Chloe Parsell, 21, Appalachian Mountain dweller. Lover of art, history, nature, and life in general. Trying to figure it all out.
The Cailleach might originate as an Ancient Mother Earth Goddess.
In the late medieval and contemporary folklore she is an ancient but ageless creature that personifies the supernaturals affect on the fertility of the land that often runs around in the form of a Hare.
The hare is a symbol of fertility and prophecy, it even replaces the man on the moon in traditional irish culture. Like the hare the Cailleach has children everywhere and she is a source of knowlege because shes been around so long she knows everything. Ive never heard the moon called the cailleach but theres probably a link in both their functions.
The Cailleach isnt just fertile she is super strong, she creates geographical features purely by heaving earth around or throwing huge boulders and everything enigmatic in the landscape is built by her. Round towers, passage tombs and dolmens for example.
Carlingford in County Louth is a Norse Gael place name meaning the inlet/Fjord of the Hag. But what its really interesting about it beyond the ethnic diversity is it describes the Cailleachs one flaw. She has to head into the water at places like Carlingford once every hundred years to renew her youth.
Unfortunately one day a mortal man interferes with her getting to the sea to renew herself because he wont look away to save her modesty while she runs into the sea naked and she dies. Stories like that might be about the conquering of feminine divinity in a male world or be about conquering the fertility of the land by agriculture.
That story about the man is about the rise of the patriarchy, and it’s bullshit. I’ve been to Carlingford, stood on top of a frozen Slieve Foy during a 70km gale, and she laughed at me. I felt the wind blow even harder from nowhere on a sunny day at Loughcrew, by myself but very much not alone. The Cailleach still lives.
139r, Gospels, Cotton MS Nero D IV, British Library
a love of crows or ravens.