Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fae Folk & Kin: With Associations

Work in progress.......


Barguest: Brittish. One name for the phantom black dog. In appearance the Barguest was as large as a calf, with long sharp fangs and claws, fiery eyes and a shaggy black coat. The Barguest seems to have been a name used relatively widely for a shapeshifting creature, which could also appear in the shape of a bear, indeed the name Barguest may derive from the German for 'bear ghost'. In common with many supernatural creatures, the Barguest could not cross running water, and as a black dog it was often seen as a death portent.

Cait Sith: Scotland. Also known as a "Faery Cat"; it is as big as a dog and completely black - except for a small white patch on its chest. It can be ferocious when stumbled upon.

Church Grim or Kirk Grim: The guardian of old churchyards in the form of a black dog, it protected the dead from the Devil, demons and other nefarious supernatural creatures. The dog was often seen on stormy nights and was regarded as a portent of death. It has been surmised that the Church Grim is a folk memory of a sacrifice. It was believed in the past that the first burial in a churchyard would have to watch over the rest of the dead. A dog may have been buried first in place of a human. Phantom black dogs are numerous in Britain, and almost every area has its own variant. Although not all of these are thought to be derived from a folk memory of a sacrifice, the practice was once widespread.

Cwn Annwn: (coon anoon) Welsh, means hounds of the otherworld(underworld), are phantom dogs seen as a death portent. Also known as "Hounds of the Hill", "Herla's Hounds". Their growling is louder when they are at a distance, and as they draw near the growling grows softer and softer. Annwn is the Welsh underworld, a place ruled by Gwyn ap Nudd or by Arawn, who is one in the same character. In Welsh stories this land is the ever-living, and is full of magical beasts and treasures. Almost every area in Britain has its version of phantom or fairy dogs.

Cu Sith: Scotland, "Faery Dog". A supernatural green dog with long shaggy fur; it was roughly the size of a large calf but not dangerous to meet. It could hunt in total silence but when its prize was reached it would let out 3 barks that could be heard for miles.

Kelpie: A supernatural Water Elemental. Takes the form of a horse; malevolent.

The Glaistig: The Glaistig was a solitary supernatural being of the Scottish Highlands, with the upper half of a woman and the lower half of a goat, although she was also believed to appear in human and animal form. Her skin was grey, and long golden hair fell about her body. Like many of the fairy races she was often seen clothed in green, in the form of a long flowing robe, which covered her goat half. In the diverse and changing traditions of the Highlands, the Glaistig was seen as both benevolent and malevolent towards humans. In one aspect she even takes the role of the Banshee, wailing at the death of important people. She was also thought of as a trickster - throwing stones and leading travellers astray from their paths. In her gentler role she was seen as a mischievous friend to children, and in older stories she was even trusted to play with children while their mothers were milking the cows. The Glaistig was also closely linked to cattle, and in some forms is seen as a herder of domestic cattle, and of wild deer. Libations of milk were poured for her, especially on selected stones; this veneration may be linked with older fertility customs.

Gwartheg Y Llyn (gwarrthey er thlin): Welsh. Faery cattle. You could milk it and it would never run dry. They birthed new cattle without the use of a stud and if you killed one for meat another magically appeared.

Mermaids: Welsh. Tales of mermaids have been around for centuries, and form a large part of seafaring lore, especially round the coastal areas of Britain such as Cornwall, and the Northern Isles of Scotland. Their sighting was thought to be a bad omen, foretelling storms and rough seas. The descriptions of mermaids were remarkably similar from the tip of Cornwall, to the Outer Hebrides. Generally their upper body was that of a beautiful woman with long hair, and the lower half of their body from the waist down, was that of a fish. In many of the classic descriptions mermaids are to be found sitting on a rock just off the shore, combing their hair, singing sweetly and admiring their beauty in a hand mirror. Their beautiful singing brings men into their clutches much like the classical sirens, and the unfortunate victims are either drowned, spirited to their world, or eaten in the depths of the sea. Mermaids Rock, near Lamorna on the Eastern tip of Cornwall was one such haunted seat, the mermaid was said sing the local fishermen to their deaths. Sometimes mermaids are compelled from the water by mortal singing. In some tales mermaids are more benevolent, and have the ability to grant the gift of magical powers, but usually there is a still high price to pay. As well as granting wishes there are tales of mermaids intermarrying with humans and creating hybrid children with some powers of faery. Although most tales describe sea dwelling mermaids they were not restricted to the sea, and there are several examples of mermaids haunting rivers and deep pools. There have been several actual recorded sightings of mermaids over the last few hundred years, even into the 20th century, especially in places where the old beliefs die hard.

Nuckelavee: One of the most fearsome and gruesomely described supernatural creatures, the Nuckelavee inhabited parts of Northern Scotland. The creature's home was in the sea but it ventured on land often to feast upon humans. The Nuckelavee rode a horse on land, and its horse was sometimes indistinguishable with its own body. Its head was ten times larger than that of a mans, and its mouth thrust out like a pigs with a wide gaping maw. The creature had no skin, and its yellow veins, muscle structure and sinews, could clearly be seen covered in a red slimy film. The creature was armed with venomous breath and great strength. It did however have one weakness, an aversion to fresh water. The horse on which it rode, is described as having one red eye, a mouth the size of a whales and flappers like fins around its forelegs. Although the horse was sometimes seen as part of the creature's own body.

Silkies: Silkies are shape shifting sea fairies usually in the form of bright-eyed seals. They are localised to Northern Scotland and the Shetland Islands. Silkies often came on to land in human form, where they would dance, especially on the night of the full moon. In taking human form the Silkies shed their sealskin, and hide them in a safe place. There are many tales from the clans of leaders taking Silkie wives by stealing their skins. The Silkies are said to make good wives but always long for the sea, and return to their seal form if they gain repossession of their skins. The silkies can be identified in their human form by their webbed fingers and toes and their ability to swim underwater for long periods of time.


Bean Nighe: The tradition of 'The Washerwomen at the Ford' seems to have its roots in Celtic legend and myth. She appears in the Irish stories and can be identified as the crone aspect of the triple goddess. The Bean Nighe could be found at the side of desolate streams and pools washing the bloodstained clothing of those who are about to meet their maker. In appearance she was small in stature, always dressed in green and had webbed feet. Although the Bean Nighe was often seen as an evil portent she was not always a portent of ones own death as in the Irish version, and if approached in the correct way she would grant wishes. All you had to do was get in between her and the water. You would then be given the opportunity to ask three wishes and three questions, but three questions would have to be given truthfully in return, in the form of a traditional exchange between humans and supernatural creatures.

Bean Sidhe / Bean-sidhe (ban-shee) : Ireland. "Woman Faery"; a spirit attached to certain families. When a member's death approaches, the family will hear th Bean-sidhe crying (keening). Not always terrifying as is thought in modern myths. In actuality they are mothering protectors of a family for generations and feel the losses keenly.

Black Annis: Brittish. The area around the Dane Hills in Leicestershire, (now built upon) was said to be haunted by a creature known as Black Annis, possibly the remnants of some pagan goddess in darker times. She took the form of a one eyed wizened crone, immensely strong with sharp tearing teeth, long black claws and a blue face. She was said to hide in a giant oak, long since felled, that was once the remnants of a great forest, which covered the area. From this lofty perch she would leap out and eviscerate unwary travellers. Although partial to all human flesh she took particular delight in eating young children, whom she flayed alive. She then hung their skins like a grisly trophy upon the walls of a cave known as Black Annis's Bower. She is said to have created the cave with her bare hands tearing through the rock with her iron claws. Black Annis was also identified with a huge cat. A drag hunt with the body of a dead cat was carried out from the Bower into Leicestershire until the 18th century.

Boabhan Sith: The Baobhan Sith is a particularly evil and dangerous female vampire from the highlands of Scotland. They were supposed to prey on unwary travellers in the glens and mountains. The name suggests a form of Banshee.

Cailleach Bheur (Scotland); Cailleach Beare (Ireland) : "The Blue Hag". A cross between the Underworld Goddess and a faery spirit. She has fangs and sometimes three faces - thus making her into a triple deity or being. She was associated with winter in that she was re-born every Samhain and brought in winter - she carries a magickal staff that freezed the ground wherever it touches. She also protected animals throughout the winter months.

Caoineag (konyack): Scotland "The Weeper"; a Bean-sidhe; (still researching)

Cyhyreath (kerherrighth): Wales. A for of a bean-sidhe. It usually cries or groans before multiple deaths by an epidemic or accident.

Gwrach-y-rhybin: Welsh; a Bean Sidhe. A hideous hag who haunts Welsh families, and is also associated with specific places,warning of death or danger and would lament the passing of a family member.In appearance she has matted black hair, overlong arms, black teeth and a hooked nose.


Brownie: Bwca, Bwbachod in Wales; Bodach (budagh) in the Scottish Highlands, Fendoree in Man; Pixies or Pisgies in the West Country of England; Bockle in Scotland. They are about 3 feet high and dress in brown colors. They have brown faces and shaggy hair. Brownies make themselves responsible for the house where they protect by coming out at night to complete the (human) families unfinished work. Any offer of reward will drive them away, but they expect an occasional bowl of milk and piece of cake to be left out. Tradition sayes they do not like teetotallers or ministers. If offended, brownies will create malicious mischief. They are protectors and assist the family they care-for for generations.

Coblynau: (Koblernigh) Wales; {Known as Kobolds in Germany}. Mine spirits, similar to knockers. About 18 inches high, they like to dress as miners. Although they are ugly, they are good-humored and will knock where rich ores are to be found.

Gnomes: Earth Elementals. They live underground and guard th treasures of the Earth. Gnomes are wonderful metal workers, especialy of swords or armor.


Dryads: All Celtic countries. Spirits who dewll in trees, oaks in particular. They were contacted by Druids and shamans for inspiration.

Ellyyllon (ethlerthlon): Wales. Faeries whose queen is Mab. Their food is toadstools and faery butter, a fungus found on tehroots of old trees. Similar to the English Will O the Wisp, it appears as a light and misleads travellers from their path.Along with black dogs, tales of fairy lights are common throughout Britain, with a different name given to a similar phenomena. In general they are seen as malevolent, guiding lone travellers into treacherous bogs. The belief may arise from the natural production and combustion of methane in boggy areas

Elves: Another name for the Trooping Faeries of Britain. In Scotland they are divided into the Seelie and the Unseelie courts. The name is also applied to small faery boys. Elf-shot describes an illness or disability supposedly caused by their arrows. Elves, like many kinds of Fae, can also appear in size from quite small to human size.

Fenoderee/Phynnodderee (fin-ord-er-ree): Isle of Man. Brownies who are large, ugly and hairy. Goblins / Hob-Goblins: Small, grotesque but friendly Brownie-type creatures.

Piskies or Pixie: The Piskie is a general name for a fairy race or tribe in Cornwall while Pixie was from the West Country. In appearance they look like old men with wrinkled faces, and are small in stature with red hair. They dress in the colours of the earth especially green, using natural materials such as moss, grass and lichen. Generally the piskies are seen as cheerful creatures with a prankish nature. They are said to be helpful but also mischievous, helping the elderly and infirm whilst sometimes leading the more able bodied traveller astray on the lonely moors. Many stories relate to travellers being led into the wild moorland to become hopelessly lost because of the Piskies. There are many legends attached to the origin of the piskies (and other fairies). Some people saw them as the souls of pagans who could not transcend to heaven, and they were also seen as the remnants of pagan gods, banished with the coming of Christianity. In tradition they are doomed to shrink in size until they disappear. Another theory suggested they were the souls of babies who had not been Christened, a story championed by early clergymen, and one which has often been used to explain fairy origins.

The Spriggans: a family of fairies in Cornish folklore, they are the closely related to the Piskies, but were generally believed to be darker and more dangerous than their mischievous cousins. Whereas Piskies are generally described as being cheerful and fun loving, Spriggans are more spiteful and full of malice, directed at humans in the form of evil tricks. It was believed that the Spriggans haunted the lonely places such as castle ruins, barrows, certain standing stones and windswept crags. Spriggans were thought to be the source of such misfortunes as blighted crops, bad weather and illness, especially in a time when the mechanics of such things were not fully understood. They were also want to steal small children and replace them with their own kind, a common trait in many of the fairy races of folklore. In appearance the Spriggans are described as grotesquely ugly with wizened features and crooked skinny bodies. They form part of the fairy bodyguard as described by Bottrell and Hunt, ready to dish out summary justice to those who would harm their otherworldly cousins. In this defensive respect they could expand from their diminutive stature to giant sized proportions. One of their common traits was to lead lonely travellers into swamps or near to dangerous and crumbling cliffs, a factor they share in common with the Will o' the Wisp and the Piskies. Although the Piskies would not lead people to dangerous places.

Snow Faeries: Also known as Frost Faeries, Winter Faeries, Jack Frost, The Frost King, Old Man Winter, or the Snow Queen. Snow Faeries take on many different appearances depending in which land they live in. In some lands they are trooping faeries like the Pillywiggins, who collectively help bring winter to the world. In this instance they are small, winged creatures, dressed in white. As and individual being, such as Jack Frost, he is a solitary male. No record has ever been kept of their attitudes towards humans, but they appear to have no interest in us at all. Snow Faeries are not just faeries but a single pervasive personification of winter which is part of the faery lore of the entire northern hemisphere. These faeries bring on winter, encourage the snow, and paint frost on windowpanes. Before science was able to understand the simple principles of condensation, no doubt the picturesque frost left on windowpanes during the night took on a magickal quality. Found in the winter of Faeryland, in a night winter woods, or near winter streams and lakes.

Spunkies: Scotland. Spunkies have never been seen, but they are not friendly faeries. Reports of their appearance varies, but they are all said to be short, ugly, and long-armed. Spunkies are stalkers of "unprotected' children. In the place of the stolen infant they leave an ugly faery changeling. Spunkies may be another faery form that is merely an incomplete thought-form stemming from the unexplainable infant deaths in which a child simply failed to thrive. Unprotected, in this sense, may mean both magically and spiritually. In more modern times the term most certainly meant without benefit of Christian baptism, and in pagan times it meant without formal dedication to the Goddess and the bestowal of a secret name. Modern folklorists are quick to point out that Spunkies are almost unknown today. Robert Burns, Scotland's poet laureate, wrote of Spunkies, saying "...in some miry slough he sunk is Ne'er more to rise."


Cluricaun or Clobhair-ceann: Ireland. A solitary faery who lives in cellars and likes to drink wine and other spirits. A cross between a leprichaun and a hobgoblin (see below).

Far Darrig / Fear Dearg / Fear Dearc. Ireland. "Red Man"; a solitary faery who wears a red cap and coat and likes to indulge in greusome practical jokes. However, farmers consider them lucky to have around. Fear-Gorta: Ireland. "Man of Hungar"; a solitary fae who roams the land during bouts of famine; he brings good luck to those who give hom money or food.

Fin-Bheara (fin-vara) / Fionnbharr (fyunn-varr) / Findabair (finnavar): Ireland. "The Faery King of Ulster", sometimes called the "King of the Dead". Although he was married to the Faery Lady, he still courted beautiful mortals.

Gean-canach: Ireland; "Love Talker". A solitary faery who personifies love and idleness. He appears with a dudeen (pipe) in his mouth. It was considered un-lucky to meet him.

The Succubus & Incubus: The Succubus is a female faery who sexually attacks human men, and the Incubus is a male faery who sexually attacks human women. Their unprovoked attacks have been documented throughout human history. It was once believed that anyone claiming such contact was mad an they were summarily incarcerated. But the evidence for their existence is well-documented. and their assaults are still going on today. Pick up any popular work on modern hauntings and there will be at least one story of a frightening sexual attack by an astral entity which has occurred in the last few years. Persons who have been attacked by these malevolent spirits display mild to severe bruises and bite marks, many of them in places where they could not be self-inflicted. Women may also show torn vaginal tissue after an attack. There are two folk remedies which may help keep them from you. A peony flower taken to bed or a cauldron in the room is said to keep away the Incubus, and bluebells or phallic-shapped magickal tools are supposed to ward off the Succubus.


Bendith Y Mamau: Welsh Bendith Y Mamau means 'the mothers blessing' and is a generic name for the fairies, especially in Southern Wales. In appearance the fairies are described as small and ugly, and are most readily identified with the Brownies, or the West Country Pixies, although they have the characterisations of most fairies. The Bendith Y Mamau were particularly ready to steal small children and replace them with their own changelings known as Crimbils. It was thought that they needed to improve their stock with mortal blood. Mothers had to take precautions not to leave their babies unattended in fairy country. There were various methods of retrieving mortal children from the clutches of the Bendith Y Mamau, many of them barbaric to the poor child suspected of being a Crimbil. Calling the fairies by the flattering title of the 'Mothers Blessing' was thought to appease them. The other name for the fairies in Wales is the Tylweth Teg meaning the fair folk. Daoine Sidhe (theena shee): Ireland. A name for the Fae people.

Faeries / Fairies: The earlier name was Fae's. The term faery now covers all Anglo-Saxon Elves, the Dione Sidhe of the Highlands; the Tuatha de Danann of Ireland, the Tylwyth Teg of Wales, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, the Wee Folk, Good Neighbors, and many more.

Ferrishyn (ferrishin): Osle of Man. Name for the Faery Tribe.

Gentry: Irish. Name for all the Faeries The Good Folk: General term for faeries.

Tylwyth Teg: This is a general name for the fairies in Wales, it means the fair folk. Like the Bendith y Mamau the flattering name was thought to appease them. In appearance the Tylwyth Teg were small in stature with golden hair, a common trait in many fairies. They were thought to live under hollow hills and in deep crevices, and to frequent ancient places such as Bronze Age Barrows or cromlechs. Like other fairy folk they often interacted with mortals in the past, and it was possible to gain a fairy wife, although they always longed to return to their own people. According to many stories time in their realm passed much slower than in ours, a day in their realm could be a year or a hundred years in ours.This difference could prove disastrous for any Mortals returning from the fairy realm.

Will o' the Wisp: There are various explanations for the Will o' the Wisps, the most general being that they are malevolent spirits either of the dead or non-human intelligence. They have a mischievous and often malevolent nature, luring unwary travellers into dangerous situations. They were not always so dangerous, and there are tales told about the Will o' the Wisp being guardians of treasure, leading those brave enough to follow them to sure riches. In many places the Will o' the Wisp were associated with spirits of the dead who could not enter either heaven or hell, malignantly wandering the earth leading foolish travellers astray. The lights were also seen as death omens, and when seen within graveyards they were known as corpse lights. These were said to light the path of a coming funeral - from the victims home to the graveyard - in the form of small flickering flames. In other tales the light were often said to appear in places where a tragedy was about to occur. more to come!!

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