The Turning of the Year
The hills are old and still, made round by the waves of passing time. Apart from winged song and the bleating of sheep, silence fills the sweet air. Now is the time of Her return, and the trees, flowers and creatures of the wild wait, knowing that She will come.
Last time they had seen Her, She was old and bent, Her body twisted like the ancient thorn in the sacred grove where water springs from the earth. Stark and bare, Her face had been knarled like dry bark..
Since then they knew that She had planted a seed of Light on the very day of the greatest darkness, when the sun was at his weakest. They knew that the Light seedling had kindled and grown, and they had rejoiced with Her by pushing their shoots up through the dark earth towards Her, and unfurling their buds like tiny flags, calling for Her return. Now the time was here, and as the great sun raised his shining head above the ancient hills, She came.
Dressed in a robe of the purist white, they say that at least ten thousand snow-drops offered their petals to make the cloth, and caught at the waist by a golden cord, woven from the very rays the sun himself, She came. Her cloak was as green as this land is green, embroidered with the buds and leaves of Her beloved trees.
Her hair, which some say is spun from the palest moon-beams and washed in dew, was crowned by a circlet of flowers. Representing all the colours of the rainbow, it shined from the bright blood red of the tulip, through the orange and brilliant yellow of the daffodil, dandelion and buttercup, to the soft greeny blues and violets of the forget-me-not iris and lilac.
Wherever Her bare feet touched the ground, the grass shined greener. Flowers of every kind blossomed and offered their scent to the gentle breeze. Her colourful maidens danced behind Her, filling the sweet air with song and music. They called to the Earth and the folk who live on and by Her to awake and rejoice.
One by one doors and windows opened, and those who could hear the call came out, happy to join in the revelry and be part of the great cycle. For this was a moment of magic in the turning of the year. Spring, returning from the dark of the winter, and the Hag's cold realm, danced Her way towards the Mother and the fullness of summer.
After She had gone folk returned home, knowing that they had taken part in something very mysterious and very special. In their hearts they felt new hope, new joy and new strength to follow the year round, knowing that before too long they would see Her again. No longer the delicate and beautiful Maiden, She would come to them in splendour as the great and bounteous Mother, providing them with all that they needed to complete the turning year. Through the cold darkness and death of winter they would follow, to the Hag's planting of the new seed.