Archive | January 17, 2015

Thanks for the Sisterhood Moment

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I haven’t had a weekend off in at least three months. So when Friday afternoon rolled around and I realized that I can take THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF this holiday weekend, I was ecstatic. I made a list of errands as long as my arm and started in on them last night. This morning, before noon, I managed to get my handyman in to fix a drawer that wouldn’t stay closed; wrassled hoses to put fresh water into the hot tub that I drained Friday night; threw in a load of laundry; got to the gas station, the dry cleaners, the bank, the organic butcher’s, the grocery store, and then, as a reward, to the liquor store — before coming home to bake meat pies for tomorrow’s dark Moon meeting.

The liquor stores in my part of Virginia are all staffed by people from India. I don’t know why, but…

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A new Littlest Druid story – The Littlest Druid creates

Aisling watched the rain fall outside the stone window and expected that this was going to be a long day. It was a soft rain but steady and since it was just another day in a long line of rainy days. She sighed.

She supposed she could work on the piece she had been trying to write. It was almost La Fheil Brighde and she had been trying to write a new hymn to Brighid. It was the first time in almost a year she had been back to the village since she had been consecrated a Bard.

It had been a wonderful year but a lonely one. She had told all the stories she had learned. Learned some new ones along the way. Sung some songs and walked long distances alone except for sheep and a few wild deer she had been lucky enough to chat with along the way but now she was home for a rest and to celebrate Brighid’s day.

She wondered if Brighid was going to appear at the ritual. Here Aisling was one of many and the newest Bard still so she wouldn’t be part of the ritual unless she could come up with a good enough piece to please the Chief Druid and the Head Bard. The Head Bard had never forgiven her for her raven’s thievery so it was always hard to impress him.

She had a tune that kept circling her brain like her raven drifted in the sky but it wouldn’t settle in or enlighten her with the words that were supposed to go with it. She supposed she could go get one of the smelly sheep skins and wrap herself up in and find it but that had never worked well for her. All she could think about was the poor old sheep it had come from and they stunk. Sheep’s wool was still itchy on or off the sheep. She wondered if sheep itched from their wool but probably not and she couldn’t really ask them and get a good answer.

She decided to take a walk in the rain, maybe that would shake something loose. She grabbed her cloak and her carved staff which had gathered more carvings when she had been away and her bag with her whistle and started on the path out of the village to their standing stones. She could hear the sheep in the fold moving around and knew they would be out on the hills soon and giving birth. She wondered if her favourite ewe was pregnant again, she was an old friend.

It was too wet for the raven to be out and about so she walked alone up the hill. She pulled out the whistle and started to play the tune that was swirling in and out. It was lilting and she could almost hear the words but they were just out of her reach. She reached the circle of stones and sat with her back against one. Somehow these stones were always comforting. She could see the first snowdrops blooming on the hill behind the stones and she started to sing.

Spring comes and brings the lambs
Brighid comes and wakes our land
From darkest night to the coming of day
The light returns after darkest day

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light

We are inspired and live to create
We use our hands, wonderous things to make
From nothing they come, to use they go
The coming of spring after winter’s snow

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light

I sing of her guidance and the sense of peace
I sing of her patience while I try to create
I sing of inspiration and the raising of hope
I sing of her flame we keep in the grove

Brighid, I welcome you at the start of your day
Please guide me with your flames to light my way
Inspire me, create me a new every day
Forge me and make a flame for a day

I sing of healing
I sing of new life
I sing of love and the return of the light.

“Thank you.” a voice behind Aisling’s stone said and Aisling turned around quickly. Brighid was standing there in her beautiful green cloak and dress.

“You heard it?” Aisling finally squeaked out.

“Every word and note.” Brighid laughed softly. “It’s lovely and you had better share it.” She said with a twinkle. “Aisling, I thank you for honouring me with it. Blessings of the day, dear one” and she was gone.

Aisling shivered to herself. Brighid had liked it! That ought to be enough for the Head Bard but most of all it was enough for her. She settled back against the stone after tugging her hood back down on her curls. It was going to be a wonderous day.

The Littlest Druid makes her staff

Aisling sat in front of the stone frustrated. Her assignment was to copy the spirals on the stone onto her new staff. She had finally earned it and it would be presented to the village by the Chief Druid at the Solstice gathering tonight but she had to finish it first.

She was supposed to carve the spirals onto the staff and be able to recite as many Threes as she could. All the threes the spirals represented to the Gathering to show she was ready to move to the next step of her training. Every time she tried to carve it she ended up sanding it out. If this kept up she’d be giving the Chief Druid a toothpick instead of a staff.

Her eyes hurt from staring at the stone. She’d been at it since early morning and it was her last test. She wanted it to be perfect even if she wasn’t . The staff was now almost pure white from sanding. She’d picked it out in a walk in the forest. It had seemed to beckon to her as it lay between two ash trees. It was a long stick of rowan and how it got between to ash trees was a mystery to her. She wondered if it was a gift from the Green Man because it caught her eye with such determination. If a stick could say “Look at me!” this stick had been doing it.

She rubbed her hand over the wood she had smoothed so carefully. It was soft like the softest wool they spun from the first shearing. She had carved oak leaves up one side and ash leaves down another and hawthorn leaves and berries down the third side but she needed to finish the flattened top. It had to be special and different from all the other apprentices.

Her hands stung from small nicks and cuts and she stared. It just wasn’t working! She growled to herself. It was getting late and her hands were feeling clumsy and stupid. She HAD to finish this! She was not going to stay back with the babies and she wanted her teacher and the Chief Druid to be proud of her. She was trying so hard she was almost in tears.

She felt someone sit down beside her. She carefully looked sideways. Strange people sometimes showed up to help her. It was a woman in a lovely green dress. Aisling sighed. Brighid, the maker and forger, Brighid the Goddess of poetry and smithcraft. The last time she had seen her was in the sheep meadows.

“Blessings, Aisling, what seems to be the problem?” Brighid asked quietly.

“I need this staff to be perfect and I’ve been trying to carve the spirals from the temple stones all day. It’s not working. I have to keep sanding it off. I don’t want to be held back with the babies!” Aisling ended up with a sob and put her head on her knees.

“Enough of that, you’re just tired and you’ve been sitting staring at a stone that has done nothing but stare back at you.” Brighid laughed and stroked Aisling’s red braids which were quickly approaching looking like her raven’s nest. “Stand up and tell me three things you see that are one.”

Aisling looked at Brighid and decided nothing else had worked so why not? She stood up and looked around. “I see a lamb and it’s mother , I see a ram over there and they are all sheep so they are all one animal.”

“Very good! Now sit back down and tell me another set of threes.” Brighid said quietly and pointed at the stone. “What does this stone mean to us?”

Aisling marveled at the fact that Brighid had used the word ‘us’ and it distracted her for a moment. “It means so many things that they keep swirling around my head in trying to remember them. My head hurts from it.”

“Take a hold of your staff and say the first three you can think of.” Brighid raised an eyebrow questioningly at Aisling.

“Hmmm, Twilight, Night time and Day time.” Aisling said thinking carefully. “The mortal world we live in, the celestial world of the sun and moon and the Otherworld of spirits and ancestors. Oh! And sun, moon and stars.”

“All right, do some more.” Brighid coaxed her and noted that Aisling’s knife had started to move carefully over the wood now that she wasn’t thinking about it.

“The mind, body and spirit, the past, present and future.” Aisling’s hands were carefully carving as she thought. “The elements in threes like for women, we are Earth, Water and Air.” One leg of the spiral had taken shape and she was halfway through the second. “Being awake, dreaming and sleep. Knowledge, belief and learning. Creation, preservation and destruction. Birth, life and death. Thought, intent and release, the parts of any spell or prayer.” She was almost talking to herself now as she finished the third leg of the spiral and started to smooth it. She looked up at Brighid, “Idea, execution and result!” She held up her staff into the sunset. She’d finished! And it was perfect just like the original carvers had carved on the stone.

Brighid touched her shoulder. “See, you can do anything you want to do if you…” Aisling joined her “Dream it, believe it and do it!”

Aisling was filled with joy. She’d finished it! And it was beautiful and she could recite as many threes as she needed tonight. She looked up to thank Brighid but Brighid was gone.

Time to get ready for the gathering. Aisling proudly carried her staff back to the cottage to get ready. She felt ready now.