Up at the old camp, enclosed by Carboniferous Limestone, there is an ancient spring. It has been said that, in the 1930s, an excited group of Boy Scouts uncovered this life force but were ordered to fill it in by their leaders, fearful, no doubt, of safety hazards.
Today, you can still determine where that sacred spring flows. Search for a triad of oak, ash and hawthorn, a powerful grouping that attracts the Fae. Here you can find access to the Otherworld. Entry is best sought at old Beltane, May 13th, the original date of our celebration of hope, fertility and light, before the new Gregorian calendar migrated everything. For the most guaranteed passage, chose that Liminal date of 13th, when, by way of the spring, you can most easily cross from one realm to the other.
But the faery folk can be a fickle, malevolent tribe. Appease them by tying red scraps of cloth and trinkets to the hawthorn tree, resplendent at that time of year, with its tracks of white mayflowers, so erotic to man. The hawthorn rooted closest to the spring will be the one that holds guard. Be mindful, respectful and loving. Fashion a crown from hawthorn flowers and leave it close to where you imagine the spring opening to be. Then disappear for a while, allowing your crown of blossoms to be discoverd by the creatures dwelling there: the natural inhabitant who places it upon her magical head will be the one to shower you with blessings.
Spells of love, unity, protection and fertility are best made at Beltane, the hawthorn being particularly attuned to such wishes. Remember, though, that this hill has seen many generations pass through it, over thousands of years. And the Fae are its oldest occupants, the hawthorn tree the Otherworld's ultimate protector. Be wise. Maybe be warned.
As the sky fell in, she waited for the Angels. They were late. If they arrived after midnight, everything would be ruined. At 23:44, Mary pulled the woollen wrap closer to her, knotting it around her bare fingers. The snow wouldn't fall this year. Instead, descending clouds dropped lumps of crystal rain, accompanied by swirling howls of a late-December thunderstorm. The street lights were still on: the Council wouldn't plunge most of the town into darkness for another hour and a quarter. In reflection, melted into the blackness above, their orange became dirty brown, matching the Estuary waters nearby, invisible from here. The tide was due, dragging with it bubble-wrap seaweed, which it would spew onto the absorbent sand, casting it out like unwanted ice from a glass of gin.
She poured herself another. Dropping the bottle back on the grass, she thought about the moon and how similar the two of them were. At times they were naked, exposed, incomplete. Tonight, they shared a shrouded obscurity. Did Luna also wish to break through, show her worth, incapacitated by fear, overshadowed by others who were, after all, only transient, fleeting? Did she feel trapped too by the endless cycles, watching the same scenes unfold over and again, each time slightly altered but fundamentally replays of what had gone before? Were they both carved of hard rock, unable to alter in any meaningful way, pulled by a force they couldn't see, attracted to the inevitable, destined to be satellites, moving but never really getting anywhere?
She might be hidden to anyone else who happened to be looking skyward but Mary could feel the intensity of her Kindred, waxing in time with the swelling of Mary's love, a love that she had sworn never again to share with another, not wanting to have her power diminished. Not after this, the last time. There was, it seemed, no Earth equivalent for Mary and that, surely, could bequeath her certain freedoms? If she never formed half of a whole, if she maintained her own completeness, she could shine anywhere she chose. Nothing could be taken from her, she would rely upon her own gravity, achieving a unique buoyancy, light of heart and free from burden.
It was the only way.
Staring hard, she realised that she could penetrate the mud of the clouds, sift through the silt of the sky, reaching the only mate she would ever need. Out here, at the end of the world, she sniffed an air that carried with it salt, smoke, movement. If she belonged to no-one else, this could become hers alone. There would be no need to divide it, water it down, weaken the experience, weaken herself. She could become it at will, keeping the light within herself, drawing from it when necessary. Mutually supportive yet distinct entities, unencumbered by harsh words, not subject to unwanted sex. No demeaning glances, no put-downs, no marks left by body blows with a garden broom. Light. A life without him, in whatever physical guise he took this time but, instead, a world with the Angels. Kind. Away with the lies, the deceit, the rape, the panic. No more cigarette burns to her upper thighs, finished the pushes down the stairs, gone the estrangement from her friends and family, disappeared the dominator's hands around her throat, vanished the black streaks of mascara she could wear for him alone.
At 11:57, the clouds parted only for Mary. Finally, they were on their way.