A Seer’s Raven

raven-flying-3Ravens are mystical creatures which play a pivotal role in the second book (not yet published) of the Urweltchronicles book series. The Lioness and the Faery Enchantment introduces you to Corvidia, the Royal Faery Seer’s raven.  Corvidia assists Phineas Treadworthy in divining the future of the Faery Realm of Urwelt. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about ravens and placing one as a character in the center of the action in my second book.

raven-feathersCalled the black-winged messengers of gods, ravens have been venerated by many civilizations and myths, from Native American to Egyptian, as well as, the Celtic lands of England and Wales where they figure prominently in the Arthurian legends.  Ravens are not only one of the most intelligent creatures on earth but have many similarities in social structure with humankind.  Due to their high emotional intelligence, they have come to symbolize a depth and intensity of feeling, especially around death. They mate for life and ritually mourn the loss of one another. They would rather die alone that mate again.

They live in close family groups and can be jealous and aggressive when protecting human-touchtheir own.  In short order, they can pick the latch of their cages and often play hide and seek with bright shiny objects.  They are able to interact with humans in a give and take manner and attach themselves to one person, so if you have an opportunity care for a raven, it is a lifelong commitment. As a result, ravens are highly conscious and thus capable of individual decisions requiring respect for themselves and their actions. In a nutshell, they are highly evolved beings ensouled in black plumage cloaks.

The Raven in Celtic Lore

raven-skull2The Celtic people have long attributed mystical qualities to domestic and wild animals alike.  The Raven is no exception.  Ravens brought good fortune while others served as supernatural agents of tests posed by god and goddesses and the faery people of the Otherworld. Due to its dark black color and carrion habits, ravens were often linked with mystical shapeshifting and death, especially death on the battlefield where they behaved as scavengers after a bloody fray.                   horseback-raven

Celtic goddesses are often associated with sexual potency and the Land but also war and death representing the darker side of the mother goddess.  Morrigan decided the fate of warriors on the battlefield decreeing who would die in battle.  She was said to metamorphose into a raven to hover over the battlefield as a harbinger of death.  The raven was emblematic of Morgan in King Arthur’s legends and served as her totemic beast and was also a frequent symbol of “Dark Women of Knowledge” or otherworldly priestesses.

priestess-raven

Celtic legendary seers used observations from nature to divine the future and the affairs of humankind.  Augury by means of birdsong or flight patterns figured largely in Celtic divination., especially among the Druids of Celtic lore. The croaking sounds of ravens were another means by which divination was accomplished.  Different kinds of croaks (from bacach, bacach or gradh, gradh to grob, grob) meant various types of visitors would be coming.  The croaking of ravens was also viewed as a bad omen of things to come.

raven-shieldThe world of Faery, called the Green World or Otherworld, is inhabited by birds and animals which are part of the human world as well. Therefore, they often perform the function of linking the two worlds.  A raven is one such creature that indicates an opening between the two worlds.  Those who are aware of that connection will know that the veil is about to be lifted to allow the seeker to pass into the Otherworld.

Bran the Blessed, a giant of superhuman strength figures in the second branch of the Mabinogion, the earliest prose literature of Celtic legends and mythology of Wales complied from earlier oral traditions.  Bran, meaning “raven” in Welsh, was beheaded and possiblytower-raven buried under the Tower of London where it acts as a protective symbol of Britain.  This legend serves as the root of the tradition in Great Britain that for as long as the ravens are kept in the Tower, the kingdom will be safe.

Ravens figure prominently in the story of The Dream of Rhonabuwy, one of the last links to the Celtic bardic tradition, while anticipating the Arthurian romance legends to come.  Arthur is portrayed as preparing for the battle with the raven-flying-3Anglo-Saxons with much infighting among the Celts beforehand.  Amidst this infighting, Arthur and Owein played a board game similar to chess. While Owein’s army, consisting of three hundred ravens, grew restless, Arthur and Owein played on. Arthur’s men were soon harassed by ravens, who then began to massacre the birds. raven-on-limb Owein gave permission to counterattack and so many men were killed by the ravens that Arthur would have been hard pressed to defend his land. Owein finally relented when Arthur insisted he call off his birds. Cornish folklore also speaks of Arthur becoming a raven upon death, perhaps to watch over the ghosts of warrior knights slain on his battlefields.

C.S. Lewis: Fantasy, Fairy Tales and Writing

Narnia Lion

“I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.”   C. S. Lewis

 

Lewis Fairy TalesC. S. Lewis believed that a children’s story is sometimes simply the right form for what a writer wants to convey and that a good story would be re-read and enjoyed at any age. He cites The Wind in the Willows as an example saying, “I never met The Wind in the Willows…books till I was in my late twenties and I do not think I have enjoyed them any the less on that account.”  He cautions against writing sentimentally about children as seen by their elders noting that our childhood was lived differently from what our elders saw.  The reality of childhood creeps out if we are open and allow those characters to speak for themselves.  C. S. Lewis wrote children’s books in the sense that he excluded what he thought they would not like or understand but did not write down to them or below what would attract an adult. “I never wrote down to anyone; and whether the opinion condemns or acquits my own work, it certainly is my opinion that a book worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then.”  cslewis bath lion

Lewis dismissed writing what children might like for entertainment or need to hear on moral grounds. He views these kinds of writers more as anthropologists observing children as a distinct group and producing works that they themselves do not like but what  children are supposed to like or need educationally or morally.  Lewis cites commercial motives for these types of writers as well.  Lewis remarks that he would lay very long odds against the Ministry of Education writing a good story for children.  “Good writers neither patronize nor idolize children but treat them with respect”.

Lewis with LionLewis advises writers to bring a story into being from the “whole cast of the author’s mind” and write from elements of their own imagination they share with children. He describes his writing process similar to bird watching, initially waiting quietly and watching what pictures arise in the imagination (the fawn with the umbrella was the first picture to come to mind for Lewis in the Narnia series) to take form and then joining them up with other similar pictures eventually creating a complete story.  Lewis admits that stories rarely come together whole and complete and usually have gaps that need “deliberate inventing” to complete the story.  However if the writer is lucky, the whole set of pictures join together “without doing anything yourself” other than taking dictation.  The main point of his process is that the story comes up from within the writer’s imagination and is not imposed by outside considerations of marketability or moral necessity.  In addition, some of the best stories, Lewis says, are written extemporaneously by authors such as Kenneth Graham, Lewis Carroll and Tolkien for a particular living child.             Continue reading “C.S. Lewis: Fantasy, Fairy Tales and Writing”

The Rod of Power and the Magical Battle of Britain

Merlin Sitting Rod

I would like to add the Rod (also called a staff or scepter), which symbolizes the knowledge that directs invisible spiritual forces applied to governance, to the Arthurian symbolism of the sword and scabbard (the Cup or Grail Cup).  The Rod of Power and its use belongs to the Arthurian Magus, Merlin, who wields it by means of a trained mind in esoteric spiritual knowledge.  In short, the Rod of Power represents “…Secret Wisdom employed to guide the affairs of nations” (Fortune, 1993, p. 43).  Dion Fortune writes specifically about its use in her letters (seventeen to twenty-two) to other initiates and adepts during World War II contained in The Magical Battle of Britain (edited by Gareth Knight).   “…and the Cup and the Sword and Sceptre make a wonderful symbol of balanced and functional force” (Fortune, 1993, p. 36).

This triune of symbols, or triple-rayed triangle referred to by Fortune, brings to mind the three-legged stool upon which balance is achieved.  Fortune describes the thought form of the triple-rayed triangle as consisting of three definite rays (red for Sword, blue for Scabbard/Cup and purple for Rod/Sceptre) forming the three angles of a triangle through which the white light of Spirit poured.  This symbol was built up on the Inner Plane and evoked in 1940 during WWII by the members of the Society of Inner Light trained in occult methods of meditation.  The triple-rayed triangle not only represents spiritual forces expressing inner realities but mythical archetypal forces by which national identities are formed, fed and preserved.

Tree of Life

For those of you versed in the Qabalistic correspondences, Fortune assigns the Sword and Red Ray of the destructive dynamic of Mars to the Sephirah Geburah on the Pillar of Severity and the Rod of Power and the Blue Ray of organizing civilizing forces of Jupiter to the Sephirah Chesed on the Pillar of Mercy.  The Scabbard/Cup of the Purple Ray is assigned to the Christ Center of the Tree, the Sephirah Tiphareth, where forces are brought into equilibrium.  The sword is the dynamic force that destroys evil and also the Sword of Chivalry and protection; the Scabbard/Cup is the receptacle of spiritual influences, the container of force and its potentiality; and the Rod of Power rules and directs Invisible Forces from Inner Planes of existence into the material world.  Continue reading “The Rod of Power and the Magical Battle of Britain”

Edgar Cayce Readings on Fairies, Sprites, Elves

 

Edgar Cayce has been called the “sleeping prophet” and is one of the most documented psychics in the 20th century giving thousands of readings over 40 years during his adult life.  The readings are now part of the Edgar Cayce Association of Research and Enlightenment Center located in Virginia Beach, Virginia and can be accessed at the center and online as a member.  John Van Auken is the current director of the center and wrote a book exploring Cayce’s perspective on fairies, elementals and other unseen beings which might interest you.

Fairies, Sprites, Elves, and More

By John Van Auken

Auken Book FairiesOne of the most surprising readings Edgar Cayce gave was to an oilman seeking help finding a new oil field. The man asked if he should seek the help of a person in New York City or another in London, to which Cayce replied, “Rather had the entity best listen to the voices from within, that present themselves as the activities about the entity-or brownies.” (1265-2) Brownies? Yes, brownies! This had to be a shock to those listening to this instruction. In fact, they weren’t sure if they understood him correctly, so they followed up with another reading the next day, asking: “What is meant by the term ‘brownies’ in the last answer of the Check Reading?” The sleeping Cayce replied, “The manner in which those of the elementals-entities who have not entered into materiality-have manifested and do at times manifest themselves to the entity. Apparently this man was being approached by brownies but was not listening to them! Cayce went on to explain, “Brownies, pixies, fairies, gnomes are not elementals, but elements that are as definite entities as man materialized, see?” (1265-3) Here we see Cayce parsing the details of elementals and entities, clarifying that fairies are of the elements but are in fact individuated entities like humans are as well. We’ll have more on the elementals in Chapter 9. For now, we’re focusing on the fairies and their variations, as well as other types of invisible little people.     Lovely Rhiannon

 To a young lady getting a reading, he said, “Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you see fairies as ye study, for you will nurture these experiences. Don’t be afraid to say that you see the gnomes which would hinder peoples at times.” (5359-1)

To another person getting a past-life reading, he explained, “Before this [incarnation] the entity was in the Scotch land. The entity began its activity as a prodigy, as one already versed in its associations with the unseen-or the elemental forces; the fairies and those of every form that do not give expression in a material way and are only seen by those who are attuned to the infinite.” (2547-1)

A fascinating reading came when Cayce was asked how to put forth an argument to persuade a man to accept the deal that was being offered to him. Cayce explained that there were unseen forces preparing “proper connections and a proper set-up” that would ultimately affect the desired outcome, and if they were patient “the little brownies come along and tell him what to do!” (257-87)

Baby Dew FaeryFairies, elves, and gnomes are beings affecting the world but remain mostly unseen. Brownies are actually of the family of fairies. Nymphs are female elves. Sprites are fairies of a particularly pleasant appearance and disposition. Pixies are mischievous fairies. Folklore describes them all as magical beings of diminutive human form. Gnomes are usually described as shriveled little old men that inhabit the interior of the Earth and act as guardians of its treasures.

It would seem that the young people today are closely “attuned to the infinite,” as Cayce put it, and are therefore interested in books and movies about the normally unseen fairies, elves, and gnomes. Let’s keep our eyes open, or as Jesus might have put it, whoever has eyes to see, let them see!

 

Sacred Essential Oils Evoking the Faery Realm of Urwelt

ancient difusser

Urwelt is the name of the faery realm in my books and readers will be treated to more of this faery Otherworld in my second book, The Lioness and the Faery Enchantment.  Urwelt means “primeval world” which is an apt description of the faery world which has been with us for since the beginning of humankind.  The grans spend some of their time in the world of Urwelt learning herbal wild crafting and other sacred healing arts which assist them on their new found adventures.  As many of you know, smell is our keenest sense evoking memories (both personal and ancient) and their ensuing emotions.  No essential oils do this more deeply than thefrankincense_tree_boswellia sacred oils of frankincense and myrrh.  I have never found a brand of these oils better than those I began purchasing from Ancient Essence over ten years ago.  These oils are highly concentrated and pure, but more importantly, uncut by any carrier oils or alcohol.  This is rare in the essential oil business.  I was entranced by the fragrance when I first encountered the oils at healthcare Frank and Myrrh bottleconference.  I was literally transported to another world where oils were used as an aid in the healing process—physical, emotional and spiritual.  I do not normally promote products on this website but my personal experience with these products is such that I want to share them with you.  The oils high vibrational frequency evokes a mystical appeal and presence from ancient times and dovetail deeply into the essence of the faery realm of Urwelt.  For more information on the unique therapeutic properties and uses of these oils go to Ancient Essence.  You will be pleased to finally find such a superb product of quality and integrity.

Ancient Essence Logo

The Lioness is featured in L&M Hospital’s Online Magazine, First Hand.

The first book in the Urwelt Chronicle series
The first book in the Urwelt Chronicle series

This recent article was written by Bill Hanrahan, L&M writer and photographer, as a personnel profile for First Hand, the L&M Hospital’s internal online magazine.  

Marian Lee, an L+M Hospital Chaplain, is also a weaver – a weaver of themes and cultures and ideas, all of which thread together in the words on the page of her first book, a fairy tale saga set in Wales, in a place called Brumley Hall, where a loving grandmother sometimes morphs into a lioness.

The 219-page book for “Tweens,” or middle-grade children, is titled The Lioness of Brumley Hall; And Her Most Unusual Grandchildren. On sale in the L+M Lobby Shop for $9.95, the self-published work stems from a lifelong literary passion, says August Pearson Benners (that’s Lee’s pen name on the book).

“Ever since I was in fourth grade I just had to write,” Lee says. “I kept journals with words and phrases, and I’ve always been fascinated with word play. I remember writing stories and having my teachers read them and give me feedback.”

That passion took flight one recent summer as Lee tried to decompress after a semester in Tampa, Florida working on a doctoral degree.

“I needed a break from academia,” she said. “Working on my Ph.D. was very intense. I was writing about five papers a semester, all academic writing, and I was reading a couple of books a week. So, over summer break, I just wanted to relax, but I couldn’t not write. I had had this book idea in my mind for a couple of years and it just suddenly all came together.”

While the book is aimed at kids grades 9 to 12, “It’s written sort of on two levels,” Lee says. “It’s a story about a magical family that works together to fight the evil king in the fairy world, so for kids it’s an action-fantasy-adventure. Then, I wrote it for my generation, too, with references that the kids might not necessarily get. So it’s a good read for grandparents and maybe parents as well.”

Themes woven through the chapters include environmental preservation, Celtic mythology, a touch of Buddhism and cultural diversity. There is a boy from a Jewish background and another character who is half Japanese, Lee says.

And, while Lee is a chaplain, “The book is not religious, although it does have spiritual concepts throughout,” she notes.

New to L+M in July, Lee has previous experience as a chaplain in Tampa, Florida. She moved back to the New England area in part because her son is stationed as an officer at the Submarine Base in Groton and because she missed the seasons and family nearby in Maine.

Lee says the work of being a chaplain is something that rivals her enthusiasm for the written word. Like the themes in her book, her work at L+M combines an appreciation and understanding for different cultures, religions and approaches to life.

As for the grandmother who turns into a lioness, that character is partly based on Lee’s own grandmother, an inspiration in Lee’s life. “She’s very present in the book,” Lee says. “My grandmother was a very straightforward, down-to-earth woman, but she often told me of her interesting mystical experiences, too, so she was open to the unseen world of spiritual experience.”

Lee will hold a book-signing at the New London Public Library at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. She is also looking into the possibility of holding a signing event at the Lobby Shop.

And, for those who read and like The Lioness of Brumley Hall, there’s good news. “It’s going to be a series,” Lee says. “I’m already three-quarters of the way through the second book.”

Building a Bridge Between Human and Faerie: The Purpose of the Marriage of King Arthur and Queen Gwenevere?

 

Queen Gwenevere, the Faerie Bride
Queen Gwenevere, the Faerie Bride

Is it true?  Was Queen Gwenevere Faerie?  Was her marriage to King Arthur more than a marriage to unite the divided territories of Great Britain around the Roundtable and ensure future progeny?  What was Merlin’s grand design to bring about the conception of Arthur by magical workings of visionary forces and then foster him out to an ordinary common folk family until he was ready for his kingship to commence?  Why did Merlin play an integral role at the dawn of Arthur’s kingship only to see him lose direction and fade away dying an ignominious death at the hands of his bastard son, Mordred?  What failed to be achieved that did not play out on the grand stage that once was Camelot?

The Faerie Queen
The Faerie Queen

Gwenevere appears as a rather lack luster figure in Arthurian legend, neither powerful, having the authority of a Queen or any linkage to a historically recorded figure.  In addition, she did not come into the marriage from among the various families of nobility as a political power alliance with a well-endowed dowry of land.  Her ancestry also seems tenuous at best and of little help to Arthur who unlike other royalty did not inherit his throne but had to fight for it.  Queen Gwenevere is chiefly known for her affair with her husband’s best knight and friend, Lancelot.  Also notable is her childlessness and the constant attempted abductions involving her retrieval back to Camelot by various knights and King Arthur himself.  So what gives? Continue reading “Building a Bridge Between Human and Faerie: The Purpose of the Marriage of King Arthur and Queen Gwenevere?”