was there, but I could not see anyone. The whisper continued, I tried as hard as possible to make out the words but I could not.

“Who is there?” I called out.

“It is just me silly”. A soft voice responded with a flirtatious laughter coming from the tree.

“Who are you?” I asked in confusion.

“Would it make you feel better or worse if I tell you who I am?” The voice commanded.

“I do not know, at least I want to know who I am dealing and if you are harmful or not. What are your intentions?”

“My intentions are good. I simply wish to talk, you seem interesting.”

“Fine, then can you at least show yourself?”

“Aren’t you already seeing me?” The voice said as if its normal to talk to a voice without a body.

“No, I can not see you.” I said as I looked around.

“What about now?”

I looked at the tree and I saw a naked woman morph out of the tree. Her body was made of bark; her hair like fine branches which were growing constantly while at the same time breaking off and falling down to the earth; her arms of which she had more than I am able to count moved slenderly in different directions; her hands and fingers had blossoms of pink and red flowers; her legs had no ending but instead were rooted in the ground yet she was still able to move like a human being. Her face was transforming constantly.. One moment it was laughing, another moment it was looking angry; yet another moment it seemed to be crying. Despite this her emotional state and voice remained calm and stable.

I was in shocked at this creature before me, but also entranced. “Are you a tree nymph?” I asked curiously. I had read about this kind of creature in old books, but the descriptions from the books were not even close to the fantastical creature displayed to me.

“What I am, is decided by you, is it not?” She told me firmly.

“What do you mean? Are you going to keep speaking in riddles?!” I asked her in both annoyence and excitement.

“Well, when you tell someone who you are. What are you describing? What are you suggesting?”

“Hmm…” I thought for a moment while looking at the mystical creature in front of me.

“If I tell someone my name, it is assumed that’s who I am. But my name does not describe my character and there are also people with the same name as me who have a different character. Also..”

“And what if you tell someone what you are?” She interrupted me.

“What I am? Well as for me.. I am human and I am a man.”

“And that means what?” She sternly pressed me.

“To be human is to have 2 legs, 2 arms, etc and to be a human man is to have a penis on this human body”

“Who says so?” She said with an annoyed tone.

“Common sense says so. I say so.” I responded quickly also becoming slightly annoyed.

“So you are human. You are exactly the same as all other humans?”

“Um.. not exactly the same. We are individuals. We all talk different and look different depending on the person. Human is more of a category you know, compared to animals and trees”.

“So you catogorize things? And each category assumes what is being catagorized is mostly all the same, right? And when you assume I am a tree nymph you assume all tree nymphs look like me and behave like me.”

“Yes, yes exactly.” Being relieved she finally understood, tho I had no idea yet where this was going.

“But why would you do that?” She inquired. My annoyence quickly came back as it felt like I was speaking to a child who knew nothing.

“To make sense of the world. To know what is this and what is that. To order the things to what they are.”

“And why is it useful to order things?”

“Because!” I shouted almost losing my temper.

“Huh? Because what?!”

“Because umm.. for example having to know what plants I can eat and which ones I can’t. Some are poisonous and some edible.”

“What if you assume you do not have that knowledge at all. How would you go about avoiding poisons and finding edibles?”

I thought for a while.

“Then you would get this knowledge through experience.”

“So then what if I told you, you can only find out who I am by experiencing me and I can only find out who you are by experiencing you; would this be fair to you?”

It was as if a light went on in my head that made everything clear.

“That would be fair. Now that I think about it. Even if I were to know someones name and know what they look like, I would not truly know them. I can only know them by interacting with them. And even if you know the name of a vegetable and know its form, the taste can not be known unless tasted, unless experienced.”

“Exactly. You seem to understand. And by you assuming I am a tree nymph you are denying my individuality to a universal concept. Not only am I not a tree nymph, if I were – not all tree nymphs act nor talk the same as me.”

“Thus if I get this correctly. If I am saying I am human I would be rejecting my own individuality as a unique person, because every human behaves differently and any other person is not me, we are all unique.”

“Yes that is true.”

“And even more so with religions and ideologies When I say I am Christian, it is assumed I beief in Christ. When I say I am Muslim it is assumed I belief in Muhammed. When I say I am Buddhist it is assumed I believe in Buddha. When I say I am capitalist it is assumed I belief in free market competition. When I say I am communist it is assumed I belief in a controlled market by the state. When I say I am anarchist it is assumed I belief in self rule. And so forth.

But there are many Christian, Islamic, Buddhist sects all with different views and within those sects each individual has its own personal little beliefs and experiences of the world that differ slightly from their peers. The same capitalism, communism, and anarchism, there are many different viewpoints within each viewpoints and each of those is further divided into individual viewpoints. None of these claims truly do justice to the experience of the individual.

“Tho, I do not knew these names you talk about, it seems so.”

“I have never in my life had a conversation like this with anyone.” I said in excitement.

“Well, have you ever met anyone like me?” The creature said in a sassy tone.

“No, no I have not.” I smiled.

The tree and me talked for a while more about our daily lives and other non-philosophical things, until we both grew tired of talking.

The tree was going to take a nap. I asked her if she knew of a path further into the forest. She pointed somewhere. I looked at where she pointed and then looked back at her, but when I looked back she was gone.. Just the tree was there. “Sleep well, I hope we can meet again someday.” I said to the unresponsive tree.

Chapter 5: Fern Music

Night began to fall and I was stil journeying through the forest. I stumbled up on a an big open area once again, but this was not one I could go into as it was an expansive lake.

The full moon was reflected in the calm lake and illuminated the shores. This beautiful sight was made only better by the two wild deers drinking water across the lake. One big deer and one smaller deer. Presumably a mother and her child. When I walked to the shore to take a closer look at them they noticed me. I stared them in the eye for a moment before they quickly ran back into the darkness of the forest.

I slept not far from the shore of the lake. When I woke up in the morning I was greeted by ferns all around me. The rays of the sun tried to push through the forest canopy, but the crowns of the trees only allowed a few beams of light to the floor where I was laying. The hard and intense sunlight became filtered into a cooling light, enough to see my surroundings.

A slight wind moved through the upper canopy making the trees sway back and forth like a group of organized ballet dancers, causing the light of the sun to scatter in all directions. Amused by this almost crystalline effect I started to laugh. When I finished laughing I heard a high pitched humming that quickly moved up in pitch until it hit a peak causing a toned “Ding” to appear. This process kept repeating itself. I looked around me, I was astonished. The ferns were all vibrating and the sound seemed to come from them. I listened attentively and the longer I listened the more the humming sounded like a melodious song. Soon I felt my own body vibrating with energy, indeed the humming of the ferns was inside my body. I could feel and hear their singing.

As smaller ferns gave more rapid cycling hums and the bigger ferns gave slower hums the fern music turned into a complete orchestra with undertones, midtones, and overtones harmoniously interacting. No human music, no man made instrument could come close or even resemble this magical plant music. If it would be played on the radio it would sound almost alien and other wordly, but this music was not out of this world; it was right here in the forest around me.

Without thinking a song spontaniously swelled up from inside of me and I began to sing:

Spirit of Mother Earth.

Spirits of plants and trees.

Harden me, soften me.

Soften me, and harden me.

Soft leaves and hard stem.

Strong spirits with loving hearts.

Tree and fern spirits give me lessons.

About myself.

Chapter 6: Storm

The wind was relentleslly raging through the forest, it was so loud I could not hear anything other than the wind. I was scared, but at the same time I was confident I would make it through, I put all my trust in the forest to protect me. Trees were swaying on the wind: Small young trees still flexible bend all the way to the floor without breaking; older stronger trees firmly rooted in the ground with thick branches that hopped on the bursts of winds, but they resisted without breaking.

And then the storm added rain ontop of it. So much rain that I was drenched in only a few minutes. The water flowed down the mountain quickly, soon the path I was on started turning into a river and I had to move higher up, holding on to branches to not slip in the mud. The river, wich not so long a go was a path I was walking on, flowed so strongly that if I would have stayed there, would have swept me away in it’s relentless currents.

I felt the violent energy of the storm inside me: the water and the wind uniting into a wild beast. The thunder roaring like a lion with quick flashes of lightning that with the blink of an eye illuminate everything. But equally I felt the brutal energy of earth and the forest resisting, fighting back. This forest would not be defeated, it would not be beaten down by this storm; and this forest had been through many storms before. It has taken the beating of thousands of storms in the past and the forest has only become stronger from it. This storm would just be another breeze to these ancient trees.

I became tired from the storm and sat down medium sized tree. I was so cold from the rain that I could feel the coldness pierce into my bones. My hands and feet went numb. I was feeling so cold that I did not know if I could still go on. I wondered if I should go somewhere, but I felt so frozen and weary that I layed down, curling into a small shivering ball to keep warm. My senses slowly dwindled. The loud clatter of rain, the rushes of wind trough the trees faded into the background.

It was so cold that even my thoughts could not move anymore, all I could focus on was the cold.

Suddenly I felt something warm lifting me up. It was a tree whose branches wrapped around me and brought me close to its trunk. I felt warm and comforted. The tree smiled at me, its smile was bright and full of peace. The face of the tree was gentle. I felt safe being wrapped into its branches. The tree spoke “Do not worry, I keep you warm”, but while it spoke it mouth was not moving, instead still ever smiling. All the upper branches of the tree moved around to make a dense umbrella of leaves around me to stop all the rain. I felt so cozy that I quickly fell asleep like a baby being held in its mother’s arms.

Eventually I woke up with the sun shining in my face, under the base of the tree. The storm had subsided. Everything had become calm and things had returned to normal. The birds had started chirping again. I was relieved and happy it was over. I could feel the energy had become calm too. The trees were relaxed; the sky was peaceful; and insects were buzzing about just like before. I looked up at the tree that I woke up under, but the tree looked just like any other tree, altho I could still feel its warm energy. I told the tree “Thank you, I am grateful.” I heard the voice of the tree in my head saying “It is nothing buddy, take care”. I smiled at the tree and waved it goodbye. I took a big breath in and out to release all the tension I got from the storm.

I went on to continue my journey through the forest. To my suprise I found mushrooms growing everywhere, in all types of intrigueing shapes and colors. On trees, on logs, on fallen leaves, and even on fruits.

I sat for a while on a rotting log to view my surroundings and take in the beauty of the scene. Everything felt alive, more alive then usuall. I could hear the trees laughing and giggling, as if they knew of my presence and I knew of their presence. I saw a woodlice walking on the log, I noticed the bark was slightly loose so in my never ending curiosity I took off the bark to discover what was underneath.

There I found a city of the woodlice. There were thousands of woodlice, hurriedly crawling away from the light to seek the darkness under other pieces of bark. The scales on their backs reminded me of ancient reptiles and they looked like tiny dinosaurs to me.

The thought of tiny dinosaurs walking around made me burst out in laughter, giggling at the woodlice crawling around.

Chapter 7: Medicine

I heard a wailing scream followed by crying, from not too far, but neither so close that I could see who it was. I ran as quickly as I could towards the source of the sound.

When I came closer I saw it was a mermaid at the shore of a wide river. She noticed me and called me “Help, help me, please help”.

Find a medicine from the forest quickly she commanded me in a voice of pain.

“But how do I find it? How do I know wich plant is the medicine?” I said in a panic.

“Any medicine. It does not matter, just find it. Hurry!”

At first I did not know what to do at all, how could I get medicine from all these thousands of different plants? I wanted to panic, but I recollected myself and stayed calm. For a moment I closed my eyes and emptied my thoughts. Then I ran into the forest looking for something I suspected could be medicine. I found petite pink flowers with a sweet fragrant. They attracted me as if it was a soundless voice inside me saying “This is the medicine, take it”. I also found a tree with long and broad dark green leaves and another tree that looked like an angel because it had a pure white bark with heart shaped leaves. From them I took the leaves thanking them for their support. I ignored all the other plants and trees, because it was only with the two trees and the pink flowers that I had an inner voice saying I needed those.

Quickly I ran back to the mermaid. I gave her the plant medicines. She was happy and amazed I could find the correct medicines for her. She ripped the leaves and flowers into small pieces and mixed them together, then she placed them on a big rock in front of her. She took a smaller rock and started grinding the medicines into a pulp with the rock. When the pulp was done she rubbed it all over her body and sighed from relief. She looked replenished, her skin glowed. She thanked me by giving a necklace consisting of a simple string and a small blue stone.

She said the blue stone came from the bottom of the ocean, from the world of corals. I thanked her for the necklace. She went back into the waters and dissapeared.

Purify the soul

Purify the soul

Purify. Purify. Clean.

Purify. Purify. Clean.

Spiral, spiral, spiral.

Spiral up! Go higher!

Chapter 8: Old Man

Wandering through the forest I crossed a shallow muddy river, in which I almost got stuck. After wich I walked through a thick field of vines with showy flowers of purple, blue and yellow. I had to be careful to not get my leg stuck in the vines and fall on the ground. Passing the field of vines there was a steep passage down into a grove of fruit trees. Going down the rocky pathway I used the roots of the trees as steps. Inside the grove the trees formed a vague circle around me, with several large boulders to sit on. A small stream flowed just below the grove with bunches of ferns and taro growing on its sides. Just beyond the fruit trees grew many trees completely covered and shrouded in a thick blanket of vines.

The grove was nice and cool and I felt safe in this inviting space. I sat on the rock in the middle of the grove, relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the scenery around me.

I see man walk towards me, appearing out of the thickets of trees. He slowly comes closer, walking calmly with confidence. I take a good look at him…

He holds a cane that he uses as a support for walking. The cane has thorns sticking out and big red ants walking on it up and down, but these ants do not seem to bite him. The cane is carved in astonishing patterns and from the top of the cane hangs feathers, a bell and a drum that make a sound with every step the man takes. His clothing is simple but ragged and as old as the man himself.

When he stood in front of me, he said: “Greetings my friend” as he hands me a fruit. “And who might you be?” I ask as I take my first bite of the fruit which turns out to be overwhemingly sweet. “I am just and old man here. I have wandered for a long time like you my friend and I would like to give you some advice, or else you might get tricked by the spirits who be.”

“Sure, I welcome your advice” I said. The man sat on a rock in front of me. “But, tell me first. Where am I?” I spoke softly. “This is a temple. And I am the keeper of this temple. It is not man-made temple of bricks and such, but I can surely tell you that this grove of trees is a safe haven for you, me, and those that support us.”

“I can feel that the energy of this place is magical and I can feel protected and safe here. But what is so special about this place, compared to any other places in this gigantic forest?

Is it not so that every place is sacred and that the power of God penetrates all? If I were to designate this place as sacred would I not then designate other places as not sacred? Then having made the distinction between sacred and not sacred have I then not lost the connection to the belief that all things without exception are holy?”

I asked this to him, not to disregard his wisdom, but rather because I felt this man was truly wise and I had this question on my mind for a long time, cause none of my teachers could answer me.

“It is as you say it is; all is sacred. Yet it is also true that certein places and objects can be concentrated with magical energy to give them power, and their sacredness is neither diminished nor increased because of it. The primary way of doing this is through the power of thought and blessings. Think about those items and places in your life that are important to you, and then think about those that are not important to you.

Those things and locations that are important to you are important by virtue of you thinking about them more often than those not important and it is because of this that they receive power and concentrate with energy. Still those things that are important to you are nothing compared to magical items, for your mind is always distracted moving here and there and thus it can not give much power to what you deem important. But with sustained effort and prolonged concentration you can imbue items and places with great magical powers.

Now you so happen to be in such a place right now. It is I and my spirits helpers that made this sacred grove unique through many years of practice. It is protected through my power.”

“I understand. How about the opposite? Is it possible to remove the power from magical items and places? If so, how would it be done?”

“Yes this is possible also. Simply by breaking a magical item or destroying a sacred place so that it no longer becomes important to whom it is important the concentrated magical energy will dissipate back into the universe and the powers be lost. Another way would be when the person no longer deems the item or place important. Then the magical energy will slowly be released until the place or item is no longer important and it becomes without power. When that happens the item may break by itself or become lost or the place will fall into ruins.

Sometimes it may happen an important magical item or sacred space breaks or becomes lost or is destroyed for uknown reasons even tho it still has power and magic energy accociated with it.”

“Interesting. What other advice can you give me?”

“Before I tell you more, you must make a magical item of your own to protect yourself. You are lucky that you have not been taken yet by the malignant spirits of the forest. You must find my five friends who will instruct you further. They are located around a spring to the north of here. But you can always come back to this place anytime when you need protection and desire to be tranquil.”

The old man stood up and walked away, the bell and drum clinging and stomping with every step. Tho he was old, his body walked over the rocks and roots with the agility of a cat. As soon as he came, he already left.

I wanted to say more, but I did not want to feel intrusive and pressure him with my questions as what he told me already felt like he shared more than enough. Besides that I knew that I would meet this man again sooner or later.

I sat for a little while more to really take in the sublime energy of the place. After a good rest I stretched my body and went on my way.

Chapter 9: Volcano

The ground shook for a short moment. It was an earthquake. A loud rumbling noise could be heard from the distance. Then another short earthquake. It was silent for a while, but then the earth gave a jolt again accompanied by rumbling. These short, but strong earthquakes continued on for a while. I did not know what was happening or what I was supposed to do.

I tried to find an open space, because I was afraid the trees might fall on me. But that was no easy task in the dense forest. It took me several hours of hiking before I could find a small open space, but this was tiny in comparison to the open field I found before. Alas it was good enough to have an overview of the mountains. Meanwhile the tremors continued.

When I looked at one of the mountains I could see giant white clouds rising up from the mountain as tall plumes that spread out over the sky like a circle.

The sun was starting to set on the opposite side, soon darkness descended. The clouds filled the night sky blocking the stars. The smell of sulfur, like rotting eggs filled the air.

As soon as it was dark the sky brightened with a splendor of lightning strikes. One after another bolts struck across the sky creating a wonderful display. Some flashes of lightning were so intensely bright like looking directly into the sun and momentarily I became blinded. The night was alive with violent exotic energy; the forces of nature without mercy. The kind of forces that make me tremble in fear yet have great awe and deep respect for the immense powers shown to me. The endless lightning together with momentarily earthquakes continued troughout the night until the early morning when the sun rose its head again.

In the morning I was sleep deprived for I was not able to sleep from the non-stop flashes. When the new day started it was raining black ashes and all the plants around me had thin layers of fine ashes on them. The smell of sulfur was gone, but the entire sky was covered with dark black clouds.

I did not know what I had to do. Should I stay in the same and wait? Should I continue on and try to find the five friends the old man told me about?

Since staying in the same place would do nothing. I took this volcanic erruption as an omen that I should make haste and journey further.

Chapter 9: Snake

I trekked for several days trough the forest, and during these days there were still the occasional earthquakes but progressively they became less and less. The sky became clearly blue as well and it seemed like things had returned back to normal.

Altho I was obviously nothing waiting for terrorizing destructive earthquakes, the occasional trembles of the earth actually made me feel more connected to the earth and in a strange way I was thankful for the humbling experience of feeling the great powers of earth.

During my trek I had seen plenty of majestic great trees who stood like grand towers reaching the sky;beautiful canyons covered in vines; flowers so pure of beauty they could pacify any creature… and yet I still had not met the five friends that the old man spoke of.

Until.. I wandered upon a few palm trees. There were five palm trees forming a pentagon together. Inside this pentagon the entire ground was covered by only one creeping vine with heart shaped leaves and purple funnel shaped flowers. Around the four of the palm trees grew thick lianas, but on the fith palm tree at the head of the pentagon grew the same vine as on the ground with heart shaped leaves, but this time with pure white flowers much bigger than the purple ones.

From out of the vines on the ground popped several patches of mushrooms. Some small and some big; with different colours and shapes.

Exactly in the middle was a small pond in wich grew white and blue water lilies. At edges of this pond sat green and yellow frogs and large brown toads.

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