The Littlest Druid learns about Samhain

Aisling sat at the edge of the turnip field, a pile of perfect turnips piled beside her. She only needed one more. Her teacher had sent her out here to select the nine turnips that would be carved into lanterns to represent the skulls of the people who had died in the village for the procession on Samhain. Her teacher had told her that they used to use the skulls of people who had died. She was glad they had switched to turnips. She knew death was a part of life but she didn’t want to see the skull of her friend Beith that had died this year. She missed her so much. It still hurt to lose her.

It was an honor to be picked for this job. She had to find the biggest and most perfect turnips for the lanterns. This wasn’t easy because turnips grow underground and she had to choose hers before they started harvesting the field. She was supposed to pull the turnips that called out to her and those would be the right ones and she had one left to go. She wanted the absolute most perfect one for Beith.

She closed her eyes and reached her hands out trying to feel which one in the field was calling her. She felt a tug from the left and started to walk that in that direction. She kept her hand out and cautiously walked across the field. She closed her eyes and stood still and put her hands out again. It was close by, she could tell and someone put a turnip in her hand.

Aisling’s eyes flew up and a woman smiled at her.

“I think this is the one you need for Beith.” The woman said as she handed Aisling the turnip. It was a lovely one. Beautiful clear white and just an edging of purple around the top and it was clean with no soil clinging to it.

Aisling knew she had been alone in the field but it was the gloaming time and she was well aware anything could happen in the between times and for her it usually did.

Aisling studied the woman and was trying to figure out who she was when the woman said to her, “I’m Anann. I’m the one who came for Beith. She wanted you to know she is doing well but she still loves and misses you.”

Aisling felt a lump in her throat. She swallowed trying to keep it down. She didn’t want to cry in front of the goddess. Anann reached her hand out and smoothed Aisling’s hair which really didn’t help at all.

“She’s happy and safe and not in pain anymore?” Aisling finally got out.

“She is happy and safe and not in pain anymore. She and the priestess you helped have a message for you.”

“They do?” Ailsing wasn’t sure how that worked.

“They want you to know they are always around if you need them and that someday they will be back.” Anann told her.

“I so want to carry Beith’s lantern in the procession. Do you think that they will let me?” Aisling asked beginning to relax.

I don’t think the Chief Druid would have it any other way but you know you will be the youngest in the procession?”

Aisling nodded. She really wanted to honour her friend and not do anything wrong. Samhain was too important a time and she wanted Beith to be proud of her and know she still loved her.

Anann spoke and it was if she had heard Aisling’s thoughts. “She is proud of you all the time because you don’t give up and you’re always learning. Do you know what my job is?” asked the goddess.

Aisling thought and remembered, “To comfort the dying, and to make the fields fertile and to protect the cattle.”

Anann laughed, “Good! That’s some of it. I also teach the dying about their existence after they die and help them get ready to return. You know how your teacher told you that you are supposed to rejoice when people die because they are being born into the Otherworld?”

Aisling nodded again. She still didn’t feel like rejoicing that her best friend in the whole world was gone and it made her choke up again and start being angry. How was that something to rejoice about?

Anann looked at her. “The rejoicing part is the hardest, isn’t it? You still want and miss your friend. She still wants and misses you too but part of life is learning to let go and rejoicing when someone dies hurts. There is no way out of that but you need to know that that is you hurting and she doesn’t hurt any longer. No pain and no strife, she is at peace.”

Aisling was beginning to see the pain was about her. “Am I being selfish when I miss her so much?”

“No, you’re being human and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’d worry about you a lot if you didn’t.”

“You would?”

“Aisling, you are going to be a very good druid, maybe even a great druid and the best druids have felt all emotions and know that other people feel them too. They learn that everything isn’t about them. It’s about the all, everything and everyone that exists.”

Aisling was quiet for a bit. “Is it okay if I still miss her a lot.”

“Always, it will just hurt less and you will start to have more happy memories than sad ones.”

“Really?” Ailsing asked.

“Really and it’s even alright if you cry during the procession and the ceremony. It shows you loved someone.”

Anann hugged Aisling, “Don’t you need to take these and go help carve them into lanterns?”

Aisling grabbed her sack and started stuffing the turnips into the bag she’d brought.

“Not so fast, you don’t want to bruise them.” Laughed Anann and she helped Aisling put the turnips in more carefully.

“I’ll be watching tomorrow night with the rest of your dead. Be well, Aisling, you will be fine,” and Anann walked to the end of the field and was gone.


The next night Aisling lined up with the others. She was last in line with her lantern. She was very proud of the carving she had done. She thought she had captured Beith’s smile just right. They started the procession and Aisling started to weep. She missed her friend but it was going to be all right. She thought she got a glimpse of Anann, Beith and the Priestess in the crowd but it was hard to see by the light of the turnip lanterns and she couldn’t be sure. When she got to the hall where they were going to have a feast and celebrate the lives of their dead, the Chief Druid caught her eye and winked.

“What was that about?”

This post references the events in this story:

and this one:

The Littlest Druid gets ready for Am-Foghar

Aisling sat on the stone step outside the healer’s cottage. It was late in the afternoon and for once no one was in any of the healer’s cottages. The cottage next door where they kept the herbs and the medicines was still. The Herbalist was out on the moors collecting plants and everything that could be cleaned or mixed was done at the moment. The last grain harvest would start in a few days when the moon was full.

Aisling had nothing she was supposed to be doing. Lessons would start again after the harvest and the village was quiet, something that didn’t happen very often. Aisling was thinking about harvests and the different kinds of harvests. The year would be ending soon and food being gathered for the winter. The weavers were busy weaving and knitting warm woolen and linen cloth to be made into winter clothes and yarns of different weights and colours to be used for knitting by the fire when the snows came. They had just finished dying the wools. Aisling had enjoyed creating the dyes with the herbalist. She thought it was rather magical when something that was green like yarrow could create a yellow dye or how some crushed bugs could make a rich red. She had learned a lot in this year. She had been there when babies were born and when the new lambs entered the world. She was there when her friend, the priestess had gone into the West. She learned about healing herbs and how to make teas and medicines. She learned some new divination techniques with the Ogham sticks. She’d learned to interpret the flights of birds and the patterns of clouds. She’d learned poem after poem and lots of new songs. Her friend the Raven had taught her so much about birds and things like how to go quietly and how to laugh at herself.

The harvest would start on the day of equal day and equal night that also happened to be the full moon this year so they could have the feast that followed the first day of harvest when the sun set and the moon rose.

Aisling was missing the priestess who had gone to the West. Aisling thought she had learned more from her than when she was supposed to be in class or with her mentors. She missed their cream teas. The priestess always managed to charm Cook into a plate of s’gons and some cream or freshly churned butter. The Priestess had become a favourite with everyone in the Druid village even the Chief Druid spent long hours comparing notes about their villages and how they did things. She had been a truly wise woman and when she passed over the water the last time the whole village had sung her home. The priestess had left almost as big a hole as her Anam Cara had when she had left. She knew Anann, the bean sidhe had said they were both fine and that death was a part of life but it didn’t make the harvest of loss any easier when you wanted to share a secret or what you had learned during the day. It didn’t make thinking you saw them in the distance and realizing it was someone else any easier when you knew it wasn’t them and that you’re heart had fooled you again. She did wonder when she smelled the scent of lavender when there was no lavender anywhere nearby if someone was visiting so she had started saying hello and chatting when there was no one around to hear the conversation.

The cottage faced west and the sun was starting to set. Aisling closed her eyes and let the last warm rays of the sun bathe her in the warmth when someone sat down beside her. Aisling was almost afraid to open her eyes because so many big and strange people had sat down beside her to talk. Who was it this time? She sniffed the air and knew who it was and laughed.

“Why are you laughing, Aisling.” The Chief Druid chuckled softly because he knew why, he just had to ask.

“You know,” Aisling said, “I’ve had some pretty interesting people sit by me when I least expect it.”

The Chief Druid laughed, “So what were you thinking about so solemnly?”

“Everything I’ve learned this year. It’s almost Samhain and we’ll start over again before winter. I’ve learned so much but I’ve also lost things I didn’t expect to lose.”

“Like your Anam Cara and your friend, the priestess? You know, Latharn, thought you were something very special.”

“She did?” asked Aisling.

“She did, and I miss her too.” Said the Chief Druid. “She taught me a lot too.”

Aisling looked at the Chief Druid in astonishment. “She did. She taught me to face death with a full heart. She taught me to say when people mean something to them. She taught me to count my blessings.”

“I thought you knew all those things” Aisling looked at the Chief Druid with big eyes.

“I knew them but I didn’t KNOW them. Does that make sense?” Aisling thought about it and nodded her head.

“I think so.” Aisling said slowly.

“Latharn thought that someday you will be a great druid because you have an open heart and an open mind and because you love so completely.”

Aisling sat in stunned silence. Latharn had really thought that about her!

“She thought I should start teaching you some things that the others in your class aren’t ready for yet.”

Aisling was looking at the Chief Druid like an owlet that had been woken up suddenly. “Wwwhhyyy? Did she want you to do that?”

“Well, no one else your age or even among the other druids have had conversations with Brighid or Lugh or the Green Man or any of the others that have befriended you since you’ve been here.” Aisling was just staring.

“Think that would be a good thing to start after Samhain” asked the Druid in a teasing voice.

“Really? You want to teach just me? No one else?”

“Just you and maybe some of your friends will help sometimes.” He smiled to himself. This was going to be an interesting winter.

“I’ll let you digest that for awhile. I’ll see you at ritual. Would you recite a poem at ritual about what you are thankful for this year?”

Aisling nodded. She didn’t feel able to speak yet. She looked to the West just as the sun was setting over the far hills. She felt like someone far away had just smiled at her and maybe they had.

BunniHoTep and the Moon Watchers

Once upon a time during a full moon BunniHoTep decided she was going to spend a nice quiet evening down at her lotus pool. So she gathered a blanket and bid her priestesses good night and went to have a nice evening. As she got around the corner of the temple she heard noises in the direction of the pool. Who was spoiling her nice quiet evening?

She hopped hurriedly to her pool and found Heqet, the frog goddess, Ammit and one of her smaller priestesses lying on their backs having an argument. BunniHoTep was quite surprised about the whole thing. She knew Hequet almost never had a free full moon night. She was the goddess of childbirth and babies liked to arrive on full moons and what had lured Ammit out of her den on a full moon night? Ammit didn’t like being in seen in bright light normally and even more than that, what was her priestess doing out of bed? The moon was high in the sky and she should have been in bed long ago.

BunniHoTep laughed to herself as she listened to them argue. They were arguing about who was seen on the moon’s face. Hequet saw herself in the moon and Ammit saw a beautiful lady in the moon and BunniHoTep’s priestess saw her goddess in the moon because she knew Isis had placed BunniHoTep’s likeness in the moon. Everyone knew that!

BunniHoTep couldn’t stand it any longer and burst out laughing. The three sat up and looked at her. The Priestess lay back down in a hurry. She knew she shouldn’t be out of bed but it had been such a beautiful night and she liked Ammit so she had snuck out to enjoy the evening.

BunniHoTep looked at her priestess. “What are you doing out of bed?” and tried to look sternly at her priestess. Stern looks sit oddly on a happy rabbit’s face. “It was such a nice night and Ammit was here so I thought I’d enjoy the moon?” The priestess said trying to look innocent.

“All right, you can stay for a while longer as long as you are bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning.”

The priestess lay back down with a smile.

“But what was all this arguing about who was in the moon?” asked BunniHoTep. Ammit and Heqet looked at each other.

The frog headed goddess croaked out. “We were just having a nice discussion about who was painted on the moon.

”BunniHoTep laughed, “It wasn’t sounding all that friendly when I heard it and why do you have to have one painting on the moon’s face?”

Ammit spoke up, “How can there be more than one thing on the moon?” Ammit squinted up at the bright disc.

”“What if you’re all right?” said BunniHoTep.

“How can we all be right?” asked her priestess.

“Well,” said BunniHoTep, “What if you see what you need to see at the moment you are looking at the moon? People of all shapes and sizes see all kinds of things in the moon. Horus sees his right eye in the moon. Isis put me up there for some to see. Some people see Heqet on the moon and some people even see a crab in the moon and lots and lots of people see a man or woman in the moon. They all have stories and they are all right.”

“How can they all be right!” croaked Heqet. She was a little annoyed she might not be painted on the moon.

“The moon belongs to everyone. It guides people and I don’t think she cares what she looks like to anyone and people like to tell stories. I think she can be whatever she needs to be. A guide to a woman in labour. A comfort to a lonely person here on earth. The moon lets us know we aren’t alone and that everyone anywhere can enjoy her and tell stories. She shines on all of us alike.”

“Oh,” the three said, “That makes sense.” The three settled back down and BunniHoTep joined them around the pool. The four friends chatted and pointed out their favourite constellations and stories about the moon and the stars until they were all yawning and trudged off to bed.

BunniHoTep and the Nature of Magic

Once upon a time the gods and goddesses were sitting around the veranda at Isis’s and Hathor’s summer palace having tea and a grand discussion on MAGIC. BunniHotep could see the capital letters float in the air and she listened intently as one after another they spoke.

Thoth talked about the grand magic of creating something from nothing with much ceremony and about how much he liked the priests parading about saying grand words before he would grant their requests.

Osiris and Set both talked about how much they liked the offerings that came their way when people had requests.

Hathor and Isis both spoke about how much love they felt for the people who came to their temples in such dire need and how they felt about granting the requests and how they decided who to help.

And BunniHotep kept listening and thinking crouched down on the floor. No one really noticed she was there as she was sitting very quietly and because she was quite small compared to the rest of the deities and quite frankly, being around Sekmet always made her a wee bit nervous at these gatherings.

One after the other the gods and goddesses spoke about the nature of what they saw as magic and how it changed the world in their view and what it did to the people of the world. Soon it was late and time for all the deities to head back to their temples for evening worship and it grew quiet. All that were left sitting on the porch were Isis and Hathor and BunniHoTep.

“Bunni,” Isis said, “You haven’t said anything all afternoon. Don’t you have any opinions on magic? I know you see it everyday so why were you so quiet?”

BunniHotep thought for a moment. “I wasn’t sure they would want to hear my opinion and I didn’t want to be impolite because I think so differently from some of them.”

Hathor thought and then spoke, “I know you are small but we still like to hear what you have to say so… what do you think magic is?”

BunniHotep put her thoughts in order. “Well, I just think magic is the simple things. Magic is the colours of a sunset and a baby’s laugh. It is a seed that grows into a beautiful lotus flower. It is the rainbows in the dew on a spring morning and the miracle of having enough to eat. It is healing after a long sickness and knowing you are loved by others. It is in the spider’s web and the swan’s flight. How can you not see magic in all of those things? I don’t think of the big things that happen as magic but the small things we see everyday and would miss horribly if they were gone. That’s what I think magic is, that and sitting here with you drinking tea on a late summer afternoon.”

Isis and Hathor nodded. “Maybe you’re right, BunniHotep, maybe you’re right.

And they sat on the temple veranda and watched the sun set in a blaze of beauty and quiet.

BunniHotep helps Yemaya

Once upon a time there was a small rabbit goddess named BunniHotep. Occasionally she liked to go down to the seaside and sit on the sand and watch the waves come in. One day she had been sitting there for sometime and was actually becoming a bit bored when she saw a woman walking down the beach.

BunniHotep watched her walk slowly toward her and waited. The woman was a beautiful shade of dark brown and her lively hair was even darker, the colour of rich beautiful Nile mud and she walked with a queenly stride but she also seemed to be very sad. Her lovely brown eyes seem to hold the woes of the world in them and it weighed heavily upon her. She came up to BunniHoTep and sank gracefully down beside her.

In a low quiet voice she asked BunniHoTep, “Are you the one who finds things?” She sighed and fell silent.

BunniHoTep looked at her a moment and replied, “Yes, that is what I do if it is needed. Did you lose something important?”

The woman replied, “Oh yes, I have lost something very important but not something I necessarily want to find.”

BunniHotep was confused, “What can I do if you don’t really want to find what you have lost?”

The woman paused, “Maybe I had better tell you my story. Have you the time to listen?”

“I always have time to listen,” BunniHotep said and she sat waiting with her ears up and ready.

“My name is Yemaya and I am the goddess of the ocean as well as of people’s hearts and I make the sea salty so it is like the blood that flows in each of us but I make it salty with my tears and I don’t want to cry anymore.”

BunniHoTep nodded, “I can understand that but what do you want me to find? Your sadness? I don’t think I can do that even if you really wanted me too. Isn’t there another way?”

“That is why I came to you, Isis told me long ago how clever you were at puzzles and finding things. I am so tired I can no longer think so do you think you can help me find a way to keep the sea salty and no longer cry and still help my people?”

BunniHoTep was quiet for quite awhile. She stared at the ocean and she knew the life there would start to die if she didn’t do something soon. And then she thought of something in her Temple that was just sitting there doing nothing.

“Ah Ha!” She said, I have just the thing. Wait right here!” And she hopped away as fast as she could for there was no time to waste!

She got to her Temple and asked one of her priestesses to get the object from the offering storeroom and to please carry it back for her while she hopped quickly back.

The priestess came running, breathing heavily over the sand because running across hot sand is hard work.

“I have it!” the Priestess said. She was carrying a large box with a funnel on top and a large handle and a big drawer on the bottom.

“Please set it down and stand back, please.” BunniHoTep motioned for Yemaya to move closer. “I think this will fix the problem. This is a special object. It makes salt. All you have to do is once a day, turn the handle and take what is in the box and spread it across the water. That way you make the sea salty and only cry for people if you feel the need to not because you have to do it.” BunniHoTep stepped back and let her try it.

Yemaya turned the crank slowly and then faster. She went and spread the salt from the drawer across the tide after she had ground a bit.

“Oh, BunniHoTep, Isis was right you are a clever and loving rabbit. I will always treasure this. Thank you!” And she placed a kiss on the forehead Isis loved to kiss. She gave her a quick stroke across her fur and picked up her new treasure and walked back down the beach like the goddess she was.

BunniHotep and the Priestess walked back to the Temple to share a few nice carrots and a cup of tea.

From my silly brain and the Lapin Archives

Tamsin grows up Part 12

“Well, how would you introduce yourself to a new friend?” said Tamsin.

The witch looked at Tamsin and looked at the tree and took a big breath and thought to herself, this is going to look so silly.

“Hello Oak, my name is Fay, how do you do?”

“I am most well now,” whispered the Oak dryad. “Can you see me?”

The witch looked at the tree and suddenly she SAW!

The witch sat down in the grass with a bump. “You really are there?” she breathed.

“We are all here.” The dryad said. “We’ve been waiting so long for you to see us, so very long.”

The witch looked around, “See us?”

“Yes,” cried Tamsin. “Us! Look around you, please, and really, really, really see all of us”

The witch stood up and saw her garden for the first time. She saw Homer creep out from around a toadstool and caught her breath a little. She looked and saw Willow standing by the creek and she was looking stronger and more solid by the second. She saw the nymphs that lived and swam in the stream that went through the back of the yard at Willow’s feet. She looked up and saw Gus smiling at her in the growing morning sunlight.

Her eyes were wide now. “All of you were here waiting and I never knew.”

“We’ve been waiting so long and now we can work with you in this special place.”

Tamsin spread her wings and flew up to the witch’s face. “Can we stay and help?”

“Oh, please, stay.” As the witch continued to look around her garden. There was so much she had been missing. She just stared and walked around her garden. She touched every tree and introduced herself.

The witch nodded to herself. She could see she was going to have to learn a completely new way to think of her garden and she wondered if she was missing other magic that had been there all the time. She went inside to make herself a cup of tea. She was going to go sit in the garden and get to know her new neighbors.

Tamsin Grows Up Part 11

The witch looked startled and held up her other hand so Tamsin could stand on them.

“The dryads are dying because you don’t believe in them and they’ll be gone by Summer Solstice if you don’t see them and believe. Oh, please, please, please believe!”

“Dryads? I have dryads?” The witch asked.

“Yes and Homer the gnome and I will have to leave your lovely garden and find new homes if you don’t. We love helping you in your garden but you have to See us.”

“Oh,” said the witch, “I can see you. How cute you are.”

Tamsin stomped her foot again. “I’m not cute! I’m your faery and please pay attention.”

The witch looked at her carefully, “All right, what do I need to do?”

“Please walk over to the old oak over there and introduce yourself to her?”

“What!” cried the witch. “Introduce myself to a tree?”

“Yes,” Tamsin said firmly. “Please just do it.”

The witch shrugged and almost dropped Tamsin who decided she had better sit down for this ride and let herself be carried to the old oak. Tamsin could see the old oak’s dryad but she was so pale, it broke Tamsin’s heart.

“What do I do now?” The witch said.