Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Cara and the Running of the Deer

"Cara - a Galmearan at the Temple of the High Sun"
"Cara - a Galmearan at the Temple of the High Sun, preforming a ceremonial rite called "The running of the Deer".  This seasonal right is preformed in late spring, and is in veneration of the end of the Hungry Spring and the coming of the Bounteous Spring.  

The ceremony starts the night before with a fine feast of new fresh food and a long sleep by a warm fire.  

Then, before the sun is up both Galmearan and deer take to the forest floor.  The Galmearns where cloaks of leaves and have masks that are made up to look like deer, and bare a symbol of the sun on their brow.  The stags amongst the deer have their velvet covered antler buds gently bedecked in moss. Those who use magic to retain their antlers year on year will through moss from the ground all over the heard.  

The day is then spent running from sunny glade to sunny glade in a sort of hide and seek / tag with the sun and each other. There may be more to it than this, but I could not get any sense from anyone, except that at some point honey is consumed. 

I have no idea what they do if it rains, though my guess is that the day is not date dependent.

Cara, the Galmearn pictured here, paused long enough to be drawn. I had met her on a previous visit to the Freelands when she was a girl, siting by the fire one night in the border lands of Kreyic while me and her parents had traded skins for long knives.  She and my son Eshran communicated, as children can, without the use of words. I still have the crude wooden deer they devised from a pine cone. I was amazed to find her again and have the pleasure of seeing her grown  into her own person and enjoying the theatrical delights of the Temple of the High sun - the closest Galmearans have to a city dwelling.

The infectious glee of the day was hard to contain, and as Cara ran off after a passing troop of galloping and bellowing deer I found myself yelping with laughter and spinning madly on the spot at the joy of being alive. 

Red Deer Hind
If it hadn't have been for that wild moment I doubt the wild boar would have minded my presence, nor that beautiful red hind have found me and carried me to safety on the most exhilarating ride of my life.  There is nothing like a face full after face full of leaves at 50 miles to the hour to get the blood flowing and the heart thumping.  I know now a little of why so many Galmearans are addicted to riding deer!

At the end of the day somehow rider and deer have found each other, and the Galmearnan-less deer and the deer-less Galmearans have generally paired up for the day and everyone (including very small children) charges thought the woodland at breakneck speed to the top of the biggest hill to watch the sun set. A great cheering and bellowing goes up from the time the sun touches the horizon to when it finally vanishes behind it, rising up the hilltop as the graying light first touches those lower down till at last the tallest Galmearan standing on the  antlers of the largest stag at the hills crest is cast into the shadows and silence. Everyone then melts back into the darkness with the stealth that only deer and Galmearans can master.  I do not know where they went.  It took me two days to find my way back to the temple - my Gods was I hungry!"


  1. come and visit again, perhaps in the winter

    can I copy this picture on facebook?

  2. If you are who I think you are, certainly!

    Do you like it?