I've gotten onto the description of the Fomorians in the Irish sagas and
some of them closely paralel the Fachan, although descriptions of them do
vary a lot.
Also I have searched in various ways for *Corriugneacht* and cannot find
that term at all, although I had previously heard about the 'heron pose' of
the druids from another source. The picture provided by Campbell looks a bit
like someone in this pose.
Also, that would go a long way to explain the presence of feathers in many
of the descriptions of the Facahan, since (I believe) there are sources that
mention the druids wearing cloaks of feathers. Precisely how this may have
beome conflated with the fachan intrigues me.
Anyway thanks again for metioning this. I don't suppose you have source,
translation or an alternate spelling, for that word? Does it in fact simply
mean 'crane pose' or 'heron pose'?
On 2/24/06, Stiof MacAmhalghaidh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Reminds me of some descriptions of the Fomorians in Ireland, with one leg,
> one eye, one arm. This is also similar to the pose apparently taken up by
> druids in Ireland when using a technique called Corriugneacht in whch they
> stood in imitation of a crane or heron on one foot with one arm raised in
> imitation of the neck & head of a crane while declaiming a curse or spell of
> some sort. The details are not clear, but the general pose seems seems
> similar in effect. There are other tales of half-people, for example I
> believe (digging deep in my memory here) that Norse tradition includes
> reference to a people who were literally half-people - half a head, half a
> body, one leg, one arm etc. They got about quite well like this, it seems,
> hoping on one foot. There are also later medieval tales of distant realms
> with odd semi-humans, including references to very similar sounding
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List. [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]]*On Behalf Of *Stephen McKenzie
> *Sent:* 24 February 2006 00:32
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: New Member / 'Fachan' query
> Thanks Bill,
> Actually it was MacKillop's reference that got me started in the first
> place, I should probably have mentioned that. I have that book by my
> bedside. He provides no reference, so the souce could be any of the 40 or so
> Scots Gaelic texts in his bibliography. Many of these are not in my library.
> What I am really looking for are accounts of people meeting this creature,
> rather than potted descriptions of it. I am sure there must be one
> As for the rest of this thread - hey, I don't mind the kidding around and
> didn't feel mocked really, I was just wondering if this was still the sort
> of place to discuss these types of questions. I remember posting a question
> about the northern British kingdoms of Strathclyde and Gododdin and getting
> several very erudite answers in a short space of time. (I'm saying erudite
> insead of austere this time, see?). Anyway it seemed like a pretty lively
> list but there were a few problems with this pagan woman getting flamed all
> the time and I got itchy feet . Looks like it has calmed down a lot since
> On 2/23/06, Bill Blank <[log in to unmask] > wrote:
> > Fantastic question and I hope you get some good answers and
> > directions to primary sources. I checked James Mackilllop's
> > Dictionary of Celtic Mythology (0198609671) which says the following"
> > "Fachan, fachin. Grotesquely ugly supernatural figure in Scottish
> > gaelic folklore, counterparts of which are known in Irish tradition.
> > The fachan is a variety of the better known athach, while the d'reach
> > is a more particular fachan.
> > The fearsome creature has but one leg from its haunch, one hand
> > protruding from its chest, one eye and rough spiky hair; cf. the
> > Irish Fer Caille; Fomorians.
> > There were no creatures haunting lonely groges and locks that
> > credulous peasants dreaded mor to meet. Sometimes classed as a Giant.
> > See also Ḅcan; luideag."
> > This doesnt give you answers and MacKillop usually indicates an
> > etymology.
> > The other thing I have had time to check is the OED which says only:
> > Fach, Fachin, obs ff of Fetch, Falchion which may be related.
> > Looking up the noun form of Fetch in the OED only says the origin is
> > obscure but probably comes from Irish. A few sources are quoted.
> > Perhaps some of this can help guide your path. Please keep us up to
> > date. I have a few other sources to check and will let you know if I
> > find anything.
> > At 1:19 PM +1030 2/23/06, Stephen McKenzie wrote:
> > Hi folks,
> > I'm new here and trying to figure out if this is the right place for
> > my kind of questions. I've had a quick search of the archives and
> > found no hits for my terms, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.
> > I am chasing up stories on monsters in Scottish folkore. At this
> > stage I am particularly interested in a creature called the 'Fachan',
> > or Direach, a creature with one arm, one leg, one eye, etc, who was
> > thought to lurk about Glen Etive, but also in other parts of the
> > Highlands
> > --
> > _____________________________
> > Bill Blank
> > http://kernunnos.com (Celtic studies and numismatics)
> > OBOD's Message board: http://www.druidry.org/board