1 A blade of lightening cracks open the sky; it delivers Gaia‟s summons only in Emergencies. I knew it was coming.

The sun is ill again! The traditional meeting place, betwix and between, is crowded with delegates from every tribe, clan species. Mother calls us to order welcoming everyone and blessing the occasion. Then her tone turns dark, she speaks of the elementals who are in a panic and rampaging across the earth. “It has come to my attention that the Southern Ghomes have plans to awaken the Sleepers” she says sternly. A silence like deaths last breath settles on the assembly. We know the seriousness of the charge and Mother‟s wrath. King Goh responds defensively, “They level our mountains let our riches blow in the wind. They are reckless and greedy. We are only trying to protect our home.” “I am well aware of their shortsightedness.” Her icy glare stops his complaints. “They are children.” She turns to King Nixxn. “Did you think I would not hear of the Undine‟s alliance with the Gomes? “ Mother!”, he shouts raising his trident in the air as if to stab his guilt. “They poison us; we have a right to defend ourselves.” “Rights!” she howls “I will tell you your rights. And you will tell me how you plan to control your watery forces?” “ Now King Jinn tell us of your complaints.” “Mother, the rains do not come and the land grows dry. My Salamanders love to dance in the dry timber. The children take too many trees and then not enough. Working with them is difficult because they do not learn. But recently there have been a few who are working with us.” Do you hear my Regents of Water and Earth? The humans are children.” She slaps the arm of her throne chair and the room trembles at her rising storm. “You”, she says looking at Gob and Nixxa, “you are the elders. I hold you accountable.” She settles back into her chair, “ King Peralda, what do you say for the Sylphs?” Everyone knows Peralda is the oldest of all the elementals and Mothers favorite. “ Mother”, he begins. His soft speech scents the air with orange blossoms and expectation stirs in the group. “My sylphs are restless. The humans are trying to harness us as they did the waters and use us as they have the earth. We are however finding new respect and genuine curiosity among them. But if the other kingdoms are uncontrolled there are Sylphs who would enjoy a reampage.”

Traveling and adventuring are the chief occupation of man‟s kind. There is no other way. Not content with changing forms you wanted to feel the full emotional range of life. Because of our great affection. . They are ingrates. Showing you the garden was our delight. “The truth is we cannot endure without the humans. Clapping thunder from her hands Mother silences the rising protest. You obviously are one of our line. blood does not forget. Mother rises and announces “ The Threefold Alliance: Faery. We will drop our grievances and re-engage our cousins or join the list of extinct species. Soon you are shape shifting. lost its thrill. after the plants and animals. it was not always so.” King Nixxa roars. So you can recall. When silence returns she states. once mastered. They will not listen.2 After a long pause. Animal and Human will fail if we do not unite. Gradually your requests became demands and questions like “How does it work” became obsessions. We indulged you like doting grandparents. I have been asked by the Faery Folk to contact you and remind you of our Alliance. Shape shifting. Her displeasure creates a terrible shudder. There are many ancient tales of your escapades as animal headed heroes. Many humans carry our blood. We were a family then. During the long summer in the garden. We gave up immortality for then and now they ignore and ridicule us.” The white sow squeeled “ We die for them and they do not even offer thanks. Animal and Human must work together. This state of estrangement will cease or we will perish. It is hard to understand how this came about. Faery. It is my task to speak of our yesterday.” So it is decreed. The call to adventure grew to an insatiable hunger for extreme emotion and excitability.” “They crossed the River of Forgetfulness. You are not the most beautiful but you are the most curious. Humans are the youngest. “What‟s it like to be a lion? a bird? A porpoise?” Our elders always say.” My kind were the loudest: “You cannot help them. I knew you as Dear One. “Thought is parent to the deed”. Let them go.

But dark forces of status quo enlist human and faery. Many think life‟s vitality appears as color but actually it‟s sound. enmeshed in form and heavy with substance. The Faery Kingdom continues to wait for the time when you will return. Until such time we are a constant and continuous presence in all your adventures.” I warn.” I reason with you like a patient teacher. You are forgetting who you are. In the beginning was the single point of Beingness. Then you quit listening. The ferryman demands his toll. Status Quo resists any growth and all change. I always thought Lucifer was misnamed. “It‟s dangerous. Finally you do not return because you cannot. We call it the Nil. There has been and continuous effort on the part of our dimension to remain connects to you. “You must beware the River of Forgetfulness. The Light Bringer is my father. “You can‟t image the terror and ecstasy of being born and dying. You are a Child of Chaos. I need to start at the beginning. His songs create solar systems and galaxies. You are forgetting me.” You boast. you don‟t have emotions so you‟re envious of mine. I should develop it.” “The hazards compound with each adventure.” “You‟re jealous. Each journey takes you further and further into matter. The Great Consciousness made me with this special ability. He is not so much a color spectrum as a vibration. They recruit allies among unpredictable and impulsive elementals. Our infrequent reunions are strained and contentious. The Light Bringer‟s sound creates form. But I am getting ahead of myself.” You crow.” You promise but important festivals come and go without your presence. The great story says in the beginning the great Nil UTTERED …and darkness was slashed with a gleaming blade named Michael the Radiant. .3 “But I can feel emotions. a singer. You are irritated by with our constant warnings and prohibitions. Each passage costs a precious memory. Michael‟s glowing intensified and magnified as Lucifer. the Light Bearer. It begins as all things must with the Nil point: The Great Consciousness.

It was the first time Mother said “Wake them up! They need to remember. Story tellers call it The Cauldron of Wisdom and Eternal Life. The Lordly Ones. The Cornucopia and in modern stories it‟s called the Holy Grail. The Tuatha Dé Danann are my people. We are giants and travelers. The story I want to tell you now is about the time we made the elixir of transformation. My family. wife of Tigud my children are Utter Darkness and Radiant Dawn. The Faery race. “The Echo” engenders and sustains all vegetation. Others maintain the deep oceans and volcanic fires. animals and human species. The Light Bringer met Mother while singing the Northern Lights into the Southern. ride “the Echo” to the middle world.” It was a dark . Clans. One of our favorite greetings “Meet you at the crossroads. I am daughter of the Great Danu. Like all campers we carry our belongings with us. The Kettle That Never Runs Dry. To start at the beginning…I am Cerridwen. Faeries of all strata refer to this as The Three Utterances. We live off the land by crossing and re-cross the countryside. it is a core mystery. Some stay close to the core. These clans almost never interact with humans. Most of the ancient stories about us concern the cauldron that I carry on my back.” is familiar to all seekers. You can still hear it if you listen for the Music Of The Spheres. Surface world creation is called the Reverberation (or Reverb). This upward migration is called “the Echo”.4 According to tradition. It is a huge black kettle. guards the Green Stone. of which I am one. the first form. Keeper of the Sacred Cauldron. His passion was so intense he fell into Our Mother. They say his penetration is the First Sound. Your storytellers call this locale the Underworld or Middle World and it is a popular destination for adventurers of a certain kind. He was crossing the void when noticed a alluring blueness below him. Mother carried his Divine Fuse in her hot clay until the first creatures of earth came forth. Light Bringer was aroused by Mother and in his excitement he dropped the Emerald (you call the Stone of Destiny). Each faery tribe has its special commitment to the Fuse. Anyway. like mine. We are elders of the faery race. He was overwhelmed with desire. We just call it Cerridwin‟s Cauldron. migrate up the earth‟s strata carrying green embers to the surface. But nearer the surface there are families working with the sub terrestrial recycling operations.

She presents her offering at dawn as the sun slowly bleeds its rosy mist on the enclosure. The processions are long and the rituals are tedious in the preliminary cycles. The first task is to find a place to set up a work site. I gather supplies and coordinate the rituals. gentle yew encircle the perimeter like sentinels. My siblings come each in their appointed phase to add their unique contribution. She walks confidently to the kettle in the middle of the clearing and announces: “I give the gift of paradox. We contrived to brew a magic so powerful one drop would arouse you. summer blossoms and fall seeds. perseverance and clear intent. I volunteer to coordinate the preparations. When the basic structure is complete. Her jet black hair is cut in a short bob a sign of bereavement for her murdered baby. Once the stones are comfortable. As the earth drifts into spring my sister Branwin arrives. My brothers carry oblong granite stones to a circular clearing and plant them carefully. One year and a day are required for the ripening. A secluded hill in the woods is ideal. They will serve as power grid for the transfer. Ingredients must be selected. Each component is gathered at the precise moment of peak vitality. The fate of our existence was suspended by our feeble alliance. The elixir‟s recipe must be designed. My sisters help and many magical animals and of course plants. Harvesting and planetary alignments must also be synchronized with Moon phases. It is a process demanding patience. her incantations are legendary and terrifying. Faeries of all dimensions contributed to the magic. Known through all the worlds. Rare winter roots combine with spring buds. While my country kitchen is being built. A hint of apple blossom wafts from the east announcing the smallest of my sisters. Her mourning is her tribute to the Times of Loss. Even I do not know all the elements. Their leafy canopy protects the interior from uninvited elements. But everyone wants to participate. She leans slightly over the simmering brew as she retrieves a ribbon tucked into her . ancient oaks gather and fill in the spaces creating an outer wall. She wears a simple muslin shift tied at the waist with a black knotted cord. Hospitality is the first intention.” Moving closer she climbs a three step platform beside the kettle. We design the great transubstantiation in secret. The sun and all the earth was frozen in evil.5 at and dangerous age. All magic demands seclusion. Branwin the Solemn is small in stature and modest in all things except her voice.

Come Gifted One Beloved Hero Become Servant Become. Fear and deep grief to drive you. She closes her dark eyes. Share my way-showing song. This is the path to freedom. He brings the courage of happy songs and companionship. As her humming forms itself in words. She begins to hum. Frankly I think they get too much attention. I consider going as a matron but the male human can become aggressive around females and especially a single female. The rich tones awaken the crystals sleeping in the standing stones. My brother Bran the Blessed comes with winter‟s dark days to share his gifts for the kettle. Telling us her magic is complete. They vibrate the enclosure. Her contralto melody mingles with the brew. life/death and so on. Not wanting to attract attention I take the appearance of a crone which is the same as becoming invisible.6 bodice. Their exploits are simply too lengthy and have been told in other places. The process is going well but it‟s clear that I am unable to totally supervise the challenges of the entire operation. I begin to realize I need a helper. bend your mind and release your spirit. light/dark. You who will be transformed These are the gifts I sing for you Curiosity. I include them here for the obvious reason that you cannot have magic without opposites: female/male. She carefully releases the shiny black plume from its satin leash and holding it like a wand she transcribes a circular motion over the simmering pot. Still bent over the steaming pot. Desperation to bow your head. I will not be dealing with the men of my family in this retelling. willfulness and dissatisfaction to lead you. The circle trembles in the silence. Tied to it is a single Raven‟s feather. Branwin stares into the liquefying herbs. One tear passes down her flawless cheek and drops into the awaiting pale yellow fluid. . One radiant ripple at a time. The Tear of Compassion sits like a sapphire on yellow satin before transforming the opaque liquid to aquamarine. Creation holds its breath. the leafy roof and branches moan a whispering accompaniment. Reconnoitering the local village for talent seems a good option. someone to tend the flame while I gather additional ingredients and orchestrate the ongoing rituals.

mane and tail hang free and dust the earth as she passes. A subtle rustling crosses the clearing.7 Observing the villagers. he smells of vomit and stale beer. Crocus peek through winter‟s blanket as I finish my preparations for the next ritual. “Blind man will you work for food?” With high intent. Her generous forelocks. . Now I am forced to chop wood and carry water while listening to a litany of complaints. Around her neck she wears a horse collar made of golden mesh. Rhiannon and the mare are one. Rhiannon‟s chestnut hair shines like burnished copper in the morning sun. Next we hear the foot falls of her white mare approaching the enclosure in a steady rhythmic trot. There is no time to find a new assistant. Astride the white Destrier her wavy tresses cascade over the mare‟s powerful haunches. He is blind. I resolve to restore this creature‟s humanity. Made from periwinkle and mountain streams it drapes itself to her mature form revealing muscled but ample proportions. The white mare‟s platinum radiance frames the queen with a translucent glow. My helper‟s bitterness. I notice one piteous man. Rhiannon always comes on the full moon just before dawn. Perhaps he could be useful. He lives for death‟s blessed release. Her arrival at the ritual site is announced by song birds. The bridle is not used to guide the horse. “I bring the gift of Brotherhood” she says and she takes from within the folds of her gown a tiny dress. loud and despised by his fellows. It is the famous infant‟s layette she wove for her half human son. As she rides into the ring she visually connects with every individual. Her reputation as a weaver is justified by her gown. His blindness is a definite asset. But the harder I work the more he resists. Their whistles float through the morning mist pushing worry and fear into the receding darkness. Dismounting her steed she steps up to the dark cauldron. The well-muscled animal stands 18 hands by human measurement. The neck piece is embellished in emeralds set in silver and accented with rubies and diamonds. Her red mane is exceeded by the beauty and luster of her hazel eyes which are almond shaped and large. self-pity and resentment increase with every passing day. Everything must be ready before the forsythia bloom. He sleeps in the ditches and doorways. His cloths are rags. The only ornament she wears is a bridle encrusted with emeralds and other colored stones.

But I must observe the laws of polarity. Compassion and Forgiveness” to me. But the poor creature is un-teachable.8 proof of her innocence and his royal parentage. Sightless and totally dependent. Long meetings and committee reports are circulated before a plan of action is adopted. Another trip to the village and surrounding area leave me in a dilemma. The dear fool never has the slightest understanding and cannot remember even the simplest instruction for more than a few minutes. The seasons are passing. As the space is consumed by the sun. In desperation I turn to my family for assistance. These gifts however do not improve his disposition. Holding it for all to see she stands at the cauldron‟s rim and whispers her blessing. Hunger gives him unusual strength. “What is your name?” “Gwion.“ “Will you come with me? A well fed Gwion becomes my devoted companion. When the resonance clears. I sit at the crossroads for two days watching villagers come and go. he shows no gratitude or willingness to change. He struggles under his heavy loads. They will help find the perfect applicant but first guidelines for the search must be developed. Now I have two useless apprentices and no candidate for transformation. Rhiannon mounts her mare while silent song birds encircle her head. Only the circling birds are privileged to hear the exact cadence of the gift. With the illumination. . But the wind carries the words “Service. The Faery Queen who birthed a human son placidly leaves the enclosure. as if the core of the earth is moaning with pleasure. The solar disk stretches its height in the enclosure bringing energy and optimism. eager to please and delightfully willing. Even the blind one grows in strength and vitality. It is sometime before those assemble can continue with the work at hand. the time of fulfillment will not be postponed. The only candidates with even the slightest potential are females. comes a low humming sound. As she eases the tiny gown into the brew her radiance expands until it has subsumed the entire space. His defiance and belligerence increase with his recovery. One small adolescent crosses and re crosses carrying wood for his daily wage. I returned to the village determined to find a more suitable recruit.

. These she carries under her arm in a round cylinder made of wild boar hide..” “I haven‟t the time nor the energy to supervise your dealings. wolf and swine. The blind man dominates and bullies the boy. Gwion said. “But Lady he‟s real sick. If there is any variation it will spoil everything. Fortunately the simpleton seems impervious to the insults and snarls of his companion. Harvest time is upon us and the next offering is due. You must keep the fire at exactly the right temperature day and night. When I suggested that his act of kindness would not be returned. she reaches in her vest for a small piece of folded paper which she opens and reads carefully before returning it to her pocket.” I say “you will sit close by the kettle and if you feel even the slightest variation of temperature you must tell Gwion. Gowin the Royal Foot Holder of myth and legend appears in her working clothes. She refers to them as “My Children”. She walks without hesitation to the kettle. As the sun reaches mid heaven. a strong straight line without curve or variation. She has the body of an athlete. Standing in the yellow sun light. “Blind one. She nods approvingly before setting her equipment on the ground beside her. a tightly fitted forest green leather waistcoat over a plain white silk blouse with heavy brocade gaucho pants and tall riding boots to accommodate her active working life. In her other hand she carries a satchel. they . Wolf tails decorate either end of the case and make it unmistakably Gowin‟s property. Bridge builders must be prepared with plans. which holds her surveying weights. My frustration cannot be allowed to spoil the preparation. they are always with her. “Gwion. I must control my temper and continue the work. made of the same materials. Gowin strides into the enclosure. Gwion sat by his pallet feeding him warm tea sweeten with my best honey. “ I resign myself to the cituation.” but invariably he naps and the fire dies. During one wet period the unseeing bully developed a nasty chest cough. flowcharts and diagrams. The carry case is fitted with a buckskin shoulder strap for extra portability. Then she motions to her attendants: male and female pairs of adolescent deer. blueprints.” The helpers are to monitor each other and stagger their sleeping so that the cauldron is never unattended.9 With summer comes the ripening. After placing the tripod to her specifications. They bring forward an ornate silver surveyor‟s tripod. Do you understand?” Smiling and earnest “ Yes Lady yes. Checking the banked embers to assure herself that the temperature is constant and correctly maintained. measures and other instruments.

When she resumes it is in a higher vocal pitch. Summer blazes onward as if there were no end of light. hears the secret desires of creation.10 remove themselves to the edge of the clearing and stand at attention between the supporting stones. . (pause) At this point she stops as if listening to silent confirmation. Gowin and her children gather up her supplies and march out of the circle onto their next assignment. But that is another story. He keeps his eyes closed because that affects his listening. Reaching in her belt pouch she produces two pig‟s feet. as you know. Four holds steady Five makes it all alive Six for truce and serenity Seven happens in heaven Eight is great Nine is on time. he gifts the kettle with a devotion to justice and law.” Then she takes one step to the kettle and gently slides the feet into the liquid. Math. Today. Love is blind and so is Math when it comes to humans. My elder brother. Gowin holds the surveyors rod in her left hand like a scepter and raising her right hand in a sacred blessing she slowly intones: One (pause) singular and true Two (pause) the only way through. Gradually the colors dissipate. She holds then high above her head declaring “Bridges are for Crossing. Having recited the holy lessons she approaches the cauldron. The contents hiss and belch a cloud of shimmering blue particles which hover over the enclosure like a coverlet before resolving into a rainbow of vibrant pastels. The Royal Foot Holder begins her part of the ritual. (long pause) Thee and me will create Three. (pause) Begin Again. Ten. Math thinks of himself as a devoted grandfather.

I suppose I may have been a bit intimidating when the slow witted youth was unusually addled or clumsy. there could be thorns. Strong wings displace the air and hold her above the cauldron.” she says. Opening a small wooden box covered in goat skin. the air responds with a lovers sigh. Her silver coif is consumed in a profusion of white tuffs surrounding her piercing black eyes. She can‟t have me telling other people how she killt you so she‟ll killt me to. Ya know? She can‟t afford to. You may have seen them things she put in the kettle. Lifting the delicacy high above the cauldron she speaks with the authority of a summer storm: “This bloody truffle holds paradox and riddles. we hear her rebellious screams far into the darkening night. She smiles a rueful grin as she holds it over the brew. With a longer scream she widens her circumference and wails her final exaltations. Her costume is a long gown made with deep sleeves and a sweeping train. you may know some a d‟ recipe so you are for sure dead as soon as the cookin is done. As she flies the outer perimeter of the standing stones. Then she raises her arms and becomes a snowy white owl. Her unruly pale hair wiggles free of its platinum coif. With one long wild screech she effortlessly circles the dark pot. We‟re doomed” And so the moons pass. The ensemble is entirely of white feathers.well you just cain‟t. When the Queen of the Night comes it‟s with her usual flair for the dramatic. On her head she wears a coronet made of iridescent oak blooms.11 I should have known the blind man‟s poisonous attitude was as dangerous as the plague. “careful.” “What can we do?” whispers Gwion “I d‟know. The wild creature who murders summer is not secretive. . But I wanted it right. “I gift a passion for silence. His gifts of endurance and perseverance are presented as an eagle‟s feather mounted on a small tin bathing tub. When she moves. I didn‟t notice Gwion”s willingness had turned to fearful subservience. I cain‟t run away cause I cain‟t see. she bends toward the liquid as if to share a confidence. Naturally she is followed by the glorious Lugh.. You cain‟t run cause. One day he whispers to Gwion “ She‟ll never let us out of here alive. When his tin is dipped in the brew it turns the liquid blood red.” Before releasing the red fruit into the cauldron.” Dropping the red tuber it creates a modest splash. she removes a scarlet colored mushroom.

in her left a silver tipped bloody spear. Her gift will complete the process. As you might imagine the assembled representatives anxiously question each other about what they had just seen. A large raven sits on her shoulder. Responsibility and loyalty are demanded of those who assume Sovereignty‟s burdens. On unseen cue they raise their voices is a chorus of howls . Now it is a thick yellow mottled with grays and browns. “Did she say the magic of the spheres?” “I think she said the sun moon stars and planets …there‟s nothing left. White hounds with red tipped ears surround the cauldron. Not approaching the kettle but paying homage none the less. “ You will know the secrets of the stars and planets the sun and moon. The sound vibrates the kettles casings causing the liquid to shimmer and ripple. She is known for her untamable nature and steadfastness. In her right hand she carries a drinking horn inscribed with runes.” When the crowd settles she is gone and darkness covers the circle. . Ants and bees make their way into the space. Even the trees bow to her majesty. The dapple gray mare leads a blond donkey and a pack of white hounds.12 A solemn stillness envelopes the setting. She nuzzles the rim of the cauldron and as she does the kettle sings. The blond ass carries the burdens and blessings of history. comes through the blackened night. The horse wears a circle of roses around her neck. Astrid her aquamarine aurora she descends into the clearing. Her strong voice fills the space. The donkey and dogs defer to her as she addresses the kettle. Her green vapor swing pauses above the bloody kettle. She wears a ram horn helmet. Such magic is reserved for the most advanced of our kind. With the darkness comes The Goddess of the Silver Wheel. who initiated Lugh and mentored his flower faced bride. Creation stands at attention. She is wearing full armor. Only the donkey remains in the clearing as the others ceremonially depart. my glamorous sister Arionhod. Arionhod has set a high standard for the remaining donors. The consecrated space receives the reverence of even the smallest participant . Her breast plate is silver with a pattern of ornate golden knots encircling her large breasts. A dark stripe draws the eye to her strong back. We know the gift of music has been delivered to the brew. In the dawn a parade of horses and hounds enter the clearing.” An audible gasp comes from the assembled audience. We know she has offered to share her sovereignty. She is short legged and her color varies with the seasons.

And so it is that the candidate for transformation was selected by an accident. I open the kitchen door as Gwion puts his blistering thumb in his mouth. “ Guion keep stirring. eat my innards. “The she wolf is on me! She‟ll tear me apart . “She‟s gonna put you in that soup and eat you when she gets back. His thoughts are carried to me on a mischievous wind. The dark hut explodes with light as though the solar system had replaced our kitchen. I stand by the kettle wiping my hands on my apron thinking I will go abroad and gather the last gourds of autumn. I‟ll be back shortly … do not let even one drop splash out of that cauldron. Somehow the liquid sloshed.” I can imagine the blind one waiting till I‟m out of sight. Don‟t ask me how he could have mistaken my devotion and loving intention but he did. the brew completes itself. Returning with a yellow and green gored in hand.” His threats and taunts must have rattled the foolish lad causing him to stumble against the heavy cauldron. I was angry and outraged.13 The donkey circles the cauldron three times.” The image flashed in his consciousness as I felt soft fur brush between my bare ankles. . My family sends word that a suitable candidate had been found. I see the cotton tail dart across the clearing in a lightening flash pattern. One fiery drop separated itself from the steaming brew and flew straight for the outstretched hand of the hapless attendant. Silver electrical currents travel up his body and crown his head. Still standing in the doorway. She looks like a golden lance singing across the cauldron. These are the structures of matter. landing on his thumb. Gwion. This is it for us boyo. As the maple trees turn scarlet. I thought for a moment his curiosity had finally surfaced and he had deliberately tasted the forbidden mixture. We all know she is honoring time. Blue. saw me as his executioner. scalding his pink flesh with a small white circle. Jinny jumps the kettle as if it were a thick hedge. space and movement. I change to a blood hound the better to follow the stupid boy. Creation sings its ancient melody and the earth tips and rights itself. Suddenly she jumps from an almost standing position to twice her height. The transformation has begun. “Rabbit who are you!” I bay.. The powerful back reaches forward while the strong hind legs push free of the earth. But then I saw the terror growing in his face. white and orange solar flares ignite the transfixed village slow wit. I must run …Run fast like a jack rabbit. red.

precede the final flight of death “Song bird who are you?” I am Air’s lover A Whistler among enchanted apple blossoms. . My staccato calls. I know the gifts found it a dream. Enraged by his cleverness my otter form falls away as I lift up on the mighty wings of an eagle. Down drafts are my gusty playmates. As he disappears in the water. I am keeper of the Inspiration that lifts the daring and the foolish to the top limb I am your last guest at expiration. I am the unsung song of your desire. I sleep with the dead. The earth and I are one. A small wren lifts from my grasp and flies into a passing cloud. My Otter fist grabs his fat underside as the rainbow trout hooks the water‟s surface. I lure and elude the hungry hunter Eat and be eaten is the law of this undertow. My hound is confounded and I stop short of the water to decide my next move. My otter‟s keen vision easily sorts the idiot from the other fish. His scales slide through my claws like silver coins. The mystery of flashing fin is buoyant. I see his powerful hind feet congeal into a trout‟s tail fin. “Fish who are you?” A passing school of minnow brings his thoughts to my attention. His heart is bursting with terror. Instinct drives the rabbit to the edge of a wide stream. I am a swimmer with the eternal current. I need no ballast. I am a Rainbow in the deepest deep. In desperation he jumps. As the tides pull so I follow the path of ease n flow. I leave the hound‟s body and take on the shape of a swimmer. The trout is no match for my hunter.14 I am birthed and cradled by the earth I am the smell of sweet clover and new grass I am brown as a disused county road I am lucky feet and thick caressing fur I smell the hot breath of death. Almost on him I bark my rage.

Then the fiddles came out and we danced with the moon until she retired.” I must have recited the day‟s adventure a dozen and one times. Did he die of fright? Looking down I see the small singer is no more. Each time the audience drooled with attention. Also my head aches and morning sickness make me weak as a kitten and cross as a bag of cats. He seemed to collapse while standing.” He sobs in his sleep. slap their thighs and stomp their feet in delight. I am his vessel of transformation. They are all smiles and embraces. Songs. Instead a pellet no bigger than a grain of rice falls from beneath me. “You are the only one to embody all three members of the Sacred Alliance: faery. Mother is giddy with pride. don„t leave out a single detail. I am pregnant. I land on the trashing plain. . Congratulating the clever lad. I fear he will die of grief. The instinct to survive controls his every move. “Tell us what it was like.15 I am above him and have only to drop my talons to seize him. Having eaten the wheat that was the boy I find myself gestating a magical child. By mid morning I had eaten it all. The blind man was also waiting. I close my strong claw over the small fluttering frame. Gaia showers gifts on all those who contributed to this pregnancy. “My friend. After some thought. I transform myself into a hungry red hen. Finding him in the mound of seeds is impossible. He moves through the day like a dead man. He was pensive and silent as he heard the fate of his companion. stories and dances are given and every meal is a feast.” It was a day of celebration. Perhaps it is my maternity or perhaps I am genuinely moved by his contrition. Well done daughter. His midsection folded like a napkin after a meal. he dives for the earth too late. It lands on a mound of winnowed wheat below. human and animal in one being. I feel sorry for him. She gifted my family with Fiddle and Pipe. The blind man is desolate in his loss. For an instant I feel his panic then nothing. He moaned tearlessly “He was my friend”. I eat wheat for the rest of that day and all through the passage of the moon. My breasts are swelling. The man was beyond consolation.” Celebrations and gatherings are announced. Amid all the happiness there is one small disconcerting element. And at the end they would shout. When I returned to my country kitchen my family is waiting. I was mean to him. “Well done Cerridwin!” and “You did your part with great skill. I have to confess I did not try very hard to relieve his distress.

” I wash his eyes with morning dew and blow the first airs of spring into his blood “Arise Merlin. He knows the steps and patiently waits to assure my safe return.16 The blind man is attentive to my needs. Looking into the sapphire sky he shouts “I can see!” In a few days it will be apparent that sight is not his only restoration. His physical strength is increasing and soon he will know almost as much herbal lore as one of my kind. “I cannot do that Merl.” He stands. “You are my baby‟s true friend Merl and I will bless you. My labor is short and the birthing swift but my strength is spent. Merlin wraps the small sweetling in lamb‟s wool and places him at my . When leg cramps come I teach him how to massages the pain away. I will get you there. “He won‟t be a baby for long Merl and then he will need a true friend. unsure of his balance. I come to rely on his companionship. Soon my work here will be finished and I must rejoin my family. Finally the laying in time is with me. He spreads his arms as if embracing the surrounding forest. You just steer me.” He pleads. I am only going to the outhouse becomes please help me to the outhouse. After several weeks I ask “what is your name?” “Merl” he replies with little interest. Merlin is growing younger. ” His voice is soft with concern. I take his arm to steady him. He knows the paths around our compound by counting his steps. But I was hoping I could enlist your help with the baby for when I‟m gone. “Here lady. True Friend. After a dizzy spell in the yard he insists on accompanying me with even the most mundane errands.” He stands before me now and the blind drunk from the crossroads is a vague memory. I am teachin‟ em”. Gwion would plead. He brings me cool water for my face and raspberry leaf tea to sooth my distress.” Staggering. As the baby grows inside me I become more dependent on him.” “I‟m not much for babies…” he stammers.” he says “lean on me. “Don‟t move ana thin please lady”. Drawing him to me I whisper “You will share my legacy for the love of creation. His face is flushed with excitement and wonder. The blind man‟ll fall on it.” “ Yes Lady. he backs away. “What will you do when the baby is born Merl ? “ “Oh Lady let me stay with you. Kneel. My fatigue overwhelms me during my daily chores.

17 breast. “Accept my magical child on your endless tides. “Merlin you must find a crane of the largest size and bring his skin to me. Before you go. “What a beautiful brow” I mumble.” .” We worked furiously preparing the small reed boat and crane skin pouch. Taliasan must start his adventuring with spring‟s full moon. Then Merlin and I placed him in the boat. When the moon widens her smile I take my needle and sew the infant into the crane skin pocket. Sail him safely through high seas of adventuring. Float him gently through your deep unknown. I hold his beauty knowing that soon he must begin his quest. Your destiny is bound to his.” Merlin and I watch as the basket bobs toward the horizon. Standing on the shore I sing to my brother Dillon. And when he is done drift him to my waiting arms in Avalon. “Merlin follow but keep your distance until the time is right. And so as our tradition dictates the first words from the mother‟s mouth following the birth shell be the baby‟s name: Taliasan. gather reeds so that I may build a currah.

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