The Old Corpse Road Folklore Collective
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Famed for its tenacity and courage, the badger has entered folklore as the most unyelding animal; significantly, badgerhead sporrans keep a Highlander's loose change safe. The story of Gwawl and Rhiannon shows how an ancient game 'Badger in the Bag' was supposed to have originated, but traces of this custom, called 'Beat the Badger' in Fife, show how it may have been a form of ancient ordeal, a running the gauntlet, where the player ran between a double line of boys wielding sticks.
Badger (Breach): tenacity and courage. The Badger will teach you perseverance and endurance in the face of adversity. The badger is a powerful protector of both material possessions and ideals held close to the heart.
As the only poisonous snake in the British Isles the adder has a reputation for wisdom, reincarnation, and cunning. The amulets said to have been carried by the druids, 'gloine nathair' (the glass of the serpent), were really adder stones. If you see a snake while Faerie Vision Questing, be prepared for the power of transformation to enter your life. The snake represents the life-death-birth cycle. It was an adder which caused the Battle of Camlan; while the armies of Mordred and Arthur were drawn up during a parley in which the battle might have been averted, an adder darted out from the scrub, so startling one of Arthur's men that he drew his sword to slay it. Taking the flash of his sword as an instance of Arthur's treachery, Mordred's army attacked. In the Highlands, the adder or serpent is supposed to represent the CAILLEACH'S power, which Brigit defeats with her lamb.
The name of the fairies in Gower of Wales. In some parts of Wales Tylwyth Teg is never used to describe fairies; Verry Volk is used instead. Verry Volk were always little people who dressed in scarlet and green; and they generally showed themselves dancing on moonlit nights. By nature they are benevolent.
Stroke - The word 'Stroke' for a sudden paralytic seizure comes directly from fairy belief. It is an abbreviation of 'fairy stroke' or 'elf stroke', and was supposed to come from an elf-shot or an elf-blow, which struck down the victim, animal or human, who was then carried off invisibly, while a Stock remained to take its place. Sometimes this was a transformed fairy, sometimes a lump of wood, transformed by glamour and meant to be taken for the corpse of the victim.
Cramps - These were often the penalty for annoying the fairies. Scolding and ill-temper were specially punished in this way.
Elf Shot - Everywhere it seems small round fossils known as an echinite is a 'fairies loaf' and flint arrowheads are fairy darts or elf shots. In North Yorkshire if cattle suddenley became excited it was because elves where shooting at them ; to cure an 'awful shtten' beast it was necessary to give it water in which an elf shot has been dipped.
Clean Hearth - The first recipe in old days for encouraging fairy visits and gaining fairy favours was to leave the hearth swept and the fire clear. This seems some indication of the contention that domestic fairies were of the type of the Lares, the ancestral spirits who were the ghosts of those who had been buried under the hearth according to the primitive custom in pre-classical times.
Clean Water - A bowl of clear, fair water had to be left in any place where the fairy ladies were supposed to resort with their babies to wash them by the fire. Dirty water or empty pails were commonly punished by pinching or lameness.
Cheerful - A cheerful wayfarer, a cheerful giver and a cheerful worker are all likely to gain the patronage of the fairies, who dislike nothing so much as grumbling and moaning.
One of the Scottish and Irish names for the fairies.
Fay or Faery are sometimes divided into two classes which includes the trooping or solitary fairies. Solitary generally being the less friendly of the two. It is a distinction that hold good throughout the British Isles, and is indeed valid wherever fairy beliefs are held. The trooping fay can be large or small, friendly or sinister. They tend to wear green jackets, while the Solitary Faery wear red jackets. They can range from the Heroic Faery to the dangerrous and malevolent Sluagh, or to Diminutive Fairies who include the tiny nature spirits that make the fairy rings with their dancing and speed the growth of flowers.
Trooping Faeries: A. They can be large or small, friendly or sinister. They
tend to wear green jackets and love hunting and riding. The smaller ones
make faery rings with their circular dances.
Corpse candles and other related phenomena
A Corpse candle or light is a flame or ball of light that is seen to travel just above the ground on the route from the cemetery to the dying person's house and back again. A Corpse Fire is very similar as the name comes from lights appearing specifically within graveyards where it was believed the lights were an omen of death or coming tragedy and would mark the route of a future funeral, from the victim's house to the graveyard.
The Urisk is an extremely hideous creature with deeply wrinkled skin, patches of hair, feathers that grow from their backs and
huge misshapen heads. If human stumbles upon them they are struck with fear and runaway to safety. He haunts lonely pools and waterfalls. Sadly, the Urisk is a lonely being who longs for human company. And will often seek out human company but his peculiar appearance terrifies those he approaches.Solitary faerieA Water Elemental
Sailors dreaded the melancholy cry of a curlew, for they believed that it was a warning from a drowned friend. In parts of Scotland the bird is called a whaup, and it is associated with a long beaked goblin who carries of evil doers at night.