the gypsy camp
I had only just got back to my room when there was a tap at the window and the raven that had brought me here was on the ledge outside. I opened the window and the raven hopped in and settled itself on the table. I saw at once that it had something tied to its leg. I untied the piece of grass holding a leaf on which had been written the following:
“Gypsies encamped in the magic glade. Midnight. Be there or be square”. So I was to be spared the trials and tribulations of a performance and a visit to the gypsies sounded like a great way of spending the evening. Perhaps there would be some dancing. Perhaps there would be some magic. Who knew.
I went back downstairs and found the hermitess. How was it that she always seemed to be around when I needed something? “Follow the path past the willow tree and then down into the valley. You will find the gypsy encampment by the stream. Enjoy yourself”. I thanked her and made my way along the path she had indicated. It wound down the hill through a forest of beech trees, moonlight dappling the leaf mould on the floor, and glow worms placed at strategic intervals lit my way where the trees overhead were so thick that no moonlight streamed through. The path must have been longer than I thought for by the time I got to the bottom I was quite warm. Ahead of me I could see the light from the fires. Someone was playing a violin – a lively, swirling dance and as I approached the fire I could see a couple of gypsies dancing, with wild abandon, in the clearing, their forms silhouetted against the fire which crackled and roared as more combustible stuff was thrown on it. The flames leaped higher and higher and cascades of sparks like fireworks burst up into the sky. There seemed to be other people there other than myself and the people who were obviously gypsies, probably the other visitors to the hermitage.
A gypsy woman came up to me and touched me softly on the arm. “want to know what your future holds?” she asked. Now, if there is one thing I have always wanted it is to have my fortune told. So, of course, I went with her into a tent, set a little apart from the rest of the encampment. We both sat down and she started to shuffle the cards. She laid them out on the table and told me to choose four and to turn them over so that we could what I had chosen:
Failure. The High Priestess. Abundance. The Chariot.
The gypsy sat still for a while contemplating the cards. She was silent for so long that I began to fidget and I was beginning to feel just a teeny weeny bit uneasy.
“So, you have met the High Priestess. She is the one who has set you on your journey and who keeps watch over you. The chariot is your means of transport. In your case your journal is your chariot for it is the writing in your journal that transports you into other lands and which, at the same time, carries you forwards. Abundance you will find all along the road. You only need have the eyes to recognise it when you come across it. The last one, failure, is more difficult.” I had started to relax with the first part but now I sat bolt upright again. “Failure or defeat, it depends which way you look at it. You have already encountered failure so it may be that defeat will be yours. Not to be defeated but to defeat someone or something. The time has not yet come”. She took my hands in hers, lightly following the blue tracery of veins on the backs of my hands. Then she turned them over and touched the lines in the palms of my hands. “A long and happy life, my dear. Walk with spirit and you will find your truth”. She stood up, indicating the audience had come to an end and moved her hands through the air, clearing the energies in the tent. My head felt muzzy and I half fell half stumbled through the tent flap into the cool air outside. Dark figures were still twirling around the fire and the violin was still being played with vigour but I felt changed in some way and charged.
I walked back up the hill to the hermitage, turning round once to see the flames burst into life again as someone threw another log on to the fire and wondered.