Back at the turning of the sun, the day from whence there was more light than dark each day, he had asked for her. Will she? Won’t she? It had been a season of choice … not really, she had known as soon as she saw him that she would go. But first he must catch her!
Running, running, breathless, feet and heart pounding together, there was no stopping her.
She glanced back. He was still in sight. His friends had slackened off, were falling behind. It mattered not, she was not for them.
She had waited from the harvest time, when the king had been ploughed into the land to give his goodness into the field. For the next six months she would be alone. It was always so. She held the land in trust, nourishing it, keeping it through the white snows of winter, the deep, hard frosts, the time which showed which would live and which would die. Until the spring came.
With the white bells pushing their heads up on their green necks through the frozen snow came the first stirrings. The men would come, pick the snowdrops, give them to their loves as promise for the seasons to come. And who would leave some on her doorstep?
She had felt his step. It did not shake the Earth but stroked it, making her frozen skin tremble, shuddering back into life. She waited, feeling her heartbeats quicken.
On the nights when darkness equalled light, for the three nights when the sun stood still hovering between winter and spring, he came and left the snowdrops on her doorstep. Over the coming weeks he had brought flowers as they rose out of the Earth, daffy down dillies, the black hellebores of Ostara, the scented May of the Owl W, oman, and now the sweet June roses, her roses. There was blood on their stems, his blood from the thorns as he had picked them; he was willing to give of his blood.
And so the time came for the sun to stand still in the sky again.
The bees had been working; golden bags of pollen hanging from their legs, transforming it into the sweet golden liquid. And she had brewed again, making the honey-wine. Not for this year though, the brew she had put away into its bottles only yesterday was not for him but for his successor, next year.
Now was the time of the chase.
The moon would come full tonight. The lady of the moon would call her hounds and set them on the scent, man-scent, to hunt … and she herself was lady of the moon.
She laughed. He was like all of them, thinking he was in control, that he would chase her until she dropped, then carry her home, to ravish her with love while they sipped her honey brew. She laughed again. Such arrogance and folly! It was she who led the chase, she who ran. He must catch her. She thought he was able for the job.
Cock Robin sang his nightly carol, singing down the setting of the sun. Robin is the winter bird, the midwinter king. Tonight he would catch her, catch the wren, Jenny Wren, the midsummer bird, the one who holds the darkening energies as the sun, after midsummer, gradually gives less and less light each day, dancing the inward spiral until it turns around again at midwinter and dances the spiral out again. Jenny Wren knows the dance, she dances it year on year on year.
He comes! She can hear him.
She stands on her doorstep, her threshold. Then, as soon as he sees her, she is off. Running, running, breathless, feet and heart pounding together, there is no stopping her.
The cloak fell over her head. Her heart leapt, he had done it. He swept her up off her feet and ran with her to the holt, the place half in, half out of the earth where they would lie together. There, he laid her on the bed, paused while his eyes were held by hers then reached for the flagon and poured the mead into the loving cup. They drank together from each side, her lips and his kissing the cup.
The honey-fire, the sun-fire distilled by the bees into the sweetness of life, scorched through them both. He came within her, firing her, seeding her, fecund and compliant, pregnant with the harvest that would be his death.
They lay together through the long days of the honeymoon. He did not realise that each day became a little shorter. She did not tell him. The sweetness and the pleasure was enough … for now.
This story comes from the goddess’ need to have a king, a partner, who can keep up with her and so be able to care for her. Since the knowing of the goddess has waned and the masculine has wanted to rule the story has been corrupted into a tale of ravishing and rape; this certainly happened to human females. But it is not the truth. The goddess chooses; the gods vie for her favour; often she makes them chase her. Go listen to the old songs like the “Coal Black Smith”. This story of the honeymoon tell is how it is 🙂
The Welsh word for honeymoon is mis mêl, which translates as “honey month”.
behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …