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Visions of the Cailleach: Exploring the Myths, Folklore and Legends of the pre-eminent Celtic Hag Goddess Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 148 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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.

"The Cailleach is the British Celtic hag goddess who shaped the land by moving the rocks and rivers. She is also a weather goddess who rules the months of Winter and shape-shifts into animal form. This crone goddess features heavily in the folklore of Scotland and Ireland, and the authors bring together tales from these countries and many others to form a unique and definitive study."

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 352 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Avalonia (Jan. 2 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006SPPG0A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #197,180 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Visions of the crone as a wise and all powerful superwoman myth. I could see why the druids would've been jealous. One of the few books that make you feel proud to be a woman and to have lived on this earth and been a part of nature. Here is a mythic legend worthy of worship by all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good basic overview for the novice Celtic tradition. Well researched. I would have hoped for something a little more in depth and beyond an introductory level.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3404660) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa33701f8) out of 5 stars the Goddess Jan. 22 2012
By S. Cranow - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
ns of the Cailleach

Throughout the British Isles there is a figure or motif that is commonly know as the Cailleach. She is depicted as an old hag , she is referred to many times as the old crone. Her depiction reflects her great age. She is reputed to be well over 2,000 years old. Cailleach is thought to be the old earth mother who gave birth to all life.

Just what are the origins of the Cailleach and where did her worship originate? Author's Sorita d'este and David Rankine explore the roots of this ancient goddess, her many role and what exactly she represented. Her origins are believed to be derived from Iberian Celts who made their way from Spain to Ireland. Various linguistic etymologies speak of a people called the kalliechi or some similiar word in Greek. This linguistic etymology could be referring to a group of people or a cult of priestesses dedicated to the Calliech. These would actually be deer priestesses who decked themselves out in deer skins and deer horns. The deer are sacred to the Caileach. The origins of the Cailleach may extend even further back than Spain. She may have originated from the Maltese Goddess, Sansura. Sansura was the Earth mother who bore all creation yet like the Cailleach she has darker aspects and is connected to winter and the forces that take away life. No one can make this connection for certain.

The exact identity of the Cailleach is open to interpretation as well. Is she just one giant hag or was there a race of hags. Is the term maybe a reference to a group of people or a deer cult comprised of priestesses said to roam about the British Isles. That intetpretation is ultimately left up to you. The authors of this work examine the many stories involving the Cailleach and give an examination of the over all picture. These Caileach or Crones go by a variety of different names which may indicate that there could be more than one Cailleach.

As discussed previously the Cailleach was the earth mother. In the examination of stories and myths surrounding her other associations arise as well. The first association has to do with rocks and the Earth. She is responsible for moving rock and earth which results in creation of islands and other landforms. In several of the stories she carries the rocks in her apron and then drops them because the apron strings are cut or break. In one story a land formation is made from a rock war between two Cailleachs.

The Cailleach in most of the Celtic legends does not appear with other gods to often. She is rather seperate.There is one god that she is depicted with and that is Manan the Celtic sea god. She is martied to him. The Cailleach is a goddess who can predict the weather and control how bodies of water behave. In some of the stories she turns maidens into lakes and streams. She causes storms to trouble those that have angered her. The Cailleach is known to warn sailors of impending danger.

As mentioned earlier there is talk of a deer cult that roamed around Scotland. Several animals were held sacred to the Caileach. The deer being the most prominent. Many legends have here protecting herd of deer from hunter and woe to the one who killec the wrong one. Goats and boars also fall under her protection. Different legends say that Cailleach would wander the countryside with her herds of goats and open up different wells to help water the landscape.

Christian legends also darken her. In several tales she is depictec as evil. In many of these tales she traps human beings and eats them. Only after terrible battle is she finally slain. Her connection with winter gives her many associate her with Frau Hulda, the Nordic winter goddess. Cailleacb can aldo make predictions when she feels up to it.

This little book is fact filled and informative. Easy quick read. I am sure you will enjoy it ss much as I did. This book gets 5 stars out of five.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3d82e4c) out of 5 stars A fascinating exploration of an ancient myth Aug. 20 2011
By A. C. Seruntine - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Cailleach: who, or what, is this mythical figure? Even in the the foggy mists of most ancient history she was already old, old as the hills, a wise crone with magical powers and preternatural wisdom. Was she a faerie being? Was she a goddess? Is the myth of her that reaches down through the annals of time into this epoch merely the recollection of an ancient goddess priesthood?

Authors Sorita d'Este and David Rankine present in this small but superbly researched tome a wealth of lore concerning the Cailleach. Tracing her myths back beyond the time of the Romans, they note how the land of Portugal acquired its name through the Cailleach myth, and they relate folktales of her from Iberia to Scotland. The Cailleach is a crone, perhaps the crone manifestation of the triple goddess. She is as old as the hills and a bit of a trickster, though she works her tricks for good and for the defense of those decent folk she favors. She is fair and always takes a payment for her deeds, in the manner of the faerie folk. She operates through nature. Her wealth is in the form of wool and grain, and her treasured red deer. She is undoubtedly a primal being who exists with the green world in a very profound and integrated sense. As I read this tome, I could not help but think of the Cailleach as the natural counterpart to the Green Man.

Visions of the Cailleach does not state what the authors believe the Cailleach to be. Rather, it expertly presents surviving myth and notes the interpretations those myths give rise to. But one thing is certain, the myths point to an ancient being that has probably been known since the Bronze Age, and I would not doubt her saga traces much further back.

The Cailleach, the Green Woman, ancient being who has outlasted the ages. Though barely remembered, she is not forgotten, and her shadow carries on a kind of green, natural truth--there is magic yet in the world, and spirits that are part of a timeless reality, awaiting discovery. Visions of the Cailleach is a fascinating read offering a wealth of insight and knowledge.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa42a39b4) out of 5 stars The Crone Stories Sept. 9 2013
By Anemone - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I appreciate this compilation of lore from several centers of Celtic culture. The book provides essential information for personal exploration of th Crone for women on their own menopausal adventurer in power and Magic.
By Brandon Eckert - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just heard about the Cailleach this year and found this book very informative and very easy to read, a valuable source for a important figure in celtic myth that is not so well known
HASH(0xa6f374bc) out of 5 stars Great resource April 29 2015
By Stephen Morris - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well done but a little disorganized in its presentation. A wonderful resource about this folkloric character, nevertheless, and an interesting collection of tales.