Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sorting Out The Various Versions Leanan Sidhe

You may have noticed the blog has undergone a face lift. Now that I am no longer posting the prompts from DWP, it was time to change things up and give the blog some fantasy elements and a bit of Celtic Flavor. 

Today's feature:  A little known Fae with two vast distinctions in lore ..............

From deep within the old stone well,
The Sidhe came to claim a mate.
For her glamour the poor lad fell,
And unknowingly sealed his fate.
Now he creates great works of art,
While she insures they never part.
This dark Fae inspires her loved one,
But in the end he'll be undone.
                                            ~ Morrigan Aoife

Leanan Sidhe (Lah-nan Shee-uh) Irish / Leannan Sith (Lahn-nan Shee) Scottish Gaelic /  Lhiannan Shee (Lan-awn Shee)

The name comes from the Gaelic words for Sweetheart, Lover, Concubine, Barrow and Fairy-Mound.

Scottish Meaning: Barrow Lover, Spirit Mate, or Fairy Sweetheart.

A woman of the Aos Si who takes a human for a lover. The Leanan Sidhe is most often depicted as a beautiful muse. As long as the Leanan Sidhe is pleased with her mortal mate she offers inspiration to the artist in exchange for their love and complete devotion. This frequently results in madness and premature death for the artist. Therefore, lovers of the Leanan Sidhe are said to live brief, though highly inspired lives. However if the Leanan Sidhe is offended or spurned the fairy could take action with unpleasant results.

* Aos Si (ees shee)  - A supernatural race in Irish (Daoine Sidhe) and Scottish mythology (Daoine Sith), similar to fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in in the fairy mounds, across the western sea, or an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. They are often called the people of the mounds, the people of the barrow, or the fairy folk. The Scottish variation, Daoine Sith, are also often denoted as being the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or gods and goddesses.

Leanhuan Sidhe / Leanhuan Shee

Meaning: Fairy Mistress, Inspiration of Faeries.

The Leanhuan Sidhe is similar to the Leanan Sidhe in that she also seeks the love of mortals. However her lore is considerably more malicious, she is said to be an evil, mysterious and sometimes even blood-sucking Fae.

The Leanhuan Sidhe resides in a natural environment and haunts wells and springs. When the Leanhuan Sidhe finds a potential lover, she appears to him as an irresistible beauty but remains invisible to all others. If the human refuses her, then she must be his slave, however if he consents, then he is hers, and can only escape by finding another to take his place.

The Leanhuan Sidhe survives on the life force of her lover like a vampire, draining him of his vitality and spirit (through sexual acts) and causing him to waste away. However she is a dark and powerful muse who bestows the gift of inspiration upon her lover in return for his sacrifice, giving him the ability to create works of art, music or poetry with a great depth of feeling. The price of her dark gift is the sorrow and heartbreak that is born out of his obsession.

The Leanhuan Sidhe will not allow her lover to remain on earth for long and the artists will most often die at a young age. Although, Death is said to be no escape from her. There are some that believe the Leanhuan Sidhe fears iron, those people also believe that she may be harmed or killed by it.

While a few sources did have some conflicting information about this seldom discussed Fae -for instance one suggests that both variations of this Fae only have red hair - the above description seems to reflect the general consensus on how to distinguish between the two variations of these Gaelic Muses. If you have something that you would like to share regarding the Leanan Sidhe or the Leanhuan Sidhe please do it in the comments box below.


  1. I really enjoyed your post today. I love learning new things!

  2. Thanks for visiting! I'm glad you like the new direction that the blog is taking and hope that you will find todays entry just as entertaining and informative as the last.