(Prose 2) The Cailleach: The Ancestral Mother of Scotland By Jude Lally

cailleach_edited

Cailleach – Photo by Jude Lally

A Wild and Ancient Site

There are many sites across Scotland and Ireland relating to the Cailleach for there wasn’t just one Cailleach as she had many sisters. Less than one hundred miles from where I grew up is the long loch of Loch Tay in Scotland. If you were to take to the hills until you reach Glen Tay, then continue onto Tigh na Cailliche (Glen Cailleach), you will come across the little structure of Tigh Nam Bodach, the Shrine of the Cailleach. It is possibly the only surviving shrine to the Cailleach in all of Scotland.

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(Prose 1) The Cailleach: The Ancestral Mother of Scotland by Jude Lally

cailleach_edited

Cailleach – Photo by Jude Lally

“She is a symbolic personification of a cosmos that has been in place since time immemorial, certainly since before human society.”                            Gearoid O Crualaoich (2003)

While growing up my Samhain’s (Halloween’s) were all about Guising – diving into my grandmother’s bag of old clothes and wondrous fabrics and piecing costumes together. Guising was all about dressing up so that when the ancestors and spirits came through from the otherworld, they wouldn’t know who was who as we were all in disguise. I can remember the thrill of running from neighbours’ houses imagining the ancestors and spirits embodied in the night’s winds – swimming through treetops and swooping down to chase us while blowing up piles of fallen leaves for dramatic effect.

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