Tag Archives: myths

Horseshoe Falls

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Horseshoe Falls
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

Located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, the “Canadian Falls” or “Horseshoe Falls” is the most famous and most attracted spots at the Niagara Falls wonder. Over 90% of the Niagara River flows over these falls and is used for massive hydro-power generation. The Remaining 10% of the river flows over the American Falls. These falls are located between Terrapin Point on Goat Island and Table Rock in Ontario. The Falls have been fought over between America and Canada throughout history.

The Myth of the Maid of the Mist is a Native American legend from the Ongiaras Tribe about a young woman, named Lelawal, the Maid of the Mist. She lost her husband at a very young age and was lost in sorrow. She canoed along the Niagara River to the Falls, singing a death song paddling into the current. She was caught up in the rough waves and hurled into the falls, but as she fell, Heno, the God of Thunder who lived in these falls caught her carrying her down to his home beneath the veil of waters falling. Heno and his sons took care of her until she healed. One of his sons fell in love with her, married, and bore a son who learned to be a God of Thunder. The Maid however missed seeing her family and tribe. Heno reported to her that A great snake came down the mighty river and poisoned the waters of her people. They grew sick and were dying, being devoured by the snake until the mass disappearance of the tribe occurred. She begged Heno to be able to go back to the realm of her people to warn them of the dangers, so he lifted her through the falls back to her people. She advised them to move away from the river onto higher lands until the danger passed. Heno came back and brought her back to her husband. Once the great snake discovered that the people deserted the village, it went into a rage hissing and going upstream to search for them. Heno rose up through the mist of the falls and threw a giant thunderbolt at the snake killing it in one blast. The giant body floated downstream and lodged just above the cataract creating a large semi-circle that deflected huge amounts of water into the falls just above the God’s home. Heno swept through the falls trying to stop the massive influx of water caused by the position of the corpse. His home was destroyed. He called for the Maid and his sons returning up into the sky making a new home in the heavenly realms watching down over the humans, Heno thundering in the clouds as he once did in the falls. The thunder of the falls is Heno’s voice. [ http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/09/the_maid_of_the_mist.html ] Other legends claim Lelawala was betrothed by her father to a king she despised and secretly wanted to be with He-No, the God of Thunder, who lived beneath Horseshoe Falls. In the middle of heartache she chose to sacrifice herself to him, paddling her canoe into the Niagara River and swept off into the Falls. He-no caught her, merged with her spirit, and lived forever in his sanctuary behind the falls, whereas she became the “Maiden of the Mist”.

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Tiveragh Fairy Hill (Cushendall)

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The Tiveragh Fairy Hill
Cushendall, Northern Ireland

Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.

We however, of fae persuasion, did venture up the hill at the turn of twilight just as the sun was going down. We spied the hill with visions of faerie impressions while across the valley atop Ossian’s Grave – the Megalithic tomb believed to be the burial spot of the fabled poet and bard Oisin. Now Oisin was lured into fae, into Tir na nOg where he lived until he requested to return to the land of mortals to visit his family. Of course due to faerie time, he came back several hundred years later to find them all gone and deceased. He fell off his faerie steed and became a blind old man wandering these fields eventually dying. If the faerie tale is true, this would be the hill he would have rode out of and across the valley would have been his grave overlooking it … curiouser and curiouser. Midway along the way up the base of the hill is one of the most magnificent Faerie Thorn Trees I’ve ever encountered. As usual with these faerie hills, I always find a wee hole just big enough for the Victorian sized fae to enter within, usually lined with heavy rocks, making it look peculiarly like its a miniature mine rather than a animal hole. We climbed atop as the sun was going down, empowered by the feelings of the ancient ones. Archaeologically though, this may be a massive hillfort. I’m looking for those records and will post my findings here.

    On Tiv-ra Hill near Cushendall,
    I heard a commotion behind a wall,
    I stopped and looked over, and boys-o-boys!

    Now what do you think was making the noise?
    Twas a Hurley match – and may I choke -–
    It was two wee teams of the Fairy folk
    That was rippling’ and tearing’ and weltin’ away
    In the light of the moon was bright as day.

    And their playing pitch was hardly as big
    As my Uncle Barney’s potato rig;
    And me there watchin’ them puck and clout –
    At the back o’ the wall with my eyes stuck out.

    When all at once, like the squeal of a hare,
    A wee voice shouted, “Who’s that up there?””
    And a bit off a thing about nine – inch tall
    Came climbing up to the top of the wall.

    And he stood there; he stood about pot -size
    With his two wee fingers up at my eyes,
    And its God’s own truth that I’m speakin’ mind ye,
    “”Get out o’ that,” says he, “or I’ll blind ye!””

    Aye that’s what he said, “I’ll blind ye,” says he,
    And by Jing what he said was enough for me,
    Did I run? Aye surely; I didn’t miss -–
    And I haven’t seen Tiveragh from that to this.

    ~ H.Browne

    The Fairy Hill Tiveragh is a fairy hill and near to Cushendall,
    And nobody goes there at night, no nobody at all.
    The hill is small, the sides are steep.
    And I have heard it said That flickering lights go in and out While everyone’s in bed.
    And on the top two hawthorns grow, A white one and a red.
    ~ John Irvine Desmond

~ Yours truly, Leaf McGowan

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The Happy/Sad Foot of Sunset Blvd

Happy/Sad Foot of Sunset Blvd
* Sunset Blvd. * Los Angeles, California *

There’s a whirling sign of a foot on crutches that locals claim has supernatural and mythical properties: The moment you glance at it … if it is a Happy Foot, good luck will come your way. If it is Unhappy, Bad luck comes your way. According to locals (& now Boingboing.net) this rotating sign that is the advertising sign for a Foot clinic will prophesize your luck. The sign rotates slowly. The urban myth has become so popular with locals and tourists, that it has been already immortalized in the book “You Don’t Love Me Yet” published in 2008 by Jonathan Lethem. He writes “Lucinda’s view took in a three quarter’s slice of the sign as it turned in its vigil over Sunset Boulevard: happy foot and sad foot suspended in dialog forever. The two images presented not so much a one-or-the-other choice as an eternal marriage of opposites, the emblem of some ancient foot-based philosophical system. This was Lucinda’s oracle: once glance to pick out the sad or happy foot, and a coin was flipped, to legislate any decision she’d delegated to the foot god.”

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Finn McCool and the Giant’s Causeway

Finn McCool
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The phenomenal World Heritage Site – “The Giant’s Causeway” is the legendary tromping ground of the Giant’s Finn McCool and Benandonner. The story has it that the Irish Giant Finn McCool who lived on these shores had a Scottish rival – a giant named Benandonner. When McCool started to build a causeway to Scotland in order to challenge Benandonner to a battle, all hell started to break loose across the Sea. When he completed the work, the causeway stretched from North Antrim to Staffa. Benandonner accepted the battle to walk over to Ireland and fight for supremacy. As Benandonner appeared over the horizon, Finn McCool realized in horror that he had taken on a rival much bigger than himself. Out of fear, he ran home to his wife Oonagh to trick Benandonner. Not wanting her husband to die, Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and made him curl up in an enormous cradle. When Benandonner saw the sight of this huge “baby”, he took fright, as he suspected the father McCool would be humongous. He ran back across the causeway to Scotland, tearing up he causeway in his wake, supposedly losing his boot and cutting his foot enroute. Some say the red algae pools are from droplets of his bloody foot, and the boot is his that he lost.

Finn McCool was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish Mythology, who was also supposedly the father to the poet Oisin. His name, Fionn or Finn means “fair”, “white”, or “bright”. As a giant, he was believed to have built the Giant’s Causeway as a stepping stones pathway to Scotland so that he wouldn’t get his feet wet. Apparently, he had also scooped up a part of Ireland to flight at his rival giant Benandonner, but missed, having it land in the Irish Sea – and it was this clump that became the Isle of Man, and a pebble became Rockall, the void becoming Lough Neagh. There is also a cave in Scotland, sharing the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, that is called Fingal’s Cave. Most of the legends of Finn as a giant come from Manx Folklore.


Benandonner’s blood pool


Benandonner’s Boot

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Martine Fassier



Martine Fassier

Gallery at Trolls et Legendes Festival in Mons, Belgium: 4/11/09 – 4/12/09

www.martinefa.fr

Another amazing artist, Martine got her degree in arts and crafts, moving over to graphic arts, and finally illustration. She’s well known for her calligraphy, drawing, and photography. She gains her inspiration from ancient myths and folklore, cinema, and childhood tales. She primarily does book and postcard illustrations, exhibitions, and festivals, but soon to release a book of illustrated fables. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


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