Cultural Continuum II
|Walking up to the summit of Loughcrew|
These Celtic faeries are not your wee, cute type, of the Victorian era children's books. They are not small, and do not have wings, and are not cute. They are tall, fair, powerful beings of light, that are dangerous to be around. Mysterious beings from another world of existence, who occasionally, still have interaction with our world. There are several interesting theories about their existence. I will go into these matters in my next book in some detail where I explore the phenomenon of Faeries from a perspective of quantum physics and morhpic resonance and self organising fields of existence.
Béara is remembered throughout Ireland and Scotland, in the old Gaelic homelands. She is, or has become in legend, a primordial nature spirit and Queen of Winter. She can appear as an old woman or as a beautiful young maiden, tall and fair.
Cailleach Béara is called Cally Berry in Ulster English and has other names in other regions. You will also hear Gentle Annie, Old Woman of the Mountains, and she is known as Caill Bhuere in Argyll. Cailleach is often translated as the Hag or Witch, but Cailleach really just means the Veiled One. The word Cailleach is used in several Irish terms. A Cailleach Phráta is a shrivelled potato and a Cailleach Oiche is an owl. A Cailleach Feasa is a wise woman or fortune teller and a Cailleach Dhubh is the term for a nun.
The mystery of Loughcrew and my experience there added to my understanding of the people and culture from which my family originated. Béara is still remembered in Kilmichael Glassary where the McCain family originated. Stories of her were told around the McCain hearths for centuries. These stories of the Old Faith did not please everyone however.
In 1560s, Seon Carsuel, Bishop and pastor to the fifth Earl of Argyll, complained about the Gaels in mid Argyll, where my family lived, just a short couple of miles from the Bishop's residence. In his writings, Bishop Carsuel cited the stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann as the survival of paganism among the Gaels there. Bishop Carsuel lived at Carnasserie Castle, and he could literally look out to the smoke from the hearth fires of McCain homes where the stories of Béara and the other Tuatha Dé Danann were being told. The Bishop was not please with the survival of Gaelic pagan lore .
To quote Bishop Carsuel, ... darkness of sin and ignorance and design of those who teach and write and cultivate Gaelic, that they are more designed, and more accustomed, to compose vain, seductive, lying and worldly tales about the Tuatha Dé Danann and the sons of Mil and the heroes and Fionn Mac Cumhail and his warriors and to cultivated and piece together much else which I will not enumerate of tell here, for the purpose of winning for themselves the vain rewards of the world.
Bishop Carsuel wrote that in 1567. Two short years later my own family left mid Argyll and moved to Donegal. They were part of the the Gaelic military build up connected with Iníon Dubh and her marriage to the chief of the Ó Dónaill clan.
|Myrddin (Merlin) the Druid of the Old Faith|
|Placing an 'intention' on a Faerie Tree|
Old beliefs, our tales of our people, our tribes, etc., it still lives after all this time. We are our ancestors.
© 2018 Barry R McCain
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