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."