The thistle calls out to me
more of a scream than a whisper
you'll never smell a sweeter blossom
you'll never feel a more painful sting
The bus took them down yet another country road, coming to a stop near a little house. They disembarked and headed down the path toward the Cairn. It was so unassuming, they all walked past it and had to be called back to the lesser-known path through the grass toward the cluster of trees.
Finally, the last of the wanderers joined the group at the base of the cairn. She marvelled at how a sacred site could remain so well hidden from casual tourists and revealed only to those who sought it out. Permission had been given by the farmer to hike through his field and to remain gathered there.
They were told the story of Airmid, who was part of a family of healers and very knowledgeable in the ways of herbs.
It is said that, after her brother's death, Airmid collected 365 healing herbs, spreading them on her cloak. In a fit of jealousy, her father pulled her cloak from the ground, scattering the precious herbs to the four corners of the earth.
Through Airmid, we can learn the power of herbal healing. The Pilgrims were each charged with the task of seeking out an herb, connecting with it, and collecting it for a ritual. Once done, they placed these herbs upon a cloak spread on the ground. She reached into her backpack and took out one of the five stones she brought with her and placed it on the cloak as an offering.
They stood in a circle, connecting to the land and to the herbs they'd chosen. Once complete, they came forward and together they picked the cloak up from the ground, scattering the herbs to the wind, offering them to Airmid.
"The energy of the Fae is strong in this place.", she thought to herself. Taking the opportunity to explore her surroundings, she headed back to the path. Once there, she turned away from the direction where they came and soon found herself staring at a tree. It was wrapped in barbed wire and upon further examination, she realized the tree had simply grown through the fence. You can't contain nature, nor hold it to your will.
She heard someone calling. "Time to go already?", she thought. Turning, she made her way back down the path toward the bus, taking a bit of time to survey the scenery. A tree, a flower, always something to catch her eye.
Once back aboard the bus, the Pilgrims were shocked to learn that almost 4 hours had passed! It didn't seem possible. But then again, this is a magical place.