Beneath the Ruins

The dark temple thrums with the pulse of a thousand, thousand grandmothers

Lighting candles

Smoking herbs

Singing chants

Celebrating joys

Grieving sorrows

Passing Artemis on from Mother to daughter

Since a time before we knew her name

Since a time when only She existed here

Since a time before shrines, and walls and columns and altars

I come to see for myself

They say the altar cracked open

They say a holy man of a foreign God came into our sacred space and prayed

They say their God exorcised our demons… our lady

And now our fathers and our brothers will follow this man

And of course, so will we

I approach the broken monument,

My heart catches

My eyes well up

She is still here

Beneath the still smoking rubble, I feel Her pulse

And she is standing by my side

She gazes at the altar, a playful grin on her lips

“He was a bit of a talker,” she says

“It was the only way to get him to leave.”

“It seems short sided,” says I, amazed at my own courage

“The men are leaving you, and we must follow them”

“Yes,” she says, her smile becoming more satisfied

“And they will stop ripping up the earth to heap stone upon my back”

I nod and sigh

“We may abandon you”

She nods… “you may”

“We may dishonor your memory”

She nods, solemnly

“We may forget you”

Her gaze lifts upward to the dark, sparkling heavens

“You will remember me, though by a different name

You will dishonor me, but I will remain

You will abandon me…”

She turns her noble, wild, wise eyes upon mine

My heart feels the enormity of space and time

She seems very sad as she says,

“You will yearn for me every day

You will lose your understanding of each other

You will tear each other down

Generation upon generation will forget as they have many times before

You will abandon me…

But your granddaughters will find me again.”

And then she kisses me

The custom of our gods

And her essence expands out past the tiny, insignificant walls of this once immense building

I stand in thought

And resolve to try the new name on my tongue

A single word rises into the night sky… “Mary”

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