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Monday, March 11, 2013

The Banshee-2013

The Banshee
From the Irish the word Banshee has two meanings, one 'bean sidhe', which means ~ women of the faeries. And the other meaning of the banshee is 'the gaelic', which means ~ ban sith. They both describe a spirit whose screeching and howling under the windowsills at night foretells that a death of a member of the household. This is how the legend is told.
Throughout time, mankind has looked for omens that portended doom, both on a societal as well as a personal level. 

The Roman augurs were soothsayers who claimed to be able to predict the future by examining the entrails of sacrificial victims, studying the flight of birds, the timing and location of the thunder storms. And even by a throw of the dice...

In Celtic Traditions, if a clock chimed at an inappropriate time or stopped. If a swarm of bee's were seen at the door. And if a rooster crowed at night, it had an ominous significance that death was not far
way. And one way to confirmation would be sought by keeping an eye out for anything unusual, like a bird, especially the rook or raven perched on a windowsill.

In Scotland, a 'bean nighe,'who is said to be a ghost of a women, who had died in childbirth could be seen wailing and crying, washing the shrouds in the nearest Ioch of those who were to die. 

As you can see there, is quite a bit of folklore in many different country's and cultures too. We have Ireland, Scotland, the traditions of the Romans and Celtic too. And we have only just began. 

The Banshee was thought to belong to the fairy world and dwell in a fairy mounds, but to shun the society of other fairies.

She is described many different ways. So many in fact you will find that, I have quite a few different pictures, of different artist that have depicted their versions of what the banshee would look like. Some would say she is described as a smallish woman, others as a more larger. The banshee has been been described to have white, black, gray, brown and even pale blonde tresse in their hair. Their complexions range for waxy white, bluest hue's, blackest swampiest look , ghostly like, to even almost human looking. 

She would appear in the birthplace of the man or woman who was about to die. Mostly in the early morning to the late evening. She could be heard wailing from as far as she approached the house. Sometimes though not always she came right up to the windowpanes. When she went away, there was often a fluttering sound as if a bird was flapping it's wings nearby...

 In Celtic folklore the banshee only ever warned families of pure Celtic Blood and wouldn't accompany them overseas if they had emigrated but could be heard in their homes if misfortune's had befallen upon them on the other side of the world... She also attached herself to places, such as crossroads and certain trees or streams, which then became imbued with an eerie atmosphere. 
Many morality tales have sprung up around the myth of the banshee,  especially regarding men who have offender her.
Perhaps these old wives tales were told to young boys to make them respect women and to live temperate lives. 
It is interesting to note that the banshee is always portrayed as a female spirit and it makes for a certain symmetry that mankind is brought forth into the world and ushered form it by women.

The christian version of the banshee paints her as a demon wailing for the souls that ascend to heaven and thus escape her master's clutches. 
She is also sometimes considered to be the soul of a unbaptized child or a woman who was too proud too surrender herself to God-
Interesting thought- Another interesting theory about the 
banshee is that the myth of her is evolved form the professional
mourners who were paid to wail at the funerals of important
people. They were often wise old crones, dressed in black and 
paid in drink. Perhaps they found no respite in death and were
condemned to continue this offering as a punishment for their 

Human looking banshee

 Ghostly banshee 

Swampy banshee

 Ghostly banshee

Demon banshee

Demon banshee
 Spirit banshee

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