What image springs to mind when you picture Mother Nature? Would it surprise you that she gave birth to the Greek Gods and mythology? She’s been around a long, long, LONG time.
As I was world building, it was important for me to find a way to hide magic. Sure I could have pulled a reason out of my proverbial ‘hat’, but I like grounding my writing in history and mythology. I had a basic idea of the reasons, but I needed to familiarize myself with the lady that dropped the veil in the first place, Mother Nature.
The first Greek God was actually a Goddess, Mother Nature, or as they named her, Gaia. She sprang from chaos and gave birth to the flowers, trees, mountains and rivers. Our entire ecosystem is her child. She is a very nurturing Goddess. Her only desire is harmony. When an unbalance occurs, she will do anything within her natural powers to restore harmony. Earthquake, tornado, and even volcanic eruptions are her tools to restore her ‘child’ to its natural balance.
In Slavic traditions, she has a duality. Lada is the goddess of spring, love and beauty. She lives in the ‘otherworld’ and emerges every spring equinox to shower the land with her gifts. Marzanna is the goddess of death and winter, an old crone that lulls the earth and her children to sleep.
Mokosh, is the Russian Goddess of Earth, worshipped by the ancients. Mokosh spins the thread of life and became the patron of women as time progressed. She is widely known throughout Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine and the Czechoslovakia.
The Hindu culture’s divine mother is Maimatawhich literally means Mother Earth.
Ancient Egypt worshipped Hathor, who held the sky.
The Inca’s had Pachamama.
The Neolithic settlement of Anatolia, which dates back to 7500 BC also worshipped a divine mother goddess. Figurines of a woman seated on a throne, flanked by two lions, have been excavated by archeologists. They are believed to be the goddess Chatal Huyuk.
Mother Nature has been worshipped by every culture around the globe for as long as time has been recorded. She is exactly who I need to make the rules of magic work in my world.
What have you heard about Mother Nature? I’m interested in hearing your stories and beliefs
Portals intrigue me. I tend to photograph doorways when I travel. I also write about doorways into other worlds. So I chose to explore them further for my Mythic Monday post.
A portal is just a doorway. A portal ‘day’ is a gateway…To another reality, another plane of existence, ‘heaven’, or perhaps a parallel world.
One of the most famous and celebrated portal days is All Hallows Eve (Samhain). The Celts believed this was a magical day when the spirits of the dead could return to our world. It’s a beautiful belief that your loved ones can return and make a connection on this day. So beautiful in fact, the following day was named All Soul’s Day or All Saint’s Day depending on your faith.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that traces back three thousand years to their pre-Hispanic ancestors. It is a national holiday. (banks and government close for the day!) Families visit their dead family members in the cemetery. Shrines are constructed and decorated with their favorite foods, drink, flowers and trinkets. All of this, in hopes that it draws their lost family member closer to them on this day.
Many cultures have a strong faith and belief in these days when the doorway opens between worlds. The Obon festival in Japan, Gai Jatra in Napal, and the Qingming in China.
The Mayans constructed an elaborate calendar system that incorporated portal days. They strongly believed these portal days were doorways into a higher spiritual world. A day of strong spiritual energy exchange between worlds. Wouldn’t that be ‘heavenly’? The stars aligned for these scheduled spiritual days when the planet is showered with unconditional spiritual love.
July 17th and 18th are Mayan portal days this year.
Maybe, if you are open to it, you will have an inspired thought, breath of clarity, or perchance you will dream of a passed loved one.
What are your thoughts on portal days? Have you had amazing dreams or inspired thoughts that you believed were plucked from the heavens?
What images stir in your imagination when you think of portals? You’ve met several in childhood, I’m sure. The magical doorway to another place, another time or quite possibly another dimension. A land of mysticism, wonder, and adventure, far away from the mundane world.
By this definition alone, a portal can be the dream you float into when you close your eyes at night. The book you stay up late with, hypnotized by its magic, eagerly turning the page. It can even be the heart of someone you love. They are energetic portals to another realm.
Childhood literature abounds with physical ‘doorways’ into another world. Alice had the rabbit hole. Mike and Sully had a closet door. There is also the famous train platform in London! No muggle could ever walk through it.
My novel’s portal can only be unlocked by the siren’s song. What happens when the siren doesn’t believe in magic any longer? That is the hurdle I’m working with as I write.
Long ago, Native Americans and Aborigine peoples believed that dark caves were portals that led into the land of the Gods.
Portals are a valuable tool. They allow our imagination to soar and believe anything is possible. Through them we can meet interesting new people, visit extraordinary worlds, and return to the mundane world a new person.
What is your favorite portal? That ‘thing’ that whisks you away from the ordinary and mundane to the land of possibilities…
How did it change you?
The three goddesses of destiny. The Greek’s called them the Moirae. Germanic pagans referred to them as the Norn. In English, we simply call them Fates. The weavers of our destiny.
They spin the threads of our future destiny like an intricately woven tapestry. Klotho spins the thread of life when you are born. Lakhesis measures the thread. Aisa cuts the thread.
After Christianity was adopted, they were called birth fairies. They show up to greet the infant on the third day of life. You can not lock the doors and windows to deter them. They are persistent and determined. I suspect how they are welcomed could influence the gifts they bestow on the new child. Perhaps today they would be thought of as the ‘Fairy Godmother’.
Do you think Fate has a hand in our lives?
Is it all predetermined or is it the gifts we choose to acknowledge that grant us the life we are living?
Dragons have always been popular icons. Games, cartoons, plush animals, tattoos, you can find dragon items everywhere. Ask any two-year-old and they will tell you all about their favorite dragon. Where did it all start?
China is probably the oldest culture that began incorporating the dragon into their belief systems. Their culture sees the dragon as a symbol or power, prosperity, and good fortune. Dragons are an essential power of nature. A dragon’s breath, ‘chi’, bequeaths the four elements, rain, earth, sun, and wind. Emperors surrounded themselves with images of the powerful creature in their palaces, swords, and clothing. Even today, the dragon is a revered mythical being.
Cross the ocean and the respect changes to fear. Dragons become fire breathing evil creatures that need to be conquered. Open the pages of most fairy tales and there is a dragon that must be conquered by a brave knight.
I hold reverence for the dragons of the Chinese belief system. My world building incorporates the Northern Pacific cultures, so this fits in. I’m creating several types of dragons, like the mythology of China where dragons can be covered in feathers or scales and an array of colors and sizes.
What dragon do you most remember from childhood? Do you have a favorite Dragon story?
Centaurs have always fascinated me. They live the best of two worlds, that of a horse and a human. Similar to satyrs, they are infamous for being boisterous, wild and lusty, and spending much of their time getting intoxicated.
Chiron was the exception to this stereotypical behavior. He was ‘sired’ by the god and 1st generation Titan, Kronos and Philyra. (Gods tended to take whatever shape they wish, and this time he chose a horse.) The resulting child was the centaur Chiron. Philyra was so horrified by her child she abandoned him.
Through all that hardship, Chiron still became a leader, teacher, and master of the healing arts.
In my stories, I thought about changelings and chimeras as jumping off points for several characters. Chiron kept calling out to me! I wanted to create half human, half animal shapeshifters. One of the families in my story world has a family legend that they are descended from dragons. I love the concept 🙂
Do you think it is plausible for me to utilize accepted world mythology and bend it to my world and story? Or is that going too far?
If you could be half animal what would it be?
My favorite mythological tales are from the northern pacific area. Their stories spark my imagination and provide a foundation for me as I build my story world.
This Fox Spirit is also known as the Kitsune.The Chinese version is my favorite tale. If you are ever missing a book, all you need to do is ask the Kitsune for help. You then leave the room for a little while for the spirit to work its magic. When you return, the book will draw attention to itself.
Of course, stories grow and change as they cross the globe. The Kitsune in Japan and Korea is a seductress and a serves the Goddess Inari (Shinto Goddess of abundance). As time progressed into a more conservative era, this powerful and sexually assertive Fox Spirit received a bad reputation. She became feared and blamed for illness and possession. Sound familiar? Salem witch trials ring a bell?
Fox Spirit devotees build shrines and offerings of food to the hungry spirit. This tends to make the spirit an ally. They can attach to certain families and provide wealth and abundance with their magical abilities. The older the spirit gets the more power it acquires.
Most Fox Spirits are shapeshifters. They love to transform into human form, often a flirty seductress woman. They can be sly, secretive and sneaky or protective, helpful, mentoring spirits. It all depends on the person or family invoking the spirit.
I’m curious if you will recognize the Kitsune in my novels.
If you were to invoke the Kitsune, what things would she do for you?
What kind of imagery comes to mind when you think about a siren? Do you think of their beautiful voices singing to you or do you imagine gorgeous mermaids brushing their hair and swimming in the oceans?
Typically, sirens are supernatural creatures with beautiful voices, a seductress of souls, sea nymphs luring their lovers to the bottom of the sea. Some of the earliest stories portrayed these mystical creatures dwelling over the soldiers that perished during battle, escorting their souls to cross over into heaven. Sirens were first mentioned in 800 BC in The Odyssey and are now found in every culture around the globe. These creatures are ingrained in our society from the local coffee shop logo to the masts of wooden sailing ships.
What makes this myth so hypnotic?
When I was in Paris, I spent hours in Le Louvre. There was a funerary monument there that I can remember vividly. A beautiful siren carved in stone with majestic wings and bird feet. When you distill all the myths and folklores from around the world down to its essence, sirens were meant to guide you from one world to the next.
When I sat down to create my world, I needed a creature to guide magical creatures born among the humans to the magical world, a gatekeeper of that magical portal. Someone my magical creatures would be drawn to, someone they would innately trust, to help them make this important crossover…. A siren was the natural choice.
But in my novel, the little siren grows up in the human world. The world of science and logic. She has forgotten magic.
What happens when a siren loses her song?
Once upon a time, man lived in harmony with the land. There was no need to destroy, reshape, or control it. Every tree, stone, river, or animal was believed to have a soul.
Many nations across the globe believed in Animism where the lines between animal, human, and spirit were blurred. People and animals, at one time, could speak freely to one another and change form at will. This shaped their various spiritual practices when they gave thanks for the many blessings the earth offered freely. This reverence shaped their culture.
Obviously, the world has changed since the first peoples. In my writing, I rely heavily on Native American and Northern Pacific cultures and belief systems.
So, in my world building, creating a legend that spoke to this split from nature reverence to present day domination had to be addressed. Magical creatures and shapeshifters live in the human realm I’ve created. Their magic is hidden from human vision. For example, I have moon drop fairies living in the garden of one of my characters. When they giggle, they light up. A magical person will see the Moondrop Fairy. A human will see a firefly.
There is a veil between the two worlds. Many cultures believe the veil thins during Halloween, where spirits can walk in the human world. Why not a magical veil as well? But how did this veil come about?
It didn’t take too much effort for me to see that the reverence is a predominant issue. The first peoples respected and gave thanks, modern man reshapes and controls.
I created a legend for my stories that simply states, Mother Nature cast the veil between the realms to protect the earth and her magic. If humans were going to stop respecting the multitude of magic in the world, they would never see it again.
Now it’s your turn…
Will the veil between worlds ever be lifted?
Would you want that?
By the light of the full moon, a werewolf transforms. He shifts into an altered animal form.
Shape-shifters are intriguing characters. How cool would it be to see the world from an entirely different perspective? I often wonder if the thought process in human form differs in the shifted animal form.
Shifting is a common theme in folklore, mythology and fairy tales. Traditional shifters are werewolves. Everyone has heard of the werewolf and how they shift by the light of a full moon.
So when I began creating my shapeshifting characters I wanted a fresh and interesting approach. I wanted the trigger to be surprising and new. I also wanted it to be a surprise the other characters in my novel.
Everyone recognizes a full moon. If moonlight was going to be a trigger for one of my shape-shifting characters, I really had to do some research.
The moon returns to the same spot in the sky every 27.3 days, making a Tropical lunar month. However the moon’s phase (waxing or waning) doesn’t remain the same for two days.
Astronomical calendars can get pretty complicated with all the mathematical calculations. What stuck out for me is the fact that all the other star systems aren’t in the same spot in the sky, the universe in constantly in motion. Then I stumbled upon the Metonic Cycle of the Moon. I’d never heard of this before, so my characters hadn’t either!
The Metonic Cycle of the Moon is when the moon returns to the same EXACT point, (at the same longitude and against the same constellation) in the sky with the same phase. Talk about having all your ducks in a row. How long is a Metonic Cycle? 19 years.
Imagine 19 years in human form and then 19 years in a shifted animal form! Even better, what if the first 19 years were in animal form and the next in human form? That is one interesting character! I can’t wait for you to meet him.
Your turn, if your life was based on the Metonic Cycle, what would you shift into and how would that change your perspective of the world?