'There are three great ages; the age of the yew tree, the age of the eagle, the age of the Cailleach.' -An ancient Celtic poem
The Goddess Cailleach is a mother of gods, she is an old crone, a witch, and the Mother of Winter. She is so vastly ancient that the Celts when they arrived in Ireland two thousand years ago, addressed her as already ancient and powerful.
Cailleach was reborn again, an old crone, each Samhain and went about chilling the Earth to halt new growth, to frost the ground with a long wand or flick of her hand, and by calling down the snow. She was a tempest who controlled storms and weather along the shores of Ireland and Scotland and she is still spoken of in winter storm myths and legends today. Her staff had the ability to turn plants (and herself) into grey stone, therefore making lonely standing stones sacred to her.
It is said that her long fingernails carved the rivers and valleys of earth, and that she created the mountains from the stones that fell from her apron. Her appearance was fearsome, she was noted to have sharp red teeth and hair white as a frosted snow covered mountaintop. She was a goddess feared, a goddess respected. In many ways, she was Death personified.
Another Celtic goddess, Brigit was the goddess of new beginnings and birth, the sheering of sheep and the budding fertility of the spring. Twice a year, a challenge was issued with Cailleach against Brigit, the Cold Dragon against the Warm Lamb. At Samhain, Cailleach would triumph over Brigit, but at Imbolc the reverse would be true allowing spring to win over winter and warm the earth once again.
Terrifying old crone, witch, Cailleach, we feel her chill and deathly presence in our bones, our roots hit her frozen waters. We all must follow her crisp air into the dark cold winter of the wood. Here the old hag will test us, and we will be allowed to grow new again by the will of the Gods.
2/26/2018 07:13:45 pm
I really like the accompanying illustration. Is it your own?
1/24/2021 08:33:03 am
I am also interested in credits for this image
8/1/2020 10:56:29 pm
First of all the Celts got to Ireland around 2500 years NOT 2000 since Caesar invaded Britain 2000 years ago and the Celts were already there all around the British Islands and Ireland since quite a while
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Amber Araneae (Spider)
My public journal space while I go through the various study programs within ADF and a place where I can journal freely.