Currently viewing the tag: "folklore"

We might, had we time, consider the birds of Irish folk legend from many other points of view besides that of storytellers and historians. There are the seabirds at whom Cuchulain aims his sling stone and who turned into maidens the most beautiful that the world had ever seen. There were the lovely birds of varied plumage who flew two and two linked together with silver chains to guide the Ulster heroes to the place where Cuchulain was to be born and who, flinging off their bird skins, showed themselves as Dechtire, his mother, and her 50 companions. There were the scall crows and ravens into which the goddesses of war, Badb and Morrigu, transform themselves when they follow the march of armies or hovered over a battlefield.

And there were the birds of fairyland, singing everlastingly from the pure purple trees which stand at the eastern door of the haunts of the blessed. It is but a short step from this conception to that of the birds of paradise, where a bird of red gold with its hundred wings sings from the very golden cross which guards the entries, and the splendid bird flock sustains a perfect melody from the flowering tree of life within the heavenly bounds. -Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin Matthews

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which a bird plays a prominent role.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite bird.

Art Prompt: Birds

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about birds in folklore.

Photo Credit: Shelly Prevost on Flickr

wednesday vampire

The causes of vampiric generation were many and varied in original folklore. In Slavic and Chinese traditions, any corpse that was jumped over by an animal, particularly a dog or a cat, was feared to become one of the undead. A body with a wound that had not been treated with boiling water was also at risk. In Russian folklore, vampires were said to have once been witches or people who had rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church while they were alive.

Cultural practices often arose that were intended to prevent a recently deceased loved one from turning into an undead revenant. Burying a corpse upside-down was widespread, as was placing earthly objects, such as scythes or sickles, near the grave to satisfy any demons entering the body or to appease the dead so that it would not wish to arise from its coffin. This method resembles the Ancient Greek practice of placing an obolus in the corpse’s mouth to pay the toll to cross the River Styx in the underworld. It has been argued that instead, the coin was intended to ward off any evil spirits from entering the body, and this may have influenced later vampire folklore. This tradition persisted in modern Greek folklore about the vrykolakas, in which a wax cross and piece of pottery with the inscription “Jesus Christ conquers” were placed on the corpse to prevent the body from becoming a vampire.

Other methods commonly practised in Europe included severing the tendons at the knees or placing poppy seeds, millet, or sand on the ground at the grave site of a presumed vampire; this was intended to keep the vampire occupied all night by counting the fallen grains, indicating an association of vampires with arithmomania. Similar Chinese narratives state that if a vampire-like being came across a sack of rice, it would have to count every grain; this is a theme encountered in myths from the Indian subcontinent, as well as in South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings.

In Albanian folklore, the dhampir is the hybrid child of the karkanxholl (a werewolf-like creature with an iron mail shirt) or the lugat (a water-dwelling ghost or monster). The dhampir sprung of a karkanxholl has the unique ability to discern the karkanxholl; from this derives the expression the dhampir knows the lugat. The lugat cannot be seen, he can only be killed by the dhampir, who himself is usually the son of a lugat. In different regions, animals can be revenants as lugats; also, living people during their sleep. Dhampiraj is also an Albanian surname. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about vampires.

Journaling Prompt: Do you enjoy reading about vampires or watching vampire movies? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Vampire

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origins of the vampire legend.

Photo Credit: Samet Kilic on Flickr