Aisling is a word of Irish origin and is interesting for both its lyrical qualities and as an inspiration for writers.
The heavenly image of a woman appearing to warn people of impending disaster appears in many cultures. The Aisling is a form particular to Ireland.
According to Wikipedia it was a popular poetic device in centuries past.
“In the aisling, Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman: sometimes young and beautiful, sometimes old and haggard. This female figure is generally referred to in the poems as a Spéirbhean (heavenly woman; pronounced [ˈspʲeːɾʲ.vʲanˠ]). She laments the current state of the Irish people and predicts an imminent revival of their fortunes, usually linked to the return of the Roman Catholic House of Stuart to the thrones of Britain and Ireland.”
Unfortunately, the word “Aisling” is behind the paid wall at the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, but Wikipedia provides some interesting insights making the word as a name.
“Aisling is an Irish language feminine given name meaning “dream” or “vision” and referring to an aisling, a poetic genre that developed during the late 17th and 18th century in Irish language genre poetry. Aisling was not used as a given name before the 20th century.
“There are many variant forms of the name, including Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn and Aislene. Pronunciation of the name also varies, with the most common pronunciation being /ˈæʃlɪŋ/ ASH-ling; other forms acceptable to Irish speakers are /ˈæʃlɪn/ ASH-lin and /ˈæʃliːn/ ASH-leen.”
The first Wikipedia entry above goes on to say that this type of poetry was so popular that it eventually became a subject of satire and parody. It seems to me that most supernatural or paranormal stories these days fall into that category. The TV series Supernatural and movies like Michael come to mind. In this age, we tend to camp up our supernatural stories because our cultural is uncomfortable with ideas of life beyond death. And yet, a good portion of humanity today believes strongly in supernatural visions of a woman (Marian Apparitions).
For a writer, there are worlds, both psychological and spiritual, to explore and expand on. 😉
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