Cold was the Yuletide morning as we went with the priestess to the ring of stones, to the womb of our beloved Earth. Not for long she lay there on her bracken bed, and a change there was in the clouds that stood on the hills. The lips of her cunt were parting and a shaft of light reached out of the Earth. Slowly, in the rhythm of the ages, she brought the Little One out of her beloved body. Strong grew the light as he stood on the hills and cast merry eyes on the sparkling frost.
And when the forty days had passed and the Sun was come of age we met again in the Rite of Imbolg, and Idris was priest of the Sun and Rhona priestess of our mother Earth. And she took him to an area of cultivated ground that stretched before us in brown ridges and white snowy hollows, in bare stones and frozen soil, and she said to him:
As thou, O Pahh, be the son of Pahh,
And my children hunger at my breast,
Dost thou make these stones to be bread?>
And he said to her:>
Even as I love thee, Mabh, for thee and all
thy children shall these stones yield thee roots
and golden corn and sweet fruits in all abundance.
And our hearts swelled in awe and a song was on our lips, a song to our beloved Earth:
Proud, the Sun adore thee,
Fiery, fierce and free;
Born to stride in glory,
Blazing gold for thee.
Wax more strong, more mighty,
Gleam the spear he'll wield;
Wrought that he delight thee,
Forest, fen and field.>
Father of thy forest,
Wide his seed is sown,
E'er for thee, O Goddess,
Thee, and all thine own.
Now the maiden Earth grew wistful in her longing and the May scents flowed about her, and here was her priestess Merian, green-clad and beautiful and dancing in the ring of stones; dancing... dancing... where the sacred cunt of the fecund Earth was calling her maytide love; and far and far she cast her gown of green as, naked as a flower before the wind she danced:
By fiery Sun and wind and rain and Earth,
By the plains and the greenwood growing,
By valley cool and by rock and pool,
And by river swiftly flowing,
By cloud and sky and night and day she bound,
And her eyes all aglow and alluring.
By ling and furze ... Mighty Brirn was hers!
And her love near past enduring .....
And naked he came over the Maytide grass with the glint of the Sun on his horns and all the lust of the forest in his loins. And there in the grass, in the wind and the clover, was the Lord of the Forest wedded to the Queen of the May. We danced around in the pulsing rhythm, that her womb bear a Sun anew, and we threw flowers in her lap to adorn her blessed nakedness, and leaves for her lusty swain.>
And then came Midsummer with the grasses all aflower and the Scorpion's tail hanging low in the southern sky. And here is the Lord of the greenwood, Horned God of all the forest, Lord of the moors and the wild roaming wind. Summers beyond counting he bore on his brow and his loins sowed the seeds of unnumbered Springs. Hawthorn scents... And midnight magic... The lilt of the wild pipe, the rhythm of our Green Lady Earth, and the Sun in all his summer glory!>
And so to Harvest in the warm days of September, and here is our priestess Rhona, her gown as green as the summer forest and her breasts hanging lovely in their nakedness and her arms full of apples, all coloured green and red. And in the evening, in sacred communion we went in alone to her in the field beneath the harvest Moon, into her bower made of willow wood and bound about with bracken and with green things and scented of the wild woodland mosses. Full-breasted Earth-mother she was and she sang to us of summer evenings and warm skies, and her hands were gentle and her eyes were full of mysteries, sparkling, darkly, in the soft light of her lamp as her hands stroked her love and her scents flowed so warmly about her in that green haven of the night.
But the cold winds came in November and 'twere a pity then to see the gods; and in the rain we met them by the cold November stones:
Sad now thou lookest, O Queen of my heart.
Sad now I see thee; more sad do we part.
Gay was thy face when the wood sorrel shone,
Garlanded then with the blooms that are gone .....>
Wan, hollow-breasted, sweet waif of the storm,
Would I could aid thee, but hope lies forlorn.
Spent all thy laughter and sped all my cheer,
Spilt where thou die'st in the pit of the year .....>
Bare-boned thou liest. What yet might'st thou bring?
Bent-backed in secret: the necklace of Spring!
Call I thy love-name, O Queen, blessed Earth.
Cold though thou lie'st yet, sweet thou'lt give birth.
The days darkened until the night before Yule when the old Sun trod his last on the low wintry way behind the naked boughs. A weariness was come upon the priestess, and sweet she lay in her earth-coloured bed. One leant over and spoke to her, "Blessed be the fruit of thy womb, beloved Earth," and another spoke to her, "Blessed be the child that you bear, dear Mabh," and many were the words that bore our love ere we kissed those holy lips. And we sang her the Holy Night:
Lovely Queen; holy Queen;
Lies she still, her cloak of green,
Sequinned all over with frost sparkling bright,
Peaceful and vast 'neath the silver starlight.
Stirs the child in her womb;
Stirs in the deep of her womb.
And next day she brought the Little One forth, and Idris was naked in the bed before her. "Pahh, I name thee, O my Little One," she said, and she put the red robe about him, a light in his hand and a mother's blessing in his heart:
Straight willed shall be thy part;
Fell, deft shall be thy hand,
O heat of all my heart!
O light of all my land!
And as we told of the deeds we would accomplish in the coming year and threw our fragments of bark upon the flames, we spoke as one voice together:
Let my will grow strong as the fiery King
Who shall stride in the blue roads above!
Let my heart belong where our friends shall spring
To the work of our Earth-mother's love!