Shreds of white lay on the leaf-litter. The rhododendron has shucked its ice-coating and unfurls its evergreen leaves, but the world is awash still in brown and gray. Gray sky, gray rain, the gray swell of rivers and stream against the gray slats of stone in the streambed.
Stores have their pastel plastic Easter eggs, their faux vernal hues. But for me, Mean Erraigh is all about that wet gray: the first full thaw, the annual flooding of the rivers.
And so, it is apropos that we make offerings to the Mother of Rivers on Mean Erraigh. We will toss unseasonable blossoms into the gray expanse, singing her praise and asking her mercy during the moon of the flood. For the Mother of Waters is also Moon-Mother, puller of tides, the White Cow of above and below.
But this year, the main rite will belong to her son and his swan-wife, Aonghus Og and Caer Ibormeith. Swans, those most faithful of birds — they float on the breast of the Mother of Waters. They spin enchantments, mystery, adventure.
They are the Lovers — white-winged Caer Ibormeith testing Aonghus’ capacity to choose correctly. One older, less common interpretation of the Lovers card in the tarot is choice — the choice between loves or, in Aonghus’ case, of the true swan-maid from a lake of her sisters.