The Bones of the Winter Hag


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The wind is hurtling down the mountain today, whipping any warmth from warm blooded creatures. The trees are still in their deep sleep and any new shoots are being struck down. I know who is behind this, I can feel her presence, she is an ancient giant who created islands from the boulders that feel from her apron.

She is the Cailleach, the blue faced hag of winter. She can appear as a sweet little old lady, but be warned she is a shape shifter, and it is her that is the energy source of this bitter cold. She strikes life down, dead with her blackthorn staff. She is merciless and if she calls you better listen! She demands that you do the same in your life, striking down anything that doesn’t feed you – she doesn’t suffer fools. She’ll pull you through hideous nightmares but really it’s for your own good.


She is not all she seems. Sweet old ladies don’t often carry hammers!

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Go out in the freezing wind, let her strike you down with her blackthorn staff, she can rebirth you if you can work with her.

Although we still have much of winter to endure we’re not far off Imbolc and so the Cailleach’s days are numbered, and she knows it. She is the death hag, Brighid’s crone and soon she will be called back to the dream worlds of Tir nan Og, where she will wash her face and it will be Breeja who turns around to spread her mantle far and wide in a new spring mantle of green.


Brighid & the Cailleach by Michelle – artist and storyteller at the National Leprechaun Museum

Click on image for original source


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