Under Raven’s moon, next to a sacred lake, a tiny woman unbraided her waterfall of raven hair. A bonfire awaited her grey stained smock and high apron, tattered stockings. She arranged next to the fire, sheets of linen for drying; salves, scented oils. Bundles of herbs and plants to be put in the fire; new sprigs of dried lavender and ribbons to braid into her hair.

As a healer, she bathed often, sluicing blood, pus and evil off her skin. But the icy lake waters truly cleansed her heart, soul and spirit. She dove deep into the moon-specked waters, surfacing, breathless and numb from the cold. She could feel the chill waters sucking out and absorbing the toxins, cleansing her body, her heart, soul and spirit.

She searched the shoreline for the fire’s warm glow, and kicked hard for the beach. Wrapping herself in layers of linen, she threw sweet bundles on the embering bonfire, and thanked the moonlit lake for another year’s sacred cleansing.

Another woman prepared herself to cleanse under the Raven’s moon.  The grand banquet delayed her; the moon full up as she struggled out of her Lady clothes: bodice; kiltern; fine stockings; slippers. The circlet and veil, the ear drops and necklace placed on top. Then, the carefully arranged rolls of autumn coloured hair loosened and shaken into a shaggy mane framing her face.

She came to run, to pad the wood-land paths. Each drop of moonlight on her bare skin would reconnect her with her feral side. Lean and lithe, she always thought herself a changeling in a family of dark haired husky and busty folks.

She ran by feel of path, rustle of bushes, smell of earth and plants. Tonight, all was painted silver; her way marked clear and bright. The sensation of hot sweat against the cold night breeze; the ragged puffs of smoke breath in the dips and deepest forest. She ran until she was one with the night, the moon, the wild. No one could domesticate her; tame her.

Shivering, she dressed in her brothers’ cast-off jerkin, jacket, leggings and boots. Her courtly clothes would frost over, silvered and slivered by a harsher moon.

She bid thanks to the moon, and with lighter steps danced back to the castle on a moonlit path.


For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: moonlit – #writephoto