“Traditional journey of the swelling hag”

An interesting article about how folklore can travel & change over time depending on who is telling the story, as well as reasons why this happens 😊

I’d say the example story is a folk horror featuring a Cailleach/Hag character 🔥 I love that they chose this example as “Cailleach” is a title (not a name) given to various local spirits, entities & sometimes even human women throughout Scotland & Ireland in traditional folklore. They’re often associated with a particular loch, river or glen etc; so again usually very local but occasionally you’ll find one such as Cailleach Bheur who is associated with multiple locations in Scotland ⛰

(So, if it’s traditional folklore you’re looking for, steer well clear of the modern “The Cailleach: Pan-Celtic Winter Goddess” stuff lol ⚠️)

📰 Read the article in the West Highland Free Press online.

➕Additional comment in response to someone asking if the New Agey Winter Goddess stories about “The Cailleach” could also been seen as part of traveling, changing folklore & if She may have been a Celtic deity originally:

I understand where you’re coming from 🙂 The main thing for me is that these changes over time should be coming from people within the culture – the New Agey stuff involves taking things from other cultures & changing them, which is my issue with it, alongside this stuff being so popular that it drowns out stories coming from their respective cultures (which can ultimately lead to their erasure).

Being from Scotland I fully admit that I’m quite protective of our various Cailleach figures for this reason – from most posts etc you see online (the vast majority made by people outwith Scotland too) – you’d have no idea that this term applies to several entities & not just one Goddess. (Plus, the term Celtic is very broad & applies to many countries with different beliefs, deities, entities etc, so that’s another issue lol – the New Agey stuff distorts history, claims it’s “ancient” etc).

Re: the deity from a title thing – some of these spirits may have potentially originally been local deities with their own names that have been lost to time. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are multiple of these, not only one. Plus, even if deities they’re very unlikely to have fitted the “classical” polytheistic deity mold (such as Greek or Roman) that’s so popular with Neopagans given how animist Scottish – & afaik Irish – traditional beliefs are.

(📸 Featured Photo credit: Me)

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