Let’s cook with the Banshee


I will post recipes through this week.  🙂


OOoooeeeOOOOooooooo, the Banshee wails on from an ancient time.  She brings her warning and scaring the bejesus out of non- believers, not only in myth, but in modern times.  Irish folklore describes the Banshee as a woman of the fairy spirit, a female prophet a guardian angel.  She can be seen in three guises as the young woman, matron and hag, the female trinity also known as the virgin, mother and mother’s slightly older sister.   The Banshee protects her family if they will listen to her.  She is a foremother of the “Guardian Angel” in Christian traditions.  Her name in Irish is Bean-sidhe (wailing woman), AKA Bean-nighe (washer woman) and in Tipperary she is known as Bean Chaointe (Keening Woman).  Bean reference female, and si spirit or ghost.

Ancient Irish mythology connects the Banshee tradition with the fierce Morrighan, an aspect of the Goddess who features as the “Washer at the Ford,”  The Morrighan appeared as a young woman who prepared for an upcoming battle by washing the clothing or shrouds of those who would fall in battle.  There is a Banshee who serves each of the Milesian Irish families; these are the families whose names start with O’ or Mac.  Even if a member marries outside of the clan and moves away, the Banshee continues to protect all of the branches, and never abandons her kin.

Traditionally, the Banshee often appears shortly before death or major change in the family. The Banshee is almost always female and appears filmy in a white, hooded gown with a few exceptions.  In Donegal, Ireland, she may wear a green robe, or in County Mayo she usually wears black. There have been some sightings of a Banshee stylishly turned out in a simple bloody shroud. She is often found near water as it makes it easier to wash the bloody clothing that is often symbols of the warning; a woman’s work is never done even on the other side.

It is rare that a Banshee is seen, but her mourning keen is heard at night foreseeing a tragedy.  The girls don’t believe in the seen and not heard role for women when it comes to warning her family.  The wail varies from low and pleasant singing to a piercing scream that can shatter glass.  There are records of multiple Banshees joining, predicting the death of an important person, or a momentous tragedy.  As recently as 1938a large grave was opened in County Limerick to move the bones of the inhabitants, there was a mighty howl heard throughout Ireland.

Scotland also has a Banshee tradition.  In 1437, a seer with her eyes to the east predicted the murder of King James I of Scotland. Our girls are often the spirits of women who have died in childbirth.  They are obliged to perform the public service announcements due to their untimely death.  This type of Banshee can be released from her duty when the reach the time they should have died, but it appears that the guardians don’t have a great concept of time.  She is still more of a fairy with a ghost connection; she represents our connection with the physical and the spiritual worlds of magic and death.

Despite the Banshee’s bad reputation she is not always negative.  If you see her washing a shroud, she may be signaling an important event in your life.  There is some belief by historians that she is a very kind woman who is trying to protect her family from death or tragedy.  Highland Legends say that any man bold enough to creep up behind the Banshee and grab her breast would granted a wish.  The wish may be I wish I had not done that, but a wish none the less.


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