Who is Leanán Sídhe?
She is the most beautiful entity you’ve ever laid eyes on. Her voice is life itself. Her smell that of life-giving rain. She looks at you, and you may already be lost in the depths of her. The world, the very universe, and how to express it is laid out before you in those eyes. She holds out a precious hand. A deal in the making. You reach back, wanting more than anything to call her your own. If you give into her siren song, if you lean in a little too much, she will delight you until there is nothing left at all.
Sealing a deal can be tricky in any scenario. There is always the risk you may not have thought of all the angles. Then, of course, there is the issue of who you made the deal with. Are they friend, family, aquantaince, a business partner or even enemy? Can they be trusted, will they keep their end of the bargain? Will you, for that matter. Are you trust worthy? Do you think you can best the scenario, strike a pact and come out of it without sacrifice? Perhaps you feel the deal is worth the consequences. When dealing with the fae, however, please do not make the mistake of believing you have the upper hand. These beings have had a long, long time to perfect their methods. Sure, you may receive what they’ve promised you, but the cost will likely be more than you think you bargained for. Be especially wary if you’re unaware of making any deal at all while in the presence of a fairy. The longer you tarry in their presence, the greater risk you may find yourself in.
This could not be more true than in the case of the Leanan-Sidhe (lan-awn shee), or the Fairy Mistress (Briggs). The Bean Sidhe, more commonly known as the Banshee, is a fairy of similar power. Their songs both beautiful, but one a harbinger of death, and another the very expression of life. The Leanan-Sidhe is a beautiful fairy woman of grace and otherworldly inspiration. For those who fall in love with her, a future of great creativity and artmaking lay before them. She is a muse of terrifying proportion. Among some of the oldest fae, her powers are indeed great and time spent with her is all consuming. Poets, singers, writers and artists of many kinds have fallen into her lovers embrace to soar with her in wild abandon. Living so brightly as to burn through life recklessly, shortly ending in tragedy. If an artist were to deny the love of the Leanan Sidhe, it’s possible they could rule her and she would become their slave. If history is any indication, most often her offer is readily accepted. She offers a very tempting proposition. She herself is stunning and alluring and a life of creative genius tops it off in one very hard to resist package.
A Life Brightly, but Briefly Lived
There are a number of theories on this point. It’s quite possible that different faeries approach their victims in various ways, leaving us with differing opinions on this topic. The Leanan Side is also far from the only fair folk who give inspiration to their admirers, but she is perhaps the most powerful and certainly the best known. One popular belief about Leanan Sidhe is that she is literally vampiric. She gives such inspiration to her victims, causing them to become entirely dependant upon her as she slowly sucks away their life force. In other cases she waits until they suffer unto death and drag away their bodies to her lair. Thereby feeding upon them to sustain herself. Along another vein, she may offer her love but also fall into it with her victims and leaves the artist in hopes of saving them from herself. Without her presence and inspiration, however, life for the creative becomes unbearable and they either waste away, or kill themselves in desperation. No matter her intention, a human tryst with a faerie can only ever end one way. Time with the Faeries passes differently, they themselves only live partially in our realm. Maybe Leanan-Sidhe cannot help but hasten the end of the mortals she either loves or toys with.
It's easy to blame the faerie for such a victimising hold over us humans. Let us not forget, no matter how easy it would be to lay full blame at her feet. It holds true she does not force this relationship between herself and a human. True, we find her quite irresistible, but it is an offer just the same and if one were able to deny her she would then become theirs. Perhaps in this way we can see the occasional genius who lives to old age? Not entering into a lovers entanglement with Inspiration, but rather drawing from her vast knowledge without harm to themselves. Keeping her at a safe distance.