Books, E-H

Harry Potter Still Rules

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling was released on June 30th 1997.  (Also published in some countries, like the United States, as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

“I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to me.”- J.K. Rowling

An inspiration to us all. ~ lisa

Official Site
J.K. Rowling biography

Berne Botts Every Flavor Beans

Mythology, Y-Z

Yoruba Mythology

The Yoruba people have an amazingly rich mythology and a fantastic history that dates back to powerful city-states that flourished in the 15th century. The Yoruba were known for their mastery of the arts.

Yorubaland is in a region in Southwest Nigeria and also in adjoining Benin and Togo. Before an 1820 invasion, the Yoruba resided in powerful city-states with a very advanced culture in all the arts. Due to the slave trade, many people of African descent in the Americas trace their lineage to the Yoruba.

Now on to the Yoruba myth. (There is far too much to cover, but there are some great resources listed at the end of this post).

Itan is a collection of all Yoruba myths, songs, and histories. Itan is accepted as fact and is often used to settle disputes.

There is a strong belief in pursuing a constant quest to better one’s Iwa (moral character and behavior). Each person is responsible for making all aspects of himself better. This quest leads to transcendence and finding one’s destiny.

The belief is that each person has a destiny and each person will one day become one in spirit with Olodumare, the divine creator and source of all energy.

If becoming one with Olodumare is not one’s destiny then maybe it is to come back as a new member of the family. The Yoruba believe in reincarnation within the family.

After Olodumare, there are a multitude of deities known as Orisa (Orisha). The Orisas are both manifestations of Olodumare and are intermediaries between man and the supernatural. The Orisas have control over elements and nature.

One of the most important of the Orisa is the god Ogun. Ogun is the god of war, the hunt, contracts and iron working. The followers of Ogun would swear to tell the truth by kissing a machete sacred to Ogun.

Shango, once a king of the Yoruba, is the Sky Father and god of thunder. Shango creates thunder and lightning by casting thunder stones to down to earth. Priests search for the thunder stone which contains great powers. – This is so cool.

The Yoruba trickster god is called Eshu and he is well-respected by the other Orisas. The Yoruba think rather highly of him. Since I love almost all trickster characters I will be colleting Eshu stories to share in later posts.

The Yoruba are a large population with a strong oral tradition. All of these myths may vary from village to village by name and even by the gender of the gods.

If you experience a storm, then I wish you both a beautiful rainbow and a thunder stone as a souvenir.
~ lisa

A Must-Read – Best Site on Nigerian Mythology, complete with a great list of Orishas
Excellent rendition of a Yoruba Creation Myth
A very good listing of Orishas



I’m heading out for two weeks of vacation to the California and Oregon coasts and to the LA convention center for the Los Angeles Anime Expo.
Please excuse the noise as I try to get automated posts up and going. My first attempt “Summer Solstice” didn’t work so back to the drawing board.

Just back from the Olympic Peninsula. I have now been to the Northwest corner of the continental United States. The Makah Nation maintains a good path to Cape Flattery and an overlook of Tatoosh Island. There is also a wonderful museum that houses the artifacts and story of the Ozette Pompeii.


Bengal Cat Pictures, Introduction, Q-U

RHM Intro 3 2014 6 24

It has now been three months since the birth of Rainbow Hill Meanders (RHM). And The Hill still meanders through the space/time continuum, subject to glorious subject.

TLC, Bengal styleYou may have noticed that the tag line has changed to better reflect the blog’s content. Writer’s A.D.D. more correctly sums up the eclectic nature of the subjects covered.

There is always a bright, new, shiny subject that needs exploring.

We live in a most amazing world and I often say:

“Oh, I can use that in a book!”
“Why is that so?”
“Where did that come from?”

And quite often I add: “Ooh, I want to know more.” That said there are a lot of strong themes that will remain the same.


 I’m passionate about mythology.

Not only will there be a cultural mythology of the month (or months), but also an exploration of the cultural significance of certain common parts of our lives such as cats or roses. The latter being tenuously tied in by a connection to the month in which the subject is posted.

I’m fond of quirky history and why and how we celebrate things.

I feel strongly about the battle against several diseases and will put those forward as millions of people hope for a cure. May none of them be forgotten.

 I have learned that a single or even multiple blog posts can’t do justice to the subjects I cover or even do more than scratch the surface of the wealth of information out there.

With completely random bias, I select what I think are the most salient points. I then tell myself I’ll come back to the subject in future posts. On most of the subjects I cover, it is unlikely that I will ever run out of new material. There’s just so much good stuff out there.

Loki gets a hug

Next month I hope to add widgets and make it easy to search subject by subject through the various posts. It will be all the excitement of new sidebars.

As always send me any comments and questions you have. I love to hear from you.

 May there be a little myth, a little surprise and a lot of joy in everyone’s life.


Other subjects that often catch my eye: The Arts, Bengal cats and Bengal Cat Pictures, Quotes, Names, Writers, Writing, Superstitions, Folklore, Fable, Seattle, Flowers, Gems, Anime, Fonts, Ecosystems, and so forth. Stay tuned.


Holidays, M-P, Seattle, Washington

Happy Midsummer

Today several places in the Northern Hemisphere have the longest hours of sunlight of the year. This however can be taken to the extreme. On Summer Solstice, the North Pole gets 24 hours of daylight. Talk about sleep deprivation.

I have visiting Stonehenge during a summer solstice on my list of things to do. Not this year, but hopefully soon.

  • If you are in Seattle go to the Fremont Fair. This famous/infamous fair has a little bit of something for everyone.
  • Or attend a Native American ceremony.
  • Or go to a performance of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For luck, make sure you turn around three times clockwise after waking up on the morning of the Summer Solstice.

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Seattle’s Fremont Fair
“The event, a celebration of Fremont’s “delibertas quirkas” (freedom to be pecuilar) culture”

Fremont is its own “Center of the Universe” within walking distance of downtown Seattle. At least what I consider walking distance. Most people would take cars.

The fair features the Seattle Art Car Blow-Out with over 75 “art” cars decked out in every manner of decoration. There’s a dog parade, solstice-inspired yoga, buskers of every conceivable type (chalk artists, musicians, jugglers etc.) and then there is the 2014 Solstice Parade.

The Solstice parade has marching bands, floats and all the usual cast of characters. It also has the famous or infamous (depending on how you look at it) Solstice Cyclists.

This is according to Wikipedia and I can say for a fact that this information is accurate:

“The Solstice Cyclists (also known as The Painted [Naked] Cyclists of the Solstice Parade, or The Painted Cyclists) is an artistic, non-political, clothing-optional bike ride celebrating the Summer Solstice. It is the unofficial start of the Summer Solstice Parade and Pageant.:

Or from this year’s Solstice Cyclists website

“The Painted Cyclists have long been a fixture of the Fremont Solstice Parade – an event created and produced by the Fremont Arts Council. The parade is a fantastic and whimsical celebration of the return of the sun, complete with larger than life puppets, floats, and street performers.

The Painted Cyclists engage and entertain the crowd with our boldness, bareness and enthusiasm. Join us as we welcome summer to Seattle with an outpouring of artistic expression, fossil-fuel-free travel, and fun.”

However you decide to celebrate the solstice, I wish you fun and adventure.


Reliable Wikipedia on Solstice Cyclists –
Solstice data and more data –
Solstice traditions through the ages –
Precise Solstice definition –

Some fun FAQs I found for the Solstice Cyclists participants

Do I have to ride naked? Of course not, some cyclists chose to wear a little something. Try flesh colored undies for the ladies and speedos for the guys.

How long does it take to be painted? Depending upon the complexity of your design, painting can take from 45 minutes to 4 hours. If your design consists of a base coat with detail on top, you’ll need to leave time for the base to dry plus time for the whole thing to dry before we ride.

Will the paint come off? Eventually. Your best bet is lots of warm, soapy water, a washcloth, and a friend to scrub between your shoulder blades. Most paints come off in little flakes so I recommend using a hair snare in your drain to prevent them from mucking up your plumbing. In 2004, I discovered the miracle of “pressure washing”. I attached a spray nozzle to my garden hose, stood in the middle of my yard and turned the water on, adjusting the nozzle until the water was a concentrated jet. This essentially peeled the paint right off my body. Combined with some sea salt and Dr. Bronner’s and I was clean in a record 30 minutes! It’s probably not a bad idea to stand in a kiddie pool or on a tarp to keep the paint flakes out of your lawn. Last year, I experimented with dry scrubbing first. I used an old, rough washcloth to gently abrade the paint off and then lathered up and rinsed. Like a charm!

I’m a little, um, hirsute. Will my body hair affect my paint? You can definitely be painted over body hair although it can be a bit trickier to get an even coat. Body hair also makes removing the paint more difficult and more painful. Some folks get into the hair removal aspect while others chose to go au naturel. It’s up to you.

A-D, Mythology

Ashanti Mythology

Today I will look at the mythology of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana.

Ring with two pearls

As I mentioned before the Anansi stories are traced back to the Ashanti. If you want to know more about Anansi see the blog post Anansi of June 12th.

The animist side of the ancient Ashanti religion is a belief that all trees and animals have souls.

The supernatural side of the same tradition believes in witches and monsters.

The Ashanti also practice ancestor worship known as Nsamanfo.

Spirits receive their power from the supreme god Nyame and are usually a part of nature such as trees, streams, ocean sprites etc.

Nyame “the one who knows and sees everything” is the Supreme Being in the Ashanti pantheon.

Nyame is not only omniscient, but is also an omnipotent sky god. Despite his omnipotence he suffered some misuse in human hands and he now remains aloof and lets the lower gods assist humans on earth.

Nyame is married to an earth goddess by the name of Asase Ya. She is a goddess of earth and fertility. They have two children: Bia and Anansi. The eldest son, Bia, is overshadowed by his younger brother Anansi.

Anansi the spider and trickster god is well-known around the world. Does anyone have information on what Bia does in the Ashanti pantheon?

I will come back to the Ashanti in future posts.


A brief history of the Ashanti people
Another historical resource
An overview of all the tribes of Ghana and religion from traditional to present day

Besides the Ashanti majority, Ghana is also home to tribes such as Ewe, Fante, Ga, and Dagomba. I am ambitious enough to think that perhaps someday I will be able to cover and do justice to the mythologies of all the tribes

M-P, Mythology

June Gemstones and Pearls

In a previous post I asked why June deserved three gemstones instead of one. I found the answer.
June actually has 12 (or possibly more) birthstones.

A list of June gemstones can include pearl, moonstone, alexandrite, agate, chalcedony, emerald, chrysoprase, tiger’s eye, white sapphire, ruby, sapphire and citrine.

The number of gemstones for a month depends on how many sources you wish to count:

Modern, Mystical, Zodiac, Arabic, Hindu, Traditional, Russian, Sun/Star, Moon, Planetary, Talismanic, Italian, Roman, and Ancient Hebrew. . .

Thanks to for a comprehensive list and sources.

Obviously I’m not going to explore the culture and myth of that many gemstones in a single blog post.

Pearl on a Wheat CentToday we’ll look at Pearls.

Pearl is the official birthstone for the month of June as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.

There are many other gems to explore in future posts – so many bright, shiny things out there and like a dragon I wish I could add all of them to my hoard.

For example I have now fallen in love with Moonstone.

But back to Pearls.

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Pearls have been traced back to our earliest histories. Even, before written history people have adorned themselves with pearls.

Pearl myth and legend has also come down from the long-ago mists of time in a high diversity of cultures. This blog post will barely scrape the surface.

China is credited with the earliest mention in writing of pearls (a 4,000 year old historical text), but evidence of the rare pearl is found in ancient Egypt, Japan, Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, Rome and so forth.

My favorite myth stories are about rainbows. Rainbows and pearls intersect in myth both in ancient Persia and China.

Ancient Persian myths thought that pearls were born when a rainbow met the Earth. In their myth, thunder caused all irregularities in the pearls.

In China, pearls were thought to be raindrops swallowed by oysters. The Chinese associated dragons and pearls together, since they believed dragons fighting in the clouds caused pearls to drop from the sky in the form of rain.

My second favorite myth centers on what becomes of tears when they fall. In Japanese lore, pearls are the tears of creatures as diverse as mermaids, nymphs and angels.

Pearls on an antique mirror

Pearls are also cited in many religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, and Hindu.

There are the “Pearly Gates” in Christian Revelations 21:21 – “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every gate was of one pearl: and the streets of the city were pure gold, as if transparent glass.”

The Koran speaks of the pearl as a symbol of perfection and that dwellers of paradise will be adorned with them 22:23 – “God will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.”

Questions for my Islamic readers.

What is the preferred spelling Koran or Quran? Is it okay to quote the verse(s) that apply to my research or should I summarize them? I have not found any clear answers on my own. What do you think?

Hindu texts say that Krishna discovered the first pearl, which he presented to his daughter on her wedding day and since then pearls have been a part of wedding ceremonies. I have also found that India traces their pearl heritage back to the 3000 year old Rigveda.

Pearl ring on a pink heart compact

Pearls generally symbolize wisdom, wealth, luck, integrity, loyalty, purity and generosity.

I have found that, like roses, each color of pearl has a different meaning. Unlike roses, there are about as many pearl colors as there are pearls, but they have been grouped in broad categories of color.

The familiar white. White = Purity, Truth, Fertility, Innocence, Faith, Honesty, Sincerity, and Peace.

Gold = Riches, Wealth, Prosperity, Freedom, Success, Love, Wisdom
Purple = Wisdom. Artistry, Creativity, Complexity, Mystery, Motivation

I’m partial to black gems like black opals and black pearls are not an exception.

Black pearls = Mystery, Strength, Fascination, Allure, Independence, and Balance.

A black pearl also equals Rest. And for that reason alone, I need to have a black pearl.

There are a seemingly endless number of myths about the rare black pearl. See for a good recounting of many of them.

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My favorite origin story for black pearls comes from the ancient Chinese in which black pearls are created in the brains of dragons and one had to slay a dragon to get the black pearl held in its teeth.

If a black pearl actually equals rest, I might be quite tempted to slay a dragon even though I am more inclined towards getting dragons (rather belatedly) classified as an endangered species.


An excellent site on pearl meanings –
This site has lots of pearl jewelry available for sale, but the information between the items for sale is spot on –

There are some gorgeous pictures of pearls at

To learn about pearls, their eight shapes, natural vs. cultured and how pearls are made see one of the sites below.

American Gem Society
A good summary of pearl history
A well done Wikipedia article – mineral
This site bills itself as the world’s best information site on pearls. I wouldn’t quite go that far, but it is a great site all about pearls –

More pearl snippets I found of interest:

The Roman General Vitellius financed a military campaign with one of his mother’s pearl earrings.

During the Dark Ages, knights would wear pearls onto the battlefield to protect them from harm.

It used to be a Hindu custom to present a completely new, undrilled pearl and pierce it during the wedding ceremony.

E-H, Holidays

Father’s Day 2014

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

Father’s Day acknowledges and appreciates the important role played by a father in raising the child.

Some say Father’s Day is a very old concept brought to the forefront of modern thought by the efforts of Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington State, USA.

There is the archaeological story of a 4000 year old clay card given from a young boy, Elmesu, to his Babylonian father.

Ms. Dodd got the idea for Father’s day in a 1909 sermon on Mother’s Day. Her father raised six children on his own and she started her campaign to honor fathers as well as mothers.

In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson approved of the festival in 1916, President Calvin Coolidge also went on record in support of the holiday, but it wasn’t until 1966 that there was a Presidential Proclamation, made by President Lyndon Johnson, declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

In 1972 Richard Nixon signed it into a permanent national observance. It only took 63 years for it become official.

I have been fortunate enough to raise two children with the world’s best dad. He has always shared equally in the responsibilities of childrearing. He has always challenged our children to be their best, always believed in them, and always been there for them.

I miss my own father and wish he was still here.

Don’t wait to tell your dad how much he means to you. Every year and all through the year. You never know how much precious time you will have.

So grab your neckties, your soap on the rope and those beautiful handmade gifts and let your dads know how much you mean to them.

Or better yet, remember this year Father’s Day falls on Nature Photography Day. Grab a camera and take your dad for a walk.

~ lisa

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North American Nature Photography Association
Father’s Day history



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My favorite description of Friday the 13th is as a lamentable intersection of unlucky number and dire day.

I was going to publish this post in font size 13 but, alas, cannot find any font of that size.

The term paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, was first coined in the 90’s by Dr. Donald E. Dossey.

Apparently regular Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) was neither long enough nor specific enough to categorize this phobia.

Friday 13th is only bad luck if YOU choose it to be.” – Denise Mansfield

I’ll start with the well-documented Triskaidekaphobia.

Loki was the 13th god of the Norse pantheon and was the 13th guest to arrive at the funeral of Balder.

Judas was the 13th to sit at the table at the Last Supper.

There is a superstition that if 13 people gather for dinner, one of them will die the following year.

In the original Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty, the wicked fairy was the 13th fairy.

The most telling argument against Friday the 13th is that on Friday, October 13, 1307, Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar. That alone can make it a day that may live in infamy in the collective subconscious.

Some people refuse to start new projects, go out to eat or even go to work on that date and very few will get married on Friday the 13th. We know that many buildings do not have a 13th floor, but did you know that many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue?

My opinion is that there is a lot of unclaimed luck floating around on Friday the 13th.

What’s your opinion on this most superstitious of days?

Tonight is also a full moon.


A definition of triskaidekaphobia
Psychology discussion about triskaidekaphobia.
The doctor who coined the term paraskevidekatriaphobia

Just in case you want to double check the definition of paraskevidekatriaphobia

 Every year has at least one Friday 13th; some years have as many as three Friday 13ths.


A-D, Mythology


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Anansi is perhaps the best known mythological figure out of Africa. He is a spider trickster god who can appear in any form he wishes, but most often his alternate form is that of a man.

His origins are said to be in the Ashanti tribe of West Africa in what is now Ghana, but he has become a common figure of folklore anywhere connected to where the slave trade went.

If you now hear a rapidly beating heart, and shallow breathing that is simply me trying to get through my Arachnophobia.

I’m not alone for it is one of the most common phobias, but knowing I’m one of a crowd doesn’t make it any easier.

Arachnophobia is an irrational and persistent fear of spiders, or in my case pictures of spiders, or mention of spiders or…

As I was saying Anansi is the most well-known figure of African folktales and myths. I cannot skip him.

Unfortunately, most cultures seem to have spider myths so I will be repeating this exercise in the future with Aunt Nancy, Spider Woman, Anasazi, Arachne, Nareau, Neith, Tsuchigumo, and Jorōgumo.

There are also giant fictional spiders such as Shelob (Tolkien) and Aragog (Rowling) and a number of these creatures in other popular stories such as Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web and the spider from Little Miss Muffet.

Attentive Bengal Sorry, there will be spider pictures in this post.

Back to Anansi.

In this post I’m only writing about the Ashanti Anansi. The stories of the Ashanti oral tradition are known as Anansesem or “Spider Tales”.

Once there were no stories in the world. Anansi’s father the Sky-God Nyame had them all of them. When Anansi asked for them, he was set the task of capturing 4 dangerous and elusive creatures (python, leopard, hornet, and dwarf).

Anansi tricked all of four and brought them to the Nyame. Nyame rewarded him by making him the god of all stories. Since then all stories have been dubbed “Spider Tales”.

Anansi is also known for trying to keep all of the wisdom of the world sealed in a pot, but he worried it was not safe enough so he tried to take it up a tree. He was not having much success and his son made fun of him and told Anansi how to actually get his hoard of wisdom up the tree.

Anansi dropped the pot and it shattered and spilt the wisdom into a stream and the stream took it to the sea. From the sea, the wisdom spread all around the world, so that there is now a little of it in everyone. I like that sentiment – “a little bit of wisdom in everyone”.

While he is an unpredictable trickster, Anansi is also responsible for creating the sun, the stars and the moon, as well as teaching mankind the techniques of agriculture.

The best one paragraph description of Anansi I have found is from Myths Encyclopedia – “West Africans originally considered Anansi to be the creator of the world. He often acted as a go-between for humans in their dealings with the sky god Nyame, and he supposedly persuaded Nyame to give both rain and the night to people. In most stories, however, Anansi is a crafty and cunning trickster who makes life more enjoyable for himself (or more difficult for others) by fooling humans, other animals, and even the gods themselves, often using his cleverness and knowledge of his victims’ ways of thinking to trick them and achieve his purpose.”

One of my all-time favorite sources for Anansi and his tales (and you know it’s good if I can appreciate reading about a spider)

So next time you hear a good story remember to thank Anansi.

A thorough look at Anansi
African Cultural Center folktales
A great set of Anansi stories for kids

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly.

A random fact to keep everyone with arachnophobia up at night: There are nearly 40,000 species of spiders worldwide.

“The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.” – Edwin Way Teale

Kuri Headshot