Saturday, September 1, 2012

It was almost time; the roof garden was full of lit candle jars... flickering light giving the pyre and pedestal holding Connor's coffin a sense of the sacred. Pandora and Ob decided they wanted each of the friends and family to have a long match... that they might all share in lighting the pyre to send Connor's body on its way; blessings for the son now nestled in the arms of Grace and Cassie.

The children would leave their gifts they made for Connor at the base of the coffin and they would be gathered and placed on the pyre after it burned down, so he might have them with him to know they loved him.

Pandora had told Monty to plan the gathering after on the roof; it was for Connor... and she felt closest to him up here near the sky and stars. She had Monty set a small table to the side of their larger garden furniture... set for two people with a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers; in honor of Grace and Cassie; who had taken Connor to their hearts.

Pandora and Ob stood on the terrace; his arm supporting her as she gazed at the tiny cedar chest..." I know he will come again, Josephito; it just breaks my heart I was yet unaware of him in my body, and the Goddess knew it was not his time before I even felt his life." Ob held her tenderly and hushed her tears with soft words..."Bruha, I hear some of our family; dry your tears and lets celebrate our son arriving safely in the arms of loved ones." Pandora glanced up and smiled ; "You always know how to soothe my emotions... give me the image to lift my spirit."

They sat near Connor and waited for the family to gather.

When the family was gathered the children all took their small handmade gifts and laid them near Connor, admiring the coffin and the beautifully carved name. Each laying hand on the box honoring Connor who lay within. Pandora's heart swelled to see such small children so solemn and aware of life and death... so much older inside than their parents often suspected. The other family members followed the children in approaching the coffin; giving Pandora a kiss, Ob a pat on the shoulder...

Ob lifted Connor from the pedestal and put the coffin on the pyre. Pandora asked Rowan to join her in a blessing over Connor; asking for the Goddess to care for him; and to watch over the other children gathered to honor their little brother and cousin.

Ob joined her with lit matches, Marc handing one to Rowan... all the other family and friends circling the pyre to set fire at its base. Gunnar had used a shallow tin trough for the pyre base, placing the kindling and wood necessary to do the job right; but keeping in mind safety for the family. Star had woven a garland of pine and cedar to drape the trough to conceal its structure. The fragrance of the woods scented the air.

All stood still and watched the flames lick up around the tiny coffin... soon it was totally afire; and darkness had fallen enough that Pandora bit back a sob as she watched; for on the edge of the terrace; sillouetted beyond the pyre stood Grace and Cassie; and Cassie held a small figure in her arms; a message to put her heart at rest. Their figures faded as the fire dimmed; but she knew they were still there....

When the pyre died down they adjourned to the tables; Monty having the waitresses from downstairs deliver up the platters of prepared food. Once everyone was settled he asked for a moment to say something. "I was asked by a friend of the family to accept a donation toward Connor's funeral costs; since there were not really expenses of consequece, I felt this was a fitting way to spend the money.... this is for the children's new school...'Monty drew a plaque out from beneath the table and read the words engraved on it ""Remember Magick and those we love, are all around us... for Connor and those other souls that watch from beyond". The children were excited by the idea of something for their school and all gathered round to see it.

Monty brought out the package that had arrived from Scotland;  children leaned close when he announced it was gifts from Traeger to the little ones. Once he slit the large box a great number of smaller boxes were revealed. He set them out one by one; letting the children snoop until they spotted one with their name upon it. Two long rectangular boxes were for Tomas and Ryan... they were quickly torn open to reveal small replica swords of one of the great Scottish clans; the insignia embellished with a fire breathing dragon, their initial had been scrolled on the top of the blades... the boys swiftly engaged in the first of many sword fights to come.

Star and Pandora helped the small boys with their gifts; each received a carved wooden dragon, large enough to impress even solemn Teri into smiling as he growled at it.

Traegers gifts to the girls were all alike; but each different in its own way... they received small silver jewel boxes; each with a precious stone set in the top to denote their astrology sign, their name tooled in fanciful lettering on a small plate under the lid's precious stone. Inside each in a delicate written script was a note telling them they would be receiving gifts to fill their boxes from the different countries Traeger and Erin visited. Their Scottish gift was a small silver charm of a Scottish terrier hanging from a delicate bracelet sized to their small arms.

At the bottom of the box Monty found a map of the old world; Traeger had written a note explaining he wanted the children to put it up and mark his progress on his trip; a geography lesson with fun. Pandora smiled at it; so like her dad, she remembered how he had always made learning an adventure for her.

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