Tree at the Edge


A wind carries the soul across the waters of death
to the entrance of the underworld. There a woman,
the guardian, sits, scratching a labyrinth
on the ground before her. As the soul approaches
she obliterates part of the pattern, for before
entering the land of the dead the soul must be
tested, must complete the design. But the
secret of the labyrinth, the key to immortality,
has to be learned before death. Anyone ignorant
of the secret is swallowed up by the guardian,
while the soul who completes the design is able
to enter the vast cave where run the waters of life.
On the shores of this great expanse of water there
grows a tree – the soul’s final destination. Having
climbed it, the soul dives into the unknown.
-A tale from Malekula, New Hebrides

Page 138 Sign of the Tree
Meinrad Craighead
1970s; Stanbrook Abbey; Ink on Scratchboard; 12×10

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Tree at the Edge – $1200 – SOLD