Saturday, 24 May 2014

Black Shuck the ghostly dog

The myth of a demonic dog with flaming red glowing eyes that was seen in East Anglia, who frightened the locals for the past several centuries, has been discovered! As a skeleton.

Or is it the legendary dog itself?

This dog was nicknamed "Black Shuck". Over the last thousand years, people reported witnessing a huge black dog with glowing red eyes, and very sharp teeth and claws. People that came across it were paralyzed on the spot. Some people died of fatal heart attacks when they encountered it. Other people found their lives turned with ill luck after having seen the Black Shuck entity.

One day, 4th of August 1577, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, people sought sanctuary in the Holy Trinity church in Blythburgh during a thunderstorm. Whilst there, the evil dog entered the abbey and killed two people who were praying. Some people were injured by the dog and told everyone their story about what had happened in there. As the dog fled the church, it left deep scratch marks on the door, and actually these marks can still be seen now if you go there and have a look.

Black Shuck entered another church on the same day later that evening. It was at St Mary's church in Bungay, miles from the other church. The thunderstorm was so strong and clashes of lightning struck at the church. The demonic dog burst through the door and killed other people inside. All of it was reported by the vicar, who was horrified by the whole thing. These churches were not safe from that monstrous creature.

It must be said that the two churches are connested by a ley line. Both churches built on sacred pre historic sites of worship. It's where ancient kings have been buried along with their treasures. The Holy Trinity church was destroyed by lightning during Black Shuck's terrible appearance and wasn't restored until three centuries later. Bungay is an ancient town with Roman traces and objects found there. Today Black Shuck is a mascot for Bungay's sporting events and the dog appears on Bungay's Coat of Arms.    

It happened during the Elizabethan era that caused much shattering changes in English society, amid a rise of public paranoia, witch hunts as well as tensions with Spain. It was the age of William Shakespeare who wrote plays drawing in elements of history and folklore. There was a social feeling of compassion towards the vulnerable in society then. Children were educated in schools by the help of parishes who then offered them apprenticeships so that they had work set out for their futures. There were charities in place looking after the needy. Work houses were set up to take in a number of unemployed stronger people that were interested in work. Despite the amount of criminals, outlaws, robbers and conspirators, the country developed the notion of providing a welfare system within a climate of fear and superstition.

There was plenty of darkness and sinister shadows in that era. The outbreaks of the Black Death plague killed many. Superstitions turned into mass hysteria. Beliefs in magic and herbs became illegal. Poor people, especially the vulnerable and women in particular, were always targetted by mobs of cruel witch hunters.

Since the Reformation, the respected convents were closed, and many women and girls from poorer backgrounds didn't have anywhere else to turn to. Yet Queen Elizabeth the First of England was less harsh towards punishing those accused of witchcraft. Her England was less brutal towards witches than in other European countries. She didn't want people to go through torture or to have the accused executed by fire. This is the state of the country during the killings by Black Shuck.

Now there was a recent discovery of a dog, who appears to be the legendary "Black Shuck"! This is what people are speculating so far. Archeologists found a skeleton of a 14 stone and 7 foot tall dog, buried in a shallow unmarked grave at the ruins of Leiston Abbey near Bungay.

Radio carbon dating will provide an answer to the age of the dog and the era it came from. Could it have been Black Shuck? All we can do now is imagine. First of all, it's a huge dog and it was found buried in the ground of, what used to be, the abbey's kitchen! Is it the hell hound? Was Black Shuck simply a vicious dog on the loose instead of a supernatural beast? If the latter then does this explain the thunderstorms occuring with the dog's sightings? The dog, if it was the same Black Shuck, appeared to travel across a ley line accompanied with a storm. Both churches are built on ancient sites. Were the canine remains of someone's pet? The team Dig Ventures were those who unearthed the mystery dog. Now we'll anticipate the results of the tests....

Dig Ventures and the huge dog      
The Legend of Black Shuck     
Black Shuck claw marks on door

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Poisonous & Beautiful: Datura

The second of the poisonous pretty beautiful things in nature is another flower, one that is quite toxic and by far the most alien looking flower on the planet.

Datura, otherwise called Moonflower and Angel's Trumpet, is both a killer and a beautiful weed. Datura is a drug and a poisonous herb, often associated with magic and murder. This flower is part of the Solanaceae "nightshades" family. It's nicknamed in folklore as the "witch's thimble".

Throughout history people have poisononed food and drink with Datura, resulting in deaths. Datura causes severe side effects, hallucinations, fatigue, intoxication and aggression, pain and vomiting. Some people who've eaten Datura and survived have experienced a number of terrible side effects and had to be hospitalised.

Some treatments of Datura poisoning includes stomach pumps with potassium solution and Eserine remedies. Eserine is also named Physostigmine, grown from the calibar bean, found on the leguminous climbing plant of Africa. It's effects removes the effects of Datura, and other types of poisoning. 

The exotic Datura has five petals that are in usually soft candy shades of white, yellow, purple and pink. These flowers look like a display of upturned flowing pettiskirts. They unfold in a spiral anti-clockwise pattern with curled tips. Then their fully opened flowers look like wonderful hexagons. Some say that Datura is used in gardens to get rid of pests but don't underestimate the dangers of Datura. It must be handled with professional advice.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Warmth in those amber eyes

The name I give to the spirit of wolves, all wolves, and their cousins the wild foxes and dogs in the woodlands, the hyenas, dingos and jackels of the sunnier lands, and the coyotes of the wild Americas, the dholes in jungles, and even the memory of prehistoric canidea etched in fossil records.

There's no mistaking that these animals, the wild predator has been wronged by humanity for the past few hundreds of years, if not thousands. The animals, mainly wolves, have been hunted and slaughtered to non existence from many lands and islands. These animals are not a pest.

Without them, the landscape would be barren. The absense of wolves has changed the landscape and culture of Britain. People harp on the green and pleasant land but it's just that, green and flat, or with some grassy dunes mostly cultivated. The actual forests have shrunken and what lives there now are other wild animals, the over population of deer that, even though these have much right to live there, they feed off the forest. A reintroduction of wolves will see a decline in the deer population, and alter the populations of other wild animals too, and increase the growth of trees and shrubs.

For whatever reason, out of fear and ignorance, the animals won't be let go into the wild but kept on conservations. Still maybe that is good for them too in the present attitude, as the wolves are being cared for and understood greatly by humans. I believe that wolf conservations and any conservation is a gift because humans working there are doing what nature intended of us, become guardians of the earth. Protectors of animals and not destroyers.

The wolf has been misunderstood by people. One of the biggest of these lies is the werewolf legend. I'm not saying werewolves don't exist. I'm sure werewolves do probably exist on a supernatural level, and may be entities or even an unknown creature stalking the landscape between different dimesions. Or the werewolf is the soul of a person taking on the bestial character of the wolf. Warriors used to be like this. Then madmen who killed innocent people called themselves "werewolves" and today anyone who thinks of themself as a wolf is classed as Lycanthropic sufferer.

Wolves and werewolves are totally different. The actual wolf animal and I don't mean any of the other canines of the wildnerness, but perhaps some, is the ancestor of the domestic dog. Humans domesticated wolves because of several needs and the biggest of all is hunting help. Wolves have a powerful sense of smell and ancient humans used them and trained them to help track down prey, dead carcasses, water, fruit, other human settlements and disease!

Humans are, argue with it or not, a scavanger breed. The strongest and fastest and wisest people hunted and then farmed. But everyone else was fed and looked for food. Today people are fed and buy food delivered at stores. Most people are not aware of this but ancient humans relied on the senses of wolves to help hunt, find food, find shelter and water, know about the weather and to prepare for the worst. In time, wolves developed a friendship with humans and humans forgot these animals were once wild.

We owe it to the wolves that we're here now, and that we progressed in hunting skills, travelled, located settlements, avoided dangers, found better quality fertile land ripe for sowing, developing a bridge of two species forming friendships and bonds, making a dog and a human adopted family members, and to be self disciplined in loyalty and trust.  

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Valkyrie Brynhildr

The Valkyrie named Brynhildr or Brynhilda, is more famously recognised as Brunnhild. She appears as two characters in Wagner's "Ring Cycle" operas, as Sigdrifa and then Brunnhild, queen of Iceland. This romaticised the valkyrie and put her in the same league as Titannia, Atalanta, Dornicka, Isolde and Princess Ida as opera Diva characters. It resurrected the stories of the entire valkyries into the modern age. Brynhildr is based upon myths from Germanic mythology.

In the Volsunga Saga, Brynhildr is a "shield maiden" valkyrie. She was said to have been immortal, but displeased the All Father god Odin for choosing to help a young king defeat a wiser, older king. This angered Him and He removed the valkyrie's powers, so that Brynhildr was reduced to little more than a delicate frame. She was put under a coma, locked inside the top room of an isolated castle on a mountain, and her bed chamber was surrounded by a ring of perpetual (controlled) fire. The only way for her to be rescued was for a man to break the spell and wed her.

Then a hero named Sigurd Sigmundson stopped nearby. He had already killed a dragon and got inside the castle. The man was strong and feared nothing. He passed through the fires and was unharmed. He was able to reach the lovely valkyrie, and he removed her helmet and gave her a kiss. The spell was broken. Brynhildr woke up as a mortal woman, but gifted with psychic powers. She fell in love with the man who saved her and he loved her.

The story continues and changed unfolding different dramas and a tragic love story but the Volsunga Saga mentions that Brynhildr and Sigurd had a daughter named Aslaug. This girl later grew up and married Ragnar Lodbrok. According to other versions, Sigurd betrayed Brunhildr by marrying a princess, daughter of a sorceress. There was magical herbs involved, making Sigurd forget his love for Brynhildr. It sparked fury with Brynhildr who went about seeking punishment on Sigurd. The tale resulted in both the loss of Sigurd's and Brynhildr's lives.


Valkyries on Timeless Myths
Volsunga Saga
Brunnhilda in Wagner Characters

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Power of Sol

This is the most universally known goddess belonging to every pantheon and culture. Well known throughout the ancient world as one of the primal goddesses, a Great Mother goddess, and Queen of the Heavens, the Sun is worshipped and well loved by everyone. A divine Mother of the solar system, who gave forth life and light, and warmth, nurtures and carries all of us with Her in this part of galactic space.

She's got thousands of names to each of the peoples who love Her. In the Norse myths and legends, Her name is Sol. To the Celts and Saxons, Her name was Sulis. The ancient Britons called Her Aine who was later called Titannia "the queen of the fairy folk". The ancient Greeks called Her Eos or Hemera, goddess of day and sunlight. The Romans called Her Aurora or Dawn. To the East, the solar mother goddess is named Saule and Solnste. The ancient Egyptians knew Her as Sekhmet. Not forgetting how She was revered and idolised in Japan, where She's called Amaterasu. In Buddhism, She is the wisdom and radiant shades of Tara. The goddes Sol has had other names among the northern tribes too. "Everglow", "Fair Wheel", "All Bright" and "Golden One".

To the people of the North, the sun was much welcomed because of the light and heat, fertilising the soil and bringing back life to the forests and fields. During Winter months, Sol was missed. Her light waned and it turned darker and cold, and the landscape was barren. People went into a state of panic and misery, as many died. Crops failed. Leaves fell off trees. Meat was scarce. Animals hid. At the arrival of Spring, people held solar festivals, ceromonies, rites and much happy celebrations to greet the blessing of the sun goddess' return.

According to northern myths, Sol's father is Mundilfari, a god of time. Sol has a brother named Mani, who's a powerful moon god. They have a little sister named Sinthgunt, a gentle girl goddess of the moon's waxing phase and the twilight hours. Their mother is Nott, starlit goddess of night. Now this great celestial family are a different type of gods, as these fall into a catagory of cosmic giants. A race of gods that live in a different dimensional reality, whose words, thoughts and actions have an impact on other lifeforms around them.

The birth of Sol tells a story in a mythical sense of the birth of our solar system and how our sun (goddess) came to be. Sol travels over the sky in a blazing bright chariot, pulled by two divine winged horses. Their names are Allsvin ("very fast") and Arvaker ("early walker"). Both horses have runes of protection chiseled and filled with magical light on their hooves.

There is a constant battle going on the sky, creating this everlasting dance, sun rising and arches over the earth in the day and sets, and the moon rises at night, arches and sets. Both goddess Sol and Her brother god Mani are persued by two killer wolves.

These two wolves are named Skoll ("treachery") and Hati ("hatred"). The wolves are constantly trying to hunt down the sun and moon and according to legend, at the time of Ragnorok, the wolves will devour both Sol and Mani. The wolves are sons of Fenris, the giant wolf, and Larnvidia, a she-wolf from Jarnvidur ("Ironwood").

Sometimes Skoll and Hati catches up with the celestial brother and sister, and bites them, resulting in solar and lunar eclipses. Although the goddess Sol will one day perish, Her daughter named Sunna will replace Her. The solar princess Sunna will become the next sun goddess and will shine even brighter.

In magic the solar goddess is associated with the colours white, red and gold. Her symbols are wheels and disks. A few of Her solar animals are horses, birds, lions and dragons. The worship of Sol happens twice a year during the solstices. Temples have been built for Her worship, including the famous Stonehenge. Her special rune is Sowilo of inner radiance.

For books on the sun goddess:

"Goddes Afoot! Practicing Magic with Celtic and Norse Goddesses" by Michelle Skye.
"The Sun Goddess: Myth, Legend and History," by Sheena McGrath.
"Drawing Down the Sun: Rekindle the Magick of the Solar Goddesses" by Stephanie Woodfield.
"Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses" by Thor Ewing.

The art used on this post is by Jonathon Earl Bowser.