Monday 15 December 2014

Spirit Vine Winner Daisy Davis

Congratulations to Daisy Davis who won our Spirit Vision Ross Heaven writing competition.

A copy of Ayahuasca, The Vine of Souls is on its way to you.

Settle down beside me and I’ll tell you the part of the story you didn’t know. The part no-one knew. They always think the worst of the stepmother, always. But she was an accomplished mystic. When she looked into the mirror she would whisper its name like a lover, “Spiegelein.” Each day she would implore it, ‘Show me the beauty in this land, show me hope,’ but it showed her only the darkest places, the things no-one should have to see. Each time, she trod silently through the pathways of despair.

Then one day, the mirror showed her the face of her stepdaughter, Schneewittchen.

‘Little Snow Witch,’ murmured the Queen, ‘our hope.’

She took Schneewittchen to the forest, following the trails the Frost Maiden had left. They walked in silence past glittering conifers whose boughs dipped and rose. Their feet crunched on the frozen leaf litter of silver birch and they saw the last few autumn berries sparkling on bare bushes. They rested by a stream that didn’t flow, stilled by the passing of the Ice Maiden. Frost crystals dusted the surface. The Queen bent down and brushed them away. 

‘Look into the glass with me, Schneewittchen, what do you see?’ 

‘I see the two of us.’

‘Look more deeply,’ said the Queen and so she did. ‘Before the snow comes,’ said the Queen, ‘you must build a shelter in which to lie. Make it from branches and cover it with leaves. When the snow comes, I will give you an apple. You must eat it, then go to the shelter.  You must stay there for seven days and seven nights and eat nothing. The snow will keep in the warmth from your body. 

The little snow witch did what she’d been asked. With the first fall of snow, she ate the apple, went down to the stream, drew some water and sheltered in the hide. It looked like a barrow or a deep snow bank. 

Inside, Schneewittchen lay as though dead as the poison from her stepmother’s apple entered her blood. 

On the first night, a hare came to her and sat on her chest. It twitched its whiskers and said, ‘Little Snow Witch, as you lie there, are you afraid? Do you fear you’ve been tricked?’ But Schneewittchen could neither move, nor speak. ‘I will moisten your lips,’ said the hare. It dipped its muzzle into the water and let the water fall onto her mouth. As though in a dream, Schneewittchen saw the Queen speak to her mirror, ‘Spiegelein, Spiegelein…’ She watched as the Queen wandered through the desolate realm, weeping for the people and the land. Then Schneewittchen knew the Queen was true.

On the second night, a fox came. It sat beside Schneewittchen. ‘Do you know why the kingdom is ruined?’ it asked, but Schneewittchen could neither move nor speak. The fox moistened her lips then showed her own father, the King, closing his doors to the people, so that he neither knew their desolation, nor could do anything to change it. 

On the third night, came a badger. It thrust its snout close to Schneewittchen’s face and without a word, moistened her lips. Then it showed her why the land was blighted. Her father had not heeded his reeve who told him the land was being too harshly farmed until it could grow no more.

On the fourth night, a great wind arose. Lying in her snow-covered tomb, Schneewittchen feared she might be uncovered and lie there, unable to move, looking at the stars until she froze. But the wind brought more snow and it spoke to her. It whispered in many voices how she could save the kingdom, what she must learn, to whom she must listen and to whom she must not. Then it let drops of water fall onto her lips.

On the fifth night, no beast nor wind came, but she felt deathly cold as though she were indeed lying in her grave. Then she knew that her father was dead. As his soul passed through her tomb, tears dropped onto her lips.

On the sixth night, she saw once more her stepmother looking into the mirror. But this time, the mirror was the stream and she herself was there. The Queen turned to Schneewittchen and said, ‘You are the hope, but people do not give up easily their old ways, even when they are harmful. We must work together, you will bring in the new, as I shall ease out the old.’

On the seventh night, she slept.

In the morning, she pushed aside the leaves, twigs and snow. She stood up. Pushing through the snow by the side of the stream was a single snowdrop. 

Schneewittchen knew it meant hope.


Daisy Davis is an educator, writer, dog and cat lover and an avid avoider of the culinary arts. It turns out you can’t make a living from the last two, but she refuses to give them up. Daisy lived for many years on the south coast of England but now calls the west coast of Canada home. She's not sure whether her Pagan leanings come from the Grimoire that sat on her grandmother's desk – but which on closer inspection turned out to be a Welsh dictionary – or from studying Mediaeval French. This, rather oddly, led her to The Mabinogian and thus into other realms. Daisy's fiction writing features Celtic, Norse and Saxon Pagans and European fairy tales.