Tag Archive | #FolkloreThursday

#FolkloreThursday 07 The Gods

Leda and the Swan

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Leda & the Swan By Cesare da Sesto c. 1515-1520

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci click image below for more info.

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Today’s #FolkloreThursday is all about the Gods. There are so many wonderful stories involving the Gods in myths and legends but Leda and the Swan is one of my favourites.

Leda was a mere mortal, seduced by the God Zeus whilst he was in the form of a majestic swan; she is said to have laid two eggs from which were born four children.

In the first egg came the children of Zeus they were Helen (who famously became known as Helen of Troy), and Pollux.

In the second egg were the children of Leda’s mortal husband Tyndareus King of Sparta  these children were Clytemnestra, and Castor. The boys were often known as the Dioscuri twins who became Demi-Gods. It was after Castor died that Pollux asked Zeus if he could share his immortality with his twin, they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. For more info click HERE.

I love this story because it all links in with Helen of Troy and so many other wonderful heroes and legends, some of which are mentioned in my book below.

Lost Love in Spring.

This is a short heartfelt story that includes an A~Z of Herbal Remedies but you can also find a few myths and legends in there about the plants. One such plant is Elecampane ~ Inula Helenium (Helen’s Tears) Click HERE to peek inside the book on amazon or click the image below to read the story right here on the blog (Opens in a new tab).

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I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you so much for visiting.

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The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry

#FolkloreThursday and today as previously mentioned is the theme of the sea. So here I am sharing my #WIP or Work in Progress.

The Selkie Male

Orkneyjar selkie men

The Orkneyjar Selkie Male

Selkie~Seal Folk are all said to be strickingly handsome or stunningly beautiful. The males are said to come ashore to seek out amorous encounters with women married or unmarried he cared not which. If a maid wished to call upon such a man she only had to shed 7 tears into the sea at high tide. Click the image above to find out more on the wonderful Orkneyjar website (Opens in a ne tab). Next is a teaser from my #WIP sharing with you the words of the old folksong.

The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry

Great Selkie of Suleskerry folksong

 

Click the images to enlarge (Open in new tabs)

The list below is of characters in my WIP mainly old Scottic Gaelic

Great Selkie of Suleskerry Names

Standing vigil upon the rocky outcrop at the edge of the vast ocean is the nurse-maid. Hair now as white as the foam upon the crest of a wave, her routine has not changed in half a century. The fine mist tickles her aged face and the salty sea droplets lodge within the wrinkles of time upon her forehead.

In her hand, clutched tightly is a golden rope of kelp, secured to it is a small shell shimmering in rose gold, a gift given to their son. Daily she prays that the family will be re-united but in her heart she knows all are lost.

Weary bones now barely support the frail, stooped body, and as twilight approaches she feels the tiredness taking over and just wishes to lie down upon the sand and let the waves carry her out into the open waters.

In her youth Múirne was loved by many because her great kindness over spilled from every pore. Like her grandmother Brighde she had become a nurse-maid caring for the fishermen and their families, who lived at the furthest edge of the land.

Múirne had little time for a love of her own, always putting others first. Her father had been a fisherman, but like so many others he had lost his life at sea leaving a young widow and babe barely out of the crib. Alana the child’s mother was heartbroken and she became bitter blaming the girl, if not for the extra mouth to feed Coinneach would still be there. He would never before have gone out in an approaching storm, but they needed to eat so he braved the waves but never returned.

As the girl grew she spent more time with her grandmother in the small but homely cottage on the edge of the village. Granny Bree taught her the healing ways using herbs grown in her seaside garden, and kelp taken from the water’s edge. The pair would sit in companionable silence listening to the crackle of the fire and the ocean crashing upon the shingle shore.

As Brighde took more and more care of her granddaughter Alana felt herself becoming free of the burden of motherhood. Eventually she left the little coastal village with a fish merchant who delivered fresh fish to the hotels in the city down in the south of the country.

It was no great loss for the child for she loved her grandmother dearly and the old nurse was more a mother to her than her own ever could have been. Wise beyond her years the girl grew strong and intelligent with a love for all things. Her caring nature passed down from the great mariachi (matriarch). Life was good.

Thanks for visiting watch this space for further updates

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#FolkloreThursday 06 Selkies

Today’s theme for #FolkloreThursday is the sea. My most favourite stories of all are those of the Selkie Folk ~ Seals who are able to shed their skin and walk in human form at certain times of the year. The most popular time being Midsummer. Selkie comes from the Scottish Orkney Islands meaning seal.

Orkneyjar – The Selkie Folk

There is a wonderful website to find out more about the folklore behind the Selkie Folk. Click the image below to go visit. (Opens in a new tab.)

Orkneyjar selkiegirl

Image from the website

‘Seal Mother’ by Rose English

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This is a work in progress #WIP The beautiful illustration on the cover was penned by the wonderful artist Abigail Ryder called ‘Daughter of the Selkies’

The text and background cover done by the wonderful JC Clarke visit her Etsy store Click HERE

I thought this little folktale finished, yet I find myself expanding the book. I have done this by adding a further story this time of a handsome selkie male. This is an old folktale from the Shetland Isles check the tune below on the video. Yet the jury is out as I am still unsure which way I want to take this little book.

‘The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry’

Here now follows a small teaser of ‘Seal Mother’ followed by my own little video from YouTube. Click the image to enlarge.

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‘Seal Mother’ on YouTube

For this video I had special permission from the wonderful songstress Karan Casey & Friends to use a couple of short clips. Season’s my favourite track on the CD is composed by Ger Wolfe. The CD is called Seal Maiden: A Celtic Musical

Seal Maiden

I do hope you enjoyed these little treats, I would love to read your thoughts please do drop me a line in the comments below.

Thank You for visiting

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#FolkloreThursday 05 Nightingale & The Rose

Today’s theme for #FolkloreThursday is Birds and my favourite is the tale of how the Nightingale could not sing until he fell in love with the Rose. (Click the image to enlarge)

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The Nightingale & the Rose (An Arabic Legend)

It is told that long ago, the Nightingale could not sing, he simply chirped and squawked. Then one day, he saw a beautiful white rose with whom he fell instantly in love.

From that day forth he was inspired to sing and it is believed that the flower would only open from her bud when she heard the Nightingale ‘s song.

The pair were so in love that one day the Nightingale became so enamoured he grasped the white rose to his breast. He held her so tightly that a thorn pierced his heart. His blood coloured the rose, turning her white petals red , and so she would stay  for  the rest of her days.

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My version of this little tale features in ‘Rainbows & Roses ~ Poetry & Prose’ Rose English (click the image to enlarge)

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Thank you for visiting. Happy Reading.

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#FolkloreThursday 04 Helen of Troy

Helen & ElecampaneClick the image to enlarge

Helen of Troy

Today is International Women’s Day celebrating women around the world. So for #FolkloreThursday I am sharing my story of ‘Helen of the Fields’. She was quite a woman, although many only know her for the cause of the Trojan War. However, she was so much more.

It is believed that the medicinal plant Elecampane grew from the tears of Helen and is sometimes known as ‘Helen of the Fields’. This story of the plant and my version of Helen’s tale of woe feature in ‘Lost Love in Spring’ by Rose English. Click the image to enlarge.

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Helen of the Fields ~ The Story of Helen of Troy

On the edge of the dry dusty field, below the shade of stately trees, strolls the most beautiful woman in the world. Glistening tears fill soft blue eyes, which slowly spill over the lids leaving a silver trail of moisture on the smooth flawless skin. As each teardrop falls upon the fertile earth, a flower grows up in its place. The golden petals of Elecampane are Helen’s favourite, and resemble the rays of the sun. They evoke mixed memories some good, of her distant happy days of childhood spent with her siblings. As well as some sad, when she was stolen from her family.

 The locals call the flowers ‘Helen of the Field’ after their Queen who wanders the countryside as if lost and alone. How can this be, you may well wonder? The fact is that Helen is no ordinary woman; she is the daughter of Zeus the King of the Gods.

Egg Born Siblings

Helen was destined to be a true beauty from birth. She was conceived after the liaison of her mother Leda with the God Zeus, who had disguised himself as a majestic swan. The union led to a quartet of egg born siblings. Helen and her brother Pollux emerged from the first egg, then brother Castor and sister Clytemnestra from a second egg.

Some believe that the mortal father Tyndareaus must have guessed at the indiscretion of his wife, yet still he loved his children particularly Helen.

Menelaus     

Suitors came from far and wide to compete for the hand of the fairest maiden in the land, although some sent messengers, not even attempting to make the journey to Sparta themselves. Because Helen was a rare prize Tyndareaus had all suitors swear an oath, should the princess be abducted, (as she had been previously) then they were to provide military assistance to retrieve her. The distinguished noble men and officers all agreed.

Helen had little, if any, say in choosing her second husband; Menelaus was chosen by her father, because of his political status, wealth and power. Agamemnon, his brother, was already married to Helen’s sister. The two families became very powerful, a force to be reckoned with.

 Helen had no love for Menelaus; she was silently heartbroken that her father had not selected a more handsome man, out of the forty or so heroic and wealthy heirs whom he had entertained in their home. However, she was thankful to her brothers and glad to be back amongst her kin, and was very eager to please Tyndareaus.

Menelaus was a power to contend with, and when he became King of Sparta, Helen his Queen was loved by all. She put on a brave face yet was as before, when abducted by Theseus, she often became sorrowful.

Not long into her marriage Helen fell pregnant and was confined to her rooms, whilst her new husband surrounded himself with rich, powerful friends. He flaunted his wealth and power showing the whole of Sparta exactly who he was. Even staff in his household was numerous, counting amongst them many exotic servants. It was known by all, that he sired two sons by different concubines.

Helen’s Tears & The Plague

In the palace of King Menelaus, Helen had given birth to a daughter. However, the King once again wanted to show his power and hired the best nursemaids and staff to care for the baby, so Helen rarely saw her child. To escape the overwhelming presence of the slaves within the palace, she spent her time wandering the surrounding fields.

When no one was around she allowed her sorrow to spill over. Being the daughter of the King of Gods, Helen’s tears brought forth her beloved flowers, Elecampane. She studied these plants and one day, by chance discovered that the roots had medicinal virtues.

An exceptionally large root was peeking through the fertile soil; Helen knelt down to take a closer look and with her delicate hands she pulled the root up. Curious to see what its structure was like inside she cut the root in half, finding it to be moist and juicy. Lost in her thoughts she was surprised to hear a child’s cry nearby. With hands covered in the essence of the root she turned to discover a young boy sitting at the edge of the field nursing his hand. He had been stung by a bee whilst collecting a flower to take home to his mother. Helen took hold of the child’s hand and the residue of the elecampane root smeared over the wound. His cries died down and he told Helen that the pain had gone. She learned over time the different benefits of using the root to heal.

At last Helen felt she had a purpose. When the plague arrived she used the root to help reduce the fever of patients who had succumbed to the disease. The fluids were of great help in drying out the pestilent pustules.

During this time the King was told by the Oracle to go to Troy to observe a ritual. Whilst Menelaus was there he met Paris, who had had to leave his home country and seek purification, after accidentally killing his friend in a sporting accident. The King invited Paris to his homeland of Sparta, giving Paris his opportunity to fulfil the prophecy from Aphrodite of meeting his future wife.

Love at First Sight

Menelaus was keen to show the Prince how royalty lived and entertained in Sparta, so he invited him to stay in the palace. Although he was a prince by birth, Paris had been brought up in a humble home; riches were of no importance to him.

When Paris set his eyes upon Helen, he knew he had found his promised love. He was shocked to learn that she was the Queen of Sparta and wife to Menelaus but his ardour could not be dampened. The Prince had many opportunities to see Helen and be in her company, as the King had requested that she entertain their guest.

Paris was already handsome, but Aphrodite had bestowed upon him irresistibility, she also sent cupid along to shoot Helen with one of his arrows of love. Soon Helen was also besotted; Paris was unlike any she had met for he was not only handsome but humble. They fell in love but remained chaste, with Paris believing it indecorous to violate the host’s hospitality by sleeping with his wife in the home into which he had been most graciously welcomed.

During the time Menelaus was in Crete for the funeral of his grandfather, Paris asked Helen to leave with him. It was an easy decision to make. Paris had his own ship, so the pair left Sparta immediately. Upon reaching the Port of Gythium, Paris dedicated a sanctuary to Aphrodite to thank her for the assistance she had given him.

When Paris and Helen arrived back in Troy a great feast was prepared, and the beautiful couple were wed. Consummating the marriage must have been pure bliss for Helen as she had only previously lain with aged men, Theseus and then her husband Menelaus.

Helen’s destiny intertwined Troy’s; it was as though she had married the city and its entire population.

The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships

The couple savoured the joy of each other’s company. Meanwhile back in Sparta, Menelaus had returned to find his wife gone, said to have been abducted by his so called guest Paris. Some of his treasure was also missing believed stolen by the Trojan.

The King now called upon all of the suitors who had competed for Helen’s hand and asked them to honour their oath, given to Helen’s father Tyndareaus. They all willingly accepted. One thousand ships were launched, setting sail for Troy in order to bring back their Queen, and the stolen treasures of Sparta. This was the beginning of the Trojan War said to last ten years.

(The saying ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’ came from ‘Doctor Faustus’ a poem written by Christopher Marlowe in 1604.)

Helen’s Death & Immortality

 After the war Helen returned to her Sparta home. For a time Menelaus and Helen reigned happily, but upon his death Megapenthe was made King and the brothers had their revenge. Helen was removed from the throne, and banished from Sparta

Alone, Helen was unsure where to go. Believing she had a friend in Rhodes she eventually made her way there. Polyxo did offer Helen refuge, but turned traitor in revenge for the death of her husband in the Trojan War.

Bathing alone one evening, Helen was set upon by the handmaidens of Polyxo who had been disguised as furies with murderous intentions. The women pulled her from the pool and hung her upon a tree. Afterwards the Rhodians created a sanctuary to the old queen and now worship ‘Helen of the Tree.’

As the daughter of Zeus, Helen was snatched away from the brink of death. She was after all an immortalised human. Helen was taken to live with others of her kind, upon the Elysian Fields and the Isles of the Blessed.

Stories tell of her being reunited with Menelaus who was also elevated to a status of immortalised human. Spartans built a temple to the old King and Queen, offering up sacrifices and worshipping them as Gods.

Helen was also said to have been reunited with her brothers, and together they were sometimes seen upon the earth usually to make something happen or prevent an act. They are mainly known for acting as saviours to sailors.

Ancient poets and scribes would also have us believe that in the afterlife Helen became the wife of Achilles, the most beautiful and the most heroic joined together as one. They were alleged to have lived on the White Island, a place akin to the Elysian Fields, the beloved home of the immortalised Achilles.

Ultimately, Helen had been an instrument of ‘justice’, her father Zeus used her and Paris as pawns to reduce the human population on earth. When her work was finally done he called her to him, and she lived by her father’s side as a Goddess. Helen became known as the protector of adolescent girls and young married women.

 She leaves behind her legacy of ‘Helen of the Field’, Elecampane, the healing Inula Helenium, or wild sunflowers that grew from her many tears.

The End

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Click the image above to view ‘Lost Love in Spring’ Rose English

Includes an A~Z of Herbal Remedies

Thank you for visiting

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#FolkloreThursday 03 Roses

The Prophet Mohammed

YouTube #ShareAStory for #WorldBookDay Roses

The Prophet Mohammed & the Yellow Roses

An Arabic tale tells the story of the Prophet Mohammed.

One day, whilst he was away from his wife and taking part in a raging battle, Mohammed was tormented by an idea that she was committing adultery. This played greatly upon his mind, so he consulted with the Archangel Gabriel, who advised him to test his wife, once he returned home after the battle. “When you next see Aisha, whatever she is carrying, tell her to drop it into the river. If she has been faithful then the items will remain the same colour.”

Mohammed returned home weary and battle worn. Aisha approached him with a large bunch of red roses eager to welcome him. She was surprised when he asked her to drop the flowers into the river. As they both looked on, each rose turned to saffron yellow as its petals touched the water, indicating her unfaithfulness.

However, because he loved his wife so much he forgave her, but the yellow rose still to this day, is a symbol of infidelity.

Red & Yellow Rose

‘Rainbows & Roses ~ Poetry & Prose’ by Rose English

‘Rainbows and Roses’ is a delightful selection of whimsical short stories, along with a collection of poetry inspired by memories from childhood, the environment, together with a little bit of fun.

Featuring:

‘One Breath’: a heartfelt story of love and loss.

‘The Symbolism of the Rose’: with some basic history, myths & legends surrounding the ‘Queen of Flowers’.

‘Grandfather Time’: An ancient longcase clock with a spark of magic.

Rainbows & Roses ~ Poetry & Prose by Rose English

Thank you for visiting

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#FolkloreThursday 01 Trees

 

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Apollo & Daphne Sculpture (1622-1625) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

#FolkloreThursday

This week I came across #FolkloreThursday and the theme was Trees, I love trees with a passion almost as much as I love roses. So it gave me an opportunity to get out my research books and check out a few things. My favourite findings are more concerned with Greek Myths than folklore but I want to share anyway.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid (Translation by Allen Mandelbaum) is one of my all time favourite research books. As the cover of the book states, it is a ‘treasury of classical myths’. Written by the Roman Poet Ovid (43 B.C. – A.D.17) there are many different translations and even free versions online if you care to browse but Mandelbaum is my favourite.

Apollo & Daphne

The story I want to share is that of Apollo and Daphne and as you can see from the top image artists have recreated this story in so many wonderful ways. These are my favourites. The section of the poem I am sharing is the pursuit of the beautiful  Daphne, (daughter of the River God Peneus) by Apollo. He had previously mocked Cupid who shot him with a golden arrow which made him desire Daphne. She in turn was shot with an arrow of lead and thus filling her with hatred for Apollo.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini _Apollo_and _Daphne2Apollo & Daphne Sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

The Metamorphoses of Ovid Book 1 Apollo & Daphne Latin [534-60]

…love has given wings to the pursuer;
He’s faster – and his pace will not relent.
He’s at her shoulders now; she feels his breath
Upon the hair that streams down to her neck.
Exhausted, wayworn, pale, and terrified,
She sees Peneus’ stream nearby; she cries:
“Help me, dear father; if the river-gods
have any power, then transform, dissolve
my gracious shape, the form that pleased too well!”
As soon as she is finished with her prayer,
a heavy numbness grips her limbs; thin bark
begins to gird her tender frame, her hair
is changed to leaves, her arms to boughs; her feet-
so keen to race before – are now held fast
by sluggish roots; the girl’s head vanishes,
becoming a treetop. All that is left
of Daphne is her radiance.

                                             And yet
Apollo loves her still; he leans against
the trunk; he feels the heart that beats beneath
the new-made bark; within his arms he clasps
the branches as if they were human limbs;
and his lips kiss the wood, but still it shrinks
from his embrace, at which he cries: “But since
you cannot be my wife, you’ll be my tree.
O laurel, I shall always wear your leaves
to wreathe my hair, my lyre, and my quiver.

Francesco Bartolozzi 18th century Apollo & DaphneFrancesco Bartolozzi 18th century Apollo & Daphne

The British Museum holds a wonderful piece of artwork too by John Smith created after 1708 (image below)

British Museum Apollo & Daphne by John Smith after 1708

In my eyes I think the painting below APOLLO PURSUING DAPHNE by John William Waterhouse 1908 has got to be one of the prettiest, after the sculpture of course.

APOLLO PURSUING DAPHNE John William Waterhouse

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into Greek Mythology?  I would love to know your thoughts, do you prefer the sculpture or the painting?

Thanks for visiting

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