Ancestral Songs & Stories
of Scotland

An 8-week workshop series

to connect you with ancestral traditions of the Scottish lands


7th May - 25th June 2024

Tuesdays & 4 Wednesdays 10:30am PDT / 6:30pm BST

Our Songs & Stories program is intended to weave a connection between you and the land & traditions of Scotland through music and storytelling.

Whether you have Scottish ancestry or are simply drawn to deepen into the land and culture of Scotland, this is an opportunity to connect with some of the ancestral ways that are still alive and being carried forwards.



In this series we will be exploring the theme of the relationships between people and land. We will journey with the landscape as a living being, and how this is expressed through myth, story, song and ritual.

Over 8 weeks you will hear, receive, and have the opportunity to learn some old songs of Scotland, in the indigenous Gaelic language.

Our teachers will share wisdom from their heritage, history and customs, giving context and depth. Traditional music carries deep beauty and wisdom, which can inspire your own connection to place, voice and expression.

There will be an introductory language class, which shares the history and roots of this beautiful indigenous language, as well as gifting you with a few beautiful Scottish Gaelic words and phrases to use.

We will also be joined by some of Scotland’s wonderful traditional storytellers, who will take you on a journey through story, myth and lore, awakening remembrance of ancient yet timeless animistic cultures and ways. We will be hearing stories that draw us into a mythical, archetypal realm, where we can connect with and remember a real relationship with the land that has been interwoven within people’s lives for thousands of years.

May this series touch our hearts and awaken remembrance of our original ways.

What’s Included

We know that song and story have the power to awaken ancient memory.

Our prayer is that this series will do just that.

What You'll Learn

10 Scottish culture-bearers will point us back to our indigenous European roots through the teaching of old songs and stories.

Participant Reviews

Honouring Traditions

Personal use

The songs and stories shared in this course are intended for participant’s own personal education, healing and enrichment. In the traditional way, may we receive them, integrate them and allow them to live through us, before we consider sharing with others.

Preserving

We honor the path that each teacher has walked to cultivate and carry these songs, stories, crafts and traditions that they share with us. By joining the course you agree not to replicate, alter or dilute the content. Understanding that in doing so we lose the essence of that which we are wanting to preserve.

Respecting

We welcome the ongoing exploration and conversation around the appropriate ways to receive and honor these teachings. We see this as part of the education this course aims to provide – bringing awareness to the respectful ways to connect and learn from these traditions.

Presence

As if we were gathering together around the fire in the old way, may we come bringing our full presence. We invite you to have your video on and make a space where you can fully be with us, receiving the gifts of this wisdom.

Why This Program?

Greetings! My name is Hanna Leigh, (IG: @hannaleighsong) originally from California (Chumash territory).  I am a Singer-Songwriter, Voice Doula, Weaver, and Devotee of this precious, living Earth. My people migrated to the U.S. several generations ago from England, Scotland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.

For the past several years I have been on an inspired journey to reclaim ancestral wisdom and connect with the indigenous spirit of the “Great Sacred Motherland of Europe” – a term I first heard from activist Lyla June. 

This longing for reconnection was the impetus to create a program last year called “Songs of Mother Europe”, which features song carriers from all over Europe who still carry the old songs. In the past year we have had over 700 participants in the course, which speaks to me of a collective impulse to remember and preserve ancestral wisdom.

This “Ancestral Songs & Stories of Scotland” course has been created for the purpose of connecting those of Scottish heritage, and anyone deeply drawn to these lands, with some threads of ancestral wisdom that are still living in the landscape and the people.

Scroll down to see the knowledgeable song-carriers, storytellers, and Scottish culture-bearers that we will have the gift of learning from! 

COURSE CO-WEAVER

Welcome, I’m Lana Lanaia. I was born in England, live in the Scottish Highlands, and have spent much of my life exploring the landscapes and sacred places of these Islands.

I am a musician, sound healer, and facilitator of classes and retreats for over 20 years. My inspiration flows from my deep love for the Earth; of wild landscapes, forests, mountains, rivers, oceans, sacred sites, and the stars. Over the years, I have been learning  from indigenous & healing traditions, ways that we may rekindle our relationship with self, Nature and our origins.

I am passionate about re-awakening the ancient~living~wisdom within our hearts and lands;  weaving remembrance that we are all children of the Earth.

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“Our songs travel the earth.
We sing to one another.
Not a single note is ever lost and no song is original.
They all come from the same place and go back to a time when only the stones howled.”

~ Louise Erdrich


Who Is This For?

Those who feel drawn to connect with the ancestral traditions of Scotland

Those who wish to learn old songs and hear old stories from these beautiful lands

Those who are inspired to connect with ancestral wisdom and remember the old ways

Program Overview

Through the songs and stories shared by our guest teachers, may the living reality of earth and ancestral belonging be rekindled within you.

Classes are on Tuesdays @ 10:30am PDT/6:30pm BST

Week 1

7th May

Power of the Word and Faery Lore

w/ Dougie MacKay

Week 2

14th May 

Beware the Wee Folk at Beltane!

w/ Ruth Kirkpatrick

Week 3

21st May

Gaelic Songs of Love, Loss & Longing

w/ Sine McKenna

Week 3

Wed 22nd May

 Dùthchas Beò: Revitalising Reciprocity with the Gaelic Landscape through use of Simple Ceremony and Invocation

w/ Àdhamh Ó Broin

Week 4

28th May

Grief Tending in the Scots Keening Tradition – Eternal Threads

w/ Madge Bray

Language Class​

Wed 29th May

Intro to Scottish Gaelic 

w/ Michael Newton

Week 5

4th June

Going to the Deeper Well

w/ Donald Smith

Week 6

11th June

Coming home to the Cailleach

w/ Janis Mackay

Bonus Call

Wed 12th June

Sound & Otherworld Journey

w/ Lana Lanaia

Week 7

18th June

Scottish Gaelic Work Songs

w/ Maeve Mackinnon

Week 8

25th June

Connecting with Pictish Culture through Craft

w/ Hamish Lamley

Week 8

Wed 26th June

Community Sharing Call

w/ Hanna Leigh

Program Deep Dive

Many may have forgotten the old ways, though gratefully there are those still keeping the skills and songs alive, and others of us who are relearning them.

May our time together help us to remember our own motherland.

Week 1

Power of the Word and Faery Lore w/ Dougie MacKay

Dougie is a native Highland storyteller with a passion for tracking key aspects of ancestral cultures through mythology, lore and story. A professional storyteller for over 12 years, he has been mentored by some of Scotland’s finest seanachies, seeking modern applications for these timeless tales.


His recent show ‘Animate Lands’ allowed a deep dive into the Fianna cycle, gleaning aspects of the older animistic culture once thriving on these islands. It was described as ‘a fresh and joyful take on Celtic lore and Scotland’s landscape’. On his Myth as Medicine course, he explores a cycle of northern myths with a group of students, tracking the treasure within each tale and offering exercises to journey with each story and touch the medicine within.

Week 2

Beware the Wee Folk at Beltane! w/ Ruth Kirkpatrick

Ruth is one of Scotland’s leading storytellers, a charismatic live performer and a highly regarded singer. Born in the North East of Scotland, Ruth is widely seen as a Tradition Bearer, having been lucky enough to ‘sit at the knee’ of the great storytellers which Scotland has borne.

She has a broad repertoire of stories and songs from Traditional and local Traveller sources. She believes that relationship is at the heart of storytelling, so seeks to form a warm, authentic rapport with her audience, respecting the tradition but also giving her performance a loving, feisty sparkle. This makes her a popular guest at Festivals worldwide, from the glaciers of Iceland to the bookshops of India.

Week 3

Gaelic Songs of Love, Loss & Longing w/ Sìne McKenna

Sìne McKenna (Shee-nuh) was born and raised in Montreal, where she was immersed in the traditional music of Gaelic Scotland and Ireland. By the time she was twelve, her greatest aspirations were to study the Gaelic language, learn a few Gaelic songs and live in Scotland.

All three came to pass. Although she now lives in Glengarry county, Canada, once the Highland heart of Ontario, she is devoted to sharing the legacy of her ancestors. As a singer, teacher and performing artist, her life’s work is to pass on the beauty and wisdom of her people, through story and song. As she has always been drawn to the songs that speak of loss and longing, these have become her main focus.

Sìne will share Gaelic songs of love & longing, with an emphasis on emigrant songs.

Week 4

Dùthchas Beò: Revitalising Reciprocity with the Gaelic Landscape through use of Simple Ceremony and Invocation

w/ Àdhamh Ó Broin

Àdhamh Ó Broin is a Gaelic tradition bearer and activist of Irish and Highland Caithness heritage who has spent 15 years documenting and revitalising the native language and lore of Central Argyll where he grew up, embodying its value system and bringing his children up as first language Argyll dialect speakers. 

Àdhamh joins us on behalf of Dòrlach, a Scottish micro-charity which seeks to encourage intercultural solidarity across minoritised peoples worldwide and a return to indigenous practice in Gaelic Scotland.  Through his work with Dòrlach, Àdhamh has visited dozens of Gaelic elders across the Highlands and Islands, recording Gaelic lore and vocabulary which would otherwise have been lost to time.

Over the last decade, Àdhamh has also had the privilege of stepping into ceremony with dozens of guests from all around the indigenous world; the Maori of New Zealand, the Mohawk of Six Nations Ontario and the Karajá of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest to name but a few. These experiences have assisted and inspired the process of re-establishing a working, reciprocal relationship with the land whose dialect Àdhamh has diligently retrieved from extinction through long hours spent with the last of the areas’ native Gaelic-speaking elders.

Week 4

Grief Tending in the Scots Keening Tradition - Eternal Threads w/ Madge Bray

Born into a Scottish Highland family of village musicians poets and storytellers , Madge Bray worked internationally in the field of childhood trauma, pioneering approaches to trauma resolution. Exploration of the sounds of dissonance in human suffering, led her to Georgian polyphony and ultimately to cultural retrieval of music as a container for grief within her own Scots Tradition – and the unfolding of a deeper journey into lamentation and keening.


She is currently sharing this on YouTube:

www.youtube.com/@TraditionalFutures/playlists 

Language Class

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic w/ Michael Newton

Dr Michael Newton earned a Ph.D. in Celtic Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 1998 and was an Assistant Professor in the Celtic Studies department of St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia 2008-2013. He has written a multitude of books and articles about Gaelic culture and history and is a leading authority on Scottish Gaelic heritage in North America.

In 2014 he was given the inaugural Saltire Award by the St. Andrews University Scottish Heritage Center (of Laurinburg, North Carolina) for his “outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Scottish history and culture.”  In 2018 he was recognized with the International award at the annual Scottish Gaelic awards in Glasgow, Scotland. The book that he co-edited with Wilson McLeod, An Ubhal as Àirde / The Highest Apple: An Anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature, was awarded with the Best Gaelic Non-Fiction Book of 2020 by the Gaelic Books Council of Scotland. He was Advisor Historian for the video documentary Voices Over the Water (2023).

Michael established the online Hidden Glen Folk School of Scottish Highland Heritage in 2019.

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic: For serious students – This class is an overview of the history and features of this beautiful language that is indigenous to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, and the vehicle through which the indigenous knowledge of those lands have been expressed for millennia

Week 5

Going to the Deeper Well w/Donald Smith

From imagination,wonder and humour, to living with nature, to religious reverence. Explore Scottish traditional stories, with different cultures united in one landscape.

Donald Smith is a lifelong storyteller with Scottish and Irish roots. He has published widely on Scottish literature and storytelling, and was founding Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre. He is currently Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. In 2023 received the Hamish Henderson lifetime achievement award for services to Scotland’s traditional arts.

Donald was born in Glasgow and brought up in Stirling. He has been based in Edinburgh through his working life. Donald is married with five grown-up children and seven grandchildren.

Week 6

Coming home to the Cailleach w/ Janis Mackay

Supposing song lines map tracks, glens, beaches, hills, nooks and crannies. Supposing folk travelled following some other knowing, finding their way, arriving knowing the land and themselves a little more. Rooting deeper. Coming home to body and soil. Wherever we go, always coming home.

Called upon, in story lore and in our wanderings, the Celtic Earth Mother goddess; the Cailleach, can help mend our severings.

Many places in Scotland bear her name; Ben na Caillich, mountain of the Cailleach; Alt na Cailleach, burn of the Cailleach, Carn na Cailleach, cairn of the Cailleach, and more. She is seen in stone and rock face, on mountain range and river. Stories of her are written into landscape.

Janis will share Cailleach tales, and invite participants, through sharing biographical stories of their own relationship to nature and to wonder, to foster a connection to the Cailleach that in turn can gift a deeper root of belonging, to our Self, our body, our land and our imagination.


Week 7

Scottish Gaelic Work Songs w/ Maeve Mackinnon

Maeve Mackinnon is a Gaelic singer and experienced workshop leader from Scotland. Her voice has been described by Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2) as “exquisite”, and Songlines magazine described her new release as, “an album of stunning Gaelic songs delivered by an equally stunning Gaelic voice”.

Amidst award nominations and wins, Maeve has released three solo albums in 10 years to critical acclaim. Between albums, Mackinnon has toured internationally as well as at home with her own band, as well as with renowned groups such as The Stepcrew, Salsa Celtica and McFall’s Chamber. In 2015 she was the featured soloist in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo playing to capacity crowds of 3000 per night. 2018 saw the release of her third album, Strì, to four and five star reviews. She received a nomination at the MG Alba Trad Music Awards for Gaelic Singer of the Year in 2018. 

Week 8

Connecting with Pictish Culture through Craft w/ Hamish Lamley

Hamish Lamley of Pictavia Leather is an expert in Pictish history & archaeology. A reconstruction specialist in hide tanning and leatherwork, coracle boat builder, and also Pictish tattooing.

“For me Leatherwork is also about function. I use traditional methods because they have also been developed over thousands of years, and are often the most functional and practical. I want my work to outlive me, and so I strive to create the most durable works to combine function and beauty.”

Hamish has over a decade of experience in traditional leatherworking, and through years of research and experimental archaeology has worked hard to explore Pictish culture. Hamish has consulted on, and starred in, various television shows to talk about the Picts and showcase Pictish culture.

Week 8

Community Sharing Call w/Hanna Leigh

Come and gather together around the virtual fire as we share our experiences of the course. Bring a cup of tea, a song, a story, or simply your presence.

Bonus Call

Sound & Otherworld Journey w/ Lana Lanaia

Lana lives in the Scottish Highlands and is a musician & sound healer known for her ‘crystalline voice’ and ‘music that infuses the heart’. She tends the earth, and creates healing spaces through her music & offerings. 

Lana’s inspiration flows from her deep love for the Earth; of wild landscapes, forests, mountains, rivers, oceans, sacred sites, and the stars. She has and continues to learn from indigenous wisdom keepers and ancestral traditions, exploring how we may reawaken and heal our relationship with self, Nature and our starlight origins.

Lana will share a sound journey, weaving soundscapes, voice, song and instruments, with a simple ceremony for honouring Litha ~ Summer Solstice. 

Simple Pricing

Program commences tUEsday 7th May

Pay In Full

Pay in full for:
$ 295
  • 8 LIVE Workshops on Zoom
  • 2 bonus sessions
  • Weave with a network of like-minded folks
  • Connect with ancestral songs & stories

Payment Plan

Pay in installments
$ 99 x 3
  • 8 LIVE Workshops on Zoom
  • 2 bonus sessions
  • Weave with a network of like-minded folks
  • Connect with ancestral songs & stories
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Frequently Asked Questions

This offering is happening online through Zoom, with teachers joining us from several different countries.

Yes. They will be recorded and sent out soon after each class.

No. The nature of the content delivery is that you purchase the entire course.

You will have access to the recordings for one year from the start date of the course.

No, all levels are welcome.

No. There will be a Q&A time during each call, though no one will be “put on the spot”.

No. Due to the delivery of course content, all sales are final.