Wind Wailing - The Cailleach's Voice
Hello Everyone! It's been a while I know! 2020 just got crazy didn't it? I have been so busy with so many things, work and so many other projects. So I thought I'd ease myself back in to the swing of blogging again and share this little piece of writing with you that I wrote for my Sunday morning live today on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/walkingwithmygoddess which I also upload to a YouTube channel of the same name if you would like to hear me read it but don't do Facebook. Perfect for such a cold and frosty morning here!
So this week I have been looking at The Cailleach and wrote this. I titled it The Wind Wailer as the sound of the wind as it rushes past our house makes me think of Icy Winter Goddesses and as it squeezes through the vents it calls in an unearthly wail that exactly fits my imaginings of the voice of the Cailleach!
I hope you enjoy it x x
The Wind Wailer
I am Cailleach. Cailleach Bhéarra, Cailleach Bear. Bone Woman, Stone Woman. Goddess of Winter, the Wild Wolf Woman. They call me Hag, Crone, Witch, Ogre, Giantess. Yes, I am She of many names. I laugh at these names now as I whistle and wail my path across the land doing my work, wind wailing through the darkness of winter. They say I am old, and I am ancient… It is true, for I am as old as time itself.
Many millennia ago, I helped create this land and my mysteries have been spun into stories and tales over these lands since those who first dwelled here learnt to talk. My stories have been lost in the mists of time in all but a few places now. And in those myths and poems that remain, I am oft reviled and hated and feared.
But once, I who am now as old the world, was young and fresh faced, beautiful and shining. I was a Maiden in 7 lifetimes. In each of those lifetimes I loved, and I was loved.
My dwellings may be long emptied and discarded, but I am loved and remembered. In one incarnation millions of moons since, we travelled to Taigh na Bodach high up in the forsaken glens of The Land of the Scots. Ancient men and women of the glen loved me then too, one winters night I sought shelter with my man and my child, they took us in with hearts as warm as the fire in their hearths.
So, I fashioned stones as a shelter shrine and moulded stones in our likeness, at Beltane the Glens men and women release us from this crude house for a joyful summer amongst the fragrant purple heather and at Samhain they carefully restore us back into the shelter to keep us from the winds that wail and whistle down the mountains and the bitter freezing ice of the dark winter months. In gratitude, I watch over their land and the valleys are fertile and prosperous, the winds and ice blow over them, but the winds wail less fiercely there.
Before that lifetime even, I created the lands or Alba, Eire and Manx – have you not read of this? I was all seeing and all-knowing Queen of my realm then, striding this way and that way, jumping over the waters that part the lands, for I made great Ben Nevis with my vast fearsome hammer as a seat to rest on in my labours, but the land slept and slept on beneath my icy cloak – and as I watched from my lonely eyrie and I saw that all of life beneath me was still and frozen then I was sad and forlorn.
Yes - me the harsh, cruel hag of winter, yes I was sad ….
Great tears sprang from my eyes, and as I wept and wailed, great floods fell across the land and the rivers and springs were brought into being where they landed. In my joy I jumped from my great seat and all the rocks fell from my apron and made the hills and mountains, and in delight and wonder of this new landscape I had made, I cleaved the valleys and gorges with my hammer, for I am creator too.
And bountiful mother. Did you know that? Some knew me as Mother Earth, As She who Creates, as Gaia and the Great Mother. From me sprang the spirits and the Sidhe – the fairy folk of the Emerald Land of Eire. I am Mother Goddess to all the goddesses My children, you do know that you descended from me and the Men I have loved?
Oh the men I have loved in all lands… The Old Man of Bodach, Manannan Mac Lir and others whose names even I forget now. Ahhhh Manannan, how I waited in vain for you to return to me my love. I have known sorrow too, deep, deep sorrow that etched so deeply in my face that my wailing and the wind carved into the rocks themselves at Collough Bay taking the shape of grieving visage for all eternity. I am not indifferent to suffering as some would have you believe of me.
Gentler tongues name me Queen of Winter, as Carlin- the Queen of Witches and in the remote coasts of Alba amongst the hardy fisher folk, I am ‘Gentle Annie’, she who brings the winter storms and gales and those who dwell in my sacred glens and forests know me with fondness as Lady of the Beasts. The animals of these blessed realms love me too – the deer and reindeer are protected by me from the greed of mankind and many is the storm I have whipped up in fury, wild and whirling snowstorms descending on greedy hunters who sought to take more than was their need, but the folk seeking what is fair have nothing to fear. I am ancient goddess of this land, I command the wolves too and have led hungry packs to their quarry, their predatory howls echoing on the wind as I wail beside them.
As the months of winter draw close, just afore Samhain, my ancient servants of time immemorial stir and whisper their spells over the great whirlpool of Corryvreckan - The cauldron of the plaid…. 8 wild and powerful Goddesses - daughters and others of my kind, my Cailleachan I called them, awaken from their slumber deep below the seat of Ben Nevis and toil a while with me as we wash and prepare my great white plaid of winter in its watery depth and if you listen in the carried shrieks of the wind you will hear our spells and our voices...
As midwinter draws closer, I don my sparkling clean plaid and wander through the realms I command. The once green fields and forests are slowly dying back into their yearly decline of death, waiting for the rebirth of the coming year. As my great plaid cloak of white touches their shrivelled leaves and branches, it frosts and freezes them into icy stillness and wintry splendour. Amongst this icy chill and the endings there is hope and there is beauty.
Into the infant new year, I continue to walk the earth, my cloak of winter still commanding frost and ice wherever it touches the land. But as the year grows steadily stronger, slowly, teasingly, I release my icy grip a little and allow the first signs of spring to trail from my great footsteps. I have a magic of my own, but few can see it now, every year without fail I complete my cycle and not unlike the Merlin I grow younger, until at Imbolc Eve I undertake my final labour as Cailleach and I visit the hidden well of youth, keeping vigil until sunrise when I drink the waters of revival and then the Goddess of Spring is born again.
So, as you jolt awake, with the wind battering your home, hissing and wailing down your chimney, whistling through the nooks and crannies of your rooves, your windows or your doors, hear me and know that I am just going about my work settling the land to sleep for long dark nights and all is as it should be.
What looks like destruction, is the cycle of rebirth and renewal. As my freezing fingers pluck away at the foliage and the land transforms under my fearsome touch to a cruel and frozen realm, just pull up the covers and rest deeply knowing that this always comes before fresh growth, renewal, before the green shoots and the brave budding petals of Imbolc.
Soon, I will be but a distant memory, as you embrace Spring, I shall be consigned to the harshness of winter past but allow yourself a quiet minute to remember that each year I come to my death and to my rebirth.
Each year, I change my name, I am reborn. I am Bride, Breed, Brigit, Brighid, Bridie, St Brigit. I am She of many names and I am She of many mysteries.
Have a Blessed Week x x x