King Arthur

King Arthur

England’s Mythology is imbued with the spirit of the legendary ruler “King Arthur” of their country in every aspect of its history. According to legend, Medieval histories, Romances, and the faith of the people, it was King Arthur who led the defense of Britain from the Saxon invasions during the 5th-6th centuries C.E. Some claim it is merely stories, others debate he actually existed. The tales within however are definitely saturated with folklore, literary invention, fantasy, and fables. Numerous documents claim he really did exist such as the Annales Cambriae, Historia Brittonum, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), Y Gododdin, Gildas, and many others.

Most of the tales depict a young boy turned great Warrior who mystically pulls a sword from the stone and is placed on the throne of Britain. Welsh folklore associates him with the Welsh Otherworld Annwn. He defeats the Saxons and establishes the British Empire ruling over England, ireland, Iceland, Norway, and Gaul. Arthur the boy was born at Tintagel, inherits roles from his father Uther Pendragon, guided by the wizard Merlin and becomes king, marries Guinevere and rules with the magical sword Excalibur at his side. He has a final battle with Mordred at Camlann, and is put to rest in Avalon (Glastonbury). The famous stories of Sir Lancelot and the Holy Grail was added into the story line by 12th century French writer Chrétien de Troyes.

The French storytelling takes the focus off of King Arthur and makes more importance of the Knights of the Round Table. The stories empowered the people and thrived as motivation from the Medieval Age onwards. After it died out in popularity it saw a resurgence in the 21st century through Hollywood, books, comics, movies, TV shows, and media.

Legends of King Arthur surround Glastonbury as many believe it to have been Avalon with links suggesting the medieval monks of the Glastonbury Abbey having a connection to Arthur and that the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea during the 1st century. Archaeological evidence suggests the abbey was founded by Britons early 7th century C.E. even though Roman and Saxons had occupied the site through its course in history. Many myths and legends place it as the setting for King Arthur tales and the Holy Grail. Archaeology tells us that Glastonbury fell into the hands of the Saxons during the Battle of Peonnum 658 C.E. as far west as the River Parrett and allowed the British Abbot Bregored to remain in power during the time. Bregored died in 669 C.E. and replaced by Berhthwald, an Anglo-Saxon abbott for several years.

Legend has it that King Arthur’s tomb as well as Queen Guinevere are buried beneath the High Altar. This was recorded in 1191 C.E. by Giraldus Cambrensis in the De Principis instructione where the Abbott henry de Sully discovered a massive hollow oak trunk containing two skeletons 16 feet beneath the altar, above it under the covering stone was a leaden cross with unmisstakenable inscription “Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia” (Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon). Archaeologists and Historians claim it was merely a publicity stunt at the time to raise funds to repair the Abbey from the fire.

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GWYN AP NUDD

GWYN AP NUDD

The ruler of the Welsh Fae or the “Tylwyth Teg” (Fair Folk) is Gwyn ap Nudd. He is also the King of the Dead, a sombre looking male who often is accompanied by an owl. He rules over a Middle Earth kingdom, beneath the Earth that is believed to be entered via the Welsh Lakes or through the Glastonbury Tor where he once ruled.

He left Glastonbury when the Christian missionaries began converting Britain to their way and turning the humans away from the Old God/desses and spirits. Even Saint Collen preached against Gwyn Ap Nudd – decrying that he was not a King of the Faeries nor the King of Annwyn the Underworld. This upset Gwyn who requested the Saint’s presence at Glastonbury Tor. The Saint reluctantly met with him armed carrying holy water. When he arrived upon the hill he discovered troops of minstrels, comely youths and graceful pretty maids with King Gwyn ap Nudd atop his golden throne. Gwyn offered Collen the feast but the Saint refused the Fairy food knowing eating such would trap him in Faerie forever. He then sprung up and doused the King with holy water causing Gwyn to disappear.

The son of Nudd, God of the Dead, Gwyn ap Nudd is one of the many Faerie Kings who serve the Underworld and the Dead. Other God/desses that do this are Barinthus, Arawn, and Finvarra. Sometimes the Land of the Fae is equivalent to the Land of the Dead in Celtic Folklore. These worlds are accessed from caves, wells, under lakes/pools, tors, and fairy mounds. These gates represented the power of the Fae – life and death, all power and fertility. The Dead are celebrated on Samhain, Yule, and Lughnasad when these doors are commonly found open.

Gwyn ap Nudd rules the Cwn Annwn, the red-eared white Faerie Welsh Hounds of the Underworld and Wild Hunt. THey ride out on wild and stormy nights to pursue the souls of the Newly Deceased. From a distance their howls sound like lamentation and get softer spoken the closer they come to their victim.

Bibliography / Recommended Reading:

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The White Spring of Glastonbury

White Spring
~ Wellhouse Lane, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BL, UK +44 7340 288392 * https://www.whitespring.org.uk/ ~

Official Article: http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=4373

While backpacking Europe during the Summer of 2011 this was one of my favorite sacred spaces to visit, even more so than the infamous Chalice Well. The White Spring is a free-to-visit spring welling up in a Victorian pump house that has been converted to a temple and pilgrimage site. It offers calcium-rich spring water to all for free unlike the Chalice Well that charges high admission to enter their sacred garden. It was the concept and dedication to the well that strengthened the birthing of my decision to be a Water Protector and Springs Guardian for the remainder of my life. This space was monumental for this change from a Protector of the Ancestors (Archaeologist) to Water Guardian as my life’s purpose.

Within a few feet from one another, the two Isle of Avalon mysteries wells forth from the Earth bestowing blessings, magic, and healing to its visitors and pilgrims. Each offer different healing properties, the Chalice Well being the Red spring rich with iron, the other white with calcite, both from the magical caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, with rumors of Merlin’s magic. There is actually a third Blue Spring that has since vanished.

A temple has been built here at the White Spring offering the gift of pure water that is cavernous, mysterious, dark, Gothic, and magical as contrary to the Chalice Well in a well lit open-aired garden. The interior has three domed vaults standing at 16 feet height with beautiful bowed floors some say mimic the illusion of a hull of a boat moored at the portal to the Otherworld.

The pools within were designed and constructed based on sacred geometry following the Michael ley line that flows through the space with shrines added honoring ancient energies and the Spirits of Avalon.

A company of volunteers watch over the Spring and temple who designed it, built it, and care for it on a daily basis. The site sees pilgrimages and visitors daily. Group ceremonies and meditations are also conducted daily during opening hours, including celebrations of the turning of the seasons, the full moon, and the new moon. Private ceremonies can be arranged. There is no charge or expectation of donations and all caretakers do not get paid.

The sanctuary is candle-lit and dark, the sound of the water flowing can meditatively be heard and is a guide for ceremony and contemplation. Talking or conversations is strictly discouraged as silence other than the Spring is desired, though songs are welcome and check with the well keeper if wanting to play musical instruments. No Cameras, mobile phones, or electronic equipment is permitted in the sanctuary.

Legend has it that Glastonbury is England’s most sacred site and is where the foundations of the earliest church in Britain was formed and may be the site of the earliest church in the world second to Jerusalem and was dedicated to Mary. (There is no archaeological evidence to support this legend) The Glastonbury Tor or the Holy Hill of Albion is also believed to be England’s most sacred mountain and a place of Ancient Goddess worship. The Tor and its caverns beneath host numerous aquifers and springs that well forth from its base. Many of the springs have dried up except the Red Spring (Chalice Well) and the White Spring. There is evidence of a monastic site at the summit of the Tor and archaeological excavations revealed it is likely that early Celtic Christian hermits once lived on the sacred site of the White Spring. In 1872 a well house was constructed over the spring creating a reservoir that was used by townsfolk who were suffering from cholera and therfore destroyed the beautiful combe that once was there. A historic document by George Wright in 1896 stated ““And what was Glastonbury like then? One thing that clings to me was the beautiful Well House Lane of those days, before it had been spoilt by the erection of the reservoir. There was a small copse of bushes on the right hand running up the hill, and through it could be, not seen, but heard, the rush of running water, which made itself visible as it poured into the lane. But the lane itself was beautiful, for the whole bank was a series of fairy dropping wells – little caverns clothed with moss and vedure, and each small twig and leaf was a medium for the water to flow, drop, drop, drop into a small basin below. This water contained lime, and pieces of wood or leaves subject to this dropping became encrusted with a covering of lime. For a long time I attended those pretty caverns with affectionate care, and Well House Lane was an object of interest to all our visitors”

The reservoir fell into dis-use as the high calciferous waters often blocked the pipes and by the 19th century water was piped into Glastonbury from out of town, the well house falling into dis-use and forgotten. In the 1980’s it was re-opened and reconstructed being used for drinking water for the town. The walls, floors, water pipes, and chemical paint added in the 80’s was removed. The high ceilings, bowed floors, and original stone walls were uncovered unveiling the cathedral-like structure you see today. By 2004 a new owner took over the building and erected the sacred space you can visit now. The temple was consecrated in 2005. In October 2009 various pools were built inside based on sacred geometry. Its design and layout is always changing. The seasonal altar changes at each turn of the wheel. The bower that forms the Brigid shrine is rebuilt with fresh hazel for Imbolc and a February 1st celebration held in conjunction with Chalice Well and Bride’s Mound.

The White Spring is dedicated to the Goddess Brigid – the Celtic Fire Goddess and Guardian of the Sacred Springs within, and a perpetually burning Brigid Flame flickers her magic. A shrine in honor of the Lady of Avalon is within as well as a shrine in honor of the King of the World of Faerie at the portal to the Otherworld. Legend has it that the nun named Brigid who was said to be a child in 525 C.E. filled with the spirit of the Goddess Brigid who was born in Ireland from a Druidic father named Dubtach and a Christian slave mother named Brocessa. She was raised in both traditions and chose to enter a monastery – making her an Abbess as well as a nun. Legend states she lived and learned at the Beckery in Glastonbury before founding her abbey Cill Dara in Kildare Ireland.

The Lady of Avalon is seen at the White Spring as the Lady of ancient feminine primary power as Mother, Earth Mother, Mother of God, and Mother of us all. She is forever conceiving and birthing yet remains unchanged as herself self-fulfilled as the Virgin Mother. She is a dark lady like the earth – dark, womb-like, safe, hidden, mysterious, vast, abstract, and protective. She is also called the Black Madonna.

The King of the Faeries represents nature as wild, beautiful, majestic, diverse, interdependent, and powerful. He represents the Fae, the Otherworld, and is King of the World of Faerie as well as all the nature spirits of this world. He represents the unity of both worlds.

It is said that the White Spring is a portal to the Celtic Otherworld. It is said that Gwyn Ap Nudd was said to ride through here.

More Information: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-white-spring-glastonbury-england

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Jackalope

Jackalope

The American Southwest boasts a cryptid and legendary creature known as the “jackalope” – a jack-rabbit hosting antelope horns. The name is simply the combination of a “Jack Rabbit” and “Antelope” as “jackalope”. Many of the taxidermy fake creations sold in stores around the Southwest are actually Jack Rabbits with deer antlers added to them. While a later invention, the “jackalope” is now a solid part of American western folklore. The creature was invented by Douglas Herrick and his brother who were great hunters who possessed mad taxidermy skills, and they grafted deer antlers onto a jackrabbit carcass selling it to a hotel in Douglas, Wyoming. It was such a hit, they started making and selling them in a retail outlet in South Dakota. Another taxidermist took over their craft selling the stuffed creatures as popular art pieces today. They have been added to photos, postcards, greeeting cards, stuffed animals, and many other gifts if gift shops and became a subject to many stories, poems, shows, movies, video games, and almost made it onto the bills of the Wyoming legislature as the state’s legendary creature.

Historically, folklorists believe that the mythical beast was first discussed in legend as some historical sightings of horned hares were reported, most likely from rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus causing a horn or antler-like tumor to grow in various places on a rabbit’s head and body. The fabled creature dates back to the Colonial period of America.

There have been many stories of horned rabbits throughout the world, not restricted to the American Southwest or West. THere was a 13th century Persian work that depicts a rabbit with a single horn represented like a “unicorn”. The two horned rabit appears in Medieval and Renaissance folklore in Bavaria as the wolpertinger. Joannes Jonstonus’ 17th century natural history text “Historiae Naturalis de Quadrupetibus Libre (The History Book of Natural Quadrangles) illustrated such as Animalia Qvadrvpedia et Reptilia (Terra) with Plate XLVII by Joris Hoefnagel (1522-1600) in the 16th century included the horned hare. They described the hybrids as real creatures but were rejected later by 18th cetury scientists. Richard E. Shope, M.D. referenced horned rabbits afflicted with the Shope papilloma virus in a scientific journal dated to 1933 as “horned” or “warty” rabbits. Legends of them also can be found in Asia and Africa as well as other parts of Europe. The Huichol legends of Central America also has references to horned rabbits as the deer getting horns fro the rabbit as the deer and rabbit were to be paired as day signs in the calendar of the Mesoamerican period of the Aztects – twins, as brothers, even the sun and moon.

The Chamber of Commerce in Douglas Wyoming issues Jackalope Hunting Licenses to tourists, good for the official jackalope season for one day – June 31st from midnight to 2 am. The hunter must have an IQ greater than 50 but not over 72. They have issued thousands of these gag licenses. Douglas also has a 8′ statue of a jackalope and the town hosts the annual Jackalope Days Celebration each June. Jackalopes are seen as dangerous creatures, hunters are advised to wear stovepipes on their legs to prevent being gored to death. They are said to mimic the human voice and are known to mimic the voices of cowboys gathered around campfires at night or singing along with their songs. They are supposedly only able to breed during lightning flashes and their antlers make the act difficult despite the fact that hares are known to be extremely fertile.

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Wandjinas

Wandjini or Wandjina

For the People of the Land Down Under in Kimberley, the Wandjina are their representation of the “Supreme Creator”. They are the symbol to use for “fertility” and “rain”. Images of the Wandjina are painted in rock art throughout Western Kimberley and are not found anywhere else in Australia. The Wandjina’s area is about 200,000 square kilometers of lands, water, sea, and islands in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, dating back at least 60,000 years B.P. or older. The three Wandjina tribal groups are the Worora, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbul people. They are also called “Gwion Gwion” or “Gyorn Gyorn”. They are amongst the most sacred of figures and extremely spiritual images to the Mowanjum peoples who comprise up the three language groups – the Worrorra, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbal. They are sometimes depicted in threes. The Wandjinias have large eyes on a face with no mouth. Legend states they have no mouths because that would make them too powerful. They sometimes are depicted with elaborate headdresses and each of these can symbolize a different kind of storm. Their eyes also represent weather storms. Their elegant elongated bodies featured in the Gyorn Gyorn images represent their long-ago ancestors before the Wandjinas who brought the laws of the land and can date upwards of 20,000 years B.C.E. These images can be found with Wandjinas over-painted on them with other imagery. When this occurs, they are someties called “Bradshaws”.

According to Aboriginal law, only Aboriginal people who went through the law are allowed to use Wandjinas and their representation. Only after years of initiation, ceremonies, and tribal council can an Aboriginal artist win the right to depict Wandjinas in their art. Throughout Australia, modern art depicting the Wandjina can be found that is considered inappropriate art work. It is especially inappropriate for a non-Indigenous person to depict Wandjinas without permission. Doing so is seen as mockery and denigration of the spiritual beliefs of the Worrorra people. Another inappropriate depiction of Wandjina was done in Perth around 2007 varying from stencil-work to spray painting of Wandjina driving a pink car. There were even flickr blogs of people engaged in “Wandjina watching” documenting such graffiti found. The Wandering Wandjina really angered traditional indigenous people and a film called “Who Paintin’ Dis Wandjina” covers the Aboriginal reaction.

They are often seen as cloud and rain spirits as well. They were known to have created the landscape and its inhabitants of the Dreamtime, continually influencing both. When the spirits found the place for their death bed, they painted their images on cave walls and entered a nearby waterhole. These paintings were then to be refreshed by Aborigines as a method to regenerate one’s life force. Those who break the law of the land, could see punishment from the Wandjina in the forms of floods, lightning, and cyclones.

The artistic style of Wandjina rock art appears from 3800-4000 B.C.E. It is said to have occured after a millennium long drought that gave way to a much damper and wet climate demonstrating more frequent monsoons. The depictions are often in black, red, or yellow and usually almost always on a white background. The Wandjina spirits are often depicted either alone or in a group, commonly of three, vertically or horizontally depending on the dimension of the rock being painted on, and sometimes found with figures or objects like yams or Rainbow Serpents. Most of the time it shows large upper bodies and heads showing eyes and noses, without mouths. This is explained that they are so powerful they do not require speech and it they had mouths, the rains would never cease. The heads are often made of lines or blocks of colors with lighting depicted as coming out of transparent helmets. Each year, the paintings are repainted in December or January to insure arrival monsoon rains and some paintings at various sites can be seen as being over 40 layers deep. Newer images appear more stockier and some even are painted with eyelashes.

Some modern theories and mythology claim that the Wandjina were ancient austronauts or aliens from outer space. They believe that extraterrestrial beings visited the Earth tens of thousands of years ago, had contact with the peoples living then, and some even believe they had a direct role in the creation of humans and the Earth. Some of these theories place the Wandjina’s roles in the Dreamtime stories as proof. The artistic depictions of aliens today and the Wandjina certainly have great similarities. The questions of why the Wandjinas were depicted with white skin instead of the Aboriginal black skin, why the eyes were dis-apportioned to the rest of the face with no mouth, and them being “sky beings” was another confusion that led to alien theories. The “sky beings” or “spirits from the clouds” who came down from the Milky Way during Dreamtime and created the Earth and all of its inhabitants is certainly suspicious. The Wandjinas supposedly looked upon the inhabitants of Earth and realized the enormity of the task at hand so had to return home to bring more Wandjinas, with the aid of the Dreamtime snake, they descended and spent their Dreamtime creating, teaching, and being Gods to the Aboriginals whom they created. They then disappeared, descended into the Earth, and have lived at the bottom of the water source associated with each of the paintings producing new “child-seeds” which are regarded as the source of all human life. Some returned to the skies and can be seen at night as lights moving high above the earth.

As a side note/observation, I once had a vision during a ritual of a group of white robed white beings who only had eyes and noses (no mouths) (but they were normal human eyes and noses) who came and spoke to me about things … i could hear them like as if talking face-to-face to another human, but I heard them in my mind as they had no mouths. Curious if this could have been the wandjina?

    References and Bibliography:

  • Ancient Origins n.d. “Mysterious Aboriginal Rock Art Wandjinas – Extraterrestrial or not?” Web site referenced 7/5/18 at https://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins-folklore/mysterious-aboriginal-rock-art-wandjinas-extraterrestrial-or-not-00701
  • Creative Spirits n.d. “What Are Wandjinas”. Web site referenced 7/5/18 at http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/what-are-wandjinas
  • Poleshift n.d. “Wandjina Rock Art in Kimberley Australia”. Web site referenced 7/5/18 at http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blogs/wandjina-rock-art-kimberley-au
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Wandjina”. Web site referenced 7/5/18 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandjina
  • Youtube n.d. “Wandjinas”. Web site referenced 7/5/18 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBUd_WIjN9g

Wandjinas (http://www.technogypsie.com/faerie/?p=2809); International UFO Museum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=4985. Roswell, New Mexico: (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=4997). Walking down memory lane – roadtrip in Eastern New Mexico. Rebirth of the Bard/Ovate: Chronicle 27 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken June 27, 2018. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=39039. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2018. Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. More info about Colorado Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=31051

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The Alien Craze in Roswell

That Crazy Alien City – Roswell
~ Roswell, New Mexico
~

My family moved to Roswell, New Mexico in 1973-1974 from New Rochelle, New York. I began school at El Capitan Elementary School then progressed to Sierra Middle School, and on to Goddard High School before moving off in 1986 to Florida to attend college at Florida State University. That whole period of 1973-1986, there was no hype about the rumored UFO crash, alien autopsies, or space visitors. The city was a progressive agriculture town, with a former military Cold War base and ilos towards exits outside of each direction of the city. It was known as an “All American City”. There were legends and tales about the UFO crash but that was about it. One of my dad’s friends, Mr. Bentley spoke about his abduction and proudly showed scars the aliens left on his stomach. He was a crazed inventor that my dad invested with. As a kid I was obsessed with the belief of Faeries, UFO’s, Ancient Egypt, and magic. I had a blue scrapbook I made of UFO sightings, crashes, and strange phenomena. There was very little in that book about Roswell. “The Incident” wasn’t talked about much. I remember even trying alternative science experiments for the science fair at El Capitan was severely frowned upon. So I moved on and advanced with real science.

It is all based on an event on June 14, 1947 where an un-identified object crash landed outside of Roswell. The rancher who owned the land W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon called it “a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, and rather tough paper, and sticks.” They brought the wreckage into town to the local sheriff George Wilcox. Insiders claimed it was a UFO with alien bodies. This theory was quickly leaked to the Press and published. Others, including the military, later claimed it was a high altitude weather balloon that fell from the sky. Ex-military representatives however cried otherwise, leading to many conspiracy theories. The Sheriff contacted Colonel “Butch” Blanchard, commander of the Roswell Army Airfield’s 509th Composite Group. The Colonel was stymied and contacted his superior General Roger W. Ramey, commander of the 8th Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas. Intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel was sent to investigate and collected all of the wreckage, trying to figure out what the materials were, and Marcel made a public statement claiming that it was a Flying Saucer. The local newspaper sensationalized it letting the public know that “The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into the possession of a Flying Saucer.” It was after-all at the close of World War II and sensationalist about anything was popular news. The U.S. at this time had sent V2 rockets with payloads of corn seeds and fruit flies into outer space, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had the “Doomsday Clock” ticking, and UFO’s were the rage in popular culture.

The military said it was a Mogul Experimental weather balloon that crashed. The 1948 government report “The Roswell Incident” was published and utilized by the Variety reporter Frank Scully who wrote “Behind the Flying Saucers” – a book that detailed alien encounters from the Pacific Northwest, Aztec – Farmington – and Roswell, New Mexico, and how aliens were now said to be landing their air craft in people’s backyards. World enthusiasm about the phenomena was global and widespread. Some claimed the Air Force propagated the lies to distract people from monitoring its nuclear weapons development, while others claimed the government was covering up the fact they had space craft and aliens in their possession.

Project Mogul was a secretive project, out of Washington DC being operated at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico launching high-altitude balloons in the area – these balloons would reach high altitudes and were 657 feet long from tip to tail, 102 feet taller than the Washington Monument and twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty – they would enter the upper jet stream toward Russia with a long tail equipped with different types of sensing and listening devices trailing behind it. This is the government’s explanation of the wreckage.

There was the radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” that shook America. Hollywood produced many movies and television shows taking advantage of the enthusiasm, such as Close Encounters of the Third kind, E.T., and Star Wars. Everyone wanted to “believe” we were not alone. Rumors exploded across the countryside, every U.S. military base that had a cloak of secrecy over it (and even some that didn’t) was suspected of housing crashed space ships and aliens. Enter in “Area 51” – a secret air strip in Nevada that rumors were created stating the aliens recovered in Roswell were kept there with their ship. The U.S. Government didn’t help dismiss the rumors, as they just placed large “No Trespassing” and “Use of Deadly Force Authorized” outside the areas.

By the 1990’s there was a notable industry built up around the belief in aliens, UFO’s, and extra-terrestrial existence. With this came books, movies, films, broadcasts, memorabilia, gadgets, toys, posters, and stuffed alien dolls. It was around this time that the International UFO Museum and Research Center decided to make its home in Roswell. I left in 1986 upon graduation, it was soon after they arrived.

Years later the craze infected the city and the old downtown city theater we used to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show was sold and altered into a UFO museum. It was strange to see such a historical landmark as that theater to disappear into space. Then I hear UFO festivals brought millions in tourism to the town, every other fading downtown store front turned into a UFO and alien gift shop, maze, or themed eatery. The city’s lamp posts were topped with alien heads. Every store eventually had their own alien statue sitting out in front of it or had alien heads somewhere on their signs, glass windows, or billboards. The local McDonalds built their play area to be shaped like a giant spaceship. Even the local Walmart added aliens to their frontage. It was nuts. North of the city off Highway 285, the crash site was identified, and a large sign erected to identify its location. New Mexico State University conducted an excavation there to investigate what happened and if any evidence still remained. The crash site now is unmarked with the sign removed, some say “no trespassing” signs exist on site, although my June 2018 visit to the site just had an un-marked skeletal frame that once listed the incident location. Oddly the Roswell UFO Crash Site is just 1/4 mile south of one of the Roswell Missile Silos.

The hype definitely brings tourism to Roswell. Residents love and hate this. For a brief moment of time there was an anti-alien organization camped out in a storefront across the street from the Roswell UFO Museum. They promoted their mission with stickers of alien heads with the “no” symbol crossed over it. They were responsible for much of the vandalism of the crash site sign, as they left the stickers with their damage on location. They no longer exist at least on Main street. If they are still in operation today I have no idea.

The landing of the UFO enthusiasts certainly changed the city. For the good or the bad, no one really knows – but certainly has placed Roswell as a popular tourist destination and hot spot. Of course the hype is not constrained to “Roswell” alone … According to the Public Policy Polling Survey around 12 million people in the United States believe that interstellar lizards in people suits rule our country. Around 66 million Americans believe that aliens landed at Roswell, New Mexico; and around 22 million people believe that the government faked the moon landing.

~ Article by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Oweynagat Cave of the Cats

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats
– Gateway to the Underworld and the Morrigan’s Palace. Rathcrohan / Rosscommon, Ireland
GPS: 53.79677, -8.31038
Article/Research by Thomas Baurley/Leaf McGowan/Technogypsie Productions, 10 October 2017

One of my most favorite sites in Ireland is the “Cave of the Cats” underneath the realm of “Rathcrohan“. It is officially called “Oweynagat” and pronounced “Owen-ne-gatt”.
The Cave is also labelled “Uaimh na gCat”, Irish translating to “Cave of the Cats”. When I first visited this site we had a tremendously hard time finding it. We found where it was supposed to be, but it lay behind fencing on a farmer’s field. We knocked on the farmer’s door, and there was no answer. A neighbor saw us, asked what we were doing and who we were, and he showed us the entrance, giving us permission to enter. It was a small hole under some Fairy thorn trees. The Site is actually a natural narrow limestone cave that hosts a man-made souterrain at its entrance. This is seen by all as the official entrance to the Otherworld and home to the Morrigan or Medh. In the Medieval Period of Ireland, it was labeled “Ireland’s Gate to Hell”. It is a particular sacred site for the Pagan holiday and festival of “Samhain” or Halloween.

It is said that during the Feast of Samhain, the dead, their God/desses, and Spirits, would rise from their graves and walk the Earth. This cave is one of the main places where Spirits and the dead associated with the Fae and/or the Morrigan, would re-surface including creatures, monsters, and the un-dead. There exists an Irish legend based off the “Adventures of Nera” where a warrior is challenged to tie a twig around the ankle of a condemned man on Samhain eve, after agreeing to get him some water would discover strange houses and wouldn’t find water until the third house. Upon returning him back to captivity would witness Rathcroghan’s royal buildings destroyed by the spirits. After this he must follow the fairy host to the Sidhe where he meets a woman who tells him the vision he saw will happen a year from now unless his mortal comrades are warned. He leaves the Sidhe and informs Ailill of his vision who destroys the Sidhe in response.

Some believe the “síd” or the Sidhe of this tale is either the Mound of Rathcroghan or Oweynagat, the Cave of the Cats. It makes the most sense that the Cave of the Cats is where the destructive creatures and fae emerged. There was a triple-headed monster called the Ellen Trechen that went on a rampage across the country before being killed by Amergin, father of Conal Cernach. There have been tales of small red birds emerging from the cave withering every plant they breathed on before being hunted to their death by the Red Branch. There is also legends of herds of pigs with similar powers of decay emerging from the cave until hunted and killed by Ailill and Medb.

The name itself, “Oweynagat” is believed to refer to the Magical wild cats featured in the tale of “Bricriu’s Feast” that emerge from this cave to attack the three Ulster warriors before being tamed by Cúchulainn. Some also claim that the cave was named after Irusan, the King of the Cats, who is featured in Irish fairy tales and hailed from a cave near Clonmacnoise (her home). Another tale from the 18th century CE tells of a woman trying to catch a runaway cow that fell into this cave (nevermind the entrance being too small) and followed it into this cave. It is said the cow and woman emerged miles away in County Sligo, near Keshcorran. There is also a legend of a woman that was told to have killed a monster cat in this cave, turning the woman into a great warrior, and this is why its called “Oweynagat”, Cave of the Cats.

The Birthplace of Medb

It is also believed that this cave is the actual physical birthplace for Queen Medb. The legend states that the Fairy Queen/Goddess Étain who was fleeing her human husband with her fairy lover Midir came here. Midir wanted to visit a relative named Sinech (the large breasted one) who lived in the cave. Within the cave was said to be a great otherworldly palace where a maid servant named Crochan Crogderg (“Blood Red Cup”) lived, and she had granted Midir and Etain entrance. It was here that Crochan was believed to have given birth to a daughter named “Medb“.

The Entrance

Nestled under a fairy tree in a farmer’s field (private property) is a small opening that really only looks large enough for a house cat to fit through. But if a human gets down on their hands and knees, can shimmy into this small hole, they will be presented with a small chamber that connects to a passageway that continually increases to a massive tunnel wider and higher than one could fathom. At the inner lintel of this entrance is an Ogham inscription that bears the words “VRAICCI…MAQI MEDVVI” translating to “FRAECH” and “SON OF MEDB”. Some also translate this to mean “The Pillar of Fraech son of Madb”. This is also seen as the birthplace of Medb. A second ogham inscription, barely visible, reads “QR G SMU” but has not been translated. This beginning chamber is actually a man-made souterrain at the entrance to a natural narrow limestone cave. The souterrain was originally contained within an earthen mound that was later damaged by a road construction project in the 1930’s. The souterrain is made of drystone walling, orthostats, lintels, and stones that measure approximately 10.5 meters from the entrance to the natural cave’s opening.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – entrance chamber

The Tunnel

After crawling on one’s hands and feet, the passage increases in width and height, eventually one can stand up, and eventually the tunnel becomes wide and tall enough that a small Giant could move through it. This is the passage of the Fae, and leads to the Morrigan’s Lair. As one continues down, they’ll find a caved in shamble that is behind a muddy pool of water. If one successfully climbs up and over it, the passage continues to another area that is caved in. Apparently workers on the surface planted a utility pole that collapsed this section of the tunnel. Beyond this is believed to be the Entrance to the Otherworld, and the Morrigan’s Lair. This is actually a natural limestone cave that has been mapped approximately 37 meters deep.

The Morrigan

The Queen of the Dark Fae, the Goddess of the Underworld, of Darkness, and Battle, rules the world of the Fae from this place. It is believed that every Samhain, she is pulled on a chariot out of the Cave of the Cats by a one-legged chestnut horse alongside various creatures such as those mentioned above. Some also say on occasion she leaves the cave with a cow, guided by a giant with a forked staff, to give to the Bull of Cúailgne. She is also known to take the bull of a woman named Odras who follows her into the cave before falling under an enchanted sleep upon awakening to see the Morrigan who repeatedly whispers a spell over her, turning her into a river, the same river that feeds the muddy pool at the shamble. Apparently the cave is seen as a portal through which the Morrigan would pass in order to work with Medb as Goddess of Battle. She drove her otherworldly cattle into the cave every sunset. The Morrigan was blamed to have stolen a herd of cattle who belonged to a woman named Odras, and upon following to Morrigan to retrieve them, was turned into a lake by the Goddess. As is the story of Nera, a servant of Medb who met a Fairy woman here in this cave. He married her, and she warned him of Medb’s palace being burnt to the ground next Samhain by the creatures of the otherworld. Upon hearing this, Medb stationed her forces in the cave each Samhain to protect Cruachan from destruction.

Rathcrohan is the legendary burial grounds of the Kings of Coannaught. The region covers approximately 518 hectares hosting more than 20 ring forts, burial mounds, megalithic tombs such as the Relig na Ri (burial ground of the Kings), Rath na dTarbh (For the Bulls), and the Rathbeg. The archaeological site is massive, with earthworks spread over the region with the Grave of King Dathi (Last Pagan King of Ireland) as a 2 meter high standing stone being one of the few physical landmarks left that can be seen. This is also the site of the mythical battle of the “Tain Bo Cuailgne” that remains in the hearts, minds, and folklore of the people of Tulsk and Rathcroghan recorded in the Ancient Irish Epic of the Tain Bo Cuiailgne, the “Cattle Raid of Cooley”. The Tain Bo tells the story of Queen Maeve of Connaught and her armies that pursued the Grat Brown Bull of Cooley, the mighty warrior Cuchulain who does battle with the armies here, and his foster brother Erdia as he defends the Brown Bull, and the province of Ulster. There is a “Tain Trail Cycling and Touring Route” that re-traces the journey that Queen Maeve and her armies traveled from her Royal Palace at Rathcroghan across Ireland to the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth, the home of the Brown Bull. Rathcrohan hosts over 60 National Monuments here.

Bibliography/References:

  • Druid School: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats. Website referenced January 2012.
  • Fenwick, J. et al 1977 “Oweynagat”. Irish Speleology 16, 11-14.
  • Hannon, Ed 2012 “Visions of the Past: Oweynagat Cave”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://visionsofthepastblog.com/2012/10/01/oweynagat-cave-souterrain-co-roscommon/.
  • Mulranney, R. n.d “Caves of Ireland: Oweynagat Cave of the Cats”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://cavesofireland.wordpress.com/home/caves/oweynagat-cave-of-the-cats-co-roscommon/.
  • Waddell, J. 1983 “Rathcroghan – A Royal Site”. Journal of Irish Archaeology 1.
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Rathcroghan”. Website referenced 10/10/17 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathcroghan.

Oweynagat Cave – Cave of the Cats – Passage downward.

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Hotel California – Urban Legend?

Hotel California, Around San Francisco, California.

The Hotel California, Fact myth or legend?
~

Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

“The Hotel California” ~
A fictional place, but full of urban myths and legends.

The “California Hotel” photo above, is NOT of course the place of the legend from the Song, nor was it the headquarters for Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. I’m actually not sure of the history of the actual hotel in this photo, but it called to mind my memories about this urban legend. (The photo above MIGHT be the California Hotel of historic landmarks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Hotel as it was in Oakland. The California Hotel historic is a important cultural center for the African-American community of San Francisco’s East ay during the 40’s-60’s, it experienced severe economic difficulties and turned into subsidized housing in the 80s)

I first came across the urban legend in 1990 at the Starwood festival when I was hanging out with a Satanist from the Church of Satan who first told me the tale … “one of the members of the Eagles was at this bar and got drunk with Anton LaVey’s daughter, she brought him home that night to her hotel room (at the Hotel California where supposedly the headquarters of the Church of Satan resided), they became lovers. Apparently he was so tied up in the affair with her that he disregarded showing up to band practice or responsibilities, and in a sense “never could leave” the hotel. When He snapped out of it, he apparently wrote the song about the experience hanging with the Church of Satan. A similar tale was told to me by my mentor Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF (Ar nDraoicht Fein – A Druid Fellowship) who briefly joined the Church in his youth, but was so rambunctious and a trouble maker, the Church of Satan actually kicked him out of their group. (I do know that to be true as I’ve seen historic film reels of him in their ranks. Apparently he was recruited after creating a parodic devil’s throne upon which he proselytized on at UoC Berkeley to harass the local bible thumper on campus. They ran across him, were impressed, and asked him to join. )

I digress, back to the original legend. Some claim that Larry Salter, the Eagle’s manage admitted in the Waco Tribune-Herald (Feb. 28, 1982) that the Eagles were involved with the Church of Satan. Oddly the Church of Satan was first legally registered as “Hotel California” (legal entity name). But the Eagles claim far and wide, they were not associated with the Church and it was a leap that people jumped to. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California)

The Eagles claim that the “Hotel California” is an allegory about hedonism and greed in Southern California in the 1970s. As they first experienced California at that time, they were impressioned that California was about money, drugs, women, and fame – true hedonism, and they were disquieted by it all pushing that un-ease into their lyrics to warn others about the dark underside of such adulation – “a loss of innocence”, corruption of the artist in California imprisoned in a gilded prison that the artist freely enters that he cannot leave. It is not actually a place, but a metaphor of the west’s music industry and its effect on musicians ensnared by it. (http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/hotel.asp)

To make matters worse, many conspiracy theorists have marked that “Anton LaVey” (leader of the Church of Satan, San Francisco) can be seen in the balcony window as depicted on the album cover for the record “Hotel California”.

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ‘Relax,’ said the night man,
    ‘We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave!’

The urban myth has odd facts and twisted thoughts behind it, and whether or not those with the inside knowledge are telling the truth and the Eagles are covering it up to save their reputation, or it is quite a bit of hog-wash and conjecture, we’ll never know. Frey and Henley claim that as much as people want to know what the song was about, they really don’t know themselves. It was an attempt at a “twilight zone” influence and many beliefs are abound. (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35347075)

Of course the fundamentalist Christian organizations still claim it is a Satanic song, the band was gifted their success by dealing with the Devil (dueling banjos) at the crossroads giving their lives for their success. They won’t let go of this urban legend regardless. (https://ministryofrock.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/is-hotel-california-satanic/, http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/anton_lavey2.htm, https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-song-meaning-of-Hotel-California, https://stewartstaffordblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/does-satan-reside-at-the-hotel-california/)

And Cracked hosts a good explanation of it all here: http://www.cracked.com/article_19454_5-famous-hidden-song-meanings-that-are-total-b.s..html

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Hotel California, Around San Francisco, California. (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=33601) ~ Pacific Coast Highway 101 – Driving North to Oregon through California – Great Pacific Northwest Move 2013. Photos from Thursday, 26 September 2013. (c) 2013 – photo by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions (www.technogypsie.com/photography/). Purchase rights and/or permissions to use can be obtained at site listed here. To follow the adventure, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. To read reviews visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/.

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Ouija Boards


Public domain, 1892 first board

Ouija Boards

~ By Thomas Baurley / Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research 9/7/2017.

By far one of my most favorite occult tools would be the Ouija Board, made famous throughout history by none other than the game manufacturer “Parker Brothers”. But how old is the Ouija Board? is it just a board game? does it work? Is it demonic? Those are just a handful of questions people have over the instrument made to communicate with the dead. So controversial even Pagans and Witches have mixed reactions with it, from outright scared avoidance to obsessive usage.

In print, the Ouija board was first referenced in February 1891 C.E. in newspaper advertisements promoting the “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board” as a new and popular toy that answered questions of “the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy.” It guaranteed that it would have “never-failing amusement and recreation for all classes”. It was promoted as having a link “between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial”. It originally sold for $1.50 a board and planchette. It was officially authenticated and patented by the U.S. Patent Office. In order to be approved by the Patent Office on February 10, 1891, it had to be “proven” to work, and it was, so permitted to proceed. Some Psychologists suggest that it may offer a link between the known and unknown. It has been rationalized as operating under the ideometer effect – that automatic muscular movements take place without the conscious will or volition of the individual. This has become the explanation for the successes of other devices as well such as pendulums, dowsing rods, and the more commonly popular fake bomb detection kits.


Public domain, 1892 first board

The Ouija board consists of a flat board with the letters of the alphabet sprawled upon it in either a circle or crescent, arch or straight text, but most commonly as two semi-circles above the numbers of 0 through 9. It also has the words “yes” and “no” on it, most commonly in the uppermost corners, sometimes with the word “goodbye” most commonly placed at the bottom of the board. It commonly comes with a tear-drop shaped device called a “planchette” either of wood or plastic, but has also involved downturned cups, glasses, or circular pieces of translucent glass. Some of the planchettes have a small window or clear/translucent piece or glass embedded in it that manuevers over numbers or letters.

The board is often placed on a table, or the knees of two people facing one another, with each person placing their finger tips on the planchette. One of the users would ask the board (actually the spirit(s) being communicated with) a question and the planchette in response would move from letter to letter, number to number, and spell out the response.

Boards today are usually cardboard, with a laminate printout of the design, but in earlier days was wood, stone, or more durable materials. I used to make them from tree trunk slices and a circular pattern of letters and numbers in a Celtic-styled design. The planchette today is primarily plastic, though earlier and more elaborate boards still use glass or wood.

Historian Robert Murch claims that he’s been researching it since 1992 and most of its history is obscure, unknown, and mysterious. It has been proposed that its only as old at 19th century American spiritualism when it became “cliche” and “trendy” to communicate with the dead. While Spiritualism is pretty old in Europe, it didn’t really popularize in the Americas until 1848 when the Fox sisters claimed to receive messages from spirits by rapping on walls answering questions and conducting seances/ channelings in parlors utilizing pieces of paper or cardboard on a table with a upturned wineglass or by means of automatic writing. Back in the day, it was popular to communicate with the dead especially to assist in the passing process of the deceased.

The first producers of the Ouija Board game was the Kennard Novelty Company who sold it to the mainstream audience as a toy. It was promoted by the Associated Press in 1886 as a board with letters, numbers, and a planchette as a phenomena being used in spiritualist camps throughout Ohio. The investor Charles Kennard of Baltimore in 1890 rounded up investors such as attorney Elijah Bond, surveyor Col. Washington Bowie and himself to create the Kennard Novelty Company to exclusively make these bards for profit, rather than spiritualism. It was called the “Kennard Talking Board”. The name “Ouija” was created by Elijah’s sister-in-law Helen Peters. (It was not the combination of the French word “oui” for “yes” and German “ja”.) Apparently the board itself gave the name “Ouija” when asked what it should be called, and came with the meaning of “Good Luck”. Apparently Peters had been wearing a locket during the reading that had a picture of the famous author and women’s right activist “Ouida” but had “Ouija” (misread) above her head in the picture. Peters apparently was also present to demonstrate to the Patent Office that the board actually worked. The chief patent officer asked the board to spell out his name (unknown to those in attendance) and it did. There was no explanation by the Patent Office how it actually worked, just that it did.

By 1892 the Kennard company expanded from one factory in Baltimore to two, then two more in New York, two more in Chicago, and one in London. By 1893 the Company was managed by William Fuld. Fuld died in 1927 from a freak fall off the roof of his new factory that the board told him to build.

The board became extremely popular in the 1910-20’s after World War I, Prohibition, and Norman Rockwells illustration of it on the May 1920 cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It came in great demand during the Great Depression as well. By 1944 a single department store sold 50,000 boards in just 5 months of carrying them. In 1966 Parker Brothers bought the game, and by 1967 sold over 2 million boards. Macabre and eerie stories about its use became widespread by then and started to give the board a bad name. Fundamentalist Christianity attacked it claiming it to be the tool of the Devil. This just increased sales and never harmed its distribution.

By 1973, “The Exorcist” hit the theaters and began scaring people from the implication that the 12 year old Regan was possessed by the devil after playing with the board by herself, leading to people’s fear that one should never use it alone. From this point the board was feared and became a target for banning. By 1991 Hasbro took over manufacturing and selling the board acquiring it from Parker Brothers. It became commonplace in Hollywood horror films and as early as 2001 in New Mexico was burned on bonfires alongside Harry Potter and Snow White books. Catholic.com calls it even today “far from harmless” and Pat Robertson claims demons reach people through the boards. Infantile and newbie Pagans, Wiccans, and Heathens also think its a dark tool. Experienced and well versed Pagans, Witches, and Druids however utilize it as a very valuable tool, comparable to a cell phone with service to the dead.

Today it has a reborn popularity and sales have once again increased. It was made popular again from its use in “Castle”, “Breaking Bad”, “Rizzoli and Isles”, Paranormal Activity 1&2. It became iconic fashion for the Goth music industry and imprinted on bras, underwear, and shirts by Hot Topic. There are apps on i-phones, programs on the computer as well as the internet to use the game online. (see http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/WebOuija.html) By 2015 there were glow-in-the-dark versions made by Hasbros.

In May of 2012, City Officials in San Francisco consulted a ouija board to determine the outcome of a vote on whether or not to recommend naming a Navy ship after slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Officials claim they made contact with his spirit and that Milk spelled on the board “Good riddance to don’t ask, don’t tell”. (Harvey Milk was shot in 1978 by Dan White)

Bibliography/References:


  • McRobbie, Linda Rodriguez 2013 “The STrange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board” Smithsonian.com. Website referenced 9/6/17 at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-strange-and-mysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/?utm_source=onesignal.
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Ouija”. Website referenced 9/7/17 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija.

  • Yahoo News: 2012-05-23 “City Officials Consults Ouija Board Before Vote”. Website referenced June 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/city-official-consults-ouija-board-vote-130857601.html.

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Wooden Masks

Pacific Northwest Ceremonial Masks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3807): Pacific Northwest Tribal Art (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3803)

Wooden Masks
Article and research by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Research, August 7, 2017

Throughout history masks have been made for various reasons, and wood was a common medium for making them in. Every culture had examples of them. Masks are atypically worn on the face usually either for ritual, ceremony, magical rites, disguise, performance, theater, entertainment, or protection. They were believed to have first been used for religion and magic. The first written reference of mask comes from the Middle French “masque” meaning “covering to hide or guard the face” in the 1530s. “Masque” was derived from the Latin word “masca” meaning “mask, specter, nightmare”. It could have also originated from the Arabic maskharah مَسْخَرَۃٌ “buffoon”. Masks are also worn for protection during battle as armor, during hunting or sports for protection, and as entertainment / ornamentation during feasts/performances. Some masks are ornamental or religious and not meant to be worn, but as sacred objects or artifacts. Today they are commonly used in psychotherapy and drama therapy.

Anthropological theory suggests the first use by aborigine peoples was to represent some unimpeachable authority of being a supernatural entity like a God/dess or magical spirit / creature. This was also potentially used to promote a certain social role. Earliest found masks date over 9,000 years BP (Before present). Earliest anthropomorphic artwork dates to approximately 30,000-40,000 BP depicting face paint, war paint, leather, vegetative material or wooden masks. Even at the Neanderthal Roche-Cotard site in France there is a likeness of a face over 35,000 BP depicted in cave drawings, but unknown if it was really a mask. Anotolia around 6,000 BCE (Before Common Era) shows a young naked ithyphallic God wearing a horned mask, attributed to the cult of Shiva. The Dionysus cult of Greece also shows mask use allowing participants to participate hidden in debauchery. Iroquois tribes were known to use masks for healing. One of the magical societies were the False Face Society. The Yup’ik were known for their 3 inch finger masks as well as ten-kilo masks hung from the ceilings. Masks were used to create mediators for supernatural forces in the Himalayas. Historic masks were used for disguise, protection, as well as for plastic surgery applications for those suffering mutiliation or birth defects. Masks permitted the imagination to go beyond limitations, from the sacred to the playful, giving imaginative experiences of transformations into other identities. This comes into play with performance and entertainment as well, letting actor/resses to become and manifest into their roles.

In ceremony and ritual the mask allowed transformation, role playing, possession, sacrifice, and presentation of supernatural entities. They also represented a protective role with the mediation of spirits. They can also represent a specific culture’s idea of feminine beauty such as with the Punu of Gabon.

Africa

Most, if not all, of the original peopling of Africa involved Masks. In the West, they were utilized in ceremonies set up to communicate with the ancestors and spirits. These wooden masks are carved by special mask makers who were known as “master carvers”, often passed on through heritage and family lineage. There were fang masks used by the ngil to hunt out sorcerers. Most of the African masks involve animals or the representation of them – believing that the tribe can communicate with the animals spirits by wearing them. Today most African masks are made for the tourism industry.

Australia

Fascinating masks come out of Australia, including full body covering masks that envelope the body.

North America:

Northeastern:
Northeastern tribes like the Iroquis had special wooden “false face” masked used in ceremonies of healing. They were made from living trees, carved in ritual, with a variety of shapes based on function.

Pacific Northwest:

Pacific Coastal original inhabitants were known for their wood craft – many of their masks were prizes of art with moveable jaws, masks within masks, and other moving parts. Some of them were combined with totems, poles, houses, canoes, and shields.

The North American Northwest and Columbia Plateau Tribes have a distinct form of ceremonial and utilitarian masks within their culture and archaeological record. The Artwork of the Native American Pacific Northwest Cultures is phenomenal, embedded with myths, legends, and spirituality that empowers their people. Masks are also utilized as representative totems. Inuit peoples have varying languages and mythology, with masks varying just as much. Many of their masks are made either of driftwood, bones, skins, and feathers. Inuit women use finger masks to tell stories and conduct dances in storytelling.

Transformation is a common purpose for Northwestern use of masks, especially those on the Northwest Coast and area known as Alaska within ritual dances. Many times these are depicted with an outer animal visage hosting moveable parts revealing the inner human face carved in wood. The Northwestern tribes held ceremonies known as potlaches which illustrated the myths in shamanic rituals depicted by the masks. These peoples involved the tribes of Tlingit, Haida, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Tsimshian, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth and other First Nations. Common depictions such as the Ancestral Sky Spirit of the Thunderbird that when it ruffles its feathers causes thunder, and blinks its eyes for lightning.

Northwestern coast mask art is well known for its use of formlines, ovoids, U and S forms. Pre-European contact, these masks were made out of wood (particularly Western Red Cedar), stone, and copper. After European contact, most of the masks were made with canvas, glass, paper, and precious metals. Most of the masks and art were done with red, white, black, and sometimes yellow. Patterns are notoriously that of ravens, bears, thunderbirds, sisiutls, eagles, orcas, and humans. Many were implemented in totem poles. After European contact and their attack on the cultural ways of the peoples, much of the art and style was lost. Recent years (decades) a revival has been born bringing back these art styles, masks, and the formerly banned potlach ceremony. Masks were known to be passed on from father to son to grandson.

Southeastern United States:

    ” Wooden Masks: The carved and painted masks probably represents animals. The animals represented here includes a wildcat, pelican, and cormorant, which is a type of bird. The masks likely were worn during religious ceremonies. ” ~ Diorama/display in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo 091712-037.jpg) Wooden Masks: http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1367 (Expected publication January 2013).

” Wooden Masks: The carved and painted masks probably represents animals. The animals represented here includes a wildcat, pelican, and cormorant, which is a type of bird. The masks likely were worn during religious ceremonies. ” ~ Diorama/display in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo 091712-037.jpg) Wooden Masks: http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1367 (Expected publication January 2013). Division of Historical Resources – Florida Museum of History – Where I used to work – September 17, 2012: A Walk Down Memory Lane – revisiting College Town – Tallahassee, Florida. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid – technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to obtain permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo
For more information visit:
Tallahassee: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5093 (Expected publication November 2012)
Florida: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5079 (Expected Publication December 2012)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Southwestern United States:
Southwestern tribes like the Pueblo, Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni took on the forms of supernatural spirits in very distinctive and elaborate masks utilized in religious ritual as kachina’s or Gods/spirits forms. These were made of wood, decorated with fur, feathers, leather, and/or leaves.

Research is being conducted, please come back for more information and photos.

Pacific Northwest Ceremonial Masks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3807): Wooden Masks: (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=13678); Pacific Northwest Tribal Art (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3803); Pacific Northwest Tribes (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3467) Exhibit – Denver Museum of Art/ Art Museum (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=838). Wandering around Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken Saturday, August 5, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsi

e.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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