Her Dark Rein

Her Dark Rein

her still heart
darkness awakes
from her crypt she rises into the night
terror shrieks through the darkening sky
blood falls like rain
where she walks


The Changeling by Henry Fuseli

The Changeling by Henry Fuseli

Changelings are rather popular ones, they often appear within various works of fiction to reference an impish or mischievous child, or sometimes to just indicate a child who seems to have something otherwordly about them.

Changelings are a type of fae, but I can assure you, they are no Tinker Bell, and they are not the popularized modern conception of what a fairy is, as we have already discussed various different fairy types from Irish myth particular, but other cultures as well, that shed a darker light on just what fairies are all about.

Changelings come out of Britannia myth. Many may be familiar with the story of the changeling.  It is a common trait among the traditional myth of the fairy for fae to be portrayed as thieves of children. Even in the old beloved tale of Peter Pan (the original by J.M. Barrie not the Disney version) we see instances of fairies stealing children away.  In the myth of the changeling in order for a fairy to steal a child they must leave in its place either a carved wooden substitute, or an elderly, feeble fairy that is to play the role of a human infant.

As they age Changelings become notorious pranksters, hence why mischievous children are so oft linked to them. While it is difficult to determine if ones child is a changeling, in some culture such as England, Hungary, and parts of Africa, it was thought that children who were born with teeth were sure to be changelings.  If one suspects their children is a changeling the parent might try and trick them into revealing their true identity.

The Croucher and other Domiciles

Domicile  demons are a domestic type of demon, unlike the many various nature demons which I have frequently talked about, I will now move on to more domestic imps. These demons often find their abode within the home, or are present at important moments in human life and experience, such as marriage, childbirth, a death, and so forth. An ancient lament of these demons goes as follows:

Doors do not stop them
bolts do not stop them
they glide in at the doors like serpents
they enter by the windows like the wind

One ancient breed of domicile demon is known as the Croucher and comes from Babylonian myth. The Courcher is an invisible type of demon known as rabisu which means “the ones who wait.” While it cannot be seen it makes its presence felt, causing the hair of any mortal near it to stand on end.  Because they cannot be seen they are described by the effect they cause, rather then by physical appearance.

In Ancient Babylonia people believed that multitudes of evil spirits filled into the habitats of humans and fell into different categories; utukku, ekimmu,gallu, alu, and rabisu.  The first two are departed spirits of the dead who cannot find rest so they cause harm to the living, most often found around graveyards. The third can be seen in the image of a bull and roams the streets at night, the forth is a specter that appears in the image of a black dog (black dog myths are also a strong part of Irish Lore and thought to be ill omens by some, while others find them to be guardians.)

Most of these can be avoided by staying home, but home provides no safety from the rabisu, it is how the Croucher game about its name, because they lay in wait unseen for unsuspecting mortal victims, within the doorways of the household, because of this they are also known as entrance demons.

Other types of rabisu are thought to perch upon rooftops at the homes of expecting mothers, to prepare to pounce on the newborn babies.  In ancient Rome it was a custom to shoot arrows at the rooftops when a woman was in childbirth to protect the mother and baby. In Syria there is a rooftop demon called bar egara who waits to pounce upon men as they cross the threshold of their door on the way to work.

Many different cultures have devised ways to try and drive off these domicile demons. The spreading of salt across a threshold is commonly seen as a way of warding off evil spirits who are believed to be unable to cross salt. Wind chimes were also originally derived as a form of protection. One of the reason why churches ring bells is because the sound of a bell ringing is believed to ward off demons, and evil spirits, so hanging wind chimes in the front of the house can keep away these spirits, as the wind blows the chimes causing a bell like sound to drive them off.