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Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 8th 2010, 3:25 pm

[justify]Table of Contents

Essay Title / Page Number

The Norse Calendar of Feasts- Aolani 1
Ouroboros 1
What the Hell 1
Sleep and Death are Brothers 1
The Power of Ritual 1
Irish Olgham Alphabet - Val 1
Celtic Gods and Goddesses pI- Val 1
Celtic Gods and Goddesses pII- Val 1
Bite Me- Sweet and Wild 1
Runes of America 1
Norse Runes, the Norse Runes and Zodiac 1
Norse Pantheon 1
Ravens 2
Owls 2
Celtic and Norse Art 2
Origins of Christmas 2
Christianizing Yule 2
Pagan and Christian Connection to Yule 2
Angels 2
Which Witch is Which- Aolani 2
Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble 2
Vou Dou 2
Witchcraft: An Essay 2
VooDoo Tomb: Marie Laveau- Aolani 2
Crone Stones 2
Tarot 2
The Oracles 2
Into the Summerland and Death of a Faerie 3
Shape Shifters of the Native Americans 3
Vampires, Werewolves and Faeries and the
Bonny Vampires of Scotland 3
The Gypsies 3
Vampires/Werewolves in America 3
Vlad Tepes 3
Femme Fatale 3
The Great Debate: Vampires vs Zombies 3
Fangs 3
Vampires and their Makers 3
The Sanguine Fetish 3
Science Fiction? Vampires and Werewolves 3
Psychic Vampires 3
Healing and Vampire Blood 3
Requiet In Pacem 3
Having my Baby: Vampires and Reproduction 4
Intimations on Immortality 4
RN Renfield: The first Fangbanger 4
Vampire Hunter/Killing a Vampire 4
The Ankh 4
Greek and Roman Tattooing 4
Angel of Death 4
That Viking Vampire 4
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream I & II 4
Explanations for Vampirism 4
Shaking Up 4
The Tracks of my Tears 4
Cannibalism 4
Back in Black: Gothic and Vampire subculture 4
Reflections of a Vampire 4
Vampires and Werewolves in the movies 5
The Blood is the Life 5
The Inquisition 5
Native American Myths of Vampires and Werewolves 5
The Crossroads 5
Hands Proclaim the Man 5
Maenads- Mike Crowley, Muvee Junkee, and Cevin 5
Vampires, Love and Sex 5
The Mother Goddess 5
Pan, Minotaur, and the Horned God 5
What's your Daemon?/The Devil Inside 5
Lycanthropes of the Middle East 5
Lupercalia and Bacchanalia 5
Juniper, Wolfbane and Nettles 5
Repository of Souls 5
Sign of the Werewolf 6
Children of the Night and the Graphic Novel 6
Wild Child 6
Fenrir the Wolf 6
Werewolves from the Pulpit 6
Earliest Werewolf Tale 6
Peter Stumpf: A Famous Werewolf Case 6
Jekyll and Hyde 6
Sirius Black 6
Beauty and the Beast 6
The Loup Garoux Ball 6
Good Doggie: The Dogs of God 6
The Moon Led 6
Red Riding Hood 6
Weres and the Third Reich 6
Berserker 7
Love and Werewolves 7
Faery Faith in Celtic Lands 7
The World of Faery 7
Faery Tribes and Clans I, II, & III 7
Devas- Aolani 7
Vampires, Werewolves and Animals 7
Vampire Poem 7
Vampires of the Far East 7
Vampires, Werewolves and Violent Crime 7
Living Werewolf and Vampire 7
Power of Chant 7
Masks and Costumes in Religious Ritual 8
Food of the Gods: The Human Heart 8
Wicker Man and the Green Man 8
Goblins 8
Faerie Love 8
Hecate- Aolani 8
How to Make a Vampire 8
What is Shape Shifting 8
Letting the Right One in 8
Silver, Vampires and Werewolves 8
Upon the Altar 8
Explanations for Lycanthropy 8
Kung Lu 8
Changeling Child 8
Necromancy 9
Bram Stoker's Real Dracula 9
Telepathy 9
Samhain I, II, III, & IV 9
Faerie Sciences 9
Kali, the Vampire Goddess 9
Carmilla the Vampiress 10
Who was Montague Summers? 10
Psychological Perspectives on Vampire Myth 10
Who was St. Patrick by Aolani 10
The Celts by Aolani 10
More on Faeries and Elves by Aolani 10
Easter/Ostara by Aolani 10
The Triquetra 10
Auras by John Ravenwind sub by Aslinn 10
The Wolfsangel Rune 10
Witchcraft and Vampires 11
You May be a Vampire If..... 11
Desperately Seeking Vampires 11
It's all Greek to Me 11
Hitler and the Occult 11
HBO's Short Feature "Vampire Mythology" and "Shifter Mythology" sub by Raki 11
Jason's Dream 11
Werewolves of the Innu 12
Gilles De Rais: The Werewolf Murderer 12
Sawney Beane (Research by Barrister) 12
Afraid of the Dark 12
Santeria and Paoulo Mayombe 12
Who was Goody Osbourne 12
Lafayette's Prayer 12
Near Death Experience 12
The Water of Life 13
What are the Druids 13
Celtic Astrology 13
Dream Walking 13
The Wiccan Rede : Witch's Ethics 13
Black Cohosh and the Use of Herbs in Witchcraft - Aolani 13
What is a Brujo- Aolani 14
Wands 14
Original Fairy Tales 14
Thor's Hammer 14
Mythology and Astrology 14
Vampire Physiology 14
Purgatory 15
Queen Mab 15
Vampires: The Dark Mirror of Christianity? by Peggy Fletcher Stack: The Salt Lake Tribune 15
The Jaguar15
Elion/Elyion15
In a time of Plague 16
The Season of the Witch by Aslinn and Aolani 16
Karma, Sacrifice and Magik By Aolani 16
Godric's Runes 16
Give Me a Head with Hair: Hypertrichosis16
Devil's Brood 17
Something about Covens 17
Magikal Properties of Salt 17
Magikal Circles 17
Faerie Food 17
Luna's Tale: A conflict of Mythologies by Aslinn and Body Guard 17
Marnie's Spell By Aslinn, Barrister, Aolani and Body Guard17
Wiccan Etiquette by Aolani17
Through a glass darkly 18
Aegir and Ran 18
Books of Witchcraft 18
Blessed Be 18
Lethe 18
Essay on the Burning Times 18
Hell Hounds, Werewolves and the Germanic World-Alby Stone 18
Ghoulies, Ghosties and Three legged Beasties 18
Yemaya and Santeria- By Aolani- 18
Something Fishy in the State of Logrono- 18
From The Sookie Companion 19


Last edited by Aslinn Dhan on September 12th 2011, 1:56 pm; edited 28 times in total (Reason for editing : Adding to the Table of Contents)

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  GodSpeed on February 8th 2010, 6:18 pm

This is going to be a good place for it.
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Norse Calendar By Aolani

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:52 am

Norse Calendar of Holidays By Aolani
Norse Holidays and Festivals
I thought it would be interesting to look at the year in terms of how Eric might see it. Given his age, I am all too sure he is aware of Christianity and how most people in the Western Hemisphere spend their holidays. The Swedish Holidays of today are also Christianized. Of course many of the Christianized versions had their roots in Paganism. Eric came from the time of the Vikings tho and so for him that would have meant Norse Holidays.

Nose Holidays centered on the Wheel of the Year. This meant based on the sun, the ability to provide crops, and things that gave life. The year was divided into two seasons: Summer and Winter.

Jul
20 - 31 December
Celebration of the Norse New Year; a festival of 12 nights. This is the most important of all the Norse holidays. On the night of December 20, the god Ingvi Freyr rides over the earth on the back of his shining boar, bringing Light and Love back into the World. In later years, after the influence of Christianity, the god Baldur, then Jesus, was reborn at this festival. Jul signifies the beginning and end of all things; the darkest time (shortest hour of daylight) during the year and the brightest hope re-entering the world. During this festival, the Wild Hunt is at its greatest fervor, and the dead are said to range the Earth in its retinue. The god Wotan (Odin) is the leader of this Wild Ride; charging across the sky on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir; a very awe-inspiring vision. In ancient times, Germanic and Norse children would leave their boots out by the hearth on Solstice Eve, filled with hay and sugar, for Sleipnir's journey. In return, Wotan would leave them a gift for their kindness. In modern times, Sleipnir was changed to a reindeer and the grey-bearded Wotan became the kindly Santa Claus (Father Christmas).

Thurseblot
(Thor's Feast: Full Moon of January)
This minor festival honors the god, Thor, the protector of Midgard. . It is Thor who is responsible for the coming of Spring. During this time, the height of the Storm season, Thor's power is invoked to drive back the frost Jotuns (frost giants) so that Spring may return to Midgard.


Disting
2 February
Festival of the Idises, when the effects of Winter are beginning to lessen and the world prepares itself for Spring. Corresponds to the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Disting is characterized by preparing the land for planting. In ancient times, Disting was the time when the cattle were counted and one's wealth was tallied; thus making it a festival of finance as well. It was said that new calves born during Disting were a sign of great prosperity for the coming year. The land is preparing for spring and growth. Part of the ritual was to celebrate the abundance that you have by checking your finances. The fields are blessed and prepared for planting.

Valisblot
14 February
Many modern Asatruar celebrate Valisblot, or Vali's Feast, even though there is no historical precedent for associating Odin's youngest son with this festival; other than the name Vali associated with "Valentine." The hero Svenfjotli, son of Sigimund, was reputed to have been born at this time, and often blots are drunk to him as well.

Ostara
20-21 March
Festival of Ostara (Eostre), the Spring Goddess. This is a festival of renewal, rejoicing and fertility, although for most of the Northern People, the forces of Winter are still at full sway. In ancient times, the gift of colored eggs to one's friends and loved ones was a way of wishing them well for the coming season; a magical ritual of prosperity and fecundity. The rabbit was the symbol of this festival as well because of it's re-emergence during this season, and for its reproductive ability. These two rituals have survived into the modern holiday of Easter (which derives its name from Eostre) as Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. Like most ancient heathen rituals, they are relegated into the world of children; held for naught among adults; but the race memory lingers on.


Walpurgis/
Thrimilci
22 April - 1 May
The festival of Walpurgis, a night both of revelry and darkness. The nine nights of April 22 (interestingly enough, the modern festival of Earth Day) to April 30 are venerated as rememberance of the AllFather's self-sacrifice upon the World Tree Yggdrasil. It was on the ninth night (April 30, Walpurgisnacht) that he beheld the Runes, grasped them, and ritually died for an instant. At that moment, all the Light in the 9 worlds is extinguished, and utter Chaos reigns. At the final stroke of midnight, the Light returns in dazzling brilliance, and the bale-fires are lit. On Walpurgisnacht, the dead have full sway upon the earth; it is the ending night of the Wild Hunt. May 1 is the festival of Thrimilci; the beginning of Summer. Thrimilci is a festival of joy and fertility, much like Ostara; however, most of the Northern World is finally escaping from the snow at this time. For the Norse, the dead are present in the world throughout the winter months. This celebrations is similar in feeling to Halloween. The dead rule the night.
May 1st is the festival of Thrimilci which is about joy and fertility. In May, the weather of the north actually feels like spring.


Einherjar
30 May
Minor modern Asatru festival honoring the warriors who fell during battle and who asceded to Valhalla's halls. Corresponds with the modern American holiday of Memorial Day.


Sigurdsblot
9 June
Minor festival honoring Sigurd (Sigifrith or Siegfreid), the great hero who slayed the dragon Fafnir and won back the treasure of the Rhine.


Midsummer
20-21 June
Midsummer is the celebration of the summer solstice (June 20-21). This is the longest day of the year and the sun is at its most powerful. This is a very important time for cultures in the north. It is a time for trading, feasting, and activity. It was also at this time that most foreign trade was conducted, as well as shipping, fishing expeditions, and raiding. In Norse culture, there is always a fatalistic or pessimistic side. Even though the sun is at its height, this is the time that the sun's power begins its decline until Jul. Thus, Midsummer was the festival of power and activity. It was not without its dark side as well. Midsummer was recognized as the longest day of the year; thus, the year began to age after this time and the days grow progressively shorter. The god Baldur is said to have been sacrificed at this time, but is reborn at Jul; the hero Sigurd was also said to have been slain by treachery at Midsummer by his blood-brothers Hagan and Gunthur (Gundahar).


Lithasblot
31 July - 1 August
The harvest festival; giving thanks to Urda (Ertha) for her bounty. A Blot is an offering to the gods. It can take the form of animal, food, or other goods. In Norse rituals, the people accept and eat the offering. Therefore, a feast is usually associated with a Blot. At this time of year, thanks is given to the earth for the harvest. The abundance is shared and money and food will be given to the poor. Often alms are given to the unfortunate at this time, or loaves in the shape of the fylfot (the Sun-wheel, which fell into regrettable disrepute during the dark times of the second World War when the symbol was perverted as a symbol of chaos and darkeness). Interestingly, Lithasblot 1941 was allegedly the time when the magical lodges of England performed rituals to keep the Nazi forces from invading their country; which may have worked, since Hitler eventually abandoned plans to invade Great Britain. Lithasblot has long been associated with ceremonial magic and magical workings. Ceremonial magic is common at this time.


Harvest End
(Mabon)
22-23 September
Mabon is a minor blot acknowledging the end of the Harvest Season, also associate with vintage and mead-making. Most people held off the full celebration of this holiday, though, until the main festival of Winternights.


Winternights
29 October -
2 November
The beginning of the winter season for the Northern folk. Rememberances of the dead and one's ancestors were made during this feast. Winternights was a ceremony of wild abandon; much like the Carnivale season in the Mediterranean countries, and it marked the end of the summer season of commerce and travel and the beginning of the winter season of hunting. Much divination was done during Winternights to foretell the fates of those entering the coming year. It was said that if one sat on a barrow-mound (grave) all night long on Winternights, one would have full divinatory, shamanic (galdr and seith), and bardic (skaldr) powers . . . that is, if one retained one's sanity! Winternights marked the beginning of the Wild Hunt, which would continue until Walpurgisnacht. This festival corresponds roughly to the Celtic Samhain, and the modern American festival of Halloween, although the darker aspects of the festival are not as pronounced among the Norse people. (The Norse festival of darkness was Walpurgis, a full 6 months away).


Now that one can have somewhat of an understanding of Norse Holidays, it brings up many new questions for me. For example, the Norse celebrated the Sun and Light as a way of survival. The Undead have the night tho, so I wonder of this might somehow get reversed for them or if it would stay the same out of Tradition. I wonder how creative they can be? For example the fertility celebrations. Vampires are not fertile in the normal sense, but I wonder if they stop and consider the fruitions of their hopes , dreams, aspirations and plans? Or even the offspring he has created? Prosperity is another thing. We might count money and I am QUITE certain Eric would too with his love of business. I have to wonder tho if he considers the non material things as wealth? Friends, family he has created, and those he cares for. I have no doubt that Eric would love the celebrations of Thor and all that entailed. I even think that the easy acceptance of magick back in those times perhaps made it easier to accept the things that were to come for Eric and the things of the supernatural that he would see.


Overall I think that Eric has a very rich and wonderful culture to have come from and he gets my full credit for being as adaptive as he has been. Still, I wonder if he ever gets lonely for the celebrations of his past and wishes he had someone to share those experiences with that would understand. Especially since January 30th is the Full Moon and so that is Thurseblot followed almost immediately by Disting on February 2and. The our own TB Anonymous meetings on Wednesday. Sounds like he will have quite the week!


Sources:
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Ourobouros

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:53 am

Ourobouros
Ouroborus- The Snake

As some of you have noted, Eric wears a belt buckle with a double headed snake, so I thought I would bring you some of the mythology around the Ouroborus.

First you have to know what the snake is to many of the ancient cultures and today's cultures. Quickly, many people associate the snake with evil and betrayal and the Devil. In Judeo-Christian and Islamic trads, the snake is the one who tempts the first woman, Eve, to eat of the fruit of Good and Evil, thus sending man into his downward spiral and eventual separation from God.

In the ancient world, however, the snake has the image of renewal, rebirth, and immortality. To many ancient cultures, the snake represented the female goddess, the symbol of mother earth. She is a lunar symbol and associated with reproduction. Many earth goddesses are depicted holding, embracing, even nursing snakes to their breasts.

In the time of the Gnostics, the snake changes gender and become masculine. This is where we get the symbol of the Ouroborus, the snake biting its tail (or other head) forming a circle which is unversally accepted as a symbol of eternity, never ending and never beginning. It is also a symbol of great power and magik and sorcery.

Alchemy is associated with the snake. It symbolizes the cyclical passage of time. It is also thought to be a symbol of the underworld and of the dead. It is also a symbol of healing. Even today, the caduceus, the priaptic wand entwined by twin snakes symbolize the world of medicine.

Among the Norse, the snake is one of the three children of Loki and Angrboda and he sleeps entwined around the roots of the great tree. In Medieval times, the snake was a sexual allegory, suggesting the male sexual organ.

Sources: Dictionary of Symbols- Hans Beiderman, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures- John and Caitlin Matthews, and The Witch Book by Raymond Buckland

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What the Hell

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:55 am

What the Hell
What the Hell: Exploring the world of the dead and the damned

In its most basic understanding, hell is thought of as the place of punishment for evil and the unbelieving and every religion has a form of hell, even if it is merely separation from life. It is where no crime goes unpunished and no one makes it out. And it is ruled by the allegorical opposite of the creator.

In the Judeo/Christian/Islamic tradition, hell begins as a place called Sheol. Sheol was the world of the dead, much like the Greek and Roman Hades. Sheol is a desolate place where the spiritually lost go. It is said to be in the bowels of the earth, the grave, where all are judged for their transgressions. The faithful went to Abraham's bosom, a place not quite heaven, but where the faithful go to rest and await the final Judgment. In Christian thought, when Christ died and lay in the grave for three days, he went first to Sheol, to preach and convert, then brought the redeemed souls to Abraham's bosom to wait for Judgment. Abraham's bosom then becomes purgatory, or to some Christians, "Sleeping in Christ" and this is where the faithful rest until the end of days.

Hades was sort of the same. Hades was the underworld, and was ruled by the god Hades. It was a place of separation for souls who could not go on to Elysium, the Greek and Roman Idyll or Heaven. There are gads of tales about people going to Hades to be rescued by their lovers and the gods because this was a lonely place, a place that was barren, ruled by a heartless god.

Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation. While the notion of Hell is more abstract, they believe that each and every soul is always looking for enlightenment and until they reach enlightenment, they are reborn. The better a person you are, the closer you get to the One, the spirit of all creation, and you can finally join the universe and go to your next incarnation and never return to earth. If you do not search for enlightenment, then you will return over and over again. If you are an evil or thoughtless person with no compassion, you may return to earth as an animal or an insect or even disease and from there you must climb the celestial ladder to try to reach enlightenment and make it possible to transcend your life. This process can be torture thus, you are in a hell of a sorts.

Native Americans believe in a Creator in heaven (and heaven can be a mountain peak or the sky) and they believe that if you live a righteous life in balance, you will go there and be an ancestor and help guard your people. If you are not a good person, you are lost and you will walk on earth and never be a part of the warmth of your people and you will suffer hunger and loneliness (uodi in Cherokee) and then you become dangerous. You become a night walker, a ghost.

The Norse believed in Nifelheim and this is where you went when you betrayed the gods, the people or were cowards in war. It was ruled by Loki, who was the trickster and guarded by the wolf Fenrir. In the Norse end of the world, Nifelheim will be opened up and the gods will go to war with one another and with the damned of Nifelheim and Ragnok, the end of the world will happen

Sources: The Book of Hell by Robert Davis, Traditions of the Buddhists by Suzuki, The Ways of the American Indian by Jean Christian and The Edith Hamilton's Encyclopedia of Greek and Roman Mythology by Edith Hamilton and Norse Ways by Herbert Long

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Sleep and Death are Brothers: The case for the Vampiric Soul

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:56 am

Sleep and Death are Brothers
The Case for the Vampire Soul

Philosophers have been discussing for centuries the correlations between sleep and death. In Greek philosophy, sleep and death are brothers, having the same shared characteristics and providing us with the same experiences save one: earthly sleep is transitory; it relinquishes its hold on us when we wake and death is forever physical sleep, unbreakable except that while the body remains in death sleep, the soul moves on to its next plane of existence.

The seer and mystic Edgar Cayce wrote volumes about the notion of sleep and the soul. He believed that in sleep, the soul leaves the body and has a life all its own, independent from the physical body. We remember this life beyond our consciousness through our dreams. In sleep, our souls are anchored to our bodies by something like an umbilical. Only in final sleep (death) is the cord severed, and our souls truly free. He believed that we all had two selves, the corporeal self and the astral self. It was through his astral self that Cayce went into the future to make his prophecies and find cures for people. He was, in fact called the Sleeping Prophet.

Then Cayce goes on in his discussion: This would explain why the Vampire of legend and lore would possibly be able to exist. He says that when people sleep, their subconscious leaves the physical body and roams around and has a completely independent life from our waking life. We remember bits and pieces of this life through dreams. Our souls are still connected to our bodies during this dream time like an umbilical cord, which keeps body and soul together

Cayce said that the only time the soul is truly free is with death, because that is when the cord is broken and the soul is free from the restraints of the body. Vampires, if they exist, are haunted by their own souls. Their bodies are dead, but their souls are still attached by the umbilical, giving them half the freedom from their humanity, but no spiritual freedom. Perhaps, that is why they do not die properly...that is they still walk but their bodies are dead, their souls do not live in the body and because the body still functions, the soul is tied, perhaps unwillingly to the body, unable to get free. This may explain what makes the Vampire the way they are in legend and lore, the monsters they are Vampires are never truly dead for final earthly sleep, never truly alive for mortal life, and haunted by their soul that may torment them, like Godric, or leave them a little emotionally cold, like Eric and Liam and the Monroe Vampires or sad like Bill or angry like Jessica.

Madam Bladvadsky, the theosophist and mystic, believed in this theory. She wrote that Vampires in lore and legend are the truest form of ghost. They are corporeal and dead but still live among us. Because their bodies are dead, they seek life to fill them up and help them feel alive, so they seek the life’s blood. But this is transitory. Just as mortal hunger for food passes with the eating of a meal to leave us hungry again, so it is for the Vampire. Their feeling of life is temporary with the blood meal. They feel human and they feel rejoined with their souls. But as the meal is absorbed, they lose the feeling of life and must hunt.

This is the conundrum of the Vampire…to be human in appearance but to be essentially non human. Imagine desiring a reunion with their soul but to feel its pull away from its dead earthbound body, unable to truly inhabit it. And to see others as food when they remember, even if it is only through their dreams, the lives they had before. But this leads me to ask, when Vampires go to their daytime rest, do their souls travel and still enjoy another astral life, as they did when their physical bodies were alive?

I turned to my friend Montague Summers. In his book, Vampires and Vampirism, he suggests that even in their daytime sleep, the soul of the Vampire wanders, seeking if not the blood, the vital essence of life, taking the form of animals and even ghosts imitating our own beloved dead and calling their own astral selves into death. This explains the deathbed visions of loved ones coming to fetch the dying or melancholic from life to eternity, he writes, and this would suggest that the Vampire is not simply a Vampire in his physicality, but is a Vampire in his soul as well.

Sources: Edgar Cayce: Prophetic Dreamer and Seer by David Chernow and Life and Death and Afterlife by Madam Bladvadsky and Vampires and Vampirism by Montague Summers.

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The Power of Ritual

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:57 am

The Power of Ritual
The Power of Ritual

Maryann tell Tara that she must never underestimate the power of ritual. But what is a ritual and what does it consist of?

Ritual is anything that you do which is repetitive and has a set sort of boundaries, that are designed to effect some level of change, and leads to an alteration of the body or the soul. For example, how many of you have a morning ritual? Mine is to get up, go to the loo, put on coffee. While the coffee cooks, I wash any dishes from the night before. I usually finish just as the coffee is ready. I sit down, watch the news for an hour or so, sipping my coffee, then check the forum and catch up with whatever may have happened before. The change is that I have my dishes done, catch up on the world events (history is made fresh everyday) and I wake the hell up.

Even as simple a thing as this is a ritual. Disturb this ritual and you feel out of sorts, off-footed, sour or crabby, a feeling like the day is just not going very well. Your intentions to the universe are skewed.

If you are a religious person, you may have daily rituals you do in the form of prayers. If you attend services, your services are set up in a basic, proscribed ritual. Each part of the ritual is designed to provoke responses from both the faithful and their God. For Maryann, that ritual was about creating an offering fit for her god to come and be among her and her minion.

One of the most important parts of ritual is intent: What do you want your ritual to do? What sort of symbols will you need to help you focus on your intent, and what are the signs your ritual has served its purpose? Will you need to repeat your ritual again and how often and how many times?

The number three is fairly familiar in most rituals. This corresponds with the triune nature of many gods and goddesses and of course the Holy Trinity of Christian religion. Seven is another number which seems to be attractive for ritual. Seven corresponds with the days of the week, with alchemical work, and with other forms of mysticism.

Clothing, colors, candles, scents, food and drink, water and oil make their appearance in many rituals. At all comes together to deliver a message, a desire, and if successfully rendered, the gods are appeased and your prayers are answered.

Sources: Creating Ritual by Amber K and Ritual Life by Deborah Linn

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Irish Olgham Alphabet

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:58 am

Monday, January 4, 2010
Irish Olgham Alphabet--By Burke
To segue from the Nordic rune post, here is the Olgham alphabet which was usually carved in stones or on wooden planks and later on stone bowls used by Druids to grind powders where they would carve the name of the God or Goddess they wished to invoke for protection or blessing, etc.... and then later Olgham can be found written on manuscript in a Romanized (horizontal) fashion. Regardless of what some sources may say, there are no Celtic runes like in the Nordic realm.... One of the Tuatha De Danaan (who we'll learn about collectively in the next installment), Ogma, was credited with this creation of Ogham calligraphy. Ogma was the most handsome of the Children of the Light, bearing long, curly hair in which the rays of the sun shone. He was known as grian-aineacg, or "Of the Sunny Countenance" and he had the gift of poetry and languages and was quite the smooth-talker.

The words and sentences were strung together along a line, and the line can be found running either horizontally or vertically. When found running vertically, the text should be read from bottom to top and left to right. When found running horizontally, the text is read from left to right. The feathers >- and -< were used to denote the beginning and ending of a sentence. Here is the Olgham alphabet in its Romanized (horizontal) form:


The letters were named after sacred trees, here's a guide:

Letter - Pronunciation - Tree - Alternate Names
(First Aicme)
B - Beath (BETH) - Birch - Beth, bedw (Welsh)
L - Luis (LWEESH) - Rowan - Learn, caorthann (Welsh)
F - Fearn (FAIR-n) - Alder - Fern, gwernen (Welsh)
S - Sail (SHAiLuh) - Willow - Suil, helygen (Welsh)
N - Nion (NEE-uhn) - Ash - Nuin, onnen (Welsh)

(Second Aicme)
H - hUath (OO-ah) - Hawthorne - Uath, draenen (Welsh)
D - Dair (DOO-r) - Oak - Duir, derwen/dâr (Welsh)
T - Tinne (CHIN-yuh) - Holly - Teine, derwen (Welsh)
C - Coll (CULL) - Hazel - Call, collen (Welsh)
Q - Quert (KWAIRT) - Apple - Cert, collen (Welsh)

(Third Aicme)
M - Muin (MUHN) - vine - afal (Welsh)
G - Gort (GORT) - Ivy - Gart, gwinwydden (Welsh)
nG - nGéatal (NYEH-dl) - Reed (broom) - nGeadal, eiddew (Welsh)
Z (st) - Straif (STRAHF) - Blackthorn - Straiff, eithen (Welsh)
R - Ruis (RWEESH) - Elder - draenen (Welsh)

(Fourth Aicme)
A - Ailm (AHL-m) - Silver Fir - Falm, ddu (Welsh)
O - Onn - (UHN) - Furze or Gorse - Oir, ysgawen (Welsh)
U - Úr (OO-r) - Heather - Ura, ùr ffynidwydden (Welsh)
E - Eadha (EH-yah) - Poplar - Eadad, eithen (Welsh)
I - Iodhadh (EE-yoh) - Yew - Idad, Idho

(Added/Fifth Aicme)
ea - Éabhadh (EHV-uh) - (No Tree Assoc) - Ébad
oi - Ór - (No Tree Assoc) - Oir
ui - Uilleann - (No Tree Assoc) - Uilen
ia - Ifín - (No Tree Assoc) - Iphín
ae - Eamhancholl - (No Tree Assoc) - Emancholl, Phagos





Sources:
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Celtic Myths and Legends by: Peter Berresford Ellis
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The Celtic Gods and Godesses

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 1:59 am

The Celtic Gods and Goddesses by Burke
Celtic Mythology
The Celtic Gods and Goddesses - Part I - The Beginning

With all things, we should start in the beginning. To cover the Celtic pantheon, we should first know what countries and regions make up the Celtic lands. The Celtic "nations" include Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales. (1) Just as Christianity has a monotheistic Supreme being, God; the Celtic pantheon has polytheistic origins, Danu and Bile. Because the Celtic mythology covers so many regions/nations/cultures, I'll try to give the alternate names or deity-equivalents when I know them.

As Celtic legend holds it, during the primordial times Earth was an arid desert covered in clouds of gases spawning from angry, bubbling volcanoes and was (in general) an inhabitable place with dark, reddened skies. There came into that desolation a trickle of water from the heavens. First, by a few drops, then another... until finally a torrent rushed the earth, quenching the dry ground and cooling the volcanoes. These divine waters turned the volcanoes to granite mountains and life sprang forth over the Earth and the skies turned blue. From the water-darkened soil, there grew a great tree, tall and strong. Danu, the Divine Waters, nourished and cherished the sacred oak, Bile.

Resulting from the meeting of Danu and Bile, two acorns dropped from the boughs of the Sacred Oak. The first Acorn was male and became The Dagda, "The Good God." and the second being female, became Brigantu, "The Exalted One". (2) We'll discuss these at a later date. Now let's finish up with Danu and Bile

Danu:

Matriarch of the Tuatha Dé Danann (meaning: Children of the Goddess Danu), The Mother of the Children of Light, The Mother of the Gods, The Earth Mother. Goddess of rivers, wells, prosperity, plenty, magic and wisdom. (3)

Etymology: "Fluvial Waters" (of or relating to Rivers), The European river Danube is named for the celtic word 'Danu' as are all other major rivers emptying into the Black Sea, such as the Don, Donets, Dnieper and Dniestr. (4)

Alternate Names/Equivalents: Anu (alternate name), Dôn (Welsh equivalent)

Bile:

The God of light and healing.

Etymology : "Bel", an alternate name for Bile, means "shining one". Or directly translated from Irish Gaelic, the name Bile means "sacred tree". Bel's festival is Beltane, one of two main Celtic fire festivals. Beltane celebrates the return of life and fertility to the world -- marking the beginning of Summer and the growing season. (5)

Alternate Names/Equivalents: Bel (alternate name), Belenus (Gaulish), Beli (Welsh)


Sources:
(1) Llewellyn's 2009 Magical Almanac
(2) Celtic Myths and Legends by: Peter Berresford Ellis
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(4) wikipedia
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Celtic Gods and Goddesses Part Two

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 2:02 am

Celtic Gods and Goddesses Part Two by Burke
Celtic Mythology
The Celtic Gods and Goddesses - Part II - The Beginning

In the last installment, I told you how the primordial Earth was a dark, smog-covered desert that was transformed into a beautiful landscape by the 'Mother Goddess', Danu. We learned that this newly-created life on Earth also brought forth "The Sacred Tree", Bel. We also learned that the conjugation of Bel and Danu produced two acorns, one male and one female. The female acorn became Brigantu, or Brigid - "The Exalted One". The male acorn became The Dagda, "The Good God". Imagine their marvel upon seeing one another and at the tasks before them, for theirs were to bring order to Primordial Earth and to populate it with the Children of Danu, who are known as the Tuatha De Danaan.

Of course their first order of business was to name this vast river which had created them and so they named it after the Mother Goddess, calling it Danuvius, which is known today as the Danube. There upon the banks of the Danube, The Dagda and Brigantu settled and formed four great cites where they would raise their children, The Children of Light - which we'll learn more about next time. These four great, bright cities were called Falias, Gorias, Finias, and Murias which originally held the "Four Treasures of Ireland".

The Dagda and Brigantu were born of gods so they were gods themselves, ergo, their children were also gods. Naturally, The Dagda became known as "The Father of the Gods" and even "Allfather", but because of this moniker, he is oft-mistaken or ill-represented as both the son and the father of Danu. I like to think of the Dagda as a Triple God of F's. What's that you say? He liked Fighting, Feeding, and Fu.... well, you'll figure it out. The Dagda did have some pretty nifty tools he drug around with him, not the least of which was his mighty penis which was reputed to have dragged the ground. Penis aside, he had other useful tools to promise the success of Earth's new population such as the "Cauldron of Plenty" known as Undry, which never emptied although he could feed entire nations from its contents. The Dagda was known as the Good God because he protected the crops. One of the items that helped with this task was his magical living-oak harp, Uaithne, which could cause the seasons to change order. This harp also played three types of music: the music of Sorrow, Joy, and Dreaming. One of the last items that The Dagda literally drug around with him was a great eight-pronged war club which was fastened to a wheel and dragged behind him. This was, of course, no ordinary war club, for it's said that it took the strength of eight men to heft its weight and that one end of the club would kill the living while the other end could revive the dead. Wherever The Dagda went, his mighty, wheeled club would leave a scar in the Earth as deep as a territorial boundary and became known as "The Track of Dagda's Club". He was also reputed to have fruit trees which always bore fruit as well as owning two pigs, of which one was always growing and the other always roasting. The Dagda was often portrayed in a crude or humorous light, wearing a cape that barely covered his shoulders, a tunic that scarcely covered his rear, all the while dragging his mighty penis and war club along the ground where ever he went. Now this may be hard to imagine, but Dagda is known for his love of food and women, both of which threatened to get him in trouble at every turn. Despite his love for the more "earthy" pleasures in life and despite being portrayed frequently as a fat, lecherous S.O.B., The Dagda was a fierce warrior: feared, strong and mighty.

Brigantu, or Brigid, is also said to be Dagda's daughter, even though we know her to be the second acorn created to populate the Earth with the Tuatha De Danaan. Accuracy of parentage notwithstanding, The Dagda was said to be above her in the ranks of the Celtic pantheon, so - father or not - he out ranked her. Brigid was known for her love and pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. She took every opportunity to learn from Danu at the water's edge and from the 'Sacred Oak', Bel, and she taught her children that true wisdom was to be found at the water's edge. Those who learned as Brigid did, at the banks of the Danube, also paid their respects to Bel, the sacred oak. Since they were not allowed to speak the holy name of Bel directly, they instead called the oak 'draoi'. The intellects who studied with Brigid and obtained such knowledge were said to possess oak (dru) knowledge (uid) and so were called Druids. Brigid, we know, was known as 'The Exalted One', but she was also known as a Celtic Triple Goddess: a mother of healing, craftsmanship (blacksmithing), and poetry. Some folklore says that Brigid was one of triplets, also named Brigid and Brigid which is another hearkening to her Triple-Goddess nature. As the "exalted" portion of her name implies, she's often associated with things of high-dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, and upland areas, in addition to items of psychological high-dimension such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, eloquence, and intelligence. Brigid's festival in Gaelic culture is called Imbolc which is closely associated to, if not a pre-cursor of, the North American Groundhog Day. It's most commonly celebrated on February 2nd where the old tradition would have watchers waiting for the emergence of a snake or badger from its den to predict an early spring or a longer winter. Brigid, whose element is fire, is closely associated with flames so fire is an important ingredient in this festival of the hearth and home meant to celebrate the lengthening of the days and the early signs of spring. Now Brigid also has some things associated with her, although none so phallic as The Dagda: she was said to have made a whistle with which you could travel by or call to another in the dark of night. She was also said to have owned two royal oxen named Fea and Men for whom the plain of Feimhean was named as well as Torc Triath, the king of the boars. Upon the death of one of her sons, Brigid was also reputed to have done the first "keening*" ever heard upon the shores of Ireland.

Before we finish this installment, let us revisit the four great cities that were created for the Tuatha De Danaan upon the shores of the mighty Danube. As the Children of Danu increased their knowledge, each of the four cities prospered and carried the Four Treasures of Ireland. In Falias, they held a sacred stone called the Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny which would cry out with joy when a righteous ruler set foot on it, in addition to being able to rejuvenate the king and ensure him a long reign. Lia Fáil also came to mean 'Stone of Ireland' which still stands to this day on the Hill of Tara in County Meath in Ireland. In Gorias, they had a mighty sword called Fragarach or the "Answerer" or the "Retaliator". This sword once belonged to Lugh Lamhfada (by far my favorite Celtic god) and was said to reveal the truth when held at any man's neck as they could not lie under its munitions. It was also said to give the one who wields it command over the wind and that it could cut through any shield or wall. In Finias, they had a magic spear called "The Red Javelin" which, once cast, would find any enemy, regardless of where he hid. Finally, in Murias, they held Undry, "The Cauldron of Plenty" which we learned The Dagda could feed masses until they were full and still never emptying.


*Keening: "Keen" as a noun or verb comes from the Irish term "caoineadh" (to cry) and references to it from the seventh, eighth and twelfth centuries are extensive. Written sources that refer to the practice in Ireland reappear from the sixteenth century on. It should be noted however that the principle of improvised vocal lament is in no way reserved to Ireland (the term keen is also used with reference to Scottish tradition) and that laments are documented from various cultures around the world.

The Irish tradition of keening over the body at the burial is distinct from the wake - the practice of watching over the corpse - which took place the night before the burial. The "keen" itself is thought to have been constituted of stock poetic elements (the listing of the genealogy of the deceased, praise for the deceased, emphasis on the woeful condition of those left behind etc.) set to vocal lament. While generally carried out by one or several women, a chorus may have been intoned by all present. Physical movements involving rocking, kneeling or clapping accompanied the keening woman ("bean caoinadh") who was often paid for her services.

After consistent opposition from the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland (Synods opposed the practice in 1631, 1748 and 1800) that went so far as to recommend excommunication for offenders, the practice became extinct; the Church's position is however unlikely to have been the sole cause. Although some recordings have been made and the practice has been documented up to recent times, it is generally considered to be extinct.* (wikipedia)


Sources:
Celtic Myths and Legends by: Peter Berresford Ellis
Wikipedia
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A Complete Guide to Faeries & Magical Beings by: Cassandra Eason

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 9th 2010, 2:03 am

A good beginning

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Bite Me by Sweet and Wild of TBC

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 12:59 am

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Bite Me By Sweet and Wild of TBC
Bite Me. No, Really…

It is the middle of the night. There is a dark figure standing at your window. Upon further investigation you find that it is a European looking man/woman with pale skin, piercing eyes, and overall very attractive. The most striking feature? A pair of razor sharp fangs. With a toothy smile they ask to come in. How willing would you be to oblige? Years ago I would say that most people would be to terrified to breathe let alone give a response. With the recent vampire craze, however, I would not be surprised to find most people all too willing to let the creature of the night into their home. In recent years vampires have become a huge pop culture phenomenon. I never remember walking into a regular bookstore and finding an entire section of vampire novels. From the Anne Rice classics to the new age of vampire novels, there is something for everyone to bite into. The craze has not just been in literature either; HBO’s True Blood is their most successful show since The Sopranos. Along with HBO, the CW has just premiered The Vampire Diaries. From television to the big screen vampires seem to be taking over. Even in music there has been a huge rise in songs about the undead. Who knew Sting and Neil Young sang about vampires? So, why this obsession? Why is something that we always seem to fear all of the sudden something we find attractive and desirable?

The appearance of the vampire has changed dramatically over the years. Long gone are the days where a vampire appears with long fingernails, pointed ears, snow-white skin, and hideous looking fangs, like 1929’s Nosferatu (Downey). The idea of a more attractive vampire villain hit the screen in Todd Browning’s Dracula when Bela Lugosi portrayed a very suave, charming, attractive Dracula. Throughout the twentieth century the vampire seems to have become even more attractive. Anne Rice’s character Lestat made women swoon, only to become more popular when Tom Cruise portrayed him in the film version of Interview with the Vampire. The recent round of vampires in pop culture seems to be more like Romeo than vicious creatures of the night.

So why has society become obsessed with vampires? When did the idea of a vampire go from something we all feared to something that we are craving more than ever? Vampires often represent a great power. Vampires have the ability to dominate society without actually being a part of it. We as a society are enthralled with the idea of power. Everyday people strive for power; from trying to make their way up in the business world, to the simplest of things like passing cars on the freeway. Theses all give someone a sense of power, no matter the scale. So is it the intense power they seem to have that draws us in? Because vampires seem to have the highest of power among a society in which they do not belong.

Vampires and sexuality are often one in the same. It is believed that the idea of a vampire is simply a metaphor of sexuality. Is it that the bloodlust is simply lust? Along with the intense sexuality, it is the danger. Vampires are dangerous, especially in their sexuality (“Our Fascination…”). On some level we must be intrigued by the dangerous sexuality. People are obviously excited by danger; it is a huge adrenaline rush, mix that with the excitement of sex and of course people are going to be interested. Society, especially women seem to be smitten with the idea of being bitten by one said hunky vampire. Which sparks the question, do we all secretly have a sadomasochist side to us? On some level it makes sense. Think of all the things that people do that causes pain but also some kind of satisfaction. If people did not enjoy the pain of tattooing, why would they keep going back for more? Take exercising, most people exercise to the point of pain but at the same time it makes them feel good. The pain/pleasure complex has always been a part of society, whether they want to admit it or not. When it comes to vampires it is all about sex and violence, and for some reason that seems to have captured society.

Vampires are immortal, until they meet their final death by means of many folklore ends. The idea of immortality is obviously attractive. Most people would relish in the idea of being able to walk through the centuries and see the way the world changes. Along with the immortality come super strength, speed, enhanced senses, and other types of supernatural powers like flying and mind-reading. Are we so attracted to the idea of vampires because it’s something we can’t have, something we’ll never be able to come in contact with? Do we love them because we know they don’t actually exist?

That being said, what if vampires did exist? How would the public’s fascination with these mythical creatures changed if they actually walked among us? HBO’s True Blood explores exactly that. The vampires have “come out of the coffin” with the Japanese’s development of synthetic blood and now live among society. In our world would vampires be accepted if they were to reveal themselves? One can almost be positive that there would be some kind of religious backlash. Would churches protest their existence like on True Blood, with billboards and church marquees that say things like “God Hates Fangs!”? It is doubtful that if it was found that vampires were actually walking among us, that we would all be so gun-ho to get bitten. The idea of a vampire is a romantic notion but when the idea becomes a reality, vampires go back to something that we fear, rather than embrace.

Who knows why society had become infatuated with the undead. Perhaps it is a deep dark part of all of us that seek for something dangerous, something forbidden, something that’s everything you ever wanted and everything you ever feared all rolled into a charming, brooding, vampire. Most likely, people have their own ideas of why they have jumped on the vampire band-wagon but I am sure they all share the same rooted ideas. This craze could just be a simple fad but I think it is going to be more long-term. In the meantime, keep some garlic handy, and perhaps a wooden stake or two.

Works Cited
Downey, Michael. "Revamping the Vampire Myth." The Gazette. 2 Nov. 1999. LexisNexis. Web. 16 Sept. 2009.
"Our Fascination with Vampires." Newscoma. 13 Sept. 2009. Web. 16 Sept. 2009.

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Note on the Runes of America

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:00 am

Note on the Runes of America
Here is an interesting thing to attach to Burke's entry. In the mountains of West Virginia, a rune stone was discovered, at first it was thought to have been a Norse Rune stone, but a linguist and forensic language professor at WV University found that they were indeed Celtic in the Ogram style, reading from top to bottom. The professors believe it to be authentic and suggest the runes were made around the same time the Norse were said to have been here. They postulate that the rune maker was probably a person of the Celtic culture who was traveling with the Norse as a slave or crewman with the Norse explorers. This would work because the Norse and the Celts shared a common relationship.

If all of the Rune stones are authentic, then this would be conclusive proof that the Native Americans contacted Europeans well before Columbus.

A further point, the Louis and Clark expedition came in contact with the Mandan Indians. Clark wrote in his journal that these people spoke of white people who were large, blond or red headed, who worse skins and worshipped a horned god. Clark fully intended to return to the Mandan and record more of their story but by the time they had returned four years later, the entire tribe had been killed by small pox. This entry in Clark's journal is the only record of the story and suggests that it was the first hint there were other settlers of the Americas before Columbus.

Sources: Archeology Department, West Virginia University and Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo

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Norse Runes

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:03 am

The Writing On the Wall
A Little Something about Runes

One of our forum members mentioned something about the fact that Godric, Eric's maker, had some tattoos on his right arm that looked like runes. Well, their eyes are far better than mine, but then again, I don't have great eye sight, I can't even tell the difference in HD and other sorts of imaging.

At any rate, I went on a search through my very eccentric library, the one the Inquisition would burn me at the stake for and found this information concerning runes for you reading pleasure and personal edification.

To define rune, it is simply an alphabet, in the cuniform style, which could be easily made with a small flat head stylus, very much like a tiny screwdriver. Runes and other forms of cuniform writing represent some of the first forms of human literacy and were used by many cultures, including Celts, Norse, Romans, Egyptians, and various peoples and cultures of the Middle East.

Messages and books were pricked into substances such as wax and clay tablets and in stone for their durability and erasablity. However, as people began to make paper and parchment (which was carefully bleached and extremely thinly pounded skins, usually of sheep) the cuniform style of writing began to fall out of favor for more stylized forms of writing done with pen and ink and lead stylus, similar to a pencil.

Runes are still used today in magikal circles and covens as teh vehicles for spells as a ritual alphabet. They are also used on small stones or small pieces of wood for divintory work as each rune has a specific meaning.


Sources: Magikal Alphabets and Symbols by Kyle Johnson, Writing of the Norsemen by Mark Waller and Letters to the Gods: Magikal Alphabets of Antiquity by Sharon Levi

More about the Norse Runes

According to the poetic Eddas, rune means secret or hidden. In German, the word is the root for raunen, to whisper. Carved rune stones dating from the 5th century reflected the world of the Norse Pantheon and Valhalla. Runes marked the death place of prominent Norse Warriors.

As well as sharing an alphabetical value, each Rune symbolized a concept, like the Tarot. To speak the name of a rune or carve it on a weapon like and ax or a sword was believed to call upon the power of the deity or spirit who commanded the rune. Among Neo-Pagans, the months of the Norse year have a rune value as well.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]January/Snow Moon "Is" pronounced eess, this is the rune of ice and refers to the fifth element in the Norse tradition. Ice is a bridge between the two worlds. It helps you face challenges and grow strong. If Eric was born in this month, this would be a good sign to have as a part of your personal talisman. It also seems to foreshadow his future as a creature between the world of the living and the dead. ISA: Ice Progress is temporarily frozen. Take comfort in patience, stillness and caution. The blockage is not inside you but around you. Do not, however, relax your concentration; remain alert enough to detect the early signs of thaw. This is the Rune of WAITING.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]February/ Horn Moon, Ur or Uruz, pronounced err is the rune of primal strength and is connected to the horned beasts and cattle that roamed the plains of Europe. They face and defeat obstacles and overcome hardship. Could be associated with the god Freyr. URUZ: Strength, Endurance. Pressures arise which tear away everything except your essential nature, revealing levels of instinctive strength and self-knowledge untapped in less stressful times. Psychic bedrock is struck; you must respond decisively from your core, or be wounded.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]March/ Mother Moon Beork or Berkana, pronounced bayork, or birch, it is the rune of rebirth, regeneration and creation and new personal discovery. BERKANA: Growth, Goddess. In each person, the adolescent must die to make way for the adult. Drawing this rune indicates that a rite of passage is at hand. Something within you must be sacrificed to allow the birth or creation of the new. Mysteriously, mourning and joy now coincide. This is the Rune of TRANSITION.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]April/Cuckoo Moon- Rad or Raido, pronounced rard, is the rune of change. Efforts are rewarded, this is the time to have a change of direction, to explore all options and take action. Bill was born in April and this rune seems significant to him as he is the man of change in his life...whether for the good or for the bad remains to be seen. RAIDO: Wagon; Journey A Rune of rhythm and order, Raido counsels strategy and persistence. A demanding journey, literal or metaphorical, lies before you. You must proceed step by step, aware that natural laws govern all motion and that no shortcut, however tempting, will do anything but lengthen the journey. This is the Rune of RIGHT ACTION.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]May/Merry Moon- Peorth or Pertho pronounced pay-orth is the rune of personal destiny and is associated with the Norns (the Fates of Norse Mythology) If you are born in this moon, you are brave and unique and admired. PERTHO: Fate, Secrets Although your circumstances may seem random, a group patterning beyond your comprehension is active in your life. You cannot grasp the flow of events because they involve the "Nornir"--the three Fates of past, present, and future--and because other lots than your own are being cast. This is the Rune of the WEB OF FATE.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]June/Sun Moon- Called Sigil or Sowelo, it is pronounced see-gul and represents boundless energy, creativity and thrive on action.SOWILU: Sunlight; Life Force Primal vitality is the issue now. The spark of life within you must be fanned and renewed. What feeds your spirit and your Self? What gives you joy and energy? Turn to those sources now, and restore your elemental enthusiasm for living. This is the Rune of WHOLENESS.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]July/Hay Moon- Daeg or Dagaz pronounced darg is dedicated to the God Daeg, the god of Day. He brings enlightenment, both mentally, spiritually, emotionally and sexually. He casts away gloom and despair. DAGAZ: Daylight, Dawn Night shifts into day; for a moment, opposites are reconciled, the paradox of spirit and flesh transcended. One liminal instant arises in which, if radical faith and intense willpower are fused, a leap can be taken which will forever alter the Pattern of your life. Be alert; recognize this moment, and seize it. This is the Rune of BREAKTHROUGH.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]August/Harvest Moon- Ger or Jera, pronounced Gair, this rune represents reward and how past actions effect present and future outcomes. In other words as you sow, so shall you reap. JERA: Harvest, Reaping You are in a cycle of events whose seasons must all be respected: sowing, cultivation and harvest. Well-planned right action, constancy and patience yield the best results and the most gentle evolution. This is the Rune of FRUITION.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]September/ Wood Moon Feoh or Fehu pronounced fay-och represents wealth and material comfort and to a certain extent, charity.
FEHU:Possessions, Manifestation You are invited to define the meaning of prosperity for yourself. Materially, this is a fortunate rune, if you don't abandon yourself to other people's definitions of success. What resources, inner and outer, do you need in order to thrive in your personal journey? Seize them at all cost, and discard the rest. This is Rune of RIGHT NOURISHMENT.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]October/Hunting Moon, EH or Ehwaz is the rune of the horse, the rune of harmony and balance. EHWAZ: Movement, Partnership As the leaping horseman must trust the mount, you too must now share your fate with some other force or person, leaping together across the abyss in a spirit of trusting self-abandonment. You and another power or entity face a common dilemma, resolvable only through the fusion of your alien natures and skills. This is the Rune of EFFECTIVE COOPERATION.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]November/ Fog Moon, Odal or Othila pronounced owed-al It is the rune of the home, it represents stability, domestic security and strong relationships. OTHALA: Retreat, Roots Charging headlong into impossibility is foolish. Circumstances now arise in which strategic withdrawal and timely assessment of your inner resources are the right actions. Rely now on your "fastnesses:" friends, family, power places, familiar spiritual practice. This is the Rune of REGROUPING.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]December/ Wolf Moon- Haegle or Hagalaz, it is the cosmic egg which is all things coming to fruition and the promise of spring, and new birth and happiness. HAGALAZ: Hail; Disruption Shock, too, is part of the great Pattern. Overwhelming events arise now, around you or within your unconscious, and demand radical responses. You must adjust your plans, perhaps change your course. Be wary of stubbornness; you cannot fight the Divine hand. Return to your spiritual center, let the dust settle, then refocus your will in the light of the new reality. This is the Rune of DISRUPTION.

Source The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland and The Big Book of Magik by Cassandra Easson


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Norse Pantheon

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:04 am

The Norse Pantheon

A Little History:

The Norse culture was strongly a warrior culture. They depended on the numbers and fierceness of all their people to survive the harsh environments and competing clans. They were hunters, agriculturalists and sailors. The Norse colonized territories from Iceland down to Turkey, Greece and Russia and North Africa. They colonized Greenland and set up outposts in Labrador and made contact with Native Americans nearly four hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Their primary adversaries were the Saxons.

Norse Legends and tales and practices are still very present in our world. They contribute to the names of the days, our view of the world in military and warrior traditions, and continue to contribe to many of our seasonal traditions. Much of what we know about eh Norse come to us from the skalds, or bards of the Norse.

The Pantheon-

Odin/Woden- Sometimes thought of as the All Father of Norse mythology, Odin is depicted as a sad and often lonely god. He lives in Glasheim, his golden palace. Some legends say Gladsheim is in Valhalla. Others are think it was an earthly kingdom, now long since ascended to Valhalla. There, he sits on his throne. He has two wolves lying at his feet and two ravens sit on his shoulders, one being Hugin and the other being Munnin (Thought and Memory) who flies over the ends of the earth and brings back news to Odin. Odin’s primary function is to prepare for Ragnarock, the end of the world. Wednesday, or Woden’s day is his day. He sometimes appears in Norse mythology as a bear (Bjorn) and a falcon.

Valkyries- These are the servants of Odin and the goddess Freya. They are literally the seekers of the dead who bring the souls of the Norse brave into Valhalla.

Balder- The most beloved of the gods, his death heralded the end of the Norse world. He is murdered by Loki

Loki- Not a god but a giant who becomes something of a demi-god in Norse Mythology, acts as a Satan figure, described as being covered in hair and having fangs and being a deceiver. Loki turned mistletoe into a spear and put it in the hands of the blind god, Hod, to kill Balder.

Hel- The goddess of the dead, she rules over the Norse land of the dead called Niflhiem, the fog home, where the living cannot penetrate and the dead cannot return. The word Hell comes from the Germanic root word Hel.

Frigga- The wife Odin, she is the goddess of wisdom and magik. She also blesses marriages and women.

Thor- The thunder god and the blacksmith of Valhalla. His name contributes to the name of Thursday. He wields a hammer called Mjolnir which means “the pulverizer”. He is the god of strength and his hammer is used to bless marriages, women who are pregnant, and newly born babies. He rides a chariot that is pulled by goats. His hammer is engraved on amulets to ward off evil. The oak is sacred to Thor.

Freya- The goddess of love and beauty and the leader of the Valkyries. Friday is named for her. She is also looked to in matters of fertility, sensuality and erotic love. She protects women in marriage and childbirth, an expert of magik and a shape shifter. Her go to shift is a falcon. She is also associated with a boar and with the Linden tree. Freya is often depicted as riding a chariot pulled by black cats.

Freyr- The twin borther of Freya and god of fertility, success and hunting and sex, he is the Norse version of the horned god. He is often depicted riding a huge boar with golden bristles.

Tiu/Tyr- The god of courage and war, he is sometimes depicted as a woman. He was known to fight with the hell hound Garm and they kill each other, triggering the end of Ragnarok. He is associated with Tuesday.

Eostre- The goddess of spring and rejuvenation and reproduction. She also figures in Anglo-Saxon mythology.

Vidgar, Bragi, Balder, and Hoder/Hod- Thor’s brothers and the sons of Odin. Vidar was the god of the forests, Bragi was the god of poetry and the skalds, Balder was the god of spring and Hoder/Hod the blind god, was the god of darkness and gloom.

Ran- the Norse sea goddess used a net to capture men who drowned and made them her servants.

The Norns- The Norse Fates. Urd was the spinner, who spins out the cord of a man’s life. Verdandi winds the thread into a skein, and Skuld cuts it.

Sources: Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton, Signs and Symbols by Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey, The Big Book of Magik by Cassandra Easson, Myths and Folklore by Henry I Christ, Dictionary of Symbols: Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them by Hans Beiderman.

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Ravens

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:05 am

Ravens

In the second season, as Maryann is preparing her version of the wicker man, she plucks some feathers off a Raven. Here is a little something about the Raven or sometimes known as the Crow (they are two distinctive species).

All birds are associated with transition either from life to death or from death to life or anywhere in between. Among the Egyptians, the bird is figured heavily, especially the Ibis, which was a representation of the god Thoth, the god of magik and the falcon, the representative of the godhood in the pharaoh.

But among the birds of legend and lore, the Raven is second only to the Owl in its role in story telling. The Raven is highly intelligent, very adaptable to human life and has a dual relationship in the world of mystery.

In the Norse, the ravens figured as the familiars to Odin (also known as Woden). There were two of them: Huggin, who was "Thought" and Munnin who was "Memory". Because Ravens have dual roles as hunters and carrion eaters, they are featured largely in the war stories of the Norse and became associated with the Valkyries, whose job it was to collect the souls of the brave and bring them into Valhalla.

Among the Irish Celts, the raven is associated with the goddess Morrigan, who is thought of in some Irish legends as the single embodiment of the triune goddess, maiden, mother and crone. Morrigan was a shape shifter and appeared either as a wolf or a raven. She is also associated with the war goddess Bellona, of Scottish Celtic tradition and is depicted as a horse. In both stories, the goddesses had the power to reanimate the dead, to resurrect fallen soldiers and call up armies from the Summerlands. This aspect alone, the act of resurrection or calling forth of the dead associates Maryann with the goddesses, as she is trying to resurrect her lover, Bacchus.

In the Irish books The Books of Lecan, part mythology and beastiary and part recount of the gospels and the lives of the saints, this book talks about the creatures of Ireland and their role in the mythology. I can see this as a handy reference to any traveling Missionary in the Irish countryside. Within, the writer says that all birds are the representative of the messengers between the living world and the Green World or the Summerland, were the Celts went in their after life. There is even a tale that Fionn MacCumhail (Finn McCool) was attacked by ravens when he went to war with Morrigan and when he was dying, Finn tied himself to a large standing stone and two ravens came and flew to him to attack him there. They were said to have eaten his eyes and his spleen. From this, we have the detail that Morrigan was a destroyer and devourer, much like Maryann.

In Ireland, the Raven is also considered a cailleach, or a witch, and feared as such.

In Wales, the Welsh King Bran, whose name means Raven, was said to have been beheaded and his skull is reported to have been buried where the Tower of London now stands. Ravens have for many centuries have made their home on the Tower grounds are are guarded by the royal guard and cared for by the Beef Eaters. It is legend that if something happens to the Ravens, the English empire will fail and so, when the aivan flu epidemic began making its rounds, the ravens were brought inside the Tower and protected, fed and cared for until the fear had passed.

In Edgar Allan Poe's poem, The Raven, Poe casts the raven as a harbinger of doom, sitting on the bust of Pallas which is Pallas Athena, which Maryann is also associated, telling the narrator that his life will soon be over. He mourning over his lost love and he sees the Raven as a messenger to the narrator from death.

Among the Cherokee, the raven is the spirit of love and revenge. The famous Sam Huston was called Kalanu (Raven) by his adopted Cherokee people because he was a great fighter for the Cherokee people and was loved by the Cherokee.

Sources: Signs and Symbols by Mark O'Connell and Raje Airey and Celtic Woman's Spirituality: Accessing the Cauldron of Life by Edain McCoy, The Norton Anthology of American Poetry and Project Gutenberg eBooks and The Element Ecyclopedia of Magical Creatures

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Owls

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:05 am

Owls
When Sam was running away from the maenad, he changed into an owl. There is quite a lot of mythology around the owl, and this is just a taste of the owl mythos.

The owl, characterized by its large eyes, screeching and hooting, revolving head, and nocturnal activities plays a part in its unique place in mythology. The owl is a character of contradiction, in some cultures thought to be the symbol of wisdom and to others, the symbol of idiocy. In others it is a symbol of life and fertility and in others of death and fear.

Most every culture sees the owl as a figure of the occult. It was thought that the owl would endow the seeker with the power of clairvoyance, of reaching alternate realities through astral projection and the messengers of the gods. Among the Celts, the owl is considered among the oldest known animals among Ancient Celts and Norse. They are also associated with witches, healers, shamans and the oracles. The Kiowa believed that shamans turned into owls when they died and protected the people of their community.

The birds are called strega, strix, and estric, all words associated with the word witch and Vampire but also translate literally to owl. They are also symbols of esoteric or hidden knowledge and of sexual matters and reproduction. Legend had it that is you were an unsuccessful lover you must consult the wise old owl who would teach you the ways of love.

In Chinese culture, they are the companions of the god Lei Gong, the god of thunder. Because he is also associated with justice, the owl is symbolic of justice and legal matters and matters of righteous vengeance. Owls also represent the divine Yin: Night, darkness, magik, and lunar or feminine mysteries.

Owls also may be demons. The demon and first Vampire, Lilith, of Hebrew legend and the Karina of Islamic tradition and with the grim reaper, as among the Aztec and the Shasta people.

The Greeks looked upon the owl as the sacred symbol of Wisdom and is the companion of Athena. In Rome, they are the harbingers of death and feared. In the dark ages of Europe, they were associated with witches and thought of as witch’s familiars.

Source: Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews, Signs and Symbols by Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey, The Witch Book by Raymond Buckland, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes.

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Celtic and Norse Art

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:06 am

Celtic and Norse Art

The relationship between the cultures is a simple one. Among the cultures of the world, few influenced each other like the Norse and the Celts. Though thought of as culture primarily of Ireland and Britain, the Celtic culture extended into the European continent and down into Spain and may have even had contact with Moorish influences of Northern Africa. With Greek and Roman injections into the mix with the conquering armies assimilating into the European landscape, we see an artistic form which embraces the best of design elements and ornamentation.

This is a brief look into the two main artistic styles and the cultural influence of the two and how they are subtly used in the artistic expressions in True Blood. This is further notice to the attention to detail the art and costume designers use to bring layered richness into the show.

Celtic art is typically ornamental, in an intaglio of lines, creating interlocking forms in the shape of people (anthropomorphic), animals (zoomorphic), and key and lock patterns (influenced by Greek and Roman art), mythological forms and illuminated scripts.

There are three ages of Celtic art: La Tene (thought to be a mixture of Stone age and early Iron age art), Iron age, and Insular (what we are most familiar with in modern styles of Celtic art).

Of the most famous examples of Celtic art are the Dolmen Stones and Stone Henge. This structural art was believed to have been at one time highly decorated with carved designs. Spirals, depictions of men and beasts and abstract symbols standing for different facets of Celtic life have been found throughout England and Ireland. The designs depicted stories from Druidic spiritual life. The Druids eschewed writing as mental laziness, but considered pictures as mental cues for stories that were a part of their philosophical teachings and the interconnectedness of man and nature.

Animals and plants and people depicted characteristics that were cherished by the Celtic people. For example, Salmon= wisdom, Birds=inspiration/communication, Trees=life/immortality, Spirals= sacredness/contemplation. As Christianity began its northward trek, the Celts repurposed these symbols. Now, the salmon=miracles (the loaves and fishes), birds=The Holy Spirit, trees= sacrifice (the Crucifixion) and spirals= eternal life. Other symbols like the stag= The horned god became Christ, heroes and giants became angels, patriarchs, saints and prophets.

Norse influences included creatures largely unknown to the Irish and the Britians, particularly horses, snakes and reptiles, usually in the form of lizards and dragons. This influenced the late Picts in the control of Roman Britains. One of the most obvious examples of Celto-Nordic art is the tattoo work on the character of Godric. The large lizard/dragon tattoo on his back is highly decorated and highly stylized with obvious Celto-Nordic/ Pictish influence and an oddly complimentary taste of Australian aboriginal art. The chevron patterns are Greco-Roman.

On his arms are bands of Nordic runes. The Norse rune system was not simply a Syllabary , that is a alphabetical drawing of a sound in a language system, rather than a pure alphabet. Each rune symbol did not just symbolize a sound but a facet of life. It works as a divinatory tool and is used in forecasting the future. It was not uncommon for things like prayers, blessings and even the person’s name and tribe to be engraved into the flesh.

As opposed to Celtic art, Norse art was used to embellish ordinary objects, such as ax heads, knife handles, blades, sheaths, jewelry and dishes. There are six styles of Norse art: Oseberg, Borre, Jelling, Mammon, Ringerike, and Urnes.

Oseberg- Typified by the gripping beast motif.
Borre-Mainly anthropomorphic/zoomorphic, featuring pretzel shaped bodies and gripping hands and feet.
Jelling- More symmetrical and features what we think of as “knot” work design.
Ringerike-Naturalistic and more detailed with the central figure pulled into the back ground and heavily worked in detailed design elements.
Urnes- Extremely delicate engravature, with highly stylized, non-realistic compositions.

The last style is the style some have noticed in Eric’s costuming in True Blood. He wears tow different types of belt buckle in his seasons for season one. One is the traditional power symbol in a torque design of a two headed snake. The second is a highly stylized Gaulish/French influenced Celtic knot.

Sources: The History of Art by Martin Andrews, The Art of the Celts by Padraig Colum, The Art of the Norse by Padraig Colum and Eiliesh McMahon, Viking Culture by Howard Holbrook.

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The Origins of Christmas

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:07 am

The Origins of Christmas
The winter solstice is a time of many types of celebration: Hanukah or Chanukah, Yule, Christmas. During this time, the winter is slowly being transformed into spring. The day of the solstice is the shortest day and the longest night. In Charlaine Harris’ world, Sookie explains that Vampires love the winter solstice because the night is longer.

Eric, being a Viking, was never a Christian but he would have been familiar with Yule. And though you may not know it, you are familiar with it too, as many of our Christmas traditions come from the Norse.

The Vikings celebrated Yule or Iule which means “wheel”. The Venerable Bede wrote that the Norse saw time as a turning of the wheel and thought of Yule as the top of the wheel or the beginning of the new year.

For the Norse and the Celts, the mother goddess began her life in the spring as the maiden, cruises through the summer and fall as the mother and ends her cycle as the crone.

With the Winter Solstice, her lover/son is also transforming. Now the Holly King, the son of the goddess goes to battle with the Oak King and “dies”. While he is “dead” to us, the Oak King, also known as the Green Man or the god reigns, awaiting for the new growth of spring. Before he “lies down” the Oak King consummates his relationship with the goddess and the faithful wait to see the regeneration of the earth.

In the Norse Prose Edda, and Ynglinga Saga, there are a great many descriptions of the Yule celebrations. One of the things that were done was the ritual sacrifice of an animal to the god. The animal would then be prepared for the feast. While the food was being prepared, there were many activities to be indulged in.

Wassailing- This is the original drinking game. Led by the chieftain of the village, cups of mead would be hoisted and toasts given. Ladies were praised for their beauty and fertility; men were praised for their courage and prowess in the battle or hunting field. They were also praised for their virility and their ability to provide the villages with strong sons. There were also playful roasts, especially of the chieftain.

Decorating- Decking the halls with evergreens, tinsel and other ornaments were meant to brighten the drab homes during the dark, drab winters. The festive décor also invited the goddess and the god into their home before they unite and go to their rest until spring when they are reborn as the fruitfulness of the earth.
Yule Log- The forerunner of the Christmas tree, plays a dual role. The first is bring enough light into the house to scare off the demi-god of mischief, Loki. Little notes with the hopes, dreams and wishes of the people represented on them were attached to the log to be burnt so their prayers would ascend to heaven to be read by the gods.

Stuffing stockings- This tradition is a part of our modern Santa lore and Pagan tales of Odin.

Caroling- No party is complete without singing and though many of the ancient Yule songs are long gone, we still carry out the tradition with gusto if not talent.

Sources: Holidays Around the World by Stephanie Woll and The Ways of People: Celebrating Around the Globe by Daniel Michaels, Goddess Alive by Elizabeth Dougan and Where There is Magik, the Goddess is Afoot by Starsinger, The Encyclopedia of Mythology by Eric Flaum and Edith Hamilton's Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Why Do We Do That? by Father Simon McNarry,

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Christianizing Yule

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:08 am

Christianizing Yule

Just as Samhain was annexed by Christians and baptized and given a Christian purpose, so was Yule. In the early days of Christianity, the feast of the Nativity was a moveable feast, just as many Hebrew and Jewish feasts were which means the feast moved according to astronomical phenomenon rather than actual calendar dates. (Usually sunrise/sunset during certain lunar phases)

The earliest Christians, those who followed Jesus but were still tied to the Jewish thoughts of Sabbath and ritual celebrated the feast of the Nativity in the spring. This is because in the Biblical description of the birth of Christ, we are told the shepherds were in the hills tending their flocks by night. They would not have been in the frigid mountains of winter tending their flocks in a barren hillside.

So, how did the feast end up being placed at the time of Yule? There may be two factors: simple symmetry. The feast of the Resurrection was in the spring, the feast of the dead was in the fall, there should be something to be celebrated in the winter: The feast of the Nativity would be perfect.

The fixed date was placed on the calendar in 320 AD when Catholic scholars took advantage of the Yule/Saturnalia feasts of the Pagans. In another example of simple replacement, the scholars simply replaced the cast of the god and goddess with Christ and his mother but the common folk retained the some of the features of the old pagan feasts, so much so that in the Puritan times in Britain and in early America, the Christmas celebration was outlawed as a Papist and pagan celebration. It was not until just before the American Revolution that we really see a return of the Christmas celebrations.

One of the features in many Christian homes during the Christmas holidays is the crèche scene. Instituted by St. Francis of Assisi, he asked for a small scene representing the holy family, the shepherds, and the three wise men (though we are told in scripture the three wise men did not appear until several days after the child was born). It was not uncommon for the Church to use art and statuary to teach people, who were mainly illiterate. To examine the art in any Catholic church is to learn the stories of the Bible and the lives of the saints. In Italy, it was not uncommon for early nativity scenes to include the humble saint himself as one of the figures attending the nativity as a nod to the first person to have a crèche scene. In modern times, to try and put Santa Claus in perspective of the season, some people have added a figure of Santa in adoration of the Christ Child as well.

Sources: Holidays Around the World by Stephanie Woll and The Ways of People: Celebrating Around the Globe by Daniel Michaels, Goddess Alive by Elizabeth Dougan and Where There is Magik, the Goddess is Afoot by Starsinger, The Encyclopedia of Mythology by Eric Flaum and Edith Hamilton's Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Why Do We Do That? by Father Simon McNarry

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The Pagan and Mystical Connection of Yule and Christmas

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:09 am

The Pagan and Mystical Connection with Yule and Christmas

There are many legends attached to the Christmas culture of Christians who celebrate the feast. For example, some farm and rural people go out to the barns and paddocks of their farms to hear the animals talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Others believe that the faeries are best seen at Christmas by people of good will and of a child-like disposition. Mischievous faeries can be gotten from the home by leaving the door open a crack on Christmas Eve night. And who can forget that jolly old elf?

Santa Claus is often associated in neo-pagan circles with the legend of Odin, one of the major gods of the Norse people. In the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, each winter, the god Odin goes hunting riding his eight legged horse Sleipnir. Children would set out their boots filled with straw, carrots, grain and sugar for Odin’s horse and in return for their thoughtfulness, Odin fills their boots with candy and small gifts ( this harkens to the practice of stockings hanging on the mantle)

Other legends from the Norse also contribute to the myth of Santa Claus. One is of Krampus, a mischievous spirit who likes to play pranks and frighten children who have been naughty. He is also related to Black Peter, who is associated with Odin as Norwii, a little familiar spirit who helps Odin fill the boots of good children with goodies and the boots of naughty children with switches. In Scandinavian countries, there was Tomte or Nisse, an elf who rewarded good people (adults and children alike).

The giving of gifts in Christian tradition is supposed to mimic the giving of gifts by the three wise men to the Christ child. But as the pagan people were being Christianized, the god Odin was being replaced by a Christian figure: Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, a part of modern day Turkey.

Nicholas was famous for his piety, generosity, and as a miracle worker. He is the patron saint of children. In one account of the saint’s life, he was said to have resurrected three murdered children and sought justice for them by finding their murderers and executing them, bringing their severed heads in a sack before the judge.

Nicholas’ feast day is December 6 and those devoted to the saint’s example give gifts of clothing, food and money in the name of St. Nicholas.

Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Holidays Around the World by Stephanie Woll and The Ways of People: Celebrating Around the Globe by Daniel Michaels, Goddess Alive by Elizabeth Dougan and Where There is Magik, the Goddess is Afoot by Starsinger, The Encyclopedia of Mythology by Eric Flaum and Edith Hamilton's Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Why Do We Do That? by Father Simon McNarry,

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Angels

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 11th 2010, 1:10 am

Angels

You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

In the Arms of an Angel-Sarah McLachlan

Angels and the Fae

Faeries and Angels often find themselves intertwined. This is because there is much mythology surrounding what both creatures are and how they function in and out of our world. Some believe the fae were at one time lesser heavenly beings, others believe, and this is a part of the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire stories, that the fae can eventually ascend back to heaven and become Angels. (This was Claudine's goal) Others believe that Angels are one thing and the fae another.

Angels and their function

To begin, Angels are understood to be the messengers of the gods. They figure in some form (especially in cultures where birds figure heavily in the mythology) They are manifested both spiritually and physically. Angels have always been here. They are not ascended humans who "earn their wings". They are creatures created by the gods to serve them in paradise. They attend to all things required by God and exist somewhere in the cosmic plan between the divine and man kind, serving both of them.

The word Angel comes from the Greek, angelos, which means messenger. This could be a transliteration for the Hebrew word mal'akh, which also means messenger. Nike, the goddess of victory is ofen thought of as the Roman version of an Archangel and is featured in Roman art standing at the shoulder of the gods and goddesses or even in the palms of their hand.

Angels also exist in Sumerian, Egyptian, Mithraism, Zorastrianism and of course in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. Theosophists (those with an all encompassing faith system believing in the truthfulness of all religions and faiths) believe that angels, fae, elementals, ghosts and spirit guides are all one and the same.

This servitude of the Angels to humans is the likely reason for the war in heaven and Lucifer being cast out of heaven onto the earth. Just as God has his Adversary, so too do the angels. Lucifer did not like the idea that the angels not only served God but human beings, as he felt that humans were beneath him (he was a heavenly creature after all) and then to discover that humans were endowed with a soul, he was even further outraged.

John Milton speaks of the fall in his epic poem Paradise Lost. In the opening cantos we see the creation, the glory of heaven and God and we meet Lucifer, the bringer of light. After an argument with God, Lucifer is expelled along with his followers. Milton explains that it takes many years for Lucifer to finally fall to earth and during his trip down, he loses much of his heavenly beauty (explaining his physical transformation from heavenly Angel to hellish demon). He begins to set up his kingdom in the bowels of the earth and declares "Tis greater to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven"

Man meets the angels for the first time in Eden, according to Milton. Various Archangels come and sit with Adam and talk to him about his life on earth in the idyllic Eden and we learn somethings about the angels and their lives. They are apparently as curious about Adam as he is of them and they often compare their lives. Adam even discusses sex with the Angels, speaking in poetic terms about his sexual relationship with Eve. The Angels too have a form of physical love and the visitor explains that is a metaphysical union as well as a physical union. In the book of Genesis, we are told that the Sons of Heaven (interpreted by some as the fae, others as Angels) looked upon the daughters of men and loved them and they gave birth to giants.

Angels in Art

Angels in art are usually depicted as very beautiful, androgynous in appearance with wings and a nimbus or halo, suggesting their heavenly origins. In aboriginal cultures, you are likely to see angels appear as simply large birds like eagles, hawks, condors, and other winged creatures as the messengers of the gods.

The Archangels

There are thought to be four archangels. In the Catholic Edition of the Bible, there is Gabriel (the herald), Michael (the defender), Uriel/Ariel (the healer), and Raphael (the teacher). Each are associated with the four elements: Air: Raphael, Earth: Uriel, Fire: Michael, and Water: Gabriel and with the four corners of the earth. Gabriel: North, Michael:South, Uriel:East and Raphael: West.

Angels and the Occult

In Christian and Pagan magikal circles, the angels/fae are the conduits of all magikal works and can be called upon for any magikal assist. Gabriel sends messages telepathically to God or other people. (St Padre Pio believed that he could communicate with his heavenly assistant. One story is that he needed very much to speak to another priest in the monastery where he lived and he told his angel to communicate with the priest's angel assistant and have him come to him immediately. Very soon the priest appeared before the Saint and told him he had this inexplicable need to see him, as though he was needed.) Uriel, the archangel of healers, is called upon in matters of physical and mental disease and in matters of herbalism. Raphael is the angel to call upon in matters concerning creation and inspiration and study. Michael is of course called upon in matters of protection or courage and strength during war or civil strife.

In the Tarot, and when I speak of Tarot, I refer to the Rider Waite deck (there are many different tarot oracles, including a Vampire oracle), there are five cards depicting Angels.


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XX Judgment
Major Arcana



The card depicts an angel heralding the day of judgment with the dead rising from their graves. The meaning of this card suggest the a conclusion of things at hand. There is a reaching of understanding, a time to turn away from all regrets, a time to avoid self doubt or you will miss new opportunities, a moment of Epiphany.

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X Wheel of Fortune
Major Arcana



Depicts a wheel within a wheel with a sphinx, the oracle of wisdom, and the fox the creature of cunning, surrounded by four angels/cherubim. The card suggests an unexpected turn of events of benefit to the querent. It is a situation is beyond your control but you can see the end by being aware of the pattern's of one's life.

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XIV Temperance
Major Arcana



Depicts an angel pouring liquid from one chalice to another. This card suggests that change is coming but perhaps slower than the querent would like. The divine is at work here...do not be impatient.


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VI The Lovers
Major Arcana



Depicts an angel giving benedictions to two lovers. This card suggests the nature of love and attraction and desire. It can be about a union of notions and ideas as well as people, offering balance and complimentary energies.

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XV The Devil
Major Arcana



Since Lucifer was once a heavenly angel, it is fair to add his card here..

Depicting the devil on a throne with lovers enslaved by chains. The card suggests personal bondage to habits, addictions, personal bigotries and prejudices. Beware of your choices, take steps to free yourself.


Sources: The Tarot by Alan Oken, New Encyclopedia of the Occult by John Micahel Greer, Signs and Symbols by Mark O'Connell and Raje Airey, newadvent.org, wikipedia, feedback.nildram.co .uk/richardelleds, spirithome.com, and Paradise Lost by John Milton and Douay Rheims Catholic Edition of The Bible.


Last edited by Aslinn Dhan on September 23rd 2010, 2:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

Aslinn Dhan
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aolani on February 13th 2010, 12:20 am

Which Witch Is Which?

Just as no single Witch is a stereotype, neither does his or her personal observance of the religion fall into a precise, pre-structured category. Even if one belongs to a Tradition (sometimes referred to as a "Trad") the very nature of the Craft allows much freedom in the celebration of your chosen pantheon of Gods and Goddesses.

"Tradition" means exactly what you think it does; a practice handed down from human to human. In this case, it means a way of celebrating the God and Goddess by the use of semi-structured guidelines passed down through the years, with various modifications to suit the needs of the group along the way.

Listed below are some of the different Traditions and sects Witches use today, along with a brief description of each.

Alexandrian Tradition: Founded in England during the 1960s, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the "King" of his Witches. The rituals are said to be modified Gardenarian.

British Traditional Witch: A mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within the Farrar studies (the famous Witch husband and wife from England.) They too are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.

Celtic Wicca: The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardnerian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.

Caledonii Tradition: Formally known as the Hecatine Tradition, this denomination of the Craft is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festivals of the Scots.

Ceremonial Witchcraft: Followers of this Tradition uses a great deal of ceremonial magick in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Qabalistic magick.

Dianic Tradition: First pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe," this term appears to include a mixture of various traditions. However, their prime focus in recent years is on the Goddess, and has been pegged as the "feminist" movement of the Craft.

Eclectic Witch: Look in any personals column in a Craft-oriented newsletter or journal and you will see this catchall phrase. Basically, it indicates that the individual does not follow any particular Tradition, denomination, sect, or magickal practice. They learn and study from many magickal systems and apply to themselves what appears to work best.

Gardnerian Tradition: Organized by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950s. Just why is this fellow so darned important? Gerald was one of the few people so determined that the Old Religion should not die that he took the risk of publicizing it through the media. Under all the hype, I truly believe he understood that the young needed the Craft as much as the Craft needed a new generation to survive.

Note: Both the Alexandrian and Gardnerian Traditions follow a more structured route in ceremony and practices. Usually, they are not as vocal as other Witches and are careful both in screening and the practice of their Craft. Therefore, if you are ever invited to visit or join either circle, do not expect the High Priest or Priestess to spill his or her guts during your first encounter. They adhere to a fairly foundational set of customs.

Hereditary Witch: One who can trace the Craft through their family tree and who has been taught the Old Religion by a relative who was living at the same time. Channeling doesn't count. How far one has to go back on the family tree to meet the conditions of the first part of this definition is debatable. Family Trades (another name for Hereditary Witches) occasionally adopt individuals into their dynasty. This decision is never a light one, and usually stems from the lack of offspring to carry on the line, or the high regard they hold for the person in question. The ceremony is intricate and important. After all, it is not every day you can pick your relatives! It is much like the marriage of an individual into a family.

Kitchen Witch: You will hear this term every once in a while. Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magick, the earth and the elements. There are some who groan loudly at this type of terminology, viewing it as degrading or simply inappropriate. Just remember that the Old Religion started somewhere, and most likely the kitchen (or cookfire) was the hub of many charms, spells, healings, and celebrations. After all, where does everyone congregate during the holidays? Grandma's kitchen has always produced magickal memories for humanity; visions of Mother making that something special for a sick child still holds true today for many of us.

Pictish Witchcraft: Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary form of the Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion.

Pow-Wow: Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400-year-old Elite German magick. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.

Satanic Witch: One cannot be a satanic Witch because Witches do not believe in satan.

Seax-Wica: Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. Although of Saxon basis, it was authored by Raymond himself without breaking his original Gardnerian oath. Raymond Buckland's contribution to the Craft is a significant one. Not only did he develop a Tradition that is more than acceptable to many individuals; he also has written a large volume of textbooks on different magickal aspects and practices of the Craft, thereby enhancing many lives in a positive direction.

Solitary Witch: One who practices alone, regardless of Tradition, denomination, or sect. Solitaries come in various forms. Some were at one time initiated into a coven and eventually chose to extricate themselves from that environment and continue practicing a particular Tradition or sect by themselves. A solitary can also be an individual who has no desire to practice with or learn from a coven structure, but still may adhere to a specific Tradition or sect through the teachings of another. For example, a member of a Hereditary Family may choose to teach a close friend the art and science of the Craft, but choose not to adopt them as a Family member for any number of reasons. And finally, a solitary Witch can be a person who has decided to tough it out on their own, learning from books, networking, and fellow Witches of different Traditions. These people have the ability to pick themselves up and brush themselves off, and live to try again. More and more individuals are selecting the solitary path rather than that of group interaction. Another name for a solitary Witch is "Natural Witch." You may hear this word from time to time as well.

Strega Witches: Follows a tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in the United States; however, their teachings are beautiful and should not be missed.

Teutonic Witch: From ancient time the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also known as the Nordic Tradition.

The Wiccan Witch: So far in this rundown of Witches you may have noticed that we very rarely use the terminology "Wiccan," and that many of the definitions — other than individuals' names and dates — are derived from our own understanding of each term. We have listened to and read many arguments for and against the use of the words "Wiccan" and "Witchcraft." We will tell you quite honestly that we have used both words when discussing our faith, depending on the recipients of our conversations. There are those that feel the term "Witch" is an egotistical one. Maybe so. Different words mean different things to a variety of people. Each individual must draw their own conclusion as to the terms they use to describe themselves. We like the word "Witch" very much. To us, it means mystery, healing, power, special, different, balance, and history. It means knowledge, secrets, the earth, and a bond with both the male and female sides of ourselves. The word "Wiccan" also gives us those feelings. It also means "front," a way to bring the public into accepting our belief system for what it actually is, not what their preconceived ideas of a word dictates to them. Both words have their strong and weak points. It is simply how you view them that makes the difference. Neither definition is better than the other; you must choose for yourself.

These, by all means, are not all the types of Witches you will meet, but it does give you a general idea of what people like to call themselves.


Mixing Witches

There is one more term we would like you to think about — New Generation of Witches. It does not mean the children of the Craft (although it can in some circles). Generally, it encompasses those individuals who have joined the Craft within the past year or two of their lives. Rather than using the term initiate, which leads one into the realm of covens and groups, New Generation of Witches refers to those individuals who are progressive and learning the field of Witchcraft.

An exciting aspect of the American Craft is its flexibility — as long as you allow it. It is conceivable that one Witch could in fact practice many magickal aspects of the Craft.

You will find Witches who use more than one type of magickal system in any given week! For instance, they may use an Egyptian Hathor's Mirror incantation to turn evil away from themselves one day, use a Havamel rune inscription to bring a friend health or success; and then on the Full Moon follow a specific Tradition ritual (let's say Strega), as well as use that Tradition in all of their holiday celebrations.

You will also find people who double definitions when they describe themselves. I've heard of "Druidic Witches," or statements like, "I'm a solitary Witch who leans heavily on the Dianic Tradition." Keep in mind, however, that because they lean heavily on one Tradition or another does not indicate that they have been initiated by a group into that Tradition.


To operate within any society or belief structure, one must be familiar with its given parameters. The New Generation of Witches should learn the wisdom of “daring to be silent” when a situation dictates. Likewise, they will need to fortitude to “speak up” when the need arises.

**excerpted from the Church of the Sacred Spiral Tradition lessons for Students

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 13th 2010, 11:21 am

Well done Aolani. And to add to that very useful resource, here are some essays that delve a little further into the Craft and Paganism.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
The Witches

Eventually, witches come into view. And Sookie and the rest of us have the witches to thank for the very interesting eight to ten days she spent with a certain tall, blond, Viking, Sheriff Vampire. (And if you don't know who that is, you are on the wrong site. You stumbled on to this one looking for some other vampire site. One where the vampires have glitter on them.)

Charlaine tries her best to explain who and what witches are but she gets a little muddled and it is tough to understand, so let me help enquirer's sort it out. In the easiest of terms: Witchcraft is a practice, that can and is practiced among people of every faith, culture and creed. Wicca is a nature centered religion wherein some members practice witchcraft. There is a popular saying among the Wiccan: "Not all Wiccans are Witches and not all Witches are Wiccans."

Witches, regardless of creed, believe that the earth is full of magik. (The spelling of the word magic in the witchcraft community varies but the different spellings are meant to separate magik, the practice of witchcraft, and magic, the sort of stuff you see on the stage: illusions, escapes, sleight of hand and the like) Since human beings are of the earth, then we are naturally endowed with a connection to the earth and witches can learn to use the energies of the earth to do things like call a storm or stop a storm, heal or curse, divine the future or the past, protect, speak with the dead, call upon other mystical creatures (angels, faeries, animals, deities), influence others, and cause change to people or environment, and travel through space and time.

Witches are loosely categorized as "light" and "dark". Most witches live by a basic creed: "An it Harm None, Do as Thou Will". Harm includes harming one's self.

Within Witchcraft, the creatures of Sookie's narratives, Vampires, Weres, and Faery and everyone in between in are a part of magik. On the show, Amy's assertion that Eddie was not a part of nature is false for her own ends. Witches see these creatures as metaphor, as the facets of people's personality or character. To be Vampire to a witch is simply be one who absorbs people's energies, for good or for evil depending on the Vampire. According to Judika Illes in her book The Complete Book of Witchcraft "The Vampire can leave you tired, drained and despondent, or the Vampire can take in all your fears, doubts, or emotional and spiritual troubles and clear your mind and spirit for any difficult task on hand. It simply depends on the Vampire themself." (536) So, on the show, when Sookie was explaining to Lafayette what it was like to be bitten by Bill, her observation that all the bad things inside herself were flowing out of her and into him was correct, as far as Illes was concerned.

On the other hand, in the book Magikal Defense from the Dark Arts by Paul St. John, he writes: "Vampires are the incarnation of perversity and evil, one who feeds parasitically on the emotions that other people have because they have no emotions of their own to stimulate them." (85) But even Illes has a caveat: "It depends on the nature of the Vampire as to how one reacts to their absorption of energies" (538)

Weres, on the other hand, are revered among the supernaturals. To be a were is to be in contact with our most primitive and innocent form. Even if you are a vicious shapeshifter, you are a part of nature, more in tune with the natural world. Illes writes: "Were-creatures open themselves up to the earth and the divine. As in nature, we may find wild creatures who will approach us and give us no harm, who allow that brief and awsome experience of their closeness. But we may also experience the ferocity of the beast but both are profound moments of our personal experience." (605) Evidently, Miss Illes has never met a hungry grizzly bear or puma.

Sun Bear writes in his book Laughing with the Gods: A study of Shamanism "Changing form from person to animal is a blessing of the Great Spirit. As an animal we are still and can listen to the voice of the Most High whereas man is too busy with other things to hear his voice and know his will." (173)

The Fae, or Faery folk are a part of every myth system in the world. They are very interested in human life, even in the violence and dangers of our world. The idea is not get them to notice us, but how to placate them and sometimes keep them away from our houses. Witchcraft deals quite a bit with how to cultivate useful relationships with the wee folk, how to placate one living in your house, or how to banish a destructive faery. Iron, salt, religious symbols and items are the most powerful tools to use to protect you from or banish a faery from your home.

In the fourth book in the series, where we are introduced to the witches, the witches do many magikal things: Teleportation (Eric being moved from Shreveport to Bon Temps), Spells and Bindings (Hallow and her brother using magik to try to get into Bill's house), Protections and Wards (when the Vampires and Werewolves come together to battle with the witches in Shreveport).

In book five, we see the ectoplasmic recreation, which is a very interesting and creative play of the seance, healing spells, and transfiguration (poor Bob the cat).

I think it will be very interesting to see how Charlaine deals with the notion of magik and the supernatural in her next stories.

Sources:Laughing with the Gods: A study of Shamanism by Sun Bear, Magikal Defense from the Dark Arts by Paul St. John, The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Judika Illes and Faery by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and The Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on February 13th 2010, 11:23 am

What is Vou Dou? What is Hoo Doo? What does Lafayette mean by bad Ju Ju?

To begin, Vou Dou is a magiko-religio system based on various magikal religions of African slaves, influenced by the practices of indigenous American and Caribbean people. It is largely a system of sympathetic magik, where actions done on one thing effects change in the real world.

The word Vou Dou loosely translates into the "good path". The various spellings of the word reflects an evolving understanding of the practice. Voo Doo is an Anglicized version of the word. Vodoun and Vodou are spellings generally more accepted and the spelling Vou Dou is the scholarly approach to the word and for this essay, I will use this spelling.

Vou Dou is a Pagan practice, wherein the practitioners petition the gods to assist them in whatever cause they take on. In the Vou Dou pantheon, there are the gods, led by a high god who is so remote, one cannot contemplate him, similar to the All Father of the Norse. There is also the loa, the demigods, angels and demons who serve the gods. There is no concept of Hell and there is no creed or doctrine. The practice is unique to each individual, creating as personal a relationship as you wish with the gods.

The gods are neither good nor evil, as they have both light or positive attributes or dark or negative attributes. They are both male and female and each hold equal power in the pantheon, though each god controls different facets of human life.

Ceremonies and celebrations include tobacco use, alcohol use and dancing and spirit possession. To be possessed by the gods is to be considered a specially marked person, beloved by the possessing god. Through the possession, they can divine the future, speak to the dead, and grant favors.

The most famous of the Vou Douists is Marie Laveau, the Vou Dou Queen of New Orleans, mentioned in Definitely Dead. She was the first to commercialize the Vou Dou religion and make it accessible to the public. She also expected tribute from other magikal practitioners and enforced her will with her own sort of mafia who strong armed and intimidated those around her. Her shop and attached chapel was a favorite stopping place for gamblers, criminals, prostitutes and soldiers of fortune. She is still petitioned by drug gangs for her special protection.

Hoo Doo, on the other hand, believe in all the gods and none. Like Vou Dou, Hoo Dooists have no special creed and they do not believe in Hell. Hell is on earth, based on whether you are blessed or cursed. Curses are transitory and can be placed or broken by the leave of the person affected.

Hoo Dooists often borrow imagry from all religions to create magikal objects and talismans. Hoo Dooists practice sympathetic magik, herbal magik and alchemy (the use of herbs, metals and chemicals to create potions, cures, wards and talismans). They have no specialized rituals and knowledge is based on the wisdom of the Hoo Dooist. The Hoo Dooist can either be male or female, though more females practice Hoo Doo.

Ju Ju is the energy of magik and can be good or bad. It is the power the Vou Douist or Hoo Dooist calls upon to work their Craft. It is the natural force of the earth and the gods.

Popular Facets of Vou Dou and Hoo Doo

The Vou Dou Doll- The Vou Dou doll is actually a European element. Called a poppet in witchcraft, the doll is filled with herbs, earth, especially from a grave, and tag locks: fingernails and hair from the person the magik is aimed for. A part of sympathetic magik, whatever would happen to the doll, would happen to the person the doll is meant to represent.

Zombi- A zombi is the reanimated corpse of a dead person. A zombi is made to be a slave to the person who pays to have the zombi made. The zombi is usually someone who has done some sort of wrong to another and they must serve this person until the wrong is satisfied. In some traditional stories of the zombi, the person who wants the zombi made must first kill the person who is undergo the ritual.

Wade Davis, in his book The Serpent and the Rainbow, investigated reports of zombification. An ethnobotanist, Davis discovered that a zombi is made with a potion, made primarily of aconite and bufotoxins from the puffer fish and the cane toad. Once the person drinks the potion, they seem to die, having been paralyzed by the potion and when they awake, their brain has been anesthetized to the point where the person is unable to break free of their situation.

Sources: The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis, The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews, The Voo Doo Queen of New Orleans: The True Story of Marie Laveau by Jessica DelaCroix.

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