September 06, 2011

Folklore, Corrimony Cairn & Munlochy Clootie well

I hunted down treasures whilst away up North
One day I found wondrous snippets of folklore in Inverness museum
top left - a medieval spindle worn to protect against the evil eye,
centre, elf's arrow pendant made from a pre-historic flint, protection against faeries,
folk once believed these were made by faeries who weren't able to use metals.
The ladle, used to remove the evil eye would contain a piece of silver, 
a person suffering bad luck would drink from this standing under a bridge. 
The tiny charms, bottom right were sewn into the clothes or the bedding
of children protecting them from the faeries & changeling babes.
these also caught my eye, medieval ring brooches, the Achavrail armlet
and treasure found in 1875 by a lass in a field in Croy.
Another day I crawled down the ancient entrance tunnel into Corrimony Cairn
a chambered tomb or passage grave, built four thousand years ago
I felt its ancientness seep into my very bones as I looked out
at the silent stones standing guard in a circle .  
Most moving,  the Munlochy clootie  well, an amazing sight, a myriad of "cloots"  
left by visitors  who have visited this place wishing for healing for a poorly loved one.  
So many wishes! To make a wish you walk sunrise around the well three times, 
splash water from the well onto the ground and say the wish. (Cloot means cloth).
The wells use possibly derives from "the power of water in Celtic tradition"
*      *      * 
I am ever fascinated by these folk who's customs & beliefs I have seen 
who lived in a world filled with wonder & fear and feel even more that
these are the stories I want to keep alive, want to work into my paintings.


  1. Such fascinating artifacts, the elf arrow pendant is especially beautiful, and wow I've never seen a site with that many clouties all in one place! Thanks for sharing your lovely photos :)

  2. Such treasures you found Ruthie. Beautiful. I love seeing things like this. I always imagine they have fallen out of a story book or another world. And of course they have in a sense. :) Looking forward to seeing the ideas incorporated into your work . x

  3. Magical and beautiful. I love the ladle - and just about everything else, wonderful details on the brooches, armlets... makes the marrow in my bones jump around with ancestral memories... and that's QUITE a clooty well. There is one at a nearby pagan community land, but nothing quite as elaborate as that, wonderful! Thanks for all the inspiration - oh, and for the jumping bone-memories!

  4. I love your lovely blog site...such a treasure. I've listed it on my blog site as a blog I follow. My blog site is:

  5. What wonders you've found Ruthie! I agree with Valerianna, seeing all this makes something sing deep ancestors rising up in my blood and bones!

  6. What treasures!
    I love these old superstitions and fables, how lovely that they sewed charms into the hems of children's clothes.

  7. Hello! Hadn't realised you'd been up in my neck of the woods! You could have popped in for a cuppa!

  8. What an amazing trip kind Ruthie and perfectly documented!... I couldn't resist the desire to repost it on my blog with credits!
    Hope you agree with the sharing... Hereby the link:
    Bliss and blessings to you and your beloved ones ♥

  9. Wonderful, wonderful artefacts and Corrimony Cairn, I would love to visit!
    Find if you can a poem called 'The Hollow Hill' by Scottish poet Kathleen Raine, and two more by her you might also like 'Bheinn Naomh' and 'Eileann Chanaidh' (The Ancient Speech.)She really was a great writer...

  10. What a beautiful post Ruthie!
    I found your discriptions of the cairn and clootie well very moving and the ancient treasures are wonderful. I particularly love the charms that were sewn into childrens bedding and clothing!
    Thank you for sharing them all with us.. xx

  11. hello Ruthie,
    thank you for sharing these wonderful treasures and experiences that you found and had. So awesome to see and hear of them! Sounds as though you had a wonderful time!

  12. Great pictures and thanks for the info!!!

    Hope to see you lot's more!

  13. Wonderful entry--and beautiful, fascinating artifacts. I have a family member who persists in telling my blogging is an exercise in self-indulgence and there is nothing real about the online world. Yet I can visit a blog like yours and learn while having my thirst for beauty quenched. Bloggers like you bring the world to shut ins like me, and I am so grateful.

  14. What a magical enchanting culture! I love it. Thanks so much for sharing ... love the "cloot wishes!"

  15. What amazing treasures you found. I think it is truly wonderful and so very important that you want to keep folklore alive in your paintings.
    Love and blessings to you.

  16. Now this is what I call enchanting.How much fun can a person have.Thanks for coming to my party.Denise

  17. Eeeek! When I am suffering from the Evil Eye I shall know where to go for relief. Have so enjoyed reading about your time in the Highlands - we love it there too .... except for the midgies! (is there a faerie remedy for them too, I wonder?)

  18. I guess you're very busy these days Ruthie.

    Yours is one of seven blogs I've chosen for a blog challenge.
    It's over on the Glebe Blog if it takes your fancy.

  19. I enjoy seeing things like this. I also enjoy the way you describe them. Come back soon.

  20. Amazing and beautiful, and, yes, magical. I am so glad they are still here for us to enjoy. I look forward to seeing them reflected in your art. :)

  21. I'd love to see you use these ideas in your painting Ruthie! What a lovely selection of treasures you found. I can't wait to see how your artwork grows from this :)
    Jess xx

  22. I loved reading about your myriad of cloots. Your descriptions are so lyrical.

  23. Wonderful artifacts you found in the museum, and I can understand your feelings as you went into the Cairn, many years ago I went into a Long Barrow near Bath. It was a wonderful experience, the past feels so close in situations like that. I am a lacemaker and have some antique bobbins, whenever I use them I feel a distinct link with the ladies who have used them before me, I hope they would approve and be happy that their bobbins are still being used what they were made for :)

  24. Hi Ruthie,
    Ah, it is good to be back blogging again and to see what you have been up to while I've been away! ;-)

    Love these faerie treasures. I'm especially fond of the elf's arrow pendant and the medieval brooches with the beautiful Celtic designs.

    The story is lovely about the charms protecting the babies from faeries!
    Corrimony Cairn looks like a place you could enter another world, within the tunnel.
    Thank you for sharing your magical photos and good luck with the mice and peppermint! ;-)

    Halloween Blessings and warm wishes for autumn.
    Jo. xx

  25. Not often am I left speechless, the beauty of this cultural place, moves me to tears.

    Would it be possible to purchase a copy of this collage photo?

    Thank you a million times for sharing. My maternal grandfather was Irish and I feel the drawing of this culture.

  26. P.Sl: The bottom photo, last one in this post.

  27. Hello lovely people. I am amazed to see I haven’t replied to you all this post, so distracted have I been, oops, my apologies!

    The Faery Folklorist the elf arrow pendant is my favourite to! It was quite overwhelming to see so many clouties, to think that each one was placed there by someone for healing!

    Karen They do feel like they belong in a story book don’t they & imagine the stories they could tell too!

    Valerianna I know just how these make you feel, they speak to me deeply of the times long past, soaked as they are with those ancestral memories.

    nina4667, So lovely to meet you! Sorry im so late in responding, oops. I shall be over for a visit very soon x

    Christina, the singing is good ;-) x

    Doda I shall remember next time! For we will be back lol

    Eliseo Mauas Pinto thank you for that! These need to be shared

    Carrie, wow, thank you for this link, I have managed to track her work down & I love it! I especially loved her “wilderness” x

    Tammie we did have a magical time, and so much to see! I still have plenty more for other posts x

    Leontien thank you, and you too.

    JeannetteLS thank you for your lovely words x may you continue to find pleasure in blogging for a very long time to come x

    Trish thank you, that’s exactly what I am hoping to do x

    Cathy I shall have to keep my eyes open for a faerie midge cure lol x

    The Tame Lion thank you ;-)

    Jim – oops, so sorry, I missed this!

    Poppy I agree, the past comes closer when we have these reminders. How wonderful that your lace bobbins give you that connection.

    The wild magnolia, thank you, of course you may, I shall be in touch asap.

    Note to self: don't get so distracted!

  28. Anonymous10/6/14 10:06

    I stood on the mound in 2006, while there for a Chisholm clan gathering. My great grandfather's widow requested her widows pension from the US government for her husband's service in the American civil war, and he was referred to as Alexander Chisholm-Corrimonie, the latter being associated with the area of Scotland from where he emigrated about 1800. It was deeply touching. I love seeing your artifactual displays and photographs.


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