3 drops Rosemary oil
3 drops Pine oil
3 drops Bay oil
3 drops Apple oil
2 drops Patchouli oil
Use almond oil as the base
1 tsp. crushed Mugwort Leaves
1 tsp. Frankincense Tears (small resin chunks)
1 tsp. Myrrh Resin (small chunks)
2 tsp. crushed Rosemary Leaves
Samhain Incense 2
3 tsp. frankincense
2 tsp. sandalwood
2 tsp. mugwort
1 tsp. sage
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. lavender
Samhain Incense 3
3 tsp. Rosemary
3 tsp. Pine
3 tsp. Bay
3 tsp. Apple
2 drops Patchouli Oil
1 cup grated unscented soap
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp. apricot oil
1 tbsp. mugwort
1/2 tbsp. nutmeg
6 drops frankincense oil
6 drops sandalwood oil
3 drops lavender
Place grated soap in a heat-proof non-metallic container and add the hot water and apricot oil. Leave until it is cool enough to handle, and then mix together with your hands. If the soap is floating on the water, add more soap. Leave to sit for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the soap is soft and mushy. Once the soap, water, and oil are blended completely, add the dry ingredients. Once the mixture is cool, then add the essential oils (essential oils evaporate quickly in heat). Enough essential oils should be added to overcome the original scent of the soap. Blend thoroughly and then divide the soap mixture into four to six pieces. Squeeze the soaps, removing as much excess water as possible into the shape you desire, and tie in a cheesecloth. Hang in a warm, dry place until the soap is completely hard and dry.
Fall, my favorite time of the year. It is so beautiful and breathtaking as we watch Mother Earth change colors and prepare for Winter. You can sit on your front porch and look at all the colors of Fall. Orange, yellow, brown, Fall holds all these colors in its grasp. It is a gift that is freely given to us for all to enjoy. Pick out a tree, watch the leaves gradually start to change colors. Watch a leaf gently float to the ground. Then pick up the rack and gather up all those gently falling leaves, lol!
Not only is Fall a beautiful time of the year. It is leading up to a very special celebration for all of us who call ourselves Witches, it is Samhain. Samhain is also known as the “Witches New Year.” It is a very mysterious and magickal time for us. The Veil between worlds start to thin. We think of loved ones who have passed, we are drawn back to our roots.
I guess I am the curious type, my mind is always wondering and questioning. I was thinking about Samhain the other day. I got to wondering how our ancient ancestors celebrated this Sabbat. I know what we are told today about their celebration of Samhain, but is that all there is too it. What traditions or practices did they do on the days leading up to this special day? Did they have practices that we know nothing whatsoever about? I believe the answer to both of these questions are yes.
To find the truth about Samhain, we are going to have to do a little time traveling. Back to the time of our ancient ancestors to find out the true history, traditions, practices and beliefs that are associated with Samahin. Our stop will be back in the ancient Celtic Tradition.
The Celtic year was not at first regulated by the solstices and equinoxes, but by some method connected with agriculture or with the seasons. Later, the year was a lunar one, and there is some evidence of attempts at synchronizing solar and lunar time. But time was mainly measured by the moon, while in all calculations night preceded day. Thus oidhche Samhain was the night preceding Samhain (November 1st), not the following night. The usage survives in our “sennight” and “fortnight.” In early times the year had two, possibly three divisions, marking periods in pastoral or agricultural life, but it was afterwards divided into four periods, while the year began with the winter division, opening at Samhain. A twofold, subdivided into a fourfold division is found in Irish texts, and maybe tabulated as follows:— [the_wheel_of_the_year]
A. Geimredh (winter half) 1st quarter, Geimredh, beginning with the festival of Samhain, November 1st.
2nd quarter, Earrach, beginning February 1st (sometimes called Oimelc).
B. Samradh (summer half) 3rd quarter, Samradh, beginning with the festival of Beltane, May 1st (called also Cét-soman or Cét-samain, 1st day of Samono-s; cf. Welsh Cyntefyn).
4th quarter, Foghamar, beginning with the festival of Lugnasadh, August 1st (sometimes called Brontroghain).
These divisions began with festivals, and clear traces of three of them occur over the whole Celtic area, but the fourth has now been merged in S. Brigit’s day. Beltane and Samhain marked the beginning of the two great divisions, and were perhaps at first movable festivals, according as the signs of summer or winter appeared earlier or later. With the adoption of the Roman calendar some of the festivals were displaced, e.g. in Gaul, where the Calends of January took the place of Samhain, the ritual being also transferred. Some of the ritual was transferred to saints’ days within the range of the pagan festival days, thus the Samhain ritual is found observed on S. Martin’s day. In other cases, holy days took the place of the old festivals—All Saints’ and All Souls’ that of Samhain. It is believed that the Sabbat days were changed as some attempt to hallow, if not to oust, our older rituals
Samhain, beginning the Celtic year, was an important social and religious occasion. The powers of blight were beginning their ascendancy, yet the future triumph of the powers of growth was not forgotten. Probably Samhain had gathered up into itself other feasts occurring earlier or later. Thus it bears traces of being a harvest festival, the ritual of the earlier harvest feast being transferred to the winter feast, as the Celts found themselves in lands where harvest is not gathered before late autumn. The harvest rites may, however, have been associated with threshing rather than in gathering. Samhain also contains in its ritual some of the old pastoral cults, while as a New Year feast its ritual is in great part that of all festivals of beginnings.
Practices & Beliefs About Samhain from the ancient Celts point of View….
New fire was brought into each house at Samhain from the sacred bonfire, itself probably kindled from the need-fire by the friction of pieces of wood. This preserved its purity, the purity necessary to a festival of beginnings. The putting away of the old fires was probably connected with various rites for the expulsion of evils, which usually occur among many peoples at the New Year festival. By that process of dislocation which scattered the Samhain ritual over a wider period and gave some of it to Christmas, the kindling of the Yule log may have been originally connected with this festival.
Divination and forecasting the fate of the inquirer for the coming year also took place. Sometimes these were connected with the bonfire, stones placed in it showing by their appearance the fortune or misfortune awaiting their owners. Others, like those described by Burns in his “Hallowe’en,” were unconnected with the bonfire and were of an erotic nature.
The slaughter of animals for winter consumption which took place at Samhain, or, as now, at Martinmas, though connected with economic reasons, had a distinctly religious aspect, as it had among the Teutons. In recent times in Ireland one of the animals was offered to S. Martin, who may have taken the place of a god, and ill-luck followed the non-observance of the custom. The slaughter was followed by general feasting. This later slaughter may be traced back to the pastoral stage, in which the animals were regarded as divine, and one was slain annually and eaten sacramentally. Or, if the slaughter was more general, the animals would be propitiated. But when the animals ceased to be worshiped, the slaughter would certainly be more general, though still preserving traces of its original character. The pastoral sacrament may also have been connected with the slaying and eating of an animal representing the corn-spirit at harvest time. In one legend S. Martin is associated with the animal slain at Martinmas, and is said to have been cut up and eaten in the form of an ox, as if a former divine animal had become an anthropomorphic divinity, the latter being merged in the personality of a Christian saint. Other Rites Related to Samhain
Other rites, connected with the Calends of January as a result of dislocation, point also in this direction. In Gaul and Germany riotous processions took place with men dressed in the heads and skins of animals. This rite is said by Tille to have been introduced from Italy, but it is more likely to have been a native custom. As the people ate the flesh of the slain animals sacramentally, so they clothed themselves in the skins to promote further contact with their divinity. Perambulating the township sunwise dressed in the skin of a cow took place until recently in the Hebrides at New Year, in order to keep off misfortune, a piece of the hide being burned and the smoke inhaled by each person and animal in the township. Similar customs have been found in other Celtic districts, and these animal disguises can hardly be separated from the sacramental slaughter at Samhain.
Our Ancient Ancestors Casted Out Evil on Samhain
Evils having been or being about to be cast off in the New Year ritual, a few more added to the number can make little difference. Hence among primitive peoples New Year is often characterised by orgiastic rites. These took place at the Calends in Gaul, and were denounced by councils and preachers. In Ireland the merriment at Samhain is often mentioned in the texts, and similar orgiastic rites lurk behind the Hallowe’en customs in Scotland and in the licence still permitted to youths in the quietest townships of the West Highlands at Samhain eve.
Samhain, as has been seen, was also a festival of the dead, whose ghosts were fed at this time.
As the powers of growth were in danger and in eclipse in winter, men thought it necessary to assist them. As a magical aid the Samhain bonfire was chief, and it is still lit in the Highlands. Brands were carried round, and from it the new fire was lit in each house. In North Wales people jumped through the fire, and when it was extinct, rushed away to escape the “black sow” who would take the hindmost. The bonfire represented the sun, and was intended to strengthen it. But representing the sun, it had all the sun’s force, hence those who jumped through it were strengthened and purified. The Welsh reference to the hindmost and to the black sow may point to a former human sacrifice, perhaps of any one who stumbled in jumping through the fire. Keating speaks of a Druidic sacrifice in the bonfire, whether of man or beast is not specified. Probably the victim, like the scapegoat, was laden with the
accumulated evils of the year, as in similar New Year customs elsewhere. Later belief regarded the sacrifice, if sacrifice there was, as offered to the powers of evil—the black sow, unless this animal is a reminiscence of the corn-spirit in its harmful aspect. Earlier powers, whether of growth or of blight, came to be associated with Samhain as demoniac beings—the “malignant bird flocks” which blighted crops and killed animals, the samhanach which steals children, and Mongfind the banshee, to whom “women and the rabble” make petitions on Samhain eve. Witches, evil-intentioned fairies, and the dead were particularly active then.
The Celts Did Sacrificing of Animals & Humans?
Though the sacrificial victim had come to be regarded as an offering to the powers of blight, he may once have represented a divinity of growth or, in earlier times, the corn-spirit. Such a victim was slain at harvest, and harvest is often late in northern Celtic regions, while the slaying was sometimes connected not with the harvest field, but with the later threshing. This would bring it near the Samhain festival. The slaying of the corn-spirit was derived from the earlier slaying of a tree or vegetation-spirit embodied in a tree and also in a human or animal victim. The corn-spirit was embodied in the last sheaf cut as well as in an animal or human being. This human victim may have been regarded as a king, since in late popular custom a mock king is chosen at winter festivals. In other cases the effigy of a saint is hung up and carried round the different houses, part of the dress being left at each. The saint has probably succeeded to the traditional ritual of the divine victim. The primitive period in which the corn-spirit was regarded as female, with a woman as her human representative, is also recalled in folk-custom. The last sheaf is called the Maiden or the Mother, while, as in Northamptonshire, girls choose a queen on S. Catharine’s day, November 26th, and in some Christmas pageants “Yule’s wife,” as well as Yule, is present, corresponding to the May queen of the summer festival. Men also masqueraded as women at the Calends. The dates of these survivals may be explained by that dislocation of the Samhain festival already pointed out. This view of the Samhain human sacrifices is supported by the Irish offerings to the Fomorians—gods of growth, later regarded as gods of blight, and to Cromm Cruaich, in both cases at Samhain. With the evolution of religious thought, the slain victim came to be regarded as an offering to evil powers.
Folk-Tales, Faires, Oh, My!
This aspect of Samhain, as a festival to promote and assist festivity, is further seen in the belief in the increased activity of fairies at that time. In Ireland, fairies are connected with the Tuatha Dé Danann, the divinities of growth, and in many folk-tales they are associated with agricultural processes. The use of evergreens at Christmas is perhaps also connected with the carrying of them round the fields in older times, as an evidence that the life of nature was not extinct.
Samhain may thus be regarded as, in origin, an old pastoral and agricultural festival, which in time came to be looked upon as affording assistance to the powers of growth in their conflict with the powers of blight. Perhaps some myth describing this combat may lurk behind the story of the battle of Mag-tured fought on Samhain between the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians. While the powers of blight are triumphant in winter, the Tuatha Déa are represented as the victors, though they suffer loss and death. Perhaps this enshrines the belief in the continual triumph of life and growth over blight and decay, or it may arise from the fact that Samhain was both a time of rejoicing for the in gathered harvest, and of wailing for the coming supremacy of winter and the reign of the powers of blight.
Time To Journey Back To Our Own Century….
Wow, did you enjoy our little journey? Most of all did you learn anything? I know I learned somethings I didn’t know even about my own Tradition. I would say it is sad that I don’t know some of this information but I won’t. Most of the information that I uncovered here is not spoken or taught anymore. Why? It is part of our history or the other Celts like myself. It is a part of who we are, what makes us, us. There is no denying our past, I have always known the Celtic tradition was very beautiful as well as magickal and mystical. I know most of the time when I hear individuals talk about any history, they portray the ancients as being ignorant and not knowing. That is the farthest thing from the truth. Our ancestors were very smart people. They recognized the seasons. They knew when to plant and when to harvest all by watching the stars and the Sun. They knew when the days would grow shorter and then longer. They created small villages and built their own homes from what Mother Earth provided. They don’t sound ignorant to me but very intelligent individuals. Most of all the ancient ones recognized a higher power than themselves. They knew at each turning of the seasons, it was right to give thanks not only for a bountiful harvest but making it through another turning of the Wheel.
As we approach Samhain, let us remember how our ancestors celebrated, what their beliefs and practices were at this time of the year. Our celebration of Samhain does not even come close to the way it use to be celebrated. Lots of the traditions have been lost down through the centuries. Perhaps now that we know some of our ancient ancestors celebations we can incorporate them into our Samhain celebrations. Reviving these celebration of who we are and what we believe is very important. This is our history, most of it lost, but now found. We must past it on to the next generation and the next so our Religion will thrive and prosper. Not only that but also were our children and their children will know we are a very old people with a very rich history.
The Religion of the Ancient Celts
J. A. MacCulloch
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Friday 10th October 2014 - a day of many changes
Moon 11° Taurus trines Pluto 11° Capricorn
Moon 17° Taurus squares Jupiter 17° Leo
Moon 21° Taurus opposes Saturn 21° Scorpio
A veil of self-absorption is lifted and suddenly you gain access to an unbiased view of others. This is a rare moment when you can see yourself objectively and become aware of whether or not what you want in your heart is actually beginning to manifest in your life. Traditionally, the Full Moon phase stirs emotion, and this is because when you "see" what is happening, you may become upset if you’re experiencing the "same ol', same ol'" -- rather than the things you would like. If the Full Moon phase is a disappointment, on the next New Moon it's time to take creative action in the direction of your dreams.
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)
It's time to take a project you already started and give it a lasting structure. However, if you can't add stability to your previous venture, it might quickly fade into the past. You can influence the outcome by where you place your attention. If you do nothing now, your recent efforts could be wasted. However, if you focus on creating maximum impact, you will likely be well on your way to success.
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)
You might feel as if crucial information has been kept from you, but now something that was previously hidden may find its way to the surface. New information is adding depth to your changing perspective, bringing you a clearer picture of your opportunities at work. But it's essential to balance your optimism with a dose of reality. Let your heart's desire lead you gently into your future but don't forget to take your common sense along for the ride.
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)
Although you assume your motives are completely transparent, others might have no idea what you are up to now. However, their lack of clarity may have very little to do with your behavior. Try to be as forthright as possible; your honesty will be appreciated even if your desires and expectations don't conform to those around you. Respect everyone, but to thine own self be true.
Cancer Horoscope (Jun 21 – Jul 22)
Your friends are your source of stability today. However, there is still a bit of fog between you and reality, challenging you to watch your step so you stay on track. As long as you keep your goals simple, you can rely on your intuition to guide your way. Attempting to carry out several tasks at once might leave you floating around in the space of your own dreams. Eliminating unnecessary distractions enables you to smoothly sail along to your destination.
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)
Previous attempts to learn something new may have led to frustration. Now it's time to give it another shot, whether your education is experiential or academic. Travel is still on your agenda, either in the physical realms or within your mind. However, you can benefit from applying your big ideas toward more sensible career goals. Integrate your desires with a dash of practicality and you can't go wrong.
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)
Putting your feet solidly back on solid ground today is the first step to reestablishing stability. However, the recent intensity of your emotions lingers for a while longer, but now your confidence returns and you know exactly what to do. Don't take your eyes off the goal; you can be successful at your endeavors as long as you keep your optimism alive.
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)
Something in the air has changed and you are suddenly ready to dig into an issue that you might have been avoiding until now. The solution to your problem, though, is no longer as simple as it once was. Your best weapon in this current engagement with reality is your willingness to cooperate. Your chances for success are high if you focus on working for the betterment of everyone involved. Setting a worthy example inspires others to jump in and do their part.
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)
You have grown weary of the daily grind and now seek the simplicity of retreat. However, trying a conservative strategy isn't about traveling back in time; it's about moving into a less complicated future. Instead of struggling to escape, put your energy toward fulfilling your obligations. Find new ways to finish your chores and you'll have your opportunity to relax before you know it.
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)
Fun and games are knocking at your door but you can't decide whether or not to let them in. There is a low-level angst building internally, reminding you that you have unfinished work to do today. You cannot sidestep what's on your plate now, so sort out your priorities and deal with your responsibilities in a methodical manner. Once your conscience is clear, you can live more joyfully in the moment.
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)
The weight on your shoulders is lighter today because of the progress you are making on more enjoyable aspects of your life. It's finally time to reap the benefits of your recent hard work and take some well-deserved time off. There's no reason to justify your actions; pursuing pleasure is your reward for a job well done.
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)
You might try to ignore issues on the home front, but the sooner you face your feelings, the better it will be for everyone involved. Maintaining a warm and loving attitude helps the situation, even if someone makes you angry at first. However, fueling hostilities won't solve anything; slipping into denial only makes matters worse. Gentle kindness and a steady hand mean more today than the smug satisfaction of being right.
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)
The light of awareness shines with great clarity on relationship matters today, empowering you to make sound choices. Don't be afraid of trusting your intuition even if you are worried about a significant decision currently on the table. Leaning on your core values leads to a solid emotional investment. Do what you know is right; although your current actions might not have an immediate effect, their long-term impact will be profound.
Tarot Card for Today-
The High Priestess
Traditionally called the High Priestess, this major arcana, or trump, card represents human wisdom. She can be viewed as a kind of female Pope, the ancient Egyptian Priestess of Isis, the even older snake and bird Goddesses, the Greek Goddess Persephone, or the Eve of Genesis before the Fall.
For the accused heretics who were burnt at the stake for revering her in the 14th and 15th century, she symbolized the prophecy of the return of the Holy Spirit, which was perceived as the female aspect of the Holy Trinity.
In the sequence of cards in the major arcana, the High Priestess appears as soon as the Fool decides he wants to develop his innate powers, making a move toward becoming a Magus. The High Priestess is his first teacher, representing the Inner Life and the method for contacting it, as well as the contemplative study of Nature and the Holy Mysteries.
Rune For Today
Ansuz represents mankind’s spiritual connection to God and the universe. It is often referred to as the “God Rune.” This Rune embodies reason, truth and justice. It denotes the coming of knowledge and true counsel from a higher authority.
THE CULT OF GODS, SPIRITS FAIRIES, AND THE DEAD
THE TESTIMONY OF PAGANISM
'The cult of forests, of fountains, and of stones is to be explained by that primitive naturalism which all the Church Councils held in Brittany united to proscribe.'--ERNEST RENAN.
Edicts against pagan cults--Cult of Sacred Waters and its absorption by Christianity--Celtic Water Divinities--Druidic Influence on Fairy-Faith--Cult of Sacred Trees--Cult of Fairies, Spirits, and the Dead--Feasts of the Dead--Conclusion.
THE evidence of paganism in support of our Psychological Theory concerning the Fairy-Faith is so vast that we cannot do more than point to portions of it--especially such portions as are most Celtic in their nature. Perhaps most of us will think first of all about the ancient cults rendered to fountains, rivers, lakes, trees, and, as we have seen (pp. 399ff.), to stones. There can be no reasonable doubt that these cults were very flourishing when Christianity came to Europe, for kings, popes, and church councils issued edict after edict condemning them. 1 The second Council of Aries, held about 452, issued the following canon:--'If in the territory of a bishop, infidels light torches, or venerate trees, fountains, or stones, and he neglects to abolish this usage, he must know that he is guilty of sacrilege. If the director of the act itself, on being admonished, refuses to correct it, he is to be excluded from communion.' 1 The Council of Tours, in 567, thus expressed itself:--'We implore the pastors to expel from the Church all those whom they may see performing before. certain stones things which have no relation with
the ceremonies of the Church, and also those who observe the customs of the Gentiles.' 1 King Canute in England and Charlemagne in Europe conducted a most vigorous campaign against all these pagan worships. This is Charlemagne's edict:--'With respect to trees, stones, and fountains, where certain foolish people light torches or practise other superstitions, we earnestly ordain that that most evil custom detestable to God, wherever it be found, should be removed and destroyed.' 2
The result of these edicts was a curious one. It was too much to expect the eradication of the old cults after their age-long existence, and so one by one they were absorbed by the new religion. In a sacred tree or grove, over a holy well or fountain, on the shore of a lake or river, there was placed an image of the Virgin or of some saint, and unconsciously the transformation was made, as the simple-hearted country-folk beheld in the brilliant images new and more glorious dwelling-places for the spirits they and their fathers had so long venerated.
THE CULT OF SACRED WATERS
In Brittany, perhaps better than in other Celtic countries to-day, one can readily discern this evolution from paganism to Christianity. Thus, for example, in the Morbihan there is the fountain of St. Anne d'Auray, round which centres Brittany's most important Pardon; a fountain near Vannes is dedicated to St. Peter; at Carnac there is the far-famed fountain of St. Comely with its niche containing an image of Carnac's patron saint, and not far from it, on the roadside leading to Carnac Plage, an enclosed well dedicated to the Holy Virgin, and, less than a mile away, the beautiful fountain of St. Columba. Near Ploermel, Canton of Ploermel (Morbihan), there is the fountain of Recourrance or St. Laurent, in which sailors perform divinations to know the
future state of the weather by casting on its waters a morsel of bread. If the bread floats, it is a sure sign of fair weather, but if it sinks, of weather so bad that no one should take risks by going out in the fishing-boats. In some wells, pins are dropped by lovers. If the pins float, the water-spirits show favourable auspices, but if the pins sink, the maiden is unhappy, and will hesitate in accepting the proposal of marriage. Long after their conversion, the inhabitants of Concoret (Arrondissement de Ploermel, Morbihan) paid divine honours to the fountain of Baranton in the druidical forest of Brocéliande, so famous in the Breton legends of Arthur and Merlin:--'For a long time the inhabitants of Concoret … in place of addressing themselves to God or to his Saints in their maladies, sought the remedy in the fountain of Baranton, either by praying to it, after the manner of the Gauls, or by drinking of its waters.' 1 In the month of August 1835, when there was an unusual drought in the land, all the inhabitants of Concoret formed in a great procession with banners and crucifix at their head, and with chants and ringing of church bells marched to this same fountain of Baranton and prayed for rain. 2 This curious bit of history was also reported to me in July 1909 by a peasant who lives near the fountain, and who heard it from his parents; and he added that the foot of the crucifix was planted in the water to aid the rain-making. We have here an interesting combination of paganism and Christianity.
Gregory of Tours says that the country-folk of Gévaudan rendered divine honours to a certain lake, and as offerings cast on its waters linen, wool, cheese, bees'-wax, bread, and other things; 3 and Mahé adds that gold was sometimes offered, 3 quite after the manner of the ancient Peruvians, who cast gold and silver of great value into the waters of sacred Lake Titicaca, high up in the Andes. To absorb into Christianity the worship paid to the lake near Gévaudan, the bishop ordered a church to be built on its shore, and to the people he said:--'My children, there is nothing divine in
this lake: defile not your souls by these vain ceremonies; but recognize rather the true God.' 1 The offerings to the lake-spirits then ceased, and were made instead on the altar of the church. As Canon Mahé so consistently sets forth, other similar means were used to absorb the pagan cults of sacred waters:--'Other pastors employed a similar device to absorb the cult of fountains into Christianity; they I consecrated them to God under the invocation of certain saints; giving the saints' names to them and placing in them the saints' images, so that the weak and simple-hearted Christians who might come to them, struck by these names and by these images, should grow accustomed to addressing their prayers to God and to his saints, in place of honouring the fountains themselves, as they had been accustomed to do. This is the reason why there are seen in the stonework of so many fountains, niches and little statues of saints who have given their names to these springs.' 2
Procopius reports that the Franks, even after having accepted Christianity, remained attached to their ancient cults, sacrificing to the River Po women and children of the Goths, and casting the bodies into its waters to the spirits of the waters. 2 Well-worship in the Isle of Man, not yet quite extinct, was no doubt once very general. As A. W. Moore has shown, the sacred wells in the Isle of Man were visited and offerings made to them to secure immunity from witches and fairies, to cure maladies, to raise a wind, and for various kinds of divination. 3 And no doubt the offerings of rags on bushes over sacred wells, and the casting of pins, coins, buttons, pebbles, and other small objects into their waters, a common practice yet in Ireland and Wales, as in non-Celtic countries, are to be referred to as survivals of a time when regular sacrifices were offered in divination, or in seeking cures from maladies, and equally from obsessing demons who were thought to cause the maladies. In the prologue to Chrétien's Conte du
[paragraph continues]Graal there is an account, seemingly very ancient, of how dishonour to the divinities of wells and springs brought destruction on the rich land of Logres. The damsels who abode in these watery places fed travellers with nourishing food until King Amangons wronged one of them by carrying off her golden cup. His men followed his evil example, so that the springs dried up, the grass withered, and the land became waste. 1
According to Mr. Borlase, 'it was by passing under the waters of a well that the Sídh, that is, the abode of the spirits called Sídhe, in the tumulus or natural hill, as the case might be, was reached.' 2 And it is evident from this that the well spirits were even identified in Ireland with the Tuatha De Danann or Fairy-Folk. I am reminded of a walk I was privileged to take with Mr. William B. Yeats on Lady Gregory's estate at Coole Park, near Gort (County Galway); for Mr. Yeats led me to the haunts of the water-spirits of the region, along a strange river which flows underground for some distance and then comes out to the light again in its weird course, and to a dark, deep pool hidden in the forest. According to tradition, the river is the abode of water-fairies; and in the shaded forest-pool, whose depth is very great, live a spirit-race like the Greek nymphs. More than one mortal while looking into this pool has felt a sudden and powerful impulse to plunge in, for the fairies were then casting their magic spell over him that they might take him to live in their under-water palace for ever.
One of the most beautiful passages in The Tripartite Life of Patrick describes the holy man at the holy well called Cliabach:--'Thereafter Patrick went at sunrise to the well, namely Cliabach on the sides of Cruachan. The clerics sat down by the well. Two daughters of Loegaire son of Niall went early to the well to wash their hands, as was a custom of theirs, namely, Ethne the Fair, and Fedelm the Ruddy. The maidens found beside the well the assembly of the clerics in white garments, with their books before them. And they
wondered at the shape of the clerics, and thought that they were men of the elves or apparitions. They asked tidings of Patrick: "Whence are ye, and whence have ye come? Are ye of the elves or of the gods?" And Patrick said to them: "It were better for you to believe in God than to inquire about our race." Said the girl who was elder: "Who is your god? and where is he? Is he in heaven, or in earth, or under earth, or on earth? Is he in seas or in streams, or in mountains or in glens? Hath he sons and daughters? Is there gold and silver, is there abundance of every good thing in his kingdom? Tell us about him, how he is seen, how he is loved, how he is found? if he is in youth, or if he is in age? if he is ever-living; if he is beautiful? if many have fostered his son? if his daughters are dear and beautiful to the men of the world?"' 1
And in another place it is recorded that 'Patrick went to the well of Findmag. Slán is its name. They told Patrick that the heathen honoured the well as if it were a god.' 2 And of the same well it is said, 'that the magi, i. e. wizards or Druids, used to reverence the well Slán and "offer gifts to it as if it were a god"' 2 As Whitley Stokes pointed out, this is the only passage connecting the Druids with well-worship; and it is very important, because it establishes the relation between the Druids as magicians and their control of spirits like fairies. 2 As shown here, and as seems evident in Columba's relation with Druids and exorcism in Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, 3 the early Celtic peoples undoubtedly drew many of their fairy-traditions from a memory of druidic rites of divination. Perhaps the most beautiful description of a holy well and a description illustrative of such divination is that of Ireland's most mystical well, Connla's Well:--'Sinend, daughter of Lodan Luchargian, son of Ler, out of Tír Tairngire ("Land of Promise, Fairyland"), went to Connla's Well which is under sea, to behold it. That is a well at which are the hazels and inspirations (?) of wisdom,
that is, the hazels of the science of poetry, and in the same hour their fruit, and their blossom and their foliage break forth, and these fall on the well in the same shower, which raises on the water a royal surge of purple. Then the (sacred] salmon chew the fruit, and the juice of the nuts is apparent on their purple bellies. And seven streams of wisdom spring forth and turn there again.' 1
To these cults of sacred waters numerous non-Celtic parallels could easily be offered, but they seem unnecessary with Celtic evidence so clear. And this evidence which is already set forth shows that the origin of worship paid to sacred wells, fountains, lakes, or rivers, is to be found in the religious practices of the Celts before they became christianized. They believed that certain orders of spirits, often called fairies, and to be identified with them, inhabited, or as was the case with Sinend, who came from the Other-world, visited these places, and must be appeased or approached through sacrifice by mortals seeking their favours. Canon Mahé puts the matter thus:--'The Celts recognized a supreme God, the principle of all things; but they rendered religious worship to the genii or secondary deities who, according to them, united themselves to different objects in nature and made them divine by such union. Among the objects were rivers, the sea, lakes and fountains.' 2
THE CULT OF SACRED TREES
The things said of sacred waters can also be said of sacred trees among the Celts; and, in the case of sacred trees, more may be added about the Druids and their relation to the Fairy-Faith, for it is well known that the Druids held the oak and its mistletoe in great religious veneration, and it is generally thought that most of the famous Druid schools were in the midst of sacred oak-groves or forests. Pliny has recorded that 'the Druids, for so they call their magicians, have nothing which they hold more sacred than the mistletoe 3
and the tree on which it grows, provided only it be an oak (robur). But apart from that, they select groves of oak, and they perform no sacred rite without leaves from that tree, so that the Druids may be regarded as even deriving-from it their name interpreted as Greek 1 (a disputed point among modern philologists). Likewise of the Druids, Maximus Tyrius states that the image of their chief god, considered by him to correspond to Zeus, was a lofty oak tree; 2 and Strabo says that the principal place of assembly for the Galatians, a Celtic people of Asia Minor, was the Sacred Oak-grove. 3
Just as the cult of fountains was absorbed by Christianity, so was the cult of trees. Concerning this, Canon Mahé writes:--'One sees sometimes, in the country and in gardens, trees wherein, by trimming and bending together the branches, have been formed niches of verdure, in which have been placed crosses or images of certain saints. This usage is not confined to the Morbihan. Our Lady of the Oak, in Anjou, and Our Lady of the Oak, near Orthe, in Maine, are places famous for pilgrimage. In this last province, says a historian, "One sees at various cross-roads the most beautiful rustic oaks decorated with figures of saints. There are seen there, in five or six villages, chapels of oaks, with whole trunks of that tree enshrined in the wall, beside the altar. Such among others is that famous chapel
of Our Lady of the Oak, near the forge of Orthe, whose celebrity attracts daily, from five to six leagues about, a very great gathering of people."' 1
Saint Martin, according to Canon Mahé, tried to destroy sacred pine-tree in the diocese of Tours by telling the people there was nothing divine in it. The people agreed to let it cut down on condition that the saint should receive its great trunk on his head as it fell; and the tree was not cut own. 1 Saint Germain caused a great scandal at Auxerre hanging from the limbs of a sacred tree the heads of wild animals which he had killed while hunting. 1 Saint Gregory the Great wrote to Brunehaut exhorting him to abolish among his subjects the offering of animals' heads to certain trees. 2
In Ireland fairy trees are common yet; though throughout Celtdom sacred trees, naturally of short duration, are almost forgotten. In Brittany, the Forest of Brocéliande still enjoys something of the old veneration, but more out of sentiment than by actual worship. A curious survival of an ancient Celtic tree-cult exists in Carmarthen, Wales, where there is still carefully preserved and held upright in a firm casing of cement the decaying trunk of an old oak-tree called Merlin's Oak; and local prophecy declares on Merlin's authority that when the tree falls Carmarthen will fall with it. Perhaps through an unconscious desire on the part of some patriotic citizens of averting the calamity by inducing the tree-spirit to transfer its abode, or else by otherwise hoodwinking the tree-spirit into forgetting that Merlin's Oak is dead, a vigorous and now flourishing young oak has been planted so directly beside it that its foliage embraces it. And in many parts of modern England, the Jack-in-the-Green, a man entirely hidden in a covering of green foliage who dances through the streets on May Day, may be another example of a very ancient tree (or else agricultural) cult of Celtic origin.
THE CULT OF FAIRIES, SPIRITS, AND THE DEAD
There was also, as we already know, more or less of direct worship offered to fairies like the Tuatha De Danann; and sacrifice was made to them even as now, when the Irish or Scotch peasant pours a libation of milk to the 'good people' or to the fairy queen who presides over the flocks. In Fíacc's Hymn 1 it is said, 'On Ireland's folk lay darkness: the tribes worshipped elves: They believed not the true godhead of the true Trinity.' And there is a reliable legend concerning Columbkille which shows that this old cult of elves was not forgotten among the early Irish Christians, though they changed the original good reputation of these invisible beings to one of evil. It is said that Columbkille's first attempts to erect a church or monastery on Iona were rendered vain by the influence of some evil spirit or else of demons; for as fast as a wall was raised it fell down. Then it was revealed to the saint that the walls could not stand until a human victim should be buried alive under the foundations. And the lot fell on Oran, Columbkille's companion, who accordingly became a sacrifice to appease the evil spirit, fairies, or demons of the place where the building was to be raised. 2
As an illustration of what the ancient practice of such sacrifice to place-spirits, or to gods, must have been like in Wales, we offer the following curious legend concerning the conception of Myrddin (Merlin), as told by our witness from Pontrhydfendigaid, Mr. John Jones (see p. 147):--'When building the Castle of Gwrtheyrn, near Carmarthen, as much as was built by day fell down at night. So a council of the Dynion Hysbys or "Wise Men" was called, and they decided that the blood of a fatherless boy had to be used in mixing the mortar if the wall was to stand. Search was thereupon made for a fatherless boy (cf. p. 351), and throughout all the kingdom no such boy could be found. But one day two boys were quarrelling, and one of them in defying
the other wanted to know what a fatherless boy like him had to say to him. An officer of the king, overhearing the quarrel, seized the boy thus tauntingly addressed as the one so long looked for. The circumstances were made known to the king, and the boy was taken to him. "Who is your father?" asked the king. "My mother never told me," the boy replied. Then the boy's mother was sent for, and the king asked her who the father of the boy was, and she replied: "I do not know; for I have never known a man. Yet, one night, it seemed to me that a man noble and majestic in appearance slept with me, and I awoke to find that I had been in a dream. But when I grew pregnant afterwards, and this wonderful boy whom you now see was delivered, I considered that a divine being or an angel had visited me in that dream, and therefore I called his child Myrddin the Magician, for such I believe my son to be." When the mother had thus spoken, the king announced to the court and wise men, "Here is the fatherless boy. Take his blood and use it in mixing the mortar. The walling will not hold without it." At this, Myrddin taunted the king and wise men, and said they were no better than a pack of idiots. "The reason the walling falls down," Myrddin went on to say, "is because you have tried to raise it on a rock which covers two large sea-serpents. Whenever the wall is raised over them its weight presses on their backs and makes them uneasy. Then during the night they up-heave their backs to relieve themselves of the pressure, and thus shake the walling to a fall."' The story ends here, but presumably Merlin's statements were found to be true; and Merlin was not sacrificed, for, as we know, he became the great magician of Arthur's court.
There are two hills in the Highlands of Aberdeenshire where travellers had to propitiate the banshee by placing barley-meal cakes near a well on each hill; and if the traveller neglected the offering, death or some dire calamity was sure to follow. 1 It is quite certain that the banshee is almost always thought of as the spirit of a dead ancestor presiding
over a family, though here it appears more like the tutelary deity of the hills. But sacrifice being thus made, according to the folk-belief, to a banshee, shows, like so many other examples where there is a confusion between divinities or fairies and the souls of the dead, that ancestral worship must be held to play a very important part in the complex Fairy-Faith as a whole. A few non-Celtic parallels determine this at once. Thus, exactly as to fairies here, milk is offered to the souls of saints in the Panjab, India, as a means of propitiating them. 1 M. A. Lefèvre shows that the Roman Lares, so frequently compared to house-haunting fairies, are in reality quite like the Gaelic banshee; that originally they were nothing more than the unattached souls of the dead, akin to Manes; that time and custom made distinctions between them; that in the common language Lares and Manes had synonymous dwellings; and that, finally, the idea of death was little by little divorced from the worship of the Lares, so that they became guardians of the family and protectors of life. 2 On all the tombs of their dead the Romans inscribed these names: Manes, inferi, silentes, 3 the last of which, meaning the silent ones, is equivalent to the term 'People of Peace' given to the fairy-folk of Scotland. 4 Nor were the Roman Lares always thought of as inhabiting dwellings. Many were supposed to live in the fields, in the streets of cities, at cross-roads, quite like certain orders of fairies and demons; and in each place these ancestral spirits had their chapels and received offerings of fruit, flowers, and of foliage. If neglected they became spiteful, and were then known as Lemures.
All these examples tend to show what the reviewer of Curtin's Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World states, that 'The attributes of a ghost--that is to say, the spirit of a dead man--are indistinguishable from those of a fairy. And it is well known how world-wide is the worship of the dead and the offering of food to them, among uncivilized
tribes like those of Africa, Australia, and America, as well as among such great nations as China, Corea, India, and Japan; and in ancient times it was universal among the masses of the people in Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
CELTIC AND NON-CELTIC FEASTS OF THE DEAD
Samain, as we already know, was the great Celtic feast of the dead when offerings or sacrifice of various kinds were made to ancestral spirits, and to the Tuatha De Danann and the spirit-hosts under their control; and Beltene, or the first of May, was another day anciently dedicated to fetes in honour of the dead and fairies. Chapter ii has shown us how November Eve, the modern Samain, and like it, All Saints Eve or La Toussaint, are regarded among the Celtic peoples now; and the history of La Toussaint seems to indicate that Christianity, as in the case of the cult of trees and fountains, absorbed certain Celtic cults of the dead which centred around the pagan Samain feast of the dead, and even adopted the date of Samain (see p. 453).
Among the ancient Egyptians, so much like the ancient Celts in their innate spirituality and clear conceptions of the invisible world, we find a parallel feast which fell on the seventeenth Athyr of the year. This day was directly dependent upon the progress of the sun; and, as we have throughout emphasized, the ancient symbolism connected with the yearly movements of the Great God of Light and Life cannot be divorced from the ancient doctrines of life and death. To the pre-Christian Celts, the First of November, or the Festival of Samain, which marked the end of summer and the commencement of winter, was symbolical of death. 1 Samain thus corresponds with the Egyptian fête of the dead, for the seventeenth Athyr of the year marks the day on which Sitou (the god of darkness) killed in the midst of a banquet his brother Osiris (the god of light, the sun), and which was therefore thought of as the season when the old sun was dying of his wounds. It was a time when the power of good was on the decline, so that all nature, turning
against man, was abandoned to the divinities of darkness, the inhabitants of the Realms of the Dead. On this anniversary of the death of Osiris, an Egyptian would undertake no new enterprise: should he go down to the Nile, a crocodile would attack him as the crocodile sent by Sitou had attacked Osiris, and even as the Darkness was attacking the Light to devour it; 1 should he set out on a journey, he would part from his home and family never to return. His only course was to remain locked in his house, and there await in fear and inaction the passing of the night, until Osiris, returning from death, and reborn to a new existence, should rise triumphant over the forces of Darkness and Evil. 2 It is clear that this last part of the Egyptian belief is quite like the Celtic conception of Samain as we have seen Ailill and Medb celebrating that festival in their palace at Cruachan.
There is a great resemblance between the christianized Feast of Samain, when the dead return to visit their friends and to be entertained, for example as in Brittany, and the beautiful festivals formerly held in the Sînto temples of Japan. Thus at Nikko thousands of lanterns were lighted, 'each one representing the spirit of an ancestor,' and there was masquerading and revelry for the entertainment of the visiting spirits. 3 It shows how much religions are alike.
Each year the Roman peoples dedicated two days (February 21-2) to the honouring of the Dead. On the first day, called the Feralia, all Romans were supposed to remain within their own homes. The sanctuaries of all the
gods were closed and all ceremony suspended. The only sacrifices made at such a time were to the dead, and to the gods of the dead in the underworld; and all manes were appeased by food-offerings of meats and cakes. The second day was called Cara Cognatio and was a time of family reunions and feasting. Of it Ovid has said (Fasti, ii. 619), 'After the visit to the tombs and to the ancestors who are no longer [among us], it is pleasant to turn towards the living; after the loss of so many, it is pleasant to behold those who remain of our blood and to reckon up the generations of our descendants.' And the Greeks also had their feasts for the dead. 1
The fact of ancient Celtic cults of stones, waters, trees, and fairies still existing under cover of Christianity directly sustains the Psychological Theory; and the persistence of the ancient Celtic cult of the dead, as illustrated in the survival of Samain in its modern forms, and perhaps best seen now among the Bretons, goes far to sustain the opinion of Ernest Renan, who declared in his admirable Essais that of all peoples the Celts, as the Romans also recorded, have most precise ideas about death. Thus it is that the Celts at this moment are the most spiritually conscious of western nations. To think of them as materialists is impossible. Since the time of Patrick and Columba the Gaels have been the missionaries of Europe; and, as Caesar asserts, the Druids were the ancient teachers of the Gauls, no less than of all Britain. And the mysteries of life and death are the key-note of all things really Celtic, even of the great literature of Arthur, Cuchulainn, and Finn, now stirring the intellectual world.
The Dartmoor area of Devon is where Brian and Wendy Froud make their home. This beautiful, misty and mythic land has richly inspired their art as well as the work of other mythic artists including Alan Lee (co-creator of Brian Froud's book Faeries), Terri Windling (co-creator of Wendy Froud's book A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale), Robert Gould, Marja Kruijt, Virginia Lee and numerous others in the Dartmoor countryside. The following article, which will tell you more about the unique folklore of the area, was first published in "Folkroots," Terri's regular column on mythology for Realms of Fantasy magazine.
Devon, for those unfamiliar with England, is a country of farmland, woodland and moor on the far southwestern tip of the island, just south of Wales, bordered by Somerset, Cornwall, and the roaring sea. Devonshire is part of the West Country, a region of Britain with its own legends, folkways, songs and dialects. Cornwall, the westernmost part of the region, has an entire language of its own not as well preserved as that of Wales, and yet not entirely extinguished. From the rugged coast comes stories of mermaids , smuggler's ghosts and sunken cities. From the woods comes tales of faeries, goblins, greenmen and enchanted deer. The empty expanses of Exmoor and Dartmoor are beautiful, bleak and mysterious vast hills where sheep and wild ponies graze among standing stones.
Small villages sit on the cliffs of the coast or are tucked into farmland surrounding the moors. The greenman, a symbol of pagan tree worship, is carved into country churches of stone, as are "tinner rabbits": a circular symbol of three hares joined together at the ears. This was the alchemical symbol for tin, which was mined on the moors for centuries but it is also the symbol of the Triple Goddess whose power (like the Cornish language) has never entired died out here. The West Country is a place where old ways and beliefs coexist with modern life: where people hook up to the Internet from 400-year-old cottages, and drive SUVs to country pubs where their great-great-grandfathers once drank, and lace on Gortex hiking books to walk among Bronze Age ruins. Strolling into the Devon landscape is like stepping into the sepia-tinted fields of an Arthur Rackham painting -- the trees, the stones, the salmon-filled streams are all filled with an ancient enchantment.
Dartmoor, at the center of Devon, is an archaeological treasure trove. Although less visibly spectacular than Stonehenge or Avesbury (and thus lesser known), the moor contains one of the largest concerntrations of prehistoric monuments to be found in England. The standing stones on Stall Moor alone extend in a row over two miles long; elsewhere on the moor are double and triple rows, stone circles, menhirs, burial kists and Bronze Age village ruins. The Nine Maidens circle of stones stands on an isolated hill above the village of Belstone. As in many circles, the weather-worn stones are considered to be feminine by nature--they take the shape of maidens and dance in a ring at every Hunter's Moon. The Scorhill and Grey Wethers circles are the largest to be found on Dartmoor. They say that these stones get up, stretch, and take a stroll with the rise of the sun, shifting their places slightly each time they return again. Even older than the stone circles is Spinster's Rock, a neolithic dolmen made up of four huge granite slabs. According to legend, the dolmen was built by three women in a single day another reference to the Triple Goddess: maiden, mother and crone. (The three "spinsters" were spinners of wool, not unmarried ladies.)
[Devon] All these ancient stones were set up for purposes we can only guess at now. In addition to those placed by human hands, the natural forces of wind, rain and frost (and, some say, the whims of the faeries) have carved the granite boulders of the region (called tors) into fantastical shapes. Vixen Tor and Lynx Tor are both stone formations with supernatural reputations, and legends advise against lingering in either site when the sun goes down. Great Hound Tor is a beautiful rock formation with several legends attached to it. In one, a witch (in the shape of a hare) was chased by a local farmer and his dogs, until she tired of the sport and turned them all into stones where they stood. Other tales associate the hounds with the Wild Hunt of Celtic lore.
The dogs are called Whist (meaning "eerie") Hounds in the old Devon dialect. The pack is led by Dewar the Huntsman called the Horned Man in the oldest accounts. When storms rage across the moors, folks say that the Wild Huntsman is riding again. In some tales, it's faeries and piskies he hunts; in others, he hungers for human blood or for the souls of unbaptized babes. To catch sight of his terrible hounds is to sicken and die within the year. The hounds are white, enormous, and have eyes and ears the color of flame. A farmer riding home from the Warren Inn, an ale house high on the moor, once saw a hunter with a strange pack of dogs, glowing eerily in the mist. Drawing on his courage, he asked the man if he'd had good sport that day. The hunter laughed and threw the farmer a bundle, making a gift of the kill. The farmer shuddered and hurried home, the stranger's gift under his arm. When he reached his door he unwrapped the bundle, and found his own child, dead.
[Devon] Wistman's Wood is an ancient, gnarled oak copse on the banks of the West River Dart. This is the traditional home of the spectral hounds, a wood also haunted by the faeries. Above the wood is the old Lych Way, known locally as the Path of the Dead, down which corpses of Dartmoor tin miners were carried for burial in a village nearby. This overgrown track is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Britain. Ghosts of miners and monks have been seen on the path, and spectral funerals, and the baying of the Whist Hound pack is still reported by unnerved travelers. Related to the hounds is the Black Dog of Dartmoor, who haunts the road by the Warren Innówhere he frightens tourists and has a strong partiality to beer. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle clearly knew these tales when he used a house on the moor as the setting of his famous story "The Hound of the Baskervilles."
Not far from Hound Tor is a simple stone set beside the road, known as Jay's Grave. Kitty Jay was a young orphan of the 18th century, sent to work on an isolated farm in Manaton. The girl, seduced by a farm hand, found herself pregnant and abandoned, and took her own life. Suicides were not allowed a proper church burial and so Kitty Jay was laid to rest at a crossroad between three parishes. To this day ,there are always fresh flowers laid upon the sad little grave. No one is ever seen putting them there and the mystery has never been solved.
[Devon] A more cheerful legend concerns the rock-capped hills close by my own small village. One of these hills rises steeply above the village Commons, a green swath of land where wild mares come down from the moor to give birth in the spring, rabbits congregate at dawn, and neighbors walk their dogs at dusk. The hill was said to be bare of stone until King Arthur stood upon it and challenged the Devil to a hurling match. The Devil stood on a second hill, and quoits where hurtled back and forth. King Arthur won and the Devil, enraged, turned those great quoits into stone. The stone tors crown the hills today, watching over the houses below.
My friend and neighbor Brian Froud has spent many years studying the myths and and folklore of Dartmoor while painting extraordinary "faery portraits" of the local spirits of the land. "In the faery realm," says Brian, "the spirits of the dead ancestors co-exist with various faery races that are the inner guardians of the landscape. Our local pixies are said to be the diminishing souls of the prehistoric inhabitants. Wherever there is an ancient site, you are sure to find the faeries. Being the guardians of the land, they have to be treated with great respect. Long ago at Fernworthy, for instance, a farm was built that disturbed the dwelling place of some earth faeries, and they retaliated by stealing the farmer's newborn baby. There are many tales of poltergeist-type activity in houses built on faery paths. However, sometimes faeries can be helpful. The Queen of Faery herself is credited with the construction of the old South Down Bridge near Tavistock. She crystallized drops of water from a rainbow over the stream, and then transformed them into the huge boulders that form the bridge. Bridges are often haunted by faeries. When we stand on a bridge, we stand neither on land nor water; we stand in a symbolic space. Faerieland is always approached in places or moments where opposites are in balance. Edges, borders, boundaries of all kinds are where we encounter the faery realm, where land and water meet, where forests begin, and in twlight when the dark meets the light."
[Devon] The woods of Devon are deep and green with moss and ivy, holly and briars. In spring, bluebells make carpets of purple; in autumn, rowan berries hang bright as jewels. These woods are full of faery lore: tree faeries, earth faeries, and the watery spirits who haunt every river, spring and coombe. "Dart, Dart, cruel Dart, every year thou claim'st a heart," goes one local saying about the malevolent water spirit who lurks in the swift River Dart. Another old saying among Devonshire folk is: "Ellum do grieve, oak he do hate, willow do walk if you travel late." According to this tradition, the elm tree mourns if a neighboring elm is cut down, eventually dying of its grief. An oak copse springs from the roots of a cut oak but the copse is then hostile to humankind. Willow trees are believed to have the habit of walking late at night, following after travelers and muttering behind them.
Tolkien drew upon this tradition when he created Old Man Willow in The Lord of the Rings. Alan Lee, another neighbor here, is the artist who illustrated the recent anniversary edition of Tolkien's masterwork, and many of our fine old Devon trees can be found in his paintings of Middle Earth. Much of Alan's art (in Faeries, co-created with Brian Froud, and other books) reflects his love of trees and their magical lore. Certain groves, he points out, were once the holy places of this land. Oak trees in particular were sacred to Druids and other ancient peoples--and some old country folk still believe it is wise to ask permission to enter an oak wood. "To be wood in medieval terms," says Alan, "meant to be afflicted by a particular form of madness in which the body sprouted a covering of thick hair or feathers and the individual lived as an animal in the forest eating nuts and berries and shunning all human contact. Many of the heroes of myth and Romance entered this state at some point, often prompted by a crisis in their love lives. It is likely, however, that these stories are memories of ancient shamanistic rituals in which the physical body suffered privation while a spiritual journey in the company of totem animals was undertaken. Merlin, the great wizard of Arthurian legend, spent years of madness in the woodsóand emerged with magical abilities and the gift of prophesy."
[Devon] Although belief in such magical lore has dwindled over the centuries, the land itself still holds the stories, whispering them to each new generation through the works of artists, writers, storytellers and musicians. Music is a vibrant way for West Country myth to remain a part of modern lifeófor harpers still play "The Faery Love Song," fiddlers still play "The Faery Reel," and singers still sing the old ballads of elfin lovers and midnight ghosts, of women seduced and men bewitched.
"Folklore from the Devon countryside is full of faery music and dance," notes Brian Froud," and of humans lured out into the dark of night by tunes both strange and compelling. In fact, the faeries could be so troublesome with their dancing that local farmwives took to marking little crosses on top of their cakes to prevent the dancing shoes of faery creatures from puncturing the dough. According to legend, moral musicians would sometimes overhear beautiful faery music while sitting close to a faery hill or while secretly watching the faeries dance. Faery tunes then entered into our folk music heritage and became so intermingled with our own that only a few tunes still bear names like The Faery's Waltz or The Faery Reel to indicate their true lineage."
[Devon] The moor is elemental," writes Val Doone in her book We See Devon. "The thin veneer of civilization has never been spread over it. Its landscape and weather alike go back to the simple uncompounded elements of the world, stark, natural and lovely." West Country lore, like the land itself, is stark, natural, and lovely indeed, haunted, and rich with story. It is no wonder that this land has inspired so many artists over the centuries. The faery muse still beckons from the green shadows of the Devon woodsóand in each generation there are those of us who cannot resist answering her call.
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I have this little black jumping spider that has been on top my puter monitor for a few just hanging around dancing, crouching, staring, swinging from it web across my screen delivering me the spider messages I get from this totem animal every year at this time. So for those of you that share in the spider as your totem guide and they have been hanging around, they might not be just hungry but wanting to share their spider medicine with you.
Here is an overview of spider medicine:
Spider spirit animal
The spider is a remarkable figure of feminine energy and creativity in the spirit animal kingdom. Spiders are characterized by the skilled weaving of intricate webs and patience in awaiting their prey. By affinity with the spider spirit animal, you may have qualities of high receptivity and creativity. Having the spider as a power animal or totem helps you tune into life’s ebbs and flows and ingeniously weave every step of your destiny.
Common meanings for the spider spirit animal or totem are:
Weaver of life’s fate
Shadow self, dark aspects of life or personality
The spider as a spirit animal offers many interpretations. Its symbolism has both a dark and a light side, reflecting its connection with life’s many facets.
Spider spirit animal: Symbol of creativity
In many cultures, the spider is given credit for its ability to weave intricate webs that are a miracle of organic engineering. If you have the spider as an animal spirit guide, you may have an affinity with acts of creation and the ability to create delicate, intricate things or ideas that are also strong.
As the weaver of the web, the spider symbolizes the spirit of creation. In several traditions, she’s the totemic symbol of the Mother, strong feminine energy. In Ancient Egypt, the spider was used as a symbol to represent the goddess of the Divine Mother, Neith. In some American Indian tribes, it is considered as the symbol for the creator of the world and by extension is associated with the female creative energy.
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Patience: The wisdom of the spider totem
Like the spider waiting her prey patiently, the presence of this spirit animal in your life could point to the need to show patience regarding a project or some ideas that you are trying to realize. Giving some time while paying attention to how events are unfolding and acting when the opportunity truly arise might be a lesson of wisdom from the spider spirit animal.
Symbolism of the spider: Life spirit and weaver of destiny
Just like the spider weaves her beautifully engineered web, this spirit animal fosters the integration of all parts and aspects of your life into a whole. When the spider shows up in your life, this spirit animal could guide you to integrate some piece of your personal “puzzle” and gain a more coherent perspective on your life.
The spider is a spirit animal whose purpose is to inspire you to gain perspective on an issue or project you contemplate taking on. Feel free to explore the many facets of the problem you are facing in order to find the appropriate solution. The power of this animal encourages you to count on your ability to view things from multiple angles and weave mental and intuitive flexibility into your daily thinking.
Spider spirit animals and your shadow self
If the spider shows up in your life, this spirit animal may remind you of negative aspects of your personality or your life that need to come to the light more fully. For many, spiders inspire fear or at least some form of aversion. As such, they tend to be associated with what psychologists would call “the shadow self”. In brief, your “shadow” or “shadow self” are aspects of your personality or your life that you or other people deem unworthy or not likable and are therefore rejected or repressed.
The spider as a spirit animal does not typically take on these negative attributes. Nevertheless, its presence in your life might bring up negative feelings or unease. Whenever you feel your relationship with your power animal is characterized by tension, discomfort or fear, you can ask yourself where these feelings also appear in your life. Look for any association with your personal feelings, even if it indirectly leads you to other areas of your life, such as work, family, or a relationship for instance.
Here’s another question to ask to interpret the meaning of the spider spirit animal and the guidance it offers: What kind of relationship or connection did you or did you want to establish with this animal? Was the spider threatening or harmful? Did you kill or harm it? The answer will indicate the kind of dynamic that is shaping up between you and what the spider represents.
Dreams: How to interpret spiders and spider spirit guides in dreams
The symbolism of the spider in dreams is generally associated with the archetype of the feminine. If the spider appears in your dreams as a spirit animal guide or as your totem, pay attention to the messages it’s offering to you: They are likely related to an important direction you’re taking in your life.
When you dream of spiders, chances are that it refers feminine energy in your life. This dream symbol could represents a woman you know or your own connection with qualities usually considered as feminine, such as receptivity, patience, creativity.
An important element to consider when you interpret the meaning of the encounter with the spider in your dream is the reaction and feelings you experienced at that time: Were you afraid? Or rather intrigued or fascinated? Was the overall atmosphere of the dream scary and stressful or enchanting, adventurous?
If you want to kill it, you might be repressing some feelings or trying to remove tension from your life. If it looks harmful or it is threatening to you, you may feel that some aspects of your personality or your life are not aligned with your highest interest or that you or your people around you are rejecting them. The spider in a negative dream could symbolize your fears or an adverse influence in your life.
Set out squares of this pumpkin confection alongside chocolate fudge and a fruity sweet for a pretty, mouthwatering display of confections.
5 ounce can evaporated milk
cup canned pumpkin
10 ounce package cinnamon-flavored pieces
7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (20 to 25 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)
Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer from saucepan. Stir in cinnamon-flavored pieces until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and walnuts.
Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Let fudge cool to room temperature. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut into squares. Cover tightly and chill for up to 1 week. Do not freeze. Makes about 96 pieces.
68 kcal cal.,
3 g fat
(2 g sat. fat,
1 g polyunsaturated fat,
1 g monounsatured fat),
4 mg chol.,
14 mg sodium,
10 g carb.,
9 g sugar
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Animal demons distinguished—Trivial sources of Mythology—Hedgehog—Fox—Transmigrations in Japan—Horses bewitched—Rats—Lions—Cats—The Dog—Goethe’s horror of dogs—Superstitions of the Parsees, people of Travancore, and American Negroes, Red Indians, &c.—Cynocephaloi—The Wolf—Traditions of the Nez Perces—Fenris—Fables—The Boar—The Bear—Serpent—Every animal power to harm demonised—Horns.
The animal demons—those whose evil repute is the result of something in their nature which may be inimical to man—should be distinguished from the forms which have been diabolised by association with mythological personages or ideas. The lion, tiger, and wolf are examples of the one class; the stag, horse, owl, and raven of the other. But there are circumstances which render it very difficult to observe this distinction. The line has to be drawn, if at all, between the measureless forces of degradation on the one side, discovering some evil in animals which, but for their bad associations, would not have been much thought of; and of euphemism on the other, transforming harmful beasts to benignant agents by dwelling upon some minor characteristic.
There are a few obviously dangerous animals, such as the serpent, where it is easy to pick our way; we can recognise the fear that flatters it to an agathodemon and the diminished fear that pronounces it accurst.1 But what shall be said of the Goat? Was there really anything in its smell or in its flesh when first eaten, its butting, or injury to plants, which originally classed it among the unclean animals? or was it merely demonised because of its uncanny and shaggy appearance? What explanation can be given of the evil repute of our household friend the Cat? Is it derived by inheritance from its fierce ancestors of the jungle? Was it first suggested by its horrible human-like sleep-murdering caterwaulings at night? or has it simply suffered from a theological curse on the cats said to draw the chariots of the goddesses of Beauty? The demonic Dog is, if anything, a still more complex subject. The student of mythology and folklore speedily becomes familiar with the trivial sources from which vast streams of superstition often issue. The cock’s challenge to the all-detecting sun no doubt originated his ominous career from the Code of Manu to the cock-headed devils frescoed in the cathedrals of Russia. The fleshy, forked roots of a soporific plant issued in that vast Mandrake Mythology which has been the subject of many volumes, without being even yet fully explored. The Italians have a saying that ‘One knavery of the hedgehog is worth more than many of the fox;’ yet the nocturnal and hibernating habits and general quaintness of the humble hedgehog, rather than his furtive propensity to prey on eggs and chickens, must have raised him to the honours of demonhood. In various popular fables this little animal proves more than a match for the wolf and the serpent. It was in the form of a hedgehog that the Devil is said to have made the attempt to let in the sea through the Brighton Downs, which was prevented by a light being brought, though the seriousness of the scheme is still attested in the Devil’s Dyke. There is an ancient tradition that when the Devil had smuggled himself into Noah’s Ark, he tried to sink it by boring a hole; but this scheme was defeated, and the human race saved, by the hedgehog stuffing himself into the hole. In the Brighton story the Devil would appear to have remembered his former failure in drowning people, and to have appropriated the form which defeated him.
The Fox, as incarnation of cunning, holds in the primitive belief of the Japanese almost the same position as the Serpent in the nations that have worshipped, until bold enough to curse it. In many of the early pictures of Japanese demons one may generally detect amid their human, wolfish, or other characters some traits of the kitsune (fox). He is always the soul of the three-eyed demon of Japan (fig. 7). He is the sagacious ‘Vizier,’ as the Persian Desatir calls him, and is practically the Japanese scape-goat. If a fox has appeared in any neighbourhood, the next trouble is attributed to his visit; and on such occasions the sufferers and their friends repair to some ancient gnarled tree in which the fox is theoretically resident and propitiate him, just as would be done to a serpent in other regions. In Japan the fox is not regarded as always harmful, but generally so. He is not to be killed on any account. Being thus spared through superstition, the foxes increase sufficiently to supply abundant material for the continuance of its demonic character. ‘Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines,’2 is an admonition reversed in Japan. The correspondence between the cunning respected in this animal and that of the serpent, reverenced elsewhere, is confirmed by Mr. Fitz Cunliffe Owen, who observed, as he informs me, that the Japanese will not kill even the poisonous snakes which crawl freely amid the decaying Buddhist temples of Nikko, one of the most sacred places in Japan, where once as many as eight thousand monastic Buddhists were harboured. It is the red fox that abounds in Japan, and its human-like cry at night near human habitations is such as might easily encourage these superstitions. But, furthermore, mythology supplies many illustrations of a creditable tendency among rude tribes to mark out for special veneration or fear any force in nature finer than mere strength. Emerson says, ‘Foxes are so cunning because they are not strong.’ In our Japanese demon, whose three eyes alone connect it with the præternatural vision ascribed by that race to the fox, the harelip is very pronounced. That little animal, the Hare, is associated with a large mythology, perhaps because out of its weakness proceeds its main forces of survival—timidity, vigilance, and swiftness. The superstition concerning the hare is found in Africa. The same animal is the much-venerated good genius of the Calmucs, who call him Sákya-muni (Buddha), and say that on earth he submitted himself to be eaten by a starving man, for which gracious deed he was raised to dominion over the moon, where they profess to see him. The legend is probably traceable back to the Sanskrit word sasin, moon, which means literally ‘the hare-marked.’ Sasa means ‘hare.’ Pausanias relates the story of the moon-goddess instructing exiles to build their city where they shall see a hare take refuge in a myrtle-grove.3 In the demonic fauna of Japan another cunning animal figures—the Weasel. The name of this demon is ‘the sickle weasel,’ and it also seems to occupy the position of a scape-goat. In the language of a Japanese report, ‘When a person’s clogs slip from under his feet, and he falls and cuts his face on the gravel, or when a person, who is out at night when he ought to have been at home, presents himself to his family with a freshly-scarred face, the wound is referred to the agency of the malignant invisible weasel and his sharp sickle.’ In an aboriginal legend of America, also, two sister demons commonly take the form of weasels.
The popular feeling which underlay much of the animal-worship in ancient times was probably that which is reflected in the Japanese notions of to-day, as told in the subjoined sketch from an amusing book.
‘One of these visitors was an old man, who himself was at the time a victim of a popular superstition that the departed revisit the scenes of their life in this world in shapes of different animals. We noticed that he was not in his usual spirits, and pressed him to unburden his mind to us. He said he had lost his little son Chiosin, but that was not so much the cause of his grief as the absurd way in which his wife, backed up by a whole conclave of old women who had taken up their abode in his house to comfort her, was going on. ‘What do they all do?’ we asked sympathetically. ‘Why,’ he replied, ‘every beastly animal that comes to my house, there is a cry amongst them all, ‘Chiosin, Chiosin has come back!’ and the whole house swarms with cats and dogs and bats—for they say they are not quite sure which is Chiosin, and that they had better be kind to the lot than run the chance of treating him badly; the consequence is, all these brutes are fed on my rice and meat, and now I am driven out of doors and called an unnatural parent because I killed a mosquito which bit me!’4
The strange and inexplicable behaviour of animals in cases of fear, panic, or pain has been generally attributed by ignorant races to their possession by demons. Of this nature is the story of the devil entering the herd of swine and carrying them into the sea, related in the New Testament. It is said that even yet in some parts of Scotland the milkmaid carries a switch of the magical rowan to expel the demon that sometimes enters the cow. Professor Monier Williams writes from Southern India—‘When my fellow-travellers and myself were nearly dashed to pieces over a precipice the other day by some restive horses on a ghat near Poona, we were told that the road at this particular point was haunted by devils who often caused similar accidents, and we were given to understand that we should have done well to conciliate Ganesa, son of the god Siva, and all his troops of evil spirits, before starting.’ The same writer also tells us that the guardian spirits or ‘mothers’ who haunt most regions of the Peninsula are believed to ride about on horses, and if they are angry, scatter blight and disease. Hence the traveller just arrived from Europe is startled and puzzled by apparitions of rudely-formed terra-cotta horses, often as large as life, placed by the peasantry round shrines in the middle of fields as acceptable propitiatory offerings, or in the fulfilment of vows in periods of sickness.5
This was the belief of the Corinthians in the Taraxippos, or shade of Glaucus, who, having been torn in pieces by the horses with which he had been racing, and which he had fed on human flesh to make more spirited, remained to haunt the Isthmus and frighten horses during the races.
There is a modern legend in the Far West (America) of a horse called ‘The White Devil,’ which, in revenge for some harm to its comrades, slew men by biting and trampling them, and was itself slain after defying many attempts at its capture; but among the many ancient legends of demon-horses there are few which suggest anything about that animal hostile to man. His occasional evil character is simply derived from his association with man, and is therefore postponed. For a similar reason the Goat also must be dealt with hereafter, and as a symbolical animal. A few myths are met with which relate to its unpleasant characteristics. In South Guinea the odour of goats is accounted for by the Saga that their ancestor having had the presumption to ask a goddess for her aromatic ointment, she angrily rubbed him with ointment of a reverse kind. It has also been said that it was regarded as a demon by the worshippers of Bacchus, because it cropped the vines; and that it thus originated the Trageluphoi, or goat-stag monsters mentioned by Plato,6 and gave us also the word tragedy.7 But such traits of the Goat can have very little to do with its important relations to Mythology and Demonology. To the list of animals demonised by association must also be added the Stag. No doubt the anxious mothers, wives, or sweethearts of rash young huntsmen utilised the old fables of beautiful hinds which in the deep forests changed to demons and devoured their pursuers,8 for admonition; but the fact that such stags had to transform themselves for evil work is a sufficient certificate of character to prevent their being included among the animal demons proper, that is, such as have in whole or part supplied in their disposition to harm man the basis of a demonic representation.
It will not be deemed wonderful that Rats bear a venerable rank in Demonology. The shudder which some nervous persons feel at sight of even a harmless mouse is a survival from the time when it was believed that in this form unshriven souls or unbaptized children haunted their former homes; and probably it would be difficult to estimate the number of ghost-stories which have originated in their nocturnal scamperings. Many legends report the departure of unhallowed souls from human mouths in the shape of a Mouse. During the earlier Napoleonic wars mice were used in Southern Germany as diviners, by being set with inked feet on the map of Europe to show where the fatal Frenchmen would march. They gained this sanctity by a series of associations with force stretching back to the Hindu fable of a mouse delivering the elephant and the lion by gnawing the cords that bound them. The battle of the Frogs and Mice is ascribed to Homer. Mice are said to have foretold the first civil war in Rome by gnawing the gold in the temple. Rats appear in various legends as avengers. The uncles of King Popelus II., murdered by him and his wife and thrown into a lake, reappear as rats and gnaw the king and queen to death. The same fate overtakes Miskilaus of Poland, through the transformed widows and orphans he had wronged. Mouse Tower, standing in the middle of the Rhine, is the haunted monument of cruel Archbishop Hatto, of Mainz, who (anno 970) bade the famine-stricken people repair to his barn, wherein he shut them fast and burned them. But next morning an army of rats, having eaten all the corn in his granaries, darkened the roads to the palace. The prelate sought refuge from them in the Tower, but they swam after, gnawed through the walls and devoured him.9
St. Gertrude, wearing the funereal mantle of Holda, commands an army of mice. In this respect she succeeds to the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who also leads off children; and my ingenious friend Mr. John Fiske suggests that this may be the reason why Irish servant-maids often show such frantic terror at sight of a mouse.10 The care of children is often intrusted to them, and the appearance of mice prognosticated of old the appearance of the præternatural rat-catcher and psychopomp. Pliny says that in his time it was considered fortunate to meet a white rat. The people of Bassorah always bow to these revered animals when seen, no doubt to propitiate them.
The Lion is a symbol of majesty and of the sun in his glory (reached in the zodiacal Leo), though here and there his original demonic character appears,—as in the combats of Indra, Samson, and Herakles with terrible lions. Euphemism, in one sense, fulfils the conditions of Samson’s riddle—Sweetness coming out of the Strong—and has brought honey out of the Lion. His cruel character has subtly fallen to Sirius the Dog-star, to whom are ascribed the drought and malaria of ‘dog-days’ (when the sun is in Leo); but the primitive fact is intimated in several fables like that of Aristæus, who, born after his mother had been rescued from the Lybian lion, was worshipped in Ceos as a saviour from both droughts and lions. The Lion couching at the feet of beautiful Doorga in India, reappears drawing the chariot of Aphrodite, and typifies the potency of beauty rather than, as Emerson interprets, that beauty depends on strength. The chariot of the Norse Venus, Freyja, was drawn by Cats, diminished forms of her Southern sister’s steeds. It was partly by these routes the Cat came to play the sometimes beneficent rôle in Russian, and to some extent in German, French, and English folklore,—e.g., Puss in Boots, Whittington and his Cat, and Madame D’Aulnoy’s La Chatte Blanche. The demonic characteristics of the destructive cats have been inherited by the black,—or, as in Macbeth, the brindled,—cat. In Germany the approach of a cat to a sick-bed announces death; to dream of one is an evil omen. In Hungary it is said every black cat becomes a witch at the age of seven. It is the witch’s favourite riding-horse, but may sometimes be saved from such servitude by incision of the sign of the cross. A scratch from a black cat is thought to be the beginning of a fatal spell.
De Gubernatis11 has a very curious speculation concerning the origin of our familiar fable the Kilkenny Cats, which he traces to the German superstition which dreads the combat between cats as presaging death to one who witnesses it; and this belief he finds reflected in the Tuscan child’s ‘game of souls,’ in which the devil and angel are supposed to contend for the soul. The author thinks this may be one outcome of the contest between Night and Twilight in Mythology; but, if the connection can be traced, it would probably prove to be derived from the struggle between the two angels of Death, one variation of which is associated with the legend of the strife for the body of Moses. The Book of Enoch says that Gabriel was sent, before the Flood, to excite the man-devouring giants to destroy one another. In an ancient Persian picture in my possession, animal monsters are shown devouring each other, while their proffered victim, like Daniel, is unharmed. The idea is a natural one, and hardly requires comparative tracing.
Dr. Dennys tells us that in China there exists precisely the same superstition as in Scotland as to the evil omen of a cat (or dog) passing over a corpse. Brand and Pennant both mention this, the latter stating that the cat or dog that has so done is killed without mercy. This fact would seem to show that the fear is for the living, lest the soul of the deceased should enter the animal and become one of the innumerable werewolf or vampyre class of demons. But the origin of the superstition is no doubt told in the Slavonic belief that if a cat leap over a corpse the deceased person will become a vampyre.
In Russia the cat enjoys a somewhat better reputation than it does in most other countries. Several peasants in the neighbourhood of Moscow assured me that while they would never be willing to remain in a church where a dog had entered, they would esteem it a good sign if a cat came to church. One aged woman near Moscow told me that when the Devil once tried to creep into Paradise he took the form of a mouse: the Dog and Cat were on guard at the gates, and the Dog allowed the evil one to pass, but the Cat pounced on him, and so defeated another treacherous attempt against human felicity.
The Cat superstition has always been strong in Great Britain. It is, indeed, in one sense true, as old Howell wrote (1647)—‘We need not cross the sea for examples of this kind, we have too many (God wot) at home: King James a great while was loath to believe there were witches; but that which happened to my Lord Francis of Rutland’s children convinced him, who were bewitched by an old woman that was a servant of Belvoir Castle, but, being displeased, she contracted with the Devil, who conversed with her in the form of a Cat, whom she called Rutterkin, to make away those children out of mere malignity and thirst of revenge.’ It is to be feared that many a poor woman has been burned as a witch against whom her cherished cat was the chief witness. It would be a curious psychological study to trace how far the superstition owns a survival in even scientific minds,—as in Buffon’s vituperation of the cat, and in the astonishing story, told by Mr. Wood, of a cat which saw a ghost (anno 1877)!
The Dog, so long the faithful friend of man, and even, possibly, because of the degree to which he has caught his master’s manners, has a large demonic history. In the Semitic stories there are many that indicate the path by which ‘dog’ became the Mussulman synonym of infidel; and the one dog Katmir who in Arabic legend was admitted to Paradise for his faithful watching three hundred and nine years before the cave of the Seven Sleepers,12 must have drifted among the Moslems from India as the Ephesian Sleepers did from the christian world. In the beautiful episode of the ‘Mahábhárata,’ Yudhisthira having journeyed to the door of heaven, refuses to enter into that happy abode unless his faithful dog is admitted also. He is told by Indra, ‘My heaven hath no place for dogs; they steal away our offerings on earth;’ and again, ‘If a dog but behold a sacrifice, men esteem it unholy and void.’ This difficulty was solved by the Dog—Yama in disguise—revealing himself and praising his friend’s fidelity. It is tolerably clear that it is to his connection with Yama, god of Death, and under the evolution of that dualism which divided the universe into upper and nether, that the Dog was degraded among our Aryan ancestors; at the same time his sometimes wolfish disposition and some other natural characters supplied the basis of his demonic character. He was at once a dangerous and a corruptible guard.
In the early Vedic Mythology it is the abode of the gods that is guarded by the two dogs, identified by solar mythologists as the morning and evening twilight: a later phase shows them in the service of Yama, and they reappear in the guardian of the Greek Hades, Cerberus, and Orthros. The first of these has been traced to the Vedic Sarvara, the latter to the monster Vritra. ‘Orthros’ is the phonetical equivalent of Vritra. The bitch Sarama, mother of the two Vedic dogs, proved a treacherous guard, and was slain by Indra. Hence the Russian peasant comes fairly by another version of how the Dog, while on guard, admitted the Devil into heaven on being thrown a bone. But the two watch-dogs of the Hindu myth do not seem to bear an evil character. In a funeral hymn of the ‘Rig-Veda’ (x. 14), addressed to Yama, King of Death, we read:—‘By an auspicious path do thou hasten past the two four-eyed brindled dogs, the offspring of Sarama; then approach the beautiful Pitris who rejoice together with Yama. Intrust him, O Yama, to thy two watch-dogs, four-eyed, road-guarding, and man-observing. The two brown messengers of Yama, broad of nostril and insatiable, wander about among men; may they give us again to-day the auspicious breath of life that we may see the sun!’
And now thousands of years after this was said we find the Dog still regarded as the seer of ghosts, and watcher at the gates of death, of whose opening his howl forewarns. The howling of a dog on the night of December 9, 1871, at Sandringham, where the Prince of Wales lay ill, was thought important enough for newspapers to report to a shuddering country. I read lately of a dog in a German village which was supposed to have announced so many deaths that he became an object of general terror, and was put to death. In that country belief in the demonic character of the dog seems to have been strong enough to transmit an influence even to the powerful brain of Goethe.
In Goethe’s poem, it was when Faust was walking with the student Wagner that the black Dog appeared, rushing around them in spiral curves—spreading, as Faust said, ‘a magic coil as a snare around them;’13 that after this dog had followed Faust into his study, it assumed a monstrous shape, until changed to a mist, from which Mephistopheles steps forth—‘the kernel of the brute’—in guise of a travelling scholar. This is in notable coincidence with the archaic symbolism of the Dog as the most frequent form of the ‘Lares’ (fig. 9), or household genii, originally because of its vigilance. The form here presented is nearly identical with the Cynocephalus, whom the learned author of ‘Mankind: their Origin and Destiny,’ identifies as the Adamic being set as a watch and instructor in Eden (Gen. xvi. 15), an example of which, holding pen and tablet (as described by Horapollo), is given in that work from Philæ. Chrysippus says that these were afterwards represented as young men clothed with dog-skins. Remnants of the tutelary character of the dog are scattered through German folklore: he is regarded as oracle, ghost-seer, and gifted with second sight; in Bohemia he is sometimes made to lick an infant’s face that it may see well.
The passage in ‘Faust’ has been traced to Goethe’s antipathy to dogs, as expressed in his conversation with Falk at the time of Wieland’s death. ‘Annihilation is utterly out of the question; but the possibility of being caught on the way by some more powerful and yet baser monas, and subordinated to it; this is unquestionably a very serious consideration; and I, for my part, have never been able entirely to divest myself of the fear of it, in the way of a mere observation of nature.’ At this moment, says Falk, a dog was heard repeatedly barking in the street. Goethe, sprang hastily to the window and called to it: ‘Take what form you will, vile larva, you shall not subjugate me!’ After some pause, he resumed with the remark: ‘This rabble of creation is extremely offensive. It is a perfect pack of monades with which we are thrown together in this planetary nook; their company will do us little honour with the inhabitants of other planets, if they happen to hear anything about them.’
In visiting the house where Goethe once resided in Weimar, I was startled to find as the chief ornament of the hall a large bronze dog, of full size, and very dark, looking proudly forth, as if he possessed the Goethean monas after all. However, it is not probable that the poet’s real dislike of dogs arose solely from that speculation about monades. It is more probable that in observing the old wall-picture in Auerbach’s cellar, wherein a dog stands beside Mephistopheles, Goethe was led to consider carefully the causes of that intimacy. Unfortunately, and notwithstanding the fables and the sentiment which invest that animal, there are some very repulsive things about him, such as his tendency to madness and the infliction on man of a frightful death. The Greek Mania’s ‘fleet hounds’ (Bacchæ 977) have spread terrors far and wide.
Those who carefully peruse the account given by Mr. Lewes of the quarrel between Karl August and Goethe, on account of the opposition of the latter to the introduction of a performing dog on the Weimar stage—an incident which led to his resignation of his position of intendant of the theatre—may detect this aversion mingling with his disgust as an artist; and it may be also suspected that it was not the mere noise which caused the tortures he described himself as having once endured at Göttingen from the barking of dogs.
It is, however, not improbable that in the wild notion of Goethe, joined with his cynophobia, we find a survival of the belief of the Parsees of Surat, who venerate the Dog above all other animals, and who, when one is dying, place a dog’s muzzle near his mouth, and make it bark twice, so that it may catch the departing soul, and bear it to the waiting angel.
The devil-worshippers of Travancore to this day declare that the evil power approaches them in the form of a Dog, as Mephistopheles approached Faust. But before the superstition reached Goethe’s poem it had undergone many modifications; and especially its keen scent had influenced the Norse imagination to ascribe to it præternatural wisdom. Thus we read in the Saga of Hakon the Good, that when Eystein the Bad had conquered Drontheim, he offered the people choice of his slave Thorer or his dog Sauer to be their king. They chose the Dog. ‘Now the dog was by witchcraft gifted with three men’s wisdom; and when he barked he spoke one word and barked two.’ This Dog wore a collar of gold, and sat on a throne, but, for all his wisdom and power, seems to have been a dog still; for when some wolves invaded the cattle, he attacked and was torn to pieces by them.
Among the negroes of the Southern States in America I have found the belief that the most frequent form of a diabolical apparition is that of a large Dog with fiery eyes, which may be among them an original superstition attributable to their horror of the bloodhound, by which, in some regions, they were pursued when attempting to escape. Among the whites of the same region I have never been able to find any instance of the same belief, though belief in the presage of the howling dog is frequent; and it is possible that this is a survival from some region in Africa, where the Dog has an evil name of the same kind as the scape-goat. Among some tribes in Fazogl there is an annual carnival at which every one does as he likes. The king is then seated in the open air, a dog tied to the leg of his chair, and the animal is then stoned to death.
Mark Twain14 records the folklore of a village of Missouri, where we find lads quaking with fear at the howling of a ‘stray dog’ in the night, but indifferent to the howling of a dog they recognise, which may be a form of the common English belief that it is unlucky to be followed by a ‘strange’ dog. From the same book it appears also that the dog will always have his head in the direction of the person whose doom is signified: the lads are entirely relieved when they find the howling animal has his back turned to them.
It is remarkable that these fragments of European superstition should meet in the Far West a plentiful crop of their like which has sprung up among the aborigines, as the following extract from Mr. Brinton’s work, ‘Myths of the New World,’ will show: ‘Dogs were supposed to stand in some peculiar relation to the moon, probably because they howl at it and run at night, uncanny practices which have cost them dear in reputation. The custom prevailed among tribes so widely asunder as Peruvians, Tupis, Creeks, Iroquois, Algonquins, and Greenland Eskimos to thrash the curs most soundly during an eclipse. The Creeks explained this by saying that the big Dog was swallowing the sun, and that by whipping the little ones they could make him desist. What the big Dog was they were not prepared to say. We know. It was the night goddess, represented by the Dog, who was thus shrouding the world at mid-day. In a better sense, they represented the more agreeable characteristics of the lunar goddess. Xochiquetzal, most fecund of Aztec divinities, patroness of love, of sexual pleasure, and of child-birth, was likewise called Itzcuinan, which, literally translated, is ‘bitch-mother.’ This strange and to us so repugnant title for a goddess was not without parallel elsewhere. When in his wars the Inca Pachacutec carried his arms into the province of Huanca, he found its inhabitants had installed in their temples the figure of a Dog as their highest deity.... This canine canonisation explains why in some parts of Peru a priest was called, by way of honour, allco, Dog!... Many tribes on the Pacific coast united in the adoration of a wild species, the coyote, the Canis latrans of naturalists.’ Of the Dog-demon Chantico the legend of the Nahuas was, ‘that he made a sacrifice to the gods without observing a preparatory fast, for which he was punished by being changed into a Dog. He then invoked the god of death to deliver him, which attempt to evade a just punishment so enraged the divinities that they immersed the world in water.’
The common phrase ‘hell-hounds’ has come to us by various routes. Diana being degraded to Hecate, the dogs of Hades, Orthros and Cerberus, multiplied into a pack of hounds for her chase, were degraded with her into infernal howlers and hunters. A like degradation of Odin’s hunt took place at a later date. The Wild Huntsman, being a diabolical character, is considered elsewhere. Concerning the Dog, it may be further said here, that there are probably various characteristics of that animal reflected in his demonic character. His liability to become rabid, and to afflict human beings with hydrophobia, appears to have had some part in it. Spinoza alludes to the custom in his time of destroying persons suffering from this canine rabies by suffocation; and his English biographer and editor, Dr. Willis, tells me that in his boyhood in Scotland he always heard this spoken of as the old custom. That such treatment could have prevailed can hardly be ascribed to anything but a belief in the demonic character of the rabid dog, cognate with the unconscious superstition which still causes rural magistrates to order a dog which has bitten any one to be slain. The notion is, that if the dog goes mad thereafter, the man will also. Of course it would be rational to preserve the dog’s life carefully, in order that, if it continues healthy, the bitten may feel reassured, as he cannot be if it be dead.
But the degradation of the dog had a cause even in his fidelity as a watch. For this, as we have just seen, made him a common form among Lares or domestic demons. The teraphim also were often in this shape. Christianity had therefore a special reason for ascribing an infernal character to these little idols, which interfered with the popular dependence on the saints. It will thus be seen that there were many causes operating to create that formidable class of demons which were called in the Middle Ages Cynocephaloi. The ancient holy pictures of Russia especially abound in these dog-headed devils; in the sixteenth century they were frequently represented rending souls in hell; and sometimes the dragon of the Apocalypse is represented with seven horrible canine heads.
M. Toussenel, in his transcendental interpretations, has identified the Wolf as the bandit and outlaw.15 The proverbial mediæval phrase for an outlaw—one who wears a teste lœve, caput lupinum, wulfesheofod, which the ingenious author perhaps remembered—is of good antiquity. The wolf is called robber in the ‘Rig-Veda,’ and he is there also demonised, since we find him fleeing before a devotee. (In the Zend ‘Vendidad’ the souls of the pious fear to meet the wolf on the way to heaven.) The god Pushan is invoked against the evil wolf, the malignant spirit.16 Cardano says that to dream of a wolf announces a robber. There is in the wolf, at the same time, that always attractive love of liberty which, in the well-known fable, makes him prefer leanness to the comfort of the collar-wearing dog, which makes him among demonic animals sometimes the same as the mighty huntsmen Nimrod and shaggy Esau among humanised demons. One is not surprised to find occasionally good stories about the wolf. Thus the Nez Perces tribe in America trace the origin of the human race to a wolf. They say that originally, when there were nothing but animals, there was a huge monster which devoured them whole and alive. This monster swallowed a wolf, who, when he entered its belly, found the animals therein snarling at and biting one another as they had done on the earth outside. The wolf exhorted them that their common sufferings should teach them friendliness, and finally he induced them to a system of co-operation by which they made their way out through the side of the monster, which instantly perished. The animals so released were at once transformed to men, how and why the advocates of co-operation will readily understand, and founded the Nez Perces Indians. The myths of Asia and Europe are unhappily antipodal to this in spirit and form, telling of human beings transformed to wolves. In the Norse Mythology, however, there stands a demon wolf whose story bears a touch of feeling, though perhaps it was originally the mere expression for physical law. This is the wolf Fenris, which, from being at first the pet of the gods and lapdog of the goddesses, became so huge and formidable that Asgard itself was endangered. All the skill and power of the gods could not forge chains which might chain him; he snapped them like straws and toppled over the mountains to which he was fastened. But the little Elves working underground made that chain so fine that none could see or feel it,—fashioned it out of the beards of women, the breath of fish, noise of the cat’s footfall, spittle of birds, sinews of bears, roots of stones,—by which are meant things non-existent. This held him. Fenris is chained till the final destruction, when he shall break loose and devour Odin. The fine chain that binds ferocity,—is it the love that can tame all creatures? Is it the sunbeam that defines to the strongest creature its habitat?
The two monsters formed when Ráhu was cloven in twain, in Hindu Mythology, reappear in Eddaic fable as the wolves Sköll and Hati, who pursue the sun and moon. As it is said in the Völuspá:—
Eastward in the Iron-wood
The old one sitteth,
And there bringeth forth
Fenrir’s fell kindred.
Of these one, the mightiest,
The moon’s devourer,
In form most fiend-like,
And filled with the life-blood
Of the dead and the dying,
Reddens with ruddy gore
The seats of the high gods.
Euphemism attending propitiation of such monsters may partly explain the many good things told of wolves in popular legend. The stories of the she-wolf nourishing children, as Romulus and Remus, are found in many lands. They must, indeed, have had some prestige, to have been so largely adopted in saintly tradition. Like the bears that Elisha called to devour the children, the wolves do not lose their natural ferocity by becoming pious. They devour heretics and sacrilegious people. One guarded the head of St. Edmund the Martyr of England; another escorted St. Oddo, Abbot of Cluny, as his ancestors did the priests of Cluny. The skin of the wolf appears in folklore as a charm against hydrophobia; its teeth are best for cutting children’s gums, and its bite, if survived, is an assurance against any future wound or pain.
The tragedy which is so foolishly sprung upon the nerves of children, Little Red Riding-Hood, shows the wolf as a crafty animal. There are many legends of a like character which have made it a favourite figure in which to represent pious impostors. In our figure 10, the wolf appears as the ‘dangerous confessor;’ it was intended, as Mr. Wright thought, for Mary of Modena, Queen of James II., and Father Petre. At the top of the original are the words ‘Converte Angliam’ and beneath, ‘It is a foolish sheep that makes the wolf her confessor.’ The craft of the wolf is represented in a partly political partly social turn given by an American fabulist to one of Æsop’s fables. The wolf having accused the lamb he means to devour of fouling the stream, and receiving answer that the lamb was drinking farther down the current, alters the charge and says, ‘You opposed my candidature at the caucus two years ago.’ ‘I was not then born,’ replies the lamb. The wolf then says, ‘Any one hearing my accusations would testify that I am insane and not responsible for my actions,’ and thereupon devours the lamb with full faith in a jury of his countrymen. M. Toussenel says the wolf is a terrible strategist, albeit the less observant have found little in his character to warrant this attribute of craft, his physiognomy and habits showing him a rather transparent highwayman. It is probable that the fables of this character have derived that trait from his association with demons and devils supposed to take on his shape.
In a beautiful hymn to the Earth in the ‘Atharva Veda’ it is said, ‘The Earth, which endureth the burden of the oppressor, beareth up the abode of the lofty and of the lowly, suffereth the hog, and giveth entrance to the wild boar.’ Boar-hounds in Brittany and some other regions are still kept at Government expense. There are many indications of this kind that in early times men had to defend themselves vigorously against the ravages of the wild boar, and, as De Gubernatis remarks,17 its character is generally demoniacal. The contests of Hercules with the Erymanthian, and of Meleager with the Calydonian, Boar, are enough to show that it was through its dangerous character that he became sacred to the gods of war, Mars and Odin. But it is also to be remembered that the third incarnation of Vishnu was as a Wild Boar; and as the fearless exterminator of snakes the pig merited this association with the Preserver. Provided with a thick coat of fat, no venom can harm him unless it be on the lip. It may be this ability to defy the snake-ordeal which, after its uncleanliness had excepted the hog from human voracity in some regions, assigned it a diabolical character. In rabbinical fable the hog and rat were created by Noah to clear the Ark of filth; but the rats becoming a nuisance, he evoked a cat from the lion’s nose.
It is clear that our Asiatic and Norse ancestors never had such a ferocious beast to encounter as the Grisly Bear (Ursus horribilis) of America, else the appearances of this animal in Demonology could never have been so respectable. The comparatively timid Asiatic Bear (U. labiatus), the small and almost harmless Thibetan species (U. Thibetanus), would appear to have preponderated over the fiercer but rarer Bears of the North in giving us the Indo-Germanic fables, in which this animal is, on the whole, a favourite. Emerson finds in the fondness of the English for their national legend of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a sign of the Englishman’s own nature. ‘He is a bear with a soft place in his heart; he says No, and helps you.’ The old legend found place in the heart of a particularly representative American also—Theodore Parker, who loved to call his dearest friend ‘Bear,’ and who, on arriving in Europe, went to Berne to see his favourites, from which its name is derived. The fondness of the Bear for honey—whence its Russian name, medv-jed, ‘honey-eater’—had probably something to do with its dainty taste for roses and its admiration for female beauty, as told in many myths. In his comparative treatment of the mythology of the Bear, De Gubernatis18 mentions the transformation of King Trisankus into a bear, and connects this with the constellation of the Great Bear; but it may with equal probability be related to the many fables of princes who remain under the form of a bear until the spell is broken by the kiss of some maiden. It is worthy of note that in the Russian legends the Bear is by no means so amiable as in those of our Western folklore. In one, the Bear-prince lurking in his fountain holds by the beard the king who, while hunting, tries to quench his thirst, and releases him only after a promise to deliver up whatever he has at home without his knowledge; the twins, Ivan and Maria, born during his absence, are thus doomed—are concealed, but discovered by the bear, who carries them away. They are saved by help of the bull. When escaping the bear Ivan throws down a comb, which becomes a tangled forest, which, however, the bear penetrates; but the spread-out towel which becomes a lake of fire sends the bear back.19 It is thus the ferocious Arctic Bear which gives the story its sombre character. Such also is the Russian tale of the Bear with iron hairs, which devastates the kingdom, devouring the inhabitants until Ivan and Helena alone remain; after the two in various ways try to escape, their success is secured by the Bull, which, more kindly than Elisha, blinds the Bear with his horns.20 (The Bear retires in winter.) In Norwegian story the Bear becomes milder,—a beautiful youth by night, whose wife loses him because she wishes to see him by lamplight: her place is taken by a long-nosed princess, until, by aid of the golden apple and the rose, she recovers her husband. In the Pentameron,21 Pretiosa, to escape the persecutions of her father, goes into the forest disguised as a she-bear; she nurses and cures the prince, who is enamoured of her, and at his kiss becomes a beautiful maid. The Bear thus has a twofold development in folklore. He used to be killed (13th century) at the end of the Carnival in Rome, as the Devil.22 The Siberians, if they have killed a bear, hang his skin on a tree and apologise humbly to it, declaring that they did not forge the metal that pierced it, and they meant the arrow for a bird; from which it is plain that they rely more on its stupidity than its good heart. In Canada, when the hunters kill a bear, one of them approaches it and places between his teeth the stem of his pipe, breathes in the bowl, and thus, filling with smoke the animal’s mouth, conjures its soul not to be offended at his death. As the bear’s ghost makes no reply, the huntsman, in order to know if his prayer is granted, cuts the thread under the bear’s tongue, and keeps it until the end of the hunt, when a large fire is kindled, and all the band solemnly throw in it what threads of this kind they have; if these sparkle and vanish, as is natural, it is a sign that the bears are appeased.23 In Greenland the great demon, at once feared and invoked, especially by fishermen, is Torngarsuk, a huge Bear with a human arm. He is invisible to all except his priests, the Anguekkoks, who are the only physicians of that people.
The extreme point of demonic power has always been held by the Serpent. So much, however, will have to be said of the destructiveness and other characteristics of this animal when we come to consider at length its unique position in Mythology, that I content myself here with a pictorial representation of the Singhalese Demon of Serpents. If any one find himself shuddering at sight of a snake, even in a country where they are few and comparatively harmless, perhaps this figure (11) may suggest the final cause of the shudder.
In conclusion, it may be said that not only every animal ferocity, but every force which can be exerted injuriously, has had its demonic representations. Every claw, fang, sting, hoof, horn, has been as certain to be catalogued and labelled in demonology as in physical science. It is remarkable also how superstition rationalises. Thus the horn in the animal world, though sometimes dangerous to man, was more dangerous to animals, which, as foes of the horned animals, were foes to man’s interests. The early herdsman knew the value of the horn as a defence against dog and wolf, besides its other utilities. Consequently, although it was necessary that the horn-principle, so to say, in nature must be regarded as one of its retractile and cruel features, man never demonised the animals whose butt was most dangerous, but for such purpose transferred the horns to the head of some nondescript creature. The horn has thus become a natural weapon of man-demons. The same evolution has taken place in America; for, although among its aboriginal legends we may meet with an occasional demon-buffalo, such are rare and of apocryphal antiquity. The accompanying American figure (12) is from a photograph sent me by the President of Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, who found it in an old mound (Red Indian) in the State of Georgia. It is probably as ancient as any example of a human head with horns in the world; and as it could not have been influenced by European notions, it supplies striking evidence that the demonisation of the forces and dangers of nature belongs to the structural action of the human mind.
Zodiac Sun Signs
Aries: March 21 - April 20
Taurus: April 21 - May 21
Gemini: May 22 - June 21
Cancer: June 22 - July 22
Leo: July 23 - August 21
Virgo: August 22 - September 23
Libra: September 24 - October 23
Scorpio: October 24 - November 22
Sagittarius: November 23 - December 22
Capricorn: December 23 - January 20
Aquarius: January 21 - February 19
Pisces: February 20 - March 20
Moon Magic Through the Zodiac
Moon in Aries: Spells involving authority, willpower and rebirth.
Moon in Taurus: Spells involving love, real estate, and money.
Moon in Gemini: Spells involving communication, public relations and travel.
Moon in Cancer: Spells involving domestic life and honoring lunar deities.
Moon in Leo: Spells involving power over others, courage, child birth.
Moon in Virgo: Spells involving employment matters, health and intellectual matters.
Moon in Libra: Spells involving court cases, partnerships and artistic matters.
Moon in Scorpio: Spells involving secrets, power and psychic growth.
Moon in Sagittarius: Spells involving publications, sports and the truth.
Moon in Capricorn: Spells involving career, political matters and ambition.
Moon in Aquarius: Spells involving science, freedom, personal expression, problem solving, friendship.
Moon in Pisces: Spells involving music, telepathy and clairvoyance.
Moon Water Tonic
Tonic waters containing the energies of the moon embody powerful healing benefits that bring about integral balance and wholeness throughout the body, mind and soul. Clear quartz crystal catalyzes the absorption of lunar energies as well as amplifies the healing benefits.
To Prepare Moon Water:
On a clear night, preferably on or right before the full moon, place a clear quartz crystal in a clear glass and cover it with one cup of purified or spring water.
Check an almanac for the exact time of sundown on the day you have chosen. At sundown, place the glass out of doors in a moonlit place (cover the glass with clear plastic wrap).
Remove the glass at dawn. The water is now filled with lunar potency. Drink the moon water every morning to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the stress of the day.
Herbs of the Zodiac
Aries: Garlic, Hemp, Marjoram, Mustard Seed and Angelical Root
Taurus: Colts Foot, Dandelion, Sage, Thyme, Patchouli and Cedar
Gemini: Caraway Seed, Lavender, Mandrake, Vervain, Mugwort and Wormwood
Cancer: Lemon Verbena, Marigold, Geranium, Apple and Catnip.
Leo: Anise, Bay Leaves, Dill, Mint, Oak, Clove and Chamomile
Virgo: Fennel Seed, Valerian, Skullcap and Cyprus
Libra: Penny Royal, Thyme and Lemon Verbena
Scorpio: Basil, Sasperilla, Horehound, Ash and Hops
Sagittarius: Red Clover, Burdock, St. John's Wort and Tobacco
Capricorn: Comfrey, Slippery Elm, Thyme and Jasmine
Aquarius: Frankincense, Myrrh, Valerian, Sandalwood and Peppermint
Pisces: Irish Moss, Seaspirit, Hyacinth, Lovage and Willow
Top 5 Herbs for Weight Loss
[Coconut oil] Coconut oil, Cocos nucifera :
tree : Coconut oil works wonders for dry and damaged skin, cuts, bruises, and speeds the healing while it fights infection. Coconut oil is different from other saturated fats because it is composed of medium-chain fatty acids, MCFAs....
[Coleus Forskohlii] Coleus Forskohlii, Plectranthus barbatus : Forskolin, Indian Coleus, False Boldo
tropical perennial plant : Traditional Ayurevedic medicinal plant used to treat high blood pressure, help in losing weight, improving digestion and nutrient absorption, fighting cancer, and immune system support....
[Eleuthero Root] Eleuthero Root, Eleutherococcus senticosus : Siberian ginseng, Ci-wu-jia, Wu Jia Shen Jing
herb : Eleuthero is used to increase energy and vitality and to treat respiratory and other infections. In traditional Chinese medicine, eleuthero is considered good for vital chi ...
[Garcinia Fruit] Garcinia Fruit, Garcinia cambogia : Brindleberry, Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA), Gambooge
Tropical tree : Both Garcinia cambogia and the extracted acid HCA are widely used in weight control formulas. HCA inhibits the formation of fatty acids and therefore less fat is available to the cells to be stored by the body....
Top 5 Herbs for Arthritis
[Cayenne Pepper] Cayenne Pepper, Capsicum minimum : Capsicum ,African Pepper, Chillies, Bird Pepper
Tender perennial shrub : Capsicum, an extract from cayenne and other peppers, can dramatically reduce chronic nerve pain, and is effective against chronic pain like arthritis and neuralgia...
[Eucalyptus] Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus : Eucalyptus
tree : Eucalyptus is one of the best known cold and congestion remedies. Eucalyptus oil is also a good pain reliever for sore muscles and arthritis pain....
[Ginger Root] Ginger Root, Zingiber officinale : Luyang Dilaw
Perennial Monocot reed : Ginger combines well with many herbs, improving taste and potency. Ginger speeds up the delivery of healthy plant chemicals into the bloodstream while adding a spicy, hot zest to your favorite dishes....
[Rosemary] Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis :
Woody perennial herb : Amazing, versatile rosemary is valued by cooks, herbalists, aromatherapists, and gardeners alike. Rosemary oil combats mental fatigue, increasing concentration and memory...
[Turmeric] Turmeric, Curcuma longa L. : Curcuma, Indian saffron
herbaceous perennial plant : Turmeric is a mild aromatic stimulant used in the manufacture of curry powders and mustards.The curcumin in turmeric has recently been shown effective in the fight against breast cancer, Alzheimer's and arthritis...
Top 5 Herbs for Diabetes
[Bitter Melon] Bitter Melon, Momordica charantia : balsam pear, bitter gourd, Karela
Gourd : The gourd-like fruit has a long history as a treatment for diabetes. Bitter melon improves the body's ability to use blood sugar and improves glucose tolerances. ...
[Cinnamon] Cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. cassia : Cassia Bark, Sweet cinnamon
Evergreen Tropical Tree : Cinnamon is recommended for treating weak digestion, low appetite and stomach upsets. It has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties and may help lower blood sugar....
[Fenugreek] Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum :
Annual Herb : Fenugreek is a medicinal food plant that has the beneficial effect of lowering blood sugar....
[Jambul] Jambul, Eugenia Jambolana :
evergreen tropical tree : Practitioners of Ayurveda in India value jambul for lowering blood sugar and researchers are investigating its potential as a male contraceptive....
[Stevia] Stevia, Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) : Sweet leaf
Perennial Herbaceous Shrub : Stevia is a herbal sweetener that is good for you, stevia leaf adds no calories, and has no harmful side effects. The sweet leaves of this plant are a pleasant and guilt free alternative to sugar. The active photochemical in stevia leaves, ste...
Top 5 Herbs for Anxiety
[California Poppy] California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica : Gold Poppy
Tender Perennial : The above ground parts and roots of this wildflower show promise in the treatment of insomnia without the side effects and dependency risks of sleep aids....
[Chamomile] Chamomile, Matricaria recutita : Camomile, Chamomilla, German chamomile
Annual herb : Chamomile is an excellent remedy for any emotional disorders that involve stress, anxiety, and tension. The apple-like aroma relaxes and calms and the tea is used home remedies....
[Kava-Kava] Kava-Kava, Piper methysticum : Ava. Intoxicating Peper
shrub : Kava kava can be used as a mild sedative for nervous tension and stress. The active constituents in the roots, kava lactones, have relaxing and intoxicating properties....
[Motherwort] Motherwort, Leonurus caridica L. : Lion's tail, lion's ear
Perennial herb : The use of motherwort is an old one, the ancient Greeks and Romans honored it for a remedy for both physical and emotional heart troubles, especially when associated with anxiety...
[Passion Flower] Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata :
Perennial Vine : Herbalists have a high regard for the soothing properties of passionflower and recommend it as a general nerve tonic. Passionflower is often combined with other sedative herbs....
Top 5 Herbs for Allergies
[Eucalyptus] Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus : Eucalyptus
tree : Eucalyptus is one of the best known cold and congestion remedies. Eucalyptus oil is also a good pain reliever for sore muscles and arthritis pain....
[Eyebright] Eyebright, Euphrasia, various species :
Annual herbaceous flowering plant : Eyebright is often used as an eyewash or in a compress to treat sore, itchy eyes. Eyebright infusions can be taken as a tea, or used as an eyewash or compress...
[Ginkgo biloba] Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo biloba L. :
Tree : Allergies and asthma improve with ginkgo. The leaves contains anti-inflammatory chemicals and natural antihistamines...
[Reishi Mushroom] Reishi Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum : Ling-zhi, ling chih, ling chi mushroom
Fungus : Reishi, or Ling zhi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines for thousands of years, who place it in the highest class of tonic medicines, those who benefit the vital life energy or Qi. ...
[Stinging Nettle] Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica : Nettle, Common Nettle
herbaceous perennial : Nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages...
I have added a new forum tab to the menu called "The Healing Hand Request Corner".
This forum is for those of you that wish to ask and share for healing or prosperous energies. The forum allows a larger body of text than the limited characters on the walls. I realize this has been an issue and has had a negative effect on the groups being les active, but as I memtioned before even the groups have a forum option for posting.
I guess putting a prayer corner in a forum context will help you al to become more comfortable in using this tool.