Dennis wrote:
>The word that comes closest may be "nél", which is in the Dúil Bélrai,
>although in both early and modern usage a "nél" is generally something one
>falls into, like a stupor or a faint, rather than an altered mental state
>that one actively cultivates.  There is, however, this example in DIL:
>   dochuaidh a n-eaxdasis [= extasis] .i. a néul spioradálta
>   = went into an ecstasy, i.e. into a spiritual "nél"
>This is from Mac Aingil's "Scathan shacramuinte na
haithridhe", from the year 1618.

and Marion wrote:

>'Támhnéal' is still our medical term, and colloquially we generally say
>'titim i néal' or 'imeacht as' (that's in Modern Irish - I'd love to know
>what words Scots/Canadians and Manx use, by way of equivalents/distinction
>between the two different concepts, if made).

I'd like to know that, too, Marion! Thanks very much for all this. Dennis
wrote that "a 'nél' is generally something one falls into, like a stupor or
a faint, rather than an altered mental state that one actively cultivates."
Could that reflect an attitude that trance was the result of being "taken"
by some force or being? Yes, I realize that "taken" has connotations that
may be unjustified here, but until the last 100 years or so, illness was
generally considered the result of attack by unseen forces (it still
is--only we have technology to see the forces now, but previous ages were
thinking of "fairies," not viruses), so why not trance?

Francine Nicholson

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