In a boat on the foggy ocean. Looking ahead. No oars, no motor, but moving forward. Ocean still. White-grey, white-blue. Rocks beneath surface, some rising out. An island. The shore hard, pebbles. Hovering lights: green, yellow, blue, white. Faeries? Following lights. Grassy hill rising up. Fog clearing. Tall trees-Rowan. One tree, larger-Ash. Two crows in the branches. They say, “we’ve been waiting.” I turn to run. Two hags in my way. “Stop!” They hold up hands. Triangles carved into flesh of palms. “No!”
I woke up sweating, heart pounding. My books were spread out over the bed. The lights were still on. When I started work on my thesis project I had been falling asleep, and I always woke up from a nightmare.
My housemates said it was because I read creepy stuff and ate candy. They said it was the bad food that brought on the nightmares. (Speaking of which, my research led me to the origin of the word nightmare. Mara was a Crone-Goddess, bringer of death. She was found among many religions from Europe to India. The Slavs said she drank blood at night and called her Nightmare.) At the time I thought that was probably why I dreamed of hags that night, Crones-Nightmares.
My thesis project was on female figures of the divine in Pre-Christian Europe. I was focusing my study on Norse, Druidic, and Celtic religions. I have to admit I was having fun with it. The only thing I did not like was the Nightmares.
I thought a great deal about what I was going to do with this project. I wondered what to do with a degree in religion. My advisor was an active feminist and she had been encouraging me to use this thesis to start a WomanChurch, as she called it. She said the world was ready for a feminist church. And that was how it all started, with the Nightmares and the WomanChurch.