The clearing in the wood had stood silent all day. Fallen snow deadened any sound there might have been. The sun set in fiery glory, the darkness chasing it away. The temperature dropped and the pool froze. An expectant quietness hung over the rest of the wood and the Longest Night had begun.As the world of Men slept, oblivious to the Wild Wood, the creatures of the land stirred, to follow a tradition as old as time and as hidden as secrets.
The darkness shrouded them as they journeyed from holes and setts, from thickets and fields. The moon broke the horizon and begun her journey across the sky, full and silvered she rose, as the animals travelled.
The fir tree was older than the height would suggest, but still too young to be anything but one of the shortest in the wood. The pool hid an ancient spring that had sustained the woodland creatures for centuries. The tree was a newcomer but the two were linked, the Fir replacing the Holly that once stood there. Under the moon the ice on the Fir sparkled and shone, transforming the tree. The magic was happening, for every few years something took place in this clearing.They gathered, the Wildwood creatures. The deer stalking proudly through the cold of the snow, the fox padding silently, his thick fur warming him as the cold nipped his paws. The Hare hopped, paused, sniffed and hopped again. Others would come, but would not show themselves. Even so, still they were waiting.
The moon cleared the surrounding trees and slowly moved towards the fir. Then they came, the Ancient Ones, the Horse, dappled in moonlight and the red Pony. The two stepping side by side, matching strides. long manes wild, long tails reflecting the moonlight. Ears twitching.. Each silent step echoed out a memory.At the very moment of their arrival the moon settled fully over the tree, her light reflected in the pool below where the creatures had gathered. The Circle was formed, of Tree and Moon and Wildwood. The alignment was complete.
Each of them brought their own purpose that night. Under the full moon an ancient pact was renewed. There were no words, for this was a deeper communion. The Deer promised to keep the Secrets of the Wildwood. The Fox promised to be ever wily and wild, testing boundaries. The Hare promised to be fleet and hidden and watchful of the open land…and the Horse and the Pony? They brought the promise of their alliance with Humankind. For buried deep in the minds of Men was the memory of a time when they lived as one with their surroundings. The memory stirred by echoes of a past that carved horses in the chalk and formed their shapes in clay. The Pony and the Horse’s promise was that of Remembrance. Each time a rider felt the joy of freedom and partnership, the memory would be renewed. Just a little. Each time a child leaned into a pony and breathed the soft scent of mane, they would feel the connection. Each lesson the Horses taught would be a reminder of Partnership.That night, once again, the horses agreed to be the Memory, and every step they took they carried the memories of love from the horses who had gone before, and those who would follow.
The moment passed, the creatures left the clearing, the moon moved on. The Sun would rise, celebrating the Renewal of Life and signifying longer days and better times ahead. Under it’s first beams those humans who remembered the old ways would dance and sing, play flute and drum to welcome the rising Sun, in turn renewing their own vows to the Land. But hidden in the darkness of the Longest Night, the Pact had once again been observed, the ancient magic called up and brought into focus. Memory would return, it would take time, but it would return.
Copyright SDB 2020. Unicorn Image from Peakpx. Other images by Author
Something a bit different this time. Wishing all readers a very Blessed Yule. May the returning light bring peace and hope, and a renewal of your own connections. It’s been another year of uncertainty, with more of the same to come by the looks of things. But while we can make our connections to those around us by whatever means we can, be that face to face or electronic, then we have community. No one is alone. Blessed Be.