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August 23, 1999

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The Unicorn

Our oldest publication is The Unicorn newsletter. Andrius, the Rowan Tree's lovable, blue astral Unicorn-in-chief, delivers eight artistic and informative issues a year, each filled with poetry, artwork and articles celebrating the Sabbats. Plus books reviews, stories and news! Since 1976, never missing an issue, The Unicorn is for the literary pagan who seeks a first-class publication. Andrius, our astral Unicorn on the editorial staff, has entertained readers for two decades. The Unicorn is the oldest continuously published Wiccan publication in North America. $15–18.00 (sliding fee) in North America ... $19.00 elsewhere. Subscribe today! Use our print-and-mail order form.

Any profits made from the publishing of The Unicorn are used to support our Church's educational program.

Please download a sample copy of a back issue from our archives in PDF format for you to print (556K). You'll be able to see a typical issue of The Unicorn, which arrives first class in time for every Sabbat. We've never missed an issue in 25 years and it's very rare that your copy doesn't make it through the postal service in time to add blessings to your Sabbat observances.

Lost Artists of The Unicorn

We would very much like to reconnect with the lost artists, the talented and wonderful individuals who once contributed artwork to The Unicorn in past decades. (Please click on the link above.)

The Unicorn—Excerpts

Lammas, 2002 ce
Rose Hill

Dear Human Friends,

It has been a stressful time throughout the Realm of the Faerie. Shortly after I helped fold and stuff (very difficult with hooves) the Beltane issue, it was reported that an orca found dead in Puget Sound had possibly the highest level of pollutant chemicals ever measured in a whale. The measurements were so high that the equipment had to be recalibrated. PCB were only one of the culprits.

Since then a report was released (with very little fanfare) by the U.S. government. Although most other countries have been willing to embrace and undertake economic and lifestyle commitments to diminish the potential devastation of global warming, the attitude of the majority of people in the U.S. is to possibly verbalize disapproval but as the rest of the world and those of us in the other realms watch, frankly [sorry to point hooves] not much is happening. While humans will be impacted, I’m more concerned about the tremendous loss of animal species, of flora and fauna on the coastlines, of those who lose their lives in forest fires, of those who lose their habitat through human pollution and rising sea levels. Please, care about this wonderful planet. How wasteful to allow it to be lost. Do more than grumble about things. Work toward the next elections and educate your family, your neighbors, your fellow citizens. Unless you are willing to pay more in taxes and consume less and unless you are willing to take an active role in electing politicians who will work to protect all creatures, much will be lost and you cannot simply blame ‘them.’

But on with the magickal fun… Did you enjoy the eclipse? We did. It was quite visible from the gardens here in the Grove. We’ve had a lot of joy here. The fruits are growing full and I’ve had new playmates. There have been some delicious young women in Rev. Paul’s Garden Intern Program. Sorry, did I say delicious? I meant dedicated. And Jason has moved here from the far east (New York) and we’ve been learning to type together, two hooves and two hands. I won.

On Midsummer’s Eve, Unicorns of All Persuasions will gather on this Night of the Faeries. We will hang lanterns among the flower and trees, tiny stages spun of golden threads with which our friends the Lampyridae (you call them fireflies) will play and dance and brighten their lights as we call upon the Devas to join us on this shortest of nights.

I continue to ask you, on behalf of all creatures (astral and worldly) to please, please, please work to protect our planet.

With Unicorn hugs and chocolate kisses,

The Hatchling

"The Hatchling" is a series of adventures which began running in The Unicorn with the February, 1994 issue. After our new web site has been up long enough to have the dust settled, we'll begin circulating the completed 30+ episodes for your reading enjoyment.

I - The Discovery

Candlemas. Yes, it was true, the days were growing longer. It was no longer dark when they sat down to their evening meal and the bulbs! Oh, yes, the winter had been warmer than usual which was a blessing when it came to heating their cabin, but the spring bulbs were impatient. Daffodils had stretched their leaves up to the winter sky, crocuses had long been showing their green and little catkins grew long and thick from the hazel. The gardens wanted to believe it was spring. Throughout the woodland the devas were filled with hope.

But even as the Eve of the Waxing Light neared, there was a darkening cloud spreading throughout the land. Those who believed in preserving the Devas had been scorned. The voice of the salmon was no longer heard. The music of the pines was being threatened by the sickening shriek of the saw. Far away, beneath the great dome, secret meetings were being held and the word was spreading throughout LothloriŽn. The political tides had shifted and the growing darkness was not that of the Wheel of the Year, but that of fear. The great House, the political battlefield where the laws were made, was now overrun by the Users. The Users did not love our Mother Earth. Their gods were those made of coins and of personal power. Now a minority, the Preservers felt a growing dread. Years of work to save the forests, to protect even a few of the smallest species, were now in peril.

Arnica looked out the window. He felt old, this day. "Old bones," he thought, remembering an earlier Candlemas, nearly twenty years ago. But this was not a time for reverie and he sighed, long and deep. Arnica had worked with Holly for many years to preserve this small woodland, a safe and sacred space for the Devas. The firs were tall and strong, creating a home for the hawk. The gardens were ready for spring, the buds on the fruit trees were strengthening. And the Wheel was ready to be turned once again.

"How come you with the tools, my sweet?"

Holly called back from the kitchen sink, "I'm just drying the last one." The wondrous chalice, over a century old, was polished and shone as bright as a silver diamond on the Lady Moon. The blades were sharpened, the metal bright and gleaming. The crystal of the goblet was as clear as the stars on a cold winter's night. "Have you the fuels?"

"Yes the old fool's ready," Arnica said, chuckling. The lifeblood of the cabin was often stirred with endless hours of puns and word games.

Holly filled a large, woven basket with the ritual tools. The athames and chalices, their wands set in so the ends would come out at the crack of the lid. A small jar of salt, the ground herbes and censer. Holly packed all that they would need for their Candlemas Eve Ritual. Arnica's job was to gather the candles which would light the cardinal stones, safe against the winter zephyrs in their little glass shelters. Two more for the stone altar. Then the cauldron and a large flask of fuel for the Candlemas Fire.

Only that day had the Politicos declared that the Devas would no longer be protected. With more and more people crushing the Earth, the demand for food and lumber was higher than ever. After many years in which the salmon had been returning to the streams, their numbers growing, their spirits protected against slaughter. The Earthkin had grown fearful. The Descendant Tribes had been drumming and dancing and calling upon the Great Mother to give them help. Arnica was not of the Descendant Tribes. He and Holly worked with the Renaissance Tribes, a new people who returned to the Earth during the Changing Times. Their work was always difficult, for the Changing Times brought greater peace and greater war, balanced plague with miraculous discoveries. And the stress of change left the greater peoples vulnerable, willing to grasp for security at any straws offered by the Users who promised short cuts and wealth for all who gave them power, caring little for those seeking to preserve the Mother.

They walked along the path and, as they entered the woods, patches of light frost kissed the moss of the trees. Arnica held a lantern, its light beaming along the wet carpet of leaves.

"Ooops!" Holly tripped over a root. After so many years tending the trees, Holly was easily distracted, looking everywhere but the path, checking to see that each of the saplings was growing strong.

Arnica and Holly reached the stone circle. What comfort was here! Sheltered beneath the soaring arches of fir boughs, the huge rocks had been carefully laid in place. Mother Earth had stretched out Her loving fingertips of moss and the small gems and crystals set about by the couple and by their Renaissance friends sparkled bright in the night. Slipping their concerns about politics into the dark recesses of their minds, they set thinking, itself, aside and moved into their ritual form.

The Circle cast, the candles flaming. They sang their songs and chanted the sacred poetry of LothloriŽn. Calling upon the four Guardian Unicorns, their forms emerged from the astral, each taking the proper place at the great, Cardinal altars. As they invoked the Goddess, Her power rose up from within the Earth and the very air within the stone circle seemed to shimmer with Magick. When they invoked the Horned One, an owl cried into the night, the trees shifted their branches and the wind played the music of pipes - but only the trained ear heard it.

The cauldron filled and set in the Circle's center, Arnica and Holly held hands and danced the Rune. Suddenly the flames spiralled up from the cauldron, far higher than their heads. Just as their hearts panicked in fear for the trees, the flame shot down. The cauldron was instantly dark, but the soft loam beneath the cauldron was glowing softly. Arnica stepped to the Circle's edge and reached beyond the stones for a fallen stick. Hooking it in the handle of the cauldron, he pulled the warm vessel aside. No, the soil was not glowing but there was a light coming from beneath its surface.

Holly began digging gently, fingers moving decaying needles and bits of soil they had gathered from sacred sites from Circles throughout the world. And then it happened, Holly's fingers uncovered the glowing, smooth surface of some unworldly treasure. They worked together, recalling the days they had struggled to dig up huge rocks left from the last glacier as they made beds for herbes and homes for the Devas.

As the form was revealed, it was obvious that it was shaped like an egg. Warm and radiant, it was so magickal that Holly stopped unearthing it. "What should we do?"

"Touch it with me," said Arnica. They laid their hands upon it. Just the slightest rhythm could be felt. "Listen," said Arnica, and Holly got down upon the earth, an ear held just at the shell's surface.

"A heartbeat!" Holly whispered in excitement.

How could it be? Arnica sat, quietly. The arthritis in his old bones ached and he rocked back and forth, moving through the pain until he sat in the Crone's arms. Holly sat quietly, one hand upon the glowing Warmth, one extended with the palm against Arnica's heart, joining in spirit to help Arnica find the answer.

Arnica's eyes opened. He spoke slowly, "We must leave it here until Eostara. We have been asked to give it protection. Andrius has sired a Unicolt, and ours is the job of giving it shelter. It must grow strong that our Mother Earth will be protected."

They gently pushed the soil back over the egg. Unsure if the Cone of Power would provide enough warmth, they laid their robes over the Circle's heart. The desire to stay here was so great but they padded barefoot back to their cabin. The Wheel was turning and the work ahead left them quiet and ready for sleep.

Later that night, as dreams wove themselves into their magick, Holly cried out into the dark. Arnica woke, his arm pulling Holly close. "It was horrible. I saw the Earth's crust crack open…"

"Quiet, sweet thing. Breathe slow and feel my love. Sleep, my sweet." And they did.

II - The Earthquake

Arnica's fingers were brown with Spring mud. He and Holly worked the soil around their stone circle, preparing the site for tomorrow night's ritual. They'd been here as much of their time as possible in the weeks since Candlemas. The memory of that night was never far from their minds. Circling within the stones, the candles flaming, the image of the fire as it spiralled up into the Universe was a recurrent theme as they pondered over the strange and wonderful event. A warm, egg-shaped object had begun to gently emerge from the earth, right at the center of their Circle. It was no wonder Arnica and Holly spent all of their free time working the soil around the stone circle. Arnica's vision told him it held a Unicolt, offspring of their Unicorn friend, Andrius. The egg was never far from their minds and this year's gardening was taking place around the stone circle where they could observe it and watch for changes. Their gardens between the cabin and the woods, and there were many, seemed to be doing a good job of tending themselves.

The first day of Spring was nearly upon them. In two days the Sun would move into Aries and all of Nature would pivot on the precarious balance between winter and spring. The gardens would be at the midpoint between the shortest day and the longest day, between winter and summer. It was warmer than usual, this year. Indeed, the thermometer outside the greenhouse had recorded warmer temperatures for this season than either Arnica or Holly could remember.

And they were glad. What was a faint heartbeat in the egg, barely audible last Candlemas had grown to a healthy pulsing. They no longer kept the egg covered with blankets and robes. It stayed warm to the touch, seeming to generate its own heat no matter how cool the air at night. Just as the woodland flowers were sending up their early shoots, as the bulbs were stretching in March exuberance, was the life within the sacred egg growing strong as well.

"Look," shouted Holly with excitement, "a trillium - the first!"

Trilliums were one of their sacred flowers. When they first walked among these trees there were but a few of the wildflowers so loved by the Devas. These they nurtured and gave space, clearing the brambles and invasive weeds, singing songs and giving the trilliums love. Several times at the market they had seen other trillium species offered for sale. Arnica would slip his fingers into his money pocket and count the coins by touch. There were always enough. This first trillium was white, but between Eostara and Beltane there would be some yellow, some deep red and even a few nodding trilliums to bless their magickal woods.

The spotting of the first trillium was always a time for giving thanks. Holly went to get Arnica. The mud wiped upon their pants, they held hands and walked along the path to the stone circle. Usually they would move into the very center, there to kneel and offer their blessings to Mother Earth. As they neared the moss-covered stones, their hearts quickened.

A beam of sunlight slipped between the firs, tall overhead, and came to light right upon the egg. Arnica breathed deeply, glad he was not superstitious. This was such a dramatic image that one could easily believe that the egg was being touched by the hand of the Sun God. Arnica squeezed Holly's hand tightly and they began walking around the stones, pausing at the East and the other three cardinal points. Then, rather than kneeling in the center, they moved so that the egg was between them.

Without a word, they simultaneously bent over to listen.

"Can you hear it?"

The heartbeat had grown stronger - but the rhythm had changed. As motes of dust and early pollen danced in the sunbeam, it was as if a silent song danced to the rhythm of the natural wonder. And just as quickly, a cloud passed overhead and they were shaded. Holly's jaw dropped. The egg, which should have lost its glow, continued to radiate light.

"What do we do now?"

"I'm not sure. It seems to have grown larger as well. Maybe we should cover it. The nights can still be cool. Help me gather fir needles to cover it like a blanket."

They worked quickly, bringing handsful of needles until the egg was left safe and warm. Arnica and Holly gathered their tools and called it quits for the day.

The Moon shone through their window. Her light gave shape to the two forms snuggled against each other beneath their quilt. A long day's gardening tired Arnica's old bones. A hot, soaking bath helped, but he was more than ready to sleep. His arm held Holly close, their dreams interwoven with images of the magickal egg and the stone circle, images of weeding, digging and working the soil.

At an instant, they both sat up. Within a moment the sound of the Earth's bones cracking came roaring up and caught their cabin, shaking their bed. The sound of glass breaking upon the floor as their bed tossed like a leaf brought them wide awake. Almost as quickly the earth's trembling subsided.

"Actually, that wasn't too bad," said Holly, breaking into relieved laughter.

"Wow," Arnica answered, stretching his arm out to turn on the bedside light. "Four-thirty. I bet Mars has just risen in the East. Let's get up."

Donning their shoes, they went into the kitchen. Only a couple of glass jars which had been left on the counter for recycling had broken. A few things had come down but their earthquake proofing was reliable. Holly swept up the glass as Arnica checked everything thoroughly. As he knelt in front of their altar, just for an instant he thought he saw something reflected in the large, crystal ball - but nothing was there.

The image was clear in his mind and he felt a sense of urgency as he hurried into the kitchen to Holly.

"Holly, do you remember that dream you had last Candlemas?"

"Yes, how could I forget. I think that's what had my heart going when it first hit."

"There's something about your dream I can't quite put my finger on. I just saw something in the Orb. I can't explain what but we've got to get dressed and go out to the stone circle."

"Now? In the dark?"

"Trust me, sweet thing. I can't explain why, but this is important."

Dressed warm, their flashlights played beams about in the dark. First coming outside they'd stopped to pick up some clay flowerpots which had fallen unbroken from the potting bench. Others, shattered, would wait until later in the day.

They walked the path carefully. Over the years they'd experienced other temblors. There was a wry amusement in seeing damage only where humans had been building. The forest always seemed untouched, other than dead branches having been brought down.

As they neared the stone circle, Holly played the light about. Twice before, a few mossy stones had been dislodged when the earth quaked, but they'd been replaced and reinforced. But Arnica moved directly to the egg and gasped loudly.


The shell was badly cracked. As they knelt, both felt sickened, thinking this damage caused by the quake. But right before their eyes, the shell cracked further, and the delicate point of a spiralled horn poked through.

"I can't believe it!" Holly was so happy, the words could barely come out.

It took nearly an hour, but the Unicolt had broken free. Arnica took off his warm coat and they picked up the hatchling. As Holly held the flashlights, Arnica carried it back to their cabin. Stepping carefully over roots, they were too awed to speak.

Reaching the cabin, Holly stepped up to the door. Before opening it, he turned to look at Arnica. Just then the Unicolt's head stretched up, and it's tongue gave Arnica a big lick. Holly bent over and kissed the Unicolt right on the nose. And to think, that tonight was the Eostara Eve ritual, when the birthing of the seeds would be honored!

III - The May Horn

Arnica walked carefully past the potting bench. Small bits of orange clay pots could be seen upon the ground beneath, remnants of the earthquake which happened the morning of Eostara Eve, more than a month ago. The grass was fresh-mown and the herbe beds freshly weeded, the dark soil worked deeply. The gardens looked ready for Beltane. Clumps of iris sported proud blooms, raising themselves proudly up to the Goddess Isis. Beneath the lilac a bleeding heart arched tender stalks, each strung with a row pendant pink flowers dancing with early morning dew. Beltane Eve would be celebrated this very night in a ritual circle of grass surrounded by small, standing stones. A patchwork of beds spread out from a sacred site, beds of herbes and perennials. And right there, cutting across the beds, through the soft soil, was a trail of cloven prints leading right to the garden Circle.

"At least she didn't step on any plants," Arnica grumbled affectionately, for there stood 'the munchkin' nibbling on the grass in the Circle.

This still-awkward unifilly which had been hatched in their stone Circle had come to be called 'the munchkin' because she just loved to munch the grass in the large garden Circle. She looked so pretty, munching away. Whenever Arnica and Holly wondered where she was and went looking for her, this lovely, young Unicorn was usually found grazing inside the circle or just sitting there, looking young and lovely. She obviously knew that it was sacred space.

Shortly after her birth, one of the first mornings the unicolt had wandered off, only to be found in the Circle. It was remarkable. Even though Holly fed her bottles of warmed goat milk, she had begun to munch sacred grass within a week or two of her birth. There was a precocious quality about her which could only be a gift of the gods; that, and having a father like Andrius! The first time she was found with tiny wisps of new grass tucked in her mouth, "you must have at least a trace of munchkin blood," Holly teased her, scratching her soft ears, and she had been called variations of munchkin since. Arnica's intuition told him that she had been named even before birth and that her name would be revealed to them 'when the time was right.' In the meantime, they had to call her something, and she responded to her nickname. Holly could stand by the open kitchen door and call out, "hey, munchie," and she'd come trotting up within a minute or two.

Arnica walked over toward the beds with the tell-tale signs of unicolt trespassing. As he suspected, not a plant had been touched. He got down on his knees, trowel in hand, and began working the soil around the dicentra. "Aha," he said, spotting a tiny pair of bright green ears coming up through the soil. Moving over to that spot, he began digging deeply, going after a piece of dandelion root which had sent up new growth in search of sunlight. More than three years since they'd put in this bed and buried pieces of weed roots which escaped at the time were still appearing now and then. "Look at that, over a foot deep," Arnica said to no one, his voice filled with wry admiration for the stray dandelion root's tenacity. The munchkin whinnied in response, to Arnica's amazement.

Munchie trotted over to the edge of the garden Circle, staying carefully on the grass and began making sounds at Arnica. She cocked her head to one side, as if exasperated with this old human who was unable to understand her. Arnica looked at her and began laughing, then decided that he ought listen to her more carefully. He sat back on the soil, tucking his legs beneath his body, carefully (he had 'old bones' in his back) and began to slow his breathing and relax. He looked at the munchkin and extended his thoughts and emotions to her. As if she understood (and she may well have), she sat down and looked right into his eyes, then jumped up and began trotting out of the Circle. Arnica rose, and now knew that Holly wanted him to come to the house. He gathered his tools and began heading up the path.

Putting the garden tools away in the shed next to the potting bench, he sat on the back steps and removed his garden shoes. The munchkin dashed about, smelling a flower here, chasing a butterfly there. "If only I had her energy," Arnica thought, but realized that his youth had not been wasted and his age was a great treasure, one he wouldn't trade for anything, not even restored youth!

He stood,turned around and reached for the kitchen door when it suddenly opened and Holly jumped with a loud, startled sound. "I don't know how you do that!"

"It wasn't me this time, it was our muncher," Arnica said. His intuitive sense of timing was the source of teasing between them.

"Well, it's time for lunch," Holly said. "I thought we should eat early so we can complete our preparations for tonight's ritual."

The munchkin leaned forward and nuzzled Arnica in the back of the neck and this time it was Arnica who jumped, much to Holly's glee. Lunch started off with lots of teasing and giggling to stir their appetites.

The sun was soon to set. The woods were filled with twilight but in the gardens there was plenty of light. The Maypole was set in the center of the garden Circle, long ribbons hanging down to the grass. Set toward each of the four directions were symbols of the four elements and candles. Toward the north side of the Circle was the altar. The delight of magick was in the air as Arnica and Holly scurried about like elves. Gathering the needed herbes from the closet, the cauldron from the temple, chalices and ritual blades and all sorts of ritual tools, Holly carefully set them into an old woven picnic hamper he liked to call his 'Wicca basket' and placed it just outside the door for their next trip out to the Circle.

"What robe should I wear?" Holly asked Arnica.

"You know I like it best when you don't wear any robe at all," Arnica teased as he tried to make his face look like a leer.

"If you weren't so full of the Horned One, you'd be a dirty old man," Holly joked. "I think we've got enough for this trip. Let's carry things out to the Circle."

Arnica picked up his staff and opened the door. "But where are they, Holly?"

"Right there, can't you see them?"

"No, I can't. They're not sitting on the porch like you said."

Holly came to the door and, to his surprise, the basket was missing!

"I wonder…"

They walked out the door and looked down, toward the Circle. There was the munchkin, just as proud as she could be, carrying the basket, its handle in her mouth, as she walked toward the Circle with a cocky strut to her gentle gait.

"Well, I'll be an old salamander," Arnica said. "Something tells me this will be quite the night. Let's head out to the Circle."

Just at twilight their closest friends began to arrive. Phoenix and Pearl, a Pictish couple who lived on the other side of the village, came dressed in matching gold-toned robes embroidered with bright patches of flowers. "Quite stunning, the Mother will be honored" said Holly with admiration. This couple was known for their skill with needle and thread!

A few minutes later Amethyst and Crystal came chattering their way around the corner of the house, busily talking about the latest foolishness the Politicos were trying to foist upon the Tribes. There was a movement in the great House. The Users wanted to outlaw all religions but those which accepted their god and considered the massive Book of Doom to be the only book of religious myths to follow. The Earthkin were doing their best but many were beginning to worry and a few talked about retreating, moving away to the mountains to live in hiding. The village commons in LothloriŽn were filled with much talk these days.

Amethyst shook her long, dark hair. It had ribbons and beads strung throughout it and looked like a work of art. Crystal's fair hair was cut very short. She had just completed a long, personal vision quest which included offering her hair to the Goddess. As he saw them, Arnica thought to himself, 'what a fun couple they are.'

"Jewel and Lotus called and said they can't make it. They tried calling you but you must have been out in the gardens. Jewel thinks she may be having a Beltane baby although she's not really due until the Full Moon next week."

"How will we dance?" asked Pearl, even though she knew that they could do the round with six. Eight was their usual number.

"Patience, bright one," said Arnica. If his intuition was flowing well, he knew the answer would soon be arriving. "Let's just move into our places as we normally do." He took Holly's hand and they kissed, lightly, then entered the Circle and moved to stand before the North altar. Amethyst and Crystal headed toward the East, for they worked together to invoke Air and the couple clad in gold started crossing the Circle toward the South. The munchkin whinnied in her curious way, and pranced into the Circle and went to the West where she stood poised. No one could say anything.

Holly held forth the large gong they had found years before at the bazaar and Arnica, striking it with the felt hammer chanted, "Let the Rite begin…"

From the time Crystal spoke the first word until the moment the element of Water was to be invoked, all had moved into their ritual mindset, focused only upon their individual work, upon the verses and the images and the element each was working. As they turned to the West, they saw munchie kneel, bowed before the basin of water, and then, wouldn't you just know it, a familiar large, blue unicorn came leaping over the munchkin's head, turned smartly and took his place alongside his unifilly. "Andrius," chuckled Holly, "why didn't you tell us?"

"He did," whispered Arnica…

The weaving of the Maypole was never so festive. Unicorns could dance with greater agility than humans, but they certainly took up more space! The pole was not woven as tightly as usual, but there was more laughter ribboned into place than ever before.

When it was time to close the Circle, Andrius and the munchkin began to frolic about. Andrius snuck up behind Pearl and, with his long, silver horn, snatched Pearls' braided crown of flowers and tossed it across the circle where it landed, perfectly, around the munchkin's horn. The Circle dissolved quickly into complete silliness. Andrius had crowned his daughter as the 'mayhorn!'

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