There are always gateways. And they are integral. Without a door there can be no rooms, no sanctuaries, no inner or outer worlds. Gateways are sacred corridors that prepare us for the transition from one reality to another. On my land high in the picos of northern Spain, Lion Rock is the gate.
For a long time I missed him completely, because the lion is not in the most convenient spot. Reclining as he is behind a morass of sharp-clawed blackberry brambles, he expects some token of effort at least. But there was something about the space, especially at dusk. Something a little viscid, a little dewy about the edges. And I was drawn.
It was a twilight heaving with nimbus when I found myself on the grassy passageway between the two rocks. The hazel tree glimmered in the half-light. I paused because something was going on. Something beyond our ordinary world.
Then I felt the breath on my back. Rock breath. And when I turned I saw him, eyes closed, sleeping like the dead. The Lion in the rock.
He was ancient, gentle, an Aslan of limestone. After watching for a moment or two, I softly placed my hand on his rutted snout, and he began to murmur. “This is the gate to your land,” he said. “When you enter here, you belong. You become us, and we become you. Our earthen threads are woven together again.”
The sun was long gone by now, with the earth exhaling mist. I blinked. Then I stepped between the two rocks, passing through the gate. And there it was; that Other World, the one that hides beneath and beyond. A wonderland of infinite connections and Gaian magic.
The mist thickened into fat droplets. I watched them hit the stones like glass vials smashing on the ground. A metallic insect whirred above my head, a tiny zeppelin from another plane, and as I surveyed my home, I watched the sea holly twist and turn silver.
Swinging round once more, I gazed down, ready to thank the rock. My heart lurched forwards. I blinked to be sure. Because the eye in the rock had opened. The Lion was awake.
The word Rune is derived from the root - run or runa meaning whisper or secret. In linguistic terms, runes are the symbolic letters of ancient Germanic alphabets, or even short Norse poems. Runes can be stones inscribed with magical symbols or 'spells too. Welcome to my runes. Are they symbols? Are they poems? Or are they spells? I'll leave it up to you.
Atulya K Bingham is an author, natural builder and lone off-gridder now lost in the hills of northern Spain.
"I consider myself a person who is connected to nature, somebody who respects the earth; this book has me walking through the world with all my senses opened." Emma Blas, editor Her Heart Poetry