Trebor I was just getting ready to call you, the guests are starting
to arrive and Grey Wolf and Dad are finishing up the chores.
Jane and the girls are preparing the front room for the gathering, with
Snowdrop’s help, and some of the men are setting up chairs. I need
you to carry the food into the dining room and put it on the table,
please, than you can see if anyone else needs your help.”
“You look fantastic but your belt isn’t quite right. Here let me
show you. There that’s better. I’m told Grandfather put you on ‘The
Shaman’s Path’ but Nana told me you were destined to follow the
ways of the ‘Warrior Clan’. Neither is an easy path to follow and often
they are at war with each other but if it’s your destiny you’ll succeed.”
“The Goddess will make sure of that,” said Snowdrop coming into
“She also has a vested interest in young Prince Triand’s future, but
then, you already know that, don’t you Hope?”
“Yes, I’m afraid my son has a triple destiny to fulfill which is why
you just called him Prince Triand, meaning something to do with
three if I remember any of my Gaelic; but I’m rambling, I tend to do
that when I’m stressed. Please forgive me.”
“Trebor go ahead and take the food out, it’s almost time to start.”
Snowdrop said reaching for Mother. I picked up the huge turkey and
headed for the dining room just as she started crying in earnest.
I stood in the back of the room and listened while Grey Wolf spoke
of how he’d met Autumn Songbird many years ago as the young,
then High Priestess, of The Stone Circle Coven when she’d come to
their village to learn from his father, the Shaman; how she’d married
his brother and became his sister by marriage and soon by blood as
well and how she grew in the knowledge of the Indian ways and
He spoke of her journey through life and how she had always
walked hand in hand with The Goddess and The Great Spirit on a
dual path to Oneness with The Creator(ess) and asked that we honor
her name, not by mourning and grieving, but by remembering her
goodness; knowing we will all see her again shortly. Then he sang “
How Great Thou Are” ( Nana’s favorite hymn in the Souix tongue
and turned the makeshift altar over to High Priestess Snowdrop and
the Coven Sisters.
Explaining to everyone about the short Yule ritual and ‘Crossing
Ceremony’ they were going to conduct in honor of their Sister and
former High Priestess she said,
“Anyone unwilling or unable to open their minds and hearts
to an alternate belief should feel free to go on in the dining room
where everyone will be gathering soon to eat and socialize before the
She stood there motionless for a few minutes, her hands raised
towards the ceiling, waiting for anyone to leave who wanted to then
she rang a small bell and clapped her hands three times. The Sisters
and several other people who were dispersed about the room simultaneously
lit candles, the lights went off, and winter scenes of animals,
people celebrating, and goddesses, interspersed with photos of Nana,
appeared on a sheet hung behind the alter .
The Guardians of the Directions and Elements were welcomed;
Hecate, Crone Goddess of The Crossroads, Death and Regeneration
was asked to join in the circle, and Snowdrop began.
“We gather at the time of Winter Solstice, when the longest night of the year
gives way to the waxing light. The ancients celebrated this time as the rebirth of
the Sun, it was considered a time of hope, promise and new beginnings.”
She spoke a few minutes then someone played the chords of ‘Hark,
The Harold Angels Sing’. The Coven began to sing as words appeared
on the screen for the rest of us to follow.
1. Brothers, Sisters, Come to Sing
Tune: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
2. Silent Night, Solstice Night
3. Share The Light
Tune: “The First Noel”
The screen began displaying photos of Nana again as Snowdrop
returned to the altar:
“Before opening ’The Circle’ my Sisters and I would like to raise Autumn
Songbird’s essence to The Goddess. She is our sister, our friend and our Wise
Woman. She gave freely of her knowledge, love, and healing abilities during
her time in this realm; now, rather than taking a well-deserved rest in the
Summerlands she has chosen to enter another realm beyond ‘the veil’ to teach,
mentor, and help its Peoples in their time of need. She will be sorely missed
here on this side but we rejoice with her on her newest journey.
“Farewell Autumn Songbird;
Somewhere beyond the horizon
We shall meet again.
Somewhere beyond the Rainbow’s end
We shall hold hands and dance.
May you walk with The Goddess always,
as She’ll always walk with you.
Blessed Be our Sister,
Then she turned to her left and picked up a small votive from a
group of candles sitting off to the side as someone began to sing
Circle of Life from ‘The Lion King’
She set the candle down next to the box of ashes and removed a
stone suspended around her neck by a silver cord which she placed in
a basket that set on the alter. She snuffed her candle and stepped down
as the others walked by the altar single file, each placing something
personal in the basket and extinguishing their candles until only the
fireplace and altar candles were illuminating the room.
“There are candles left of the altar for any friend or family member who
wishes to send a prayer up in smoke or leave a message before the ceremonial
candles are extinguished.”
“May the circle be open, but never broken.
May the peace of The Goddess be ever in your heart.
Merry Meet, Merry Part,
and Merry Meet again”
The lights came up and the sisters filed out.
Realizing why Dad had stuck his head in my door earlier to tell
me to bring some small object that was important to me when I came
down stairs, I headed for the alter with the others.
After dinner we gathered in the living room to open presents and
celebrate Christmas. Mr. Adams played Santa and the girls wearing elf
caps passed out gifts. Everyone was in a festive mood and no one but
Dad and I seemed to notice when Grey Wolf and Snowdrop helped
Mother out of the room and upstairs. A few moments later the sisters
of The Stone Circle Coven also disappeared.
By 11:00p.m. things were winding down, some of the people were
leaving and Jane was assigning sleeping arrangements to others. Missy
and the girls were staying in Katie’s room; she and Mr. Adams would
be staying in mine. I went upstairs to get my things and take them
to Grey Wolf ’s room then carried extra blankets and pillows to the
front room for anyone who decided not to drive home tonight before
falling into bed. Grey Wolf came in around midnight.
He placed some herbs in a bowl and lit them then stared out the
window. Exhausted, I turned over and closed my eyes.
Wambeeska, turn out the lamp and come over here,” he said moving
aside for me to join him.
“Tell me; what is it you see?”
I looked, fearing I would see the glowing red eyes of the Scavigger
staring back at me; what I saw, though, were hundreds of small glowing
orbs flickering in the moonlight.
“They’re beautiful! What are they?”
“Not What – Who. They are The Guardians (In-Betweeners with
enhanced powers) commissioned by The Goddess and sent by The
Queen to help reinforce the gateway and guard the boundaries of this
home. Watch closely.
I stood mesmerized by the rhythm of their dance for a while.
Suddenly there was a flash of multi-colored light as one of the globes
began to expand and take on the shape of a huge Centaur. He galloped
into the deeper blackness of the forest with shield raised; brandishing a
golden sword at a pair of red gleaming eyes as others joined, morphing
into animal, human, and every sort of mythical creature imaginable in
battle around him. Then I heard a blood-curdling scream, the Centaur
raised his shield and whistled before rearing on another demon.
I woke up shortly after daybreak, not sure whether last night’s
experience was a dream or really happened.
“Both,” said Grey Wolf as if reading my mind.
“When your spirit self has finished awakening you shall see them
without the help of the vision smoke even when you are awake.”
“Your Grandmother sent a spirit message that you are to begin
your Quest on the Eve of the dark moon; we begin at daybreak four
days hence. You will spend today with Snowdrop and the Witches in
the company of The Crone Goddess. You have much to absorb in a
very short time: may the Spirit of The Great Father be with you.