The Devils of Wintertide: Witch-Dreams of Gifts Un...

The Devils of Wintertide: Witch-Dreams of Gifts Ungiven, Uncurled Ribbons, and Other Yule Tragedies

Oh, hold me! You are my most steadfast friend, and I’ve just awoke from the most blissfully hellish of nightmares. Take me in your arms here by the dying fire, and I’ll tell you all about the blood dripping from the evergreens, broken glass, and poisonous smoke. You were there, in all your overly sweet, ever-masculine glory, but you only watched while the Yule demons had their wicked way with my house.

Why didn’t you stop them, you beast?

They came down the chimney and pissed on my fire then they tore apart all the gifts I so carefully crafted and painstakingly wrapped, slurping up my homemade elixirs, straightening my curled ribbons between their ice-cold teeth, and smashing my Witch bottles between their bare, scaly buttocks. They unraveled the scarf I knitted for you and used the yarn for a noose, hanging all my elves and angels from the neck and whispering no words in memoriam. One of them smirked and toppled my tree, and another spit in every one of my tincture-brew jars while singing O Holy Night between breaths. They made me watch while they danced on the destruction then, and they laughed while I wept for all my best-laid Solstice plans.

They left just like that, without apology or reason, and I was left to mourn for dreams derailed and spells uncast. You went with them, too, leaving me alone right here to wallow in the unfairness of it all, to wonder what I’d done to deserve such despair, and to divine my pitiful future from the mess on the floor. I fetched the broom and readied myself for days and days of frantic repairs and soulless shopping. I could get it all done in time, I thought, but then, for all my fretting, the strangest thing happened.

I stood right here by the hearth, letting the emptiness pull me under and surrendering to this wounded Wintertide. The broom fell from my hands. I lay down. I let go, and the sharp-bladed agony softened into a dull, in-the-belly warmth like the subtle gut-burn from good whiskey drank too quickly. I could hear everything- the comforting click of snowflakes falling on ice outside and the low crackle of cooling ashes crumbling to bits in my fireplace. I could see everything- this flawless planet whirling around its diamond-bright stellar anchor and the indigo spiral dance of our galaxy swimming in the black-mirror pool of the eternal infinite.

Lover, there was such comfort in the inconsequentiality of it all. What do a few gifts left ungiven mean for the grand cosmic design? What’s one Yule left in ruins for one lonely Witch? It was such a peaceful sleep that followed that night terror, devoid of dreaming and delusion, but I woke here with all my frivolities in place. The tree is still standing, and the curls on my ribbons are still so goddamn perfect they would make a cold man weep in memory of his mother. My fire is still going, and the wax on my Witch bottles still seals my spellwork in perfect, velvety drips. This room smells of cloves and pine, not the rotting stink of elemental hellspawn, but I must say I miss those horned pranksters.

I was tempted to conjure them, but I called you instead.

Let’s make a mess of things, Lover. What do you say? We’ll wreck the place then leave it all behind, taking to the snowy mountain road with our babes and our creatures, stripping away the red-coated saints and nog and leaving only the barebones of light and dark on this Solstice night. Best talk me down, my enchanted prince, lest this lovely home we’ve built together be dashed to bits by morning.

Oh, forgive me. I haven’t slept enough.

You’d better take me to bed, I think. Make me forget this over-anxious early Winter and glitter-filled nonsense. Make me remember why I chose to incarnate on this pleasure planet in the first place and lick me alive, demons be damned. Sing me to sleep with Pagan hymns telling of blood sacrifice and ancient communion, and I’ll wake a wiser and more compassionate woman.

Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky is a long-time activist for wild woman spirituality and the divine feminine’s return. She is the author of Woman Most Wild (coming May 2017 from New World Library). A multi-media artist, yoga teacher and teacher trainer, and energy worker, Danielle is on a mission to inspire women to be fearless...