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Winter Solstice

Clad in a warm shift, woven from the brown wool of her favourite sheep, she calmly walks towards the cliff face. Flurries of white snow settle on her arms. Light brisk brush strokes by her hand send white specks flying away. Again, her eye seeks out the cave entrance amongst the newly cleared, yet still tangled, undergrowth. Above the darkness of the chasm, she gazes at the whiteness of the ball shaped quartz stones. In the moonshine their smooth spherical surfaces glow, reflected light spilling onto the surrounding leatherlike holly leaves with their deep red berries. Slowly, deliberately, she reaches up and removes the central ball. Her youngest companion, on the right, likewise stretches and loosens the second rock, then the other solid sphere, with ease, releases into the hand of the third companion. The quartz now safely held against their bodies the three women move back to join three menfolk.

Together now, the crone heads the small procession at a steady pace, slightly uphill, treading the familiar route between the entrance stones, bowing slightly to avoid the long low stone lintel. They move towards the inner cave. Behind her follows the elder, behind them, the mother, the father and behind them the maiden and youth. Each male carries a lantern, within, bright tallow candles flickering cream light. Long shadows dance on great blocks of grey stone as they pass along the narrow passageway.

Arriving at the furthest depths of the cave they enter a central chamber, the womb of the mound, and claim their traditional places. The crone stoops and enters the right hand recess, nodding in recognition of ancestral wisdom in the patterns etched into flat rock ceiling and walls. The maiden enters the recess on the left, opposite her grandmother, and in the middle space the mother shakes her arms and legs to ease any tensions, rubs her hands together and snuggles into a comfortable position. The tri-spiral of life is carved on the wall next to her, at eye level.

The lanterns, placed on the sandy floor, glow low, enfusing the chamber in subtle warmth. The three men settle their backs against large stones standing between each recess. The youth shudders then tries to suppress a grin at his grandfather's solemn stare. But he can not hold back his mouth twitch and he releases the smile across his face. The elder's eyes twinkle in response, acknowledge the youthful play. A shared understanding passes as a skein of spider's web linking their hearts. Yet the moment passes and they return to keeping watch.

Beside each woman a boney dome, a skull, sits on the earth. They pick up and cradle these skulls in gentle hands, the remains of an honoured family member, and place within that skull the crystal quartz ball removed from the entrance.

Crevices conceal magical tokens and as eyes accustom to the gloom, niches appear where ancestral gifts lurk. There are deep spaces within this chamber where ancient secrets are sometimes shared and often hidden.

The crone removes a bronze bob from the folds of her shift. She lightly holds it, that it may dangle freely from a twisted thread. She is the oracle but she will be guided by the pendulum as it foretells the coming seasons. The pendulum now starts to spiral in her hand, swinging in expanding contracting circles. She feels it whirl tracing tight rings around the dome of quartz. It is as if the skull breaths; inhale, expand, exhale, contract. Blue shimmering lights move amongst the six humans and bent silent figures gather. On the darkest day the old ones of the shadows reveal their mysteries. There will be new births and new beginnings. The breath of returning life is confirmed and the circle of life is drawn.

Raising the moving pendulum higher above the crown of the skull causes a change of direction. She sits perfectly still, letting the bob reveal the flow of life. Rocking now, the brass weight swings north to south, back and forth, back and forth. After many moments, in another transition movement, it traces an arc north to east, hesitates, then repeatedly travels east to west, like waves on the sea shore, advancing, retreating. The pattern the pendulum traces is a cross creating four segments within a circle. As the heart beats blood through four chambers so the movement records the four chambers of this layer of energy. The blood of returning life is confirmed and the cross within the circle of life is drawn.

The youth shuffles his feet as his own blood tingles like needles in his toes. Momentarily the tension holds and the elder grandfather releases a long low sigh. Appearing from within the dark black corners three red lights weave around them. The watchers relax. Breath and blood flow entrain with the energy of the three skulls. She feels their connection and raises the pendulum again, a little further from her skull.

No pause, no boundary to the continuous rhythm, yet another change of direction arises above the smooth rounded surface. The flows now resonate with the cross quarters aligning with the sun's rise and set at the longest and shortest days of the year's cycle. The watchers expectations grow, as they know they were now tuning into the nearest star and ultimately the universe. She feels the pendulum in her hand and she sees the crystal skull bright and clear and she knows the time is near. The souls returning to life are confirmed and the cross within the circle drawn.

Knowing that all is well, that the healing is certain, she senses a calm smile spread from her outwards, amongst her beloved men and women relations. The pendulum swing remains steady, straight and steadfast. Distance sounds swim into the chamber. Outside the gathered friends are cheering as the red tinged sky deepens and a shining golden globe, the sun, rises into the horizon notch.

Inside the innermost chamber the pendulum swings, like a dance step, back and forth, back and forth, across the rounded dome of the skull, aligning with that returning cosmic ball on the distant hill. Gradually a snake of red light beams up the passageway and enters the chamber, crossing the sandy floor. The shaft of light passes between the youth and maiden, the crone and elder. It moves to where the father sits outside the recess and where the mother sits within, their faces bright, coloured a honey warmth.

The silence maintained by these six humans ceases and a hum chant rises from their bellies, sending pulsing waves of energy reverberating around the chamber's stones. For many minutes the cavity resonates and expands the sound, the very cells of their bodies in tune with the sun, their voices coursing the energy through the accumulating layers of the mound and spreading health and heart breath across the land. The healing of all beings is confirmed and the flower of life is drawn.

In natural time the red light shaft recedes down the entrance passage. The pendulum's swing returns to the spiralling circle heartbeat, then the breathing subsides into the spiralling single circle again. The crone raises her finger to the bronze bob, stops it, replaces it in the woven bag, thanks the skull, covers that, and realises she is stiff from sitting so long.

Winter Sunrise

christmas sunrise

Quit your curtained room,
to sunrise promise.
Trees, skeletal, guard your way,
to wonderful adventure,
on the darkest day.
 

Winter

Hey-up now, light the fire,

Winter’s cold is piling higher.

Around the door and the window frame

Freezing our bones is Jack Frost’s game.

Put on a thick and warming cover.

Brew us some stew and soup for supper.

Together we’ll sit by the red coal ember

And Summer’s warmth we’ll remember.

Hey-up! There’ll be time to play

When we’ve warmed the house

And fed the needs, both home and away,

Of those that are hungry in Winter’s day.

 

Time of Bleakness...
We hug.
We wish each other joy.
Remembering our blessings,
watching our innocent infant boy.
 
Look forward, hopefully journey,
escape the shortest night.
Your fears are hidden,
but do not forget my love,
the rose of red and white.
 
Remember best,
as we flee west,
toward the setting sun,
the days of peace,
not your terror, not your fright.

 

Rejoice! Gaudete!

We open the door to our hearts today

and welcome in the warmth and light,

we wrap ourselves in the clear bright

beams raining down from the old currant bun.

We are content in a simple childish pun,

the Son of God,

the God of the Sun.

 

Meanwhile...

Lone pigeon's rhythmic call
echoes across the roof tops.
Bright dawn light fills the vacant air.
Washed blue sky pools amongst ivory clouds
and sun's veiled frosty ball.

Twitching, a twig indicates
where a bird is beak cleaning
after a meal of seeds and worms.
Necessary to keep well fed in December
good meals it celebrates.

Two young crows on cold chimney sit
watching, viewing their demesne.
Others are circling the church spire
planning their new homes,
discussing twigs and fit.

Page last updated: 24th Oct 2021