Mythological creatures called the Blue Men of the Minch are said to inhabit these dark waters off the western coast of Scotland.
They’re storm kelpies, or in Scottish Gaelic, na fir ghorma. The word gorm refers to any shade of blue, and na fir can be translated as “the men.”
Folk tales say the mythical blue men may have been part of a tribe of “fallen angels” that split into three. The first became the ground dwelling fairies, the second evolved to become the sea inhabiting blue men, and the remainder the “Merry Dancers” of the Northern Lights in the sky. I love this legend!
The Blue Men have the power to create storms, but when the weather is fine they sleep or float just under the surface of the water. They swim with their torso from the waist up raised out of the sea, twisting and diving like a porpoise. They are able to converse with mariners are said to shout two lines of poetry to a skipper in a rhyming duel before capsizing their boat. Unless the captain can complete the verse, they will seize his boat. Uh-huh. Tell legends like this to a writer, and you can be sure it’ll end up as a short story supplement to her novel series eventually!
I marveled at the empty distances between the few small villages, and how the sheep were allowed to graze anywhere.
Maybe the site has become too popular. Or, maybe the stones have absorbed the negative emotions of the people who now trek out to this secluded site to visit. Maybe they even resent the renewed attention? After all, its own people abandoned the site around 800 BC and let the peat reclaim it until farmers re-cleared the area in 1857.
Whatever the reason, this site ignited an overpowering feeling of anger and resentment in me, a feeling that lingered long after we left the stones. Part of the issue was a pre-teen boy who stood in the middle of this sacred sit, acting stupid and making gang signs while his mom tried to take his picture.
I wasn’t the only one to feel strong negative emotions this day, enough, in fact, that Linda, our co-leader, met with us before dinner to discuss our feelings.
We’d been drawing a tarot card each day, and during the meeting, I drew the Moon card, after hesitating, and emphatically rejecting, a different card.
Linda’s interpretation was that the Moon card reminds me that the sacred and true is always there, no matter what else is going on. Meanwhile, the Devil is trying to get my attention, saying, “Hey, look at these distractions, pay attention to them, let me ruin your day!”
She also pointed out that I’d been dragging my red scarf on the ground much of the day, and its color was a perfect match to the red cape on the Death card. She gave me a lot to think about.
The next morning we visited the Calanais III site, and it was completely different. This double-ring site includes a grouping of three stones named “Mother, Maiden and Crone,” and it had a remarkable atmosphere, as quiet as the wind. It also has less visitors than its better-well-known sister site. Our group went early, winding into the rocks holding hands. We held a short ritual circle, undisturbed by any other visitors.
It was the perfect way to end our time on Lewis, before driving across the isthmus to catch our ferry to the Isle of Skye. I’ll tell you about Skye and our last island, magical Iona, when I conclude my Scotland tour blog next weekend.
Until then, Blessed Be. And pay attention to the signs you are presented in your daily life!