Days of Witchery: 34. Rune of Your Choice.

My Favorite Rune, Thurisaz

Thurs/Thurisaz stands for chaos, transformation, a necessary destructive force, from the fire turned to ashes the phoenix rises from. Like an active volcano, covering the landscape with glowing lava and ash, Thurs burns anything that gets in its way.

There is something very sexual in this Thurs-energy, which certainly does not manifest in romantic love, but rather – if you want to exaggerate the  symbolism – the experimental group sex orgies with S/M-elements and bondage. Pleasure and pain coexist.

The corresponding energies in other systems of thought could be one of the gods Shiva or Kali, the zodiacal sign of Scorpio and the planet Pluto, which represents both the birth and death, sexuality and power, violence and rebellion.

Thurs arouses fear because it reveals our darkest, most dangerous and destructive aspects within us. But fear is a good servant, and a bad master. We need to tear down the old to make way for the new.

Thurs represents in its worst form of evil – but just as often the purification, catharsis, from which new strength and insight can be born. Much power can be gained from this rune, but you must be willing to sacrifice something. Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in Mimir’s well to be all-seeing, and Tyr sacrificed his right hand in  the mouth of the Fenriswolf, but was invincible in battle.

The road to wisdom and inner wealth, shaman way, is a painful way, and all awakenings contains both suffering and clarity. But on this way Thurs is an indispensable resource.

(Text translated from Grimners Runes)

Days of Witchery: 33. Faerie Of Your Choice.

I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing or noticing the presence of a faerie, well perhaps once I think I had a Salamander or fire faerie in my lantern. So I did a little list of a list I found. I took the text of those faeries (although most are beings of the fae/faerie-family) I liked and put them here:

Asparas – Usually female, also known as sky-dancers. They bless humans at important stages in their lives, and are often seen at weddings. They live in fig trees and sometimes appear to scholars or scientists, seduce and exhaust them, making sure they don’t venture into areas that the spirit world deems unfit.

Dinnshenchas – Dwarf faeries in the service of the Irish Goddess Aine, who is both a cattle Goddess and a Goddess who protects women. They have been said to shape shift into any form to help average women harmed by men. They also guard cattle.

Dryads – Tree-dwelling, playful, female creatures. They seem open to human contact, but are very capricious, and it would be hard to tell if one was in the mood to help, play, or just tease. Dryads prefer to live in willow trees, and are seen as not more than enchanting wisps of pure light, sometimes gently colored.

Fays – The word Fay is similar to the Latin word fautum , which means “fate”, a word from which many Romance languages take their generic names for faeries. Other such names are Fee, Fada, Fae, Fata, and Fas. They’re tiny, winged seasonal faeries who are born teasers and have very capricious natures, but are never malicious.

Geancanach – Pronounced “Gan-cahn-ock”. They’re pixie-like in appearance, with huge eyes that curve upward on the ends and pointed ears. They are the guardians of home hearths, and they crave the warmth of the fireside and are quite harmless to have around, although they do have a tendency to play pranks.

Moss People – Are both male and female and have large butterfly wings attached to lithe bodies that look mostly human. They’re very beautiful creatures, though hard to detect in the wild, where they tend to hide in moss and other dark wood foliage. They’re shy of people and very capricious. Moss People are good luck to have around. Keep their environment clean and natural if you wish to continue to have them.

So, there you have them, my favorite “faeries”. See anyone you liked or did I get anything wrong? Which is your favorite?

Blessed Be

Celtic Characteristics – The Assignment

Since this is something I did for school you’ll have to excuse the kind of formal way I wrote it..

 

According Cunliffe’s book, the view we have of the Celts today would be very different if we didn’t have the musings and writings of Greek and Roman writers. If we only looked at the Celts from an archaeological point of view, we would see a warrior society from central Europe with stratified burial customs. These writings should always be taken with a grain of salt as the writers often used such musings to further their own political interests.

It is also because of these writers we probably know that they’re even called Celts or Gauls as they most often call themselves. A fun side note is that I haven’t truly connected the Celts/Gauls with Asterix & Obelix until now.

Culture

When it comes to culture, the Celts were very adamant about their status and demonstrated this often. There are talks about them taking the heads of their enemies, preserving with the help of cedar oil and stored them carefully in chests to later proudly show to their guests. The more heads and the more valuable they were the more status the owner got. Also, the larger sum of gold you refused from relatives of the “heads”, the more status you got from those around you. They were known for being melodramatic and boastful, but also admired for their intellect.

According to one of these ancient writers, the Celts often hosted big feasts and the bravest of them got the choicest part of the meat. They would also be served the food by adolescents and discussions and arguments were encouraged to later escalate into brawls and duels to the death. Strangers invited as guests to these feasts were never, as a principle, asked about whom they were or what they were doing until after the dinner had been held.

Warfare

The Celts were known for wearing dyed shirts, trousers called bracae and chequered and striped cloak and during battle to wear only a loincloth or even run naked, not fearing death. They were not always naked though, and to battle they would wear helmets and wooden or bronze shields the size of a human, both with animal figures as decorations and also aides in the fights (the figures protruding from the shields and harming those coming too close).

On the topic of battle comes how the Celts behaved in warfare and military strategies. They were truly a warrior society, always on the move for raids and combat (as I described in the first assignment). The heads I mentioned before were not only stored in chests but also hanged around their horse’s necks. They would also hang spoils of war like jewellery or other valuables to the walls of their homes to show off. While an eager, bloodthirsty warrior, the Celt was also selfish and an unpredictable warrior, only being supportive and fighting if things seemed to go well.

Religion

Celtic religion is a very interesting topic. According to ancient writers the Celts were very devoted to their beliefs and the only thing they fear was that the sky would fall down upon them. There have also been tales of human sacrifice, that the Celts would among other things build large effigies and then stuff it with living beings, both humans and animals, to later set on fire like a large sacrificial bonfire.

They would never do any kind of rituals or sacrifices without the druids present, druids which we today think of as long-bearded men with white cloaks gathering herbs and hanging around Stonehenge. Another practice was striking a man with the sword and then telling prophecies by looking at the death spasms.

Conclusion

Today we see the Celts from behind a kaleidoscope. We see the archaeological evidence of a warrior tribe, the Roman-Graeco view filled romanticism and political propaganda. Even later influences also take part in this colourful clutter of views and objectivism. They have been used as symbols of origin when countries and nations began to grow. Their kind-of nomadic lifestyles and several migrations fell into the limelight during the Imperial Age and the time of colonization. This is but a few point of views that’s been had about the Celtic world and culture.

Personally I’ve always seen them as a mystical people with religion and far more intelligence they’re given credit for. I’m also enthusiastic when it comes to the fantasy genre and that have painted my thoughts on the subject. My influences on the Celtic people have been the book Barbarians by Terry Jones and the fantasy series about the land Deverry by Katharine Kerr.

How far from the truth my view is, is irrelevant. Who’s to say history’s right and I’ve got it wrong? If you think about it, the Romans and Greeks used the Celts as fodder for their muses of imagination. Who’s to say their writings aren’t as made up as my opinions and thoughts? It’s worth thinking about.

History is a fickle thing, but it’s a ride I truly enjoy, so why get off just because it’s not built according to the blueprints?

Blessed Be

Days of Witchery: 9. A Favourite Mythological Animal.

The Huldra is being from Scandinavian folklore, known as the Skogsrå or Skogsfru (Forestlady) in swedish. She is most often depicted as a beautiful naked girl with long hair and a tail. The tail is either that of a cow or a fox, but can be any animaltail. Sometimes, instead of a tail, she sometimes has the hollow of a treetrunk instead of her back. In Norway she is not naked but wears the clothes of a regular farmgirl.

She is known for seducing men, which makes them go insane and become obssessed with her. She can break the spell she has on them by turning her back to them, making them see her hollow. A lore is if you the Huldra blows in the barrel of your rifle, you’ll never miss again.

The Huldra could be very mean to people in her vicinity and go around causing mischief, but she could also be kind to those being kind to her. She would watch the collier’s Charcoal kilns while they slept, and they left food for her in thanks. I love this story about the Huldra and her kindness to human folk.

A boy in Tiveden went fishing, but he had no luck. Then he met a beautiful lady, and she was so stunning that he felt he had to catch his breath. But, then he realized who she was, because he could see a fox’s tail sticking out below the skirt. As he knew that it was forbidden to comment on the tail to the lady of the forest, if it were not done in the most polite manner, he bowed deeply and said with his softest voice,

“Milady, I see that your petticoat shows below your skirt”.

The lady thanked him gracefully and hid her tail under her skirt, telling the boy to fish on the other side of the lake. That day, the boy had great luck with his fishing and he caught a fish every time he threw out the line. This was the huldra’s recognition of his politeness.

So this is some facts about the huldra, while she is more a being than an animal, she is still my favorite mythical “creature”.

Blessed Be

Days of Witchery; 2. A Myth or Story from Folklore.

This will be a short post since I’m surprisingly tired. But I promised myself I’d do this everyday, so a post it will be!

How Earthquakes Come To Pass And Why We Kiss Under The Mistletoe

We all know the trickster god of the north, the Giant/God Loki. Most of us also knows that as he was a God of Michief, he often played tricks on his fellow Gods. On trick went deadly though, and that was the Death of Baldur.

Baldur always had dreams, and once, he dreamt about his own death. His mother Frigg then went to all the living things and asked them not to harm her son. They all agreed, but Frigg forgot to ask the Mistletoe. So Loki fashioned an arrow out of mistletoe wood, and then got the blind brother of Baldur, Höder, to aim it toward the beautiful god.

The arrow flew and Baldur fell down dead. This was one trick of Loki’s the other god’s couldn’t forgive, so they tied him down in Helheim, his daughter’s domain of the dead. Skadi, the wife of Njord, fastened a snake around a stalactite over Loki’s head. The snake dripped down venom on him, but his wife, the ever faithful Sigyn, stayed by his side and held a bowl over her husband so the venom would drip down in that instead of Loki.

But eventually, the bowl would fill and she had to empty it. While she hurriedly did so, drops of venom landed on Loki and the pain made him cringe and writhe so the very earth moved. And that’s where the earthquakes come from according to Norse Mythology.

After all this happened, Frigg decided that the Mistletoe should be sacred and stand for love and joy instead of death. So people started to celebrate this by kissing in under it. And that is why we kiss under the mistletoe during christmas. I love how all sorts of myths and holidays come together, just like all religions should, even though they’re not.

I hope this post is adequate enough, because I won’t add anything more now.

Cheers, and Blessed Be!

Vaettr

Arachne och Athena – Vävtävlingen

Tänkte att jag kanske skulle förklara myten bakom sången jag lade upp här igår lite närmare.

Sången handlar om en grekisk myt om Arachne/Arachnia, en ung väverska från Lydia, och Gudinna Athena, som är
the “patron goddess” av vävning (bland annat).

Arachne är fantastiskt begåvad i vävning, det sades att nymfer stannade upp i sina leker för att titta på och många som stannade upp för att se henne väva undrade om hon var under Athenas beskydd. Detta tyckte Arachne inte om och svarade att hon inte fått sin förmåga från någon och att hon säkerligen var bättre på att väva än Athena.

Detta gjorde ju förstås Athena arg, men ville ge Arachne en chans att ångra sina ord och förklädde sig till en gammal dam, som kom till väverskan och påpekade att man inte skulle säga sådana saker, då Gudarna kunde bli arga. Arachne hävdade då att hon inte var rädd och att hon gladeligen skulle tänka sig att tävla i vävning med Athena.

Då kastade Gudinnan av sig sin förklädnad, och Arachne, något skakad men fortfarande beslutsam, höll fast vid sitt ord. Och så satte sig de båda väverskorna, en mänkslig och en gudomlig, och började väva. Båda vävde mycket vackra saker, men Arachnes väv var så vacker att till och med Athena fick hålla med om att den vad fri från fel. (dock säger myten inget om vem som vann)

Rasande på Arachne för hennes stolthet och fräckhet att utmana henne, förstörde Athena hennes väv och vävstol och rörde vid Arachnes panna för att hon skulle känna skuld för sina handlingar. Denna skuld blev dock för mycket för den stackars väverskan, och hon tog sitt liv.

Athena, av medlidande för Arachne, för hon att ju inte velat att flickan skulle dö, återupplivade henne igen, men som spindel, så att hon och all hennes avkomma för alltid skulle vara skickliga vävare.

Så, detta är vad låten handlar om, en myt om hur farligt det är att förarga gudarna och försöka sätt sig över dem på något sätt. Sedan är jag inte säker på om det fanns spindlar innan i den Grekiska mytologin eller om detta är en ursprungsmyt för detta djur. Låter ju så på Arachnes namn i alla fall.

Blessed Be