Do Not Look There, Unless You’d Leave


The dream that started all of this still haunts me.  There was Brighid, beckoning me away.  There was the village, full of those under whom I’d labored, those I’d feared, those gathered together in power-over, and there was no way past except a path.

A hard one, a winding chemin through a forest.  Where it led, I didn’t know, but I wanted a way past them.

The path was blocked though.  A woman, fierce, ancient, an iron cauldron between us.

And She asked me, and asked again, questions the answer to which I knew would change not only the very circumstances of my life, but the way in which I lived it and the ways I could no longer tread.

I answered, and She seemed satisfied.

“These paths are open to you,” She’d said.  “You may walk them,” and the last thing said I dare not repeat.

All my life shattered, reforged.  The blackening was no fun, pain as all I understood as meaningful burned away.  Hard rains, frenzied, confused wanderings. Things I denied myself poured in torrents from the sky, and I could not distinguish my tears from the rain.

Then, the pilgrimage.

What they don’t tell you, but what I’ve been trying to tell you, to tell myself–pilgrimages never end.

This happened:

Dear Rhyd,

I am writing to you from Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre to let you know
that your application form to attend the Winter Solstice at Newgrange,
Co Meath, Ireland was one of those picked out by local school children
on September 26th 2014. There were 30,532 applications altogether. Many

A friend I’d met only a little while before leaving to Europe moved to Ireland.  He’d, on a whim, put my name in the lottery for Winter Solstice at New Grange.  I remember reading his message that he’d done so, calculating the vast improbability, and noting that I should beware.  Everything seems frightfully possible, terrifyingly so, when land spirits and the dead are parading around just outside your door in Eugene.

And I’m in Seattle now, and I’d almost forgotten about that lottery, though there’d been a lingering thread waiting to weave itself back into the narrative of who I am, one that was best not directly to look at.

But there it is.

So, I guess I’m going to Ireland in December, and will be amongst the handful of others selected to be there on the solstice.  I’m not sure how I’ll do so, but such questions, in the light of everything else in my life, seem secondary.  My book will be ready soon, and I can truthfully say that those who purchase it will be funding this trip.  May do another crowdfunding event, though you’ve already been so severely generous that I’m a bit reluctant to ask again.

Regardless, I must say–if you ever meet Ceridwen on a path through a forest and She asks you stuff, answer her.  If Brighid ever beckons you away from what you think is important, follow her.  If Bran ever physically pushes you away from one destination towards another, don’t fight back.  If Arianrhod ever gives you a different name, take it.  If Dionysos ever rips apart your entire life in his lustful dance, dance with Him and stock up on lube.

And if you ever leave on pilgrimage, don’t expect it ever to end.

2 thoughts on “Do Not Look There, Unless You’d Leave

  1. Holy crap! That is amazing! Hurrah for the fortunate hands of Irish schoolchildren! 😉

    I have been to the site (just about 14 years ago exactly, actually!), but of course not on the big event, needless to say…It is an amazing place. Given your Breton connections, make sure you go around to the back of the mound (even if it is roped off) and see the stone at the back on the opposite side to the entrance, which I’ll tell you more about in person soon.

    And, you’ll have to take an offering for Cú Chulainn on my behalf, as that is his time and place of birth…

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