Visions of the Cailleach: Exploring the Myths, Folklore and Legends of the Pre-Eminent Celtic Hag Goddess

Front Cover
Avalonia, 2009 - Religion - 144 pages
5 Reviews
Standing astride the British landscape, looms the giant blue form of the Cailleach. Whether she is seen as a benevolent earth-shaping giantess, harsh winter hag goddess, shape-shifting crone, guardian of sacred wells and animals, or ancient bestower of sovereignty; the Cailleach appears in many roles and manifestations in myths and legends across the British Isles. Tracking the Cailleach across thousands of years through folklore, literature and place names, the authors have uncovered startling references which hint at a hidden priestess cult worshipping the Cailleach from ancient times through into the twentieth century. By exploring her myths and legends, they demonstrate the hugely significant role of the Cailleach in the early history of the British Isles. The demonization of the Cailleach through the Middle Ages by the Christian Church paralleled that of women and witches, and is reflected in various other supernatural hag figures possibly derived from her and discussed in detail, such as Black Annis, Gyre Carling, Mia Lia, Nicneven and the Old Woman of the Mountain. Looking beyond the veil of the sacred landscape, the vision of the Cailleach confronts the seeker, in hills and rocks, lakes and wells, burial chambers and stormy skies. Now finally the primal elemental power of the Cailleach is revealed in her full glory, in the tales and places of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man; as well as in traces of her presence in England, Wales, Jersey, Brittany, Spain and Norway. This unique and ground-breaking work brings together for the first time the wealth of folklore, stories and legends regarding this most significant of British supernatural figures, whose myths and wisdom are as relevant today as they have ever been.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mont1ms - LibraryThing

The editing could have been tighter, but the research can't be faulted - the bibliography is huge and varied. This book has brought together all the various tales and legends about this figure in a very accessible and enjoyable way. Read full review

Review: Visions of the Cailleach: The Myths, Stories and History of the British / Celtic Earth Shaping Crone Goddess of Winter

User Review  - Naomi - Goodreads

This is a good collection of the stories of Cailleachan, but the interpretations around them can be very odd. Despite being aware that Cailleach may be a class of beings rather than one being/goddess ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

David Rankine (Wales) has been practicing magic for twenty-five years. He gives regular talks and workshops around Europe. For more information, visit www.ritualmagick.co.uk.

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