An Introduction to the Cailleach – an invitation

 

The great Hag extends a boney hand – an invitation to take a journey with the oldest figure of pre-Celtic myth.

In this course we will explore:

  • Her Great Age
  • Pilgrimage to 3 Irish and 4 Scottish of her sacred sites
  • Examine why her story has changed over time
  • Explore her folklore looking for clues of her origins
  • Consider her role for our times


Through the Eye of the Cailleach

With art, altar building (step by step each week), guided meditations and community to explore your insights, thoughts and inspiration….

Click below for more information & registration. Pre-registration is open with the first session starting 10/27. 

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Through the Eye of the Cailleach – Workshop

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*3 places left * (as of 11/7)

By the end of November the pumpkins have started to rot, the costumes discarded and the decorations back in their box. The majority of ancestral souls have returned to where they dwell. The world is quiet, dark and it is time to answer the souls calling and journey into the cave. As nature draws her energy down to the roots it is natural for us too to turn inwards as it is here in the dark that we can best tend to our soul life.

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The Cailleach is sometimes described as having a great third eye in the middle of her forehead. Through this eye she can see through all time and space with a primal intuition. She see’s all that causes havoc in our world. We will draw on her wisdom and activate our own third eyes so we can see afresh into our own lives and see the cause and effects that we might otherwise be blind to.

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Forest offering to the Cailleach

In this workshop we will share stories of the Cailleach (provided) and discuss our feelings around them. We will also watch a short film about the great hag and get a sense of her great age. We will have a guided meditation which takes us to the priestesses of the Cailleach, the ones who know the ways of this divine crone.

We will then take those inspirations and weave them into our dolls. Our dolls will be made through a needle felting process, suitable for complete beginners. We will decorate our dolls with Scottish tweed as well as pockets and little jars which can be used in ritual and with intention – we will also discuss working with dolls.

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A Costume for the Cailleach

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‘At Samhuinn, the veil between the worlds draws thin and the spirits gather close to bear witness as the courts of Summer and Winter battle for control of the seasons. In her wild ecstasy of grief and sorrow, the Cailleach ushers the last breath os Summer’s opulent decadence into the beyond to make way for the icy storms of Winter’s dark reign’.                        Beltane Fire Society 

 cailleach-postersBeltane Fire Society’s posters

The Beltane Fire Societies events – Beltane & Sumhuinn in Edinburgh are not to be missed! The creativity, the dancing, the drumming – the ritual! Those were wild nights. These days my relationship with the crone has changed and shapeshifter as I too have. My reflection on the wheel is more of a women’s psychology – the wheel of my foremothers. There is room for all views of the wheel for we are not all from the same village.

This year the Beltane Fire Society’s Cailleach extends an invitation to send a fabric square which will be stitched together to make her costume which will be worn in their great ritual on Samhuinn night in Edinburgh.

Click here for the original post and mailing address (to Edinburgh, Scotland) 

I was stitching little keening dolls when I read this news. Intention woven into the fabric with each repetitive action – as i my hands were spinning new weaves which went out into the great web that connects all things. I so love this idea of a communally created gown and so if you miss the Scottish deadline I am more than happy to take strips of fabric (measuring 20cm x 10cm or 8 inches x 4 inches) which will be stitched together and worn at a Cailleach ritual in november – in the belly of the deep. The garment will be a shroud of sorts for the Cailleach – for she ushers in death in the winter months as without death there is no rebirth. if you’d like to send a intention or request with your fabric – you can roll it up in a scroll and it will be burnt on our dark need fire. Deadline for fabric – 20th October.

Contact me here for my address. 

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The Cailleach Course – Registration is now open

It’s getting cold up there in North Dakota as the season is changing fast. We have become the media sharing posts and videos and doing what we can to help support the land and water protectors in the camps at Standing Rock.

I was all ready to get a truck full of winter clothes and items that the camps are looking for and head up to North Dakota. Small problem – I don’t drive. So we do what we can. In writing my post Invoking the Cailleach in the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline with the Cailleach course ready to launch in early October registration is now open.

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Half the price of the first ten sign ups will be donated to the Sacred Stone Camp.

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What does the course cover?

We start off with looking at the great age o the Cailleach then take a pilgrimage to some of her sacred sites in Ireland and Scotland. We examine her changing story and look towards why that story changed in relation to the beliefs of the people. In Down to her roots we examine two cases o her folklore which take us back to the culture of Old Europe (5-4,000 BCE). FInally we take each of these threads and weave them together in exploring what is her role for today and how to we ground that in our lives.

head-bwThe course is now in it’s second year and received great reviews. 

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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

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full details and booking 2

 

Invoking the Cailleach in the Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

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Click on image for source. Sacred Stone Camp, North Dakota.

Our elders have told us that if the zuzeca sape, the black snake, comes across our land, our world will end. Zuzeca has come – in the form of the Dakota Access pipeline – and so I must fight.The Dakota Access pipeline threatens to destroy our sacred ground. I am defending the land and water of my people, as my ancestors did before me.’ Lyuskin American Horse in Canon Ball, North Dakota (click to read Guardian story) 

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Water is life. All life here on earth depends on it. When exobiologists look for life in the universe they look for the presence of water. Our planet looks mostly blue when seen from space. I’ve watched videos on twitter with the gathering of native peoples and supporters across America and been inspired with speeches on Standing Rock Spirit Resistance Radio which is based at the protest. 

More than anything i’ve been so moved by these gracious people, rooted deeply in non violence. How they talk about the fight, their lives and their solidarity with people supporting them with a spirituality that seeps into every word and action, comments rich with concern with the children and future generations.

Their fight is our fight, water is under threat around the world from fracking, pollution and this huge proposed pipeline which would carry approximately 470,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from the Bakken oil fields, 1,172 miles through the country’s heartland, to Illinois. The pipeline will cross the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, where it threatens to contaminate our primary source of drinking water and damage the bordering Indigenous burial grounds, historic villages and sundance sites that surround the area in all directions.

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Sacred Stone Camp founder LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard’s great-great-grandmother, Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin) survived the bloodiest conflict between the Sioux Nations and the U.S. Army ever on North Dakota soil.

I’m not saying anything new here but in light of the lack of news (or tainted news from mainstream media) we are now the media. Sharing each others stories, films, news from the frontline.

In the oldest beliefs from my country the Cailleach, the oldest deity is renewed every one hundred years when before any birdsong or human noise she submerges herself fully under the waters. These waters are her otherworldly source, they are the the primal and cosmological essence which everything is born from. To pollute the waters is to pollute the most sacred essence, upon which our lives depend on.  Ancient wells found around Scotland and Ireland are decorated with clooties, Celtic prayer flags where people leave requests from the dieities of the place. The water itself comes from deep underground aquifers – the embodiment of the Great Mother who on her gushing forth into the land provides life.

Today in the same lands the Cailleach is often laughed at as an old irrelevant hag, a useless old woman but she is still here and I wouldn’t mess with her. This dark moon I held a silver bowl filled with sacred waters from the Well of the Holy Women from the Isle of Eigg in Scotland – and evoked this great old one in this fight against the zuzeca sape (the black snake, the Dakota Access Pipeline).

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Modernity no longer honors the crone – but she forever renews herself and answers those that call on her (warning – you might not like her reply!) Click on the above film for a short ilm on the Cailleach and the modern age that has ignored her!

We can support the people on the frontline with rituals and magic, with donations and sharing this news.

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I’m offering 25% of any doll sales going to support those protecting the sacred lands. Click on the image above to view the online shop.

For those in the Asheville area I’m working on a small fundraiser. In times of dire need Celtic folks would light a fire, a big huge burning festival. So in this time of need i’ll be inviting local folks to come to a BBQ, a fire where we can offers prayers and ceremonies and dig into your pockets and send $$$. Lets invoke the old Hag so she can do whats she does best! Bring death to the black snake, for without death there can be no renewal of life – and a way of living that doesn’t threaten life. We invoke her for the folks on the frontline the protectors of the sacred lands of North Dakota – knowing they are emblems for struggles all around the world.

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The Sacred Stone Camp – suggestions to support those on the front line:

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Click here to support the Sacred Stone Camp fund via GoFundMe – We are asking for financial support for water-propane – food and blankets  for the camp.  This is a prayer camp movement to save our sacred land and water and has been entirely supported by the people and the campers.

Click here to donate to the legal fund

Click here for the Sacred Stone Camp FAQ – other ways to help

 

 

She of a Thousand Eyes

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Roe deer buck  © Copyright Rob Burke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
I arrived in Scotland to snow flurries and weather which changes dramatically. One minute your enjoying the sunshine then the skies darken in a pelting of hail then just as quickly it’s back to clear skies and white fluffy clouds set against a brilliant blue sky.
I love this changeable weather which was still at play as I began my walk up the steep road from Bonhill which takes you up towards Carman Hill. Halfway up the road a Roe deer suddenly stuck her head through the hedge,  then on seeing me she bounded off back through the fields. What a start to my walk as I ‘ve only ever seen deer on these hills a couple of times and never at such close range.
As I walked up the rest of the road the hedge was a boundary between me and another world but as I stepped off the tarmac I stepped  over a threshold leaving the world of towns, traffic, roads and the humdrum of everyday life into a wilder world of skylarks, of gorse in bloom and echoes of a far older time.
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I have walked these hills many times, through different ages and different lives all within one lifetime. Across this threshold everything feels different. The wind wild and silent roars when it weaves its way through the rowan tree branches. It blows the cobwebs off taking away worries and concerns that also sink out through my feet to be dissolved in the dark peaty earth.
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I followed  the dry stone dyke up the hill and half way up my ears heard a much missed song – that of the skylark (click here to hear the Skylarks song).  The stories of the land are here. There are only loose threads left in the folklore – yet there are holders of other threads in the song of the skylark, the flight of the seagull, the unfurling of the bracken and held in the rocks of the wall.
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I love the moss filled cracks in these rocks at the top of Carman Hill. I often wonder if these rocks are part of the bedrock or carried here by great ice sheets. Are the markings striations from ancient ice glaciers – although I heard another option that they might be cracks caused by a fire which was set in celebration of the wedding of Queen Alexandra & the Prince of Wales (later King Edward) in 1863.  Seemingly this fire cracked several of the big rocks badly but must have been quite spectacular as it was said it was seen from several surrounding counties.
As the clouds shape shifted and raced over the landscape a circular patch appeared like a great eye looking down on me. The great third eye of the Cailleach in fact her story is knitted into everything around me and she watches from a thousands eyes. From the eyes of the Roe deer who stuck her head through the fence, to the eyes of the calves in the field as I walked by the farm. She watches me from the eyes of the Scot’s Pine trees, from the bright yellow eyes of the daffodils, from the snails and the rocks of the crow and the buzzard. She watches behind all the eyes of this place.
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Looking out towards the Clyde Estuary
 me
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 The skies began to darken as the rains came in, clouds like great skirts of rain – shifting and morphing like a dance, the dance of Clutha an ancient diety of the Clyde and all the local water forms.

Rainbow

As i turned around and headed back leaving this wild world and over the threshold the sun came out and I was treated to a rainbow which turned into a double rainbow through which one of our first summer visitors, the swallow, flew through singing her chirpy song (click here to listen to the song of the swallow).

Cailleach Course just $30 for February

cailleach bonesThe Cailleach wasn’t always the Crone of winter, her myth, just like Brighid’s, has morphed and changed over the years. In this 5 session online course we explore the great hag’s age as she has no known genealogy. We take a pilgrimage to some of her sacred sites in Ireland and Scotland. We explore her folklore which leads us back thousands of years to Old Europe. As we listen to her stoires,  take a guided meditation and shamanic journey we finally question her role for our time?

The discounted price of $30 is being extended for the month of february

Click on the poster below for more details and booking

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