Tag Archives: Celtic mythology

Fae Friday: Amp up Your Fantasy Novel with Spirit Horses

The Fomorians, Duncan 1912

By John Duncan [Public domain],The Fomorians via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy creatures come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Regardless of the fantasy genre you write, whether paranormal as my books are, or high, low, historical, dark, urban, etc., there may come a time when you are in need of a little extra something. Done right, spirit horses can be an espresso shot to a story. Here’s a peek at a few. Keep in mind that the fae horses often share attributes and can exist in various locales under different names. Using one of these enables you to create exotic settings, but there is also the opportunity to have the creature show up closer to home in a more normal setting. Many readers appreciate blended mythologies where the author adds a new or surprising aspect to age old stories. I love to do this in my books.

The Phooka, Pooka, Puca, Pwca (and various other spellings) is a Celtic fairy horse of capricious character, sometimes beneficial to humans, but usually dangerous and deadly. One small, benign herd paid nightly visits to help a farmer’s son bring in the crops after being perceived in their willowy incandescent form. Years later at the boy’s wedding, the Phooka presented him with a magical drink to ensure his matrimonial happiness.

More often, the Phooka are portrayed as ravaging, wild, and fearsome creatures with long, jagged teeth and chains around their necks. They have a particular grudge against travelers and make it their business to lure them to their deaths. At times their nature is dark, flesh eating, and vampiric.

Not only does the Phooka appear as a horse, but it can also shapeshift into a bull, hare, and human form. The name of Shakepeare’s Puck is related to the root word of Phooka. In the movie, Harvey, the name of Jimmy Stewart’s 6 foot tall imaginary rabbit friend is referred to as a Pooka.

The Geetoe (or Gitto, Gryphon, Griffin, and Griffith) is a Welsh fairy creature with an equine head and body of a goat. Their particular brand of malice is to blight crops in the field. These creatures possess the power of human speech and laughter. However, they dislike humans and go out of their way to cause harm. They loathe children most of all and do their best to entice them into misdeeds and danger. A Geetoe’s power arises at night and extends only between Samhain (Halloween) and Beltane (May Day). The remainder of the year the creatures reside in Fairyland.

Thekelpie large

Herbert James Draper [Public domain], The Kelpie via Wikimedia Commons

Water horses can be especially interesting. One type is the Scottish Kelpie, which lives in or near rivers and streams. Kelpies are generally more whimsical and unpredictable than evil. They do not tend to stalk their prey. However, they are not to be taken lightly. Humans who venture too close are fair game. Kelpies will often maim and drown their victims, and sometimes devour them. Kelpies often take the form of a beautiful woman.

A Nuggle is a variety of water horse from the Orkney Islands. It is chock full of mischief but not evil in the sense of dangerous or demonic. It can be recognized by its odd tail that resembles a wheel.

Another type of water horse is the ominous Each-Uisge. This malevolent creature favors fresh water lakes, and many sightings have occurred in Scotland. The most famous example is Nessie or the Loch Ness Monster. The Each-Uisge can not only take the shape of a horse but also of a man or predatory bird. When in man shape, the Each-Uisge is handsome, compelling, and deadly to those who come near. In the olden days country folk knew to beware of a solitary person loitering near a body of water. A human can ride the Each-Usige when it’s in horse shape, but if horse and rider approach water, it is bad news for the human. The skin of the creature develops a bonding power that grips the human, not allowing dismount. The Each-Uisage will then plunge down into the depths, taking the rider to his death.

Fire Horses are unusual and perhaps the most fascinating type of spirit horse. In Greek mythology the god Helios drove four fire horses to guide the sun across the sky. The god of war, Ares, tamed a number of fire breathing horses. The Fire Horse is one of the sign designations in the Chinese zodiac. In my book Lord of Fire, the hero Gabriel rides a fire horse during one particularly harrowing part of the story. If you’re interested in reading how and why, grab your copy of my anthology, Dark Warriors. This paperback book also contains another of my paranormal fantasies, Time Singer.

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

Mythic Monday: ‎What You Should Know About Lughnasadh

Lavendimia Goya lou

Francisco Goya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lughnasadh or Lammas is a traditional Celtic celebration that falls on August 1. On the Wheel of the Year, it designates the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Lughnasadh is one of four great festivals of ancient Ireland and Scotland. The others are Samhain (October 31), Imbolc (February 2), and Beltane (May 1). Each of the four falls on a midpoint between a solstice and an equinox on the Wheel of the Year.

The pagan originated holiday celebrated the first harvest of the year. With feasts of bilberries, apples, and corn, it was a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would see the people through the long winter to come. It corresponds to harvest festivals in other countries, including the English Lammas. Cultural observances of Lughnasadh have resurged in modern times.

Traditional observances of Lughnasadh took place in Ireland and Scotland up until the 20th century, usually on the Sunday nearest August 1. The word Lughnasadh is the basis of the Gaelic word for August. Rites involved climbing hills and mountains to offer the first of the harvested corn to the god Lugh by burying it in a sacred high place. Other activities included feasts, athletic contests similar to the early Olympics, rituals that involved dancing and playacting, the sacrifice of a bull, sacred rites, religious observances, and handfasting or trial marriages. Through a hole in the door, a man and woman joined hands and then lived together for a year and a day. At the end of that period, they could stay together or amicably dissolve the union.

In the Sister Fidelma mystery novels by Peter Tremayne, the title character handfasts with the Saxon monk Eadulf. These are wonderful books. Fidelma is not only a sister in the religious order of the community of St. Brigid of Kildare, she is also a dalaigh or type of lawyer. The books put you smack dab into colorful and pivotal times in 7th century Ireland.

Lugh spear Millar

Lugh’s Spear by Harold Robert Millar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Celtic god Lugh or Lug is said to have started his festival as a funeral service for his mother, the goddess Tailtiu. She was an earth mother goddess who symbolized the dying vegetation harvested to feed the people. How fitting that farmers honored the sacred life of vegetation just as ancient hunters honored the animals that would be slaughtered for food. Games and athletic competitions were an important historical aspect of the celebration in Tailtiu’s honor. Lugh is also identified as a High King of ancient Ireland. His father was one of the spendorous Tuatha de Danann, while his mother came from the Fomorian people. Since their marriage joined the two tribes, the handfasting aspect of Lughnasadh celebrations is particularly fitting. On a side note, the times of the Tuatha and Fomorians have always enthralled me, and the hero of one of my paranormal romances is a Fomorian, while the heroine has Tuatha blood in her ancestry.

According to Barbara G. Walker’s The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, the Celtic god Lug or Lugh was the basis of the former name of London, which was Lugdunum, and Lug’s temple was raised on Ludgate Hill. There also stood a great stone called the Bloody Crescent, which commemorated Lug’s wife, a moon goddess. Fascinatingly, the name Lug may have originated from ancient Mesopotamia. According to Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, the title of the king who served as the husband of the Great Goddess was lugal.

These cross cultural references of history and mythology send me into raptures, I must admit. I love it.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about the festival of Lughnasadh.

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

 

 

Mythic Monday: 13 Little Known Nature Deities

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Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

13 LITTLE KNOWN NATURE DEITIES

The ancients were closer to nature than we. Nightime was dark, seriously dark, untempered by street lamps, store lights, and the steady hum of our modern need for twilight. Only the communal fire offered safety from the terrors looming outside the common grounds. Unlike we, who tend to consider humans apart from and superior to nature, ancient cultures viewed themselves as part of a pattern of wholeness. The divine was immanent rather than than transcendent. Spirits, deities, and the activating forces of nature formed the web of life along with humans, and dwelt within the forms of trees, animals, rocks, mountains, rivers, and the like. Mother Earth was the all powerful goddess who gave birth to each form in the world and, upon death, received the form back into herself. Her greatness and glory were celebrated in the naming of sacred springs, wells, trees, mountains, forests, and all natural formations. Each place on earth held her indwelling spirit. Springtime plantings and April’s Earth Day provide a chance to pay homage to the natural splendor in which we live. In celebration of Gaia, here are several lesser known ancient nature beings associated with Mother Earth.

Abnoba – Celtic goddess worshipped in the Black Forest region, also the name of a mountain range. At one ancient shrine the name is added to that of the great goddess of the hunt, Diana. The roots of the word Abnoba pertain to river and tree, and possibly to naked.
Ash – Ancient Egyptian god of oases and vineyards. Wine jars were often inscribed “I Am Refreshed by Ash.” Evidence proclaims him an ancient deity of protodynastic times.
Cernunnos – Celtic horned god of the wild, made visible in all horned and antlered animals. His was the masculine power that mated with the feminine spirit, resulting in the perpetuation of life. The name itself means horned one. Of particular interest to me is his association with a two-faced Janus-like being by the Celts of the Iberian Peninsula.
HibiscusofRonnie1-11-2015Fan Cheng – Chinese god of the hibiscus. Each flower has its own deity, which to me is a wonderful tribute to nature. And I love hibiscus!
Idunn – Norse goddess of spring who guarded the sacred apples that kept the gods young, allowing only the gods to eat of the fruit. Her name means always young or the rejuvenating one. When Loki attacked her, he caused Idunn and her apples to fall into the hands of the enemy giants. The Norse deities began to wither and age, and Loki was charged with restoring Idunn and her apples to safety and glory.
Korrigans – Spirits of underground healing springs. They were fairy beings of ancient Britany who were beautiful, tiny, and so shining as to be translucent. At night a Korrigan’s form was that of a young maiden, but in the harshness of day she became a withered crone who could be dangerous to any man that interfered with her rituals or sacred ceremonies.
Jurate – Mermaid sea goddess of the Baltic who lived in an undersea castle made of amber and watched over fishermen, allowing them plentiful hauls.
Medeina – Lithuanian goddess of the forest whose sacred animal is the hare. She was a huntress protecting the forest and a she-wolf who ran with the wolves. Her name means tree. Shrines to her have been located in the form of stones with hollows that resemble wolf prints.
Ningikuga – Sumerian goddess of reeds and marshes who wore jewelry made of lapis lazuli, the gold flecked, dark blue gemstone. I find her interesting, as the dwellers of the southern marshlands were generally looked down on as a lesser class by the city folk of ancient Mesopotamia. She is sometimes associated with the great goddess Ningal and sometimes designated as Ningal’s mother.
Ops – Roman goddess of the fruitfulness of earth. She gave grain and fruit to the people and comes down to us in the word opulent.
Qocha Mana – Hopi white corn maiden, also known as Kachina and Goddess Yellow Woman. She gave the nourishing grain to her people.
Tacoma – Earth goddess of the Cascade Mountains who lived atop the snow-covered peaks of Mount Ranier. She was the protector of the natural, fresh waters and nourishment in the form of salmon.
Xochilpilli – Aztec earth god of maize and ecstatic song. His name translates to Flower Prince and pertains to the joy of the soul’s life. The Mayans worshiped him under the epithet Tonsured Maize God, and he was adorned with a mother-of-pearl pendant in the shape of a teardrop.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about these 13 little known ancient nature deities. Which one appeals to you the most? Here’s to a wonderful spring! I hope you receive all the splendor and blessings Mother Earth can give you.

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

Tuesday Tales: Writing Grim by Flossie Benton Rogers

fotorireland6“Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey.”
from The Giaour, Lord Byron

Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their WIPs based on word and picture prompts. Our word prompt today is grim, and the snippet is from a paranormal historical romance set in ancient Ireland during the historical origins of the fae culture. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

     The chieftain thrust out his hand as if to prevent her retort. “Aedar captured you. I, Sreng, as Chieftain of the Firbolg, place you in Aedar’s charge. Follow his orders, understand?”
     Lightheaded, Seraphina nodded, releasing a deep breath.
     After such a traumatic beginning, she stayed well away from Sreng and all the men.
     Aedar erected a rough tent for her and left her to her own devices most often, after a stern reminder that she was not to speak or get involved with anyone. “If you give me cause, I’d just as soon tie you to a post and leave you to the buzzards.”
     For some reason that callous pronouncement had burned the back of her eyes before a streak of adrenalin shot up her spine. It got her out of the strange lassitude that had come over her, brought on by shock she guessed. Leave her to the buzzards, would he? Mister high and mighty warrior had another think coming. She would watch and learn, and gain her freedom when he wasn’t looking. Escape would be her middle name.
     Still, she breathed a sigh of relief when he set up his bedding just outside the tent.
     There were few women and no young children in the camp. Once when she and Aedar were alone, she asked about it and he explained they were safely tucked away further inland. “The Tuath have pushed us from our shoreline and into the hills,” he said with bitterness permeating his voice. “Those of us remaining, that is.”
     On the fourth day Symeon and the horse boy came riding in. Aedar rushed over, and she followed, despite his gesture to the contrary. Aedar reached up to help a flagging Symeon dismount. “What about Umor?”
     A grim twist deformed the older man’s mouth. “No sign of him. I doubled back twice to look for him but by then…” Groaning, he clutched his side.
     She quailed at the sight and smell of the blood on Symeon’s tunic.
     He stumbled and likely would have fallen without Aedar’s assistance. Several Firbolg men crowded around, and Aedar passed Symeon over to them. “Take him to his tent. Careful now. Dress his wound. I’ll be right along.”
     She tugged at Aedar’s sleeve, and he turned upon her with a fierce look. She knew she wasn’t supposed to speak for fear they would think she was bespelling them, but this was an urgent situation.
When he bent down, putting his ear near her mouth, she whispered, “I may be able to help.”Tuesday Tales

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my excerpt with today’s word prompt, grim. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

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

Mythic Monday: 5 Little Known Solar Deities by Flossie Benton Rogers

Photography by Alicia, Copyright 2014

Photography by Alicia, Copyright 2014

During the day, the deity of the sun harnesses the solar horses and drives a golden chariot across the sky, providing light, safety, and sustenance for humankind. During the night the deity plunges into the dark and desolate depths of the Underworld, temporarily dying, to emerge again the following morning. On another scale, the deity of the sun counts the moments and days of the year, gracing humankind with all the seasons. Order and perpetuity of life exist due to the deity’s strength, wisdom, perseverance, and bounty. Most people are familiar with the Egyptian sun god Ra and resplendent Apollo, who superseded Helios as the Greek god of the sun, but have you heard of these solar deities?

Utu: Sumerian sun god of Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, or modern day Iraq. Utu’s name is used in many of the official names of the Sumerian kings. It is interesting that Utu was the son of the moon god Nanna. You may recall Utu’s famous sister, Inanna, who descended into the Underworld, being forced to relinquish each of her garments and jewels during the dark, cold descent. The most extended mentions of Utu occur in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where he is the one who helps the hero regain his glory.

Arinna: Sun goddess of the Hittites in the time frame around 1700 BCE and earlier, with the weather god Teshub as her consort. Mortal enemies of the Egyptians, the Hittites lived in the area of Anatolia, or modern day Turkey. Arinna and her family were worshipped in older incarnations prior to the Hittites settling in that region, when the Indo European group called the Hatti inhabited it around 2300 BCE.

Surya: Sun god in the Hindu belief system, the oldest of the Indian religions. He is one of the deities depicted in the Rig Veda, an ancient writing well over 3,000 years old. His people visualized Surya as a red male with three eyes and four arms who drove a chariot led by seven sacred mares. He bestows good fortune and has the ability and inclination to heal the sick. He sometimes takes the form of a stallion, particularly when in the company of his wife Sanjina, who has a problem tolerating Surya’s extreme heat and brightness. To escape, she has the habit of transforming herself into a mare and sojourning in the shadowed forest. It is then that Surya the stallion joins her. 

Liza: Sun god of the West African people called the Fon. Liza is the brother and also the lover of Mawu, the Moon. Together with the cosmic serpent Da they created the universe. Under Liza’s direction, their son Gu was instrumental in forming earth and teaching humankind how to bend and manipulate metals to their will.

Lugh: Sun god of the Celts, originally a central European people who spread over other areas, including Ireland. Lugh’s name and myth serve as the origin of the story of King Lear. His grandfather Balor was king of the Fomorians, one of the Celtic tribes preceding the Tuatha de Danann, who worshipped the goddess Dana. As is often the case in mythological lineage, Balor resolved to kill Lugh due to a prophecy that his grandson would defeat him. As is also usual, Lugh was hidden and raised by the god of the sea Manannan. Perhaps the sun god’s association with the sea came about as the Celts sought fertile fresh land and freedom near the ocean waters. As he grew to manhood, Lugh became a skilled warrior. He went to the side of the goddess and the Tuatha to fight against Balor and the Fomorians. After his time, when the Tuatha were defeated and vanquished from their territory, they were immortalized as the fair folk of the mounds, or fairies.

Can you imagine the strength required to hold the solar horses in check as you drive the chariot near the scorching, intense heat and light of the sun? Which sun deity most strikes your fancy?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: Halloween Spirit by Flossie Benton Rogers

 

HalloweenThe word Halloween comes to us from a contraction used in the 18th century in reference to the holy evening of All Hallow Even or All Hallows Eve. It is the evening before All Hallows Day, a celebration set aside to cherish the memories of all those who have gone on before us. Other names for the holy day are All Souls Day and All Saints Day. During this time of year the souls of the dead are able to visit and communicate with the living. The veils between the living and dead are especially thin on Halloween, and sensitives might expect to perceive a wide variety of fairies and ghostly spirits, either abroad in the darkness or at least costumed ones knocking on your door to yell out “trick or treat.”

The holiday is affiliated with the Celtic festival of Samhain, a holy day that recently received recognition in the amazing Starz series, Outlander, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. Samhain is the most important of the four cross quarter days of the Celtic Wheel of the Year, falling between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice. Samhain commemorates the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year. It is a time to look within for answers, as well as honor the wise ones who preceded us unto death. On the ancient Celtic calendar, Samhain marked the beginning of the New Year.

Some traditions that have been established around this time of year include the time honored escapade of door to door trick or treating, pigging out on your candy loot, playing tricks on your friends, dressing up in costume, carving jack o’ lanterns to light up the night, apple bobbing, bonfires, hay rides, telling scary tales as you camp out in a back yard tent, attending parties, visiting haunted houses and scary theme parks, and watching horror movies.

Do you have your Halloween spirit in full throttle? What traditions do you keep with your family and friends on this very special spooky day?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: Lughnasadh

HayLughnasadh is a traditional Celtic celebration that falls on August 1. On the Wheel of the Year, it designates the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Lughnasadh is one of four great festivals of ancient Ireland and Scotland. The others are Samhain (October 31), Imbolc (February 2), and Beltane (May 1). Each of the four falls on a midpoint on the Wheel of the Year.

The pagan originated holiday celebrated the first harvest of the year. With feasts of bilberries, apples, and corn, it was a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would see the people through the long winter to come. It corresponds to harvest festivals in other countries, including the English Lammas. Cultural observances of Lughnasadh have resurged in modern times, and many modern pagans also celebrate the holiday.

Traditional observances of Lughnasadh took place in Ireland and Scotland up until the 20th century, usually on the Sunday nearest August 1. The word Lughnasadh is the basis of the Gaelic word for August. Rites involved climbing hills and mountains to offer the first of the harvested corn to the god Lugh by burying it in a sacred high place. Other activities included feasts, athletic contests similar to the early Olympics, rituals that involved dancing and playacting, the sacrifice of a bull, sacred rites, religious observances, and handfasting or trial marriages. Through a hole in the door, a man and woman joined hands and then lived together for a year and a day. At the end of that period, they could stay together or amicably dissolve the union.

In the wonderful Sister Fidelma mystery novels by Peter Tremayne, the title character handfasts with the Saxon monk Eadulf. If you haven’t read these books, get them now. Fidelma is not only a sister in the religious order of the community of St. Brigid of Kildare, she is also a dalaigh of the law court. The books put you smack dab into colorful and pivotal times in 7th century Ireland.

The Celtic god Lugh or Lug is said to have started his festival as a funeral service for his mother, the goddess Tailtiu. She was an earth mother goddess who symbolized the dying vegetation harvested to feed the people. Games and athletic competitions were an important historical aspect of the celebration in her honor. Lugh is also identified as a High King of ancient Ireland. His father was one of the glorious Tuatha de Danann, while his mother came from the Fomorian people. Since their marriage joined the two tribes, the handfasting aspect of Lughnasadh celebrations is particularly fitting. On a side note, the times of the Tuatha and Fomorians have always enthralled me, and Aedar, the hero of my paranormal romance Time Singer – Wytchfae 4, is a Fomorian, while the heroine Seraphina has Tuatha blood somewhere in her ancestry.

According to Barbara G. Walker’s The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, the Celtic god Lug or Lugh was the basis of the former name of London, which was Lugdunum, and Lug’s temple stood on Ludgate Hill. There stood also a great stone called the Bloody Crescent, which commemorated Lug’s wife, a moon goddess. The name Lug may have originated from ancient Mesopotamia. According to Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, the title of the king who served as the husband of the Great Goddess was lugal.

The connections among the mythologies of the world are endlessly fascinating to me. I hope you have enjoyed today’s tip of the hat to Lughnasadh.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: Goddess Macha

Macha Curses the Men of Ulster

By Stephen Reid (Eleanor Hull, The Boys’ Cuchulain) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A stimulating facet of writing paranormal romance is the chance to delve into my lifelong passion for mythology. I also get to look up information related to my characters. For my work in progress, Lord of Fire – Wytchfae 5, for example, I researched the surname MacAnna. It’s an old Celtic moniker from the Irish region of Armagh, which means Macha’s height. The town served as the capital of Ulster until the 1st century. It was here that St. Patrick built his primary church.

Worship of the goddess Macha was customary in Ireland long before the coming of the Celts, according to Barbara G. Walker in The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Macha is an ancient transplant and shares identity with a moon goddess from Central Asia named Macha Alla, or the Mother of Life and Death.

Macha haunts battlefields and creates magic from the blood of slain warriors. Her voice is sometimes identified with that of the fearsome Banshee, who summons humans to their death. To hear that mournful, keening sound or to see Macha as she washes bloodstains from clothes along the river bank, is an omen of doom.

One of the powerful Tuatha De Danaan, Macha is the crone of the triple goddess formation known as the Morrigan. Macha is sometimes called Ana or Anat, and her sisters are Badb and Morrigu, but as Raven Woman, Macha is often considered an alternate name of Badb. Macha is also identified with the splendorous Fairy Queen Mab and is the very goddess who cast her death curse upon the great warrior, Cuchulain.

 

Ireland and Yeats

???????????????????????????????“Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by.” This is the famous epitaph on the grave of my favorite poet William Butler Yeats, 1856-1939. A few months ago my friends Karen and Lori visited Ireland, and part of their tour included paying homage to the great Irish poet and playwright. Knowing how much I love Yeats, and being the sweetlings they are, Karen and Lori made sure to take some good pictures for me and leave a tidbit of my energy in Ireland in honor of Yeats. This picture is Karen blowing a kiss for me to Yeats. It’s only fitting, for the poet himself, and also because much of my family heritage and Kelly’s in Wytchfae Runes is from that area. Thank you, Karen and Lori!

Today’s post and two subsequent ones are dedicated to Yeats, Karen, and Lori. They had a blast in Ireland, and I understand quite a few pints were raised. Rightly so.

In today’s post we’ll take a peek at Yeats’ poetry. It ranges from the exquisitely lyrical to verses with sparser, harsher imagery. In his younger years he sometimes wrote from the stance of a wise old man and, when he had grown old, his poems took on the raw physicality of a young man’s view. His earliest poems are lush and draw upon the works of two other favorite poets of mine, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Edmund Spenser. The poems of his middle period are more masculine and forceful. His later poems are imbued with the mysticism and occultism that informed much of his life. Celtic mythology and Irish folk tales are interwoven throughout his works, and Yeats did much to revive and preserve the old stories. Lucky for us!

One of my favorites of his poems starts out, “Who will go drive with Fergus now, and pierce the deep wood’s woven shade?” Another is about an ancient Irish warrior: “Cuchulain stirred, stared on the horses of the sea, and heard the cars of battle and his own name cried; and fought with the invulnerable tide.” Fergus has the “dreaming wisdom” of poetic imagination, mystic knowledge, and the old ways, and Cuchulain is the man of action who takes charge and gets things done in the world. The dichotomy is prominent in Yeats’ poetry. (Selected Poems and Two Plays of William Butler Yeats, edited and with an introduction by by M.L. Rosenthal, the Macmillian Company, 1962– yes, this is my old college book!) book3

See you next week for another installment of Karen and Lori’s Irish journey as pertains to Yeats.