Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Cu Sidhe

Cu Sidhe is a name of a species of mythical dog that features in ancient Celtic folklore. This dog is supernatural and belongs to the faery realm, otherwise nicknamed "Fairy Hound". Cu Sidhe is an ancient name of the legendary Black Dog seen throughout the British Isles. In Scotland, the dog is called Cu Sith. In parts of Wales it's called Cwn Annwn.

In folklore, Cu Sidhe is wolflike in appearance. Some people have suggested the mystical dogs are entirely red. In Scotland the mystical wolf is known to appear a green colour. Some legends in other places have Cu Sidhe looking like a white wolf or a very huge greyhound with a coiled tail.

People in ancient times believed Cu Sidhe was a demon dog who dragged souls away into the underworld. It seemed like a dog sign of death, for it's loud barks were almost thunderous and sounded off like a warning, to inform anyone of approaching fairies looking to carry infants away. In Welsh mythology, Cwn Annwn belonged to another realm, and emerged on earthside to take part in the Wild Hunt.

Whenever people heard the sound of a Cu Sidhe, it was very loud and chilling. But hearing its barking would also mean someone is about to die. Wherever Cu Sidhe was, fairies were bound to be near. Since this was a dog of the fairies, and back in times past, fairies were not regarded as fanciful, tiny enchanting angelic beings. Fairies were once regarded as sinister human sized people from another dimension, with special paranormal abilities and bringers of death, disease, poisons and famine.

However though, much of ancient tradition, folklore and mythical knowledge was demonised by Christianity. Fairies have so many roots and characteristics and species that it leads back to earlier oral stories of gods and human origins. It doesn't mean that fairies don't exist but the stories themselves were born from some misty time.

Linked with the Cu Sidhe are the Tuatha De Danann, a super human tribe of the gods, the descandants of divine, or ancient kings. The Tuatha kings such as Arawn and King Arthur owned some of the mystical Cu Sidhe dogs. Sacred to these kings and queens of the Tuatha line are sacred sites, diamond geometric shapes, hills and rivers. Beside the great activity and complex mythical histories about the Hill of Tara, it's where Cu Sidhe dogs have been seen also accompanied with their masters. Fae folk, as well as other creatures of myth and legends, are interlinked with ancient pre-christian kings and ancestral gods.

The Cu Sidhe is a transition species that might be actual biological fact, where the wolf becomes domestic dog, or how the wolf was domesticated by humans. Far back in time, during the Ice Age, only few people had dogs, and they were kings. But it doesn't mean there isn't a supernatural element to the sightings of spectral dogs and unusual canines, or "werewolves". On earth are secret passages, caves, forests and landscapes hidden by satallite and solar, invisible to the naked human eye, which allows in strange creatures and beings.

The Cu Sidhe is a companion of the fae, dogs of the fairies, and teaches us that there is so much still left unknown.    

Friday, 25 July 2014

Sleeping near the Arrows

I've just returned from a camping trip at a site just down the road from ancient standing stones.The purpose was to visit the sacred stones, see the ancient town of Boroughbridge and enjoy some time roughing it at a nearby camping site. The standing stones are an impressive sight and they look really amazing.

The standing stones are called "The Devil's Arrows" and their other names are "The Three Sisters," "The Devil's Bolts" and "Three Greyhounds". I'll shorten the stones to calling them "Arrows" because of their shapes, very tall projectiles of millstone grit rock with almost forked tips that nature chiselled. There are three of these stones altogether, spaced across an area, but not an exact alignment. It's said that there are two other of these standing stone arrows but were removed centuries ago.

 The biggest of the three stones that are there today is the South stone, at seven metres tall. The South stone "lives" now in a small enclosure hidden by trees and surrounded by a wooden fence. It's almost hidden from view. Next to it is a stone marker explaining the origin of the Arrows. The middle stone and North stone are in a field. The middle stone is 110 metres away from the South stone and this stands at about 6.7 metres tall. The North stone is the smallest of the three Arrows and is set 60 metres away from the middle arrow and is 5.5 metres tall but is wider than the other two Arrows.  

The two stones in the field, middle and North stones, are alligned at NNW-SSE and would be in line with the summer moonrise. It's said that the South stone would've corresponded to the missing fourth and fifth stones. All three of the Devil's Arrows align with other megalith structures, including the Thornborough Complex and Nunwick Henge, Cana Henge, and others.

The roads travelling along the stones lead to the A1 motorway passing near the stones. There is a strange roundabout "garden" island in the centre of the junction where fairies may appear. The junction itself acts as a modern crossroads just beside the location of the stones. The A1 used to be called The Great High Road, and this particular road is haunted by phantom highwaymen such as Dick Turpin and Tom Hoggett.

When I was journeying to Boroughbridge there was a vivid light effect of rainbows from a glass panel. The trip wasn't ordinary. We did a rite at the standing stones and I touched the middle stone, which was nearer to where we stopped. A breeze whipped up and it was so lovely and cool, because that was a very baking hot day. The fields were full of dandilion seeds. I noticed a few little silvery orbs but couldn't tell if it was foliage or reflections or spirits. I felt a throbbing sensation coming from the standing stone when I touched it. These menhirs (standing stones) contain dense magnetic power or high magic, that some witches, druids and sorcerers have tried to suck out over the ages. The stones have a natural inbuilt defense mechanism to lock in the energy. Stones give out these energies at their own accord and when the time is right.

That night in camp, I went outside the tent and saw the whole site full of wild rabbits and hares. There were shiny looking moths, glow bugs, or fireflies, crickets, bats, night birds singing that I haven't heard before, and a tiny silver crescent moon above a pinkish haze. Everything was wet, although it hadn't been raining. Later on I suffered agonising sunburn and while I was recovering from this in the shade, I had sunburn looking rashes on my skin that wasn't exposed to the sun. I also found myself covered in grass and a moth was sat in my hair.

The standing stones are from the Neolithic period, and these huge menhirs were a focus of attention for thousands of years. The ancient main road (called A1 today) was a passage to go alongside the mehir stones and make their journey to as far north as Scotland or going deeper towards the south reaching London. 

The Devil's Arrows is also where crop circles form just in the field of these stones:

Devil's Arrows crop circle (Crop Circles Diagrams)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Poisonous & Beautiful: Box jellyfish

Now that Summer is here in full heat, think about what's there when you want to get to the beach and swim in the blue sea. Beware of the Box Jellyfish kind, as these have a nasty sting.

Box jellyfish are large, beautiful transparent hexahedron animals with fifteen long slender tentacles. These marine creatures move quicker than other types of jellyfish. Their many twentyfour eyes are found on their umbrellas and have incredibly strong eye vision. Along their tentacles are little cnidocysts, similar to stinging nettles, and it's used to trap their prey.

They are found usually in tropical climates, mostly in the seas around Australia and the Pacific ocean. Despite their prettiness, they produce a terrible venom and capable of killing humans. Many jellyfish produce killer stings also and unlike them, box jellyfish are quicker, moving as fast as four knots, and they look nearly invisible or the colour of water.

Their venom is said to be the most deadliest in the world. Apart from sea turtles, who are immune to the poison from box jellyfish, is a natural predator of the animal. Jellyfish stings and poisons is used to protect themselves from other predators and to help them catch prey. So keep this in mind when you go out surfing and bathing in the warm seas.


Jelly Watch
The Australian Box Jellyfish

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Valkyrie Hild

Hild or Hildr is one of the Valkyries of war and appears on a battle field bringing back the dead. She can raise the dead and also she's said to have the ability to give immortality to certain people. She is perhaps not mortal as such but a demi goddess and a sorceress valkyrie. Her name is an Old Norse noun word for "battle" as this is what she does. 

She was the beautiful daughter of a powerful war lord named Hogni. One day, a royal warrior named Hedin came across her and he found her sweet, lovely and voluptuous. Hild's hair was like milk satin and her large eyes were a striking colour of steel grey. Despite her innocent appearance, her wisdom contained heavy powerful magic. She was extremely intelligent, wise and full of esoteric knowledge. She knew the secrets to immortality and the essense of life and death. Her beauty and mind attracted the young prince to her.

Hedin instantly fell in love with her and then one night he kidnapped her. They fled to the island of Hoy, in the Orkneys of Scotland, where King Hogni persued them and sought revenge. Hild presented a necklace of precious gems to her father as a payment so that she could be Hedin's queen. But Hogni wasn't impressed and didn't want to let Hedin get away with stealing his daughter.

In anger, Hild's father and his men fought against her husband and his army. A ferocious battle happened then and all the men were killed, including Hedin and Hogni. In grief, valkyrie Hild used her sorcery to awaken all of the fallen men from death. They woke but instead they could only remember fighting and the urge to kill, so they all resumed fighting and killing each other off. Hild revived them again, but each time the men woke up from the dead, they continued fighting and dying. She kept bringing them back. This perpetual war play of men killing each other off, and the valkyrie Hild resurrecting them all over again, and again, would continue until the end of the world at Ragnarok.

This legendary battle of Heodenings was played out forever, and appears as "Hjaðningavíg" in the Prose Edda.


The Prose Edda 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Adventure Girls: Alice

This is the second post of a new series of adventuresses."Adventure Girls" are about different heroines from fairytales, story books, folklore and legends.

They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests.

Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want.

Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.

The inspiration of doing this new project is an extension from other projects of mine, covered here on this blog, with the titles "Power of the Goddess" (focusing only on Norse and Germanic goddesses) and "Fairytale Gromoire" (there are 8 of those altogether).

Adventure Girl Part 2 = Alice
Appears in - "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll.
Pets - Cats called Dinah, Snowdrop and Kitty.
Other info - A birthday girl who follows a strange white rabbit on a weird journey.

Alice has a charm about her. She is both pretty intellectual and witty. She's intelligent and tries to rationalise everything when she's in a dreamlike state. She has conversations and debates with talking animals, plants, inanimate objects and bizarre creatures that she meets in the other world. She enters this strange topsy turvy place after falling down a massive tunnel, lined by household items and an anti-gravity breeze that makes her free fall become a pleasant experience. Nothing makes any sense and apart from the magic food that alters her shape and size, there are obscure doorways, secret corridors, houses and a royal palace garden that has a life of its own. Paths and clues work against her.

As I mentioned in the first post of Adventure Girls, all these heroines meet death. In Alice's adventures, death is in the form of a queen of hearts. The queen resembles the heart queen belonging to a pack of cards. But Her Majesty isn't a card. She's a dangerous tyrant with a severe temper who insists "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" Her army of sword carrying soldiers are nothing more than a pack of cards. Alice reasons this way to divert her fear, by looking at them as they are: cards. Bits of paper. Paper with divining properties and the power to make money. Later she encounters a bad red queen, similar to the red queen of chess.

Alice's most famous friends she meets in Wonderland include the white rabbit, the grinning Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and March Hare, the opium smoking caterpillar, Mock Turtle, Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-Dee, the White Knight and the White Queen. These and many of the story's characters are based on actual historical people.

Alice herself was a real person too. She was a real girl named Alice Pleasance Liddell, a daughter of an Oxford university dean. The real Alice (1852-1934) soon grew up to be beautiful and dated a prince, married a cricketer and had children. Two of her sons died as heroes in the First World War, and her third remaining son lived to have descendants. Alice visited the United States and was made a Doctor in Literature by Columbia University.

Actresses who played and voiced "Alice":

May Clarke (1903)
Gladys Hulette (1910)
Ruth Gilbert (1931)
Charlotte Henry (1933)
Kathryn Beaumont (1951)
Anne-Marie Mallik (1966)
Fiona Fullerton (1972)
Natalie Gregory (1985)
Elisabeth Harnois (1992-1995)
Tina Majorino (1999)
Mia Wasikowska (2010)
Sophie Lowe (2013)

More on Alice:

Alice in Wonderland site