I sat with the Cailleach the other day, deep in the barrow mound, upon the hill, as the sun set on the shortest day. A raven spiralled over the white sky, and cut through the air with its cry…but its mournful sound seemed far off to me, sheltered in the shadows of the stones, and the black earth, the steady drip drip of water onto ancient sacred soil a drum rhythm, a rattle to the slow base of my heart beat in my ears, as I sank deeper and deeper still into the quiet.   

I held out my hands and felt her strong fingers, dry as winter twigs, gnarly knuckled and skin like paper-ash fine and fragile. She held my hands and with her the ancient ones, the sleeping ones stirring from the deep places dreaming, pulling me gently into layers below my awareness, calling me to slow down, and be enwrapped by them, to not rush today seeking magic when wisdom is here, in the quiet, in the dark. 


I sit in the arms of my ancestors, in their stone tomb, aligned to the rising of the solstice sun, and dream of stillness, past and future a distant stream of being, nothing more. My heart lingers on the treasure they have left for me, a tracery of meaning upon the rocks for all those who make their way across the damp British winter hills to find sanctuary. Forgotten and timeless, beyond words and clever things, something in the bone. If we seek a path back to the ways of this land, to the traditions of our blood and soil, it is this…still and patient, weathered and lichen wrapped, places of stone and aching beauty, upon rainswept earth, baring witness for the sun to return, for the sun to sink and take with it our sorrows and our loves and all the year before, and yet again to be still and wait, for another dawn, another sunrise, the in- breath and out-breath, and us breathing with it, endless and eternal as the stones upon the hill.