Settle in, to yourself, your bones. Breathe in and out, in and out. Loosen what is tight and make yourself comfortable as you breathe – in and out, in and out. Follow the beat of the drum, deeper and deeper into the Otherworld. Settle yourself under the Otherworldly Tree, the World Tree, the Axis Mundi. How does it seem to you? Remember this tree, for it is the first thing you will see when you access the Otherworld.
Sweep your eyes over the Otherworld. How does it seem to you? Is it day, or night? What season is it?
Today, we shall follow the path of the swan – the path of beauty, mystery and delight, of magic and longing. We have gone this way before with Aonghus Og, the young son. Today, we shall greet Caer Ibormeith, whose name means Yewberry, the shapeshifting lady of magic, the swan of desire.
Her emissary comes: a swan, white and majestic, the bird of beauty, love and desire. It inspires an upswelling of longing, a pull of the tide. The bird is everything that is beautiful to you in the world – but other, its own self, not under your control. Upon its sinuous neck, it wears a chain of gold that glints in the light. It takes flight into the sky of the Otherworld, leaving you on the earth.
You stumble after on your own two feet in the direction of its passage, feeling its loss. You have no wings, but only your feet on the ground. How can you find it?
An answer comes: a white feather left in the grass. You reach down to pick it up. As you do, you lift your eyes and see a vision of beauty, something that catches your attention. What is this vision, this beautiful thing you see? (Pause)
Treasure the vision; let your heart enfold and keep it within the vault of your soul. You see the swan in the grass and it again takes flight and you again follow, although it is soon out of sight. Where does your journey take you this time – a city, a town, a forest, a roadside? As you continue to walk, you find another white feather. You reach down to pluck it from the ground, and your weariness falls from you as you see another vision of beauty. What is this vision, this beautiful thing you see? (Pause)
And again, your head turns and you see the swan, which takes flight. Your weary feet are again pulled in the direction of its passage, pulled until you reach the shores of a lake filled with swans, with white wings. This time, though, you needn’t choose among them. The one with the gold necklace stands on the shore, waiting.
As you approach, the swan shifts into a beautiful figure, the dazzling form of Caer Ibormeith, lady of magic and mystery. What form does her beauty take for you? She opens her palm, asking for the feathers – for beauty can never be kept, but always shared. You place them across her palm. She smiles and then parts her soft lips, readying herself to speak.
What message does Caer Ibormeith have for you? (long pause)
When she is done speaking, she takes a feather and brushes it against you. In a cloud of white wings, you find yourself spiraling backward to the Otherworldly Tree, to yourself sitting beneath it. Around you, a ring of wildflowers has sprung, a reminder of the small yet profound beauties that surround us, always, if we open our eyes to see.
Slowly open your eyes. We will now sing in praise of beauty and to invoke its healing energy into our lives.