Oidche Shamhna: A Goddess' Tale

Oidche Shamhna: A Goddess' Tale

A Story by Johari

The birth of a Goddess...


The fires of the village were extinguished one by one, as the people made their way to the beacon hill with trepidation, to call in a new year. They walked between the worlds on this thin veiled night while spirit lights danced in the marshes and the restless dead dined on the warm mead and oatcakes left on their graves. The people would be still be vulnerable however, until the Neid fire was finally set ablaze.

Brigid pulled her shawl tight about her head as a light drizzle fell. Her mother tugged on her arm, indicating she was moving too slow, eager as they all were to set their rituals in motion. Ahead of them, her father was focused on driving their meager cattle towards the gathering.

'This is no time to dally child, the wild hunt will be at our heels soon.'

Brigid could see the fear in the older woman's eyes as she glanced nervously to and fro. 'This weather does not bode at all well for an easy year' she continued under her breath, gathering her own shawl around her frame. In the hallowed dark, strange sounds and smells hung close as they approached the appointed hour, pricking their skin with fear.

Lights bobbed in the distance, forming a spiral line as the other villagers climbed the hill and Brigid could just make out the shadowy form of a horned figure and three unlit bonfires at its peek. An eerie glow had begun to rise from the long grasses at the hill's base.

'We have to hurry,' her father said 'the doors are nearly open, the sidhe are almost here.' It seemed everyone felt the urgency and soon all were gathering and torches extinguished.

All eyes were on the imposing figure of a wode covered man with the antler crown. As the moonlight cast shadows across his face he looked more of the otherworld than this. The rain still fell, dampening the nine sacred woods of the Neid fire and the glow brightened, creeping across the fields of the valley.

In the dark they could all hear low moans and gurgling howls emanating from the gateways to Mag Mell as the priest fervently made his incantations to the mother Anu and the ancient ones. His assistants worked hurriedly to coax a flame from the damp kindling. Suddenly, an unearthly horn sounded and the ground shook beneath their feet. Brigid stumbled and others fell as the howls grew in intensity; they could hear curses and bloodlust in the voices of the immortal fey and fairy hooves thundered up the tor.

'Brigid no' her mother screamed, but she had already broken her grip and was half way down Beacon hill. She could feel the earth magic rise inside her as her changeling blood released memories she never knew she had till this moment.

'Marsh agus portaigh le feiceáil go dtí mé' she panted, the cold night air like fire in her lungs. The leer on the huntsman's face turned to one of confusion then anger as his horse stumbled into the waterlogged ground; his followers rearing up behind him. Brigid didn't waste a moment. She snatched up the sidhe lantern and ran back up the tor, faster than Macha on the Ultonian beaches.

'Bhfianaise Dóiteáin' she cried, throwing the lantern onto the sacred Neid bonfire. As the Neid burst into flame green, blue then orange, the beacons of all Wicklow quickly followed in a circle of light. The huntsman roared as the fey sunk into the ground, forced to retreat to the hollow hills for another year, as the villagers relit their torches to carry the fire of a new year into their homes.

To this day an eternal flame burns in the town of Kildare in honour of the girl who stole fire from the gods.


© 2014 Johari

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Other than a lot of run on sentences I am actually very intrigued to see what happens next

Posted 6 Years Ago

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Added on December 21, 2014
Last Updated on December 21, 2014
Tags: folklore, pagan, samhain, brigit, short story



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