Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Faery Lineage and Irish Mythology — The Seelie Court

Some versions of Irish mythology have the Daoine Sidhe eventually divide into two groups: the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court. Though this separation is more commonly seen in Scottish mythology, Ireland also adopted this division. The Seelie Court was considered to be the blessed or holy court. They were often said to be the ‘good’ faeries, but Irish mythology is rarely that clear cut.

Characteristics of the Seelie Court

Sometimes called the ‘Blessed Ones,’ the Seelie were often depicted as a procession of brilliant light riding on the night air. The Seelie Court, as a group, would often use these excursions to find those in need of help. However, their form of help was sometimes closer to mischief.

The Seelie Court were considered the true aristocrats of the Daoine Sidhe. They were judges, dispensing justice to the other faery when it was required, and served as frequent arbitrators of the many faery quarrels. The Seelie Court was very political, complete with cliques, factions, gossiping, and rivalry.

Those of the Seelie Court tended towards harmony and happiness. It was their way to help humans, and to seek help from them in return. They always gave full warning when someone offended them, and when a human did them a kindness, they made every effort to return this favor. The Seelie were more inclined to towards good than evil. If give the choice between the two, there was never any doubt that they would choose good. They worked together in constructive ways for the benefit of all.

None of this means that they were entirely benign. Any of the faery, including the Seelie, would seek vengeance for an insult, if an insult were perceived. Though not malicious, they would defend themselves against any threat, and even go to war if need be. The Seelie were also prone to a great deal of mischief, especially when bored. However, their pranks rarely caused true harm, for the Seelie were really very fond of humans.

The Code of the Seelie Court

Like many human courts, the Seelie Court had its own code of conduct, a code which all of the Seelie had to abide by. This code was:
  • Death Before Dishonor: A member of the Seelie Court would protect his or her honor to the death. Honor was the single source of glory for the Seelie, the only way to attain recognition. A true Seelie would rather have died than live with personal dishonor, and would never bring dishonor to another of the Seelie.
  • Love Conquers All: For the Seelie, love was the perfect expression of the soul. It transcended all other things. Though romantic love was considered to be the highest and purest form of love, platonic love was also encouraged.
  • Beauty is Life: Beauty was one of the first tenants of the Seelie Court. To belong, a faery had to be beautiful, and all beauty was to be protected. The Seelie were known to go to war to protect beauty, whether it was a beautiful person, place, or thing.
  • Never Forget a Debt: This tenant worked in two ways. The Seelie were bound by their code of honor to repay any debt owed as soon as was possible. This included both favors and insults. The Seelie would repay a favor in a timely fashion. At the same time, they would exact vengeance almost immediately.
The Seelie Court was said to be a beautiful and benevolent place. It is no wonder that the people of Ireland and Scotland often appealed to the Seelie for help and advice. In time, however, the people turned away from the Daoine Sidhe and its Courts, seeking newer incarnations of the Faery Lineage, such as the Heroic Faery.

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