Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Many people know about the Celts and their Northern European mythology. But have you heard of the Picts? The ancient people who are the oldest known civilization of Scotland? Who were the women of this culture, and why are they rarely discussed?
Scotland; A land of monsters, Aleister Crowley and ghostly mysticism. The Scottish highlands are shrouded in mythology and mystery. But did you know that Scotland was originally called Pictland? Modern day entertainment is filled with archetypes and folklore straight from the early days of northern Britain, but the origin of these ideas is rarely discussed past it's popular packaging.
“Much of what we know about the Picts comes from the Romans, who praised the military prowess of these ancient Scots.”
North of the border, the most romantic of modern Scots refer to their land as Caledonia, a poetic play on beautifying the country that was invaded countless times under the modern name of Scotland. There seems to be a rejection of the country that no longer fits it's citizens. Every language and piece of information of the ancient history of Scotland appears to be have eradicated. So how do we know the Picts were even there?
Much of what we know about the Picts comes from the Romans, who praised the military prowess of these ancient Scots. But this fails to acknowledge anything about the societal structure or the role of women. Standing Stones which dominate much of the countryside of Scotland are reminders that the Picts were there.
So what do we know about the women of Pictland? They were rumored to be tattooed from head to toe, able to chase the Roman Empire from their lands, and excellent at putting curses on people. Sadly, what is well documented is that long after the aggressive retaliation of the Picts against the Romans however, Scottish women were persecuted en masse for their spirituality, witchy ways and arguably their strength. Prosecution came in the forms of burning, amputation and drowning, and often included the children of these powerful matriarchs. Men were not spared.
Scotland has a brutal and violent history, carrying the spirits of the vengeful dead on the subzero winds. But it also has a history of capable, resilient and spiritually powerful ancients, and maybe we are creating a history lost through the modern art of filmmaking and television.
Or maybe they are, through us.
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