Beira (mythology)

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Beira is the name given by 20th-century folklorist Donald Alexander Mackenzie to the Cailleach Bheur, the personification of winter and the mother of all the gods and goddesses in Scottish mythology.[1] She is associated with one of the Celtic creation myths (which usually pertain to local land features) and bears a similar role to Gaea in Greek mythology and Jord in Norse mythology.

According to Mackenzie, Beira was a one-eyed giantess with white hair, dark blue skin, and rust-colored teeth. She built the mountains of Scotland using a magic hammer, and Loch Ness was created when Beira transformed her negligent maid Nessa into a river, which broke loose and made the loch. Ben Nevis was her "mountain throne". The longest night of the year marked the end of her reign as Queen of Winter, at which time she visited the Well of Youth and, after drinking its magic water, grew younger day by day.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Mackenzie, Donald Alexander (1917) "Beira, Queen of Winter" in Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend