Goddess of Protection SGATHAICH
Protection can take the form of a turtle, going inside a protective shell, or it can take the form of jaguar, taking the fight to the aggressor! Choosing Turtle Protection or Jaguar Protection is up to you, but creating a ritual to a Warrior Goddess is a good first step in Jaguar Protection. When we get into trouble and we really need help, invoking the Warrior Goddesses to help us find the courage to stand our ground or fight our battles can be an empowering experience.
One of the most fabulous warrior Goddesses is the less well-known warrior queen SGATHAICH (pronounced ‘skah’) who presided over a famous military academy at the South end of the Isle of Skye in Eastern Scotland. Near to Tarscavaig and overlooking the bay of OB GAUSCA VAIG (Whale Bay) still stands the ruins of Dunscaith (Dun-Skah) Castle, said to mean ‘the Fort of Shadows’, or the stronghold of Sgathaich.
A Skye legend tells of how the castle was built in a single night by a witch or faerie “All night the witch sang and the castle grew up from the rock with tower and turrets crowned; All night she sang, when fell the morning dew ‘Twas finished round and round”. Dunscaith is described as being.. .”surrounded by seven ramparts crowned by iron palisades and protected by a pit full of snakes and beaked toads”… It is believed that the castle was, in fact, a great deal larger than the remaining fragments would indicate, but even these serve to show what an impregnable fortress it must once have been. It is built upon a rock with precipitous sides, and approached by a causeway, partly natural, which leads to a bridge over a gully in the rock. The floor of the bridge is missing and it is safer to view it from the main-land rock.
The great Irish Hero CuCuhlain went to Skye to study martial arts with Sgathaich. She was a formidable woman, a teacher of war-craft and a prophetess who foretells Cu Chulainn’s future through divination. She was reputed to be the matron of self-defence and female independence as well as the guardian of young people who seek to know their full potential. Men came from further afield than Gaul to train with her, and if they passed her rigorous tests they were more feared than any other fighting men.
Cu Chulainn’s intended bride EMER, niece to Ulster’s KING TETARA, had refused to marry him unless he proved himself in this way. She said to her father. “He is a green boy. If I wed it will be to a man who can match me in every way. I am tired of boasting youths and their tedious feats of arms. The man I marry must be the greatest champion ever. He must be capable of protecting me from every danger”. So Cu Chulainn journeyed to Skye, to seek this warrior-queen and learn her skills. The way to her castle was dangerous and Cu Chulainn’s journey was full of strange and magickal happenings but although filled with fear and wonder he acquitted himself with honour, and on his third attempt managed to cross the perilous bridge of Dunscaith which threw off all those who failed to get across in two strides! Sgathaich taught Cu Chulainn martial arts as well as giving him magical weapons and armour for battle including her famous GAE BOLGA (the ‘belly ripper’) – a barbed spear which inflicts only fatal wounds. (This can also be interpreted as GATH BOLAG – Spear of Light.
You cannot approach Sgathaich with a weak heart as she will test you to see if you are worthy of her help. Here is a guided visualization to meet her:
Find a comfortable place where you can sit or lie without interruption for at least 30 minutes. Turn off the phone. Beginning at your feet let your muscles relax. Breathe slowly and evenly. Relax your legs and let them sink into your couch or chair. Relax your pelvis, hips and belly. Breathe deeply filling your lungs and letting any worries or cares be released. Relax your lower back, your chest and your upper back. Pay attention to your shoulders and let them feel heavy and drop down. Relax your arms and fingers. Relax your throat. Make sure that your jaw is relaxed and that your mouth is slightly open. Let your face be smooth and serene. Relax your brow. Now return to your breathing. Let your whole body be relaxed.
Imagine that you are walking through the mist. You feel confident and curious. Up ahead you see the mist clearing and you find yourself on a rocky shore where a small leather boat called a curach waits for you. Call your guides to be with you. When you are ready enter the curach and let the winds push you across the bay to the Isle of Skye.
When your boat lands, step out lightly onto the land and know that it will be waiting for you on your return. Begin your climb onto the rocky crags of Skye until you come to the fortress of Sgathaich. It is not in ruins in your vision but newly crafted by the Witches. You cross the moats and reach the front door. You bang on the door and call out: “I am ________ and I wish to petition the Goddess Sgathaich for help!” Imagine that the door is opening and you are welcomed inside. Tell Sgathaich what is going on in your life and why you need help. She will ask of you something in return. Do not agree to anything without the permission of your guides. You can thank her and return later if you want to think about it.
When you have finished your journey thank Sgathaich for the wisdom and help she has given you and return to the curach. Let the winds push you back to the shore where you started and walk back through the mist and to your home. Make sure to take time to ground and eat something at this point. Write down everything!
Is asking for Jaguar Protection black magick? My thoughts are that if you are being attacked you have the right to defend yourself. When we get Initiated we vow to follow the Wiccan Rede as much as we possibly can. “An it harm none, do as ye will”. If you are being hurt, physically, mentally or emotionally and you do nothing, this is harming yourself. Sometimes walking away is the greatest response to aggression but that is not always possible. So I don’t believe protection magick, Turtle or Jaguar is black magick.
What form will the help from Sgathaich take? She may tell you to run! She may tell you to stand your ground and draw a line in the sand! She may tell you to take up arms and fight, screaming your battle cry! Remember that she is a Master at Martial Arts and if she has agreed to help you, you will be helped.