Hermes Beckons: She Who Is Hidden Is Now Revealed
Chapter 25
© 2006 John Caris

Theatergoers were filling the small auditorium. Most of those attending the opening night performance were magicians and enthusiasts of the art and their family and friends. A special seating section had been reserved for members of the media, who had complimentary tickets. The patrons, radiating a feeling of suspense, spoke quietly and nodded in agreement about the forthcoming drama. From the gossip and stories surrounding the production, Alchemical Light Show portended an imaginative magical fantasy, perhaps even revealing esoteric secrets.

When the lights in the theater went off, the talking of the audience subsided, and silence reigned until the soft voice of a Native American flute enhanced by ambient sounds of nature spread through the auditorium. The musical interlude encouraged the audience members to open the magical theater of their minds. As the music faded, Storyteller spoke, “This tale is about a mage who for many years has partaken of the alchemist’s trade and read numerous esoteric texts on the hermetic art, attempting to decipher them and discover the secret keys to paradise. Hermes himself has appeared, beckoning with his staff. The ancient vision is so embedded in the mage’s mind that he is determined to possess the philosopher’s stone even though the quest is filled with many perils, hidden traps, and failed experiments. Let us observe the mage as he seeks the holy grail. But, my friends, be wary lest you too are touched by the mystic vision and go off on a fool’s adventure.”

As the stage brightens, the audience sees an alchemist’s laboratory. Centered between black curtains, the background scenery illustrates an interior wall covered by shelves occupied with apparatus. A window at the top of the wall allows the full moon to illumine the room. An eight foot long rectangular table, located in the center of the lab, is equipped for alchemical activities. To the left of the table is a blackboard on an easel, and to the right is a straight back chair.

Wearing frayed white lab clothes, spotted from chemical spills, Alchemist-Mage, stooped, his back hunched, shuffles slowly into the laboratory. Wrinkles etch his face and bald head, and a gray beard hangs from his chin.

Languidly, he approaches the table, and, when reaching it, opens a large ancient tome, its leather-binding tattered and stained from many years of use. Leafing through it, the seeker of wisdom pauses at a page and scrutinizes it intently. Then picking up a black bag from the table, he turns it inside out, showing it empty.

“Ah, my fine bag, woven from the silky thread of black widow spiders, for many years you have nourished well my wizardry with your special powers. I call on you again to assist in my quest for the philosopher’s stone.”

After pushing the bag back into its original shape, he grabs his wand from the table and waves it over the bag. “From the darkness of the abyss emerges the materia prima.”

Reaching into the black bag, Alchemist searches its interior. Smiling, he retrieves a green egg, proudly holding it up, rotating it in a circle. “Here is the subject of the work. From you will the philosopher’s stone grow.”

The green egg is placed in the decomposer, a shallow metal pan. Stuffing the black bag into his left fist, the chemical philosopher exclaims, “Fly to the netherworld and be rejuvenated.” He opens his left hand, now empty, and picks up a metal lid, which he lays on the decomposer, covering it. Igniting the burner underneath the pan, he waves his wand over it, declaring, “The stone of the philosophers will be consumed.”

Removing the lid, he carefully observes the remains. “Here are the ashes of the egg, my materia prima.” He searches the ashes diligently with his wand. Perplexed, he complains, “Where is the dragon? It should be here.”

Filled with disappointment, he shambles listlessly to the ancient tome and flips through several pages; stopping, he examines the venerable text and then utters, “I will use the ignis innaturalis. This time success will be assured.”

The ancient one searches among the flasks on the table, holding each at eye level, until he finds the special one. Clutching it, he watches as a rainbow colored light fills the flask. Nodding approval, he speaks softly, “Here is my secret fire.” Stepping over to the decomposer, he scoops up some ashes with a spoon and puts them into the flask.

Pointing toward two vertical rods fastened in a one foot metal base connecting them together, he exhibits a vigor swelling up from hidden resources. “With the celestial energy generated by the rods of Isis, the phoenix will rise.”

He places the flask between the rods and, picking up a lizard skin, covers the flask with it. “This shroud of the salamander will hide the seed and empower its germination.”

As the laboratory lights dim, the glow of six red laser-like beams flow between the rods. In the reddish glow Alchemist’s face expresses wonderment. A low rumbling of the bass being plucked infused with an airy melody played by the guitar resounds through the laboratory during the experiment. When the red beams stop and the laboratory lights brighten, he lifts the lizard skin off the flask. Holding the flask up to his eyes, he sees its emptiness. He turns it upside down and shakes it angrily.

“Where is the phoenix now?” the old wizard cries out in dismay. He places the flask on the table and looks about the laboratory, seeking enlightenment. “Have I been deceived again? Paracelsus, I beseech you, where is the materia prima?”

With sluggish movement he walks to the tattered tome, repeating once again the ancient search. Pausing and nodding in satisfaction, he ambles over to the blackboard and erases the signs and formulae written there. He steps back from the board to the side and with a tone of despair complains, “What is the secret for binding the dragon and freeing the lion?”

Suddenly, golden words appear on the board: “Seek the White Queen.”

“How shall I proceed?” He stares at all the apparatus on the table. “My heart is empty. I have no Pernelle.”

Overwhelmed and distraught, the disheartened quester shuffles over to the chair and slumps into it.

Storyteller’s voice, breaking the silence, issues forth, “Alchemist’s failed experiment has revealed nothing but chaos. Discouraged, he decides to meditate and seek a solution to his calamity, but exhausted from months of research that has gone awry, he falls asleep and enters dreamtime. His psyche leaves the body and journeys forth on a healing quest.”

While the laboratory lights dim, a soulful melody, played on a saxophone and enhanced by the quiet rhythm of a bass, pervades the auditorium during a short interlude.

As the darkness recedes before the dawning light, the audience observes a glen-like setting, the scenery depicting trees, flowers, and a stream. Storyteller speaks cheerfully, “The laboratory with its expensive equipment has been abandoned and replaced with nature’s tools. If success does not occur in the hustle-bustle of the secular world, then withdraw to the spiritual solitude that is nature’s regenerating balm. Alchemist-Mage, released from his frail and tired body into this visionary world, now has the strength and agility inherent in his psyche. All his years of searching for the secret keys have not been in vain. He has grown hidden resources.”

In the center of the glen a fallen tree, its branches caught off, is lying on the ground. To the left of this log is a tree stump, four feet high. A shallow twined basket filled with straw is sitting on its top. In the basket a globe is seen, rising above the rim. Several feet in front of the stump is an earthen mound. On the log’s right is a cauldron.

Entering the glen, Sprightly—a water spirit dressed in a blue blouse and long blue skirt, her long hair tied together with a blue ribbon—produces bouquets of flowers which she places about, creating a lush forest clearing. After she is satisfied with the floral display, she leaves the glen.

beardless and his head covered by untrimmed hair—looks around. Noticing the illuminated globe on the tree stump, he watches as it rises and circles around the trunk four times and then returns to the basket. Realizing he has found a treasure, perhaps even the stone, Mage approaches the globe, and when he is three feet away, a dragon leaps from behind the stump. Mage raises his wand in defense, pointing it at the roaring, fire-breathing reptile.

“Bite your tail!” Mage shouts. Bright red light is emitted from the wand. Crumpling to the earth, the dragon bellows it final fiery blast, striking Mage with its poisonous vapor. Succumbing to the toxic fumes, he staggers to the fallen tree and collapses beside it.

Carrying a basket, Sprightly reenters the glen accompanied by Sylvus, a tree spirit dressed in a green shirt and pants, his shoulder-length hair loose and his face bearded. Pausing, they peer around the glen. Noticing the dragon and Mage, they approach the dragon with extreme caution. Satisfied that it is dead, they walk over to the seeker. Putting the basket down beside the log, Sprightly announces, “Our friend requires all of our powers. Let us perform the celestial curing rite and recreate the universal harmony.”

The two spirits lift the dead quester and lay him on his back on top of the log. After placing his hands together on his chest, Sprightly takes a black cloth from the basket, and she and Sylvus spread it over Mage’s body. Sprightly steps behind the log, facing the audience, as Sylvus kneels in front of the body.

“As taught from ancient times the body is now covered by the cloak of death, and all who witness this act will be protected from the dangerous powers that are to be released,” Sprightly exclaims.

Removing a large feather from her waistband, she waves it over Mage’s chest and declares, “The hands, containing the intelligence for creating, are freed from their binding.” Sylvus reaches underneath the cloth and removes one hand and then the other. He puts both into the basket.

Now passing her feather over Mage’s head, Sprightly pronounces, “The head, center of consciousness, gains power and balance.” Sylvus reaches under the black cloth and removes the seeker’s head, which he puts into the basket.

“We possess the materia prima to be used in the transformation of the stone. Gaia is waiting to embrace her child. From time immemorial we have all returned to our origins.” She moves her feather over the draped body. Then the pair pull the cloth away revealing the bare log. Folding the cloth and putting it over the basket, Sprightly carries them over to the cauldron with Sylvus following her.

Reaching the kettle, she holds the basket as he takes the cloth and places it on the ground. Two gnarled tree trunks, each four feet high, one with branches and the other barren, are situated on either side of the cauldron, which rests on a metal plate centered in a metal grate. Together they turn the basket over, dumping the body parts into the pot.

Sprightly, pointing her feather at the grate, commands, “Ignite, sacred flame.”

The glow of a fire appears beneath the grate. Bubbling sounds are heard and vapor slowly arises from the cauldron as the two spirits watch the mystical process.

After the steam disperses, Sprightly lifts the cauldron, turning the underside toward the audience. The pot is bottomless. The audience can see through it that it is empty before she sets it down.

Sylvus gestures towards the pile of ashes on the metal plate. “Here is the fertile residue of nature’s act. The beginning and end of all things.”

Each spirit picks up an empty glass flask from the stump on the kettle’s left. As Sprightly scoops ashes into hers, Sylvus walks over to the dead dragon. Kneeling, he places the mouth of the flask against the dragon’s neck, and its green blood flows into it. When the bottle is filled, he carries it back to the cauldron.

“Before fermentation begins, the dragon’s blood will be refined and purified,” Sprightly remarks. Taking the flask from him, she passes her feather over it. The liquid becomes red. She moves the plume again, and the liquid becomes clear.

Deliberately, she pours the clear fluid into the flask containing the ashes. “We are ready for our steadfast furnace. The reconstituting process is next.”

On the gnarled stump to the cauldron’s right sits the athanor, an ancient alchemical furnace in the shape of a domed tower. Sprightly removes the domed cover from the athanor. Taking a jar of sand sitting nearby, she pours some into the bowl part of the furnace. She points her feather at the tower and causes a fire to glow within the bottom of the athanor. Feeling the sand and judging that it is warm enough, she picks up a large, transparent egg-shaped container resting on the stump and places it into the sand bath in the tower. Removing the top half, she places the flask with its special concoction into the bottom of the egg-shaped container and then puts the top back on. After covering the athanor with its dome, she and Sylvus witness the hermetic operation.

Eerie, atonal music fills the glen while colored lights burst forth in an alternating pattern. After a short interval the music and lights fade away.

Sprightly, removing the domed cover, announces, “The egg has transformed into its seed of truth, our homunculus.” The egg with its jar has vanished. She picks up a small, human-shaped doll from the sand bath. Holding the homunculus on the palm of her hand, she watches it dance. Sylvus, standing next to her, is also enthralled by the its performance. After the doll stops, she sets it on the stump.

“We must now prepare the growth of the stone.” They walk over to the right side of the glen where they pick up a rectangular box, six and a half feet long, its surface painted with a pattern of red and white roses. Carrying it over to the log, they set it on top. The couple remove the lid and front panel, showing that the box is empty. Sprightly takes the human doll and places it into the receptacle. The front panel and lid are replaced.

As a joyful melody plays softly, Storyteller speaks, “The seed of the primal being quickens. Gathering together its life force, focusing it through the eye of Horus, the child of light rejuvenates its vessel. The quest renews itself.” Flashes of yellow light are emitted by the box during the narration. Their brightness and frequency increase in synchronization with the tempo of the music until they reach a scintillating crescendo.

When silence again reigns, Sprightly takes off the lid and then Sylvus removes the front panel. Mage, dressed in red garments, is lying in the container, motionless in a deep sleep. The spirits remove the back and then sides. As Sylvus carries off three panels, Sprightly places the sleeper’s hands together on his chest and then leaves, carrying the remaining panels.

Storyteller, in a sagacious tone enhanced by the saxophone’s melodic voice, announces, “She who was hidden is now revealed. She bestows her presence on her sleeping beloved.”

Queen, dressed in a flowing white gown, enters and walks gracefully over to Mage. Gently, she touches his shoulder and smiles on his quiet countenance. Untying the white sash fastened around her waist, with loving care she drapes it over his navel, the ends hanging down. She cups her hands together and, focusing her nurturing energy, blows on them. When she opens her hands, a white rose is lying on her palm.

“A gift from my heart. My love shall hold it.” She places the white rose in his clasped hands.

Again she cups her hands, concentrating her power and blowing on them. A red rose appears when she opens them. “The flower of my love’s heart I shall treasure.” She inserts the rose’s stem into her bodice—the blossom vibrant against its white background.

Bending down, her face radiant, she kisses him on the lips. “Our hearts are joined. Awaken, my love, and finish your quest. I await your presence.”

She strolls gracefully away, fading into the darkness, as the light in the glen dims to a twilight level.

The bright sound of a clarinet heralds the morning, as sunrays push the night’s darkness into pockets of shadows.

The sleeper gradually regains consciousness. Sitting up and glancing around, he remarks, “For how many eons have I lain here on this hard bench?”

He notices the white rose in his hand and the white sash on his lap. “What gifts are these?” he inquires.

Holding the white sash to his nose, he breathes in the heavenly scent. “What a delight this perfume is,” he announces, a joyous expression marking his countenance. He gently touches his mouth with his finger. “Who has caressed me so sweetly?” His awe is profound.

Placing the rose and sash on the log, he stands and looks around. “What has happened while I slept a dreamless sleep? The floating light is gone, and the murderous dragon has returned to the nether world.”

He inspects his clothes. “What wondrous miracle has given me these handsome garments?”

After tying the white sash around his waist, he inserts the white rose into it. “These are enchanted talismans from my lady love. I feel her presence lingering.”

Then a dark shadow falls upon him. Gazing about, he exclaims, “But where is my wand?” Disconcerted, he begins searching around the log.

Scrutinizing the glen, he notices the stump on the cauldron’s left has branches growing on it. He walks over and detaches a small branch. Breaking it into pieces, he holds them in his hand, which he covers with a yellow cloth retrieved from his pocket. Passing his other hand over the cloth, he declares, “The love of my heart shall restore your power.” When he removes his hand from underneath the cloth, it is holding a wand.

“Empowered by my new wand I seek my love.”

While he is strolling toward the left side of the glen, a floating hand suddenly appears from the shadows, approaching him, and, rushing by, grabs his wand. Laughing boisterously, the hand flies off into the darkness at the other side of the glen.

As he starts to go after the hand, a harsh voice calls out, “Mage. Mage.”

He pauses beside the stump with branches, where he sees a skull, which has suddenly appeared on the stump, beckoning him. “Where did you come from? The dark abyss?” he cries out.

“Mage. Mage,” the skull exclaims.

“What is it you want with me, death’s head?”

“You wrong me with that name. Have you not peered into the other realm?”

“Then what should I call you?”

“Come closer. It is a secret that I cannot say above a whisper.”

He bends down to the skull, waiting for instruction. The hollow eyes of the speaking head suddenly emit yellow light. “First, Mage, you must enter the veiled cavern of your soul. There the secret keys will be revealed to you. Sleep now.”

Mage stands up but puts a hand to his head. He feels faint and stumbles about the glen. Staggering to the log, he sits down on it. Two black shadowy spirits emerge from the gloom and grab him, pushing him down on the log, and tie his wrists and ankles. One of the spirits plucks a large net bag from the shadows. They put him into the bag and then deposit him behind the log out of sight.

The lights dim but do not go out, and strange, unearthly sounds occur as the binding spirits fade into the shadows.

A circle of light brightens the log. Mage stands up, freed from his bonds and holding the ropes and net bag, which he drops onto the ground.

The circle of light vanishes as the morning sun brightens the enchanted glen.

“Oh, talking head, I have heeded your wise words and journeyed to the place of sorrow. There I found the theurgic spell that binds and loosens. A pair of serpents biting each other’s tail spoke to me. ‘Don’t pull on the knots or they’ll bind more firmly,’ they commanded. Attuning to the cosmic rhythm, I flowed back and forth, slowly breathing in and out. The knots relaxed and slackened as I loosened the tension in my soul.”

He surveys the glen. “Ah, mysterious keeper of wisdom, where have you gone?” As he stares at the empty stump, eerie laughing bursts forth, followed by the haunting tremolo wail of the loon: hahahahahaha.

Turning toward the left side of the glen, he sees the floating hand waving his wand. He hastens toward it, but as he is reaching out to grab the wand, the hand disappears with a crazy shriek. Baffled, he shouts, “Spirits, why do you torment me?”

He touches the white sash tied around his waist. “Ah, my beloved, I have forgotten your gifts.” Removing the white rose from his waistband, he cups his hands around it and speaks softly, “My love, show me the path.” Opening them, he is pleased to discover a wand in the shape of a caduceus.

“My friend, may I be of assistance?”

Startled, Mage turns toward his left as a spirit steps from the shadows. “Who are you?” he inquires.

“I’m Libra, a guardian spirit, an assistant in your quest for the philosopher’s stone.”

Carefully, he examines Libra, who is dressed in a long silver skirt and silver blouse. Two silver barrettes part her long hair into flowing strands. When he is assured, he asks, “How can you help?”

Libra closes her hands and quickly spreads them apart. They clasp a circular, coiled basket six inches in diameter. Turning the basket upside down, she shakes it, showing it empty, and then gives it to Mage, who holds it in his left hand.

“Together, we shall produce the stone that all adepts know about.” She waves her right hand over the basket. “Please use your power and blow your spirit breath onto the basket.”

As he blows, she sings, accompanied by the voice of a flute, “From Gaia’s womb grows the sacred seed.”

When her song has ended, she touches him. “Let us dwell in silence.”

After a few moments she smiles knowingly, “Now, my friend, discover the treasure hidden in the basket.”

He reaches into the basket with his right hand, retrieving a small egg, and shakes the basket upside down to discover if anything else is in it. After putting the basket on the gnarled stump beside the cauldron, he scrutinizes the egg.

“Look at this strange design.” He holds up the egg for her to see.

“The pattern is too small to read. Better make it larger,” Libra recommends.

He passes his hand over the egg, and it changes into a medium size egg. “It’s still too small. I’ll try again.”

Once more he moves his hand over the egg, and it becomes a large egg. They both look at the design carefully. “Alas, the inner symbols are still unintelligible. Try again,” she proposes.

A third time he passes his hand over the egg, but it remains the same size.

“Let’s see if my skill can unlock the code.” Libra takes the egg and places it into the basket. Stretching out both arms and hands, she causes her fingertips to emit a bright light that illuminates the basket. As she moves her hands up and down, a jumbo size egg rises up in the basket. She grasps the egg, and they intently look at the design.

“We should inspect the whole shell for other signs.” She turns the egg slowly around, allowing the audience to see the design but not necessarily what it is.

“What do you think the meaning of the symbol is?” she asks in a quiet voice.

He studies the pattern intently. “I see many possibilities but no certainty.”

Pointing to the cross-hatched pattern with an ‘S’ curved shape lying upon it, she remarks, “Use your intuition and draw on your years of studying the ancient tomes. Allow the answer to arise from your soul.”

Mage focuses on the image and pulls it inward. Gradually, his countenance brightens. “It is the serpent on the cross of matter. Now the light shines on the dark waters.”

“Excellent. Put the egg in the cauldron, and we’ll make the mercurial water.” As he does so, she cups her hands together.

“Place the green cloth over my hands,” she commands.

He closes his right hand and, upon opening it, he removes a green cloth, which he lays over her hands.

“We’ll perform the extraction of the elixir,” she announces.

Passing his wand over her covered hands, he pronounces, “From the way emerges the solar milk.”

Slowly the center of the green cloth rises until it is six inches above her hands. He yanks away the cloth, disclosing a flask of red liquid.

“Here is the water of yang.” She sets the bottle on the stump. “The water of yin is next.”

Again she cups her hands, and the Mage covers them with the green cloth. Waving his wand over them, he declares, “Lunar water flows from the way.”

They watch the cloth rise, and when it reaches its peak, he pulls it away, leaving a flask of blue liquid.

Libra pours some of the blue fluid into the cauldron. Setting the phial down on the stump, she picks up the other bottle and pours some of the red liquid in. She gestures toward the base of the grate, and a fire glows beneath it. As vapors begin to rise from the kettle, bubbling sounds are heard. Picking up a ladle, she stirs the contents of the cauldron.

“The concoction is ready.” She waves her right hand at the fire, which disappears. Lifting the kettle, she turns the bottom up toward the audience, showing the pot is empty. On the metal plate is a bottle of purple liquid.

“Drink some of Mercury’s milk,” she commands.

After imbibing some of the nectar, he deposits the flask on the stump.

“Tell me what you feel now that Hermes’ efficacy has infused your soul.”

“A subtle power flows through me. I feel open to the ethereal ambiences, and the natural rhythms of life dance in my body. The desire to find my Queen flames brightly.”

“This mystic water enhances your vital spirit. You will soon detect the bonding of soul and body. Come, you’re ready for the next stage of your quest.”

“And what is that?”

“Your Queen awaits your presence. Let’s begin the journey. Cup your hands together.”

When he does so, she passes her left hand over them. “Now open your hands,” she directs.

When he parts them, a dove appears. Around the bird’s neck hangs a small circular brocade, which he detaches. Libra reaches into the air and produces a cage, which he releases the dove into. She sets the cage on the gnarled stump.

“Study the designs on the brocade and tell me their meaning.”

Mage examines one side. “This is a six-pointed star, Solomon’s seal.” Turning the brocade over, he studies the pattern. “Here is the symbol for igneous water: Venus carrying Aries’ sign.”

“What meanings are hidden here?” she inquires.

“The watery fire is a harmonious blending of mercury and sulfur. The sun and moon are embracing in their bridal chamber.”

“Hermes’ elixir has disclosed hidden strength. Are you ready to view your other side?” she asks. She gazes at him as if offering a perilous dare.

“Yes.” A resolute and anticipatory emotion surges through him.

Harmonia—a second guardian spirit dressed in silver shirt and pants, beardless, his hair cut at ear level—pushes a mirror, six feet high and three feet wide, toward the center of the glen.

“Come, my friend, and look into this mirror. What do you see?” Libra asks Mage.

“Only myself.”

“Search inward into your soul. This mirror is but its physical image. Journey through the shadows of your many selves.” Her recommendations offer him encouragement.

Mage seeks an inner vision. Suddenly amazed, he beams, pointing at the mirror, and exclaims, “Aha. A marvel is happening.” He stands to the side of the mirror so that the audience can see that an image of a waterfall has appeared.

“Apply the skill of your imagination. Find your Queen within the flowing water,” Libra proposes.

Still standing beside the mirror, Mage concentrates, focusing his energy. Slowly the image of his Queen manifests, replacing the waterfall.

“We can now transform the image into physical reality. Are you ready?” Libra stares questioningly at Mage.

He is filled with enthusiasm and shouts, “Let’s begin.”

From the shadows Harmonia has carried into the glen a low platform with three rods lying on it and a small table covered with several objects. Libra indicates the platform to Mage and says, “Take those three rods and form a tripod on it.”

Mage fits the rods together and waits for further directions. “Now fasten the female head, which sits on the table, to the top of the tripod and place the golden cloak, lying on the table, around the tripod,” Libra directs.

After completing the task, Mage steps back from the form. “This is but the body, but where is the soul?” he inquires.

“See the make-up equipment there on the table. Create your vision of her face,” Libra declares.

Mage picks up a palette of paints and a brush from the table and applies the colors to the head. Surveying the image in the mirror, he recreates a semblance of its features on the head. When he is satisfied, he puts the artist’s tools back on the table and takes a wig off its stand. After adjusting the wig on the painted head to conform to the mirror image, he steps back and admires his craft.

“My friend, the moment is upon us. Draw up all your inner resources and focus them on the physical body you have constructed. Dare!” Libra exhorts him with enthusiasm.

Mage concentrates all his energy into a ball, and as a soulful melody is heard from the flute, an intense beam of light emanates from Mage’s forehead and strikes the model. He calls out, “My Queen, here is your new vessel. It is my honor to present it to you. Please accept my loving gift.”

As the image in the mirror vanishes, Queen’s head becomes animate. Her eyes blink and a smile forms on her lips. Quickly, the two guardian spirits grab the cloak and pluck it from her body. Queen in all her beauty and grace steps down from the platform. Dressed in a white gown, she curtsies as Mage bows. They turn and face the guardian spirits.

Libra gestures toward the log. “Please gather yourselves together and retire to yonder bench. Journey deep into your innerspace and prepare yourselves to bond in the bridal chamber.”

Holding hands, Mage and Queen stroll over to the log. Seating themselves, they begin meditating and moving inward together. A slow, meditative melody, an interweaving duet of saxophone and clarinet, wafts through the glen.

The guardian spirits remove the mirror, table, platform, and cauldron set with its two stumps from the glen. After finishing their task, they push into the glen the bridal chamber, which is shaped as a large egg standing upright, six and a half feet high, and is attached to a platform on casters. The chamber is situated in the center of the glen in front of Mage and Queen sitting on the log.

As the music transforms into a bright, happy tune with a quicker rhythmic pace, the two spirits unlatch the egg and, pulling the two halves apart, turn them toward the audience, showing that they are empty. Mage and Queen come from behind the chamber, Mage from the left side and Queen from the right. Their clothes have changed colors: he is wearing a white suit and she a red gown. After they each step into their half of the shell, the two spirits close the mystic egg.

A heralding chord is played by the guitar and then repeated by the clarinet and saxophone in turn. As the rhythm moves in three-quarter time, a melody of celebration accompanies bursts of red, blue, and yellow lights that illuminate the chamber. Gradually, the light bursts fade away as the music changes into a triumphal crescendo.

The two spirits pull the egg halves apart and turn them toward the audience. Dressed in a purple suit, Mage is standing in the right half of the egg, opposite to the side he had entered. The left half is empty; Queen has vanished. Mage steps from the egg and walks forward. He peers about, troubled, searching. “Where is my Queen? Again she has disappeared.” His question unanswered, he watches the two spirits close the chamber and roll it out of the faerie glen.

“They are leaving also. What trickery have they performed?” He examines his clothes. “I’m wearing the royal purple, a sign of success, but the stone is still unmanifested. What veils cover my eyes? I must go on, yet blinded by my mortal frailty.”

As night wraps the glen in darkness, a lyrical melody played by the flute permeates the scene. Twilight illumines the front part of the glen.

Mage looks around. “Who is playing that charming tune? It carries a secret meaning.”

He turns toward his right and sees a small ball of light. “What is this?” He watches as the light, floating toward him, grows in size. “It’s a globe of light, a sphere of illumination.” A joyfulness is radiated from his face.

The globe, which is the primary source of light in the glen, circles around Mage, who reaches out for it, but the sphere, following its own volition, glides away, beckoning him to follow. The dance begins as the illuminated globe and seeker cavort and gambol throughout the glen. Swirling and swaying, the dancers pursue a spiraling design. Gradually, their gyrations slowing, they reach an earthen mound. The caper finished, the sphere settles upon the mound.

“What is the meaning of this?” Mage, puzzled, stares at a sign, rising above the knoll, that states: “Ye Olde Golden Lion.”

He sits down on the mound next to the sphere, its light shining forth and illuminating the knoll. “My quest has arrived at Ye Olde Golden Lion. What action should I take to find my Queen, who vanished so mysteriously?” He sits silently pondering.

Picking up the globe, he places it on his head. “Can this light illumine my search and direct me toward the source of my joy?”

He stands up, and as he walks away from the mound toward the audience, the globe vanishes, but his aura brightens.

A soft, lyrical voice calls out, “My love. My love. Why are you leaving me?”

Quickly, he turns toward the mound. “Where are you my love?”

“I’m here.”

As he waves his caduceus-shaped wand at the knoll, its front side lights up and becomes transparent. Reclining on her back, Queen is visible within the earthen chamber.

“Fall away veils and release my soul mate,” Mage sings out.

Abruptly, the mound vibrates and quakes and then opens lengthwise as the bass and drums play a vigorous tremolo. Queen, dressed in a purple gown, stands up. Mage takes her hand and helps her step out of the sacred chamber.

When he passes his hand over his wand, a second caduceus-shaped wand manifests, which he gives to Queen. They move to either end of the mound and, standing there, point their wands at the earthen form.

In unison the couple sing, “In one our spirits fuse.” As they sing, a small, animated lion and dragon appear. The lion walks toward Mage while the dragon strolls toward Queen. Inserting their wands into their waist sashes, they pick up the creatures and cuddle them like pets.

Suddenly, the lion and dragon vanish from their hands. They cup their hands together and quickly bring them apart. Each holds an empty glass bowl, which is placed on the floor in front of the mound. Then they sit down, the bowls between them, and face each other, their profiles to the audience. They take from their purple purses, which hang around their waists, a string with a hook at the end. After removing their wands and fastening the string onto them, they drop the hooks into the other’s bowl.

They sit quietly. Silence permeates the glen. Suddenly, simultaneously, they jerk on their lines, and each pulls a fish from the other’s bowl. They stand and, facing the audience, raise the fish into the air in a traditional pose of “this is my catch.”

The stage lights dimmed and then quickly brightened as the audience’s applause grew into a crescendo of approval. As “bravos” were shouted, many people in the theater stood up and increased their clapping. The full cast of five performers took repeated bows before they waved their thanks and exited the stage. As the audience quieted, words of praise and delight were heard among the patrons leaving the theater.

Hermes Beckons Chapters The Stone Grows in the Darkness of the Earth Walking the Wild Side