Ancient Mythology

Cailleach | Scottish Mythology

Also known as Cailleach Bheur or Beira.

In Scottish mythology, the Cailleach is a divine goddess or hag. In Scottish Gaelic, her name means “old woman”, and her role is important to Scottish, Irish and Manx mythology.

In Scotland, specifically, the Cailleach is also known as Beira, and is described as a winter goddess. She is credited with the creation of the mountains and hills of the Scottish highlands: in some myths she forges them to serve as her stepping stones, while in others she accidentally creates them of rocks dropped from her apron.

Aside from her landscaping role, the Cailleach Beira is also said to be the mother of all the gods and goddesses of the Celtic pantheon. In this way, she is similar to the Greek goddess Gaea.

The Cailleachan, plural of Cailleach, are sometimes described in Scottish myths. In this case they are sometimes referred to as the Storm Hags, and serve to personnify the forces of nature.


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