Archive for the ‘legends and folklore’ category

Yuletide Horrors…

December 19, 2018

Since Christmas has been pushed on us since October, it’s only fair to bring a bit of Halloween to the merriment with tales of The Wild Hunt. Traditionally associated with Germanic folklore, notions of The Hunt have since spread and been adapted across Europe, and may even have resonated in North America…

The Wild Hunt stretches attempts to explain it a bit, but basically involves a group of spectral or supernatural huntsmen who ride in frenzied pursuit of unknown or unspeakable prey, or portending a catastrophe such as war, plague, famine, or a second Trump administration. The Huntsmen are traditionally led by a god such as Odin, a historical figure such as Theodoric the Great, a figure drawn from religion such as Satan, or at least a really bad dude. The cohorts of the Leader of the Hunt have been seen as elves, faeries, demons, or spirits of the dead. Their bestiary consists of horses (often spectral) and large fierce canines of the hellhound-variety.

Now riders of The Wild Hunt might be glimpsed as a vision or passing mist in the midwinter sky, and such was seldom regarded as a fortuitous thing, portending calamity to the observer at the very least. Unfortunate observers might have their souls sucked from their bodies by the Riders especially if they obstructed or attempted to interfere with the procession, while by some accounts they might also be rewarded if they helped in some way.

Celtic conceptions of Cernunnos, the bestial Lord of the Hunt, may have been influenced by Wild Hunt mythology. He’d give Santa a ride, but he ain’t no reindeer…

And in North America, the mythic concept appears as Ghost Riders (In the Sky), also a haunting song that may help in visualizing the spectacle. — So have yourself a scary little Christmas!

Tales of the Cat Sith…

October 31, 2018


Let us talk about the Cat Sith this Halloween, who has nothing to do with the Star Wars universe, although he may be feline the Force, ahahahaha!  The Cat Sith (or Cat Sidhe) is a creature from Celtic mythology described as resembling a large black cat with a white spot on his chest.  By some accounts, he is a fairy, while by others the Cat Sith is a witch capable of transforming into a cat and back eight times; should the witch transform a ninth time, they would remain a cat for life.  This gives origin to the notion of a cat having nine lives…

Now the Cat Sith is said to be capable of stealing the soul of the deceased should it pass over it before burial, which led ancient Celtic people to create diversions for the cat like wrestling, jumping games, and riddle-telling in rooms adjacent to where a body was laid out so as to entertain the cat and divert him from soul-stealing. Party animal that he was, the Cat Sith would partake of the fun and forget about stealing any souls…

It was considered prudent to leave out a saucer of milk for the Cat Sith on Samhain as a treat, lest he trick you with a curse, such as causing your cows to dry up and yield no milk; remember, a dry cow is a Milk Dud!  The spectral cat figures primarily in Scottish mythology, where he is said to haunt the Scottish Highlands; references are also made in Irish mythology.  There may also be a link with the King of the Cats tale in British folklore.  In this story, a farmer saw eight black cats (some accounts say nine) carrying a coffin with a royal crown seal on it.  The cats are lamenting the death of their king, and the farmer goes home to tell of his encounter to his wife and cat, Old Tom.  Upon hearing the account, the farmer’s cat cries, “Old Tim is dead?  Then I’m King of the Cats!”  Up the chimney he goes, never to be seen again…a calling was received from on high…  

 
 So this All Hallow’s Eve, you may want to put out a saucer of milk on your doorstep, lest you hear a whisper in your ear to look behind you…AHAHAHAHA!