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BunniHoTep bring your light

Once upon a time in the dark of a mid-winter night a star fell to earth.  BunniHoTep heard a loud thump and rushed out of her cozy nest. She really hated to leave it. It was nice and snug and soft and a chilly mid-winter night all together a lovely place to sleep.

But she knew a noise that loud probably wasn’t a good thing and she was the Finder of Lost Objects so she had better go.

She got to the steps of her Temple and a bright light met her eyes. She threw a paw in front of her eyes and drew her soft shawl closer around her and hurried towards the light.

The light was quite a distance away from the street of Temples out in the desert. And as she got nearer she could hear it making strange noises like laughing. So she hurried across the sand as well as she could. She didn’t know where the other gods and goddesses were. It had been quite a loud noise but she seemed to be the only one who had wakened.

As she got nearer she noticed the light was human shaped but also was very like the Sun. The shape kept changing colour. First it looked like an Egyptian, then it looked like the pale men that came from the North in ships, then it was dark as beautiful polished ebony like her friend Yemaya. Next it was golden as cream and very small. Then it was a reddish bronze. BunniHoTep was very curious and as she got close to it for it was changing from boy to girl with each change colour she stopped and asked, “Who are you? Do you need help?”

A laugh rang out that sounded like the sweetest of the Temple bells. “Oh, no, I’m fine. I lost my bearings for a while. I’m Love and I’m here because you called me.”

BunniHoTep sat down with a thump. “I called You? How on earth did I do that?”

“Remember when you wished on a star awhile ago for people to get along and be nicer? We, the stars heard you. So we decided I’d come for a while to see if just for a while, all the people would be kinder to each other. I can only come for a small time. You see all the people all over the world will see me born this night in their likeness. Some people will call me Saturn, some will call me Mithras, some will call me Jesus, to others I will just be the light of Love, but all will see me as their symbol of Love and as the Sun who is born in mid-winter. And maybe for a while the world will be a magickal place of kindness and peace.”

BunniHoTep was quiet for a bit thinking. “You aren’t a god?”

“Oh no!” the Child of Light laughed again. “I’m much bigger and smaller than a god or goddess. Love has all kinds of shapes. I’m just here to remind the people and you of that.”

“Every year I will come again at this time and maybe sometime in the future all people will be kind and loving to each other and I won’t need to come, and if they don’t remember you will have to help me.”

“How do I do that?” BunniHoTep asked.

“By being yourself, BunniHoTep and as a symbol and to guide me here will you do something for me?” Love asked. “Would you light candles and lanterns in the trees around your Temple?”

“Oh yes,” BunniHotep agreed.

And that is why people all over the world are reminded to be kind and loving at mid–winter. And why people light the way for Love to return all over the world. So when you light the tree you brought inside remember to guide Love back to your heart.

New Story – The Littlest Druid needed some Yuletide cheer

The Littlest Druid pushed through the snowy afternoon. She needed to be at the next small village to sing at their Solstice celebration and she was afraid she wouldn’t make it. It didn’t snow often here but when it did it could quickly get very deep. She was cold and she was wet and she smelled like a wet sheep.

Her raven had flown ahead a long time ago and she was feeling very alone. She wished she was warm and safe in her village waiting for the Solstice in the barrow (Brú na Bhoinne) waiting for the Sun to return. Being a Bard was way harder than she thought. She had mediated a village disagreement that was just plain silly at her last village. She had sung every song at about the Fae at another one, they hadn’t wanted to hear anything else.

The Sun had disappeared a few hours ago and she was now following the stars to the next village. She was homesick and she was tired of the dark and she was missing Beith and the Head Druid who was so kind to her and she was feeling very alone in the dark with just her pack and her staff and musical instruments for company.

All the sheep and cows had been gathered into the crofts and the only animals she had seen were a few deer. There was no one to talk to out here.

She started to hum a rather sad tune that had begun haunting her several hours ago.  It was started to cloud over and she was afraid it would begin to snow again, she gave a huge sigh.

“Oh, Aisling, that was a particularly big one,” a soft voice said behind her.

Aisling almost levitated out of her boots. She turned and saw a familiar green mantle. “Brighid!” she shrieked. She had a very strong impulse to hug her favourite goddess. She stopped. One does not hug goddesses particularly when one is wet and cold and stinking of sheep.

Brighid grabbed her around the shoulders and gave her the hug she’d wanted to give her. Suddenly she was warm and dry and a lot more comfortable. Her raven came flying back and landed on Brighid’s other shoulder.

“I love that you are here out in the middle of all this snow and I thank you for the warmth but why are you way out here?” Aisling asked bravely.

“You” said Brighid. “Bards should bring hope and cheer at Solstice to welcome the flame and the birth of the Sun. You are getting close to the village and they want you to celebrate with them. You are a light for their Solstice.”

“I don’t feel like a light right at the moment, at all.” She said rather emphatically.

“I know, Aisling, I know. That’s why I’m here. You can see the village lights shining across the snow? This village really needs you to be their light in the dark. There were a lot of deaths near Samhain and they have been very sad and in a dark, dark place. No Bard or Druid has been here for many months. You will be the first in a long time.”

“How can I be a light when all I want to do go home and be with my people? Until you came I was cold and miserable and very stinky”

“Aisling, look around you and what do you see?” As they had been walking the sky had cleared and stars shown.

“I see the stars, oh so many bright stars. I see tall trees and oh! There are some rabbits under the trees. And a deer and there’s an owl in that tree ahead.”

“Were you alone?” asked Brighid raising an eyebrow.

“Nooo,” replied Aisling.”I was a little blindered, wasn’t I?”

“We all get that way sometimes.” Brighid said thoughtfully.

“Even you?” Aisling asked

“Even me.” nodded Brighid.

“It’s hard to look for the good in the world. It’s hard to look for beauty and for the love in the world when all looks dark.” said Brighid.

“Your job, though, is to remind people there is good in the world even at the darkest of times and hours. The Sun always returns at the darkest hour and so does hope. There is always life in death and light in dark and a spark of hope if you know where to look. You just have to remember to look.” Brighid pointed to a woodpecker with his bright red head diving onto a tree branch. A full moon had risen as they were walking and it was very, very still.

Beautiful lights gleamed across the snow in welcome. Aisling felt calm and ready to face this sad village. She strode forward and Brighid faded away.

She was ready to be the light.

 

 

 

 

 

Tomte Finds a Home

The night was silent, not even the owl was calling. The tomte looked up at the night sky. Oh, so many stars flew in flocks overhead. The tomte trudged through the snow that was so deep he kept disappearing into deep holes and he was getting wet from climbing out of snowdrifts.

The tomte was looking for a new home. Tomtes had to have homes with families to look after and his family had left their house and moved far away. Tomtes belong on farms and not in the city so he was looking for a new home and some big people who would appreciate him and of course, didn’t already have their own tomte. The tomte sighed, as he made his way through the snow, he really wanted a home for Yule. He wanted children to bring gifts to and a farmer to bless with help on his farm. That is what tomtes did and he didn’t feel right not helping people.

He straightened his tall red pointed cap and tugged his beard straight and climbed out of yet another snow drift when he saw a light in the distance. He was so tired and wet. There was no point in using a drying spell if he was just going to get wet again. He trudged toward the light and came to a large new barn and peered inside. No other tomte was in sight. That was a good sign. He went in and found two cows drowsing in their stalls.

“Cows?” He whispered quietly, “Does a tomte live here?”

The first cow who was a beautiful light brown, looked down at the tomte. “No, we haven’t got a tomte and the family really needs one. This is a brand new farm and my name is Elsie”

“Hello Elsie, very pleased to meet you, my name is Karl, do you think they would mind a little help? Are they the kind of people who would be good to help? ”

The second cow lowed and said, “I’m Delsie and they have never been farmers before and they do need help and they have been very kind to us. I think we are their only wealth and they take very good care of us. I heard them say to the children that they might not get very much for Jul but that that wasn’t what was important. Being together was important.”

This made the tomte think. These might be the people he needed. The cows were beautiful and healthy and that was a very good thing since they hadn’t had a tomte to help them. He thought he’d go watch the family quietly if he could just to make sure they were his people.

The tomte trudged through the snow following some big people footprints back to the house. That made moving through the fresh snow a little easier. He followed the light falling through the window onto the snow and peered into the house from behind the new shutters. The tomte was impressed with how they had been sanded to a shiny soft shine and stained. These people took good care of what they had and had been doing it without a tomte!

In the main room stood a small tree that had been brought into the house in a pot. It’s branches had been hung with strands of popped corn and red berries. There were handmade ornaments of paper that had been obviously done by the children and he could see the mother cutting carefully into paper to make more snowflakes to hang on the tree. The two children were lying on the rug in front of the fire listening to a story that the grandmother was telling. It looked like she was knitting good wool socks as she spoke. The father was sitting smoking his pipe and listening and looking at the family with love and pride in his eyes. The tomte saw that there were no gifts under the Jul tree. He also saw that their clothes had been carefully mended but showed signs of hard wear. The tomte straightened his red hat and thought, “these people look like they could use a tomte like me! I need to help them!”

The tomte made his way over to the door and was about to go through as all tomtes can when the door swung open and the father came out to get more firewood. “That was easier!” thought the tomte as he quickly went to the house and hid behind the hanging brooms in the kitchen.

He waited into the father came in, stamping his feet to get the rest of the snow off and removing his boots. The father then piled the load carefully in the rack and went to hurry everyone to bed. It was Solstice Eve and farmwork and cows still had to be tended to in the early morning. The tomte watched as the family went to bed. The children went to the loft and the parents and grandmother to their rooms downstairs. The house settled down and it became very quiet with only the sound of snow falling off the trees and the slight sigh of the wind.

The tomte went to the mud room first. He cleaned the farmer’s boots and added a waterproofing spell. He then cleaned all the family’s clogs and shoes that were there and waterproofed them too. He went into the kitchen and charmed the pots so they wouldn’t burn the food and he had fun helping the yeast to grow in the bread and Jul rolls rising on the counter above the old wood burning stove. He polished the iron stove and charmed it too so the wood would burn evenly and there would be even heating.

He moved into the main room and stood looking at the lovingly decorated tree. It wasn’t very big but it was still lovely. He liked that the family had carefully dug up a live tree and were obviously going to put it outside again when they could. He liked that they hadn’t killed a tree for the holiday. The tomte decided to make the tree shine. He charmed the red berries to gleam and shine and he made the wooden ornaments glow just a little. He changed the paper snowflakes into flakes of shiny crystal that gleamed in the dimness. He put a spell on the candles that were on the tree to never cause harm and to go out when they burned down. He stood back and looked at his tree. It looked magical. What else could he do?

Tomtes give gifts but he didn’t know what this family wanted. What would be good? What would really help? Meanwhile while he thought, he very quietly left piles of nuts and fruit and candy in the slippers by each bed. The family all looked so peaceful and he felt so good to help. This is what a tomte did best but what would be the biggest help? He decided to go ask Elsie and Delsie what to do.

He hurried through the snow and back to that mostly empty barn to his new friends. “Elsie! Delsie! Your family is so wonderful and they love each other so much. I want to do something wonderful for them this Jul! Do you know anything they want or need?”

Elsie thought carefully, “They have love in plenty and isn’t that the greatest gift?” Delsie nodded her big head.

Delsie said quietly, “If you are helping them, they will have prosperity. What else do they need? Besides don’t tomtes all have goats? Where’s your goat?”

The tomte knew they were right but he still wanted to do something special. And then he knew what he was going to do and found a place in the hay and went quickly to sleep.

Early the next morning, the tomte woke up and cleaned the hay off. He peeked out. The farmer must not be up yet. He couldn’t see any lights in the kitchen. So he crept in the house and unbanked the fire in the stove and set the table. He went back outside and sent a call out to anyone that was listening.

“I’m a tomte and I need a goat? Is there anyone who needs a tomte and a place?” The tomte counted to himself, 1….2…..3……. and there was a small flash and a very young black and white goat was looking shyly at the tomte.

“You asked for a goat? I’m ready! The goat said eagerly.

The tomte looked at the tiny goat, “what’s your name?”

“Flicka” said the goat shyly.

Suddenly the door opened behind the tomte. He froze in place holding the goats mane.

And the farmer came out with his newly clean boots on.

The farmer smiled down at the tomte. “Are you the one that cleaned my boots?” the big man roared out.

The tomte shivered a little. He wasn’t supposed to be caught by the big people. “yes” he said very quietly.

The farmer got down to the tomte’s level and looked in his eyes. He held out his big hand to the tomte. By now the tomte was thoroughly confused. Big people coming down to his size? That hadn’t ever happened before.

“Thank you” the farmer said. “They look cleaner than when I bought them. “Thank you very much!” The tomte started to shake. The farmer was really big up close. “How can I help a tomte today?”

The tomte was now even more confused. “But I need to help you not you help me.” The tomte stammered out. “I need to know if you need anything.”

The farmer looked into the deep blue eyes of the tomte. The tomte noticed the whole family had come to the door and was listening. This was sooo not how it was supposed to work.

The farmer looked at the tomte kindly and back at his family. “All we need this Jul is a good friend. Are you a good friend, Sir Tomte?”

“I think so, I try to be.”

“Well”, said the farmer. Welcome to the house, Sir Tomte and please come in.” The farmer stood up and walked back in the house.

Karl, the tomte followed and when they were inside. He looked up at the farmer and around to the smiling family. “Could I be your Tomte?” he asked quietly.

The farmer looked at the tomte, “I thought you already were. Welcome to our house.” The whole family cheered and the tomte looked at his family and sighed. It was good to be home.

Bjorn the bear’s winter dream

Once upon time there was a small bear named Bjorn. Bjorn was born in a far northern forest up where it was very, very cold in winter. Bjorn had been born in the dead of winter with his brother and sister, Berta and Esben. They spent that first winter cuddled close to their mama and as they got older she started to tell them stories about the outside world.

Deep in their den she told them about tall trees they would see and deep, cold lakes and about the high mountains around the place they lived. He heard about the salmon that swam in the rivers in spring and about the rabbits and squirrels that lived near the den. His mom told them where they could find a honey tree and where the best back scratching trees were.

When spring came there were no more stories, Mama led them out into a world of wonder. To the bear’s eyes the world was born anew just for them. The snow was gone and the water ran clear. Mama taught them to hunt and to fish. She taught them how to hide in plain sight as they grew. She taught them to stay away from people. People had guns and guns hurt bears.

They grew quickly ambling along in the forest and the summer passed in beautiful days of deep burning blue skies and sunlit days in their northern forest. As the days got shorter Mama showed them where the best blackberry bushes were and the cubs stuffed themselves fat. They got so sticky Mama had to dunk them all in the spring and in late fall they went back to their den to sleep. This year, when they woke up in their long sleep Mama would tell them about a tree that she had seen one winter not far from their lair. She had woken in up on Solstice night and had felt the need to walk in the quiet of the forest. It had been silent except for the owls and she had seen a bright light.

Mama bear followed the light across the forest and watched it land in a little pine trees branches. The tree had stood there bearing the star in its branches and had lit up their forest. It was so beautiful. The bear had gone back to her den to sleep after the lovely sight and had never managed to wake up again on Solstice Night. The cubs bothered her the rest of winter for that story. It became their favourite winter story and Bjorn began to have a dream. He wanted to stay awake and see the tree and the star but that winter was deep and cold and the bears slept most of the winter and didn’t come out until the next spring.

The bear cubs were bigger that year and Mama spent most of the summer teaching them how to be on their own. That fall they would have to make their own dens for the first time. She taught them how much they needed to eat to store enough fat to make it through the winter. She taught them how to make it cozy and she taught them how to stay away from other bigger bears. Soon it came to be fall and the cubs split up for the first and last time. Each of them choosing a different direction to go and seek a place to make their own and all the time he was choosing and making his own den, Bjorn day dreamed. He was going to find some way to wake up and see the tree and star.

He kept trying to figure out a way to wake himself up. His mother had told him that just wasn’t possible, that if he was meant to see it he would wake up in exactly the right time to see it, otherwise it just wasn’t meant to be. She had supposed that it was something most bears would ever see once in a life time and then only if they were very, very lucky. She didn’t even know if it happened every year or if it had happened only once. She had never heard anybody else in the forest ever talk about it.

Bjorn swore he would be that lucky bear! He would wake up on Winter Solstice and he would see that star and his friend, the tree. He wanted to know what that special night was like. He wanted it with all his heart and he kept whispering to himself as he lay down for his winter nap to “Remember to wake up! Remember to wake up!”

He extremely disappointed to wake up and it was almost spring. It was different in a den by yourself with no brother and sister and no mama to tell you tales. He had slept the winter away and missed it. He was horribly disappointed and fell back asleep until spring had truly arrived.

This went on for several years and Bjorn had decided it just was a dream his mom had dreamed and maybe he should just give it up. Bears belonged in dens in the winter sleeping not roaming around in the cold and dark forest.

Bjorn was making his den again one fall and he remembered the story but just shook his great black head. No point in wishing, he would just sleep anyway and tucked himself into his lair but this year was different.

One cold, cold clear night Bjorn woke up. At first he was disoriented. What had woken him up? And then he heard it. He could hear a faint chiming and see a bit of light filtering in the entrance to his den. “Could it be? Could it really truly be?”

Bjorn shot out of his den and pushed the heavy snow way from his den and stood up. The light was coming from the north but not very far away at all! He started to move quickly through the snow. He saw other animals around him, a small herd of elk. Snowshoe hares that should have been asleep were lolloping through the snow. White owls that flew silently over head hooting softly. “Come, come celebrate with usssss”

And they came. They came to a tree that was standing all alone in a field of deep snow. In the tree’s branches a star hung nestled at the top and shedding star dust all around. The snow sparkled and shone all around. The animals crept closer and closer and soon it seemed every kind of animal was there and on this night it felt like they were all friends. A deep peace hung over the forest and the only thing that could be heard was a soft chiming from the star.

Bjorn had never felt this way before. No hunger, no need to hunt, just a need to be with other creatures and to maybe, just maybe have friends and be at peace. He looked at the other animals. They seemed to be feeling the same thing as they sat in large circles around that tree absorbing the blessing of the tree and the star and Bjorn thought to himself, “Sometimes having a dream come true is better than any dream.”

He sat in the snow and a small hare snuggled up to him and then a squirrel. A great deer lay down near by and an owl sat in the rack of his antlers. For this night there was peace in the forest and the blessing of a star from far away and a lonely little tree that was his friend.

***This follows yesterday’s “Lonely Little Star” and is available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354728417&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

The Lonely Little Star

Once upon a time there was a lonely little star. She shone up in the sky every night but she shone all alone. There were no other stars for millions of miles. For millions of years she went round and around another star called Polaris because that was what all stars did near her and she got fainter and fainter.

One day the Star Goddess couldn’t stand it any more. All the other stars she shepherded were fine for stars are like sheep and have to be shepherded very carefully. They shone brightly each night and lit the night just like they were supposed to do but this little star was different. She wasn’t part of a constellation and she was way, way at the tip of her nebula so the Star Goddess could see how she could be lonely so she went to visit the lonely little star.

“Astra.” For that was the lonely little star’s name. “What can I do to help you shine bright like all my other stars?”

The lonely little star twinkled at the Star Goddess. “Keep me company?” Astra asked shyly.

“No, you know better than that. I have an immense flock of stars to keep watch on. There are millions and millions of you and you all keep moving all the time. I know time moves very slowly for you out here and not even a comet has come to visit you in a long time so I have a suggestion. See that tiny planet down there?” She pointed to a blue and green marble way down below.

The star twinkled faintly at her. “Yes. Why?”

“I want you to watch that planet for a year and see if there is anything you can do to help someone down there on it and if you do I’ll have a surprise for you.”

So the lonely little star started her vigil watching Earth for a year. She saw ships that sailed on the sea but no one seemed to need the kind of help she could give.

She watched the people who lived in the desert but no one seemed to need her there either.

She watched jungles in the Amazon but life seemed to be very busy in that jungle although she could see things like the cutting and burning of lots of trees.

She didn’t like seeing trees hurt but how could she stop the hurt? She became very interested in trees as she roamed over the world at night she looked at all the different kinds of trees. There were tall ones and skinny, funny looking ones with poufs at the top. There were tiny squat ones on the edge of cliffs or in deserts. There were trees that were constantly blown by the wind and trees that always had their feet in the water.

She crossed over the poles and one night while the Aurora was watching, below her she saw him, a tree all alone. He was a sturdy little tree. She saw that he was a beautiful deep green. He was very far north on the blue and green marble.

She watched him every night as she passed over the Pole. Sometimes he was covered in white stuff. Some times he wasn’t but he looked cold standing there all alone. She wondered how he got there since there were no other trees near him.

One time she did see some large animals with big antlers pass by him. It reminded her of how the stars move through the sky.

One day when the planet was tilting toward the star that was their Sun the Star Goddess came back.

“Is my year up already?” Astra asked.

The Star Goddess smiled at the little star. The little star didn’t know that ever since the star had found the little tree she had been growing brighter and brighter every night. She now shown so brightly that she could be seen on that little blue and green ball.

She also didn’t know that the Star Goddess had had a conversation with Gaia, the Earth Goddess. For the Earth Goddess was having a problem with a certain lonely little tree who was very, very lonely, so lonely that not even squirrels and birds visited him and they had a plan, “Little Star? What do you want your wish to be?” the Star Goddess asked.

“There is a tree that stands all alone in the snow. It looks so lonely. Do you think I could meet him?”

The star looked up at the Goddess with hope in her eyes.

“Do you mean the one that’s way up on top of the ball where it’s almost always white?”

“Yes!’ The star twinkled at her. “No one ever visits him except big herds of some beast and they only run by him. They don’t seem to stay and chat.”

“You mean the reindeer?” The Goddess asked.

“Reindeer? So that’s what they are. I wondered.”

“I have a job for you and I think you are going to like it. You might even make it your wish when you hear it.”

“What!” The star was bopping all over in excitement and getting brighter and brighter and somewhere down on Earth there were three very confused astronomers watching and wondering.

“Well, I talked to Gaia about you and she says she wants you to meet that very tree you have been watching. He has been drooping and she is very worried about him because trees live a long, long time. Not quite as long as stars but a long time down on Earth but he isn’t going to live very long if he doesn’t cheer up. Now, here is what I want you to do.”

And she whispered in the star’s ear.

“Just for tonight?”

“Just for tonight and if all goes well next year too and the year after that.”

“Ooooooh! Goody!” squealed the little star.

And the star began to compress herself into a very, very, very tiny ball of very bright light.

The star whizzed down to Earth heading for that small tree way up on top of the world. She slid down the Northern Lights and bounced across the stone and snow until she came to the tree she had been watching.

People everywhere that Solstice Night, for it was Winter Solstice, saw a bright light move across the sky to the north and called out to each other about it but the star didn’t know anything about that.

“Hi! Tree!” twinkled the star at the lonely tree. “I’m here to visit you!”

The tree looked up at the little star.

“Why do you want to do that? No one ever visits me but reindeer passing by. I haven’t seen anybody else since a big black bird dropped me here when I was just a cone.”

“I’ve been watching you from way up in the sky and the Star Goddess said I could visit any one I liked on Earth and I picked you!”

The tree was quite astonished. Someone had noticed him! He didn’t think anybody but the reindeer, that big black bird and maybe Gaia knew he was here. He stood up a little straighter. He could have a friend after all.

“Would you like to rest in my branches?” asked the tree. “You must have come a very long way.”

“Oh, that would be nice.”

And the star settled down on top of the trees very top. As she settled in star dust fell off her and made the tree glow with hundreds of little lights. The Star Goddess had been careful to make sure that when the star visited she wouldn’t burn anything. The star and the tree started to get to know each other and as they started chatting something strange began to happen.

Some birds noticed the beautiful shining little tree and they came to visit. Then the reindeer came around to chat with both of them and drink in the beautiful sight of the star and tree shining on this longest night. Squirrels and badgers and bears woke up from their winter’s nap just to go see the beautiful sight knowing they would have to go to sleep again soon.

Owls and other night birds came to see. Pretty soon the little lonely tree and the little lonely star were surrounded by a party of animals and never noticed that they weren’t lonely anymore.

The night sped through all too swiftly and soon the sky began to get pink and yellow and the star knew she had to go back up into the heavens.

“I have to go now.” The star told the tree. “But the Star Goddess says I can come again next year. You only have to wait a little while and I’ll come again, I promise!”

The tree nodded but not too sadly. Now that all the birds and animals knew he was there they promised him they would visit too.

“I’ll see you next year!”

The tree cried. And the star flew back up into the sky of dawn light. She twinkled at Venus as she whizzed by. She had a friend now.

She settled back into her cold bit of space and watched over the little tree. The next Winter Solstice would come again soon enough and she wanted to shine bright enough that her new friends would be able to see her every night.

And so the little star and the little tree weren’t lonely any longer and the Star Goddess and Gaia saw this and knew this was a good thing.

And one year on their nightly visit a lone woodsman was out and saw them in their beauty and splendour and it made him feel very good and the next year he decorated a tree in front of his cabin just like he had seen the little tree shining.

And now little trees shine at Winter Solstice all over the world with stars on top and deep in the northern part of the world under the Aurora Borealis every Winter Solstice a very, very, very tall tree still lights the northern snow on the longest of winter nights with his friend the little star.

This story and others available here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/146621239X/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1354602640&sr=8-1π=SL75

Kat

The Lonely Little Tree 

The Lonely Little Tree looked out across the freshly fallen snow. His friend the Lonely Little Star would visit soon and he couldn’t wait. Soon the night he waited for would come and his first but not only friend would come down from the heavens, she had never failed to come.

The Tree was now tall and healthy and green. There were nests that nestled in branches and a badger had dug a home at his feet and Elen’s reindeer had already come around this year.

The Tree was getting a bit anxious about whole thing. The snow was not as thick as it should be and it wasn’t as cold as it should be. It was getting warmer and warmer every winter.

Bears who should have been sleeping like his friend Bjorn were wandering around. The snow shoe hares that should have changed to a white coat already were now changing before the snow came and that wasn’t good since then they stood out against the ground.

Other trees now grew within his sight, he no longer stood alone out on the snowy plain.

The Tree worried about his friends as he watched the Aurora weave through the sky in beautiful bright colours.  Why were things changing? He had lived a very long time now. He had a wide strong trunk and he was firmly and deeply rooted but were the other trees? Did their roots go deep enough to reach the receding waters. He wondered about so many things as he listened to wind move through the quiet wood.

So he looked to the sky and he watched the beauty of the twisting shifting Aurora. He loved to see the colours of the Northern Lights, the greens and blues and sometimes if he was very lucky shades of brilliant red. Sometimes it looked like a shifting wall of light, sometimes other shapes scrolled across the lengthening night’s sky. Astra had told him it was from winds that came from the Sun but he didn’t care it was beautiful and for a while he forgot his worries.

He simply was. He was shelter. He was a sturdy home and a good friend. He was shade on warm sunny day in summer and when the snow piled up he was a warm shelter the animals around could dig into deeply. He knew things were changing and he didn’t know why. He just knew he would stand as long as he could. And he would wait for his friend, Astra and their yearly visit.

His friend, Astra had taught him many things, to be patient, that is was okay to be alone sometimes. And for one night a year to be a light in the darkness, to be a bright spot for the friends around him.

And then the one night something wondrous happened, Aurora came to visit him!

The winding, twirling tapestry of light lightly touched down in front of him. The Lonely Little Tree watched in wonder as Aurora shifted.

“Welcome!” cried the Lonely Little Tree.

“Hello, and thanks,” said a soft voice, “Blessed Solstice!”

“And blessings to you, replied the excited tree! What brings you down from the sky?”

“The Solar wind and the sky Goddess.” laughed the Aurora.

“I bring love, and light and a warning.”

“And warning?” whispered the Lonely Little Tree, “What about?”

“Things are changing as they always have. It’s going to get very hard before it gets better and probably very scary for everyone.”

” But someday it will get better?” asked the Tree.

“Hopefully,” said the Aurora thoughtfully.

“What can I do?” asked the Tree.

“Simply be who you are. Stand fast, care for others, protect those who need it and can’t protect themselves.”

” But I do that already,” replied the Tree.

“I know,” said the Aurora, “But now it’s even more important. And the only real thing we have that will last is love.”

” Just love?” the Tree asked.

“Love and all things that go with it. The actions we take because we love will always make things better.” The Aurora twirled a bit in the northern stillness and silence while the little Tree thought about what the Aurora had said.

“I can do that,” he thought, “I can be a refuge,  I can provide food, I can be for others. I can love and I can live.”

While he was thinking Aurora had twirled back up into sky and was shining brightly. Her colours of green, and blue and red rippling across the sky in beautiful ribbons and bands.

The Lonely Little Tree was still a worried but now he felt he could do something and that made all the difference in the world.

Lullbye time – rest awhile

The Castle of Dromore   
The October winds lament
Around the Castle of Dromore,
Yet peace is in its lofty halls,
My loving treasure store.
Though autumn leaves may droop and die
A bud of spring are you.
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

Bring no ill winds to hinder us,
My helpless babe and me,
Dread spirit of Blackwater banks,
Clan Owen’s wild banshee.
And Holy Mary pitying us
In heav’n for grace doth sue.
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

Take time to thrive, my rose of hope,
In the garden of Dromore.
Take heed, young eagle, till your wings
Are feathered fit to soar.
A little rest and then the world
Is full of work to do
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye loo, la lo.

The 2nd BunniHoTep story

This is the second story also not found anywhere else but the 2nd blog post I ever wrote. This is what I dreamed the next night. BunniHoTep was very hard on my sleep for a long while.

If you know the story of Osiris and set and the dismembering, you know what was in BunniHoTep’s basket so I’m not sure it’s a safe story for children unless you want to do some explaining of the birds and the bees.

BunniHoTep does her job or Why We Use Baskets For Eggs in Spring.

Once upon a time long, long ago in Egypt there lived a small rabbit goddess. She loved Isis and she knew Isis was very sad because a very mean god, Set had hurt the one Isis loved most, Osiris.

Legend says that Osiris was cut up by Set and scattered in 14 pieces around the ancient world but there were really a few extra bits and bobs left over. BunniHoTep decided she would find all the extra pieces left around. She knew those pieces were very important to Isis.

So BunniHoTep went out to search for the missing pieces. She searched the shores of the Nile. She searched in the corners of the big temples. She searched the Valley of the Kings. She searched in the lotus ponds and under the papyri. She searched in all low out of the way places the other gods had missed. She found many dust bunnies but no pieces of Osiris.

BUT she found the last 2 special pieces in a hawk’s nest. She was very brave and made sure Missus Hawk was not at home when she went to look. She was brave but not THAT brave.

She put the pieces in her basket and hopped back to Isis. Isis was SO happy she rewarded BunniHoTep was a very big honor. She said that when BunniHoTep was tired of being on Earth, she would place her in the full moon where everyone would see and remember her forever and this is why there is a rabbit in the moon.

Because BunniHoTep carried the pieces back in her favorite basket all easter bunnies have baskets to carry their eggs in.

BunniHoTep and the Donkey’s Boy

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was sitting on the Temple porch. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and every one was out celebrating the Inundation. The porch was cool and there was a breeze blowing through the pillars that just lightly lifted her fur. BunniHoTep was happy but then she was happy most of the time.

BunniHotep was startled by a noise not very far away. What was a donkey doing braying out in the Temple district? She could hear the braying getting closer and closer and she got up to see what the commotion was all about.

A donkey came running down the avenue with a small boy bouncing on his back. The little boy was having a fine time yelling at the top of his lungs along with the donkey but the donkey didn’t look very happy as he ran.

BunniHotep stepped off the porch in front of the donkey and the donkey skidded to a stop. “What’s all this noise about?” BunniHotep asked the donkey.

“He’s supposed to be studying with his father and instead he’s making me run around the town.” replied the very disgruntled and angry donkey.

The boy was looking curiously at the rabbit goddess and the donkey as they talked. He looked to be about three years old and had a mop of curly dark brown hair that kept flopping in his face. BunniHoTep thought it was about time his mother sheared this sheep. The boy smiled down at her.

“Why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” She asked the boy.

“I’m tired of studying and Donkey didn’t look like he was busy.”

“I was busy resting.” said the donkey. “Your father has me hauling timber all the time. It was my turn to rest, you little monster.” The donkey seemed resigned. It obviously wasn’t the first time this had happened.

“He wants to drive camels and he thinks he can practice on me instead of learning to be a carpenter like his father. He’s supposed to be learning to do his measurement tables.”

“I already know them.” The boy told the donkey.

“How could you? Your father only showed them to you this morning.” The donkey scoffed.

“Enough!” cried BunniHoTep, “Your bickering is hurting my ears. And how can you understand what Donkey says?” BunniHoTep was curious. Human boys didn’t generally understand the speech of animals. The child was clearly no Egyptian godling. He didn’t look Egyptian at all.

“I understand the speech of all animals. I always have. Right, Donkey?”

Donkey nodded with an exasperated look on his face. “We get no privacy in the stable when he’s around. He’s always in our business.”

“Well, it kept you from keeping that stone in your hoof.” The boy retorted.

“Enough,” BunniHoTep said again. “What are you doing over here on Temple Row?”

“My parents say there is only one god and I heard from the animals that Egyptians have many gods and even some goddesses and I wanted to see for myself.”

“Well, now you’ve met one and you can go home.” BunniHoTep said. She didn’t like being the object of scrutiny. She knew some people believed there was only one god but she didn’t know how they could in Egypt when there were so many temples to so many gods but to each their own.”

“You’re a goddess?” the child asked. “You’re a rabbit.”

“Yes, I’m a goddess, my name is BunniHoTep and I’m the Goddess of Finding Lost things and Small Joys.”

“What are small joys?”

“Small Joys are the things that make life worth living like appreciating a sunset and enjoying a flower or listening to friend’s talk.”

“Oh,” said the boy thoughtfully. “Like listening with love.”

“Yes like that. Would you like the see the other temples? Most of the gods and goddesses are out celebrating the Inundation and giving thanks for the earth’s bounty but we can walk around.”

“Okay.” The boy got off Donkey and took BunniHoTep’s paw. “Let’s go.

BunniHotep and the boy walked down the row with Donkey following and BunniHoTep pointed out each temple and told the boy what that god’s job was.

“Your gods work very hard, don’t they?”

“Most times.”BunniHoTep replied. “Would you like to meet one of my good friends?”

“Sure.”

They had walked down to edge of the Nile by Ma’at’s Temple where there was a smaller dwelling. It wasn’t a very big building and it appeared to have a mud wallow in front of it at the edge of the Nile. There were 2 small ears poking out of the mud.

“Ammit! Come meet a new friend.” BunniHoTep called.

The ears started to rise and this incredibly ugly beast started to rise out of the wallow. It looked like it had been put together with spare parts of several animals mostly hippo and crocodile. Ammit had a hesitant look on her face.

“Hello.” She said quietly. Ammit was very shy and knew people were afraid of her but she trusted her friend BunniHotep so she kept coming until she was on solid ground. She stood looking at the boy and BunniHoTep. The boy looked like he was ready to break and run.

BunniHoTep had been wondering if he would run too so she kept a tight grip on his hand. “If you want to know the gods and goddesses of Egypt you have to know even the unpleasant looking and scary ones. Ammit has a very important job. She eats the souls of the wicked. Sometimes even the most ugly and odd looking people do the best things for other people. Ammit is a good soul and a good friend no matter how she looks.”

The boy had stopped pulling and was offering to scratch Ammit’s ears.

“Even the ugly and odd can be good?” he asked.

“Yes, just like sometimes the most beautiful can be bad. Don’t judge by looks, Young man. Even the smallest or ugliest or lowliest can be loving good people.”

The boy was thoughtfully stroking Ammit’s neck and Ammit was almost purring at the unexpected kindness. Most people ran away from her.

“Shall we go have tea in my Temple?” BunniHotep asked. “By the way boy, what’s your name? Calling you boy seems rude.”

“My mom calls me Jesse but my dad says it’s Yeshua. I like Jesse.”

“Well, come on Jesse let’s have tea and then I’ll send you and Donkey home.”

They all walked back to the Temple and had a nice time at tea and when the boy left he was thinking hard.

Tale told at Yule – The Littlest Druid celebrates Winter Solstice

Once upon a time in a place that is now called Ireland and a place we call Newgrange there was a very small Druid, well, she wasn’t a Druid yet but all the adults seemed to think one day she would be one. She wasn’t so sure. She didn’t seem to be good at anything. All she really seemed to be good at right at that moment was getting in trouble. So she sat on the bench outside the Chief Druid’s house and waited to hear how much trouble she was in. She sat kicking her heels on the stones that surrounded the hut. She gave an enormous sigh.

The Chief Druid was sitting inside with one of the littlest Druid’s teachers and they were both shaking their heads and smiling.

. “How much trouble is she in this time?” he asked. “Quite a bit,” replied her teacher.

“She’s managed to make herself unwelcome just about everywhere. She was supposed to be helping in the kitchen and she decided to stick her fingers in all the honeycakes that the cook was making for the feast. The cook sent her to help one of the healers and she somehow managed to break several jars of cough medicine the healer had just brewed. The healer sent her over to the Master Brewer and she decided to assist him with the mead for tomorrow and he ended up having to start all over again since she decided if a little mint was good, a lot was better.”

By now the Chief Druid was desperately trying not to laugh too loud and looked about to burst from holding it in.

“Anything else?” he asked, with the little Druid around he was always afraid there was more.

“Let’s see, she was helping the blacksmith with his bellows and blew ashes all over and he got a cinder in his eye and the blacksmith sat down on a hot nail he had just made. He sent her over to Chief Shepherd and she let the sheep out on the grounds in front of the Temple so she’s been picking up the stuff they left behind.”

The teacher was eyeing the Chief Druid who was now bright red and crying.

“What are we going to do with her? She doesn’t try to make trouble, most of the time she thinks she’s helping. But her help is not the kind of thing most people need especially when everyone is going to be up all night waiting for the Sun’s return. And it isn’t helped by the older students scaring her by telling her it will be her fault if the Sun doesn’t return this year. One of them told her if you make too many mistakes the Sun will get mad and not come back and would bring darkness forever more. That made her try to help even more and it’s just gotten worse and worse and I don’t think the poor thing has slept all through the night in a week.”

“I think it must be my turn then,” the Chief Druid said. “I think I’ll keep her with me tonight in the mound. I think she can’t do much harm there. You might as well call her in”

The Chief Druid motioned at the door and the teacher got up and went to get the littlest Druid. The littlest Druid walked in hanging her head and scuffing her feet on the stone floor. Now she was going to get it. It was all going to be her fault if the Sun didn’t come back. They were going to do something awful to her. They might even send her home and she really didn’t want that. She liked it here. Most of the time the teachers were kind and she loved all the animals and she liked learning the uses of the plants and what the meanings of the stars were but she knew if she stopped the Sun nothing would ever go right again and she was really afraid of what they might do to her.

The Chief Druid looked down at the littlest Druid. She was rather bedraggled looking. She had a smudge across her nose and her tunic and pants were filthy with stains and there were several rips and tears and somehow she had managed to get straw in her hair. She looked so sad. The Chief Druid was trying hard not to smile. He had a soft spot for the littlest ones. They always seemed to grow up to be the kindest of the druids.

“What am I going to do with you, Aisling?”

The Chief Druid asked kindly. The littlest Druid just kept looking at her feet. They seemed to be very interesting to her. It was almost worse that he was being nice to her. She kind of wished he would just yell and get it over with.

“I guess it’s my turn to deal with you.” The Chief Druid said. “So tonight, you are going with me behind the spiraled stone and we will wait for the Sun’s return. I think if you stay with me until sunrise we can make sure the Sun does return, no matter what you’ve done.”

The Chief Druid looked down at Aisling very seriously. “You need to go get cleaned up and meet me at the stone in a candlemark. Do you think you can do that?”

Aisling looked terrified but nodded and ran out the door. She was going to sit with the Chief Druid! If the Sun didn’t come back in the morning every one would know it was her fault and the Chief Druid would know first of all!

She was so scared but she didn’t see anyway to get out of her predicament so she got all cleaned up and went to meet her doom at the Temple of the Spirals.

The Chief Druid was standing with his staff waiting for her. “Now we go inside and wait.”

Someone had lit a small lantern and put a couple of sheep skins down inside the room behind the spiral stone.

“We need to get cozy. We are going to be here quite awhile. Do you think you can stay awake to sunrise? We need to catch sight of the sun’s first rays.”

The littlest Druid was terrified. She knew the Sun would never return. The older boys had said so and they were always right and here she was trapped with the Chief Druid. She was shivering with fear.

“Here, sit down by me and we’ll wait. Wrap up in the sheep skin and I’ll tell you about Elen and the reindeer. Your teacher may drop by in a bit with some tea and you can tell her the story later.”

He wrapped the littlest Druid up in her sheepskin and started to tell her all about Elen of the Ways and how she followed the reindeer. About halfway through his story the teacher came in and joined them in their vigil. She’d brought some chamomile tea and they all sat and sipped slowly and they listened to the Chief Druid’s tale of another Winter Solstice night long, long ago.

The littlest Druid’s eyes kept closing and she’d shake herself awake. She had to see the Sun return, she had to, it was important! But she fell asleep anyway and the Chief Druid and her teacher smiled. The teacher reached over and smoothed the littlest Druid’s hair.

“When she’s like this you’d never know she caused any trouble at all.”

And the two of them laughed quietly and kept the vigil as they did every year. The night passed as the longest of nights eventually does and it was almost time for the first light to enter the stone room.

The Chief Druid gently shook Aisling’s shoulder. “Wake up or you’ll miss it.” He whispered.

The littlest Druid started awake. Oh no! She’d fallen asleep! Now the Sun would never return. It was her final failing. She couldn’t meet the Chief Druid’s eyes as he blew the lantern out.

“Oh! Don’t do that! We’re going to need it. The Sun won’t ever return now. I fell asleep and I promised I wouldn’t.”

The littlest Druid started to sob.

“Hey there, none of that. Why don’t we see if the Sun rises before we start our crying. If it doesn’t rise I promise I’ll cry with you.”

Aisling was so confused. This crazy grownup must not have heard everything that had happened or he wouldn’t have said that.

“Come here with us.”

The Chief Druid commanded as he stood up and waited. And something wonderful began to happen. It was just a spark at first and then a small line and then suddenly the room was full of beautiful orange light. The room positively glowed and then it started to fade away and it was gone for another year.

She’d been wrong. The light had returned even though she had done bad things. It had come anyway. She felt like she could breathe again.

The Chief Druid and her teacher took her hands and led her from the small room. Everyone outside was cheering and hugging each other and blessing each other saying. “Blessings of the Sun’s return!”

Someone handed her a small cup of mead and she looked up at the Chief Druid.

“It came back. The Sun came back even though I did bad things?”

The Chief Druid looked at her. “Why do you think that was?”

The littlest Druid thought a bit. “Because I had nothing to do with it? That the Sun was always going to return anyway and I shouldn’t believe everything I hear.” She said uncertainly.

“All anyone can ever do is try their best and just because you make mistakes the world isn’t going to stop turning and the Sun and the Moon will always stay on their courses. Now I think it’s time for a feast! Who’s hungry?”

And the three of them moved off towards the tables that were full of all kinds of good things to eat and stood watching the new born winter sun shine down on all their friends.