History Witch: Uncovering Magical Antiquity

Want to know about real magic from history? This is the place. Here we explore primary texts and historical accounts from the past.

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Winter Crone

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Cailleach walks the winter hills: in an old Gaelic song 'Cailleach Beinn a' Bhric' she has 'a great grey grisly paw' and is cold and wet, but cares for her deer. The hunter who sings to her laments her keeping the deer from him. This version is from Songs & Hymns of the Gael:

Here's a wonderful audio version from Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches: if you don't know about this vast treasure trove of audio files, I am happy to introduce it to you. Hear the voices of the past! They're one of the terrific groups that often takes part in #FolkloreThursday on Twitter.

For all things Cailleach, I highly recommend Cailleach's Herbarium, rediscovering lost Scottish folk traditions with both in-depth scholarship and practical trials including crafts and recipes.

The image of Cailleach for this post comes via the Loophead Studios film an Cailleach Bhéarra which looks quite wonderful. I hope I get a chance to see it as it looks marvellous.

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K. A. Laity is an all-purpose writer, medievalist, journalist, Fulbrighter, social media maven for Broad Universe, and author of ROOK CHANT: COLLECTED WRITINGS ON WITCHCRAFT & PAGANISM, DREAM BOOK, UNQUIET DREAMS, OWL STRETCHING, CHASTITY FLAME, PELZMANTEL, UNIKIRJA, and many more stories, essays, plays and short humour. Find out more at www.kalaity.com and find her on Facebook or Twitter.


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