We followed the flight of the raven in springtime
and caught a drifting feather as it fell from the sky —
And so we learned how to read subtle shifts in the currents of air.
We wove our hair with leaves and lichen
and built summer bonfires with fallen tree branches —
The flickering flames revealed portents of radical change.
We danced at the river’s edge in the autumn rain
and watched the waters rising —
The music of its wild currents sang to us of pending transformation.
We lay on our bellies on the cold winter earth
and sunk our hands in the icy black soil —
The decomposing nutrients whispered messages of metamorphoses to come.
And then one day, our blood began to recall that mountains
were built from stones dropped from the creel* of the Cailleach —
And we could hear her voice rising in the restless earth below.
And so we found our own hidden mountains, and climbed them,
each step higher and harder than the one before.
Our breath was ragged and gasping and our feet dragged in the wet mud.
But when we reached the summit, we raised our arms so high
that our fingers wove among the galaxies of stars.
We lifted our voices and joined in a great and wondrous wail
that echoed through the valleys and across the seas.
Our cry carried along dusty roads and city streets
through forests and across the great plains.
We cried out our healing.
We rejoiced in our pain.
For the time had come
to honour the Cailleach again.
* Creel: A wicker basket used for carrying fish.
The image by Elizabeth Brideson is currently pending approval. You can find more in a post she published here.
For more on the Cailleach, check out Kris Hughes’ post: Day of the Cailleach
And perhaps take a moment to listen to this beautiful prose poem by Kris called Cailleach Rant.