BIDE THE WITCHES' RULE OF CONDUCT YOU MUST, WITH COMPLETE DEVOTION AND COMPLETE CONFIDENCE. THESE EIGHT WORDS THE WITCHES' CREED PUT INTO EFFECT, CAUSE NO PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INJURY TO NONE, YOUR CHOICE. AND EVER OBEY, THE RULE WHAT EVER IS SENT RETURNS THREE TIMES STRONGER. HOW YOU TREAT ANY LIVING THING WILL RETURN, FOLLOW THIS WITH INTELLECT AND COMPASSION, AND MERRY WE MEET, AND MERRY WE PART.
“She has constantly grumbled and carried on whenever it comes to expected manual labor. Yet she was always first to arrive when the fruits of the labor are harvested and evenly divided,” Hailey said firmly.
“I can remember at the tender age of five, when our formal education began, the responsibility and structure were taught by tending to the farm animals. The duties of milking, feeding, collecting eggs, watering, cleaning, fresh beds, to care for the animals was to ensure that their time on this planet was content. We were all awakened to the connection that animal needs are the same as ours. We learned to view animals as living, breathing creatures - they think, feel and do and are in need of love and attention to grow and mature healthy. Why can’t Lilith understand it is that basic,” Avril said, looking annoyed.
“As we grew older, working with our fellow-sisters, we had hands-on lessons in the orchards and the crop fields. To plant, maintain and reap that which was sowed and to appreciate all agriculture has to offer.” Hailey said, appearing upset.
Hailey and Avril passed Lilith griping, and had a corresponding thought. After a crafty smile at one another the pair bent their left arms at waist level, palms flat and raised them upward to the sun. They curled their pointer finger back and placed it under the edge of their thumbs while the middle, ring and small fingers stretched straight out. With a quick flick they released the pointer finger out at her and returned the energy Lilith sent out.
The sun’s rays beamed down upon them as a large number of winged insects with biting parts and a slender waist with a sting appeared. They swarmed together to create a fast moving dark cluster. Before a warning could be heard they attacked Lilith with their spiteful stings. The wasps left as fast as they had come as a screech unlike any other echoed through the grounds. Lilith appeared panicked. She complained hysterically about the sharp tingling, irritating pain while traces of the wasps’ bites appeared upon her skin. Everyone, small and young, nurturing and old, drew their attention to her to see what harm had been done. The mothers rushed to her side. In a commanding tone Cortney’s mother told Hannah to retrieve the myrrh oil from the first aid chest. Avril and Hailey turned their attention away from Lilith being attended. The two chuckled to themselves as they walked along the interlocking stones. The fragrant rose shrubs were a delight. Living up to its reputation of the work horse in the rose world, the plant had maintained itself well during the cold winter season. The morning sun received for at least six hours was sufficient to produce bountiful blooms all year round.
The two joined Angelica thinning and pruning the shrubs to ensure good air circulation. The Priestess shielded her face, ears and shoulders from the sun’s rays with an extra wide brim woven straw outdoor hat. Both her arms and hands were covered in dark dry dirt. Carefully she moved the pruning shears snipping at branches placing them in a hamper close to her side.
“I would like to know if the two maidens are proud of yourselves for misusing the powers?” Hailey and Avril knew that what they had done to Lilith was wrong and yet they still felt pleasure. Both hunched their shoulders, lapsed into momentary silence as they turned away their eyes in shame from the Priestess.
“Bide the Witches' Law ye must, In perfect love and perfect trust. These eight words of the Witches' Rede fulfill, An ye harm none do as ye will," Angelica said, voice calm. "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law?” Is that all the two of you have absorbed from the wise woman’s creed?”
“She’s done bad stuff to us – and to our sister-friends – she’s a bad excuse for a witch,” the two maidens said in unison. Together the two stumbled on words making excuses for their actions thinking the Priestess would understand and side with their behavior. Instead, Angelica shook her head and scolded them. “One should never lay blame on another for their chosen actions.”
The two sister-friends exchanged an unpleasant glance.
“A little information is a dangerous thing,” the Priestess said reasonably. Her attention was drawn away toward a young girl taking on an adult chore. The child prepared to lay a bale of hay in the rose shrubs lining the horse barn. “No! No! Not there!” Angelica sternly ordered, quickly to grab the child’s awareness. “The hay harbors weed seeds and is not to be used as mulch. The weeds will grow where they do not belong. Lay a few flakes in the stalls for the horses and return the remaining bale in a suitable place within the barn and to be sure to sweep up any remains with the besom.”
Hailey and Avril knelt and quietly spread fertilizer in a circle around the shrubs just below the drip line so that when the rain falls and drips the side dressing will break down adding nutrients to the soil and plant roots. By Angelica’s sharp movements trimming the rose bush they could tell that she was disappointed with their chosen action.
“How dare one of nature’s creatures not treat another with tenderness by sending out malice for mere pleasure, an eye for an eye, and we will all go blind,” the Priestess said, frustrated.
“I want you both to know every person you meet on the road of life has a lesson, an opportunity for you to further your growth. Manipulating the forces one will receive what one wants at a price. Actions need to be motivated by the greater good. The universe is held together by one giant interlocking web of energy. The connections grow stronger when we don’t practice to harm or deceive. To seek to misuse power is just wasteful. Learn to acknowledge the similarities in your differences and respect with true understanding the differences in your similarities.”
While Angelica sat on the small milk stool she straightened out her spine then breathed in a deep intake of air through her nose, then out her mouth to center herself. “By your chosen action you allowed your equilibrium to tip too far in one direction resulting in extreme measures. You both have become that which you disliked. Life was testing you. To pass next time strengthen the opposite reaction. Never should either of you lower yourselves or judge another for being themselves. Moderation and acceptance is the middle road. Let the ones who live to hurt be. Life will work itself out.
Angelica placed both hands waist level for support and stood stretching her back. After admiring her work on the rose shrubs and before Hailey and Avril parted her company Angelica released more wisdom. “Life,” she said, “tests us every day. Use brain power and don’t sweat the small stuff. Temptation should never outweigh your skill.”
Avril stared into the dark sky and listened to the sound of swooping, whizzing wings that moved quite rapidly. The noise swooped down then flew upward. The sound came from bats who were once residing in the holes of the old willow tree. “The only mammals with the power of true fright,” Ceserea said as she looked over at Hailey and saw that by her reaction was just that. “Avoid indiscreet discussions of your affairs,” Ceserea forewarned Hailey. The old wise one, stretched her left hand out, bent her elbow and raised her palm. “Bats avoid collision in flight by emitting sounds which reflect back by any objects in their path. Even though they do have a little bit of sight the frequency guides them,” she stated quietly. She sat still when a tiny black creature, smaller than a mouse, with wings stretched between elongated bones of four fingers extending along the bat’s body from the fore limbs to hind limbs to the tail, landed on her hand. Four others flew in circular motion only a dim whistle sound could be heard. “Thank you Mother Nature’s children for your five blessings - wealth, health, love, virtue, old age and a natural death,” she said kindly.
The bat, in return, raised one wing up into the air behind and brought the other bent to his chest in a bowing position. Before leaving to be with the other four the bat flashed a pearly pointed fanged grin.
Avril sat in awe in the connection between the two.
“From your reaction Avril, just beneath the surface of your mind there were ideas waiting and ready to emerge. Pay attention for soon an offer of a new proposition which will be very profitable would come,” Ceseara said with a grin.
“Excuse me, High Priestess,” Corena said with a serious expression.
She looked in the maiden's direction.
“I had a meeting with, Warrior Scathach.” and she gave me advice for me to move forward.”
“The correct pronunciation is “Sca-.” High Priestess corrected Corenea. “Scathach is a foster mother who instructs the daughters of the earth about life. Skilled in martial arts she helps give knowledge of muscle and brain in how to handle our foes. She is Warrior Goddess, and Goddess of the Land who will give protection from threatening or abusive people. She gives the eyes to see so one will be forewarned as well as forearmed. A warrior who follows nature’s law and presides over battles, and strategies with the ability to inspire one to help themselves. She allows her students to experience strength, courage and confidence to begin a new life once past and present problems are accepted.”
Ceserea reached over to hold Corena’s hands in hers. “Reflect on who you are and align your action to be with who you are; to be prepared to make sacrifices and pay consequences for your actions and reaction for this is life. Your image of yourself is most important. You are uniquely designed; work with what you have been given, and strive to be your very best."
Angelica walked to Ceserea’s. “High Priestess, will you come inside? The Elders request your presence.” The High Priestess Ceserea slowly rose to her feet as she balanced herself with her walking cane.
“We thank you for your time and wisdom,” Avril said graciously. Your words are greatly appreciated.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” The High Priestess said in a soft tone. She then left.