By Carolyn Weddell Mallison

And I saw that when the members of the Company
 had gathered together from their separate wanderings
 up and down in the world, they came into the holy place,
 and the door was shut behind them.
 And they put off each one his armor in his own time,
 and laid it beside the door; but their swords they kept.

And together they kindled a fire, and sat around it,
 and conversed together in words and in silences,
 telling of their travels up and down, of their various encounters,
 their victories and defeats, and of the Quest,
 and what each had seen and learned and suffered along the Way.

And I Saw how recognition leapt up among them
 as flames leap in dry wood, and how teacher and learner,

 giver and receiver, speaker and listener, adversary and lover,
 became one. And I saw that while out of the many grew one,
 yet each sojourner there remained distinct and irreplaceable,
 as jewels in a setting, and each did honor to the royalty in the other. 

And each brought somewhat from his treasure
 for the delight and instruction of the others;
 and there was the sharing or wine and food and many gifts,
 and the sweet smell of incense;
 and none there was who did not give
 and none who did not receive, each in his degree and measure.

And when the time had been fulfilled
 that they should be together in that place,
 they rose, and blessed one another,
 and took up each one his armor,
 and went their several ways again,
 until that time that they should return.

And I saw further, that whenever any members of that Company,
 declared or yet to be declared, met at a crossing of the ways,
 they knew one another by the burning of their hearts;
 and with their swords they did salute one another;
 and it was between them as if they wore no armor.
 And I saw that they were bound with living thongs of love,
 one to another, and to that holy gathering
 which was for them a place of rest and of sending,
 for a time, and a time, and times.

© Copyright C.W.M.