When exploring ancestors on this land the remnants in language of older cultures are like threads in a tapestry that has become unwoven and if you pull it may come apart altogether. I try to make a new tapestry using what I can from my own experiences, travel, and encounters with people from indigenous cultures. In their cultures I feel tugs of my own past.
While thinking about this episode I was reading Manchán Magan’s new book 32 words for field about the lost words of the Irish landscape. I had previously loved a similar book by Robert McFarland about the power of language to shape our sense of place called Landmarks. Words in both books are gathered to remind us of things beyond them Robert’s are from all over these island nations on the edge of Europe such as a Cornish word ‘zawn’, which means a wave-smashed chasm in a sea cliff while Manchán concentrates on Irish. The one below is from his twitter account where like Robert on twitter he regularly shares words.
So imagine my thrill when I discovered that 3 chapters in 32 words for field are dedicated to the word Cailleach. They have helped me set my course for this thread.
“Words act as compass; place-speech serves literally to en-chant the land – to sing it back into being, and to sing one’s being back into it.”
― Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks