Seal an Cailleach - Season of the Witch.

Seal an Cailleach (pronounced: Shall On Klye-ee-ock) is an Irish translation of a very popular term. It means Season of the Witch.

The term Cailleach comes from an old Irish mythological person known as the Cailleach Bhéarra which literally translates as the Hag of Beare. She was said to live upon the Beare peninsula in Munster, the southern Provence of Ireland.

It has been suggested that she was once a sovereignty Goddess of Ireland, linked to her telling tales of her youthful beauty and drinking wine with kings. There was also links to rumors of an old cow Goddess who lived on an island off the coast. The Cailleach Bhéarra was said to have a bull called the Tarbh Conraidh and every cow who heard him bellow calved within the year.

She is regarded as a powerful figure of old Irish folk lore, who is said to be a practitioner of magic, a shaper of the landscape and a keeper of the harvest. It was said that she would challenge reapers to a competition, cutting her field, and when they invariably failed she would cut the legs from under them.

Farmers in Ireland would compete not to be last to gather in their harvest of grain. It was believed that whoever was last, would take in the Cailleach and she would need her due proportion of the harvest to sustain her through out the winter. Those who failed to show due care and respect for her, invariably found themselves with a harvest of troubles.

In Irish, the word Cailleach originally signified a nun, coming from the latin word 'pallium' which means veil. Over time it came to mean 'old woman' or 'hag'. MAybe its not hard to see how this, added to the ancient beliefs of power and mysticism, then filtered through the lens of the popular media representation, leads us to it's current use for 'witch'.

No matter whether you adhere to the old ways or the new, It would be fair to say one should always take care during Seal an Cailleach, The season of the witch.

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