Inaugural Guest Lecture, April 11 2019, University College Cork Library Creative Zone, Presented by the Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism (INSEP):
Professor Diane Purkiss, University of Oxford (Keble College, Oxford)
‘Scary and Sexy Fairies: a Scottish Witch and the Fairy Queen of the Underworld’
In 1597, near Aberdeen, a Scottish magician called Andrew Man was plying a flourishing trade as a political activist, healer, and part-time prophet. As part of his method for convincing his clients of his authority, he became accustomed to telling them about the time he had spent under the ground in a realm he called Elfhome, or fairyland. There, he said, he enjoyed a sexual relationship with the Queen of the fairies, and also befriended James IV, dead king of the Scots, and Thomas the Rhymer, prophet and poet. He also encountered a more mysterious figure whom he called Christsunday, an angel or demon that could transform himself into a stag at will. Andrew’s tales read as a compendium of Gaelic Otherworld lore. That was almost certainly why he was condemned for witchcraft by the Presbyterians Kirk, which was determined to exterminate Gaelic Scotland and its myths and secrets.