Imagine that you are entering the gateway to a temple with waves of water carved into the stone arches above you. As you cross into the temple a strong and wet wind powers through and you shield your face and eyes from the blast. It takes all of your stubborn strength to push through even just a few steps, and as soon as you’re through you fall onto your knees exhausted.
When you open your eyes you find yourself in a dark cave, save one single candle lit on an altar next to a pitcher of water and a lone earthen cup. The sounds of single drops of water echo all around you. The pitcher of water and the cup on the altar call to you as much as they disturb you. How long will you wait before you drink from it? You might think to take the candle and explore, or ask for help, or say something, “Is anyone there?” but you are just as frightened to break the silence or remove the candle from the altar.
Finally you approach the altar and find the words inscribed upon its surface, “Prepare the way…”
Even though its cold and damp inside of the cave, you feel dry inside, dehydrated, and your desire for the water is overwhelming. You wonder if it’s right to take the water simply because you are thirsty, of if you should feel or desire something more profound before taking it. Even though you don’t believe, you make the sign of the cross, and decide to take a drink…
As soon as you do you feel something churn in your stomach and you lean forward onto the altar for support. Something like a cramp moves its way from your stomach into your legs until you suddenly find yourself shin deep and naked in the waters of a river. The river is holy and filled with floating flowers and lanterns. Wading through the river alongside you, moving against the current, are thousands of people, each moving toward a figure in the distance: a man, or woman, or perhaps an angel, entranced in prayer, speaking inhuman words, pouring two pitchers into the river, arms outstretched on either side, one golden pitcher and one silver. Those wading through the river toward the water-pourer are without speech and some blind, though everyone can hear that single voice of many waters, emptying forth upstream, being poured out and out from the two cups.
On one side of the river is a green field and above it a sun shower pouring down light and rain through black clouds. On the other side of the river is a vast portrait of space, black and deep, but also a shower of light and rocks spilling out into the deep.
As you walk on your skin begins to decay and age, but light is now seeping through its brittle cracks. Before you can finally reach the water-pourer, you lose all sight and all feeling in your legs as you white out. Finally all you can sense is the sound of rushing waters and the continued pouring of light ahead of you, until there is nothing more than sound and light, rushing sound and rushing light.
Now again you find yourself back in the cave. Two cold bruises on each of your shins from where you’ve been kneeling in trance, the cup still in your hand, and the sound of dripping water once more echoing through the distant caverns.
When you stand to return the cup to the altar you feel a river rushing back through your legs as the circulation of warm blood flows through and returns. The words on the altar are now different, “A voice crying out in the lonely desert.”
Behind you comes the sound of grinding rock, and beams of light are pouring through an opening in the cave where a stone has rolled back. A figure dressed in rock gestures toward the opening and then steps back into the stone and disappears.
As you walk forth you step through a warm puddle that moves up your legs and releases something stone cold in your stomach. A blast of warm air dries your skin, and once again you find yourself outside the temple gateway, this time looking up at the glyph of Saturn, carved into the same stone arches, along with the symbol of a hand lifting a scythe from beneath waves of water.
Prayer: Prepare your holy way through all of us. Turn each of our lonely eyes into the brimming cups of cosmic spring.