May. 12th, 2017

taghairm

May. 12th, 2017 07:58 am
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taghairm (TAE-gairm) - n., a formerly practiced method of divination of the Highland Scots involving animal sacrifice.


As cited by Sir Walter Scott in The Lady of the Lake, where I met it, it involved sewing a person into the hide of a freshly-killed ox, which was then placed beside a waterfall (or other desolate place) to enable the person to foresee the outcome of an impending battle or other future event. But there were many variations, including one in which cats were roasted alive to call up the spirit of a demon cat who would then grant the wishes of the diviners, er, torturers. In Scots Gaelic, the word means literally summons/invocation.

---L.

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