In the beginning.

People ask where the name of my retreat here in Wales came from

Ravens Retreat.

Here is my story

Little black bird.

She was small tiny in fact.

Not one of them, not part of this tribe and so she didn’t belong.

Saul the king of the crows had said her mother had been a visitor a maverick laying her egg in a nest here in the woods then leaving it to be hatched by one of the king sauls female mates.

Little bird had emerged small scrawny and different she didn’t fit.

The only thing about her that was like the murder of crows she lived with was her colour. She was blacker than the night.

Every day she was reminded that she wasn’t like them smaller not good enough she lived there but she didn’t belong there.

Saul the king was big and mean she had learned not to upset him dodge the sharp elbow of his mighty wing his shrill caw and she had many scars from his sharp beak.

She would wait until everyone had eaten before she dared to look for what scraps were left she survived by living and blending into the shadows.

She lived roosted and nested on the edge of the woods in an old oak tree in a small hollow of a branch near to where she had been hatched.

She knew there was no room for weakness in the woods where she lived the fittest survived the weakest didn’t

The seasons changed the wheel of the year turned new eggs hatched young were born and raised their gathering grew but she was not to see her young born.
Saul would fly into a rage smash her eggs killing her young before her eyes they didn’t stand a chance.

She wondered what was beyond this place her oak tree these woods the stream she dreamed of another place where she could fly and be free.

Then one warm summers evening as she glided alone on a warm summer breeze she was startled by a whoosh of wind as a beautiful huge black bird flew past her.

She watched as he darted and glided this way and that his call was different louder deeper and his feathers though black like hers were darker she followed him as he landed stealthy on an old oak tree on the otherside of the woods.

‘Where do you come from?’ asked the little black bird across the ocean far from here he said preening himself

The sun shone as they spoke of other worlds green valleys and oceans and the little crows heart fluttered.
Could I go to this place she asked?

The beautiful Raven cawed ruffled his feathers and laughed. He tilted his head his eyes were brown and in them she saw a reflection looking back at her.

She let out a caw,

Yes he said seeing the surprise on her face.

You can go anywhere, you too are a Raven.

‘Me a Raven?’ ‘Yes you.’

Why are you nesting with the crows their king is not a good being. His heart is blacker than his feathers,

Fly from here fly south look for the purple topped mountains and green valley’s there are others like us.

Do not be afraid any longer you are brave and stronger than you think you are a warrior little Raven. You can live anywhere you choose.

She flew back to the woods cawing out thanks to the Black Raven.

The king crow was getting old now his eyes were failing and suddenly she realised he wasn’t bigger or stronger and the fear she had felt for all those years roosting in the woods began to leave her.

She puffed up her chest and cawed loudly as she flew down to the place by the river where her smashed eggs and young were buried.

Her heart banged in her Raven chest she was afraid to go but more afraid to stay.

Head tucked under her wing she slept knowing this was the last night in her oak tree in this small woodland that had been her home since she had hatched in the wrong nest.

Tomorrow she would fly

She wished only for good weather and then she slept.

The next morning the sun came up she drank from the stream and caught sight of her reflection again in the water a raven there was new determined look in her eye.

She was no longer the tiny bird the outcast who had taken so many beatings.

A proud strong Raven stared back at her.

She cawed loudly. ‘Goodbye woodland of my youth.’

Gentle winding stream and old oak tree thank you for my shelter and quenching my thirst.

She heard King Saul caw a cruel laugh behind her.

‘Little bird’ he jeered. ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Where do you think you are going?’

I am not little bird I am Raven Storm. I am mighty brave and strong a warrior that is who I truly am. Today I shall fly and find my own path far from here.

King sauls eyes flashed anger ‘you dare speak back to your king you defy my orders?’

‘You would choose solitude and loneliness this is your place.’

The other crows waited for her to answer no one ever left this gathering no one ever left this gathering.

Raven puffed out her chest and spread out her wings ‘I am not your little bird. I choose freedom’
Lonleyness and solitude are yours

There was a gasp from all who gathered as Raven circled for the last time above the small woodland that had been her roost.
As all the crows begin to caw loudly a last goodbye.

The warm winds carried her south. Warm sun shone on her feathers and hope beat a drum inside her brave Raven heart.

She was free.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Faith

In my darkness I found the courage to lite a candle within myself.

Embracing the shadows that lead the way to inner enlightenment.

In the darkness I found my true self.

I was not lost.

Just waiting

For the flickering of the light.

A new generation

Come with me on a journey back in time, To a northern rural village the year is 1969. It’s a bright and beautiful summers day.

I shall tell you the story as it was told to me by Lilly

She was seventeen years old. She loved the beautiful meadow and sitting on the banks of the stream dangling her feet into the water I guess I’m a bit of a loner She would say she but she didn’t mind her own company and loved being outdoors wondering through woodlands never caught her with shoes on her feet. Barefoot wind in her hair that was Lilly.

The breeze was warm and gently swaying the willow tree on the opposite bank of the stream it’s was late afternoon but the sun was still up there shining brightly and the sky was cloudless and blue.

I’d been been sitting watching the water running over the smooth pebbles she told me The water seemed to glisten and shine in the sunlight the reflection of the willow stretches across to me I was thinking of Alice stepping through the looking glass into a magical land. You know somewhere better than here? I know I’m a day dreamer she continued but then something caught her eye.

Who’s that? There across she caught her breath rubbed her eyes was it heat shimmer from the water?

there watching her beside the willow tree was something at first glance she couldn’t quite make sense of

She rubbed her eyes and squinted. Then rubbed them again. A being a tall almost bird like being or was it?

Sparkling almost iridescent skin, crystal like. Shimmering like the stream running over the pebbles.

Perhaps I’m seeing things she thought.

It seemed to fade in and out of focus, blend in and out of the surroundings almost camouflaged.

Much taller than Lilly longer arms and fingers, it has wings on her back that seamed to retract she was very beautiful.

Lilly stood up slowly then bravely began to paddle across towards the willow tree.

It didn’t move tilted it’s head slightly watching her approach almost curiously

‘Who are you?’ she asked..? Climbing onto the bank beside her.

The being reached out and placed her fingers on Lilly’s forehead. There was a static like buzz.

Standing together barefoot on that grassy bank

Visions started to flood between them like a fibre optic connection.

Lilly gasped as she saw seven tiny stars a small consolation light years away beautiful star people peaceful tribes healers teachers, landscapes of purple topped mountains, waterfalls lush green valleys huge yew like trees and an aray of beautiful amimals

Lilly sighed and whispered Koraki that’s your name?.

The beautiful being nodded and smiled their energy arced together. Her eyes where the most beautiful shade of green like purest Jade. Lilly felt absence of peace and safety she had never known.

Why are you here Lilly thought. Koraki answered her question yet no words were spoken between them

She was a traveller fearless explorer a bringer of light collecting samples of plants and herbs she had been to earth many times it was not unlike her own planet but our species caused her tribe sadness our primitive behaviour humans killing each other and destroying the planet they live on.

She and others like her had also come here to to plant seeds of hope and enlightenment to help awaken humans to enlighten them to heal and save their beautiful mother planet. A new generation of star children.

As the sun began to set darkness fell.

a huge dark moon in an ink black sky and the stars twinkled like diamonds and Koraki iridescent crystalline skin.

She pointed up to the sky to a small cluster of stars barely visible.

That’s home that where you came from? Asked Lilly.

She sighed, ‘Can I come with you?’

Koraki gently touched her forehead again.

‘No spaceships, these beautiful beings travelled through consciousness in the blink of an eye at the speed of light. Like beautiful iridescent white Ravens

‘She then showed Lilly a vision of herself holding a baby girl a star seed.

‘My child? a star child asked Lilly but how.

They stood opposite each other Koraki held up the palms of her hands the palms seemed to pulse and swirl spiral iridescent pure white shining light.

Lilly held up her hands much smaller against Koraki a ball of lights around them glowed she had never felt such love and hope. Their two worlds where connected the joining of two tribes.

Lilly told me she had slept peacefully on that warm summer’s night under the willow tree by the stream.

She was woken by the warmth of the sun and the babbling of the stream a Raven cawed above her and she thought she heard Koraki whisper she would protect her child and she would indeed see her again.

The following spring the baby girl Koraki had gifted her was born seed of the star people.

Outside the window a raven cawed as my mother Lilly gently cradled my in her arms.

She never lost her love for the outdoors and walking barefoot with the wind in her hair.

She passed all that on to me

She told me stories of Alice through the looking glass but this one of Koraki and my star tribe is my favourite

‘I’m a mountain wondering lover of stories Ravens and all things magical I’m a soul midwife and healer

On a summers day you’ll find me with a book sitting under the willow tree feet dangling in the stream

On a dark moon you will find me barefoot on the mountain crossroads looking up to a tiny constellation of stars

Home.

Meditation or dream?

After my evening talk with my lady I fall into bed asking for the bliss of sleep which has eluded me this week.

I drift off but I’m woken by a tapping on the front door.

I go downstairs followed by Saffie cautiously open the door There before me is my lady Hekate she smiles and steps into my house.

As always I am struck by her beauty and although no words are spoken she tells me to collect what I need from around me.

She opens the door for us to leave. I look around its 3am where are we going?

I pick up my ritual bag and call Saffie we follow Hekate along the tow path catching in with her step her staff on the ground is the only sound of the night, her cloak seems to blow behind her although there is no breeze.

As we reach the top of my street she smiles we are standing on the cross road.

‘Your mountain’ I ask?

‘Yours’ she answers.

We walk the familiar path Saffie and Hekates hound like two shadows walking in step like two shadows before us.

As we reach the mountain she removes the hood of her cloak.

I feel that familiar knot in my belly.

She holds up her torch to the familiar wall of granite she moves the torch points back at the way we have walked together.

No words are spoken but no I don’t want to go back.

She smiles you have all the tools you need my child.

I open my bag take out my robe undress but the robe has gone.

I look at her she smiles ‘Open the gateway you are safe here’

I take out my blade. ‘It isn’t finished.’ I here myself say handing it to her feeling foolish as the words leave my mouth.

She takes it and as the polished copper glints despite the darkness of the new moon the yew handle seems to be transformed into part of her hand.

She holds it out to me and for a second our hand is one.

I feel a bolt of energy surge through me she nods

‘It is finished.’ she says.

‘Do not fear my daughter.’

I draw a line along the wall of granite the width of us both, as we stand before this mighty mountain.

A gateway opens and there is loud roar of water fierce and rapid through the archway a wooden bridge visible spanning over a fierce river below.

She holds up her torch taps her staff and both dogs lie either side of the gateway.

My bag beside her Saffie looks the other way.

I follow my lady across the bridge. she stops as I reach the middle the shadow stops and the bridge seems half light half dark.

We stand there betwixt and between watch the rush of water passing bellow us in the shadows.

The water splashes and rushes on logs and sticks are tossed this way and that.

I breath in and smell the wet earth and leaves but feel safe here on the bridge.

In the faint glow of Hekates torches

Hekate steps into the darkness her torch seems to dim but still she lights my way.

‘What can you hear she asks?’

As we walk deeper into the cave I stand still and listen the water runs down shiny red tinted walls reminding me of blood. With a metallic essence I can taste it in the spray.

‘I hear the rushing of the river mother.’

‘Then quieten it she tells me gently.’

I breath in close my eyes feeling the earth beneath my feet the sound seems to hush.

‘Now what do you hear?’

‘I hear magic the growth of the roots, Journeys of animals and insects of life I hear the earth all around us and I hear your heart beat mother.’

She wraps one side of her cloak around me. ‘Our heartbeat child.’

‘When you call me look within yourself and around yourself land sea and sky we are one I am always here.’

‘The paths you have walked I have always lit but you have always chosen.’

She holds up her torch to a familiar door scratched in the peeling paint is ‘keep out’ in ballpoint pen.

It’s my childhood bedroom door.

She nods the choice is mine I open the door step inside.

I’m not afraid.

Humpy Dumpty beer ad posters still on the wall purple curtains on a droopy wire green carpet I spin around on the tallboy cupboard is my old record player I hear myself laugh AC/DC’ Let there be Rock’ album is on the turntable next to it on the bedside table are a pile of sticks acorns and feathers are just where I had left them.

I walk over to the curtains and pull them open birdsong fills the room the old oak tree outside my bedroom window stands blowing in the breeze like an old friend. I can smell the cut grass and sunshine I see the old gate leading into the woods behind the house where I had climbed trees built dens, read my favourite books escaping to magic lands like disc world and Neverland.

I turn around and there on the bed is my Nan wearing her apron long silver hair tied back shopping bag by her feet my old dogs lady, Toby, and lucky wagging their tails pleased to see me. I catch my breath ‘Nanny!’ I hear myself say and a tear runs down my cheek.

‘I’m not bloody staying’ she says laughing,

I hug her ‘Nanny I’m sorry’ ‘What bloody for now?’ she says wiping my tears.

‘For not being there when you died for not being at your funeral dad wouldn’t let me come. I came to the cemetery stood on the hill I watched from behind the tree.’ I cried again on her apron as I have so many other times.

‘I know you did my girl I was there with you behind that tree.’

We hug for quite some time I’ve missed her everything about her I inhale the essence of her I feel safe.

‘Let me look at you.’ She says.

She holds me away from her and smiles. You can still smell the sunshine and the storms she laughs. I nod.

A hundred beautiful memories flash before me like old photographs ‘What was that?’ I ask.

‘Love’ she answers.

‘You did it my Lass what did I always tell you?’

‘Trust the universe that was love.’

She wiped my face as I hugged my dogs.

As I stand up I’m bigger than my little Nan now.

She picks up her old shopping bag pats my dogs blows me a kiss and they are gone.

Leaving nothing but the pile of sticks acorns and leaves.

I sit on my bed listening to the buzz of summer outside and the heartbeat of me and my lady I can feel everything I whisper.

The door swings open I walk over to my lady and

we leave.

The door seems to melt back into the granite wall leaving no trace that it was ever there.

We walk back to the gateway the path feels less rough and there where we left them across the bridge Saffie and her black companion lay together.

We stand together on the other side the bridge now bathed in mid-day sunlight

She bids me to take note of the river.

It’s meanders slowly and smoothly beneath us.

We cross the bridge side by side.

I pick up my bag and she bids my to close the gateway I trace the edge with my blade. The bridge between the worlds is sealed.

My clothes are gone.

She hands me a cloak I swing it around me she fastens it.

We walk back home she stays by my side until I reach my garden gate by the canal.

Everything looks the same but somehow I know it’s all completely different.

I kneel before her thanking her for this journey this lesson.

She kisses me lightly on my fore head and hands me a small saffron flower she smiles and I watch the billow of her cloak in the sunshine as she walks back to the cross roads.

Thank you my lady I whisper as she turns the corner.

Raven & the Lighthouse

Blacker and darker than night the lone Raven lived in the shadows.
Built her home in the cracks and crevices of the rocks and cliffs
She liked it there it was safe.
She had hatched her young there
Sheltered them away from predators
Fiercely protecting them with a shrill sharp caw.
Guarding her nest with the courage of an eagle.
She taught her young well.
As she watched them leave the nest as they flew confidant and solo her dark Raven heart fluttered and swelled with pride.
She tilted her head as magically she watched as their dark raven feathers shimmer almost iridescently in the bright sunlight
She cawed and preened herself
And if Ravens could smile she would have.
As her off spring strutted transformed into beautiful peacocks in the lush Green Meadows of the mainland
She circled high above never far away keeping one eye on her beautiful creations.
Always flying back to what she knew
The dark protection of the craggy cliffs and rocks
Then one evening on her journey home as she soared on a warm breeze sea spray splashing below as she prepared to land.
There before her was a bright light.
She circled again.
Light flooded the cliffs and craggy rocks. She cawed a loud warning.
It didn’t move. Things looked so very different in the light.
She cawed again. No response.
There it stood tall grounded and strong and silent
A lighthouse
She felt her heart beat faster.
She was tired now she needed to land.
The lighthouse seemed to beckon the warm glow of light seemed to promise safety. Dare she move away from the rocks..
She circled one last time before noisily but cautiously landing safely by the lighthouse door

Raven Wordsmith 🖤