Nicnevin - The Divine Witch: Goddesses and Gods

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Divine Witch: Goddesses and Gods

Nicnevin, the “Bone Mother,” is a Scottish witchcraft goddess. Her name is believed to be an Anglicized version of Nic an Neamhain, or “Daughter of Frenzy.” Like the Nixies, Nicnevin is a water spirit. She can transform water into rocks, and sea into dry land. She wears a long gray mantle and carries a magic wand.

Nicnevin flies through the night; although she is usually invisible, her presence is announced by a cacophony of geese, her sacred birds. Nicnevin is among the spirits associated with the Wild Hunt and was reclassified, post-Christianity, as both a demon and a fairy.

Samhain is Nicnevin’s sacred night. She is traditionally honored with celebratory feasts and toasting; some Neo-Pagans hold rituals in Nicnevin’s honor on November 1st.

Nicnevin traditionally answers petitions and grants wishes on Samhain. At that time she makes herself visible as she flies through the air, accompanied by a retinue of witches and honking geese. Once upon a time, women of Fife took care to spin off all the flax on their distaffs before Samhain commenced otherwise, allegedly, Nicnevin would claim it.

Nicnevin manifests as both a beautiful woman and an old hag. In her Hag aspect, Nicnevin is known as Gyre Carlin. She may be the Cailleach of Lothian and the Border counties; some believe that Nicnevin is but another name for Cailleach Bheara. The Romans identified Nicnevin with Diana. Nicnevin is also considered the Queen of Fairies of Fife, Scotland.

See also Diana; CALENDAR: Samhain; FAIRIES: Nature-spirit Fairies: Nixies; FAIRYTALE WITCHES: Mother Goose; HAG: Cailleach, Cailleach Bheara; WOMEN’S MYSTERIES: Spinning.