Friday, September 20, 2013

The Root Goddess

This week’s Faerie Friday isn’t a normal Faerie Friday post. It’s not even about a Faerie.

Last Saturday, my husband and I got in the car and headed for parts unknown. Well, they weren’t exactly unknown. Our destination was Lennox, MA via Route 20. We were pretty sure we could get there that way. Wasn’t a hundred percent certain. But we were heading east so confidence was moderately high.

Surprisingly, Lennox was just where it was supposed to be in my head. That almost never happens. We did some shopping, had a lovely lunch (I had the Pear Welwood cocktail if you must know) and even stopped at a chocolate shop that had the most amazing chocolates.

On the way out of town, my husband pulled into this place that I spotted on our way in but didn’t give much mind to. At that point, I was a little overstimulated and ready to go home. If I was a cat, my husband would have been either scratched or bitten or both. He cut the engine of the car and gave me a look: Just shut up and follow me already.  

So I shut my trap and followed him into a shop that had some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Masks and statues from all over the world. Jewelry. Artwork. Talk about overstimulation. As I was coming out of one of the small rooms, I spotted the carving in the picture above. I couldn’t get to her because another couple was looking at jewelry. Finally they moved out of the way and I made a beeline for her.

 The owner spotted me gazing up at her. She was strung up against a beam, fastened by a bit of twine. He explained that the carving was from Bali and was a representation of goddess, Dewi Sri. On the surface Bali is a Hindu country, but at the core, the Balinese people still believe in Earth Magic flows through the soil and into the plants. The carving was made from the roots of a 17th century coffee bush and she brings with her abundance, prosperity and fertility.

I just had to have her and after debating where to put her, we decided above the mantle in our living room. I toyed with the idea of putting her over out bed, but I decided not to tempt fate.

Doesn’t she look lovely in our living room?

The lesson: Don’t be afraid to check out new places. You never know what you are going to find.

If you find yourself in Lennox, make sure to stop by Inspired Planet. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hey, that chick has my face!

Today is Friday the 13th. Yeah, don’t get all excited about it. I’m not particularly superstitious. I love black cats to distraction. I’ll walk under a ladder with wild abandon. I’ll even dance a jig if the right song is on the radio. And if there was any merit to the broken mirror prophecy, my bad luck would last well into my death. Can a rotting corpse have bad luck? I guess the rotting part doesn’t suggest exceptionally good luck.

*Buff shrugs*

My Grandma Wade used to say that Friday the 13th was one of the luckiest days of the year. I guess she was one of those glass-half-filled kinda gals. I liked that about her. 

Anyway, in honor of today and the foolish dread some folks will no doubt feel, I decided to write about one of my favorite faerie like creatures – the Co-Walker. He’s creepy. He’s bad luck. He's perfect for today's Faerie Friday post.

Some of you folks will know the Co-Walker by some of his/her/its other names. Fetch. Doppelganger. Ghosts     of the Living. Copies. I’m especially fond of Thrumpins. Yes, Thrumpins.

Picture this: You’ve had an exceptionally long, tiring day. You can’t find a parking spot near your apartment. You drive around and around for what seems like hours and you finally find a spot in a dark corner three blocks from your place to park. As you are walking down the street, you hear footsteps behind you. You quicken your pace, but so does the guy behind you. Your heart pounds in your chest. You can’t catch your breath. You forget the uneven patch of pavement in front of your building and you find yourself tumbling onto the ground. When you look up from your humiliating sprawl, you stare into the face of someone that looks like you. Just like you. Right down to the hot pink ponytail holder and scuffed shoes.

No, that’s not the twin your mother never told you about. It’s a Co-Walker and that fact that you’ve seen him means only one thing – you’re a dead man. Or woman.

The Co-Walker is a powerful portent of death. Seeing him means your death is imminent. But sometimes, he befriends lonely children. I guess he’s not all bad, folks.

I will concede this isn’t one of my best Faerie Friday posts. In my defense, a bunch of my research books are buried under a pile of other books in my office. I had this incident a few weeks back where my desk collapsed. Long story, but I’ll try to be more creative in the future. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Rusalki

I’m chilling in Russia this week for Faerie Friday. Again. Just in case you were wondering, I plan on staying here through next week. And maybe I’ll swing on over to Japan next month, but I’m undecided. I found this great book on the Yokai. If you don’t know what the Yokai are, you’ll just have to come back and find out. J

The Rusalki are the Russian equivalents (sort of) of the Greek Naiad, i.e. hot freshwater nymphs. Okay, they aren’t hot in all the versions of the story, but for the purpose of this exercise, they are. Capisce?

In some versions, the Rusalki wear white shifts and in other, they are completely bare assed. In all stories, they have long, flowing hair. Sometimes green. They spend the winter months submerged in the depths of lakes and rivers and crawl out during the summer months.

You are going to meet one of two ends when you tangle with a Rusalki. Most commonly she uses her siren voice and her laughter to lure young men to the water where she takes them in her embrace and drowns them. The other way is a more ignominious way – she tickles you to death. Yes, I said tickle. They sing, giggle and swing from branches and when they have you in their thrall, they sneak up behind you and tickle you to death. I can just imagine the epitaph: HERE LIKES BORIS, FELLED BY A TERRIBLE TICKLE. It’s a shameful way to die, but it does play into some boyhood fantasies. They only thing that’s missing is topless pillow fights.

By “you” in the above referenced illustrations, I mean young men. She can’t be bothered with women and is very hostile toward the fairer sex. As an aside, I know women like that and they are equally as unlikable as the Rusalki. Just not as deadly.

The Russian villager has a few tricks to keep them away – charms, hanging linen in the trees, garlic, iron and crosses.

Like many faerie creatures, they Rusalki are thought of as the souls of unbaptized children, drowned maidens and unwed mothers. They are considered an unclean force deriving their allure from the devil himself. Most likely, the Rusalki are the remnants of pagan goddesses. They are used to illustrate the contrast between themselves (unclean, devilish) and Christian women (good, chaste.) The Rusalki are spirited, wear their hair flowing freely, take lovers that are not their husbands, and in general behave like naughty (albeit more dangerous) sorority girls.

Not a nice girl, but a fun girl. Okay, fun for just a minute, but fun nonetheless!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Russian Water Devil

Okay, this one is going to be short. I have a cough I can’t get rid of and a book that won’t read itself. And I’ve been screwing around on my computer for two hours and haven’t accomplished anything. Such is the life of me.

Anyway, I decided stay in Russia for this week’s Faerie Friday post, but instead of a forest dwelling creature, we are going to focus on a guy who hangs around bodies of water looking for some sucker to drown, i.e. the Vodianoi, sometimes called vodianoi chert or “water devil.”

Russia is a big country, huge in fact, so the stories of Vodianoi vary from region on region, town to town. Sometimes he lives in the slimy bottoms of ponds and in other stories he lives in a crystal palace. He usually resides somewhere near a mill and he’s known to be a danger to everyone but fisherman and millers. Probably because they know how to treat him. They leave him the proper offerings – tobacco, bread, salt, vodka. You know, the usual.

His appearance also varies from place to place. Sometimes he’s slimy or scaly with green hair and beard. Sometimes he’s old, sometimes he’s young. That usually depends on the cycle of the moon. He’s naked in some stories and half fish in others.

He can be spotted by the water dripping from his coat. His clothing never dries and he leaves puddles everywhere. I find that more amusing than menacing. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Guardian of the Russian Forest

Working on this week's Faerie Friday post. I swear this desk was clean a few days ago. Honest Buff.

So I took a break from blogging.

My intention had been to take the time to work on a few stories that I was close to completing. I’d like to say I was successful, but that wouldn’t be true. I’m a lot of things, but liar isn’t one of them. Well, mainly I’m not a liar. How does that old Dwight Yoakum song go? “I tell the truth except when I lie.” Something like that.

*heads to Rhapsody to add song to play list*

Anyway, I’m back and I’m heading to Russia for this week’s Faerie Friday post. I’m high on cold medicine so please forgive the occasion forgotten word or sentences that make little to no sense. I’m a bit rusty in the blog post writing arena.

Here goes nothing.

As I stated a few sentences ago, we are traveling to Russia for this week’s Faerie Friday post - the Russian forests to be more specific to where the Leshii dwell.

The Leshii is a natural spirit. Think Green Man with a Russian accent. One of my references says that they are the offspring of human woman and demons. Do what you will with that piece of information.

Each forest, unless it’s a big honking forest, has only one. (Les means forest, apparently.) He doesn’t just guard the forest, but all of the animals that reside there. He lives with his wife, known at the Lesovikha. She is portrayed in a number of a different ways: an ugly bint with big breasts, a woman in white or a pretty naked chick. Their children are called Leshonki.

In most stories, though they vary from location to location, the Leshii isn’t exactly a prize himself. He wears his boots on the wrong feet. He sports both green eyes and a green beard and long, messy hair. He casts no shadow and his eyes glow. He is a shape shifter that can change size and forms.

The Leshii, like many forest dwelling figures of folklore, love to play tricks on unsuspecting peasants. Making forest noises, laughing loudly, or clapping loudly, he liked to cause people to lose their way. Not such a big deal in our modern times, but before the invention of GPS, wandering aimless through a big forest could and would get you killed.

A way to ward off the Leshii is to wear your clothes inside out and to put your shoes on the wrong feet.

Like most of the creatures/figures I write about, there is a lot more to the Leshii, but I must leave that for another post.