The Old Bearded Man stands crooked in the fields.longmanlugh

Born at the time of the Winter Solstice he has felt love, and has been loved. Now his beloved stands before him, the razor-edge of her sickle catching the light of the Summer Sun. They stand like this for some time – remembering their Journey together – but this happens every year, and they both know what lay ahead. Maybe a life well-lived can be easier to surrender? I don’t know, but the heads of John Barleycorn bow and are tossed in the Summer breeze. Returning to face the earth as if asking to come home once more.

This moment is the culmination of the Journey. From death will come life. Without death life cannot continue.

On a nearby hill a circle of people sing.

“There were three men, came out of the west, their fortunes for to try…”

One last look at her face. They will see each other again that is for sure. She kisses his eyes. The sickle arcs. The Old Man falls.

“They hired men with scythes so sharp, to cut him off at the knee…”

The last sheaf remains. The Spirit of the Fields held ready, to stay through the coming Autumn and Winter, and to return in Spring.

Heavy feet fall upon the echoing halls of the Otherworld. The King of Annwn takes his place upon the Dark Throne.

Beside him the Lady’s Throne lay empty, waiting for the Crows’ call, and the dark to descend.