Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fountain Women

Woman at the Fountain by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. 

I don’t believe he had the Korrigan in mind when he painted this, but it’s what I thought about when I saw it.  I realize that she is very naked. If this upsets your delicate sensibilities, I don’t care.  It’s a striking painting.

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

It’s not March yet so I have a few more hours to post a new blog post for Faerie Lovers month.  I haven’t decided what next month’s theme will be.  It’ll probably be Faeries associated with luck and treasure in honor of St. Patty’s Day.  I thought about doing Irish Faeries in general, but I discovered I had already written about most of my favorites though I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to Irish Faerie Lore. Here’s hoping I stick with my self-imposed blog schedule next month!

I have been reading D. L. Ashliman’s “Fairy Lore: A Handbook.”  There is a great quote that made me laugh out loud. 

The study of fairy lore is an exercise in evaluating contradictory opinions.

To most people, they wouldn’t LOL over this, but to someone who spends a lot of time reading about Faeries and creatures of lore, this one is a “Ya think?” statement if I ever heard one.  Not only are we dealing with is contradictory opinions, we are dealing contradictory accounts and tales, multiple names for the same thing, not to mention different meanings for the same term and name and whole lot of misinformation.  By misinformation, I mean common beliefs about Faeries that are completely false if you take the time to look at the lore.  But that’s a whole different blog post.

Like with many Faerie species, the name Korrigan can mean different things in different times.  In some stories the Korrigans are Dwarf-like creatures and in other stories they are Siren-like Water Sprites.  For the purpose of this exercise I am going to go with the later.   It’s sexier and fits into this month’s Faerie Friday theme.  Besides, how many Dwarf-like creatures can a girl write about?  They are short and wear caps. They often live in the earth. They mine for gems.  Some of them are nice. Some aren’t.  I think I covered the basics.

The Korrigan is a figure in Breton folklore.  The Bretons aren’t just a race in the Elder Scroll video games (I almost always play a Breton), but are rather the Celtic people’s of Brittany.  And like many creatures of lore, there are two sides to the Korrigan – what you see during the day and what you see at night.

At night, the Korrigan is stunningly beautiful.  She can be found by fountains (Hence the term Fountain Women) bathing in nothing but her birthday suit and brushing her long hair.  She is wanton and impish and looking for a little human loving.  If a man sees her naked body he obligated to marry her within three days or faces a certain death.  Death by what I am unsure of, but some of the lore casts the role of the Korrigan like that of the Love Talker.  Once a man sees her beauty, he pines away for her, withering away to nothing.

During the day, this once alluring creature is a horrible stooped over hag with weathered skin and red eyes.  A legend goes, if man is able to love her in both of her forms, she can stay beautiful forever.  It’s a real test of true love that most men would fail.

The Korrigans are reported to be the granddaughters of the nine Druidesses of ancient Gaul.  They are almost always considered anti-Catholic.  Seeing a priest can really set them off into fits of rage and never, never say the name of the Virgin Mary in their presence. 

What was your favorite Faerie of Faerie Lover month?  Is there a Faerie you think I should have mentioned?

My favorite was the Love Talker.  I am working on a story (only in the planning stages at this point) about a Lover Talker.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Dark Muse

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The Leanan-Sidhe as depicted by Brian Froud.  I know I’m all about the Brian Froud illustrations.  What can I say? I think his work is awesome covered in more awesome. Yes, double dipped awesomeness. J

I do appreciate the fact that this post is very late and I’m a failure as a blogger.  I keep finding things that take me away from my work. Thursday night I was tired and cranky.  Last night I caught up on the phone with a friend.  Today I was catching up on episodes of Lost Girl, Royal Pains and The River and cleaning my home office.  Those shows aren’t going to watch themselves, you know, and I haven’t seen the top of my desk in weeks (maybe months at this point.)  I’ve now successfully avoided my responsibilities for ages.  It’s time to get down to business.  I have blog post to produce and a novel (or two) to write.  

This week’s post is all about the Irish faerie the Leanan-Sidhe or the Leannan Sith to the Scotts or the Lhianan-Shee to the folks on the Isle of Mann.  There are a few other ways to spell her name, but I won’t bore you guys with that.  Have you ever noticed that Irish words (or Scottish words) make no sense?  Her name is pronounced “Lanawn Shee” and it means “faerie sweetheart.”  I guess you could call her that.

According to “A History of Irish Fairies” by Carolyn White, the Leanan-Sidhe seeks love and domination over mortal men.  She does her best to seduce.  It isn’t difficult.  She can change her looks at will, appealing to a man’s desires and predilections.  If the man can resist, she is his slave.  If she succeeds and we all know she will, she owns his ass (and soul) unless he can find someone to take his place.

The Leanan-Sidhe is a passionate lover, but the price of that passion is a very short life for her lover.  To him, no other woman exists.  She is his entire world.  The desire to possess her destroys him in the end. 

 She inspires her lover to create glorious music or poetry.  He pours his heart and soul into her, into his art until there is nothing left of him.  Like a vampire, she takes everything from him.  This is why they call her the Dark Muse.

Why does she do it?  Maybe she really gets off on dominating men, of holding their lives in her hands. Or maybe she's great lover of the arts and her sole intent in to inspire.  She uses what's she got to aspire to greatness. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day from Pixies Don't Have Wings

A lot of people are surprised that I read romance novels, maybe even more surprised that I write romance.  I am not always the warm and fuzzy type.  Truth is that I am a sucker for it.  I used to read a romance novel a day in high school.  Stories of lost lovers finding each other again always makes me cry.  I love seeing old people hold hands.  I love it even more when my friends find love.

I even love Valentine’s Day though intellectually I know that it is silly and commercial.  Maybe it comes from all of those years that I didn’t have a Valentine, but I always insist that my husband and I celebrate it.  He’s been my valentine 9 years in a row now.  I can’t believe it has been so long.

We decided not to exchange presents this year.  Instead we are going out to dinner to our favorite restaurant.  It’s the same place we got engaged in and got married in.  We go there to celebrate all of the little things in life like the end of Prohibition, the night my husband lost his job (which turned out to be the best possible thing), and when it is Wednesday.  We love this place.

So instead of a gift, I decided to dedicate this post to my husband who I love more than anything in this world.  He makes me smile.  He makes me mad.  He gets me like no one else.  After we started dating, my sister-in-law told me he couldn’t be any more perfect for me if I made him up and she was right.  He is the cream in my coffee.  I love you, honey.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day even if you don’t have a Valentine this year. It is always good to celebrate love – love that you already have and the love that will be yours someday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Love Talker or the Black Elves of Love

I was very excited about this month’s Friday Faerie theme.  I’m calling it “I’d rather be single” month.  As I stated in my last blog post, Faerie love is not for the faint of heart.  It’s not roses and sweet words and boxes of chocolates.  It’s more earthy and carnal, not to mention almost guaranteed to end badly.  Last week I completely flaked out and flew down on North Palm Beach for a long weekend. I should feel guilty but I don’t.  I needed some sun and warmth.  The pool and ocean breeze didn’t hurt either. 

Well, I’m back and one week behind.  I’ll try to make it up somewhere down the line.  I actually have a list of about 7 or 8 Faerie lovers.  Maybe I’ll do a couple extra posts this month.

This week’s Faerie Friday post is on the Ganconer, an Irish elf.  The Ganconer is also called the Lover Talker and Peter DuBois referred to them as the Black Elves of Love.  I’ve been walking around the house this week repeating under my breath “Black Elves of Looove, Black Elves of Looove”  over and over again.  My husband thinks I’m nuts.  He’s probably right.

Imagine that you are a young woman walking alone in a valley.  Of course you would have to be pretty and virginal.  What Faerie (or elf in this case) would bother with a common looking tart?  Maybe you’re out picking flowers or gathering berries or doing whatever solitary young maidens do alone in a field.  Off to the distance is a patch of fog.  A handsome man emerges from the mist and walks towards you.  The birds stop singing and you notice that he hasn’t a shadow.  He looks at you like you are the only girl in the world.  He is devilishly handsome with wavy dark hair and perfectly straight teeth.  He smokes a dudeen (a short clay pipe.)  His eyes shine black and when he speaks, he oozes charm.  (I’m sort of picturing a young Hugh Jackman here.  Just saying.)

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Just picture him with a clay pipe.  

You are completely in his thrall. 

The proper thing to do would be to run the other way, but you can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other.  

You are screwed six ways to Sunday, sister.

The stories differ.  Some claim that one kiss and the Love Talker is gone. The girl is left to pine away, neither sleeping nor eating until she dies of a broken heart.  In some stories, the Ganconer draws out the girl’s life with his kiss leaving her dead where she stood.  Sometimes the Ganconer doesn’t stop with a kiss.  He doesn’t need to force himself onto the girl. He’s has charm out the wahzoo.  It doesn’t matter how the story goes.  The ending is always the same – a dead broad.

The real question is what is the Ganconer’s motive?   Is he so careless that he does not realize what kind of damage he has inflicted or does he hate humans so much that he likes to make them suffer?  Does he even have a motive?  Maybe he just is?

What do you guys think?