Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Tale of the Brigadoon Piper (an Imbolc Imaginary)

The tale of the Brigadoon Piper
And the Highland Boobrie they say,
Tells of how they played their Bagpipes
For they have returned from away...

Every hundred years on sweet Brigid's Blessday
At Imbolc the enchanted village appears,
As church bells peal through the mists they-
Both Piper Tam and the Boobrie will play.

If you hear their tunes ring out in the dawning,
You will hear the path of their piping all day.
This is the song of their calling
Luring honest men and bonnie lasses away...

And some O'er time they have taken,
As mortals ran to follow their way.
But all true Scots know the secret,
Come you may come, but go you never shall, nae'

In the timeless land beyond magick,
Some say 'tis the home of the fae.
In the mysterious village of Brigadoon,
Both Piper Tam and the Boobrie will play.

c. Celestial Elf 2011.

Imbolc (i-MOLK or i-MOLG ), also called Brighid's Day or St Brighid’s Day, is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on 1 or 2 February (or 12 February, according to the Old Calendar) in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 August in the Southern Hemisphere. These dates fall about halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.
Imbolc was traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens may be a forerunner to the North American Groundhog Day.

A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:
    "The serpent will come from the hole
    On the brown Day of Bríde,
    Though there should be three feet of snow
    On the flat surface of the ground."

Imbolc was believed to be the day the Cailleach, the hag of Gaelic tradition, gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.

On the Isle of Man, where she is known as Caillagh ny Groamagh, the Cailleach is said to have been seen on Imbolc in the form of a gigantic bird, carrying sticks in her beak.

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Brigadoon was a 1954 MGM musical feature film by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe which tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night.
Lerner's name for his imaginary locale was probably based on the real Scottish village called Alloway which has a bridge over the river Doon, in the heart of Robert Burns country.

Brig o'Doon has magical literary connotations, as it appears in the Robert Burns poem Tam o'Shanter when Tam escapes a witch by crossing the bridge over the river Doon - witches, of course, can't cross running water.

In the film version, the villages enchantment to appear only once every hundred years is viewed by the residents as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction.
Brigadoon has elements of fairy legends about it which say that any mortal who enters fairyland will never be able to return, and according to the villagers covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever.

In the original film, two American tourists lost in the Scottish Highlands stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village's inhabitants.

Other sources suggest that the fictional village's name was constructed from the Celtic word 'briga', which means 'town' (such as in the old city names of Segobriga and Brigantium) and the Scottish Gaelic 'dùn', which means a fort, e.g., Dundee or Dunfermline.
The name may also be a reference to the Celtic Goddess Brigid, as in 'Brigid's Hill'.

The Boobrie is a mythical water bird of Scottish Highlands folklore.
It is said to be similar to a great northern diver, but with white markings and the ability to roar, it lives in very long heather and haunts lochs and salt wells.

According to the most authentic reports, the animal was endowed with the power of assuming the forms of three different animals; those of a most enormous and ferocious water-bird, of a water-horse or each-uisg, and of a water-bull or tarbh-uisg.

Whether there is any truth in these legends,
we cannot be sure,
but if you should hear the haunting Bagpipes
of the Brigadoon Piper and the Boobrie floating O'er hill and glen,
whilst you may be drawn to follow the happy songs,
we must advise caution.

nb for any who may be interested, here is an advisory post on
How To Avoid (or Invite) Enchantment by Faries, Elves & Elementals
Including Previously Unreleased
Emergency Procedure
In Case Of Elven/Faery Abduction

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  1. Very magical as usual. Thanks for this post.

    Bright Blessings and Peace to ALL !

    1. Thank you very much ArtSings1946, I hope you will enjoy the film too-pop back soon for updates,
      Blessed Be ~

  2. Looking forward to the film!

    (I've been to the Brig o' Doon at Ayr, it's very beautiful)


    1. Magikafoot, im delighted to report that the filming goes very well, and I hope to bring added dimensions into play with this film and henceforth, those of 'depth of field' camera work which will create a more magickal atmosphere throughout,
      Bright Blessings ~