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Scot and northern English dialect
1. a firm spot in a bog
2. a soft place in a moor
Enlarge picture
Illustration, by Doris Burton, of the hag of Blackwater Mere. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Term sometimes applied to the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. She represents Wisdom, although, at times, she can seem to be terrible, as when she is in character as the Gateway to Death.

Rosemary Guiley suggests that the origin of the term may be found in the Egyptian heq, who was a matriarchal ruler of predynastic times who knew the Words of Power. From the Old Norse, there is hagi, a "sacred grove," and haggis, or "Hag's dish," which is a mixture of organ meats that is still served today.

In Scottish Witchcraft, the goddess Cailleach, the "Mother of All," was often depicted as a hag with the teeth of a bear or the tusks of a wild boar. She was reputed to be a great worker of spells. Fragmentary accounts survive of how she created the earth, fashioning the hills and the lochs, the valleys and the mountains. In Scotland, also, is the New Year custom of Hogmanay, which stems from the pagan Yule celebrations. "Hogmanay" comes from Hagmenai, or Hag's Moon, signifying the last night of the old year. Couples and families would celebrate the night together, making a point of not parting till after midnight, when they would do so with a kiss.

Barbara Walker says that Hag originally meant "holy woman." In Greece, she became Hecate, the Queen of the Dead. As such she wore a veil over her face, so that no one would know the manner of their death. Old High German uses Hagazussa, or "Moon Priestess," to describe a wise woman, while in the sixteenth century "hag" was synonymous with "fairy." Robert Graves speaks of the "Hag of the Mill" which, he says, is another name for the White Goddess, and states that the Greeks called her "Alphito, Goddess of the Barley Flour."

In England, a hag is a hedge enclosing a field or pasture and it is also a term applied to a cut-like gap or ravine in a mountain. This latter may be because of its serpentine-like meandering. In England, there is a mound named Hagpen, where "hag" meant serpent and "pen" meant hill. It seems possible that hag could mean both serpent and dragon. Hag is a name for the slime-eel, a snake-like fish related to the lamprey. These meanings are related to beliefs that the serpent represents earth energy, as seen in ley lines and so-called dragon lines. There would, then, seem to be a correlation between Hag, Serpent, and Earth Mother.

References in periodicals archive ?
I mention this case because a similar entity - perhaps the same old hag - has been seen recently in Wavertree.
Emirati children are celebrating a hundreds of years old tradition to mark the arrival of Ramadan, known as Hag Al Laila.
In one workshop they will learn how to decorate Hag Al Laila sweets bags, known as khreeta, with traditional fabric cutouts.
However they agreed to let him forge the signature of HAG and to sign their initiative on behalf of a body which he doesn't belong to," the statement read.
The HAG Capisco allows you to adopt lots of different seating positions, even sitting backwards in order for the back-panel to support your chest particularly useful at the slit lamp and computer screen.
Hungary has indicated that its market tests showed interest for the HAG reverse flow," the source said.
Hag El Leila is an annual occasion in the middle of Sha'ban, the eighth month in the Islamic Hegri Calendar.
Smith, whose previous novels, including Of Drag Kings and the Wheel of Fate and Burning Dreams, addressed gender identity, is also a cofounder of HAG Theatre, the first all-lesbian theater company in the United States.
How prevalent it is in modern times is not known as those who see the Old Hag may or may not remember their encounter or may be reluctant to report it.
Grendel's mother is a hag, but if she's luring men to their doom, maybe she's not always a hag," Avary says.
Swedish private equity investor Ratos AB announced on Wednesday (23 May) that it has agreed to acquire the Norwegian office chairs manufacturer HAG AS in a SEK565m deal.