Sunday, 28 November 2010

Romasanta The Werewolf Hunt

The 2004 film "Romasanta The Werewolf Hunt" has a very different perspective on the subject of werewolves. The main character Manuel Romasanta (played by Julian Sands) is the werewolf in disguise but against traditional werewolf tales, this werewolf is not so much a man who becomes a wolf at the full moon. He's a wolf who becomes a man! The idea of wolves becoming human isn't much known than it is for humans becoming wolves.

The film begins in a shadowy region of northern Spain during the mid ninenteenth century. Bodies are found torn and bloodied. The story unfolds when certain key characters are introduced. Throughout the film are scenes of dark mountains and forests filled with wolves. The atmosphere of the place is so eerie. You can feel the vulnerability of the people who lived in the villages there. "I have some good news, we are leaving" said the sister of heroine Barbara (Elsa Pataky) to her daughter. However, she didn't want her sister Barabra to go with them so the younger sister returned to the gloomy village on her own. While there on edge out of fear that wolves are lurking, for she'd encountered one in the barn on a previous night, her sister and niece were with the werewolf.

The rest of the film is sad in parts, while full of intrigue. You cannot sympathise or empathise with Romasanta because he's dangerous and he kills for food while in the shape of a wolf. As a man, he surgically cut open his victims to take their fat, which he made into a fine soap. This is what he did for a living. There is something more cold and calculating about him. He pretended to be his victims and wrote letters to their loved ones about never going home to see them again. He kept items such as jewellery that belonged to them. He was a womaniser and he loved his victims before he killed them. As for feeling human, he lacked any compassion at all but he fell in love with Barbara. He said he felt human emotions for the "first time" at that point. He's portrayed as being like a werewolf Dracula as he easily enchants women but his intentions are deadly.

The film is based loosely on true historical events. Manuel Blanco Romasanta and more can be found about this here:
The Wolfman of Allariz

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Light Queen of Dark

Light Queen of Dark is my own made up title to discuss Queen Guinevere. Guinevere is indeed a queen of light and yet she hails from the Dark Ages or a mysterious time of myth and legend. She may never have existed either. Shrouded in mists, it leaves her as still one of the most famous lgendary queen's of the ancient British shores.

Guinevere, or Queen Guinevere, is the wife of King Arthur. She plays a significant part in the Arthurian legend when she is the love of Arthur and yet after marrying him, she betrays him. She has a love affair with Lancelot, one of Arthur's knights. Did any of this happen? If not then does the magic behind the myth hold any significance? I'm not hear to discuss whether or not it's true but to talk about the queen as myth.

The name "Guinevere" comes from the Celtic Gwenhwyfar that means "the fair", "shining," "white cloud," "white phantom" and "white Shadow." The name is linked with the English name "Jennifer". There are different variations of Guinevere and it is possible that Queen Guinevere is linked to flowers and brides. She may have origins in Celtic myth lore and be a female spirit, goddess and huntress. She may be an aspect of the triple goddess and an earth goddess.

Arthurian Women
Arthurian Legend

Here is a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson about Lancelot and Guinevere: 

LIKE souls that balance joy and pain,
With tears and smiles from heaven again
The maiden Spring upon the plain
Came in a sun-lit fall of rain.
In crystal vapour everywhere
Blue isles of heaven laugh'd between,
And far, in forest-deeps unseen,
The topmost elm-tree gather'd green
From draughts of balmy air.

Sometimes the linnet piped his song:
Sometimes the throstle whistled strong:
Sometimes the sparhawk, wheel'd along,
Hush'd all the groves from fear of wrong:
By grassy capes with fuller sound
In curves the yellowing river ran,
And drooping chestnut-buds began
To spread into the perfect fan,
Above the teeming ground.

Then, in the boyhood of the year,
Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
Rode thro' the coverts of the deer,
With blissful treble ringing clear.
She seem'd a part of joyous Spring:
A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
Buckled with golden clasps before;
A light-green tuft of plumes she bore
Closed in a golden ring.

Now on some twisted ivy-net,
Now by some tinkling rivulet,
In mosses mixt with violet
Her cream-white mule his pastern set:
And fleeter now she skimm'd the plains
Than she whose elfin prancer springs
By night to eery warblings,
When all the glimmering moorland rings
With jingling bridle-reins.

As she fled fast thro' sun and shade,
The happy winds upon her play'd,
Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd
The rein with dainty finger-tips,
A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips. 

Many poems like this can be found on various poetry websites. 

Gwynhwfar: the Cloud who Would be Queen

Many actresses have portrayed Guinevere in different unique ways. In the 2004 film King Arthur the Guinevere character was a fierce warrior woman, who was not easily broken. The beautiful 1980's film "Excalibur" has the queen Guinevere played by Cherie Lunghi, who comes across as selfish at first but sorrowful later on. In the BBC television series "Merlin" (with a boyish Merlin) the character Guinevere is portrayed as a black servant girl played by Angel Coulby. IMHO the show is awful and plastic as well as being too PC but that hasn't forever tainted the legend or Guinevere's meaning. There is going to be a new Arthurian legend TV series called "Camelot", starring Tamsin Egerton  who'll be playing Queen Guinevere. I'm looking forward to seeing this!

Le Morte d'Arthur

The above artwork is "Guinevere" by Manon

Friday, 12 November 2010

Wolves of the Stars

It appears that the WOLF does not exist as an zodiac sign or does it? The wolf doesn't seem to be anywhere in astrology. Star lore literature and beliefs may include canines though. I came across few pieces of information that tends to go deeper.

The Moon - Wolves are traditionally linked to the moon, especially the full moon. In Norse myth, a wolf named Hati persues the moon in the final conflict of Ragnarok. The werewolf legends are tied with the moon as the moon is the source of power for the shapeshifting to occur. Silver, the element, is associated with the moon, and is a combat weapon against the werewolf. People suffering lycanthropy look to the moon or moonwards.

The sun - Wolves are not generally linked with the sun although they are mythically involved with the dark sun or the solar eclipse. In Norse myth, Skoll chases after the sun goddess. The purpose of this wolf is to devour Her, which reminds me of the solar eclipse or blackening out of the sun. Both wolves Hati and Skoll are brothers, whose father was the giant wolf Fenrir. The two wolf brothers each chase the sun and moon. There is a Saturn moon called "Skoll" named after the wolf giant from Norse myth.

The Stars - In many stories from diffeent places, the star Sirius is linked to canines. Certain people call it the Star of the Wolf, and others call it the Dog Star.

Astrology - The Wolf appears in the form of a Dog in the Chinese zodiac. It would be the eleventh sign on this calendar. The Native American astrological sign of the Wolf is part of the Animal Zodiac. The Birth Totem for Wolf is 19th February to 20th March.

Timeless Myths: Monsters
God Checker
What's your sign - Animal zodiac
Dog star
Geri and Freki - wolf gods

So there you have it. Wolves of the stars. The meaning behind them are far greater than we can know as some of these myths and symbols are ancient. Wolves have come to represent death but benign wolves in legends have been forgotten. One exception is Lupa from Roman myths. Lupa is the nurturing mother wolf goddess who adopted human children. In the Americas, various tribes viewed wolves as teachers. Wolves appear on Native American horoscope (birth toems) and medicine wheel. Once upon a time, human beings helped to train the wolf and then domesticated them. Now they are bred as different types of dogs. We look upn them as household pets, our loving dogs who belong to the family. They're helpers, guardians and workers. However, domestic dogs still haven't lost their natural wolf behaviour streaks.

Not all of these wolves in ancient times were looked upon negatively. Their pelts were used for different purposes. Also people admired wolves for their hunting skill. Odin the All-Father had two powerful wolves, Geri and Freki, who could cross through the stars and travel worlds. From the giant wolves who swallow suns to the helpful wolves who bring healing in spiritual quests, the Wolf's starry meaning is quite buried IMO.

Above artwork "Chariot: Hati and Skoll" by Naryu

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Unexplained Kiss

"The Unexplained Kiss"
by Ragna

Asleep in a canopy, sparkling
diamond tipped branches,
Bowing under a fall of rain
that caresses me,
Touching my silken cover
and dampening, damaging in
time, effortlessly, ageing,
Lost in nether.
Closed in dreams.
Whispering to the hearts of
dancing fragrant drifts,
Smoke rises from the hills,
as another, another, temple falls,
Then they, with a stamp of
face valued rulars, charging and
yelling, in darkness and chains.
I sleep, asunder, roaming seas.
The memory of my forefathers and
those kin and line of roses,
all cheat the grasps of that
curse of the overlord.
In a frozen perfumed tear,
a woman opens, anew,
then the hoof beats of stallions,
and war machines rage,
by blood for destiny
not the one given to stone.
What comes, for me to explain,
is all the churning destruction
of the frizzled painted towers
and windows of weeping dead,
A circle, not heard.

Ragna (2010)