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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Divine Canines: Geri and Freki



This is the fourth post of a series about divine canines, gods and goddesses who are dogs, spirits in dog form and other magical canines. Years ago I did a few posts about wolf goddesses but found in my research too many male canine gods and beasts, or non-wolf canid goddesses that I couldn't include. So I promised to do something on the wider subject of myth and canid species linked to ancient legends, spirits, deities and folklore.


The fourth post on the subject is of Geri and Freki, the two wolves of Odin. Both in Norse mythology, legend is that the two wolves belong to the All Father god Odin and accompany him during the Wild Hunt. They often eat corpses of dead warriors on battle fields, and eat entire plates of food on the dining table of the gods. Odin allows them to feed as he only drinks wine.

Geri's name means "ravenous one". Freki's name means "greedy one". Both wolves can't stop eating. They attend Odin on hunts for beasts such as elk and bison, and when not hunting, they scavange for food on battle fields. Two messenger ravens belonging to Odin, named Hugin and Munin, locate food for the two hungry wolves. Sometimes the ravens will fly out and lead the way, as the two wolves follow. If they discover food, they each share it. The myths suggest that Geri and Freki don't hunt but rely on Odin and the ravens to find game.

Besides being so greedy, the wolves have a distinctly magical side that's often overlooked. Too much background information and write-ups on the wolves eating non-stop, but little on anything else about their spiritual purpose. First of all the two wolves Geri and Freki played a very important role in human origins! The legend goes that the two wolves nurtured the first humans and acted as both foster parents and teachers. The early humans grew up looking upon the wolves as their leaders, guides and even family mmbers. It helped humans understand how to survive in a harsh world, how to prepare food, cook, search for water underground, understand the seasons and climate, how to make uses of hunted animals for meat, clothing and tools, how to build shelter, how to swim, how to communicate.


The earliest human beings respected wolves and therefore had a special bond, which science is struggling to come to terms with. It's simple, this gives us a clue about the possible first domestication of the wolf. Or did the wolf domesticate itself?


Odin was considered a wolf god, not just because of the two Geri and Freki, but also because he took on wolf form and was leader of the Ulfhednar warriors. In wolf's form he fathered human children who were called the Volsungs that were able to shapeshift into wolves. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sisters of the Valkyrie? part IX: Amazons



There are Valkyrie-like goddesses and demi goddesses in other belief systems, who resemble the characteristics of the Northern Valkyries. It makes you wonder if they belong to the same species or come from the same root legend. I've written entries about the subject, starting with individuals and then perhaps go onto research different aspects of the Valkyrie. The ninth entry on the "Sisters of the Valkyrie" is about the Amazons.

Amazons, or others called Oiorpata, are a legendary army consisting entirely of women. It's said that they were from Scythia, which is now the Ukraine. They're also Amazon warriors across ancient Persia, Asia Minor, Crimea, Baltic lands, Black Sea regions, Altai Mountains, Russia, Crete and Anatolia. Whether or not they could be part of a nation or under one ruler is not too difficult to say because amazons warriors appeared throughout Eurasia and found scattered across various places.

In Greek mythology, Amazons live in Themiscyra, a Pontus region, which was once part of ancient Greece and nears South of the Black Sea. Now it's part of Turkey. According to legend the town of Themiscyra was ruled by a beautiful queen named Hippolyta, she wore a magical belt that was made by her father, Ares, the god of war. The belt, or girdle symbolised her power as queen. She encountered Theseus when he arrived to her island after killing the Minotaur. There was much celebration and feasting. He proposed to her during the night's party but she declined marrying him. Later when everyone slept, Theseus and his friend Pirithous planned to kidnap the queen and force marriage. Theseus carried a sleeping Hippolyta to his ship and sailed away to Athens. The amazons woke up and found that their queen was gone so they got their boats ready to set sail. The amazons successfully rescued their queen at midnight on the eve of the wedding and all returned to the island. When Theseus found that his bride-to-be was gone, he gave up on trying to get her back to him.

The demi god Hercules convinced Hippolyta to hand over the belt and it angered the goddess Hera. The amazon queen died and the belt went away with Hercules on the rest of his epic journey. In popular modern literature, created by DC Comics, one of the Amazons appears as a superhero in the 20th Century called Diana Prince or Wonder Woman, daughter of Hippolyta. 

There's archeological discoveries to link Amazons with historic truth. There's amazon graves in Russia, areas of the Don and Volga rivers. The bodies were delicately handles at burial, dressed in combat armour matching the descriptions of the Amazonian women in mythology. There were also amazon graves uncovered in Kazakhstan of women in armour and beside swords, axes, arrow heads, horse harnesses and daggers many of the items made of bronze.

Interestingly the weapons found with the women had shorter narrower handles compared to those weapons discovered at men's grave sites nearby. Bones of domestic animals were buried beside the women indicating that they were not hunter-gatherers. Tattoos worn by male warriors of the region were also upon the dead amazons. So was there a basis of fact to the mythical stories then? Seems there is.

There is so much in comparison to the amazons and the shield maidens of the far north. These were the Northern amazons, women who fought in battle alongside the menfolk. It's believed that the valkyries were really mortal women such as these.  

Monday, 13 July 2015

My book review of "Immortal Hope"



Sometimes I will review a film or a book. I love fantasy and paranormal romance. The following is about a fantasy romance featuring knights of old. Now the thing is, I've always loved and admired the knights templars. These warriors have a mystique about them and centuries later they still capture the imagination. They also appeal to a lot of women such as I.    

"Immortal Hope" by Claire Ashgrove, published in 2012 is the first of the "Curse of the Templars" series. I've finished reading the first book and published a review on Amazon.co.uk.

Synopsis:
Many centuries ago, a group of knights templars visited the holy land and discovered a copper scroll, but were condemned with immortality, forever in conflict with creatures of a demon named Azazel. Each time the knights battled with the evil entities, darkness would enter the knights little by little. Some knights were too consumed by the evil in their blood, that they lost their humanity and became dark knights of Azazel.
However, there was a shimmer of hope. The Nephilim had descendants and those were women who would bring freedom and salvation to the knights, purifying them of darkness. These women are called seraphs (who remind me a lot of the valkyries in Germanic myths). These are mortal women who are full of hidden power that they're not even aware of. Each woman is destined to be paired with a knight templar and as long as she and the knight take their oaths of bonding, both would be safe and evil itself gets weaker.


My review on Amazon:
I so love this book and will read the rest of the series. The medieval Knights Templar are so mysterious, but this book brings them into the 21st Century. They can drive SUV, watch TV and have phones! But they still talk as if they're from centuries years ago and they've never given up their loyalty. What I also love about the knights are they come across as real human beings with emotions and physical strength, instead of a flat 1 dimensional view picture that we're taught about in history lessons. These are a real fantasy for women who love knights.


The genre of paranormal romance should be given more credit because it's far more than the that. The author brings the characters to life and they're so realistic. It isn't just a romance, it's adventure, horror, chiller and fantasy. I plan to review the other books in the series at a near future time.

Claire Ashgrove 


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Dogmen, wild beasts of legend



I've read "Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America" by Linda Godfrey. It highlights many unusual sightings of werewolves and unusual upright powerful canids that leave little evidence apart from a few frightened eyewitnesses. These reports of dogmen sightings (dogmen the preferred name instead of werewolf by some researchers) is highly popular among those fascinated with the subject. There's been dogmen/werewolves living among humans in secret since time began, for humans on earth. Native Americans have legends of the werewolves, positive and negative, and it suggests different types of werewolves exist.
Europe has it's centuries of historic werewolf and dogmen stories.

There are historic records like the following:

Werewolves of Greifswald, a chilling number of reports from 16th and 17th century Germany, account the city was dominated by a community of werewolves. They operated at night and citizens were too frightened to go outside after sunset. A group of brave souls decided to kill the werewolves but were overcome in a bloody street battle. Apparantly it was the idea of a little local boy to gather up as much silver as anyone could, smelt it and make it into weapons. The boy gained his knowledge from a wise relative. It proved to be a success and all the werewolves of Greifswald were slaughtered.
I can't go back in time and discover if that really happened the way it's said or not. I can point out something though. During the time Greifswald was under the werewolves terror, Germany had just recovered from the Thirty Years War and there was still hunger and poverty, and the lingering threat of bubonic plague. I guess many people were scared and suffering too much, and it could've manifested so much hysteria as well as horror. Later Swedish troops occupied the country and other bloody wars that followed, the Swedish-Polish War and the Swedish-Brandenburg War and the Great Northern War. The town of Greifswald was torn in the middle of battle. There was so much destruction and deaths caused by fire power (canons), the town was unable to withstand. Civilians were killed and old buildings including castles, churches and residential houses burnt to the ground. It was during the war ravaged period in the town that the stories of the werewolves emerged! I wonder if these werewolves might've been real, shadows or monsters feeding off pain or were really bloodthirsty soldiers that ruined the town? The wars going on there might've had a lot to do with the werewolf legend.

Gilles Garnier, a famous dogman/werewolf from Dole, France who lived in the 16th century. Living most of his youth alone in the forest, scavanging for food and making his own clothes out of animal furs, he finally wanted to settle down with a wife. He fell in love with a village maid and she ran away from home to be with him. It's likely they had children because after they were living together, in his forest den, many people started going missing. Many people were frightened of seeing a strange shabbily dressed man in the forest and fields, who took on the appearance of a wolf. He was found, arrested and jailed. At court he later admitted to killing people from a nearby village to feed his family. It was tragic and distressing for the loved ones to hear about what happened. Garnier was found guilty of lycanthropy and witchcraft, then excecuted in 1572.

According to the dogman and werewolf databases found on Facebook, message boards and articles, most of them look like upright walking tall, muscular creatures with dog/wolf heads. I can see a pattern in historic reports when there was plague, famine and war. In peace-time Europe, what gives? Dozens of reports appearing all over the UK, Ireland, Europe mainland and the Americas, Australia and Asia in recent years by people who've met dogmen/werewolves. Most of these creatures are seen on roadsides, in bushes, lurking around houses, sneaking in woods and forests and eating stray animals. Many of the sightings go little further but some do. People have been chased and attacked by these dogmen. Some feared for their lives and had to lock their car doors and take off at speed. Even people walking their dogs encounter these creatures, and remember feeling terrified.

It's possible that some of the people are making it up, hallucinating or simply mistaken? Even if these werewolves and dogmen are real, where do they go? where do they lives? why can't they be found? Apart from some grainy photographs and videos of supposed werewolves and dogmen, why would these isolated keep-themselves-to-themselves creatures play games with humans?
Are these creatures supernatural then? I don't mean phantoms or ghosts. I mean cryptids, or a species that coexists but may never be disovered or caught because they might pass from a different dimension and defy physics? Any other ideas is just mind boggling.

Interested in more?

DFRO (Dogman field research org)
Dogman Encounters
Linda Godfrey (researcher and reporter of Dogmen sightings)
The Cloaked Hedgehog (map maker of Dogman sightings)
 

Woman in green



Seven years ago now, during a time of psychic development and paranormal activity, I encountered a very surreal guest, or a few guests to my property. I used to have a male friend (now ex friend) that drove me up the garden path, and manipulated me through different psychological tests that no one should have to endure. Besides this were visitations from entities that were quite draining and verbally abusive. One entity looked like a giant green woman sitting in a field near where I lived. She was almost like a tree with a woman's shape and a thunderous voice. She leaked oil, sap and contaminated water from her mouth and nose so that made her scary. She seemed pretty monstrous and freaky but she had the power of sorts to evaporate stray entities. I later wondered if this green giant woman was more of a protective being. What on earth was she?
There are many stories about green lady ghosts. The green ladies who haunt Scottish and English castles. These spirits are often linked with the historic past and could be residual energies or echoes from time. Playing out tragic events or a haunt of a wandering soul of a woman in trouble and pain.
The giant green woman in the field wasn't a phantom lady in a castle but she resembled a primitive relic Stone Age. I'm thinking of the Venus statuettes from Paleolithic Eurasia. A vast number of figurines in the shape of unusual big breasted and faceless women all found scattered across thousands of miles. Such figures almost look like the green giant woman but what I visualised looked almost as terrifying as a storm.

She seemed dangerous as well as powerful. I understand she scared away my now ex friend. Was this a manifestation of Erda the earth goddess? Or was she just an hallucination? 

Venus figurines