An Imbolc Journey

to the Roadhouse of the Dead

Donald L. Engstrom-Reese

© 2015

    On a cold February afternoon, Mark and I made ourselves comfortable in our warm living room, ready to take our Imbolc journey to the Roadhouse of the Dead.

    I found myself dressed in heavy richly decorated winter gear: black on black embroidered baggy pants, shirt, and vest, red on black worked boots, red, orange, green, and gold on black embroidered long coat, a very tall red on black embroidered felt top hat. All of my jewelry was made of jet, amber, and pearls, except for my wedding ring, which seems to stay the same no matter what realm I travel in. I picked up two books bound in heavily worked red leather off of the dinning room table and put them in a richly worked black leather courier-bag on my way out the back door. Somehow or the other, I knew that these books were two of the missing volumes that Bridget was looking for, and had not yet been able to find. I have no idea of what the books contain. The gold lettering on the cover is in an alphabet that I have never seen before.

    I walked through the heavy snow and out the back gate. There in the alley five white reindeer hitched to a elaborate silver sleigh stood waiting for me. Sitting in the sleigh smiling at me sat Bridget in a thick hooded white fur coat. I could just glimpse the skirts of an elaborately embroidered white gown around the hem of her coat.

    Bridget motioned for me to take a seat beside her. As I get in she says, “Tonight we fly through a cold sky above the clouds under a full Snow Moon. Cover yourself with this blanket, Donald.” Bridget handed me a heavy woven woolen pale grey blanket patterned with black ravens with ruby eyes and white snowflakes.

    I slipped the courier bags off of my and handed it to her. “Here are two of the books that I know that you have been looking for, Bridget.”

    She looked directly into my eyes and said, “Thank you, Donald. We will be going to the Multiversal Library tonight, both the Honey and the Ancestral (?) branches.”

    When I hear ‘Honey’ I see visions of shelve after shelve of the vials in which the Honey records are kept. At the word ‘Ancestral’ I see visions of embroidered books, illuminated illustrations, books filled with 3D images (like Hera’s coffee table books). Books of pressed flowers. Books ancestral records with intricately drawn family trees. Books of mathematical formulas impressed on shinning metal plates. All of them incredibly beautiful. I closed my eyes and let myself fully feel a sense of being a part of a beautiful, significant, essential, life-changing project.

    I opened my eyes and found that we had just landed at the snow covered Roadhouse of the Dead. “Strange,” I thought, “I thought that we were going to the Library?” But, I had no time to really dwell on the question. We were greeted at the steps of the Roadhouse by a group of beings formally dressed in white winter finery.

    A large bell loudly rang. The group silently lead us into the Roadhouse to the Great Hall. At the second ringing of the bell, I instantaneously understood this event was a ceremony in honor of Bridget and her Healing Hands, Sacred Flames, Holy Waters, and Living Words.

    When we enter the Great Hall every one stood and faced Bridget. Kwan Yin, dressed in brilliant reds and golds, gently took Bridget’s hand and lead her to a richly carved golden high seat setup in the middle of the Hall. When Bridget had settled into the ‘throne’, Kwan Yin raised her chalice and declared in a loud voice, “Tonight we honor Bridget and all of her living wisdom and brilliant work. To Bridget, beloved of the Peoples of the Cosmos!”

    The whole crowd raised our drinking vessels and cried in thunderous response, “All Hail, Bridget! All Hail her Healing Hands, Sacred Flames, Holy Waters, and Living Words.”

    An orchestra began to play a delightful fusion of Celtic, Viennese Waltz, and Northern Primal Musics. A choir joined, blending song styles from across the ages with the symphonic wonders emerging from the orchestra. I found myself standing in a huge festive party. We swirled and whirled throughout the Roadhouse and its snowy parks and gardens. Bonfires were lit at all of the sacred dancing fire circles. Feasts were laid out in every room and across the snowy fields. Folks pranced and danced in the Great Hall, around the fires, along the frozen river’s bank, and through the sky above. Under the ice others cavorted and then leaped through the frozen river ices into the air to shimmy and shake with winged dancers amongst the clouds. I joined folks in dancing and feasting for what seemed hours and hours. It was a wonderful party indeed!

    At some point, Bridget took me by the arm and walked me through a small door hidden behind a tapestry in the Great Hall. We went down a long hallway and then turned right through a door into another great hall. It was filled with books of all types and descriptions. I suddenly recognized where I was. It was one of the reading rooms of the Multiversal Library. I recognized many things that I have seen at the Library before. I spotted many familiar books and some amazing computer terminals which create 3D images, maps, blueprints, charts, etc. that seem to float in the air for a person’s perusal. I also spotted the silvery metal spheres which hold millions of bits of information sitting next to the machine that read them. I also noticed stacks of informational disks of all kinds, a collection of old fashioned microfiche, piles of papyrus scrolls and many other things.

    Bridget said to me, “Donald, relax for a while as I look for what I came for. I shouldn’t be too long.”

    I made myself at home. I sat down and began to look at some of the picture books laying on one of the ancient, richly carved, oak library tables standing near by while Bridget searched through the materials. The books I looked through were filled with photos that appeared to be windows into other worlds, places, or ecologies. I looked through an illustrated book on the evolution of the Oaks. Which oddly, to many modern sensibilities, included poetry, songs, chants, spell workings, and recipes. I looked at another book which seemed to be a geological history of an ocean that was not a child of planet Earth. It felt like I was sitting with these books for well over an hour. I deeply enjoyed myself.

    When Bridget came to collect me she had a satisfied smile on her face. Her eyes fairly twinkled. Bridget was now carrying a large black leather portfolio and the courier bag I had given to her earlier. Bridget said to me, “Hurry now. We have yet one more stop to make before we go back to the Roadhouse. Take my hand.”

    Bridget quickly lead me out the door. We turned left and then left again to go up a dark broad stairwell with shinning geometric patterns glowing green and gold on the walls. At the top of the steps we turned right and through heavy large French doors of golden leaded glass framed in dark maple their doorhandles studded with deep green stones.

    Just on the other side of the doors, the Bee Librarians were waiting in a large reading room of the Honey Library to help Bridget in her search. The Bee Liberians ask me to wait here. I am sat in a beautiful richly upholstered chair (all upholstered in a heavy gold and red brocade). When I was comfortably seated, a Bee Librarian flew over to me and said. “We hope you enjoy a taste of this volume.” The Bee Librarian then touched my tongue with a spot of honey. I found myself walking through a lush, scent filled herb garden. A buzzing narration over the gentle sound of a woodwind (that I had never heard before), followed me wherever I wandered. I had a charming time in the garden even though, I had no idea what the buzzing narration was trying to communicate.

    Bridget gathered me up when she was done with her search.  She was now also carrying a small translucent amber rectangular lidded box fixed to a black carrying strap. Inside the box I could see the blurred shapes of five small vials; one glowed yellow, one golden, two deep red, and one indigo. Each vial contained a honey book.

    Bridget said to me, ‘Follow me closely, Donald. Don’t get lost!” We made our way quickly back through yet different hallways and staircases to the Roadhouse.

    Standing back in the Great Hall, Bridget said to me, “Thank you, Donald. I really wanted you to go with me. Now come with me one more time.”

    I knew it was best to not ask Bridget what she was researching or why she wanted me to travel with her. I most likely would not get a clear answer, but then again, I may find out the what and why some day. But frankly, I have learned to let go of my need to know, let alone understand, all of my adventures with the ancestors or Mysterious Ones.

    Bridget took her leave after she deposited me at the Roadhouse Bar. “Thank you again, Donald. It was a productive and pleasurable time.

    Thor, mix my man one of your special drinks!

    Good-bye for now!” And she kissed me on both cheeks.

    Thor mixed me one of his special lightning drinks. “If I were you, I would just sit there quietly for a spell. It will soon be time for you to go home. If you get up and wander around, you may find yourself too dizzy to even walk. You have just had a ‘new adventure’ and it is wise to simply sip you drink and contemplate without expectation of understanding.” He laughed at me with deep affection.

    I took his advice and simply sat. I contemplated the deliciousness of my drink, and of my life. As I took my last sip of the lightning ambrosia Thor had given me, I found myself back in Hector House. I was more than ready to begin Mark and my Imbolc Feast. I was starved, thirsty, and filled with good humor.

    The first toast of the evening was,

“Here’s to us!

Here’s to Life!

All hail Bridget!”