Taghairm

(2 syl.). A means employed by the Scotch in inquiring into futurity. A person wrapped up in the hide of a fresh-slain bullock was placed beside a waterfall, or at the foot of a precipice, and there left to meditate on the question propounded. Whatever his fancy suggested to him in this wild situation passed for the inspiration of his disembodied spirit.

Last evening-tide
Brian an augury hath tried,
Of that kind which must not be
Unless in dread extremity,
The Taghairm called.

Sir Walter Scott: Lady of the Lake, iv. 4.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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