The Cailleach is as old as the land itself. She wandered the Green World since it first coalesced from the waters of chaos. Bheara was already ancient by the time the Tuatha de Danann arrived on the shores of Ireland. She has crowned Kings and toppled empires. These are curated collections of her most important entries to her grimoire.
Fintan thinks himself both old and wise in the matters of time. It took me much of the night to disabuse him of that notion! He's right that the Oran Mor began with a single note containing all things and yet no things. He is most definitely not right that the unfolding of the Great Song progresses along an evenly metered straight line. Do not the seasons repeat and yet build each cycle toward greater complexity of forms, greater knowledge? Wisely he answered yes, even one as thick headed as him can see the sun rise each morning! All the same, he views circular time as a dead end, 'an endlessly turning wheel cannot account for the origins of species or the bulding of wisdom', he lectures. Might we both be right? The cycles of life-death-and rebirth, the turn of seasons, the very mechanism driving the forward growth of more and more complex life ever recur in cycles, but ever change. It's why fins became fingers and the old coot can drink his tea. The Oran Mor must be a spiral of repeating themes progressing around the forward line of endless variations. All born out of the big banging resound of the First Note who contained all things not yet formed.
And I believe there are cycles within the ascending spiral of the Oran Mor, another opportunity for Fintan to be wrong about something else. Long have I charted the swells and eddies of the Song, longer than even he has existed. For aeons it built and built, the diversity of voices and melodies joining it seemed to never end. While the Children of Danu abided in the Undying Lands, this was so. They learned every coda during the first Triune of Creation. So many refrains had joined the song that nothing new could find room to even warble. When there was nothing more they could learn in the land without Death, Mother Danu sent them forth into the Green World because, to play new music, some strains must end. Her children set sail for Inisfail and set to work conducting the music to mold the Green World. This current Second Triune is, therefore, an Age of Preservation where little new is added to the song, and little leaves it, but what exists is reshaped and reformed into a wondrous array of beings. But what happens next?
Old Fintan believes once the Second Battle of Moytrua ended, the Song was fully realized. He thinks it will go on and on near forever marching forward with only the incremental change until it all winds down and falls silent. He's wrong about that too. He fails to see crescendos in the song come always in threes, and this time we inhabit now is only the twilight of the latest cycle. I jab my finger at the drawing from my grimoire. Big shift is coming, I tell him. A Final Battle of Moytura draws nigh. The only question is when! He screwed up his face and flapped his gnarled hand at me as though I were a child. 'No one can predict the next harmony in the Great Song. Not even you.' He said and tittered in his grating laugh. He demanded I prove it. I've always hated that hideous knee-length beard he insists on keeping, so I offered him a wager. If I can predict with reasonable accuracy when the next crescendo in the song will occur, he has to shave it off! The damn fool took the bet. For three days I will sit and listen to the Oran Mor, and then I complete my chart of the Second Triune, and we wait.
As I harken to the Oran Mor, impereceptibly at the edges, the notes sour. Melodies as threadbare as my dress. These old bones tingle and pop. Thousands of sun cycles have passed since the Children of Danu drove the Children of Domnu into darkness at the end of the Second Battle of Moytura. On that Plain of Towers, the Tuatha's victory over the Fomorians promised a world of seeming infinite growth to those who took the world from the Tuatha. Humans alone rule this long arc of the Song, but the third, and final crescendo of this age hastens. Battle defined the last Triune, while Scholarship ruled the first. I see a new plane of towers in a faraway land. Towers of metal and glass clumped on the land like a forest. The Tuatha and even the Sidhe return to the Green World, and a battle looms. What force will dominate the Third Triune? Will it be another Age of Creation or an Age of Destruction? This I cannot tell. I can only hear the shreiking discord in the crescendo and know the Green World will never be the same.