Heather stood on the stage winding up her presentation on spiritual beliefs, “believing in what you want is your right. No one has the right to question your decision to follow your chosen path. No one has the right to tell you it is the wrong one. It is a decision that took you years of seeking, or perhaps it was a belief system that you were born into, one that is comfortable for you and one that gives you the spring in your step when you get out of bed or off the floor in the morning.” She smiled at the laughter coming from the packed auditorium. “Be happy in yourself, your belief and your faith. This will give you the balance that your life needs. Blessed Be!”
The applause shook the house; she smiled and looked around at the audience, the immense love that she felt for each and every one of the strangers that had taken their precious time to be part of her lecture was overwhelming. She always felt the need to scream with laughter after speaking, as it brought her such great joy. She had picked up six of the audience who thought she was an idiot, but out of two thousand, that was not a bad ratio. There was a lot of heartache and spiritual confusion amongst them though, and she knew it was going to be a late night. Standing beneath the stage lights, the natural highlights in her golden blonde hair gave her an ethereal look, her moody grey eyes looked out over the crowd once again and she silently thanked the Goddess for her gifts.
“Thank-you all for taking the time to come and hear my chatter, it was a wonderful evening. If you have any questions, please ask them now or if you want something more intimate, please see me in the conservatory for beverages, I will be available.”
Heather walked down the steps from the stage, her tall body lithe and dressed in a black, flowing long gown, her friends always laughed when she said the gowns were to “hide a multitude of sins”. She was slightly overweight, but thanks to her height, it was not that obvious.
As she walked up the auditorium to get to the back door people were touching her, she always got this, people wanted a piece of her, and she was always willing to share. Stopping to chat briefly and touch them back. Holding hands, kissing babies, patting people on the back, sharing her energy with everyone around her was her gift, and she did it willingly. Her eyes swung to a young woman who was still sitting down a few rows from the back. She looked terrified, Heather walked directly towards her, she went down on her haunches and took the young woman’s hands; “Tina, everything is going to be fine, he will be back tomorrow at lunchtime, make sure you are at home, he will be terrified from his ordeal, but he is unharmed.” The young woman’s eyes filled with tears as she threw her arms around Heather, “thank-you My Lady.” Heather sat with her for a few minutes, holding her tight and letting Tina cry until her fears were abated. “Now come and have a cup of tea,” Heather whispered, running her hand up and down Tina’s arm in a motherly fashion.
Heather stood up and continued out the auditorium towards the conservatory, she knew that she should be exhausted as this was her fourth lecture this week, but it was Friday night and she had a wonderful weekend on her own, with her cats, dogs and garden to look forward to. Full moon esbat the following night, one she was doing on her own without the coven, she felt she needed that.
Walking into the conservatory she looked around at the incredible artwork that had been gifted to her over the past fifteen years, the Roman, Celtic and Greek Gods, Hecate Queen of Witches, Pan, Cerridwen, The Morrigen, Cupid, Angel Raphael, Gabriel, Michael. She loved her art collection and would always make room for more. She had the four elements carrying all through her conference centre, the conservatory though was special as this is where people came to read, have tea, talk, etc. In the north of the room, Fire was depicted through the most incredible arrangement of candles, these she made herself. In the East, a water feature with the threefold Goddess; Maiden, Mother and Crone to honor the element of water, to the West an indoor garden built into the wall for the love of earth and to the south, air was given the shape of a goddess figure of Hecate holding incense burners in each of her beautiful hands. The entire ceiling was made from huge glass panels so that the light of the stars and the moon could shine through when the need arose. Yes, it was a Witches conservatory, but the people who came to listen to her lectures were welcome regardless of their belief systems, after all, it was about spiritual awareness, and not about religion.
Charles, the High Priest of her coven, waved and she smiled and walked towards him.
“Heather, this is Josh Stuart. He is a Catholic Priest, from some small town that I cannot even remember the name of. “Charles said jokingly.
“Father Stuart, what a pleasure it is to meet you.” Heather said shaking his hand genuinely. He returned the handshake, his blue eyes twinkling.
“Thanks for the intro Charles, but he is a joker, I am not quite a Priest, I like to think I am a good Anglican though. I do what I can for the small community where I minister.” He looked deep into Heather’s eyes, looking for something that would warn him against her, but there was nothing but love and honesty. She was an amazing woman he caught himself thinking.
“Charles has always been a joker; the only thing he seems to take seriously is the fact that we are needed by too many people.” She joked good naturedly. “It is always a pleasure to have someone of your faith amongst us without wood and matches.” She said seriously. Josh was a little taken aback and not sure how to react that comment until he looked in her eyes and saw them twinkling with merriment.
“You had me going there for a moment, I honestly can’t say whether my family going back had anything to do with the Burning Times, but I really feel they didn’t, I would still have some feelings left, wouldn’t I?”
“You know about the Burning Times?” Heather was suitably impressed.
“Yes I do, part of my studies included the Maleus Malificarum and the Witch trials over the centuries, I must say I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting a real Witch before, apart from Charles, and I must say I am honored.” He looked her directly in the eyes, he had a strange feeling looking in them, it was as if she was examining his soul, looking for anything that may resemble a lie within him. She smiled and linked her arm through his, and winked at Charles, steering Josh to the huge doors that opened up into the beautiful garden behind the conservatory.
The rest of the evening was a blur, Heather could not believe that she was sitting on the grass, cross legged like a teenager, sipping on some really good Sauvignon Blanc with her new friend Josh, they chatted about beliefs, how they became what they were, Heather felt twenty three again, which she hadn’t been for twenty years.