Tag Archive | stories

How “the Dance or BunniHoTep and the real reason for the Flood” was written

A lot of my stories were dreamed but this one wasn’t. It was born on the way home from our twice yearly Solstice Faires. Long Beach Womenspirit and TOILA (Temple of Isis Los Angeles) have been putting on Faires for over 25 years now. It’s goes to once a year on Summer Solstice this year, we are too old and there are fewer and fewer of us to do all the work but anyway we do Faire.

We always have plenty of good pagan entertainment and some years we have had at least 3 groups of belly dancers, as well as storytellers like me and musical acts like Ruth Barrett and Lisa Thiel or Miri Hunter. We used to end every Faire with a group bellydance led by Anniitra after her performance. The year I wrote this it turned into lessons and C and E were two kids there dancing with Anniitra and just glowing with life and joy.

Somehow this touched something in my heart and the story started to take shape. It solidified when I got home and was going through the 400 photos minimum I usually take to document Faire, one year it was closer to 800. And I managed to capture some of it and within an hour I was writing and the Dance was born. It’s still one of my favourites if just because it’s so anti Judeo-Christian interpretation of the event that actually does show in geologic sediment in the Mediterranean as having really happened and since cultures all over the world have Flood stories, why not another one. Anyway, that was how this particular story came to be.

And here are the photos:

The very first BunniHoTep story

This was the very first BunniHoTep story I ever wrote and it’s only been published on anything once, on my very first blog post on March 24, 2005, so as of yesterday I’ve been blogging for 11 years. I started blogging because my brother had brain cancer and was blogging about it on Livejournal and wanted me to be able to follow his journey and he knew I loved to write. What he gave me was a gift beyond measure. After he died in July of that year it gifted me with a group of lovely gay men who had been his friends and shared my grieving. He was only a year and a half younger than me and it was like losing half of myself, he had been my shadow for so long. We shared a room until I was 9, we shared so much and both turned out to be gay. I still love a lot of those wonderful men and am glad they are in my life. Blogging gave me a way to grieve and not burden every one around me. It gave me a wider spiritual community. It broadened my life in so many ways.

So here is the very first BunniHoTep story that I wrote because I dreamed it. She was born at a priestess meeting of TOILA, it was our first meeting for priestess’ and that afternoon Inannamoon and I were going to Ellen Cannon Reed’s memorial so we had her Egyptian book out and there was a hieroglyph of a bunny but no real explanation of the meaning that I now know is the word “to be” but then no one remembered what it was but someone smarted off that it was “BunniHoTep!” and we laughed and went on to something else but that night I started to dream stories about a small brown Egyptian Goddess named BunniHoTep, she was the Goddess of lost objects and the small joys in life. So here she is:

The Tale of the Tail
Once upon a time in a time very long ago there was a very small Egyptian rabbit
goddess. Her name was BunniHoTep. She was a beautiful rabbit with soft,
soft fur and a long bushy tail. She was very vain about this tail. It was a
pretty color and swooshed behind her. It did have a slight problem because
when she hopped it landed in the dirt.

Every day she would groom her tail and if she asked nicely Bast would help
her brush it out so it shined and shined.

BunniHoTep loved to go down to the banks of the Nile and watch the fish
swim by. She could watch for hours and hours. One day while she was
watching the fish a crocodile snuck up behind her and opened his very big
mouth with its very big teeth. BunniHoTep turned around and saw the very,
big, nasty crocodile and gave a big leap away and hopped and hopped for her
life. She heard the jaws go snap as she sped away. She hopped all the way
to Isis and Hathor’s House. (They were sharing a summer Temple that year.)
As she was nearly there realized she was hurting and slowed down and looked
behind her. Her beautiful tail was gone.

BunniHoTep cried and cried, “Oh. it hurts.” she said. Nursing her bunny
hiney. “My lovely, lovely tail is gone.” She cried softly to herself. But
she didn’t cry softly enough and kind Isis and Hathor heard her.

Isis and Hathor picked her up and cradled her and soothed her hurt bunny
behind.

BunniHoTep sobbed to Isis. “What will I do without my tail? It was so soft
and lovely and cushioned me when I landed.”

Hathor thought carefully and knew she had just the thing and went quickly
into the house and came back. She handed Isis an object and said to Isis.
“See if this works.”

Isis it took and laughed and said this will be perfect and she put the soft
thing right where BunniHoTep’s tail used to be. BunnieHoTep looked down
and her behind. There where her lovely long tail had been was one of
Hathor’s powder puffs. It was lovely and soft and white and was much more
practical than a long tale.

And that is why bunnies have fluffy powder puff tales.

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 celebrates La Fheile Brighid

Once upon a time, Aisling was sitting on the side of the hill above the flocks of sheep. She was thoroughly wrapped in a sheepskin coat and leggings and she wondered if the sheep cared that she was wearing one of their old friends. It made her feel funny until she remembered how cold she would be if she wasn’t wearing them. She was feeling marooned.

She’d been sent out here to watch for the ewes to start bearing their lambs. She wanted to be back at the village while they got ready for Imbolq but once again she had made herself unwelcome. Everyone was all excited for the feast and ritual. Most of her friends were more excited about the feast than the ritual. It had been a long time since the Winter Solstice festival and the winter had been cold and hard. It was time to celebrate spring’s return.

She had been trying to help out with all the preparations but her teacher and the Chief Druid had finally sent her out here to be with the sheep.

They had told her it was a very important job but sitting here alone in the cold it didn’t seem so important. It seemed like punishment. She lowered her head to her knees and felt a rush of self pity.

She always meant well but things just didn’t seem to ever work out well for her. She had been helping with the beeswax candle making but got distracted making wax build up on her finger. She couldn’t help how nice and warm the wax had felt on her hands and it smelled so good!

Somehow the druidess in charge of the candlemaking hadn’t seen it that way. She’d gone over to hold the wool that a group of women were spinning and some how it ended up in one big knot instead of a ball that they could use to knit.

So now she was here, by herself, while the regular shepherds went in for dinner and a nap. They had told her not to worry. None of the ewes were ready to give birth yet so all she had to do was sit.

So she sat in the dark surrounded by sleepy, stupid sheep even the sheep dogs had gone with the shepherds for their dinner. She gave a heavy sigh.

The Chief Druid had said this was an important job because they couldn’t start the celebration until the ewes gave birth and their milk came in. This usually happened around a full moon and a half after solstice so it was a few days yet. He had said someone had to be here because sheep sometimes got into trouble and the mother died giving birth so someone had to be with her and some one had to make sure the lambs would be alright. Aisling just felt punished and not important at all. The only thing she could see was that if there was extra milk there would be really good cheese and she loved cheese.

She was trying to stay awake by counting falling stars and watching the Aurora shift and move across the sky. One of the boys had said it was Brighid’s green skirt moving across the sky and she wondered if she tried hard enough she could see the rest of Brighid.

She was starting to get really drowsy when a ram hit her from behind and rolled her forward into the grass. “Hey!” The ram stood looking at her and then turned to run across the field. He stopped to see if she was following so she did.

He turned around and started running again toward the far eastern part of the field. She struggled to catch up. He was moving really fast. She had no idea a sheep could go that fast. She fell twice and each time he stopped and waited for her to get up.

What was happening here? The shepherds had promised nothing would be exciting in the least but she had a feeling they were wrong.  At the edge of the field was a dip and in that dip was a very pregnant ewe. She was bleating softly at the ram and she looked like she was trying to give birth. She was on her side and Aisling knew that wasn’t good. Sheep give birth lying down but she didn’t look right.

The ram butted Aisling again. Aisling knew she was in real trouble. The sheep’s side was heaving as she strained. Something was very wrong and Aisling was very scared. They had promised nothing would happen and as usual they were wrong! She had never even watched let alone help a sheep give birth and there was no one else around.

Aisling started praying to Brighid because she couldn’t think of anything else to do while she patted the sheep and tried to remember to breathe.

What was she going to do? If the sheep or the lambs died she’d be in real trouble then and it would mean a bad celebration and year.

She was too far away to call for help. She just kept stroking the sheep’s head and felt a tear down her cheek. She’d really done it this time. They had promised it wasn’t time yet!

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up. There was a woman in green kneeling next to the sheep. The woman smiled at her and began to touch the sheep gently to find out what was wrong.

She motioned to Aisling to hold the sheep’s upper body and rolled up her sleeves and reached into the sheep’s birth canal to straighten the lamb that came sliding out. The sheep gave a jerk and turned to lick her lamb while the lamb tried to stand. The woman gently pushed the lamb toward the mother’s teat and wiped her hands on the grass.

She watched the lamb and ewe for a moment and smiled. She stood up and gave Aisling a hug.

“You did well and now you better go tell the shepherds and the Chief Druid what has happened. It’s time for the feast.”

Aisling looked at the woman. She was dressed all in green with embroidery of red, black and white around her dress. The woman had red hair worn in braids like a crown and had warm blue eyes. Aisling wanted to ask her name but she had a feeling she knew who she was. She had asked her to come after all.

“Yes, I am who you think I am. You asked with all your heart and I came to help. Prayers are always answered when you ask. You just may not like the answer.”

Aisling looked at her with doubt. She looked at the Goddess and she looked at the ewe and her lamb. The ram had sat down with his legs folded under them and just looked at the two of them. She decided they were the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

Brighid gave Aisling’s hair one final stroke. “You’d better go and tell them the news.” She said again and gave Aisling a slight push. “But don’t tell them I was here. Let it be our secret. They don’t need to know. Well, maybe the Chief Druid.”

She laughed and walked away over her shoulder she said, “Keep trying Aisling, just keep trying.”

Aisling took off running back across the field. The boys were right. The Aurora did look like Brighid’s skirt she thought as she ran.

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.

Tales told at Yule – The Littlest Druid and the Reindeer

Aisling sat staring out into the sheep pasture. She’d volunteered to stay behind while almost everyone went over to Si an Bhru’ (Newgrange) to watch the Sun return. She knew that the sun would return after her night with the Chief Druid. Her teacher was due to give birth soon and she was in no condition to walk to the barrow so a few healers and Aisling had volunteered to stay behind and have their own quiet Solstice celebration.

Aisling looked up at the stars. The night was dark and calm. The stars twinkled over head like a million tiny gems and thought of the watch taking place not so very far away. She was going to keep watch this night for all that were left here in the village.

She could hear the soft breathing of her teacher as she slept inside. She could see the candles in the windows of the healer’s cottage down the path. She knew it was very late because all was so still. The sheep were bedded down near their fold. The cattle were in their barn drowsing and it felt like she was the last person left in the world. And so she was the only one who kept watch.

She vowed she would not fall asleep like last year. She was a year older now and not the baby who was always in trouble. She thought of all the interesting things that had happened this year. She put her head on her knees and wrapped the sheepskin tighter around her. It was getting cold and she wondered how much colder it was going to get before morning and whether it was time for a warm drink.

She looked in the direction of the barrow and it seemed like the there was a light coming over the ground from that direction. It lit the way as if someone had drawn a path in light. She had never seen that before and she wondered what or who was causing the lighted path. She wished she could follow the path but her duty was here tonight watching to see is the baby would come.

As she was watching the lighted path deer started to appear and walk confidently down the path and through the village. Aisling watched in awe. She had never seen so many reindeer and never in the village and she wondered where they had come from and where they were going. Following the reindeer was a woman in a dress made of the reindeer’s hides and she wore a cowl with horns from the reindeer. The woman left the herd and walked over to Aisling.

“Blessings to you this Solstice night.” The woman said to Aisling. “Come with me, Aisling.”

“Blessed Solstice to you as well.” replied Aisling, a little startled that the woman had even seen her sitting here in the dark. “Where have you journeyed from and would you like something hot to eat or drink?” Aisling offered.

“I wouldn’t mind a cup of warm cider that is on the hearth.” The woman said.

AIsling suddenly knew that this was not an ordinary meeting if the woman knew what was inside and shivered a little as she got up to get a cup for the woman. She hurried back out and handed the cup to the woman.

“I have come from far and I have farther still to go tonight but thank you for the warmth of the drink.” The woman said and drank slowly from her cup. Aisling watched her shyly and wondered if she could ask what she was doing when the woman spoke.

The woman smiled as she said. “I’m Elen of the Ways and tonight I walk the leys and you need to come with me tonight.”

“The Leys?” asked AIsling.

“Yes,” replied Elen. “The paths on which energy travels easiest on the earth. I walk to connect them so you can use them in your workings.”

Aisling thought a bit. She knew her teachers had said it was easier in some places than others to work magic or create poetry. And she knew that the village had been sited along one of those paths as was the barrow where everyone else in the village was keeping watch.

“Did you just come from the barrows?” Asked Aisling.

“Yes, and the Chief Druid said you could come with me tonight. Now please, grab a cloak and come. Nothing will happen while we are gone.”

“You’re sure?” Aisling said anxiously.

“I’m sure.” Elen said emphatically and helped Aisling get astride the reindeer that was patiently standing.

The woman started walking directly east and she walked faster that any normal human being could.

Aisling asked Elen where they were going. “Your Chief Druid thought you might like to help me open the way for the sun’s return in the east.”

“We’re opening a way for the sun?” Aisling was trying to understand but she couldn’t quite get there.

“Yes, I open the ways and that includes the paths of the sun energies to flow.”

They rode and walked until they reached the edge of the sea. It was just before dawn and the light was starting to turn a bit greenish in front of them. Elen stood with her staff on the edge of the cliff and motioned for Aisling to join her. The reindeer gathered round them keeping them warm in the chilly night.

“Stand here next to me, Aisling.” Aisling moved to stand next to Elen.

“What do we do?” Asked Aisling a little worried. Could she really have stopped the sun last year? Was the Chief Druid wrong? Aisling was getting even more worried. What happened if she did this wrong? Would the sun not return?

Elen looked at Aisling. “Don’t worry. The sun will always come back. We just open the way for the energy to flow across the land. It’s like opening a damn so the energy will flow. It slows down in the dark times and now will speed up again and you want it to bring health to the land.”

Aisling thought and then nodded, that made sense. “So what do we do?”

“We stand right here where the sun will hit our land first and then we open our hearts to the new sun reborn. Can you do that?”

Aisling thought she could do that but wasn’t sure exactly how because the sun appeared as a tiny light in the east and Elen flung out her arms and Aisling did the same facing the sun as it peeped over the edge and started to rise. Aisling needn’t have worried. The sight of the sun filled her with joy. She felt full to bursting with love and happiness and Elen gave a loud laugh and cry and Aisling felt the energy rush away.

The sun rose and Elen turned to Aisling. “Time to go until next year”, and she touched Aisling with her staff. Aisling shook her head. She looked around and she was back on the doorway of the cottage. She looked to the East and the newborn sun was rising above the meadows. She looked to the west and saw a herd of deer and a small figure wave and she was gone.

Just then behind her, she heard her teacher give a gasp. “Aisling, go get the healers.”

Aisling ran across the way. Time for a new son or daughter to be born here. Aisling smiled. This was a good day.

Kat Robb
2014