Today, 25th March is the Cailleach’s day. The old crone’s day, the blue faced hag, the creatrix … call her what you want – she couldn’t care less.
Every 100 years on this day the old crone made her way down to the lochside to submerge herself in it’s icy waters. Yip – this date doesn’t quite fit into your neat wheel of the year – and you know, she couldn’t care less!
She was here before your wheel of the year, before Imbolc ever had a name and before Beltane ever crossed anyone’s lips. Yet the strengthening sun told us about the spring equinox and that was the signal for the old one. It happened every so slightly – she’d begin arguing with herself, shouting sometimes. For she had to let part of herself go. She had to go down to the Loch’s edge and wade in with her old aching bones and here something quite amazing happened. She let go and every cell in her renewed itself and she came out of the waters a new woman. She came out of the water a young woman. She is as old as the hills and as new as the new shoots of green grass. Old as the stones and as new as the spring buds.
She was once young and old, old and young – over and over renewing herself! And then the people came. There was the people who lived with her and she liked those people – and both lived happily together for hundreds and hundreds of years. And then appeared a new breed of people who trapped this old one. They cut her in two. They named the young one and heaped praises on her honoring her young skin and fair complexion – and as much as they loved the young one they hated the old one. They stuck her in winter with her blue face, her hairy chin and called her a useless old woman! They stopped her from going back to the Loch and things were never quite the same again.
But that’s just one version of her story – who knows the right one – only she – this bone mother and believe me when I say she couldn’t care less what one we pick!
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