Mid Winter may have herald the rebirth of the Sun/Son however it is very much the season of the Cailleach (the "Veiled One"), as the worse of Winter's weather descends upon us.
The ancient Goddess of the lands we today refer to as Scotland, in particular the islands of its coast, as well turning up in Irish mythology and folklore, the Cailleach is often referred to being the land itself. According to myth, it is from her apron that the stones fell that created the mountains, and it is from her touch that the bare earth is covered with snow and frost.
The Cailleach may appear to be a "death" Goddess as we are surrounded in Winter's bleakness however it is during this time of repose, light and life is drawn away from the surface, deep into the earth itself. Here a slow transformation takes place and before too long, life returns to the surface, as the Cailleach herself emerges into her other self, that of the Bride of Spring, Brighid.
Winter howls and wind does moan
With Cailleach’s staff frost is sown.
The Blue Hag beats the ground in grief.
Her youth has fallen like the leaf.
Line of face and frozen breast,
No warmth, no milk to suckle the rest.
With this loss the tempests rage.
Creatures crawl from shallow grave.
The Darkness grows, Life stretches thin.
Tomorrow’s Hope was gathered in.
Stay inside by hearth, with kin.
Wild Hunt outside, the savage din.
More than this will not be seen
‘Til the Wheel of Light turns again.
Count the seeds, the bounty of Fall.
Imbolc’s plan will feed us all.
Shivering herd on cloven hoof,
Shelter strong and solid roof.
Lift our Spirit and gird our loins
‘Til Brigid’s Fire in Spring reborn.