Culture, tradition and bygone times

Recently I’ve been attending the wonderful online event that is Winter’s Last run by The Taibhsear Colleactive and my friend Scott of The Cailleach’s Herbarium.

They have been putting on wonderful events over the past few years; many talks, workshops and storytelling surrounding Scottish folklore and folk ways. It has been wonderful and I’ve had tried to soak up as much as I can.

You may be wondering why a Scots wumman such as myself should need to learn this? Shouldn’t I already know all this? Sadly no. Some of these folk ways discussed are considered historic, archaic even, and belong to bygone eras and people that have been a long time dead. Such is life; traditions change, old ways get forgotten or discarded and replaced. People get displaced or choose to move to a new land and take the vestiges of their culture with them.

Modernising has become a key goal of many local authorities as they try to keep up with the larger cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to try and attract tourists and jobs. But they’re too busy looking forward that they’re ignoring their own rich history and culture. Old buildings that hold the stories of generations gone get torn down so new build housing can go up. We are destroying our own history.

What some of these people forget is that the appeal of cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow isn’t just because of their pubs and shopping centres; it’s that they’re old cities with a rich culture and history and historic buildings that draw people to them.

I was out walking with my fiance today near a local burn and pond. The ponds were formed by a local linen mill decades ago but the old sluice gates are still there. My fiance was looking forward to showing me the old mill’s water wheel. Sadly we learned it had been torn down, possibly due to it being near a new build housing development.

Old sluice gate

Some may think, so what? Well it was a fascinating piece of our city’s history. You don’t see too many water wheels anymore. I couldn’t help but feel mournful and angry that it was gone, possibly to modernise the region. The thing with modernity is that modern things can quickly look outdated. But old things, the really old, is what draws many people’s interest as they try to relate to a past time and wonder at the lives of the people then. One of the things I love about Edinburgh is it’s ancient buildings and monuments. I love the old ghost stories, and plague stories, the walking tours, the haunted pubs, and even the Scottish tourist shops proudly displaying tartans and The Saltire.

The Winter’s Last event this year presented some short films and documentaries. One of these was called Cailleach showing a brief glimpse into the life of Morag, an elderly woman living alone on her croft on the Isle of Lewis. She tends her sheep and she talks about the connection to her home and being the last of her family living there. We see her looking at photos of people long gone. It is a poignant reminder that when Morag passes, she takes her stories and her culture with her. Another short documentary presented was called When the Song Dies, which brings together the voices of several older Scottish folk discussing their ways, their family history, and the idea that some of this lore is on the brink of extinction. It was emotional to see this and know that we’ve lost so much already of what makes us Scottish.

I try to share stories of my culture through this blog, and every Friday I share a folktale via my shop Hearth and Hame. I call it Folktale Fridays and part of my reason for sharing these tales is to help preserve Scottish culture. I’ve even received some lovely messages from people thanking me for sharing stories relating to places they lived, and reminding them of fond memories with their family from the past. I feel deeply honoured that just sharing these tales has brought joy to people.

So, events like Winter’s Last are a lifeline for Scottish people today. They help preserve our culture and history. They pass on the stories to another generation and it gets to live that wee bit longer. Some of the voices telling these stories today aren’t Scottish voices which in some ways is incredibly sad, perhaps the other problem with the death of part of our culture lies in people not taking enough interest in these tales. The voices may not be Scots but they are doing a wonderful job in sharing our stories, in preserving the lore of bygone times.

We are in their debt.

Cailleach:

Cailleach - Scottish Documentary Institute

https://player.vimeo.com/video/94642820

When the Song Dies:

The Shadow Year

I keep promising to write more in here but… 2020. Ahem.

It has been one hell of a year but I’ve been meaning to update this blog with what I’ve been up to and writing more posts.

So what has happened to me this year?

Well…my wedding got postponed to next year.

Lockdown restrictions heightening anxiety.

I opened up an online witchy shop (woo!)

I developed and protected my boundaries

Ok it’s been a busy year. So my wedding has been postponed and it’s going to fall on a holiday that is close to my heart and has a lot of meaning for me. So maybe it was kind of meant to be?

Anxiety. I’m aware that everyone’s is through the roof just now, and it’s created a lot of chaos and confusion for folk. Been relying on my craft to help me here, and it’s been helping. But if people could maybe stop purposefully misunderstanding others then that would be cool. Also be bloody kind to people, especially when they open up to you with what’s troubling their soul. Be true to yourself, you don’t need anyone’s validation but your own. If you seek it outside yourself, then you’ve got some inner work to do. But Mercury and Pluto conjunctions and retrogrades really haven’t been helping things.

I opened up an online witchy shop!! I’ve been wanting to do this for years and 2020 gave me the kick up the arse I needed. It’s small at the moment and I’m building up my stock just now, but I’m loving being able to sink my teeth into this creative project. I’ve been writing about folklore also: every Friday I do a Folktale Friday on instagram. I’ll share the pages below 🙂

Losing toxic fakeships gives you space for yourself even if it hurts. Any kind of loss is painful even if you know it’s for the best for all involved. But it gives you room to think, to grow and manifest. Room to call back your power and energy. You may not have realised that you’d given it away.

For a long while I felt I was just floating on by with my practice, I didn’t have the energy to continue learning and was stuck in the same place stagnating for a while. But now I feel regenerated, more myself again. I’m reading more, practicing more and I’ve signed up for a palmistry course which I’m really looking forward to.

I have a good feeling that 2021 is going to be a lot better. At least I hope so for everyone.

I’m currently reading Year of the Witch by Temperance Alden, Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn, Potions, Elixirs and Brews by Anais Alexandre, and Wild Magic by Danu Forest. Yeah I like reading a lot of different books at once 🙂

I *swear* I will try to write more… I will!

I call back my power

I call back my energy

Happy holidays

Beannachd leibh

My new shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HearthandHame

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/hearthandhame/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HearthandHame

Tales of the Taibhsear-spoken word album of Scottish charms

I love folklore with a passion, and if it weren’t for the likes of Alexander Carmichael, F. Marian McNeill and Robert Kirk taking the time to collect and publish their research then much would be lost to history. By time, this often meant decades of painstaking research becoming their life’s greatest work. We owe them a great debt.

We can share their knowledge and many do now on social media. Scottish folklore is rising in popularity and with the introduction of Folklore Thursday on twitter and Facebook, the lore of our ancestors is shared around the globe within mere seconds. How quickly we can share information is staggering.

My friend Scott of Cailleach’s Herbarium has started a project to help preserve, record and share Scottish magical practices and folklore. Like the folklorists before him, he is concerned with ensuring Scotland’s rich cultural lore does not become lost in the mists of time.  Entitled Tales of the Taibhsear:

“Taibhhsear”  (pronounced tive’sher) is the title given to one who can see spirits of the dead – literally ghost seer. Capturing the essence of this  spoken word album project.

Scotland has many traditions such as this veiled within Gaelic charms, language and memories shared in metaphor and song.

With your support, we will be able to rediscover, reinvigorate, record and share a collection of these folk magic traditions in Gaelic and English, reclaiming them helping us share the knowledge with you and others.

 

Please share the link below and donate if you can ❤

 

Tales of the Taibhsear

 

It’s Spring! (I think)

Happy Spring Equinox/Ostara! 🙂

Hope you all have a great day whatever you choose to do.

I have a busy evening ahead of me. firstly I’ll be taking part in a march in the city centre against sexual violence towards women. This is to help raise awareness and I feel this is an important issue to educate others about.

Then I will be meeting with the coven to celebrate Ostara, which will be eggcellent (sorry! Lol) It’s a bit of a wet and windy day today so it doesn’t feel like Spring just yet, but there are flowers in bloom which are always a pleasure to see – I’m looking forward to warmer days though!

Over the coming week I plan to write more about Dundee – it’s folklore, history and magic. I would love to hear more from anyone reading my blog, so feel free to leave a comment and tell me a bit about yourself 🙂

Mar sin leat an-dràsta!

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