Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A real sweet tooth

 They say werewolves can't be vegetarians, or vegans, or flexitarians but this is all hype. First of all werewolves in the Hollywood sense don't exist. Secondly, the true werewolves come in many different types, from therianthropes, to lycanthropes, to warriors or the wolf heads and berserkers, to the porphyric conditioned people to the bloodlines of the ancient kings, to the masters and priestesses of wolf gods and spirits. While many therianthropes and certainly lycanthropes play act, and believe in the stereotypes and myths, the true werewolves just live without putting on airs. Food wise, I'm a flexitarian, to be extra specific a pollo-pescetarians meaning that I like vegetarian food and a little meat sometimes but not all the time. I couldn't eat cows, horses, sheep or deer. I like fish, pork, chicken, turkey, goose, duck and lobster.

The human is a tampered animal, and so is the domestic dog. Both humans and dogs have different physiology and diets. There is cross contamination and illnesses. Dogs have more genetic defects than wolves. Humans have a lot of genetic impurities and therefore looks at the wolf as the original ancestor. Many people are accustomed to fear of wolves out of centuries of executions and witch mania. But far far back in the dawn of time, humans and wolves started to unite as hunting comrades.

There are omnivorous, or flexitarian canids. All canids including dogs and wolves are omnivorous but wolves less so as they generally eat more meat than plants. But I have seen wolves munching away on berries, melons, pumpkins and cake! Foxes have a mainly omnivorous diet. There are so many different foxes in the world, from the fluffy yellow city fox, the red country fox, the white arctic fox, the grey Ethiopian fox, big-eared fenec fox and the brown crab eating fox. Black foxes are considered "unlucky" but these are mystical animals and are a "silver fox" or Vulpes vulpes. These foxes have been domesticated. The maned wolves of South America eat mainly fruit, plants, vegetables, roots, insects and a little meat. These tall, delicate looking canids are red in colour with long manes. They hunt occasionally and they like to hunt alone, instead of within packs. They are a monogamous. Their traits are very similar to human beings. And like people, wolves (and all other canidea) love sweet things and not just meat!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Enchanting flowers: Crocus

It's February and a load of purple surprises have grown from the soil. These flowers are the Spring time Crocus. They come from the iris genus family. The crocuses have many varieties, they've got six petals and can be found in different colours ranging from purple, blue, white, cream and yellow. Particularly the blue and purple species have bright yellow centres. These are found in the wild grasses, at the base of trees, along paths and streams and especially found in some gardens.

These flowers start off with slender buds and when they open, they look like miniature fairy crowns. As delicate as they look, these flowers are tough and can grow in wintry conditions of snow, ice and frost. These flowers are like pretty bridesmaids that follow after the bridal snowdrops. These are the second wild flower to appear in abundance at late winter but the first of the colourful flowers of the year. 

A name "Crocus" is from the ancient Greek Krokos, Hebrew Karkom and Persian Kurkam. This means "Yellow" and is meaning the middle of the flower, even the purple and blue varieties that all have yellow fertile middles. These produce the rich yellow saffron spice and saffron dye.

Crocuses are associated with saffron, magic, beauty and solar goddesses. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra loved using saffron as a seductive perfume and aromatic bath essence. Saffron from crocuses has been widely used in the rest of the ancient world as a medicine and aphrodisiac. Royals went crazy over saffron. Alexander the Great used saffron to heal his wounds. Today saffron is mainly used as an ingredient in cookery, paint, cosmetics and modern medicines. It's said to be good for treating cancer and depression.   

As a flower, crocuses are used as decourations and worn during the pagan celebrations of Imbolc and Ostara. Goddesses associated with saffron and crocus flowers are Freya, Aphrodite, Eostre, Brigid, Persephone, Eos and Ashtoreth. These flowers represent the approach of Spring and the daylight.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Fairytale Grimoire: Beauty and the Beast

For the season, this is a very interesting fairytale, about love developing between a young woman and a monstrously deformed man. The man is the Beast and is portrayed as part human and part animal. All books and films based on this loving story are true to the original version, "La Belle et la Bête" by an 18th Century author, Gabrielle Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve.

The story begins when a merchant has to depart for overseas. He asks his three daughters what they would like so that he could bring them all presents on his return. The eldest daughter requested jewels. The middle daughter wanted pretty silk dresses. The youngest daughter, named Belle, asked for a rose. The merchant set off. The journey itself goes that he returned empty handed because the ship that he was on was attacked by pirates, in some stories it was destroyed by a sea storm. He loses the gifts for his daughters. He returns sadly but before he goes home, he finds rose bushes in a garden. He picks a rose, and is attacked by the Beast.

Out of fear, he does everything that the Beast asks him to do, and promises to bring his youngest to the Beast. The merchant is afraid for his life and his daughter's life. He reluctantly takes Belle to the house of the rose garden, to meet the frightening Beast. When the Beast appears, he offers them both food and drink and to sit by a warm fire. Then he offers Belle a comfortable and fine bedroom to sleep in. Clearly he wants to keep Belle and tells her father to leave. When the merchant departs in sadness, Belle spends her time there alone with the Beast.

She is scared of him at first. Food is brought to her. She's given clothes and treated like a princess. The Beast doesn't always appear because, as we find out, he's ashamed of his grotesque form. However, Belle feels more relaxed and she starts to befriend him.

One day she tells the Beast how much that she misses her father. It's been a long time since she last saw her dad and sisters. The Beast gives her a magic mirror and it reveals an image of her father in bed very sick. She wants to go and visit him, not wanting to break the Beasts' promise of staying in his house either. The Beast says that she can go and be with her father for a week and she must return to him. Belle promises to do that. She goes home and finds that her dad had been unwell with worry and grief. When he saw Belle, he started recovering. Belle stayed with her family and didn't notice that a week had passed, then another and another.        

She thought of the Beast one day and saw him through the magic mirror, on the grounds of his rose garden as if dead. She remembered the promise she made, and broke, and became extremely worried. She rushed off and set out to go to the Beast. She found him on the ground, dying. She was so overcome with sadness that she said "Please don't die my Beast, I love you".

With those magic words, the Beast changed. Instead of the man in a hideous animal form, was a handsome prince. Belle's love broke the spell that a witch cursed him with. He and Belle fell in love and went away to be married.

The end

The motif here was "magic mirror", "rose", "curse", "animal-man", "love" and "number three".

The magical number three includes the three daughters, who may be the symbol of the triple goddess, the Norns, the triquetra and phases of the moon. Although presented as mortals, these characters often feature in nearly every old fairytale. Whether Mme Gabrielle understood it or not, she was generating an ancient memory of magic, charms, wisdom and folklore embedded in the human psyche. She was a storyteller and picked up oral traditions and possibly read a lot of older literature and myths.

The theme of animal-man, werewolf, werebeast, half man half animal, ect is indeed a curse, an hereditary disposition that makes someone appear horrible and dangerous. Modern versions of Beauty and the Beast present the Beast and kindly and benign, but the earlier versions tell of the Beast having an aggressive nature (to empower the merchant and imprison Belle). What modern storytellers overlook is the fact the Beast is a symbol of men and how they seek to dominate and possess women. In the Disney version, Belle comes across as a cool chick willing to hang out in the Beasts' castle. How sugary. This condition is unreal. Mme Gabrielle's story of the cruel Beast and a frightened Belle is perfect at explaining actual human emotions of slave and master situation. Ruling by fear, not by love, imprisons someone against their will. But the Beast isn't really a monster though. He loves Belle.

In the news over the last couple of years or so, reports emerge of women having been imprisoned for many years by men, who had no contact with the outside world until they were found. While they didn't love their jailors, and the jailors didn't/couldn't have loved these poor victims, an initial use of power and brutality started the events. A slave and master is a completely opposite to genuine love and affection. While the Beast possesses Belle and keeps her there in his castle, love grows because above all, he treated her like a princess, and loved her since the beginning. What woman could he love unless it was someone who wanted a rose from his garden?

Roses are a symbol of love as well as the Goddesses of love and beauty. Roses are a powerful source of witchcraft. A rose represents all that is feminine and healthy. Roses appear often in folklore when it comes to maidens and princesses. The magic mirror, another frequent fairytale object, is a scrying tool that indicates the Black Arts. The darkness of Beauty and the Beast was the witches curse upon the prince.

The theme of Beauty and the Beast isn't new and goes back to ancient myths. Gods took the shapes of animals, sometimes half animals, to rape mortal women on Midgard (the earthly plane). The Prince who was the Beast is a god, who fell in love with a mortal woman and needed to reach her heart. He protected her and loved her, cherished her and became tragically ill when Belle didn't return to him.

Within some mortal men, there are beasts, and also princes. Who and where?     

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lady She-Wolf Moon

Hello and welcome to February 2014. As we approach the full moon, there is something to keep in mind also: It's Valentine's Day during the full moon. Some of you may already know the true pagan origins of Valentine's Day and it's supernatural links with Lupercalia (an ancient festival in honour of the wolves, mainly of goddess Lupa, mother she-wolf who reared boys that were later to become the founding fathers of Rome). Lupa is another name for a female wolf. Depicted as a giant wolf, this matriarch she-wolf nurses human infants as she stands proud, represented in bronze, the Capitolina Lupa statue. Some myths claim that Lupa is really a beautiful Etruscan goddess of fertility, named Acca Larentia, wife of Faunus. In ancient times before Rome, the nickname given to prostitutes was "she-wolf" and this goddess prostituted herself to gain vast fortunes, so the name Lupa and She-Wolf was stuck with prostitute, lover, sweetheart and mother.

The full moon of Lupa festival can be regarded as another time of the wolf lady: Vanadis. This is another alternative name for Freya and scattered references show that She had many different other names. In Vanadis the goddess was able to transform into a wolf. Her special animal companions are cats and a boar, and it is said in early Scandinavian myths that the cats pull Her golden blazing chariot across the sky. Her special flower is a rose and Her symbols are the pentagram and heart. The favourite symbol of Valentine's Day is a love heart, which is a type of triquetra.

The Turkik, Ainu, Mongolian and Chechen people believe that they are descended from wolves. All those people view the She-Wolf as a mother figure. Modern people use wolf talismans to protect against damage, diseases and evil spirits. Wolf symbols have been used as good luck charms. Ancient people such as warriors respected wolves as fellow hunters. Although many feared them, wolves came to be respected and used by farmers as protectors of their livestock from pests and thieves. Early humans developed a relationship with wolves, and domestication of the Grey Wolf began many thousands of years ago when we were hunter-gatherers.

IMHO myths were born from historical tales and oral traditions passed down. Some myths talk in riddles and use code, such as "monsters" to describe the fear that ancestors had when they really encountered dangerous mega fauna. Extinct animals, i.e. mammoths, may have been the source of where the monsters and beasts started. Classical and medieval period myths of dragons, ogres, cyclops, unicorns ect stem from a lost age of primitive hereditary memories. The myth of werewolves and the wolf ancestors have a link to that past too.There is a supernatural and mystery to it though and WE DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING. I know that there is more to it than this. The moon has a fundamental pull on the earth, blood and psyche and influences the earth. Full moon's alter brain patterns and can change sleeping. It's assumed magic doesn't exist but it does. 

She Wolf Night

"Protector" by Anne Stokes

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Lunar maidens

At night the moon was a crescent and pretty bright. Regarded as the waxing moon phase, associated with maidens and magic. The other phases of the moon, gibbous, full moon, waning moon and new moon, are said to symbolise the three phases of a woman's life, maiden/mother/crone, or be an aspect of the triple goddess.

Animals of the moon's mythology go back centuries. It's said that there are rabbits and hares on the moon. Although such beliefs are recorded throughout the Far East and different other parts of Asia, some have found references to these mythical lunar animals among ancient Europeans and Aztecs. In Chinese mythology, a rabbit that lives on the moon creates herbs for the gods to make them immortal. The Chinese lunar rover is called Jade Rabbit.

 In Europe, there are three rabbits often chasing one another in a circle, linked with the lunar cycle and fertility, again associated with the moon and triple goddess and triskelion. These three rabbits dancing are a lunar symbol and appears on coats of arms and can be found across Europe and Asia.

There is a "moon gazing hare" and it's lunar and fertility and rebirth magical meaning. The hare and three rabbits base heavily in late winter and spring, and the moon becomes the image of an ovum and egg. Maiden goddesses, Artemis, Diana, Kore, Elaine, Parvati, Ostara, and Freya are associated with the spring and flowers. As the first flowers of the year bloom and light grows each day, we can witness the early change of seasons shifting from winter to spring.

There are many lunar deities, gods and goddesses of the moon. There are many lunar divinities in Greek mythology as there are a tapestry of different deities and spirits. There is Selene (Luna), the moon mother, Artemis the maiden of the moon, sister of Apollo, and granddaughter of Phoebe. This is where is becomes confusing because Selene's original name was Mene (that means both "moon" and "man"). Ancient Phrygian's worshiped a male lunar god called Men. The name and lunar god is somewhat similar to Mani of the northern Germanic tribes and Meness of the Latvian myths. There is the female moon  goddess Mano of the Sami myths and moon goddess Anumati of the Hindus. So there was a divine lunar twin brother and sister in European and Asian myths as well as celestial twins, god and goddess sun/moon brother/sister AND triplets!

In Germanic myth, there is Mani and masculine god of the moon. Yet there is evidence Mani has two sisters. One is the bright solar goddess Sunna (or Sol). Their sister is the lunar goddess Sinthgunt of the waxing phase, a moon maiden goddess. Sinthgunt "the night walking one", who has the ability to heal and blend herbs and tend the horses.

I could delve deeper into the moon magical mysteries but I've run out of time. This was merely to highlight some of the myths and names of gods and goddesses, less known and well known. The crescent waxing moon and maiden aspect of the triple goddess have messages and lost answers.  What's left are the fragments, traditions and folklore.

(The picture is by visionary artist Gilbert Williams).