We huddle by candlelight
The ceiling is low
My friend reaches for her drum
She drums for energy
She drums for trance
She drums to bid the spirits to come
In this land of the dead
It won't be long
Chants fill my head
And I sway along

But there's a nagging there
In the back of my head
Of the past week's dreams
And a sense of dread

For nights before
My dreams have been
Of this time
This place
This warm candlelight
For nights before
My dreams have been
Of terror
Of menace
And a hasty flight

I think on the positive
Forget all fear
Wait for the spirits to come
I chant and I wait
I sway to the beat
Though my legs go numb

The ceiling is so low
But what do you expect?
It's not a place for the living
It was built for the dead

I hear a woman talking
Look around
Only my friends in the chamber
Making no sound
I listen closer and that's when I know
That the language she's speaking
Is a language of old
I see her then
Auburn hair
Brown clothes
She talks quickly
Then she's gone

I look to my friend
Sitting by the door
I look at his face
But it's no longer his own
It's a face of cruelty
Of menace
Of evil intent
A scar across his cheek
And a hate for women

My friend fights for himself
A battle he'll lose
The man will take over
He'll block the door
Attack us in this crouched hole
Then everythings shifts
We're on their ground now
My friend has no protection
We have to get out

So we bully our friend
The half-possessed one
Out of the chamber
While we still can
Outside is a little better
His head begins to clear
We quickly clean up
Prepare to get away from here

The ancient trees in the dark
They stand in a line
And I think I can see
hooded figures too
Standing there silently
Unmoving shadows
Watching us, watching me
We leave but we're followed
My friend is knocked over
As the man from before
Has another go
I pull him back
And block up the way
Stang-made mark in the dirt

I call for help
To the Gods
My ancesters
My disir
I yell
Into the night sky I let the hammers fly
My energy
My heart
My fury aswell
I'm sick of this bastard that won't let us be
And at some point someone must have heard me
The man came no further
His face was anger
That he couldn't follow us more

And as we drove away in the car
Down that dark road
Some hearts changed
And some hardened even more


'We don't want no burrowing under'
He says as he draws a rune of salt upon the floor
His cockney voice holding a menace
I really don't like
Who is this guy?
Where did he come from?
Something isn't right

He looks like a thug from London's East end
All shaved head and attitude
My alarm bells ring
'Who the hell are you'
I say to this 'man'
No longer wishing to be sealed in

He stops the ritual, puts down the jar of salt
Turns to face me and I make ready
Something tells me I should be scared
But strangely I'm not
For protection isn't protection
When you're locked in with the devil

'I'm here to help you' he says but I've heard that one before
I'm no debutante to this game
So I do the only thing I can
'Hold out your hands!' I say
And he holds them out
Eyes meeting my own
As I pour out the salt

I half expect him to scream in pain
Writhe his agony out on the floor
I remember lore, turn my coat inside out
He flickers and stretches but no more
A poem in my head gets louder
Distracts me with a song of Norway
As I tell him 'no way' and make my escape.

My eyes open to the dark
The calm of my room
I take a quick look around
No sign of the man
No menacing sound
Nothing but sweet holy ground.


This poem was inspired by a dream I had in which I was sitting on top of a burial mound with an older version of myself.

'Stop.' she says as I reach for my drum
I look up in surprise
Her hand on my wrist makes me dumb
Around us the wind blows
As she looks in my eyes
Blue eyes to blue
Old eyes to new
Vision obscured by hair in face

The sun beats down on us
As I look into those eyes
Blue shining with warmth at my confusion
We sit on the mound
On that windswept moor
Our clothes are ancient

Hair dressed with feathers and bones
In a place beyond time
Where we came to reach out
Look for an ancestral line.

We came across the moor
And I carried the load
As all good apprentices do
We climbed the mound
green against gold
Ancient footprints to new.

I look to her again,
My teacher,
Myself in years to come
And I ask her why.

'Follow the wind' she says
'Let it carry you where you need
Drums are for those that sit indoors
But the wind is a gift to such as we.'

So closing my eyes I do as I'm bid
The wind a pain in my ears
Then comes a song as pure as the drum
I yawn deep
then I'm gone.


As Signy laid in bed
And made her final plan
She thought of the body next to her
And her hate for that cursed man

She remembers how he killed her family
As soon as they were wed
How he broke the bonds of Frith
Then joyfully took her off to bed

She remembers how she wanted to weep
As his weight was upon her
But no matter how hard he tried
He got no cries from her

'Take it Volsung bitch
Your family is dead but it won't be so easy for you
You're my prize, bitch
You'll bear my sons too!'

She remembers how she lay
Emotionless while he finished
Blessed relief as he rolled off
Fixing her gaze on the ceiling

These sons he spoke of
Would be her revenge
Her soldiers to sacrifice
Her victory in this world of men

So she'll lie in this bed
Dreaming of her plan
No longer minding his body
Or the attentions of that cursed man


Life given through cord
taken away through cord
Therein lies the mystery
A release to life or a release to death
Bog bodies discovered from thousands of years before
Bodies bound and naked
Necks bound with cord
Package neatly tied
Sent down below
A gift for a gift
To the bountiful one

Follow the trail of Skjalf
To the northern court
Where she bound Agnar's neck by lace
Necklace, took his life by cord

Follow the kenning for the name Skjalf
There you find the Vanadis herself
A princess of the Finns
A new story begins
Of noaide, siede and seidhr
And of people made of trees
Esk and Embla and the circle is complete
Back to the birth, the death and the Brisings cord
Life giver, life taker.
Blessed Holy one.


Freyja is joy
Freyja is life
Freyja is the hope that shines in the dark

Freyja is sadness
Freyja is pain
Freyja is lost love once more regained

Freyja is magic
Worked on dark nights
Freyja is the key to secrets that hide

Freyja is freedom
Freyja is peace
Freyja is peace found in release

Freyja is green
New life on the trees
Freyja is the sap
That rises within

Freyja is death
Life stolen by cord
Bodies sunk with birch
In cold northern bog

Freyja is ancient
Much older than we know
A Goddess without boundaries
Slandered by lore

Freyja is much more
Than any of us think
Great shining Goddess
She is in everything


Once a lady walked the heath
The fallen dead to find
And as the mists curled round
She sang a lullaby

The dead, they heard
That beauteous song
And gathered all around
And as she sang
The dead came out
Entranced by the sound

The more she sang
The more the mist
It grew all around
The more she sang
The colder it got
Frost forming on the ground

The dead they liked her oh so much
Decided then and there
That they would steal her clean away
From this middle earth

Now the lady is with the dead
Singing her lullaby
Trapped deep in a mound
Forced to sing
That cursed lullaby.

Let this be a lesson for all you here
Be careful what you sing
For even a children's lullaby
Can be a harmful thing.

Cat Heath, April 22nd 2008


There are eyes upon me
In this wood of mists
This wood of birch

I look around
Try to seek them out
My friend watches me

That's when I see her
Pale, slender and full of grace
She moves among the birches
And I follow

As fast as I dare
I run through the bracken
and rocks
To the birches where I saw her
Then I stop

A fleeting glimpse
And I'm chasing again

She leads me to birch
where three grow in a triangle
where branches hang with brooms
And the grass grows dark within

This is her place
I feel her once more as
I open myself to the forest
And bitter Yuletide cold

She's not happy about the people
That meet by the oak tree
So I promise her action
And no harm from me

The trees seem to relax
The winter seems less cold
As I make my way back up
To the wound tree

When we leave the woods, we're followed
Sometimes you see it and sometimes you don't
A large black hare that shifts in our wake.

A week later we come back
Our minds fixed on surprise attack

First we stop by
The birch lady's place
Make goodwill offerings
Of bread men, cider and cake

Then we wend our way
Up the twisted path
To the wounded tree
In its wounded patch

One by one I hammer them in
And my friend walks the ground
As I sing their runes
She carries incense around

I sing to cleanse
I sing of strength
I sing of fury and storms
I curse
I protect

Then comes the point
When the place is taken back
The forest swells up
Reabsorbs this wounded patch

This time we when leave
Nothing follows us on
As we make our way to seas of grass
And circles of ancient stone