It’s been a while since this doll maker made a doll. Although I’m always thinking of creations which want to be made, to be given form. My dolls hold the wisdom and insight of folklore, of the way of the Wise Women – and extend an invitation to view the world through their eyes.
This Samhain I’ll be launching a wheel of the year course which through the cycle of the year explores each of the eight festivals in relation to the folklore of the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman). Each festival is represented by an Ancestral Mother of Scotland and a doll who represents her – there will be creative projects which stir the imagination and guided meditations to journey with the wise woman.
This post celebrates doll making and an inspiration to me to celebrate these wonderful creations!
The Old Dark One
She Who Holds the Wheel
Vasilisa and the doll her mother gave her
The Great Eye of the Cailleach
She Who Runs With the Herds
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Click on the Etsy logo to see the dolls in the shop
As the days grow shorter and the nights longer maybe among the falling leaves, or in the air on a frosty morning you might hear the call of the old crone. She is old, far older than you can really contemplate. She’s older than the mountains, so old that she remembers when the very ocean was a forest covered with trees.
This five-session course overs:
Session 1 – Her Great Age
Theories covering a race of Cailleach’s
Session 2 – Pilgrimage
We will virtually visit some of her sacred sites in Ireland and some in Scotland
Session 3 – Her Changing Story
We’ll look at a range of stories and consider if her story has changed and contemplate why
Session 4 – Down to the Roots
In this session, we explore her folklore, follow it as far as we can to see if it gives us any hints on her origin.
Session 5 – Her Role For Our Time
As a figure who is connected to the Bean Feasa (the Wise Woman), we will consider her relevance to us today.
The course also offers guided meditations, a week by week opportunity to build a Cailleach altar and a community where you can share your ideas and insights.
Imagine a great bundle of kindling to light the woodstove one early morning but instead it was a bundle to warm you as the days grow short and the night grow long. These seasonal little bundles are a collection of gifts for you that weave in some myth and inspiration of the season.
The Samhain bundle taps into the Cailleach fully moving into her power – you’ll get a little vial of water from the Stream of the Cailleach as well as two Cailleach greeting cards. The bear only walks in Scotland now in spirit – I wonder if my feet have ever crossed where her footprints once walked.
Along with a pair of Grandmother Bear earrings there is an invitation to step into the cave of the Grandmother and dance with these ancient bear women.
There is also a fun art project and you’ll receive a mookaite stone. Running Water (the Aboriginal meaning of mookaite) is an ancient grandmother. She wears a cloak of earthy red, ochre with has a sheen of burnt yellow and burgundies. She carries a torch which shines on our inherited patterns helping illuminate those which aren’t healthy. She is old, 125 million years old and she helps us connect to ancient knowledge buried in our own cells whatever our linage is.
Click below to read full details of what’s in the Samhain bundle and to purchase.
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.
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.
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.
‘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
Beltane 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.
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.
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.
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.
The course is now in it’s second year and received great reviews.
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
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