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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Three Crows Eating Pizza

Over at the Minoan language blog they've been posting non-traditional, bilingual haiku lately. Thought I might as well get in on the act.

And yes, I actually did see this the other day.

 

Three crows eating pizza

by the side of the road.

Winter in the city.

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Yup.
Raven Oracle: Guided By Magick (Capricorn Moon)

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Raven Keyword: Wise
Meaning: Although saddened by the times your will is true and guided by magick.
Reversed: A dark omen portends gloom, so stay inside.

...
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Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess of Birds and Horses

Rhiannon, Goddess of Birds and Horses, is also known as the Queen of the Fairies. A Goddess of Transformation, she uses her powers for love of others or self, shining in our hearts as an example of true love and beauty. She appears in both the first and third branches of the Mabinogion, a medieval Welsh narrative which grew out of the ancient myths of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. She possessed deep magic and could manifest her dreams and desires both for herself and for the good of all. 

Rhiannon is associated with Epona, the Gaulish Horse Goddess. Most likely they are both derived from the ancient Celtic Goddess, Rigatona, whose name means Great Queen. Unfortunately, Rigatona's stories and meaning are lost to us today.

...
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Is a 3000-Year Old Swedish Petroglyph the Oldest Known Depiction of Thor?

Is a 3000-year old Swedish petroglyph the oldest known depiction of Thor?

Here's what Swedish science journalist Karin Bojs (sounds like “Boyce”) suggests in her highly engaging genetic study of Europe, My European Family: The First 54,000 Years:

The Vitlycke rock engraving includes a man driving...a two-wheeled chariot, clearly drawn by a horse. The man holds the horse's reins in one hand and a hammer in the other. Before him, a flash of lightning can be seen. The most likely interpretation is that the man is a thunder god—the Bronze Age counterpart of the god later known to the Vikings as Thor. The thunder god's attribute was an axe or a hammer, with which he would strike to produce thunder and lightning (296-7).

Is she right?

Well, the time and the place are right. The Vitlycke charioteer is one of tens of thousands of petroglyphs located on rock faces near Tanum, Sweden. Petroglyphs are notoriously difficult to date, but experts are agreed that these petroglyphs date mostly from the Scandinavian Bronze Age. We know that Scandinavia was populated by Indo-European speakers during this period, and that these petroglyphs are therefore a product of an Indo-European culture. The pantheons of virtually all IE cultures feature a divine Thunderer, often conceived of as a warrior, armed and riding in a two-wheeled chariot.

Take a close look at the petroglyph shown above. A horned man with a noteworthy ithyphallus drives what would appear to be a highly schematic chariot drawn by (apparently) a horned animal. If so, with apologies to Bojs, this is no horse, but would only strengthen the image's likely identity as a sort of proto-Thor, since Thor's chariot was said to be drawn by goats, and historically the goat is associated with the Thunderer across the Indo-European diaspora. At very least, one can say that, if this chariot is indeed drawn by a horned animal (instead of a horse with unusually elongated ears, say), we are likely in the realm of myth here. No one, after all, hitches an ox to a chariot.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It does look like a snake, I agree, which made me think of sperm cells with their little wiggly tails. I suppose we'll never know
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Cool, I was an Art History Major back in the 80's.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I agree that the animal looks more like a goat, and that the hands look like they are depicted with fingers, although the vajra al
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The head reminds me of another storm god: Set. I think I've seen depictions of both Teshub the Hittite storm god and Baal Hadad t
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Oof, that really does look like the Seth animal. Well, I wouldn't want to try to make a historical case for a connection, but it d

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When the New Gods Fail

The 1860s in Sweden saw a disastrous series of failed harvests.

The good farmers of Tisselskog, Dalsland repeatedly went to church and pleaded for divine assistance, but none, apparently, was forthcoming. Each subsequent harvest was worse than the one before.

What do you do when the new gods fail you?

Of course, you turn to the old.

 

Tisselskog is home to one of west Sweden's richest collections of Bronze Age rock art. More than 50 rock panels are covered with thousands of carvings of footprints, warriors, Sun wheels, and ships. Common also is the cupmark, known rather more poetically in Swedish as an älvkvarn, an “elf-quern” or “elf-mill.” Those who wished, in the skald Sighvatr Þórðarson's words, to “offer to the elves” would place their offerings—milk, a coin, a little smeared fat—in one of these elf-querns.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Painting With Pan

Oh Pan, you have your ways. 

When it was time to figure out what Nathaniel and I were going to submit for PantheaCon 2019, we knew we wanted to do another dance-music-ritual experience - following in the footsteps of "Hekate at the Crossroads" (2017) and "Dreaming the Raven" (2014). I had just finished writing some pieces for an annual that will be published next year, and Pan had goated his way into that work. He was also showing up pretty much everywhere I looked.  I know what that meant, and so we submitted a presentation called "A Revel for Pan."

Which got accepted, meaning now we'd have to get into the grotto and get some work done. Yes, I tend to work in such a way that I present ideas - and if there's interest, then I put it into motion and start the actual planning. 

As I contemplated what the Revel would look, sound, and feel like, the vision of having a large painting as an altar piece kept poking at me like a set of persistent horns butting against my head. I looked around my studio for available panels to paint on, and was informed they were all "too small." Then a large 2'x2' panel that had had several unsuccessful attempts at a "Witch's Sabbat Ride" theme fell over. Not so subtle hint taken.

I contemplated full body renditions on this square hunk of wood - something along the lines of the Pan that I created for Jason Mankey (middle of the bottom row here). I thought about head and shoulder shots - but when I sat down to paint, I felt I needed to reject a square presentation and turn the panel into a diamond shape.  This made it very hard to stabilize on both my easel and desk, but it gave me the most amount of room to include his horns, and possibly include shoulders and a panpipe.  As I got to work, just the head was the message I got and that was more than enough. 

After I got the basics down, the expression that was needed nagged at me. What came to mind was a headstudy of Pan that I saw in a "Museums of the World" book, going back at least 20, if not 30+ years in my memory.  What I remember most was the eyes were oddly shaped with a unique expression, very fey and full of mischief.  I couldn't find that original image from my memory, but as it happens, Nathaniel has been known to take on that very same expression. AND I had photographic evidence of him looking just like that. He's actually the only person I've ever seen to pull it off - and every time he has done it, that memory would sail on by.  Strange how weird things are connected through time and space! 

I had also just freshly re-read "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins, so that added another layer to the image. There is a blending of a face emerging from leaves, taking physical form - as well as a sense of the invisible made visible - with a touch of Green Man feel. 

Perhaps though the trickiest part of all of this was figuring out how to have this heavy piece of diamond-oriented wood affixed to an altar in a hotel ballroom that was about to be filled with 300 people reveling.  With some help from friends, gaffer tape, a ballroom chair, and a sari - we managed to secure the painting in front of the stage - and it stayed put the entire revel! 

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  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    He's gorgeous and inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Icicle Music

Just exactly what Coyote did to get Bear so riled up, I don't know.

Knowing Coyote, I'd say he probably seduced his daughter, or his son. Or maybe not. It was Wolf Moon, after all, cold enough to freeze the nose off your face, and early for Bear to be up and about.

He's always grouchy when he first wakes up in the spring—low blood sugar, probably—and, let's face it, Coyote's pretty irritating at the best of times.

So, anyway, Bear had been chasing Coyote through the snow and Coyote had skedaddled his mangy ass up a skinny old jack pine. He had to climb all the way up to the top where the branches were too small to support Bear's weight. Then he waited.

Well, Bear grumbled around the foot of the tree for a few days, but finally he gave up and went away to find something to eat.

Here's the problem. Going up, Coyote had adrenaline to help him up the tree, but after three days he was stiff with cold and weak with hunger, and he knew he wasn't going to be able to climb down out of that tree without falling and cracking his skull.

So, what did he do? What would you do in that situation?

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