"I am half sick of shadows"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson
Wherein it became necessary to redefine the essence of what it is when a woman fully owns and controls her own power.
It began with She who walked the forest depths, whose name I did not know. "Come with me" she beckoned amid the green-topped forest canopy, where the shadows and shade spilled indigo and violet at her feet. I witnessed her carefully removing her long white gown, a golden necklace. Her eyes haunted me, as if from a dream of another world or life.
And then I realized the recognition. Long ago, when I had first come upon her. In a book of art, a poem. I had caried her with me for decades. She had no name, but was known by a sobriquet: The Lady of Shallot.
"Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, ' 'Tis the fairy,
Lady of Shalott.'
She was one of the first magical beings I had encountered in my life, and it always pained me that though she owned all fortunes, that room was where she stayed, and to leave it brought upon a curse.
In this mythos, the curse is broken when she leaves the lie of that life behind - the binding sash, the shadows, the mirror cracked. And instead of lying down to die, her boat drifts and docks, and she arises, filled with new life and power.
A secret: If you look closely enough, you can still see her boat. I've left the lantern, but the candles are gone, because she now owns her own fire.