September 23


Long before sunset the camps have been struck, and the multitude has taken to a hundred trails heading for home. Every lodge was dismantled, stowed in a secret wooded place to be resurrected again. Group after group backed away, brooms in hands, sweeping away their traces. All that remains are the firepits that have likely stood guard for a millennium.

Twilight Women, their lovers and dreamers, linger with us in the Greihound camp, sitting with our splendid boys. Moondog stands at the edge of the Great Circle. His eyes sweep round and round, detecting the spirits of the Ancient Ones going about their lives in the abandoned camps. I think in every throat beats a heart for him. There is nothing left to do but weep, and disappear into the fall crispness of crunching leaves and chattering chipmunks. By ones, and twos, and threes, our family leaves until only Darkling Light and I are left watching Moondog’s scarified map dance in the moonlight. We will not leave him in his moment of madness, bidding farewell forever to the last great ritual of his life. We cannot see what he watches but Darkling Light and I can still hear the drum going and the whistles blowing to the rhythm of a forgotten world.


In just a moon we find ourselves in the Old Granite Range again, transitioning toward the distant edge of reality. Beyond want or need, reason drifts downstream, back to its own purpose, relinquishing our lives to the world of spirits. There, the dust of the Ancient Ones spires, ruts with the Great Stag, and runs with the wild pack. Men sing as the Wolves do, chevy stalk-still with the Lynx, and burrow into our deepest secrets with the Badger. There, the valley fills with the women’s songs, they ascending like the steam of the thermae, rising in the chill of a snow-filled morning, crystallizing in our hearts. Redeemed in the dance of redress, Gobetween and I move unencumbered into the realm of our ancestors and the season of dreams, where the Owl broods, the Eagle hunts, and the Raven picks clean the bones of a lost incarnation. The medicine is good.

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Responses to “September 23”

  1. your words are your magic..

    i for one am glad they have danced and continue to dance the world into existence..

    you are quite right,

    the magic is good.

  2. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson October 1st, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    The medicine was indeed good – I felt the cleansing, the huge breaths of new life and the great comfort gathered from such challenging ceremonies.
    I felt younger when I began reading but now, at the close, I am one of the elders at the edge of the circle who benefits from choice offerings of food and warm deerskin tucked around me.
    The brooms being pulled behind the leaving multitudes, the endeavours to leave no trace -except those carried in the hearts and spirituality of those who gave themselves, who were fully immersed in the rituals.
    The traces within those people is something that you, Verda Smedley, have managed to help us gather a little for ourselves, to find their place in our, your readers’, hearts,