by Alan J. Wahnefried
Gaia was a spiritual person. She knew which herbs to burn to clear her aurora. She knew what spices would clear her mind. She had been to seances. She had mystic symbols tattooed in key places on her body. She studied the I Ching. Gaia was not the name on her birth certificate. Marilyn Henderson did not fit her once she met her spirit guide. She meditated and chanted. She was vegan. Her hair was purple and worn in a buzz cut. She had numerous piercings. She was sure she had done those things for spiritual reasons she couldn’t remember. She had spiritual experiences but had never really experienced a spirit. Then she heard about the Faerie Pools or the Fairy Circles. Her guru told her she needed to go on a pilgrimage to find one.
Her guru could not direct her to a Fairy Circle. Neither did anyone else she knew. They could tell third- and fourth-hand stories. Gaia started prowling the internet. She found stories. Most stories did not relate their location, or even the year of the event. After an exhausting search she stumbled on the Endor Circle. The posting recorded Indian tribes knew the site and the Circle still exists. Mapping software showed the Circle nestled at the edge of a woods. The nearest town was Endor, Michigan. No other information could be found.
Endor was a very small town. It was not even close to a city. Worse there was no environmentally friendly transport to Endor. Gaia had a rail pass. She would have to tolerate a local bus route to reach Endor. She’d be on a diesel-powered bus for at least 4 hours. Gaia decided if she wanted the experience, she had no choice. She bought tickets.
Gaia imagined Endor must be some small friendly, spiritually aware enclave. She was disappointed. The few buildings of Endor clustered around a four way stop. There was a grocery store/post office, a gas station, a church, and a bar. All the buildings needed a coat of paint. Endor did not feel welcoming to her. It looked like she’d be walking to the Circle. She wanted to be sure of her directions. She decided to try the bar.
The bar was practically empty. Gaia took a seat at the bar. When the bartender asked what she’d have, she asked for water. When the bartender came back with water, Gaia started to ask about the Endor Circle. She was sure the locals would all have positive experiences. She had just started to ask when the bartender cut her off. “Hey, Cal!”, he called to a man at the end of the bar. “There’s a lady here wanting information about the Circle.”
Cal was Calvin Regensdorf. He stood up as Gaia walked over. He was about 6’5”, 270 pounds. He was used to working outside. He offered Gaia a seat. Again, Gaia started to ask about the Circle and was cut off again.
“Don’t go there!” was Cal’s terse interjection.
“But why not? I am seeking a spiritual encounter,” pleaded Gaia.
“The place is dangerous. Don’t go there!” Cal replied.
“But I know how to cleanse my aurora and spirit. I practice cleansing rituals …” Gaia tried to explain.
“I suppose you have some kind of map showing the Circle?” Cal asked. Gaia nodded. “Figures. This was so much easier when grandpa just told people he knew nothing about it and told people to stay off his land. I’d better explain.
“My family has been on our land for 6 generations. When my third great grandpa arrived, the Indians were still here. Grandpa respected the Indians. They became good neighbors. His Indian friends warned grandpa to stay away from the Circle. They claimed the Circle was a place of power. Their shamans tried to avoid the place.
“The government decided to evict the Indians from their land. Grandpa helped fight the government’s efforts. When the efforts proved futile, the tribes’ leaders came to grandpa. They wanted him to buy the Circle. They wanted him to preserve it and keep people away. They warned if something troubled the Circle, like tree falling into the Circle or an animal dying, he’d have to remove the offending item. Grandpa agreed. He bought most of the Indian’s land at a fair market price so the government could not seize it.
“My family has been true to grandpa’s word. For years it was simple we just feigned ignorance. We’ve never talked to a tour book or travel sites. Then the Internet happened. Several times a year a spiritual tourist, like you, show up and we end up with a mess.”
Gaia piped up. “I won’t cause any trouble. I’m spiritually sensitive. I won’t …”
Cal’s derisive laughter cut her off. “You have no idea what you are talking about. My family agreed to keep the Circle pure. If the animals get skittish for no reason or we see strange clouds, we know something happened at the Circle. A group of us meet for prayer. We ask the Good Lord for protection and guidance. If a large branch, or small animal has fallen into the Circle, there is not much of a problem.”
“Ignorant people, like you, are different. After they arrive there is usually trouble. We’ve found partial, or complete, sets of people’s clothes. The Sherriff usually doesn’t find any streakers, so we’re not sure what happened. Sometimes we find a person wandering around with their clothes on screwy. They usually keep repeating something like She said leave! She said leave!’ A cup of coffee, or shot of whisky, usually returns them to reality. They never tell us anything. They just run. The most extreme case was some stupid deer hunter. He did not have permission to be on our land. He wounded a deer. He chased the deer. The deer went straight through the Circle polluting the Circle with blood. The fool went through the Circle after the deer. We started hearing blood curdling screams. We found his rifle about three paces from the Circle. The stock was charred. He was running through the field screaming. It took four of us to tackle him and hog tie him. His face held an expression of absolute terror. It was like he was staring at the fires of Hell. The Sherriff took him somewhere he could get help. I don’t need the trouble. Don’t go there!” Cal finished.
“But spirits are part of nature and are gentle. I am sure I will be fine” Gaia said sweetly.
Cal was disgusted. He finished his beer and got up. “In the Bible St. Paul talks about battling dark principalities and powers. One of those things took up residence at the Circle a long time ago. Don’t go there. Wife ought to be done with groceries by now. I should get going.” He left.
The bartender was in the back. Gaia left. She stopped at the grocery store. She needed milk for an offering. She could only get pasteurized milk, not raw. She also found some granola. Store had nothing vegan. The gal at checkout also told her not to go to the Circle without Gaia saying anything.
Gaia had been given a cold shoulder, rather than hospitality. There was no motel. She’s orientated herself. She guessed she was three or four miles from the Circle. Hopefully there would be a grove of trees where she could sleep.
The sun woke Gaia the next morning. The weather was warm. Gaia meditated. She performed a cleansing ritual. She washed with a bottle of water. She started walking. After about a mile, she thought she saw the trees surrounding the Circle and cut off the road.
Gaia found the Circle. The Circle was about 15 foot in diameter. It had a wall and bottom of field stones and was dug into the ground. Grass and trees surrounded the Circle. Gaia put down her backpack. She started filling saucers with milk. Her guru told her the milk was a proper offering for a fairy, or a brownie. She was just finishing when she through she heard a voice.
Gaia saw reflected light dancing in the middle of the Circle. “Hello and what are you doing?” asked a gentle feminine voice.
“I am Gaia,” began Gaia. “I am seeking perfection and insight. I left the milk as a sacrifice for fairies or brownies”.
The lights got more intense. “I am neither. I do not want what you left. That stuff will draw raccoons. They will probably pollute my pool with the milk, or by drowning themselves’. The voice had acquired an edge.
“But my spiritual guides and gurus told me what to bring …” wailed Gaia.
“The people you follow are fools, frauds, or charlatans. If they were truly spiritual, they would know about me and not let you come.” huffed the voice.
“But I came all this way. I need your help,” whined Gaia.
The lights over the pool started to resemble a lightning storm on the horizon. The edge on the voice had gotten sharper. “I do not owe you anything. I may do something for you to get rid of you. You are not worth my energy. You will not get what you expect but it will be less bother to me than the other ways I can get you to leave. You said you wanted perfection and insight?” demanded the voice.
Gaia nodded like a bobblehead.
“Are you in your time of month?”
Gaia nodded no.
“Take off all your clothes. Step into the pool without knocking a stone out of place. Take steps toward the center of the pool.”
Gaia undressed. She dropped two saucers on the ground. She stepped into the pool. The water was warm and came up to her above her knees.
“Sit down. Your legs must flat on the bottom and spread apart.” Gaia complied
“Take a couple deep breaths,” commanded the voice. “Then put you head all the way under the water and stay there for a count of 20.”
Gaia took a couple breaths and stuck her head in the water. 1-2-3 Gaia felt a force between her shoulders forcing her head deeper. 7-8-9-10 The water had been calm. Now it was swirling violently. 16-17-18-19-20.
Gaia threw her head back gasping for breath. Something wet hit her back. She reached behind her. She had a waist length mane of chestnut hair. She noticed hair under her arms. Her mystic tattoos were gone. Her piercings had disappeared leaving small scars.
“What did you do to me?” cried Gaia.
“You asked for perfection. According to your DNA, your body is now perfect. Your mutilations were pointless anyway. The metal you skewered yourself with was a pitiful offering. As to insight, I already told you were following fools, frauds, and charlatans. You should realize that now. Get out of my pool! LEAVE!” The voice was upset working up to angry. The lightning storm was coming hard.
Marilyn got out of the pool, rapidly and carefully. She wasn’t sure what she had wanted here. She knew what she wanted now. She wanted her mom! She grabbed at her clothes, shoes, and backpack. Marilyn started running.
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