My safe place, a garden, just kind of dissolved last year, and was not a real place any more, which it was for many years - a vivid, real place to me and my alters. It was a safe haven where we could come together and talk, and feel things, and agree about containment issues and safety issues.
You could only get there by opening a wrought iron gate and descending some old concrete stairs, flanked by a thick hedge. Once down the stairs, you entered a smallish grassy area surrounded by a ten foot hedge. At the other end of the area, was a huge, colossal tree. An oak, or maple, I'm not quite sure. It was truly immense, at least 500 years old. (It was way too big for two people to put their arms around and touch fingertips.)
Inside the tree was pure love and peace. At times, rays of bliss, serenity and joy would stream out from the tree to envelop me and my alters and comfort us. At other times, we would come together in a big circle, all seventeen of us, and we all wore white dresses and were barefoot. We were all different ages, sizes, but all of us were pretty and smart. We felt love for one another and encouraged and supported each other always.
We buried a secret there. I remember burying it quite vividly, that secret that threatened me many years ago, the one I wasn't ready for. A hole inside the middle of the garden appeared (no one had to dig it!). A big old treasure chest - straight out of a pirate story book - appeared and the secret was locked away inside of it.
One of us didn't wear a white dress or look pretty. She was burnt, burnt so badly she was charred. She was as black as a nightmare and as short and slight as a four year old. Her pain was so intense and frightening - I believe it was her secret that we buried, because she just couldn't hold the pain any more. I also believe she was the bravest and strongest one of us. She held the very worst pain and bad memories. She knew all about everything, that's why she was so burnt. When the chest was buried deep in the ground, she relaxed a little bit and I went on with my life, not to uncover that secret for nine more years.