Gormshuil Mhòr na Maighe

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Gormshuil Mhòr na Maighe
Born
Locaber
Era17th century
Known forSupernatural powers, often called "witch" or "hag"

Gormshuil Mhòr na Maighe (Gormla, Gormal, Gormlaith or Gormula, fl. 17th century;[1] also referred to as great Gormshuil of Moy) was a powerful Gaelic witch from the Lochaber area of Scotland.

Mythological background[edit]

Married to a Cameron of Moy, Gormshuil, which means 'the blue-eyed noble one' in Gaelic, was known for her supernatural powers and fishermen and hunters would often seek her blessing. There are many stories about Gormshuil, often called Gormla, a name that was often used to describe a woman who was a witch. But the most quoted story about Gormshuil tells of the warning she gave to her Clan Chief, Ewen Cameron of Lochiel who was passing by with his piper on his way to talk to the Duke of Atholl about a border between Lochaber and Perthshire. At first, he ignored Gormshuil but she told him to return home to get his men. He should take them with him and keep them hidden and if he needed them he was to turn his coat inside out. Lochiel took her advice and although Atholl too had men lying in wait, he was able to defeat them.[2] This dispute between Lochiel and Atholl led to the Cameron clan's motto 'Sons of the hounds, come here and get flesh.'[3] It's also said that this came from the tune Lochiel's piper was playing at the time, 'Thigibh an seo, chlanna nan con, is gheibh sibh feoil, (Come hither, children of the hounds, and you’ll get flesh).[2] Afterwards, although Cameron thanked Gormshuil on his way home, she replied that 'Despite your words of kindness you will hang my son some day.'[2]

Many years later Gormshuil's son was charged with murder. But on her way to see Lochiel at his castle to beg for his life and remind Cameron of his promise, Gormshuil drowned. She had spotted a salmon in a pool and when trying to catch it she fell into the flooded burn.[2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • MacKillop,James (2004) A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191726552
  • Dorson,Richard M. (1971) Sources for the Traditional History of the Scottish Highlands and Western Islands Indiana University Press https://www.jstor.org/stable/3814103
  • Thomson, Derick (1991) Bramble of Hope: Poems by Derick Thomson (Smeur an Dòchais: Dàin le Ruaraidh MacThòmais, Canongate. Includes the poem Gormshuil.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The new biographical dictionary of Scottish women. Ewan, Elizabeth. Edinburgh. p. 168. ISBN 9781474436298. OCLC 1057237368.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Wiseman, Andrew (2017-03-30). "The Calum Maclean Project: The Most Powerful Witch of All: Great Gormula of Moy". The Calum Maclean Project. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  3. ^ "THE CAMERONS OF SCOTLAND". www.boydhouse.com. Retrieved 2019-10-30.