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The Keener

Also known as: Caoineag

The Caointeach of the Western Highlands is a Scottish equivalent of Ireland’s Banshee. She is attached to a clan who comes to mourn prior to a death, hence serving as a harbinger. She is usually heard crying, weeping, and wailing several days before a death in the family. She keens, a word related to her name, the ancient Celtic mode of mourning. Like the Banshee, the Caointeach is a psychopomp, a spirit who provides escort service to the world beyond.

Clans and families associated with the Caointeach include the Curries, Duffies, MacDonalds, Macmillans, Mackays, Macfarlanes, Mathisons, and Shaws. The Caointeach of Clan MacDonald was heard to wail for several nights prior to the Massacre at Glencoe in 1692.

Manifestation: In general, the Caointeach is heard, not seen; she is described as child-sized and wearing a green shawl or dress.

See also: Banshee; Cyhyraeth; Psychopomp

Judika Illes
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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