As the new Winter season sweeps across the landscape, we turn our attention to the changing elements at Samhuinn Fire Festival. Aligned with Water are the Guth na Mara (Voice of the Sea), our Gaelic singing group representing the ocean’s dark and terrible depths.
The Guth na Mara embody the mysterious, beautiful and vengeful aspects of the sea. In the Scottish Gaelic culture that they represent, the sea is loved and feared, an emotional landscape respected but never mastered. It is a space for transformation, separating voyagers from loved ones and snatching lives into its frightening and unknowable depths.
A deep and tempestuous force of nature, the sea is closely aligned with the dark half of the year. The Guth na Mara are suire (sirens), calling the living to their inevitable fate. Their songs fascinate and appal Summer’s forces, a feeling of dread growing as their singing intensifies. They are a despairing lament for summertime, marking the stormy conflict between Winter and Summer.
Mysterious creatures emerge from the water to sing their haunting elegy. Kelpies, selkies, and deep sea creatures walk among us, joined by those lost souls that the treacherous sea has claimed. They sing traditional Gaelic songs inspired by the sea, their voices carrying on the winds to bear news of Winter’s arrival.
Featured image by Gordon Veitch. All rights reserved.