Historical setting: 588 C.E. Forest Primeval
Druid Largin is preparing for a sacred ritual of harvesting the mistletoe. For this he will wear a white robe, and use a golden sickle.[Footnote] The sacrificial animal is a white bull, already tethered in a stock. I don’t expect any of the others of us, Jewish, Christian or other pagans among the Greeks or Romans or even the far off Magi would understand the Celtic sacred nature of the oak and its winter robe of evergreen. The druid seems to know things. Maybe he even knows there is a story of the pagan Yuletide.
I’m sure he knows now that whatever illness I saw here was not the plague, but it was a contagion and I may soon be grateful that the druid provided some leaves of that healing tea. Possibly the druid knows what Thole has been doing all alone at mid-winter camp with no shelter.
“So what of Thole?” I ask again.
He muses, “I’ve loaned him some fleeces and straw for his shelter. I know it’s foolish to lend to Christians, since I loaned your people a child and now you’ve lost her and she won’t be returned. Christians really can’t be trusted. But just the same, he had no sense for a winter’s camp, and we couldn’t just let him suffer.”
“That was kind of you. Did he mention his purpose in coming back into this forest?”
“He had a purpose?”
“Such as it was. He was planning to find your village and live among your people. He felt the spirit of the woman he calls ‘Auntie Eve’ is welcomed here and he wants to be near. On the first night of Samhain he believed she was summonsed from the dead so he chose to come back here.”
The druid surmises, “The spirits that rise up from the other world merge into a blurry oneness, so a grieving person may find a brief reminder of the one longed for but mostly it’s just the ménage of indistinguishables like the three parts of the god – Bridget. And you will have to admit, a triune god is three times as good as a solitary especially for Christians who are so prone to showing up unprepared, then loosing the things that are loaned them. If I want to find my own peace with your kind I may have to forgive the debts.”
“That’s gracious of you, Druid Largin. And may I one day hear the story of Yuletide?”
[Footnote] So little is known of the druid ritual and tradition that what little was kept by rumor and outside observers like Pliny leaves much in need of explanation. retrieved 8-19-21, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritual_of_oak_and_mistletoe