This is the kind of book that you will want to read and reread as it takes you on a very mysterious voyage into the invisible, into the world of the soul. This theme will never leave you… I recommend that you meditate after reading this book. I think this way, you will retain more of the book’s message that you can bring back to your own consciousness use as a tool to achieve your own goals. The resources in this book are impossible to describe in a simple review like this. Just open up and be receptive, and you will receive a wonderful gift from this author. —Marie-Claire Wilson, for Oracle 20-20
Installment 17 of 22 Sacred Vow (Dragon’s Beard Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9774271-4-7, paperback, Fiction: Visionary/Metaphysical).
Soon after his call with Djalma, Ian achieved his passionately sought goal of meeting Katerina many more times, but he could not have imagined what the feat would demand of him in return. Ian knew that in pursuing love, one never intentionally asks to be made defenseless, gullible, and imprudent, but many a love, as well as countless other great treasures, would not have come to pass without first coming to possess some degree of those more dubious gifts.
For some people, but not for him, it might have been debatable whether Ian’s next visit was a gift of benevolence to lure him onward or a cruelty. For him it was, unquestionably, kindness.
All that was necessary was for Ian to cease to pursue the next visit so fervently, and to rest comfortably with the confidence that he was connected with Katerina. After a month of ignoring numerous invitations, Katerina visited Ian during his meditation one evening. Perhaps it was coincidence—or had it become necessity?—but the teapot was not is the study this second time as well.
As had become his habit while meditating, Ian sat cross-legged on his woolen couch. Sitting there, Ian began to perceive the Katerina of his original tea visions, the very same woman in appearance and manner. She sat, with her back to Ian, on a tall stool at a fine old-time writing desk of a dark wood. She was reading an ornate, thick, old book with a leather cover. Contentment spread through Ian, along with caution. He was afraid to breathe; afraid he might disturb the connection.
His view of the scene started to arc to the right, moving nearer to Katerina. At first, Ian was alarmed, as he had not willed this movement or even desired it. By then he was used to being out of control of his location in her environment. Today, Ian could determine that his view was not through the eyes of another person in the room with Katerina.
He expected Katerina to become aware of his presence. She always had been when he had visited in her home before.
This was indeed the very Katerina with whom he had become so familiar during the tea visits, unless his memory was playing another cruel trick. And, this was the room in her home that he had visited many times. Just as Ian remembered, her desk was in front of the window to the right of the exterior door. On either side of the desk were bookcases. He had watched her laugh, read, and write here many times before.
Katerina slid to the back edge of her stool, looked upward, and was silent for a time, perhaps in some prayer or meditation of her own. Ian felt close enough to lay a hand on her shoulder. With all the power of focus he possessed, he tried to reach forward and touch her shoulder. No hand obeyed. No touch occurred. Clearly, Ian had no body for this visit to her home.
Lost in the midst of this frustrating perception, Ian heard Katerina speak. After a moment of pleasant surprise, he noticed that her voice had a sad tone.
“Are you listening to me? Can you hear me, dear one?” she said.
“Yes!” he said. But his response made no sound. Katerina evidently did not hear him either. She did not reply.
Was that truly Katerina’s voice? he wondered. Her sadness troubled him. Though he had not been able to hear what she said during his previous visits into this life, Ian had never observed anything before to indicate that she was leading less than the most fulfilled of lives. His belief that she was happy had made the separation between their existences acceptable, at least until he could find a way to be with her. The melancholy rhythm of her words caused him sorrow.
After a moment of silence, she lowered her attention to the tome on her desk. “Where have you gone to, my friend?” she asked in that same sorrowful voice.
“I am here, Katerina,” Ian replied.
Katerina continued to talk to herself as she flipped slowly through the pages of the book. She appeared to be searching for something in particular.
Ian was looking over her shoulder. The pages of her book had detailed scrollwork painted around the edges. The paper was thick enough to be vellum. The book seemed handmade. The text was not written in English, and the formatting of the lines in most places implied that it was more like poetry than prose. Most pages had a variety of images in the text area, more like hand-drawn or painted artwork than printed pictures.
This particular book was not something that he remembered from any previous visit to her house, but it was not unlike other books Ian had seen Katerina use, or that were spread about her home. Based on what he had seen before, this could be a rare collection of ancient volumes of poetry. Or it could be something more along the lines of the esoteric writings, with which she was also so familiar. There were many such tomes on the shelves on either side of her desk and spread about the house, extraordinary in their appearance and their content.
In his previous visits, Katerina had impressed Ian as being both an artist and a mystic. He did not need to see her work with such manuscripts to come to this conclusion. The way she responded to children, flowers, or any other living things provided evidence enough for this speculation. She always exhibited the wonder of a child, the wisdom of an ancient, and a unity with nature rarely embodied by any member of humanity.
This day, Katerina periodically stopped to consider a particular page and traced her finger over a design or picture. Sometimes she sang lowly, barely loud enough for him to hear. One song reminded him of a children’s lullaby. Another was more of a hypnotic chant.
After the chant, she quickly flipped through several pages, as if remembering something, or returning momentarily to a section she had already viewed.
“What are you looking for?” Ian asked, needing to speak though he knew his effort would be silent.
“I am looking for you, dear one,” she said precisely at the right moment. “Are you looking for me?”
Ian was shaken.
He hoped Katerina would turn to look at him. Had she finally realized that he was there?
Without turning, she spoke again, “When will you return to me?”
“Oh, Katerina,” he responded, “I have returned. Why can’t I make myself known to you?”
She flipped through a few more pages, silent now.
“Look at me, Katerina,” he said. “Please turn around and see me!”
Abruptly, she stopped turning pages. It gave Ian hope. But she did not turn around.
She read aloud from the page she had found. At first her words seemed to be in a language unknown to him, but she spoke too softly for Ian to be certain. At a later point in the verse, Katerina suddenly began to speak clearly, and in English.
Eternal waters of unlimited life.
Three times shown,
Mysterious ways of freeform flight.
I have seen,
Been forgotten, but revived.
I have died,
But never been denied.
The immortal dance begins.
From which all life extends.
Was this a favorite poem of hers? Ian wondered. Or was she reciting a potent spell for some specific purpose?
Sitting back in her stool, Katerina closed the book with a heavy thump. “I do not believe you have chosen to forget about us and our commitment to one another,” she said.
“Don’t believe it, Katerina! I haven’t forgotten!” he promised.
Katerina pushed her stool back from the desk. She rose, walked away from him and disappeared into another room. Ian stared at a piece of paper now lying on top of the book she had been reading from. The script was beautiful. He was certain it was Katerina’s own handwriting.
The paper was well worn—obviously a favorite keepsake. If for no other reason than its value to Katerina, Ian wanted to be familiar with this verse. There was only a single paragraph. Unlike the book, the words on the page were in English. Ian started to recognize them as something he was already acquainted with.
Katerina returned and stood between his vantage point and the desk. She had brought a candle and lit it, releasing a fragrance of an exotic smelling spice that Ian did not recognize.
With her back to him, she pushed the stool under the desk and stood with her hands on its back for a moment. Then she dropped her attention to the paper that he had been trying to read.
“Why are those words familiar, Katerina?” he said. “What is it?”
That piece of paper had to be significant, and Ian was certain he was familiar with those words—but, he could not remember how or why. He felt a rising sense of urgency, a need to know that verse. He wondered why—was it because he would soon be leaving there or that he might need the verse for some future purpose? He felt completely helpless. His view of the page was blocked now, and in this reality he had possessed no ability to direct his point of view…
Katerina turned as if to look straight into Ian’s face. She took a couple of slow steps toward him. They stood nose to nose; a couple of inches separated them. He could feel her breath and smell the mingled aroma of her old books and the candle that was burning.
Could she tell that he was there?
If so, Katerina gave no indication. She stood entranced, with a faraway look on her face. Ian wanted to believe that she could at least imagine his presence. If she was unaware of him, he had no idea what she was doing.
Ian wanted to keep taking in the whole sight of her, but his attention was drawn into Katerina’s bright, intense eyes. Time after time, he felt overcome as if he were falling into her eyes. Surprisingly, he felt inclined to resist the experience. He instinctively knew the visit was about to end. How he wanted to continue to remain with her, to be this close to her!
Her soft lips slowly formed a first, intentionally precise word. And then she spoke: “I offer this Sacred Vow to you alone. If ever you are in need, expect me to reach beyond possibility and take your hand. As you feel the warmth of our bond, know that you will never be forgotten, never be alone, and never be without this one enduring love.”
Katerina was reciting the verse from the paper on top of her book. Ian struggled to justify the deep familiarity he had with those words
After drawing a long, slow breath, Katerina began the same rhythmic recital again. As she did so, he was again drawn into her eyes. This time he let himself go. He could feel some part of himself blending into a single existence with her. Physically he was becoming part of her. When the verse was complete, he settled again into his sense of separateness.
A third time Katerina began to recite the same words. This time Ian gladly let go of any perception apart from hers. And this time, losing himself resulted in losing her as well.
As serene as his transition into Katerina’s parallel world had been, Ian came back into his awareness of his world with a charge. His heart was racing the moment he became conscious. He forced himself from the couch so quickly that he tripped over his feet and almost fell over on his face. He knew now why that verse was familiar!
There was a chance that the same Sacred Vow was in his house, somewhere. He had written it down after a stirring dream he had had some time ago. And he was going to move every item in his possession, one by one, until he found that scrap of paper—if he had not thrown it away.
Ian had a bad habit of disregarding musings and inspirations that he scribbled down as time passed. This particular bit of writing had sparked such uncomfortable emotion within him that he had almost destroyed it immediately. In fact, he remembered that the only reason he had not done so was he couldn’t believe a few words from a dream could force such an uncontrolled emotional response within him.
Now he knew why he had reacted so strongly to the passage. Ian resolved to find it.
It proved unbelievable how much a single person could store into every hidden space of an entire house. This became especially evident to Ian when he decided to inventory everything he owned. Half of what he sifted through over the next two days had certainly long lost its value or purpose in his life.
The task he was performing was almost a perfect situation for a thorough spring cleaning. Or, it would have been, if not for the fact that Ian was completely intimidated by the idea that he might accidentally overlook and discard just the item he was searching for. He unearthed everything, examined each thing, and put it right back in its original place—just in case he didn’t find what he was looking for and had to do it all again.
It was a good thing no one happened to come by the house during that little obsession. Ian was sure they would have had him carted away. He rarely moved away from his place of excavation, except very briefly to attend to life’s necessities. Several times he woke after having fallen asleep right in the middle of his work.
Ian was beginning to worry about what would happen if he didn’t find the paper. Months later Liz or Djalma might come looking for him and discover that he had expired during his fixated searching; unsatisfied but unwilling or unable to give up.
Eventually, Ian was successful. The crumpled bit of paper was one of several unrelated scraps in a box of old pictures. Ian had not imagined the impact holding that paper in his hand would have on him. Here, finally, was a concrete link between his reality and Katerina’s.
He was almost giddy in his exultation. He felt like a foolish child in his needing something tangible to reassure him of his connection with Katerina. But he didn’t care. Holding onto that bit of paper, he leaned back against a stack of boxes in the attic, too tired to move. Letting his guard down, he went peacefully to sleep.
Continued next week, Birthday
For those who cannot wait to read Sacred Vow over installments, I have a gift for you–the first 15 chapters online to be read at your leisure!
This link http://authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=1557 is a listing the 1st 15 chapters on HarperCollins.London.
If you enjoy what you read, I’d ask a favor in return; help me pursue a foreign rights publishing contract for Sacred Vow.
Please register on the site (create a profile on http://www.authonomy.com/ ), and search for Sacred Vow. Once you have the page up with the Sacred Vow book cover, notice that to the right of the page there is a column with several options, one of which is “Back this book“, please click that –this adds Sacred Vow to your bookshelf, used to determine which books the editors will consider.—This is not a purchase. Authonomy is strictly a mechanism for selecting books for publishing within HarperCollins.
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C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.