Juno Goddess of Time

June is a glorious month! Spring is officially present and encroaching upon sultry summer. June is the month of rebirth, of nature after a long, frozen winter. June ushers in twittering song birds, a various array of fine green colored plants and trees, brilliant pinks, white and yellow blossoms. June is famous for of the pink Strawberry moon, also known as the Rose moon or Hot moon and the ushering in of the summer solstice.

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Above: Flaming June, by Lord Leighton 1895 (public domain.)

June is the astrological month of Gemini the twins and after the twenty-first Cancer the crab.

The ancient goddess of time that resides over June is the pre-Roman goddess Juno, was an original Creator Goddess or Spirit. Juno is named in Aesop’s fable of Juno and the Peacock. This maternal goddess of fertility governs several phases of the feminine principal of life. Later, during the Roman empire era 27 BCE – 1453 CE she was paired with the god/planet Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Vulcan, Bellona and Juventas.

Juno is also recognized as the Greek goddess Hera, sister-wife of Zeus and one of the twelve Olympians. Juno, a matron to women, protects them while granting them plenty of health, fertility and energy to deal with major life events. She was known for her powers of healing an array of female issues from painful menses to childbirth.

Below: Photo of another revered matron goddess Cybele who also rode a chariot pulled by lions similar to Juno. Cybele pulled by lions Madrid Spain Wiki-commons.

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Worshipers of Juno would gather annually, seven days after their child’s birth to honor her. During the Roman empire in the 4th century BCE, there was a temple built on the Esquiline in honor of Juno. Several images of Juno displays her driving a chariot being drawn by lions. Her favorite bird is the Peacock and her special flower is the Iris.

Juno and peacock

Above: The Baby’s Own Aesop (verse fables by W.J. Linton), 1887. Illustrations by Walter Crane. Available on-line at International Children’s Digital Library.

A Happy Birthday to all you Gemini and Cancer folks celebrating (or not) your birthday this month.

A Very Happy fourth Birthday shout out to Willow Winsham and Dee Dee Chainney and guests at #Folklore Thursday, @FolkloreThurs on Twitter.

Readers, Please give them a Follow on Twitter, FB and visit their website Folklore Thursday to browse & order their brilliant books on Folklore by various talented authors.

Sources & References:

Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock, 1995

Virginia Brown’s translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women, pp. 13–14; Harvard University Press 2001; ISBN 0-674-01130-9

The Warburg Institute, Iconographic Database online, link below

Warburg Institute Iconographic Database

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Ved-ava Finnish Water Goddess

Ved-ava, a Finnish water goddess ruler of the Finno-Ugric and Baltic people. She is the overseer of fishing and abundance.

Ved-ava is described as a sea creature that is similar to a mermaid. She wears her hair long and has a bottom of a fish tail. Ved-ava has a sweet voice seducing folks with her beautiful songs. Fishermen often revered her with their first catch of the day. She represents incarnation of a person that drowned.

In western Russia the Mordvins considered her their Mother of water. In Estonia, she is known as Vete-ema.

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Source & Reference:

  • “Ved-ava.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2019. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 
  • Featured Paintings Contemplation and Promise by Victor Nizovtsev in 9 (Public Domain)

Folklore Objects: Orbuculum & Aztec Mirrors

Have you ever been to a fortune teller? If so you may have spotted an attractive Orbuculum also known as a Crystal Ball aligned in the centre of a round table.

The Cunning folk would explain ones’ future events using their clairvoyance and the magical art of scrying also known as crystallomancy, crystal gazing or spheromancy. While using their unique psychic abilities they can view ones future by gazing into the Orbuculum.

Photo below of John Dee’s crystal ball, housed in the British Museum. Photo via Wikipedia Commons

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History & Background of the Orbuculum & Aztec Mirrors:

The Celtic Druids were the first accredited to scry the future and observe omens within Beryl balls. During the First Century CE, Pliny the Elder expressed users of crystal balls as soothsayers “Crystallum orbis,” was later penned in Medieval Latin by scribes as orbuculum. It became very popular in the Roman empire by the 5th Century CE.

Once the Roman Empire transformed into the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity took its’ foothold, scrying became a taboo and was condemned by the early medieval church as a heresy.

Overtime spirituality began to blossom once more.

Picture below of Dr. John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1609

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Dr. John Dee was a famous consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He was also well educated and was a notable astronomer, mathematician, astrologer and geographer. He dedicated most of his time to the research of Hermetic philosophy, alchemy and divination of which Crystal balls and Aztec mirrors were used for scrying. During the Victorian era from 1837-1901 Crystallomancy became in demand again. It was noted that Crystal gazing worked best when the Sun was at its most northern decline. The Crystal orb would become clouded right before a vision presented itself within the orb.

The Aztec or Mesoamerican culture also used mirrors to serve as portals into a realm that could be observed but not interacted with. A spiritual dimension. These mirrors were crafted from stone and later Obsidian using Volcano glass to craft mystic, murky mirrors used for scrying. Dr. John Dee had one and it is shown in the British Museum.

At times, Mesoamerican diviners also used bowls of water for scrying.

Dr. John Dee also used scrying tools such as Aztec Mirrors like the one in the photo below

Below: Aztec mirror fashioned from Obsidian located at the British Museum.

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Scrying in Folklore:

There are scrying rituals cited in ceremonial magic and are kept through folk tales and superstition.

One particular tradition back in the Victorian era was held that a young woman in a darkened room gazing into a mirror usually at Samhain or Halloween would catch an image of their future husband’s face in the mirror or they would spot a skull symbolizing Death if she was fated to perish before they were able to wed.

Below: Ye Olde Postcard from Halloween past in Public Domain.

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Another well known Victorian era folklore was of Bloody Mary where young women were encouraged to walk up a flight of stairs backwards, holding a candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were supposed to be able to catch a glimpse of their future husband’s face. Once in a Blue Moon just by chance one would spot the skull-face of the Grim Reaper instead; this meant that they were fated to die before they married.

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Above: Ye Olde Victorian Postcard from the Public Domain

Sources & References:

*Northcote Whitridge Thomas. (1905). Crystal Gazing: Its History and Practice with a Discussion on the Evidence for Telepathic Scrying. Moring.

*Aleister Crowley, Adrian Axwirthy. (2001). A Symbolic Representation of the Universe: Derived by Doctor John Dee Through the Scrying of Sir Edward Kelly. Holmes Publishing Group.

*Healy, Paul F.; Marc G. Blainey (2011). “Ancient Maya Mosaic Mirrors: Function, Symbolism, And Meaning”. Ancient Mesoamerica. Cambridge University Press. 22 (2): 229–244. S0956536111000241.

Seanchaí: Celtic Story Teller

The Seanchaí means (“old lore”) Seanchaithe in Gaelic. A traditional Celtic Story teller and Historian. This tradition even continues in contemporary times.

Seanchaithe (plural) in ancient times served the Clan Chiefs. They were keepers of the history and stories for their tribe. These Celtic storytellers used their own special artistry and dialect that was unique to the Irish folk tradition.

 

 

Source & Reference:

  • Robinson, M (1985) The Concise Scots Dictionary Chambers, Oxford ISBN 0-08-028491-4
  • Illustration of a Seanchaí sharing a story (Public Domain)

 

Viking Voyages to Vinland

Did you know that the Scandinavian Vikings visited Newfoundland and Labrador Canada approximately five centuries before John Cabot or Christopher Columbus sailed to North America? Vinland or Wine-land was discovered by Leif Erickson, covered the area from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the northeastern New Brunswick known for its grapevines, then all the way up to Newfoundland.

Photo below: Reenactment of Viking ships at L’Anse aux Meadows

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Vikings were known for their raiding and trading in unknown lands such as L’Anse aux Meadows located at the Northern tip of Newfoundland. In 1960 archaeological artifacts were found there. This site’s discovery and dig was lead by Archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad with her husband Helge Ingstad. Vineland or Wine-land was written about in the Icelandic Sagas. This site was named an Archaeological and Historical site by the Government of Canada in 1968. Over time, the Vikings left the area due to the extreme cold and lack of food during the winter months, they returned home.

Photo: Archaeologist, Anne Ingstad at L’Anse aux Meadows, 1963.

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Photo below: L’Anse aux Meadows site at the North tip of Newfoundland.

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L’Anse aux Meadows may be the camp Straumfjörd  meaning stream-fjord described by the famous Viking, Erik The Red in The Saga of Erik The Red.
This site dates back six thousand years earlier before the Vikings, where The Dorset Paleo-Eskimo peoples lived from 500 BCE to 1500 CE.
Source & Reference:
  • Hreinsson, Vidar (1997) The Complete Sagas of Icelanders (Leifur Eiriksson Publishing, Reykjavik, Iceland) ISBN 978-9979-9293-0-7
  • Wahlgren, Erik (2000). The Vikings and America. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28199-4.
  •  Wallace, Birgitta (2003). “The Norse in Newfoundland: L’Anse aux Meadows and Vinland”. The New Early Modern Newfoundland. 
  • All photos in Public Domain

 

 

Red-Hat: The Naughty Whale of Hvalfjörður

Red-Hat: The Naughty Whale of Hvalfjörður is an ancient folktale that began with trawlers hunting the Great Auks for food. Hvalfjörður, is located in the southern region of Iceland. This type of whale is not just any whale it is a Raudkembingur a bad-ass type of whale with a red crest that resembles a hat or comb.

One day an unfortunate young trawler was lost, he turned up on a craggy island. The lad was not alone, he was startled by an Elvene tribe. He could not return home so he made the best of it by pairing with an elf woman who birthed their son. The man still pining to return to his native village, nagged his elf mate so much that she agreed to grant him a way to return to his village on the provision that he would baptize his elf child in his home church. The man agreed with her terms. Once he returned to his village he decided not to have his elf child baptized, and left it in a cradle outside of the church. Hearing about the man’s betrayal, the elf lady cursed him and transformed him into a large whale with a red hat as the man had been wearing a red hat at the time.

The Red-Hat Whale-Man became very angry with the elf woman that he began a killing spree upon the local sailors and fishermen. The only folks left was a local wizard and his daughter. The wizard crafted some magic by leading the vengeful whale from the sea towards the narrow part of the river. The whale now spellbound followed them till they arrived at a waterfall where the whale jumped up and landed in the river above.

The Wizard accompanied by his daughter kept hiking along the river to a lake. The angry whale was extremely fatigued so much that it broke his heart under the duress that he sank to the lake bottom. His only remains discovered was his red hat floating upon the lake and the frightening Red-Hat Whale-Man, tyrant of the sea was never seen again.

Source & Reference:

*J.M. Bedell, Queen of the Elves and Other Stories: Icelandic Folktales. ISBN-10: 1566566339, ISBN-13:978-1566566339

*Featured image ©Nifty Brýn Buckles 2019.

World Goth Day

Today is World Goth Day!

Notre Dame Catholic Cathedral comes to mind when I think of Gothic architecture. It is unfortunate that the lead roof and oak spire began to burn up from a fire that was caused by new reconstruction on the building.However since then there has been rumors that a public swimming pool may be built on the roof.  Notre Dame means “Our Lady of Paris.” It was completed in 1290 CE, under the charge of the Bishop Maurice de Sully. 1024px-Notredame_Paris

To celebrate World Goth Day you may wish to read a Gothic novel such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus published in 1818.  Her protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a daunting scientist sporting much perseverance he creates in his laboratory a huge monster at least 8 feet tall. The creature is made through Alchemy and Chemistry including reanimation of dead corpse tissue. Lots of fun for Gothic readers!

Below illustration: Steel engraving (993 × 78 mm), for the frontispiece of the 1831 revised edition of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, published by Colburn and Bentley, London.

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Another famous Gothic author I enjoy reading is Edgar Allen Poe who died a very mysterious, controversial, death on October 7th 1849.

His short novel The Black Cat was published on August 19th 1843 on The Saturday Evening Post. A story about the study of psychology on guilt and how it slowly, eats away at the protagonist. The murderer covers up his crime and thinks he is untouchable, but he is so guilt-ridden that he betrays himself, from his very own nagging conscience.

You can read it here The Black Cat on The Saturday Evening Post. Below illustration of The Black Cat by Byam Shaw.

Enjoy!

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Sources & References:

  • Haggerty, George E. (1989). Gothic Fiction/Gothic Form. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0271006451.
  • Davis, Michael T. “Splendor and Peril: The Cathedral of Paris, 1290–1350.” The Art Bulletin (1998) 80#1 pp: 34–66.
  • Saturday Evening Post The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe
  • Featured image of gargoyle on Notre Dame Cathedral (Public Domain.)