“Scandinavian folklore regards belemnite fossils as candles belonging to elves, gnomes and pixies In Swedish they are called ‘vateljus’…and in Danish ‘vættelys’, which literally means gnomes’ lights. Others thought that they were lightnings supposed to fall from the sky during thunderstorms; also known as ‘thunderbolts’. They were believed to have magic powers and could protect your house against lightning in the future.”
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In Scotland, the Goddess Beira, Queen of Winter, is credited with making numerous mountains and large hills, which are said to have been formed when she was striding across the land and accidentally dropped rocks from her apron.
In other cases she is said to have built the mountains intentionally, to serve as her stepping stones. She carries a hammer for shaping the hills and valleys, and is said to be the Mother of all the Goddesses and Gods.
Nidhogg a.k.a. The Malice Striker, is the foremost of the great serpents and dragons who live beneath the world tree Yggdrasil. From there Nidhogg gnaws at the roots of the tree that holds the nine worlds, slowly but surely bringing forward the day of Ragnarok. On that day when the very cosmos are undone, Nidhogg will fly forth from below Yggdrasil to aid the giants in taking down the Aesir.
In the Völuspá poem (Translated to “Insight of the Seeress”) Nidhogg is described as ruling over a part of the underworld called Náströnd (“The shore of corpses”) where he spends his free time snacking on perjurers, murderers, and adulterers, because what else is a giant terrifying dragon going to do until the end of the world?
However, this last bit about the punishment of sinners in the land of the dead has a distinctly un-Norse feeling to it, and is suspected to be a later addition influenced by Christianity, as they aren’t happy unless someone’s being punished for eternity.
The banshee: “woman of the sídhe” or “woman of the fairy mounds” is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.
In legend, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die. In Scottish Gaelic mythology she is seen washing the blood-stained clothes or armour of those who are about to die.Similar beings are also found in Welsh,Norse and American folklore
In tradition, women would typically sing a “lament” (meaning to weep or wail). Legend has it that five great Gaelic families would have a lament sung by a fairy woman. She would sing her lament when someone would pass, even if they had passed far away, to let others know of the passing. This was their first warning of death in the family. From this story, it is believed that the tales of a banshee coming to others started.
Banshees are frequently described as dressed in white or grey, often having long, pale hair which they brush with a silver comb, while other stories portray banshees as dressed in green, red, or black with a grey cloak.
A Chinese Emperor’s Robe Containing an Image of the White Hare of the Moon, 18th century
It just so happens that many cultures recognize the image of a rabbit on the moon. This story (with variations, of course) is found in a variety of regions, including India, China, Mesoamerica, and…
I had a request from a reader for information on deaf gods the other day, and while I’m sure there are more out there, (the Greek deities have a big selection of physical disabilities that vary from story to story, depending on who’s doing the telling) jolly old Ebisu was the one who jumped to mind.
Ebisu’s a simple spirit, don’t y’know. He’s a Japanese/Shinto god of luck, keeping a special eye out for all the bros who share his real passion: fishing. Lucky Ebisu also boasts a seat among the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japanese folk tradition, and his smilin’ face pops up all over the island in shops and shrines.
As often happens with popular deities, lucky ol’ Ebisu eventually had himself consolidated into more mainline myth. The people of feudal Japan eventually merged Ebisu with one of the high families of the gods, and he became the son of Izanagi and Izanami, two powerful gods of creation.
Somewhere during their marriage ritual Izanagi and Izanami slipped up, and Ebisu paid for it by being born mostly deaf and nearly blind, without arms and legs. Poor lil’ feller. Must have been a pretty serious mistake, and—what’s that? Lady Izanami spoke before she was supposed to? Wow. Rough. A lifetime of deformity for their child absolutely seems like a just ruling for speaking a moment too early. Let the punishment fit the crime, Shintoism.
But don’t feel too badly— he was raised by some good fisherfolk, and eventually sprouted those absentee limbs, though his hearing never quite recovered. In the end, he got the divine life that every god hoped for, granting prayers, chillin’ out, and fishing.
However: during the Kannazuki, (the month without gods) all of the deities are summoned up to the Grand Shrine of Izumo (one of the most ancient Shinto shrines around) and prayer-granting takes a vacation. Luckily for us, Ebisu doesn’t hear the summons, and stays on duty for the whole month, looking out for fishermen, and throwing out luck like it’s going out of style.
Tikbalangs are said to scare travelers and lead them astray. Tikbalangs play tricks on travelers such that they keep on returning to an arbitrary path no matter how far he goes or where he turns. Supposedly this is counteracted by wearing one’s shirt inside out. Another countermeasure is to ask permission out loud to pass by or, not to produce too much noise while in the woods in order not to offend or disturb the tikbalang.
by Pat Ann
Sedna (Inuktitut: ᓴᓐᓇ, Sanna) is the goddess of the sea and marine animals in Inuit mythology. The story of Sedna, which is a creation myth, describes how she came to rule over Adlivun, the Inuit underworld. Sedna is also known as Arnakuagsak or Arnaqquassaaq (Greenland) and Satsuma Arnaa (“Mother of the Deep”, West Greenland) and Nerrivik (northern Greenland) or Nuliajuk (District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories, Canada). She is sometimes known by other names by different Inuit groups such as Arnapkapfaaluk (“Big Bad Woman”) of the Copper Inuit from the Coronation Gulf area and Takánakapsâluk or Takannaaluk (Igloolik).
More than one version of the Sedna legend exists. In one legend Sedna is a giant, the daughter of the creator-god Anguta, with a great hunger that causes her to attack her parents. Angered, Anguta takes her out to sea and throws her over the side of his kayak. As she clings to the sides, he chops off her fingers and she sinks to the underworld, becoming the ruler of the monsters of the deep. Her huge fingers become the seals, walruses, and whales hunted by the Inuit.
In another version of the legend, she is dissatisfied with men found for her by her father and so marries a dog. Her father is so angry at this that he throws her into the sea and, when she tries to climb back into the boat, he cuts off her fingers. Her fingers become the first seals and she becomes a mighty sea goddess. When she is angered, the shaman travels to wash and comb her hair for her, after which she is placated and releases the animals to the hunters.
In Celtic mythology and religion, Maponos is a god of youth and love.
He was known, and worshipped, in Northern Britain and Gaul.
Maponos is a deity associated with youth, he is said to have a young and fair appearance, and fiery, billowing hair.
The Romans were aware of Maponos, and they equated him with Apollo.
In Celtic mythology and religion, Cernunnos (also called “The Horned One”) is a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld.
Cernunnos was worshipped all over Gaul, and his cult spread into Britain as well.
He is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carries a purse filled with coin.
The Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess at Beltane, and dies at the summer solstice. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth, and reincarnation.