Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Wild Hunt

There is far more to the Winter Solstice season than most people think. My favourites is the Wild Hunt, when everyone should stay indoors and keep out of sight. This is because the Wild Hunt is scary and dangerous. When people are outside on a midwinter’s night, listening for the sounds of distant dogs barking, feeling icy winds, the arrival of frost and snow, distant shouting, yelling and horns, followed by a dark wave of hunters.
They’re full of shadowy things, undead, ghosts and entities, some riding on black horses. There are sinister dogs with red eyes. They’re part of a band of spirits and Others, who want blood. This blood exchange for the return of Spring and harvests. The Wild Hunt can kill livestock and may kill people if they’re outside. People who die during the winter solstice outside are victims of the Wild Hunt. Many victims of murder and the freezing cold are often found huddled up or face down, and this has been associated with the Wild Hunt. Victims of the Wild Hunt were all faced downwards or curled up froen to death or mauled to death. Animals have also perished in the phase of the Wild Hunt. Frozen petrified animals found on pavements, roads, fields and woods the morning after the winter solstice. 
It’s always tradition for people to leave out some offal to feed the spectral horses and scraps to feed the black dogs with red eyes. To celebrate the Wild Hunt, often men would dress up and fulfil their own hunts . People left food and some drink outside at night for the coming supernatural Hunters. 
It’s said that leading the Wild Hunt is the god Odin, riding on his eight legged horse Sleipner. Odin, the All-Father and warrior god, the wanderer, travels across the skies and delivers food and mead. Behind Him, the frightening Wild Hunt. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Wolf and the Fox

Foxes are often made out to be clever, sneaky and naughty in fairytales. Rarely are they good or friendly. Foxes are not evil as wolves in fairytales but they still get a bad reputation.
Here is a brief outline of the story “The Wolf and the Fox” by the Brothers Grimm.

A wolf and a fox lived together in a den. (It’s debatable if the wolf was a boy and fox a girl but in actual life, wolves and foxes can’t produce offspring together). The wolf is large and has huge sharp teeth. He’s the more aggressive and dominant. The fox is smaller and gentle and always bullied by the wolf. The wolf tells the fox to get some food, and the fox goes out to look for some scraps. She goes to a field and takes a small lamb. But after she brings the lamb home to the den, Wolf is not satisfied and wants another and something bigger. Wolf goes out to the field and tries stealing a full sized sheep, but he’s caught red handed by the farmer, who whacks him.
Another day, wolf demands that fox get some more food. The fox goes to a bakery and she takes some cakes and goes home carrying two cakes. Wolf is annoyed that it isn’t enough as he wants more cake and goes out by himself to get some. When he gets to the bakery, he makes a mess by knocking over buckets, stools and brooms. The baker sees wolf and hits him.
Then next time, fox has to go and find meat for herself and the wolf. She finds a cellar with meat stored there being chilled and salted. She takes it and goes home, but wolf is greedy and wants more meat. This time, fox and wolf go to the cellar together, but a butcher can hear them. Fox is able to get away as she’s quieter, smaller and sneaky but wolf is big and lumbersome. He gets caught and is killed.
Basically the story has shown that of the two, fox is clever, graceful and sneaky, is able to hide and not get caught. The wolf, being larger and more ferocious, is scarier but also clumsy because he’s uncouth.  

Monday, 18 December 2017

Princesses of stone

Here is my answer to the question "Is there a fairy tale about a princess turning into a statue?":

The term is “petrification” or petrified. Death by being turned to stone. Medusa was a gorgon monster in Greek myth, turned people into stone if they looked at her eyes. The ones she turned to stone were mainly heroes and warriors, attempting to kill her. They failed, except for Perseus. He managed to cut off her head and use it to turn the Kraken into stone. However, the Medusa’s eyes were still powerful after death so Perseus never looked at the eyes and kept it within a sack.
There are numerous stories of princesses and maidens turning to stone. There is Cornish fairytales of stone circle megaliths that were once dancing princesses. The Merry Maidens circle is “stone dance” in St. Buryan in Cornwall. The story goes that 19 maidens were petrified into stone by a god who was punishing them for dancing on Sunday.
Another is the Tregeseal East Stone Circle, or otherwise called “The Dancing Stones”. More women petrified to stone for dancing and offending a god. More stone circles that are petrified princesses are the Boskednan Stones or “Nine Maidens” as they’re also called.
(The Hurlers are stone circles in St. Cleer village in Cornwall. These were once men who were punished by a god and petrified into stones because they were hurling balls on a sunday. Other male stones are the Pipers of Bodmin Moor).
In real life plenty of maidens and princesses (along with other people and animals) were all turned into petrified forms in Pompeii, 79 CE, when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Image shows the famous two maidens petrified into statues after the hot ash fell from Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii.

By Rayne Belladonna

Source: Here

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

My Yule ghost stories

Here are my Yule ghost experiences. 
I’ve been able to see spirits all of my life. As a child, I wasn’t sure if they were spirits but I thought at the time that they were just people. At around the ages of 4 and 5 years old, I often woke up during the night and found people in my room, looking at me. I didn’t know who they were. By morning they were gone. I remember they looked strange and one of them resembled a witch as she was an old woman in a long dress and her hair was very long.
During the day I experienced things too. My nan took me to school when I was about 5 and I saw this “teenage” boy cross our path. He looked like one of those page boys from my fairytale books set in the Middle Ages. I remember talking to nan about him but she told me couldn’t see anyone. 
Another time, nan took me to a building, not sure what it was, but she was chatting to someone in there and I saw a group of small kids in a room nearby. I went into this room and tried playing with the kids but they all sat there, looking at me. None of them wanted to play. I noticed a baby all dressed in a bonnet and I wanted to play with the baby but no reaction. Nan told me its time to go and I said I wanted to stay and play with the kids. She told me there isn’t any kids. I can remember stuff like this from so far back.
There are many other paranormal experiences I've had but to go with the Yuletide theme, I want to mention something that I saw as a kid. I was 6 years old and it was December, months after I made a full recovery from whooping cough. I can't remember what day of the week it was. My grandmother woke me up and drew back the curtains of the window. She went downstairs to make breakfast. I was still in bed wide awake, and saw a lady appear in front of the bedroom window. She was quite beautiful and had shoulder length stylish hair. She wore a very long blue dress and I noticed white down folded wings against her back (to me they looked like enormous wings but also I could see feathers). She smiled at me and I hid under the bed. A few seconds later, I looked up and she was gone. I'm wondering if she's a visiting spirit who might've had on a white cloak that resembled wings. A cloak made of white feathers, or definate wings, I'm not certain now. I was only six and I couldn't properly analyse her clothing. I was more surprised at her just materialising in my room, out from nowhere. Then there is the myth of the goddess Freyja who wears a feathered cloak. Who or what was I seeing? An angel or a valkyria? goddess Freyja? A spirit of an ancestor?
During Yule of my mid twenties I was ill again, with pneumonia. I was in bed keeping warm, and passed out. I found myself standing next to my bed, observing the curtains blowing in a warm breeze, and the windows were wide open, and it was pitch black outside. A flower scent came in from outside. This was Winter and December, mind you, and my window was shut and curtains closed. I was ill, don't forget. I wanted to escape my painful illness and go outside to be warm and at peace. Just as I was heading towards the window, I was woken by the sounds of someone entering my room. I was laying under the blankets, and listened to the sounds of someone running around my bed. It was panting too, and I realised it was a dog. I can tell exactly what a dog sounds like. This is how my dog, Sheba used to behave when I lived at home as a kid. I wondered how a dog came into my room because where I lived was a shared house and nobody had dogs. I sat up and the dog disappeared. I knew that no dog had ever been in my room but just a couple of months earlier, Sheba passed away. It seems that Sheba's spirit came to stop me crossing into that mysterious window. 
That's it for now. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Perchta the Hidden One

The season of Yule is better known as Christmas to the vast majority of people. It's also called the Winter Solstice period, when some just worship the movements of the sun and look at the seasons changing as a divine thing. Many pre-Christian and pagan beliefs celebrate this time as a season of both the Winter Solstice and the birth of the new gods. It can be celebrated in many ways, or be a time when people called out for the sun to please come back. There are many forgotten pieces of Yuletide that I want to touch on without going into too much heavy research. There is a lost celebration or tradition in the December/Winter period that honours the Light Goddess.
In ancient lands now Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, Britain, Channel Islands, ect people understood that it was a time of the goddess of the sun, warmth, fire and the light. She was called "The Hidden One". Her name is Perchta or Bertha, depending on where she was found. Sometimes she resembled an old woman, and other times a beautiful snow-white maiden. Linked with spinning and weaving, and swans, snow and winter sunlight, this mysterious hidden goddess spends most of the year inside dark forests and caves. She emerges in Winter.
This goddess is said to watch over children in Winter and check to see if they've been well behaved. The notion that kids will get presents from Santa if they've been good, come from this belief in the Hidden Goddess, she watches people. Now most modern parents have started a new Winter trend of using toys or "Elf on the Shelf" to monitor children and how they behave. The idea of watching children being good or naughty derives from the centuries old tradition of people of most households telling kids to "mind how they behave" because "Perchta is watching them".
If children as well as servants have been well behaved, she'll reward them with money, food, gifts and even clothes. If not, and people have been bad, she was said to cut people open and fill them with pebbles as a form of punishment. This hidden goddess was feared because she was cruel if anyone stepped out of line and resorted to badness. She cared about people enough to study how they worked, to find out what people ate on certain days and to see how they acted towards others. She didn't want people to offend her. She stuffed people with straw if they didn't eat the proper food on certain feast days. Foods that people should eat are fish and gruel. Anything else was said to be a great offense. Her days were the twelves days and she was part of Winter time. 
Today you'll find celebrations of the hidden goddess of Winter. It's called Perchtenlaufen. People in Austria recognise this and regard Perchta as a "witch" who appears after midwinter in January who tortures people. Many on this festival wear creepy and scary monstrous masks to scare away Perchta.
She's linked to the Wild Hunt and associated with the Norse goddess Frigga. It was the goddess Frigga who originally gave presents to children and poor people in ancient times during the Winter season. It was said that Mother's Night is based upon the coming of Frigga and the goddess of maternal love. In Winter, children who were afraid of the cold, dark and threats of predators, hunger and illness, sought the comfort of the loving and nurturing goddess when their own mothers were poorly, dead, or just suffering as anyone else. It seems likely that the church demonised Perchta and made her into an "ugly witch" that cuts people for being naughty. Like with all goddess worship, the church has demonised plenty other goddess, gods and divine animals. However, the ancient and primitive beliefs that all went with the arrival of Perchta, the Hidden One, remains there to this day. Now it is transformed into Santa and his elves, the christmas tree fairy and the ice maidens in pretty clothes found in Russia (Snegurochka) and Disney (Elsa and Periwinkle).

Frau Perchta the Terrifying Christmas Witch
The art above is by Anne Stokes

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gloom Girls Project: Saint Olga

This is a project about demonic ladies, iron maidens and evil queens. It's the opposite to my "Golden Girl Project" series that I made years ago on this blog. Golden Girls is all about ladies of light. The Gloom Girls Project is about ladies of darkness. Obsidiously evil and dangerous by nature, they're cold blooded as they're so vicious, tainted and cruel. Each post will focus on one such lady of gloom. 
Saint Olga

A woman has never been so vicious and yet revered by the Church like an angel as Olga of Kiev. When a person that lived in her time heard her name, they fled to the hills. But given a sainthood that she was but she was far from being a sweet angelic saint. She was a demon.
Olga was born in Pskov, Russia, sometime during the late 9th Century CE. Her family were Varangians, a Viking people living in Russia. Little else is known of her childhood. As a teenager, she married Igor I of Kiev, son of Rurik. Olga and Igor had children togaether. Igor was butchered by the Derevlians, a Slavic tribe, and his son, Sviatoslav I of Kiev, became his successor. Sviatoslav was very young and his mother, Olga, was regent until her son was turned of a certain age. Olga wanted revenge.
She pretended to look for a new husband and requested that Derevlian men show up.These men would be treated with much dazzling kindness, they would be given food and rich clothes, and arrive to the castle in splendid little boats for each man. Olga had her own people dig a deep trench in the main square of the city. After the Derevlian men arrived sailed into Kiev, they were met by people who carried them in their boats across the streets. Then the Derevlian men were flung into the deep trench, and were buried there alive.
Olga needed to visit Dereva and requested an escort. She wanted the Derevlian Prince Mal to send some of his best warriors to escort her. After the Derevlian warriors arrived, Olga insisted that they bathe themselves before meeting her. The men were escorted to the bath house. Then they were locked inside and Olga had the bath house torched and burned. All the men inside were killed.
Olga needed to pay her respects to her late husband so she went to Dereva's city Iskoresten. Upon her visit, a party was held in her honour with a great banquet. She gave out the finest of alcoholic drinks. Those at the banquet were Derevlian warriors and they all became extremely drunk. So drunk were they that Olga had them all slain.
Olga made war with the Derevlians. Her forces were powerful and the citizens of Derevlia were suffering far too much hunger. Olga wanted each household to send three sparrows and three pidgeons to her, so the Derevlian people agreed. They were wanting to end their pain and misery and succumb to Olga, wanting to please her so that she would be their queen regent. What Olga did next was have her armies attach sulfur dipped rags onto each bird, and have each one lit. The birds returned to the houses where they had nests. By then, the birds were on fire and every house burned to the ground, killing people inside. The next thing she did was visit Constantinople and there she converted to Christianity.
Olga is now a saint.     

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The secrets of Calypso

Calypso was a nymph. Her mother was Pleione, a sea nymph, and her father was called Atlas, who was a titan. She’s been nicknamed “The Hidden One”, “Deceiver” and “to cover up”. She hides on her island, Ogygia. that is shrouded. Interestingly, her island means “Hell” in English as it comes from the Greek καλύπτω word. Why would a nymph live on a hidden island that means “Hell”?
 Before I go into that, I’ll explain that Calypso appears in Greek myth as a character in Homer’s “The Odyssey” saga. She kept Odysseus as her own prisoner play thing, and stopped him from completing his quest. Some accounts say she got pregnant by Odyseus and had a son called Latinus. The gods had to come to Odysseus’ rescue as his mission was important as well as Penelope, his wife, left all alone and missing him. Time went by considerably while he was on that island with Calypso.
I don’t think Calypso meant to deprive Odysseus. She was lonely and fell in love with him. Odeysseus couldn’t stay with her and that hurt her. The island she lived upon as a hermit goddess nymph was said to be almost exotic. It was full of lush plants, trees, flowers, animals, and also a burning fire in the middle. There were caves too. Why was it called “Hell” in ancient times? In etymology, the word hell just originally meant to describe a place of “fire” and “light”. The hearth in the island.
Ogygia was thought to be connected to Atlantis and might’ve been a fragment of the lost continent. Many can’t place where Ogygia is, some say it’s in Egypt, but many believe it’s part of Malta. There is a mythical and real cave called “Calypso Cave” found in the island of Gozo. Also Gozo is termed the “Island of Calypso”. Malta is said to have mysterious structures all possibly linked to Atlantis.  
Much of what we know about Calypso is in Greek myths and legends. I will share some interesting bits of factual details about what I've mentioned so far.
Details of Ogygia
Maltese myths and legends 
Underwater temples
I wanted to add something else too. Calypso seems to be linked here with Malta, Hell, Atlantis and a veiled island. Is it possible, hypethetically, that Calypso was able to create mist herself and cover up her island? Was she a magical being? Does this show any clues to the lost Atlantis island? With all the words involved, Hell/light/fire/hearth, then veiled island/Malta/Gozo/Atlantis, could be more than just a story. Was it an island or was it a very large ship such as an ancient ocean liner? Floating islands themselves are often icy drifts. Was Calypso's island an ice berg? It was said in the Bock Saga that the name Atlantis is a gathering of root words that meant "A Land of Ice". Snow and ice do reflect the sun and moon intensely. The word "Hell" wasn't fire then but ice, and it certainly is full of light. 
Floating green coloured plant rich drifting misty islands often appear in fresh water and bogs. Such islands can be artificially created such as shown HERE in the Biomatrix Water site on floating islands. These islands are small and delicate. They're not the same as Calypso's island where animals and people could live upon for the rest of their days. 
So it's my guess that Calypso did live on an island where she shrouded her palace in mist but also she travelled the sea on a beautiful boat. She was able to mystify and enchant even that. This myth proves to me that Calypso was a travelling nymph. Her incredible island could be Atlantis. Or a link to it. Or was she just a sailor who lived on the island of Malta? Could she also be somewhat connected to the British Isles and it's legends of small islands such as the Isle of Avalon? Avalon is a magical lost island, sometimes a land of spirits, shrouded in mist. It features in Arthurian legends and Celtic mythology. 
Interestingly, Avalon is the Isle of the Blessed, or Isle of Apples. There are myths of the Apples of the Hesperides and the Apples of Idunn. The Greek myth of the Hesperides positions this location in the far north (of Europe). This place is a beautiful garden with special gold apples all protected by a monstrous dragon and a group of nymphs called Hesperides. These Hesperides are daughters of Atlas the titan. Atlas is also father of Calypso. Calypso is a half sister to the Hesperides. They were nicknamed "Daughters of the Evening" and "Nymphs of the West". Goddess Idunn is a protectress of the golden apples in Norse myth. 
Island, mist, apples, spirits, sea, hell, light, fire. Calypso didn't guard the sacred golden apples. She was a queen on her own island and a seductress. She knew magic. She offered Odysseus to become immortal so that he could stay with her on the island but he refused. She kept him as her prisoner for seven years. To make him immortal she would need to have something that would alter him. Her half sisters guard the golden apples. She uses her own love charm s to keep Odysseus under her spell. Is Calypso not just a tale of a nymph but also of nature itself? What keeps a hero from doing his mission and finishing the job to head back home? Either magic or illness. Was Odysseus lured there to be a prisoner of Calypso? Or was he badly wounded and Calypso was just healing him? Calypso is a type of nature goddess and healer. 
Is she the Greek version of the Norse goddess Ran? In Norse myth, Ran is said to capture sailors and take them to her caverns. Ran's domain is said to be an island that is considered bright. She keeps men also like Calypso does. I wonder if perhaps Calypso and Ran are the same goddess? It's not strange to find "migrating" gods and goddess all over the world. Ran is said to be ruler of the watery afterlife and also linked to the lost lands sunken in the sea. There was an island in the North Sea that sunk. It's been called "Atlantis" by some and Doggerland by others. 
I don't think Calypso meant to harm Odysseus. She was healing him but also she enjoyed his company and fell in love with him. Calypso let him go eventually when the gods had to intervene. Calypso is a nymph and goddess of the sea. She lives on an island shrouded in mist and mysteries. She's got links to Atlantis. If that could be the same Atlantis as told by Plato, then is there more to this? Calypso comes from an older time, long before ancient Greece. She's a relic of the prehistoric past when there were islands that don't exist by the time of Classical Greece. Her Norse counterpart is the goddess Ran. Calypso's sacred animal is a dolphin. She's the embodiment of the feminine ocean and a gentle, smaller being that is closely linked to light, purity, water and healing.