THE BANSHEE OF IRELAND

THE BANSHEE OF IRELAND

  • A banshee is a female spiritin Irish mythology who heralds the death of a family member, usually by shrieking or keening.
  • The banshee is often described in Gaelic lore as wearing red or green, usually with long, disheveled hair (usually described as red or orange, and yellow in medieval times described to shimmer like wild fire).
  • She can appear in a variety of forms.
  • Perhaps most often she is seen as an ugly, frightful hand, but she can also appear as young and beautiful if she chooses.
  • In some tales, the figure who first appears to be a banshee or other cailleach(hag) is later revealed to be the Irish battle goddess, Morrígan.
  • In Ireland and parts of Scotland, a traditional part of mourning is the keeningwoman who wails a lament.
  • She also predicts death.
  • Legend has it that for great Gaelic families – the lament would be sung by a fairy woman; having foresight, she would sing it when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come.
  • If someone is about to enter a situation where is it unlikely they will come out of alive she will warn people by screaming or wailing. Hence why a banshee is also known as a wailing woman.
  • When several banshees appear at once, it indicates the death of someone great or holy.

 

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