Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle| First Reading

Published by Alison Cross on

I hoped that my first reading with Jane Brideson’s Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle would yield something important for me. I connected with the cards as soon as I held them. I really wanted to have a profound relationship with them. That’s quite a lot of pressure to put on a set of cards!

I assembled the seven Old Women cards and spoke to them candidly.

‘I feel so tired. I worry endlessly about the future for us all. I just can’t see a way out of this and it’s exhausting.’ I stopped for a moment before adding ‘Please, help me’.

I gathered the Old Women cards up and shuffled them, repeating what I’d spoken to them, until I felt ready to draw a card.

Initial Consultation with Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle

I drew the Deer Mother:

My heart leapt into my throat – it’s a beautiful image. The Deer Mother sits with her blood-red cloak around her, a tiny fawn nestled in the safety of her strong hands. Deer spirits run from the darkness, around her neck towards her heart, like a protective shield. She wears an antler at her throat.

Jane Brideson, the deck’s creator, wants us to develop our own relationship with these Elder women and provides us with a poem – an incantation – to help us identify each Elder’s energy within the Circle of Old Women.

The Deer Mother is a shepherd figure – caring for her herd, moving them across the landscape safely. The Deer Mother as MY shepherd. She will lead me to safety if I trust in her completely. I scribble down the opening lines to the 23rd Psalm, writing ‘the Deer Mother’ for ‘Lord’. It makes sense to me. * waits to be struck down by an irate God and a bolt of lightning. Nothing bad happens.*

I set the Deer Mother card upright on my bedside table, next to the alarm clock. She would be the first thing I see in the morning.

‘How do I find you, Deer Mother?’

I shuffled the 22 cards of the Oracle and picked the ‘third up’ card from the bottom of the deck. Why the third up? I have no idea.


Home card from Wisdom of the Cailleach by Jane Brideson

The sky looks like the waves of the sea in the rising moon-light. Smoke drifts from the chimney of a cottage, lights yellow with welcome and an offer of sanctuary. In the ploughed fields a hare sits amongst the seed heads and wild flowers.

Truthfully, I am not ‘at home’ much – I live on the internet. Likewise, I am not in my body much. My body is mostly something that carries my thoughts around.

Time for me to find my ‘sanctuary’ if I am to connect with the Deer Mother.

On a deeper ancestral level, I am learning Gaelic and exploring the myths and history of Scotland especially the islands and Argyll. Maybe this too is ‘Home’.

I shuffled again and again, when the time felt right, I picked the third up card from the bottom of the deck.


Tribe card from Wisdom of the Cailleach by Jane Brideson

Three women sit laughing around a small fire, the creases of their shawls and the creases of their face are bathed in the firelight.

I will find The Deer Mother through my tribe. Who the heck IS my tribe? I think I’ve got lots of tribes – family, real life friends, online friends … is it all or none of these groups? Is it about forging a new tribe? Surrounding myself with people – women like me, sharing beliefs, working together as a group …. creating in our crone years? It sounds very appealing – a bit exciting and a bit terrifying.

One final time I shuffled and one final time I picked the card from the Wisdom of the Cailleach that was third up from the bottom of the deck.

First Snow.

First Snow card from Wisdom of the Cailleach by Jane Brideson

The Cailleach pulls her shawl of winter over the land as she walks, leaving everything sparkling with white in her wake.

First Snow suggests that my first step is to take a pause, some time out and make a plan for the future. I’m not much of a planner, to be honest. Certainly not in 2020. My diary for this year stops in February when my eye pressure went through the roof. I couldn’t focus – literally – on anything other than what was happening with my sight. My sight is not what it was, but it’s not so frightening now. So, ok – time to get planning.

Summary: The Guardian who will pull me out of this exhausted state is The Deer Mother. I will be led into difficult places – literally or metaphorically – and I need to be able to trust that it will all be ok in the end. The first step I will take is to pull back and examine how I usually live my life – what needs to change. It’s time to consider how home and tribe can play a role in a return to wellness.

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Categories: Reading

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.Β  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


Sally · 14th September 2020 at 5:21 pm

Guy Alison I just love you! What a great reading and what a wonderful deck. I’m going to forward your blog to an Irish friend of mine whose niece is starting to read the Tarot. I keep trying to figure out how to connect with my Gaelic past (Nicholson’s of Skye and Scott’s of the Lowlands, I think) and this might be the closest oracle deck I’ve seen that might help. I can’t get beyond my great great grandfather who landed in Nova Scotia in the 1800’s because the parish records on Skye were pretty much destroyed (or so I was told). XO Sally

    Alison Cross · 14th September 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Bees – Although it is designed with an Irish soul, it does speak to me across the water here in Scotland. We too have Cailleachs in our landscape and mythology. As a Crone myself, I absolutely LOVE holding cards that reflect me and my lift <3

Wren · 11th September 2020 at 7:19 pm

this is so beautiful and healing. I too have been holding the cards close to my heart. And am looking forward to being with them. Been busy developing an on-line clinical practice at the graduate level. Now I am also called to take a restorative break.

Thank you for sharing.

    Alison Cross · 14th September 2020 at 5:40 pm

    They are wonderful, aren’t they Wren? Make the most of your restorative break with the Old Women! <3

Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle | Jane Brideson | Review · 11th September 2020 at 1:58 pm

[…] You can see my first reading with the cards HERE. […]

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