1 Comment

Hiding Magick in Plain Sight, Through the Power of Nature and the Self

There have been numerous attempts at reconnecting with nature, and seeing nature as part of our physicality/psyche, especially when understanding the self and the power of knowledge by allowing our own nature to teach us. The unfortunate rise of dominant religions have forced millions of old religious ideologies to disappear, only to be brought back, more predominantly during the Industrial Revolution. With physics, biology, philosophy and medicine developing into something far greater, and the ongoing feud between religion and science, only a famous few sought the power of Nature in times of need, creativity and devotion. Some people, as I will detail in another essay, hid their ‘pagan and hermetic’ philosophies’ in plain sight, going as far back as medieval Britain, the Renaissance and the period of the Enlightenment. A few poets took a particular interest in writing about Nature as a separate entity, with an emotional tie to every individual who ever lived. William Wordsworth is one prominent writer who often described nature as his lover and teacher, and as I will detail below, his judge. Seeing nature for what is, seeking the emotional power one perceives from it, allowed people to realise their own ambitions once again, as we will see.

It became evident during the Nineteenth Century that people should live regimented lives, according to the government, especially in the UK. This was a time of the Industrial Revolution, and people from working class, or poorer backgrounds were at the forefront of building and maintaining an empire held up by them, for the ruling classes. For a group of artists from all over Europe, and the Americas, came an influx of genius through art, music and poetry. This period is known as the Enlightenment, based on the philosophical wonders of mans’ re-connection to Nature. Nature was vast, and could over rule anyone by reminding them that man did not have control. One example comes from The Prelude, by Wordsworth, where the narrator reflects on a time where Nature was all powerful when he was hoping to laze about relaxing:

'One summer evening (led by her) I found
          A little boat tied to a willow tree
          Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
          Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in             360
          Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
          And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
          Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
          Leaving behind her still, on either side,
          Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
          Until they melted all into one track
          Of sparkling light.'

This short passage, also very well known, details the act of taking a boat out from the shore. This boat does not belong to the narrator, but small amount of guilt he feels does not bother him at all. You could say he had the intention of bringing it back, thus “borrowing” it, and also suggest he knew he had the pangs of guilt, but just didn’t care. You can interpret it in many ways, but you can agree he felt naughty. The idea of being “led by her” is the idea of Nature leading him to the shore, and out to view the stars (mentioned from the next line onwards), because he is drawn to her. Later, his awe and guilt get the better of him, and in a way so does Nature:

‘She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
          I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
          And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
          Went heaving through the water like a swan;
          When, from behind that craggy steep till then
          The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
          As if with voluntary power instinct,
          Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,              380
          And growing still in stature the grim shape
          Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
          For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
          And measured motion like a living thing,
          Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
          And through the silent water stole my way
          Back to the covert of the willow tree;
          There in her mooring-place I left my bark,--
          And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
          And serious mood; but after I had seen                     390
          That spectacle, for many days, my brain
          Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
          Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
          There hung a darkness, call it solitude
          Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
          Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
          Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
          But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
          Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
          By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.’

As you have just read, the power Nature has over the emotions of this young narrator caused him to flee back to the shore and run home. He is haunted by the image of the rocky hill, as if it knew what he had done. The narrator details how Nature can peer right into his soul, and pull out emotions from differing ends of the spectrum, as lust and fear/paranoia. Funny enough, the next stanza beings with, ‘Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!’ – Nature has power, and it’s a matter of recognising it, and working with it, either by science (predicting the weather etc.) or spiritually (by symbolism and philosophy).

Whilst most households during this time were predominantly Christian, this poem reflects the worship and love affair the narrator has with Nature as God. As most Romantics and the Enlightened, found the old classical philosophies about life, death and Nature incredibly inspirational. This is partly why so many classical works have remained today, as there is a valuable and shared truth behind the idea of living a life where you have total control. These ideologies were shared freely from master to student, ensuring the student would later become the master. This idea had caused problems during the destruction and adopted ideals of the pagan world in favour of controlling old religions under one, or several, titles. By taking away the basic rights to individualism, or living will, the modern religions allowed themselves the power of controlling mankind under one shared belief in an all supreme deity, who would/should be far greater than Nature. This idea of “controlling the masses” had become warped, as it was no longer about working together to defeat an enemy or entertainment, it was about actually controlling what people thought, how and who they had to worship (be it God or a priest), and the notion that thinking outside of the box was a wrong. Man slowly became disconnected to nature, and went on living without much hindrance to it, unless it was spoken of with a Christian translation – like I said, feigning the idea the Nature was weaker, and under total control by God.

Referring back to the understanding of the poem, and if you get a chance to read that passage (details and link below), the narrator makes a note of how Nature was, and still is, a part of his human consciousness, or psyche. The fact that a craggy hill, which doesn’t do much besides lay still and erode, has the metaphorical ability to have consciousness and peer into the narrator’s soul, suggests we humans share something with Nature. This thing can be interpreted as magick. As the narrator insists throughout the poem, he sees Nature as a temple, the lover, the teacher and as a Universal deity. Understanding then, that if the Universe (personification of the supreme deity) is a vital part of your psyche, it must then mean that we have the ability to work with, and be part of Nature because we are born with it within. It is tapping into that magick and allowing ego to teach us how to live with it, which causes so much panic and fear in the controlling environment. As long as Nature allows us to think and feel for ourselves, we will ascend from a primitive base to the stage of master.

Sy Calaelen

I will go into further details about how understanding magick, and how to use it at a later date. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay – it is only a small part of something I have been working on for some time now.

The Prelude’ – William Wordsworth, Bartleby.com (scroll down to line 357, beginning with ‘One summer evening’)

William Wordsworth


Harking Back to a Magickal Time Well Spent

I’ve just celebrated my 13th year as a practicing witch, on the 21st June. It was a quiet affair as I hadn’t told anyone, except the small few who saw my small announcement on my Facebook page. I didn’t want anyone to know as it would be regarded as boasting, and I hate admitting how intelligent I am to people. Even writing that last sentence makes me look like a total big head. I didn’t plan anything major, even though I hoped I would do something huge, but the events that lead up to it were lovely enough for me and they made up for it. Over the past few months I have been receiving very in-depth dreams, full of mystery and insight. I had expected them to come, but I didn’t ask the Gods for what I wanted. I let them give me insights or lessons as a when they pleased. All I did was receive messages and learn from them. Through the practice of mantra and developing a deeper sense of meditation (which has been crazy cool), I have been creating and working with a sigil I believe is meant for me and my personal workings. I usually ask the Gods for a sign when I need a wakeup call, or an ear for me to moan into, but I did not expect them to literally send me a sign; and a very elaborate one at that! Actually, looking at it now, it looks a mess if I’m honest =P

I’m still working on a few little bits. I won’t show you, but I will say, the Star of David, pentacle, circle and numbers are used. All of these symbols have been carefully dreamt, researched and separately charged in order to work. On top of that, because each symbol is personal to me and my path I have had to do rituals with them on my body and my altar. Each number and letter used, not in the Roman alphabet, is charged according to their own degree. Exempli grata, the Hebrew alphabet is used in two main ways: 1) for spelling and annunciation and, 2) each letter is a sigil in its own right – you can see this with the lamen’s, sigils and talismans shown in various occult books from Magick by Crowley to the many Golden Dawn books and their tarot collection. There is a selection of carefully chosen colours that I have lined up according to the Liber777 correspondences’ and the collections from two other books I have, which were all very similar. Thank the Gods!

I must say, with my final attention on the path I know is for me, it has been a magickal process getting here. Like most pagans I started out with Wicca, but the more I read and the more I practiced, the more the Gods opened themselves to me. I wasn’t hasty and I didn’t expect much. I just told them each year that my life belongs to them, and they should do what they see fit. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I would cry myself to sleep wondering why I was single, or times when I fluffed a spell/ritual so bad that karma would be ready to kick me on the shin. I have had my ups and downs, including the moment when I knew Cernunnos was leaving me and replacing himself with Anubis. I was touched. For that, I am forever grateful. I had shared some amazing experiences with him and Cerridwen, but they knew I had a different calling and they let me go gently.

The last few years have been solid study, solid theory and solid practice. I have become more accustomed to creating the right path for myself without restraint, and with that sudden freedom I left the practice of Wicca and became a fully fledged witch. That sounds so adolescent… Haha! I dedicated my life to the practices of working within and more importantly outside the circle. I found the many contradictions that involved a so called free religion, and found them to be weak. My trust in the higher forces became very apparent a few years back when a flood of Greek, Roman and Egyptian works and deities made their way into my life and home. An influx of lessons, magick and slight prophetic insight came my way. All of that took me down the path of Hellenism, Kemetic paganism (harder form of Egyptian paganism) and Tameran paganism (softer), with the noble teachings of Buddhism and Yoga. For a very long time I worked with each vigorously, and the more I learnt the more I forged my own path. I came across Hermeticism when I was much younger, but the last few years it finally became a subject that didn’t seem hard anymore. I had learnt the basics and Hermeticism was finally open to me. I live the right way, seeking the right path and I believe I have found my meaning in life. For that, I believe the sigil is a sign made for me to remember this. It could be one of many as I have created sigils from dreams for the most part of this year so far. I have tons in my little red books of magickal delights, with their meanings written besides each one. Each sigil was created with well known and never before seen symbols which was enough proof that the Gods truly teach me well.

I don’t connect with people very well, but I have a relationship with the Gods that has made me strong. One day, I hope to finish these damn books and release the compendium of my magickal mind. Being a witch has made me valiant, intelligent and patient, for that I do truly live for each day, and I hope you all will too.

Each path to their own, carpe diem!

Sy Calaelen x x

Leave a comment

I Spy on Sigils in the Mind

Runic sigil

Do you ever wake up after an intense dream with a burning message from the Gods? I only know of a few people who have experienced symbols being delivered to them, from the Gods or other entities, in dreams. I don’t know what it is, but I find answers to my questions in my dreams. I guess that’s just basic psychology, but when the answer is an image paired with the voice, feeling, face or journey of a particular deity I’ve either worked with, or never met, that goes beyond just mere psychology; it is divine. I often lucid dream (and wow they are annoying leaving me with a bad headache afterwards) but I find they are the most effective form of receiving dream messages. I have no idea what that process is called, and at the moment I don’t want to yet.

Working with sigils has been one of my favourite forms of divination and spirit contact for a number of years. The more complex the design, the more it uncovers for the magickal architect. The ways I have designed, or more traditionally been shown have awakened parts of my being I would normally hide or never fully revel in. In other words, without some of the symbols used, I would never be the positive and eager student I am now. Through symbols, linguistics and magick I am able to learn things most would overlook, but the symbols I am aware of don’t just live in runes, or tarot or the Hebrew alphabet. They are so much deeper, and you can unlock those mysteries too. All you need is guidance, magick, power, faith and patience. There are three ways to obtain the messages from sigils and symbols, and each one is an opening to the amazing insights into a newer destination.

Many books will teach you various ways to use the runic alphabets, Theban and Enochian alphabet to create sigils for many uses, most commonly to create a seal of protection for your magickal items. It doesn’t take long to memorise an alphabet by heart, and once you do never stop practicing. I’ll go into words and letters on a later post, as letters alone have their own intense meanings behind them. When you study the runic alphabets, you may run up a list of letters for your name, or a word to enhance a specific energetic will such as ‘peace’ or ‘love’, or a more complex phrase to ward off negative energies like ‘Away with bad habits’. Look at one set and study them. You will then look at other examples, two of which are found in the Big Blue Book by Raymond Buckland or UBOS by Silver Ravenwolf.

Look back at the runes that make up your name, and play around with their positioning. Does one fit with another along similar lines? Does one work perfectly if you flip it upside down and fit it at the top of the two you’ve put together? When you look at the image you have created so far, is there one letter that is practically invisible within the structure? And so on. Before you know it, you’ll have an image like the picture above. You can use that image to create an empowered sigil of protection for your BOS, tools or a possible tattoo (though I highly recommend you do not get any sigils tattooed on you unless you know what they mean, and if you know they won’t invite harm to you). You can do the same with a good sourcebook with correspondences’ and symbols to create other sigils, talismans, amulets’ or seals. At the same time, just knowing about already known signs and symbols for magickal use is fine too, unless you ask for divine help to find the answer you are looking for.

When working with magick and signs, be wary that if you don’t have the full background knowledge on a lot of symbols you come across, you could mess up your working, or worse, open up access for other beings to cross over. Some entities will want to help you out, whilst others will want to terrorize you for the sake of it. Most of the time, without proper instruction, the sigil you hope would work won’t work as well as you hoped because it wasn’t charged properly or enough. The use of sigils for guidance goes as far back in history as ever, long before words were ever written. There are many ways the symbols behind certain complex designs are used are to remind you of a lesson you have learnt, to tell stories or to help focus your mind to unlock secrets, some examples would be mandalas’ or the images of Buddhist deities holding particular tools. When you come across particular symbols that seem to appear to you when you least expect them to, is your subconscious’ way of telling you that it is meant for you. You end up asking yourself what the symbol is, and why you were drawn to it. Not to worry, you have Dr. Google to give you a hand. Find a decent sourcebook of some type like The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook by Adele Nozedar and that should be enough for you to work out what the symbols mean.

The last way for you to obtain particular designs, besides creating them and letting yourself be aware of the signs around you, is to let the Universe send you one. I’ve always been open to just sitting and talking to the Gods about my problems because they listen and always make me feel valued, even if they don’t need to actually concentrate on what I’m blabbing about. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been on fantastic journeys in my dreams, and more so once I learnt to meditate or summon dreams before sleep. I also found, after very tense meditations in which I recite mantra 108 times or more, after undergoing yoga beforehand, I open myself to the Universe for divine lessons or help. One dream that occurs quite a lot, well it did until the beginning of this year, was of myself in yet another desert with a turquoise hue dropping rocks on the ground as I walked toward a wooded mirage ahead. For some reason I would repeat my steps except this time I would stop and look at the stones and focus on one or a small few. Each having their own signs on them, mainly Egyptian or Greek, but at any given time one symbol would stay on my mind for so long I’d wake up and draw it in my little notebook by the bed. I would then look it up in my books, but it wasn’t until I found it that the message would be clear.

This morning, I had a dream that awoke me at 2am. For most of the day now, I have been drawing the symbol or seal that I have been given. So far I have been deciding where to put the colours I’ve been seeing in my dreams over the past few weeks. It has been a weird few weeks, due to a ritual I did just over a month ago, and each and every time I have done a small meditation to try and concentrate the image I saw, it keeps on getting clearer each time. It’s a simple design, made up of symbols with lovely meanings. So far, I know it is most definitely for me, and a particular God. I have also started on a design of my own, where it consists in some of the signs used in what I would call prototype #1 for elemental uses for magick. It looks so cool at the moment, but when the time comes to empower it and perhaps open it, who knows what will happen. Either way, signs are exciting and they always will be.

That’s magick!

What are your experiences with sigils, signs and symbols? Maybe I’ll do a video… as this is taken from a chapter in my future publications =]

Sy x

Leave a comment

Blessed Eros Day! Year 2

ErosBlessed Eros Day or Lupercalia to all of you out there (traditionally celebrated from  the 13th of Feb to the 15th of Feb)! I hope you have a wonderful day, whether you are in a relationship, in between or single like me. Let today be a day of self love, celebration and pampering. If you like chocolate and wine you may be glad to know about the chocolate wines that are now available, personally I like both but not together! That’s food poisoning waiting to happen. Just to point out, Lupercalia was a time when evil spirits and bad energies were dismissed and sent away, and after those banishing’s as it were, the priests would perform rites for health and fertility for the land and for the people. I use this time to clear my heart of the negative feelings of love in my heart. It takes time, hence why I love the fact it takes a good three days to perform good magick.

Now, for some years the money event that is Valentine’s is sadly misunderstood as the only time of the year you spend enormous amounts of money on your loved one, excluding wedding anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. I am not one to talk about relationships or love since I have failed miserably and refuse to try again just yet, but I feel that relating one day to the love of your life is weird and a little selfish. I would celebrate love as much as I could, when I could with my love. However, I’ll contradict myself here as a lot of couples lead very busy lives and find it difficult to have a whole day dedicated to themselves, so Valentine’s is perfect. It’s that one time of the year they can recreate that excitement and declare their love to each other.

If I ever get into a relationship in the future I’ll like to bring the original idea of love on this feast day back by celebrating Lupercalia and honouring the deities of love like Eros. For the past year now I have lit a little red or pink candle honouring Eros, and thanking him for keeping my heart open and thanking him for my family and friends. Other than that, I have incense or an oil boiler burning and meditate. In the past I used to ask for love to come my way, but since they have never worked I have decided I shouldn’t chase after something I don’t need right now. I’ll put off the hopeless pining for the future… Hopefully next year or tomorrow I’ll post a photo of my altar set up =] The following I say with my hands open by the sacred fire on my altar either when the sun is up or at night to mark the end of each day, enjoy!

Hymn to Eros (Orphic Hymn 58)

“To Eros (Love), Fumigation from Aromatics. I call, great Eros, the source of sweet delight, holy and pure, and charming to the sight; darting, and winged, impetuous fierce desire, with Gods and mortals playing, wandering fire : agile and twofold, keeper of the keys of heaven and earth, the air, and spreading seas; of all that earth’s fertile realms contains, by which the all parent Goddess life sustains, or dismal Tartaros is doomed to keep, widely extended, or the sounding deep; for thee all nature’s various realms obey, who rulest alone, with universal sway. Come, blessed power, regard these mystic fires, and far avert unlawful mad desires.”

What do you folks do for Lupercalia or Eros Day? What other events do you celebrate on this day besides Valentines?

It’s a very short post today, but I don’t like discussing love for too long as I end up sounding like a lonely old boob and that’s a part of my personality I hope will never stand in a room for too long. At the moment (and I will show you all as soon as it is done – a new tattoo that is) I stand by Plato’s quotation “Love is a serious mental disease.” Love is one of those things… I shall stop; I feel love’s ugly head trying to borrow its way through to the surface…

Check out this post, we have been writing about Eros and Lupercalia since last year and we hope to get a few more people to blog about their celebrations too: Eros Day, Year 2.

This is last years post: https://sycalaelen.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/happy-eros-day-old-skool-valentines/

Happy Lupercalia x x


UK Census 2011 – Pagan? Be Proud

We got the UK Census 2011 through our door this week and I’ve only just started to fill it out. The annoying thing… only MySpace and Facebook ask if your religious beliefs are Pagan. Why is that? Why are we still living in a  country where half of the customs religious folks follow are pagan and don’t want to admit it? Why is someone thinks its okay to maock my beliefs shared by thousands of people in this country? How come Pagan’s know more about the history of the people who made this country what it is today, and other non-pagan walk around saying their British? Come on?!

Not many people know where Britain’s roots come from, and we are just a another number of misunderstood individuals who know. I wasn’t born here, but I’ve lived in East Anglia before I was 1 years old. The town I live in is rich in culture and history, regardless of the pagan influence it had on the Christians who came after. I’m a proud pagan, I’m proud to be British (due to culture, history, music, fashion, witchcraft…. etc.) and it’s still shocking after thousands of years of history the Census still can’t show how the originators of this country have descendants who are pagan who aren’t counted in the numbers; for goodness sake!

If you’re pagan, or any other religion that isn’t included please i urge you, make a stand and be proud! Write Pagan in the ‘Any other religion’ tab. Please! Be honest to yourself, be honest to your kin be proud of all the folks who died innocently by “kind godly hands” and stand up for each other. Count us in!


Follow the link for more info! http://www.pagandash.org

Blessed Be!

ps.  Have any of you noticed religion is based on quantity rather than quality? Let’s keep paganism an honest path, bring on the quality!


Anpu the Protector

Little is known about the childhood of one of Egypt’s great Gods of the Ennead Anubis, or as I like to call him Anpu. One story detailed how he was conceived, and when his mother Nebet-het presented him to his father Osiris he was immediately shunned of as the bastard child. You see, Nebet-het is the splitting image of her twin Aset (Isis), the only difference between them is the symbol head dress and their magical functions. Nebet-het managed to get Osiris drunk one night, and in doing so had her way with him. He didn’t realise what was going on, he just assumed he was going to have drunken sex with his wife and eternal partner. Shortly after that night Nebet-het found she was pregnant. Feeling full of guilt for deceiving Osiris and Aset as well as cheating on Set, she found herself at a cross roads. Nebet-het went to Aset and admitted what had happened, explaining that she did what she did as she was jealous of the love Osiris and Aset were getting from the people. Nebet-het wanted to be part of that ‘heavenly union’, and thus it made her mad with rage.

Aset being the kind hearted soul she was to her sister forgave Nebet-het of her grievances, but she still had to tell Set. By the time Nebet-het was going to tell Set, he came and confronted her first. She tried to pass the child off as his, but it didn’t work. Set cast him off, and over time so did Nebet-het. As a youngster Anpu was orphaned, and spent many days and nights out in the desert on him own. He was known to look after other orphaned children like himself, making sure they ate first and had somewhere to sleep.

The jackal is a wild dog, whose closest relative is the Doberman. Jackals are known to be family orientated animals, keeping close with their family and looking after each other as a unified group. They’re skilful hunters, wise and very crafty. They prefer to live in the desert, where their favourite foods live under the seemingly dead land. It’s also known that whenever there is death, from an elephant etc, or small animal that had been prey, a Jackal isn’t far off. Jackal’s were associated with the preparations of death, thus Anpu was born with the head of a Jackal. He was later assigned to be the guide to the underworld too, thanks to Osiris who felt sorry for him and added him to the fold.

Anpu was the patron of orphans and any other folks who found themselves alone or invisible. I have a very strong connection to him through that part of his life story. I know I go on and on about being bullied and being alone as a child, but the events I went through shaped my life in a way that makes me come across as confident and pain free, but honestly, no matter how good or bad I feel, I’m still a lonely person and that hurts the most.

I did a ritual a few months back to help ease the pain of loneliness with Anpu. It was a simple ritual, lots of black and gold candles,  incense and lots of chanting and then sudden quiet time. I meditated on him and his life, my life and how I hoped things would be for my very sensitive heart. Anpu came to me much later in a dream and all he said was ‘Be you, love you, I am Here.’ I thought it was beautiful. I read in a book a few months after the ritual that Anpu was good to call on for protection of the home, and during that time my aunt had gone on holiday leaving me in the dark house by myself. I mean… it was scary… I called on Anpu one night and just asked if he could look after the house while I was there.

Every so often I’ll call on him just to let things out, to let my frustrations go and just to rant. He’s so kind and loving, and wants to listen. I know some folks wonder if they’ll ever have that connection to deity, and all I can say is you will. When you do, you’ll be very surprised. I give my all to the Great Ennead! All Hail Anpu and may Ma’at bless my heart.

Em Hotep x x x

-for more Kemetic info check out the Kemetic Tamera  page up top =]

Leave a comment

Having a Crest Tattoo’d… Family History prt.1

The other day I got a call from my cousin who said that he was going to get the family crest tattooed on his arm before he leaves for his new life in the US. My uncle has one, his eldest son and another of my cousins does too. My cousin called to catch up, but mainly to hear what I would think about getting one myself since I’m into family history and tattoos… so what do you think? Should I even consider it? I’m 50/50 about it… but then there’s the other clan in my blood too… I don’t know that much about the Ferguson and Sutherland clans but I intend to do some thorough research. So far this is all I know, taken from: http://www.scotsconnection.com/clan_crests/Ferguson.htm

Ferguson Clan

Ferguson Clan Crest: Upon a chapeau, a bee on a thistle.

Ferguson Clan Motto: Dulcius Ex Asperis (Sweeter after difficulties).

Fergusson Clan History:
The Fergussons first appear in Kintyre, and Kilkerran, the name of the Clan Seat in Ayrshire, derives from St Ciaran, one of the twelve apostles of Ireland who landed at Dalruadhain in the 6th century.  The Fergussons in Argyllshire claim descent from Fergus Mor mac Erc, King of Scots c.500.  The Fergussons  of Kilkerran in Ayrshire descend from Fergus, Lord of Galloway in the reigns of David I and Malcolm IV.  The Fergussons of Craigdarroch in Dumfriesshire have a recorded history that dates from a Charter from David II in the 14th century.

By the 13th century, the name was widespread throughout the South West of Scotland. Sir John Fergusson of Kilkerran fought for the Royalist cause during the Civil War in the 17th century and his estates fell heavily into debt. His grandson, also Sir John, restored the family fortunes by becoming a successful lawyer, and his son, James, became a Judge of the Supreme Court, taking the legal honorarium of Lord Kilkerran.

The Fergussons of Dunfallandy, near Pitlochry in Perthshire, were Jacobite supporters who took part in both the 1715 and 1745 Uprisings. Other branches of the family include the Fergussons of Pitfour, one of whom became a High Court Judge in 1763.  Ronald Fergusson of Raith, near Kirkcaldy in Fife, was Member of Parliament for Leith Burghs from 1886 to 1914, when he was appointed Governor General of Australia.

The poet Robert Fergusson (1750-74) was much admired by his near contemporary Robert Burns, who erected a monument to his memory in the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh. Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) was Chaplain to the Black Watch  and became Keeper of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh while writing extensively.  Patrick Ferguson (1744-80) was inventor of the breach-loading rifle.  Sir James Fergusson (1832-1907) was Governor General of South Australia from 1868-72; of New Zealand from 1872-4, and of Bombay, 1880-85. J.D. Fergusson (1874-1961) was a noted painter, based in Glasgow.  Sir Bernard Fergusson, 1st Lord Ballantrae (1911 – 1980) was Governor General of New Zealand, 1962-67.

Places of Interest:
Kilkerran House, Maybole, Ayrshire. Seat of Chief of Clan Fergusson.

Dundrennan Abbey, Kirkcudbright. established in 1142 by Fergus of Galloway. Today a ruin, it is maintained by Historic Scotland.


Sutherland Clan

Sutherland Clan Crest: A wildcat sejant.

Sutherland Clan Motto: Sans Peur (Without fear).

History of Clan Sutherland:
The surname originates  from the ‘South Land,’ discovered and colonised by Norse invaders from Scandinavia and Orkney. Many of today’s inhabitants of Sutherland are said to be directly descended from the Celtic tribes who retreated away from these Vikings, and the Chiefs of Clan Sutherland are descended from Hugh, grandson of Freskin de Moravia, a knight of Flemish origin, who was given the lands of Sutherland by William the Lion in 1197. Hugh was also the ancestor of Clan Murray. At that time, Sutherland territory extended south into Nairn and Moray, and north into Cromarty.

William de Moravia was created 1st Earl of Sutherland around 1236, and William, 2nd Earl, fought for Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, and was one of the Scottish noblemen who, in 1320, signed the letter to the Pope, known as the Declaration of Arbroath.  The 3rd Earl was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, but the Freskin line of earls of Sutherland survived until 1514, when the title passed to the 9th Earl’s sister, Elizabeth Gordon. Thereafter, both lands and title were held by the Gordons until the 18th century.

The 11th Earl and Countess were poisoned by their aunt who wanted the lands and title for her own son. She failed, however, to dispose of their son, the 12th Earl, who married the former wife of Mary Queen of Scots’ third husband, the Earl of Bothwell.

The 14th Earl was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal in Scotland, and the 15th Earl supported William of Orange by fortifying Inverness on his behalf. With the ability to field 2,000 fighting men, Clan Sutherland was an invaluable asset to the Hanovarian Government during the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings.

In 1771, the 18th Earl’s daughter Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland in her own right, married George Granville Gower, Marquess of Stafford who was created 1st Duke of Sutherland a year before his death in 1834. The 5th Duke of Sutherland married twice, but had no children. When he died in 1963, the ducal title passed to his distant cousin, the 5th Earl of Ellesmere, who became 6th Duke. The more ancient Sutherland earldom, however, went to the 5th Duke’s niece, Mrs Charles Janson, who, under the old Celtic system of inheritance, became 24th Countess of Sutherland in her own right.

Graham Sutherland (1903-80), born in England, was a distinguished artist and painter. Dame Joan Sutherland (1926- ) was an Australian soprano who joined the Royal Opera in London.
Douglas Sutherland (1919-1998)wrote the English Gentlemen series of books, along with other publications includingThe Yellow Earl – The Life of the 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1965), Against the Wind (1966), The Fourth Man (1980) and Born Yesterday (1992). Donald McNichol Sutherland (1935- ) was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and became a prolific actor of stage and screen.

Places of Interest:
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, Sutherland. Seat of the earls and dukes of Sutherland. Said to be ancient, but virtually all of the existing building dates from the Victorian era and was transformed by the 2nd Duke of Sutherland . The 3rd Duke donated a large sum of money to the building of the Highland Railway and had his own line built from Golspie to Helmsdale.

Helmsdale Castle, Sutherland. Scene of the murder of the 11th Earl and Countess of Sutherland in 1567.

Dornoch Cathedral, Dornoch, Sutherland. A major restoration was sponsored here by the Duchess of Sutherland between 1835 and 1837.

Ben Braggie, Golspie, Sutherland. A statue of the 1st Duke of Sutherland who died in 1833 towers over the landscape. A renowned and much respected Liberal Reformer, he built the town of Golspie, but is largely held to blame for the Highland Clearances of the 19th century.

Carbisdale Castle, Ardgay, Wester Ross. Built by an estranged Duchess of Sutherland in the 19th century. 


Oooh… that’s just the brief history hundreds of years before slaves got the names…. =]