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Herbs for the Modern Heathen

Herbs for the Modern Heathen by The Herb Witch

Be sure to check out more from The Herb Witch HERE.

Many of us, do not live in the place that our ancestors lived. I was born in England but moved to Canada
as a child. As a Heathen, I use herbs daily in my daily practice as well as in my sacred spaces and it has
been quite the journey researching the type of herbs and plants that my ancestor would have used. This
is my experience, and I am not going to tell you how to Heathen. I will chat a little bit about how I use
herbs to connect with my ancestors, the gods, the land spirits and wights.

Offering Fire

I often have Offering fires in which I offer food to my ancestors, a drop of ale poured on the ground and certain herbs to burn in the fire as an offering. In my personal ritual I use the herbs that were common and abundant in the time of my ancestors. The herbs I offer are usually wormwood, mugwort, lemon balm, peppermint, clary sage, rosemary, rose petals, lavender and chamomile. I often interchange this with cedar, juniper and pine tips, black walnut, beech, birch, poplar, willow and elm barks. There is no need for a specific list, I offer what is at hand and what is available to me at that time. Better yet, bundling cedar, pine and juniper with these herbs is a wonderful offering as well and these bundles can be placed directly in the fire to burn along side any incense or loose herbs that you would like to add.

Herbs for the Land Spirits or Landvaettir

Illustration of a landvaettr

Throughout all the seasons, I will often walk through a field or a forested area and leave an herbal offering for the land spirits. I will often tie up a cloth bundle with various herbs and flowers and seeds and lay it in a clear area for the land spirits. Upon laying down the bundle, I open it up and lay it down flat on the earth. For me it acts as a token of my gratitude for all the gifts that I receive from the land. You can also sit in a spot of your choosing and burn an herb offering bundle or loose herbal incense. These are only suggestions, and you can certainly create your own way of offering up offerings to the Landvaettir.

Offerings

Herbal offerings

When offering to the Gods the rationale I use to select herbs is to select herbs that symbolize the qualities and skills of that God. I will provide you with a short list of the herbs I use for offerings to the Gods.

Baldur – Sunflower petals, Marigold, Chamomile (flowers I associate with being bright)


Freya- Mints, Roses, Mugwort ( Seidr work) , daisies


Frigga – Flaxseed, Birch Bark, Lavender, Roses, Calendula (Hearth Herbs)


Eir- Lavender, Peppermint, Rose, Chamomile, Lemon Balm (Healing Herbs)


Hel- Mugwort, Plantain, Rue, Wormwood (plants associated with the dead)


Heimdall- Rosemary, Clove, Allspice, Clary Sage ( Herbs for protective vigilance)


Odin- Ash bark, Mugwort, Viper’s Bugloss, Woad, Red Clover (Shamanic Herbs)


Thor-Nettle, Thistle (protective yet aggressive plants) Oak bark ( sacred to Thor, Donar)


Woden – Mugwort, Plantain, Watercress, Chervil, Mayweed (Wild Chamomile), Dried Crab Apple,
Nettle, Fennel and Viper’s Bugloss (borage). These are the herbs from the Nine Herbs Charm poem.

**This is just a sample as I prepare herbs for many gods, but hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea.
Please use your own intuition and definitely use what is at hand.

Yule Herb Bundles

When crafting bundles or incense for burnt offerings to my ancestors I like to offer what ever is in season as well as offering two specific flowers of herbs to my bundles. I often add Forget me nots to my bundles as well as Black Eyes Susans as they are said to act as a conduit to the beloved dead.

I go by the seasons, in early spring it is the first flowers such as violets, tulips and daffodils. Further into summer I will offer roses, lavender, calendula, peppermint, rosemary, clary sage, thyme and what ever else is in season. I the end, it is an offering of what you have and what is available for you to offer up.

Many Blessings to your home and hearth!
wyrþe þanc!!
The Herb Witch

Further Resources

Incorporate herbs into spells, rituals, and divination with this all-inclusive guide to the benefits of using herbal magic in witchcraft.

From creating potions to using dried herbs in rituals, herbal magic is a natural way to practice witchcraft. Herbs can be used in many different ways to help set the intention through every part of a witch’s process.

In The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs, learn everything you need to use the most powerful herbs and use them as an essential part of your practice. Including information on which herbs are best for what kinds of spells, how to use herbs in divination and rituals, and step-by-step guides to making herbal bundles, potions, and sprays, this guidebook has all the important facts to make your herbal witchcraft a success.

Jam-packed with herbal ideas, this guide is perfect for both beginners and experienced witches looking to incorporate more herbs into their practice. Beautiful and functional, it is easy to navigate and offers a detailed guide to herbal magic!

A highly recommended Youtube channel is that of Freyia Norling who is extremely knowledgeable regarding the use of herbs and more with Norse Folk Medicine.

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Foxes: Folklore, Myth and More

The Fox is an incredible animal who is as diverse in its sub-species to where they live which is every continent except Antarctica. They can be found from Australia to the Arctic and just about everywhere in-between. So it is not surprising that when it comes to folklore and mythology both newer tales to those of ancient times you will find the Fox mentioned more than any other animal from Japan to the Native American tales. The Fox also happens to be a personal favorite of mine so featuring them on my Blog for me is a must.

Foxes in Folklore

Symbolism and metaphor are often used in folklore to explore the depths of human emotions and how we have connected with the world around us. Animals in particular, have long been a popular source of inspiration, acting as reflections of our best and worst qualities, or appearing to us as magical creatures linking the mortal and spirit realms.

There are maybe only a handful of animals, both real and mythological, that are more commonly found in folklore globally than the fox. Considering the relatively close proximity humans and foxes have had with each other, it is no surprise that we included this relationship in our mythologies and tales. Even the ancient Sumerians were inspired by foxes and included one in the Eridu Genesis myth, first recorded around 1600 BCE.

In general, there is a split consensus cross-culturally when it comes to the depiction of foxes in folklore. The fox is perhaps most well known as a trickster, sneaky and cunning in behavior, creating devious plans which they occasionally fall victim to. In Aesop’s Fables, they are egotistical, con artists, and benefit from the misfortune of others. Phrases like “sly as a fox” and “outfoxed” are references to the trickster persona. Continue reading HERE. And find Part 2 HERE.

Fox Carved in Stone Göbekli Tepe. Acsen. Shutterstock.
Göbekli Tepe is a world heritage site in Turkey. The monolithic structures are thought to have been erected around 9,600-8,200 BCE.

It would be difficult to compile a complete list of all the available fox mythology. In the Scandinavian countries, foxes were believed to cause the northern lights. These aurora were called “revontulet” in Finland, meaning “fox fires”. SOURCE

The Scandinavian legend of Aurora borealis by CORinAZONe on DeviantArt

A more modern version of the of the Northern Lights regarding a Fox written by Don Fowler is a favorite of mine which I want to share with you.

Long ago when the world was young there lived in the forest of Midgard a small fox named Rav who was as black as night. He was a sly little fox who liked to play jokes on the other animals of the forest. Needless to say, he didn’t have many friends in the forest.

One day he was confronted by some rabbits that wanted to make fun of his abnormal black fur. He ran past them and swiped his tail over the grass in passing, lighting it into flames. The scared rabbits bound off in fear and hasted deep into the forest to escape the flames.

The land wight of the forest lake got upset with Rav and scolded the fox for causing such trouble. Rav tried to lie to the forest lake, telling her that he would not do such a thing again. But the forest lake knew better than to trust a fox and sent him from Midgard across Yggdrasil to Jotunheim, the land of giants and trolls.

Jotunheim is a cold, icy land, and there the fox found his lovely black coat had gone arctic white. Worse than that, now the little arctic fox was all alone and had to constantly flee from the giants and the trolls of the wild north. He did well at protecting only his own hide and the years passed before he knew it.

Then on a bitter cold day he spied a small fire where two travelers were eating. One had red hair and a beard and carried a mighty hammer. The other had black hair and seemed, to Rav, to be very cunning and fair. But as he was watching the giants played a trick on the travelers by making the snow storm so hard the travelers could not find their way. Rav knew the lost travelers would come under attack by the giants soon.

It was then Rav felt regret for his own actions in the past, and felt sympathy for the bold travelers. Running ahead, he swept his tail over the snow, sending up a whirl of fire into the sky making it like day. It was enough to startle the giants as he lit a path to the Bifrost bridge for the travelers.

At the top of the bridge one of the travelers companions could make out what was going on far below. He quickly alerted all in Asgard of the danger of the trouble making giants. So it was that in the end the travelers made it back to their land safely despite the snow storm.

Impressed with the little arctic fox they made Rav a small home at the base of the Bifrost bridge where it meets the frigid snow of the north. It would be the little arctic fox’s duty to send up flames nightly so that anyone lost could see and find their way back home. He was so good at making his northern lights that they became known as the Foxfires or the Revontulet.

The Fox is the star of more fairy tales and fables than any other animal! Find out why by reading this book. From California to Norway, Africa to Ancient Greece these stories have traveled with the people who loved them best. You can learn to be witty, clever, and outsmart your foe with the help of these fox tales. Maybe you too can learn to sing your own fox songs! The author, Brian “Fox” Ellis once had a pet fox! He has studied the science and folklore of foxes and shares his love of these cunning creatures with all who will listen. He infuses the folktales with solid science and writes science with a fairy tale spin. He has performed Fox Tales around the world and because his name is Fox, folks have given small fox carvings of virtually every style imaginable. This book is the fourth in a series called Fox Tales Folklore that blends history and ecology, poetry and personal narrative to explore themes like A River of Stories, Prairie Tales, Bird Tales and Fish Tales. All of the books will soon be available here on Amazon as a paperback or eBook, but you can also visit www.foxtalesint.com to download an audio book or you could even watch a live performance of these stories on his YouTube channel Fox Tales International.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 19. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
“On this highway is a place called Teumessos (Teumessus), where it is said that Europa was hidden by Zeus. There is also another legend, which tells of a Fox called the Teumessian Fox, how owing to the wrath of Dionysos the beast was reared to destroy the Thebans, and how, when about to be caught by the Hound [Lailaps (Laelaps)] given by Artemis to Prokris (Procris) the daughter of Erekhtheus (Erechtheus), the Fox was turned into a stone, as was likewise this Hound.”

THE ALOPEX TEUMESIOS (Teumessian Fox) was a giant fox sent by the gods to ravage the countryside of Thebes as punishment for some crime. Kreon (Creon), regent of Thebes, commanded Amphitryon destroy the fox–an impossible task for the beast was destined never to be caught. The hero solved the problem by setting the magical dog Lailaps (Laelaps) on the trail, for it was destined to always catch its quarry. Zeus, faced with a paradox of fate–an uncatchable fox being pursued by an inescapable dog–, turned the pair to stone, so freezing their contest in time. SOURCE

Kitsune

Kitsune (狐, キツネ, IPA: [kitsɯne]) in the literal sense is the Japanese word for “fox”. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict legendary foxes as intelligent beings and as possessing paranormal abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shapeshift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others – as foxes in folklore often do – other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and humans lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto “kami,” or “spirit,” and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. Continue reading HERE.

The Role of Foxes in Slavic Mythology and Folklore

By @Dunoss.Art on Instagram

The early Slavs often had a similar perception of the fox that is still popular in modern culture across the world today. No matter the species, foxes were seen as sly and cunning tricksters. They use this skill often to deceive protagonists, and this makes them often villains in folk tales. Among the Slavs, though, the fox has positive roles as well.

When tricksters are mentioned in Slavic mythology, it’s impossible not to mention Weles (Veles), god of the lowlands, underworld, serpents, and cattle. Like the fox, Weles is often incorrectly perceived as evil, stealing Perun‘s cattle as well as his son, Jaryło. The god serves a crucial role, though, and so does the fox, serving as the symbol of mind over brute strength. Continue reading HERE.

The fox is a scavenger carnivores dog generally found in urban city areas in the northern Hemisphere. The fox is a nocturnal mammal meaning that the fox only goes out a night to hunt for prey. Wild foxes tend live for around 6-7 years but some foxes have been known to be older than 13 in captivity. The wild fox hunts for the mouse and other small mammals and birds but foxes appear to enjoy all species of insect.

Further Resources

Foxes and Fox Lore

The Nine Tailed Fox of Chinese Mythology

Foxes in Mythology

Native American Fox Mythology

Vulpes, Vixen and … Vulpix? Foxes in folklore and popular culture

Fox Symbolism & Meaning

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Fireflies: Folklore, Myth and More

Fireflies are in my top five of favorite insects and a lot of those reasons will be within what you find in this post from their mystical appearance at night to the significance they hold in a lot of folklore. The Firefly also known as a lightning Bug can be a significant meaning in your dreams, as a totem and even a spirit animal which will be covered here as well but first let me share with you a story about myself and Fireflies which sometimes I wonder if there are Fae among them in disguise.

Many years ago I lived in a beautiful part of the Appalachians on a property with a pond in front of my house over an acre in size with it surrounded by grass. Every day right at dusk I would sit or lay on the grass in front of the pond. I would watch the fish nipping at the bugs on the surface of the pond ass the Bats began swooping like acrobatic jets above beginning to feed. All the time as it darkened the Fireflies would emerge from the grass undergrowth and it truly looked like a scene from a fantasy movie. Truly an amazing experience every time.

The Magic & Folklore of Fireflies By Patti Wigington

In China, long ago, it was believed that fireflies were a product of burning grasses. Ancient Chinese manuscripts hint that a popular summer pastime was to catch fireflies and put them in a transparent box, to use as a lantern, much like children (and adults) often do today.

There’s a Japanese legend that lightning bugs are actually the souls of the dead. Variations on the tale say that they’re the spirits of warriors who fell in battle. Our About.com Japanese Language Expert, Namiko Abe, says, “The Japanese word for a firefly is hotaru… In some cultures, hotaru might not have a positive reputation, but they are well liked in Japanese society. They have been a metaphor for passionate love in poetry since Man’you-shu (the 8th-century anthology).”

Even though fireflies put on a pretty great light show, it’s not just for entertainment. The flashing of their light is how they communicate with each other – especially for courtship rituals. Males flash to let the ladies know they’re looking for love… and the females respond with flashes to say they’re interested.

Fireflies appear in a lot of Native American folklore as well. There’s an Apache legend in which the trickster Fox tries to steal fire from the firefly village. To accomplish this, he fools them and manages to set his own tail on fire with a piece of burning bark. As he escapes the firefly village, he gives the bark to Hawk, who flies off, scattering embers around the world, which is how fire came to the Apache people. As punishment for his deception, the fireflies told Fox that he would never be able to use fire himself.

Using Firefly Magic

Think about the different aspects of firefly folklore. How can you use them in a magical working?

  • Feeling lost? Catch some fireflies in a jar (please, poke holes in the lid!) and ask them to illuminate your way. Release them when you’re done.
  • Use fireflies to represent the element of fire on your summer altar.
  • Fireflies are sometimes associated with the moon – use them in summer moon rituals.
  • Incorporate firefly light into a ritual to attract a new mate, and see who responds.
  • Some people associate fireflies with the Fae – if you practice any sort of Faerie magic, welcome the fireflies into your celebrations.
  • Incorporate firefly symbolism into a ritual to honor your ancestors. SOURCE
Firefly (Junkiri) glowing at night. Image credit: Nepali Times 

The Symbolic Meaning of Crossing Paths With a Bright Little Firefly or Lightning Bug This Summer by Rebecca Norris

Fireflies—which are technically a type of nocturnal beetle!—often go unnoticed until nighttime. But, as soon as the tail of their abdomen begins to glow, the little bugs (also called lightning bugs) transform into seemingly-magical creatures that create specks of light in the dark evening air, leaving children and adults alike in awe. What makes them extra special is that they’re only around for a few weeks in the summer, and only in certain areas (in the U.S., that means warm, humid climates east of Kansas).

According to Honigman, fireflies serve as powerful and empowering reminders for anyone who sees them. “A little light shining bravely in the darkness,” she says of their symbolic meaning. “Small and alone, showing us that we are each worthy, that every person shines their own unique light, and in our own world, be represented in the global struggle for illumination. Light over dark. Positive over negative. However tiny you are, your light still illuminates the darkness.”

Honigman says they’re also reminders to be intentional about the light you seek in others. “Fireflies have a unique way of shining their light, in order to draw the exact right mate to them,” she explains. “They flash their light in specific patterns, and only the right mate responds to each individual pattern. This reminds us to be specific with the people we keep around us, and to be intentional with our circle. One firefly won’t be drawn to another one unless communication is exact and specific. Similarly, the right people for you will heed your call. If it feels ‘off’ then this isn’t your person.” Continue reading HERE.

Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs is the first-ever comprehensive firefly guide for eastern and central North America. It is written for all those who want to know more about the amazing world of lightning bugs and learn the secrets hidden in the flash patterns of the 75+ species found in the eastern and central United States and Canada. As an independent researcher working with numerous university teams, naturalist Lynn Frierson Faust, “The Lightning Bug Lady,” has spent decades tracking the behavior and researching the habitats of these fascinating creatures.

Fireflies

by Bliss Carman

The fireflies across the dusk
Are flashing signals through the gloom—
Courageous messengers of light
That dare immensities of doom.

About the seeding meadow-grass,
Like busy watchmen in the street,
They come and go, they turn and pass,
Lighting the way for Beauty’s feet.

Or up they float on viewless wings
To twinkle high among the trees,
And rival with soft glimmerings
The shining of the Pleiades.

The stars that wheel above the hill
Are not more wonderful to see,
Nor the great tasks that they fulfill
More needed in eternity.

Sir David Attenborough explores the world of bio-luminescence, the often spectacular natural light produced by some creatures. Specially designed cameras reveal nature’s leading lights.

Further Resources

Firefly Symbolism & Meaning

Spiritual meaning of fireflies: the symbolism! Does it indicate good luck?

Common Names for Fireflies

The Light of the Firefly: What is its Role in Japanese Culture?

Symbolic Meaning of the Firefly

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Slavic Mermaids and Water Spirits

Many years ago I began reading about and studying the folklore, deities and overall mythology of the Slavic culture mainly after discovering I have some Slavic lineage. What I quickly learned was how much I enjoy it and even to this day still am always on thew lookout for books regarding this subject. In particular, as I am all about anything with water, I especially enjoy learning about Beings that reside in or around the water of Slavic folklore and even Kupala who is the Slavic goddess of joy and water. If you enjoy Slavic folklore as much as I do then I hope you will enjoy this blog post I thoroughly enjoyed putting together for my readers.

The Rusalki, by Jane L. Mickelson

Beautiful, mysterious, deadly: mermaids of Russian folklore

They meet by moonlight, rising out of lakes and ponds or drifting down from the branches of birch trees, hair drip-ping with dew. Their corpse-pale skin reveals their inhuman nature. Their watery essence links them to ancient, elemental forces. In Russian and Ukrainian tradition they are called the rusalki, and they belong to the spiritual world of women, as the mythology surrounding them testifies. For not only do they bring the fertilizing spring rains when invoked by village maidens, but they also punish any man who chances upon them, using as a weapon the very element that the women so longingly call forth: they lure the interloper into the water and drown him.

In some versions of tales about them, the rusalki are portrayed as shape-shifters, most frequently appearing as unearthly and beautiful young women, but also as birds, particularly water birds such as swans or ducks. This aspect of their nature as a mixture of animal and human relates them to other female water-beings found throughout mythology and folklore around the world, from the sirens that tempted sailors to their doom in the Odyssey to the mermaids that continue to appear in popular modern films and literature. Joanna Hubbs, who has traced the lineage of the rusalki in her book Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture, views them as the descendants of an earlier Slavic water elemental, a character part woman and part beast, “the beregina, [which] assumed in folk art the form of the half-woman and half-bird or fish-siren.”1 Hubbs states that the name of the rusalki’s ancestor finds its source in the word “bereg,” which may be translated as “shore.” Continue reading HERE.

Vodyanoy – Water Spirit/The Spirit of the Lake

Also known as Vodnik, the Water Spirit of Dvořák’s opera is better known in folklore as Vodyanoy (amongst other names, such as Wassermann or Nix). Dvořák appeared to be particularly fond of this Water Goblin, writing a separate symphonic tone poem titled Vodník.

Hailing from Slavic, German and Czech’s shared folklore, Vodyanoys were often depicted as humanoids with toad-like features, such as gills, webbed fingers, a greenish hue and anuran features. Usually found riding along the river on a half-sunk log, the Vodyanoy were generally viewed as elderly old men, in stark contrast to the youthful feminine Rusalkas.

Whilst not necessarily viewed as malevolent, Vodyanoy (along with Rusalki) were often blamed for drownings, with the Vodyanoy storing the souls of the drowned in teapots. Usually thought to be pretty lazy, they pass the time by playing cards, smoking pipes, and watching the water pass by. SOURCE

Дженеев Иван Алексеевич, Water Depths. Whirlpool, 1907

Waters and Sacred Spaces

We know from the accounts of chroniclers that pagan temples at Radegast (Rethra) and Wolin, both in modern Poland, were surrounded by bodies of water: swamps, moats and lakes [2]. Chroniclers tell of local beliefs about spirits in these waters, and we can speculate about their use in ritual: bathing and sacrificing in these waters during holy times of the year.

Veneration of springs is a well known in Slavic cultures and persists even to this day, in the form of cults of Christian saints, in many rural areas. But this practice is certainly ancient; aside from the desire for the health benefits of mineral water, springs were either the object of worship or accompanying shrines to gods among Slavic pagan tribes living near the Elbe river.

The Głomacze tribe’s spring was famed for its fortune-telling: it was coated with acorns, oats or wheat to predict peace, and ash or blood to predict war [3]. Acorns covering these waters meant nearby oaks to drop them: oak being a sacred symbol of the thunder god, Perun. Similarly, in Szczecin, a fountain at the base of a large oak tree was venerated as a shrine, to which god the chronicler does not name, but we might speculate it to be the thunderer [2]. Continue reading HERE.

“Ilya Muromets” by Nikolay Roerich

Surprisingly, the Slavs imagined their own Styx, a border river between life and the underworld, and in Russia, this river was called Smorodina, which translates quite clearly as “The Stinky One.”

The river is “stinky,” because it is made of constantly burning and fuming fire. Smorodina is the border between our world and the afterlife that a man’s soul needs to cross to get to the land of plenty (probably The Three Nines Kingdom).

“The melting river is ferocious, a fierce river, the angriest one of all. Its first trickle is like a fire, another one is a spark falling, and because of the third one, the smoke is coming down in columns,” an old Russian bylina (oral epic tale) “Dobrynya and The Serpent” relates. Continue reading HERE.

Russian sauna water spirit B’annik

It was also believed that in ba’nyas (Russian saunas) lived the water spirit named B’annik. He might do various evil things: to scare you while washing, throw stones from the oven or even to raw. He always washed after all the humans at night accompanied with demons, L’eshijs, mermaids & other minor spirits. To please Bannik people left a broom, a bar of soap & some water in a bathing barrel. Besides it was forbidden to build a house on the sauna’s place. This area was considered to be cursed. SOURCE

Another spooky story from SVP! We spoke of what happens when people are so bad, even hell spits them back out, but that isn’t the case with the Rusalka. The Rusalka are women who met untimely deaths at the bottom of the river, but return to lure more victims to a watery grave. Are they spirits seeking justice? Or vengeance? We don’t advise getting close enough to find out.
Vodyanoy Concept and Story Art. Story references inspired by: Nenad Gajic’s book “Slovenska mitologija” and Louis Leger’s book “La Mythologie Slave”

Further Resources

Slavic Folk

Slavic Mermaids: Water Ghosts and Goblins

Rusalka

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Books of the Sagas

When asked by people who are first diving into the spirituality of what is commonly known as Norse Paganism I always recommend the Hávamál, the Eddas and of course the Sagas. These I feel really can build a foundation for anyone interested in starting a spiritual path regarding this subject. But of course there are thousands of books regarding the tales of the folklore and the Gods and Goddesses of Scandinavia, many of which are in my personal library which will eventually be added on blogs posts here. But for now I want to focus on five books in my library so let us get to it.

The Sagas of Icelanders: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world’s greatest literary treasures–as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured further west–to Greenland and, ultimately, the coast of North America itself.

The ten Sagas and seven shorter tales in this volume include the celebrated “Vinland Sagas,” which recount Leif Eiriksson’s pioneering voyage to the New World and contain the oldest descriptions of the North American continent. Get your copy HERE.

The Sagas of Fridthjof the Bold
By Ben Waggoner

Popular in the 19th century for its sweeping, adventurous, romantic plot and tender love story, the Saga of Fridthjof the Bold was largely neglected in the 20th century. Now, a new and fresh translation of both versions of this Old Norse saga restores it to glory. Also included is the swashbuckling Saga of Thorstein Vikingsson, the father of the hero Fridthjof; the Tale of King Vikar, telling of Fridthjof’s descendants; and plenty of notes and commentary giving the saga’s historical and cultural background. These tales of adventure, war, magic, and love can still thrill the heart today, as they did centuries ago. Get your copy HERE.

The Hrafnista Sagas
By Ben Waggoner

The Norwegian island of Hrafnista was long remembered in medieval Iceland as the ancestral home of a family of powerful chieftains, who were said to have faced and triumphed over dangers ranging from tyrant kings, to storms and famines, to giants, dragons, and sorcery. Descendants of these Men of Hrafnista settled in Iceland and gave rise to prominent families, who passed on tales of their ancestors for generations until they were written down. For the first time, the Old Norse sagas of the Men of Hrafnista—the Saga of Ketil Salmon, the Saga of Grim Shaggy-Cheek, the Saga of Arrow-Odd, and the Saga of An Bow-Bender—have been collected in one volume, in English translation. Enter the world of Viking legend and lore with these tales of high adventure. Get your copy HERE.

Sagas of Giants and Heroes
By Ben Waggoner

Huge in stature; living in far-distant wastelands; sometimes comically stupid or crude; but possessing vast wealth and knowledge—such are the giants of Norse myth and legend.

Four Icelandic sagas and six tales, spanning five centuries, are brought together for the first time in all-new English translations. All tell of mighty giants, and of the heroes who dared to face them, fight them, and sometimes befriend them. The giants and trolls of old still live on in these legendary sagas of old times. These tales of epic voyages, wars, and romance will appeal to both scholars of Norse mythology and fans of Viking adventure.

The sagas include the Saga of the Kjalarnes People, the Saga of Halfdan Brana’s Fosterling, the Saga of Sorli the Strong, and the Saga of Illugi Grid’s Fosterling.

The six shorter tales are: the Tale of Halfdan the Black, the Tale of Hauk High-Breeches, the Tale of Jokul Buason, the Tale of Brindle-Cross, an excerpt from the Saga of the Fljotsdal People, and the Tale of Asmund Ogre-Lucky. Get your copy HERE.

Three Icelandic Sagas Gunnlaugs Saga Ormstungu – Bandamanna Saga – Droplaugarsona Saga Hardcover – January 1, 1950
by Margaret and M. H. Scargill (translators) Schlauch (Author)



This gem may not be so easy to acquire as it is out of print as far as I know. My copy of Three Icelandic Sagas is a first edition published on Januray 1st, 1950 and is my favorite in my Sagas collection. The three Sagas told in this book are the Gunnlaugs Saga, Bandamanna Saga and Droplaugarsona Saga which all took place from the late 10th century to early 11th century in Iceland. The book is so well written and even includes some beautiful art depicting scenes from the Sagas. If you manage to get a copy of this first edition it is one you will thoroughly enjoy.

When we think of the roots of European civilization it’s to Greece and Rome that our thoughts turn. But there is a culture whose effect may be even more profound. Hundreds of years ago in faraway Iceland the Vikings began to write down dozens of stories – called sagas. These sagas are priceless historical documents which bring to life the Viking world.
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Mermaids: Legends, Origins and More

Since I was a child playing on the beaches of Oregon and California, I have had a fascination with all things regarding the sea from its marine life to maritime history and especially the mysterious tales of its beings told in ancient to even modern folklore. One of those mystical beings of the sea I adore are Mermaids which can be seen in folklore tales all around the world. Today’s post is all about Mermaid folklore, their origins, mythology and more. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did putting it together for my readers.

Early origins of Mermaids

The roots of mermaid mythology are more varied than one would expect.  In modern myth we tend to see mermaids in a singular way – kind and benevolent to humans who keep to their own kind in the deep waters of the ocean.  Not all stories go this way, though, and in most cases the most ancient tales of mermaid mythology follow quite a different view.

The earliest known mermaid legends come from Syria around 1000 B.C. where the Syrian goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the powers there would not allow her give up her great beauty, so only her bottom half became a fish and she kept her top half in human form. 

As myths tend to do, the story changed over time and Atargatis became mixed with Syrian goddess Ashtarte, who is generally considered the counterpart to Greek mythology’s Aphrodite.  Though Aphrodite is rarely portrayed in mermaid form, this evolution of mermaid mythology is what led to Aphrodite’s role in the mythology of Pisces, which clearly has roots in Syrian mythology.

Later tales in the mythology of mermaids stem from Homer’s epic “The Odyssey”, where some mythologists believe the Sirens to have been in mermaid form.  This was an extremely popular version of the mermaid throughout history.  Many popular tales including legends from the British Isles and the famous Arabian Nights tales identify mermaids in exactly this fashion.  In these myths, mermaids would sing to men on ships or shores nearby, practically hypnotizing them with their beauty and song.  Those affected would rush out to sea only to be either drowned, eaten, or otherwise sent to their doom. Continue reading HERE.

An illustration of Derceto from the work of German scholar Athanasius Kircher, “Oedipus Aegyptiacus”, published in 1652.  (Image credit: Athanasius Kircher/Public Domain)

The Lorelei

“Flows the Rhine as flowing wine,
Bright in its unrest,
Sweet with odors of the vine;
Heaven in its breast.”

So the boatman Hugo sung,
Long, long ago,
By the Lurley-berg that hung
In the sunset glow.

At that fateful rock, upraised
From its foamy base,
Suddenly the boatman gazed
With a stricken face.

On its summit, wondrous fair,
Shining angel-wise,
Sat a maid, with golden hair
And beseeching eyes.

From a shoulder’s rosy sphere
All the robe that slid,
Ripple bright and water-clear,
Rather show’d than hid.

As her hair her fingers through
(Fingers pearly white)
Slowly pass’d, the diamond dew
Fell and broke in light.

But a gold harp from her feet
Lifted she ere long,
And its music, pulsing sweet,
Fed a wondrous song.

And the boatman, drifting fast,
Listen’d to his cost;
On the rocks before him cast!
In the whirlpool lost!

Then the Lorelei’s luring form
Faded from the eye,
As a cloud fades, rosy warm,
In a purple sky.”

– The Lorelei, 1869
From Harper’s Weekly,
January 16, 1869
The Mariners’ Museum Research Library and Archives
SOURCE

Though not as well known as their female counterparts, mermen have an equally fierce reputation for summoning storms, sinking ships and drowning sailors. One especially feared group, the Blue Men of the Minch, are said to dwell in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, according to The Scotsman. They look like ordinary men (from the waist up anyway) with the exception of their blue-tinted skin and gray beards. Local lore claims that before laying siege to a ship, the Blue Men often challenge its captain to a rhyming contest; if the captain is quick enough of wit and agile enough of tongue he can best the Blue Men and save his sailors from a watery grave. 

Japanese legends have a version of merfolk called kappa. Said to reside in Japanese lakes, coasts and rivers, these child-size water spirits appear more animal than human, with simian faces and tortoise shells on their backs, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Like the Blue Men, the kappa sometimes interact with humans and challenge them to games of skill in which the penalty for losing is death. Kappa are said to have an appetite for children and those foolish enough to swim alone in remote places — but they especially prize fresh cucumbers. 

Throughout West, South and Central Africa, the mythical water spirit called Mami Wata, which means “Mother of the Waters”, was once worshiped for their ability to bestow beauty, health and wisdom to their followers, according to the Royal Museums Greenwich. Mami Wata is often portrayed as a mermaid or snake charmer, however, her appearance has been influenced by presentations of other indigenous African water spriest as well as European mermaids and Hindu gods and goddesses, according to the Smithsonian. Continue reading HERE.

Mermaid and Other Water Spirit Tales From Around the World by Heidi Anne Heiner
Ramakien Murals depicting the hero Hanuman meeting the mermaid Suvannamaccha, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand (Ramakien Murals depicting the hero Hanuman meeting the mermaid Suvannamaccha, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand (1831)

Southeast Asian folklore includes the story of a mermaid princess, Suvannamaccha (meaning “golden fish”).

In the Ramayana, the countries retellings of the Indian epic poem, one of the heroes, Hanuman attempts to build a bridge of stones across the sea.

His plans are hampered by Suvannamaccha who has been instructed to prevent the causeway’s completion. The two meet and fall in love and Suvannamaccha ends up helping Hanuman finishing the path. The mermaid is now seen as a herald of good luck and her figure is depicted in charms, streamers and icons throughout Cambodia, Thailand and Lao. SOURCE

Further Resources

Behind the Mythology: Mermaids

Origin of the Mermaid Myth

Mermaids – Myth and Folklore

On the Origins of Mermaids

21 Facts about Mermaids

Mermaid Mythology – Mermaids Myths and Legends

Known throughout mythology, folklore and modern adaptation, we take a look at Mermaids and some stories that suggest they may be out there, lurking in the bottom of the ocean.
Mermaids – Today we take a look at the stories behind Mermaids from Greek mythology, Mesopotamian mythology, Russian & British folklore.
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Kanaloa, Hawaiian God of the Ocean

Having a close connection and love of the ocean and all that is in its world from the Marine life, its still existing mysteries and the amazing folklore as well as the Gods and Goddesses associated with the seas. I am always exploring into different deities of the seas and learning about their importance with the native cultures who revere them and their importance. One such God is Kanaloa, the Hawaiian God of the ocean, long distance travel and associated with the underworld, fresh water sources and even healing. So in today’s blog post I would like to give honor to this important Hawaiian God.

Kanaloa is known as Kāne’s traveling partner. Kanaloa is said to be tall with a fair-skinned complexion. Kāne is darker, with curly hair and thick lips. These two gods are well known as ʻawa drinkers and for establishing sources of water. Some say Kanaloa would point out the source, and Kāne would bring forth the water. Kāne and Kanaloa are also known as growers of maiʻa.

Kanaloa and Kāne are paired together in other work as well. In building a waʻa (canoe), Kāne is invoked, while Kanaloa, lord of ocean winds, is invoked in sailing the waʻa. The northern limit of the sun’s seasonal travel is called “ke alanui polohiwa a Kāne” (“the dark path of Kāne”); its southern limit is “ke alanui polohiwa a Kanaloa” (“the dark path of Kanaloa”). SOURCE

Eye Of Kanaloa

The Eye of Kanaloa by Serge Kahili King

As a whole, the pattern represents the Aka Web, or The Web of Life, the symbolic connection of all things to each other. In this aspect, the star at the center is the spider/shaman, or the individual who is aware of being the weaver of his or her own life, a dreamweaver.

In another aspect, the eight lines represent “mana”, or spiritual power, because another meaning of “mana” is “branching lines” and the number eight in Hawaiian tradition is symbolic of great power. The four circles represent “aloha”, or love, because the “lei” or garland, a symbol of love, is circular and is used figuratively in Hawaiian to mean a circle (as in “Hanalei – Circular bay”), and because the word “ha” is a part of the word “aloha” and also means “life” and the number four. Together the circles and lines represent the harmony of Love and Power as an ideal to develop.

The star pattern is composed of a dot in the center representing the Aumakua, or Higher Self; a ring representing Lono, or the Mental Self; the seven limbs of the star representing the Seven Principles of Huna; and the ring around the star representing Ku, the Physical or Subconscious Self. One point of the star is always down, aligned with a straight line of the web, representing the connection of the inner with the outer.

The Eye of Kanaloa symbol generates subtle energy, known as “ki” in Hawaiian. This energy can be used for healing, for stimulating physical and mental faculties, and for many other purposes. Most people can sense the energy, which may feel like a tingle, a current, a pressure or a coolness, by holding the hand, fingers, cheek or forehead near the symbol. By itself the symbol will help to harmonize the physical, emotional and mental energies of a room or other location. The energy may be accessed more directly by meditative gazing or by holding the symbol near something that needs harmonizing. The symbol can also amplify and harmonize other energy sources by placing it behind or in front of the source.

Kauai, Hawaii
I recently purchased this book to add to my library.

Further Resources

KANE AND KANALOA

Kanaloa, Hawaiian God of the Ocean

Kanaloa, Dark Squid God

What You Should Know About Kanaloa (Hawaiian Ocean God)

A video on the ancient Hawaiian god Kanaloa, symbolized by the squid or by the octopus.
Rising from the sea millions of years ago Hawaii was forged from molten lava with a history as rich as its landscapes. Ka’ao means legend in the native Hawaiian language and in this film we explore stories that have been passed down through generations.
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The Werewolves of Latvia

The tales and history of Werewolves have always been a fascination of mine and I will be posting more about the folklore regarding these creatures in cultures throughout the world. Today however I want to share with you all about the folklore of the Vilkacis (Vilkatis) which are the Werewolves of Latvia.

In some countries there are legends of humans that are actually able to send their soul into another creature. The vilkacis – which are what the werewolves of Latvia are known as (Latvia is a country in Northern Europe) are rumored to be able to do this. Some stories of the Latvian werewolves (vilkacis) say that the werewolves aren’t actually humans that transform into wolves, but rather humans that send their souls into wolves! The process is a dangerous – and sometimes deadly one – as sometimes once the soul has left the human body it can be hard for the soul to return back into it’s own body – causing the human to die as a consequence. A body with no soul cannot live.

Out of body experiences aren’t unknown – in fact, it is believed that with mediation and concentration, some people can – and have had – out of body experiences. The interesting thing that seems to be unique to the vilkacis however – that ability to enter into the body of another creature – is not quite as common an occurrence. Often the possession of one body by another body’s soul is associated with witchcraft. Which brings up the question of are the vilkacis truly werewolves? Or possibly some type of witch or other creature? Or maybe even a werewolf subspecies? They are certainly not what we imagine when we think of the traditional werewolf. It is worth noting however that not all vilkacis send their soul out of the body – in fact, it is not quite clear if that is what happens, as other stories indicate they may physically transform.

Other facts about the vilkacis (werewolves of Latvia): 1.) they are not immortal and can be injured, 2.) they are not believed to be evil (although there is some proof to the contrary) 3.) females are most likely to be vilkacis. Original source no longer available from ilovewerewolves.com

The Rauda Forest of Latvia holds tales of the Vilkacis

Tukums Werewolves Tales

Mystical stories and legends abound about the Rauda Forest — a truly ghostly forest! Sages say that in the sense of energies, it does not lag behind the legendary Pokaiņi Forest. The Rauda Forest is special with the fact that here — unlike anywhere else in Latvia — one can experience a marked contrast of energies. Here, the positive and the negative energy come face to face.

Plenty of folk tales and legends assure that, given certain circumstances, with the help of magic rituals, humans are able to turn into wolves or werewolves. However, the werewolf folklore of Courland introduces us to a different kind of werewolf that must have been like this since the beginning of time — the giant, prehistoric spectres, phantoms, shadows, more resembling the Celtic “great and mighty dark”, or fortibus umbris.

Near Tukums, not far from the Engure highway, right in the middle of an eerie marsh in the Rauda woods, there is a mound. On top of the mound, stands a thick oak tree, centuries old and long since dead. A dark hollow stretches along its trunk about three metres above the ground; its broad, broken, moss and lichen covered branches are stretched towards the sky like veiny arms.

At least five different werewolf myths and thrice as many ghost stories have sprung from the Draņķozols Oak and its oddly beautiful surroundings. The most famous is the tale of the evil spirits that lead travelers astray, with countless accounts of people getting lost while hiking, picking berries or mushrooms. The spirits send them walking in circles till exhaustion, ending up always at the said oak, thus falling gradually into terror and hopelessness. Continue reading HERE.

Olaus Magnus, (1555) in his 𝐻𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑎 𝑑𝑒 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑠 ‘𝑆𝑒𝑝𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑠’ (A Description of the Northern Peoples), mentions:-

“𝘐𝘯 𝘗𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘢, 𝘓𝘪𝘷𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘢, 𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦, 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘴, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵, 𝘺𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴.”

“𝘖𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵, 𝘢𝘵 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘮𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵, 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴; 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘪𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘦𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘬 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘳𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯.” Source credit: Latvian Werewolves

Further Resources

The Werewolves of Livonia: Lycanthropy and Shape-Changing in Scholarly Texts, 1550–1720

THE WEREWOLF IN LATGALIAN FOLKLORE

Livonia Werewolves

History Channel Documentary
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Sedna: Inuit Goddess of the Sea

Recently a friend of mine sent me a short video regarding a Goddess of the sea I was not aware of but am very much appreciative that I now know of her. Across the lands of the Inuit culture she has many names such as Mother of the Seas, Nuliayuk (Nuliajuk), Taluliyuk but most commonly she is known as Sedna. I immediately dived into learning about her and for those who personally know me know how much I love the Gods and Goddesses of the seas. So I felt an important need to share with you all the story and importance of this Inuit sea goddess that is certainly one of the most celebrated within the Inuit pantheon.

One thing I want to express which is very important to me out of respect to the Inuit nation is this. The Inuit are a proud people with a rich culture, traditions and history which really deserves to be preserved and respected.

SEDNA – (also known as Nuliajuk) – The sea goddess and the most celebrated deity in the Inuit pantheon. Even mythology books that cover no other figures from Inuit myths will usually have an entry on her. She was the daughter of the god and goddess Anguta and Isarrataitsoq and, like countless female figures in Inuit myths, she refused all prospective husbands. Sedna instead had sexual relations with dogs and the “freakish” offspring of these unions were said to be white people and Native American tribes that the Inuit were often at war with.

A ghoulish twist to the story is how Sedna took to using her parents as food (a recurring theme in Inuit myths because of the scarcity of food in the frozen north at times and how instances of cannibalism during such famines were much-discussed). Sedna devoured both of her mother Isarrataitsoq’s arms and had finished eating one of her father’s arms before he was able to subdue her and take her out to sea in his canoe, intent on banishing her to the sea. Continuing to struggle, Sedna clutched the sides of the canoe as her father tried to submerge her, prompting him to take his long knife and cut off her fingers.

Since, to the Inuit,  loss or mutilation of the hands was often seen as a horrific transformation into something new, the myth states that Sedna now embraced her fate, transforming her now-fingerless hands into flippers and transforming her severed digits into the various species of sea animals. When the one-armed Anguta returned to shore, where his still-armless wife awaited, Sedna, now fully realized as the sea goddess, caused a massive wave to wash over her parents, dragging them down to her new home to serve in her subaquatic court. Continue reading HERE.

Sculpture of Sedna in the National Museum of Finland

Once upon a time there lived on a solitary shore an Inung with his daughter Sedna. His wife had been dead for some time and the two led a quiet life. Sedna grew up to be a handsome girl and the youths came from all around to sue for her hand, but none of them could touch her proud heart. Finally, at the breaking up of the ice in the spring a fulmar flew from over the ice and wooed Sedna with enticing song. “Come to me,” it said; “come into the land of the birds where there is never hunger, where my tent is made of the most beautiful skins. You shall rest on soft bearskins. My fellows, the fulmars, shall bring you all your heart and desire; their feathers shall clothe you; your lamp will always be filled with oil, your pot with meat.” Sedna could not long resist such wooing and they went together over the vast sea. When at last they reached the country of the fulmar, after a long and hard journey, Sedna discovered that her spouse had shamefully deceived her. Her new home was not built of beautiful pelts, but was covered with wretched fishskins, full of holes, that gave free entrance to the wind and snow. Instead of soft reindeer skins, her bed was made of hard walrus hides and she had to live on miserable fish, which the birds brought her. Too soon she discovered that she had thrown away her opportunities when in her foolish pride she had rejected the Inuit youth. In her woe she sang: “Aja. O father, if you knew how wretched I am you would come to me and we would hurry away in your boat over the waters. The birds look unkindly upon me the stranger; cold winds roar about my bed; they give me but miserable food. O come and take me back home. Aja.” Continue reading HERE.

Inuit mythology refers to the indigenous peoples of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland’s shared spiritual beliefs and practices. Their religion has many parallels with the religions of other North Polar peoples. Inuit myths and legends, like any mythology, both are entertaining and educational. The Inuit attributed excellent and evil powers to deities who lived in a spirit world intertwined with the stunning northern landscape.

Did you know that the farthest known celestial body in space is named after the goddess Sedna?

2003 VB12 was the official temporary designation of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center, based on the year (2003) and date (14 Nov = the 22nd 2-week period of the year thus V=the 22nd letter of the alphabet. after that it is sequential based on the discovery announcement) of discovery. Once the orbit of 2003 VB12 is known well enough (probably 1 year), we will recommend to the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature — which is responsible for solar system names — that it be permanently called Sedna (this has now happened, see above) . Our newly discovered object is the coldest most distant place known in the solar system, so we feel it is appropriate to name it in honor of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea, who is thought to live at the bottom of the frigid arctic ocean. We will furthermore suggest to the IAU that newly discovered objects in this inner Oort cloud all be named after entities in arctic mythologies. SOURCE

Further Resources

The Inuit Legend of the Sea Goddess

The Goddess of the Sea: The Story of Sedna

Goddess Sedna

The Arctic Ocean is integral to the lives and culture of the Inuit peoples of the Arctic Circle, and one of their primary deities controls the ocean and all of the creatures who live within it. Though she goes by many different names, and her story varies from region to region, she is widely known as Sedna. Once a mortal girl subjected to cruelty and manipulation, Sedna’s fingers were chopped off, and they became the animals of the sea, while she rose to become one of the most powerful and venerated goddesses in all mythology. Mythology unleashed
In this episode of Makeup and Mythology, I cover Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea– but she wasn’t always. Swindled by her husband and betrayed by her father, this powerful goddess is known to be rather vengeful and demands to be worshiped. Liana C.