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Reference to the story that Rupert tells his companions one evening by the fire during the collection just before they are robbed by the McDonalds. 

Some examples of megaliths 

The truth behind these groups of menhirs strewn across Scotland is shrouded in mystery. All remains suppositions and speculations, which is a field more than fertile to feed the most beautiful legends. 

The iconic Calanais menhirs, located on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, are known by the Gaelic name of Fir Bhreig, the 'fake men'. Local legends suggest that they embody the petrified souls of a bygone era, or perhaps giants converted into stones by a saint to follow up on their refusal to convert to Christianity. Some even say that at sunset, the day of the summer solstice, a ghostly character in motion haunts the stones. 

On the Isle of Arran, it is said that the fairies sat on the mountain and threw pebbles from the summit into the moor below. As they touched the ground, the pebbles turned into huge stones and formed the six stone circles of Machrie Moor. 

Of course, the various piles of stones all suggest a tribute to the dead, and in many cases, the menhirs and other megaliths could be associated with cemeteries. But this may not be the only meaning and is not enough to explain either the height or the complexity of building the most impressive sites. 

Failing to understand, at least we can dream and give free rein to our imagination. 

The Tumulus

The tumulus is an artificial hill, elongated or conical, of great dimension (the tumulus SAINT-MICHEL near Carnac supports a chapel, a place and a table of orientation!). It contains one or more dolmens, consolidated by a dry stone cover (roughly the size of a brick and assembled without mortar), it is also a funerary monument. 

Le cairn

The cairn is a funerary monument consisting of one or more dolmens, covered with a mass of dry stones (stones, roughly the size of a brick, detached from the rocky subsoil) well wedged between them. Porticoes made up of three inverted U-shaped monumental stones form the entrance to the dolmens. Slabs of stones in vertical position are arranged around the perimeter as siding. 

The dolmen

The dolmens are stone monuments made of horizontal stone slabs supported by others in a vertical position. The slabs of coverage deserve the term megalith because of their weight of up to several tens of tons. They are funerary monuments, collective burials of a whole human group over several generations. Their architecture is variable: the dolmen can be formed of one or more chambers of more or less circular or polygonal shape accessible by a corridor, the dolmen can be formed more simply of a corridor which one qualifies as covered alley. The dolmen is the internal structure of the original monument, it was originally covered with dry stones and earth to form a small hill (tumulus). Over time, the earth was gutted, dry stones were reused as building materials. 

The cromlech

Cromlechs, or circles of stones that are still called 'pregnant' are groups of menhirs arranged in a circle, sometimes a menhir is placed in the center. These circles of stones can be isolated, paired with another circle of stones or associated with an alignment of menhirs. The best known of all cromlechs is obviously the Stonehenge cromlech 

They are composed of menhirs of variable sizes and arranged in parallel files 

The alignments
The menhirs

The most extraordinary alignments are those of the Karnag region which includes more than 3000 menhirs, that of kerzerho includes more than 1100. They extend for several kilometers. At one end, there is always a cromlech from which the size of the stones decreases to the other end. 

The menhirs are long erect stones, varying in height from a few centimeters to more than 20 meters, these stones are buried in the ground several tens of centimeters and set by stones. Menhirs can be isolated or grouped in enclosures or alignments 

When the first settlers arrived in Scotland more than 10,000 years ago, they would have installed these great tall menhirs. But what is their meaning and why do they exist? Who erected them and how? 

These are the questions most people ask themselves when they think of these assemblages of stones that have been rising up from time immemorial, and despite the hard work of hundreds of archaeologists for decades, no answer could be given definitely and definitively. 

Menhirs and other standing stones

The holy places were all border points - the shoreline, be it the sea, a lake or a river, the bridges, the boundaries between the territories (especially when they were marked by expanses of land). water, intersections, thresholds, etc. 

The sacred times were also border times. Twilight and dawn - marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain - marking the summer / winter transitions. 

In many myths and fairy tales, stories take place in such places and times. 

 

In Samhain (which corresponds to modern Halloween), the temp lost its meaning and the past, the present and the future became one. The dead and the inhabitants of the other world walked among the living. During the night of Samhain, fairies, ghosts, demons and witches, regained their freedom from the 'World from below'. For this reason, many people were then lighting bonfires to ward off evil spirits. The villagers wandered around their house with a lighted torch to protect them from evil spirits throughout the winter. 

It is also the night to remember, honor, and drink to the beloved ones, because the veil between the living and the dead was finer and communication was then possible with them that night. 

Animals and foodstuffs also needed special protection during this period. Samhain marked the time when cattle, (on which the economy of the Scottish Highlands depended), was brought back from his summer pasture to his winter shelter. The gods were prayed to protect livestock during the long, harsh winter. It was at this time that the food stocks harvested for the winter were stored. 

And above all, Samhain was the night of the Great Sabbath of witches. All the witches in Scotland gathered to celebrate, prophesy and cast their spells. The tradition was that that night, we could see them flying in the air on brooms and egg shells, on black cats, crows or horses during the 'wild ride of All Saints' . The peasants did not dare to leave their homes as their fear of that night was great. 

 

Beltaine's feast was the total antithesis of Samain's feast. It marked a break in the year, when we passed from the dark season to the light season. It also marked a change of life since it was the opening of day activities: resumption of hunting, war, raids, conquests for warriors, but also the beginning of agrarian and rural work for farmers and Breeders. 

A period of renewal if any, Beltaine was the period of choice for rites of passage, be it between the cold and the hot, between darkness and light, between symbolic psychic death and spiritual rebirth. In general, Beltaine was the feast of changing the rhythm of life. From the winter rhythm, we move to the summer rhythm. The party marked this passage both physically and spiritually. The old rites of confinement in the chambers of dolmens were perhaps happening during Beltaine's night. 

The stories emphasize the fires lit by the Druids, uttering magical incantations as cattle were passed between these fires, to protect them from epidemics for the whole year. Beltaine's Fire was a fire of beneficial purification that the druids were supposed to create by their magic and their incantations. He was powerful, sacred, and strong, and whoever lit him must be a person of power. Sacrifices of animals were held at this time as at Samain, to be offered as an offering to the gods. 

Pour the ancients Celts, the year had two 'charnières'. 

Il is left by Beltaine (1st May) and by Samhain (November 1), who is also the nouvel an celtique traditionnel. Ces deux jours during the most magical moments you will find the most effracts of the year. 

In fact, three superstitious, I peuple celte was fascinated by time and the places 'between two worlds.' 

Beltaine et Samhain

It is of course impossible not to suppose that the rabbit who comes to visit Jamie, dying on the moor of Culloden is not the evocation of a Banshee! However, the rabbit goes away and Claire appears to Jamie in the guise of the white lady ... intimating him, in a way, the order to stay alive. 

Thus the narrative allows us an opposition between Banshee and Bandruidh. 

With the gift of clairvoyance, the banshee could sing the death of a person even when it was far from home (because part on a remote battlefield, or went to earn a living in another country). The cries of the banshee allowed the family who stayed behind to know that something had happened to their loved one. 

Over time, the banshee's clairvoyance gift gradually became a prophetic talent: the banshee could announce in advance a misfortune such as the upcoming death of a clan member, a defeat at a battle or the arrival of an epidemic. 

When the coming catastrophe was large or the person who was going to die was a particularly important person, several banshees could come together to shout together. 

This shout, named 'caoinne' in Gaelic, is described as the most frightening and saddest thing one can imagine; it is so intense that it even wakes sleeping people, and it is still audible even heard in the middle of a storm. 

If the Bandruidh was rather simple and discreet, deceiving his world behind a proper attitude, the Banshee could appear in many forms, either as a crying girl, or as an old woman with no hair and disheveled, or even, on rare occasions, under the appearance of an animal: a bird, a fox, a rabbit for example. 

If some called her fairy, she was more traditionally likened to the ghost of a murdered woman, or died at birth, hence her special relationship with the hereafter. 

Yet, despite its disastrous function, the Banshee was not lonely. She remained faithful to the family to which she was attached, and some would have even crossed the Atlantic with the Irish settlers during the Great Famine of the nineteenth century. 

When Jamie repeats to Lord John his conversation with Duncan Kerr (while he is a prisoner in Ardsmuir) he evokes a Bandruidh, which means: Druid Woman or even: learned woman. The Bandruidhs were women prophetesses and diviners who possessed a knowledge deemed supernatural but which they used benevolently. (It is very likely that this is where the term was born: midwife). This is how Jamie sees his wife and in a way, that's what she is. 

When, some time ago, he had spoken to his grandfather, Lord Simon Lovat, the white lady had rather been likened to a Banshee (or Ban Shìth), which means this time: the woman of the other world. The Banshee was a messenger of a death to come which she announced with a cry as strident as powerful. 

From the second season, Claire Fraser is assimilated to 'the white lady' and although this term is born of a pirouette Jamie to avoid the repeated proposals of prostitutes from Mrs. Elise, well, the label will not leave her anymore and in a way that is understandable. Besides, it's no coincidence that Jamie used this name! He is well aware that the knowledge of his wife, linked to his modern and timeless attitude will fit perfectly to the image of this enchanting white lady who fascinates and worries. One is entitled to wonder if he does not believe a little himself! 

Anyway, even if, as Claire points out, it's playing with fire at a time when witches ended up at the stake, it will serve them more than once and it is ultimately through this that Claire will find her place in a world and a time where she could have remained forever an outlander. 

The White Lady

Reference to Brian Fraser, whose higlhanders Broch Tuarach claim he is a silky because of his beautiful black hair that reminded of the silky skin of seals. Hence the nickname given to Jamie when he was incarcerated at Ardsmuire: MacDubh, literally meaning: the son of black. 

There is no question here to inventory the innumerable myths and legends Celtic, it would require a dedicated site. I wanted instead to find the origin of some legends mentioned by Diana Gabaldon in his literary saga or those taken by the writers in the series.

From the White Lady to the children exchanged through silky or aquatic horses ... there was already enough to do!

The water horse can then drag them with him into the underwater depths to drown them, even devour them, a little like our sirens. 

The other unchanging fact is that the only way to control them is to throw a bridle over their neck. Then the tamed Kelpie will have no choice but to obey his master. A master who must make sure never to remove this bridle or face a Kelpie, free and more powerful and more evil than ever. 

 

Beyond these two fundamentals, many stories have been told about the Kelpies ... but one of them is particularly interesting to me, since it is the one told by our friend Rupert MacKenzie to his friends by the fireside, during episode 8 of the first season: 'from one world to another'. 

This legend tells the story of the Loch Garve kelpie who lived in the depths of the water with his wife he loved passionately. He liked to find his element and his wet and cold cave hidden from mortal eyes after his travels on earth, but, unlike him, his wife was not happy to feel this terrible cold constantly at the bottom of the loch, and was trembling in Permence at the bottom of this miserable and dark lair. 

Seeing his wife more and more unhappy and fearing that she would eventually leave him, he went to shore the next day before turning into a beautiful black stallion, as most kelpies do. He went to the cottage of a famous human builder and wandered until the man came out. Seeing this handsome black stallion standing in front of him, the man ignored all the warnings about the water horses and climbed onto his back. Immediately, he was blocked and unable to get off, the kelpie galloped at full speed towards the loch with the terrified man. He plunged into the icy black waters, his tail beating the surface with a sound of thunder. The builder said a prayer as he saw the black background of the loch approach, but for some strange reason he did not drown. At the bottom, the kelpie let his rider come down to explain the situation, and he promised not to hurt the builder or his family in exchange for his services, he would even provide him with as much fish as they needed. until their death. 

The builder accepted the agreement with the kelpie, he built a large and magnificent chimney, more beautiful than any mortal will ever see in his eyes. The big chimney ran through the dark waters to the surface, far from the den of the kelpies. His work finished, he lit a fire that gently warmed the submerged house. When the kelpie saw his wife's face shine with happiness, he knew that the human had paid his share of the work, and much more. 

He took him on his back for the way back through the darkness and icy waters, and brought him back to his house as if nothing had happened during the night. Indeed, time passes differently in the world of men and the world of fairies. True to his word, the kelpie never forgot the work of the craftsman because he and his family always had fish on their table and lived like kings. As for the kelpie and his wife, even when the loch freezes in the middle of winter, there is still a little bit of water that never freezes, thanks to the fire that always burns happily in the lair of kelpie and his wife. 

The kelpie is a metamorphous creature from Celtic folklore that has both horse, aquatic and humanoid characteristics. It usually lives in running waters, like rivers, and more rarely in lochs. It has often been described as appearing in horse form, but would be able to adopt any human form. 

Regardless of the sources we use to learn about the Kelpie legend, there are two things that never change: 

The first is that the Kelpie, because of its wonderful beauty and its enchanting pace, seduces its victims who can not resist the urge to climb on his back. 

Kelpie or aquatic horse

Selkies, creatures of Celtic folklore are described as seals capable of taking human form by removing their skin to come to live on earth. Once their skin is removed and become men or women beautiful and provided with an incredible power of seduction, they dance and sing in a melodious voice under the moonlight, or bask in the sun, on the rocks of the beaches isolated and coastal islands. Thus, like the sirens at sea, they attract to them people unable to resist their devastating charm. 

Couples are formed, children are born, who inherit the beauty of their selkie parent, and families live happily most of the time. 

But the legend says that if the Selkie finds his seal skin, he will immediately return to the sea, leaving there, without explanation or hope of return, his desperate family. 

This is why the spouses, when they have the opportunity, hide this skin with the greatest precaution or even for some, destroy it by the fire, in order to keep with them this love without price. 

A very large number of tales found in various forms throughout Northern Europe follow the same thread: they tell how a young man falls in love with a selkie after seeing it in human form. The man then steals his skin and hides it, preventing him from turning into a seal and he forces her to become his wife. Selkie is a good but sad wife, who often sits on the shore gazing at the ocean. The story ends when the Selkie ends up finding the hiding place where his skin was hidden; it changes into a seal and returns to the sea, leaving the young man distraught by his departure. 

In other versions of the tale, man and selkie live together for many years and they even have children. They one day find the seal skin and make it innocently to their mother, who then returns to the ocean. The man never again sees his wife selkie; the latter sometimes returns to play with her children in the waves and offers them shells when they are at the seaside. 

Another popular legend in Scotland describes the story of a fisherman who discovers while he was walking on the beach a female seal just put down. He captures the baby with the intention of killing him for his fur, but pitying the cries of the mother and the little one, he gives up and returns it to his mother. 

Many years later, the fisherman married and he has a large family. One day, when the fisherman's children have gone to gather shells on the foreshore, they find themselves stuck on an arm of the sea by the rising tide. They are saved from the waters by two women dressed in a gray cloak, who disappear into the ocean once the children are safe: it was the mother selkie and the small spared by the fisherman. 

In other versions of the legend, it is the fisherman himself who is saved by the selkies. 

 

The majority of legends portray selkies as peaceful beings. However, some traditions describe them in a more deadly light. 

In the folklore of the Shetlands, it is said that the selkies bewitch the human beings and attract them to the sea where they disappear. Other stories tell of young people who have gone mad with love for a selkie or a selkie on the shoreline who has lost interest in life, spending all their time on the beach staring at the ocean. 

In the Orkney Islands, selkies are supposed to seduce and kidnap young women, especially those who are dissatisfied with love - for example, those who have married a sailor who is often absent. It is said that the woman who would like to call her a selkie must shed seven tears in the ocean. 

When seals are killed, the selkies can take revenge by bringing storms, by returning the boats of the fishermen or by removing the herds that have been grazed near the shore. 

The origin of selkies is rarely clearly explained in the legends. They are most often considered as a kind of 'people of the sea' like sirens, the equivalent in the ocean of what are the fairies on earth. The storytellers of the nineteenth century, very influenced by the Catholic tradition have made fairies and selkies of fallen angels, condemned to live in the form of animals until the last judgment. 

Other sources seem to describe the selkies as human beings who have been cursed because of their bad behavior; banished from the mainland, they would have been condemned to spend the rest of their day in the ocean. 

Finally, a large number of tales implicitly indicate that the selkies are the souls of persons who have disappeared at sea or who are dead, who have returned to the world of the living in the form of an animal and can not resume their human appearance until certain precise moments. of the year. 

 

The word selkie comes from the dialect scot selich or the old English seolh, both terms meaning 'seal'. 

Selkies, or silky

In Scotland, unlike other countries, fairies have always been treated with respect and compassion which did not prevent them from being equally feared and accused of many evils. 

One of the peculiarities attributed to them is that of exchanging their baby with that of humans. The exchanged baby was then named: changelin or 'changeling'. Indeed, the fairies gave birth to ugly children, unsightly and endowed with an unpleasant and shady character. Preferring human babies, beautiful and endearing, they took advantage of times when mothers did not watch their child, often at night, and proceeded to exchanges without more ceremony. 

The parents found in the early morning, an ugly baby, looking veillotte, lean limbs and unbearable nature. Obviously, this whiny throat could not be their child! The only explanation bearable was that it had been exchanged. 

 

It is very likely that this legend was born to encourage families to watch their offspring so that the fairies can not surreptitiously steal them. It also allowed parents to feel guilty about their child's illness or congenital defects. Because, if the fairies had taken the trouble to steal their baby, it meant that they had deemed him worthy of it, and that he must be particularly beautiful and kind! Moreover, if their child ever died as a result of his malformations, the parents could console themselves by imagining that it was the changeling who had just died, and not their child. 

If the sick child did not die, the situation was different. 

Several solutions were available to families. The ideal being to make the changeling admit that he was a child exchanged. He had to be able to force him to reveal himself by asking him questions about his age for example. Under the effect of surprise, the changeling allowed himself to be possessed and, updated, he rushed into the fireplace and disappeared for ever with a sneer. The human child then magically reappeared in his cradle. 

If that did not work, there was always the solution of mistreating the exchanged child. Either whipping it or placing it above the flames. The fairy mother, unable to hear her screaming her child, came immediately to recover him. And of course, the human baby was back in his place. 

 

Although obviously, no parent has ever managed to recover his child in this way, this belief was rooted deep in their hearts. The only consolation they could find then was the assurance that their child lived happily among the fairies. 

The changelins

The thistle emblem of Scotland

The unicorn on national coat of arms

One evening, then, the Danes, having put their plan into execution, began to advance, quieter than a shadow, having taken the precaution of taking off their shoes. They took a step, two steps, three steps. No Scotsman seemed to notice them. The most complete silence reigned ... When all of a sudden, terrible cries ripped through the night. The rattles were so loud that they woke up the dullest of Scots. 

What had happened? In the darkness, the Danes had entered barefoot, unknowingly, in a field of thistles! With each movement, the quills of the plant penetrated deeper into their feet. Terrorized by the pain, they fled as best they could without asking for their rest. 

That night, by routing an army, the thistles won the hearts of the Scots. It is in memory of this epic story that they made it the symbol of their country as much as an object of pride. 

In the early days of the Middle Ages, Scottish lands were highly coveted. The rough Danes had only one idea in mind: to compete with the proud Scottish warriors to invade the Highlands once and for all! On several occasions they had attempted to conquer the Scottish shores, but each time their assaults had been valiantly repulsed. 

Since then, of course, the Scottish warriors, determined to protect their castle until the last breath, remained on the alert. 

Day and night, they scanned the distance, anxious to see the Danish army arrive more and more determined. 

Yet, despite Scottish determination, the Danes were not ready to surrender. Yes of course, the Scots were brave! but they would be smarter. Since the force did not work, they would try cunning ... and discretion. 

Wild nature, enamored with freedom, the unicorn can be tamed only by a virgin as pure as it, which is a reminder for the Scottish knights that they were above all servants of Christ. 

the unicorn is described as solitary, aware of its strength and its responsibilities: the forest animals patiently waited near poisoned water points for it to plunge its magical horn in order to make the water drinkable. 

In Scotland, when you think about it, it all starts with a legend! One only has to look at their coat of arms to realize how myths fit into culture more than anywhere else. 

Seen for the first time on the coat of arms of William I in the 12th century, as well as on the gold coins during the reign of King James III from 1466 to 1488, the unicorn, Celtic mythological figure par excellence, is, for Scotland , at once the symbol of innocence, purity, healing power, joy and life, but also masculinity and power. 

Preferring to be killed rather than enslaved, it fits perfectly with the bloody past of the Scots struggling to maintain their independence. 

The coat of arms thus presents 2 unicorns, but these are chained because, according to the statements, a free unicorn is a dangerous animal which one must know how to tame. 

When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of Great Britain and Ireland, and the lion, the symbol of England, then faced the unicorn. 

Can there be a clearer symbol than this? 

The myths

in Outlander

Valérie Gay-Corajoud