Despite the graphic I cobbled together a day ago, I actually do not approach or perceive any of the gods in a human form – at least not in their natural state. I believe the gods are capable of assuming human form, as well as other forms; but I do not consider deities as having a default human form. I see the gods in the main as sentient energy. I do not actually see a dancing hag, dropping stones from her basket as she moved through the countryside to form the mountains. I see the description as important; yet I do not take it literally. I see the Cailleach, as I do any other god, as being an energetic force that acts in this world (as well as others – this is a post for another day, though). I do not need to see her operating in a human form to envision her actions and interactions – for me, sensing her energy is enough.
This is something that will play a prominent role in my developing connection with the Cailleach. Already, I have come to regard her not as some withered, toothless hag; but rather accepted that this description of her may represent the limited perspectives of people who saw her as a part of their lives. From the presence I encountered in my Journey last year, I can attest to a quality of ancientness that is difficult to describe with words. Stories of her creating aspects of the Earth might very well be relating the Cailleach having given birth to the Earth, having formed it in her own womb or, as some say about Mother Bear, licked her baby into its proper form. Also, although I also felt connections between the Cailleach and death, storms, and the dark half of the year; the presence I sensed from a distance – and what I feel when I allow my thoughts to linger on the Cailleach for very long at all – is that of a warm, almost earthy presence. Understanding, yet still firm. I feel like the idea of her being blue (this could either have to do with death, or with the cold of winter) reflects a perspective that anything connected to the winter must be cold. To the contrary, I feel like the Cailleach is more of a warm personality. If she brings death, I think she does it with full understanding for the plight of those who die, and the loved ones they leave behind. I could imagine her inviting a newly departed soul to a kitchen table, with warm milk and cookies. I could imagine her honestly listening to the soul describe the sensations of its experiences in our world in the way a wise woman would listen to a child describe an argument had with a friend over who should get to go down the slide first. And I can imagine her having these sorts of traits without the need for human form.
I think there is something a lot of people forget when it comes to gods. A lot of people and religious systems promote the idea that we are defined by our beliefs, and that we are defined by our gods. I believe the opposite is the case. I believe we define our beliefs; and I believe we define our gods – in particular, I believe we define how we perceive our gods. So, while I will probably create more images of the Cailleach, and perhaps a few other gods, these are mostly for artistic purposes. I understand that a god is beyond human capacity to fully describe. To be able to fully describe something, we must first fully understand it. To fully understand a god would make us gods, as well – and I do not consider us to be gods. Sparks from Nature’s energy, yes – but I do not believe this qualifies us as gods (this delusion is one I will happily allow my cats to have; but not myself).