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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Cairns and stacked rocks


Cairns and stacked rocks

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Cairns and Stacked Rocks
By Thomas Baurley

The stacking of stones is a widespread cultural practice all around the world. You know it is a remnant of modern, historical, or prehistoric cultural manufacture because they were not placed there by nature. Most likely a ‘human’ moved one stone atop another. They vary in size from one or two rocks or more stacked on top of each other in simplicity to complexity of mounds, cairns, pyramids, tombs, and massive megalithic complexes.

The meaning behind the practice varies between cultures and time periods throughout history. Archaeologists however, are only interested in those that are at least 50 years old (historical archaeology in America), 100 years old (Europe and other parts of the world), or prehistoric (hundreds to thousands of years in age). They can be field clearing piles, fence piles, burial mounds, markers, signifiers, monuments, spiritual tools, graves, food stores, game drives, rock alignments, power quest markers, altars, shrines, prayer seats, hearths, circles, and/or memorials. Their uses can vary from remnants of field clearing for plowing, stabilizing fences, make walls, clearing or road construction, markers of a road trail or path, survey markers, memorial, burial, vision quest marker, or part of something bigger like a structure, burial, tomb, underground chamber, prayer seat, tipi ring, or offering to Gods, spirits, entities.

These commonly can be found along streams, creeks, lakes, springs, rivers, waterways, sea cliffs, beaches, in the desert, tundra, in uplands, on mountaintops, ridges, peaks, and hill tops. In underpopulated areas they can represent emergency location points. North American trail markers are often called ‘ducks’ or ‘duckies’ because they have a ‘beak’ that points in the direction of the route. Coastal cairns or ‘sea markers’ are common in the northern latitudes can indicate navigation marking and sometimes are notated on navigation charts. Sometimes these are painted and are visible from off shore. This is a common practice in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

ROCK STACKS

Often the practice of stacking rocks is used to mark a trail, path, or road. Many say without these markings, it is often hard to follow a laid out trail, especially in areas that receive deep snowfall. When modern cairn builders place their ‘art’ or message of ego along a trail they can be causing harm, hiding the true trail markers and if placed in a wrong place can lead a hiker astray or get them lost. Original use is often as a route marker and it’s important to preserve that integrity. Modern application of this practice can not only lead people astray but disrupt cultural studies, archaeology, geology, and the environment. Moving stones can upset plant life, insect habitats, as well as homes of lizards, rats, mice, and other creatures.

Other times these rock stacks have spiritual or religious purpose. These are sometimes offerings to the little people, fairies, faeries, nature spirits, Saints, entities, or God/desses. Sometimes these are arranged for a vision quest, other times as a prayer seat, or part of a stone circle. Many times if found around rivers, streams, creeks, or springs ‘ they are offerings to the nature spirits, water spirits, nymphs, naiads, and/or dryads. Sometimes these are markers for portals, vortexes, gateways between worlds, lei lines, or places of spiritual importance. They honor spirits, Deities, Ancestors, or the Dead.

Sometimes these stacked rocks are considered ‘art’, a meditative exercise, or something someone does out of boredom.

Prince Cian making Cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Prince Cian making Cairns

In spiritual ‘new age’ hotspots, modern creations of these ‘cairns’ or ‘rock stacks’ are actually quite problematic because they have become invasive upon the landscape, blocking access or movement. In addition, modern creations of them destroy, hide, or change importance of historical or prehistoric ones that existed before. This is a similar impact between modern graffiti and rock art. This has become a major problem in places like Sedona Arizona; Telluride, Colorado; Arches National Park, Utah.

Prehistoric use

Aborigines, Natives, Tribes, and Original Peoples have utilized cairns and rock stacks all over the world. Mostly the intent was as a ‘marker’. In the Americas, various tribes such as the Paiutes as well as early Pioneers left them to mark important trails or historic roads. The Inuksuk practice used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other Arctic aborigines in North America ranging from Alaska to Greenland to Iceland are markers for ‘way finding’ and to locate caches of food, supplies, and other goods.

Cairns and rock stacks have been used prehistorically for hunting, defense, burials, ceremonial structures, astronomical structures or markers.

Modern Stacking

Some say the practice began as a New Age spiritual movement with the Harmonic Convergence in 1987 within a global synchronized meditation event for peace, love, and spiritual unity. This fell on places of well known vortexes, spiritual hotspots, or sacred landscapes such as Sedona, Arizona. These have become ‘prayer stone stacks’. Even fundamental Christian religions and cults practice this to ‘claim ordinary moments of life for God and invite those who pass by to notice the holy ground on which they already stand’.

CAIRNS

Cairns are actually technically different than rock stacks. The term actually derives from Scots Gaelic c’rn / Middle Gaelic for ‘mounds of stones built as a memorial or landmark.’ In this application, many of these rock piles are actually burials, tombs, and/or graves. Sometimes they are just memorials and do not contain human remains.

EUROPE

Early in Eurasian history has been the construction of cairns. These ranged in size from small piles to massive hills or mountains made of neatly placed stones. This was very common in the Bronze Age with constructions of standing stones, dolmens, kistvaens, or tombs that often contained human remains. Larger structures sometimes made up earthworks, tumuli, kurgans, megaliths, and underground complexes. Those that were monuments would be added to by people honoring the deceased, common place in Gaelic culture Cuiridh mi clach air do ch’rn, “I’ll put a stone on your cairn”.

In Ancient Greece, Cairns were associated with Hermes, God of overland travel. The legend of which states that Hera placed Hermes on trial for slaying her favorite servant Argus. As the other Gods acted as jury to declare their vote would place pebbles and stones to throw at Hermes or Hera to whom they felt was right. Hermes was said to have been buried under a pile of stones and this was the world’s first cairn.

In Celtic belief, some of the stones represent spirits or faeries. Spirits of the night were often these stones.
Some popular large stone monuments and earthworks in Ireland are the Giant’s Grave or Binne’s Cairn in Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1823); Loughcrew Passage Tomb in County Meath Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1601); Slieve Gullion in Northern Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=851); Poulnabrone Portal Tomb in County Clare Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=101); Knocknashee in Sligo Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=99); Newgrange Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=91); and the 9 Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=71) are homes to European styled cairns.

AMERICAS

Cairns were often used as ‘game drives’ to create lanes in which to guide the prey along a ridge, shelf, or over a cliff. This was popular in the use of buffalo jumps dating as early as 12000 years ago. Others were markers and directional guides. Some are shaped as petro forms shaping out animals, turtles, or other creatures. Some were shrines or offerings to other beings, spirits, or God/desses.

NORTHERN OREGON

Along the Columbia River near Mosier, Oregon exists a 30 acre complex of rock walls, pits, and cairns patterned in a talus and debris field at the foot of a 30 meter Columbia Gorge escarpment commonly called ‘Mosier Mounds’. These are associated with vision quests, burials, and game drives. Along this region, many of the talus and slide debris fields are used regularly for burials, food storage, vision quests, and youth training. These are remnants of Columbia Plateau traditions in forms of walls, troughs, cairns, pits, and trails.

SOUTHEASTERN OREGON

When Euro-Americans came in through the Klamath Basin, they noted the numerous cairns constructed by the indigenous (Henry L. Abbot 1855, William J. Clark 1885). Prior to contact, these cairns had several religious functions from power quests, vision quests, mortuary markers, or graves.

Many of the Cairns or rock stacks found in Southeastern Oregon is being studied by the Far Western Anthropological Research Group (FWARG) in Davis, California. Because of the surviving Klamath tribes have shared information about their use of cairns and rock stacks, much has been learned about their practices and implementation. Many of the cairns in SE Oregon range from small stacks to large cairns, some creating circular structures that are very conspicuous. Because of this, various Governmental agencies such as the BLM and US Forest Service have been making efforts to protect them from damage when making roads, logging, ranching, or other impacts made upon government lands. Some of the smaller rock stacks are not very noticeable, they may simply be only one or two stones stacked upon a boulder or bedrock. Some of these points towards spiritually significant locations such as Mount Shasta and others seem not to have any significance at all. During construction of the Ruby pipeline, a 42 inch natural gas pipeline beginning in Wyoming and running to Malin, Oregon brought to discussion between BLM, the Tribes, and personnel an agreement to develop better methods to identify, understand, protect, and preserve these stacks, mostly after the implementation of the Pipeline. This study was conducted by Far Western.

The Klamath and Modoc Tribes was known to have constructed numerous rock stacks to form petro forms ‘ the moving of rocks into a new formation to create man-made patterns or shapes on the ground by lining down or piling up stones, boulders, and large rocks. Some of these were cairns for vision quests and others formed semi-circular prayer seats. Interviews conducted with the tribes determined that these features contribute to the Klamath and Modoc worldviews and beginnings being an important part of their sacred landscape. Most of their important rocks stacks are found in higher elevations. There are two general forms: the stacked rock column constructed by placing one rock atop another in sequence to varying heights; and the conical cairn that possessing variable number of rocks forming the base built upon to create a conical or mound-like shape. Sometimes linear ‘S’ shaped or wall like rock features are commonplace as well. Prayer Seats are defined as a semi-circular, elliptical, or horseshoe shaped area built with stone and/or timber and arranged to a sufficient height to provide wind break. Many of these were natural features enhanced with rock stacking or lumber. Klamath tribes prohibit touching or photographing cairns, prayer seats, or any other sacred cultural site. Tribal governments permit sketches or illustrations many of the Klamath and/or Modoc are uncomfortable with such illustrations. Numerous studies conducted in 1997 provided recordings of dozens of rock cairns on Pelican Butte ‘ mountain overlooking Klamath Lake, and Bryant Mountain by Matt Goodwin (1997). There are numerous rock cairns in Lava Beds National Monument which is believed to be Modoc territory. The Modoc and Klamath tribes define themselves as residing in a junction of four cultural areas known as the (1) Plateau, (2) California, (3) Northwest Coast, and (4) the Great Basin. Within the Plateau, the tribes would hold the Plateau Vision Quest where they piled stones atop one another in order to obtain visions. This was also common within the Middle Columbia area and the Great Basin. Far View Butte has recorded over 245 rock cairns.

The Yahooskin Paiute also erected cairns for ritual purposes as did the Northern Paiute. Paiute shamans were known to have constructed cairns in the presence of rock art as another extension of their vision quests. The Shasta young boys and young men also stacked rocks reportedly when they sought out luck. Rock stacks and prayer seats are also recorded throughout Northwestern California including Yurok, Tolowa, and Karok territories. Within these territories are distinguished six different configurations commonly used in stacking rocks together forming a rock feature complex located in the high country of northwestern California. These being rock cairns, rock stacks, prayer seats, rock alignments, rock circles, and rock hearth rings. There are also several cairn sites in the Northwest coast culture area such as Gold Beach, Pistol River area, upper drainage of the Rogue River at the juncture of the Northwest coast, California, and Plateau culture areas. At the Ridgeland Meadows Site (35JA301) there are over 50 cairns constructed in conical fashion.

Rock cairns associated with petro glyphs are well known connectors to vision quests and power spots with various tribes, especially the Klamath and Modoc. The ‘house of the rising sun’ cave and pictoglyph site of the Klamath at an undisclosed location in Northern California is notably associated with a power quest that scholars studying the site have concluded corresponds with the ethnographically described house of the Klamath/Modoc culture hero ‘Gmok’am’c’ who is associated with the sun in myths recorded by Jeremiah Curtin and Don Hann (1998) concluding that the site’s association with the mythos makes it a portal to the supernatural section of the Modoc cosmos and therefore being a strong supernatural location for power quests.
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St. Werburgh and the Goose

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The Legend of St. Werburgh

A Mercian princess who converted over at an early age to become a Benedictine nun, through her life became the Patroness of Chester, Abbess of Weedon, Trentham, Hanbury, Minster in Sheppey, and Ely. Even though she was born a princess with royal blood, she cared not for the easy life that came with royalty, otherwise dedicating her life to only do good and make others happy, growing good and wise herself. Although her life fluctuated in various positions and titles in her religious orders, she never changed her humility that had always characterized her and in her devotion to all those in her care that she was more servant to the people than mistress. All felt God had rewarded her for her childlike trust by many miracles making her one of the best known and loved of the Saxon Saints.

Villagers and animals alike were said to have come to St. Werburgh to be healed or given advice. She was rumored to have a magical connection with all animals as well, being able to communicate with them just as she could with humans. St. Werburgh became quite taken by a flock of geese that frequented the convent meadows and swam in the pond. There was one goose that became her favorite that she had named Gray king, he had a black ring around his neck and was quite fat, seemingly the happiest within the flock. Unfortunately, Gray King and his flock would often get into the cornfields, infuriating Hugh, the convent steward. Hugh asked Werburgh to handle this trouble. Werburgh called forth the geese and told Gray King how bad it was to steal the corn and spoil the harvest and left them with simply a scolding, a shake, and a light whipping. She ended the scolding with kissing Gray King before imprisoning them in a pen overnight with intent to gift them convent porridge the next morn before their release. This infuriated Hugh and he felt she didnt do what he expected to punish them harshly is what they deserved. He hated birds except to feast on. Werburgh told Hugh to serve the geese porridge in the morning before releasing them. He was shocked of this task. A plump goose as his reward, Hugh ate Gray King as a meal to make up for the lost corn. Werburgh was furious when she learned of this and commanded Hugh to bring her the bones. She punished Hugh to dedicate his lifes study to animals and how to care for them, and forbid him to ever eat of bird or beast again, confining him for two nights in the pen where the geese were imprisoned. She took the bones of Gray king and ordered him to rise back to life. She then commanded the flock of geese to leave Weedon, never to return, to which day it is believed that a goose has never entered the village since.

Because of her miracles, her corpse was coveted by many. St. Werburgh instructed that her remains stay in Hanbury, but the nuns of Trentham refused to release them until those of Hanbury took her body to the tomb there and in 708 C.E. her remains were exhumed when she was declared a Saint, in the presence of King Coelred of Mercia and his council. Her second miracle, was that her body was found to be incorrupt and in the exact state it was when she was laid to rest. 875 C.E. she was moved to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Chester, which was renamed and rededicated to her, into a shrine of her honor, where she rests reconstructed today (after being destroyed by Henry VIII). During Henry VIII most of the Cathedrals were ransacked and relics scattered, although St. Werburghs were eventually returned. Most of the figures in the Cathedral were mutilated. The female heads were accidentally placed on male shoulders, and vice versa by the workmen attempting to reconstruct them, and only 30 original figures remain. Today there is a statue of Saint Werburgh with a goose by her side at the Our Lady and St. Werburghs Church.

    References:
  • Bridgett, Ronald W. 1985 The Life of St. Werburgh: Princess of Mercia.
  • Brown, Abbie Farwell 2004 The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts.
  • Our Lady and St. Werburgh 2003 The Legend of St. Werburgh. Websited referenced 12/23/15 at http://www.ourladyandstwerburgh.co.uk/the-legend-of-st-werburgh.html
  • Robert Appleton Co. 1912 The Catholic Encylopaedia, Vol. XV.
  • Seomraranga.com n.d. Holy Wells of Ireland. Website referenced 12/25/15 at http://www.holywell.seomraranga.com/holywellsireland.htm
  • Wikipedia n.d. St. Werburgh. Website referenced 12/26/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werburgh.
  • Youtube n.d. St. Werburghs Well, Swords, Dublin. Website refrenced 12/25/15 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdqude7t14M.

St Werburth's Well (Swords/Dublin, Ireland) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24191. 4 January 2014. Clongriffin to Swords. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors -  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Cian - the Prince of Endurance.  Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/.  To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Swords: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24171. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754. Malahide: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24123. Clongriffin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24119.

St Werburth’s Well (Swords/Dublin, Ireland)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24191. 4 January 2014. Clongriffin to Swords. Chronicles 3: Walking with the Ancestors – http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=15579. Winter 2013/2014: Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Cian – the Prince of Endurance. Photography (c) 2014, 2015: Thomas Baurley, Eadaoin Bineid, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography/. To follow the stories and tales visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ and http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. Swords: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24171. Dublin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2754. Malahide: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24123. Clongriffin: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24119.

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2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress

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2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress
* June 27-29, 2014 * Skalitude Retreat * Twisp, Washington * www.fairycongress.com *

Every year around the Summer Solstice in June, Fairies and Humans gather together to network, communicate, co-create, and bridge relationships on Planet Earth. Specifically focusing more on Nature Spirits, Devas, and the Faery Realms rather than on the Sidhe, Fae, and Faerie, the more human-like races also attend this spiritual gathering. The Congress was first held in the early 1950’s by Daphne Charters in England, but migrated to the United States under directorship of Michael Pilarski at Skalitude near Twisp Washington. The first American gathering was held in 2001 and became an annual event ever since. It was the early ones that I first attended and then with my travels around the world and moving away from the Pacific Northwest, I haven’t had the chance to return until this year. Amazingly it has retained its same beautiful community natured cohesion, peacefulness, center of love and harmony I remembered from 2003-2004. It has grown a bit with more attendees, but never infected with the riff-raff you get at most other festivals. It still has the trustworthiness and balance I remembered loving about the first Pagan gatherings and festivals I went to. Not having to worry about theft, violence, disorderliness, nor people with ulterior motives. The Congress is like the very first spiritual Rainbow Gatherings (before Rainbow fell apart and decayed with riff-raff) meeting a Pagan academic conference. Peace, Love, Healing, and Community empowered the grounds the entire space of the event. I felt recharged and rejuvenated albeit it I was unable to attend many workshops or rites since I was chasing around our little one and watching our festival booth The Tree Leaves Oracle.

As the world has been seeing a full blossom of Fairy and Faerie festivals popping up around the globe, this is the only one that I’ve ever attended that is primarily knowledge and spirituality based unlike some of the others that are music festivals wrapped around the faerie cloak, commercial malls, fantasy dress-up balls, role-playing game conventions, and what-not on a different level than you experience here. This is a true community with more rituals than a normal human can handle and great workshops abound. The music scene is primarily drum circles, although some bands and entertainers will take the small stage in the evenings. The entertainment is drumming, dancing, meditating, yoga, frolick, and education. Of course all the fairy / faerie festivals I attend all have a spiritual nature and rites/rituals embedded in their fabric, but many you have to be “in the know” or hunt around for those aspects if you seek them. Not here, they will be an essential part of your experience. It was good to be back after a 10-12 year hiatus.

Every year, world renown authors and experts on faerie/fairy wisdom hold workshops and classes at the event. Next to the rites and rituals, this is the prime purpose of the Congress. This year, the congress secretly began on thursday and ended on monday as opposed to the flier posted dates – with a special immersion workshop thursday evening by Michael Dunning on “The Dragon Body”. Friday Morgan Brent did “songs from the Garden”, Kirsten Sogge did Eurythmy, Aimee Ringle a Meadow Walkabout, followed by a communal breakfast, opening ceremony and morning circle, Joanna Schmidt on “Opening and Nurturing Your Intuitive Gifts”, Diane Pepper “Meeting Your Multi-Dimensional Selves”, Maia Klevjer “Introduction to Shamanic Journeying for Young Adults”, Joseph Freeman on “Animal Communication”, Ellen van de Viss on “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Saphir Lewis on “Standing Up as a Human in the Co-Creaetive Relationship”, followed by a communal lunch, then David Spangler on “Understanding the Subtle Worlds: A Foundation for Partnership”, Orion Foxwood on “Growing the Tree of Enchantment: A Journey of Fairy/human Co-creation and Companions”, Laurence Cole: “Listening Deeply to the Emergent song of Now”, Michael Dunning: “Standing in the Power of the Spiritual Stream of Human Becoming”, Creeksong: The Taoist 5 Element(al)s: Using Ancient Sounds as Invocations”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “The Alchemy of Unity: When the Whole is more than the Sum of its Parts”, Evening Yoga with Kat Allen, Integration Hour, Circle, a communal dinner, Ecstatic Dance and Drumming with Burke Mulvaney and Friends.

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Saturday saw repeat performances and presentations of Friday morning, with added in the afternoon Jacqueline Freeman: “Shrines: Doors to the Fairy World”, Michael Dunning: “21st Century Grail Stream and its Guardians”, David Spangler: “Partnering with the Subtle Worlds: Rules of the Road”, Flora LaRayne and Fransisco: “Blossoming: A Souls Longing”, Deborah Koff-Chapin: “Bringing the Subtle Beings into Form Through Touch Drawing”, Shoshana Avree: “The Essence of Existence, Essence of your Soul”, followed by communal lunch, and then
Rj Stewart: “Elizabethan Fairy Magic”, Orion Foxwood: “Clearing the Soul Cage: Cultivating Presence, Clarity and Wonderment”, Saphir Lewis: “Attunement for Powerful Co-Creative Communication”. Ellen Vande Visse: “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “Being in the Other: A New Perspective o Co-Creation”, followed by repeat activities from friday night of yoga, integration, and communal dinner. After dinner was the main Ritual and Fairy/Human Parade, Acousitc Concert in the Lodge with RJ Stewart, Drumming/Dancing/ and Merriment all night long. Sunday had repeat activities from friday and saturday morning, but after Circle held the spectacular “Angel Wash” in the meadows, and the afternoon presentations of Anastacia Nutt on “Celtic Fairy Traditions: Herbs, Charms and the Wise Ones Who Made Them”, Creeksong “Cernunnos: Lord of the Forest, Lord of the Wild Things”, Orion Foxwood: “The Re-Sourcing Prayer: A Technique for Attunement and Alignment”. Jacqueline Freeman: “Honeybees: The Vibratory Voice of Transformation”, Dolores Nurss:”Dreaming with Fairies”, Closing Circle followed by Yoga, Integration Hour, and communal Dinner. Monday had a special Immersion workshop by RJ Stewart of “The Four Cities of the Tuatha de Danann: Beyond the Hidden Crossroads”. It was a most spectacular weekend with clear weather, good sun, fun nature, and a charming community. All meals were communal and included in the festival fees – good wholesome vegan, vegetarian, and free-range organic foods. The food alone was worth the 12 hour drive we had entering this realm.

In previous years, the notable speakers and workshops were done by Peter Tompkins (Secret Life of Plants), Findhorn co-founders Dorothy Maclean and David Spangler, and teachers in the Celtic Faery tradition RJ Stewart, Caitln Matthews and Orion Foxwood. Other presenters also included flower essence specialists, animal and plant communicators, shamanic practitioners and herbalists, wildcrafters, fairy seers, intuitives, geomancers, Bards and Druids, and Native American storytellers.

The founders and organizers feel this event is very important as the Congress affects the planet by joining with the nature, devic, and other higher realms to bring more peace, love, and understanding into the world with a goal of not escaping the outer world but to positively affect it. It is a time on the globe wheras multiple crises are affecting humanity and they feel it is very important to seek alliances with as many light forces as possible in other realms. Although many deny their existence, the fairy realms and Mother Earth are big players in what is happening on the planet and this vanguard event bring these people together with an intent for communication and cooperation for ourselves and humanity. They feel that the event has more fairies, devas, and light being in attendance both seen and unseen, albeit registration for 2014 was over 250 in attendance, with a feel of close to 300+ frolicking in the meadows. It was a perfect sized event and one I hope to return to again and again for years to come. It has been a long time since I’ve had a good recharge like I did at this event which makes it worth all the more.

~ Leaf McGowan, Druid, Ovate, Faeid, & Healer
founder of the Faeid Fellowship, Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship & Pirate Relief
www.technogypsie.com/chronicles

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Photos from the Event:

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British Vikings Announce Ragnarok is Coming on February 22nd

crossposted from http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/11/ragnarok-vikings-february-22

British Vikings Announce Ragnarok is Coming on February 22nd
Stubby the Rocket

 

Ragnarok February 22We thought Idris Elba was supposed to cancel the apocalypse, not start it!

So…do you have any plans for February 22nd? You might want to cancel because apparently, itll be Ragnarok outside. Last week a proxy for the Norse god Heimdallr (Heimdall in the Marvel-verse) sounded a note on Gjallarhorn, which signals that there are only 100 shopping days left until the Doom of the Gods!

Like February isnt bleak enough, right? Were not entirely sure why someone blew the horn, but the Jorvik Viking Centre of York, England is predicting that Doomsday will come this winter, at the end of the feast of Jolablot, which just happens to coincide with their annual Viking Festival. Hmmm….

Ragnarok February 22

So, what to expect from a Viking apocalypse? The giant wolves Skoll and Hati will devour the sun and moon, respectively. Next, Odin All-Father will be vanquished by another wolf, Fenrir (pictured above) and Chris Hemsworth will die in battle with the mighty Midgard serpent Jrmungandr. Then the earth sinks into the seas, and things will be unpleasant for a while. But, the thing to focus on is that after Ragnarok a new age begins! We think. Honestly, the Eddas are pretty vague about it, so probably best to start building an ark now, before theres a rush.

 

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Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha D Danann

Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha D Danann

Other names:
Govannon (Welsh), Gofannon (Welsh), and Gobannos (Gaulish), Goibniu, Goibhnet, Goibhniu.

Counterparts:
There is suggestions that Goibnui, the Smith of the Tuatha D Danann, was replaced by Saint Ghobnatan. The site of Tobar Ghobnatan had archaeological evidence of a hut and artifacts such as iron slag, a crucible, and metalworking tools leading experts to believe that the site was used for iron works before its Christian occupation. This may have been the metalworking site of Goibnui. This also led to St. Gobnait to being a Patron Saint of Iron Workers. Both names have similar roots. Monastic site where St. Gobnait’s house, well, church, and grave resides has suggestive evidence that it had formerly been a Pagan Shrine with fairy wells. Gofannon (Welsh) and Gobannos (Gaulish). He lived on in Irish myth as Goban Saor, the craftsman who built the two round towers.

Deity / King / Lord of:
Irish/Celtic God of Smiths, Faerie lord of Metal craft. Son of Goddess Danu. Brew master of Immortality elixirs.

Qualities:
iron working, smelting, metal working, brew master, beer.

Description:
Goibniu is the Irish God of Smiths and was a son to the Goddess Danu. He was the official Smith to the Tuatha de Danann. He is found in company often with Luichtne the carpenter, Creidne the wright, and Diane Cecht the leech. His parents are unknown, but believed to be the hypothetical son of Danu, brother to Dagda and Dian Cecht. Others claim his family to be Tuirbe Trgmar (father), Net (grandfather), Balor Elatha (half-brothers), and Dagda (Nephew). He continued on in Irish folklore as Goban Saor, the legendary craftsman who built the round towers.

History:
He was believed to be killed alongside Dian Cecht by a painful plague that struck Ireland.

Folklore/Mythology:
He was believed to be able to smith swords that would always strike true. He was in possession of the Mead of Eternal Life. He, Credne, and Luchtainel were believed to be the creators of the magical weapons used by the Tuatha de Danann in battle. He and his brothers Creidhne and Luchtaine were known as the Tr De Dna, the three Gods of art, who forged the weapons which the Tuatha D used to battle the Fomorians. He was believed to be a creator of beer that would make its drinker immortal. He was a master brewer for the Tuatha de Danann. His feast would protect the Tuatha de Danann from sickness and old age.

Archaeology/History:
Referred in the Book of Invasions as “Goibniu who was not impotent in smelting, Luichtne, the free wright Creidne, Dian Cecht, for going roads of great healing, Mac ind Oc, Lug son of Ethliu.” Another text referring to him was the St. Gall codex referencing him in a charm during the “Second Battle of Magh Turedh” calling upon him in a spell to remove a thorn “very sharp is Goibnius science, let Goibnius goad go out before Goibnius goad!” During the Second Battle, Ruadan (son of Bres and Brighid) was sent to kill him. As the Fomorians felt he’d make a good spy, he was asked for parts of a spear from Goibniu assembled by a woman called Fron. Ruadan threw the spear at Gobniu wounding him. The spear was pulled out and he was keened by Brigid inventing the practice of keening and giving it to humankind. Keening is the high-pitched wailing for the dead often referenced to the Banshee (beansidhe). He went to the Well of Slaine, watched over by his family and healed by its magic waters, returned to battle, making more weapons for the Tuatha de Danann, and won Ireland from the Fomorians. His weapons always made their mark and wounds inflicted by them were always fatal. His ale made the Tuatha de Danann invulnerable. the Lebor Gabla renn describes him as as not impotent in smelting’.

Monuments and Artifacts:
The site Moytura in County Sligo is supposed to be associated with him as is the Moytura site in County Roscommon.

Bibliography/Recommended Readings:

  • R.A.S. Macalister 1941 “Lebor Gabla renn: Book of the Taking of Ireland” Part 1-5. Dublin: Irish Texts Society.

  • Gray, Elizabeth A. 1982 “Cath Maige Tuired: The Second Battle of Mag Tuired”. Dublin: Irish Texts Society. URL: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T300010/index.html
  • MacCulloch, J.A. 1911 “Religion of the Ancient Celts.” Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

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Could St. Gobnata be a modernized version of Goibniu?
Statue at Tobar Ghobnatan

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Gogmagog or Gog and Magog

Gogmagog: Gog and Magog
Goemagot, Goemagog or Gogmagoc; He of the Two Horns, He of the Two Ages, Gogmagog and Corineus

These ancient Giants (i.e. Titans, titans, fomorians, ancient ones) known as “Gog” and “Magog” in Paganism are descendants of early pre-Christian Giants of early English pageantry who were very tied to early Britain. The myth states that the Roman Emperor Diocletian had 33 wicked daughters whom he married off to 33 husbands who curbed their unsettling ways. However the daughters were so wicked, led by the eldest sister Alba, they plotted to cut the throats of their husbands as they slept. As punishment for this crime, they were set adrift in a boat with a half year’s rations of food, shunned forever. They drifted ashore the isles of what later became “Albion” (named after the eldest). Fornicating and coupling with demons, they populated the wild windswept island with a race of giants. Some say this was the Islands of what is known as modern day “Ireland” and became to be the legendary giant race of Fomorians while others claim it was the island of “Britain” and were the Giants who lived in these lands. When Brutus, great-grandson of neas, in company of his most able-bodied warrior Corineus, fled the fall of Troy, they by fate found themselves on these islands of Giants. Brutus was impressed with these isles so much that he named the Islands after himself, which later became called “Britain”. The leader of the Giants was a detestable monster named Gomagot (Gogmagog), who stood in stature twelve cubits, and of such prodigious strength that at one shake he pulled up an oak as if it had been a hazel wand. Brutus and Corineus faced “Gogmagog“, had combat, and hurled him from a high rock to his death. (This place, called “The Giant’s Leap”, “Langnagog”, are disputed being in Ireland as well as Cornwall) As a reward for this defeat, Corineus was given the western part of the island, which many say is how Cornwall was called after him. After this defeat, Brutus travelled to the East and founded the city of New Troy, which eventually became known as “London”. [Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century Historia Regum Brittaniae] Some correspond these myths to the biblical tale of Samson and Greek mythology of Hercules. Others argue that Gogmagog was a corruption of Gawr Madoc (Madoc the Great).

Another mythos to their origins tell that the 33 infamous daughters of Diocletian who were captured and chained at the gates of Guildhall as guardians had given birth to numerous sons who were deemed to be “Giants”. The last two survivors of these offspring, were “Gog” and “Magog”. This comes from the lore around the carved giants guarding the gates of Guildhall during the reign of Henry V. They were added to the Lord Mayor’s Show in 1554 which were labelled in 1605 as Corineus and Gogmagog. After much destruction of London by the great fires in 1666, they were resurrected in the Guildhall with the intent that they were to be seen daily all year and never to be demolished again such as the dismal violence as happened to their predecessors during the fires. Since these were made of wicker and pasteboard, they didn’t last very long, as they were eaten by rats. In 1708 they were replaced by a pair of wooden statues carved by Captain Richard Saunders which lasted for 200 years until destruction in the blitz. In 1953 they were replaced by the current carvings in the Guildhall created by David Evans as a gift to the City by Alderman Sir George Wilkinson who had been the Lord Mayor in 1940. Gog and Magog came to symbolize the links between the modern business institutions of the City to its ancient history. They have been coronated by Thomas Boreman in his “Gigantick History” of 1741 as:


    Corineus and Gogmagog were two brave giants who richly valued their honour and exerted their whole strength and force in the defence of their liberty and country; so the City of London, by placing these, their representatives in their Guildhall, emblematically declare, that they will, like mighty giants defend the honour of their country and liberties of this their City; which excels all others, as much as those huge giants exceed in stature the common bulk of mankind.

Another mythos could be relating them to Gyges or Gugu, the king who made Lydia a significant power. Some say the prophet Ezekiel utilized his history symbolically to tell this tale and referring to Asia Minor origins for convenience. Alexander the Great was also associated with Gog and Magog, identified as such in works glorifying the life and deeds of Alexander as someone who personally strove to keep Gog and Magog out of the civilized lands. This is related to the impenetrable wall he built to block off a pass in the Caucasus. The Quran also makes reference to a wall built to keep out Gog and Magog, which will be destroyed in the last days. Some equate this wall with Alexander’s, others with the Great Wall of China, and others as the Iron Curtain.

Gog and Magog don’t only have a place within Paganism, more so found Within much of J-C-I mythology (Judaism, Islam, Christianity), is an abundance of their existence in the lore, history, and beliefs of these peoples and/or faiths, especially as they pertain to future prophecies and catastrophism. Found in the Qur’an, Book of Ezekiel, Book of Genesis, and the Book of Revelation. These “supernatural beings” are also referred to as “demons” and “races” that once predated upon the Earth. According to Islam and Christianity of this being(s) were “war” incarnate, and was a great and righteous ruler (He of the Two Horns) or one that impacts two ages (He of Two Ages), would travel the world in three directions, until he found a tribe threatened by himself, or who were of an evil and destructive nature and caused great corruption upon the Earth. Often humans would offer tribute to Gog and Magog for his protection with the hope that he’d agree to help them. However, Gog and Magog notoriously declined the tribute. Because of this, according to legend, humanity constructed a great wall that all the hostile nations could not penetrate, trapping them there until doomsday, that their escape will be a sign of the end … “The War of Gog and Magog” would precede the return of Jesus.

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February 1st-2nd: Imbolc or Oimelc, Candlemas, St. Brigid’s Day

Imbolc or Imbolg a.k.a. Candlemas, Groundhog Day, St.Brigid’s Day, L Fhill Brghde, L Fhile Brde, Feast Day of St. Brigid, Spring Festival.

Celebrated February 1st or 2nd annually in the northern hemisphere, and August 1st or 2nd in the southern hemisphere.

Cultures: Gaels, Irish, Scottish, Manx, Neo-Pagans, Celtic Reconstructionists, Neo-Druids, Wiccans, Druids, Pagans.

Represents: hearth, home, lengthening days, early signs of Spring, birthing of ewes, milking of Ewes, milk, first stirrings of Spring, St. Brigid, candles, and first feasts.

“I mbolg” is Irish for “in the belly” and refers to the pregnancy of ewes. It has also been referred to as Oimelc referring to “Ew’s milk”. Imbolc is a popular Pagan holiday celebrating the marking of the first stirrings of Spring. Most commonly taking place traditionally on February 1st or 2nd, can take place also as late as February 12th in the Northern Hemisphere, and by new European settlers in the southern hemisphere celebrated around August 1st. It is a cross-quarter sabbat in modern Pagan faiths as a halfway mark between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox. The festival was first recorded to have been celebrated in the Middle Ages in Gaelic Ireland and was referred to as the “Tochmarc Emire of the Ulster Cycle” and was a cross-quarter day festival in Irish Mythology as one of four. The other four cross-quarter day festivals were Samhain, Beltane, and Lughnasad. Many believe it first celebrated the Goddess Brigid and later turned to represent the Saint Brigid. With growth of the Neo-Pagan movement of Shamanism, Celtic Spirituality, Druidism, Wicca, and Witchcraft, especially in relation to Celtic reconstructionism, “Imbolc” was revitalized as a Neo-pagan religious festival. As it was followed by Candlemas on February 2nd, as the Irish “L Fhile Muire na gCoinneal” or “feast day of Mary of the Candles”, Welsh “G?yl Fair y Canhwyllau” the two festivals became blended together. Because some Irish Neolithic monuments are aligned to this date, such as the Mound of the Hostages at Tara, it is believed the holiday was celebrated much earlier than the Middle Ages. It appears however for the first time from folklore collected during the 19th-20th century in Rural Ireland and Scotland. The holiday represents the hearth, home, lengthening days, early signs of Spring, birthing of ewes, milking of Ewes, milk, first stirrings of Spring, St. Brigid, candles, and first feasts. It is celebrated with hearth fires, butter, milk, bannocks, divination, seeking of prophecy, omens, oracles, candles, bonfires, weather divination, Groundhogs, badgers, snakes, festivals of light, early Spring celebrations, celebrations of Fire, purification, the Goddess Brigid, or St Brigid.

The Annals of the Four masters records Brigit to having died February 1st, 525 AD. Others believe this was the date of her birth. Because St. Brigid was believed to have died or born on February 1st, the date has been dedicated to her. The date also coincides with the Festival of St. Brigid of Kildare at this time. The association with Brigid / Brighid / Brde / Brigit / Brd, the festival is also related to holy wells, Brigid’s crosses, sacred flames, healing, poetry, smithcraft, and magic. In Gaelic tradition, Imbolc also is the time of the “Hag” or the “Cailleach” who gathers her firewood for the rest of winter. If she desires a longer winter, she makes sure the weather on this date is bright and sunny so she can gather more wood. If she’s ready for it to be over, this date will be overcast, cold, or with foul weather. If the snakes come out of their holes, badgers come to the surface, or the groundhog sees its shadow, there will be more winter. If they do not come out, then they are asleep and winter is almost over. The lighting of fires, candles, bonfires, and hearths represents the return of warmth and the growing power of the sun. As the Feast of St. Brigid, L Fhile Brde, and L Feabhra – Candlemas and Imbolc is celebrated as the official first day of Spring. Craft-wise this is honored by the handcrafting of the Brigid’s Bed when young unmarried girls would create a corn dolly representing Brigid called the Brideog (Little Brigid) adorned with ribbons, shells, and stones lying on a bed. On St. Brigid’s Eve (January 31st) the girls would gather in a house for an all nighter sleepover with the Brideog, only later to be visited by the single young men of the community to come treat them and the corn dolly with tribute. As Brigid is believed to manifest of Imbolc Eve, another tradition is the leaving of a strip of cloth or clothing outside for Brigid to bless. Fires that night when extinguished would have their ashes raked smooth, and in the morning, the fire caretakers would inspect the ash for any kinds of markings for a sign that Brigid came through the hearth. Cloth and clothing left out that night would be brought back into the house and believed to possess magical healing and protective energies. On Imbolc, the girls carry the Brideog through the community from house to house where offerings are given to her. The date is also celebrated by the weaving of Brigid’s Cross.

Neopagan celebrations of this festival vary from tradition to tradition, religion to religion. Much of the traditional rites associated with the practices today are based on reconstructionist theory in its beginnings evolving to new traditions today. As previously said, it is a time of purification, and therefore a time of initiations and new beginnings.

Bibliography/References:


  • Adler, Margot. 1979: “Drawing Down the Moon”. Boston: Beacon Press.

  • Bonewits, Isaac. 2006: “Essential Guide to Druidism”. New York: Kensington Publishing.

  • Carmichael, Alexander. 1992: “Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations”. Hudson: New York, Lindisfarne Press.

  • Chadwick, Nora. 1970: “The Celts”. London, Penguin books.

  • Cultural Heritage Ireland. “Festival of Imbolc and St. Brigit”. Website referenced March 2012. http://www.culturalheritageireland.ie/index.php/irish-history-from-the-annals/80-irish-history-from-the-annals/174-the-festival-of-imbolc-and-st-brigit

  • Danaher, Kevin. 1972: “The year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs”. Dublin, Mercier Books.

  • Hutton, Ronald. 1996: “The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain”. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • MacKillop, James. 1998: “Dictionary of Celtic Mythology”. New York: Oxford University press.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. “Imbolc”. Website referenced March 2012. http://www.wikipedia.org.

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Burns Tam OShanter, 1792 (1855 illustrations) Sexy Witch

Burns Tam OShanter, 1792 (1855 illustrations) Sexy Witch.

Burns Tam OShanter, 1792 (1855illustrations)

Tam OShanter is a ghost story written in verse by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns. Burns persuaded his friend Francis Grose to include a drawing of Alloway Kirk, in his Antiquities of Scotland (1791), which Grose promised to do if Burns would supply him with a ghost story to go with it. Burns wrote a brief version of the story in prose before starting his 224 line poem. Both versions have been quoted in the following account (see here for the prose and here for the poem).

The poem concerns a farmer, Tam. After a night of drinking and story-telling, Tam must ride home to Carrick through a heavy storm. As Tam passes Alloway kirk-yard it is the wizard hour, between night and morning. He sees a bright light streaming from the ruined church and, on investigating, he is surprised and entertained, thorough the ribs and arches of an old gothic window to see a dance of witches merrily footing it round. As the dance grows fast and furious the women cast aside their cloths and dance in their sark (undershirt). Alone among the many witherd beldams, auld and droll (withered grandmothers, old and comical) Tam notices a winsome wench in a cutty sark (short shirt). After some time observing the young witch dancing, Tam unwisely cries out Weel done, Cutty-sark!; at which, the music stops, the lights go out and all the witches give chase. Tam makes for the bridge (since a witch cant cross running water): the pursuing, vengeful hags were so close at his heels, that one of them actually sprung to seize him: but it was too late; nothing was on her side of the stream but the horses tail, which immediately gave way to her infernal grip, as if blasted by a stroke of lightning.

The poem was immediately, and immensely, popular: it has been illustrated many times. Artists have shown particular relish in depicting Nannie (the young witch) dancing, chasing Tam, and grasping the tail of Tams horse, Meg (or Maggie). The three illustrations below are by John Faed (and engraved by Lumb Stocks and James Stephenson for the 1855 edition). These are some of the best and most frequently reprinted or copied illustrations to Burns poem. I have accompanied each illustration (or detail) with a passage from the poem. (Follow link above or below for the author’s article to continue …)

http://sexywitch.wordpress.com/2006/09/15/burns-tam-oshanter/

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“Haitian Horror” by Thomas Baurley

Haitian Zombification

A treatise in 1989 on “Haitian Zombies”. Exploring Wade Davis’ work in Haiti with the compound made from tetrodotoxin utilized by witch doctors in creating real-life zombies as slaves.

Baurley, Thomas: 1989 Haitian Horror: Zombification as Myth or Reality?. Florida State University: 1989.

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