Friday, April 1, 2011



Beira mother of the gods and goddess of the Scot was very tall, very old and of a blue color.
She could be as fierce as the north wind and the tempest struck sea.

She was Queen of the winter of the 4 divisions of the world.
But as the people waited for the sweet spring season of king Angus on his white steed and Bride his Queen who brought warmth, plenty and bright happy days, Beira often tried to preserve her power of winter by raising spring storms and biting frosts to kill the early flowers and keep the grass from growing green.
[fear faite].

Beira lived forever and the reason she never died was at the begining of every spring [March 21 the spring solstice] she drank the magic water of the Well of Youth on the green island of the west.

This island was a floating island on the western sea where summer was the only season.
Its trees were always in blossom and laden with fruit.
The island drifted about on the silvery tides of the blue Atlantic and was sometimes seen off west coast of Ireland or the Hibrides.

Many mariners had gone to sea to look for Inis Faite [faiche] in the ocean but never found it and aften sailed past it hidden in the mists.
The island often seen from shore would vanish beneith the waves with the setting sun.

But Beira always knew how to find Inis Faite when it was time for her yearly visit to drink the water of the Well of Youth.
These waters appeared as the first lengthening day of spring began and on the last night of winter, she went all alone in the dark, to the Well awaiting the Dawn.
When the first light appeared in the eastern sky, she drank the first spring water bubbling from a rock crevice before any bird had drank of it and before any dog had barked .
Thus she began to grow young again and returned to Scotland where she fell into magic sleep.

When she awoke she was a beautiful girl with long yellow hair , cheeks as red as rowen berrys and blue eyes sparkling like the summer sea.
She wore a green robe and a hair diadem of bright flowers.
She was about as fair as the queen of summer,Bride.

However as the months passed Beira aged, and as Autum came her beauty began to fade.
As Winter returned she became an old weatherd hag and again the fierce Queen Beira rigned.
she sang of,
'life that ebbs like the sea.
I am weary and old.
All alone in the dark and cold.'

Beira had only one eye clear and sharp as ice.
Her face was dark blue [gorm].
Her teeth were red [dearg] and her hair white [finn].
All her clothing was grey and she wore a shawl around her shoulders and a spotted hat called a Mutch.
She could not count her age.

She rememberd when the land that was, is now under water and where the water was, is now land and where mountain and fields had once been and where a great lake was only a well.
And she herself was a yong fair girl.

Beira made many lochs and let loose many rivers in her lifetime and shaped many bens and glens.

Some of Beiras wells had to be coverd from sunset to sunrise and when they were not covered by a flag stone the order of thing was disturbed and great floods of water arose and filled the valleys with rivers and lakes of water.
So was formed Loch Awe in Scotland, Loch Inverness and perhaps Loch Neagh [Ecach] in Ireland.

Nessa, a maid of Beira was late one evening in going to cover the well and the water was gushing out so fast that Nessa ran for her life.

When Beira saw this from her mountain top home she cried,

'You have neglected your duty and now you will run forever', and that maid Nessa changed into a river and a loch.
Loch Ness and the river now running into the sea.

Once a year Nessa arises from the river as a girl and sings a song in the pale moonlight in a voice more beautiful than the birds.

In those days when rivers were formed and lochs were made Beira also built the mountains, carrying on her back a great creel of rocks and earth and sometimes these rocks fell into the lochs and made islands.

Eight hags were servants to Beira from the mountains to the clouds.

some of Beiras sons were very quarrelsome and fought continiously against each other.

They were oftimes shut up in mountain houses when they disobeyed their Mother.

This lockdown did not prevent the troublesome sons from fighting and each day they came to the tops of their mountain prison and threw stones at each other [volcanoes] and this is why so many large boulders lie in lakes and valleys.

Some of these sons also lived in caves and these giants often had horns and many heads and carried cattle away to roast and eat them.
They were called the FOOAR.

Beira had only one tool, a magic hammer and striking it on the land made the soil as hard as iron like the Burren .
If she struck it hard a valley was formed.

After she had made the mountains Beira delighted in roaming them followed by the wild animals.
Foxes, wolves, eagles, herds of deer,flocks, black pigs and sheeps with snow white fleeces.

In early winter the cattle were milked on top of the mountains but when the great gaoth rose and the froth was blown from the milk pail they herds were driven to the valleys and the froth frozen on the hill crests.

Beira washed her shawl in the sea and she chose for the washing spot an area between Jura and Scarba.
The washing place called Corry Breckin after the son of king Breacin of Scotlands son, who was drowned there as his boat was upset by Beira's waves.

3 days befoe the winter Queen began her winter reign,
the Corry water raised and frothed for 20 miles around and on the 4th day Beira washed her shawl and tramped it with her feet and than placed her shawl on the mountains to dry.
When it was lifted all the mountains of Scotland were white with Snow.
The great winter Queen had begin Her Reign.

Wonder Tales of Scotland Myth and Legend, Donald A macKenzie
Glascow, Blake and sons, 1917.

In Ireland Beira is caled Cailleach ,the old woman ,and the Mountain Mother.

She is at home in the Beara Penninsula of West Munster.

The medieval Irish book of Lecan indicated Cailleach originated in Corco Duibne.

She had 7 youths and her grandchildren were Races and Peoples.

Beir are forms of the gaelic verb to catch ,take, or give birth to .
Beith means being and
The Bear = a barman or the animal the bear which once roamed in Ireland.

A bearach on the other hand is a heifer.

presented by
Judi Donnelly
copyright March 31 2011

sourse :Classic Celtic Fairytales, Jon Mathew, Blanford Books Press, London, 1997

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