Tag Archives: 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

Vintage Friday: World Book Day

Stories help create a child. THE book that lit the fire on my passion for reading, writing, fairy tales, and mythology is actually a SET of books my parents bought me at age 3—the Young Folks Library. At that time my mother and father worked long hours at their restaurant business, but my paternal grandparents happened to live with us. From these delicious stories of a princess living atop a glass mountain, a girl spitting out diamonds, and a wise woman bestowing a magical invisibility cloak, my Grandmother Flossie read to me every day with dramatic flair.

By my 5th birthday we had lost her. I will always honor her memory and our spirited story times. Thanks to her and this set of books, my imagination, my inner life, and my magic mirror to the mystical were created.

With World Book Day coming soon, do you want to share what book started your passion for reading and writing?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

Interview at Jennifer Taylor Writes

I’m over at Jennifer Taylor’s blog answering her dang hard questions such as what was the exact moment when the concept of my Wytchfae world came about. Say what? Pop over and say hello at Jennifer Taylor Writes. 

basket-sleepingAlso, tiptoe around Marigold, would you please? I sneaked out while she was napping.

Thanks, Cheers, & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: 9 Great War Heroes from Mythology

Perseus Arming for his Quest

Perseus – By Walter Crane (1845-1915) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With our wonderful veterans being honored this week, and hopefully every week for all they do to keep us safe, I thought it would be a good twist to look at some of the great war heroes from mythology. Here are nine that particularly struck my interest.

Perseus – Founder of lion-gated Mycenae and the first great Greek hero. Perseus slayed the notorious Medusa, a female monster whose mere glance turned men to stone. He also fought and defeated a gargantuan sea monster to save the life of Andromeda, who had been presented as a sacrifice.

Beowulf – Scandinavian warrior from the land of the Geats, or ancient southern Sweden. Not only was he exceedingly strong, killing dragons, monsters, and sea serpents, but he was also a superb tactician. Beowulf studied his enemies to discover their weaknesses and then used those flaws against them. His honor lives on in the great Anglo-Saxon narrative poem named after him.

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Achilles‘ Anger – Jacques-Louis David [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Achilles – The famous warrior who fought for the Greeks against the Trojans in the Trojan War. He was the beloved son of the sea nymph Thetis and King Peleus of the Myrmidons. As a child his mother held him by the heel and dipped him in the River Styx to bestow immortality. However, his heel remained a vulnerable spot. Soldiers shuddered at the mention of Achilles’ name, while women swooned at his masculine power. Fame of his battle rage and conquests spread over the Mediterranean, and he was considered the greatest warrior of ancient Greece.

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Cuchulain – By Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 – 1951) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cuchulain – Legendary Irish warrior from the area of Ulster, born of the god Lugh and the mortal woman Deichtine. At age seventeen, he successfully defended Ulster against an invasion force led by the great Queen Maeve (Medb). The incident is immortalized in the exquisite narrative poem, The Tain. Known for his battle frenzy, Cuchulain was deemed the Hound of Ulster.

Hercules – Son of Zeus who was known as the strongest hero of ancient times. After being tricked by the goddess Hera into murdering his wife and children, he set out in penance to perform the purportedly impossible tasks that came to be called the Twelve Labors of Hercules.
Through strength and unprecedented courage, he succeeded in working through all his labors.

Ravi Varma-Ravana Sita Jathayu

Ravana – Raja Ravi Varma [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ravana – Hindu king who conquered the three worlds—the netherworld, human world, and celestial world of the devas and divine serpent races. In doing so he earned the title Emperor of Three Worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

Jason – Famed leader of the band of warrior adventurers known as the Argonauts. To regain his throne, Jason set forth with his men across a dark and dangerous sea to obtain the legendary Golden Fleece. Along the way the fierce seamen fought numerous monsters and supernatural creatures.

Red Horn – Great Sioux mythical hero sent by his father, Creator, to rescue mankind. Red Horn led war parties to fight the giants, monsters, and evil spirits existing on earth. His very interesting epithet is Wears Faces on His Ears. The nickname came about due to the living faces that appeared on his earlobes. Another description was that when he placed certain ear ornaments, bobs, or devices on his ears, they came to life with men’s faces. This aspect has an extraterrestrial feel to me. I picture an astronaut with audio / visual earphones on his head.

Jean Baptiste Regnault - Ariadne and Theseus

Theseus and Ariadne – Jean-Baptiste Regnault [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Theseus – Famed Athenian heir to the throne sent as part of the tribute payment to King Minos of Crete. On Crete Theseus performed acrobatic feats atop ferocious bulls and became the lover of the Minoan priestess / princess Ariadne. Through skill and cunning, Achilles worked his way out of the king’s deadly maze, as well as defeating the horrendous man-eating monster known as the minotaur. Theseus later became king of Athens.

Let’s all send out good thoughts for our veterans and their families. I hope you enjoyed our nine mythological warriors and will share the names of other mythic war heroes that strike your fancy or sing in your heart. Which are you most drawn to?

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

Mythic Monday: Libra Goddess Astraea

Libra Hevelius

By Johannes Hevelius [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As the Wheel of the Year swirled into full autumn, the energy of Libra rose to the forefront.The thematic energy morphed into awe in the face of dramatic change and the increased serenity that comes from a cooling earth and slowing activity. One day the leaves are green and barely tinged with color, and the next they splash out their wild abandon with vibrant scarlet, orange, and gold. The time is ripe for turning your thoughts inward to examination of values, goals, and any mental adjustments that may be needed. It is a chance to take stock during this passage toward stillness. The beauty of maturing nature mirrors the fullness of your inner self as it readies for a calmer season. For many people autumn is an opening of bejeweled inspiration and artistic expression. We feel uplifted and renewed. Allow the universal creativity to flow through you in expressions of love, caring, and beauty. Libra thrives on symmetry, balance, and divine justice. Seek internal equilibrium and a quiet grace. Libra is mellow while experiencing ascendency. Allow yourself to be calmed and soothed by Libra’s nurturing spirit. I honor the goddess Astraea as the 2015 patron goddess of Libra.

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker traces the birth of Astraea to Libya. I suspect the origins come from the Phoenician era of the Libyan region, during the cultural apex of the great city of Carthage. Astraea, the goddess we recognize as holding the scales of justice in balance, went on to influence the Greek and Roman eras. The latter deemed her “the Starry One.” As divine virgin she is affiliated with both Virgo and Libra. The most wonderful story pertaining to Astraea illustrates her compassionate capacity. The ancient Greeks spoke of five ages of man, starting with the Golden Age, and with each subsequent age further deteriorating. Disgusted by the growing degeneration and evil of humans, one by one the gods left the earth. Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave, doing so during the Iron Age. She stayed here longer than the other gods because of her compassion and belief in the ultimate goodness of mankind. Finally, even she could no longer withstand the deception, brutality, and mighty self-interest. With sadness, Astraea reclaimed her birthplace among the stars.

May we all be blessed by the beauty, grace and genuine solicitude bestowed by Astraea.

GuardianoftheDeep_SM (1)Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

Mythic Monday: Pisces Goddess Amphitrite

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

Photo by Alicia, copyright 2014

As the Wheel of the Year continues to wind, and days lengthen toward spring in late February and in March, we entered the realm of sun in Pisces. The essence of this station involves imagination, dreams, illusion, and connection with the great maternal spirit and source of the soul. I honor the Greek goddess Amphitrite as 2015 patron goddess of Pisces.

Amphitrite was a sea goddess or nymph considered by Homer to be the female manifestation of the vast and mysterious ocean. Her dwelling could be found in a beehive of caves at the bottom of the sea, where she kept her precious jewels. She adored wearing them as well. From time to time she would emerge from the caves to tend her herds of cattle. Always, always Amphitrite’s top priority was to keep a protective eye on the fish and other creatures of the deep. She was honored by sailors and all those who depended on the sea for sustenance and bounty.

As one of the fifty sisters / nymphs called the Nereids, daughters of the great sea goddess Doris, Amphitrite had a rougher side as well. She could call the waters to her command, and if she was upset the result might be shipwrecks and other chaos. She also had the power of prophecy and could warn seafarers of impending doom or help avert such catastrophes. The Greeks visualized the Nereids as maidens riding demons of the deep, and they fashioned a great dance after their antics and motions.

It’s interesting that the name of this goddess was not Greek at all, but rather pre-Hellenic. Amphitrite was one of the goddesses taken into the fold to act as the consort of Poseidon, after the Hellenic Greeks invaded and conquered the indigenous peoples of the Aegean region. Originally a powerful triple goddess, her stature was downgraded and relegated to that of a nymph.

Today we honor her in all her goddess glory.

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

Mythic Monday: Rune of the Day Berkana by Flossie Benton Rogers

BerkanaToday on Mythic Monday we start a new feature called Rune of the Day. Divination has always fascinated me, not so much to see what the future brings, but to get insight into the possibilities and fertility of the moment. Runes are one of my favorite methods. Runes constitute an ancient Germanic alphabet in use starting in the 1st century AD. They were valuable to the Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons, and other Germanic peoples, for writing as well as for magical purposes.

Rune layouts range from simple to complex, with the simplest being a single rune drawn in reply to a question. The question should be in a generalized form such as the following: “What do I need to know about my love relationship at this moment?” Once the rune is selected, the reading works best if the recipient does the following: Sit quietly and still your mind. Open your heart. Consider the following descriptions in connection with love, lovers, significant others, and romantic relationships. In stillness and openness comes the true meaning of the runes.

Today we look at Berkana, a rune that has kept its shape as our modern letter B. Berkana – overall message and energy:
Meaning- Growth, maturation, the natural flow of energy within yourself, beauty, the essence of springtime, new life, healing, a fresh start, new beginnings, ADVICE is to meet the challenges before you, transition from the old to the new, know yourself, stand by your loved ones and your own true self, you are sowing seeds—don’t expect overnight results, the harvest is yet to come, be patient and go with the flow while staying true to yourself.

I hope you have enjoyed our rune feature. Are you drawn to any particular form of divination?

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

Mythic Monday: Spriggans by Flossie Benton Rogers

fotorireland6Playing with notions about fairies and other supernatural beings is one of the pleasures of writing paranormal fantasy romance. Like people, fairies come in a wide variety of types, shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Some are beneficial, others malevolent. Some seek human contact, while others prefer their own company. Some fairies would be delightful to have around, helping your flowers bloom, guarding your home and hearth. The subject of today’s post is definitely not one of those. Spriggans are a family of fairies from Cornwall, an area ripe with its own unique brand of Celtic folklore.

Spriggans bobble on the dark side of the good / evil continuum. Treacherous and spiteful, their favorite pastime is playing malicious tricks. They thrive on causing misery and bringing disruption into everyday life. Their powers result in such misfortune as blighted crops, destructive storms, stolen cattle, and illness. The wind is theirs to command. They enjoy leading travelers astray into bogs or over the edges of cliffs. If you’ve ever been lost in the woods, the culprit was likely a Spriggan. One of the worst behaviors of a Spriggan is their penchant for stealing a baby and leaving a fae changeling in its place. “Come away, O, human child, to the waters and the wild, with a fairy hand in hand, for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” William Butler Yeats

These small but dangerous creatures haunt desolate places such as windswept crags, castle ruins, clusters of dead trees, and even certain standing stones. A Spriggan is sometimes mistaken for a sharp rock, but certainly not the kind of harmless boulder you’d want to sit down and rest on. Can you imagine waking one of these things up? When viewed at close range, their appearance is hideously frightening, as befitting their wicked character. They have thin, crooked bodies and wizened features. An odd trait, however, is their ability to puff up and expand at will to giant size. Some folks believe they are really the ghosts of giants that roamed the cliffs and lonely places of Cornwall in times long past. No wonder Spriggans sometimes serve as bodyguards for fellow fairies.

A sculpture of a Spriggan by artist Marilyn Collins is thought to have inspired the Stephen King story, Crouch End.

A Spriggan can be repelled by holy water, iron, and wearing your clothes inside out. So, if you see my tag showing, it’s not that I’m absent minded or can’t see straight, I’m just outwitting a Spriggan.

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

Mythic Monday: Website Migration or Inanna’s Descent

Inanna and  Dumuzi, public domain via Wikimedia

Inanna and
Dumuzi, public domain via Wikimedia

If you think migrating your website doesn’t edge into the realm considered mythic, try it— bwahahaha <evil laugh>. Wanting more creative control, I took the plunge and went to a self-hosted service when my WordPress premium upgrade payment came due again. First, a lot of nervous research went into which host to select. I ended up with Hostgator, whom a friend lauded for their help and responsiveness.

For the past few days I have held my breath at the migration, waited 48 hours for it to propagate over the globe, gasped appalled at the death of my color scheme and cutesy widgets, and then tried to learn wordpress.org plugins really quickly to restore them. The old girl is not quite up to par yet (website or me), but we’re both alive and working— and that’s something. So, as I rise back into the world, let’s take a moment and admire Inanna, the beautiful Sumerian goddess who survived a mythical descent of truly epic proportions. Her story goes back to at least 4000 BCE.

Inanna the Queen of Heaven decided to visit her sister Ninshuba in the underworld. Because of the danger of such an undertaking, she left explicit instructions with her minister to institute official mourning and mount a rescue if she didn’t return in three days and three nights. During the downward journey, the goddess encountered a series of seven gates guarded by severe gatekeepers. Each led to a lower realm of the underworld. She had to give up something of value at each post. Piece by piece Inanna removed her clothing and jewels until she stood alone and naked. At that time the merciless goddess of death Eriskegal gazed full upon Inanna, turning her into a wasting corpse.

Inanna’s father devised and implemented a rescue plan, and the goddess returned to her ethereal home and her original splendor. The natural law of the underworld, however, required that someone be substituted in the underworld for the goddess. Her beloved consort Dumuzi took her place. Some say he was forced to do so after he usurped her throne. At any rate, Inanna eventually forgave him and later managed to free him from the underworld for six months of every year.

This has always been one of my favorite myths. You can see correlations of the theme in stories from other locations, including Persephone’s journey to the underworld and Isis’ fervent love for her consort Osiris.

While writing this post I’ve discovered another plugin I need to look for— one giving the capability of undo and redo buttons!

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

Mythic Monday: Six Summer Solstice Celestials

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Photo by Karen Barnett

Summer Solstice celebrates the time of the greatest light in the northern hemisphere. The day is the longest of the year and the beginning of summer. How interesting that with the hottest season starting, the length of days now decreases for the rest of the year, culminating in the Winter Solstice or the shortest day and longest night. The Wheel of the Year goes round and round. Here are six mythological deities associated with the sun.

Ameratsu – Japanese sun goddess from whom ancient ruling families were descended. She was called “the glorious one.”

Glory-of-Elves – Scandinavian sun goddess. After doomsday or the end of the world as we know it, Glory-of-Elves would give birth to a daughter who would be the sun of the next world.

Atthar – Ancient Arabic sun goddess known as the “torch of the gods.”

Surya – Indian sun god and one of the three main gods in the Vedas. His being constitutes the celestial form of fire. His wife is Purusa, or dawn.

Sulis – Celtic sun goddess whose name also means “eye.” She was known as Sol to the Norweigians, Sunna to the Germans, and Sul in Britain where she was worshipped at Silbury Hill.

Ra – Egyptian sun god called “the shining one.” During the day he glided through the sky in a solar ship, traveled down through the underworld at night, and rose again from the great waters of the East each morning. A hymn began “Oh thou who arises in the horizon.”

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

More: The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker