The morning obligation came and went. When it came time to add the cedarwood oil to the oil burner, the bottle would not cooperate. Despite being mostly full, it took a lot of shaking, wiggling, and coaxing to get three drops of oil out of it.
The chamber appeared to darken from the cardinal red of the velvet interior to a deep and mysterious blood red hue. Despite the sanguine associations of the color, I was not disturbed or concerned. I had no indications that I should prepare (more) for trouble.
So of course I was surprised when I closed my eyes after speaking the summoning words, and ‘opening’ them in a brightly lit church.
I knew this was either a dream or a vision because in the first person, I saw myself wearing a long white gown with puffy shoulders and sleeves tied with white ribbon. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in my physical presence would know how un-fucking-realistic it would be to expect me in just one of the categories of clothing much less the actual dress.
[Patient Caller], in robes of green the same as when I summoned him last year, quickly took my hand and led me to the fore of the church. Silently, he led me to kneel before the official and had me hold my hands in prayer.
The official spoke a blessing over me [and other things I both did and did not expect]. After being dismissed, [Patient Caller] had me stand, curtsy, and then be led back to the aft of the church where he stopped me at the door to talk.
Once there, I was finally able to speak at will. I resisted the urge to be rude and just condensed my irritation into one word. “Well?”
«Your obligations will lead you to paths new and familiar. I saw an opportunity to help assist you with this month’s goal, and I indulged in it. Listen. You are not bound to any deity, but as you have been accepted by others, so be accepting of others. As you have been given grace, so be graceful to others. And as you have been loved without requirement, so be loving to others the same. Continue your prayers and meditations.»
He released my hands and laid a hand on the handle of the closed door.
«Go now in peace.»
He opened the door and a bright light flooded the church, blinding me. I winced and closed my eyes before remembering I was not physically there. When I opened my eyes, it was to return to the physical world and see the prepared table before me with the candles, the device, the tarot card, and all the items that I expected to be there in the places where I had left them.
I spoke the license to depart and formally ended the ritual.
repeating something that never happened: 10 minutes.