Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

MacFarlane's Lantern

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

MACFARLANE'S LANTERN (S4x32) 4C set Barry Priddey Phantom Piper Set
3s and 4s start on opposite sides

1- 4 1s and 4s dance ½ Fig of 8 round next couples
5- 8 1L also 4L cross diag to dance out between 2s and 3s, cast to right and cross to other side while partners follow to end at other end of set (opposite partner)
9-16 All dance reel of 4 on sides
17-20 2M and 3M dance out and cast round end dancer, dance across set and cast 1 place on other side as partners follow - crossing and casting to R - but dance down/up 1 place on opposite side to partner, when 2M and 3L also 3M and 2L approach each other they pass RSh and Lady turns in behind passing Man (not her partner)
21-24 3M and 2M (followed by 2L/3L) dance up/down between end couples, cast to right and dance into original places
25-32 4s+2s also 3s+1s dance Tourbillon:-
' 4s+2s also 3s+1s ½ turn partners 2H, 4M/2L also 3M/1L lead partners 1 place clockwise to end 4s/3s on Ladies' side and 2s/1s on Men's side, 4s/3s set to 2s/1s
' All ½ turn partners 2H, 4L/2M also 3L/1M lead partners on 1 place to end 2s/1s in 1st/3rd place and 1s in 2nd/4th place and all cross RH to own sides. 24(1)(3)

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


MacFarlane's Lantern
Barry Priddey   Phantom Piper Set
Strathspey   4 x 32 bars   4 Couple Repeat   4 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set
3s and 4s cross on second chord.

  1-4       1s cross down into half figures of 8 around 2s WHILE 4s cross up into half figures of 8 around 3s;

  5-8       1L followed by 1M dance out below 2L, cast round 3M and finish in 4th place (opposite sides) facing up WHILE 4L followed by 4M dance out above 3L, cast up round 2M and finish in 1st place facing down;

  9-16     4M2M3L1L 4L2L3M1M reels of 4 on the sides, finishing with 2M 3M facing out;

17-20     2M 3M cast to the right, cross at the end of the set and cast inwards 1½ places WHILE 2L 3L (following partners) cross, cast to the right and dance in at the ends of the set finishing on the centre line facing each other;

21-24     2M 3M dance out of the ends (2M down, 3M up) and cast to the right two places WHILE 2L 3L advance, giving right shoulder to the approaching M (not partner), and pull right shoulder back to follow him, all finishing as at bar 16 (3s 1s on opposite sides);

25-32     4s2s 3s1s tourbillon:

    25-26 all turn partners both hands halfway, progressing clockwise around their own half (top or bottom) of the set to finish 2L2M1M1L (Mn's side) 4L4M3M3L (Ls' side);

    27-28 4s2s 3s1s set on the sides;

    29-30 all turn partners both hands halfway, progressing clockwise around their own half of the set to finish 2L4L1M3M (Mn's side) 2M4M1L3L (Ls' side);

    31-32 all cross by the right, finishing 2s4s1s3s, 1s 3s on opposite sides.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)


Dance Notes

25-26     In these tourbillon turns, the dancers in 2nd corner positions of the rectangle formed by their adjacent places do not progress; their partners finish two places clockwise round the rectangle.

29-30     In these tourbillon turns, the dancers in 1st corner positions of the rectangle formed by their adjacent places do not progress; their partners finish two places clockwise round the rectangle.


Dance Information

It is thought that MacFarlane's Lantern was an expression used in the highlands for a full moon.

The Highland Scottish clan MacFarlane was known for cattle rustling by night and a full moon would have provided the necessary light for the clan's raids. The clan pibroch (pipe music) was "Thogail nam bo theid sinn" (Lifting the cattle).

The MacFarlane clan's ancestral territory was Arrochar (the head of Loch Long and north west of Loch Lomond) and George Muir (Scottish historian) suggests a night time raid would have had them returning with their booty to Loch Sloy (north west of Inveruglas).

The clan was officially denounced by the English Government in 1594 for theft and oppression. The clan's ancestral lands were disposed of in 1767 because of debt. The International Clan MacFarlane Society advises that it was in 1886 that the last (direct male line) descendant of the chiefs died.

MacFarlane's Lantern, Edinburgh Image
MacFarlane's Lantern - Full Moon, Rising Over Scotland


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