Category Archives: Fae Friday

Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.

 

That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.

 

Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.

 

Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.

 

Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Fae Friday: Surprising Secrets of Lamassu

Illustrerad Verldshistoria band I Ill 034

By Ernst Wallis et al (own scan) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Entrance to temple

By Frederick Charles Cooper (1817- ?) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Lamassu is a fascinating Assyrian deity that protects a kingdom, city, building, or home. Often it has the head of a human, the body of a lion, bull, or ox, 4 legs, and the wings of a bird. When viewed from the front in raised stone reliefs, the front may appear to be complete, but go around to the side and you see the full 3D effect. When they were placed at the entrance to a palace or city, they appeared as a pair of colossal protectors. A Lamassu is strong, supernatural, and amazing. I get the shivers from a Lamassu and here’s why.

The most famous is the Sphinx in Egypt.
Lammasu are also known as Shedu.
They are thought of as winged bulls and winged lions.
They first began to appear around 5,000 years ago.
The Epic of Gilgamesh features various Lamassu.

The Lamassu exemplifies:

  • The 4 cardinal directions east, south, west, and north
  • The 4 seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • The 4 cardinal zodiac signs which currently are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn (long ago ages saw different starting points for the ecliptic or apparent path of the sun as it traveled the celestial sphere)
  • Each individual zodiacal / historical age (such as the Age of Aquarius), lasting 2,160 years (a result of the earth’s precessional rotation)
  • The totality of the zodiacal ages (all 12 from Capricorn to Sagittarius), meaning 2,160 X 12 = approximately 26,000 years, a period of time also called a Great Year. Anthropologist Robert Sepehr is one who has studied this.

In other words the Lamassu emerges from the depths of time and depicts the long tail of the earth. It tells the story of earth, including humans, all living creatures, survival, art, mathematics, spirituality, immanence, transcendence, and power. Not bad for a winged bull.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Summer Vibes

Ipogeo di via livenza, diana cacciatrice

Goddess Diana hunting, Roman fresco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Alexander Pope’s exquisite imagery in an excerpt from his poem, Summer.

Diana the Huntress by Orazio Gentileschi (17th-century)

Diana the Huntress, Orazio Gentileschi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear! 
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow’rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.

Solstice Blessings,
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

2 Quick Ways to Supercharge Your Aura

Iaso

By The Cadmus Painter (Attic red figure urn) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Life keeps us busy. There are days when we don’t have the means or time for meditation, self-reiki, or a leisurely walk in the woods. Here are quick ways to reduce stress and raise your energy level, when you are under deadline or pressed for time. Iaso is a Greek goddess of healing, one of the daughters of Asclepius.

Iaso’s Aura Cleansing

Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath in. Center your attention on the heart area. Exhale, and relax. The placement of your hands during this exercise should be horizontal, with palms facing you. You will not touch your body but will sweep your hands through the air close to your body, in an upward movement from feet to well above the head.

Think of your body in strips, like vertical blinds. Sweep upward, refreshing one strip after another. The sweeping motions will follow the contours of your body as you sit. The movement should be quick from feet to head, as if polishing and refreshing.

There is an additional movement for the front of your body where your organs are, your face and head area, and any spots of pain or discomfort. For these, add a faster, ruffling type movement with short swipes.

To finish, hold your hands well away from your body and brush the palms together, as if brushing away sand.

Feel gratitude. Give thanks.

Iaso’s Energy Aligning

This one can even be done at work during your restroom break. Stand tall and erect, with your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on your heart. Feel the energy of your abdomen, and then move your attention upward to feel the energy of your heart area.

You will inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Take a deep breath, exhale, and relax. Do this three times. With each inhale, visualize loving, calm energy entering through the breath and filling your heart. With each exhale, visualize stagnant and damp energy leaving your body.

In a flowing but swift movement, bend over with your hands scooped at your feet. Sweep upward over the front of your body, ending with your arms straight up and fingers pointing skyward. Feel your body stretched, straight, and vibrant. You are strong, with earth energy at your feet and sky energy above.

To finish, resume a normal posture.

Feel gratitude. Give thanks.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Creative Ways to Shrink Yourself

© Tatjana Pilate | Dreamstime Stock Photos – free

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Do you remember from your childhood days? Put on your thinking cap because it can reveal the mysteries of your deeper self. Are you Cinderella, champion of the downtrodden? A maidenly Snow White unhappy with her alter ego, the evil bitch queen? An intrepid wit getting the upper hand on a sinister Rumpelstiltskin? Sleeping Beauty waiting for a wake up kiss? A thrill seeking Little Red Riding Hood? Or are you the big bad wolf?

From a young age my favorite fairy tales were East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Snow White and Rose Red, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and The Snow Queen. Magic runs through all, as in most fairy tales, but a major theme of these four stories is that things are not what they seem. The world is ultimately infused with mystery. This theme speaks to my need to see beyond the superficial, beyond what is in front of my eyes, into the shining dark deep magic of life.

In East of the Sun and West of the Moon, the heroine’s curiosity compels her to sneak upon her lover in the darkness to discover why he forbids her to look at him at night. After she is amazed to see a handsome, sleeping form, he is catapulted away as a beast due to her lack of trust. She must undergo an arduous journey to the home of the blustery North Wind to find her beloved. St. Elmo, a 1896 novel by Augusta Jane Evans, reminds me of this fairy tale. Have you read that fine old melodrama? It is filled with old fashioned literary allusions.

The sisters in Snow White and Rose Red defeat a malicious dwarf when they trick him into letting his beard be cut. Afterward, they are both rewarded with a prince,and their lives are successful mirror images. Snow White rises to pomp and circumstance, while Rose Red lives close to the magic of the earth. She  tends the hearth and knows the murmurings of trees. Rose Red was always my favorite. Which do you prefer?

© Serghei Starus | Dreamstime Stock Photos – free

An invisible cloak is used by the hero in The Twelve Dancing Princesses to discover why the girls’ shoes are worn out every morning. For years they’ve trekked down to a secret world below ours and jitterbugged all night. Would you be bold enough to travel into an alternate dimension? What if the dimension is your own inner self?

My favorite part of The Snow Queen is where the old wise woman in the hut writes a secret note to her faraway sister– on a fish. The heroine goes through a lengthy journey to find the whereabouts of her beloved and for a while gets to experience a rollicking gypsy life.

In different ways we all search for mystery and magic. Your favorite fairy tale can tell you something about yourself and your world view. If you believe in fairy dust, beasts are sometimes handsome princes, there are parallel worlds where you can dance all night, and both nature and fish speak volumes. So now and then let’s close our eyes–and listen.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mysterious Cave People 40,000 BCE

Spread and Evolution of Denisovans

By John D. Croft [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite books is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Did you read that one? The author’s creation of the Stone Age world mesmerized me. I loved seeing how the Cro-Magnon heroine contrasted with her Neanderthal family.

Recently I came across some information about a little known extinct species of historic humans not of the genetic line of Neanderthals nor our own species of Homo Sapiens. Their remains are found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, along with the bones of Neanderthals and numerous creatures such as wooly mammoth and a type of zebra-horse. These particular remains are from 40,000 years ago.

Whereas the DNA of many modern humans is around 4% percent Neanderthal due to ancient interbreeding, Denisovan DNA is only found in inhabitants of Oceania—especially Melanesians in Papua New Guinea, Native Americans, and Asians. Denisovan DNA makes up 5% of the first and only 0.2% of the latter two.

The Denisovan discovery occurred in 2008 when a piece of finger bone was found in a lower layer of the cave. A DNA expert familiar with Neanderthals and other ancient species identified it as that of a little girl, but of a heretofore unknown species. Not Neanderthal. Not Homo Sapiens. Can you imagine the excitement of this discovery? It gives me chills. Later, teeth fragments materialized and turned out to be from a different Denisovan than the little girl.

A beautiful green chlorite stone bracelet was also found. Due to its remarkable craftsmanship, it was first thought to be made by more modern humans. In the most exciting portion of this story, that conclusion has now been ruled out. The bracelet was made and worn by a Denisovan. The technology involved in the making of the bracelet included boring stone, drilling with an implement, and grinding. The Denisovans are now considered to have developed to a higher technological level than the Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens of that time. I have to interject here my long held belief, first attained in fourth grade, that humans have populated earth, reached a high level of technology and culture, and then become extinct many times. Are the Denisovans an example of this?

There is also apparently a mysterious Denisovan ring, but details of it have not yet been released. I long to know more about these ancient peoples, don’t you?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Amp Up Your Fantasy Novel with Nature Spirits

Max Frey - Poseidon auf Fabelwesen

Poseidon By Max Frey (1874-1944) (Photo from original) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mythology is a fertile cauldron for fantasy stories. In my books I love to give a unique twist to age old names, ideas, and images. For example, in several of my books the Norse frost giantess Skadi becomes the powerful sorceress Skada. Here are some little known nature deities that can be incorporated into your novel as is or, better yet, serve as a jumping off point for your limitless inspiration to soar.

Idunn was the Norse goddess of spring who guarded the sacred apples that rejuvenated the gods and kept them young. All were barred from eating the fruit but the gods. Idunn’s name means “always young.” When the trickster god Loki attacked her, he caused Idunn and her apples to fall into the hands of the enemy giants. With this sacrilege the Norse deities began to wither and age.

Korrigans were the spirits of healing springs that run underground in Brittany. They naturally appeared as tiny luminous fairy sprites. At night a Korrigan sometimes took the form of a young maiden, causing men to adore her, but in the harshness of day the young beauty would morph into a withered crone. In this latter appearance, any man who insulted her or interfered with her rituals or sacred ceremonies took his life in his hands.

Max Frey - Poseidon, um 1933

Poseidon By Max Frey (1874-1944) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jurate was a mermaid sea goddess of the Baltic region. From her undersea castle made of amber, she protectively watched over hardworking fishermen.

Medeina was a Lithuanian goddess of the forest whose sacred animal was the hare. As a huntress guarding the forest, her form was that of a she-wolf. Jurate loved running with the wolves.

Xochilpilli was an Aztec earth god of maize and, similar to Orpheus, ecstatic song. His name means “Flower Prince” and relates to the joyful experience of the soul. The Mayans worshipped him as “Tonsured Maize God” and adorned him with a mother-of-pearl pendant in the shape of a teardrop. Isn’t it true that high emotion such as ecstasy and sorrow often go hand in hand?

Regardless of your fantasy sub-genre, mythology has immense potential in the way of inspiration. Any one of these little known nature spirits could help you amp it up. In my book Guardian of the Deep, the hero’s patron god is Poseidon, ancient god of the sea and the one who brought horses to Greece. Not only does this connection help anchor the hero Samael as an undersea guardian, but it also provides a basis for his transformation into a horseman or cowboy. You can grab a copy here. 

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Surprising Magical Mothers

Linnaeus Hortus Cliffortianus frontispiece (Mother Earth & Apollo)

Mother Earth and Apollo, By Linnaeus_Hortus_Cliffortianus_frontispiece_cropped.jpg: Linnaeus, C. (1707-1778) derivative work: Bff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Mother’s Day! For the occasion, let’s honor three of the most ancient and iconic mothers.

Ana / Anu / Danu  is the most ancient Celtic goddess. After the Celts conquered Ireland and created their own unique and high level culture there, Ana gave birth to the band of fairy immortals we know and love today, the Tuatha De Danaan. However, Ana is much older than the Irish Celtic world. She was preeminent to the European Celts as well, and the Danube River is Europe is named after her. To this day Ana’s tears continue to bring life to the world. She is the quintessential mother goddess.

Primeval Sumerian goddess Nammu / Namma gave birth to heaven and earth, An and Ki. Although An and Ki may seem to be huge impersonal concepts, consider how much closer ancient people were to nature and the outdoors. They were both sustained and at the mercy of the earth and the elements. Notice the similarity of the word for heaven, An, to the Celtic goddess name, Ana. Many other goddesses have the same root sounds, including the Sumerian goddess of love and fertility, Inanna. I love that the name Anne is still a popular feminine name today. Some historians trace a path from ancient Sumeria to the Celts, a connection that fascinates me as a writer and mystic adventurer.

Primordial goddess Gaia is the personification of earth. Before time began, she stretched out her body to form our home planet. The earth is her living, breathing body. Without Gaia, none of us could exist. What do you think about plans to create human colonies on other planets, such as Mars? Would you leave our comfortable earth and volunteer to be such a pioneer?

It would be interesting to look into the future and see if our current masculine, warlike notion of Mars would change to a more feminine image if Mars were our future mother.

I hope you enjoyed our look at three of the most surprising and magical mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

Cheers & Happy Writing,
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Beltane Lady

Mother of Hermes! and still youthful Maia!
John Keats

These days, flowers blossom in reckless abandon, and colors grace my sight. When I open the front or back door, the world is filled with the scent of jasmine–mysterious, sweet, and tantalizing. New ideas germinate in my mind. Vivid stories appear on the page. Springtime energy abounds.

The month of May promenades onto the green landscape, adorned with brilliant hues of purples and pinks—and all the vibrant, pristine colors of spring. She is decked out aplenty. April welcomed the heat early here in Central Florida, with the respite of a few lovely, chilled mornings. The blessing is that summer’s humidity is yet to come. So good tidings, May, come and give wings to our spirit with your fruitful riots of color and scent.

The Pleiades (Elihu Vedder)

Elihu Vedder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

May’s namesake, Maia, participated in the Roman pantheon as well as the Greek. Her mother, Pleione, protected sailors from the dangers of the deep, and her father, the Titan, Atlas, saved humanity by carrying the burden of earth on his shoulders. Maia’s name relates to mother, grandmother, or perhaps wise one. She was the eldest of seven divine sisters, represented by the Pleiades in the splendor of the night sky. Seeking sanctuary from the attentions of Zeus, the king of the gods, Maia secluded herself in a remote cavern. However, Zeus followed the lovely woman to her dim starlit abode, resulting in the birth of a son, the fleet footed messenger god, Hermes, known as Mercury to the Romans.

Back Camera

Maia, daughter of Atlas, shared the sacred bed of Zeus
and gave birth to Hermes, renowned herald of the gods.
Hesiod, Theogony

The Romans depicted Maia as a goddess of spring and the fertility of nature. They celebrated her powers of sexuality and regeneration. Fire served as her element. For centuries people celebrated May 1 by dancing around the maypole, a colorful way of honoring springtime in all her regenerative glory. On the Wheel of the Year, the corresponding holiday is Beltane, a cross corner day falling halfway between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Maia is a Beltane Lady.

Maybe you are watering your garden and encouraging it to flourish. Maybe you are writing that different story you never thought you’d write. In whatever ways you honor nature, spring, and the rebirth of light and energy, Maia sends you mesmerizing aromas and vibrant blossoms to sparkle up your life. What do you love about this time of year?

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Fae Friday: Spenser’s Belphoebe

What is more wondrous and expressive of spring’s energetic regeneration than a lovely verse and exquisite painting?

Her name means Beautiful Moon.

Johann Heinrich Füssli 058

Henry Fuseli [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But to this fair Belphoebe in her Birth
The Heavens so favourable were and free,
Looking with mild Aspect upon the Earth,
In th’ Horoscope of her Nativity,
That all the Gifts of Grace and Chastity
On her they poured forth of plenteous Horn;
Jove laugh’d on Venus from his sovereign See,
And Phoebus with fair Beams did her adorn,
And all the Graces rock’d her Cradle, being born.
The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, 1590

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance