September 3


It is good to be back and so completely surrounded by my clan, the clowns, Moondog, Darkling Light, and the Twilight Women. The immense gathering has gained momentum; thousands are officially camped on the Great Circle for the next month. And thousands more will come in soon. I have never felt such consuming joy and anticipation. It is especially acute with the Old Ones who are spending their days scrutinizing the preparations and their evenings telling jaw dropping stories of the Ancient Ones surviving glacial ice.

The late summer stillness is enthralling. The plant people are wrapping up their seasonal responsibilities of growth, flower, fruit, and seed. Unseen roots are plump beneath the soil and almost ready for harvest. The fish have spawned. The four legged creatures have weaned their babies and are fattening up for a long winter. Soon the hunters will purify their weapons and their hearts, make prayers with the animals, and join together with them in a great hunt. Out in the wild places many are still gathering in the last of the bounty that will be put up for the season of dreams and shared together during our unprecedented ritual. It is glorious. Warm days give way to the chilly nights that prompt wondrous tales told around crackling fires before we drift off to delicious sleep wrapped in the arms of one or two.


Every Death Clan has a medicine man that is simply called a Dreamer and every Dreamer is bound to a Twilight Woman. Together, they are regarded as conjoined twins, or Dreaming Twins. They are the ones who open the Veil to the Dreamtime and sustain the energetic bubble in which a given ritual takes place. I am the Twilight Woman for the Greihound and I am bound to Longbow even though I was snatched from the other world by Moondog and his extraordinary dreamloop. Twilight Women form their own clan with Darkling Light, the embodiment of Dreaming Twins within the manifestation of a single soul. Darkling Light is one of the most uniquely talented and wholly anomalous individuals I have ever met. Neither young nor beautiful Darkling Light’s power is an all-consuming influence on each and every one of us.

The Twilight Women, while thought of as the rogues of Clan Female, hold a vital role in the forthcoming event. They bridge the irreconcilable differences between the moon and the sun. Every eighteen and half years the sun and moon are in agreement on equinox and it is said that occurs only because of the Twilight Women.

The Badger woman, Tangle Root, had been sprung from a Blackthorn mother. Her voice is pleasantly soft and husky. She has both the strength and confidence of her mother’s kin, and is astute at affecting magic in her clan’s favor, a talent highly complementary to Badger medicine. Tangle Root’s lover is the Sacred Clown called Hides-in-Holes. His name associated with a Badger female is quite humorous to me. When I first met Hides-in-Holes he appeared as a tall, lanky cave dweller that had black skin and smoked a pipe. He gave Moondog and me a bundle of predator-prey love medicine.

Currant blood courses through the veins of the Owl clan woman, Little Mouse. It is an uncanny mix. She is from the Fens and Marshy Meadows, steeped in shifting realities and Bardic mania. Currant medicine belongs to realm of women’s mysteries and is well guarded; best known is their gift for divining outcomes. I have no doubt that she has foreseen all of the events that preceded my standing with her now. Old Man Beard Lichen is lover to Little Mouse. He is unbelievably handsome when not transmuted to a grizzly old creature with hair and a beard made of lichen.

Raven-That-Sings-at-Night struggles to embrace me, continuing to suffer the loss of Snow Rose, necessary for me to exist in her world. I silently acknowledge her pain and her triumphant ability to accept me. She was born to a Linden mother, a revered Spirit Handler that wielded lightning medicine. It is said that the bark of a lightning struck linden is ritually used to cure injuries taken from predators. I find it curious that Raven-That-Sings-at-Night was born for Clan Raven as their Twilight Woman. Her lover is the graceful, effeminate creature called Rosebay. Out of form Rosebay is exceedingly masculine and apparently lover enough for both Snow Rose and Raven-That-Sings-at-Night, epitomizing the eroticism shared by such a trio. The loss of Snow Rose is still mourned by them both. Raven-That-Sings-at-Night is from the Fens and Marshy Meadows.

So is Sky Blue Fire, the Twilight Woman for the Wolf clan. She had been born to an Elm mother who is revered for handling the secrets of elm. Sky Blue Fire is a master at balancing strength and endurance with compassion. She makes a magnificent Alpha Female for the Dreamer of Clan Wolf.  But her lover is Fire Fox. I first met Fire Fox during a visit with Burnt Knife’s sister, Moon Girl. He appeared to me as an eccentric house spirit that sported a stout belly, short legs, and a big head. When not performing, Fire Fox’s huge roundness is replaced by tight, well-defined muscles. The peculiarly enormous head I first saw had been entirely conjured.

The Lynx woman, called Splashing Star Rise, had come from Maple blood. Maple is handled equally by women as love medicine and by men as hunting magic. It has been given to every society of Clan Male for instruments, smoke, prayer bundles, and tattooing. Splashing Star Rise is in fact amazingly tattooed. Her lover is a Sacred Clown called Leaps-in-Light who, when under the spell of his own magic leads people astray, steals tokens of encounters, and conjures the most embarrassing love medicine while being painted entirely red and donning decrepit red buckskins, that frankly, stink.  He is utterly charming, soft spoken and handsome otherwise. And he smells divine.

The Eagle woman is a hot blooded, fiery Hazelnut creature with streaming red hair and fierce green eyes. Every clan and society is dependent on the Hazelnut women who hold their secrets and their power close. I have often wondered how her mother had slipped from the passionate embrace of the Bear clan and into the talons of the Eagle. Whatever the circumstances, I stand amidst the fruit. I am glad her dreaming blood binds her to me as tightly as she is bound to the Eagle. Hazelnut women are notorious for casting spells and peering uninvited into peoples’ lives. They are also venerated for their wisdom and love; no doubt attributes awarded them by the Salmon clan with which they are in cahoots. She is called Laughing Moon. Burning Grass, a giant who paints up in black and sings with basalt columns, is Laughing Moon’s lover and one of the dearest people I know.

I think I have nearly completed the introductions to my immediate family. We must seem a family of misfits; a coven of rogues, clowns, and Death Clan cast aways. We wear our spirits on the outside, like a second skin made of fog. We are the surface between reflection and your eyes.

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Responses to “September 3”

  1. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson September 4th, 2013 - 11:49 am

    This chapter tells me of so many characters, each of them seemingly quite unique, hailing from different tribes, bringing a variety of skills – so many ‘in one sitting’ that I don’t think I absorbed more than a feeling – a feeling of how it might feel, look, smell to be amongst those people at that time.
    The second paragraph, which speaks so eloquently of all the tasks encumbent upon peoples living with, and by, the natural world around them – yet not just ‘around them’ – it IS them and without this planting, reaping, hunting and gathering they are lost.

    • The characters to which you refer were more broadly explored in Ancestral Airs. But because they hold such an important role in the upcoming ceremony I felt compelled to re-introduce them. The hunting and gathering scene in this chapter helps to pin the time of year in which the story is evolving.

      And yes, the natural world WAS their identity not something that simply surrounded them. The Mesolithic era designates the transition between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic (both explored in Sacred First Foods). The influence of the Neolithic came to the Continent sooner than it did to the UK. In Ancestral Airs and Letters early Neolithic people have arrived but the Upper Paleolithic hunter gatherer groups are still there, trying to sustain their older culture while seeing clearly that they will ultimately fail. And while I do my best to portray these hunter gatherers with the genius and sensitivity that the evidence suggests, it is a sad and tragic story.