Introduction to the Cailleach


 Reviews of the Cailleach course, now in its third year:


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!  Reda R

head-bwFrom 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

head-bwThank 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.   Dottie McCaleb

I can hear the land singing through your voice. Thank you for the beauty of your words.  
Jacqueline Woodward-Smithhead-bw
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.  Arlene Bailey

Course Details

The Cailleach is currently a go at your own pace course with materials available online for the rest of the year.

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.


Cailleach Altoid Tin Altar

Session one. Her Great Age 

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. Her Changing Story

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

Each session will be emailed to you on it’s corresponding date. You will be invited to join a secret Facebook group to share your insights, inspirations and questions with fellow students.

journalling ideas 3

 A ‘journaling ideas’ prompt within the session, invites you to explore your own thoughts on certain aspects of the session. You may wish to explore these through writing, over a cup of tea or on  a walk in the woods.guided med

 Guided meditations will set the scene and connect to an ancient part of your. Drumming will be your invitation to take your own journey as holding your own intention you journey between the worlds. You may wish to have your journal with you or art materials to record any impressions or insights.


On week one you will receive your free gift – a PDF file outlining how to build a Cailleach altar. Your guide will be divided into 5 steps and we will explore a different step each session where you consider a particular aspect and related item you wish to represent that item for your altar.


Bonus materials links allow you to continue your journey of exploration via readings or external websites and introduce you to other resources.

Set Your Own Pace/Self Study

The course materials are also available so you can set your own pace and access them when it suits you. The materials from this session 2016/2017 will be available online for you until 2018.



For 2017 Celtic Soul School is supporting Equality Now and a percentage of all online courses will be donated to help support their action in supporting the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women as well as supporting the International group Girls Not Brides

Course cost $38. You will receive an email with all the session logins, details of the dedicated Facebook page as well as your Cailleach Altar document.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards