Wednesday, 20 October 2021

October Full Moon Altar: The Cailleach


This month's full moon altar honours the Irish/Scottish Crone Goddess named The Cailleach. Ancient beyond all measure of time, her Gaelic name means Old Hag or The Veiled One. Her wizened but strong image, along with her symbol of a black cat, have become our stereotypical pop culture image of The Witch. Therefore, I surrounded her with traditional Halloween/Samhain imagery -- a witch's hat, pumpkins and a black cat cauldron sitting on an altar cloth depicting more cats.


Like all aspects of the Triple Goddess, The Cailleach embodies the earth -- but not the fertile earth of abundance embodied by the Maiden and Mother aspects. The Crone symbolizes the bones of the earth, its barren rocks and mountains which support the fertile soil on which life depends. She is Winter, not Spring or Summer/Autumn.

The Cailleach represents all those aspects of life which we must honour because we cannot avoid or deny them, however much we may want to do so. This aspect of the Divine Feminine gives humans the gift of Hard Truth, including the truth that all life must end. The Cailleach, who is with us always, says: "I reside in each warm heart." We need to remember that and give her our respect.

[Photos © Debra She Who Seeks, October 2021]

30 comments:

Moving with Mitchell said...

Your Cailleach is beautiful. Nothing scary about that veiled one.

Ol'Buzzard said...

The seasons of the year correspond to our lifetime. Spring is birth and childhood; summer a time of work and toil, of raising families and providing; Fall is mature adulthood; and winter old age and death. Of all the seasons I find winter the most beautiful.
the Ol'Buzzard

Travel said...

Lots of interesting things at this time of the year

Lady M said...

We all must embrace our inner crone.

Rommy said...

Well my heart is warm. My hands, not so much this time of year.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Love the symbolism.
Also, what's gonna support all the beauty of earth? It makes sense.

XOXO

Boud said...

I think I inadvertently may have made a Cailleach figure. Wouldn't surprise me. I learn from all your altars.

Mistress Maddie said...

I figured this would be a fun alter....love it..even though The Cailleach gives me the willies a bit.

e said...

The gift of Hard Truth.

Beautiful altar, beautiful Crone.
(I have that same altar cloth only mine is a tea towel...)

Miss Val's Creations said...

The Cailleach has such powerful meaning. The earth always needs our respect.

The Blog Fodder said...

We have Baba Yaga by our front door. On a broom no less. She is to scare away nasty spirits

Mike said...

She could be an ancient relative of mine.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ e -- Mine's a tea towel too, LOL!

Parnassus said...

Hello Debra, Your Cailleach has a warm, disarming smile, which perhaps is better to distrust until we know her better. About seeing the Cailleach representing the "bones" of the earth as opposed to the fertile (i.e., "good") part, that belongs to the old system of dividing nature into good and bad. We need to understand nature as one system whose parts are all interdependent. Euell Gibbons said that you can't love the rose without also loving the dunghill it grows from.
--Jim

Katrina said...

Oh, I absolutely love this!

bobbie said...

Well done, Debra!

Kirk said...

This particular Old Hag looks more like a kindly grandmother.

Anne Johnson said...

What a beautiful post for one of my favorite bored goddesses! She is the wise one, having lived long, learned a lot, and being less distracted by procreative issues.

Joanne Noragon said...

The Cailleach looks like a kindly old grandmother, who has seen and knows all.

Tundra Bunny said...

Hard Truth, eh? Just a little ray of sunshine today, you are!

This N That said...

Informative as always..She has earned our respect..Your hat reminds me that I need to get mine out..I was waiting til we got closer to Halloween!!

Guillaume said...

I love the display.

Polly said...

I think she looks quite benign.

Linda said...

Another very interesting and beautiful altar, what a fascinating Goddess!

Pilar said...

I learned a lot about Cailleach from reading your post! You did a great job with the altar!

Richard said...

Thank you. I am not comfortable with this and it is scary.

We are in the middle of our month of traditional activities.

For me i was wondering about squash and pumpkins, because we can carry them until the next year.

Fundy Blue said...

Another meaningful altar, Debra. I appreciate a goddess who symbolizes the bones of the earth.

yellowdoggranny said...

I love that so much.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love her. Without winter what would spring, fall, and summer be? Your Alters are always interesting!

Rommy said...

I do like her smile very much.