Beira

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Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

Seasons have unpredictable natures, and struggle to retain influence over earth days.  Winter has lost most of its control over Vancouver, but has sent a covering of snow in parts of Eastern Canada. Transitions are never smooth, and seasonal weather patterns, which can take on a tug-of-war appearance, seem to adopt human characteristics.  Is it any wonder that mythologies build upon this idea?

In my farewell to winter, I came to know the one-eyed giantess Beira, Queen of Winter, the mother of all the gods and goddesses in Scottish mythology.   Wielding a magic hammer, her brilliant white hair set against dark cobalt skin and rust-coloured teeth, she formed mountains to serve as her stepping stones and set up Ben Nevis to be her mountain throne. Loch Ness came into being when she transformed her inattentive maid, Nessa into a river that gave us the spectacular Loch that draws thousands of visitors to Scotland every year. In her more reflective moments, Beira herds sheep, but she is ever vigilant against “spring,” using her staff to freeze the ground upon which she walks.   The Winter Solstice defines the end of her reign as Queen of Winter, and ushers in Brighde, the goddess who rules the summer months.

Scottish Highlands - Loch Ness

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

The Queen of Winter will return, for on the longest night of the year, she drinks from the enchanted Well of Youth and grows younger day by day.

There is a wistfulness when we let go of what is, to accept what comes next; even a goddess feels a sense of loss.  Yet, the possibility of renewal is always present.

“Folk tales and myths, they’ve lasted for a reason. We tell them over and over because we keep finding truths in them, and we keep finding life in them.” Patrick Ness

Scottish Highlands - Loch Ness

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

16 thoughts on “Beira

    • I share your love of the Scottish Highlands (although my family came from the Border Clans). A couple of weeks ago, we attended an Annual Gathering of Pipers, Drummers and Pipe Bands. There is a new crop of young bagpipers and drummers to keep up the tradition. They have so much fun working together as a team.

      “Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion.” Scottish Proverb

      This is our Simon Fraser University Pipe Band! I think you will find this quite amazing.

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    • Thank you so much for your encouraging comments. I am delighted to be connected again – it seems that I lose bloggers in my reader so I’ve signed up again to follow! Welcome to a new week!!

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  1. Another interesting ancient myth. I loved the performance by the SFU pipe band. A very well known group of pipers and very successful in all competitions. I enjoyed the short quote about the Scottish rebellion. I have imagined how frightening it must have been for the enemies of the Scots to hear the dreadful sound of the bagpipes just beyond the nearest hill.

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    • There are many brave bagpipers who entered a battle with only a bagpipe for a weapon. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone chose to bring a bagpipe into battle. The music would bring peace to our nations.

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  2. Gorgeous views, Rebecca. Beira the Queen of Winter sounds rather a fierce character. I love your ‘tug of war’ analogy. 🙂 Hope your spring arrives soon. xx

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    • We are feeling the gentle touch of spring – the cherry blossoms are out and the yellow daffodils are mirroring the sunshine from above. We have stowed our winter jackets away. Elsewhere in Canada, the tug-of-war continues. I do love our changing seasons…

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  3. I can but echo Cindy Knoke, as to the beauty of your subject and your writing. Not to mention the choice of Simon Fraser’s University Bagpiper band, a delicious touch of magic that emphasizes the drama of your story. What a magnificent presentation my dear friend.
    If memory serves, isn’t your son, no doubt by now a proficient bagpiper. Might he not be a member of this wonderful band? In any event, what a treat!
    Thank you Rececca, ever so much for sharing this creation.
    Now though I send you this short piece, in keeping with you’re winter mention, sighting the winter’s disparity of west and east of Canada, and the fantastic mythology of Scotland’s Beira, Queen of Winter, it is for you. But if you choose to share it with our somewhat mythical personality, Mr.Jack Frost of Canadian and North American winters, feel free to leave it in. Once more, great post!

    “ Winter ”
    ~ in white unfolds ~

    Snowflakes fly
    Thru dying fall,
    Covers its traces
    In a blanket pall,
    Renders faceless
    In winter’s mask
    Autumn’s sprawl,
    ‘Tis be Jack Frost
    Architect of cold,
    Short days imposed
    And freezing nights,
    Shan’t shed his bold
    Till life in white unfolds!
    © Jean-Jacques Fournier

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    • My dear friend!! I love your words of winter. This is especially meaningful since I spent a great deal of my life in Northern Manitoba where the Queen of Winter stayed for an extended visit. I remember swimming in a lake that still had ice – in the middle of June. We were brave souls. While most times we consider that paradise is warm and sunny, I find that there is magic in the snowflake and in the northern lights. The “Architect of Cold” does indeed “short days imposed.” I especially like your last words – “Till life in white unfolds!” Thank you again for adding to the discussion. To me poetry is a way to celebrate our mythologies.

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    • My son is a bagpiper so Scotland is near and dear to our hearts. That’s the best part of blogging. I go places that I never will see – I’m there because I travel with an amazing blogging community. Have a wonderful week.

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  4. Hi Becky, I enjoyed your post very much the first time; but even more the second time, when I also had playing your stunning SFU pipe band clip – fabulous! xxx

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