The Healing Dream
Thick fog surrounded me as I attempted to get my bearings. Waving a hand in front of my face, I could vaguely make out the image of my hand in front of my face. Moving forward, hands stretched out in front of me, I blindly made my way through the foggy expanse.
Suddenly, I heard a soft growl echoing to the right of where I stood. Cautiously, I made my way toward that sound and found the fog thinning as I moved closer to the sound. The sound moved with me as I traveled, always staying about the same distance from me until I entered a deep forest.
Looking up, the fog formed a ceiling above my head. Behind me, a sheet of gray enveloped my path, leaving no trace of my passing. On either side of me stood tall trees of every kind forming a tunnel, of sorts, that I should follow. There really was only one direction left to me, and that was forward. Warily, I made my way down the tunnel of trees, toward a wolf sitting at the end of the path, growling softly.
Upon reaching the wolf, we stood staring at each other for a moment, before the wolf stood, turns its back on me and walked through a curtain of fog, at the end of the line of trees. Taking a deep breath, I stepped through as well, not knowing what I would find on the other side.
Immediately, brilliant light filled my eyes, temporarily blinding me. I shielded my eyes, squinting against the glare of the sun as my eyes worked to become accustomed to my new surroundings. Once I could see clearly, I looked around in curiosity and wonder. I was standing at the entrance to my sacred grove.
Tranquility settled within me as I took a deep breath, allowing the peacefulness of the grove to touch my soul. I knew that in this space, I was protected from the cares of the world. The wolf, which I had almost forgotten about, growled once again drawing my attention away from the beauty of the grove.
The wolf was standing next to the old log, where I had spent many hours resting and relaxing next to the stream. Suddenly, the wolf turned and jumped across the stream in a single bound, landing softly and on the other side. With a final look over its shoulder, the wolf disappeared into the woods on the other side.
I wondered if it meant for me to follow it into the woods on the other side, but I had never seen that path before and was looking forward to a peaceful rest in my favorite spot within my sacred grove. Settling down, with my back against the log, I closed my eyes and relaxed, allowing all of my worries, fears and frustrations to leave me, if only for a few moments.
A rustling of leaves and snapping of twigs soon pulled me from my gentle rest. I directed my gaze across the stream to the point where the wolf had vanished into the woods, expecting it to return, but to my surprise, a boy and girl stepped out into the light.
I watched the children with intrigue, as they appeared to have been twins, except for the condition of their bodies and clothing. They seemed to be taken directly from the pages of Mark Twain’s story, The Prince and the Pauper.
The boy was filthy, covered in puss-filled sores that oozed down his arms. He was barefoot, wearing tattered clothing and his hair is unkempt. Next to him, the girl was holding his hand. Her appearance was the exact opposite of her twin. She was clean, pure as the new-fallen snow, wearing a beautifully colorful sundress and wearing her hair in pigtails. She didn’t seem to mind the puss flowing over her hand coming from the boy's sores.
I greet them pleasantly, but had a hard time not crying for the sight of the poor boy... wishing there was some way I could help him and wondering why the girl seemed unconcerned about her brother’s physical condition.
“Hello Twyrch”, she said pleasantly. “Why are you so sad?” Her voice was light and had an almost musical quality to it. I wondered how she knew my Druid name and how she knew I had been feeling sad before entering the grove, but decided it would be rude not to respond.
“Hello…” I responded. “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s wrong with your brother and why do you let him suffer needlessly?”
As I spoke, the boy looked at me with fear and clung tighter to his sister’s hand, but she seems not to notice. “Because,” she replied gently, “You are the cause of his condition and only you can help him.”
Anger welled up inside of me and I responded harshly, “Me? You accuse me of causing his condition? How dare you! I’ve never met either of you, let alone him and besides, he’s in your care, not mine. Why don’t you help him instead of allowing ignoring his pain?”
She didn’t seem to notice my anger my anger, though, and responded in the same calm, gentle manner as before. “Twyrch, you have spent most of your life hating the person you used to be and that hatred has poisoned your soul. It is this same poison, which now seeps from this boy’s wounds.”
Stunned by her revelation of my secret pain, I asked, “So how can I help this boy?”
“You must simply forgive yourself and stop hating the person you used to be, for it was the experiences in your past which have shaped you into the person you are today.” She explained, “Without those experiences, you wouldn't have the knowledge, wisdom or compassion you have now, and that would be a greater tragedy than if you had never changed at all.”
I sat quietly for a moment, pondering her words. As I waited, she led the boy to the stream. Stretching her hand out across the stream, she said, “Take my hand.”
As if no longer in control of my actions, I did as she asked. She placed the boy's hand in mine, and although I wanted to jerk my hand free, I felt sorry for the boy and couldn’t bear to bring him any more harm.
The boy’s hand was bony and frail, cold as death to the touch. He had a look of pure terror on his face, but never said a word to me. He kept looking from me to the girl, but she calmed his fears saying, “Don’t be afraid. Twyrch won’t hurt you. Just hold onto his hand tightly and step into the stream. I will be here to protect you.”
I climbed into the stream and met him halfway. The water only came up to my waist, but the water came up to the top of his neck. I cupped the water in my hands and poured it over his hands, praying that he would be healed.
Laying her hand on my shoulder, the girl said, “Twyrch, your intentions are good, but you need to do more than that. Place your arm behind his back and tilt him backward until he is fully submerged in the water. Be sure to do this 3 times and continue your prayers.”
Doing as she directed, I placed my arm behind his back and tilted him backward until he was completely submerged, then raised him up again. I did this 3 times, on the third time, I raised him from the water, and he took the girl's hand and stepped out.
His wounds were completely healed, leaving a slight trace of scarring. His clothing had been mended, leaving patched cloth in place of his rags. He looked well nourished and clean, even if he didn't look as nice as the girl did.
I climbed out of the water back to my side of the bank and the boy finally spoke to me. “Thank you, Twyrch, for caring enough about me to tend to my needs, even though you didn’t know me.” Following my gaze, he said, “Ah, I see you’ve noticed the scars on my body and the patches on my clothes. These things will remain with me always, since they made me who I am today, just as the person you were will remain with you always, because it is that person who made you into the man you are today.”
I felt so happy... happier than I'd felt in a long time... I didn’t know what to say, so I just nodded and smiled at him. “Goodbye, Twyrch!” They said waving, as they headed back to the woods.
I watched as the boy entered the woods, but the girl stopped and turned toward me, speaking to me one last time. “Remember, Twyrch… What you were and who you will become will always be a part of you. Be happy, for today you have begun a new chapter in your life.”