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Brittany - Isle de Sein and the Realm of the Dead

Identifier

014043

Type of spiritual experience

Hallucination

Background

A description of the experience

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, [1911]

In all the peninsula of which the famous and dangerous Pointe du Raz is the terminus, and among the fisher-folk with whom I lived on the strange and historic Île de Sein, the Legend of the Dead is common……………….

The people of Armorica at other times than November Eve remember the dead very appropriately, as in Ireland the Irish remember fairies. The Breton peasant thinks of the dead as frequently as the Irishman thinks of fairies.

Just as in the case of all fairies and goblins, the dead disappear at first cock-crow.

The world of the dead, like the land of Faerie or the Otherworld, may be underground, in the air, in a hill or mountain like a fairy palace, under a river or sea, and even on an island out amid the ocean...

The Breton realm of the dead equally with the Irish Fairyland is an invisible world peopled by other kinds of spirits besides disembodied mortals and fairies.

The dead haunt houses just as Robin Good-fellows and brownies, or pixies and goblins, generally do. The dead are fond of frequenting cross-roads, and so are all sorts of fairies.

In Brittany one must always guard against the evil dead, in Cornwall against pixies, in other Celtic lands against different kinds of fairies. In Ireland and Scotland there is the banshee, in Wales the death-candle, in Brittany the Ankou or king of the dead, to foretell a death. And as the banshee wails before the ancestral mansion, so the Ankou sounds its doleful cry before the door of the one it calls.

The source of the experience

Celtic

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Air