Black Isle, Clootie Wells, and Healing


I’m not working today, but Muse decided I was done sleeping. Such is life when you’re owned by a tortoiseshell cat. LOL

Two years ago today, I explored Black Isle. It’s not a real island, more of a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water. It’s to the north of Inverness, and has some amazing things that you can go explore. We took a boat out from Avoch to see the dolphins in Moray Firth, visited Groam House Museum, found the ruins of Fortrose Cathedral quite by accident, and hiked out to Fairy Glen.

I’ve talked about the hike before. There’s a post or two in the archives about it.

One thing I wanted to do out on Black Isle was visit a clootie well. These are sacred springs, dating back to pagan times. When Christianity took over, they were rededicated to different saints. The energy of the Old Gods, though, never left. My Wiccan soul was on a high after Fairy Glen, and I’d brought my cloot with me.

A cloot is a strip of cloth, preferably natural fibers. I’ll get to why that’s necessary later on in this post.

As soon as we got to the parking area and I turned off the car, I knew something important was going to happen there. Something that would last for decades to come.

Cloots were everywhere, as this location is well known and even had a sign on the road telling you to turn in for it. I know I went in first, as Tara wanted to take photos. I wasn’t permitted to. My time there wasn’t going to be about being a tourist. It was to build on the healing that had started from the moment I stepped off the plane in Glasgow.

I followed a path up the small hill, winding around the outer edge. It wasn’t tall, or overly steep. Cloots of all kinds hung from the branches above me, while others were low to the ground; their edges brushing against the forest floor.

The well itself wasn’t much. A small opening with water at the end of a row of stones to mark it. The idea behind a clootie well is that you take your cloot, soak it in the water, and rub it against the part of your body that was afflicted with a disease, saying a prayer as you did so. You then tied it to a tree branch. As the cloth disintegrated (which is why natural fibers are important), you would be cured.

The thing is, my soul was what needed the healing. Physically, I’m fine.

I submerged my cloot; the water was cool and clear. I touched it to both my forehead and my chest, asking my Goddess to give me the courage to walk the path I knew was mine. And to find the strength to let past scars finally heal. The scars on my soul were, at the time, angry red welts that didn’t take much to flare up in pain.

I found a small tree that reminded me about a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and tied my cloot around the base. As I did so, I asked again for Her to bless me with the strength, courage, and wisdom to do what She needed me to do.

Walking back toward the parking area, I made a point to make a complete circle. This locked in my request, as well as all the fears I’d left in that strip of linen.

It’s been two years. I have days when I wake up and know I can do what I need to do, a surge of strength/courage/resolve, and I know more of the fibers have left the cloot.

What I asked for cannot happen overnight. It took me 50 years to get there and ask for this. A soul cannot heal that easily or quickly. But it can do so.

You only have to find your own sacred well, and ask for the help when you tie your cloot to the tree.


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