Apprehension and anxiety, the lonely journey into the unknown, perhaps a secondary soaking as wet ground is trodden both with the sun and against, in the compass of living and the compass of the dead, alone yet accompanied by the shades of times past.
At the strike of the witching hour the rain ceases, the wind no longer blows and Herne's own stop the chase to listen to the voices that drift through the air between fires across the land.
One flame to light a fire and the simple flow of this hallowed night unfolds.
Rare is the occasion that things run as smoothly as they did this night, simple ritual the key together with a willingness to listen to the knowledge on the breeze, many of the spirits from this one's own past have moved on and are no longer available at this or any other time of year, even the spirit of the one so unfortunately taken this year was eager to move on to the next, as a wiser man than I proclaimed " the boy was as impetuous in death as he was in life" I never really considered him so until I pondered upon this statement, which of course is true to a point, great to see that this young man's soul was eager to have another go at life.
There were many truths and wisdom to come from the lessons of this man from the grey world, home truths and criticism together with more keys to unlock the doors to further knowledge, direct and very to the point, but I can see further now as a result of our conversation than I have ever been able to see before.
I know the things I must do and the doors in my own workings that are to be done and opened accordingly, only then will the tree truly bear me the fruit, the serpent will not impart his wisdom to the ignorant or the unprepared, only when the time is right and the subject is ready will he emerge fully from the shadow, on this occasion and in that place I did not expect to be, he showed me only a glimpse of his majesty.
The only other thing that I feel I can mention at this time with relation to this rite is the subject of being alone in my work, those who know me also know that on occasion I struggle with this concept, failure to grasp this as a gift has in many ways slowed me down by distracting me, longing for the company of others, especially my dear T, needing more than I to witness these times, the justification of like minded folk to prop up my faulty ego, who knows, but no more.
This is the way it is and I except it now as the blessing it indeed is, it will not always be so but for the time being I will make the most of this part of my journey, a true gift, beholden to none other than the Divine, the holy Fool, Odin's path ( oddly enough, I feel that this realisation was one of the keys T wanted me to find before making any foray herself in my company, a wiser soul indeed).
Interestingly, the noise that brought me home from the circle of the dead on this night was a ravens call, not an unusual sound here in my world but a rare one at one o'clock in the morning, emanating across the fields of the waking world and not the island.
I sat and watched as the embers of the fire began to fade away with the spirits of the ancestors, the gentle distraction as drops of rain started to hiss amongst the amber glow, my work was done, a meditation on the nights happenings to sort the wheat from the chaff , to bring at least some order and sense to the chaos in my head, then that was me to bed, to open the next chapter in my existence as the hunt resumed its own collections of the dark time.
To close this piece I will include part of a song written by Justin Sullivan of New Model Army, it was written about his Friend and companion Robert Heaton and I feel that it is hugely appropriate and it captures the whole feel of this time of year.
" And I'm numb, I'm numb,
like when you've been driving so fast for so long that it feels as if you're hardly moving at all,
my body rigid with tension and my soul all knotted and wound up like a twisted tree,
the way we used to be, when we sang of passion and justice;
and faith was easy and celebrated in a ritual of swirling smoke,
arms all raised up towards the lights...
And we said what we said but we made what we made
Do you get to float and look down and do all of that?
Tonight would be as good a night as any - you'll see the city alive like a great resting animal
lying in the lea of the hills and the moor-land
and breathing little patterns of fire into the cold dark coming of winter
and I'm warming my back against the heat of a bonfire, like the ones you so loved to build,
and I'm thinking about it all and I'm sorry and I'm not sorry -
our time was made up of confused emotions and little whirlwinds
and all those things we couldn't really talk about but,
most of all, it was sealed in sacred moments like these and then it was gone."
Much love and Blessings of the season to all of you.
Flags,Flax,Fodder and Frigg...