Struck a pair of stones to start off. Left behind ten men curled like scythes round the fire. Left behind the bracing moon. Passed a pack of ibex, passed the mammoth. Left the carious canines before the rath, left the scapula— freed space for petal dyes, for fixatives. Passed (in a dream) Chauvet. Alsace. Lorraine. Past the scree, past the wolf standing sentinel, her mouth. Struck two stones to hearten the blaze, sped up; pulled from the sack the manganese, the gilt mixture of ochre and ore, the animal fat, the deer bristle. The hare I speared fresh for better reds. Mash of berries in a rolled frond. Looked back—still breathing, still lone, set bone to the bare wall: summoned up the aurochs in a dervish turn, flank hot with lashes, all hot with dying and kneeling down. Then nothing. Then the quiet credit of our kind.
Listen. Can you hear it? There's no mythology that I know of to support this, but, for me, the period between Samhein and Yule is the Time of the Wild Hunt. I have an odd, unearned sympathy for Herne and what he does on his hunt. And as the veils begin to solidify right back up, everywhere I look I see him, his horse that steams and snorts and hooves the Earth, his horn that sends chills, the kind of chills that I think Mary Oliver may have meant when she said: Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine,, his host that blasts the leaves and sends even the foxes and squirrels racing for covered places. Here he comes. Do you have a ready offering?
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."