"Pine Forest," Ivan Shishkin, 1885, WikiArt.
“Pine Forest,” Ivan Shishkin, 1885, WikiArt.

Part 6: Taking Solemn Vows

Sleepless nights, Rhete gazed into depths
Of night sky, crescent moon her orbed
Companion, clear-shining, partially cloud
Obscured, evenings recalled as mountain
Shepherdess, melodic ringing of sheep
Bells, Ekho at her side then and now,
Planets circling beneath milky train of
Stars, reassuring lights, weight of taking
Solemn vows, temple goers present, Rhete
Alone, praying at altar of Light Divine.

Predawn prayer at nearby cedars, Rhete
Sought wisdom in sacred groves. ascending
Glow on morning horizon, vaporous light
Appeared, human form, ground gathering,
Speaking single word, “Affinity.” Into sentient
Cloud Rhete stepped, pallid frame reaching
For eternal light, soul’s ambrosia supped,
Mortal flesh and deific thoughts commingled,
Two streams merging in fiery hues, Rhete
Reformed in crucible of flame.

Shepherdess Rhete upswept by guiding hands,
Visions of divine amongst the constellations,
Gift of prophesy, fire-scorched hands healing-
Blessed. Intervention night awaking Dolius,
Cedar groves day-illuminated, he witnessed
Transformation of Rhete, beyond taking solemn
Vows, acts of faith, divine affinity, he realized
Why she was chosen, prophetess he may still
Recognize, light out pouring from her face
And eyes, to ground he would avert his gaze.

"Atalanta," John William Godward, 1908, WikiArt photo.
“Atalanta,” John William Godward, 1908, WikiArt.

Approaching altar of Divine Light, in humility,
Rhete took to prayerful knees, ushered to
Standing by Dolius, stepping forward, taking
Solemn vows, consecration to infinite light,
To ancient gods of sculpted marble, Rhete clay
Refashioned on potter’s wheel, acceptance
Attained, herself given to divine will, Ekho
At her side, in midst of radiant sunlight,
She recited solemn vows for all to witness:
Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience.

Taking solemn vows is still practiced today, and is personally and spiritually meaningful as it was in Greek antiquity. Thanks for reading. Next is Part 7.

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