“…Those who waited with her, high on the hill had prepared her.
She had been bathed in the sacred spring that ran from the chalk below this place, winding as a clear stream into the valley.
There was a shallow pool beneath the trees.
She could not see it in the half light, but she knew its course, and felt for it in her mind and body.
She had not eaten, only drunk of herbs steeped in its water for three days.
She was marked with ochre and dressed in a clean robe.
She heard them stand to greet the sun, but did not turn to the east with them.
She watched them through other senses, familiar with the rite, seeking to feel herself within the land and sky.
She saw her shadow on the grass as the sun rose, gilding the mists.
It was time.
Below the summit, where the flat plateau echoed the one so far away, a fire bird wheeled and keened to the sun.
She wondered if it was her bird, the one whose feather she wore…
They were kin and she would ask its help.
Sending thought into the air she sought the bird in her mind, feeling herself meld with its grace, letting the sensation of flight take her skimming the wind, feeling the swoop and rise in her stomach…”
Extract from, ‘The Initiate…’ by Sue Vincent and Stuart France