Entering the Cave of Ancients was like reaching the end of a long spiral that wound downwards, deeper and deeper, inwards, towards the centre of Mother earth’s womb, which was the room that I found myself in. The Cave of the Ancients is a liminal place, a threshold space. It marks both the ending of one journey and the beginning of another. So it was that I found myself standing in the centre of the Cave, having arrived here after a long and arduous journey, which was a pathway into a new realm, a threshold place, ‘an airy space’, as Luce Irigaray writes in her book Sexes and Genealogies —

’’Once we have left the waters of the womb, we have to construct a space for ourselves in the air for the rest of our lives on earth…To construct and inhabit our airy spaces is essential. It is the space of bodily autonomy, of free breath, free speech and song, of performing on the stage of life.’’

This is no enclosure designed to silence and curtail the wisdom of women! It is more akin to Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle —

‘’Consider our soul to be a castle, made entirely out f diamond, or out of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms.’’ (Interior Castle, I,I,1)

This threshold space was like being present to a living oxymoron – an open enclosure, an enclosed space without walls, without limits. And here was I standing in it.

An ancient priestess emerged from the darkness. She was carrying a golden chalice with a jewel encrusted lid on top. As she walked towards me she slowly lifted the lid from the cup. A beautiful butterfly of many hues fluttered upwards and out. It flew towards me and encircled me numerous times. Each time I grew more and more drowsy, until finally unable to stay awake any longer I let myself fall gently down on to the soft, damp and welcoming earth. It was then that the most wondrous and terrifying vision appeared to me. At first all was covered in gloom. Then the ground beneath began to move, gently at first and then more violently. Clinging to a rock at the side of the cave I watched in horror as the earth split open But then the darkness was dispelled by a bright light that appeared to have the contours of a woman’s figure, with no features visible. The luminous figure rose higher and higher until at last she left the earth behind. She spun round and round, faster and faster as if she were dancing a wild and glorious dance of life and energy. And as she danced the earth sealed up again, returning to what it had been before. Then she spoke: ’’I am you. You are me. I am that part of you that you are afraid of. Be not afraid. You have buried me for too long. It is time to set me free. I am the fire in the centre of your being. I am rising like the sap in springtime. Feel me run through your veins. I will erupt and flow through you. Do not be afraid. Yet you are right to feel fear. Well then feel me and know that I am here deep inside of you. You cannot bury me again. The time has come to let me break free. Be free.’’

And with that she raised her light-filled arms and screamed a high pitched cry and disappeared.

When I awoke there was only me and the butterfly which came to rest on a stone nearby and as I moved closer to see better I saw also a cocoon not far off and knew that I was the substance lying in the cocoon awaiting re-birth.

—The spiral goes on spiralling. The journey continues.