An online course with 5 sessions.
Reviews of the Cailleach course:
The depths, the research, the heart, the soul, the honoring of Cailleach is formidable and powerful! It feels you heaved a large boulder from this Great Goddess, She stood stretch her old bones and turned to grin at you for remembering and uncovering her wisdom. I thank you for remembering! Your medicine is a gift to this world, this world that so needs to remember Cailleach! In deepest gratitude!
From the beginning, I felt a real connection to the Cailleach. She is forever a part of me, I know this now. My mother was born in Dublin and my father in Belfast. They immigrated to the US, and left the myths and stories behind. I’ve found a connection to my ancestral line through this course. I love how you are able to retain the feeling of fireside storytelling in this digital format. Wherever I was at the time, I was transported.
Mary du Plessis
Thank you, Jude, for offering the wealth of resources which you wove together and made meaningful with your enlightening commentary. The guided meditations helped transform the information into personal experience. The sessions were well structured to build on the previous one. The importance of the Cailleach in the present was brought home to me , the Cailleach’s power of renewal is so vital to us today. I am inspired to create a Cailleach doll and altar to keep reminding me of the need for that power now. An amazing depth of scholarship not easily found elsewhere, as well as a meaningful source of inspiration. The Cailleach helps us understand the lasting influence of the divine feminine from ancient times and the need to remember and honor her today.
I think the content was amazing and very scholarly which speaks to me. It has also connected me more to the land and made me wonder who our Appalachian Cailleach is and where might be her sacred places. As my (and many others) ancestors from Scotland and Ireland settled this area, it stands to reason these traditions were brought with them.
This is a self study, go at your own pace course.
The Cailleach is an ancient pre-celtic figure, a divine hag, a creatrix. She is so old she has no known genealogy or traditions associated with her. This course sets out to explore who is the Cailleach through five sessions and offers films, audio stories and guided meditations to help you engage with her in this world and the next.
Click on the above image to listen to a guided journey ‘The Cailleach’s Cauldron’
Session one: The Great age of the Cailleach
The first session opens with an exploration of the meaning behind her name and examining the Cailleach in relation to other figures in global primal myth. We explore the secret to her great age through listening to some cailleach myths and a short film and then consider the meaning behind the themes in the myth and what that tells us about how she is viewed in our world today.
Session two: Pilgrimage
Session two takes us on a pilgrimage to three sites in Ireland and three in Scotland. We begin our journey at the Beare Peninsula where we explore the story of the hag Rock, then The Hag’s Head at the Cliffs of Moher and the Hag’s Chair at Loughcrew. Then we then travel to Scotland to explore the Corryvrecken Whirlpool, Tigh na Cailleach (The Cailleach Shrine) and the magical mountain of Schiehallion. At each site we explore the myths and stories of these places and a guided meditation offers your own personal pilgrimage to what site most resonated with you.
There will be the invitation to create your own Cailleach shrine – a mix of collage from maybe one or two of the sites that most interest you, which can be added to as you explore more aspects of her in the coming sessions. You will receive ideas and prompts and an invitation to share your creation.
Session three: Evolution and embellishment
Session three begins by looking at the popular view of the Cailleach today and her relationship with the goddess Brighid. We delve into exploring that relationship and answering why did the Cailleach story change. This session covers the ‘Celtic Twilight’ a time when the Victorians were enamored by all things Celtic, and within literature many myths got rewritten and another layer onto her story. We question how these rewritings has changed the perception of the Cailleach and listen to the story of Bride and Beira and ponder its deeper meaning.
Session four: Down to the Roots
Session four looks for clues that might help us reclaim aspects of the Cailleach within her folklore. We examine the role of renewal in relation to the Great Mother of Old Europe and how such an integral aspect became vilified. We briefly explore what Old Europe culture offered as well as exploring the ancient ruins of a Maltese temple built by a giantess.
Session five: Her role for our time
We explore the role of the Bean Feasa, the wise woman and the role she has played over countless generations and in particular, times of personal crisis. In opening that up to the bigger picture today and a world in crisis – what then can the wise woman offer?
Renewal is at the heart of the Cailleach story and we explore how we can work with this concept in our daily lives. We tie in all the threads of the previous sessions into this initial weave and a shamanic journey offers you the opportunity to seek answers to your own personal questions.
How the course works
Participants are emailed a set of links and password for the 5 sessions. Guided meditations and shamanic journeys will be made available via online files.
There will be ‘journaling ideas’ prompts within the session, invitations to explore your own thoughts on certain aspects through writing or mulling things over as you go or a walk in the woods.
Guided meditations will invite you between the world to the realm of the Cailleach – with a suggestion of gathering your art materials and journal to record impressions and journey.
Each week there will be additional bonus material, optional links to films, readings or websites if you wish to explore an aspect in further detail.