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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 ?
The celebration of Hag Al Laila is a great opportunity to spread joy and reconnect with local traditions," said Shaikha Al Shamsi, Assistant Manager at SGG.
HAG added they also told her there was not enough time to discuss the initiative within the movement's organs in order to take a decision on it, saying despite of that the leadership of the LDUP falsely announced that we have signed the initiative.
A smaller version, the HAG Capisco Puls, has less padding than the Capisco but a similar adjustable back support.
The Weird Sisters retreat to find another prey and I am left surrounded by a new set of Gag Hags.
Hag Al Laila, which means aACAyFor this Night', is an annual traditional event that is celebrated to mark the arrival of the month of Ramadan.
Mujica refused to further clarify his controversial comments, so it was not clear whether he meant that he was referring to da Silva as the "cross-eyed man" or current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff as the "old hag.
Some of us raised their prices one pound extra and this caused passengers to quarrel with the driver because they are used to getting to their destination with a certain price," Hag Mohamed explains.
The IH&SMEFD is continuously in consultation with Federal and Provincial governments by making presentation on HAG recommendations and holding meetings with them for the implementation of HAG recommendations.
The HAG show is not Jamie's first exhibition in the town.
Mirdif City Centre hosted a special Hag El Leila event with the aim of celebrating and educating visitors on the importance of this traditional religious occasion.
The retired receptionist's entry was a story about a trick or treating boy who was greeted by an attractive woman so she could tempt him into the hands of an evil-looking hag.
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.