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Faerie Lore: “Gruagachs” – The ability of the separable soul.

We may find on Faerie Lore three different types Gruagachs:

1- In the Highlands, it emerges as a female kind, dressed in Gren with Golden hair, ranging from beautiful to haggard. There is also a belief of her as “ A Glaistig”, the “Gruagach” or the “Hairy One”, it is an epithet of her. As the Glaistig, always in the habit of enterin in houses dropping water from her clothes and asking herself to dry by the fire.

2- Male Gruagachs are less common, though there are recounts of handsome young laddies and naked and shaggy ones in the type of the Brownie. Both kinds had offerings of milk due to their tasks. In Northern Ireland the parallel is the Grogan.

—It is in Southern Ireland, that the Gruagach plays the role of the Supernatural Wizard. Opposite to the plain Wizard, he has adquired skillness not by usual ways of learning but from some inborn aptitude.

3- The wizards of the Sidh (Fairy People) are considered minor Supernatural, they often appear as Giants who've got the capacity to hide their souls in Eggs or Stocks (separable soul type).

Celtic beliefs seem to consider True Supernatural Wiz or Gruagach, those who started as gods. (e.g.: Bran & Gwydion). Being considered as Bran The Blessed the brother of Manawyddan and the son of Llyr -story told in the Mabinogion-. And Gwidyon or Gwydion, tho equivalent to the Irish “Lug” the many-skilled god.

The Separable Soul ability isn't usually find in fairies but in Gruagachs, Allied to this power is a general invulnerabillty qualified by one vulnerable spot, both acquired by inmersion (e.g: Sigfried, Aquiles). Gruagach stories are amusing, generaly the hero. wins first the Chess contest and must always try no to fall under the Gruagach’s tempting offerings. J.F.Campbell recounts the legend of “The Young King of Eassaidh Ruah & the Gruagach Carsalach Donn” , which is a pretty example.

A very nice storytelling regarding Gruagachs has been recorded by Robin Williamson. Four gruagach tales resemble the classical ways of retelling and structure with additions that make the whole stories more interesting and exciting including Celtic subjects and mythology. The legends included on Robin’s CD are :

1. Fisherman's Son & The Gruagach of Tricks
2. Blind Rafferty & The Jealous Hero
3. Rory Mor & The Gruagach Gaire

4. Prince Dougie & The Swan Maiden

Three of these four stories ("The Fisherman's Son"; "Rory Mor", & "The Gruagach Gaire") stem from the early 1980's when Robin recorded them at Chick Corea's Mad Hatter Studios in Los Angels. The Story of "Blind Raferty" is a brand new recording performed by Robin in Wales in 2006. Gottdiscs.

To purchase a copy click here.

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