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The Vore Tullye: the Sea Mither versus Teran

The Vore Tullye: the Sea Mither versus Teran

A pen and ink cartoon depicting the Spring battle between the Sea Mither and Teran - primal nature forces. The Sea Mither resembles Nicola Sturgeon and a sea anemone and has calmed the stormy seas. Teran has the face of Theresa May and is a giant monster thrashing it's flippers making waves.
The Vore Tullye. Pen and ink. Cartoon for The Orkney News column in the February 2018 edition of iScot magazine.

 

The Vore Tullye, or Spring Struggle, is a mythical battle between two primal nature deities described in the folklore of the Northern Isles of Scotland. It takes place every year, in March.

The Sea Mither is a benevolent spirit who calms the wind, stills the seas, and brings forth an abundance of fish. In Shetland, the Mither o’ the Sea was once invoked by fisherman for protection against the Devil (Marwick, 2000, p.19). She is depicted here as a small sea anemone-like humanoid with a serene, calming influence.

Teran is the Sea Mither’s opposite number: the raging embodiment of Winter. Teran is actually a male spirit, but the physical appearance of these beings has apparently not been handed down in folklore.

Teran is a huge sea monster with the cold, dead eyes of a shark, grasping tentacles, and barnacle-encrusted flippers with which to thrash the water and create stormy seas. It has a vicious, leech-like round orifice which is used both to eat, and excrete.

Following the Vore Tullye, Teran is overcome by the Sea Mither, bound, and confined to the bottom of the sea. The occasional unseasonal storm indicates the thrashing of the monster as it tries to escape.

Later in the year comes the Gore Vellye, or Autumn Tumult, when Teran breaks free once more and begins a new reign of terror (Towrie, 2018). The tyrant of Winter wreaks havoc through storms, gales, and dangerous high seas. The days grow short. People become depressed.

The cycle continues.

 

References

Marwick, E., 2000. The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland. Edinburgh: Birlann Limited.

Towrie, S., 2018. The Mither o’ the Sea. Orkneyjar. Available from http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/mither.htm

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