Dwelly-d Faclair Dwelly air loidhne Dwelly's Gaelic Dictionary Online

taghairm

-e, -ean, sf Echo. 2 Gathering summons. 3 Ancient mode of divination, said to be one of the most effectual means of raising the devil and getting unlawful wishes gratified. The performance consisted in roasting cats alive, one after another, for some days, without tasting food which if duly persisted in, summoned a legion of devils in the guise of black cats with their master at their head, all screeching in a way terrifying to any person of ordinary nerves — NGP. “The divination by the taghairm was once a noted superstition among the Gael and in the northern parts of the Lowlands of Scotland. When any important question concerning futurity arose and of which a solution was, by all means, desirable, some shrewder person than his neighbours was pitched upon to perform the part of a prophet. This person was wrapped in the warm smoking hide of a newly-slain ox or cow, commonly an ox, and laid at full length in the wildest recess of some lonely watefall. The question was then put to him and the oracle was left in solitude to consider it. Here he lay for some hours with his cloak of knowledge around him and over his head, no doubt, to see the better into futurity; deafened by the incessant roaring of the torrent; every sense assailed; his body steaming; his fancy in a ferment; and whatever notion had found its way into his mind from so many sources of prophecy, it was firmly believed to have been communicated by invisible beings who were supposed to haunt such solitudes” — **.

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