This is the story of a little boy who lived near the enchanted forest. His home was an orphanage that housed little children deserted by the “Great War.” Their life was simple: Get up before the sun, say your prayers, promise never to go to the forest, eat your only meal of the day, work in the fields, and be in bed by sunset. The forest was said to be haunted by the presence of terrible beasts: wolves and witches.
But this little boy, the eldest in the group, was different from the rest. He never closed his eyes when praying. He still felt connected to his parents, he couldn’t call the war “great,” and he always felt a gravitational pull toward the forest.
When thinking of the forest, something inside his mind would flare up like the feathers of a peacock. His heart would light up like a neon sign, and his eyes and teeth and white skin would appear as if glowing in the dark. He heard a voice with no sound calling him; it was like a cold air whisper that he could feel flicking his left ear. His body was pumped and muscular. He was bigger than the rest, not only in age but in size, as if he had gotten war training or fought many brawlers before.
One evening, the director of the home asked the boy to go fetch some water from the far west side of the town. Since he was the oldest and the strongest, he was fit for the role. He agreed without hesitation. He knew what this was. This was his chance.
The boy took the red leather hood the orphanage hunter left hanging from the wooden hanger. He left without saying goodbye.
He reached the far west side of the town. He encountered a rock wall, maybe three or four times taller than him. He knew what was on the other side. He climbed the wall with no hesitation. As he climbed down on the other side, he felt his heart growing inside his chest. It was almost suffocating him. His chest felt heavy, and it was getting in the way of positioning his feet in the right place not to fall 18 feet to the ground. His hands were sweaty, and he feared for his life, but he knew it was not fear that could paralyze him. He felt the cool breeze on his left ear again and the rhythm of a voice with no sound calling his name. He felt at peace and accepted his fear as excitement to face the unknown.
He remembered the myth about the forest. The legend told about a witch who lived in the heart of the forest, surrounded by a circle that she would trace using the dripping blood of the victims she ate for dinner.
The boy walked during the night. He lit his way through the darkness using the strength of his heart, that ability he had of glowing in the dark. He would rest by day, every time the wind would switch directions. He would lie against the trunk of a sigillaria tree and would felt on his back the vibration of the wind. He would stare at the sun through the pockets of light the green canopy skies let through. In spite of his town’s rhetoric, he felt the forest was safe. It was “inside," and the town was out there.
He kept walking for days. He wanted to find the center of the forest. At every breath, he felt his heart shrinking, as if it was disappearing. But it was a calming feeling; the smaller the organ became, the more his heart's center expanded and penetrated every other organ, every muscle, and every space between his thoughts. His heart's center was at his knees and in his fingertips and in the tip of his nose. And it kept expanding. His heart's center crawled into the trees and played with the leaves underneath his steps and invited itself among the critters hiding in the branches. His breathing became a song played between his lungs and the forest. His breathing was synched with the exhale of the plant kingdom, and the inhale of the giant trees corresponded to his exhale.
The boy was transforming itself. He was not a boy anymore. He was a man. He also couldn’t speak in words anymore. He spoke and thought in symbols and images. His mind was like a giant movie screen with no beginning and no end. He couldn’t tell the difference between walking with his eyes closed or his eyes open. It was like something was walking him, guiding him, strengthening his muscles, and augmenting his vision capacity. He felt something inside; he felt purpose.
The man was now transforming himself again: not a man, not a boy, now a warrior. A warrior of the sacred heart of the forest. When this knowing landed on his mind, he started noticing at a distance a red glow. The closer he came to it, the more it looked like a red crystal dome.
But that was not the only thing he saw. He looked left and he looked right, and two majestic gray wolves were walking beside him. They didn’t seem bothered by the warrior, and the warrior didn’t fear them. The wolves were part of him. His heart center extended to be the wolves, his earthly protectors, his spirit animals, his intuitive instinct.
He could communicate with the wolves but not in words, not with sounds, not with symbols. It was almost telepathically, and the cool whisper would return to play with his left ear. The wolves told him: You are ready.
Time was elusive; it slipped like trying to catch water with his fingers. Suddenly, he arrived at the center of the forest. This was the red circle the town feared. It was not blood; it was a rose-tinted light that disappeared after blinking. There was no house and no witch but a lake that seemed to run infinitely. The lake was posed like a polished mirror reflecting the beauty of the intricate green sky that hid the enchanted forest from the blue stratosphere.
The warrior fell to his knees. He didn’t know what to do or what to say in the presence of the beauty he was witnessing. He cried into his hands. He felt shame. He felt small and in awe of the silence, the tranquility, and the peace that emanated from the water. He knew he was not alone. This presence he had felt before: in the arms of his mother, in the hugs of his lost sister, in the soft watercolor memory that was slipping away of his grandmother. In when he had fallen in love. He felt a feminine presence. He felt love.
The lake spoke to the warrior in the same language he communicated with the wolves and the forest, in a voice with no sound heard in between the passing of his thoughts. A voice that spelled itself in the air in invisible ink, only visible to the eyes of his soul.
And it said:
You are the Divine Man, the wolf spirit, the warrior of the sacred heart of the forest. A leader among sheep, the messenger of Truth, the lover of the Divine Feminine.
You say and do what you know is right, and you will know freedom and love. You listen to and obey fear, and you will remain a prisoner to a town that is afraid to find beauty in its own reflection.