21The two songs excerpted here are "Season of the Witch" (1966) and "There is a Mountain" (1967), both written and performed by the Scottish folksinger Donovan. According to Wikipedia the inspiration for "There is a Mountain" derived from a Buddhist saying describing the effect of Chan (Zen) on perception: "Before... I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers."
A further explanation of the powers of the Cailleach is provided by Ó Crualaoich: "This personage is regarded in traditional cosmology as the personification, in divine female form, of the physical landscape within which human life is lived and also of the cosmic forces at work in that landscape. These forces can range from the power of wind and wave - seen at their most dramatic in fierce winter storms - to the pastoral and nurturing fertility forces of plant and animal life-orders within the landscape. They can also be the geotectonic forces whose workings have left the physical landscape as it presents itself to human consciousness and to human life." (Ó Crualaoich, Gearóid. The Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise-woman Healer. Cork: Cork UP, 2003. 10-11.)
Today there continue to be spiritual seekers who may find within the legends of the Cailleach a deeper understand of their own place in the world.