Sages in Winter

The Quest is bigger than we are.

When I returned from the southlands of Carlsbad and Encinitas in 2023 to the mountains of Tahoe it was a return to the place that i’d studied the divinatory arts and to the company of my fellow oracle Cassandra Banks. There, beaten and bruised from the journey but with the gift of the Goddess in my grasp, I recuperated, living in a small home provided by Cassandra at the top of Carnelian Bay.

I was no longer the young man of thirty I was when I started the quest but a grizzled half-century, and I had come back with nothing but a backpack and a blanket within a 1998 Subaru Forester that was both my vessel and my home. During my time of healing, I would often walk through the forests near our house, barefoot through the paths, drawing strength from the strands of energy I felt beneath my feet.

Other times, when the snow was too thick, I would simply wander, listening to the cooling voices of the trees and what they said upon the winds. I saw myself as the sage then, returned to the mountains with the refined ore of seership and vision which had set me on the Quest in the first place, somehow returned to the place i’d started from where I first had vision of the landscapes of legend, brought to a place of sanctuary and refuge from the conditions which had marked the end of my journey months before.

What force had brought me to this place, I wondered. What larger intelligence had summoned me home to the mountains when I needed them most? How was it the cache of garments I had in my car were enough to warm me through the winter as I traversed the snow with a pair of sorel boots discovered by Cassandra at a free box? How did such things happen, and why were they happening for me?

It was not a thing of willful magic that brought me to that place, nor was it surrender – and yet I arrived there once more nonetheless, back to the place on the land where i’d first been given the vision of the subtle earth, and in the company of the very woman i’d studied the arts of divination with many years before.

Why was this? What subtle threads tied the skein of our stories together? What force gave rise to the synchronicities that had taken me so far away from the lake only to return, embodying the very archetype of the hero returning from the quest?

In 2006 the spirit of Tahoe had shown me the underlands of the Mythica, revealing the relationship between the halo of conditions which surrounded my divinations on the path and the actual land I was moving through along the way, coming to me as I circled round the very great lake herself near the western inlet of Emerald Bay.

It had been the inspiration for the rainbow road, the beginning of what would become my understanding of the World Tree and the territories of the Mythica, and as I had come back to the mountains I felt that power again, the hum of an intelligence that was part of the lake herself, part of the trees and the wind and part of her people, what was called the deva loci of the place – the spirit of the land herself, and as I returned from the long question she had opened her arms to me once more as I had been her child sent to serve in some faraway land only to come back, bearing the bloom of the seed she had granted so many years before.

It was like so many things a mystery, woven of the mystos and mythos that defined my adventure, the gradual unfoldment of my awareness that there was something greater than my point of view, greater than what I thought to be my will and it’s intentions, a thing which unfolded in seasons across decades of my life, and yet it happened, I was home again in the mountains, the sage and the soldier returned from the Quest, living the archetype of the modern myth.

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