[Sea Stories] NOTE 1. THE FAERY PEOPLE. The first detailed account of the Faery People of the Gaelic race was made by the Reverend Robert Kirk in 1691. His book which remained in manuscript till it was discovered by Sir Walter Scott in 1815 was called The Secret Commonwealth, an essay "of the nature of the subterranean (and for the most part invisible people) heretofore going under the names of elves, fays, and faeries." Kirk was a Gaelic scholar, a translator into Gaelic of the Psalms. He is described upon his tomb as Lingnae hibernaelumen, for in his day little distinction was made between the Irish and the Scottish-Irish among whom he lived and whose words he has recorded. He died a year after he had finished his manuscript or, as the people of his parish say, was taken by the faeries. The Reverend William Taylor, the present incumbent of Abberfoyle, Kirk's old living, told Mr. Wentz that it was generally believed at the time of Kirk's death, that the faeries had carried him off because he had looked too deeply into their secrets. He seems to have fainted while walking upon a faery knoll, a little way from his own door, and to have died immediately. Mr. Wentz found one old Gaelic speaker who believed that his spirit had been taken, but others who said there was nothing in the grave but a coffin full of stones, for body and soul had been taken. Mr. Lang prints a tradition that Kirk appeared to his cousin Graham of Ducray and could have been saved if the cousin had dared to throw a knife over the apparition's head.
Kirk describes "the subterranean people" or "the abstruse people," as he sometimes calls them, much as they are described today in Galway or in Mayo. He is clear that they are not demons and like Father Sinistrari, a Catholic theologian of Padua, quotes the Scriptures in support of this opinion. The "abstruse people" are not indeed without sin though mid-way between men and angels, but being in no way "drenched into so gross and dredgy bodies as we are especially given to the more spiritual and haughty sins." "Whatever their own laws, be sure according to ours and equity natural civil and revealed" they do wrong by "their stealing of nurses to their children and that other sort of Plaginism in catching our children away (may seem to heir some estate in those invisible dominions) which never return. For the inconvenience of their succubi who tryst with men it is abominable, but for swearing and intemperance they are not observed so subject to this irregularity as to envy, spite, hypocrisy, lying, and simulation." Some have thought the spirit controls of our best mediums no better. "They are not subject to sore sickness, but dwindle and decay at a certain period all about ane age" and "they pass after a long healthy life into one orb and receptacle fitted to their degree till they come under the general cognism at the last day." They are the "Sleagh Math or the good people" being called so by the "Irish" . . . "to prevent the dint of their ill-attempts" and being "of a middle nature betwixt man and angel" have "intelligent, studious spirits, and light changeable bodies (like those called astral) somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud and best seen in twilight. Their bodies are so pliable through the subtlety of the spirits that agitate them that they can make them appear or disappear at pleasure. Some have bodies or vehicles so spongeous, thin, and desiccate, that they are fed by only sucking into some fine spirituous liquors that pierce like pure air and oil; others feed more gross on the foisone or substance of corns and liquors or corn itself that grows upon the surface of the earth which these faeries steal away, partly invisible, partly preying on the grain as do crows and mice." Lady Gregory has a story of the crying of new dropped lambs of faery in November and some evidence that there is a reversal of the seasons, our winter being their summer, and some such belief was known to Kirk for "when we have plenty they have scarcity at their homes; and on the contrary (for they are empowered to catch as much prey everywhere as they please)." "Their bodies of congealed air are sometimes carried aloft, other whiles grovel in different shapes and enter into any cranny or cleft of the earth where air enters to their ordinary dwellings, the earth being full of cavities and cells and there being no place nor creature but is supposed to have other animals greater or lesser, living in or upon it as inhabitants, and no such thing as a pure wilderness in the whole universe and we must always "labour for that abstruse people as well as for ourselves." Unless Kirk is in error, as seems probable, they are unlike the Irish faeries who shift but twice a year in May and in November, when the ancient Irish perhaps shifted from their winter houses to summer pastures or home again, for they have formed the custom to "remove to other lodgings at the beginning of each quarter of the year, so traversing till doomsday some being impudent [impotent?] of staying in one place and finding some ease by so punning [turning] and changing habitations)" and at these times they are much seen when "their chameleon-like bodies swim in the air near the earth with bag and baggage." He is evidently puzzled how to place them among the orders and admits that it is uncertain "What at the last revolution will become of them when they are locked up into ane unchangeable condition." He even believes that they are so beset with anxiety upon this subject that have they "any frolic fit for mirth 'tis as the confirmed grinning of a mort head."
Many of the second-sighted men about him would have nothing of this doctrine and still believed, it seems, the old Celtic theory of the rebirth of the soul, a Manichaean and gnostic doctrine, for being "unwary in their observations" they believed what the "abstruse people" themselves declared "one averring those subterranean people to be departed souls attending awhile in this inferior state and clothed with bodies procured through their alms deeds in this life; fluid, active ethereal vehicles to hold them that they may not scatter or wander or be lost in the totum or the first nothing; but if any were so impious as to have given no alms they say when the souls of such do depart, they sleep in an uncertain state till they resume the terrestrial body." These bodies, come at by the giving of alms, suggest to one that body of Christ which, as Boehme taught, alone enables the shade to escape from turba magna the great wrath and dream-like transformation into the shape of beasts. One remembers also the celestial body of the seventeenth century Platonists. The power attributed to almsgiving calls to mind those tales of clothes given to the poor in some ghost's name thereby enabling the ghost to be decked out in their double. Lady Gregory has found the idea of rebirth in Aran, but in what seems the Cabalistic form not the Celtic; and it occurs again and again in the Gaelic romances. Cuchulain was the rebirth of Lug; and Mongan who was killed by Arthur of Britain was the rebirth of Finn Mac Cool. Here and there through the seventeenth-century Platonists, Kirk's contemporaries, one finds some story that might have been in Lady Gregory's book. Glanvill in the second part of his Sadducismus Triumphatus published in 1674 has an Irish tale where the dead and the faeries are associated as in Gaiway today. "A gentleman in Ireland near to the Earl of Orrery's seat sending his butler one afternoon to buy cards; as he passed a field, he, to his wonder, espied a company of people sitting round a table, with a deal of good cheer before them in the midst of a field. And he going up towards them, they all arose and saluted him, and desired him to sit down with them." But one of them said these words in his ear: "Do nothing this company invites you to." "He therefore refused to sit down at the table, and immediately the table and all that belonged to it were gone; and the company are now dancing and playing upon musical instruments, and the butler being desired to join himself to them; but he refusing this also, they fall all to work, and he not being to be prevailed with to accompany them in working, any more than in feasting and dancing, they all disappeared, and the butler is now alone." For some days attempts are made to carry away the butler. During one of these he is levitated in the presence of the Earl of Orrery and certain of his guests. Then the man who warned him to do nothing he was bid, came to his bedside. "'I have been dead,' said the spectre or ghost, 'seven years and you know that I lived a loose life. And ever since have been hurried up and down in a restless condition with the company you saw and shall be till the Day of Judgment.' "
Throughout the Middle Ages, there must have been many discussions upon those questions that divided Kirk's Highlanders. Were these beings but the shades of men? Were they a separate race? Were they spirits of evil? Above all, perhaps, were they capable of salvation? Father Sinistrari in De Daemonialitate et Incubis, et Succubis, reprinted in Paris with an English translation in 1879, tells a story which must have been familiar through the Irish Middle Ages, and the seed of many discussions. The Abbot Anthony went once upon a journey to visit St. Paul, the first hermit. After travelling for some days into the desert, he met a centaur of whom he asked his road and the centaur, muttering barbarous and unintelligible words, pointed to the road with his outstretched hand and galloped away and hid himself in a wood. St. Anthony went some way further and presently went into a valley and met there a little man with goat's feet and horns upon his forehead. St. Anthony stood still and made the sign of the cross being afraid of some devil's trick. But the sign of the cross did not alarm the little man who went nearer and offered some dates very respectfully as it seemed to make peace. When the old Saint asked him who he was, he said: "I am a mortal, one of those inhabitants of the desert called fauns, satyrs, and incubi, by the Gentiles. I have come as an ambassador from my people. I ask you to pray for us to our common God who came as we know for the salvation of the world and who is praised throughout the world." We are not told whether St. Anthony prayed but merely that he thought of the glory of Christ and thereafter of Christ's enemies and turning towards Alexandria said: "Woe upon you harlots worshipping animals as God." This tale so artfully arranged as it seems to set the pious by the ears may have been the original of a tale one hears in Ireland today. I heard or read that tale somewhere before I was twenty, for it is the subject of one of my first poems. But the priest in the Irish tale, as I remember it, tells the little man that there is no salvation for such as he and it ends with the wailing of the faery host. Sometimes too, one reads in' Irish stories of hoof-footed creatures, and it may well be that the Irish theologians who read of St. Anthony in Sinistrari's authority, St. Hieronymus, thought centaur and homunculus were of like sort with the shades haunting their own raths and barrows. Father Sinistrari draws the moral that those inhabitants of the desert called "fauns and satyrs and incubi by the Gentiles" had souls that could be shrived, but Irish theologians in a country full of poems very upsetting to youth about the women of the Sidhe who could pass, it may be even monastic walls, may have turned the doubtful tale the other way. Some-times we are told following the traditions of the eleventh-century poems that the Sidhe are "the ancient inhabitants of the country" but more often still they are fallen angels who, because they were too bad for heaven and not bad enough for hell, have been sent into the sea and into the waste places. More probably still the question was never settled, sometimes Christ was represented as throwing them into hell till someone said he would empty the whole paradise, and thereupon his hand slackened and some fell in this place and some in that other, as though providence itself were undecided. Father Sinistrari is conscious of weighty opponents but believes that Scripture is upon his side. He quotes St. John, Chapter x., verse 16: "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." He argues that the commentators are wrong who say that the fold is the synagogue and the other sheep the Gentiles, because the true church has been from the beginning of the world, and has had nothing to do with Jewish observances, for its revelations were made to the first man and Jews and Gentiles have belonged to it. If the Gentiles were not also of Christ's fold, he would not have sent them prodigies to announce his birth, the star of the Magi, the silencing of their oracle, a miraculous spring of oil at Rome, the falling down of the images of Egyptian gods and so on. The other fold should therefore, he thinks, refer to those "rational animals" who sent their ambassador to St. Anthony and who were to hear Christ's voice "either directly through Himself or through His apostles." He argues that they are a race superior to the human and must not be confused with angels and devils who are pure spirits being in a final state of salvation or of judgment. He has written his book as a guide to confessors who have frequently, it seems, to protect men and women, often nuns or monks, who are plagued by spirits or tempted by spirit lovers, and to apportion penalties to those who have fallen. It is a great sin should they confuse their lovers with devils, for then they "sin through intention," but otherwise it is a venal sin, and seeing that incubi and succubi by reason of their "rational and immortal" spirits are the equal of man and by reason of their bodies being "more noble because more subtle," "more dignified than man," a commerce that does not "degrade but rather dignify our nature" (et hoc homo jungens se incubo non vilificat, immo dignificat suam naturam). The incubus, (or succuba) however, does, he holds, commit a very great sin considering that we belong to an inferior species. It is difficult to drive them away, for unlike devils they are no more subject to exorcism than we are ourselves, but just as we cannot breathe in the higher peaks of the Alps because of the thinness of the air, so they cannot come near to us if we make certain conditions of the air. They are of different kinds but always one or other of the four elements predominates, and those who are predominantly fiery cannot come if we make the air damp, and those that are watery cannot come if we use hot fumigations and so on. You can generally judge the kind by remembering that a man attracts spirits according to his own temperament, the sanguine, the spirits of fire, and the lymphatic, those of watery nature, and those of a mixed nature, mixed spirits; but it is easy to make mistakes. He tells of the case that came into his own experience. He was asked to drive a spirit away that was troubling a young monk and advised hot fumigations because it was by their means "a very erudite theologian" drove away a spirit who made passionate love in the form of "a very handsome young man to a certain young nun" after holy candles burning all night and "a crowd of relics and many exorcisms" had proved of but as little value as her own vows and fasts. A vessel made of "glass-like earth" containing "cubeb seed, roots of both aristolochies, great and small cardamon, ginger, long pepper, caryophylias, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeeg, calamite, storax, benzoin, aloes wood root, one ounce of triasandates and three pounds of half brandy and water," was set upon hot ashes to make it fume, and the door and window of the cell were closed. The young friar, a deacon of the great Carthusian priory of Padua, was further advised to carry about with him perfumes of musk, amber, chive, peruvian bark, and the like, and to smoke tobacco and drink brandy perfumed with musk. All was to no purpose for the spirit appeared to him in many forms such as a skeleton, a pig, an ass, an angel, a bird" or "in the figure of one or other of the friars." These appearances seem to have had no object except that like the Irish faeries the spirit was pleased to make game of somebody. Presently it came in the likeness of the abbot and heard the young deacon's confession and recited with him the psalms Exsurgat Deus and Qui habitat and the Gospel according to St. John, and bent its knee at the words Verbum caro factum est, and then after sprinkling with holy water and blessing bed and cell and commanding the spirit to come there no more, it vanished. Presently in the likeness of the young friar, it called at the vicar S room and asked for some tobacco and brandy perfumed with musk of which it was, it said, extremely fond, and having received them "disappeared in the twinkling of an eye." Sinistrari, however, having decided that the demon must be igneous or "at the very least aerial, since he delighted in hot substances" and since the monk's temperament seemed "choleric and sanguine," advised the vicar to direct his penitent to strew about the cell and hang by the window and door bundles of "water-lily, liverwort, spurge, mandrake, house-leek, plantain," and henbane and other herbs of a damp nature which drove the spirit away though it came once to the cell door to speak of Sinistrari all the evil it could. He has other like stories; one to show the uselessness of mere sacred places and objects, describes a woman followed to the Steps of the Cathedral altar and there stripped by invisible hands. One remembers a passage in PLUTARCH "But to believe the gods have carnal knowledge, and do delight in the outward beauty of creatures, that seemeth to carry a very hard belief. Yet the wise Egyptians think it probable enough and likely, that the spirit of the gods hath given original of generation to women, and does beget fruits of their bodies; howbeit they hold that a man can have no corporal company with any divine nature."
One hears today in Galway, stories of love adventures between countrywomen or countrymen and the People of Faery--there are several in this book and these adventures have been always a principal theme to Gaelic poets. A goddess came to Cuchulain upon the battlefield, but sometimes it is the mortal who must go to them. "Oh beautiful woman, will you come with me to the wonderful country that is mine? It is pleasant to be bolting at the people there: beautiful people without any blemish; their hair is of the colour of the flag flower, their fair body is as white as snow, the colour of the foxglove is on every cheek. The young never grow old there, the fields and the flowers are as pleasant to be looking at as the blackbird's eggs; warm and sweet streams of mead and wine flow through that country; there is no care and no sorrow upon any person; we see others, but we ourselves are not seen." Did Dame Kettler, a great lady of Kilkenny who was accused of witchcraft early in the fifteenth century, find such a lover when she offered up the combs of cocks and the bronzed tail feathers of nine peacocks; or had she indeed, as her enemies affirmed at the trial, been enamoured with "one of the meaner sort of hell"?
[Sea Stories] NOTE 2. This light occurs again and again in modern spiritism as in old legends. It shows in some form in almost every dark séance. Grettir the Strong saw it over buried treasure. It surrounded the head of Hereward the Wake in childhood, and in the middle of the nineteenth century, Baron Reichenbach called it "odic light" and published much evidence taken down from his "sensitives" who saw it about crystals, magnets, and one another, and over new-made graves. Holman Hunt represents in his Flight into Egypt the souls of the Innocents encircled by creeping and clinging fire. When his fire encircles a good spirit it is generally described as white and brilliant, but about the evil as lurid and smoky.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 3. When I was a boy, there was a countryman in a Sligo madhouse who was sane in all ways except that he saw, in pools and rivers) beings who called and beckoned. I have myself known a landscape Painter who after Painting a certain stagnant pool was nightly afflicted by a dream of strange shapes, bidding him to drown himself there. The obsession was so strong that he could not throw it off during his waking hours, and for some days struggled with the temptation. I was with him at the time and had noticed his growing gloom and had questioned him about it.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 4. Bran, in the Voyage of Bran, when sailing, meets Manannan the sea-god. "And Manannan spoke to him in a song, and this is what he said:
"It is what Bran thinks, he is going in his curragh over the wonderful, beautiful, clear sea; but to me, from far off in' my chariot, it is a flowery plain he is riding on.
"What is a clear sea to the good boat Bran is in, is a happy plain with many flowers to me in my two-wheeled chariot.
"It is what Bran sees, many waves beating across the clear sea; it is what I myself see, red flowers without any fault.
"The sea-horses are bright in Summer-time, as far as Bran's eyes can reach; there is a wood of beautiful acorns under the head of your little boat.
"A wood with blossom and with fruit, that has the smell of Wine; a wood without fault, without withering, with leaves of the colour of gold."
(Gods and Fighting Men, by Lady Gregory.)
[Sea Stories] NOTE 5. Swedenborg describes these colours and I have a note of similar visions as seen by a fellow-student of mine at the Dublin Art School. Mrs Besant in her Ancient Wisdom and other writers of the Modern Theosophical School describe them and moralize about them.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 6. There are constant stories in the history of modern spiritism of people carried through the air often for considerable distances. It is not my business to weigh the evidence at this moment, for I am concerned only with similarity of belief. The medium, Mrs. Guppy, somewhere in the "sixties" was believed to have been carried from Hampstead, a pen in one hand and an account book in the other, and dropped on to the middle of a table in South Conduit Street. Lord Dunraven was one of a number of witnesses who testified to having seen the medium Hume float out of one window of the upper room, where they were sitting, and in at another window. I read the other day in a spiritistic paper, of two boys carried through the air in Italy and dropped in front of a bishop who immediately handed them over to the police. And of course the folk-lore of all countries and the legends of the saints are full of such tales.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 7. The offering to the Sidhe is generally made at Halloween, the old beginning of winter, and upon that night I was told when a boy the offering was still made in the slums of Dublin.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 8. Father Sinistrari speaks of a like commerce between beasts and spirits. "Et non solum hoc evenit cum mulieribus, sed etiam cum equabus, cum quibus commicetur; quae si libenter coitum admittunt, ah co curantur optime, ac ipsarum jubæ varie artificiosis et inextricabilibus nodis texuntur; Si autem ilium adversentur, eas male tractat, percutit, macras reddit, et tandem necat, ut quotidiana constat experienta."
[Sea Stories] NOTE 9. Houses built upon faery paths are thought to be unlucky. Often the thatch will be blown away, or their in-habitants die or suffer misfortune.
[Sea Stories] NOTE 10. The number of quotations I can find to prove the universality of the thought that the dead and other Spirits change their shape as they please is but lessened by the fewness of the books that are near my hand in the country where I am writing. John Heydon, "a servant of God and secretary of nature," writing in 1662 in The Rosie Cross Uncovered which is the last book of his Holy Guide says that a man may become one of the heroes: "A hero," he writes, "is a daemon, or good genius, and a genius a partaker of divine things and a companion of the holy company of unbodied souls and immortal angels who live according to their vehicles a versatile life, turning themselves proteus-like into any shape."
And Mrs. Besant, a typical writer of the modern Theosophical School, insists upon these changes of form, especially among those spirits that are most free from the terrestrial body and explains it by saying that, "astral matter takes form under every impulse of thought." Swedenborg I have already quoted in my long essay, but to prove that the shape-changer is a part of general literature I have but Wordsworth and Milton under my hand. When the white doe of Rylstone shows itself at the church door according to its Sunday custom, one has one tale to tell, another another, but an Oxford student will have it that it is the faery that loved a certain "shepherd-lord."
'Twas said that she all shapes could wear."
And Milton writes like any Platonist of his time:
"For Spirits, when they please,
Can either sex assume, or both; so soff
And uncompounded is their essence pure,
Not ty'd or manacled with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose,
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
Can execute their aery purposes,
And works of love or enmity fulfil."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 11. The seers and healers in this section differ but little from clairvoyants and spirit mediums of the towns, and explain their powers in much the same way. Indeed one of Lady Gregory's story-tellers will have it that America is more full than Ireland of faeries, and describes the mediums there to prove it. It is often through some virtue in these country seers and healers that the faeries or spirits are able to affect men and women and natural objects. Mrs. Sheridan says that a child could not have been taken if she had not been looking on, and one hears again and again that even when the faeries fight among themselves or play at burley, there must be a man upon either side. We are all in a sense mediums, if the village seer speaks truth, for through any unsanctified emotion, love, affection, admiration, the spirits may attain power over a child or horse or whatever is before our eyes, and perhaps, as the controls of mediums will sometimes say, they can only see the world through our eyes. Albert de Rochas, borrowing a theory from the seventeenth century, has suggested with the general assent of spiritists that the fluidic or sidereal body of the medium, the mould upon which the physical body is, it may be built up, is more detachable than in persons who are not mediums, and that the spirits make themselves visible by transfonning it into their own shape or into what shape they please and attain by its means a power over physical objects. (See L'Exteriorisation de la Motricite.) Instead of the expensive crystal of the Bond Street clairvoyant, Biddy Early gazed into her bottle, but that is almost the whole difference. If the dreams and visions of Connacht have more richness and beauty than those of Camber-well, it is that Connacht, having no doubts as to our survival of death, is not always looking for but one sort of evidence, and so can let things happen as they will. The brother or sister or the like who comes to the knowledgeable man or woman after death is but the "guide" that has been so common in England and America, since the Rochester rapping's, and a country form of Plutarch's "daemon." At other moments, however, "seer" or "healer" resembles a witch or wizard rather than a modern medium.
In one thing, however, they always resemble the medium and not the witch. They seem to have no dealings with the devil. The Irish Trials for witchcraft of the English and continental type took place among the English settlers. I have never come across a case of a "compact" nor has Lady Gregory, nor have I read of one.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 12. It is almost unthinkable to Lady Gregory and myself, who know Mrs. Sheridan, that she can ever have seen a drawbridge in a picture or heard one spoken of. Nor does this instance stand alone. I have had in my own family what seemed the accurate calling up of an unknown past but failing a link of difficult evidence still unfound, coincidence, though exceedingly unlikely, is still a possible explanation. I have come upon a number of other cases which are, though no one case is decisive, a powerful argument taken altogether. In The Adventure (Macmillan), an elaborate vision of this kind is recorded in detail and, accepting the record as accurate, the verification is complete. Two ladies found themselves in the garden of the Petit Trianon in the midst of what seemed to be the court of Marie Antoinette, in just the same sudden way in which some countryman finds himself among ladies and gentlemen dressed in what seem the dothes of a long passed time. The record purports to have been made in November and December 1901, whereas the vision occurred in August. This lapse of time does not seem to me to destroy the value of the evidence, if the record was made before its corroboration by long and difficult research. [Since writing the above the authors of The Adventure have shown me lots of letter, proving that they spoke of the visions to various correspondents before the corroboration, and showing the long and careful research that the corroboration involved W. B. Y.] Accepting the good faith of the narrators, both well-known women and of established character, its evidence for some more obscure cause than unconscious memory can only be weakened by the discovery in some book or magazine accessible to the visionaries before their visit to the Trianon, of historical information on such minute points as the dress Marie Antoinette wore in a particular month, and the position of ornamental buildings and rock work not now in existence. There is a great mass of similar evidence in Denton's Soul of Things though its value is weakened by his not sufficiently allowing for thought transference from his own mind to that of his sensitives.
A "theosophist" or "occultist" of almost any modern school explains such visions by saying they are "pictures in the astral light" and that all objects and events leave their images in the astral light as upon a photographic plate, and that we must distinguished between spirits and these unintelligent pictures. I was once at Madame Blavatsky's when she tried to explain predestination, our freedom and God's full knowledge of the use that we should make of it. All things, past and to come were present to the mind of God and yet all things were free. She soon saw that she had carried us out of our depth and said to one of her followers with a mischievous, mocking voice: "You with your impudence and your spectacles will be sitting there in the Akasa to all eternity" and then in a more meditative voice, "No, not to all eternity for a day will come when even the Akasa will pass away and there will be nothing but God, chaos, that which every man is seeking in his heart." Akasa, she was accustomed to explain as some Indian word for the astral light. Perhaps that theory of the astral pictures came always from the despair of some visionary to find understanding for a more metaphysical theory. It is, however, ancient. To Cornelius Agrippa it is the air that reflects, but the air is something more than what the word means for us. "It is a vital spirit passing through all beings giving life and substance to all things... it immediately receives into itself the influences of all celestial bodies, and the communicates them to the other elements as also to all mixed bodies. Also it receives into itself as if it were a divine looking-glass the species of all things, as well natural as artificial," it enters into men and animals "through their pores" and "makes an impression upon them as well when they sleep as when they awake and affords matter to divers strange dreams and divinations . . Hence it is that a man passing by a place where a man was slain and the carcass newly laid is moved by fear and dread; because the air in that place being full of the dread species of man-slaughter does being breathed in, move and trouble the spirit of the man with a like species... whence it is that many philosophers were of the opinion that the air is the cause of dreams." Henry More is more precise and philosophical and believes that this air which he calls Spiritus Mundi, contains all forms, so that the parents when a child is begotten, or a witch when the double is projected as a hare, but as it were, call upon the Spiritus Mundi for the form they need. The name "Astral Light" was given to this air or spirit by the Abbe' Constant who wrote under the pseudonym of Elephas Levi and like Madame Blavatsky, claimed to be the voice of an ancient magical society. In his Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie published in the fifties, he described in vague, eloquent words, influenced perhaps by the recent discovery of the daguerreotype these pictures which we continually confuse with the still animate shades. A more clear exposition of a perhaps always incomprehensible idea is that of Swedenborg who says that when we die, we live over again the events that lie in all their minute detail in our memory, and this is the explanation of the authors of The Adventure who believe, as it seems, that they were entangled in the memory of Marie Antoinette. I have met students who claimed to have had knowledge of Levi's sources and who believed that when at last a spifit has been, as it were, pulled out of its coil, other spirits may use its memory, not only of events but of words and of thoughts. Did Cornelius Agrippa identify soul with memory when, after quoting Ovid to prove that the flesh cleaves to earth, the ghost hovers over the grave, the soul sinks to Oxos, and the spirit rises to the stars, he explains that if the soul has done well it rejoices with the almost faultless spirit, but if it has done ill, the spirit judges it and leaves it for the devil's prey and "the sad soul wanders about hell without a spirit and like an image?" Remembering these writings and sayings, I find new meaning in that description of death taken down by Lady Gregory in some cottage: "The shadow goes wandering and the soul is tired and the body is taking a rest."
I was once talking with Professor James of experiences like to those in The Adventure and said that I found it easiest to under-stand them by believing in a memory of nature distinguished from individual memory, though including and enclosing it. He would, however, have none of my explanation and preferred to think the past, present and future were only modes of our perception and that all three were in the divine mind, present at once. It was Madame Blavatsky's thought, and Shelley's in the Sensitive Plant:
"That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away;
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed, not they.
"For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change; their light
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 13. The ancient Irish had quadrilateral houses built of logs, and round houses of clay and wattles. O'Sullivan, in his introduction to O'Curry's Manners and Customs, writes: "The houses built in Duns and in stone caiseal, and those surrounded by mounds of earth, were, probably in all cases round houses." A Bo Aires, or farmer with ten cows was supposed to have a house at least twenty-seven feet wide but the houses of better off men must have made one room of considerable size, a whole household sleeping on beds, sometimes with low partitions between, raying out from the wall like spokes of a wheel. Petrie thought the great quadrilateral banqueting hall of Tara was once ninety feet wide.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 14. In The Roman Ritual, there is an exorcism for evil spirits and a ceremony for the succour of the sick (cura infirmorum). And in the beginning of the chapter containing this ceremony (Caput IV., verse 12), it is stated that images of Christ, the Virgin, and of saints especially in veneration of the sick man, may cure him if brought into the room. In the ceremony of exorcism, the priest is directed to make numerous signs of the cross over the possessed person (sic. rubric: Tres cruces sequentes fiant in pectore daemoniaci). The spirit is commanded to be gone in the name of the Father, of the Son, arid of the Holy Spirit The ceremony with psalms covers twenty-six pages of my copy. The exorcism is described as a driving out of the "most unclean spirit" of every phantasm and every legion. It commands the "most evil dragon, in the name of the immaculate lamb who walked upon the asp and the basilisk and cast down the lion and the dragon" to "go down out of this man."
In the ceremony for the sick, the priest places his hand on the head of the sick man and says:
"Let them place their hands on the sick and they shall be well [Super aegros manus imponent, et bene habebunt]. May Christ Son of Mary, Saviour of the world and Lord, by the merits and intercession of his holy apostles Peter and Paul and of all the saints be clement and propitious to you."
The ceremony is ten pages and contains various psalms and selections from the Gospels.
Round these two ceremonies have gathered in the minds of the country people, at least, many traditional ideas. When any one is cured, there is a victim, some other human being or some animal will die. If one remembers that diseases were very commonly considered to be the work of demons, one sees how the story of the Gadarene swine would support the tradition. I know not into what subtlety the dreaming mind may not carry the thought, for some few months ago in France, an excommunicated miracle-working priest said in my hearing: "There is always a victim; so-and-so was the victim for France," naming a holy Italian nun who had just died. "And so-and-so," naming a living holy woman, "is the victim for my own village." Various medieval saints, and even certain witches, cured sick persons by taking the disease upon themselves.
Christian Scientists and Mental Healers are often afraid of themselves acquiring the disease which they drive out of their patient; they sometimes speak of the effort that it costs them to shake it off. I was told a story the other day, which I have proved not to be true, but which is evidence of the belief. A woman said to me some such words as these: "My friend so-and-so, who is a Mental Healer, was staying in the country. She saw a woman there with a strange look. She asked what was wrong and found that this woman was expecting a periodical fit of madness. She offered to undertake her cure, and brought her to her own house. The patient became violent. but my friend was able by faith and prayer to soothe her till she fell asleep. My friend went downstairs exhausted, and lay upon the sofa. Presently she saw strange shadows coming into the room and knew they had come from the patient upstairs, and these shadows, taking the form of swine, threw themselves upon her and only after a long struggle could she throw them off." The swine and their attack were all moonshine, but the healer, whom I found and questioned, did believe that she saw shadows leaving the patient.
The transference of disease was a generally recognized part of medieval and ancient medicine; and Albert de Rochas gives considerable space to it in his L'Extériorisation de la Sensibilité, Paris, 1909. He quotes from a seventeenth-century writer, Abbe' de Vellemort, many examples from medical and scientific writers of that time who believed themselves to have transferred diseases from their patients to animals and to trees and to various substances, "Mumia" as they called them, which absorb des esprits qui resident dans le sang and then describes various experiments made in 1885 by Dr. Babinski "Chef de Clinique de M. Charcot" in transferring now by magnets, now by suggestion various forms of nervous disease from one patient to another. Where these diseases were produced in the first instance by suggestion, the patient from whom the disease was transferred, was freed from it, but where the disease was natural and the cause of the patient being at the hospital, there was no cure although in one case there was improvement. Albert de Rochas then quotes as follows from a lecture given by Dr. Luys to Ia Societe' de Biologic in 1894.
"D'Arsonval has, according to a communication from an English physician, given an account at the last meeting of the Societe de Biologie, of the persistent action in a magnetized iron bar of the magnetic fluid, which to a certain extent, kept a memory emery of its former state.
"My researches of the same kind have given me proofs some time since of analogous phenomena with the help of magnetized crowns placed on the head of a subject in an hypnotic state.
"In this it is a question not only of storing vibrations of magnetic nature. but of really living nature, of real cerebral vibrations through the coating of the brain, stored in a magnetic crown, in which they remain for a greater or less length of time.
"To arrive at this phenomenon, instead of using an unresponsive physical instrument, I use a reacting living being--an hypnotized subject, who has thus become sensitive to living magnetic vibrations. I am presenting to the Society the magnetized crown, like several other models which I have already shown. It is adapted to the head by means of a system of straps, encircles it and leaves the frontal region free.
"It also forms a bent magnet with a positive and a negative pole. This crown was put, more than a year ago, on the head of a woman suffering from melancholia with ideas of persecution, agitation, and a tendency to suicide, etc. The application of the crown lead to the patient's getting slowly better after five or six séances; and at the end of ten days I thought I could send her back to the hospital without any danger. At the end of a fortnight, the crown having been isolated, the idea came to me quite empirically of placing it on the head of the 'subject' now before you.
"He is a male, hypnotizable, hysterique, given to frequent fits of lethargy. What was my surprise to see this subject, put into the somnambulistic state, complaining in exactly the same terms as those the cured patient had used a fortnight before.
"He first of all took the sex of the patient; he spoke in the feminine gender; he complained of violent headache; he said be was going mad, that his neighbours came into his room to do him harm. In a word. the hypnotic subject had, thanks to the magnetized crown, taken on the cerebral state of the melancholic patient. The magnetized crown had been powerful enough to drive off the morbid cerebral influx of the patient (who got well), which had persisted, like a memory, in the intimate (or innermost texture of the magnetic strip of metal.
"This is a phenomenon we have produced many times, for several years; not only with the subject now present, but with others.
"This communication is amongst physiological phenomena, on a line with M. D'Arsonval's on the persistence of certain anterior states in inorganic bodies; it will no doubt cause much astonisment and scepticism amongst those who are not accustomed to hypnologic research.
"Doubts will be cast on the sincerity of the subject, on his tendency to produce wonders to being carried away, and also on what may perhaps seem too easy an acquiescence on the part of the operator.
"To all these objections I will only answer: that this phenomenon of the transmission of the psychical states of a subject by means of a magnetized crown which keeps given impressions is quite in the order of the phenomena formerly communicated by M. D'Arsonval. And, further, the first time I made this experiment, it was done without my knowing, in an entirely empirical way. The impregnated crown was put on the head of the hypnotic subject about a fortnight after it had been put on the patient's head. There has therefore necessarily]y been a first operation, of which I did not foreknow the results; for we did not know any more than the hypnotized subject, what was going to happen, and the subject reacted, motu pro prio, without any excitant other than the magnetic crown.
"So one can assert, without trying to draw any other conclusions, that certain vibratory states of the brain, and probably of the nervous system, are capable of storing themselves in a magnetized bent strip of metal, as the magnetic fluid is stored in the soft bar of iron, and of leaving persistent traces; still further, that one can only destroy this persistent magnetic property by fire. The crown has to be red-hot before it ceases to act, as M. D'Arsonval found to be the case with the iron bar."
Albert de Rochas makes this notable comment:
"The same phenomenon would certainly have been produced had the patient been dead, and so one might by this means have a sort of evocation of a personality no longer of this world."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 15. As late as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Irish were accustomed to leave their houses on the plains and valleys in spring and live with their cattle on the uplands, returning to the valleys and plains in time to reap the harvest. Before tillage became general they may not have returned till the chill of Autumn. From this perhaps came the faery flittings of May and November.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 16. The pictures shown were drawings of spirits made from his own visions. The yellow thing upon the head was, I suppose, some sort of crown. These countrywomen have seen so little gold that they do not describe anything as "of gold" or "like gold." They will say of yellow hair that it is "bright like silver."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 17. The death-coach or more properly coiste-bodhar or "deaf-coach," so called from its rumbling sound. It is usually an omen of death.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 18. The thing "yellow and slippery, not hair but Iike marble" is evidently a crown of gold. Are these spirits in dress of ancient authority the shepherds of the more recent dead?
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 19. I have read somewhere, but cannot remember where, that ragweed was once used to make some medicine for horses. This would account for its association with them in the half-fantasy, half-vision of the country seers. In the same way, the mushroom ring of the faeries is, it seems, a memory of some intoxicating liquor made of mushrooms, when intoxication was mysterious. The storyteller speaks of "those red flowers," showing how vague her sense of colour, or her knowledge of English, for ragweed is, of course, yellow.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 20. "Bracket" is Irish for "speckled" and seems to me a description of the plaids and stripes of medieval Ireland.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 21. Bodin in his De Magorum Daemonomania speaks of salt as a spell against spirits because a symbol of eternity."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 22. Tir-nan-og, the country of the young, the paradise of the ancient Irish. It is sometimes described as under the earth, sometimes all about us, and sometimes as an enchanted island. This island paradise has given rise to many legends; sailors have bragged of meeting it. A Dutch pilot settled in Dublin in 1614, claimed to have seen it off the coast of Greenland in 61 degrees of latitude. It vanished as he came near, but sailing in an opposite direction he came upon it once more, but Giraldus Cambrensis claimed that shortly before he came to Ireland such a phantom island was discovered off the west coast of Ireland and made habitable. Some young men saw it from the shore; when they came near it, it sank into the water. The next day it reappeared and again mocked the same youths with the like delusion. At length, on their rowing towards it on the third day, they followed the advice of an older man, and let fly an arrow, barbed with red-hot steel, against the island; and then landing, found it stationary and habitable.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 23. Supernatural strength is often spoken of by the people as a sign of faery power. It is also enumerated in The Roman Ritual among the signs of possession. I have read somewhere that the priests of Apollo showed it in their religious transports.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 24. "Materializations" are generally imperfect. The spirit makes just enough of mind and form for its purpose. Even when the form is only visible to the clairvoyant there may still be materialization, though not carried far enough to affect ordinary sight
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 25. The picture was made by "A.E." of one of the forms he sees in vision.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 26. The barrel which contained a brew that made the spirits invisible is probably the cauldron of the god Dagda, called "The Undry" "because it was never empty." The Tuatha-de-Danaan, the old Irish divine race, brought with them to Ireland four talismans, the sword, the spear, the stone, and the cauldron. Rhys, in his Celtic Heathendom, compares it with the Irish well of wisdom, overhung by nine hazels, and the Welsh "Cauldron of the Head of Hades," set over a fire, blown into a flame by the breath of nine young girls. Girls and hazels were alike, he thinks, symbols of time because of the nine days of the old Celtic week, and comparable with the nine Muses, daughters of Memory. Nutt thought the Celtic cauldron the first form of the Holy Grail.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 27. In my record of this conversation I find a sentence that has dropped out in Lady Gregory's. The old man used these words: "And I took down a fork from the rafters and asked her was it a broom and she said it was," and it was that answer that proved her in the power of the faeries. She was "suggestible" and probably in a state of trance.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 28. The Dundonians are, of course, the Tuatha-de-Danaan, and those with the bag are the "firbolg' or bag-men;" we have now, it may be, a true explanation of a name Professor Rhys has interpreted with intricate mythology. I wonder if these bags are related to the Sporran of the Highlanders.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 29. Here though maybe but in seeming, spiritism and folk-lore are at issue with one another. The spirit of the séance room is described as growing to maturity and remaining in that state. In Swedenborg it moves toward "the day-spring of its youth." Among the country people too, one sometimes hears of the dead growing to the likeness of thirty years in heaven and remaining so. Thirty years, I suppose, because at that age Christ began his ministry. The idea that underlies Mrs. Fagan's statement seems to be that we have a certain measure of life to live out on earth or in some intermediate state. Are the inhabitants of this "intermediate state" the "earthbound" of the spiritists?
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 30. Professor Lombroso quotes from Professor Faffofer the following description of how he received news of the death of Carducci: "On the 18th of February, in the evening, our spirit-friends did not at once give us notice of their presence at our sitting, and we waited for them about half an hour. 'Remigo,' on being asked the reason why they had delayed, replied: 'We are in a state of agitation and confusion here. We have just come from a festival of grief for you and joy for us. We have been present at the death-bed of Carducci.' He had died that day and in that very hour and the news had not yet arrived by the ordinary channels."
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 31. I was the patient; it seemed to be the only way of coming to intimate speech with the knowledgeable man.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 32. The ghosts of "spiritism" are constantly changing place or state. Sometimes for this reason they must say "goodbye" to a medium. That they are passing to a "higher state" seems to be the usual phrase. See for instance the account signed by A. I. Smart and a number of witnesses, published in The Medium and Daybreak, of June 15, 1877.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 33. I have been several times told that a great battle for the potatoes preceded the great famine. What decays with us seems to come out, as it were, on the other side of the picture and is spirits' property.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 34. This is true, but he might have guessed it from the difference of my glasses; one is plain glass.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 35. They are only small when "upon certain errands," but when small, three feet or thereabouts seems to be the almost invariable height. Mary Battle, my uncle George Pollexfen's second-sighted servant, told me that "it is something in our eyes makes them big or little." People in trance often see objects reduced. Mrs. Piper when half awakened will sometimes see the people about her very small.
[Seers and Healers] NOTE 36. The same story as that in one of the most beautiful of the "Noh" plays of Japan. I tell the Japanese story in my long terminal essay.
[Evil Eye] NOTE 37. Mediums have often said that the spirits see this world through our eyes. John Heydon, upon the other hand, calls good spirits "The eyes and ears of God."
[Evil Eye] NOTE 38. The herbs were gathered before dawn, probably that the dew might be upon them. Dew, a signature or symbol of the philosopher's stone, was held once to be a secretion from dawning light.
[Away] NOTE 39. The most puzzling thing in Irish folk-lore is the number of countrymen and countrywomen who are "away." A man or woman or child will suddenly take to the bed, and from that on, perhaps for a few weeks, perhaps for a lifetime, will be at times unconscious, in a state of dream, in trance, as we say. According to the peasant theory these persons are, during these times, with the faeries, riding through the country, eating or dancing, or suckling children. They may even, in that other world, marry, bring forth, and beget, and may when cured of their trances mourn for the loss of their children in faery. This state generally commences by their being "touched" or "struck" by a spirit. The country people do not say that the soul is away and the body in the bed, as a spiritist would, but that body and soul have been taken and somebody or something put in their place so bewitched that we do not know the difference. This thing may be some old person who was taken years ago and having come near his allotted term is put back to get the rites of the church, or as a substitute for some more youthful and more helpful person. The old man may have grown too infirm even to drive cattle. On the other hand, the thing may be a broomstick or a heap of shavings. I imagine that an explanatory myth arose at a very early age when men had not learned to distinguish between the body and the soul, and was perhaps once universal. The fact itself is certainly "possession" and "trance" precisely as we meet them in spiritism, and was perhaps once an inseparable part of religion. Mrs. Piper surrenders her body to the control of her trance personality but her soul, separated from the body, has a life of its own, of which, however, she is little if at all conscious.
There are two books which describe with considerable detail a like experience in China and Japan respectively: Demon Possession and Allied Themes, by the Rev. John L. Nevius, D.D. (Fleming H. Revell & Co., 1894); Occult Japan, by Percival Lowell (Houghton, Mifflin, 1895). In both countries, however, the dualism of body and soul is recognized, and the theory is therefore identical with that of spiritism. Dr. Nevius is a missionary who gradually became convinced, after much doubt and perplexity, of the reality of possession by what he believes to be evil spirits precisely similar to that described in the New Testament. These spirits take possession of some Chinese man or woman who falls suddenly into a trance, and announce through their medium's mouth, that when they lived on earth they had such and such a name, sometimes if they think a false name will make them more pleasing they will give a false name and history. They demand certain offerings and explain that they are seeking a home; and if the offerings are refused, and the medium seeks to drive them from body and house they turn persecutors; the house may catch fire suddenly; but if they have their way, they are ready to be useful, especially to heal the sick. The missionaries expel them in the name of Christ, but the Chinese exorcists adopt a method familiar to the west of Ireland -tortures or threats of torture. They will light tapers which they stick upon the fingers. They wish to make the body uncomfortable for its tenant. As they believe in the division of soul and body they are not likely to go too far. A man actually did bum his wife to death, in Tipperary a few years ago, and is no doubt still in prison for it. My uncle, George Pollexfen, had an old servant Mary Battle, and when she spoke of the case to me, she described that man as very superstitious. I asked what she meant by that and she explained that everybody knew that you must only threaten, for whatever injury you did to the changeling the faeries would do to the living person they had carried away. In fact mankind and spiritkind have each their hostage. These explanatory myths are not a speculative but a practical wisdom. And one can count perhaps, when they are rightly remembered, upon their preventing the more gross practical errors. The Tipperary witch-burner only half knew his own belief. "I stand here in the door," said Mary Battle, "and I hear them singing over there in the field, but I have never given in to them yet. " And by "giving in" I understand her to mean losing her head.
The form of Possession described in Lowell's book is not involuntary like that the missionary describes. And the possessing spirits are believed to be those of holy hermits or of the gods. He saw it for the first time On a Pilgrimage to the top of Mount Ontake. Close on the border of the snow he came to a rest house which was arranged to enclose the path, that all, it would seem, might stop and rest and eat and give something to its keeper. Presently he saw three young men dressed in white who passed on m spite of the entreaties of the keeper. He followed and presently found them praying before a shrine cut in the side of a cliff. When the prayer was finished one of them took from his sleeve a stick that had hanging from it pieces of zigzag paper, and sat himself on a bench opposite the shrine. One of the others sat facing upon another bench, clasping his hands over his breast and closing his eyes. Then the first young man began a long evocation. chanting and twisting and untwisting his fingers all the time. Presently he put the wand with the zigzag paper into the other's hands and the other's hands began to twitch, and that twitching grew more and more. Then the man was possessed. A spirit spoke through his mouth and called itself the God, Hakkai.
Now the evoker became very respectful and asked if the peak would be clear of clouds, and the pilgrimage a lucky one, and if the god would take care of those left at home. The god answered that the peak would be clear until the afternoon of the day following and all else go well. The voice ceased and the evoker offered a prayer of adoration. The entranced man was awakened by being touched on the breast and slapped upon the back and now another of the three took his place. And all was gone through afresh; and when that was over the third young man was entranced in his turn.
Mr. Lowell made considerable further investigation and records many cases, and was told that the god or spirit would sometimes speak in a tongue unknown to the possessed man, or gave useful medical advice. He is one of the few Europeans who have witnessed what seems to be an important rite of Shinto religion. Shintoism, or the Way of the Gods, until its revival in the last half of the nineteenth century remained lost and forgotten in the roots of Japanese life. It had been superseded by Buddhism, if Mr. Lowell was correctly informed, as completely as this old faery faith of Ireland has been superseded by Christianity. Buddhism, however, having no Christian hostility to friendly spirits, does not seem to have done anything to discourage a revival which was one of the causes that brought Japan under the single rule of the Mikado. It had always indeed in certain of its sects practised ceremonies that had for their object the causing of possession.
There is a story in The Book of the Dun Cow which certainly describes a like experience, though Prof. Rhys interprets it as a solar myth. I will take the story from Lady Gregory's Cuchulain of Muirthemne. The people of Ulster were celebrating the festival of the beginning of winter, held always at the beginning of November. The first of November is still a very haunted day and night. A flock of wild birds lit upon the waters near to Cuchulain and certain fair women. "In all Ireland there were not birds to be seen that were more beautiful."
One woman said: " 'I must have a bird of these birds on each of my two shoulders.' 'We must all have the same,' said the other women. 'If any one is to get them, it is I that must first get them,' said Eithne Inguba, who loved Cuchulain. 'What shall we do?' said the women. 'It is I will tell you that,' said Levarcham: 'for I will go to Cuchulain from you to ask him to get them.'"
So she went to Cuchulain and said: "'The women of Ulster desire that you will get these birds for them.' Cuchulain put his hand upon his sword as if to strike her, and he said: 'Have the idle women of Ulster nothing better to do than to send me catching birds today?' 'It is not for you,' said Levarcham, 'to be angry with them; for there are many of them are half blind today with looking at you, from the greatness of their love for you.'"
After this Cuchulain catches the birds and divides them amongst the women, and to every woman there are two birds, but when he comes to his mistress, Eithne Inguba. he has no birds left. " 'It is vexed you seem to be,' he said, 'because I have given the birds to the other women.' 'You have good reason for that,' she said, 'for there is not a woman of them but would share her love and her friendship with you; while as for me no person shares my love but you alone.'" Cuchulain promises her whatever birds come, and presently there come two birds who are linked together with a chain of gold and "singing soft music that went near to put sleep on the whole gathering." Cuchulain went in their pursuit, though Eithne and his charioteer tried to dissuade him, believing them enchanted. Twice he casts a stone from his sling and misses, and then he throws his spear but merely pierces the wing of one bird. Thereupon the birds dive and he goes away in great vexation, and he lies upon the ground and goes to sleep, and while he sleeps two women come to him and put him under enchantment. In the Connacht stories the enchantment begins with a stroke, or with a touch from some person of faery and it is so the women deal with Cuchulain. 'The woman with the green cloak went up to him and smiled at him and she gave him a stroke of a rod. The other went up to him then and smiled at him and gave him a stroke in the same way; and they went on doing this for a long time, each of them striking him in turn till he was more dead than alive. And then they went away and left him there." The men of Ulster found him and they carried him to a house and to a bed and he lay till the next November came round. They were sitting about the bed when a strange man came in and sat amongst them. It was the God, Aengus, and he told how Cuchulam could be healed. A king of the other world, Labraid, wished for Cuchulain's help in a war, and if he would give it, he would have the love of Fand the wife of the sea god Manannan. The women who gave him the strokes of the rods were Fand and her sister Liban, who was Labraid's wife They had sought his help as the Connacht faeries will ask the help of some good hurler. Were they too like our faeries "shadows" until they found it? When the god was gone, Cuchulain awoke, and Conchubar, the King of Ulster, who had been watching by his bedside, told him that he must go again to the rock where the enchantment was laid upon him. He goes there and sees the woman with the green cloak. She is Liban and pleads with him that he may accept the love of Fand and give his help to Labraid. If he will only promise, he will become strong again. Cuchulain will not go at once but sends his charioteer into the other world. When he has his charioteer's good report, he consents, and wins the fight for Labraid and is the lover of Fand. In the Connacht stories a wife can sometimes get back her husband by throwing some spell-breaking object over the heads of the faery cavalcade that keeps him spellbound. Emir, in much the same way, recovers her husband Cuchulain, for she and her women go armed with knives to the yew tree upon Baile's strand where he had appointed a meeting with Fand and outface Fand and drive her away.
We have here certainly a story of trance and of the soul leaving the body, but probably after it has passed through the minds of story-tellers who have forgotten its original meaning. There is no mention of any one taking Cuchulain's place, but Prof. Rhys in his reconstruction of the original form of the story of "Cuchulain and the Beetle of Forgetfulness,' a visit also to the other world, makes the prince who summoned him to the adventure take his place in the court of Ulster. There are many stories belonging to different countries, of people whose places are taken for a time by angels or spirits or gods, the best known being that of the nun and the Virgin Mary, and all may have once been stories of changelings and entranced persons. Pwyll and Arawyn in the Mabinogion change places for a year, Pwyll going to the court of the dead in the shape of Arawyn to overcome his enemies, and Arawyn going to the court of Dyved. Pwyll overcomes Arawyn's enemies with one blow and the changeling's rule at Dyved was marvellous for its wisdom. In all these stories strength comes from men and wisdom from among gods who are but shadows. I have read somewhere of a Norse legend of a false Odin that took the true Odin's place, when the sun of summer became the wintry sun. When we say a man has had a stroke of paralysis or that he is touched we refer perhaps to a once universal faery belief.
[Away] NOTE 40. I suppose this woman who was glad to "pick a bit of what was in the pigs' trough" had passed along the roads in a state of semi-trance, living between two worlds. Boehme had for seven days what he called a walking trance that began by his gazing at a gleam of light on a copper pot and in that trance truth fell upon him "like a bursting shower."
[Away] NOTE 41. A village beauty of Ballylee. Raffery praised her in lines quoted in my Celtic Twilight, and Lady Gregory speaks of her in her essay on Raftery in Poets and Dreamers.
[Away] NOTE 42. An old, second-sighted servant to an uncle of mine used to say that dreams were no longer true "when the sap began to rise" and when I asked her how she knew that, she said; "What is the use of having an intellect unless you know a thing like that."
[Away] NOTE 43. "In the faeries" is plainly a misspeaking of the old phrase ('in faery" that is to say "in glamour" "under enchantment." The word "faery" as used for an individual is a modern corruption. The right word is "fay."
NOTE 44. The sudden filling of the air by a sweet odour is a common event of the Séance room. It is mentioned several times in the 'Diary" of Stainton Moses.
[Forths and Sheoguey Places] NOTE 45. A woman from the North would probably be a faery woman or at any rate a "knowledgeable" woman, one who was "in the faeries" and certainly not necessarily at all a woman from Ulster. The North where the old Celtic other world was thought to lie is the quarter of spells and faeries. A visionary student, who was at the Dublin Art School when I was there, described to me a waking dream of the North Pole. There were luxuriant vegetation and overflowing life though still but ice to the physical eye. He added thereto his conviction that wherever physical life was abundant, the spiritual life was vague and thin, and of the converse truth.
[Blacksmiths] NOTE 46. St. Patrick prayed, in The Breastplate of St. Patrick, to be delivered from the spells of smiths and women.