There’s an Iroquois story of a girl that lived with her mother in a wigwam on the edge of a village. The girl was very beautiful, proud, and would not accept the advances of any boys.

One day when she and her mother were out collecting wood far from the village an ominous darkness fell upon them. Not the dark of the night descending, but the darkness of a sort that only a magician could conjure. The mother says “Let’s gather some bark and make a little wigwam for ourselves and collect wood for a fire, and well just spend the night here.”

They do as said and prepare a small meal, and the mother falls asleep. The girl then looks up to find a magnificent young man standing before here with a wampum sash, glorious black feathers – quite handsome. He says to her “I’ve come to marry you, and I’ll await your reply.” To which she responds, “I’ll have to consult with my mother.”

The mother approves, and he gives the mother his wampum belt to show he is serious in his proposal. Then says to the girl, “Tonight I would like you to come to my camp.” She leaves with him. Human beings were not enough for her, but she had found something rather special now.

If she had not turn down all the previous suitors, she would not have had this opportunity for such grand experience. When they arrive to his village they enter his lodge. They spend two nights and two days together, and on the third day he says to her, “I’m going off today to hunt.” He leaves. As soon as he closes the entrance flap she hears a strange sound outside. She spends the day alone in they hut; when evening comes she hears the same strange sound again. The entrance flap opens and in slides a serpent. He puts his head on her lap and says to her, “Now search my head for lice.” She finds all sort of horrible things, and once she has killed them all, he leaves her. A moment later it opens again and in comes her beautiful young man. “Were you afraid of me when I came in that way just now?” he asks. “No,” she replies, “I wasn’t afraid at all.”

The next day while he is out hunting again she leaves their lodge to gather firewood. She sees an enormous serpent basking on the rocks nearby – and another, and another. She begins to feel very strange, homesick and discouraged, and she returns to the lodge. The serpent returns that evening, departs, and returns again as a man. The third day when he has gone, the young woman decides she wants to flee this place. She leaves the lodge and is in the woods along, standing, thinking, when she hears a voice. It’s a little old man who says to her, “Darling, you are in trouble. The man you’ve married is one of seven brothers. They are all great magicians and, like many people of this kind, their hearts are not in their bodies. Go back into the lodge, and in a bag that is hidden under the bed of the one to whom you are married, you will find a collection of seven hearts” She returns to the lodge, finds the bag full of hearts, and is running out with it when a voice calls to her, “Stop, stop.” It was the magician. She continues to run regardless. The voice calls again, “You may think you can get away from me, but you never will.” She is just then about to faint when she hears the voice of the little old man once again. “I’ll help you,” it says and, to her surprise, he’s pulling her out of the water. She hadn’t known she was in the water. That is to say, that with her marriage she had moved out of the rational, conscious sphere into the field of compulsions of the unconscious.

When the old man pulls her out of the water, she finds her self in the midst of a company of old men standing along the shore, all looking exactly the same as her rescuer. They are the Thunderers, powers of the upper air. That is, she is still in the transcendent realm into which she brought herself by her refusal of suitors; only now, having torn herself away from the negative aspect of the powers, she has come into possession of the positive.

She is now in the service of the higher powers, enabling them to destroy the negative powers of the abyss. After she was conducted back, through a rainstorm, to the lodge of her mother.

The adventure is it’s own reward, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of which are beyond control. We are to follow our own way, not the ways of others. Follow your bliss.

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© 2009

Castles

Landon Metz