Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cautionary Tales: Unseelie.

I've mentioned before an entity (an unseelie fey) "living" on the West side of a nearby lake.

I've heard of numerous people attempting to deal with that nastiness, and getting burnt. I, myself, had only roughly felt around the edges - and I felt it was time to actually say hello to what can only be a batshit crazy fay... after all, it lives in a lake so full of iron that the water is red. 

There are a lot of deaths on that side of the lake, particularly in that area. A deep recess beneath the water attracts noodlers (who are stupid enough to go into it), and on the hill above it, local Diabolists have done some nasty handiwork wedging an already fractured spot open just a little further.

This is where She lives. She's been there a very, very, long time - And she's not too pleased about the river being dammed into a lake. I think it was that incident that started the problem. She may have been a Washer (see: Bansidhe and Bean Nighe) prior to the damming, or something similar. The movement of the water was an important part of her existence, and the flow ceased - it became still water, full of mud and muck. So, she became full of mud and muck.

There's a bit of a price to pay when you twist things around. Especially wild things. The price people are now paying is that there is an angry thing that can exert influence over water, and things in the water. Including people. And this is why drunkards drown, noodlers get their hands ripped up, and Satanic dabblers can't get enough of the spot.

She is ravening, and hungry, and very angry.


  1. Do you ever feel that you want to do something about it?

  2. Definitely sound like a place to be avoided. There is no fixing this and she will not be satisfied.

  3. How does something like that find satisfaction and healing then? Can she move to below the dam where the water moves again? I often wonder about the "unhappy" places I see, not all so dangerous as this one, but small business places you see---the ones that change every six months, all failing. Sometimes I think the old Chinese custom of having a feng shui practitioner (or some western equivalent) review a building/site plan first would save a lot of grief.

  4. @Anonymous - No, honestly. What right do I have to go in and do more? I'm actually working on an entry about when it is, and is not, appropriate to respond to things like this (from my viewpoint anyway).

    @Mrs. Oddly - It's less "can" this be fixed and more "should" it be? Would I be doing something for the spirit, or myself? Where are my motivations, and are they from the right place?

    @Labrys - Maybe it doesn't get satisfaction. Does it need to? Who makes that decision? From what I can tell - she's firmly anchored where she is. Spirits aren't always as evolved as people give them credit for - and it may be her stubbornness, selfishness, or fear keeping her rooted - and keeping her in denial of the situation.

    @Everyone-so-far I can offer a hand, but if something attempts to bite it off, it is no longer my place (nor job) to force it into fitting into -my- morality or world-view.

  5. One strategy for a wrathful or bitter spirit is to sweeten it with worship. In Hindu ways when a river 'goddess' or pool spirit becomes poisoned it usually takes the form of plague. The response of ritualists is often to make the spirit an object of worship. If this succeeds the plague is ended and a new local goddess is in place.
    Harder to do in a western setting, but a method worth considering, since it doesn't involve a conflict-based approach at the outset.

  6. @IanC - I've been approaching "her" tentatively. I (luckily?) have prior experience with a water spirit of a not-nice disposition, so that is assisting me in at least not getting my ass handed to me.

  7. In the spirit of conversation... I am curious as to your describing this entity by the Celtic terms unseelie, bean sidhe and bean nighe. Is this your way of describing something within the vocabulary of the context in which you work? How does this fit in with the traditions of your geography? Do you feel that the spirits are the same regardless of their location, and it is a cultural filter that creates the differences in how they are viewed? Is the bean nighe the same as the rusalka the same as the n√łkken? Or do you believe that spirits vary from place to place and the cultural differences are reflections of the actuality?

  8. @dre I do very much believe that spirits vary by location. However, I also don't limit the natural world to "You're American, and a spirit, and nasty... thus one of The Rock People." - because spirits can very easily say "No, I'm not",or get -very- offended at my hubris... and then what?

    Harold Roth and I had a short exchange over on his blog about how we sort of define the edges of something - the rough outline. The "rough outline" of this being fits to the Celtic words that most people are familiar with.

    I also consider that just like people have geographically-originated "races", so might spirits. But they may share a similar origin. Growing specialized because of where they live. I.e. the Wee Folk of the UK can't abide iron, but the Wee Folk of Oklahoma can't avoid it in the orange, rusty, clay. How do they survive if they're identical, but conversely, why are they so familiar if they're so different?

    Essentially, I let the spirits decide what to be called, though I do have my own (personal, and fairly well-flawed) vocabulary for spirit types. It's culturally neutral (or eclectic enough to be a mishmashy gray). I might do a separate post (I've got parts of it drafted, anyway) on that.

  9. Scylla: than you SO much for those words. You are absolutely right. That is a very important lesson and one which many shamans and spirit workers never learn. It's not always our place to judge a spirit and "cure" or "banish" it - and trying to do so can have serious consequences.

    The spirit world is not a benevolent place filled with kindly beings waiting to dispense unconditional love and acceptance. It is a reflection of the material world, with all our tragedies, triumphs, joys and sorrows writ large. (Indeed, I might argue that the material world is the reflection of the spirit - and not a particularly clear one at that).

    Trying to "heal" that hungry spirit (whom I might call Alfar if wearing a Northern Tradition hat and Djab if holding a Houngan's asson) is most likely far beyond your abilities or mine. It is there for a reason: we may be able to work with it, make offerings to it, or avoid it altogether but it's not likely that we will be able to destroy it.

    One important difference I've found between the material and spirit worlds: in the spirit world we are not at the top of the food chain. We do well to remember this when we are in the places where the worlds meet. This sounds like something that is best approached with great caution if at all. She may be no more evil than a Great White Shark but that doesn't make her any less deadly.

  10. @Kenaz - I skirt around the edges of her domain, and deal with other spirits to ask about her nature.

    In my Tradition we don't "destroy" so much... it's considered damned near impossible to ever really take something out, and ethically reprehensible. We tend to eat, or subjugate. With this? I would do neither. No right, no reason, no reward.

    And that seems to stick in the craw of some folks - folks that see battles everywhere, or NEED a fight to feel like they're "doing something" - I've got enough battles.

    Battling with a really batspit crazy spirit doesn't give me the jollies. I am no stranger to hard-won battles, but they need to be well-reasoned. No one, including me, wants to be blogging "I banished an unseelie and all I got was a couple of mini-strokes, and chronic incontinence. Praise my LEET SKYLLZ!"