Thursday the 10th November, 2011. A Full moon rises over head. Her white luminescence is almost blinding, reflecting the rays of the sun over the vast nothingness of space, down to us here on Earth. Jupiter shines almost as bright alongside her. When I can see Jupiter I know Winter is coming and the damp cold air as the night sets in is yet another reminder of what’s ahead. There hasn’t yet been a heavy frost here where we are nestled and sheltered within both the North and Kent Downs but the mists and fog have been quite stunning.
Around 9pm I set out in my car with my usual passenger, my Stang, and my tatty brown messenger bag containing Blade, Plate, Cup and Cord, Bread and Mead and head towards the village of Trottiscliffe, beyond which is a vast field in which I will spend the next few hours.
Loreena Mckennit drones dimly through the stereo and my adrenal glands begin to kick-start as I wind round and round the hedgerow lined country lanes of Trottiscliffe and beyond. Rabbits, Foxes, Pheasants and even small mice scurry away from my glaring headlights, wispy patches of mist seem to emerge out of thin air like wraiths, shades of the ghostly procession still roaming the land despite All Hallows itself being over. The Moon still rises higher and higher and Her light brighter and brighter, this pleases me as I still fear the dark and for a moment my increasing adrenaline levels are calmed and I can’t wait to get out of the car and into the cold night air.
As I park up the car I wonder who I might bump into, the local Wiccans worshipping at the Coldrum stones as usual perhaps? The ladies of the neighbourhood giving their horses one final feed or bringing them into the warmth of their straw bedded stables perhaps? A lingering dog walker? Maybe the Man in Black or even Our Lady Herself . I catch my breath at the thought as I step into the cool dampness. Looking up at the moon i wonder why Winter moons seem that extra bit magical, maybe because the winter nights are clearer…either way I make my way onto the path, lined in old gnarled hedges and overhanging ivy. The path is still pretty dark considering the brightness of the Moon tonight, it’s like stepping into a cavern. I light my torch as I step into the darkness repeating my usual mantra “Darkness is my Friend, In Darkness hides the light, in Light there is Wisdom and in Wisdom there is Truth”. Animals scurry at the edge of the path, heart racing as I walk faster and faster, relying on my trusty Stang to steady me on the slippery clay underfoot as I once again emerge out of the darkness into vast open space drenched in moon light.
The field before me, stripped of its former harvest bounty and yet to be ploughed is dotted with spherical clumps of white flowers, each one glowing under the moon light. I was reminded of the field n LoTR where the Kings of Rohan are buried, each grave brimming with a mass of beautiful white flowers, just like this field. Magic is in the air….a dense mist encroaches… I crave for it to engulf me, yet fear I may lose my way.
I stop at a small patch of earth, those same blobs of pretty white flowers have formed an (almost) perfect circle of about half a dozen plants… this will do nicely. I sit myself down, and feel the wet clay relinquish all the moisture it holds beneath and it soaks through to the skin… I don’t mind, I light a cigarette and acclimatise to my surroundings…listening to pheasants scream in panic…a fox will surely feast upon its flesh. Blackbirds, confused by the brightness of the moon still let out the occasional chatter from the surrounding elder trees. I am once again where I belong. There is no one here to judge me, no one here demanding anything I am not willing to give freely…its just me, the land, the moon and the stars. If it wasnt for the faint dome of orange light coming from the houses in the Medway valley before me I could easily believe I am alone. A feeling of peace descends.
The Stang is plunged into the soft clay which willingly succumbs to its rigidity. I bow to My Lord and Master and bid him come. The cord is slipped snuggly around me with a whispered prayer to the Lady of Fate. The Cup is filled, and the smell of sweet mead fills the air joined closely with the scent of fresh bread as I rest the plate beside the cup. The circle is cut, reality fades and the presence of the Airts requested. A light breeze brings the mist in closer, rarely am I blessed with such a dramatic manifestation of the barrier between this world and the Other.
Once my work is done and wine and bread have been blessed a large portion of which is divvied out between my Lord and Lady, the ancestors and spirits of the land I pour a second libation of homemade Sloe Gin for all the blessings I have received this night. My bag is packed, my Stang, less willing to give up his honoured position is pulled from the earth and I set off back the way I came, casting a single silver coin over my shoulder. I head back across the field…repeating my mantra in time to my stomping feet…the mists subside like a parting curtain, An Owl shouts somewhere over toward the stones, beckoning…what else could I do but obey…?