Monday, November 26, 2012

Carman - The Celtic Witch

 
Cailleach Bheur 
Irish & Scottish for Divine Hag or Creatrix.



Carman (Carmun) was said to be a malevolent warrior-woman, a witch of evil magic, and a goddess in Celtic lore. In Irish mythology she is portrayed as a Greek warrior-woman and sorceress from Athens who tried to invade Ireland in the days of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

This destructive witch traveled with her three evil sons: Dub (“darkness / black”), Dother (“evil / wicked”) and Dain (“violence / fierce”), destroying anything or anyone in their path and ravaging Ireland.

Carman used her magical powers to put a blight on Ireland’s crops and terrorized the Irish until four of the Tuatha De Danann, the “peoples of the goddess Danu,” Crichinbel, Lug, Bé Chuille and Aoi, challenged Carman and her sons and used their superior magic to fight and defeat her.

The sons were forced to leave Ireland and were banished across the sea. Carman was imprisoned. Her story is told in a poem of the Metrical Dindshenchas, which states that she died in 600 BCE. She died of longing and was buried in Wexford among oak trees. Her grave was dug by Bres. The place she was buried was called Carman after her, and the Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have instituted an Óenach, or festival. The Óenach Carman, which was celebrated at the beginning of August during historical times.

Modern legend portrays Carman as a Goddess of black magick, one who can destroy anything by thrice chanting a spell. This is also the way that the Morrigu, particularly Badb, can destroy. However, this is not a manifestation of evil intent, but an end of the world prophecy common to many cultures. It is believed she has roots in the Greek grain Goddess, Demeter.

An Excerpt of Carmun from The Metrical Dindshenchas

Carmun

Hearken, ye Leinstermen of the graves,
O host that rule Raigne of hallowed rights,
till ye get from me, gathered on every hand,
the fair legend of Carmun high in fame!

5] Carmun, gathering place of a hospitable fair,
with level sward for courses: —
the hosts that used to come to its celebration
conquered in its bright races.
A burial-ground of kings is its noble cemetery,

10] even specially dear to hosts of high rank;
under the mounds of assembly are many
of its host of a stock ever-honoured.
To bewail queens and kings,
to lament revenges and ill deeds,

15] there came many a fair host at harvest-time
across the noble lean cheek of ancient Carmun.
Was it men, or a man of mighty prowess,
or woman with passionate emulation,
that won a title of
[...]
without disrepute ,

20] and gave its proper name to noble Carmun?
Not men it was, nor wrathful man,
but one fierce marauding woman —
bright was her precinct and her fame —
from whom Carmun got its name at the first.

25] Carmun, wife of the son of fierce Dibad,
son of right hospitable Doirche of the hosts,
son of Ancgeis rich in substance,
was a leader with experience in many battles.
No supply of gain appeased them

30] in their ardent desire for noble Banba;
because they were distressed perpetually in the East,
the children of the son of Dibad and their mother.
They fared westward for the second time
— Dian and Dub and Dothur, —

35] from the East out of distant Athens,
they and Carmun their mother.
In the borders of the Tuatha De
the folk of a hostile wedlock ravaged
the fruit of every land to the shore:

40] it was a dreadful lawless pillage.
Carmun, by means of every spell of fame,
destroyed all sap of swelling fruit,
after strife waged with all arts unlawful,
and the sons through battle and lawlessness.

45] Then the Tuatha De perceived them;
horror and hideousness betrayed them
for every cruel deed they did,
the Tuatha De inflicted the like number upon them.
Crichinbel — no deception this!

50] and Lug Laebach son of Cacher
Be Chuilli into which I shall go above all battlefields
and Ai son of Ollam,
The stern four, equal-strong,
said to them on overtaking them,

55] "A woman is here to match your mother,
three men to the brothers three;
"Death to you — no choice ye would choose,
no blessing, no lucky wish!
or else leave with good grace a hostage;

60] depart from Erin ye three only!"
Those men departed from us;
stern means were found to expel them;
though it seemed distant to them, they leave here
Carmun — alive in her narrow cell.

65] Every pledge was given that is not transgressed with safety,
the sea with its beasts, heaven, earth with its bright array,
that the strong chiefs should not come southward
so long as the sea should be round Erin.
Carmun, death and yearning carried her off.

70] increase of mourning visited her
she found her fate, as was right,
among the oaks of the strong graves.
Thither came, for the delight of her beauty,
to keen and raise the first wailing over her,

75] the Tuath De over this noble plain eastward:
it was to the first true fair of Carmun.
The grave of Carmun, who digged it?
do ye learn, or do ye know?
according to the judgment of every esteemed elder

80] it was Bres son of Eladu: hearken! ........................

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Puca



The Púca (Irish for goblin).

The origin of the name Púca may come from the Scandinavian word for "nature spirit" — a pook or puke. The nature spirits were considered very capricious spirits and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock.

Alternatively, some authorities suggest that the name comes from the early Irish "poc" meaning either 'a male goat' or a 'blow from a cudgel'.

According to Irish legend, the Púca is a shape shifting trickster, myraid fae capable of assuming a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms. All Púca are tied to a specific type of animal and have aspects of that animal (whiskers, scales, feathers, ears, tails, etc.). They are able to shape change into that animal, if unobserved. A Púca is most often disguised as a sleek, dark horse with yellow or luminescent golden eyes and a long wild mane. However it frequently appears as a horse, rabbit, goat with curling horns, goblin, or dog, however, presumably it may take the form of any animal. No matter what shape the Púca takes, its fur is almost always dark.

Similar to other faery folk and creatures of Celtic myth, the legend of the Púca varies from region to region and the creature is either respected or feared by those who believe in its existence.

For instance in some regions it is said that in its horse form the Púca roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms. The mere sight of it may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk.

Incredibly, others see the Púca as a large rabbit. The Easter Bunny is of non-Christian in origin. The miraculous rabbit who delivers eggs and candy is still a potent symbol in the 21st Century and has his origins in the Celtic fertility spirit known as the Pooka.

Other regional stories tell of a huge, hairy bogeyman that terrifies those abroad at night and an eagle with a massive wingspan that swoops down upon unsuspecting travelers.

In its goat form it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to use its horns to swoop them up on to its back, however, unlike the Kelpie, which will take its riders and dive into the nearest stream or lake to drown and devour them, the Púca will do its rider no real harm. After their wild ride he will throw them or shake them off into brambles, muddy ditches or bog holes.



The Púca has the power of human speech and has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight rides. If that person refuses, the Púca will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.

The only man ever to ride the Púca willingly was Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Using a special bridle containing three hairs from the Púca's tail, Brian managed to control the magic horse and stay on its back until, exhausted, it surrendered to his will. The king extracted two promises from it; firstly, that it would no longer torment Christian people and ruin their property and secondly, that it would never again attack an Irishman (all other nationalities are exempt) except those who are drunk or abroad with an evil intent. The latter it could attack with greater ferocity than before. The Púca agreed to these conditions. However, over the years, it seems to have forgotten its bargain.

On a slightly brighter note, there are others who say that the Púca may be tricksters and compulsive liars, but that their personalities are almost child-like in innocence. Although the Púca is mischievous and enjoys confusing and often terrifying humans, it is benevolent or harmless and may even offer assistance by the way of advice, prophecies, and warnings where appropriate, to those who treat it with respect.

The Púca is a creature of the high mountains and hills, and in those regions there are stories of it appearing on November Day (Púca's Day) where it would behave civilly and provide prophecies and warnings to those who consulted it. People in other regions gathered on certain high places to await the speaking horse on Bilberry Sunday, a mid-summer celebration where people went to the hillsides and peat lands in groups to collect bilberries and sometimes find a spouse.

Certain agricultural traditions surround the Púca. It may transform into a small, deformed goblin, this creature is associated with Samhain, a Goidelic harvest festival. When the last of the crops are harvested, anything remaining in the fields is considered "Púca", or fairy-blasted, and hence inedible. In some locales, reapers leave a small share of the crop, the "Púca's share", to placate the hungry creature.

As disgusting as it may sound, at the beginning of November, the Púca was known—in some locales—to either defecate or to spit on the wild fruits rendering them inedible and unsafe.

Adding to the confusion of this creature's folklore there are other tales of the Púca appearing as a mysterious human-like traveler who often stoped along the side of the country home and talked for an hour or two. A favorite opening line is “You are new here, I think. Many years ago I used to live in this house, …” followed by interesting tales, often of where the family fortune disappeared. It sometimes seems that conspiracy theories started with the Irish Púcas. Fortunes swindled away from families are one of the main topics of the tales told by these visitors. The odd thing about these visits is that the person seems so real, until they go. The Púca does not say “Goodbye", they just disappear, without warning, and with the listener hardly noticing they have gone. And they never leave any sign behind, or do any harm. The fascination of the Púca is that they are encountered by people going about their normal affairs. Such people do not even realize that that anything unusual has taken place until perhaps an hour or so after the Púca has left.

Even the hardest heart can be melted with appropriately applied Púca pressure, a persuasive magic that encourages one to spill their closest-kept secrets to a prying Púca. Although they are also great listeners, they have a problem telling the truth. The truth simply isn't interesting to a Púca, and they feel that they must always improve on it in some way.

There is an old saying about the Púca -

"You can always trust a Púca,

but no one in their right mind would ever believe one."


Other variants on the spelling of Púca are (Irish) pooka, phooka, phouka, phooc, púka (Welsh) pwca, pwwka (Cornish) bucca (Channel Islands) pouque (Guernésiais and Jèrriais) pouquelée, pouquelay (Brittany) poulpiquet, polpegan. Similar terms are (English) puca, pucel, pook or puck (Norse) puki.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Heather Sierra Barnes

There were no updates to the blog on October 30th  or Nov 1st due to my niece Heather Sierra Barnes accident. I'm hoping to feature another Celtic Creature this Thursday Nov 9th. 

During my absence I'd like to share some of the information about the accident with you and I hope that you will consider signing the petition asking Clay County Florida's Department of Transportation to make the roads outside Orange Park High School(OPHS)a School Zone. This designation will lower the speed limits from 45 to 15 MPH when students are present (during drop off and dismissal times)


 
 



If you read or watched any of the reports given by the media you now know that Heather was Jay-walking 8 to 10 feet from the cross walk when she was hit. Through-traffic was stopped as she entered the street. Heather was hit by someone who was using the turn lane and who said he was unable to see her until it was to late. The driver of the car who hit Heather was not cited because Heather was not in a cross walk. Those are the facts that were presented to the family.
Comments were made on those news sites by viewers who stated that Heather is in high school and should have known to use the cross walk. To those people I say, Heather is a freshman at OPHS, she is only 14, and she made a mistake that nearly cost her life and has cost her - god only knows what at this point. So I ask you does it matter now? 

 
The focus of the family is on Heathers recovery and trying to ensure that no other student suffers this kind of an traumatic injury. Clay County Department of Transportation has made the designation of "School Zone" for all other local schools but not at OPHS. The OPHS administration has asked for the designation but Clay County DOT said NO!
 
That's just not acceptable.
 
OPHS isn't asking for anything more then what the DOT has already done for every other local school!

 
 
 
 
 
Wont you sign the petition and force them to take action?
 

 
 
     
     

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Kelpie





Lost little pony standing there
So handsome, black and sleek
But you my dear must beware
His interest your flesh will pique
 
He'll drag you down to waters deep
And then drown you for his dinner
Those left on land will start to weep
When he leaves nothing but your liver
 
                                                ~ Morrigan Aoife  

 

The Kelpie is a shape-shifting supernatural water spirit or Water Horse, from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and streams of Scotland and Ireland. The name Kelpie may have derived from the Scottish Gaelic cailpeach or colpach meaning heifer or colt.

Kelpies are an amphibious species and are connected to bodies of water in a magical way. They have the ability to live underwater and in many legends, they sink under the surface of their own body of water and appear to never resurface.  The Kelpie is also said to warn of impending storms by wailing and howling, which would carry on through the tempest.

Although generally assigned to the faerie realm, Kelpies are solitary creatures, not often seen with other faeries.  Like other creatures of Scottish Folklore the tales of the Kelpie vary by region.  Legends tell of two common forms these shape shifters may possess: A human male and a beautiful majestic horse.  Examples of other not-so-common forms are: a handsome horse with a fish-like tail, a horse with his hooves on backwards, a shaggy man covered in horse hair, a human male with hooves, a human female, often called a Water Wraith.    

Like many Celtic spirits, the Kelpie is a trickster who leads humans astray.  Its most common guise is the form of a young, sleek, handsome horse whose hide is typically black or green as glass with a jet black mane and tail although in some stories it is white or golden yellow. Its skin is said to be like that of a seal, smooth but cold as death when touched.

It appears often as a lost pony (although its mane is constantly dripping water) it uses this form to lure humans, especially children, into the water to drown and eat them. The water horse encourages children and weary travelers to ride on its back which tales say could actually lengthen to make room for as many as 20 children.

Although it may look like a gentle pony once its careless victims fall into its trap, the water horse's skin becomes sticky and the horse will rear and charge head long into the deepest part of the water, dragging the humans stuck to his body on their final ride into water where he would drown and devour them—except the heart or liver. When plunging into the water, a Kelpie slaps his tail hard against the surface, making a tremendous banging sound, and disappears under the water to devour his prey.

Malevolent in nature Kelpies have an insatiable appetite for humans and are widely known for drowning and eating their human victims but other legends tell of Kelpies stealing human girls to take as wives, never to see their families again. Still others say the Kelpie is not always male, but may also take the form of a beautiful human woman. These female Kelpies created illusions to keep themselves hidden, keeping only their eyes above water to scout the surface. In this instance, the female Kelpie is often referred to as a Water Wraith and is most often seen clothed in a green dress, but make no mistake she is just as treacherous as a male Kelpie.
One of the other forms assumed by the Kelpie is that of a hairy humanoid, who would leap out from the riverside vegetation to attack passing travelers. Their grip is said to be like that of a vice, crushing the life out of anybody unfortunate enough to come within the Kelpies clutches.
There is one way in which a Kelpie can be defeated and tamed; the Kelpie's power of shape shifting resides in its bridle, and anybody who could possess such a bridle could force the Kelpie to submit to their will. A Kelpie in subjugation is highly prized; it can be used for hard labor as it has the strength of at least 10 horses and the endurance of many more.  It is tireless, works like a demon, and has such stamina it can carry its rider endlessly.
However, the fairy races are always dangerous captives, especially those as malignant as the Kelpie and unfortunately, at the end of each day the Kelpie must claim one human victim.
There is only one thing that can truly stop a Kelpie. Though they live in moving water, Kelpies cannot be exposed to still water of any kind: puddle water, rain or tap water, or non-fizzy bottled water. Travelers usually pack a small bottle of puddle water as a form of protection.
While in human form Kelpies are said to always be dripping wet or have water reeds or seaweed in their hair. They must always have something that connects them to the water which often gives them away.
 
In the event that a Kelpie mated with a mortal horse, its offspring would have golden wishing hooves. However, when approached by a human the offspring would drown them in the nearest body of water.  Other legends say that it is not the Kelpie itself which lures and kills travelers but that it is the resulting offspring from a Kelpie and a mortal horse breeding, which actually kill people.  
Although not found in the original folktales, some believe Kelpies aid water mills and dispose of trash in the sea. Others believe Kelpies may hate humans for ruining their home.  

Also not part of the original tale is that someone who mentions Christ's name after being trapped will be thrown off the water horse and that a Kelpie can be caught only by trapping it with a bridle that is engraved or adorned with a cross. These new additions are believed to be an attempt by the church to incorporate Celtic lore into religious beliefs to make them more appealing to potential converts.

Other unconfirmed tidbits are that Kelpies tend to come out mostly in November and that they will not come unless summoned, or to eat. It is also mentioned that Kelpies could use their magical powers to cause streams and lochs to flood overwhelming passers-by. Yet another tale said Kelpies have backward hooves and could change form between horse and water.

These foul tempered Fae are rarely seen today, a fact which most would consider a blessing since humans are the favored meal of these cannibalistic faeries.

** There are many mythological creatures similar to the Kelpie, the color of these water horses may differ to those of the Scottish Kelpie and they may only appear during certain times of the day or night.
A list of these Water Horses include:
The Nuggle or Nuggies  from Orkney, and a Shoopiltee, or Njogel, or Tangi from Shetland.
On the Isle of Man, the Kelpie is known as the Cabbyl-Ushtey (Manx Gaelic for "water horse", compare to Irish Capall Uisge) or the Glashtin.
 In Wales, a similar creature is the Ceffyl Dŵr.
In Scandinavian folklore, it is known by the name Bäckahästen, - The Brook Horse.
 In Norway it is called Nøkken, where the horse shape is often used, but is not its true form.
The Cornish call them Shoney which is derived from the Norse name sjofn, meaning a 'Goddess of the Sea'.
 In the Faroe Islands it is called Nykur and in Iceland it is called Nykur, Nickers  or Nennir.
Another similar water horse appearing in the mythology of Scotland and Ireland is the Each Uisge or Fauth," a sea-dwelling creature that often takes the form of a handsome man. Also in Ireland, a faerie known as the Phooka is said to take the shape of a horse and induces children to mount him. He is then said to plunge with them over a precipice killing them.
 In Greek mythology, Poseidon is the god of the oceans and of horses, and took the form of a horse to seduce Demeter.
Sorry about the late night posting my family is in chaos, my niece Heather Barns was hit by a car today as she walked home from school. She is in critical condition. Please consider adding her to your prayers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wulver



 
Evil looking face
Judge him not by looks alone
Kind and gentle heart
 
                                               ~Morrigan Aoife


The Wulver is found in Scottish folklore and is said to inhabit the Shetland Islands located off the Northeast coast of Scotland. Although they are often called werewolves, legends show that they are quite different; unlike a true werewolf the Wulver is not a shape shifter and according to the majority of tales was never a human being.  The Wulver makes his home in a cave dug out of the side of a steep knowe, half-way up a hill. Being solitary creatures the Wulver prefer to keep to themselves and are no threat to humans. This evil-looking but harmless creature is not aggressive if left in peace and will only attack, hurt, or kill humans in self-defense. They are gentle, kind-hearted beings that should be treated with respect and left alone.  The last reported sighting of a Wulver was in the early 20th century.

The Wulver is a creature similar to a human in that they walk upright, however they have a wolf's head and their skinny bodies are covered in short brown hair.  These creatures are built for speed and use it to evade predators such as the Kelpie or aggressive humans. Having no venom glands, the bites of the Wulver will not transform humans into a werewolf. Many accounts tell of Wulvers having intelligence similar to that of humans and it is possible but not confirmed by a large number of reports that they may also be stronger than humans and have a mouth filled with sharp teeth or fangs.

Wulvers are fond of fishing and are sometimes called the Fishing Werewolf. They can create fishing supplies out of resources that surround them, either stealing or making them by hand. They are frequently spotted fishing for their daily meal of Sillaks and Piltaks while perched upon a small rock known as a "Wulver's Stane which is located in a deep water loch. Wulvers are patient creatures and can spend hours upon hours catching fish. Wulvers are also powerful swimmers and use their speed to catch fast moving fish in the rivers and small lochs nearby.

The Scottish Wulver is considered kind hearted and will often beckon to lost travelers and guide them to nearby towns and villages. This peace-loving creature demonstrated a benevolent side as well and was frequently observed leaving a few extra fish on the windowsills or porches of homes of starving families.

Two pronounced superstitions surround the Wulver; the first being that a Wulver may lead a person to treasure buried amongst ancient ruins. Conversely the other relates Wulvers with supernatural canines such as Hell Hounds, Black Dogs and Galley Trots as omens of eminent death.

**  The ancient Celts believed that the Wulver evolved from wolves, and that the Wulver symbolizes the in-between stage of man and wolf.

**  Today some of the more scientific minded humans have tried to explain away the existence of the Wulvers stating that there are conditions such as hypertrichosis also termed "Werewolf Syndrome" (excessive hair growth over the entire body) which could explain the tales of the Wulver.  Another not-so-popular theory is a rare mental disorder called clinical lycanthropy, in which an affected person has a delusional belief that they are transforming into another animal, although not always a wolf.

Centuries ago the Shetland Islands were quite isolated and families carrying these genetic conditions could have married into one another passing the genes on. If there is truth to this belief it may explain the kind heartedness of the Wulver, for they are not werewolves but actually men and woman who were outcasts due to their inherited medical conditions.

* * They're closely related to the dog headed people known as the Cynocephali. Part of this same family also includes a similar un-hostile werewolf, the Faoladh of Ireland.  Tales of the Faoladh spoke of how they protect children and stand guard over wounded men.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ceasg

 

It is all written down in Scottish lore
How she leaves the ocean for the shore
To lure a seaman to his ultimate fate
Or marry him and secure her mate
 
Soon she'll tire of the land-dwelling life
She'll have no desire to be anyone's wife
So she'll slip away back into the ocean  
Never mindful of a mother's devotion
 
But her children grow, as all kids do
Tending to the sea of majestic blue
Males become captains in terrific tales
Their boats infamous beneath their sails
                                                        ~ Morrigan Aoife
 
 
Ceasg

(pronounced kee-ask) * (although some pronounce it cask)

Known in Scottish Gaelic as maighdean na tuinne ("maid of the wave") or maighdean mhara ("maid of the sea").

This mermaid-type creature found in Scottish mythology is described as having the upper torso of a beautiful young woman and the lower portion or tail of a grilse (a salmon).

The Ceasg inhabits the lakes and waterways of the Scottish highlands. Similar to the lore of Mermaids and Sirens, which are found in many other cultures throughout the world, contact with this super natural creature many be perilous. They have been known to seduce sailors and lure them into the sea, presumably drowning them. However if quoted specifically the tales say only that "the sailors never returned home."

The best defense against a Ceasg or mermaid is to simply ignore them and quietly leave the area. However if one should approach, in the very least show them respect. Do not look them in the eye or listen to their song and do not go with them should they ask.

If captured the Ceasg has the ability to grant three wishes in exchange for her release, after which she will disappear.  She can only be overcome by the destruction of her soul, which according to Scottish folklore was kept safely somewhere else in a super-secret place outside of her body, such as in an object or land feature.

Ceasg are curious about humanity. They are known to carry on love affairs with human males and can take human form in order to marry a mortal. Unfortunately the marriage usually does not last. The call of the water is too strong and eventually the Ceasg will return to her watery domain.  The male offspring of a Ceasg and a mortal are believed to grow to be excellent sailors.

** One report said the Ceasg swallows lured sailors whole, however the writer was quick to point out that the thought was utterly ridicules since Ceasg have half-woman and half-grilse attributes meaning that she has a "human-sized" mouth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ghillie Dhu


 
Though Solitary they would like to stay
They may help those who lose their way
But don't misjudge these dark haired fae
Or you'll be the one that they betray!

Hiding their green skin and hazel eyes
Moss and leaves are their disguise
Entering their forest would be unwise
Offend them and get a big surprise!
 
                                                                                             ~ Morrigan Aoife



Ghillie Dhu (Scottish) or Gille Dubh (Irish)

Pronounced (Gill-e Doobh)

In Scottish Gaelic, Ghillie Dhu can be translated as dark haired lad or dark servant.

Found in Scottish folklore this faerie, most often depicted as an elf or sprite, is the guardian spirit of the trees. The Ghillie Dhu is a solitary spirit who tasks himself with protecting the woodlands surrounding his home from destruction preformed by man or nature.

The Ghillie Dhu primarily resides in Ross-shire near Gairloch and Loch a Druing. He is typically found in birch groves, his preferred species of tree. Although he is most active at night, he is not spoken of as being nocturnal. When he does sleep he does so upon the ground in a warm round nest created from plant fiber. His diet consisits of berries and nuts.

Tales of the Ghillie Dhu tell of a small,slight, dark haired Fae with light green skin who cleverly disguises himself in clothes (frequently a coat) covered in foliage. His attire may either be brown or green depending on the season and is reportedly woven from grasses, leaves and moss.

The height of these wee Fae seems to be a matter of debate as some sources indicate that their stature is 7" while others say they can grow as tall as 36" (3 feet).

Additionally one account spoke of this creature as having wild hair black as a moonless night and eyes the deepest brown of a hazel nut. This account also states 'Tis said his skin color changes from green to brown with the seasons.

Stories also conflict in regard to the nature of this Fae. Some claim he is a notoriously shy and harmless sprite who prefers to avoid contact with humans. Although contact is not advised, they are occasionally contacted by lost humans whom they comfort and redirect homeward.

Others stories tell of a darker side, in which the Ghillie Dhu dislike human beings. Stories surrounding these tales warn people traveling in the enchanted woods at night that they must be careful not to be grabbed by the long green arms of the Ghillie Dhu for they will drag the travelers off to fairyland where they will be forever enslaved. The Ghillie Dhu is said to be kind to children however, if offended by an adult human the wee man could decide to reach out his thin, long arms and crush the offender in an angry embrace, leaving the human to rot into earthy compost.

Scottish forests were once heavily populated by the Ghillie Dhu but are now becoming rare. Some have chosen to migrate in search of areas with greater isolation, the ones that remained in Scotland are presumed to have either died out or intermarried with other more domestic varieties of faeries, loosing their Ghillie Dhu attributes after a few generations of offspring.

Interestingly enough, some believe that the Ghillie Dhu that chose a path of human contact have evolved into the most well-known and loved fairies, The Tooth Fairy. Thereby by choosing a role that allowed them to exercise their love and wish to care for human children while still maintaining a shy distance. This variation of Ghillie Dhu live in backyards and parks and only visit the children by night in order to collect their teeth which they use to cast protective magic for the child.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hill Trow Vs The Sea Trow

Contention built,
The battle began.
Fae blood was spilt
And divided the clan.
 
One family stayed
Their cousins withdrew
A steep price was paid
when one became two
 
Into the water
Some of them fled
Better than slaughter
Was what they had said
 
But life wasn't fair
Mutations took place
They grew seaweed-like hair
And sport a monkey's face.
 
                                       ~ Morrigan Aoife

The Trow:

Folklore places these creatures off the coast of Scotland, on or in the waters surrounding the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

There are two distinct types: The Hill Trow and The Sea Trow.

Legend has it that at one time these "cousins"; dwelled together on the islands but a feud broke out between them and the Sea Trows were banished from the land. The reason for the feud has been forgotten over time and like many legends has become lost to it's people.

The Hill Trow -

These land dwelling troll-like fairy creatures are shy and mischievous. They are described as small grotesque creatures with short, squat, round, and misshapen bodies. Nocturnal in nature, they leave their Trowie Knowes (earthen mound dwellings) and prowl around in the night. The Trow enjoys aggravating humans and may enter a household to hide miscellaneous items in odd places or break things while the inhabitants sleep. Folktales tell of their fondness for music and their habit of kidnapping musicians or luring them to their Howes.

Only certain "gifted individuals" have the power to see these Fae. The Trow are invisible to most, however normal mortals can see the Trow if they are touching one of the "gifted".


*Some tales declare that a Trow can pass for an old, wrinkled or deformed human. However they are quick to point out that a Trow is considerably shorter than the average sized man.

Trowie Knowes are earthen mound dwellings locally known as Howes or Knowes. The halls of these Trow dwellings are adorned with decorations of gold, silver, and other precious materials. Deep inside the safety of these magical halls, the Trow satisfy their passion for music and dancing and only the finest food and drink are served at their tables.

The Sea Trow -

These creatures inhabit the waters surrounding the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Folklore depicts the Sea Trow as the ugliest creature imaginable. This Fae is said to have a head that slopes to a sharp angle at the top with matted hair like seaweed that falls around it's monkey-like face. It's skin is shriveled and scaly and it's trunk boasts huge unwieldy limbs with webbed fingers and round flat feet.


The Sea Trow is notoriously stupid and lazy. Rather than catch fish for himself, he prefers to lie on the sea bed and watch the mortal fisherman's lines. When a fish is hooked, the Sea Trow will quickly unhook it and devour it, leaving the fisherman empty-handed. When the fish are not biting the Sea Trow will satisfy his hunger by removing the bait from the fisherman's hook.

Because of the Sea Trows lack of intelligence, this prank, like many of the other tricks they play upon the few humans they encounter is dangerous and often backfires. Sea Trow is sometimes hooked and reeled up to the surface where he either terrifies the fisherman or endures the punishment for his trickery.

The Sea Trow is fond of returning to land. His favorite onshore haunt is the "foreshore", the area of ground between high and low water. Although he may wish to extend his onshore wanderings further inland, his grotesque shape, and clumsy and slow waddling movements make it impossible to do so safely for fear of his deadly enemies, his cousins, the land dwelling Hill Trows.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sorting Out The Various Versions Leanan Sidhe

You may have noticed the blog has undergone a face lift. Now that I am no longer posting the prompts from DWP, it was time to change things up and give the blog some fantasy elements and a bit of Celtic Flavor. 


Today's feature:  A little known Fae with two vast distinctions in lore ..............


From deep within the old stone well,
The Sidhe came to claim a mate.
For her glamour the poor lad fell,
And unknowingly sealed his fate.
 
Now he creates great works of art,
While she insures they never part.
This dark Fae inspires her loved one,
But in the end he'll be undone.
 
                                            ~ Morrigan Aoife





Leanan Sidhe (Lah-nan Shee-uh) Irish / Leannan Sith (Lahn-nan Shee) Scottish Gaelic /  Lhiannan Shee (Lan-awn Shee)

The name comes from the Gaelic words for Sweetheart, Lover, Concubine, Barrow and Fairy-Mound.

Scottish Meaning: Barrow Lover, Spirit Mate, or Fairy Sweetheart.

A woman of the Aos Si who takes a human for a lover. The Leanan Sidhe is most often depicted as a beautiful muse. As long as the Leanan Sidhe is pleased with her mortal mate she offers inspiration to the artist in exchange for their love and complete devotion. This frequently results in madness and premature death for the artist. Therefore, lovers of the Leanan Sidhe are said to live brief, though highly inspired lives. However if the Leanan Sidhe is offended or spurned the fairy could take action with unpleasant results.

* Aos Si (ees shee)  - A supernatural race in Irish (Daoine Sidhe) and Scottish mythology (Daoine Sith), similar to fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in in the fairy mounds, across the western sea, or an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. They are often called the people of the mounds, the people of the barrow, or the fairy folk. The Scottish variation, Daoine Sith, are also often denoted as being the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or gods and goddesses.





Leanhuan Sidhe / Leanhuan Shee

Meaning: Fairy Mistress, Inspiration of Faeries.

The Leanhuan Sidhe is similar to the Leanan Sidhe in that she also seeks the love of mortals. However her lore is considerably more malicious, she is said to be an evil, mysterious and sometimes even blood-sucking Fae.

The Leanhuan Sidhe resides in a natural environment and haunts wells and springs. When the Leanhuan Sidhe finds a potential lover, she appears to him as an irresistible beauty but remains invisible to all others. If the human refuses her, then she must be his slave, however if he consents, then he is hers, and can only escape by finding another to take his place.

The Leanhuan Sidhe survives on the life force of her lover like a vampire, draining him of his vitality and spirit (through sexual acts) and causing him to waste away. However she is a dark and powerful muse who bestows the gift of inspiration upon her lover in return for his sacrifice, giving him the ability to create works of art, music or poetry with a great depth of feeling. The price of her dark gift is the sorrow and heartbreak that is born out of his obsession.

The Leanhuan Sidhe will not allow her lover to remain on earth for long and the artists will most often die at a young age. Although, Death is said to be no escape from her. There are some that believe the Leanhuan Sidhe fears iron, those people also believe that she may be harmed or killed by it.


While a few sources did have some conflicting information about this seldom discussed Fae -for instance one suggests that both variations of this Fae only have red hair - the above description seems to reflect the general consensus on how to distinguish between the two variations of these Gaelic Muses. If you have something that you would like to share regarding the Leanan Sidhe or the Leanhuan Sidhe please do it in the comments box below.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Oh, the many hats I wear.

Like most mothers, on any given day I may wear more hats than Dr. Seuss's famous character Bartholomew Cubbins. 

But being a good Fashionista, I have my wardrobe staples. The hats I wear most often are the strong and dependable parent, the faithful and understanding wife, the creative writer, the compassionate friend and scholarly disability service advocate.

However recently, I was given yet another hat to manage, although it is going to take some getting use to, I now don upon my head the hat of Nonnina (Italian for Little Grandmother).

With this new title and fun-loving hat comes great responsibility. The first of which is to host a baby shower to welcome the families new arrival. 

I've decided on a sea life themed shower because the babies room will be decorated in sea creatures.  It's been difficult to find "under the sea" items but they are out there if you look hard enough and don't fear spending a small fortune.

Although party planning is not my forte, I have spent a multitude of hours searching out ocean themed foods and these are only some of the dishes guests of our modern co-ed shower can expect to be served  on Sunday October 21st.



Baby In A Blanket


Pearly Bites  - Clam Cookies


Beach Ball Fruit Platter


Jello Ocean Fish


The Chip Dip


Rubber Duckie Punch


Star Fish Cookies


Star Fish Peanut Butter Fudge


Cucumber Whale for the Veggie Trays


Crabby Apples


Eel shaped Pizza

Other foods that can't be changed to suit our under sea party,  like meatballs and spaghetti salad, will be served in beach pails with shovels (Similar to below). I think it's going to be really cute.



So if you have been wondering where I am or what I'm doing, This is how I have been spending my time. I'm very excited to begin my hunt for undersea decorations now. My daughter and I tried making anemones using a DIY site but instead of using a clear plastic cup and a candle to make the cute sea creatures below



We made A Kitchen Fire ...... DOH!