“A Sea Queen’s Sailing” was originally published in 1906, by a writer who clearly reveled in writing about the various cultures in early medieval Britain.
The story is set at a time when both Christianity and pagan belief were actively practiced. Norse mythology is a constant presence within the story, demonstrating the mythical beliefs of half of the cast of characters.
Whistler writes about the Norse in both their Scandinavian homelands and also their British settlements. In this book, both the Irish and the Scots are featured. Last but not least, Whistler does not leave out my personal favorite, the Anglo-Saxons.
Characters from all three cultures feature prominently in “A Sea Queen,” with none portrayed as superior or inferior to another. This is an author who clearly has a love for all of the cultures that had a strong presence in the British Isles.
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Book Review - Icelandic Magic: Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires by Stephen E. Flowers, Ph.D.
Icelandic Magic is the latest title by an author who has been an important voice in the Asatru and wider pagan community for decades. Stephen Flowers, also known as Edred Thorsson, is a legitimate scholar earning his Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Medieval Studies. He began studying Germanic magical practices very early on, in fact, his dissertation was entitled “Runes and Magic: Magical Formulaic Elements in the Elder Tradition.”
A note to the reader: Never has it been so evident that history can sometimes be murky and difficult to wade through than during my quest to discover the roots of Christmas caroling! Different sources give different information, conflicting dates, and varying histories.
Ordinarily I would not open with a disclaimer. But, under the circumstances, if the reader were to look up this information on their own, they might find answers different than what I’ve said here. So, I will endeavor to weed through it all and give my own assessment of the material. And, I will try to be clear about where my information came from by citing all sources. - Carolyn
(This article was previously published in Celtic Guide magazine).
Editor's note: Mark Norman, independent folklore researcher and author from Devon, England, shares some Yuletide folk traditions from his home with Mythology Magazine readers. Enjoy and Good Yule!
No matter which way you cut it and no matter how you celebrate it, there is no doubt that Yule is a time of year steeped in tradition. Some of this will be unique to your own family (there is probably a long-standing reason why each person must have 14 sprouts on their plate) and some will be more generally known.
Other symbols and motifs occur frequently and are either timeless or have been changed and appropriated in other ways over the years – I’ll take the Holly King over a jolly fat red-dressed man hawking soft drinks to the masses any time.
Hanukah (Hebrew for Dedication) refers both to: The rededication of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem after it was profaned in 168 BCE by an idol installed in it by the Syrian Greek king Antiochus IV; and
The dedication and valor of the Maccabees and all those who joined them in their resistance to the attempt by the ruling powers to force the Jews to abandon their God given religion, and conform to Greek forms of worship and culture. Abandoning circumcision was one example.
Editor's note: This blog post is excerpted from Ms. Hopman's book, which she generously volunteered to share with readers of Mythology Magazine.
Holly is a Chieftain Tree of the Celts associated with Taranis, the Gaulish Thunder God. Other Holly Gods include Tina, the EtruscanThunder God, Taran, the Pictish Thunder God, and the Scandinavian God Thor.
Holly was planted near homes to protect them from lightning, storm, fire, and hexes. Its wood was used in door sills to repelsorcery. With its blood-red berries and its spiny leaves, Holly was understood to have a warrior's Spirit. War clubs and chariot wheels were made from its wood.
In Ancient Egypt, several types of trees appear in Egyptian mythology and art, although the hieroglyph written to signify tree appears to represent the sycamore fig (ficus sycomorus) in particular.
The sycamore fig tree had a special mythical significance. According to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, twin sycamores stood at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun god, Ra, emerged each morning. Sycamores were often planted near tombs, and burial in coffins made of sycamore wood returned a dead person to the womb of the mother tree goddess.
The sycamore was also regarded as a manifestation of the goddesses Nut, Isis, and especially of Hathor, who was given the epithet “Lady of the Sycamore.”
Editor's Note: Artur Balder's "The Saga of Teutoburg" is a fiction series depicting the life of Arminius the Cheruscan. It has been available in Spanish, and an English language edition is forthcoming. You can read more about the series here, and about Artur Balder here.
Balder states that “the being is an empty fiction, while the myth is the absolute truth.” The myth becomes his central idea, and the anthology of the myth its precondition. Philology becomes to him an enlightened being through the ancient art of reading. And that can only happen when philology, with the Proto-Germanic language involved, suggests the early light of the myth in the very roots of language.
A fixture of Northern, Western, and Central European mythology, the Wild Hunt transcends several pantheons. Its leaders include the Anglo-Saxon god Woden, the Gaulish deity Cernunnos, Arawn and Gwyn ap Nudd who were written about above, Irish folk hero Fionn mac Cumhaill, and the French Hellequin who was an emissary of the Christian devil, and many more.