Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lord Tennyson's Elfland

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), or the First Baron Tennyson of Aldworth (Sussex, UK and Freshwater in the Isle of Wight - title created in 1884) was poet laureate of the United Kingdom. Lord Tennyson was, and still remains, one of the most popular and beloved poets in the English language.

If you're not sure you know about Lord Tennyson at all, this may be so, but you probably still use or have heard of phrased coined by the Baron:

  • Knowledge comes/but Wisdom lingers
  • 'Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all
  • Authority forgets a dying king
  • A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies
  • He makes no friends who never made a foe

Lord Tennyson wrote a significant amount of poetry. Below is Tennyson's poem, "The Spendor Falls" - a powerful, sublime poem about powers of nature and myth enabling us to experience vibrantly wilder, stranger things beyond our normal experiences. In this poem, he mentions "Elfland." This land of Elves is, of course, in the distance but the poet can hear the horns of Elfland calling and nature answering back. This is a wonderful poem which sets mood and stirs the emotions and contains a high degree of audio prompts.

The Splendour Falls

The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying
Blow, bugle; answers, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying;
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river;
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying,dying

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seelie Fairy Season

Springtime Fairies - Seelie Fairy Season

It's been so long since I posted that I had to double check on what season it is right now! My last post was made while the ground was covered in snow but as far as I can tell right now - Yes, it's "Springtime" and this brings me to think a lot about seasonal characters, stories, etc.

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of mythology, stories, folktales and fairy tales at this time of year is the amazing number of classifications that people in numerous cultures have given to those known as 'little people' - better known as "fairies."

Not all little people are given the name of of 'fairies,' but many little people with similar features are still considered to be at least marginally related to fairy folk. Some little people, particularly in Irish and Scottish cultures, are un-fairy-like (but still related to fairies), and are downright NASTY...such as trolls, banshees, demons, certain kinds of dwarves, leprechaun and even elves...

Luckily, Springtime is supposed to be the time when the 'nicer' of the fairy species are born. Those known as "SEELIE" fairies are believed to be entities who harbour a less harsh temperament than those of 'unseelie' nature who are born in Autumn and Winter.

There are other ways in which folklorists and other lovers of pseudo-history and stories will place 'little people' into the Seelie versus Unseelie types, but one reasonably well-known and acceptable way to place little folk into these general classifications is to simply say that the forces which make up each season play a part in whether or not little people are born with mild or harsh temperaments and inclinations.

It's actually quite simple...Springtime and Summertime are considered milder, more agreeable seasons, while Fall and Winter display harsh, sometimes deadly weather...therefore, 'nice' fairies and related kin are influenced by the milder, more agreeable seasons and turn out to be well suited to positive, kinder-natured interactions with human beings.

Following the same theory, 'nasty little folk' are influenced by snow, ice, harsh winds, deadly freezing weather, times of hibernation (solitary nature, isolation, withdrawal from people and the world in general), so they are often troublesome in their interactions with humans. Usually, unseelie winter born little people are best left alone by humans, and sometimes, if humans don't keep their distance from unseelies, human beings learn the hard way to leave the unfriendly ones alone.

Examples of those considered Spring or Summer Seelie folk:

* Fairies, in general, who are benevolently inclined toward humans
* Fairies, in general, who represent and who are active in perpetuating growth, re-birth, healing, and regeneration
* Some leprechauns (if benevolently inclined toward humans)
* Some sprites, elves, etc

Examples of those considered Autumn or Winter Unseelie folk:

* Fairies, in general, who are predisposed to be malevolently inclined toward humans
* Fairies, in general, who represent entropy, malicious activities, things related to death
* Trolls, Bogeymen, Leprechauns
* The Irish Banshee (who often shows up just prior to a death, to foretell of a death)

The line between Seelie and Unseelie activities and intent is very thin and fine. Even those who are considered 'good' fey or good fairies, and who may be classified as Seelies can cause a great deal of chaos and damage due to the fact that season of birth never overpowers the basic mischievous nature of fairy folk. While some Seelie folk may be considered 'good' and may also not directly harm human beings or intent to cause harm, their mischievous antics can lead to harm for those humans who are not wary of the Seelie fey folk.

On the other hand, sometimes even Unseelie characters and those even considered to be evil unseelies can be coaxed, once in a while, to perform helpful acts for human beings. Gaining the assistance of an unseelie fairy usually involves a very intelligent human who can both outwit and outmaneuver the unseelie fey individual...but mostly unseelies are better left alone.

The classification parameters for typing fairies, other fey folk and little people will vary from culture to culture, but most cultures recognize that in story, verse, oral tale, literature and other mediums - most fairys/fey folk are flexible of nature to a degree - and tales abound with 'exceptions to the rule' in all categories of fey-folk. This is why we hear of both very helpful and good-natured leprechauns as well as very evil, dangerous leprechauns.

There are good fairies like those who helped Cinderella get to the ball, but for the most part, as already stated, even good fairies are full of mischief and can make a mess in the lives of human friends, companions and acquaintances...think of Tinkerbell from Peter Pan...She's a 'good fairy' but is still prey to her own motivations, which means that she doesn't ALWAYS help Peter Pan out!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nicholas In Furs

Kris Kringle - Belsnickle - Nicholas in Furs

European influence of the 'santa claus' character started to show a new strand of information around 1820 in North America, beginning primarily in the Pennsylvania USA area amongst Dutch settlements. Kris Kringle was also known as Belsnickle, derived from the German "Pelz-Nickle" = "Nicholas in Furs." This influence didn't begin just in 1820 - it began much sooner, however, by 1820 we have an interesting development in the evolution of Santa Claus, and can pinpoint a strong trend in how Santa is 'visually' presented even to this day.

It is said that Belsnickle would travel around the Pennsylvanian countryside with bells in hand, treats bundled in a sack, and he was on the lookout for good children to give cakes and nuts (treats) to. If he came upon children who had been misbehaving throughout the year, he would warn them to be good next year, else they might earn a smack from his rod next year! This Belsnickle was basically a fatty-boy (plump), with red cheeks, and not so stern or bossy as some other 'Santas.' His interest was primarily in children, as well.

* Note - many other Euro-versions were similar but promoted 'goodwill' to families and all, some issued 'advice' or saved families by trying be anonymous in leaving gifts of gold, sacks of gold, etc. (one German St. Nicholas version has St. Nicholas leaving 3 bags of gold to a family where the father is distraught about having to send his daughters out to make money by prostitution or else lose all of the family belongings, their home, their stability in their community - this is SERIOUS Santa Clause SH*T! St. Nick saves the entire family by leaving a very considerable amount of gold - enough for at least two daughters to have a 'dowry' for marriages! Serious Santa Claus stuff, eh?). The "Belsnickle" version promoted by Dutch settlers is mostly seen giving 'fair warnings' about behaviors to CHILDREN. Belsnickle didn't seem as intent on providing gift solutions to entire communities, families, etc., as in other 'European' versions of the same figure.

Although of the 3 primary 'versions of Santa' (Kris Kringle, Santa, St. Nick), I searched for, 'Kris Kringle' searches yeilded the least 'decent' information, Belsnickle or Kris Kringle's 'motives' and 'appearance' seem to be the enduring points of "Santa Claus" that we are familiar with today!

Dutch influence promoting this 'Kris Kringle' seems to be what has given modern day "Santa" his 'jolly' tendency, including a 'plump,' robust appearance and red cheeks and nose. These points are typically the qualifications one needs to don "Santa gear" and work in the malls during the holiday season, or provide entertainment at Christmas parties as a rented "Santa" these days.

Dutch settlers who promoted the ideas of Kris Kringle may not have developed a strong 'mythology' or set of stories to go along with their 'significant version of santa,' however, the simplicity of and visual aspects of their version show up prominently today. Perhaps it wasn't that the Dutch didn't build mythology, but instead, relied on the already existing tales of Christkind, Kris Kringle, SinterKlaus, etc.

* this point requires more research, however, what is stated in the above paragraph is my best guess so far about how we've ended up with this very strong 'Dutch visual' requirement of Kris Kringle and how this has ended up as our present, enduring "Jolly, fat, red-cheeked Santa" that every North American child over the age of 2 is familiar with!

The larger idea of a gift-giving person who makes his rounds at a certain time of year certainly has a stronger set of 'stories' - mythological background - derived from very strong German sources, versus the 'Dutch version,' - however, the "German Kris Kringle" (or Christkind, Pelsnickle, Nikkolus, Nicholaus, etc) is typically very different in appearance than the 'form' that Dutch settlers pushed forward since the early 1800's.

It has already been an amazing journey I've begun into story origins on the topic of "Santa Claus." With respect to my previous post, I am truly convinced now that I was right when saying that research into this topic needs to start around February or March of the year in order to be well-rounded by the month of December!

Forgive my stumbling - I know there's more extensive information on the Dutch Belsnickle, as well, however, I haven't actually applied formal 'research methodology' and used the library yet. I have relied on Internet Resources, most of which are littered (of course) with sales pitches, everywhere that "Santa" is mentioned. Most sites are interested in providing a short, curt phrase or two on the most common 'Santa origins' - in order to ensure that Google Adsense will place decent advertising on the sites (or for other obviously 'commercial' motives). Then I am led to purchase an item and "Santa" information is obviously lacking from there on out!

I'll keep trying searches throughout the holiday season, but am now also interested in making this 'Search For Santa's Origins' part of an on-going project in the year 2009. I am interested to see if I will be able to dig up much better information and resources ONLINE once the holiday season is behind us. My guess is that more educational sites will turn up in search engine searches once "Christmas Season" has passed.

Currently, I have to conclude that the 'Coca-Cola Santa' gets his appearance from the Dutch Belsnickle, and also wonder if Coca-Cola's massive commercial influence hasn't also implanted long-lasting, very powerful visual images for us today that make us feel adamant that "Santa is a Jolly, red-cheeked, fat-boy - HO HO HO!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Legendary Santa Clause or Coke Santa?

Do you call the old Jolly guy Santa? Kris Kringle? St. Nickolaus or just Saint Nick?

By any handle, Santa Clause is truly an outstanding, most substantial myth and character, complete with on-going dilemmas!

This legendary figure, Santa, is perpetual, still evolving, and if you don't believe me, do some searches and try to find a long-ago story of the origin of Santa Clause. You'll get hit with so many versions and aspects of the happy, Jolly, red-cheeked, gift-giver that you'll simply get overwhelmed.

That's what just happened to me! I had intended on posting about 3 of the most common 'Santa Clause' stories, give a Kris Kringle, a modern "Santa," and a Saint Nicholas version on the blog and then call my blogging done for the day.

However.....once I got searching, I realized that one could make an entire study, a very time-consuming and involved study of Santa mythology and origin that would take MONTHS to complete...and still

...not have completed a very conclusive project! That would be a project to begin in, say, February or no later than March. To be wrapped up in time for Christmas of the same year!


Wow, I didn't realize that the 'Coke Santa' joke is actually considered a myth now - and has gained due attention by the Snopes mythbusting/confirmation site, listed in detail on the fact-checking site. Yeah - the joke/comments about Coca-Cola having been the ones to 'start the Santa myth' go even further than this mention I'm making on my blog. The whole 'Coca-Cola-made-Santa' idea has VERSIONS, alternate explanations to it now, too...

Simply AMAZING!!

Now I have to go back to the drawing board and figure out which Santa to follow up on. Who would have thought that writing on an almost universally well-known and well-loved persona would get so COMPLEX right at the start?

I have to re-think on which Santa to blog about, and the considerations range all the way from Saint Nicholas of Myra to - Santa-Smurf!

Wow, Santa is everywhere already by this time of the year!

Ho Ho Ho

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Want People To View Your Blog?

I just signed up at the greatest NEW Traffic Exchange. It's just too fitting to dismiss from my mythology blog 'cos the Traffic Exchange is called "Mythology Surf."

Now a lot of site owners in the surf/exchange and free-money-program industry do attempt to provide a 'theme' for their site and members, but many sites very much FAIL to stay in context within their theme.

This site stays in context, has AWESOME graphics, and and on-going contest that puts you at the mercy of FATE on a continual basis. How fitting - a site using Greek deities and all members are subject to the site's game of fate...

Here's the deal: You surf the traffic exchange for credits and as a member, you're automatically in the on-going 'contest.' It's a 'card game' that you have no control of, and Hercules can save you - or Hades can bring you harsh penalty and take away all your points in the on-going game. There's no special skills that pro surfers can use to outwit the system, so newbies and pro surfers alike have the same chance of winning or losing the game!

There's no money at stake here, so in a sense, everyone is safe, however, if you're in need of hits for your blog or site, you'll want to definitely win that game of fate and win a lot of credits.

Join Mythology Surf and Surf With the Deities

Here's a little cut'n'paste from the mainpage:

"".........A world where Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses
use their special powers to help you get more quality
traffic to your online business.

At Mythology Surf you will find that we have spared no
expense to bring you a unique surfing game. As well as
a customized surfbar. The Ancient Greek Gods and
Goddesses make sure that you will always be rewarded
for your work.We have built this game to reward all surfing,
even short sessions.""

If nothing else, just go click around the site and check out the fantastic graphics!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hey, Coyote is Canadian! Woot

I'm going to get all "Canadian" on ya now!

(*pssssst - not surprising, since I am Canadian)

So I came up with a gem of a book, almost falling apart even with the old, red electrical tape that is trying to perk up its spine. Inside are Native/Indian "Legends' and they're mainly Canadian Cree, Sarcee, Chip', MicMac, Blackfoot, and back to more Chip' (Chippewa)...Chippewans have EXCELLENT tales and a great abundance, too...which is important to me even tho' I am Metis-Cree a little down the left-side with a spot on the right.


Anyhow, I figure that this book PROVES that Coyote is Canadian haha! And, hey - the world started in Canada, too. This book says so!

Coyote and Shuswap Falls (These Falls are in South-Eastern B.C., Canada)

A Long, very long time ago

When the world was young, fresh and new - long before hatred, greed and strife were constant companions of man, this is when Eagle, Bear, Elk, Fox, Coyote and all the other animals and birds lived in peace and harmony together.

Coyote lived in a lovely but lonely place. Coyote's home was far removed from where the others lived. Because Coyote was so far away from everyone, he had nobody to play with and no one to talk to, nobody to feast with, no one to dance with. It wasn't too long before he became so very lonesome that he wanted to invite his friends to have a festival with him. This would be a great time of feasting and dancing and merriment. If the festival was successful, Coyote would make sure to invite everyone and do this over again every year after, too!

Coyote got busy and built some rapids in the river, and he made them end in a waterfall. He made a giant kettle out of stone, put some legs under this kettle, and hung it out over the falls. He also built a fish-trap out of stone. Also, next to the waterfall, he fashioned a stone seat so he could sit and watch fish being caught in the trap and then cooked in his kettle. He set this all up to he would be able to talk to his friends while seeing the sports, dancing and feasting.

Everything was made as Coyote wanted it, and at this time, the buds on the trees were just beginning to burst, so Coyote knew by this sign that the first salmon were on their way up the river waters. He knew it was time to call his friends, so he called out loud for them to come and feast!

Coyote's loud voice could be heard far and wide back then as it can still be heard today.

In every valley and atop every hill, Coyote's friends heard,

"Listen!" They stopped and said, "Coyote is calling us. Let's go!"

Everyone called out to Coyote as they were on their way, and Coyote recognized the return of his calling and knew his friends were on their way. He knew the howl of his friend, Timber Wolf, the roar of Grizzly Bear, the snort of Elk, the hoot of Horned Owl, the cry of Eagle, the chatter of Kingfisher. Coyote was so very happy that he ran around and around in circles, excitedly, trying to catch his tail !

Very soon, everyone gathered together beside the river. They were all amazed when they looked at all the wonders that Coyote had built. They camped beside the rapids for a half a moon, so they could enjoy the waterfall. In Coyote's fish-trap, everyone caught salmon and cooked it in Coyote's big kettle. They feasted and danced and feasted some more. They enjoyed sports, too, while by day and night, the first fire burned brightly. Coyote played and visited and lost his loneliness.

The time came for the festival to end. Everyone shook Coyote's hand with grateful hearts, and promised to come again next year. They would visit again when the fir trees were bursting buds, and were pleased with these thoughts, so they returned home well and happy.

This all happened a very long time ago.

But the rapids and waterfall, the kettle and the stone seat can still be seen in the river where Coyote built them for his great party! And still, every springtime, you can hear Coyote's invitation call and the answering calls of his friends!

AWOL From The Blog

I apologize to people who have browsed by and noticed the long lapse between posts.

Last school semester (fall 2007) was hectic. I didn't log in to post too often and then late in November, unfortunately, I fell ill.

Or, perhaps, the illness has been a fortunate turn, whichever way a person wants to look at things.

The way I'm beginning to see it, "FORTUNA" has been a Lady lurking persistently nearby, for she whispered in my ear, saying "The books, the, silly - those OTHER books..."

The break from formal studies at University has given me some time to delve deeper into some 'legend' books and stories, some recorded tales intended for oral telling - that I didn't have time for before.

Fortuna also rendered me quite literally speechless, that powerful gal - so I had to sh-up for a bit and just reflect, read, reflect some more. Sometimes it was just reflecting - on days that I couldn't read, either, so Lo' and Behold, I also found some audios on-hand for when my eyes were poor!

Quick recent background blurb:

After engaging in a Folk and Fairy Tale class last spring, I had just gotten a better glimpse of how important oral tales are, but the 'student' situation I used to have prevented me from reflecting much or enjoying what I had learned from that class - while I launched into the next semester.

End of quick recent background blurb:

Lady Fortuna, Coyote, hmmm - perhaps Psychopomp (on my scariest low-health days), these 'critchers' came out of nowhere recently, to teach me some stuff, I guess, that I hadn't been learning in school.

...some stuff I hadn't been aware of or learning in life...

To reflect.

To let 'stuff' sink in so that it means something...

To search for the old stories and ignore the present for a little while - devour the stories, the less favoured tales, digging 'em up out of folders in boxes, corners of shelves, and to check out the yellowed pages, dog-eared and wrinkled, too!

Not just the $138 clean, crisp, white texts, brand new from the University bookstore.

On my lowest days since November (the worst days immediately following Christmas day 2007), I couldn't even understand how to operate my cassette player, so I had trouble with Fortuna's directions and couldn't even play my "story-tapes." Instead, I listened to my voice-digi-recorder from the last semester, returning to the STORIES that one of my professors told in class.

I noticed, while I was growing stronger and regaining some health, that the most important messages were in the professors, stories - NOT in the 'lecture' part of the oration. Listening to the stories sparked some recognition of 'how things work,' while my brain was still having problems telling me which was the left side of me and which was the right side.

("We" - docs and I - are still trying to determine if I had a series of mini-strokes or some really whammo, wacky A-typical migraines or just what - should know sometime in April) if this post is a little topsy-turvy and non-linear (*laffs hard*), forgive me.

I remembered about my blog a while back, but wasn't able to post anything coherent. I re-read some of my posts and got more interested in "Coyote" again. Not too far back in the posts, I was going to dig up some Coyote stuff, so I dug out those old books that Lady Fortuna whispered in my ears about, and I'll get some tales to you soon.

Just wanted to explain what happened and why I was AWOL for a while...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mahud's Mythology and Pagan Spirituality Blog

Reader, Mahud responded to my last post several days ago and I think Mahud's link is worth placing up front on the blog.

Here's part of the 'comments post' and Mahud's link:

"Hi there Tracy. I have a mythology and Pagan spiritualty blog.

here's the link: "

Enjoy - this is a nice blog/site!

Thank you very much Mahud!

For some mere basics, there is actually a 'Dummy' book on mythology that is quite good. Naturally, being from the 'Dummy' series, it is called "Mythology For Dummies"

Here's how you can purchase this book from the Wiley online store:

Mythology For Dummies

Special Topics: Mythology For Dummies

It's from the John Wiley and Sons Inc.(1807-2007) online store. This company has been dealing in books for a long time!