UnicornThe Celts believe the Unicorn is a symbol of purity endurance, fertility and gentleness. They are linked to the world of nature and the world of dreams. A unicorn can see directly in to hearts and judge true character and value.
But throughout humankind’s history, the Unicorn has always been more than simply an animal with one horn. It is a symbol. A symbol of what? Well, pretty much every positive virtue really. Harmony, strength, purity, innocence, speed, freedom, beauty, grace, magic, wisdom.
The unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat's beard) and is commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature.
In Seamaide we know many variations in the Unicorn’s form. It may have cloven or solid hooves. It's body may be that of a deer, or a bull, or a goat, or equine. Sometimes it has the tail of a horse: at other times that of a lion. It may have the legs of a deer, a horse, or a goat. A Unicorn may be white in colour, in which case it is a purity of the colour virtually unknown elsewhere, but it may equally well be black, or gold, or indigo, or of many colours. A Unicorn's horn, the alicorn, may be straight, or curved back, spiraled simply as a Narwhal’s tooth, or in a more complex goat-like curl.
Just as a unicorn's appearance may vary, so does it's role in the world: sometimes it is simply a beautiful animal. At other times it has an intelligence at least on a par with our own, and is famed for it's gentle wisdom. Often the unicorn is a creature of divinity, pure of heart and spirit beyond any mortal’s reach, possessed of incredible powers of creation and healing. Sometimes a unicorn is a creature of good omen, appearing to those destined for greatness: Others appear as a celestial judge, slaying the guilty and freeing the innocent.
One quality the Unicorn always embodies: freedom. Not just from physical confinement, but definition; defying the restrictions of classifications and categorisation.
Humankind has always sought to catch and hold them, with chains.
The Unicorn is special among the creatures of legend. They are both real and imaginary, a creature of the past and present; solid and intangible; animal and deity; an immortal power and yet with a child-like vulnerability.
Unicorns are fierce, intelligent creatures of the forest, noble beasts who keep their own counsel and typically appear only to defend their homes against evil. They universally shun all creatures except for good-aligned fey, good-aligned humanoid women, and the woodlands' native animals, though they may fight alongside other good creatures against common enemies.
Unicorns mate for life, and the pairs generally make their homes in specific glades or dells within the vast forests they protect (these regions can cover anywhere from a few dozen square miles to hundreds). They allow good and neutral creatures to pass through, hunt for food, or reside in their woods unharmed, but evil creatures and those who damage the local ecosystem more than necessary through sport hunting or logging are swiftly driven out or killed. On rare occasions, lone unicorns without mates or whose partners have been slain have been known to adopt young women of exceptionally pure virtue as surrogates, allowing the women to ride on their backs and becoming their guardians and protectors for life. This bond generally ends amiably if the woman becomes more committed to someone else—such as a lover or child—giving rise to the myth that unicorns only befriend virgins.
A unicorn's horn is the focus for its powers, and in order to use its spell-like abilities on other creatures the unicorn must touch them with it. Evil creatures greatly value unicorn horns as reagents for healing potions and other dark rites.The horn itself and the substance it was made of was called alicorn, and it was believed that the horn holds magical and medicinal properties, like the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness.
Celtic Mythology and FolkLore (PDF)