The Goddess remains
The hearth stands to one side, outside the Temple Room. Across the patio, the ashen footsteps of a devotee (now gone) turn around an unseen labyrinth. Once aflame with passion, the incandescence vanished, the footsteps stand as a witness of his passing and sojourn, but like their heat, will fade from the flagstones, to be seen only behind closed eyes which seek the images in the meandering corridors of the past.
The priestess enters the Temple and stares at where the Goddess once stood, the garland still carefully placed at Her invisible feet. The Mystery of Change hangs heavy in the air, but the discomfort of Her leaving is gone. The Goddess still dwells here. Unseen to most, but felt by her devout servants.
No hands desecrated what she esteems as holy. With deepest reverence the temple now teaches to see with an inner eye only, that which some men are unable to understand, and seek it is still done, the internal union with the Divine Essence.
Here where the motto is “In Veritas Mortem” the priestess is given to the deepest inner reflections comprehending the ideal present within herself, how she floats nimbly under its influence, birthing anew from her own death. Unseen in the shadows the Fates smile as do the Graces, all so very fond of her oblivious attention for the space in which La Bona Dea once stood. She is devoted to and completely focused on the ministrations of Her sacred rites.
Through the sacred gates, through the sacred pillars, devotees climb the stairs, all come to sacrifice on the flames, or wash their hands in the lustral basin of tears that fell from no human eye, procured by the cares of Jupiter, so that the divine physician can heal their agues and send them on their merry way with only death to look forward to. Death, that merciful gateway to the Real and Unseen.
Crowned with thoughts the priestess offers the last of the olive oil to unseen feet, before casting it in a frying pan to prepare the sweet and fragrant fennel stalks with rice, nutrition to placate the inner hunger that only ascetic purity of life and actions can subdue.
Many pairs of eyes watch as she prepares for the evening ritual, a single candle honouring all Gods. Poverty has never been a sin here.
Purged of life’s mundanity she draws strength emanating from the Goddess and gathers unto her heart those who come seeking still. No longer assaulted by delusive opinion she prepares them for the mysterious apocalypse, the truth of dying to live within the dazzling vision of the immortal future-state-of-the-present, so keenly advocated in doctrine but not in dogma.
Domina, Matrona, no more. A symbol discarded, a necklace carelessly hung on the neck of one devoted to the Her, guardian of the Truth housed within the heart that faints not, but yields a strength that inspires, devotees, priest, warrior kings and soldiers alike.
She laments not her fate, but embraces it with silent understanding. Hers is discernment and the honour to die to her dreams and live her death through the mercy of recondite wisdom passed to her and which she hands on to those who war not against their transformatory power.
Hark! Here, in the echoes of tears once cried, in the spluttering droplets of rain upon the flagstones, in their sizzling upon the sacrificial flames, in their moisture drowning upturned eyes, in their sweet taste upon tongues laden with praise, the Goddess comes hither!