Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course: Lesson Twelve – Banshees

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course

Lesson Twelve

Banshees

 

There are many different names for Banshee’s, for they appear around the world. Some of these are very descriptive, for instance: Badhbh C haointe (Wailing Crow) is one of the names for the Banshee. Another is Bean Chaointe (Wailing Woman). According to Irish tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neill’s, the O’Brien’s, the O’Connor’s, the O’Grady’s and the Kavanaghs. These are the original Irish families of Milesian ancestry. The Irish word “Bean Sidhe” (bann-SHEE), means “spirit woman.” The Banshee is sometimes accompanied by the “Coiste-Bodhar” which is a large black coach with a coffin on it. When there are several or more banshees gathered together it is a warning that someone of great importance is about to die.

Gwrach Y Rhibyn (GOO-rakh uh HREE-bun) (Hag of the Dribble) (witch of Rhibyn) – This Welsh banshee appears at crossroads, streams, and mountain sides. She has black teeth snarled hair. And she has wings like a bat. If one encounters her and she is screaming my spouse, my spouse, then your spouse is about to perish. If she is screaming my child, my child, then a child is about to perish. It is said that she warns important Welsh families.

Caoineag (The Weeper) – She is a Scottish banshee and a member of the Fauth (Gaelic water spirits). She is seldom seen but can be heard at night wailing by waterfalls or weeping by streams prior to the demise of a clan.

Aoibhill – She is a Faery Queen who appear as a Banshee to the Dalcassian family of North Munster. When a member of the O’brien clan hears Aoibell playing her harp, they are not long for this world. She is sometimes referred to as “banfháidh O mBriain” (prophetress of Clann UíBriain). As a Faery queen, she rules over the Craig Liath (Grey Rock) located in County Clare.

Bean-Nighe (Washer Woman) – She is thought to be the spirit of a woman who has been murdered or of one who died during childbirth and who had left behind a pile of dirty clothes. A Bean Nighe is thought to have one nostril, one large protruding tooth, webbed feet and long hanging breasts. She washes the bloodstained clothes of those who are about to die. Her sad litany goes “Se do leine se do leine ga mi nigheadh” (It is your shirt that I am washing, your shirt that I am washing). If one can catch her unawares then one can have their questions answered by the banshee. Her description changes as per her locale.

Bowa – This is the banshee that represents East Munster. She is known as Bachuntha.

Caointeach (Wailer) – This Scottish banshee is found in the vicinity of Argyllshire and Skye. She appears as a small woman wearing a green gown and a tall white hat. She has one very large front tooth and no nose. She strikes at the legs with the wet linens she is washing, at anyone that happens to espy her. She is local to the Scottish highlands. She keens for the Scottish clans of Macmillan, Matheson, Macfarlane, Kelly, Shaw, and Currie. Her Welsh counterpart is the Cyhyraeth.

Dullohan – These Irish faeries are headless phantoms who drive the black coaches that sometimes accompany banshees. Their coaches are pulled by headless horses, and wherever they come to rest, someone dies.

Cyhiraeth (kuh-HEE-ryth) – This is a Cornish banshee who is said to have long black teeth. She originally was a Welsh Goddess of streams.

Cyoerraeth – These Welsh banshees are unique in that they can be either male or female. They are said to have black teeth and matted hair. They are heard but rarely seen. They are said to beat things against the window while loudly keening when someone is about to die. They also warn spouses that their other half is about to pass. And they are said to walk along the beach carrying corpse-candles when an impending shipwreck is about to take place.

Ekimmu (that which is snatched away) – She was an ancient Assyrian banshee who would wail, outside of the door of the one who was about to pass. Ekimmus are spirits of those who were not buried properly, they are extremely vengeful toward the living.

Klage-Weib (Wailing Woman) – This is a very large German banshee. She is said to be draped in funeral clothes and that her eyes are black and hollow. She walks about during stormy nights and when she stretches her arms about a house that one of the inhabitants within is about to die. Ekimmu’s origins date back to 4000 BCE. Ekimmus were referred to as the evil gusts of wind.

Bocanachs – as Cuchulainn went into battle against the forces of Maeve he was forced to fight his foster brother “Ferdia”. As a means of countering the demonic spirits of Maeve, there flew around Cuchulainn several demonic spirits. One of these was the Bocanachs, which are thought to be the progeny of the Irish banshee’s.

Skree – This Scottish banshee is said to have reds eyes and wings like a bat. During the Battle of Culloden (1746 CE) she was seen shrieking over the heads of the Scottish and English armies that were engaged in combat.

 

Quiz:

1. The Coiste-Bodhar is a large black coach with a ______ on it.

2. Bowa is the banshee that represents _____ _______.

3. Cyoerraeth cab be either ______ or _______.

4. Around Cuchulain flies the __________.

5. Aoibhill is a banshee from _____ _______.

6. Badhbh C haointe, means ______ ____.

7. Bean-Nighe washes the ___________ clothes of those who are about to die.

 

 

Whispering Woods Faery Lore course

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