V is for……

……..Valkyrie.

My first encounter with these mythical beings was in an episode of Charmed.  Before that I had never heard of them and had no clue as to what they were.
A Valkyrie is a celestial lady of Norse mythology.  These ladies come to the battlefields to select the best warriors and bring them back to Valhalla, the great hall of the Upper World.  They have other names attributed to them, Odins’ Meyar – Odin’s Maidens, Oskmeyer, Odin’s Wishfillers and also Waive Maidens.
Odin was the God of War, poetry and wisdom and is one of the main Gods in Norse mythology.

The great warriors chosen by the Valkyrie were those who had died in battle.  They fought in the heavens as a form of training, after each battle their wounds would be tended to by the Valkyrie.  These warriors were therefore able to fight endlessly in preparation for the battle of Ragnarok, the final battle.  The Valkyrie were fierce warriors themselves and had the ability to regenerate too.
Some legends have a total of 36 Valkyrie, whereas others have only 13.  The 13 are:
Goll = Battle Cry
Geirolul = Spear Charger
Hrist = Shaker
Hildr = Battle
Hlokk = Battle Noise
Herfjotur  = Army Fetter
Mist = Cloud
Radgridr = Bossy
Randgridr = Shield Destroyer
Reginlefir = God’s Daughter
Skeggjold = Axe Age
Sigrdrifa = Inciter To Battle
Thrudr = Power Woman

More catching up.

It would seem life is too hectic for me right now and that prevents me from daily blogging.  This doesn’t mean I am not keeping up with my 366 days of witchery challenge.  Recently I have read up on the following:

Robin Goodfellow, a Brownie like creature who is said to help women with their housework.  He can shapeshift into various different creatures and he is keen on persuading travellers to follow him, with them ending up lost.

Sylph, an elemental of air.  The Sylph is made entirely out of air.  Anyone casting a spell that requires this element will call upon them to aid in the magickal workings.

Trolls – different cultures have different variations of the Troll.  Trolls hail back from Norse mythology and the name Troll means monster.  The Danish people see their Trolls as ugly creatures, with large noses, a white long beard and wearing a craftsman’s apron and a red cap.  The Norwegians have them as ugly, but also hairy creatures.  They also have a female version – a beautiful redheaded female.  In Sweden and Denmark they are remarkably like the Brownie.

During the Middle ages they were seen as evil doers, wielding Black Magick.  They were reported to steal people’s possessions, even women and children!  It is said that Trolls hate noise and that they can be driven out by church bells.  People can also protect themselves from the Trolls by wearing or carrying Miseltoe.
Trolls turn into stone if they are caught by light, so they only come out at night.

Unicorns can vary in size, according to where the tales about them are from.  Some people have them the size of a horse, which is how I have always viewed them, whereas others have them as the size of a deer.  Surprisingly, a lot of the info that came up relates to how Unicorns defeat the devil etc, as told in the Bible.  It surprised me a lot actually, given that the creature is a mythical being.
Another story has Alexander The Great as having a Unicorn, not a horse.
The most popular time for Unicorns was during the medieval ages, whereas nowadays they are only really popular with people of a certain belief and children.

Q is for……

……Qandisa.

Qandisa is a terrible Djinn or Demon, according to Morrocan mythology.  Her usual appearance is that of an attractive woman, though she is known to be a shape-shifter.  Apparently, she was once the Goddess Of Love but after falling from grace she became an enticing sinister woman.

She entices youn and naive men into the rivers and streams that she inhabits, and those who do follow her are never seen again.

Sacrifices and offerings are made to her at the time of the Summer Solstice in certain parts of Morocco.  By doing so these people believe they have appeased her and will be safe from her.

P is for…….

……..Pixie.

The word Pixie makes me think of cute little fairy like creatures, with cheeky smiles and a sunny disposition.  Apparently not though.  It is said that the Pixie is a redheaded fairy like creature from Devon and Cornwall area and that they have upturned pig-like noses, pointy ears and wear green clothes.
It is believed that they are the souls of the dead, who, as children were not baptised.  This means that they could not enter heaven, but as they had done nothing wrong they weren’t admitted to hell either.

It is said that they fought a war with another race of fairies, they were victorius and this won them their own territory in Buckland St. Mary, in Somerset, a place they protect fiercely.
The Pixies are said to steal horses which they ride around in circles.  This action creates gallitraps, a magickal circle.  Anyone who is caught in the gallitrap will come under the power of the Pixies and if a criminal is caught in a gallitrap then they will be hung.
The Pixies are also said to lead travellers astray by bringing them bad luck.

O is for…..

…….Ogre.

An Ogre is the generic name for hideous creatures, usually giant-sized, who scare humnas.  The female version is an Ogress.  Ogres to me are creatures like Shrek and Fiona, from the movie Shrek.  That is what I think of when I envison an Ogre.
Obviously their appearance gives them a bad reputation, as does the fact that are supposed to feed on humans.

N is for….

…….Nymphs.

Nymphs are born of Gaia, also known as mother nature in the Greek pantheon.  They are associaited with nature and are often found protecting natural habitats.  Nymphs can also be seen around Pan, Hermes, Apollo, Atremis, Dionysius, as well as creatures such as Satyrs.
Nymphs are described as beautiful and sexually attractive.  They love to dance and sing and they are, ahem, quite armourous too. 

They live for a long time, it is said they do not die from old age, but usually die in other ways.  That they can live for so long often gives the impression they are immortal, though they are not.  They often bear a child to a God – whichever one they have mated with – and these children are immortal.

M is for…..

……Mermaids.
It is said that a mermaid is a very attractive woman on the top half, and her lower half is that of a fish.  One particular story that I read has a mermaid being able to change into a “full” human in order to attend a market so that she could buy things.
The typical image we have for a mermaid is of a beautiful half woman-half fish sitting on a rock, out at sea, combing her hair and or singing.  Apparently the mermaids have no souls and lure fishermen to their death, by singing beautiful, haunting songs.  When the sailor gets close enough the mermaid grabs him and drowns him.  There are also tales that have the mermaids keeping the souls of the fishermen in cages, deep under the sea.
Typically the mermaids are the same size as a typical woman, but some tales have them up to 2000 feet in length.

L is for….

…. Loch Ness monster.

Probably the most famous of all mythical creatures.  The theories surrounding this even have theories surrounding them!  Whatever your views are on mythical creatures I think you have to admit this one is the most plausible,  There are far too many sigthings for this not to real.  And whilst this isn’t really witchy it does show us that we don’t know all of the answers, or have the proof about everything, even though we think me might do.

K is for……..

…….the Kraken.

I knew that I would write about this creature when I got to K.  It is a creature that I am pretty familiar with, having been a huge fan of the film Clash Of The Titans – the  original one.  The creature I have always been familiar with is enormously tall, sort of like a huge lizard type man, as per the Kraken in the film.  So imagine my surprise when I look into this myth and discover that the Kraken is in fact a huge Octopus.

The myth states that this creature loves the taste of human flesh, as well as consuming ships, whole.  Sailors who happened upon a sleeping Kraken would often mistake it for an island – the top of its head quite often the only thing visible.  They only discovered the truth when their ships’ were attacked.

Of course, the legend I am familiar with is the one from the Clash Of The Titans.  The Princess Andromeda is to be sacrificed to the Kraken as a result of her mother’s bragging about her beauty.  Cassiopeia claims that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Goddess Thetis and this angers her, hence the sacrifice.  Of course she is saved by Perseus, who marries her after solving an almost impossible riddle, who just gets to her in time after severing the head of the Gorgon, a creature who turns everything to stone if she looks into their eyes.  Perseus uses Medusa’s head – because even in death her stare is lethal – to turn the Kraken into stone and he holds Medusa’s head up for so long that the Kraken cracks and crumbles into the sea.

That myth is a far cry from the stories of Octopus like creatures who devour men and ships.

Clash of the Titans Poster

J is for…..

……Jack-O-Lantern

 Jack-O-Lantern is a ghostly light that can be seen over swamps and marshes.  It is said to be the soul of someone who died and was denied entry into Heaven and Hell.  It is said that before Jack died, he chased the Devil up a tree .  Jack was a mischievous person and it is said that he tied symbols of the cross around the tree.  The symbols were said to be so powerful that the Devil was unable to climb down the tree, and he didn’t want to fall either.  When he had the Devil where he wanted, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not let him into Hell.  With this done, Jack thought that he had guaranteed himself a place in Heaven that he spent the rest of his days playing tricks on people.
When he died St. Peter would not allow him to enter Heaven on account of all of his trickery, so he sent him down to Hell instead.  But the gates were not open for him due to the deal that he had made with the Devil.  He was left to live amongst us on Earth, in the swamps.

It is said that he liked to be cruel to children and that is why it was customary for them to wear their coats inside out.  This way they could blend in with the dark and avoid the cruel clutches of Jack.