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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Little robin



For a while , I've been thinking of writing a novel about werewolves. Then two weeks ago I started, first creating some of the characters and places. When I began the start of my story, which I called "Prologue" something took over me and I ended up with my first new character, a little robin redbreast!

I had no idea where this was going so I kept writing and this robin will play quite an important part at the beginning of the story, and I make clear that the robin is a good friend. The werewolves would come later. The robin of my creation is also a little nature spirit. I honestly didn't plan it.

So then I continued with Chapter One, set the ball rolling to introduce my first werewolf character. And as I did this, I kept seeing so many references to robins. I understand that this time of year features many robins decourating seasonal window displays, greetings cards, Yule decourations and the festive holidays. Maybe that inspired me? But I've seen robins appear on TV a lot, even in films unrelated to the holidays. I've seen lots of cute robins when I've gone out.

Yesterday I was out with my daughter. We walked along a street and met the sweetest looking robin, sat right there in the middle of the path. It looked at us, seemed totally unafraid, really tame and hopped towards us. It was just so cute. Then after we spoke to it, the robin came towards us, tweeted and flew up into the frosty bushes with bright red berries.

Now I understand that seeing too many signs and symbols of the robin can mean something. "Robin: ...signifies stimulation of new growth and renewal in many areas of life. He teaches that any changes can be made with joy, laughter and a song in your heart. " Source from Spirit Animal Totems.

A robin is also the sacred bird of the thunder god Thunor (Thor). As a Heathen priestess, this is very significant. Perhaps this is a divine message?

 From Charlotte Richardson (1775-1825) in 'The Redbreast' she writes of a storm during which "....A shivering redbreast sought my door, Some friendly warmth to share..."

From English Poem about Birds.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Sisters of the Valkyrie? (Part III) Goddess Isis

There are Valkyrie-like goddesses and demi goddesses in other belief systems, who resemble the characteristics of the Northern Valkyries. It makes you wonder if they belong to the same species or come from the same root legend. I plan to make several entries about the subject, starting with individuals and then perhaps go onto research different aspects of the Valkyrie.

The third entry on this series "Sisters of the Valkyrie?", is about the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis. Her name means "Goddess of the throne". She's also called Iset. Many carvings, statues and images of her show a winged goddess, or a goddess wearing an elaborate headdress consisting of a throne. Later her headdress was double horned with a red disc in the middle.

She's regarded as a powerful queen goddess and a mother goddess. However, her function is protectress of the dead, rebirth, the afterlife and magic. She can restore life, and help souls of the dead cross over to the afterlife. She's mentioned in the Book of the Dead as a gentle, beautiful and golden goddess who helps spirits. She helps the departed heal their pain, as well as helping them to move on, reincarnate and reunite with lost loved ones.

She's considered a goddess of the star Sirius, or Sopdet, as the star makes the beginning of a new year. And she's often depicted holding a lotus and an ankh. She was the daughter of Nut, goddess of the cosmos, and Geb, god of the earth. She's the sister of Osiris, Set and Nephthys. Both sisters, Isis and Nephthys were winged and protect, guide and assist the dead.

In mythology, Osiris was killed by Set, who later cut his body into sections and scattered the remains over the earth. Isis grieved. She went with her sister to look for the missing pieces of the god, and started to put Osiris together. The sisters found nearly all of the pieces in total. The lost body part was destroyed, as it was consumed by fish and never found again. It was his manhood. So Isis made a golden phallus to complete Osiris' body. In that she was a goddess of medicine, healthing and life.

After she restored the body and life of Osiris, she had a son named Horus and protected him from Set. When Horus grew up into adulthood, he became the first pharaoh. She's had many statues dedicated to her role as mother. During the phase of nurturing her boy-son, she taught people how to grow crops and she showed how to perform the art of weaving, spinning, grain grinding and domesticate animals.

It seems that she was worshipped in Hunter/Gatherer societies during the end of the last Ice Age. She'd helped to introduce the craft of making medicine properties also and displayed teachings of agriculture. This is a common theme in all world mythologies that indicate the gods and goddesses showed mortal humans how to develope, farm, build and produce with metals.

Besides this, other indications that Isis was very similar to the Valkyrie of Norse myth, is not just her key position as leading the spirits to the next world after death, but her appearance. She, her sister and few other Egyptian goddesses, are winged.

This suggests that not only were there valkyrie type female figures in other pantheons, but that the valkyries were goddesses. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A werewolf celebration of Yule



It's that time of year when people build snowmen, open presents, stuff their faces in sweets and turkeys or goose, and drink beer, gather around a fireplace singing out of tune hymns, and watching the Queen's special broadcast message for the season. Okay, with the decourations and trees done up pretty with tinsel and baubles, fairy lights and gingerbread men. We celebrate it that way because we were raised to celebrate it that way, since it was drummed to us as children. But we don't clebrate the other solstice time, the summer one, in that way. In the summer, the majority of people don't know anything about it but those who do just recosgnise it as a scientific sun dance/alignment. This is what the midwinter season of Yule actually was, a celebration of the sun and calling Her to return.

Werewolves recognise that Yule is dark.

Yule celebrations going back many centuries indicate that werewolf traditions coincided with the traditions of warrior tribes. During Yule, there were many animal sacrifices. Boar was used to honour the fertility gods and the Vanir, particularly Freyr and Freya. The boars heads were presented on dishes, covered in honey, mead, stuffing and apples. 

The Winter season is when the daylight is short and nights are longer. Werewolves are generally nocturnal and it's a season best for hunting animals and shielding from malicious active spirits. The season is often linked to stories of the Wild Hunt, when the dead walk and ghosts travel across the land, visiting towns and villages. It's another reason why people subconsiously stick up Yule wreaths and garlands on their front doors, as protection against entities. The Yule wreath is circular and symbolic of the sun. Werewolves frighten off the dead.

To all who don't understand werewolves, werewolves DO celebrate Yule and always have done since ancient times. The werewolf is a reminder of the ancient Indo European warrior caste system and a link to the bonds with the earth, animals and stars. It's not the shapeshifting monster that you're used to seeing in horror films or reading about in horror fiction. The ancient peoples of Europe, Asia and the Americas had a great understanding of the animals and what the true nature of werewolfism is. Now because of this, werewolves (some prefer to call them Therianthropes or Otherkin), have a deep magical sense about the wheel of the year and seasonal changes.

The tree tradition was started as a gesture to the dead ancestors. It was a memorial tree. Gifts for the dead were hung on the branches so that the spirits who return during Yule would find them. This melded with stories of the Yule log and the fir, oak and mistletoe branch. It was only in recent history that the tradition of the decourated tree was placed inside the house.

Today people like their trinkets and lights and presents. Little do they know that it's a season of the sun, ghosts and animal sacrifice! HAVE A LOVELY YULE!
HOOOOOWLLLLLLLLLLLLL



Links:

The Wild Hunt

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Snow maidens



Winter is here. Legends of snow and winter, even stories about mountain snow from tropical climates, include mystical girls and goddesses.

Skadi is a Scandinavian goddess of snow, mountains, winter and hunting. She's a frost giantess of beauty, married to Njord, but she was said to be in love with Baldur. The marriage wasn't happy. Skadi found the life of her husband too much to bare because he enjoyed too much noise and light. She resembles a lady in a white gown and fur robes, with hunting bow, and her long hair is white and crowned in ice.      

A nymph called Chione is recognised as a minor goddess of snow in Greek mythology. She's the daughter of Boreas, god of winter and the north wind. She makes snow flakes with her hands, and blows them across the earth. Chione resembles a teenaged girl with white hair and ice coloured eyes.

Snegurochka is a Russian maiden goddess of Yule and the snow. Her name means "snow maiden" and she assists her grandfather, Ded Moroz (Father Frost) during the midwinter and Yule season to deliver presents to households. Her origins are found in folklore, in tales of a magical girl made from snow. She resembles a cheerful girl with glittering hair, and wearing furs.

Angerona is a Roman goddess of winter and the Yule season. She represents the cool sunlight and coldness of winter. She had a silent voice that spoke a hidden language, unheard by mortals.She resembles a young woman in a long white dress, and her pale hair is shimmering with frost.

Yuki-onna is a snow goddess of Japan. She's similar to the "Snow Queen" as she's a dreaded figure, feared by children. She kills during snow storms and snatches away souls of the deasd. She looks like a beautiful young woman, white as snow, blue hair and lips, and her eyes are blazing cold. 

Poli-ahu is a snow goddess who resides on Mount Kea of Hawaii. She's the eldest of four daughters, and her power if snow and ice. She weaves snowflakes and blankets the mountain tops with snow. She resembles a pretty maiden with light hair, eyes and shimmering robes. It's said that mortal men wanted to see her but found the hazards of the cold snowy mountain difficult to climb and couldn't reach her.

Many other snow and winter goddesses are grandmother figures.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Magical boys (part 1) WINTER

Jack Frost by Kyomaru

 The charming boy figures in folklore, myths and legends include warriors, gods, heroes and princes. Some of the most famous and popular heroic boys range from heroes who killed giants, dragons and monsters. Knights of chivalry and legend. Mystical young apprentices and wizards. Boys made of wood and machines. And immortals, gods and boys from the fairy realm. There are four seasons and I'll begin the subject in Winter and include boys from the winter theme. 

Jack Frost, found in English folklore. This boy is of the fairyfolk, immortal and a nature spirit. He has the form of a boy, sometimes a man, made entirely of ice crystals. Dripping in sheets of ice, or simply ice coloured, this boy appears late at night in Winter and spends hours moving across the land. In the mornings, traces of Jack Frost remain in the form of sheets of ice on rooftops, tree tops, the grass, on roads, cars, on fences. Frost makes door handles stick. Jack Frost is quite a mischevious but friendly spirit. He's the son of Kári the Norse god of wind and grandson of the giant Fornjot. It's believed that Jack Frost is Frosti Jokul, a boy of ice and sleet, the son of Kári. Jack Frost had two children, Snær, a son whose name "snow", and a daughter named Skjalf, princess of Finland. Despite the ancient myths of Jack Frost, he still appears as a figure of patterned ice in the shape of a young man. 

Father Frost, whose name is also Ded Moroz, is a popular character in Slavic myths and fairytales. He's the Eastern figure of winter, Yule and snow. He appears to look like a man in a hooded fur cloak. He carries a magical staff, and journeys through forests, bringing gifts to children. He was based upon a god of winter who froze people to death. Since the 19th Century he's taken on a much friendlier character when different European countries in the West influenced this one. He appears more loving now and similar to Santa Claus, with his granddaughter Snegurochka "snow maiden" helping.

Santa Claus,  a favourite character loved by all children at Yule. He brings gifts on the eve of christmas day and travels on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Today he's thought of as jolly and cheerful, with a white-beard, rounded, red cheeked and wearing red. He wasn't always seen like this. Up until the Victorian era, he wore a draping blue coat lined with fur. Many believe that he was a real man called Saint Nicholas of Myra, a Greek 4th Century bishop. He was charitable and gave out presents and food to the vulnerable in society. But the figure of Santa, or Father Christmas, can be found in earlier tales of myth surrounding celebrations of Yule and the Winter Solstice. The Germanic god Odin is a Yule god, who led the Wild Hunt across the sky. He sent gifts to people through their chimneys, sometimes he travelled down chimneys to deliver gifts. He was bearded, wore a hooded cloak, carried a staff and rode on a strange horse.    

Yule Lads, a popular group of supernatural boys from Iceland at the season of midwinter. They come from Iceland, and deliver gifts and food. In earlier times, the Yule Lads were seen as malicious entities that stole children and caused havoc. They were blamed for deaths during winter. Some believed that they could've been trolls but mainly they were the sons of a scary mountain giantess named Gryla. This gang of wicked boys had a pet named the Yule Cat, who was a type of man eating snowy big cat. The Yule Lads spend a couple of weeks before Midwinter in villages, towns and cities, doing bad deeds. There are thirteen of them altogether. Now the Yule Lads have turned into charming, friendly and happier lads bringing presents and cheer!

Tomte, a group of little boys and little men who appear during winter. The tradition of the Tomte is in Scandinavian countries and belong to the fae/fairy folk. They rememble gnomes with glowing eyes. For centuries they were recognised as winter spirits. They can be protective spirits and will look after home and family, but if they're insulted in any way, they can poison the food or even kill. Once feared, they're now seen as magical and shy who leaves presents and like receiving food as a token of thanks.

Holly King, the legendary king of winter and darkness. He appears stronger in one half of the year, winter, and weakest in the second half of the year, summer. His opponent/brother is the Oak King, who is stronger in summer. The Oak King is of the summer solstice, and the Holly King the winter solstice.

Friday, 28 November 2014

The island of dragons

Isle of Wight feature


There is a small islet off the coast of South England and it's called the Isle of Wight. Despite it's smallness, the island has got the most dinosaur bones ever found in Europe! It's considered the most haunted island in Europe altogether.

Background 

Located in the English Channel, the island is diamond shaped and about 380km across. There are spiralling and twisting roads around hills and forests. The island is the warmest and sunniest part of the United Kingdom and it's climate is almost similar to that of France and northern Spain. It's got the oldest dinosaur attraction in the world, and the island holds annual music festivals.

In history, the island once belonged to the wealthy Durotriges Celtic people, who left behind treasure hoardes consisting of jewels and coins. The Romans later invaded the island and named it Vectis, and after they left the island it became dominated by the Jute's. It attracted many royals, poets and scientists. Queen Victoria made the island her home for a while. During WWII it was bombed regularly but then used as a station and engineering defense called Operation Pluto. Now the island is a popular holiday destination with fantastic theme parks, dinosaur displays and idyllic beaches. 

Dinosaur island


The Isle of Wight is nicknamed "dinosaur island" because of the record number of dinosaur fossils found there. The erosion of the island's wealdon clay cliffs show new fossils every day. Once upon a time during the age of the dinosaurs, the Isle of Wight was part of mainland Europe. The latest dinosaur find on the island is pretty hot as it was a large predator called Eotyrannus, a European cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex. There are plenty more theropod carnivores found. For more on the dinosaurs found on the island click here.

Besides the dinosaurs, there have been fossils of the winged Pterasaurs, Iguanadon, prehistoric crocodiles, plesiosaurs, sharks, turtles and many other primitive species.

Giant sauropods like the Angloposeidon, similar to the Brachiosaurus, is the biggest dinosaur found on the island and in Britain as a whole.

Many Velociraptor type fossils have been found too. Other non listed dinosaurs and creatures have been discovered, not to mention a new species found by a bright little girl called Daisy, and the dinosaur was named after her, Vectidraco Daisymorriso.

Dinosaur footprints are all over the place, mainly at the coastal walls at Hanover Point. Some of the other footprints closest to the sea have eroded. While the natural erosions of mud reveal the footprints, nature also washes them out. 

The island itself is the largest dinosaur graveyard in Europe.  

The dragons

It's my view that dragons are really dinosaurs. The topic of how humans ever knew about them is a different subject for a furture post. Beside the physical evidence of dinosaurs (dragons) having existed, lived and died on the island, all across different eras, there is a an esoteric, spiritual make-up of dragons there. The dragons that the ancient peoples of Europe and China believed in were the elemental dragons, or guardians. These dragon guardians have left a long lasting track on the Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight is home to three dragons. The Firedrake, a scaly quadroped that breathes fire. The Wyvern, a biped theropod-looking dragon with a dangerous swishing tail and nasty great teeth. And the Amphiptere, a winged dragon that appears to have a fiery vapour trail. There are legends of sea dragons around the English Channel and North Sea but those are not a part of the trio of dragons connected to the island.

The three elemental dragons form a triple amount of dragon energy. This energy is static and magnetic. The dragons blazing territorial energetic paths on the island meet up and form a single vast line, the beginning of an enormous track. The three dragons use this larger magnetic field to travel along northwards to the rest of the country and it's called the Spine of Albion or the Berlinus Line. It begins on the Isle of Wight and stretches over the sea, to mainland Britain, across England and up to Scotland. The druids know that this magificent line belongs to the dragons.

Leylines and dragon lines have often been blamed for paranormal activities. There might be a reason for this, because the lines act as power grids, spiritual roads and freeways. People's beliefs in the laws of physics are thrown aside when time and dimensions are confused. Ghosts, UFO's, time warps, mysterious creatures and monsters, unknown phenomena that science can't explain happen near and around ley lines.

My childhood trip

Me age 6 with grandad, at Isle of Wight


On a personal note, I visited the Isle of Wight a few times. The first time I went there, I was six years old and suffering a terrible disease knowned as whooping cough. I was taken by my family to Blackgang Chine and there I sat on a dinosaur. The island's mysterious ancient magic and dragon energy cured my whooping cough. By the time I went home on the ferry, I was feeling a lot better. I've since been back there and loved it. The island is one of the most beautiful and amazing places in the country.  

Links:

Visit Isle of Wight dinosaur island   

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Adventure Girls: Red



This series called "Adventure Girls" are about different heroines from fairytales, story books, folklore and legends. They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests. Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want. Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.

Adventure Girl Part 6 = Red
Name - Little Red
Appears in - "Little Red Riding Hood" (traditional fairytale).
Friends - Woodsman/Hunter
Other info - Healer

This story is about a victim, as well as the cunning and dangerous wolf, who lurks in the forest. As all might be very familiar with the story, a little girl walks alone through the forest, on her way to see her sick grandmother. The forest is full of predators, but she carries nothing except a basket of food and wears a bright red hooded cloak. This colour makes her a moving target. However, it must be worth mentioning that we now understand that wolves (and other canids) are not able to see the colour red.

The redness of her cloak is then symbolic and not as some fairytale psychologists think because of human sacrifice to wild animals. Red is a colour of blood, and the redness of the story means that there is going to be a death of the heroine. As in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the colour red often emerges, especially on the features of princess Snow White who is "killed" after eating a poisoned apple. The colour of the magical shoes worn by a girl named Karen were red, and they wouldn't come off her feet. She was forced to dance and became very distressed, so her feet were chopped off. Despite the fact everyone believes Dorothy wore a pair of red shoes, or ruby slippers, as in the 1939 film adaption, her original shoes were really made of silver.

Death is a motif in many fairytales. The colour red is always associated with death in fiction and fantasy stories. In the gothic tale "Masque of the Red Death,"by Edgar Allan Poe, the idea was based upon death, disease and blood. Poe's wife suffered a horrible illness before he wrote the story.

The colour red is often linked with death and mourning in Africa. It's the colour of blood and fire. Some people have SSS (scotopic sensitivity syndrome) or visual stress, who react badly to certain lights and spectrum colours like red. A red flashing colour will bring on a bad epileptic fit in some people with conditions. Red is the strongest and most painful colour to humans. For wolves, red is almost grey and these animals are spared visual pain and photosensitivity.   

Getting back to the fairytale, Red has often changed. Perrault and Grimm brothers, plus various narrators over history, altered the appearance and storyline to suit their audiences. The Grimm brothers made Red into a sweet little child. They introduced the woodsman, the hero who became hunter and rescued Red and her grandmother. Yet they said she wore a little red cap. Before them, Charles Perrault didn't include the woodsman. Little Red was a young woman dressed in a long hooded red cloak. The wolf behaved like a man, who invited the heroine to get into bed with him. She was killed by the wolf at the end of his story. Both stories had an unfortunate grandmother, a sick old woman devoured by a cruel vicious werewolf. I say werewolf because that creature doesn't have the normal characteristics of a wolf and many stories used animals to emphasise human traits. 

The story is much older and can be traced back to a lot of fragments in the Dark Ages, from "La Finta Nonna" in France about a young woman in red that is tricked by a man-wolf, who kills her grandmother and disguises himself as her. Red has been unknowingly eating the remains and drinking blood of her dead grandmother, while the man-wolf (in costume) plays pretend. Some of the earliest versions of the story are horrible and Angela Carter's own take on Red Riding Hood in her story "A Company of Wolves" is so similar to how it was centuries ago. And the story "Lon Po Po" is a Chinese version about a ferocious wolf dressed up as a sick elderly woman who wants to trick a girl into eating her. There is another Far Eastern version with a tiger instead of a wolf.

Who is Red? Is she just an innocent? Or was there more to her? The girl sets out to cure her ill grandmother, and along the way she picks some flowers. The robe/cloak/attire is red, maybe to symbolise blood and death, or even fire, but the story doesn't include the element of fire. Sun priestesses like those at the Oracle of Delphi wore long red hooded robes. Was Little Red a budding priestess or good witch? It's open to interpretation.

By She Wolf Night

Actresses who played Little Red:
Amanda Seifried
Meghan Ory
Anne Hathaway
Danielle Ferland
Molly Ephraim
Suzie Toase
Sarah Stiles
Sarah Patterson
Christina Ricci


Links related to the post:
Dog vision
Brother's Grimm "Little Red Riding Hood"
Charles Perrault "Little Red Riding Hood"

"Red Riding Hood" picture by http://sneznybars.deviantart.com/

Monday, 17 November 2014

Sisters of the Valkyrie? (part II) The Morrigan



There are Valkyrie-like goddesses and demi goddesses in other belief systems, who resemble the characteristics of the Northern Valkyries. It makes you wonder if they belong to the same species or come from the same root legend. I plan to make several entries about the subject, starting with individuals and then perhaps go onto research different aspects of the Valkyrie.

The first post on this new subject is about the Morrigan. Her name means "The Phantom Queen". Her name is also Morrigu and Morgan.  The name also suggests plural and that there might've been more than one Morrigan. The Morrigna.

She is a Celtic goddess in Irish mythology, associated with war and death. She visits battlefields and takes on the form of a crow, who flies over the fighting and dying warriors. She is often said to be wearing a cloak of black feathers or that her wings are made of black feathers. Her eyes are bright violet and her hair is long. It's not clear exactly what colour her hair was supposed to be as some believe that it's raven coloured, while others think that her hair was fiery red or amber. She has also been considered ash blonde.

It's been written that Morrigan rides on a black stallion to carry away souls of the dead to the afterlife. She's regarded as a chooser of the slain because she uses magic to determine who lives and who dies. A task that the Valkyrie also have.

The Morrigan is also like a shadow that makes thunder and lightning to frighten people at the very moment of death. As in the form of a crow she feeds on the corpses scattered over the battle fields.

She has two sisters named Badb and Nemain. Morrigan is the dark fearful one. She resembles a beautiful woman with dark feathers, and her transformations take the form of other animals including a crow, falcon, wolf, cow, fox, deer and hare. In the Ulster Cycle and Mythological Cycle, she's said to transform briefly into an old woman to carry out deeds. A mother firgure also linked with milk and fertility, the lunar cycle, the triad, triquestra, sensuality, wisdom and magic.

The goddess was of the Tuatha de Danann, a race of godlike people, similar to the Vanir. These people were not simply mortals, as they possessed long lifespans, immortality even, and had the ability to shapeshift and create power. Much linked to the Earth and the nature spirits, these human gods were selected to rule the prehistoric ancient world. Morrigan is not only similar to the Valkyries but she has much in common with powerful sorceresses in Arthurian legends and fairytales, from Morgan le Fay to the enchantress queen, such as the magical (step)mother of Snow White. She represents death and magic. Her reputation seemed tarnished by the church, who sought to demonise a powerful goddess, and reduce her as a figure of evil and spite.


Links:
Morrigan


Art by Selina Fenech

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Orbs



Orbs of light. I've seen them countless times. Sometimes indoors, and other times outside. They're not reflections of light, as these orbs are not confined to any surface such as reflected light.  Most of them are very small and cloudy and others are a little bigger like the size of a football. They have different colours. I chased one in a house many years ago and it disappeared. It wasn't a bubble or an insect or a piece of fluff. It was just a light grey ball, dancing and skipping around like Tinkerbell. It was right beside me when I first noticed it, so I went after it and it quickly floated down to the floor and was gone. This year I've woken up in the middle of the night and saw a bright pale blue orb, the size of a tennis ball, next to me and it whizzed away, leaving a silvery trail.

Lights have been reported by many other observers. The most favourite places that mystery light orbs cluster around is over farmland, fields and woodlands. People say that orbs are spirits of the dead or even some are UFO's. Orbs have been photographed by the dozen. I'm not going to guess if orbs of light are either UFO or ghosts. I don't think all of them are the same and not all of them behave the same. 

It takes me to the subject of nature spirits, as I believe this is probably the likeliest answer. People may call them something scientific and fancy but they don't know what unusual lights are. Now if anyone has watched the feature animation film "Princess Mononoke", it touches on nature spirits, particularly forest dwelling spirits and gods. The gods resembled animals, and the tree spirits were tiny little rattling ghosts called the Kodama. They are actually legendary creatures of Japanese folklore, and they're similar to the dryads, huldra, hidden people, wights, elves, will o' the wisps and fairy folk.

Some think that the mysterious orbs of light could be fairies, will o' the wisps and land wights. Many people accept that the orbs are ball lightning, luminous fungi, plasma, triboelectric effects and biogas. But even the phenomena of ball lightning is not explainable to science. It's just a matter-of-fact description of what could/might be an intelligence spirit. The strange light shows called the Hessdalen Lights, in Norway, is still not explainable either but it's known and recorded. Other locations, like the Marfa Lights in Texas, U.S.A., and Gurdon Light in Arkansas, are confusing to the serious minded.

More stuff on the topic:

Hessdalen lights
Will o' the wisp
St Elmo's Fire
Kodama
Fairy folk
Orbs
Marfa Lights
Gurdon Light
     

  

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Hound of Mons



During the First World War, many lost their lives in bloodshed and carnage in a terrible battle. The whole concept of war was changed forever. It was the first time modern machines (machine guns, explosives, ect) and modern weapons was used. British soldiers used archaic tactics that were centuries old. So many men were killed and so many horror stories come from that period. Beside the terrible bloody events, were mysterious new legends that emerged, from angel sightings to phantom knights and hell hounds.

Who was this hound?
One of the hell hound legends is called "Hound of Mons" because it took place during the Battle of Mons in a place called No Man's Land. This is an unoccupied space between the trenches of warring enemies, divided with barbed wire fences, land mines and armed guards. Germans were present in Belgium and the British soldiers had arrived with boosted morale. It ended up as a very bloody battle with enormous casualties.

The nightmare
From this came the legend of a huge wolflike hound that stalked both German and British soldiers, devouring the dead and creating an added supernatural terror to the everyday horrors of war. A Canadian called F.J.Newhouse, a soldier, first brought this story to the public's attention in 1919 after publishing it in a newspaper. Some believe there is "truth" behind the legend as a patrol of London Fusiliers vanished into thin air, and showed up dead a week later. Whatever killed them wasn't ammo or bullets. They were half eaten. Shortly after this particular gruesome event, both Germans and British often heard chilling howls at night. More patrols disappeared and were found dead later, in the same way as the others. Throats and bodied ripped as if soemthing with razor sharp teeth and claws ravaged them. It wasn't just the British who were losing soldiers in this way. German soldiers suffered similar fates.

The howls became more frequent and the terrified soldiers kept down. Many witnessed glimpses of a large greyish wolf, or a massive light coloured dog with enermous fangs in No Man's Land. It's something that frightened the men so much that they didn't go out, and it wasn't just to avoid being shot at. Something else besides the battle, which had been otherworldly, scared them senseless. This mysterious hound haunted the trenches and No Mans Land for two more years. Then it was gone when the war was about to end.

This was no regular dog, or wolf
It's possible that there was a real vicious and frightening hound in the trenches. The war resulted in devastation, bodies, hunger and imagine how this would've impacted on the wildlife. Wolves have only strayed into human territory at times of disaster, and when there are no people left in a village. It's unusual for a lone wolf to intrude amongst humans and so more incredible for a lone wolf to appear in the middle of a battle. A regular dog would've been killed instantly, and so would a hungry wolf, if it ever ventured near them. This doesn't seem to be normal for a dog and wolf to behave like the mysterious Hound of Mons. A pack of wolves may strike someone but not attack a number of men with guns. This is where the legend makes no sense with the natural world.

My final Opinion
It's either a legend or based on something else. Some say the hound was a scientific monstrosity but I don't think so due to the fact such a thing would've been impossible for the era to successfully make. And even so (a big "if") the thing would've been put down instantly in No Mans Land or not survived the walkies. I believe that the Hound of Mons was a supernatural creature, and perhaps more than one of them. The battle ground was a hunting ground.  

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Howling Halloween

From Wolf Science


When you carve pumpkins and dress up as witches, vampires and monsters, think about where it comes from.

It's the season of the Dead. Some people call it Samhain (pronounced "sow-win"), a very ancient Celtic celebration. It's also better knowned as Halloween. To the Scandinavians, it's called Alfablot.

During the ancient rituals of both Samhain and Alfablot, animals (mainly cattle) were sacrificed to the ancestors in celebration of the Dead. Both customs recognised that the spirits of the dead walk at the end of Autumn. The sacrifices were not just in honour of dead ancestors or ghosts but to the nature spirits including fairies. Alfablot means "sacrifice to the elves". Food and sacrificial blood was offered to the spirits in both celebrations.   

Alfablot
Samhain

What can you do?

First of all, in the 21st Century we've become more compassionate towards fellow humans and animals. We don't use live sacrifices anymore during these seasonal rites. Instead we eat, drink and chant. Some people want to make sacrifices but I believe that modern sacrifices should be made entirely different:

Modern day sacrifices:

1. Giving up ones meal and use this as an offering, placing it in the ground or beneath a tree.
2. Removing a lock of hair.
3. Fasting for the day.
4. Donating money and favourite clothes.

However, some prefer to still use living animals. This is just wrong and won't be considered a sacrifice to the gods or spirits anymore. Don't forget that in ancient times, people lived on the brink of starvation and at the mercy of dangerous animals, harsh freezing winters and plagues. Animals and wood (a very important fire fuel to use in the home), was considered a sacrifice if these were offered in the autumn rites, because people suffered more without them. In exchange for that short-term suffering they were rewarded with gifts from nature.

Modern people are a different breed of humans and have no right to destroy any living thing in the name of an ancient sacrifice because modern people won't be making a sacrifice but doing cruelty. Such an act that will have repurcussions. It isn't the person doing a sacrifice because they won't suffer starvation after it. People have lost the meaning of the word "sacrifice" today. Most people think of it as being evil and killing someone and something. It actually means giving up what you most need to others.

To make an ancient type of offering to the dead and nature spirits, you would be better off going to the local butchers and buying some meat. Then offering the meat to the spirits, ghosts and elves, giving it away to the earth, leaving it by a track or a graveyard or a wood.

Some people can say giving food to trick or treaters is an act of sacrifice because you've paid for something you're giving to children dressed up as little monsters. Also leave sweets out throughout the night for the actual spirits would be interested in your sugary offerings. In a way, donating to charity is a form of modern day sacrifice. Today's sacrifices are an act of kindness.

Have a really interesting Halloween.    

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Nyctohylophobia



Nyctohylophobia is a fear of forests and woods at night. This is based on an irrational view that forests at night are full of evil dangers, ghosts, monsters, predators and maniacs. The truth is, maybe this is because of an earliest childhood memory, or an eposure to night forests on TV, in horror films that associate night forests as sinister. Also the truth is, it is not quite true.

While forests are dwellings for wildlife and can be very exciting adventures to be camping in, putting this aside, forests are also known to be unsafe, hiding places for things that are dangerous and mysterious.

Nocturnal forests get filled with nocturnal creatures, making eerie sounds that chill most people. But forests and woodlands are also, just like houses, haunted. Once upon a time, old roads and paths went through a wood and forest, often used by travellers, riders on horseback, stage coaches, ect. These passages don't exist anymore. There are ruins of hamlets and villages found buried in English woodlands. These places haven't been lived in for centuries. Yet the souls of these people and their activities left a paranormal stamp.

Many individual forests and woods are quite recent, planted within the last few hundred years, growing over ancient relics and dwellings. Trees are forests are haunted even because in times past, people were hung from branches and left to rot and get eaten by carrion. Battles took place in areas now wooded. There are also burial mounds, old graves and plague pits littered deep under forest growth. 

It's obvious why such places are haunted. Besides the dead, forests are also places of unknown creatures and monsters, such as Bigfoot, winged people and werewolves. Trees themselves have been considered nasty and malevolent, but often these bad living trees are much confined to folklore and fairytales. However, spirits have been seen in trees and some particular wood from a single tree infected by poison. It is sad that a lot of plants have been cut down because of diseases and it's not proven if anything paranormal was behind that. What is certain is that malicious entities that dwell in trees taint them, as they contaminate rooms and houses and objetcs.

Beside the hocus pocus, there is a lost wisdom of trees. People fear what they don't understand. Trees provide healing properties and food, fresh air and comfort. Trees are living things, and I know that trees have a beating heart. The fear of trees may just be a phobia, and yet people don't like trees anyway because they lack any knowledge and have no appreciation for life. Monster trees and evil forests indeed.

Links:

Haunted trees and forests 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sisters of the Valkyrie? (part I) Goddess Iris



There are Valkyrie-like goddesses and demi goddesses in other belief systems, who resemble the characteristics of the Northern Valkyries. It makes you wonder if they belong to the same species or come from the same root legend. I plan to make several entries about the subject, starting with individuals and then perhaps go onto research different aspects of the Valkyrie.

The first post on this new subject is about the goddess Iris.

She is the goddess of rainbows. Found in Greek mythology, Iris the goddess is a sky goddess who rides the air and travels along the wind currents. She has a pair of golden wings, her hair is pale, silken soft as clouds, and her eyes are very strong and bright. She flies using her wings, or slides across an arc of rainbow. She is one of the messengers, like Hermes, who passes information from one to the other, across land, sea and dimension.

Daughter of Electra, a sky nymph (another individual similar to the Valkyrie), and Thaumas, a sea god. Among Her many siblings are her wicked sisters, the Harpies, who are considered a nightmarish equivalent of the Valkyries. The harpies were monstrous winged women that turn violent and kidnap people. These women are associated with death, because they snatch souls and linger around graves, chewing on corpses. Another sister of Iris is called Celaeno, who is either a harpy, Amazon, Pleiades or princess. Her younger sister is Arke, another light maker of the faded second rainbow compared to vivid Iris.

Beside the many links with harpies and celestial nymphs, Iris is a loving goddess of the colourful rainbow. Iris carries a staff and sometimes a picther of water from the River Styx. She has the ability to send people, and souls, to sleep. She can cure mental illness, even induce them. She can invoke lucid dreams or assist in vision quests. She's also a goddess of the Northern Lights, the aurora borealis, and inner rainbows, the chakras and aura. Iris is like a Valkyrie.
      
So far I've done seven posts on the Valkyries individually. I hand picked seven of them at random. All of my Valkyrie posts are found here, and can be located in the archives.
1. Valkyrie Eir
2. Valkyrie Mist
3. Valkyrie Brynhildr
4. Valkyrie Gondul
5. Valkyrie Hild
6. Valkyrie Kara
7. Valkyrie Reginleif

Goddess Iris painted by artist Josephine Wall

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Adventure Girls: Gretel



This is the FIFTH post of my series in this blog. It's about different girls in well known fairytales and legends. They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests. Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want. Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.

Adventure Girls (part 5) = Gretel

Appears in: "Hansel and Gretel" by the Brothers Grimm.
Companion: Gretel's brother Hansel,
Pets: None, although guided by birds in the story.
Other Info: Solar child.

We're all familiar with the story of "Hansel and Gretel" told by the Brothers Grimm, or the various modern adaptions of it. The story by Grimm includes a little more, such as the appearance of a swan that guides the brother and sister home through the forest near the end of the narrative. At the beginning of the story, two children named Hansel and Gretel live in a cottage in the middle of a forest. They live there with their father and step mother. All of them are with very little food. The step mother is the wicked one who makes her husband abandon the children in the forest. The father is the stupid one for doing as she says and leaves his own children in the forest. But Hansel, the boy, eavesdropped in on the conversation between the adults the night before, listening to his step mothers horrible plan. He sneaked out into the garden and collected small white stones. As the father led the two kids deeper into the forest, Hansel left a trail by dropping the stones on the ground. By morning, Hansel and Gretel woke up in the forest and noticed their father was gone. They followed the white stones back to the cottage. Step mother was fuming mad when they returned. Again the adults talked about leading the children even deeper into the forest. Only this time Hansel couldn't get out of the house to collect stones because the door was locked. He collected some bread crumbs by morning and as he followed his father who took him and Gretel into the forest, in another direction, Hansel dropped the breadcrumbs. By morning, the two children woke up and noticed their father left them again. Birds had eaten all the breadcrumbs and they couldn't find their way home.

I won't retell the rest of the story. If any are not familiar with Hansel and Gretel, you can see the entire narrative here: Grimm's Fairytales, Hansel and Gretel (ENGLISH).

One thing I'll mention here is Gretel. Yes her brother was the one who found a way to get them home the first time and he tricked the nasty witch later on by giving her a bone to touch, as the witch had poor eyesight. He was locked in a cage and the witch wanted to fatten him up by giving him a lot of food. It was the sister Gretel who rescued him and saved everyone from starvation. She destroyed the witch, by pushing her into a large oven.

The story isn't as simple as you may think. The Brothers Grimm retold a story composed of older narratives and based on both myth and historical events. Hansel and Gretel would've lived in the early 14th Century, during the Great Famine. This occured when there was also the terrible bubonic plague. The famine devestated people so much that families were torn apart and millions died. People resorted to cannibalism and abandoning their own children in the wilderness. It explains why the father and step mother of Hansel and Gretel sent their children away to die in the forest. Stories of witches and ogres have a cruel place in the stories, possibly based on truth. There were very dangerous people preying on the vulnerable and during the famine era, looking for someone to eat! People were driven by madness due to hunger and desperation. So much so that it appears in monstrous form. Because of that, Medieval society broke down.    

Gingerbread was a favourite sweet in Medieval times. The gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel is a paradise place for starving lost children. During the famine, bakers and confectioners made as much gingerbread as they could to feed the hungry. Medieval people started decourating and moulding gingerbread into fantastic shapes and artistic designs. But gingerbread is also medicine and has properties in alchemy and herblore, used in magical ingredients to enhance strength and increase love. Gingerbread is a fire symbol, as it comes from the fiery ginger root. Ginger is hot tasting and therefore a spice.

There is a lot of solar symbolism in Hansel and Gretel. The gingerbread house, swan, birds, white stones and the burning oven. The witch being thrown into the oven is a reminder of witch burnings throughout the Middle Ages. And nasty evil characters in fairytales always get killed.

Gretel is a sweet protective heroine that loves her brother and saves him from being eaten by the witch. She is the sister, and Hansel is the brother. Brother and sister pairs occur everywhere in mythology, from Frey and Freya, Isis and Osiris, and Diana and Apollo.

Rayne

"Hansel and Gretel" by Sainendre


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ghosts and food



There is a misunderstanding that ghosts are just phantoms of light, images of the past. Maybe this is true for some of the things that happen: silent phantom World War Two aircraft that appear to crash land in areas, never to be found. Or the battle cries resounding each century on haunted fields. But there is a lot of reports that ghosts, especially of people, appear to look at the witness and even directly talk to them. Some ghosts look so real that they appear like you and me.

Not all ghosts resemble the image of floating white sheets. Some ghosts appear as colourful orbs, and others look like mist, or flashes that are mistaken for lightning. Ghosts can look like dark shadowy figures. Others look like humans and animals. But whatever a ghost looks like isn't just about features here. We grow up thinking that ghosts shouldn't eat and if they did, food will pass right to the floor. Afterall, ghosts are dead, and don't need any food, right? Wrong.

Ghosts DO eat. They eat far more than the living. But how come? you'll ask. Well ghosts need extra nutrients and whole sources of energy to survive, just like we do. The living needs vitamins and minerals to keep going and restore our immune programme, blood warmth and fill our bodies otherwise we'll starve. Without the right ingredients, we become malnourished, ill and eventually die. Ghosts also need this too otherwise they'll disappear.

Ghosts are not going to turn up at the local tuck shop and order a bag of fish and chips. They won't dine out in a restaurant and ask for a three course dinner. Yet ghosts have been seen in eateries, diners, bars, cafes, canteens and pubs. They have been seen on fishing boats, in farm yards and even in abattoirs! They have been seen where there is food to be made. And ghosts have been haunting a lot of eating out places and in drinking dens. In hotels, ghosts are regularly seen around dining rooms, eating and drinking phantom food.

You'll say that they were doing those things when they were alive? Ghosts used to visit those places before they died? Right? Actually, ghosts can eat proper food.

In certain cultures, and in ancient European customs, food was added to the graves so that the dead could have something to eat as their soul crosses over into the afterlife. People used to leave out food, bread, fruit and drink druing Halloween, Samhain, Punky and Walpurga Nights so that the travelling spirits are able to feast. Trick or Treat is not just a kids game but has ancient roots in giving out treats/sweets (food) to the real supernatural beings.

These old traditions are based on fairytales, right? Ghosts don't eat candies and chocolate, right? Well YES they can. But whether one has been caught stealing a biscuit from the fridge is not yet known but ghosts have a need for food. All food. Food we eat and food.... food that wild animals eat.

Ghosts feed on energy also. They eat the static that comes from our bodies, and feed off emotional energy fields. They drain batteries of their power. Many choose not to do this, and certain spirits who keep sucking the energy off living people are parasitic and malicious. They get their energy from some other way.

Certain ghosts love germs. They linger in buildings that are decrepid and filthy. Hauntings occur in derelict, old and dirty locations. Germs create an infection and bacteria, and bacteria itself are living organisms that generate small amounts of energy that the ghosts feed off of.

Food theft. Ghosts have been responsible for stealing items of food from the home, like fruit, bread, milk and meat. Perhaps they grab something from shops too.

Ghosts clean the streets of decay and eat rotten fruit on the ground that came from trees.

Ghosts feed off corpses... mainly animals such as mice and birds as there are more of them to be found everywhere outside. Carcass meat that decays in the open is a favourite of theirs because of the amount of germs, maggots, decay and bacteria that corpse is riddled with, producing a stew of energy.

Ghosts can eat plants also, such as dead grass/straw and cut grass.

They drink water and leave places smoking in unusual vapour that is a form of natural mist or fog.

Ghosts also feed on dung and sewage water. Not all do this but the most revolting stuff to eat is diseased and toxic, it can also generate tons of vital energy also and maintain their solid place on the earth.

Ghosts drink blood or feed off the energy from blood. It is why spirits make people who are unwell feel extremely tired. Menstruating women and girls feel different changes in temperature and also can feel drained. Hospitals are a magnet for ghosts. (This is also where the myth of vampires came from).

Not all of this happens all the time and few ghosts will feed off all in the list above. This post is about ghosts that have been reported over centuries to be living off different things, digusting or tasteful. So remember that during Halloween, long after the trick-or-treaters have gone to bed, leave out some sweets and scraps for passing ghosts as they will really appreciate that too.

Rayne @ She Wolf Night

Monday, 29 September 2014

Werewolves, rabies and romance



The act of transformation from human to wolf in werewolf legends, must stem from an actual real event, or a common practice. The debate of whether or not werewolves exist is ongoing. Some believe that werewolves are just part of the Horror entertainment landscape. We see many wolf people on the silver screen, in books and games. The appeal of the Werewolf is quite different to the appeal of the vampire. People love vampires. Some are even in love with vampires.

Dracula is considered a romantic figure amongst women and Dracula has sex appeal. He's a true heart throb as well as a monster. Dracula is a supernatural dream lover. Vampires themselves are linked with sensuality, beautiful nightmares, gothicism and dark fantasies. Yet the thought of Dracula scared a lot of people only 100 years ago even though he's fictional. The character of Dracula is based upon a book by Bram Stoker, who based the character on a real infamous man called Vlad Tepes.

So that is how the love of vampires started. From fear throughout history, and then transformed into a fantasy lover.

What about werewolves then?

Werewolves have gone through a shift. Not just a transforming from human to wolf, but the concept of the werewolf has started off as a frightening creature who is now a charming belief.

In Neolithic times, the werewolf idea is not known. Humans were beginning to form friendships with wolves and made some of those guardians of the home and fellow hunters. Wolves were tamed and became the domesticated dog. The fear of wolves didn't appear until the wave of agriculture became established throughout the lands. Farmers saw wolves as a threat to their own kept livestock animals. As well as the risk of farmed animals being killed by wolves, depriving people of food, there was floods and drought, ruining crops and threatening starvation. People lived on the edge of hunger. The worry of bad harvest and dead livestock meant there would be famine. The fear of famine was greater back in ancient times and it left people blaming the lack of food on wild predators or in some places, angry gods.

To appease the gods, people sacrificed other human beings, sometimes giving up what food they had, or giving a member of the livestock to the gods. The people killed livestock and human sacrifices in different brutal ways. This was because of failed harvest and so sacrificing meant that the people were both sorry for whatever sins they made, and giving up the life and blood of a living being to show that they are duty bound. Modern people view human sacrifices as abhorrent. People only did this because they feared the gods, and most of all they feared starvation.

Wolves around the corner, wolves at the door, meant that there was poverty and hunger. Hungry people stayed indoors mainly, armed by simple weapons. They were most vulnerable to wolf attacks because they were not surrounded by walls and knights. Only the nobility were protected from the elements.  So ordinary citizens were allowed to keep dogs and cats to protect their families from wild animals and supernatural entities (another issue people suffered from). Then there was plague and other known diseases such as rabies.

Rabies is a known viral infection passed from animal to humans. It's often passed by saliva or bites. The word Rabies is Latin and it means "madness". This causes someone to feel violent, hallucinate, have flu-like symptoms, and become hydrophobic. Such symptoms result in death. If humans with rabies bite another person they'll pass on rabies also. Rabies have been known to be given to someone else through organ transplants by an infected donor. It changes the personality and behaviour of the human and animal. The fear of rabies appeared in the Middle Ages until the last Century. People no longer recognised their once loving dogs who became rabid. Wild  and domestic rabid animals caused much spread of the illness. Many believe that the werewolf legend came from the fear of rabies.  
 
But the idea of werewolfism didn't only form out of people's misery. In ancient history, warriors put on robes from skins and fur of wolves and bears, and took on the souls of the dead animals. These were called Berserkers. Today, during formal military parades, certain officers still garb themselves in the skins of animals that are symbols of their regiments. But modern day combat soldiers don't get trained with the same skills that the Berserkers had. Although warfare is entirely different today than it was in the past, modern soldiers need to be shown some ancient military tactics or the wisdom of the Berserkers would be forgotten.

Werewolf literature of the 19th and 20th centuries are scary, bloody and horrible. Werewolves are nasty. These are cruel, dangerous creatures of the night, who change at the full moon. Werewolves become werewolves because of being bitten by another werewolf. This is like rabies. Werewolves fear silver, and this too is similar to rabies because rabid creatures fear water. Water and silver are linked with the moon.

It's like a curse. It's also weird too because human anatomy is far different to a canines'. Human beings don't have knees bending backwards like dogs and wolves. We don't have long snouts with acute sense of smell. We don't have the same way of seeing and feeling that canines do. We have less hair and no tails. Our canines are much smaller and our tongues are definately not the same. We haven't got the same ears or eyes! Our DNA isn't their DNA so how can werewolves be real... scientifically it's not possible. Or is it?

That's an opening for another post. But today's werewolves in literature and TV are much nicer, good looking and sexy. They've become the friend rather than foe. They are a popular fantasy figure in Paranormal Romance books. Werewolves are now thought of as dream lovers with a wild streak.

Titles with modern werewolves on screen:
Twilight
Monster High
True Blood
Bitten
Teen Wolf
Being Human

   

Werewolf lady picture is "Instinct" by David Gaillet    

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hazel runes



The hazel tree is another tree that is most sacred to Thunor (Thor), the god of thunder. Hazel is also a remedy against wounds from lightning bolts. The hazel tree has a significant part in magical traditions, folklore, earth lore and religion. The Celts and Germanics believed that the Hazel wood was potent and linked with the spirit world. Nuts from a hazel tree was roasted in Autumn and during the equinox of Halloween, the act of eating roasted hazelnuts made people immune from harmful entities. This was nicknamed "Nut Crack Night". The hazel wood was favourite among priests, wizards, druids, gothi and witches to use in divination.

Hazel twigs can be carved or chopped, then decourated with runes. Nuts in autumn. Catkin flowers in spring. Both catkinds and hazelnuts draw in protective energy and each tree of the hazel is a natural Positive of fertility and medicine properties. Whatever runic system you prefer, Futhark, Anglo Saxon, medieval, ect or even using the Oghan symbols, enhances wisdom and accuracy in making a reading, a forecast and connection with the divine.

I prefer to washe the twigs and cut them into finger sizes, and chip away one side of the wood to put in a rune shape. Most people believe red is an ideal colour to mark the runes, and blood ink is better, according to most Asatru and Wiccan followers. Some like using ochre ink instead of blood to write in the inscriptions. I found that this only helps for some. I personally choose the colour green, the colour of the earth. The writing doesn't have to be made in blood or red ochre. Ink can be written in food colourings, metallic pens and even tree sap of any colour that you feel easier working with.

 Links:

Goddess tree Hazel
Hazel

 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Valkyrie Reginleif



Mentioned on a pillar at a 12th Century stave church in Ornes, Norway, this valkyrie is one of the ferocious and divine of the Valkyries.

Her name is Reginleif and she's "Daughter of the Gods". A demigoddess with supernatural abilities as opposed to being a mortal type of valkyrie woman and spirit. Let me describe Reginleif in a little more detail.

She's connected to a raven's banner. Her hair is the colour of pearl, and her eyes shimmer like silver stars. She wears armour and sometimes a cloak of black feathers. One of the more sinister and dark valkyries associated with blood, war, the occult and death, Reginleif rides on a black wolf named Heart-Biter (Hjartfanu).

She's listed in the Eddas. Here is an extract from Grimnismal that is quoting from Odin:

Hrist ok Mist
vil ek at mér horn beri,
Skeggjöld ok Skögul,
Hildr ok Þrúðr,
Hlökk ok Herfjötur,
Göll ok Geirahöð,
Randgríð ok Ráðgríð
ok Reginleif.
Þær bera einherjum öl.
I want Hrist and Mist
to bring me a horn,
Skeggjöld and Skögul,
Hildr and Þrúðr,
Hlökk and Herfjötur,
Göll and Geirahöð,
Randgríð and Ráðgríð
and Reginleif.
They carry ale to the einherjar.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Oak tree and acorn spirits




The Oak tree is sacred to Thunor, the god of thunder. Used by many Gothi, warriors and men, oak wood is symbolic of masculine power, drawing on the divine and supernatural strike of His lightning bolts.There is magic of an oak tree but there are female deities and feminine spirits also associated with the mighty oak.

There are many spirits and other supernatural guardians of the oak, some look like animals and others like children. Also there are feminine powers of the oak tree that women can gain. Among the oak trees cast of divinities include girls who are spirits and goddesses that thrive in forests and the oaks are special to them. These are dryads, Hamadryads, fae, female light elves, yakshinis and Nang Ta-khian. Among the dryads are the Querqeutrulanae who belonged to the oak grove. The main hamadryad of acorn bearing trees was called Balanos. Goddess Diana fashioned her bows and arrows from oak trees, and the oak was sacred to Her.

The fact the oak tree is associated always with the male gods of thunder and lightning is the power of the tree and the nature as it pulls the strength from the sky towards it. The oak made into tools, weapons, carvings and even doors (particularly if the oak was already struck by lightning) creates a protection spell and acts as a guard. Men have been dominant in voicing their own affinity with the oak and much that has been written down is a fraction of oral traditions.

The fruits of the oak tree, the acorns, are well known for their shape and immortality. These acorns are edible and strong so when planted in soil, the roots begin growing quickly. There is magic of the acorns because these were gathered to induce fertility and spells made using them to increase the better of family, health and communal well being. Certain pagans, witches and healers carried acorns and oak galls as talismans.

Beside the protective and healing magical properties of the oak tree, one can also discover that spirits are linked to a piece of an oak tree, including it's leaves, acorns and twigs. Ancient druids used to cut from oak trees and make talismand and wands. They made sacrifices after climbing oak trees. The oak was important to the ancients.
  

The Ogham Trees - Oak
Oak - Mystical WWW
Oak - The Goddess Tree
Oak - Sacred Earth   

Art "Oak" by Anna Ignatieva

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Adventure Girls: Vasilisa

This is the fourth post of a new series of different story adventuresses."Adventure Girls" are about different heroines from fairytales, story books, folklore and legends. They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests. Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want. Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.The inspiration of doing this new project is an extension from other projects of mine, covered here on this blog, with the titles "Power of the Goddess" (focusing only on Norse and Germanic goddesses) and "Fairytale Gromoire" (there are 8 of those altogether).


Adventure Girls part 4 = Vasilisa


Appears in: "Vasilisa the Beautiful" by Alexander Afanasyev.
Relics: A wooden doll and a skull lantern.
Other info: Forest maiden.

Vasilisa is a character from an old Russian fairytale. It begins with a little girl who's dying mother gave her a present in the form of a wooden doll. The doll is no ordinary doll. The dying mother informs her little daughter that the doll will comfort her and talk to her if she gives it something to eat. The doll must not be found by anyone else though as it would be a secret. Vasilisa had to hide the doll from other people after listening to her mother's advice.

One day, some time after the girl's mother died, she fed the wooden doll a scrap of bread. The doll slowly started to eat and then it came to life and took on an animated form. It soon became Vasilisa's friend.

Vasilisa's grieving father remarried. His new wife was a widow with two daughters that were older than Vasilisa. Vasilisa's father had to go away a lot for work and he needed someone to take care of her, and wanted Vasilisa to have a new mother and older sisters for company. The name of the stepmother was Liliya and not considered popular or pleasant by others. She had a very mean personality and whenever Vasilisa's father was absent, Liliya would be cruel to her. The stepsisters were so bitter towards the beautiful Vasilisa that Liliya had her forced into child labour, working in the fields just so she would get ruined, scratched, bitten, sunburnt and break a back or two. However, Vasilisa grew fitter, stronger, healthier and her sunkissed complexion was a pretty golden.

The stepsisters and stepmother Liliya didn't understand it. They had become more weak, pasty, fatter and sicklier by staying indoors and not doing chores. The reason behind Vasilisa's good health and glowing beauty was the wooden doll. The doll always spoke to Vasilisa in private, advising her what special herbs and ointments to take so that she could avoid skin damage and insect bites. The doll told Vasilisa what foods to eat, how to pick them, cook them, and keep up her valued nutrients and vitamins.

Years went by and Vasilisa grew up into a young woman. Liliya wanted her daughters to be married but couldn't find anyone suitable. The local boys wanted to marry Vasilisa instead of the two ill tempered sisters. Liliya became very angry about this. She hid letters sent from her husband to Vasilisa and made her do all the housework. Then Liliya sent Vasilisa and her daughters away to a small house near the edge of a dark forest. Nearby was a field, swamp and dangerous animals. Vasilisa was unhappy, and she's never got her father's letters and believed the lies from Liliya that he was not coming back.

Liliya, her two daughters and Vasilisa were isolated from other people. In the forest nearby, were not just wild animals and poisonous creatures. A curious old woman named Baba Yaga lived there. She was said to be a witch who ate people and surrounded her house with human skulls.

Vasilisa was comforted by her doll, who assured her that her father loved her and that Liliya lied to her and hid his letters. Cheered up by the wooden doll's comforting words, and boosted with health and energy via the doll's guidelines into a proper diet and rest, she stayed healthier and glowing than her stepmother and stepsisters.

Liliya came up with a sinister plan to send Vasilisa away to be killed by Baba Yaga. When Liliya did shun Vasilisa and send her towards the house of Baba Yaga, she confided in her wooden doll. This doll protected Vasilisa from harm. Soon she noticed a strange sight. A man all shining and white rode on a glowing white horse. She watched the rider pass her through the trees. A while later she noticed another man, who was dressed entirely in red, and riding on a bright red horse, rode by through the forest. She kept going. She later came to a sight of a walking house! It was actually a wooden house on top of, what looked like a pair of chicken's legs. There were bones and flaming skeletons all around it. She hesitated. Night fell in the dark creepy forest. Then a third man on horseback appeared. He was dresed entiely in black and the horse was black as shadow. He rode towards the unusual house with chicken's legs and disappeared.

The epic adventure of Vasilisa is just beginning... 

This beautiful fairytale can be read here:Vasilisa

More on Vasilisa:

Baba Yaga 
Vasilisa on Wikipedia

Books:

"Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave" by Marrianna Mayer.


    

Friday, 29 August 2014

Crystals, glitter and iron maidens



In the time of legends, considered to be the Golden Age, were fabulous robots made of gold, silver, bronze and precious metals. Some of the most famous of these artifacts were the beautiful handmaidens of Hephaistos, the metal working god of Greek myths. These maidens were made entirely of gold. They were able to move like women and they had the ability to talk. They were called the Kourai Khryseai.

Homer, Iliad 18. 416 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Hephaistos left his bellows] took up a heavy stick in his hand, and went to the doorway limping. And in support of their master moved his attendants. These are golden, and in appearance like living young women. There is intelligence in their hearts, and there is speech in them and strength, and from the immortal gods they have learned how to do things. These stirred nimbly in support of their master."

The idea of robots and other intelligent machines has existed in myths and legends for ages. Even Leonardo de Vinci designed drawings of a robot knight. Certain dolls are types of robots in a way. Beside the fascination with robots, there are imaginary machines that were once organic living beings. One of the best and earliest science fiction films called "Metropolis" (1927) by Fritz Lang featuresthe appearance of a robotrix woman nicknamed Hel. Women robots have flowered in films and literature ever since. The golden robotic girl Dot Matrix in "Spaceballs", the Stepford Wives, Fembots, and many other machine women serving as attendants, playthings or seeds of warfare. In "Terminator 3", the female cyborg T-X or Terminatortrix was the deadliest of all as she set off nuclear explosions.

As we're in the industrial age, a time when most women have hardened with the rise of machines, is it possible that we're evolving? A few decades ago, the UK's first woman prime minister Margaret Thatcher, was nicknamed the "iron lady". Many iron ladies have come after her reign. Even actresses and women pop stars of today are not so flowery as those before (gentle and sweet). They're quite metallic (harder, tougher, acidic, cold).  Women, politicians, entertainers and all those who move in the system, seem to pick up the energy of metals and minerals. Iron maidens and iron ladies such as Hillary Clinton, Madonna and even Beyonce represent the women who live alongside machines.

Let's not forget that as humans we're still very much part of the earth. We're not seperate. Having machines to aid us is what the gods intended for us to have, in order to assist us in living, to help those of us who are sick and diabled, and help restore the planet, animals and land from damage. Technology is a tool craft and a gift that we need to help communicate also and keep close together if we're too far away because, no matter what people think, we're not really that telepathic! Machines and technology is both useful and important, it's an artform and it's also a healer and helper, it should teach us more about the universe. One day machines, if developed properly could show us how to become better people spiritually.

This is where I'm going to sound mad. Instead of focusing too heavily on the machines as metals, let us consider the under respresented power of gemtsones and how crystals help manufacture rockets, medicinal equipment, computers and space technology.  Crystal power, unlike metal power, touches the esoteric and other worldly. While miderals are part of the physical world, it can help to heal emotions and restore ones life mentally and block negative energies. I imagine a future of spiritual machines that can be a source of healing.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Nazca geoglyph dog and more puzzles



Recent storms have revealed new geoglyph shapes on the vast Nazca Plain, a mountainous and desert region of Peru. One of the new hill figures is called The Dog due to it's canine like features and long snarling muzzle. The oddest part of the Nazca figure, as seen with other animal figures, shows that The Dog is double tailed.

Other newer forms have revealed a massive Snake figure at about 60 metres long and 5 metres wide. There are also giant llama figures, birds and trapezoids. Some say that the Nazca shapes represent an art focused civilisation, particular to the ancient Ica people who lived near the site thousands of years ago. These people's culture was creative and mysterious. They made relics, artwork, pottery and statues showing similar looking animals to those found on the landscape of Nazca. But how did they make them all and why is a question everyone's been asking.

The mystery gets weirder, depending on how you observe it. It's easier to assume that the present landscape of Nazca, which is severe and desertlike, was different thousands of years ago, maybe. There are criss cross patterns of gigantic straight lines, as if someone used a rular to draw across it. The lines can be seen from outer space. Who made those and how did they do it? It's anyones guess.

Other hill figures show dozens of creatures, even more than one species. They include fish, a monkey, hummingbirds, condor, spider, humanoids, plants, frigate, lizards, pelican, rhino (that to me resembles a triceratops), dragon (? some call it a Snakebird), parrot, pelican (it actually looks like a pteradactyl by the way), peacock, spirals, squares, geometric patterns, stars, and many more oddities.

One of the taller standing humanoid figures seems to be a person dressed in a space suit, wearing a large domed helmet. It's called an "Astronaut". Closest to the Astronaut figure is The Dog beside him with trapezoids on the other side.      

The Dog looks closely similar to the ancient breed of domestic dogs in Peru called the Peruvian inca orchid dog, distinctive for it's hairlessness but not the two tails. The Dog is nearest to the human Astronaut and so could provide a clue as to the relationship humans always have with dogs, the story of humans introduction to the Earth and how the two share a connection of friendship. Even all the figures might be a gigantic clock calendar but that's an idea.

All the hill figures at Nazca are only visible from the air. Space satallites reveal even more complex details and how precise, accurate and clever these shapes are embedded on the land.

I will point out that a number of the animals listed here are just some of many of the animals and more bizarre shapes. Most of the figures are easily identified as local animals although others on the Nazca site look like mythical and prehistoric creatures. 

More info on Nazca geoglyphs:

Nazca dog
Photos of Nazca shapes 
Nazca lines
Mystery Peru

 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Poisonous & Beautiful: Pterois



To be fair this particular subject is venomous and not necessarily poisonous. But I include creatures with venom in this project too on Poisonous and Beautiful lifeforms.

The Pterois is a venomous and lovely looking exotic fish. Most people know these fish as Lionfish. They have incredible and fascinating striped spines. Some species have one bright colours of the sprectrum. There are many types of lionfish, red lionfish, green lionfish, black lionfish, blue lionfish, ect.

Often found in the Pacific Ocean, the lionfish with fanned spines have large opal eyes and broad faces. Lionfish prefer to rest in shadowy undersea tunnels, hidden among corals, vegetation and caverns. Their wide fanning spines are a dorsal fin spine that must be avoided because of its venom. Also touching the base fins (pelvic and anal fins located under it's belly part) is also quite venomous.

The venom protects the lionfish from predators. It's thought that lionfish are successful because of their physical defences and because of that they don't have any natural predators although some claim to have witnessed sharks eating lionfish.

Humans are possibly the lionfish's greatest predator as lionfish food is quite popular in restaurants. There is a delicate way of preparing lionfish meat to avoid touching the venomous areas. 

More on this venomous fish:

Lionfish Lair

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Valkyrie Kara





This is quite a difficult valkyrie to discuss in the next subject. She's known by two names, Sigrun and Kara. Sigrun was a mortal woman and a valkyrie, who went through a metamorphosis and became Kara, a supernatural valkyrie of the air. Kara's name means "curly" and "wild curls". This makes reference to her hair, that was cascading and plaited or in ringlets.

To start with she was a beautiful princess named Sigrun. She worked as a shield maiden, rode horses, wore armour and was part of a group of other valkyrie shield maidens. It was said there were nine altogether, making up a magical number. She had flowing curly hair that she braided and her eyes were like aquamarine stones. 

She was the daughter of King Hogne, who ruled over Ostergotland, or East Gothland, a realm that was in ancient Sweden. Today it's full of little islands, fairytale castles and modern cities. It's possible that King Hogne, Sigrun's father, was part of the legendary Wulfings or "Wolf Clan". This story probably goes back to the 7th Century when Hogne ruled.

In the Volsunga Saga, Hogne had three children, two boys named Dag and Bragi, and a girl that was Sigrun. The medieval Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturluson, wrote that Bragi was a god of poetry and whose father was Odin. According to other legends, Bragi is the son of king Hogni and other Bragis appear as sons of different men in other poems and legends. It's possible that Bragi was a popular boys name and also likely Bragi manifests in stories again and again in different variations. Besides him, Sturluson wrote that king Hogne was said to be the father of Hildur and Hilda, brother and sister.

Putting aside that confusion, and focusing on the valkyrie Sigrun. Her father wanted her to marry Hothbrod, the son of the warrior king Granmar. She didn't love him. Already she is said to have been a shield maid with supernatural abilities, enabling her to tell the future, ride through the air and summon magical storms. Perhaps she was capable of projecting herself across vast distances using sorcery. She travelled across a sea and came to a great longship. On there was a handsome, muscular man who was startled to see Sigrun at first. He introduced himself as Helgi Hundingsbane, the son of hero Sigmund and the princess Borghild. Helgi and Sigrun instantly fell in love with one another. She tells him about herself, her life and how her father wanted to marry her off to Hothbrod.

What followed next in the story was an angry war. Helgi went with warriors to the kingdom of Granmar and killed everyone in a bloody battle. Only Sigrun's brother Dag survived and this made him bitter and angry towards his sister and her new lover. Sigrun was pleased that Hothbrod and her father was dead so that she could be free to marry Helgi.

Helgi and Sigrun married and had children. Then Dag wanted revenge. He sought Odin, who gave Dag a weapon to kill the strong Helgi. This is how Dag killed Helgi, when Helgi wa asleep in bed, Dag pierced his heart with a spear. Sigrun was overcome with distress at losing her husband. She worked with dark sorcery to punish her brother, and had him sent into the forest where he remained, eventually turning into a wolf.

Helgi was buried in the ground along with his sword and treasures. When Sigrun visited his grave every day, she encountered her husband's ghostly form that was so cold it made her tears turn to ice. She continued visiting his grave where they kissed but her husband's spirit stopped appearing one day. She visited the grave in the hope that Helgi's spirit might return to her but he didn't. Eventually she died of a broken heart, and was reborn as a Valkyrie named Kara.

She was reunited with her husband again but she became a Valkyrie of storms and escorted souls of warriors to Valhalla. Little of Sigrun as Kara was written about. A mortal woman turning into a valkyrie might have been connected to the ancient Northern beliefs in reincarnation, or reaching a higher spiritual goal in the next plane. Her name Kara was associated with curls and storms, perhaps hair or maybe even spiralling whirlwinds.   

Links:

The Volsung Saga