The REd Katanaby Jim Slagle
"...It's really the wand that chooses the wizard."
On my first trip to the Forge, I found myself standing before a rack of swords, ready to explore this new world of blades. I'd been invited by someone on the staff to explore, and admonished by a sign to "Keep Thy Blood to Thyself (these blades are sharp)." Passing my hand near the handle of each sword, and being careful (for some unexplained reason) not to touch any of them yet, I waited for something unusual or interesting to happen. Hmmm. So were so many choices. Which one should I pick up? Where should I start?
Averting my glance, I made another pass over the swords. There it is! One of the blades seemed, somehow, different. Imagination? Perhaps: far be it from me to say such magic is not in the mind. But the effect, whatever its origin, provided the sign I was seeking.
Now looking at this sword, I saw the guard appeared to be made of bright, shiny copper; the wooden scabbard and handle seemed to have a naturally red color. Carefully, with a bit of reverence, I picked it up and held it. Why am I drawn to this sword? I asked silently. The answer was a subtle internal movement that flashed a single instant's worth of sheer joy through my being. The flash was gone too quickly to understand it in detail. Yet its passing left me standing, still holding the sword, laughing out loud and hoping I did not look too silly, standing there and laughing with a red katana sword bedecked with a copper guard.
Less than 48-hours prior to meeting this sword, I had slipped on the kitchen floor and fallen on my back. A subsequent intervention by a chiropractor had helped with some of the dislocated vertebrae, but I still had plenty of sore spots.
With the sword still in its scabbard, I found I could work on the sore places just by holding the sword in different positions. The sensation was a little like finding the place where a yoga stretch is just right, or like having a skilled body worker find and touch that certain spot that brings to awareness many other connected points on the body.
Eventually I unsheathed the sword and examined the blade. The surface of the blade was finely textured. The metal had a bright, silvery-white color. The words Bright Knight were etched on one side of the blade, near the guard. I had the impression it was extremely sharp. (This impression was later confirmed when one of the staff showed by how he could use it to shave away the surface of a business card).
I took it outside where I could move more freely with less fear of skewering bystanders, innocent or otherwise. There I found this blade had an extraordinary, clean sharp focus as I wielded it like a wand or staff. The feeling was not only "clear and laser-like" but also light, easy-going and friendly. There was no question that this was a full-fledged sword able to pierce and cut with ease. Yet it did not seem the least bit dark or menacing. I found its presence to be calming and reassuring.
A few hours later, with the blade safely sheathed, I was sitting in a chair, holding the sword and contemplating my next step. I had seen many blades that afternoon. I had many choices before me. I knew I was destined to begin working with blades as an important step in the unfolding of my own inner work. This, of course, was not a new revelation; I had known for at least five years this step was coming. Two years ago, the sword was a key symbol in my experience at Coyote's Long Dance (an annual ritual described at http://www.spriritpath.net/dances.html). A year ago, I had known it was nearly time to begin actively seeking a sword. What I have stated here is the short version of the story. A full telling of the journey to this point would be much longer.
In fact I knew that this sword was not The Sword that had appeared in an image a year before. Yet it was clearly a sword which could be a great friend.
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