a’ Gheallach Bhàn, Làn agus Bhuadach …

I write this standing at the corner of Seymour and H. as the last light of the day is slowly usurped by the yellow street;lights of downtown Vancouver. I have just finished teaching my course on Medieval Scotland, dealing expressly with Culloden and the systematic dismantling of Gaelic culture. The nigh-full moon rises above the city in a haze of clouds that are the clearest manifestation of the color gorm that I have ever seen — the color of a lover’s eyes after a heated argument when her rage turns back through sorrow to desire.

I love the moon — the raw, white and beautiful moon. As I look up tonight I am lost in its radiance … a’ gheallach bhàn, làn agus bhuadach … and wonder.

In most of the oldest cultures, the moon is actually masculine, and not feminine as many now believe. In either case, the sun and moon have always been opposite genders, the one masculine, the other feminine. Reading Brian Sykes’ ‘Saxons, Vikings and Celts’ … but I digress …


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