Nicnevin, Gaelic Witch Goddess

One of my favorite goddesses is the Gaelic goddess Nicnevin also known as The Queen of Elphame, Queen of the Fairies of Fife or Gyre Carlin, the Bone mother.

fairyqueen

                         The Fairy Queen, illustration by Arthur Rackham

Nicnevin name evolved from the Gaelic Nic an Neamhain, meaning “Daughter of Flap,” spirit-woman or goddess who personifies the frenzied havoc of war. She is symbolized by flying geese similar to the symbols of the Roman goddess Juno. Succeeding the chaotic Christian witch trials, she was then categorized as a Seelie (benevolent fairy)  Queen of Elphame and Unseelie (malevolent fairy) Nicnevin goddess of Witches. She represents both sides of the divine feminine.

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The wild hunt: Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Nicnevin is associated with the dead riders of the night in German folklore of the Wild Hunt. She is a shape shifter representing once more the divine feminine. She can morph into an old crone or a beautiful young woman dependant upon her situation. Nicnevin is the goddess of witches, magic, crossroads and the dark moon.

 

unseelie-court

Queen of the Unseelie by Brian Froud

Nicnevin is revered by witches on Samhain, the Celtic New Year, here she is celebrated with prayers and feasts in her name. The Rites of Nicnevin are practiced on November 1st. During this seasonal celebration she is known to grant wishes and answer pagan’s thoughtful prayers. Nicnevin  is the legendary mother witch, Hecate, or Habundia figure of Scottish fairy lore.

Fairies have existed according to fairy-lore for a very long time. They are well known in many cultures and in different regions around the earth. Many legends speak of the Fae having a special leader who was a mystical queen who cleverly ruled over Fairyland.

Other well known goddesses that have been linked to the Fae. One of them was the famous queen Morrigan. Another one was Danu, a Celtic mother.

Her name is The Queen of Elphame, and she turns up in the folk tradition of Lowland Scotland. The Queen of Elphame is most notable for her role in the medieval ballad and later fairy tale called “Thomas the Rhymer.”

According to Scottish Folklore the Queen of Elphame, is the fairy ruler of Elphame (Elf-home; compare Norse Álfheimr), the underworld Scottish fairyland. She appears in a number of conventional mystical ballads, including Thomas the Rhymer and Tam Lin. She also appears in a number of accounts from witchcraft trials and confessions, including the confession of Isobel Gowdie.

 

Alexander Montgomerie, in his Flyting, described her as:

Nicnevin with her nymphes, in number anew
With charms from Caitness and Chanrie of Ross
Whose cunning consists in casting a clew.

 

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The Arrival of the King & Queen of Fairies  – E Stuart Hardy.

 

 

 

Sources & References:

Katharine Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies (Penguin, 1977; ISBN 0140047530

Thomas Wright, Narratives of sorcery and magic, from the most authentic sources (Redfield, 1852)

Rossell Hope Robbins , The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, 1959.

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc002.htm

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Brownies

Scottish and British Brownies are located in the Scottish lowlands and Northern England. Brownies are also named in Celtic language as a brùnaidh, ùruisg, or gruagach, they are similar to a hobgoblin or tutelary spirit that is a guardian of a family’s property.

They are beneficent to the families they live with much like Dobby the house elf in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Books.

Brownies enjoy aiding folks by tilling the garden or performing household chores once, the adults retire for the evening. UK Brownies love bread, yet in Newfoundland, Canada folks use bread to avoid fairies.

Brownies are approximately (three feet high or 91.44 centimeters) and mainly wear ragged brown serf clothes and sport beards with long hair. Never attempt to reward them with new clothes, they may be offended by your kind gesture. Many Old families in the UK had Brownies that lived with them and stayed in their homes that were eventually, passed down through the ages to their adult children. Brownies are ageless compared to people. Brownies are similar to the Scandinavian Tomte,the Slavic domovoi and the German Heinzelmännchen. Never anger a Brownie or you will see poltergeist action in your house that will scare the boots off of you!

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 Above Illustration of a Brownie by Arthur Rackham via Public Domain

Some European folks believed that Brownies were really dead ancestral spirits that changed into Brownies then eventually morphed into devils.

Brownie postcard

Above vintage advertisement with Brownies via Public Domain

 

 

 

Sources & References:

Briggs, Katharine M. (1972). “Folklore in Nineteenth-Century English Literature Folklore .”

Lamont-Brown, R. (1996)  Scottish Folklore. Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited.

Walpurgis & Beltane Festivals

The German festival of Walpurgisnacht, is April 30th similar to the UK Walpurgis or Beltane which runs from April 30th to May 3rd. It is also known as  Lady Day or May Day in  Germany.

Walpurgis night 2018 photo credited to Karina Hessland

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In the UK pagans celebrate the Green Man festival which is mainly a foliage fertility celebration honoring our ancestors, the close of winter embracing the blossom of Spring.

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The powers of elves and the  Fae grow and reach their peak at the Summer Solstice.

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Folklore tells us It is a time of enchantment and magical renewal. Beltane is a great time for planting gardens especially herbs and casting spells.

In Scandinavia, heathens play out mock battles between Winter and Summer.

Beltane is a time for Community Bonfires.
Tradition teaches us that sacred woods are kindled by spark from flint.  The Irish Gaelic, Beltane Fire is called ‘teine eigin’ or fire from rubbing sticks together.

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Pagans may jump over the Beltane Fire, swoosh through it, or do a clockwise dance around the bonfire.
There is drumming that compliments the dancers.
If you live in the country gather your kin and have a bonfire that you can contain in areas like a beach on sand.
Keep children out of the way so no injuries happen. Remember Safety first and enjoy Beltane. Welcome Spring! Welcome Lady May! Welcome Green Man!

 

Freyja Scandinavian Fire Goddess

1920px-John_Bauer-Freja Freja (1905) by John Bauer (1882–1918)

Freyja means Lady or Mistress, also known as Freya.

Freyja is the Scandinavian fire goddess of love,fertility, lust, beauty, wealth, gold as well as being a witch skilled in magick and enchantment. She is the main goddess of the Vanir, daughter of Njörðr. She is also known as the Goddess of the Northern Mysteries and inner seith fire and witchcraft.

Here are a some Folklore Facts about this fiery goddess.

Freyja, in the poem Hyndluljóð, aids her trustworthy servant Óttar in researching information about his genealogy so that he may justify his inheritance. In doing so, Freyja turns Óttar into her boar, Hildisvíni, and, by means of sweet talk and threats of death by fire, Freyja proficiently pries this specific information from Óttar after, having attained it from the jötunn Hyndla. Freyja converses throughout the poem, and at one point esteems Óttar for building a hörgr (an altar of stones) and frequently making offerings to her.

illustration of Freyja Spellbound artist unknown, public domain.

feyja

Freyja is not Frigg the queen of the Aesir goddesses and is married to Odin. Many scholars still debate this topic. She enjoys love and poetry and is famous for her promiscuity. Freyja worship was erotic and she is connected to several Eastern deities, like Cybele. Freyja represents the planet ‘Venus’ which is the love planet.

Freyja has a brother ‘Freyr’ who is the Norse god of harvest and bounty.
She has two large male Norse forest cats that pull her and her chariot among the clouds, named, ‘Bygul’ and ‘Trjegul’.
Freyja has a wild boar at her side his name is ‘Hildisvini,’ who once was a man. Sadly, or not, the dark elves turned him into a boar.

She is married to the god Óðr who is rarely around and she searches for him under various names such as including the thrice-burnt and thrice-reborn Gullveig/Heiðr, the goddesses Gefjon, Skaði, Þorgerðr Hölgabrúðr and Irpa, Menglöð, and the 1st century CE “Isis” of the Suebi. Freyja cries tears of gold when she can’t fine him.
She has a falcon cloak that enables her to travel throughout the nine worlds.
Freyja is known as an accomplished sorceress of the Norse nine worlds.
She is the leader of the Valkeryies, female goddesses that help her collect the fallen brave soldiers souls from the battlefield.

Odin and Freyja collect the dead souls of valiant soldiers on the battlefield and carry half of them, off to Valhalla the hall of Odin and the other half Freyja takes to her hall Sessrúmnir in Folksvang. She reigns over ‘Folksvang’ in the heavens.
Freyja has a magickal gift of Seidr, she can shapeshift and change her enviroment that surrounds her.
Odin taught her Rune wisdom and in exchange she taught Odin her spell craft.
Freyja takes pride in her amber necklace called Brísingamen. This frisky goddess bargained to attain the Necklace of Brísingamen also known as Brisings, by sleeping with four crafty dwarfs that created it.

Her most desired fruit are strawberries and her number is 13 and she is the goddess of Friday this is her good fortune day, Friday the 13th.

 

Written by NiftyBuckles©2018

 

 

 

 

 

Source and reference:

Nãsström, Freyja, the Great goddess of The North.

 

Lempo Finnish Fire Deity

Lempo Finnish deity of fire and fertility.

Who is Lempo?

According to Finnish and Karelian Folklore Lempo was considered an evil spirit.

Lempo is the Finnish god/goddess of fire and sexuality of dual genders. Appearing at times as a god or goddess.

Lempo is known as a ruler of pyre, forest demons and shadow spirits. These are called PIRU, and its nickname Pääpiru denotes ‘Head of the Demons’. Lempo’s minions includes herds of mighty moose. Don’t mess with them they are extremely fierce.

lempo fire goddess

Lempo’s nemesis is Lemminkainen the Finnish trickster god.

Lempo’s reputation worsened after Christianity came to Finland, she/he was at that time, represented in folklore as an unpredictable spirit, as its desire was described at times to be fantastic and hazardous. Lempo’s power could take control a person and turn them to desolation.

According to Finnish fire lore, Lempo took down the hero Väinämöinen with the aid of its two demon cohorts, Hiisi and Paha. The words “lempo” and “hiisi” are also used as very mild swear words in the Finnish language. “Piru” is a slightly stronger swear word. Many nature gods and goddesses were demonized by Christian priests over the centuries, this happened all over Europe, UK and the West.

Sources and References:

Taivaannaula: Lempo

The Kalevala Glossary

Godchecker.com Lempo

Art: uncredited

Icelandic Body Folklore: Necropants

Icelandic Body Folklore of the Nábrók and the Nábrókarstafur.

There are two sides to Folklore. One is light and cheerful like folk dancing and some folk music. Then there is a dark side that presents itself as sheer terrifying like this  Icelandic folklore about real human necropants.
Nábrók means “death underpants!” (No I’m not joking!)
They’re a pair of pants made from the skin of a dead man, according to Icelandic witchcraft, generates a limitless money cache.

The photo below is a replica of a pair of nábrók at The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft.

Necropants_in_Iceland_exhibit

The Magick Ritual:
Legend dictates, in order create your own necropants or nábrók, one has to attain approval from the living person in order to use their skin for this ritual after they have expired.

This gruesome ritual states once the deceased man has been buried, he must be dug up and excoriate in one piece his skin from the waist down.

When you step into the skin of the cadaver the Nábrók will fuse itself to your lower body.

Next, you must pillage a coin from a poor widow and place in the scrotum with the magical sigil,  nábrókarstafur, penned on a scrap of paper.

Then, the coin will attract money continuously into the scrotum as long as no one disturbs the initial coin.

The Christian twist to this is for one that desires to attain salvation, the owner of the necropants must convince an unwary male to accept ownership of the nábrók and pop into the pants immediately.

The nábrók will continue producing coins for ages.
Icelandic Sigil of the nábrókarstafur.

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The magical symbol above, is part of the ritual and at its feet are coins.

-Written by NiftyBuckles©2018

 

 

Source and References:

Sigurður, Atlason (14 November 2005). “Stave for Necropants”. Strandagaldur, Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.

Huldufólk of Iceland: Don’t Touch Our Rocks or Bad luck will follow you!

A very unusual story  was revealed in the Icelandic newspaper, called Fréttablaðið. Meaning in English,  frétt (“news”) +‎ blað (“paper”) concerning some lava stone that a British tourist returned home with him a few years ago. According to the story he experienced real bad luck in his personal and public life when returning to the UK. He blames the Icelandic lava stone, and actually mailed it back to Iceland, pleading that it be returned to its natural habitat.

Tourists sometimes need to be reminded that it is illegal to remove stones and rocks from Iceland. This law originates from the tales of the Huldufólk, Icelandic elves that mine the earth. The icelandic folk believe that these busy elves are the guardians of the earth, rocks and stones. Their message is clear, Don’t touch our rocks or bad luck will follow!  Check out the original story here   Told Lava Mound Source of Misfortune

The Huldufólk of Iceland are small elf like creatures that hide under hill, rocks and trees.
They are known to cause chaos when their natural environment is threatened by today’s technology. ie. People using graters to flatten their hills. Icelandic folk have created small houses built into rocks and hills for them.

The folklore behind them has been Christianized. The tale cites the Huldufólk are the unwashed children of Adam and Eve. They were bathing their children when the Abrahamic god showed up uninvited. The Pagan view is that the Huldufólk are the guardians of the earth, they aid mother earth to stay unblemished and majestic.

Adam and Eve, quickly hid the gritty children behind rocks and trees and eventually forgot about them altogether, leaving them to fend for themselves. They had fibbed to their Biblical god when he asked about all their children. So the Biblical god cursed their unwashed children leaving them to stay hidden forever. The Huldufólk blended with the land and never really aged due to their small size and the curse laid upon them by a tyrannical god.

– Written by Nifty Brýn Buckles©2018

 

Source and References:

* Fréttablaðið:   http://www.visir.is/g/2010630981087/taldi-hraunmolann-uppsprettu-ogaefu

*Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson (1993). “The testimony of waking consciousness and dreams in migratory legends concerning human encounters with the hidden people”. Arv: Nordic Yearbook of Folklore. 49: 123–131

*Alda Sigmundsdóttir (19 April 2009). My Iceland: the glamorous opulence of the hidden people”. The Iceland Weather Report.