Where and back again

I've been quiet for a few weeks, wrapped up in matters domestic (my partner has moved in and it has been non-stop moving of furniture, cleaning, disposing of excess possessions, cleaning, redecorating, renovating the kitchen, cleaning, oh and cleaning). What little spare brain cells I've had have been used up at work and writing the weekly East Anglian Daily Times ethics & philosophy column, knocking out pagan newsletters, and eating chocolate. Well, it is Easter.

Speaking of Easter, there's a short story below that may vaguely amuse some of you. This Saturday (April 2nd) will be the Leaping Hare pagan convention in Colchester. I will be storytelling with Clan Ogma druid group (The Cauldron Cracked, if I can convince anyone to film it I'll upload a copy here) and giving a talk on Celtic Poetry & Magic to replace one of the speakers who has had to drop out. The programme can be found here.





Interview with a Rabbit

For the record I would like it noted that I am a hare, not a bloody rabbit. I am deservedly proud of my ethnic heritage and have grown mightily tired of the constant suggestion that I am nothing more than a twee little bunny. So please ensure that your notes reflect my status correctly.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get back to how it all started. To be honest, I’m not even sure when it began really. One thing so often leads to another, and pinpointing a precise cause is difficult. In some senses we could say it all began the night that the Lord of the Forest came to me with his proposal. Well, if it could be called a proposal! More like an offer that I couldn’t possibly refuse. Have you ever encountered the Lord? No, well believe me, if you ever do, then it won’t even cross your mind to refuse a being that feels like the entire woodland is watching you through burning green orbs.
Be the spirit of spring, he tells me, the essence of change and awakening. I was just a hare, minding my own business and gnawing on a few roots. Why me, I thought. There are other hares, after all, none so handsome or clever, admittedly, but it still seemed all a bit arbitrary.
Like I say, the offer was a done deal and naturally enough I licked his hand or branch or whatever it was, and that was that. The next thing I knew, my body was stretching and twisting and turning in ways I could scarcely understand.
Ever since I’ve been racing around like a maniac every spring equinox. Humans think it’s all just chocolate and overeating. Ixcacao thinks it’s amazing of course – and who’s to blame her? One minute she’s a forgotten Mayan deity dwindling into obscurity, the next she is being lionised the whole planet over. Mind you, she doesn’t quite get the need for all that sugar to sweeten the deal. She’s still an old-fashioned goddess at heart and prefers the old style spicy chocolate.
Ironically, stuffing their faces on all this sickly sweet chocolate, far from awakening them to the vivacity of spring, seems to put them back in a semi-conscious torpor that drags on all year (given that people don’t exactly lay off the chocolate during the rest of the year either!) That’s the thing about so many humans. They don’t actually like being awakened and spend half their lives searching for things that will keep them sedated. The Sandman swears blind that he is not responsible for this state of affairs, but I’ve long suspected his motives.
It’s one thing to start encouraging humans to fill their veins with nepenthean dreams, or deaden their brains with Reality TV. However, when he starts subverting my own magical gifts to turn a celebration of life into a sugar junkie’s orgy, then, frankly, I get rather narked to put it mildly. I suspect he does it because humans won’t honour him with a festival. I told him once that he is celebrated every single night, rather than having to wait for an entire year like the Frost Father and I have to. He wouldn’t have it though. Gratitude for a good night’s sleep isn’t enough for the Sandman.
I hadn’t expected to encounter him at the picnic. I know that kids doze off in the sunshine, and if he’d just been there for that then I would have made the customary greeting and passed along. It was hearing one of the parents complaining about how sickly the new brand of crème eggs were and how sluggish the kids were getting, and glancing casually up I saw that smug little smirk on the Sandman’s lips. We locked eyes, and in that instant I knew he had been interfering. That was when I just lost it and belted him one. People often tell me I don’t know my own strength – I guess they are right! I didn’t mean to kill him. I wonder how humans will cope with permanent insomnia? They’ll get used to it eventually I expect.

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