Win a Highland gift set and chat
with author B.J. Scott
this week at the Book Boost!
She's here to discuss the origins of second sight and here's what she had to say...
When the Celtic people emigrated from Ireland to Scotland, along with their Celtic religion, they brought with them a strong belief in, fairies, superstitions, myths and legends. This resulted in a culture that was governed by rituals intended to bring good luck, blessing, to promote prosperity, to help them to select a mate, to influence crop yields, increase fertility, and to protect them from evil and tragedy.
Simple day-to-day activities, things like how to plant a field, to lead a cow, the order in which ingredients were added to a pot, and direction it was stirred, the proper way to celebrate feasts and sacred days were all carried out according to legendary practices. Breaking with tradition or going against the myth meant you were inviting trouble. Many a tale was told of those who had done just that and the grave consequences.
Perhaps one of the most prevalent beliefs of the Celtic people living in the Highlands was in the “gift of second sight.” The Gaelic name for this form of precognition was dà shealladh, which translated means two sights, was the ability of a person to not only see the world as all normal humans do, but they also had the skill to see the spirit world. Called a gift by some, it was often seen by those said to possess these abilities as a curse.
The taibhs (spirits) beheld by the taibhsear (person with second sight) in what was referred to as astaibhsearchd (the act of precognition) usually foretold of unhappy events and often of impending death. Sometimes the premonitions were clearly observed in a vision depicting the event exactly as it would unfold—a noose around someone’s throat, someone submerged in water and struggling to catch a breath, or a headless man—but more often the events were seen symbolically.
The shroud, the corpse-candle or spectral illuminations, each held a specific significance. The shroud of death and where it was wrapped around a person’s body indicated how long they had to live. Draped around the middle or below, meant death might not occur for months or even a year, but the higher it was the sooner the death would occur. Wrapped around a specific part of the body could signify they way they would die. A full funeral procession, the way being lit by corpse-candles and other illuminations was also viewed as a sign of impending demise. If a spark of fire was seen falling upon someone’s arm or breast, this indicated the dead of a child, especially if seen in the arms of that person. Seeing an empty seat when someone was sitting in it was a sign that sudden death was near.
The knowledge of when and where a person would die, to see the demise of friends and family, or simply being aware of people’s nature in general was a heavy burden to carry and often feared. Even though the visions came on them without warning and was not by choice, the person with second sight often found themselves living in solitude. Be it by preference or forced upon them.
While thought to be hereditary, second sight was known to skip a generation or two and then reappear. When it might strike or who would be afflicted was never known for certain. Not all visions were of tragedy. On occasion, happier events were seen. If a woman was seen standing at a man’s left hand there was a good chance she would be his wife, even if he was already married at the time of the vision. If more than one woman was seen, the one closest to the man’s left hand would be his next wife.
A Note from the Book Boost: This is very interesting stuff. Interesting and creepy! I love the idea and can't wait to read how it finds its way into your new release coming out next week, Highland Quest, please tell us more about that!
Tired of walking in the shadows of his two older brothers, and on a quest to make a name for himself, Bryce Fraser rejoins the fight for Scottish independence. But he arrives too late to warn his fellow patriots of an ambush.
Wounded in the confrontation, Bryce awakens to find Fallon MacCrery, the only woman he has ever truly loved, and never thought he would see again, tending his wounds—a twist of fate that rekindles passion, and prompts him to question his destiny.
Can their unspoken love withstand the test of time and war, or will the laird of an enemy clan–an English ally who is bent on destroying them both–tear them apart forever?
Want More B.J. Scott?
Visit her on the web here: http://www.authorbjscott.com/
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Highland Quest coming December 19th to Soul Mate Publishing!
Leave a question or comment for B.J. any time during this week and be entered to win a copy of Highland Legacy or Highland Quest (releases 12/19/12). The winner will also receive a book thong, regular book mark, a key chain, a can cooler and a pen.