"Hosting of the Sidhe" Poster
This is a new, digitally colored version of an ink drawing I did back in 1982 - at a time when I was doing many illustrations and paintings based on the legends and the history of the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Iceland.
"The Hosting of the Sidhe" is not an ancient poem - it was written by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats - but it does deal with something ancient, in the sort of melancholy, mystical way that Celtic revival work often projected onto its sources. The fact is that the original Irish myths and legends are hard, boastful, bright and violent, which is about what you'd expect of the people who were telling them.
But here we're thinking about those people who are older than Ireland itself, the Sidhe, the Tuatha de Danaan, and the whole host of creatures who were once gods but gradually were rememberd only as something not human - though they behaved much like humans. These are the people who were thought to live under the hollow hills, and just on the other side of forests that weren't always there.
And as the poem tells us, it was usually unfortunate for anyone who happened to meet them.
Bradley W. Schenck, 2007