Let's Read GURPS Celtic Myth

Séadna

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I've gotten some good stories together now and I'll start writing them out tomorrow, but I thought I'd squeeze in this one for today.

Source is UCD Folklore archives, Volume 978, pages 3-4 [Ediphone recording September 1945 with transcription]

Concerns a man (known to the storyteller, but now dead in 1945) who was a bit of a card player and often played the game called "Sheep" and cheated others at it, usually by not paying up when losing. As punishment in confession the local priest demanded he remain the night in the church for three nights.

However each midnight he looks out and sees a massive group of Fae outside having a mass. It's being conducted by a Priest doing readings and another giving communion and other minor functions.

Just an example of a common enough story where some of the Fae are shown as very religious and having masses within the bounds of a mortal church provided it is the middle of the night. They even have ordained priests. I think this common motif hasn't made its way into English and general fantasy usage of the Fae (though correct me if I am wrong)

The ability of the Fae to leave the confines of their mound, beach and cliff palaces for a small period around midnight will come up in the stories to follow.

Graveyard in front of the church where this mass was conducted:
CEM2662186_6282d59e-1113-44bd-9016-745ccab9bc8a.jpeg
 
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Séadna

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Yeah it's very interesting. Most of Ireland's most prominent archaeological sites are pre-Celtic and as far as we can tell the current population of the island is mostly not descended from the people who built Newgrange and other tomb sites who seem to have been out bred or eliminated by the Celts.

This is one of many pieces of evidence emerging that these pre-Celtic people had a society that was similar to Egyptian or Incan practice where an elite ruling class practiced incest, were buried in massive tombs and deified the Sun.

There's some interesting evidence in early writings that these people were remembered as being a bit "weird" by the Celts that followed, but there's plenty of debate about how much is faithfully transmitted orally. Many of their sites are given names in Celtic myth that mean something like "Hill of Incest" etc.
 
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TristramEvans

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Here's a question you might be able to answer for me @Séadna

Does the concept of "Drune" come from anywhere in Celtic myth or Folklore that you've encountered?

To explain, I first encountered the "Drune Lords" in the comic Slaine (which I'm sure you're familiar with). They were the worshippers of the dark god Crom-Cruach, and almost the Celt equivalent of Chaos Warriors for the Slaine stories.

Drunes.png

However, I later encountered this term again in two different places - first in the miniatures game Cadwallon (https://cadwallon.com/rackham-confrontation/kelts-drune) and, most recently, in the Celtic/British folklore-basedgame Darklands

mrm_dkl_ysn_kys_wcf_120_100_01_large.jpg

However, no amount of googling pulls up this term in any context besides the Slaine comics. While it's very possible that is indeed the source of inspiration for both of these later games, I've always been curious if there was some sort of basis for this that Slaine (and hence, possibly these later games) were drawing upon that I just have not encountered yet in English?
 
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Ronnie Sanford

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Here's a question you might be able to answer for me @Séadna

Does the concept of "Drune" come from anywhere in Celtic myth or Folklore that you've encountered?
You might check out Dolmenwood as the Drune have a heavy presence there. However I am just a player and haven't seen all their motivations and such. @Nick J would be the guy to ask. But I can tell you this - they are evil to the core. They tried to sacrifice my girlfriend.
 

Nick J

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You might check out Dolmenwood as the Drune have a heavy presence there. However I am just a player and haven't seen all their motivations and such. @Nick J would be the guy to ask. But I can tell you this - they are evil to the core. They tried to sacrifice my girlfriend.
The authors of Dolmenwood would be the people to ask (Gavin Norman and Greg Gorgonmilk, both of whom still have a social media presence on MeWe), but as a fan of the Sláine comics, I definitely see the Drune of Dolmenwood and the comics as thematically (if not necessarily explicitly) linked . . . I won't say anymore than that because I don't want to spoil anything for guys like @Ronnie Sanford and @Simlasa
 

Ronnie Sanford

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The authors of Dolmenwood would be the people to ask (Gavin Norman and Greg Gorgonmilk, both of whom still have a social media presence on MeWe), but as a fan of the Sláine comics, I definitely see the Drune of Dolmenwood and the comics as thematically (if not necessarily explicitly) linked . . . I won't say anymore than that because I don't want to spoil anything for guys like @Ronnie Sanford and @Simlasa
We won't tell our characters :-)
 

Séadna

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Does the concept of "Drune" come from anywhere in Celtic myth or Folklore that you've encountered?
There is a predecessor in a sense of how "bad" Druids and evil pagans are portrayed in Medieval literature and modern folklore. Usually they are described as having their souls turn into festering worms that corrupt or rot them from within.

A comic from here showing this (third panel):
piast.jpg

They're often described as wearing the pelts of powerful wild animals like wolves or elks, which allow them to shape shift into were versions of these beasts. As far as we can tell this comes from an Irish borrowing of the biblical stories of the priests of Ba'al, the Canaanite god.

So where as the "good" ancient druids and pagans remained in immortal splendor beneath mounds, cliffs, beaches and lakes, the "bad" ones festered and rotted over the centuries. They're not very common in stories and the folk tales with them in the UCD archives don't have associated translations.

Crom Cruach on the other hand is an interesting one. He still survives to this day in the strong curse "Dar Crom" literally "By Crom". This is a curse similar to "Holy Shit!" in English. There's also "In ainm Chroim" literally "In Crom's name" but means "Cut it out!". Finally "Domhnach Chroim Duibh" which is the last Sunday in July or the first Sunday in August (depending on where you're from).

Crom Cruach himself was with almost 100% certainty not worshipped historically as virtually everything about him such as how his cult functioned is borrowed from Rabbinical traditions of the Canaanite god Moloch. Thus Crom is Rabbinical folklore given an Irish setting with St. Patrick given a similar function to King Josiah in the Moloch stories.

N.B. And note there is discussions by Canaanite historians as to whether Moloch himself was an actual historical Canaanite god or just a Rabbinical misinterpretation of older sacrificial traditions, i.e. a "Moloch" might have been a type of human sacrificial altar that Josiah banned rather than a god whose cult he shut down.

Layers upon layers....
 

TristramEvans

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So is the word "Drune" just a corruption of "Druid" then?
 

Nick J

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@Séadna it's an interesting connection between Crom and Moloch. I'm no linguist or historian, but I've read accounts here and there that there was a Punic-Irish connection linguistically, and the Phonecians almost certainly had contact with the British Isles through the tin trade. If I'm being romantically-minded, It almost makes me wonder if there's some possibility the Moloch cult got imported to Ireland and morphed into some pagan figure that the early Christians found eerily similar to that Moloch figure from Rabbinical folklore, because there was indeed a link?
 

Séadna

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This will be somewhat technical, then stop abruptly.

it's an interesting connection between Crom and Moloch. I'm no linguist or historian, but I've read accounts here and there that there was a Punic-Irish connection linguistically, and the Phonecians almost certainly had contact with the British Isles through the tin trade. If I'm being romantically-minded, It almost makes me wonder if there's some possibility the Moloch cult got imported to Ireland and morphed into some pagan figure that the early Christians found eerily similar to that Moloch figure from Rabbinical folklore, because there was indeed a link?
The Celtic languages of Britain and Ireland and Afro-Asiatic (Egyptian and Semitic) languages share many grammatical features. Some of which Welsh and Irish share with Afro-Asiatic but not with the Celtic languages on the continent like Gaulish. The similarities are especially strong with Egyptian. As for why there are many theories.

Simple coincidence is one. Trading as you mentioned is another, either with the Phoenicians or Egyptians. The most common "not a coincidence" theory is that the Pre-Celtic people mentioned above are commonly thought to have spoken an Afro-Asiatic derivative, so it could be a case of an older linguistic layer influencing Welsh and Irish. They would have left some imprint on the Celtic language as they assimilated to Celtic culture.

Unfortunately the Pre-Celtic language left very little trace. The words for Crab, some birds, Hound and the name of a single historical site "Teamhair" = "The Hill of Tara" are the only Pre-Celtic vocabulary we have.

Statistical analysis sides more strongly with the Afro-Asiatic idea than the coincidence idea. Also genetic analysis of Pre-Celtic bodies shows a fairly clear lineage that traces to the general area that Afro-Asiatic comes from and around the same time in spread from its homeland. Combined with the fact that their culture shows some evidence of being similar to Egyptian culture, most people in the area think something along these lines.

So there's definitely enough room to get Crom as Moloch into a game. :smile:

I could say more, but as daft as it will sound to people outside of Ireland, this does get political. Certain groups today claim direct descent from the Pre-Celts and others deny or at least downplay the existence of Pre-Celtic peoples. Both motivated from opposing ideological viewpoints.
 

AsenRG

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I could say more, but as daft as it will sound to people outside of Ireland, this does get political. Certain groups today claim direct descent from the Pre-Celts and others deny or at least downplay the existence of Pre-Celtic peoples. Both motivated from opposing ideological viewpoints.
That part sounds (almost painfully) familiar:thumbsup:.
 

TristramEvans

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Tis funny, Moloch has been the primary antagonist of my ongoing Call of Cthulhu campaign for the last 12 years
 

TristramEvans

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Oh do tell.

I dunno what to tell about it - original inspiration was likely Metropolis, the original Fritz Lang film. The more I investigated, the more opportunities I saw for horror - the sacrifice of children, the "brass bull" where people are burned alive inside, the associations with Ginsberg's Howl, the Bohemian Grove, the associations in pop culture both with pagan rights and the technological revolution...

I weaved in subtle references over a long period of time as the campaign dealt with an occult war between two cults, one of which was the cult of Nyarlothotep, and the other eventually revealed as a radical splinter group of the Yezedis, whose Peacock-God "Melek-Taus" they came to identify as the Caananite Moloch.

I even went so far as to create a replica "Black Book" - a holy book of Moloch, cobbled together from actual historical writings on Moloch, adaptions of genuine grimoires, and some of the rantings of real-life nutters from online.
 

CRKrueger

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I dunno what to tell about it - original inspiration was likely Metropolis, the original Fritz Lang film. The more I investigated, the more opportunities I saw for horror - the sacrifice of children, the "brass bull" where people are burned alive inside, the associations with Ginsberg's Howl, the Bohemian Grove, the associations in pop culture both with pagan rights and the technological revolution...

I weaved in subtle references over a long period of time as the campaign dealt with an occult war between two cults, one of which was the cult of Nyarlothotep, and the other eventually revealed as a radical splinter group of the Yezedis, whose Peacock-God "Melek-Taus" they came to identify as the Caananite Moloch.

I even went so far as to create a replica "Black Book" - a holy book of Moloch, cobbled together from actual historical writings on Moloch, adaptions of genuine grimoires, and some of the rantings of real-life nutters from online.
Just wondering how you saw Moloch fitting in with the Mythos, the Cosmology of it.
 

TristramEvans

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Just wondering how you saw Moloch fitting in with the Mythos, the Cosmology of it.
I mean, for my players, that isn't a question I'd provide any sort of answer for...these were all things outside of human comprehension.

But as for myself, I see the Elder Gods as intelligences that exist outside of our reality trying to worm their way in. Much lik the Gnostic conception of unrealized realities ruled over by Archons. - unrealized universes striving to manifest. But I think the clear implication is that they way they pierce into our reality, the way they gain an existence from outside of existence, is through human belief. Moloch is the same, but the opposite, in a way. I see him as a manifestation created by humanity that began as a...disease for the lack of a better word, infecting the minds of certain humans and eventually taking on an individual intelligence.

Moloch is the machine mind. The sacrifice of flesh for society. He is the inhumanity as a byproduct of society. When the first civilizations arose, when the first concept occured that individuals were of less value than the whole, and certain people existed only to keep society working - to "feed the machine", this ishow Moloch was born, and so he is, to the Mythos Gods, a competing reality. Equally uncaring, but ultimately more human, in the way that only humans can be so inhumane.

Or, to put it another way,

The Elder Gods "winning" means the end of civilization, and the return to primordial chaos.

Moloch "winning" means the ultimate triumph of cvilization over the individual, and the advancement to a state of pure, cold, order.

So both are basically in a tug of war for humanity's psyche in opposite directions.

This all probably sounds very philosophical and high concept, because just for the sake of the game, it's really just the themes that are important to inform the horror.
 
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CRKrueger

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I mean, for my players, that isn't a question I'd provide any sort of answer for...these were all things outside of human comprehension.

But as for myself, I see the Elder Gods as intelligences that exist outside of our reality trying to worm their way in. Much lik the Gnostic conception of unrealized realities ruled over by Archons. - unrealized universes striving to manifest. But I think the clear implication is that they way they pierce into our reality, the way they gain an existence from outside of existence, is through human belief. Moloch is the same, but the opposite, in a way. I see him as a manifestation created by humanity that began as a...disease for the lack of a better word, infecting the minds of certain humans and eventually taking on an individual intelligence.

Moloch is the machine mind. The sacrifice of flesh for society. He is the inhumanity as a byproduct of society. When the first civilizations arose, when the first concept occured that individuals were of less value than the whole, and certain people existed only to keep society working - to "feed the machine", this ishow Moloch was born, and so he is, to the Mythos Gods, a competing reality. Equally uncaring, but ultimately more human, in the way that only humans can be so inhumane.

Or, to put it another way,

The Elder Gods "winning" means the end of civilization, and the return to primordial chaos.

Moloch "winning" means the ultimate triumph of cvilization over the individual, and the advancement to a state of pure, cold, order.

So both are basically in a tug of war for humanity's psyche in opposite directions.

This all probably sounds very philosophical and high concept, because just for the sake of the game, it's really just the themes that are important to inform the horror.
Right, there’s no way that the players will ever know for sure, even if they guessed correctly. I was asking as a GM, because running a Conan campaign, you have evidence for a Mitra/Set dualism, a polytheistic set of quasi-historical gods (who may or may not even exist or have power) and Mythos beings “From The Outer Dark” all in the same setting, so I was just curious how you set up Moloch with regards to the Mythos in your head.
 

Séadna

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Okay here is a summary of I think the most unknown bits of Sidhe folklore taken from the UCD folklore archives, very old copies of the Connacht Tribune (a now defunct newspaper) and handwritten notes held in Ionad Deirbhile (with thanks to the staff at Ionad Deirbhile for permitting me to open the old collections and sit reading them for four hours undisturbed, website link is bilingual).

I will not retell the stories as this has all been extracted from >600 short folktales. I will stick to the main facts.

So the list.
  1. The Sidhe are ancient pagans as I've mentioned before. Many of the storytellers are explicit on this point. Confinement to the mounds is a form of purgatory for these magically powerful people of the past. Since they should be dead by "natural law" they are often called "the dead", though when pressed the storytellers do say "those who should be dead" or "somewhat dead".

  2. There's a bit of a split about the world inside the Sidhe mounds.

    For some it is part of the afterlife, just the part closest to the world of the living. Often heaven can be seen in some way in the distance. When you pass into a mound you usually enter a large palace, but eventually you can exit it into the broader Sidhe world which is often a distorted or exaggerated version of the mortal world above. For these people the Sidhe really are dead, but they're close enough to life to be able to leave the mounds and appear in some way.
    There's elements of Narnia here.

    For others under the mounds are literal physical palaces in the regular old mortal world. The Sidhe are fully alive in the usual sense, just living underground. It's simply that their palace is the only place where their "anti-aging" magic works.

    These two different conceptions affect plenty about how the Sidhe are presented. The former tend to display more fantastic powers but they don't really abduct people and are more likely to manifest outside the mounds as phantoms or the wind rather than physical forms. See point 7.

    Many storytellers hold both notions, saying it depends on the mound.

  3. The palaces are often basically what a noble man from the 12th century's house was like. Well lit, banquets, silverware, etc

  4. Some storytellers say that among them are some of the angels that sided with neither Lucifer nor heaven and these may live among them, though they are not strictly Sidhe. Often a phrase that is hard to translate is used, roughly "Sidhe-allied".
    However most Storytellers keep this a separate notion and use the phrase "demons of the air" or "angels of pride". The play tricks on mortals during the day but don't live in the Sidhe mounds.
    The Sidhe are often acquainted with Satan, but unfriendly toward him. In Irish myth Satan walks around Earth all the time, he's not in Hell. He doesn't really try to corrupt people but more so focuses on well regarded people and tries to show that their valour/courage etc is all a facade/load of shit. That they'll descend into barbarism if given the chance.

  5. The entrance way to many undersea Sidhe palaces is via speckled rock in a cliff face or lake. These rocks will be seen to have vanished in the weeks before a major Sidhe incursion/abduction raid.

  6. The Sidhe can abduct people for many purposes. Spouses if their mortal spouses have died. To replenish their numbers since they reproduced slowly or not at all (depends on the local folklore which was the case). For some specific job. As insurance/blackmail against another party.

  7. Exiting the mounds can only be done at midnight and virtually always they assume some "diminished" form. In most cases where the form is visible the Sidhe shape-shifts into an animal or a smaller version of themselves. However most Sidhe can only exist as sentient wind currents.
    The most common reason for leaving the mounds is to play sports competitions with other mounds.

  8. Since they are so well known, the Leprechaun is the latter. Usually they're an ancient king who is able to retain a completely human, though shrunken, body when out and about. Rarely(never?) mentioned in English, Leprechauns are often sighted at beaches. Their Gaelic name is "Lucharachán" which means roughly "little dude", although really closer to cute or kawaii. The pot of gold is really just their kingly treasures, which are more often weapons and chariots held in their mounds.

    I include this as one of the Storytellers literally had a cantankerous note "I'm sick of <slur word for Irish-Americans> telling confused nonsense about Leprechauns" where he gave the details above explicitly.

  9. Sidhe raids go by many names, though common ones like the Wild Hunt are known in English. Often proceeded by a powerful blast of cold air as they land.

  10. The Sidhe often leave behind one of their own so that mortals don't know an abduction has happened. These are usually one of their own number who enjoy extended stints in the afterlife. Often the mortal world will have an affect on them and they'll start to rapidly age after about a month and need to fake a death and return to the mound. They're often translated as "Changeling" but the name really means "Useless sick person".
    For some reason these "stand-ins" often expose themselves to people when they accidentally reveal knowledge of ancient events. Either battles in Ireland's past or (for some reason) Russian medieval politics (?)

  11. Escaping a Sidhe mound almost always has a price. Most often the person loses their sight, but being struck dumb or losing the ability to walk are other common features.

  12. The mounds usually contain people long thought dead, previous abduction victims. It's a standard motiff for the victim the story focuses on to see their great-grand uncle or similar in the mound. Usually this is who warns them against various spells the Sidhe might pull off.

  13. A victim is always offered some food. Some item of the food is cursed and eating it will mean the person can never leave the mound.

  14. Virtually every mound contains a queen (bright golden glowing hair) and a general (woman with thick red hair and possibly claws who eviscerates mortals when roaming about)

  15. Victims often don't see the Sidhe during the abduction. They hear a massive wind that blasts them about a kilometer into the air, whereupon they are carried on the air currents into the mound. Some people of special ability can perceive the actual Sidhe holding them.

  16. Most Sidhe material is a magically shape shifted regular or useless object. For example removed from their mounds Sidhe food will resume its original form. Often rock or soil. Similarly with their treasures. There is a fairly common theme of their food being "incredibly sumptuous" etc but in some sense unsatisfying and hollow.

  17. If on a raid they eat some of your food or drink milk from your animals, then they are indebted to you (as they rarely experience real food). Many stories involve the debt being paid by teleporting the debtee away from the London Metropolitan police in someway when that person emigrates to London (for some reason).

  18. A strong current throughout the stories is the Sidhe's attempt to get back in God's good books. This involves appearing to people for the express purpose of terrifying them into praying for the Sidhe's release from purgatory and holding mass several times at mortal churches. Often they descend on people with their elite red armoured guard and demand they ask the local priest to consecrate or pray at the Sidhe mound. The Sidhe whose job it is to terrify mortals into praying for them have a name that's literally "People of the Seven Eras".
    It was funny how many storytellers say they were atheists until they met the Sidhe which then made them think maybe there was a God. One even said in an interview that his "logical mind" knew God was a load of made up nonsense, but then why would the Sidhe (which are totally real) be so obsessed with getting people to pray for them.

  19. Some rare Sidhe can appear in completely mortal form in daylight, but they forgo their powers which they store in a cloak or other item of clothing. Somebody who steals and hides this cloak then traps them in mortal form and gets to marry them. Most "Sidhe-touched" people descend from such a union.
 
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TristramEvans

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Some storytellers say that among them are some of the angels that sided with neither Lucifer nor heaven and these may live among them, though they are not strictly Sidhe. Often a phrase that is hard to translate is used, roughly "Sidhe-allied".
However most Storytellers keep this a separate notion and use the phrase "demons of the air" or "angels of pride". The play tricks on mortals during the day but don't live in the Sidhe mounds.

Sidhe raids go by many names, though common ones like the Wild Hunt are known in English. Often proceeded by a powerful blast of cold air as they land.

They're often translated as "Changeling" but the name really means "Useless sick person".

Virtually every mound contains a queen (bright golden glowing hair) and a general (woman with thick red hair and possibly claws who eviscerates mortals when roaming about)

The Sidhe whose job it is to terrify mortals into praying for them have a name that's literally "People of the Seven Eras".
What are those terms (bolded) untranslated/in Gaelic?
 

Séadna

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Sidhe-allied => There is a general term "Sióg" that refers to the Sidhe and anything vaguely related to them. More specific terms exist when people want to exclude the Sidhe themselves like Taibhse (ghosts), Sprid (spirits of a location, "record ghosts"), Samhail (Manifestation of a higher being)

Demons of the air => "Deamhain Aeir" or "Bocánaigh"

Angels of Pride => Aingil an uabhair

Useless sick person => Iarlais

General with red hair => An Bhean Rua

People of the Seven Eras => Lucht na Seacht nAimsir (last part also spelled n-Aimsir)
 

Séadna

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There's also the archaic term Fíothal or Fíodhal that refers to a mortal woman who uses Sidhe magic.

Also note many early 20th century and 19th century texts are essentially translating these all to "Fairy". This made more sense at that time when "Fae" or "Fairy" simple meant "the Weird" or "the Supernatural", but with the common meaning of fairy today it loses a lot of nuance.
 

TristramEvans

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It's interesting how all these concepts from one culture got mixed up with the Anglo-Saxon concept of Elves, as a distinct supernatural being seperate from humanity, and the original concept of the term Fairy as a state of enchantment.

I read a really fascinating book on that subject: Elves in Anglo-Saxon England by Alaric Hall, one of the most thorough treatise on the subject I've ever come across in my lifetime (but also very, very dense, not for casual reading or anyone without at least a cursory background in linguistics)
 

Séadna

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I also forgot to say the Wild Hunt.

The common term for the abducting wave of Sidhe is "Slua Sidhe" = "Sidhe host" or "Sidhe army". There's also "Sloghadh Sidhe" = "Sidhe Campaign/Mobilisation/Expedition/Hunt"

However there is a less common term "Saighdiúirí Dearga" = "Red/Wild Soldiers" or "Sloghadh Dearga" = "Red/Wild Expedition/Hunt".

The name "Saighdiúirí Dearga" is also used for the British Redcoat soldiers which can be used in a strange play on words where the Sidhe manifest as these.

Since you mentioned your family being from Knoydart/Cnòideart I should say the Bocánaigh, the banished neutral angels of the war in heaven are associated with there. I managed to read some stuff in the dialect (although it was mostly biographical) which I'd never done before. It's one of the Scots Gaelic dialects that's close to Irish so it's a very easy read. There were some funny cases where a word that's very old and archaic to me was obviously the regular word in Cnòideart. I thought it'd be a typical Hebrides dialect but you can clearly identify it as distinct due to some features.

Elves in Anglo-Saxon England by Alaric Hall
Yeah, a true classic.
 

AsenRG

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Okay here is a summary of I think the most unknown bits of Sidhe folklore taken from the UCD folklore archives, very old copies of the Connacht Tribune (a now defunct newspaper) and handwritten notes held in Ionad Deirbhile (with thanks to the staff at Ionad Deirbhile for permitting me to open the old collections and sit reading them for four hours undisturbed, website link is bilingual).

I will not retell the stories as this has all been extracted from >600 short folktales. I will stick to the main facts.

So the list.
  1. The Sidhe are ancient pagans as I've mentioned before. Many of the storytellers are explicit on this point. Confinement to the mounds is a form of purgatory for these magically powerful people of the past. Since they should be dead by "natural law" they are often called "the dead", though when pressed the storytellers do say "those who should be dead" or "somewhat dead".

  2. There's a bit of a split about the world inside the Sidhe mounds.

    For some it is part of the afterlife, just the part closest to the world of the living. Often heaven can be seen in some way in the distance. When you pass into a mound you usually enter a large palace, but eventually you can exit it into the broader Sidhe world which is often a distorted or exaggerated version of the mortal world above. For these people the Sidhe really are dead, but they're close enough to life to be able to leave the mounds and appear in some way.
    There's elements of Narnia here.

    For others under the mounds are literal physical palaces in the regular old mortal world. The Sidhe are fully alive in the usual sense, just living underground. It's simply that their palace is the only place where their "anti-aging" magic works.

    These two different conceptions affect plenty about how the Sidhe are presented. The former tend to display more fantastic powers but they don't really abduct people and are more likely to manifest outside the mounds as phantoms or the wind rather than physical forms. See point 7.

    Many storytellers hold both notions, saying it depends on the mound.

  3. The palaces are often basically what a noble man from the 12th century's house was like. Well lit, banquets, silverware, etc

  4. Some storytellers say that among them are some of the angels that sided with neither Lucifer nor heaven and these may live among them, though they are not strictly Sidhe. Often a phrase that is hard to translate is used, roughly "Sidhe-allied".
    However most Storytellers keep this a separate notion and use the phrase "demons of the air" or "angels of pride". The play tricks on mortals during the day but don't live in the Sidhe mounds.
    The Sidhe are often acquainted with Satan, but unfriendly toward him. In Irish myth Satan walks around Earth all the time, he's not in Hell. He doesn't really try to corrupt people but more so focuses on well regarded people and tries to show that their valour/courage etc is all a facade/load of shit. That they'll descend into barbarism if given the chance.

  5. The entrance way to many undersea Sidhe palaces is via speckled rock in a cliff face or lake. These rocks will be seen to have vanished in the weeks before a major Sidhe incursion/abduction raid.

  6. The Sidhe can abduct people for many purposes. Spouses if their mortal spouses have died. To replenish their numbers since they reproduced slowly or not at all (depends on the local folklore which was the case). For some specific job. As insurance/blackmail against another party.

  7. Exiting the mounds can only be done at midnight and virtually always they assume some "diminished" form. In most cases where the form is visible the Sidhe shape-shifts into an animal or a smaller version of themselves. However most Sidhe can only exist as sentient wind currents.
    The most common reason for leaving the mounds is to play sports competitions with other mounds.

  8. Since they are so well known, the Leprechaun is the latter. Usually they're an ancient king who is able to retain a completely human, though shrunken, body when out and about. Rarely(never?) mentioned in English, Leprechauns are often sighted at beaches. Their Gaelic name is "Lucharachán" which means roughly "little dude", although really closer to cute or kawaii. The pot of gold is really just their kingly treasures, which are more often weapons and chariots held in their mounds.

    I include this as one of the Storytellers literally had a cantankerous note "I'm sick of <slur word for Irish-Americans> telling confused nonsense about Leprechauns" where he gave the details above explicitly.

  9. Sidhe raids go by many names, though common ones like the Wild Hunt are known in English. Often proceeded by a powerful blast of cold air as they land.

  10. The Sidhe often leave behind one of their own so that mortals don't know an abduction has happened. These are usually one of their own number who enjoy extended stints in the afterlife. Often the mortal world will have an affect on them and they'll start to rapidly age after about a month and need to fake a death and return to the mound. They're often translated as "Changeling" but the name really means "Useless sick person".
    For some reason these "stand-ins" often expose themselves to people when they accidentally reveal knowledge of ancient events. Either battles in Ireland's past or (for some reason) Russian medieval politics (?)

  11. Escaping a Sidhe mound almost always has a price. Most often the person loses their sight, but being struck dumb or losing the ability to walk are other common features.

  12. The mounds usually contain people long thought dead, previous abduction victims. It's a standard motiff for the victim the story focuses on to see their great-grand uncle or similar in the mound. Usually this is who warns them against various spells the Sidhe might pull off.

  13. A victim is always offered some food. Some item of the food is cursed and eating it will mean the person can never leave the mound.

  14. Virtually every mound contains a queen (bright golden glowing hair) and a general (woman with thick red hair and possibly claws who eviscerates mortals when roaming about)

  15. Victims often don't see the Sidhe during the abduction. They hear a massive wind that blasts them about a kilometer into the air, whereupon they are carried on the air currents into the mound. Some people of special ability can perceive the actual Sidhe holding them.

  16. Most Sidhe material is a magically shape shifted regular or useless object. For example removed from their mounds Sidhe food will resume its original form. Often rock or soil. Similarly with their treasures. There is a fairly common theme of their food being "incredibly sumptuous" etc but in some sense unsatisfying and hollow.

  17. If on a raid they eat some of your food or drink milk from your animals, then they are indebted to you (as they rarely experience real food). Many stories involve the debt being paid by teleporting the debtee away from the London Metropolitan police in someway when that person emigrates to London (for some reason).

  18. A strong current throughout the stories is the Sidhe's attempt to get back in God's good books. This involves appearing to people for the express purpose of terrifying them into praying for the Sidhe's release from purgatory and holding mass several times at mortal churches. Often they descend on people with their elite red armoured guard and demand they ask the local priest to consecrate or pray at the Sidhe mound. The Sidhe whose job it is to terrify mortals into praying for them have a name that's literally "People of the Seven Eras".
    It was funny how many storytellers say they were atheists until they met the Sidhe which then made them think maybe there was a God. One even said in an interview that his "logical mind" knew God was a load of made up nonsense, but then why would the Sidhe (which are totally real) be so obsessed with getting people to pray for them.

  19. Some rare Sidhe can appear in completely mortal form in daylight, but they forgo their powers which they store in a cloak or other item of clothing. Somebody who steals and hides this cloak then traps them in mortal form and gets to marry them. Most "Sidhe-touched" people descend from such a union.
I love this post for more reasons than I care to enumerate:thumbsup:.
 

Séadna

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If it's any help here are other Sidhe words.

  1. Aosán = A long illness caused by a Sidhe curse
  2. Aereog = Anything supernatural that lives in the air (e.g. Sidhe taking wind form or the Neutral Angels)
  3. Aillse = Sidhe taking insect form
  4. Badhbh = A Banshee that takes the form of a crow when not wailing and associated to specific families
  5. Bé = A Sidhe that helps an artist, i.e. close to the Greek Muses
  6. Bean Sidhe = Obviously the Banshee
  7. Bocaidhe = Very rare word for Sidhe that take the form of goat and goes around killing people by ramming them. Only in the NorthWest
  8. Brugh/Bruidhean = Fairy mansion
  9. Buachalán = Ragwort, lethal to Sidhe and a strong repellent for them
  10. Cómhla Breac = Literally "Speckled Door", the magic entrance to a Sidhe Palace
  11. Corr-dhoire = A grove that the Sidhe might visit at night
  12. Donn = A powerful fairy that prowls the coast
  13. Eachlasg Ban Sidhe = The magical whip of a Banshee [Grammar stuff means Bean is Ban here, not a misspelling]
  14. Fear Sidhe = Literally just means a male Sidhe, but usually evokes one of the guards at the mounds or a lone Sidhe scout
  15. Finn-Bhéara = A Sidhe that helps crops grow
  16. Fíothal = A woman who has taken on Sidhe magic. Often conveys that she has become stunted and androgenised. Also used for androgynous Sidhe in general.
  17. Fothragán = A Sidhe who considers mortal abduction and terrorising to be immoral
  18. Friothóir = The head male Sidhe of a mound
  19. Liaigh Sidhe = The mound's physician
  20. Bean an Leasa = The (often golden haired) Sidhe woman who rules a mound. You asked above for this and I forgot
  21. Leasaire = Somebody who lives in mound, either Sidhe or abduction victim
  22. Lios Bóchna = An underwater fairy palace
  23. Míol Sidhe = The name for an unnatural monster made by Sidhe magic
  24. Moth = A state of zombification that results from a common Sidhe spell
  25. Oraid = A Sidhe spell that does good. It puns a uncommon word for prayer
  26. Poc = A punch from a Sidhe
  27. Púicín Draoidheachta = Invisibility cloak used by Sidhe
  28. Saoithe Sidhe = The ancient wise ones of the Sidhe
  29. Scaoth Sidhe = A large advancing Sidhe raiding party
  30. Scim Draoidheachta = A Sidhe mist that descends and grants luck to any it covers
  31. Seachrán Sidhe = Getting lost due to either the Sidhe affecting your mind or transforming the landscape
  32. Séideán = A very rare word for a Sidhe "tornado" that only occurs in the Center-West of the island. Used by the Sidhe there as a method of abduction
  33. Siabhradh Sidhe = The ghost of a Sidhe. Either from when the die (due to staying outside the mound too long) or from temporarily transforming into a ghost as a spell.

    Without the Sidhe it's either:
    An enraged ghost of the recently deceased.
    Greek nymphs or Greco-Roman Daemons that fled the coming of Christianity and settled in Ireland.

  34. Eoin tSidhe = Birds raised by the Sidhe for spying
  35. Suan Sidhe = Sleep induced by a Sidhe cursed pin
  36. Uaisle Sidhe/Maithe Sidhe/Na Daoine Maithe = The upper nobility of the Sidhe distinct from the Sidhe commoners. Responsible for the English "The Good People".
  37. Síodhach = A male Sidhe
  38. Síodhchair = Adjective meaning knowledgeable in Sidhe lore
  39. Síodhchaireacht = A difficult word to translate. The abstract philosophical state of being Sidhe, i.e. the theological condition of living in Earthly purgatory
  40. Spiach = Injury caused by a Sidhe curse
  41. Trioplóg = An epileptic fit caused by Sidhe magic

Some other words:
  1. Púca = Often said to be a Sidhe/Fae in English sources, actually a ghost of somebody who died in the last 100 years or so. Often a trickster in life. Distinguished from other ghosts in that it can shapeshift into an animal, often a small horse
  2. Deamhnóir = A demon summoner
  3. Lon = A demon of one the Catholic vices. The most common in stories are greed demons which take the form of a small to giant lizard. These are virtually always called "Fairies" for some reason in English sources.
  4. Peata Deamhain = A familiar, literally "Pet Demon"
  5. Sabh ionnarba deamhan = A metallic rod that banishes demons
 
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TristramEvans

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That's fantastic! It's actually very annoying in most of the English books I read that authors constantly offer their "translations" without giving the terminology they are basing that on, this helps immensely. thank you
 

Stevethulhu

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If it's any help here are other Sidhe words.

  1. Aosán = A long illness caused by a Sidhe curse
  2. Aereog = Anything supernatural that lives in the air (e.g. Sidhe taking wind form or the Neutral Angels)
  3. Aillse = Sidhe taking insect form
  4. Badhbh = A Banshee that takes the form of a crow when not wailing and associated to specific families
  5. Bé = A Sidhe that helps an artist, i.e. close to the Greek Muses
  6. Bean Sidhe = Obviously the Banshee
  7. Bocaidhe = Very rare word for Sidhe that take the form of goat and goes around killing people by ramming them. Only in the NorthWest
  8. Brugh/Bruidhean = Fairy mansion
  9. Buachalán = Ragwort, lethal to Sidhe and a strong repellent for them
  10. Cómhla Breac = Literally "Speckled Door", the magic entrance to a Sidhe Palace
  11. Corr-dhoire = A grove that the Sidhe might visit at night
  12. Donn = A powerful fairy that prowls the coast
  13. Eachlasg Ban Sidhe = The magical whip of a Banshee [Grammar stuff means Bean is Ban here, not a misspelling]
  14. Fear Sidhe = Literally just means a male Sidhe, but usually evokes one of the guards at the mounds or a lone Sidhe scout
  15. Finn-Bhéara = A Sidhe that helps crops grow
  16. Fíothal = A woman who has taken on Sidhe magic. Often conveys that she has become stunted and androgenised. Also used for androgynous Sidhe in general.
  17. Fothragán = A Sidhe who considers mortal abduction and terrorising to be immoral
  18. Friothóir = The head male Sidhe of a mound
  19. Liaigh Sidhe = The mound's physician
  20. Bean an Leasa = The (often golden haired) Sidhe woman who rules a mound. You asked above for this and I forgot
  21. Leasaire = Somebody who lives in mound, either Sidhe or abduction victim
  22. Lios Bóchna = An underwater fairy palace
  23. Míol Sidhe = The name for an unnatural monster made by Sidhe magic
  24. Moth = A state of zombification that results from a common Sidhe spell
  25. Oraid = A Sidhe spell that does good. It puns a uncommon word for prayer
  26. Poc = A punch from a Sidhe
  27. Púicín Draoidheachta = Invisibility cloak used by Sidhe
  28. Saoithe Sidhe = The ancient wise ones of the Sidhe
  29. Scaoth Sidhe = A large advancing Sidhe raiding party
  30. Scim Draoidheachta = A Sidhe mist that descends and grants luck to any it covers
  31. Seachrán Sidhe = Getting lost due to either the Sidhe affecting your mind or transforming the landscape
  32. Séideán = A very rare word for a Sidhe "tornado" that only occurs in the Center-West of the island. Used by the Sidhe there as a method of abduction
  33. Siabhradh Sidhe = The ghost of a Sidhe. Either from when the die (due to staying outside the mound too long) or from temporarily transforming into a ghost as a spell.

    Without the Sidhe it's either:
    An enraged ghost of the recently deceased.
    Greek nymphs or Greco-Roman Daemons that fled the coming of Christianity and settled in Ireland.

  34. Eoin tSidhe = Birds raised by the Sidhe for spying
  35. Suan Sidhe = Sleep induced by a Sidhe cursed pin
  36. Uaisle Sidhe/Maithe Sidhe/Na Daoine Maithe = The upper nobility of the Sidhe distinct from the Sidhe commoners. Responsible for the English "The Good People".
  37. Síodhach = A male Sidhe
  38. Síodhchair = Adjective meaning knowledgeable in Sidhe lore
  39. Síodhchaireacht = A difficult word to translate. The abstract philosophical state of being Sidhe, i.e. the theological condition of living in Earthly purgatory
  40. Spiach = Injury caused by a Sidhe curse
  41. Trioplóg = An epileptic fit caused by Sidhe magic

Some other words:
  1. Púca = Often said to be a Sidhe/Fae in English sources, actually a ghost of somebody who died in the last 100 years or so. Often a trickster in life. Distinguished from other ghosts in that it can shapeshift into an animal, often a small horse
  2. Deamhnóir = A demon summoner
  3. Lon = A demon of one the Catholic vices. The most common in stories are greed demons which take the form of a small to giant lizard. These are virtually always called "Fairies" for some reason in English sources.
  4. Peata Deamhain = A familiar, literally "Pet Demon"
  5. Sabh ionnarba deamhan = A metallic rod that banishes demons
The problem there is, not having a clue bout Gaelic pronunciation renders most of this into gibberish :sad:
 

Séadna

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Really curious about the source for this - is it tied to any specific tales?
Not really. The Sidhe might create some beast, often a mutated version of some normal animal and it can range from true monsters like whale sized beasts to just a cow that's green, one and a half time the size of a regular one and produces healing milk. This is the generic word for "animal made or altered by Sidhe intervention"
 
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