Holy Nights 2019-2020 The Cailleach, Celtic Winter Goddess

First Night December 24: Embracing Darkness; Dreaming For January 2020

Welcome to this years’ celebration of the Holy Nights. Twelve days and 13 nights dedicated to turning inwards and searching for your inner light. It’s a special time in which according to ancient beliefs the veil between worlds of reality was thin. According to Rudolf Steiner the twelve days surrounding Christmas had a predictive value for the months of the new year. On January 1 at noon the sun is as close to the Earth as possible. The five and a half days before and the five and a half days after is the time of the 12 Holy Nights. In these nights we can tap tap into universal wisdom with a clear intention on how to guard, protect and develop your inner light and joy. 

 

NightMonthMoon
Dec 24-25JanuarySagittarius
Dec 25-26FebruarySagittarius
Dec 26-27Marchnew moon Capricorn
Dec 27-28AprilCapricorn
Dec 28-29MayAquarius
Dec 29-30JuneAquarius
Dec 30-31JulyPisces
Dec 31-Jan 01AugustPisces
Jan 01-02SeptemberAries
Jan 02-03OctoberAries
Jan 03-04NovemberAries/Taurus
Jan 04-05DecemberTaurus
Jan 05-06EpiphanyTaurus

The aim of this event is not only to have precognitive dreams about the months ahead. I invite you to a spiritual journey inside your own soul, exploring light and darkness within yourself. If I suggest an incubation question please feel invited to change it in a way that suits your soul.

The Cailleach

The Cailleach is an old Goddess. She is shaper of the Earth, older as time, she guards the well of youth and rules the wind. She is also the Lady of the Beasts: she has a special connection with the wolf, like Winter-Goddesses Frau Holla and Hecate who guided previous Holy Nights. She is also connected with the deer and the cow.

The Romans named the province where they found the Callaeci after them calling it the land of the Callaeci. The area became Gallaecia now known as Galicia.

Genetic research has shown something surprising–some Celts originated from Iberian fisherman. Professor of human genetics Bryan Sykes* did the research. ‘A team from Oxford University has discovered that the Celts, Britains indigenous people, are descended from a tribe of Iberian fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay 6,000 years ago. DNA analysis reveals they have an almost generic “fingerprint” to the inhabitants of coastal regions of Spain, whose own ancestors migrated north between 4,000 and 5,000 BC’ .
(*Guy Adams the Independent, for full article click link). 

There are three waves of invasion in Ireland. The Fire Bolgs, the Tuatha De Danann from Scandinavia and the Galecians known as Milesians or Sons of Mil. The Irish started to settle in Scotland around 350 CE. So the stories are tales from a mix of counties: north from Spain to Ireland and south from Norway to Scotland.

There is also a similarity with the Giant Neolithic Ggantija temples in Malta that where build overnight by Giant Sansuna. This story is similar to that of the Cailleach carrying stones in her apron and dropping them to create mountains. 

I will call her the Cailleach but in some stories she is named differently. Here is what Wikipedia says about that: In Gaelic mythology the Cailleach is a divine hag, a creator deity and weather deity, and an ancestor deity. She is also commonly known as the Cailleach Bhéara or Bheur. In Scotland she is also known as Beira, Queen of Winter. The word literally means “old woman, hag, or the veiled one”, and is found with this meaning in modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and has been applied to numerous mythological figures in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

Rachel Patterson, in her book Pagan Portals The Cailleach tells us that the name Cailleach can be pronounced in different ways: 

kye-lukh

cally-ach-y

cay-loch

coy-luc

ky-och

cail-leach

kay-lex

Each day I will present a blog and an incubation. This incubation helps  to give your dream focus and remember it better. I hope to guide you to dance to the music your soul is playing. Let’s explore the pattern that the inner light and inner darkness create. I hope that after this online retreat you have a new concept of your life as a work of art. The Holy Nights, these 12 days and 13 nights will help you get more insight into your own potential, your own inner struggles and your own ability to create the future you want. 

My aim is to keep the Facebook group alive and inquire each new month if and how dreams during that month of the Holy Nights have manifested in waking life. If you have bought the silver or golden package I will offer you my vision on your five dreams with a special eye for mythological and archetypical aspects and you will get all your dreams shared during the Holy Nights in a Word Document via email.

The Journey

I have set up the structure of the Holy Nights Event as a Spiritual Journey, to look inside these dark these and find the light within. 

In the first night you will embrace an inner fear we all have: we are meeting our own death. From this dark place we candle our inner light.

After we dive into our own darkness, we will, in the second night, celebrate Christmas with a sleigh ride across the sky. The Cailleach and her 12 elks will guide you to a feast to nurture your soul.

In the third night, we will concentrate on stones and their ancient wisdom, the rock on which our belief system is build.

In the fourth night we will tune into the wisdom of our inner animal nature. 

Photo: Jaromir Kavan

In the fifth night we will dive into the eternal waters of our emotions: happiness, sadness, anger and fear. The Cailleach is associated with the healing properties of water and this night we will focus on an emotionally stable 2020.

In the sixth night you will lift the veil of the Goddess to search for the best perception of your world in 2020.

in the seventh night we will focus on the Cailleach as Earth Goddess and invite her to dream the land together. Is the Cailleach dreaming you, or are you dreaming the Cailleach?

In night number eight We will fight the Cailleach as a Black Bull, the symbol of life fighting the Earth Goddess of Death.

In the ninth night we will descend to our inner sanctuary under guidance of the nine maidens. Sisters and helpers of the Cailleach. In this night we will align our spirit with the nine worlds of the Celts.

In night number ten we will ascend onto the mountain of our inner spirit and meet the Cailleach in her natural realm.

In night eleven The Cailleach as bestower of Sovereignty will connect you with your inner kingdom..

In the last night we will take a closer look at the Eye of the Cailleach.

And in the night of epiphany we will look back at the past nights, share experiences and evaluate.

First Evening Dec 24: Dreams of the month of January 2020, Moon in Sagittarius

This evening the moon is in Sagittarius and dreams will have the tendency to occupy themselves with religious themes, spirituality,  scientific testing, and especially teaching. 

It’s an old practice to go out and find yourself a piece of wood that you intend to burn tonight, to celebrate the death of winter and the return of the light. Burning the log will keep the angel of death from your household for a year. It was custom to keep the fire burning all night and, in the morning, break off a little piece so that next year the new fire could be started with that piece of wood. 

Clean your house of old stuff and old energy. Spend some quiet time meditating about how you are connected with your community and with your ancestors. Feel the energy lines of the present and the past coming together in your being. Feel how the wisdom of your ancestors gives you guidance and how it protects you from the cold, not only from the weather outside but also the cold you endure as a member of society. Feel the energy in  being part of the society you participate in. Feel the give and take;. feel how you contribute as a member. Take a moment to appreciate yourself and all your hard work.

During the day make some time to go out in nature. Take a walk in the forest and while walking take long deep breaths. Try to prolong breathing out and while doing that relax your mind. Usually our brain needs to be entertained and as a result it often seeks out problems to ponder over. It’s a natural process, you are trying to help yourself by rethinking and rehearsing so that old pain will not happen to you again. But today, each time a painful memory comes into your awareness, just say ‘hi!’ to it and breath on. Don’t get involved in inner discussions, just observe your thoughts. 

When the walking and meditating has put you into a state of peaceful awareness, start to observe the trees around  you. Look for a good branch of wood that you can take home with you to create the Cailleach. Don’t get to obsessed about it, you will find the perfect branch with ease today. 

Once you have found your branch take it home with you. If you want to you can carve it into the figure of the Cailleach, you can rub some oil on it and give it a place on your altar. If you have some way to burn it safely, you can do so. Just remember that once burned it brings good luck to break off a piece to start next year’s fire with.

The Cailleach is an elderly woman with a blue skin because of the cold. The Cailleach is sometimes depicted as having only one eye in the centre of her forehead. Sometimes as having three eyes, and sometimes she is a one-eyed witch. The loss of vision enabled her to foresee the future and to have a vision of the world that lies beyond physical perception. She has, like Odin, inner vision that enables her to see in the future.

The Cailleach rejuvenates. She starts out a wrinkled one-eyed hag, but either finds a prince who loves her, which rejuvenates her or she drinks the Water of Life every year from a Magic Well. And well, water of life of course brings live to her! So this way she stays young, fertile and alive. 

The story of tonight tells another remarkable tale a variation of this theme. Each year the Cailleach drinks the water near Loch Ba in the Death of Night ‘before bird tasted the water or dog was heard to bark’. This way she kept herself always at sixteen years of age. At last when making her way to the well on a calm morning (and such mornings are very beautiful in the west-Highlands) she heard a dog bark. She exclaimed:

Little knows any living wight

When mischance may befall him;

For me early has the dog called

In the calm morn above Loch Ba.

I had enough of spells

To serve the seed of Adam,

But when the mischance was ripe

It could not be warded off.

Having said that she fell crumbling into dust. She lived so long that she had more than five hundred children.

It’s a lesson often told in mythology: there is no escaping destiny. When you meditate or contemplate today’s lesson think about what your Water of Youth is. Meditation? Drawing? Creating? Writing? What dehydrates your soul? 

Dogs are commonly associated with the afterlife. Hecate, our companion in last years’ Holy Nights was often in the company of dogs. A dog will be able to tell when death is approaching. 

Here the dog barking foretells the demise of the Cailleach. She crumbles to dust. Ashes to ashes. If even a  creature as powerful as the Cailleach can vanish into dust, we must take time to acknowledge our own death. 

Being diabetic at the age of 11 I had a bad ear infection. The infection did not heal and spread throughout my skull into an abscess behind my left ear. My doctor put me in the hospital immediately and operated. About thirty years later I found out that in that procedure he took out my auditory ossicles. I hoped that I could get artificial auditory ossicles so an x-ray of my head was made. It turned out there was nothing left in my ear to attach them on, my whole ear had been cleaned out. That had been the reason why I never fully recovered. 

But in that procedure I saw the xray of my face: it was frightful to see my own skull. Even though I was in my forties I had never realized that I would turn into a skeleton after my death. And even though I was sad beyond words that my hearing was lost forever, this picture of my own bones opened up a new reality for me. Death was knocking on my door just very softly, gently whispering ‘hi’. After the first shock, I started to educate myself about death. I learned about the brain and how it creates awareness and the sense of self. I came to terms with the scientific vision that the brain is the cause of awareness. But I am aware that this is my personal vision. I also truly believe in the fact that everything you see is composed of energy and that energy will never be lost. In that way, I am still connected with my ancestors, with the land I live on and eat from. The land my body will return to when my time has come.  This night is an invitation to meet your death and become friends. It’s only when you taste the Water of Life that you fully can understand and appreciate Death.

Incubation

What message has death for me? 

This night when you go to bed, relax your mind and your body.

You are in a forest. You feel the cold wind blowing against your cheek. As you gaze up, you see a woman with a blue face dressed in a white cloak, riding on a wolf. The Gaelic word for January is Faoilleach, “wolf month”. She and the wolf brought that cold wind you just felt. Your heart is a bit fearful. You look at this old creature of Winter. As soon as she turns her magic wand down to the earth it starts to snow.

In an instant the environment has turned into a snow covered winter forest. Wen you gaze into the sky you see that the Cailleach turns her wand down, touching the ground once more. At the moment the wand touches the Earth a lightning bolt creates a spectrum of light and in that entanglement of magic, Earth and Sky you see the Well of Youth. Standing besides the Well  is a slender creature dressed in a black cloak. You feel this is someone you know very well and your curiosity leads you forward. What gift has the Cailleach given you?

You walk towards the Well of Youth to greet this Dark figure. You are not able to distinguish its face yet because it is covered in the Dark cloak. To grab its attention your hands touches the cloak. The velvet cloak feels soft and comforting. The moment you touch the creature it looks at you. You shiver: it is your Death. What does it look like? How does your image of Death resonate in your body? Death has a message for you. Death puts its arms around your waist. It turns you around and when you and Death look back you see that the snow covered forest has changed in a field with many different flowers. 

The wind blows the sweet scent of the flowers towards you. This scent brings back memories that you had long forgotten. 

You enjoy the radiant colors of the flowers. The colors are bright and intense. Red roses that shine like a fire, reminding you of the fire in your soul. Take a breath and feel how the deep colour red tunes in with the vibration in your body.

You remember the passion of your youth, the fire with which you have chased so many different goals. Your heart fills with love for all the things you have done.

Death plucks an orange chrysanthemum and gives it to you. The orange colour resonates in your pelvic area. 

You remember sex in your life and the role it has played in shaping you into the Soul you have become. You welcome the good and the bad memories and acknowledge how to forgive yourself for mistakes you made. You feel the energy floating from your pelvis into your stomach. You enjoy the sexual energy and let it flow up into your belly button.

Once you feel that the sexual energy is transported towards your Solar Plexus above your belly button, Death takes your hand and pulls you into the well. Death knows the way and leads you through the Water of Life to a place  covered with waterlilies.

You dive into this pool of energy and feel how everything is connected. You appreciate that Death made you dive into this pool of archetypical energy and wisdom. You understand that you can always come back when meditating and get inspiration and information.

When you are done with swimming, Death gives you his black robe so you can dry yourself. Its cloak feels comfortable and it fits perfectly. You secretly hope that Death will allow you to keep it on. Death does not seem to mind that it has lost its cover. You both seem perfectly at ease in each others’ company. Death has yet another gift for you. It takes your hand and you walk four steps together: big steps that guide you to a specific goal: a birch tree. The white of the trunk reminds you of the winter snowshoe Cailleach created. The green of the leaves of the birch tree resonate with your heart. You take a deep breath and feel how your life has always been dedicated to love. As you exhale you feel how you are connected in so many unspoken ways to your grandparents, parents, and children. You feel the pathway of love in your heart. You love yourself so much now that you fully experience how often you have been hurt and how courageous you are to open up your heart. You clearly feel that it is the only way to connect with your soul: to open up and be vulnerable. Given your life experience you know when and how to protect your precious heart. Death places its hand on your chest and together you make a vow that you will always trust your intuition.

Now Death takes you back to the Well of Youth. As you look into the blue water, you distinguish the face of the Cailleach. She reaches out her hand to you. For a moment you hesitate. Does she want to pull you in, or does she need you to help her out? As soon as you touch her hand you remember times when your voice spoke words of cold honesty. You see how you expressed your creative being with words. You feel how your words have sowed. Fruit of joy as well as bitterness. You have no regrets. But you do not get a feeling of balance when expressing yourself. The Cailleach smiles and gives you a blue neckcloth. It is made out of a fabric that pleases you very much, you like the design and style. You wrap it around your neck and know that this gift will always be available whenever you have trouble expressing yourself in a soulful way.

Death stands next to you and takes your left hand. The Cailleach takes your right hand. You are in the middle. The Cailleach and Death join hands creating a circle. You feel the energy of the Earth and the Wisdom of Ages flowing through your Soul. It is so much energy, it overwhelms you. The Cailleach lets go of the hand of Death and reaches into the Well of Youth. She gets out an Amethyst and places it between your eyebrows. Now the energy tunes into your body and you relax. You begin to understand that Death has to become a close friend that feels welcome. You begin to understand how past and future are connected. It’s only a glimpse, but it has started a light in your soul.

You say goodbye to Death and the Cailleach knowing that when you have a question, you can always use this meditation to return.

Incubation: What message has my death for me? 

If you have dreams, feel invited to share them in the Facebook group.