Gather ‘round, children, gather ‘round, and I shall tell you the way of the world and how it came to be.
Once, the world was a place of darkness and hunger and cold. All of the animals — two-legged and four-legged, winged and scaled — wandered, lost, without light, without food, without warmth.
High in the heavens, though, lived the Seven Powers. And theirs was a world of brilliance and color, of crisp water and sweet fruit, and warm, unending days. They wandered garden paths lined with towering trees and soft-petaled flowers, swam in rivers lined with shimmering pebbles, and gathered round roaring fires to sing and dance. Six of these Powers were named for that element which they commanded: Light, Water, Rainbow, Fire, Plant, and Word. But the Seventh had no name and no element, for the heavens were complete in their beauty and perfection.
And so the Seventh left the heavens in search of a name and a power. And eventually the Seventh came down to the world, and found it a dark and hungry and cold place. The Seventh felt the despair and pain and misery of the animals — two-legged and four-legged, winged and scaled — and wept.
For untold time, the Seventh wandered. Eventually, the Seventh found a cave and crawled inside to sleep. And while they slept, a dream bloomed in the darkness. Untold time later, the Seventh awoke, smiling. They stood, and descended deeper into the cave. Down and down and down. And as the Seventh descended, behind them they carved the stone and metal and crystal of the cave into six great gates, each with a great lock. And when the Seventh reached the heart of the world, they lay down and slept.
An untold time later, the Seventh awoke and called out to the Six Powers who remained high in the heavens.
“Come see what I have made,” they said. “Come see the beauty that I have created at the heart of the world.”
The Six, intrigued, paused in their dancing and singing. They laughed, for they could not imagine what the unnamed Seventh could have created. Nonetheless, they were curious. And so, gathering their powers about themselves, they descended to the dark, hungry, cold world.
Ignoring the despair and pain and misery of the animals — two-legged and four-legged, winged and scaled — they entered the cave and began to make their way down, down, down towards the heart of the world.
When they reached the first gate, they stopped, confused.
“This gate can only be opened by Light,” the Seventh called out. “If you do not open it, you will not see the beauty that I have created.”
Reluctantly, Light touched the gate, and the gate took the power, leaving Light dark. Weeping, Light-who-was-no-longer-light opened the gate and the Six continued down, down, down towards the heart of the world.
When they reached the second gate, they stopped, concerned.
“This gate can only be opened by Water,” the Seventh called out. “If you do not open it, you will not see the beauty that I have created.”
Reluctantly, Water touched the gate, and the gate took the power, leaving Water dry. Moaning, Water-who-was-no-longer-water opened the gate and the Six continued down, down, down towards the heart of the world.
And so they went, with each of the Six surrendering their power: Rainbow gave their colors; Fire, their heat; Plant, their seeds; and Word, their speech.
When at last they reached the heart of the world, they found the Seventh sitting in darkness and cold, with no beauty to delight them.
“You lied to us! You deceived us!” the Six wept and moaned and whimpered and groaned.
“I did not,” said the Seventh. “See the beauty that I have created.”
And the Seventh gathered up the powers of the Six from the unlocked gates. They carved garden paths lined with towering trees and soft-petaled flowers, dug rivers lined with shimmering pebbles, and built roaring fires of sweet-smoking wood.
Then the Seventh climbed up, up, up, passing through the gates and back into the dark, hungry, cold world. And again they took up the powers of the Six. They set a fire high above to warm the world, and scattered light through the air. They filled the low places with water and blew clouds through the sky. They scattered seeds, calling up flowers and herbs and trees and painted them with brilliant colors. And they gave speech to all of the animals — two-legged and four-legged, winged and scaled — that the animals might sing and speak and share their joy and wonder and, yes, their despair and their pain and their misery.
“One third to the heart of the world,” said the Seventh, “where the animals might rest for a time and dream. One third to the world itself, that it might be a place of light and warmth, rivers and seas, towering trees and soft-petaled flowers, song and dance. And one third to you, the Six who live in perfection high in the heavens.”
And so Light became light once again, though dimmer then before. And so, too, Water and Rainbow, Fire and Plant and Word — Powers, still, but lesser now. They returned to the heavens, uncertain of what to think of the Seventh and the beauty they had made.
As for the Seventh, they descended back down, down, down through the gates of stone and metal and crystal, leaving those open and unlocked as they went. And when they reached the heart of the world, they sat down, smiling. To this day, the Seventh sends us dreams from the heart of the world, and invites us to sit beside the sweet-smoking fires, that we might rest for a time.
And so the Seventh found their name, and we call them Dream.
And now you know the way of the world, children, and how it came to be.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her poetry, fairy tales, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, and science fiction can be found there.]