It was a full moon in Scorpio, but young Aristelle’s mind was drowning in a whirlwind of chaos, leaving little space to contemplate which phase the moon was in. She never would have begun her journey had she realized what intentions the moon had held that night. Aristelle's sixteenth birthday should have been a day of carefree celebration, filled with excitement over which dress or hairstyle to choose for festivities. Instead, she found herself grappling with a weighty decision: which crystal would be the best companion for her as she traveled through the astral planes, as she traveled to save a life. A very dear life.
Black Obsidian, that’s the one she chose.
With the crystal clasped tightly in her hand, she sent her hopes and prayers for its protective energy to guide her through the journey ahead. Closing her eyes, she inhaled through her nose. She could smell the fragrance of sage that burned in the wooden bowl that sat upon the altar before her. As she breathed out, a white light enveloped her, sprouting into branches that twisted and weaved around each other, creating a beautiful, glowing web of energy.
Aristelle inhaled again. The white light descended through the top of her head, weaving through her chakras and encircling them with its protective energy. She lowered herself from a seated position, stretching her legs out in front of her, and she flattened her back down upon the floor. Her eyes remained shut. She continued long deep breaths, keeping her spine straight as she lay on the floor.
One last heavy breath and her travel was underway, she knew as she looked around as the fifth-dimensional space began to materialize before her. The inky void around her mirrored the black obsidian crystal clasped in her hand, a physical anchor to her body on the third dimension. She felt her soul transcend to the 5D, leaving her earthly form behind. The void began to shift and change, revealing iridescent glows that shimmered and danced in the background, she remained still as she watched the changes of her scenery. The colors grew more vibrant around her, she began to feel a soft and gentle breeze of warm ocean air. She had successfully gone against all humankind’s knowledge of physics as she projected her astral body through the realms, once again. She had returned to Mintaka, the land of her ancestors.
Pink sands caressed her toes, and she looked down, grinning with delight. Raising her head, she gazed at the horizon where sparkling ocean waves gently crested on the shore.
“Ari!” A familiar voice raised from behind her.
“Giselle!” Aristelle whirled around, her face lighting up in joy. It had been months since they had seen one another.
“I'm thrilled you made it here again, finally!” Giselle beamed, opening her arms for a hug. Aristelle did not hesitate. She leaped into Giselle's embrace and held her tight in a sweet, warm hug. “Was the journey rough on you?”
Aristelle nodded, tears of relief, to see her dear friend, trickled down her round cheeks as she buried her face into Giselle's chest.
Giselle rested her chin on the top of Aristelle's head, offering comfort as she patted her friend's back. "It's okay, you're here now," she said soothingly.
"I can't stay for long," Aristelle said with a heavy heart.
"What do you mean?" Giselle's hands held Aristelle's shoulders, pulling her back to look at her. "You're not thinking of completing the ritual, are you? " She asked, her face etched with deep concern.
"I have to," Aristelle replied, meeting Giselle's gaze with her own tear-filled emerald eyes, which shone in stark contrast to her red blotchy tear-streaked face. Giselle's deep brown eyes looked down at Aristelle with an empathetic understanding. She nodded in response and pulled Aristelle in for another long embrace.
"I came to the shores first because I need to ask for your further protection," Aristelle gazed at Giselle's face and was struck by her beauty. Her skin radiated a warm, gentle brown hue, and the sunlight accentuated her delicate cheekbones.
"I will do what I can, to help you find your solution,” Giselle replied with a soft smile, running her fingers over Aristelle's cheeks to gently wipe away the drying tears. “Though, I was hoping your journey was to visit me, on such a very special day.” Giselle continued and then lowered her head. “But I know, it’s for the herbs.”
“We will celebrate. I promise. I just have to do this first. I only have this one chance, on this one day.” Aristelle said.
Aristelle knew that her sixteenth birthday was the heart of her cosmic awakening. Through her teachings, she learned the soul of a Starseed embarks on a timeless odyssey, spanning countless ages and countless worlds. On this fateful day, she felt that she was on the verge of unlocking the secrets of the universe, of discovering the path to everlasting life, of fulfilling her purpose on earth’s plane.
“Through your awakening, you will learn many lessons and help so many other beings. But you, my dear, can also only do so much. Rituals and intent can only do so much.” Giselle sighed, knowing her words would not deter Aristelle from her search. “Well, you know where to find the herbs.” Giselle let out a deep sigh as she turned and gestured toward the long, winding path behind the shores. Palm trees lined the path at the beginning, but as the tree line continued on, it could be seen that the palms gave way to evergreens. The evergreens then arched over the path, creating a dark and mysterious opening. That was where Aristelle would find the herbs.
“I’ll return, again,” Aristelle said with a slight gulp as she tried to fake her confidence.
“I know you will one day, sweet girl, I know you will.” Giselle smiled and kissed Aristelle’s cheek. “Remember what I said in the past, about the herbs. Be careful, move quickly, and do not touch the flowers.”
Aristelle nodded. She prepared herself as she took a deep breath and stepped forward onto the path, embarking on her journey and her fate. As she walked, she noticed the palm leaves swaying in the gentle ocean breeze. She assumed there were never storms in Mintaka; surely there could be no storms in paradise. She continued on until she reached the evergreens, and the sand beneath her feet gradually turned into fertile, dark soil. Sprinkles of pine covered the ground, and grass began to sprout along the edges of the path. Soon, her feet met with wet, soft soil, a stark contrast to the soft grains of sand she had walked on moments before. The temperature cooled as she ventured deeper into the forest. She knew the herbs grew close to the entrance. She did not fear the woods, she feared what would happen if she did not complete the rituals with the herbs she would gather. With these herbs from Mintaka, she felt that she could transcend the limits of logic, time, and space, surpassing even the boundaries of interstellar travel. “I can do this. I was meant to do this.” Aristelle whispered to herself. Aristelle resisted the urge to look back down the path behind her. She knew that if she caught a glimpse of the way she had come, she might start to doubt her decision to leave Giselle behind and embark on her mission. Instead, she focused on the path ahead, her eyes fixed on the mysterious opening in the evergreens, and the unknown that lay beyond.
Aristelle took a few more steps, and as the evergreen archway began to cast shadows around her, she saw the herbs sprouting below their symbiotic white flowers. She had prepared to heed the advice from Giselle that the white flowers were poisonous. She reminded herself to only pick the herbs below the stems, avoiding the flowers altogether.
Aristelle's heart raced as she neared the shrubbery with the white flowers. She lifted a thin purple sachet bag out of her jean pocket. She held the small bag in her hand and took a deep breath reminding herself to remain focused. She knew that one wrong move could be fatal. She dropped to her belly and began to crawl, inching closer to the herbs she needed. She reached out slowly and picked the herbs she needed, careful not to disturb the deadly flowers. Aristelle picked the herbs and held them in her palm as she rolled away from the shrubbery. She lay on the ground, grinning from ear to ear. She had done it! She carefully pinched the small herbs into her sachet bag and pulled the string to tighten it.
Aristelle closed her eyes, feeling the warmth of the sun streams that broke through the tree canopy. She took a deep breath in, inhaled the fresh air, and then exhaled slowly, enjoying the peaceful moment in the paradise of Mintaka. But she knew that she had to return to the 3D. Aristelle steadied her breathing, and then the red hue of the sun streamed over her face and faded to black. She felt a sense of emptiness as she was transported back to the void. She held her eyes closed and took a deep breath in, imagining her room appearing around her. She visualized the soft glow of her bedside lamp, the shaggy texture of the carpet she laid upon, and the breeze from the window she had left open to allow the moonlight in. The room materialized around her still body. As her body felt heavier, she knew she had returned. She knew not to force her eyes open too soon or her body would lay stiff, and her mind would be aware of all of what was around her, as if in a state of paralysis. She inhaled and then exhaled, she felt her soul and mind reconnect with her body. She was safe to slowly open her eyes.
Aristelle stared at the ceiling above as she came to. She wearily wrapped her fingers over the object in her palm. It was not a rough, hard, and pointy rock. It was soft, silky, and made a gentle crinkle noise as she rubbed her fingers over the fabric in her palm. She lifted her head from the floor to look at the item. The crystal was gone, and in her hand, she held the sachet bag. To her delight, the herbs were there! “It worked!” She exclaimed, feeling a sense of relief and satisfaction. She pulled herself to standing. A wave rushed over her, she hadn’t allowed herself to settle into reality yet. Aristelle should have sat to gather her composure after the journey, but she knew she had to move fast. Holding the sachet bag in her fist, she made her way out of her bedroom and down the hall.
"Nonna!” Aristelle shouted. "I got them!" As Aristelle rounded the corner and leaped over the threshold of her grandmother's bedroom, her grandmother smiled. "Oh, sweet girl, I knew you could do it!" Her grandmother clapped her hands lightly.
For months, Aristelle yearned to see the light of hope return to Nonna's eyes. Nonna had been gravely ill, her hands trembling uncontrollably, but now, they had steadied enough to clap together. As memories of her grandmother, before the disease overcame her, flooded Aristelle's mind, she felt a glimmer of hope and optimism. She imagined Nonna dancing once again in the kitchen as she cooked, painting vibrant scenes of pink sands and crystal waves while she shared tales of Mintaka and the journeys she took before her energy was sapped by the disease. Aristelle longed for the day when they could reunite in paradise.
Aristelle glowed as she ran to her grandmother's bedside and handed her the sachet bag. "I made it through the energy boundaries, I went down the path as you said, and I picked the herbs!" Aristelle lit up with accomplishment. Her grandmother’s eyes widened.
"The herbs?" Her grandmother asked in confusion.
"The herbs!" Aristelle exclaimed, wondering if her grandmother had become confused about the mission. Nonna’s mind had become so confused over the past months, Aristelle was concerned she had forgotten the tales and the myth these herbs brought for everlasting healing and life.
"No, no honey." Her grandmother opened the sachet bag and peered in. She turned the bag over and sprinkled the herbs on the bed.
"What do you mean no? These are them! You need these." Aristelle cried as she tried to gather the herbs frantically and panicked that her grandmother had lost the memories of Mintaka.
"The flowers. I needed the flowers from the herbs.” Her grandmother’s tears began to well in her eyes.
"No, no! Giselle said the flowers were poisonous, Grandma. You need the herbs, not the flowers." Aristelle demanded.
"Giselle?" Her grandmother questioned with concern.
"My guide." Aristelle smiled and nodded.
"She's not your guide, my sweet girl." Her grandmother's voice lowered as she shook her head.
“What do you mean? I met her while I was practicing the rituals you taught me. Every travel, she was there. She’s my guide and she’s here to help and protect me. She helped me find these.” Aristelle burst into a confusion of tears.
“My darling. You allowed her in but she is not your guide.” Her grandmother shook her head.
“Then who is she?” Aristelle demanded.
“A wolf in sheep’s clothes,” Grandma said as she looked past Aristelle and stared at the wall as if she had fallen into deep thought and a grin appeared on her face as she shook her head. “Death is a sly being.”
“Nonna, but without the flowers, you will die.” Aristelle wept.
“I will - transition. I will be okay. Life is a cycle.” Nonna nodded. “To even think we could cheat death was mindless of me.” Her grandmother patted Aristelle’s head. “She is always much more cunning.”
“I can return! I have more time. I will go find the flowers, I will bring them back Nonna!” Aristelle sobbed as she let out her desperate words.
“My sweet girl. Let us just be here and now, in the present.” Her grandmother said, holding Aristelle tight. “We will not find a way. We really should not try and find a way.”
Aristelle could feel her grandmother’s hands tremoring again as she rubbed Aristelle’s back. Tears streamed down Aristelle’s face, dampening Nonna's shoulder as she clung to her. Aristelle felt a deep sense of anger and betrayal at having been fooled by the cruel whims of fate. She wondered if even death had felt the same sense of betrayal as Aristelle, herself, pushed past to find escapes through death’s boundaries. But she knew that death could not be avoided and that it would continue to knock on the door for each being that came to its end of time. The fear of death would only subside when it was finally accepted and welcomed in, becoming a friend and a comfort to those who had once feared it.
Aristelle took solace in the knowledge that Nonna would soon join and be comforted on those pink sands before her full journey home. And one day, in the far distant future, Aristelle knew that death would stand before her again, holding her in its comfort in a place where time and space held no sway and she would reunite with her Nonna again. Aristelle stared at the window, its curtains open wide allowing the light from the moon in. Her mind was slowing to the beats of her grandmother’s resting heart. It was a full moon in Scorpio, she thought. The powerful moon intended to change a being’s perspective of the significance of letting go. She should have known.