31.12.10

Your New Star Sign - Part One

Article


Astrological signs were first recorded in ancient times when astronomy and astrology were still considered one and the same; and not separate as they are today. They originated in Babylonian astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC. The present day zodiac symbols emerged during the Roman Era. During this era the concept of the zodiac which evolved from the Babylonian astronomy was later influenced by Hellenistic astronomy.

The zodiac is the ring of constellations; a group of celestial bodies (usually stars) which appear to form a pattern in the sky. These stars line the ecliptic (the path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year). It is a celestial or ecliptic coordinate system taking the vernal ecliptic as the origin of latitude and the position of the sun at equinox as the origin of longitude. The paths of the Moon and planets also lie roughly within the ecliptic and so are also within the constellations of the zodiac.

The ecliptic, as it’s perceived from the revolving Earth, passes through the constellations which became known as the Zodiac - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The early astronomers observed the Sun travelling through the signs of the zodiac in the course of one year. They observed that it was present for about a month in each and so calculated that each constellation extends 30 degrees across the ecliptic.

In the Northern Hemisphere the first day of spring was once marked by the zero point of the zodiac called the vernal equinox (as mentioned above) occurring as the ecliptic and celestial equator, intersect. Around 600 BC the zero point was in Aries and this constellation encompassed the first 30 degrees of the ecliptic; from 30 to 60 degrees was Taurus; from 60 to 90 degrees was Gemini, and so on, for all twelve signs of the Zodiac.

What has become apparent in recent times, however, is that early astronomers may not have been fully aware of the extent of the gravitational attraction of the Moon on the Earth’s equator actually causing the Earth to ‘wobble’ – called precession. The earth continually wobbles around its axis in a 25,800 year cycle and over the past two and a half millennia this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial and ecliptic equators to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees (almost one tenth of the way around).

This means that the astrological or zodiac signs have changed one tenth or almost one complete month. For example, those born between March 21st and April 20th would consider themselves to be an Aries. Today the Sun is no longer within the constellation of Aries during much of that period. From March 12th to April 18th, the Sun is actually in the constellation of Pisces. Has your ‘star sign’ now changed?

Continued: 
Your New Star Sign – Part Two
Your New Star Sign - Part Three
© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

30.12.10

Horoscopic Astrology

Article

Horoscopic astrology is a system which some say developed in the Mediterranean region and specifically Hellenistic Egypt around the late 2nd or early 1st century BC. Although ultimately passed on from Babylonian astrology, horoscopic astrology has been practiced in India since ancient times. Vedic (Hindu) astrology is the oldest surviving form of horoscopic astrology in the world.

It is the form of astrology that uses a horoscope; a visual representation of the heavens for a specific moment in time, in order to interpret the meaning in connection with the alignment of the planets at that exact moment.

What makes Horoscopic Astrology distinct from other forms of astrology is the inclusion of the degree of the Eastern horizon rising against the backdrop of the ecliptic at a specific moment in time, known as the ascendant. As a general rule, any system of astrology that does not utilize the ascendant does not fall under the category of horoscopic astrology.

Vedic and Western astrology share a common ancestry as horoscopic systems of astrology, in that both traditions focus on the casting of an astrological chart or horoscope. However, Vedic astrology uses the sidereal (fixed, constellational) zodiac, linking the signs of the zodiac to their original constellations, while much Western astrology uses the tropical (seasonal) zodiac. 

Horoscopic astrology can be summed up as the practice of casting an astrological chart to analyze the birth charts of individuals in order to read character, psychological traits, and, to some extent, destiny. It is the most influential and widespread form of astrology in Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. Medieval and most modern Western traditions of astrology are derived from this type of astrology.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

29.12.10

Astrology - Tropical or Sidereal?

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When astrology is mentioned it conjures up images of the constellations that we gaze upon in the night sky. As the Moon affects the tides of the rivers and oceans, and the Sun affects whether it is day or night, astrologers believe that the celestial bodies in our universe also have an affect upon Earth and influence the lives of its inhabitants.

As astrology was being developed in ancient times by the Babylonians and Hellenistic Greeks astrologers based what is called Tropical Astrology on the path of the Sun traversing the Earth in relation to the change of the seasons. They used the tropics as their reference points. This type of astrology is widely used in the Western world.

In contrast, Vedic (Hindu) astrology, which is known to be the oldest type of astrology, uses what is called Sidereal Astrology, based on planets passing through the current or true positions of the fixed stars. This eliminates the need to recalculate due to precession (the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth’s axis of rotation) which has occurred over time.

Tropical Astrology is largely exclusive to Western astrologers. However some Western astrologers choose to practice Sidereal Astrology. These astrologers take the view that Tropical Astrology is no longer relevant because it does not align with the actual position of the stars; having a basis which was developed prior to the consideration of precession.

However, in spite of precession Tropical Astrology remains unchanged, as it is based on the Earth's and our relationship to the sun, and not to the stars. The names of the zodiacal constellations that became our ‘sun and star signs’ are, according to tropical astrology, intended to suggest the characteristics of (the sun in) each constellation of the year.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

28.12.10

Are Astronomy and Astrology The Same?

Article

Astronomy and astrology were first recorded in ancient times where they were considered one and the same and not separate as they are today. It has only been since the 18th century that they gradually became recognised as separate after the period of time known as the ‘Age of Reason’.

Astronomers endeavour to understand the physics of the universe, studying the objects and phenomena originating beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. They use scientific method, natural presuppositions and abstract mathematical reasoning.

Astrologers focus on astronomical calculations of the positions of celestial objects, as a basis for psychology, prediction of future events and other esoteric knowledge. They believe that celestial objects influence the Earth and human affairs.

Both astronomy and astrology are based on the application of an ephemeris (a table of values) that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time or times. However, different types of ephemerides are used for astronomy and astrology.

Astronomers use a scientific ephemeris which is comprised of software that generates the positions of planets, and other astronomical objects, past and future, based on the theory of celestial mechanics. However, there are secular phenomena factors that cannot adequately be considered by ephemerides. 

Astrologers use different types of ephemerides, according to whether they use tropical or sidereal astrology. The ephemeris used for tropical astrology is the same type of ephemeris that is used by astronomers; however, the ephemeris used for sidereal astrology (which is the oldest type of astrology) is different.

Although both astronomy and astrology differ in their goals and disciplines they both see the Earth as being an integral part of the universe. They both believe that the Earth and the universe are interconnected as one cosmos, and are not separate and distinct from each other.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

22.12.10

Why Do Friendships End?

Article

Why do friendships end? Does it still leave you wondering at times? It may have to do with how you view friendship, as well as your beliefs about life in general; both are equally important to consider.

There is a quote that attempts to explain why some people come into our lives, either for a short time, for a longer time, or even for life. I have broken it down into the three different aspects below:-



People can come into our lives for a ‘reason’:
  • To meet a need we have expressed.
  • To assist us through some difficulty.
  • To provide us with guidance and support.
  • To aid us physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They are there for the ‘reason’ we need them to be, even though we may not be consciously aware of it. Then, something will ‘happen’ to cause this friendship to end. It may have nothing to do with any ‘wrong doing’. The friendship just – ends. This is because the ‘reason’ for the friendship in the beginning, has been met.


People can come into our lives for a ‘season’:
  • To share, grow or learn.
  • To bring us an experience of peace.
  • To make us have fun, and laugh.
  • To teach us something we have never done.
They are there for a ‘season’, and give us a sense of joy or feelings of satisfaction.  Then, once again, something will ‘happen’ to cause this friendship to end. The friendship just – ends. This is because the ‘season’ of that friendship may have felt like it would continue for years, but the cycle of that season ended.


People can come into our lives, for a ‘lifetime’:
  • To teach us.
  • To learn from us.
  • To share with us; all that we have learned together.
  • To build upon our combined experiences.
Some people believe that we only ever have one life on earth and that even with free will there is a divine plan in place for each of us. Some people believe that we have many lives and that we decide before we start each life what we plan to achieve in that life. In other words, either way, our friendships and the duration of them may well be a large part of our life's purpose.

Even if our friendships were not pre-planned, we each have something to offer one another, and we are all important in the scheme of life. Friendships may come and go, but what we have learned and experienced through them, can last a lifetime - or more.

One of my favourite quotes:
‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.’ Teilhard de Chardin 1881 - 1955


© Copyright J M Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Charms & Symbols

Article

Most of us use charms without realising it. We touch ‘wood’ for good luck, hang a horseshoe with the points facing upward above our front doors, and even wear the colour of our favourite sport’s team. All of these actions originated from a time when everyone believed that the energy of the universe could be channelled into objects and symbols.

Charms today are still effective when used with awareness and clear intent. Charms in the home give protection to your family, possessions and create a calm environment. Charm bracelets, rings and other jewellery are a popular way of carrying these with you all through the day. Gifts to others are often knowingly or unknowingly, a charm offering.

Listed below are some of the common charms you may already be familiar with:

  • A silver cup for a baby at a christening is a symbol of health and happiness
  • A horseshoe charm at a wedding increases the fertility of the union
  • The key that adorns 18th and 21st birthday cards unlocks the secrets of adult life
  • The Christmas feast affirms the prosperity of the year ahead
  • Religious images worn as jewellery carry protection from the source
  • A cross of elder twigs placed on the front door deters unwelcome guests
  • Foreign coins are used as personal good luck charms by travellers
  • Finding a penny and cherishing it attracts wealth
  • Carrying or wearing crystals allows connection with energies of nature
  • A dream catcher hung above the bed protects sleepers from nightmares
You may use these charms due to tradition, or just because it makes you feel good. Whatever the reason, the fact remains – we have been using charms for a very long time.


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

21.12.10

The Seven and Eight Wonders of The World

Article

It is true that our planet possesses some truly amazing and beautiful natural and man made wonders, but recently I was reminded of an email that was sent to me regarding a teachers request to a class to list what they considered to be: The Seven Wonders of The World.

While many in the class listed wonders such as: The Great Pyramids of Egypt, The Taj Mahal, The Grand Canyon, The Panama Canal, The Empire State Building, St. Peter's Basilica and The Great Wall of China; one child listed the following:

To See:

To Hear:

To Touch:

To Taste:

To Feel:

To Laugh:

To Love:


Out of the mouths of babes….
Definitely worth considering, don’t you think? Which I did, and then decided I would like to include an Eighth Wonder of The World, which I believe deserves mention, although difficult to define, and it is the reason why I have left the picture - blank! 

The Human Spirit:



© Copyright J M Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Success Plan

Article

If you believe in the Law of Attraction you may be familiar with the famous quote by Napoleon Hill: ’Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!’

You may also be familiar with another quote of Napoleon Hill’s: ‘All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea!’

My understanding of these quotes, in simple terms, is that our current circumstances are created by what we thought and believed in our past.  And we can create our future, subject to this concept.

As a recent convert to the principles of the Law of Attraction, and an online entrepreneur, I have become very conscious of my thoughts, particularly in relation to my business.

The concept of setting goals is a necessary part of any business. It is not only beneficial for motivational purposes but essential for future planning.

Here lies the question regarding the use of the word - goal, in applying the Law of Attraction. According to Collins, Australian Dictionary: the meaning of the word - goal, is aim; and the meaning of the word - aim, is intend.

Now that explanation is fairly straight forward. However, if we set a goal, won’t it always be something we are aiming or intending to do? Won’t it always be a goal and never actually reach a conclusion? Isn’t the concept of the Law of Attraction that we must truly believe we have achieved what we desire before we achieve it? How can we believe we have achieved what it is we desire if we put it in the category of an aim or intention.

How about this for an idea! What if we were to replace the word - goal, with the word - success?

Once again, according to the dictionary, we find that the meaning of the word - success, is achievement of something attempted! And, the word - achievement, something accomplished!

Changing the word goal, to success, implies that you have already achieved your desires. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of a success plan, instead of a goal. And I feel like I have already created a more prosperous and happy future. To your success!

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

30.11.10

The Mythical Creatures of Harry Potter

Article

If you are a Harry Potter fan, no doubt you will be familiar with the mythical creatures included in this fantasy series, which are all brought to life in the books and movies of the amazing British author, J K Rowling. Although the characters and the special effects in the movies are awesome, and the story itself is a writing masterpiece, the mythical creatures such as the centaur, dragon, giant, goblin, gryphon, mermaids and mermen, phoenix, werewolf and unicorn, among others, all contribute in making this series into the astonishing success that it has become.

For those of you not familiar with the Harry Potter phenomenon, the books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard, Harry Potter, and his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who are all students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story involves Harry’s quandary involving the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents in his quest to conquer the wizard and the non-magical (Muggles) worlds.

Harry Potter Facts

There were a total of 8 Harry Potter movies made from the 7 Harry Potter books. The seventh book was  made into two movies due to its length, and the authors wish to include as much as possible into the movie. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released in November 2010 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in July 2011. The names of each book and movie, detailing the publication year, number of pages and words, and the mythical creatures included, are listed below:

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States (1997) – 223 pages, 76,944 words 
Mythical creatures include – the Centaur, Dragon, Goblin and Unicorn

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998) – 251 pages, 85,141 words 
Mythical creatures include – the Phoenix

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) – 317 pages, 107,253 words 
Mythical creatures include – the Werewolf

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) – 636 pages, 190,637 words 
Mythical creatures include – the Giant, Dragon, Gryphon, Mermaids and Mermen

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – (2003) - 766 pages, 257,045 words 
Mythical creatures include – the Phoenix, Giant

6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005) – 607 pages, 168,923 words
Mythical creatures include – the Phoenix, Werewolf

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2007) - 607 pages, 198,227 words Parts 1 and 2 
Mythical creatures include – the Werewolf, Giant, Dragon

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2007) – 607 pages, 198,227 words Parts 1 and 2
Mythical creatures include – the Werewolf, Giant, Dragon


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Werewolf Myths and legends

Article

A Werewolf is a human which turns into a wolf commonly by being placed under a curse. The image of the Werewolf has undergone many changes over time, but what remains unchanged is its association with evil and darkness. Though originating from mythology and legend, there are those even today, who believe they are Werewolves.

A portrait of a Werewolf in human form reveals bushy eyebrows, long blood-red fingernails, narrow ears, rough hairy skin, and a dry mouth and ears. They are said to prefer the night and solitude, and are inclined to visit graveyards. The transformation from human form to Werewolf typically takes place under a full moon.

Ancient Werewolves

An early example of a Werewolf is found in the Greek myth of Lyacon, who was transformed into a wolf after eating human flesh.

The Neuri tribe northeast of Scythis were reported by Herodotus to be annually transformed for a few days, from human to wolf form.

In Armenian belief, a woman who committed a deadly sin was condemned to spend seven years as a wolf and during this time would one by one, make meals of her own children, and then those of her relative’s children.

French folklore included numerous Werewolf tales in the 16th century, and there were over 30,000 Werewolf tales alone in this country, between 1520 and 1630.

The First Werewolf

The first Werewolf in its more common and familiar form originates from a German town in 1591. At this time, the people of the countryside were terrified. The woods were filled with wolves that frequently attacked them.

During such an attack, what looked like a wolf stood up and revealed itself to be a man, known by those being attacked, as Peter Stubbe. He was put on a torture wheel and confessed to the murder of sixteen people.

He claimed to have been practising sorcery since he was a boy, and to have made a pack with the Devil, which eventually caused him to take the guise of a wolf and hunt down what he believed to be his enemies.

 Lycanthropy

A psychiatric condition concerning Werewolves, is known as Lycanthropy. A sufferer believes he is a wolf or other animal, stimulated perhaps by the belief that men can assume the forms of animals. It is a very rare condition supposedly linked to schizophrenia, but it has been around since Biblical times.

King Nebuchadnezzar in the ‘Book of Daniel’ was described as suffering a seven-year depression that culminated in a delusion that he was a wolf. It still appears in regions of the world, such as South America and Africa, involving animals such as lions, sharks, eagles and leopards.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Vampire Myths and Legends

Article

According to legend, the Vampire is an undead being that feeds on the blood of the living. They are able to walk among the living unrecognised, stalking their victims until they finally bare their fangs. Their most common traits are great physical strength, and immunity to any lasting effect from most injuries.

Ancient and often wise, these soulless bloodsuckers are able to transform themselves by shape shifting from one being to another. They have the ability to adopt human features as well as transform into other creatures, including bats and wolves. They turn their victims into one of their own with a single bite.

The Vampires of Eastern European folklore, were portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures; in some cases with wings. Unintelligent and driven by a relentless thirst for blood, the image of these Vampires underwent a major change due to the art and literature of the 19th century.

Dracula

It was Bram Stoker’s novel, ‘Dracula’ (1897) which depicts the most well known example of the Vampire, exuding an aristocratic charm, and masking an unfathomable evil; inspired in part by tales of a savagely cruel prince known as Vlad III the Impalar, who lived in the 15th century in Romania.

The most famous Vampire story ever told begins when young solicitor Jonathan Harker is invited to negotiate a real estate deal, in a remote and derelict castle, belonging to a Transylvanian nobleman named Count Dracula. Dracula is a centuries-old vampire and sorcerer, who claims to be a descendent of Attila the Hun, and has abilities consisting of the black arts, alchemy and magic.

Unknown to Harker, the invitation is part of Dracula’s long contemplated plan for world domination, after recently rising from the dead with his three beautiful female Vampires, previously entombed in the chapel of the castle. Harker is subjected to the charm of Dracula and rescued from the clutches of the female Vampires (the Brides of Dracula). In truth, Dracula wishes only to keep Harker alive just long enough to complete his legal transaction and learn as much as possible about England.

Harker ‘escapes’ and Dracula leaves his castle to board a ship to England, taking boxes of Transylvanian soil to assist him to regain his strength.  He feasts on the ships crew and leaves the captain tied up to the ships helm, while departing in the form of a wolf. Soon Dracula is found menacing Harker’s devoted fiancĂ©e, Wilhelmina (Mina) Murry, and her friend, Lucy Westenra. Dracula visits Lucy's bed chamber on a nightly basis, draining her of her blood, while simultaneously infecting her with the curse of vampirism.


Not knowing the cause for Lucy's deterioration, her companions call upon the Dutch doctor, Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing soon deduces her condition’s supernatural origins, but does not tell anyone, although he attempts to keep the Vampire away with garlic. Finally Dracula entices Lucy out of her chamber late one night and drains her blood, killing her and transforming her into one of the undead.

Van Helsing, Harker, and Lucy's former suitors Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris enter her crypt and kill her newly acquired undead corpse. They later destroy Dracula's boxes of earth, depriving him of his ability to rest. Dracula bites Mina prior to leaving England to return to his homeland, and the heroes follow where in a final climatic battle, they finally destroy him.

Overcoming and Repelling Vampires

Although in the novel ‘Dracula’, the death of this Vampire was achieved through his throat being sliced through by a Kukri blade, and his heart being pierced by a Bowie knife, the traditional method was by ramming a wooden stake through the heart. Other methods of killing a Vampire included decapitation, burning or exposure to sunlight. Methods of repelling a Vampire included using; garlic, holy water, bibles, crosses and objects made of silver.
© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Banshee Myths and Legends

Article

Banshees are among the oldest ancestral spirits of the Fairy world in Irish folklore, and associated with the country as strongly as Leprechauns, shamrocks and potatoes. Also known as Bean-Sidhe, these Banshees were appointed to forewarn members of Irish families of impending death. The Banshee does not cry for just anyone. She is a solitary creature who loves the mortal family she is connected to. Fiercely loyal to her family’s members, and never forgetting her blood ties, she will follow them anywhere in the world.

In olden times a Banshee would be seen washing human heads, limbs or bloody clothing until the water was dyed with blood. Over the centuries this legend changed, and the Banshee is now said to pace the land, wringing her hands and crying. To hear a Banshee in the act of keening is to have witnessed the announcement of the death of a loved one.

According to legend that stretches back for more than a thousand years, each Banshee mourns for members of one family. Some say only the five oldest families have their own Banshees: the O’Neil’s, O’Brien’s, O’Grady’s, O’Connor’s and Cavanaugh’s.

Descriptions of the Banshee vary, but she appears in one of three guises representing the triple Goddess’s aspects: young woman, stately matron, or old hag.

  • As the first, she is a beautiful young woman, with red-gold hair, a green kirtle and scarlet mantle; the traditional dress of Ireland

  • As a matron, she is said to be tall and striking, contrasting sharply with the dark night. Pale and thin, her eyes red from centuries of crying, she possesses silver-grey hair streaming all the way down to the ground, and wears a thin, grey-white cloak, which clings to her body

  • As the hag, she usually wears grey hooded cloaks, or the grave robe of the dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, or be covered in a dark, mist-like cloak

Aibhill – King Brian Boru

Although there are many famous tales of the Banshee, one well known one dates back to 1014 AD, about a Banshee attached to the kingly house of O’Brien, who haunted the rock of Craglea above Killaloe. Legend has it that Aibhill the Banshee appeared to the aged King Brian Boru before the battle of Clontard, which was fought the same year.

Lady Fanshaw’s Banshee

One of the most notorious tales of a Banshee comes from the memoirs of Lady Fanshaw. Along with her husband she visited a friend in an ancient baronial castle surrounded by a moat. She was woken at midnight by a ghastly supernatural scream, which caused her to sit upright in bed. She looked towards the window and recounts that she saw a handsome young woman hovering outside her window in the moonlight. The woman was pale and dishevelled with loose red hair and was wearing a dress in the style of the ancient Irish. The vision stayed for a short while before disappearing with two load shrieks.
When morning came and she had relayed the event to her friend, she was told that she had seen the family Banshee. This Banshee was the ghost of a woman of inferior rank who had married one of his ancestors, but he had drowned her in the moat to atone for the shame he had brought on his family. She had come that night, as she always did, to announce a death in the family – one of his relations had passed away in her sleep.
© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Medusa Myths and Legends

Article

Although Medusa became known as was one of the most terrifying inhabitants of the Greek world; so hideous that whoever looked upon her would instantly turn to stone, she was originally a beautiful maiden whose flowing, lustrous hair had the power to even seduce the gods.

Poseidon, the god of the sea, was once so taken by her beauty he decided to ravish her. Unfortunately he committed the act in a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Athena’s vengeance was ingeniously cruel. She transformed Medusa into a hideous creature, and her hair into poisonous snakes.

The Grogans

Medusa’s sisters were born, monsters. Together they were known as the Grogans. The first was called Euryale, meaning ‘far roaming’, and the second was Sthenno, meaning ‘forceful’. Medusa, whose name translates as ‘ruler’, was the only mortal of the three.

The Grogans parents were Phorcys and Ceto, who had a reputation for creating monstrous offspring. Ceto gave birth to the Graeae, translated as the ‘grey ones’, who were three old crones called Enyo (horror), Deino (dread) and Pempredo (alarm).

These crones were the guardians of the Grogans, and between them they shared only one eye and one tooth. Phorcy also fathered the three-headed dragon called Ladon, which guarded the entrance to the legendary Garden of the Hesperides.

Phorcy’s and Ceto’s grandchildren didn’t fare much better: Polphemus, the Cyclops, who captured and nearly ate Odysseus’ crew, was the son of Thoosa (Porcys’ daughter) and Poseidon, the god of the sea.

The Legend

The demi-god Perseus was the son of the god Zeus, the ruler of the Olympians, and his mother was a mortal named Danae. When he was only a child, Perseus and his mother were set adrift in a wooden chest, because Danae’s father, King Acrisus, had received a prophecy that one day he’d be slain by his grandchild.

Mother and son were rescued by King Polydectes in Seriphus. King Polydectes however, was attracted by Danae’s beauty, and when Perseus grew older the king sent him on a perilous quest to retrieve the head of Medusa, so he could court Danae without her son’s interference.

On his mission, Perseus visited the Graeae and stole their only eye, to force them into helping him with his quest. They agreed and offered him winged sandals; a satchel in which to carry Medusa’s head, and a magical cap that allowed him to become invisible.

The goddess Athena approved of Perseus’ mission and also gave him a shining shield to assist him. Perseus located Medusa’s palace, which was littered with the statues of warriors who had perished in heir attempts to slay the Grogan.

Wearing his magical cap, Perseus roamed through the palace, looking for Medusa’s reflection in his silver shield. He found her sleeping, cut off her head, and managed to escape the other Grogans by using his invisibility cap.

~



© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Will O' The Wisp Myths and Legends

Article

The disembodied light of the Will O’ The Wisp, hovering over marshes and damp ground has tempted travellers off the beaten track for centuries, and is said to make them recede, vanish or reappear somewhere else. This legend appears in folklore all over Britain and throughout Europe, and is ancient in origin.

Contrary to popular belief, ‘Will O’ The Wisps’ is not a plural term, but means, ‘the will of the wisps’ and is the name of the phenomenon itself. Names given to Wisps in Britain include Joan the Wad (in Cornwall), Peg-a-Lantern (in Lancashire), and Jenny-with-the-Lantern (in Yorkshire).

The Myth is Gaelic and Slavic in origin and has been used often in literature; in Denham Tracts, the ‘Wisps are Hobby Lanterns’, while in Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’, they are called swamp lights and appear in the Dead Marshes. Wisps have come to have a metaphorical meaning, often to describe a hope that leads you on, but is impossible to reach.

Jack O’ Lantern Legend

One of the most popular Wisp legends is; Jack O’ Lantern, a damned soul doomed to wander forever, while his symbol, a carved Halloween pumpkin, is believed to hold souls.

…There was once a quick witted but lazy farmer, called Jack. One day the Devil appeared before him and tried to tempt him, but he tricked him into climbing a tree, which the Devil could not find a way back down from. The Devil was forced to ask Jack for help, which Jack only agreed to, on the condition that he would never be allowed into Hell. The Devil kept his word, but Jack had been so bad all his life, he wasn’t allowed into heaven either. So, Jack hollowed out a gourd to make a lantern and wanders the world looking for a place to stay…

Jack is personified in ‘The Halloween Tree’ by Ray Bradbury as Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, and in the movie ‘The nightmare Before Christmas’ as Jack Skellington. He is sometimes known as ‘Jack O’ the Shadows’, or as Death itself.

There is a great deal of variation in the Will O’ The Wisp myth. Wisps were not always personified as evil creatures. Old tales tell of them guarding treasures and leading those brave enough to follow them to sure riches.

The most general explanation for them is that they are malevolent spirits, either of the dead, or non-human in origin. In some beliefs they are the spirits of stillborn or unbaptised children flitting between Heaven and earth, while in others they are fairies.

A popular explanation for presence of Wisps is that oxidation of hydrogen phosphide and methane over marshes, caused by decay of natural minerals, may cause lights to appear when they catch fire upon hitting the air.

Another consensus is that this does not explain why the lights are blue, and not the yellow of fire, and why sometimes these lights are seen away from marshes, such as in graveyards; also why it fails to account for cases where the lights have been reported to swoop, soar or move against the wind.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Giant Myths and Legends

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Ancient and modern cultures, from all around the world, possess legends of Giants. These legends portray Giants in many forms; good or evil, intelligent or mentally challenged, monster-like or human-like. However, there is one thing that is common about the Giants in every legend, from every culture; they are always, very, very tall.

Giants were primarily considered in early mythology to be associated with chaos and wild nature. According to Greek and Norse mythology, they were typically depicted as huge in statue, having superhuman strength, a long lifespan, and were sometimes in conflict with the gods. They were also described as being wise, although perhaps a little low in morals.

The image of Giants altered over time from the original version, which became evident in fairytales such as, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. The new perception of them was as being somewhat stupid and reputedly dangerous to humans, in that they ate humans and in particular, children. Other tales portrayed them also as being particularly perverse and cruel.

Ancient Giants

Ancient Giants appeared in the Bible (Genesis) as the Nephilim, or Fallen Ones, and also in the story of David and Goliath, where Goliath was said to be over three metres tall.

In Greek Mythology, the most famous examples of Giants were the Gigants, which were the offspring of Uranus and Gaia (Heaven and Earth).

The ‘One-Eyed Monsters’, such as the Cyclops and the Titans, were believed to lie buried under the Earth and cause earthquakes with their movements.

In Iceland mythology, the Giants often oppose the gods, and are given classifications such as Frost Giant, Fire Giant, and Mountain Giant.

In Arthurian legend and British lore, Giants are depicted in the tales of ‘Gog and Magog’, and feature in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, and ‘Gulliver’s Travels’.

Giantesses

Giantesses are not discussed as much as their male counterparts in literature, but in Viking society, where women were more prominent, they greatly influenced Norse mythology.

Grid was a Giantess who discovered that Loki planned to have Thor killed by the Giant Geirrod. She saved Thor’s life by providing him with a girdle of might, iron gloves and a magic wand.

Another Giantess named Gerd, who was described as beautiful, married Freyr to prevent his sword being used to cover the Earth with ice.

Giantesses also appear in Eastern mythology, such as the demoness Putana, who attempted to kill the baby Krishna with poisoned milk from her breasts.

Giant Evidence

Excavations around the world have uncovered remains of skeletons and weapons which provide evidence that very tall people once existed. In addition, there exist in today’s times, many people who are extremely tall in comparison to what is considered, normal height.

Some of these excavations and evidence of Giants include:

  • The remains of mummified men and women found in the canyon, Barranc de Cobre in Mexico, (1930’s), where all were blond, and seven to eight feet tall.
  • A burial mound containing a skeleton nearly ten feet in length, found in Indiana (1879).
  • Human remains seven feet tall, which included horns protruding from the head, found in Pennsylvania (1880’s).
  • The finding of a complete arsenal of hunting weapons, (Agadir in Morocco), twenty times heavier than those used by a normal sized man, and which would require the hands of a Giant thirteen feet tall to use effectively.
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© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Leprechaun Myths and Legends

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The Leprechauns of Ireland are very contrary creatures. Sometimes a friend to humans, performing small helpful tasks, they can also become easily angered. They have been around since ancient times when Ireland was inhabited by fairy folk, before the Celts. Small in statue, they possess red hair, rosy cheeks, pointed ears, garments of green, and shoes with shiny buckles.

They are usually intoxicated and can handle surprising amounts of their favourite alcoholic drinks, such as Guinness and whiskey. They are cobblers who take great pride in their exquisite skill, and after their tasks are done they enjoy feasts and drinking, and become Clurauns. Clurauns are the havoc-causing aspect of the Leprechaun, raiding wine cellars and larders, and acquiring domestic animals to ride through the country.

Legend has it that a Leprechaun can grant three wishes to a mortal who captures it, and the mortal can then claim the Leprechauns treasure. However, once they are caught they somehow manage to trick the mortal to secure their release, and vanish, laughing merrily at their own deceit. Their good side is that they are grateful when a good deed is done, and will reward the deed with gold or wishes.

Leprechauns are known to steal or search for treasure, and hoard it for their entire lives. They always carry two coins. One is a silver shilling that is magically self-replenishing, returning to their purse once spent. The other is a dummy gold coin which is used to bribe their way out of situations, which turns to rock, leaves or ashes if given away. The crock of gold that they amass over their lifetime is traditionally believed to be at the end of the rainbow.

The earliest known reference to the Leprechaun is in the tale of ‘The Death of Fergus Mac Leite’, written around 1100 AD. In this story they are sea-creatures and their name is said to derive from the Irish word ‘preachan’, which when referring to a person meant ‘idle chatter’, or ‘up to no good’. It is also said that their roots go back to the Celtic god, Lugh, the great Sun god, with the name coming from ‘Luch-chromian’, meaning ‘little stooping Lugh’.

Over the years the traditional description of the Leprechaun has changed. He no longer holds the title of a miserly, grumpy fellow of legend. Instead he has become a lovable prankster, a merry little soul with a good heart, and a symbol of the ‘Luck of the Irish’.
He is used as a mascot, in jokes and riddles, and as a token of good fortune, with his crock of gold as a symbol of good luck. He has become the representation of Ireland.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Goblin Myths and Legends

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Although considered to be the cousin of the Elf, the Goblin represents the darker side of the fairy kingdom. Originating from European folklore, the Goblin was regarded as a malicious type of household spirit, similar to the ‘Brownie’ that resided in the homes, cellars and stables of unsuspecting families.

Unlike the helpful Brownie, the Goblin’s activity was similar to that of a poltergeist, with such antics as eating food and riding through the night on stolen horses. Some Goblins were reported to wear armour, carry weapons, and be guilty of murder.

Although compared to Dwarves in stature, the Goblin was more slender and powerful in body, with a tough skin; generally green in colour. They were depicted as unattractive, deformed, and ranged in size from a sprite, to that of a fully grown man.

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblins were considered to be a variety of Goblin which developed to become more muscular, taller, and possessed a brown coloured skin. They looked more like a human being, and were much more dangerous.

This strain of Goblin, which was believed to have possibly resulted from breeding by humans, were extremely haughty and egotistical, demanding status, leadership, and often power; becoming rulers of Goblin tribes.

Legend of Puck

Puck, a Hobgoblin also known as Robin Goodfellow, is the most famous of the Hobgoblins, appearing most notably in Shakespeare's, ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’. In this famous play, Puck’s love of mischief prompts him to put an ass’s head on one of the humans he encounters, which back-fires on him when Titania, Queen of the Fairies, falls in love with the transformed human.

To some, Puck is an innocent child, who enjoys playing with humans and fairies alike, whereas to others he is a trickster, hiding in the forest waiting for an opportunity to cause mischief. It has been considered that perhaps Puck is really a shape-shifter, a magical being capable of changing its shape at will.

Other Goblin Legends

Fachan is a Goblin of Irish legend. He is described as having one hand protruding from his chest, one leg from his hip, one eye, and one tuft of hair on his head.
He lives in deserted places and will attack anyone that ventures close.

Churnmilk Peg, a female Goblin who smokes a pipe, is a good friend to nature, and likes to protect hazelnuts from being picked before they become ripe. Her punishment if caught doing so, is to inflict the person with severe bloating or stomach cramps.

Red Cap, or Bloody Cap, lives along the borders of England and Scotland. Possessing grisly hair, fiery red eyes, protruding teeth and hideous talons, Red Cap also wears iron boots, a blood-soaked hat and carries a pikestaff, which he uses freely on intruders.

The Tengu of Japan, are mountain Goblins which come in two varieties; a bird-like species, and a pest that looks like a long-nosed priest. They are one of the best known
Monster-spirits, but are sometimes worshipped as revered spirits, or gods.
© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.