It's Deep Winter now, the cold heart of the Winter, and the fireday known variously as Yeaning, Ewesmilk, and February Eve* is upon us.

It's time to mount the Wolf-Guard.

Snow lies piled deep, game is scarce. Hunger Moon shines.

Yet now comes the yeaning, the lambing. (In the Old Witch language, yeans are lambs or kids.) And where there are lambs, there are wolves.

Hunger and the smell of blood overcomes the wolves' innate caution of human beings. So the warriors take up their spears and go up to the lambing-pens to mount the nightly wolf-guard.

In most places, these days, the Wolf-Guard no longer happens literally; instead, it's become a game (also called Lambs and Wolves). Here's how you play.

There are three kinds of players: Lambs, Spears, and Wolves.

Lambs in the middle, Spears in a circle around them, facing out. Wolves on the outside, hungry, wanting those Lambs.

How rough things get is up to you. It might be a good idea to lay down some guidelines before you begin: it's Cabin Fever season, after all, and we're all a little testy.



*Also: Imbolc, Oimelc, Candlemas, Brigid, etc.


You can read more about the Wolf-Guard in Bronze Age Keltic society in Rosemary Sutcliff's remarkable teen novel Warrior Scarlet: a warm read for a cold time of year.