The Banshee of Irish folklore was primarily a harbinger of death. Whenever one heard the cream of the Banshee, they knew that death was eminent. I’m mostly of German heritage, but a small part Irish nonetheless. In German mythology the messenger of death was the Valkyrie—a chariot-riding daughter of Wotan sent out to snare the dying hero at his moment of death and transport him to live with the gods in Valhalla for eternity. The Germans are much less aural that the Irish, even though both the Banshee and the Valkyrie are potent images of death and dying. As a voice specialist, I prefer the myth of the Banshee, screech and all!
Dr, Janov was on to something quite powerful when he developed his primal scream theory. Although it was used primarily to release a person from the residual effects of the trauma of childbirth, a good hearty scream can be a commanding threshold toward healing. I have had a head cold for the last three days and am so “done with it,” I could scream! That got me thinking; why not scream and see what happens? Albeit, the experience was less Banshee-like and more in the mode of Munch’s famous painting of The Scream. Yet, scream I did. I had little or no voice left due to my swollen glands, but I gave it a “go” just the same.
The cold had to die—to escape from my body on the flight of the Banshee’s screech. I am still blowing my nose, and I have no idea how much longer I will suffer with this bug, but I do know that I feel better having released all my pent up frustrations of being ill by allowing the scream to spew forth from my innermost being like the scream of a shryk on its death mission. Being proactive about this head cold in such a base and tribal manner also helped me to understand that in order for health to arrive and regenerate my system, death was necessary—death of my negative thinking, frustrations, obsession with cold medications and sleep interruptions from coughing. Renewal of life is quickened by the cry of the Banshee death scream: “YAAAAAAHHHHHH—HEEEEEEEE!”