Saturday, January 12, 2013

Born Behind the Veil

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

Lord Byron
Some children are born with a mask, a birth caul, made of a thin membrane that covers their face. While these births are very rare, they do hold special significance. Stories and myths abound about the caul. Many are pure fabrication. 

The correct name for children born with a caul is Caulbearer. Because the membrain looks like a thin veil, people born this way are referred to as being ‘born behind the veil.’ 

Men or women can be Caulbearers. They come from any social class, race or religious group. These births are not indigenous to any geographical boundaries. There is some indication that caul births tend to run in families. Statistics indicate there may be as few as one caul birth in 80,000 births.

Caulbearers are held in high regard because the time and place of these births can be calculated in advance. In addition, these people had abilities that were not common to many others. Some of their abilities include finding underground water, knowing when weather patterns will change, and predicting when food supplied will be plentiful.

Many are natural healers and are associated with the laying of hands. Many also have the ability to rule nations, and possess insights which other find difficult to understand. Many cultures consider Caulbearers to be "Kings by right" because their birth was predicted and they have fine leadership abilities. These traits are recognized by certain Buddhist groups who seek out Caulbearers to be the Dalai Lamas.

In ancient times, long before religious priests evolved, Caulbearers were held in high regard for their knowledge in many subjects and became the early priests and teachers. In the Middle Ages, Caulbearers were identified as witches and burned at the stake.

I found an interesting note. The word Caulbearer will not be found in the standard dictionaries. In the  Middle Ages, when the Church eliminated anything they thought sacrilegious, most mention of Caulbearers was destroyed.

Famous Caulbeareres include: Lord Byron, Alexander the Great, Queen Christina of Sweden, Kahlil Gibran, Jesus, and Liberace. Fictional People include: David Copperfield, Hamlet, and Danny (Stephen King’s The Shining).

This was all wonderful background for my heroine in The Guardian's Witch. It is scheduled to be published this July. The story takes place in 1290 by the border of England and Scotland in 1290. Lord Alex Stelton can’t resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it’s his. Desperate for land of his own, he’ll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she’d never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can’t get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they’ll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.

4 comments:

  1. Cool stuff. Another fictional Caulbearer is Alvin Maker in Orson Scott Card's Seventh Son.

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  2. Yet another fictional Caulbearer is Frincie Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I am reading this book and am fascinated with Caulbearers. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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  3. I am a Caulbearer I have known this for many years as my mother told me about it when I was young, she was told the meaning of being a caulbearer by the midwife that delivered me. Mum was told that I would never drown & that sailors in Scotland would pay large sums of money to have the caul on their ship.It is only recently that I have started to realise the abilities I have are actually a part of being born a caulbearer. In some ways its great to have these abilities but it has also been a hard & sometimes frightening road.

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  4. Thank you for this article
    I was born as caul bearer , and I enjoy high level of sensitivity
    I have healing abilities as well
    but I feel lonely as most of the times

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