Introduction from my latest book (published 29th July 2016) Pagan Portals The Cailleach.
The lovely image on the front cover was drawn by our daughter Emma (age 15).
She is ancient…
She is the landscape beneath our feet
She is the mountains and the hills
She is the rock and stone that leads down to the shore
She is wisdom
She is knowledge
She is mysteries
She is the old hag
She is The Cailleach
The Cailleach came to me many years ago when I had been on the witchcraft pathway for six or seven years and had worked with a lot of different deities, although most of them came from the Celtic pantheon I have always been open to whatever deity that makes itself known, each encounter has been for a very good reason. I wasn’t looking for a matron goddess in fact I was reading a work of fiction, a pretty good ‘twists and turns’ mystical thriller where the heroine of the story was assisted by a blue face hag that hung in the shadows, she was named The Cailleach Bheur. After reading that book I kept hearing and seeing her name mentioned (obviously not in the supermarket but in other things I read and as I surfed the net), this goddess was most definitely trying to get my attention so I started on a journey with her that I have never regretted, not even on the bad days when she kicks my butt because I don’t listen…
In writing this book I have drawn upon myths, legends and folk lore because although there are one or two historic documents that mention her name most of her ‘history’ has been passed down through storytelling and folk tales. Most of the written information is relatively recent as in the last couple of centuries the rest is just given to us in the form of folk stories and hints in the ancient monuments and the names of places that seem to be associated with her.
I can only present you with the information I have discovered, it is up to you to choose which pieces resonate with you and which don’t. I have also added a chapter on how to work with her on a magical basis this is taken from my own personal experience with her.
She has many myths and legends all passed down verbally and most of them have the same theme, that of renewal. Each generation adding or changing bits of the story to suit the times and I think this has happened particularly with The Cailleach turning her from a goddess of creation, wisdom, harmony and rebirth into a dark and evil hag. She does seem to have been given the ‘Hollywood’ treatment making her out to be the ‘bad guy’ trapping her in the confines of winter. But she is so much more…
Whether you would like to work with The Cailleach on a magical basis or are just interested in her legend I hope you will enjoy this introduction and then seek her out. Please bear in mind that each and every one of us has our own personal pathway and we will all have individual and unique experiences with deity. Nothing is right or wrong there is only YOUR experience.