Banshee

Banshee 

The Banshee from the Irish bean sí (“woman of the side” or “woman of the faerie mounds”) is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld. Her Scottish counterpart is the bean shith (also spelled bean-shidh) The asos sí (“people of the mounds”, “people of peace”) are variously believed to be the survivals of pre-Christian Gaelic deities, spirits of nature, or the ancestors. Some Theosophists and Celtic Christians have also referred to the aos sí as “fallen angels”. They are commonly referred to in English as “faeries”, and the banshee can also be described as a “fairy woman”.

In Irish legend, a banshee wails around a house if someone in the house is about to die. There are particular families who are believed to have Banshees attached to them, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that family. Traditionally, when a citizen of an Irish village died, a woman would sing a lament (in Irish: caoineadh, [ˈkiːnʲə] or [ˈkiːnʲuː], “caoin” meaning “to weep, to wail”) at their funeral. These women singers are sometimes referred to as “keeners” and the best keeners would be in much in demand. Legend has it that, for five great Gaelic families: the O’Gradys, the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, and the Kavanaghs, the lament would be sung by a fairy woman; having foresight, she would sing the lament when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come, so that the wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death. In later versions the banshee might appear before the death and warn the family by wailing. When several banshees appeared at once, it indicated the death of someone great or holy. The tales sometimes recounted that the woman, though called a fairy, was a ghost, often of a specific murdered woman, or a woman who died in childbirth.

Banshees are frequently described as dressed in white or grey, and often having long, fair hair which they brush with a silver comb, a detail scholar Patricia Lysaght attributes to confusion with local mermaid myths. This comb detail is also related to the centuries-old traditional romantic Irish story that, if you ever see a comb lying on the ground in Ireland, you must never pick it up, or the banshees (or mermaids – stories vary), having placed it there to lure unsuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away. Other stories portray banshees as dressed in green, red or black with a grey cloak.

Calendar of the Sun for March 31

Calendar of the Sun
31 Wolfmonath

Imbolc Eve: Day of the Bean Sidhe

Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of black place a cup of blood, kept from the last slaughtering. Before it lay bloodstained rags and a flute, and many small unlit votive candles. Block the windows and shut out all sunlight.
Offering: Give aid to a child who has lost their mother.
Daily Meal: Red meat and milk.

Imbolc Eve Invocation

Go, my children, to the riverbank,
In the dark of the night when the wind is howling,
And you shall hear the wails of one who mourns,
And you shall see her kneeling by the water,
Washing the bloody clothes of those
Who did not survive the giving forth of life.
She weeps for the mothers lost,
She weeps for the children lost,
She weeps for the life cut short,
What should have been a joyous day
Become a night of mourning.
She weeps above all for those
Who have no one else to weep for them.
So we shall light a candle, on this night
Before the morn of Candlemas,
For all those who have no one to weep for them,
And we shall shed the tears
And we shall be the voice,
And we shall do the work
Of the lonely Bean Sidhe.

(The cup of blood is poured as a libation. Each comes forward and lights a small votive candle, and then all wail in a great torrent of sound together, with one playing the flute wildly over the cacophony. Those who can shed tears should do so. This should go on until all are exhausted from wailing, and then all should go quietly to their other tasks in silence until Hesperis.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Air Witch Lore – Sylphs and Fairy Folk

Air Witch Lore – Sylphs and Fairy Folk

Sylphs are the nature spirits that inhabit air. They weave together the fabric of thoughts, dreams, communication, breathing, destruction and secrets. Thought to be offspring of the Sidhe, sylphs are small in stature, transparent, and winged and they move very quickly. Sylphs sometimes take on the form of birds and other times clouds. At one time they were believed to favor virgins with their kinship. It is thought that sylphs control the winds and weather.

The Banshee is a member of the fairy realm that particularly relates to ai. Described as a wailing shrouded figure with red eyes, the Banshee is thought to warn of impending death. Considered by some to be an aspect of the Morrigan, the Banshee is seen as a withered old crone with unkempt gray hair.

Italian folklore presents fairies that like to ride the noonday winds and steal kisses. Similar fairies appear as grasshoppers or as short gentlemen and women who are well dressed. Wind spirits are known to be playful and mischievous.

Modern society views almost all fairies as being of an airborne nature. Tinkerbell, the Disney character, is  manifestation of that view. Magick transports itself primarily through the vehicle of air, although in an etheric form, so the correspondence between the two is reasonable, if a bit misguided.