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Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Modern House Blessing

 In the past I've been asked to help people cleanse or bless their new houses. It occurs to me that this sort of simple thing would be good to post here for anyone to do themselves. This method is entirely my own, as far as I know, and thoroughly modern, but is based on older methods and concepts, particularly drawn from the Carmina Gadelica material.

  First I walked through the house, room by room, burning herbs associated with cleansing. In general I recommend using a combination of vervain, rosemary, and juniper when possible, but any one of those alone is also good. Using smoke to purify and bless spaces and the home is an old practice, particularly using juniper. F. Marian McNeill in the Silver Bough says "Juniper, or the mountain yew, was burned by the Highlanders both in the house and in the byre as a purification rite on New Year's morning" and the Gadelica itself says "Iubhar beinne [juniper] and caorran, mountain ash or rowan, were burnt on the doorstep of the byre on the first day of the quarter, on Beltaine Day and Hallowmas." Likewise rosemary also has a strong historical association with cleansing, as according to Grieve's Modern Herbal it was burned to cleanse a sick room and was also believed to remove any evil influences in general (Grieve, 1931). Vervain in both the Celtic and Roman world was considered a sacred herb and used as an offering to the Gods (Grieve, 1931).
   Next I lit a white candle and walked through each room again praying for blessing on the home. This is based on traditions associated with certain holidays, like Samhain, where fire - usually in the form of a burning torch - would be taken around the boundary of a property to bless it and protect it.
    In the end I stood in the middle of what would be the living room, holding the candle, and recited a prayer slightly modified from the Carmina Gadelica:
"Gods bless this house,
From site to stay,
From beam to wall,
From end to end,
From ridge to basement,
From ground to roof,
From foundation to summit,
Foundation and summit."

The above prayer is the modified version from my book By Land, Sea, and Sky, but is changed very little from the original which can be found in the first volume of the Carmina Gadelica by Carmichael here http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/cg1048.htm and below:
House Blessing 45
God bless the house,
From site to stay,
From beam to wall,
From end to end,
From ridge to basement,
From balk to roof-tree,
From found to summit,
Found and summit.









References:
 McNeill, F., (1965) The Silver Bough
 Carmichael, A., (1900). Carmina Gadelica 
Grieve, M., (1931). A Modern Herbal 
Daimler, M., (2010) By Land, Sea, and Sky 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Morrigan, The Dagda, and Samhain

 As we're getting into October and people are turning their  attention to Samhain I'm starting to see discussion and references to the meeting between the Morrigan and the Dagda at the river Unshin showing up here and there. This is one of those stories from myth that often suffers from 'telephone game syndrome', that is people who haven't actually read or heard the story themselves taking a small part of it that's widely repeated and creating their own context for it. Which, in the wider scope of modern folk belief, has its place - however today I thought it would be helpful to outline what's actually going on in that part of the story and address some common misconceptions around it that directly contradict the myth. 
    This isn't intended to argue against the more modern takes so much as to show the context and give some insight into the actual original story for those who are interested. This is easier to do to be honest because there is only one surviving manuscript containing this story, which occurs in the Cath Maige Tuired (CMT), so for once we have a singular source to look to rather than carefully sorting through multiple contradictory texts. 


I'd like to look at several specific ideas that I find are really common around this topic:

1 The Dagda and the Morrigan meet up/have sex on Samhain
Well....no, not exactly. They do meet up and have sex, that part's true, but in the text its pretty clear that their meeting occurs more than a week before Samhain - its the battle with the Fomorians which occurs on Samhain.
According to the text the Morrigan and the Dagda meet 'around' the time of Samhain and she asks him to gather the Aes Dana, the skilled people of the Tuatha Dé (TDD), while she goes herself to attack Indech one of the Fomorian kings. She then meets them all at an agreed on point and displays the king's blood as proof she has done as she said she would. The text says of that second meeting: "Sechtmad rie samain sen, & scaruis cach oroile diob go comairnectur fir Erenn uili al-la rie samain."
"This was a week before Samhain and they all scattered until all the men of Ireland came together the day before Samhain."*
Now we can argue that Samhain itself isn't a single day - although its named as the first of November in the texts - but a time period, which is fair, but that time period is generally seen as extending forward beyond the 'day' of Samhain not as a nebulous time around that 'day'. Hence the month of November in Irish is the month of Samhain, mí na Samhna, beginning with the day of Samhain, 1 November. So when we see this meeting in the story its happening at some point around the middle of October, then she goes and attacks the Fomorian king, and then she meets up with the Dagda and Aes Dana a week before Samhain, then the day before Samhain all the Tuatha Dé gather for the battle. 

2 The Dagda sought the Morrigan out for her help in battle
When people talk about the meeting of the Dagda and the Morrigan its often framed in the context of the Dagda seeking the Morrigan out, as if he had gone on a quest to find her. However its clear from the myth that this meeting was one that occured every year between the two: 
"Bai dno bandal forsin Dagdae dia bliadnae imon samain an catha oc Glind Edind.....Is hi an Morrigan an uhen sin isberur sunn."
"The Dagda was to meet a woman on a day, yearly, about Samhain of the battle at Glen Etin....She is the Morrigan, the woman mentioned particularly here"
Its also important to note that these two figures aren't strangers or casual acquaintances, in fact they are referred to in several places as a married couple and in the CMT its said that the place they lay together was called Lige ina Lanomhnou 'the bed of the married couple'. So rather than going out to search for her he was simply meeting her where they met every year, and because the meeting that particular year was right before a battle she gave him martial advice - marital martial advice as it were.

3 The Morrigan had to be persuaded to aid the Tuatha Dé
 One of the more common ideas I see attached to the union of the Dagda and the Morrigan is that the Dagda slept with her in order to gain her aid in the battle with the Fomorians; this is often tied into a related (inaccurate) idea that the Morrigan was some sort of neutral party or was not one of the Tuatha Dé herself. 
Now putting aside that we've already established she was the Dagda's wife, its important to note a couple other points. Firstly the Morrigan is very clearly listed as one of the Tuatha Dé across all of the source material we have that mentions that sort of thing and her mother is listed as one of the women of the TDD. She has already appeared in the Cét-Cath Maige Tuired (first battle of Maige Tuired) against the Fir Bolg using her magic against the Fir Bolg and aiding the Tuatha Dé. More importantly perhaps in the story of the Cath Maige Tuired the Morrigan has already been helping the Tuatha Dé prior to her meeting with the Dagda, specifically by appearing to Lugh and inciting him to rise up and fight against the oppression of the Fomorians. She is without doubt on the side of the TDD and working in their favour and nothing in the story directly indicates the Dagda ever asked her for her aid or even advice. It says only that the Dagda spoke to her, they slept together, and afterwards she gave him military advice and went to attack the Fomorian king herself. 

4 The Morrigan and Fomorian Princess are the same person
 Another idea I see floated around a lot, which may be tied into point three, is a confusion between the Dagda's meeting with the Morrigan and the subsequent meeting and tryst he has with a Fomorian princess. Basically he meets with the Morrigan as discussed above and is later, after other war preparations, sent out by Lugh to spy on the Fomorian camp; in leaving there he encounters a Fomorian woman who says she is the daughter of the king Indech and the two become lovers, after which she promises to work magic against her own people. I will note that the second meeting is entirely omitted from Stokes translation of the CMT because as he says of it "Much of it is obscure to me, and much of the rest is too indecent to be published in this Revue."^; I suspect that this being the easily available public domain material which many people access and that section being omitted is one factor that led to the conflation of the two encounters, as people hearing of the second but unfamiliar with it assume it is in fact the first. In any case while there are some common themes between the two there are also multiple notable differences which makes it clear that the two are different figures within the story. 

These are a few of the most common things I run across that I feel should be addressed or clarified. As I said in the introduction people are free to believe what they will and follow different modern ideas of this meeting, but hopefully this has helped clarify the written version of the myth and what it actually tells us. 


*all translations are my own
^ I hate Whitley Stokes

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Quick Guide to Common Folklore Related Terms

Today I wanted to offer a quick and very rough guide to terms used around material connected to folklore. I find that this subject can be very confusing for people and hope this may help a bit with that. Disclaimer that these definitions are based in my own understanding of these concepts as an amateur folklorist.

Folklore - according to Oxford dictionary folklore is "the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth.". Folklore has several key aspects including both its oral nature as well as its existence within a community. Folklore is also fluid and evolving, showing change in line with the community it is attached to.
Michael Fortune's Youtube videos of people being interviewed and discussing their community's or their family's fairy beliefs is an example of folklore. 

Anecdote - an anecdote is a personal story being recounted by the person who experienced it or passed on as such. It represents a real person describing events they witnessed or experienced. 
Someone describing their own encounter with a fairy is an anecdotal account. 

Retellings - Much of the Victorian material we have, as well as some popular modern material, falls into this category. Retellings represent folklore that is being preserved in written form with additions from the author; there can often be a fine line between a retelling and the folkloresque but while retellings often add flourishes and drama they generally adhere to the broad strokes of the original folklore. 
Lady Wilde's work may best be described as retellings. 

Folkloresque - Also previously known as fakelore and sometimes called folklorism, folkloresque is material that is rooted in folklore concepts of motifs but which heavily incorporates creativity and fiction to create something new. The folkloresque isn't properly folklore - it isn't representative of a group's beliefs or practices - but is inspired by or based on existing folklore. Another key difference between folklore and the folkoresque is that the folkloresque exists in a fixed form.
The movie Labyrinth can be described as folkloresque. 

Fiction - is written work that describes imaginary stories or relates events that aren't true. This is why works of fiction usually include disclaimers that the work was created by the author and any resemblance to real people or places, etc., is unintentional. Fiction is an exercise in human imagination and is usually predicated on telling an interesting story. 
The Dresden Files is an example of fiction. 

There is often debate on whether or not folklore is fiction, but in my opinion this presupposes that folklore is untrue and was created at some point purely for entertainment, which ignores the key aspect of folklore as belief and practice of a community. Whether or not stories of selkie wives did happen they represent active belief in a community, with attached practices, and were understood as true by the people who believed in them. Fiction in contrast is created intentionally to be a story for entertainment. This is an essential and pivotal difference. 

The Power of Names

 There is a lot of power in names and naming, so today I want to look at the way we see that played out in mythology and folklore and what we might be able to learn from that. I thought this would be a good topic to discuss because of the confusion I sometimes see around the idea of True Names and magical names. So let's look at what True Names and magical names are, and the difference between them, with some examples from mythology and folklore.

A True Name is the name that resonates with a being's soul or otherwise identifies that being on the deepest level. This is not necessarily the name you are given by your parents at birth, although we'll look at the power that your birth name can have later. Your True Name is a deeper metaphysical thing, something that you may or may not ever find if you are human, and something that you guard as more precious than your life. Knowing a being's True Name gives you power over that being and allows you a level of control of them. In the Cath Maige Tuired we see this when the Dagda encounters a Fomorian princess who demands he carry her on his back; he refuses until after asking him his name three times* he is forced to reveal his True Name, and knowing it she repeats the request using it and he is forced to comply. In the familiar story of Rumplestilskin we see knowledge of a True Name as the only way for a woman to get out of a contract she has made with a dwarf, a theme echoed in the similar English tale of Tom Tit Tot. This motif and variations of it are found throughout Europe, with either the firstborn child or the woman herself as the agreed upon pay for the Otherworldly being unless the Name can be discovered. Knowing a True Name means knowing the true nature of a being which allows that being to be commanded against their will, and this is exactly why knowledge of a True Name was hidden. 
      The best depiction I've ever run across of this in fiction is Ron C Nieto's 'Faery Sworn' series where all of the fairy folk use alternate names because anyone who knowns their true name can compel them with simple commands, a rule that holds true as well for humans; when the human protagonist unknowingly gives her full name to a kelpie she finds herself dealing with the consequences.  It gives the reader a good understanding of the power and danger of names within in the context of a fictional narrative but the theory behind it is the same as the one across folklore. 

As I mentioned, your birth name does also have power over you. Probably anyone who has ever experienced an angry parent yelling their full name at them is already aware of this. Seriously though, even though your birth name is something given to you by others it has the power of blood and kinship bound up in it, and it is tied to your soul all the same, although not as strongly as your True Name. 

As adults we can choose our own names. We can assume nicknames, or we can even (in most countries as far as I know) legally change our names. There is a long and deep seated tradition of adults changing names to shed the name they were given at birth and assume a new name as an adult, usually to better reflect who they are. We see this in mythology with Setanta becoming Cu Chulainn; Gwion Bach becoming Taleisin; Deimne becoming Fionn Mac Cumhaill. There is power in naming ourselves, but we should choose wisely as well, because just like birth names the names we give ourselves hold power over us and create connections. Cu Chulainn taking his name also meant taking a gies against eating dog meat, and ultimately his fate was bound up in that taboo.

Even if we choose a new name for ourselves and leave our birth names behind us later in life it is very hard to totally break the power they have over us because their connection is to us on a deep level. There are some memes and comics that go around online suggesting that the fairies will take names and that isn't entirely accurate - as we touched on above they will take a person's name in the sense of to use against them not literally remove it from the person. It would, generally, be very unwise to give any being of the Otherworld your name.

 In most folklore it was understood as unwise to give your name to Otherworldly beings, because knowledge of your birth name gave them knowledge of you to some degree. We see examples of this in stories such as 'Maggy Moulach' where a fairy (in that case a Brownie) hopelessly loves a mortal; when he had asked her name, she told him it was 'Mise Fein' [me myself]. The young woman eventually is forced to throw boiling water on the amorous fairy, mortally wounding him, and when he was later asked who had harmed him he answered 'Mise Fein' preventing his mother from seeking revenge against the girl. 



It is from the power that your name has, I believe, that we see magical names coming in, particularly in ceremonial magic. A magical name was originally meant as a pseudonym, a way to keep your identity hidden from spirits and likely to act as a layer of magical defense from unfriendly people, witches and non-witches. Or perhaps we might say more aptly it was used to create a specific alternate identity for dealing with them. Magical names, like any good persona, were about creating an ideal image for the self, rather than a true reflection of the self. So, for example someone's True Name might be Echaire [horse-keeper] but they may take a magical name that is much grander and more impressive sounding like 'Storm Raven' or 'Ocean Rider'. People also often use the names of deities, mythic heroes, famous magicians of the past, and powerful animals for their magical names. Magical names did build power with use, but could also be shed and remade as needed. Think of them a bit like clothes or armor. Even with this though there was historically usually a layer of secrecy between a person's magical name and real name, an attempt to keep the two separate and distinct, so that in ritual or with fellow practitioners no other name would be used except the magical, and outside of those contexts no name except the birth name would be used.

At some point in the modern era I think the ideas of True Names and magical names were confused somehow, so that people began to think that a magical name was supposed to be a true reflection of self rather than a projection of power and confidence. From this we start to see two things happening, firstly magical names that are intended to reflect as much of a person's soul as possible, and secondly the public use of magical names in non-magical contexts. Or basically the entire concept of magical names became less about esoteric spirit work naming and more of a tribal assuming-a-new-name-with-a-new-community process. One is not better or worse than the other, but they need to be understood as distinctly different things. A public name that you use because you feel it fits you better than the one your parents gave you, isn't a magical name. And it isn't your true name either, or I hope it isn't if your sharing it around so publicly.

Names have power. We can take control of that power by choosing what we want people to call us, by naming ourselves. Even assuming a nickname is an act of power. We can use magical names. We can even seek, and sometimes find, our True Name But we shouldn't forget the lessons that mythology and fairy tales have taught us about the value of the power of the names and the need to guard the names that mean the most to us. Not all names are meant to be shared.

* there is also significance to the repetition of the number three, and of asking a question three times.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Cana Cludhmor - Inventing an Irish Goddess

I saw a post on Twitter, under the folklore Thursday hashtag, claiming that the Irish goddess of music and the harp is Cana Cludhmor, which was a new one on me, so I decided to research the idea and that figure. I wasn't familiar with her as a name of any of the Tuatha De Danann, Fomoirians, or Fir Bolg, or from the Ulster or Fenian myth cycles but I am certainly not infallible nor do I know everything or every obscure figure from Irish mythology. Cana is a grade of poet and Cludhmor would read as roughly 'greatly famous' so the name itself could fit with the story. So I looked at what the modern idea of her was and tried to trace it back into the older source material.

The most readily available material is a wikipedia article about it, under the name Canola but noting the name Cana Cludhmor as well, claiming she fell asleep on the shore to mysterious music and awoke to realize it was the sound of wind on sinew & bone that had washed up on shore and invented the harp. This article, unsurprisingly, is repeated word for word in almost all the other main internet search hits (people love to plagiarize wiki). However the article lists only three sources: the 1854
Transactions of the Ossianic society, Patricia Monaghan's 2004 'Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore', and Brandi Auset's 2009 'The Goddess Guide'.
We'll get back to that first source in a minute, but let's look at Monaghan to start. Monaghan's book is widely problematic as it offers no sources or citations for any of the material it presents, so that's an immediate concern. The entry on 'Canola' is written in flowery prose and describes not a goddess but a 'legendary woman' who quarreled with her lover, then left his side to fall asleep near the seashore to the sound of gentle music; upon waking she realized it was coming from the remnants of a whale carcass where the wind was singing through the sinew still attached to the bones and was inspired to create the first harp.

Monaghan's story is suspicious but not entirely implausible across the breadth of Irish folklore, and its vital to note she describes 'Canola' as a human figure not a goddess. Digging further I found a single line reference in MacKillop's 1998 'Dictionary of Celtic Mythology' that says 'Canola' was the discoverer of the harp after hearing the musical sound of the wind over sinew attached to a whale skeleton. Very bare bones, if you'll forgive the pun, and no sources listed. However what we have at this point, roughly the early '00's, is a legendary woman who discovered the harp. 

Now back to the first source listed in wikipedia. I tracked down the original story that was reprinted in the Ossianic Society text to the Imtheacht na Tromdháimhe, a satirical work from around the 13th century, in the book of Lismore which is as follows:
""I know it," says Marvan, "and I will tell it thee. In former times there lived a married couple whose names were Macuel, son of Miduel, and Cana Cludhmor (or of great fame) his wife. His wife, having entertained a hatred for him, fled before him through woods and wildernesses, and he was in pursuit of her. One day that the wife had gone to the strand of the sea of Camas, and while walking along the strand she discovered the skeleton of a whale on the strand, and having heard the sound of the wind acting on the sinews of the whale, she fell asleep by that sound. Her husband came up to her, and having understood that it was by the sound she had fallen asleep, he proceeded into an adjacent forest, where he made the frame of a harp, and he put chords in it of the tendons of the whale, and that is the first harp that ever was made.'" 
So what the actual original story says, and what was still being told in the mid 19th century, is that Cana Cludhmor was a woman who fled from her husband and fell asleep to strange music produced through a whale carcass but it was her husband Macuel who found her and understood what was making the sound then recreated it using a wooden frame thus inventing the harp. 

I will note for thoroughness that she cannot be found at all in works by O'hOgain, Green, Waddell, or other reliable sources on actual Irish mythology and folk belief. 

The question becomes how did an obscure story about a man inventing a harp after chasing his wife to the shore get turned into her, under the name Canola, as an Irish goddess of music, and inventor of the harp? Because at this point in 2021 the idea is widespread online and ingrained to the point that there's an Irish tour company (founded in 2017) named Canola after this supposed goddess of music and the harp. It can be difficult to pinpoint the timeline of these things, but by 2011 there are multiple blogs and online articles that list her alongside well-known Irish deities and describe her as a goddess of music, dance, dreams and inspiration. So where did this begin? The answer seems to be wikipedia's third reference Auset's 'Goddess Guide'. This 2009 book by popular publisher Llewellyn - which cites no sources - claims Canola as the Irish goddess of not only music but also dance, and describes her inventing the harp to "capture the glorious sounds she'd heard in her dreams" before claiming she is the patron of musicians and poets and giver of inspiration - a far, far cry from the account in the Imtheacht na Tromdháimhe. While I might personally suppose Auset's creative text is based on Monaghan's that can't be proven as no source or citation is offered for the entry on 'Canola', however I do feel safe in suggesting Auset as the source of the modern idea of Canola or Cana Cludhmor as the Irish goddess of music, dance, dreams and inspiration as the 2011 online material closely follows Auset's Canola entry in both description of Canola and of her supposed purviews. 

So, effectively what we have here is an 'Irish' goddess created in or around 2009 by an author in the US, possibly based off a 2004 work which colorfully altered the story found in a snippet of a 1998 work, based on a very different 13th century Irish myth. The result 10+ years on being widespread online material including this new deity who is largely unknown in Ireland. 


References:
Connellan, O., (1854) Transactions of Ossianic Society 5. Retrieved from  https://sejh.pagesperso-orange.fr/keltia/version-en/tromdham.html?fbclid=IwAR1Rvh1vNc6VItB14PWICj4zfVta2-JZRl7EbY0JAF0WyCa5-XMk1wZPvrY 
Ossianic Society (1854) Transactions of the Ossianic society for the years, 1853-1858. Retrieved from  https://archive.org/details/transactionsossian05ossi/page/96/mode/2up
MacKillop, J., (1998) Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
Monaghan, P., (2004) Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore
Auset, B., (2009) Goddess Guide
Wikipedia (2021) Canola Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola_(mythology) 
O'hOgain, D., (2006) The Lore of Ireland

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Charm Against the Evil Eye

      The Carmina Gadelica has a series of charms which all deal with the evil eye, that is the curse laid upon a person by another who wishes them ill or looks upon them with envy.  This one is my personal favorite and I have modified it slightly to be more pagan; the original can be found here.

 I love the imagery it presents and find it reminiscent of the Song of Amergin. Anyone who has read the works of the witch Sibyl Leek may recognize the middle portion of the charm, the “power over” section, as she made use of this portion in an unhexing spell in one of her books, clearly drawing on the Gadelica as a source. That same section has also appeared in a young adult novel by L. J. Smith called The Power; all of which could be seen as a testament to the power and flexibility of the Carmina Gadelica charms, as well as their intrinsic value.


Exorcism of the Evil Eye 141
I trample upon the evil eye,
As the duck tramples upon the lake,
As the swan tramples upon the water,
As the horse tramples upon the plain,
As the cow tramples upon the grass,
As the host tramples the sky,
     As the host tramples the air.
Power of wind I have over it,
Power of wrath I have over it,
Power of fire I have over it,
Power of thunder I have over it,
Power of lightning I have over it,
Power of storms I have over it,
Power of moon I have over it,
Power of sun I have over it,
Power of stars I have over it,
Power of earth I have over it,
Power of sky and of the worlds I have over it,
     Power of the sky and of the worlds I have over it.
A portion of it upon the grey stones,    
A portion of it upon the steep hills,
A portion of it upon the fast falls,
A portion of it upon the fair meadows,
And a portion upon the great salt sea,
She herself is the best instrument to carry it,
     The great salt sea,
     is the best instrument to carry it.
In the names of the Three of Life,
In the names of the Gods of Skill,
In the names of all the Ancient Ones,
And of the Powers together.

 - excerpted from By Land, Sea, and Sky by the author

Monday, August 9, 2021

7 Dangerous Fairies

 Despite the common modern perception of fairies as lovely and helpful folklore offers a wide range of dangerous Fairy beings who represented a real threat to any humans they happened to encounter. I'd like to offer a list of 7 such dangerous beings here, although there are of course many more than that found across the folklore. These are definitely not the sorts of fairies one would want to find in one's garden. 

  1. Redcap - a malicious type of goblin the redcap gets his name from the hat he wears which is dyed red with human blood. He is known to live in ruins and will attack humans unfortunate enough to cross his path. Unlike many other fairies he isn't averse to iron - in fact its said his shoes are made of iron or iron toed - but he will flee at the sight of a Christian cross or at Christian prayers.
  2. Each Uisce - literally 'water horse' these are shapeshifters who can take the form of a human when they choose to but are most often in the form of a horse. In both Irish and Scottish folklore the Each Uisce will appear on land and lure a human into riding them, only to run back to the water, drown, and eat them. 
  3. Nuckelavee - found in Orcadian and Scottish folklore these monstrous beings live in bodies of salt water. They look like a horse with the torso of a rider on their back, the head rolling bonelessly, the arms hanging down unnaturally long; instead of hooves the horse has flippers and the entire creature is skinless. The Nuckelavee avoids fresh water, including rain, but will roam the strand near the sea and kill any living thing it finds there. It has also been blamed in folklore for droughts and for illness among horses. 
  4. Hags - a type of water fairy found across English folklore, usually under specific names like 'Peg Powler'. Hags lurk in waterways and drown the unwary, particularly children; by some accounts they eat the people they drown. Usually described as emaciated elderly women with talons or iron tipped claws.
  5. Slua Sidhe - not a specific individual fairy but a grouping of them, Slua Sidhe means 'fairy host' or fairy army and is a collection of malicious Otherworldly beings who travel through the air. They may snatch up a human they run across or else may cause illness, death, or madness to those they encounter. 
  6. Mare - The source of the modern word nightmare the mare or mår is sometimes also called a hag (not to be confused with the water ones) and attacks people while they sleep by perching on the human's chest causing sleep paralysis and night terrors. Occasionally those she torments do not survive her nightly attention and she is known to kill both humans and animals. 
  7. Baobhan Sith - Her name means, roughly, 'evil fairy woman'. In Scottish folklore the Baobhan Sith lurk in forests and appear to hunters who express loneliness, offering to keep them company. Several accounts discuss a group of hunters out at night in the woods who meet a group of Baobhan Sithe - seemingly just human women - and invite them to join them for some music or dancing. One hunter eventually notices something is amiss and realizes the women have killed his companions and flees into the night taking refuge among the horses whose iron clad hooves ward off the fairy women. The Baobhan Sith kills by draining her victims blood and in some accounts by ripping out his heart. 

John Henry Fuseli, 'The Nightmare"