Tonight, we enter the Winter Solstice in the sign of Capricorn. To me, this is such a beautiful time when there are unique energies at play from the “Christmas spirits” that can heal the emotional despair and suffering accrued during the previous thirteen moons, and send rejuvenation, fresh hope and inspiration for the coming turn of the calendrical Wheel.
In Earth alchemy and Arthurian legend, the longest night of midwinter, caused by the Sun reaching its furthest point away from the Earth and then returning three days later, on Christmas Day, is symbolised by the death of the Old Wounded Fisher King and the birth of the new King, otherwise known as the Radiant Child. This bursting forth into joyful and victorious rebirth was symbolised by alchemists as the Peacock’s Tail, for which, I think, the aurora borealis is the perfect sky metaphor.
So here is a magical faery story to curl up with by a roaring log fire on the night of the Winter Solstice, as we join Myrddin (Merlin) and his crew, the Company of the Grail, as they fly into Capricorn under the aurora borealis on the Isle of Glass, around the Glastonbury Temple of the Stars – a huge ring of carved earthworks that mirror the glittering constellations above. Their quest is to bury the Thirteen Treasures of Britain, to protect the Sovereignty.
Creiddylad had been sitting quietly but now she suddenly stood up tall on Ormelinda’s back with the enchanted sword, Fragarach, dangling heavily from her waist. Holding on to the dragon’s vertebrae, to steady herself, she called out to Manawydan:
“Keep going until we reach Hart Lake.”
He turned and nodded to show he had heard her. Then they flew into a time of betwixt-and-between.
The sky could not seem to make up its mind whether it was day or night. Thick, black, stormy clouds hung brooding over skeletons of trees, their naked branches cowing in submission to the unrelenting, harsh, bitter wind. The land stood sternly, hard and unforgiving.
They had reached the shortest day of the year and it was deep midwinter.
Soon they found themselves looking down upon a vast expanse of what would have been water if it had not been completely frozen. Then they saw the proudly held head and wide-spreading antlers of the White Hart, crowned with a wreath of red-berried holly.
It was standing on a snow-covered bank amid hundreds of bushes of red Christmas roses and next to a large pile of frost-covered Yule logs. Behind it loomed a deep, dark forest of tall pines, spruces and firs that were all smouldering crimson-red through the auspices of millions of glittering fireflies.
The White Hart was looking straight at Creiddylad …
To hear the rest of this story, go to the video below of me reading from my book, The Grail Mysteries.