river dee waterlines

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 river dee waterlines    262 x 104cm ( dibond/matt ultra)

River Dee, Uisge Dé, Water of the Goddess

'The Dee runs like a dark vein across the knuckle of Northeast Scotland. According to the old ways, water mothers the landscape, and this explains why river names are the most ancient to appear on the map.

 The ‘most important voice in their landscape was that of rivers’, says Peter Levi, speaking of the sacred culture of the ancient Greeks – he could be just as well describing the shining and pure waters of the Geldie and Avon: ‘It is amazing how important in mythology a stream that seemed obscure or undistinguished can turn out to be. The relation of the river to its own landscape and the special character it has, are often expressed in ways one had not imagined…

Imagination matters. Many of the ancient myths of the Cairngorms have long been forgotten, but water is still a visceral force: rushing over rocks, spate black, depositing reddish alluvials, and changing course overnight. Rivers and burns defined clan territories, provided food, enriched the earth, and now produce renewable energy.

Like distorting mirrors ancient river names reflect deep time. The sounds – pronunciation is the secret to understanding toponyms – of their names allow us to listen in to our Pictish forebears who knew the Dee as a goddess, Dewa, paired with the Don, Devona. There are rivers dedicated to the dark goddess, Dee, in Galloway and Wales. She is known in Spain as Deba and Deva, and in Ireland as Abhainn Dé, or Dea. The Dye, Shiel, Shin, Farrar, Naver, and the dark and fair rivers, Deveron and Findhorn, all have names that derive from Indo-European'

Extract from ' Gathering' , Alec Finlay
A place-aware guide to The Cairngorms
Inspired by the place-name collections of Adam Watson

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