Winter Folklore: Traditions and Customs of the Cailleach Bheur

My friend, Zteve, writes on all things #folkore, plus myths and legends, animals, history, and more. Check out his blog, Under the Influence!, for #FolkloreFriday and beyond.

Under the influence!

Gustave Doré [Public domain]

In Scottish, Irish, Manx and Gaelic mythology the goddess of winter is known as the the Cailleach, Beira or theCailleach Bheur, which means old woman or hag. In Celtic mythology she had a similar role to Jörð in Norse mythology and Gaia, in Greek mythology.

Donald Alexander Mackenzie

The Scottish folklorist Donald Alexander Mackenzie (1873 – 1936) wrote frequently on the subjects of mythology, anthropology and religion and developed a theory that there was a matriarchal society spread across Europe in Neolithic times.In his book, Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe (1917), he argues that these early societies were gynocentric and matriarchal venerating goddesses above gods but during the Bronze Age a patriarchal society evolved supplanting it. Mackenzie called the Cailleach Bheur by the name of Beira, Queen of Winter.

He saw her as a giantess with a single eye who had her…

View original post 797 more words