Monday Myth, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders, Rainbows

Monday Myth: Rainbows

The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.” – Henry David Thoreau

Rainbows are the sun’s rays refracted or reflected by rain or mist into an arc of color. These rainbow arcs always have their colors in the same sequence: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

A well-known English Mnemonic is “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” and the less interesting American English of “ROY G BIV”.

Languages all around the world have their own mnemonics for remembering the order of colors in the rainbow.

I recommend this site not only for its great information on all aspects of rainbows, but also for the best exploration of the global range of mnemonics for remembering rainbow color order. http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol6/rainbow.htm

Rainbows come many different guises under many different names:
Twinned Rainbow, Double Rainbow, Primary Rainbow, Secondary Rainbow, Tertiary Rainbow, Quaternary rainbows, Alexander’s Band, Higher-order Rainbows, A Supernumerary Rainbow—also known as a Stacker Rainbow, Reflected Rainbow, Reflection Rainbow, Monochrome Rainbow, Moonbows, Fogbow, Spraybow, and Glory, etc.

Rainbow mythology is rich and replete with more stories than I can incorporate into in one post. I will eventually get to all of them in future posts.

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There are very few cultures that do not have a rainbow in their mythology. I’m still looking to see if I can find one that has a mythology lacking in some sort of rainbow. Please tell me, which mythologies do not have rainbows?

Due to the popularity of the Marvel Thor movies, the Norse Bifrost (Rainbow Bridge) is probably the third most-known rainbow mythology after that of Noah and the Ark and the Irish tales of a leprechauns and pots of gold.

Some translations of the “The Epic of Gilgamesh” describe the rainbow’s mass of colors as a divine sanction for war and a rainbow crown was worn by the Sumerian god Ninurta.

Persian mythology uses rainbows for divination.

In Greek Mythology, Iris who is a messenger of the gods dresses in rainbow hues.

Australian Aboriginal mythology focuses on the Rainbow Serpent. In Japan the rainbow also represents snakes.

In Arabian mythology the rainbow is a bow for Quzah, an Arabian god of weather. The Hindu god Indra also uses the rainbow as a bow.

rainbowIn Bhuddism the rainbow is just one step below Nirvana.

For the Karens in Burma, the rainbow is a demon that eats children.

For the romantics in the crowd, Chinese folklore has star-crossed lovers waiting for the rainbow to shine so they can be together.

My favorite so far is Bulgarian legend in which you will change genders if you walk under a rainbow. I think that may be worthy of a story or two. http://bnr.bg/en/post/100151281/the-rainbow-bulgarian-legends-and-beliefs

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

~lisa

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Cryptozoology, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders, RHM Monday Myth

Monday Myth: Cryptozoology

Big foot and a rose

 

Cryptozoology is one of my favorite parts of being a fantasy writer. I’m always exploring myths and legends around exotic creatures that may or may not exist.

Cryptozoology is well-stated in Wikipedia as Cryptozoology is the study of rumored or mythological animals that are presumed by many to exist, but for which proof does not yet exist.”Green Dragon

It is also described in (IMHO) the best site on cryptozoology: http://www.newanimal.org/ by Jamie Hall.

Cryptozoology is the study of animals and other creatures that have not yet been accepted by science as real. In other words, it is monster-hunting. Cryptozoologists look for creatures like sea serpents and the yeti, hoping to gather enough evidence to prove that these beings exist. They also look for more commonplace animals, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker, the giant vampire bat, the inflatable hedgehog and the pygmy elephant. Creatures that are under investigation by cryptozoologists are called cryptids.”

There are many dedicated people that devote their time, and in some cases their careers, to finding these elusive animals.

Unfortunately cryptozoology is plagued by hoaxes, and pseudoscientists even though there have been cases of cryptids being discovered and handed off to the field of zoology.

Do I believe in most of these myths and monsters? Not really, but I love the ideas of them. I love their mythic symbolism and messages and I really enjoy all the “what if” moments that come from exploring them.

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I will also be the first to celebrate if any of them are found.

Cryptozoologists are not ghost hunters or devotees of the supernatural. To once again quote Jamie Hall http://www.newanimal.org/:

Cryptozoologists are a specialized branch of monster hunters. Since their ultimate goal is to discover either new species of animal or new subspecies, the science of cryptozoology is rooted in biology. The more a creature shows evidence of being supernatural, the less likely it is that cryptozoologists would be interested in it. Not many cryptozoologists investigate the strangest things like ghostly demon cats, Mothman or werewolves. Ghost hunts are left to the paranormal investigators and a few fringe cryptozoologists.”

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2015-SX50-0037Some of my favorites from the cryptozoological zoo that inspire me and my writing are: Dragons, Kraken (giant squids have now been found), Sasquatch and Yeti, Fairies, Living Dinosaurs, and Thunderbirds. See http://www.newanimal.org/ for a complete list of the diversity of creatures.

Another outstanding list of the creatures of cryptozoology and the facts known about the animals can be found at http://www.unmuseum.org/lostw.htm where descriptions of such animals as Nessie of Loch Ness, snakes as long as railroad cars, and their crypto alumni list reside.

The crypto alumni are large animals that have been discovered in the last century.

What are your favorite cryptids? What creatures of myth, legend, and rumor call out to you?

Favorites will move to the head of the pack for future blog posts.

Unicorn

May you all find your unicorns, fairies and friendly dragons.

~lisa

 

 

 

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Cryptozoology, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Monday Myth: Shifting Definitions

Red Dragon

I am passionate about mythology, all of it, from the lightest to the darkest tales. This new Monday feature will be delving into even the dustiest corners of myth from around the world.

You can also, periodically, join me in my favorite mythological party games.

Quick! Choose a pantheon, any pantheon, and name the top ten deities.

Or pick a universal archetype and name as many of them from the entire world. For example: The deity of death and/or the underworld.

Shifting Definitions.

Mythology, Fairy Tale, Tall Tale, Fable, Cryptozoology: the lines around the definitions of these subjects are murky, sometimes invisible, and often overlap.

Mythology: a body of stories associated with a culture, institution or person. In the ages past, it meant classical Greek and Roman mythologies. Thankfully all societies and cultures are now included.

Fairy Tale: Once, literally, a fanciful story about fairies. Now it includes stories of fairies, other fantastical beings, and magic.

Tall Tale: Improbable or fanciful story. Usually a little newer than the older fairy tales.

Fable: A story about mythical or supernatural beings or events, often with a moral lesson.

Cryptozoology: A study of magical creatures from griffins and dragons to Yetis and gnomes.Big foot and a rose

Cryptozoology is my favorite and I’ll be sharing my own modern day bestiary.

You’re invited to follow me into a journey of the psyche and the richness of culture throughout the world.

I’d love to have you along on my journey and if there is any creature or myth you’re curious about, send me a comment or email and I’ll get to the bottom of the story.

~lisa

Peacock Strut

 

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Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Hawaiian Mythology: The Top Four

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Pele, the volcano & fire goddess of Hawaii, is well-known around the world. Her bold and fiery nature appeals to the imagination.

However, in the Hawaiian pantheon, Pele is not in the top four.

Arguably the top of the pantheon is headed by Kane who is viewed in at least forty different aspects. Chief among his attributions are as the deity in charge of wild foods, jungles and forests, wood, medicine and leaves. We will look more closely at Kane in an upcoming post.

Also in the top four are:

Lono: god of agriculture and peace.

Ku: the god of war

Kanaloloa: god of oceans and mana

The indigenous Hawaiian belief system is both polythesistic and animistic. Deities and spirits can be found anywhere such as trees, animals, rainbows, islands and more. There is no limit to their ability to manifest. rainbow

As I said in a previous post there are hundreds of gods and goddesses in the Hawaiian pantheon. I will not be sharing all of them in a comprehensive study. If, however, there is one that you are particularly interested let me know and I’ll include them.

Along with the pantheon and Hawaiian cryptozoology, I will be sharing parts of historic Hawaiian life.  As is the case in all cultures around the world, everything is interwoven.

Hope you enjoy the ride. ~ lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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M-P, Mythology

Happy May Day

 

Focus stacked flowerHappy May Day

May 1st is a long-standing spring festival in the Northern Hemisphere, but is also celebrated as May Day, the International Worker’s Day in many countries around the world.

Historical May Day associated celebrations include, but are not limited to:

The Celtic Beltane http://www.sacredfire.net/festivals.html

Walpurgis Night http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1388545/Walpurgis-Night

The Roman festival of Flora http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/rome/a/ludiflorales.htm

Historically and in the “big picture” just a little time ago, May 1st was considered the 1st day of summer and summer solstice was considered Midsummer. Thus most May Day festivities wove their myth and celebrations around welcoming summer.

An old lost custom of May Day was the giving of small baskets (May baskets) filled with sweets and flowers and usually left anonymously on doorsteps. What a beautiful custom. I for one, would love to open my door to a basket full of flowers.

AzaleaBulgarians celebrate Irminden (too many alternative spellings to list). They perform rituals such as jumping over fires and making a lot of noise to scare snakes. Irminden is quite focused on protecting people from snakes and lizards.

Equally enchanting is the Romanian celebration of Arminden which includes washing one’s face with morning dew and decorating with birch saplings.

The U.S. State of Hawaii has adopted May Day as Lei Day to celebrate Native Hawaiian culture. There is a lot of myth and folklore there that will be mined in future posts.

Wishing all of you a great May Day and a figurative basket of flowers on your doorstep.

Apple Blossom

Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.” – Kahlil Gibran

~lisa

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Cryptozoology, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Bulgarian Dragons

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Do you know anyone with wings under their armpits? Do you know any old crones or beautiful young women who are always followed by inclement weather?

  • If so you probably know the offspring of a Zmey or you may be rubbing elbows with a Lamia in human form.

All Bulgarian dragons are successful shape-shifters.

 The Zmeys are especially known for falling in love with and seducing humans. Which means they’ve spent a lot of time in human form.

Flower, Fuji X20

Zmeys are usually male and associated mostly with fire. There are records of a few Zmeyitsas (female) protector dragons and some accounts of the Zmey having an affinity for both fire and water. Most villages in Bulgaria have their own Zmey as protector. The Zmey battle the elements for the safety of crops and village. Mostly they battle against the Lamia, the female water dragons.

Another form of the Zmey is described as part snake, part bird and part human. No one can give an exact description because they can become invisible at will. Their battles with the Lamia often cause thunderstorms and lightning.

It is said if you eat the heart of a Zmey you can partake of their power. Considering how dangerous these dragons are, well, I think most sane people would give that a second thought.

Bulgarian female dragons, the Lamia (Lamya) & Khala (Hala) are powerful water creatures with little love for mankind and his settlements. The Lamia can stop the flow of water in a well or stream, or dry up lakes and cause drought. She can also create storms and pummel the fields with hail.

If your Zmey isn’t strong enough to defeat her then a sacrifice to her might ease her temper. I have not found any documentation yet that the Lamia has the power of invisibility like her male counterpart, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past her.

Lamias have been described in many different ways in many different regions. They all seem to be quite individualistic.

Various Lamia descriptions include:

  • 3 to 9 heads (Sometimes dog heads)
  • Long tail of a snake
  • Enormous
  • A large enough mouth to swallow a man whole
  • Sharp teeth
  • Yellow scales
  • Sharp-nailed legs (quadrupeds)
  • Wings
  • Snake-like
  • And of course the ability to shape-shift

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Zmey and Lamia, male and female, fire and water, locked in endless battle. I imagine that little dragons must come from somewhere so the conflict might be a little over-hyped.

Personally. I think powerful female figures can be intimidating in some cultures. In a more enlightened time perhaps there are reformed Lamia wandering among us and equally liberated Zmey who are no longer constrained by the notions of the past.

There is far more Bulgarian myth than I can share in one month. The richness of the tales and culture are staggering and well-worth exploring. I hope to return to this subject in the fall.

I leave you with another Bulgarian saying

 “Work like you’re going to live for 100 years, but live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

 ~ lisa

 Riddle Answers:

As small as walnuts, they sit in a low place, but they reach to the sky.

The eyes

What is the sweetest and the bitterest thing in the world?

The tongue

A world without people Cities without houses Forests without trees And seas without water.

A map

 I cannot emphasize enough that this is the spot to go for the best overall accounting of Bulgarian Mythology. http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Background.htm

Bulgaria Superstitions and Folklore http://www.bestcountryreports.com/Soci_Bulgaria_Superstitions_Folklore.php

Bulgarian creation myth http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Background.htm

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A-D, Cryptozoology, Mythology

Bulgarian Dragons

130719 -  - medium

Do you know anyone with wings under their armpits? Do you know any old crones or beautiful young women who are always followed by inclement weather?

  • If so you probably know the offspring of a Zmey or you may be rubbing elbows with a Lamia in human form.

All Bulgarian dragons are successful shape-shifters.

 The Zmeys are especially known for falling in love with and seducing humans. Which means they’ve spent a lot of time in human form.

Flower, Fuji X20

Zmeys are usually male and associated mostly with fire. There are records of a few Zmeyitsas (female) protector dragons and some accounts of the Zmey having an affinity for both fire and water. Most villages in Bulgaria have their own Zmey as protector. The Zmey battle the elements for the safety of crops and village. Mostly they battle against the Lamia, the female water dragons.

Another form of the Zmey is described as part snake, part bird and part human. No one can give an exact description because they can become invisible at will. Their battles with the Lamia often cause thunderstorms and lightning.

It is said if you eat the heart of a Zmey you can partake of their power. Considering how dangerous these dragons are, well, I think most sane people would give that a second thought.

Bulgarian female dragons, the Lamia (Lamya) & Khala (Hala) are powerful water creatures with little love for mankind and his settlements. The Lamia can stop the flow of water in a well or stream, or dry up lakes and cause drought. She can also create storms and pummel the fields with hail.

If your Zmey isn’t strong enough to defeat her then a sacrifice to her might ease her temper. I have not found any documentation yet that the Lamia has the power of invisibility like her male counterpart, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past her.

Lamias have been described in many different ways in many different regions. They all seem to be quite individualistic.

Various Lamia descriptions include:

  • 3 to 9 heads (Sometimes dog heads)
  • Long tail of a snake
  • Enormous
  • A large enough mouth to swallow a man whole
  • Sharp teeth
  • Yellow scales
  • Sharp-nailed legs (quadrupeds)
  • Wings
  • Snake-like
  • And of course the ability to shape-shift

121001 -  - medium-3

Zmey and Lamia, male and female, fire and water, locked in endless battle. I imagine that little dragons must come from somewhere so the conflict might be a little over-hyped.

Personally. I think powerful female figures can be intimidating in some cultures. In a more enlightened time perhaps there are reformed Lamia wandering among us and equally liberated Zmey who are no longer constrained by the notions of the past.

There is far more Bulgarian myth than I can share in one month. The richness of the tales and culture are staggering and well-worth exploring. I hope to return to this subject in the fall.

I leave you with another Bulgarian saying

 “Work like you’re going to live for 100 years, but live like you’ll die tomorrow.”

 ~ lisa

 Riddle Answers:

As small as walnuts, they sit in a low place, but they reach to the sky.

The eyes

What is the sweetest and the bitterest thing in the world?

The tongue

A world without people Cities without houses Forests without trees And seas without water.

A map

 I cannot emphasize enough that this is the spot to go for the best overall accounting of Bulgarian Mythology. http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Background.htm

Bulgaria Superstitions and Folklore http://www.bestcountryreports.com/Soci_Bulgaria_Superstitions_Folklore.php

Bulgarian creation myth http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Background.htm

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