A’bhiolair uain…

Cha leiginn mo bhuidheann fhiadh,
Mo bhuidheann fhiadh, mo bhuidheann fhiadh,
Cha leiginn mo bhuidheann fhiadh,
Dh’imlich shligean dubh an tràigh.

Cha do ghoid mi cliabhan duilisg,
Cliabhan duilisg, cliabhan duilisg,
Cha do ghoid mi cliabhan duilisg,
‘S cha mhó ghoid mi ribeag chàil.

Is mór gum b’ anns’ a’bhiolair uain’,
A ’bhiolair uain’, a’bhiolair uain’,
Is mór gum b’ anns’ a’bhiolair uain’,
Bhios air bruach an fhuarain àird.*

So this handsome chap has come to live with us recently. Isn’t he beautiful?  As you know, if you have been following my blog for a time, the Deer is an extremely sacred animal to me. The Deer are Pathfinders & Gatekeepers, they often lead into encounters with the Otherworld, and are a great ally in shape-shifting.  When ‘Travelling’ a Deer will be my guide (most of the time), if my Gods aren’t present with me on that trip. Most nights my dream are filled with Deer, or antlers, my dreams have lots of antlers. Last night’s was of a gorgeous Hind; A Hind, and lots and lots of Rowan and Mushrooms. Deer are one of the oldest animals, along with the Blackbird, the Owl, the Eagle, the Crow/Raven  and the Salmon, they have fascinated me and held my heart since I was a young girl. My parents used to take my Brother and I to watch the herds of Red and Fallow Deer in Richmond as wee bairns, and it’s been a ritual I’ve carried through to adulthood. I even have my favourite place to hide amongst the trees on the edge of the grasslands, and watch them. The Antlered Woman, my Horned God, the Cailleach, and The Daughter of Bones are all associated with the Deer.

In the Highlands, Deer are associated with the Sith – Faerie – and Scottish folklore is littered with tales of them being Faerie Cattle herded by Faerie Women, the Glaistig, the Bean Sìth and the Cailleachan. Not only would the Sith eat the roots of Silverweed and the stalks of Heather, but they would milk Red Deer Hinds; When they couldn’t find milk spilt on the way from the dairy, which is Theirs by right. Faerie woman often assume the shape of the Red-Deer, and in that guise they were often encountered by hunters, traveling folk, and those that have lost their way. It’s not only Faerie and Gods that appear as Deer, but the dead can too. It was firmly believed in the British Isles that ghosts could appear in many different forms, sometimes in human shape, but at others in the shape of Birds,  Dogs,  Cattle and Deer.

Deer calls to us from the Otherworld… and invites us to look beyond the material, beyond the superficialities of life, toward the heart of things, toward the realm of causes rather than effects. Poised in moon- or sunlight, Deer invites us to begin an exploration of the Otherworld, the spiritual dimension of life.”  ~Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm

The Deer is also an animal of healing. There are many charms and  remedies  which call for Deer bits ‘n’ pieces. For instance to cure a sprain, one would tie three knots into a thread made of the sinew of a Stag in rut, whilst reciting a spoken charm, and then tie it around the effected limb. Deer tallow was used to protect the skin from the harsh Scottish weather during the Winter, and Stag Horn Jelly was a stable of the sick. It was said that “Geir féidh a-muigh ‘s a-staigh, mur leighis sin thu chan eil do leigheas ann”. ** Newly cast antlered were smashed with a hammer and boiled in water for a few hours. Candied sugar and vinegar were added, once the water had been strained,  then brought back to a roiling boil before being allowed to cool and set into a thick jelly. This was given to the infirm by the glassful, with the addition of The Water of Life, what I like to call the ‘The Cailleach’s Cure’ – Whisky! Which no doubt helped it to go down easier and taste better.

So Mr. Stag arrived a while ago, and was given a good clean! He was dirtier than I expected, but I didn’t have any ‘Stag Brain Soup’ to contend with. He was given a few baths and scrubbed down, carefully with love and attention, with a soft bristled tooth-brush, then set to dry naturally(which meant being caught out in an unexpected Lightning Storm – Gotta love Ohio – and having to dry again). He was then given a lovely bath in Hydrogen Peroxide to brighten him up a little and to sanitize him completely. The next job on the agenda is to ‘Redden’ him, and start the process of ‘calling a Spirit back’, which I spoke a little about in my post about Mr. Jackdaw and my Crow friends. Sometimes it’s the Spirit of the ‘actual’ animal that wants to stay around, and sometimes it’s a ‘Spirit Friend’ who wants to use the vessel/fetiche as a home from home in the Otherworld when they come to visit. This is by no means a ‘Spirit trap’, as the Spirits should be free and unchained to go about their business. It means invoking and banishing/saying goodbyes when you want to work/commune with a certain Spirit. Unless it’s Mr. Jackdaw who comes when he pleases and heralds Cernunnos’ arrival, or Mr. Carrion who only shows up when the Cailleach is around.

So, this evening Mr. Stag was smudged with Juniper and given his first round of offerings, welcoming him home. Spring water, fresh Watercress, wild Scottish Mushrooms, Rowan berries and Heather (a gift from Ms. Graveyard Dirt) were given. My beast will continue to be lavished with offerings and gifts, and I’ll keep you all posted as to how our relationship develops…

TRANSLATIONS FROM SCOTS GAELIC:

* I’ll not permit my herd of deer / My herd of deer,  my herd of deer / I’ll not permit my herd of deer /To lick black shells in ebbing shore.
I stole no little creel of dulse, / Creel of dulse, creel of dulse, / I stole no little creel of dulse / Nor did I steal one scrap of kale.

They’d much prefer green watercress, / Green watercress, green watercress, / They’d much prefer green watercress, / That’s on the bank of the mountain stream.
**Deer fat outside and inside, it that doesn’t cure you there’s no cure for you.

***

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8 responses to “A’bhiolair uain…

  1. Loved this post!Especially reading the Scots Gaelic I thought it was Irish at first but then i could not pronounce 2 words and then i thought to myself it must be Scots Gaelic lol.I never even knew about Scots Gaelic until i was 15 and my Irish teacher at school told us about it and spent a class teaching us about it.The Skull is Divine to say the least and the antlers are out of this world.

  2. I am thoroughly jealous of you. I have wanted a deer for the longest time. This is so cool. Thank you for sharing.

  3. where can i find these bones dammit!?

  4. Beautiful post! Mr. Stag is one handsome fellow. 😉

  5. Love this post! And yes, being caught in freak weather is so Ohio. I’m also quite jealous, but I imagine that when it’s time for me to have bones, I’ll have them – and any deer would probably just want to live with Ben anyway… Yes Ben, I see your comment – and it’s the truth.

    I definitely look forward to seeing pictures of the reddened skull if you feel inclined to post them!

  6. I loved reading this and seeing the pictures of Mr.Stag. You are one lucky Witch 😉

  7. Pingback: Reddening the Bones… | Crooked & Hidden Ways

  8. You are very lucky. Mr. Stag…wow. I loved the information about the deer and its associations.

    P.S. Pardon my rudeness. I should introduce myself. My name is Alicia. I came across your blog via the comments section on the Witch of Forest Grove site.

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