Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween's tricks

That time of year again, which I really love. Autumn, and Halloween, fire festivals, bonfire nights, mischief nights and remembering the war dead. This year I made a few Halloween decourations and attended one cute disco last week with everyone dressed up. I know it's all fun and dress up, with pumpkins and the ghosts.

Spiders, bats, witches, black cats, skeletons, gouls, goblins, ghosts, monsters, werewolves, the night and moonlight all remind us of Halloween. We all know Halloween is a much ancient tradition called Samhain (pronounced sow-wain). The ancients believed that this was a time that souls of the dead, as well as other creatures of the dark, would harass people because sunlight is shorter and nights get longer. To combat the evil spirits and monsters, people kept them away by tricking the entities, using fiery lanterns, bonfires, images of monsters and gouls outside houses. People even dressed up as ghosts and ghastly creatures to blend in with the horrible supernatural things and avoid notice. That passed down through the ages, to what is now Halloween. Trick or Treating is a blend of Samhain and the old English "mischief night" when children went out playing practical jokes on people.          

Celtic and Germanic myths and folklore blends tales together like weaving woodlands. The stuff we all recognise to do with Halloween has a place in legend too. The witches flying on broomsticks made to look like sinister hags are a combination of dark fairies, banshees, wise women and healers. The typical witch is often female, and a demonised woman. Historically there was a religious war and a mass hysteria, when ignorant people condemned others of witchcraft. Witchcraft was always a crime (until recently). Thousands (it's argued that it was about 9 million) of people were executed, tortured and imprisoned for witchcraft, even if there was no proof and all that mattered was hearsay and gossip.

Not everyone accused of witchcraft were "witches". Not all of them understood magic, the occult, the old ways or followers of the old pagan gods. Many of the accused were Christians, and some of them belonged to the clergy! Often these people were victims of harassment, gossip, spite or for being different. Some lived as hermits. Some practised science. Some were involved in disputes and were wanted out the way. But of all of them were treated horribly by the State. Also not all of the accused were women. The notion "Burning Times" is a modern name to describe this witch hunting period of human history, but described by the inventor of Wicca. Not all countries burned witches.

History is bloody and the witch trials were scarier than the myth of cackling witches flying on broomsticks. They didn't celebrate Halloween much during the Middle Ages. The entities crossed into our dimension and drove everyone insane.


"Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology" by Rossell Hope Robbins

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Nature's spooky special effects

Here is a list of some really cool sights created by nature. Some are really rare, many are weird, some associated with the paranormal but explained away.

Fire Rainbows - These are called circumhorizontal arcs, and look like flaming rainbow colours in the sky. Ice crystals make these pretty displays.

Moonbows - Also called "black rainbow" is a night time occurring rainbow due to the reflections of a bright moon and air moisture.

Sun Dogs - Two orbs of light in the daytime sky on either side of the sun. Scientifically called Parhelian.

Light Pillars - These can be caused by a sun low on the horizon or with artificial light upon a shining surface. Sometimes people say this is paranormal.

Lenticular Clouds - Some people mistake them for UFO's or claim that "cloaked UFO's" are hiding behind clouds in saucer shaped clouds. These are really high altitude layered clouds in the troposphere.

Fairy Rings - A ring of mushrooms either formed because of underground spore pattern.

Sailing Stones - A strange behaviour of heavy rocks moving across a desert, like those in Death Valley national park. No humans interfered with the rocks but research suggests that they appear to move because of melting icy water but it still remains a mystery.

Raining animals -An uncommon weather feature of falling frogs and fish during a heavy rainfall. Theories suggest that animals have been sucked into the air by a waterspout but usually these weird rainfalls have the same species. 

Brocken Spectre - An optical illusion of a giant shadow projection of an observer on a mountain top, created by sunlight and fog. It's a natural ghost phenomena called "Glory"

Blood Rain - A rain of blood red liquid has been noted since ancient times and seen as a warning. Studies found using samples of blood rain showed dust, meteorite particles and iron oxide.   

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Fairytale Grimoire: Snow White & Rose Red

This is a fairy tale about another girl called Snow White, who had a sister named Rose Red. Both sisters have an adventure together in this tale of magic. It includes a rude dwarf and a bear. The girls are linked with a pair of rose bushes outside of their mother's house, that grew white roses and red roses. Snow White, with the blonde hair was named after the white roses. Her sister Rose Red with the auburn hair was named after the red roses.

There are similarities with the elements. It could be that both sisters represent two halves and maybe two opposites.

Snow White's name indicates the season of Winter. Rose Red's name for the Summer. Both sisters are different, one is red and the other white. Not only is red and white for the cycles of the year but times of the day. Red is for the sun. White is for the moon.

Red = Roses, flowers, fire, warmth, Summer, solar.
White =  Snow, ice, water, coldness, Winter, Lunar.

One sister is a priestess of the moon (Snow White) and the other is the priestess of the sun (Rose Red).

Divine Sisters 

In mythology, twins are everywhere. Gemini can be portrayed as male and female. Myths are full of twin brothers or twin brother and sister. There are very few stories of twin sisters in ancient mythology but after some digging I found these few very beautiful gems of divine twin girls.

In Greek mythology, the mystical twin sisters are called Leucippides (White Horse Maidens) named Phoebe and Hilaeira. The name Phoebe itself means "lunar bright" and Hilaeira's name means "softly shining". Both were brides of the star crowned godlike Dioscouri, the twin brothers. All four were given immortality. Again the sisters are divided as white and red (lunar and solar).

Another story of twin girls in Greek myth concerns Irish and Arke. Iris was the goddess of the luminous rainbow, and she had golden wings.Her sister Arke is less famous, and transparent. She was the goddess of shadow and the faded second rainbow. Her wings were iridescent. She fell out of favour with the Olympian gods by allying herself to the Titans and falling out with Iris. One girl is light and the other darker.

In Egyptian mythology are twin sisters Isis and Nephthys. Isis was the queen goddess of the throne of power, a celestial goddess mainly regarded as a solar figure, and a protector of the dead, rebirth and children. A goddess of life, symbolised with the sun disk, the cow and ankh. She had a long lasting worship right up until the Roman Empire.Her sister Nephthys wasn't too different as her images show her with an ankh but also a goddess of death, funerals and the afterlife. She was feared. It was said that this goddess was able to destroy anything with a blast of fire. A goddess of night, water and dreaming.

Again appears the Bear in "Snow White and Rose Red". This particular bear is the hero, or anti hero, and is actually a man in disguise! He reveals himself to be the prince and marries Snow White, while his brother is weds Rose Red. Bears like this, and other animals with manlike traits in fairytales are possibly a reminder of the once feared warrior order, the berserkers.You can find the rest of the plot HERE.

(There is a dwarf in the story too that is nasty and ungrateful, as well as a large fish, an eagle, a fairy and mother's teleporting rose cottage! Dwarves will be covered in a future "Grimoire" post).


Tonight's Bedtime Story

Monday, 7 October 2013

Giants in the mists

These are giant rock pillars called Manpupuner, or the Seven Strong Men, found in the Urals. In local legend these rock formations were once wandering giant men. By a twist of climatic and supernatural elements, these giants were frozen into solid rocks. Ancient spirits gather there according to certain beliefs.

It's possible that these pillars were created many millions of years ago in the Jurassic era. They are said to be the oldest mountains on earth. Time weathering and ice corrosion transformed the mountains into the huge statues today. The region is inhospitable and expert mountaineers find the rocks very difficult to climb up.

They are between 40 and 80 metres high. Ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of Russia, the Manpupuner is an amazing wild feature of the landscape. Is it perhaps worth thinking if these giant rocks were built by an ancient race?

Beside these gigantic prehistoric statues, the Urals itself is full of mystery. It's the region of snow monsters, countless UFO sightings, ghosts, huge geoglyphs, mysterious caves and megaliths. The Urals is also the recent site where a big fireball meteorite hit early this year.

The Urals is a misty, cold, shadowy mysterious part of the world with vast landscapes. Much of it is uninhabited by people. It's mainly unlivable and yet there are locations where traces of prehistoric peoples left tools, buildings, structures, mounds, artwork and ruins.

Megaliths in the Urals
Geoglyph in S Urals
Official images of Manpupuner