was a gnarled old hag who washed the clothes of people about to die in blood-drenched streams - while the mournful wail of beautiful banshees foretold family deaths in rural dwellings.
Spanning centuries of human history, these daughters of the lowland hag, the Cailleach
, must navigate a world filled with superstition, hatred, violence, pestilence, and death to find their purpose.
Leith Hill Legasi has disappointed on her last two outings at Towcester and Fontwell, but her Uttoxeter performance when third to Cailleach
Annie in December off 86 shows that the ability remains.
Who is the ubiquitous ancient hag goddess Cailleach
? What happened to make Ireland's Stonehenge disappear?
Tha i a' leantainn anns na lorgan aig Tormod MacGilleEathain, Cailleach
an Deacoin, agus Tom MacIomhair agus Donnie MacAonghais, dithis a bha cho math ri Morecambe is Wise.
For more on the old woman as a potentially powerful and hence threatening witch see d' Este, Visions of the Cailleach
. For a contemporary example of persecution because of this association see the Guardian's October 2012 article "Witchcraft Used As an Excuse for Violence against Older Women in Tanzania," http://www.guardian.co.uk/gl0bal-development/2012/oct/01/ witchcraft-violence-older-women-tanzania.
Morgan translated Shakespeare's 'Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts' as 'Cwa sichtless cailleachs
o the warks o daith', using the Gaelic word cailleach
('old woman/ hag') for spirit.
Vivid descriptions of a re-imagined technological Underworld include the Celtic goddess Cailleach
registering the dead on a computer.
(12.) Gearoid O Crualaoich, The Book of the Cailleach
: Stories of the Wise-Woman Healer (Cork: Cork University Press, 2003), 54.
Gemma Jones is The Cailleach
of the spirit world, Colin Morgan is Merlin, Richard Wilson is Gaius and John Hurt the Voice of the Dragon.
The jigs played during this programme are Up And About In The Morning and Willie Clancy's version of Cailleach
An Airgid, The Hag With The Money.
The first section, "Cailleach
," features cailleach
or hag personae representing the "shadow" aspect or dark side of femininity that must be avowed and integrated into the self.