The wood so softly singing
In a language strange to hear
And the song it sings will find you
As the twilight draws you near


The Region of the Summer Stars

Winter is the time for stars. Then, if you can get away from street lights, on a clear night the sky is ablaze with them.

At this time of year there are not so many. But there is something magical in the faint stars of these pale summer nights. The stars that are there are less bright, flickering softly in the pale sky, gleaming against the afterglow of the late sunset. Last night with the scents of the day still redolent in the spice of the night, I could see the sickle shape of The Plough, one end of it pointing to the barely discernible North Star, the other end pointing to the soft red glow of Arcturus. I could see, too, the Twins, Castor and Pollux appearing almost alone among the barely visible faintness of the stars around them.

In the West, moving towards the horizon, the crescent of the Waxing Moon had a yellow-red hue as she followed the Sun behind the hill.

The overall effect was of a canopy of soft lamps in an enchanted enclosure. I was spellbound under a faërie sky.



Mererid was a well maiden - she was the guardian of a well at the foot of the mountains, as they crept down to a wide low-lying plain with the sea beyond. The waters that fed the spring beneath the well came from the roots of the mountains, rising into the well in a steady stream, sweet and fresh as morning dew. Those that drank the water regularly felt its virtue in their daily lives, but many more came from far away to sample the water and carry some of it away with them. This was not begrudged as the stream running off from the well was always strong and clear and never failed even in the driest weather.

Mererid guarded her well with dedication, saying the right words of blessing to those who sampled the waters, addressing the water spirits at the appointed times and, sometimes, telling those who came what messages came to her on the rising stream. But one day some came who were not respectful of her office, who abused her in word and then in deed and left her, distraught, so the seal on the wellhead was undone and could not be put back.

The steady stream of the well became a rushing torrent, and the well shaft a fountain of gushing water which kept coming in pulse after pulse over the well surround and down to the lowlands below, spreading over the plain and drowning everything in its path. Houses, farms, woods and the sand dunes were soon all submerged so that now, the land is all under the sea and the well head is lapped by waves where a river has its estuary.

Sometimes, in the evening, when the light is fading and there is a grey mist over the sea, the sad lament of Mererid can be heard sighing over the waves. It is said that now she is one of the water spirits but that her human form has not quite left her and so she can at these times be seen indistinctly shimmering in the eddies of the river as it runs into the sea.


Relationships With Rivers

This advice from SACRED WATERS

Relating to a River ~~~~~

Always look upstream first to greet the oncoming waters and then downstream to bid farewell as they flow away.

Visit often, in different places, so you know your river in all her moods and circumstances (my river is female, so I write in that case, but yours might not be).

When crossing be aware of her, even if it is by road in a car, though you can discover places where a more intimate exchange is appropriate. As with your other  relationships, context is all.

Having chosen a special place where you can be intimate, offer gifts and listen to the water song. Find out what gifts your river likes, and how she wants to receive them.

The source and the estuary are special places, but not the only ones. If the source, in particular, is accessible and you can go there often, then do. But remember that a river has many sources in addition to the one we name. Be familiar with tributaries.

Every river flows from the wells of the Earth, carrying whispers from the Other World down to the great oceans. Each drop of water you drink is a blessing. Savour it, whatever flavour or other substance it carries into you. Likewise with flowing out.

Some rivers are gregarious and will love to meet your friends, others shy and difficult to get to know and these you should visit alone or with intimate friends only. Be sensitive: know those places which are private and those which are public. Most rivers have both.

When you visit, be prepared to carry away any rubbish that has been dumped, but remember that some things that you consider rubbish might be valuable to the river. Judge wisely.