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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Saint George and Sigurd


On the 23rd April is the celebration of St George, the patron saint of England. There is very little known about the background of this meaning, not just about the saint but who Saint George represents, who he symbolically means and what figure of mythology that he replaced.

Details about Saint George:

He is regarded as a dragon slayer.
The historical Saint George was a Roman soldier.
He is one of the few warrior saints.
Many Christians and Muslims recognise Saint George as a dragon slayer.
Saint George is the patron saint of many places, including England, Georgia, Portugal, Lithuania, the Teutonic Knights in medieval Germany, the Crown of Aragon and the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association.  

So the story is that Saint George was a religious icon, venerated by many countries and establishments. The feast day of celebrating him Is usually the 23rd April, although some celebrate in May.

Was there a dragon? Does there seem to be much more to this than mere history? I think so.

The patron saint of England, is no coincidece that there is a day honouring a much earlier dragon slayer, named Sigurd. Some pagan circles recognise the 23rd April as "Sigurd's Day".

Sigurd is the hero that killed Fafnir the dragon, then bathed in its blood to turn himself invinsible and stronger. In legend and stories, it's said that the dragon's blood didn't touch Sigurd everywhere and he was still vulnerable to attacks. He mastered the ability to understand birds and animals. His lover was the Valkyrie named Brynhildr who Sigurd woke from years of slumber. She was then sleeping and protected by perpetual flames. There are different variations to the myth. Now Sigurd was led astray by devious characters once he possessed the dragon's hoarde, treasures of the Nibelung. He became enchanted by a sorceress princess, Grimhild, after sipping her love potion. Then he forgot Brynhildr. He married Grimhild, while under her spell.     

Sigurd, also named Siegfried in modern German, is a very old story from Scandinavia. Brynhildr is Brunhilde in modern German. The dragon slayer is a very ancient symbol of war and conquest, voctory over a previous power.

In Greek myth, the story of Jason is very similar. Jason has to rid the dragon or seven headed serpent, Hydra, and obtain its treasure hoarde, the Golden Fleece, which has magical properties. Jason is seduced by a witch princess Medea (who was like Grimhild). The reference to a Brynhild type character here is a vague description of a woman named Atalanta, who accompanied Jason on his Argo (the ship) in some later versions. Yet these myths return to an original source from prehistory. The celebration of Saint George is a celebration of the victorious dragon slayers.

The above picture is "Siegfried and Brunhilde" by Howard David Johnson. Go to the artists site.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Unicorn Cave and Harz Mountain witches



There is one mini mystery that I was looking into. I know someone who originates from the place in Germany called the Harz Mountains, in a town located roughly at Lower Saxony.

It's riddled with stories and superstitions about witches. The location of the Harz Mountains is called "The Land of Witches". It's got deep dark forests and small villages with log cabins, and traditional stories of witches, goblins, ghosts and unicorns. In English, "Harz" means "Heart". It's rich with trees and wild flowers, animals, birds and insects.

There is an old Harz legend that tells the story of a witch who was persecuted against, and chased by a "black monk". She was protected by a unicorn and the monk disappeared down a tunnel. That was where the entrance to the "Unicorn Cave" was discovered, although there is evidence that people knew of this cave long before.

For centuries, people believed that this cave was full of "unicorn" bones and that there were magical properties associated with the bones. These bones were grinded down and used for medicines, Unicornu Fossile. In recent times it's been revealed that the bones in Unicorn Cave are a selection of prehistoric beasts such as mammoths and cave bears.  Apparantly this cave was also the dwelling place of neanderthals who might've been reponsible for putting the animal bones in there.   


Brief facts about the Harz mountains:

In the year 2000, the wild lynx was reintroduced to the area.
The Harz contains silver.
There was a Celtic presence after the discovery of an ancient bronze weapon.
In 1705 the last native bear of the Harz was gone.
In 1798 the last native Harz wolf was gone.
The "Harz Fortress" was used in the Second World War.
  
As it happened, the Harz is filled with stories of witches. Walpurgisnacht is a festival on 30th April, eve of May, celebrated in different parts of north Europe, France and Germany. It's considered the ultimate Spring Festival.

Links on the subject covered here:


The above image comes from Anne Stokes. Click on this link to visit her beautiful site.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Night of the Pink Moon



It's Friday, or Freya's Day, and tonight is the full moon. It's an April's full moon, otherwise called a "Pink Moon." I just felt like posting a list of full moon names here to each month.

January - Wolf Moon
February - Snow Moon
March - Worm Moon
April - Pink Moon
May - Flower Moon
June - Strawberry Moon
July - Buck Moon
August - Sturgeon Moon
September - Harvest Moon
October - Hunter's Moon
November - Beaver Moon
December - Cold Moon

Sources:

Moon Phases Info
Windows to the Universe