Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

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Vampires Suck

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:56 pm

http://marketmacabre.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/vampires-suck-origins-of-an-enduring-myth-and-pop-culture-icon/

Vampires Suck: Origins of an Enduring Myth and Pop Culture Icon
In horror, literature, macabre, mythology on April 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm
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With the success of author Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight book series, the first of the film adaptations grossing over seventy million dollars in its initial seven week run, and Charlaine Harris’s bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series being turned into the hit HBO television show, True Blood, vampires have seen an upswing in popularity as of late.

Why has the vampire story remained one of the most enduring folktales told when other horror creatures in pop culture have faded into obscurity? The longevity of the legend is best understood when taking a look at its roots.

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley in The Complete Vampire Companion, along with the werewolf, vampires are among the oldest figures in mythology. Though no exact date can be given, Tom Holland in the February 2001 issue of New Statesman believes that there are “foreshadowings of the [vamp] in both Judeo-Christian and classical myth: Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who feeds in the night on the newborn; the sheeted dead in Homer, who can speak only once they have drunk from a trench of blood.”

However, other researchers believe the tale predates Christ by centuries.

“The vampire legend dates back to the earliest times of human civilization to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and other peoples of the ancient Orient,” Adrian McGrath said.

McGrath, author of the book Vampires: The Origin of the Myth, also points to evidence that vampire lore can be found in ancient Chaldeans in Mesopotamia, near the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

“References to vampires can be found in many lands,” he wrote, “and some scholars believe this indicates that the vampire story developed independently in these various lands and was not passed from one to the other. Such an independently occurring folktale is curious indeed.”

The ancient Egyptians believed the souls of the dead could return as creatures of the night. According to a McGrath article posted on the Web site vampires.monstrous.com, the Goddess Sekhmet was said have become so full of bloodlust after the slaughter of many mortals, that she could only be satisfied by drink alcohol coloured as blood.

Eventually, vampire mythology became concentrated in Eastern European countries around the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Vampires of that time were not thought to be the types perpetuated by modern media – beautiful and alluring. Instead, they were said to be grotesque.

“Often, they were pictured as bloated and purple-faced (from drinking blood); they had long talons and smelled terrible-a description probably based on the appearance of corpses whose tombs had been opened by worried villagers,” Joan Acocella said in the March 2009 issue of The New Yorker.

Also unlike the modern vampire, these vamps were alleged to not necessarily draw blood. The Eastern European Gypsy Male Mullo (the Romany word for “vampire”), was said to sometimes “appear to the woman they loved (usually their widows) whereupon they would attempt to regain their favour by helping with the housework,” according to McGrath. Other lore from that region said that vampires ritually raped their victims as well – a trait not capitalized upon in today’s tales.

In parts of Europe, especially Romania, Greece, and East Prussia, folklore holds that when werewolves die, they become vampires. Southern Slavs are known for their ancient belief in the vampire-werewolf hybrid seen in the film Underworld starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman as the hybrid.

According to McGrath, “In Slavic lore, causes of vampirism included dying an “unnatural” death, excommunication and improper burial rituals. The creature in this case would burrow its way out of the grave and feed off its family and friends until it was exposed to sunlight or decapitated. Some vigilant people would be sure to bury suspected vampires with a scythe, thus ensuring decapitation occurred before the creature had the opportunity to dig its way out.”

Decapitation, burning, stakes to the heart and sometimes all three methods at once originated from the Slavs and continue to be the standard of vampire slayage. In fact, Acocella recounted a story of a Serbian man who drove a stake into the grave of another man in 2007. So just as in film, television, and literature, the legend lives on for Slavic people.

Western Europe also got into the vampire myth in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. There were outbreaks of vamp hysteria in the area, with numerous stakings reported in Germany. Acocella puts the year 1734 as the time when the word “vampire” entered the English language from this region.

McGrath wrote that the belief in this monster was based on the “general ignorance of the population,” but that organized religion did more to make sure the belief lived on.

“The Church in Europe during the Middle Ages came to recognize the existence of vampires and changed it from a pagan folk myth into a creature of the Devil. The vampire, though clearly a thing of evil and a pagan myth, had its believability reinforced by preexisting Christian doctrines such as life after death, the resurrection of the body, and “transubstantiation.” This was a concept based on the Last Supper and the dogma of Pope Innocent the III in 1215 A.D., that the “bread and wine” and its equivalent during Christian Communion literally transubstantiated into the actual body and blood of Christ. People who adhered to this belief, and who consumed the blood of Christ, would have little difficulty in believing the corrupted corollary to this — the drinking of blood by evil demons, namely, vampires.

The Church during the Middle Ages gave credence to the belief in vampires, concluded that it alone had the power to stop vampirism, and then reinforced this position two centuries later in 1489 with its landmark book, Malleus Maleficarum. This work was actually designed to deal with the persecution of witches, but it could be applied to evil vampires as well. Unfortunately many innocent people fell victim to this document, and were tortured and executed for no good reason whatsoever.”

Knowing all of this, it’s no surprise that the legend lives on. Its staying power can be attributed to the fact that these myths are so deeply embedded in mankind’s preoccupation and fascination with death and resurrection. And as filming resumes on the next installment of Twilight, HBO begins prepping for the June release of the second season of True Blood, and more and more vampire stories aimed at young adults are published, the vampire has further cemented its status as an icon for the ages.

Sources and suggested further readings:

Guiley, Rosemary E. and Macabre, J.B. (1994). The Complete Vampire Companion. Macmillian USA.

Tom Holland. New Statesman. London: Feb 19, 2001. Vol. 14, Iss. 644; pg. 40, 2 pgs

http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=68910537&sid=1&Fmt=4&clientId=18133&RQT=309&VName=PQD

Acocella, Joan. “In the Blood; Why do vampires still thrill?” The New Yorker. Mar. 16, 2009. Vol. 85, Iss. 5; pg.101

http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T6286508562&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T6286508565&cisb=22_T6286508564&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=237442&docNo=16

www.vampires.monstrous.com

http://paranormal.suite101.com/article.cfm/different_myths_of_the_vampire#ixzz0CJeWH8FL

http://thevampireproject.blogspot.com/2008/12/vampires-origins-of-myth.html

http://www.lesvampires.org/mirrorsportal/myths.html

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Salome

Post  Renee on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:57 pm

According to Mark 6:21-29 (Salome is not mentioned by name in this passage so reference is incomplete), Salome was the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas. Salome danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of his birthday, and in doing so gave her mother the opportunity to obtain the head of John the Baptist. According to Mark's gospel Herodias bore a grudge against John for stating that Herod's marriage to Herodias was unlawful; Herodias encouraged Salome to demand that John be executed.

And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.

And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6:21-29, KJV)

A parallel passage to Mark 6:21-29 is in the Gospel of Matthew 14:6-11:

But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus. (Matt 14:6-11, D-R)

Some ancient Greek versions of Mark read "Herod's daughter Herodias" (rather than "daughter of the said Herodias").To scholars using these ancient texts, both mother and daughter had the same name. However, the Latin Vulgate Bible translates the passage as it is above, and western Church Fathers therefore tended to refer to Salome as "Herodias's daughter" or just "the girl". Nevertheless, because she is otherwise unnamed in the Bible, the idea that both mother and daughter were named Herodias gained some currency in early modern Europe.

This Salome is not considered to be the same person as Salome the disciple, who is a witness to the Crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15:40.

According to "Letter of Herod To Pilate the Governor", Herod's daughter was playing in the pool with ice on the surface until it broke under and decapitated her. With Herod's wife holding her daughters head.

In the Apocryphal books of the New Testament, as found in the various non-scriptural writings of the time Salome is mentioned and referenced to the Roman and Hebrew hierarchy.

In the passage Herod to Pontius Pilate the Governor of Jerusalem, Peace:

"I am in great anxiety. I write these things to you, that when you have heard them you may be grieved for me. For as my daughter Herodias, who is dear to me, was playing upon a pool of water that had ice upon it, it broke under her and all her body went down, and her head was cut off and remained on the surface of the ice. And behold, her mother is holding her head upon her knees in her lap, and my whole house is in great sorrow."

The preceding passage was printed in an 18th century text entitled The Apocryphal Books of the New Testament. An edition published in Philadelphia in 1901 by David McKay (later a publisher of comic books) contains what is listed as a preface to the second edition of the work stating, "Concerning any genuineness of any portion of the work, the Editor has not offered an opinion, nor is it necessary that he should."

The name "Salome" is given to the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas (unnamed in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark) in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities (Book XVIII, Chapter 5, 4):

Herodias, [...], was married to Herod, the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod, her husband's brother by the father's side, he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip,the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis; and as he died childless, Aristobulus, the son of Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus

Salome in the arts

This Biblical story has long been a favourite of painters. Painters who have done notable representations of Salome include Titian, Henri Regnault, Georges Rochegrosse, Gustave Moreau, Federico Beltran-Masses and Alexander Voytovych. Titian's version emphasizes the contrast between the innocent girlish face and the brutally severed head. Because of the maid by her side, this Titian painting is also considered to be Judith with the Head of Holofernes. Unlike Salome who goes nameless in the Christian bible, Judith is a Judeo-Christian mythical patriot whose story is perhaps less psychological and being a widow, may not be particularly girlish nor innocent in representations. In Moreau's version the figure of Salome is emblematic of the femme fatale, a fashionable trope of fin-de-siecle decadence. In his 1884 novel À rebours Frenchman Joris-Karl Huysmans describes, in somewhat fevered terms, the depiction of Salome in Moreau's painting:

No longer was she merely the dancing-girl who extorts a cry of lust and concupiscence from an old man by the lascivious contortions of her body; who breaks the will, masters the mind of a King by the spectacle of her quivering bosoms, heaving belly and tossing thighs; she was now revealed in a sense as the symbolic incarnation of world-old Vice, the goddess of immortal Hysteria, the Curse of Beauty supreme above all other beauties by the cataleptic spasm that stirs her flesh and steels her muscles, - a monstrous Beast of the Apocalypse, indifferent, irresponsible, insensible, poisoning.

n 1877 Gustave Flaubert's Three Tales were published, including "Herodias". In this story full responsibility for John's death is given to Salome's mother Herodias and the priests who fear his religious power. Salome herself is shown as a young girl who forgets the name of the man whose head she requests as she is asking for it. Jules Massenet's 1881 opera Hérodiade was based on Flaubert's short story.

Salomé's story was made the subject of a play by Oscar Wilde that premiered in Paris in 1896, under the French name Salomé. In Wilde's play, Salome takes a perverse fancy for John the Baptist, and causes him to be executed when John spurns her affections. In the finale, Salome takes up John's severed head and kisses it.

Because at the time British law forbade the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, Wilde wrote the play originally in French, and then produced an English translation (titled Salome). To this Granville Bantock composed incidental music, which was premiered at the Court Theatre, London, on 19 April 1918.

The Wilde play (in a German translation of Hedwig Lachmann) was edited down to a one-act opera by Richard Strauss. The opera Salome, which premiered in Dresden in 1905, is famous for the Dance of the Seven veils. As with the Wilde play, it turns the action to Salome herself, reducing her mother to a bit-player, though the opera is less centered on Herod's motivations than the play.

In "Salome" (1896) by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, characterised by some critics as "neo-Pagan", Salome instigated the death of John the Baptist as part of a futile effort to get the interest of "a young sophist who was indifferent to the charms of love". When Salome presents to him the Baptist's head, the sophist rejects it, remarking in jest "Dear Salome, I would have liked better to get your own head". Taking the jest seriously, the hopelessly infatuated Salome lets herself be beheaded and her head is duly brought to the sophist, who however rejects it in disgust and turns back to studying the Dialogues of Plato.

Other Salome poetry has been written by among others including Ai (1986), Nick Cave (1988), and Carol Ann Duffy (1999).

In a Conan the Barbarian story by Robert E. Howard titled "A Witch Shall be Born" the main antagonist is called Salome. Upon making her appearance, she states: "'Every century a witch shall be born.' So ran the ancient curse. And so it has come to pass. Some were slain at birth, as they sought to slay me. Some walked the earth as witches, proud daughters of Khauran, with the moon of hell burning upon their ivory bosoms. Each was named Salome. I too am Salome. It was always Salome, the witch. It will always be Salome, the witch, even when the mountains of ice have roared down from the pole and ground the civilizations to ruin, and a new world has risen from the ashes and dust--even then there shall be Salome's to walk the earth, to trap men's hearts by their sorcery, to dance before the kings of the world, to see the heads of the wise men fall at their pleasure."


Source: Wikipedia

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:09 pm

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/31/8565902-why-the-paranormal-is-just-normal

By Alan Boyle

Halloween is the peak time to dwell on ghosts, spooky noises, weird premonitions and other "paranormal activities" — but despite that label, such phenomena are totally normal. You can even create them yourself.

That's the message of Richard Wiseman's latest book, "Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There." Wiseman, who began his career as a magician and is now an experimental psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, reveals the tricks of the paranormal trade — including the methods used by on-air psychics to make themselves seem, well, psychic. (To try them out, download Wiseman's "Instant Superhero Kit.")

Wiseman wishes normal people had a better understanding of the psychology behind seemingly paranormal activities.

"There's an enormous problem," he told me today, "actually more in America than in Britain, because the level of belief in the States is huge. We're talking about more than three-quarters of the population believing in some sort of paranormal phenomena — even with the rise in technology and science over the past 20 years or so. It's really quite staggering."

There are so many stories about chilling premonitions of doom, or alien visitations, or high-tech studies of haunted houses. Surely there must be some reality behind all those scary tales. It turns out that there is, but Wiseman says you don't have to turn to supernatural explanations. Here are five examples:

1. Selective memory: Can dreams predict future events? Actually, psychologists have found that people tend to have far more dreams than they consciously remember. A significant event — say, a death or dramatic change of fortune — can trigger the memory of a past dream that may seem to relate to that event. Also, you're more likely to hear about the one seemingly prophetic dream than about the many other dreams that went nowhere. In this essay for The Guardian, Wiseman delves more deeply into the selective nature of dream recall.

The fact that we often hear only what we want to hear, or remember only what fits our expectations, also plays into psychic readings. Wiseman refers to this as "fishing and forking": The psychic throws out some generalities as a fishing expedition, watches to see which of those observations you pick up on, and then follows that fork in the road to build up the reading. The Skeptic's Dictionary outlines the process here.
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2. Ideomotor action: Sometimes zombies really are in control of our brains — but those zombies are our own mental processes that buzz along beneath our consciousness. For example, experiments have shown that unconscious muscle movements can guide your hands to rock a table during a seance, or move a Ouija board pointer to spell out a message, or twist a dousing twig to point to an underground water source (or not). But it works only if your zombie brain can process the results of the motor movements. If you're blindfolded, the effect is spoiled. The Straight Dope provides further discussion of the Ouija connection.

3. Sleep paralysis: For thousands of years, tales have been told about strange beings who visit in the middle of the night and have their way with sleepers. In the old days, these were demons known as succubi and incubi. Nowadays, they're aliens or ghosts (like the ghosts in the "Paranormal Activity" movies). Such experiences are associated with a psychological phenomenon known as sleep paralysis, in which the brain hovers at the edge of consciousness but keeps the mind-body connection turned off (except for the connection to the genitalia, which may explain why those succubi were so sex-crazed). "The body paralyzes itself," Wiseman said.

Researchers recently reported that they were able to train volunteers to experience out-of-body experiences as well as alien encounters during their semi-waking states.

Richard Wiseman discusses "Paranormality" on "BBC Breakfast."

4. Cold spots and infrasound: Ghostbusters often report feeling "cold spots," or suddenly becoming anxious, or getting weird readings on high-tech sensors when a specter makes its presence known. Wiseman said such sudden changes are due to natural rather than supernatural causes. Ten years ago, he and his colleagues used an array of thermal cameras and air movement detectors to figure out what was behind a "haunting" at Hampton Court Palace, near London. It turned out that chilly drafts blowing through cracks in the palace's concealed doorways created the unsettling sounds and the plummeting temperatures.

Low-frequency sounds, created by changes in the weather or even appliances such as air conditioners, can also create a sense of uneasiness in listeners, even if they can't consciously sense the sound. Wiseman conducted an experiment on the effects of "infrasound" during a concert and found that 22 percent of the listeners felt chills or other unusual sensations when they listened to music that was laced with the low-frequency tones.
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5. Hyper-vigilance: All these effects are accentuated when visitors think they're in a haunted house. "Basically, when we become afraid, we become very vigilant. ... It feeds on itself," Wiseman said. He and many other scientists believe that such hyper-vigilance came in handy when our ancestors were in the midst of a mammoth hunt or a host of unseen threats. The same hard-wired instinct may explains why we seek out an eek by visiting a haunted house or watching a scary movie. "It's the way we've evolved," Wiseman said.

Although Wiseman doesn't see anything supernatural in paranormal activities, he does see a lot of value in studying them. "Trying to understand why people have these experiences is very instructive," he said. In fact, research has shown that some concepts, such as mind-reading and out-of-body experiences, are rooted in solid neuroscience. Just as science fiction can give rise to real-life innovations, so can tales of the paranormal.

"Whenever science has done well, so has the paranormal. ... You get this interesting relationship," Wiseman said.

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:12 pm

The Science of Blood Suckers -Bill Schutt

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2008/10/31/4350780-the-science-of-bloodsuckers

Between the "Twilight" movie and book series and HBO's "True Blood" TV series, vampires are getting a lot of exposure these days. But in biologist Bill Schutt's book, those fictional fang-wearers don't even deserve to be called vampires.

Instead, in "Dark Banquet," Schutt focuses on the true bloodsuckers of the natural world - vampire bats, leeches, bed bugs, the dreaded candiru fish and other critters that inspire tales as macabre and mysterious as any Halloween thriller.

"You couldn't make this stuff up," said Schutt, a professor at C.W. Post College of Long Island University and a research associate in mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History.

Consider, for instance, the saga of Napoleonic soldiers who sipped from lake water infested with tiny larval leeches as they crossed from Egypt to Syria in 1799: "Unbeknownst to their hosts, the creatures quickly attached themselves and began to feed," Schutt writes. "Days later the men began to take ill and medical personnel were horrified to find their patients' noses, mouths and throats carpeted by blood-engorged leeches."

Schutt, whose specialty is the study of rare vampire bats, also takes you on a spooky tour of a guano-drenched icehouse in Trinidad, where he comes close to walking right into an elevator shaft filled with rainwater and bat droppings.

Elsewhere in the book, he explains why leeches were once inserted into women who wanted to pose as virgins on their wedding night. ("Arguably the strangest use of leeches on record," Schutt writes.) He does a reality check on the urban legends surrounding the candiru, or Amazonian "willy fish," which is said to swim right up a person's urethra. ("Apparently, it does happen, although thankfully, occurrences are extremely rare.")

And he tells a fascinating tale about the scariest bloodsucker of them all, a creature that lives among us and preys nightly on humans: the humble bed bug.

Bed bugs have made a comeback in urban environments, even in the tonier neighborhoods, and Schutt explains some of the reasons behind that. For one thing, residential pesticide spraying has given way to bait traps that are completely ineffective against blood-feeding bed bugs.

Another reason is that the bugs have adapted to human behavior - just like pubic lice, their bloodsucking cousins. They've spread beyond the bedroom to new frontiers, thanks to a mobile society where the critters can hitchhike on cushions, suitcases and even clothes.

"When people come over to your house, where do you have them throw your coats?" Schutt asked. "Right: the bed."

As bed bugs develop resistance to the pesticides that are available for use, they become more and more invincible.

"Within the next two or three years, bed bugs are going to elbow termites and roaches out of the way to become the No. 1 pest in the United States," Schutt told me.

Other bloodsuckers can actually be good for you. Schutt traces the rise, fall and renewed rise of leeches as a medical tool. The slimers work better than anything else for drawing off blood from a surgical site, and that's why physicians have taken advantage of the leech's talents for centuries - whether or not the use was justified.

Leech-assisted bloodletting probably contributed to the deaths of George Washington in 1799, British poet Lord Byron in 1824 and Soviet strongman Josef Stalin in 1953. But they also contributed to the healing of John Wayne Bobbitt's widely publicized penile amputation in 1993 ... and the mending of wounds suffered by Schutt's own father in a horrendous ski-boat accident in 1973.

"I only found out about that when I was doing the research," Schutt said.

As you'd expect for a biologist, Schutt packs lots of scientific lore into the book, even if it doesn't have to do directly with blood-feeders. Along the way, you'll suck up some fun facts about horse evolution, bee disappearances and the crazy ideas people had about human anatomy centuries ago.

Vampyres vs. vampires
Now, about those bats: Schutt points out that the legends surrounding human vampires (whom he calls "vampyres," to distinguish them from the real bloodsuckers) actually predate the discovery and study of vampire bats. The first stories about vampire-bat attacks came back to Europe from South and Central America in the 15th century, and those tales became increasingly linked to the pre-existing folklore of vampyrism.

Much has been made of the fact that the existence of true vampyres (to use Schutt's term) is mathematically impossible, because the gang-fangers would quickly turn everyone on earth into fellow vampyres. The way Schutt tells it, they're biologically impossible as well.


Blood contains no fat and is largely composed of water - and for that reason, vampire bats have to drink half their weight in blood every night. They have to start peeing massive amounts even while they're feeding. With those kinds of habits, even the suavest vampyre would be romantically challenged.

"If there were a Dracula, he'd be a really skinny guy, and he'd be eating a lot," Schutt said.

Schutt argues that vampire bats have gotten a bad rap: Yes, the best-known species has been known to lap up human blood, but that's just because we've invaded their space. And the other two species of vampire bats have become exceedingly rare, thanks to decades of indiscriminate eradication efforts.

"These bats are really not a problem, they rarely if ever have any encounters with humans, and they really don't do much damage with regard to economics," Schutt said. "If anyone took the time to figure it out, they could be considered threatened in some areas."

If allowed to live, they could be even be of service to humans. "They have anticoagulants in their saliva that are remarkable and much more effective than, say, heparin," Schutt said.

Looking beyond the medical benefits, Schutt argues that the world needs bloodsuckers - and not just for Halloween tales.

"If you think about blood as a resource, something that is nutritious and can be fed upon, then it makes sense that there would be these diverse creatures, as different as vampire bats and leeches, and that they've evolved similar characteristics to tap into this worldwide resource," he told me. "They've carved out their own blood-feeding niche, but they're also fed upon by other creatures. If they were suddenly to disappear, there'd be some real problems."

For more batty science, check out our roundup of the world's 10 scariest animals, some good news about Tanzania's "flying foxes," LiveScience's tale of a moldy bat mystery and Discovery.com's report on duet-singing vampire bats.

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The Mark of Cain

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:03 pm

So, I was working on some crossword puzzles and I came across a reference to the mark of Cain and I thought I would write a little something about that reference.

The reference is to the Bible story about Cain and Abel. Cain worked in the fields and he grew grain and fruit and vegetables and Abel cared for the sheep and goats. After their parents were sent out of the garden of Eden for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God told them he required a blood sacrifice for the expiation of sin. The sacrifice was a young male lamb with no blemish (thus such names as the Lamb of God for Christ).

Abel was the faithful servant of God and he brought to the altar a young lamb and he killed it in the ritual manner and set it on the altar to sacrifice before the Lord and the Lord accepted his sacrifice and blessed him. Cain was too proud to ask his brother for a lamb in trade for some of the fruits of his labor and he tried to set fruit and vegetable and grain upon the altar and the Lord did not approve of his bloodless sacrifice.

In a fit of jealousy and anger, Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel and hid his body. This was the first murder (according to the Bible story) and the Lord came to Cain and asked him, "Where is your brother Abel?" and Cain's reply was, "Am I my brother's keeper?" and the Lord confronts Cain and says, "Your brother's blood calls to me from the ground. Because you have slain your brother, I curse you. Everything you try to sow will die in the fallow earth and you will become a slave, and you will live in poverty and misery." Cain thought this was unfair and he said as much to the Lord and said, "If you are to do this to me, you may as well kill me," and the Lord says, "Nope, in fact, I am going to place a mark upon you and any man which finds you will see this mark and you will not be killed and any man who kills you, I will take seven lives." So Cain went out to the land of Nod and found a wife and knew her and had sons and daughters.

But what was the mark of Cain?

Some people believed the mark of Cain was the beginning of the races, that the mark had to do with the color of the skin. In some religious thought, the African or black skinned people were the descendants of Cain. This notion has been cast aside as racial bigotry which existed in many cultures and were used as a basis for racist ideology. This has mostly been cast aside.

People who followed the teachings of Zohar believed God actually put the Aramaic letters VAV on Cain's head which means basically "cursed".

Early Mormon thinkers once ascribed to the philosophy that black skin (and anyone who was not white was considered black, Africans, Native Americans etc) but later thought was the curse was an over all state of unenlightenment.

Later thinkers began to think about the notion that God actually branded Cain with an indelible mark on his head. In some literary interpretations, like Steinbeck's East of Eden, the mark of Cain was a scar on the forehead in some films, like John Huston's production of The Bible, it was a barren tree shape branded darkly on the skin of Cain. And, as Luke suggests, the mark of Cain in Vampire:The Masquerade, the mark is Vampirism itself.

But truthfully, the Bible or other Judeo-Christian or Muslim works never specifically say what was the mark of Cain and there are some theologians who believe that the flood actually wiped out the family of Cain as they were sinful and there are no descendants of the the family Cain and others believe the mark of Cain was reserved for Cain only and his children never bore the mark of their father's shame as the world's first murderer.

Wiki, The King James edition of the Holy Bible, and The Catholic Encyclopedia.

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Living Werwolf and Vampire Part 2

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:16 pm

From the book Vampire Voices by Michelle Bellanger

http://truebloodanonymous.forumotion.com/t9p100-mythology-of-true-blood-and-the-sookie-books#280

So I did this interview with people who believe they are Vampire and Werewolf, so imagine how excited I was when I found a book about humans who live Vampire. These are just some of her observations and as soon as I can, I will have the book scanned and put up in Aslinn's Library but while you are waiting, take a look at the Vampire Codex by Michelle in my library on the forum.

http://truebloodanonymous.forumotion.com/t614-aslinn-s-library#1516

What I learned about human Vampires is there are two communities and they have similar beliefs and they share similar problems. One of the first problems that was brought up in the book by Michelle was the idea of being unaccepted, not just by non-Vampire people but by the occult community. Many of our friends with fangs experience resistance from the Witchcraft community because of the Wiccan Rede which basically says Harm None, do as thou will. The Witchcraft community, whether you are Wiccan or some other tradition says that Vampirism whether you feed from blood or from energies goes against the Rede. Michelle, who is not just a Vampire but is also a Pagan and a psychic seer, says that the ethical Vampire can actually follow the Rede by taking on negative energies from people in a healing and beneficial way because whether the energy is "bad" or "good" energy is pure and does not carry innate evil or goodness and thus can be used by the Vampire to feed.

The first thing we are told in the book is there are many ways to address the state of being called Vampire. You can take on the name Vampyre instead of Vampire. Vampyre is spelled with the Y to denote the difference between real Vampyres from fictional Vampire. You might also run into people who prefer to be called Sanguinarian or Sanguine, which is preferable to blood drinking Vampire and delineates between the blood drinker and the Psychic Vampyre, who feeds from energies. But for the purposes of this essay, I will call them Vampyre and Psi Vampyre to show the difference between Vampire of legend and lore.

One of the hardest things a Vampyre has to overcome is the first steps to acknowledging who and what they are. Vampyre is so tied up in the mythology forged by centuries of story telling, that for some, admitting they are Vampyre is the most difficult things in the world. In many ways, it is more difficult to come out of the Coffin than to come out of the sexual closet.

Some people eventually do come to terms with their Vampyre nature. This is called in the Vampyre community "endarkment" which is a sort of enlightenment, which means to be awakened to the light. Endarkment is to be awakened to the dark. This does not mean you are evil, it is just that you have accepted that part of you which is hidden or private.

There are those who do acknowledge their Vampyre nature but regret it. In the Vampyre community, these people have the Louis de Pointe du Lac syndrome. This is named for the reluctant Vampyre in Anne Rice's book Interview with a Vampire. These people may acknowledge their Vampyrism but they regret it and have guilt and remorse for it because they see Vampyrism as innately evil.

Once you acknowledge your Vampyrism and you become endarkened, you must decide, or you may already know, what sort of Vampyre you are. And the two communities are at odds a bit. You can be a Psychic Vampyre, which is you have to feed from the energies of living people or things. There are two schools of thought in the Psychic Vampyre community. There are some people who have to feed directly from one particular host. They have to take energy directly from them. Ethically, you have these people's permission to take their energy and you only take as much as you need and you avoid draining your host of their energies, leaving them sad, empty, lost.

Then there are those people who feed from latent or ambient energies. This is the belief that everyone gives out some energy forces and some situations, like sporting events or night clubs or other activities where the emotions are high, Vampyres can take in the energies passively and not feed directly from one person. Then there are the so called Psychic Vegan Vampyre. They take in anime from trees and from natural water formations and even large rocks. And not all these communities agree.

Now, many of these Vampyres are empaths as well. They sense the emotions of others and they are sensitive to it and drawn to it.

Then there are the so called Latent Vampyre are those people who do not know they are Vampyre but indulge in their Vampyre behavior, mainly absorbing energies until they come to their endarkment. Their endarkment usually comes about when they come in contact with another Vampyre. Vampyres give off a certain type of aura called a beacon that attracts others to their kind. This more mature Vampyre can then take the latent under their wing and teach them how to feed, hopefully ethically, thus becoming the maker.

Then you have the Sanguine Vampyre, and they do drink blood. They will nick the skin of a willing donor and take small amounts of blood. But they admit that along with the taste of blood they are also getting the psychic energy the Psi Vampyres are getting.

One of the topic that were discussed was the legendary notion of Vampyres being immortal. Bellanger and her community believes they are not physically immortal but they do return, resurrecting over and over again in reincarnation but they come back with full understanding and memories of their past lives.

Now, one of the interesting things about the Vampyre community is their relationship to other members of the supernatural culture. Because along with Vampyre you have people who consider themselves, for lack of a better word, shifters and weres.

The Vampyre community calls them Therians. A therian is a person who believes that though they have human form and human intellect, they are actually well evolved animals, that their animal self is hidden under the skin and they are in touch with both natures and use their animal natures to maneuver in the human world at an advantage.

Another member and very controversial in the supernatural community is the notion of Otherkin. Otherkin are basically Therians but they house creatures in their bodies that are thought of mythical, like dragons and gryphons and unicorns and the like. The shape shifter community says this clouds the already difficult and murky social waters they travel in the "human" world because the idea you are a receptacle of a "mythological" animal takes away any sort of credibility.

In the world of Charlaine Harris, the donors to Vampires are called Fangbangers. In the world of the human Vampyre, the donor is an honored and respected person in the life of the Vampyre and is cared for and treated with deference and even affection and love. Not all Vampyres and donors are lovers, and some are even compensated for their gift by their Vampyre. The Vampyre and donor relationship is about honesty and mutual concern and they try never to abuse the relationship.

So these are the highlights of the book, and as soon as I have it scanned for you, I will fix it up so you can download it and enjoy it yourself.








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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:29 pm

Ive heard of many of these ideas before but it never fails to fascinate me. You did a wonderful job of presenting them and I cant wait for the book, thanks sweety! cheers
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:18 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therianthropy

Therianthropy refers to the metamorphosis of humans into other animals.[1] Therianthropes are said to change forms via shapeshifting. Therianthropes have long existed in mythology, appearing in ancient cave drawings[2] such as the Sorcerer at Les Trois Frères.

Etymology and use

The term therianthropy comes from the Greek theríon, θηρίον, meaning "wild animal" or "beast" (impliedly mammalian), and anthrōpos, άνθρωπος, meaning "human being". It was used to refer to animal transformation folklore of Asia and Europe as early as 1901.[3] Sometimes, "zoanthropy" is used instead of "therianthropy".[4]

Therianthropy was also used to describe spiritual belief in animal transformation in 1915[5] and one source[6] raises the possibility the term may have been used in the 16th century in criminal trials of suspected werewolves.

Shape-shifting in folklore and religion


Shapeshifting refers to the alteration of physical appearance, in this case, from human to animal. Lycanthropy, the transformation into a wolf, is the best known form of therianthropy, followed by cynanthropy, or transformation into a dog, and ailuranthropy, or transformation into a cat.[7] Werehyenas are present in the stories of several African and Eurasian cultures, while wererats are rare in historical legends, but have become common in modern fiction.
[edit] Lycanthropy (werewolves)
Main article: Lycanthropy

In folklore, mythology and anthropology, the most commonly known form of therianthropy is lycanthropy. The werewolf is generally held as a European character, although its lore spread through the world in later times. Ancient Turkic legends from Asia talk of shapeshifting shamans known as "Kurtadams" which translates directly to "wolfman." The idea of being descendants from wolves has been a part of Turkic shamanist beliefs. Shape-shifters, similar to werewolves, are common in tales from all over the world. Although the definition specifically describes a metamorphic change from human to canine form (as with a werewolf), the term is often used to refer to any human to nonhuman animal transformation.

Cynanthropy (weredogs)


The Greeks also spoke of cynanthropy (Kynior, dog). Cynanthropy, sometimes spelled kynanthropy, is applied to shapeshifters who alternate between dog form and human form, or to beings that do not shapeshift but possess combined dog and human anatomical features (Hamel, 76). It is also used for real persons suffering from the delusion that they are dogs (Ashley, 37). After lycanthropy, cynanthropy is the best known term for a specific variety of therianthropy.

The term existed by at least 1901, when it was applied to myths from China about humans turning into dogs, dogs becoming people, and sexual relations between humans and canines .[8]

Anthropologist David Gordon White called Central Asia the "vortex of cynanthropy" because races of dog-men were habitually placed there by ancient writers. Hindu mythology puts races of "Dog Cookers" to the far north of India, the Chinese placed the "Dog Jung" and other human/canine barbarians to the extreme west, and European legends frequently put the dog men called Cynocephali in unmapped regions to the east. Some of these races were described as humans with dog heads, others as canine shapeshifters (White, 114-15).

The weredog or cynanthrope is also known in Timor. It is described as a human/canine shapeshifter who is also capable of transforming other people into animals against their wills. These transformations are usually into prey animals such as goats, so that the cynanthrope can devour them without discovery of the crime (Rose, 390).

Ailuranthropy (werecats)


European folklore usually depicts werecats who transform into domestic cats, sometimes of an enlarged size,[9] or panthers. African legends describe people who turn into lions or leopards, while Asian werecats are typically depicted as becoming tigers. The transformation of each individual animal feline form possesses its own version of the "were" title, for instance werelions, wereleopards, werejaguars, werecheetah, and werepanthers. The general classification of werecat typically applies to all, excluding circumstances between werecats, whom identify each species by the appropriate specific title. Werecats have been represented as typically living in prides regardless of sub-classification.

Skin-walkers and naguals


Some Native American legends talk about skin-walkers, persons with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal they desire, though, to be able to transform, they first must be wearing a pelt of the animal. In the folk religion of neighboring Mesoamerica, a Nagual or Nahual is a human being who has the power to magically turn themselves into an animal form, most commonly donkey, turkey and dogs,[10] but also other and more powerful animals such as the jaguar and puma.

Theriocephaly


Therianthropy can also refer to artistic descriptions of characters that simultaneously share human and nonhuman animal traits, for example the animal-headed humanoid forms of gods depicted in Egyptian mythology (such as Ra, Sobek, Anubis, and others) as well as creatures like centaurs and mermaids.

Psychiatry

Among a sampled set of psychiatric patients, the belief of being part animal, or clinical lycanthropy, was generally associated with severe psychosis, but not always with any specific psychiatric diagnosis or neurological findings.[11] Others regard clinical lycanthropy as a delusion in the sense of the self-identity disorder found in affective and schizophrenic disorders, or as a symptom of other psychiatric disorders.[12]

Shamanism

Ethnologist Ivar Lissner theorised that cave paintings of beings with human and non-human animal features were not physical representations of mythical shapeshifters, but were instead attempts to depict shamans in the process of acquiring the mental and spiritual attributes of various beasts.[13] Religious historian Mircea Eliade has observed that beliefs regarding animal identity and transformation into animals are widespread.[14]

Transmigration of souls

Therianthropy is often confused with transmigration; but the essential feature of the were-animal is that it is the alternative form or the double of a living human being, while the soul-animal is the vehicle, temporary or permanent, of the spirit of a dead human being. Nevertheless, instances in legend of humans reincarnated as wolves are often classed with lycanthropy, as well as these instances being labeled werewolves in local folklore.

There is no line of demarcation, and this makes it probable that lycanthropy is connected with nagualism and the belief in familiar spirits, rather than with metempsychosis, as E. B. Tylor argued, or with totemism, as suggested by J. F. M'Lennan. Thus, these origins for lycanthropy mingle a belief in reincarnation, a belief in the sharing of souls between living humans and beasts and a belief in human ghosts appearing as non-human animals after death. A characteristic of metempsychosis is a blurring of the boundaries between the intangible and the corporeal, so that souls are often conceived of as solid, visible forms that need to eat and can do physical harm.[15]

Animal ancestors

Stories of humans descending from animals are common explanations for tribal and clan origins. Sometimes the animals assumed human forms in order to ensure their descendants retained their human shapes; other times the origin story is of a human marrying a normal animal. This also comes from the many Egyptian Gods, like Anubis and Horus.

North American indigenous traditions particularly mingle the idea of bear ancestors and ursine shapeshifters, with bears often being able to shed their skins to assume human form, marrying human women in this guise. The offspring may be creatures with combined anatomy, they might be very beautiful children with uncanny strength, or they could be shapeshifters themselves.[16]

P'an Hu is represented in various Chinese legends as a supernatural dog, a dog-headed man, or a canine shapeshifter that married an emperor's daughter and founded at least one race. When he is depicted as a shapeshifter, all of him can become human except for his head. The race(s) descended from P'an Hu were often characterized by Chinese writers as monsters who combined human and dog anatomy.[17]

In Altaic mythology of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, the wolf is a revered animal. The shamanic Turkic peoples even believed they were descendants of wolves in Turkic legends. The legend of Asena is an old Turkic myth that tells of how the Turkic people were created. In Northern China a small Turkic village was raided by Chinese soldiers, but one small baby was left behind. An old she-wolf with a sky-blue mane named Asena found the baby and nursed him, later giving birth to the half wolf, half human cubs who were the ancestors of the Turkic people.[18][19]

Animal spirits

In North and Central America, and to some extent in West Africa, Australia and other parts of the world, every male acquires at puberty a tutelary spirit. In some Native American tribes the youth kills the animal of which he dreams in his initiation fast; its claw, skin or feathers are put into a little bag and become his "medicine" and must be carefully retained, for a "medicine" once lost can never be replaced. In West Africa this relation is said to be entered into by means of the blood bond, and it is so close that the death of the animal causes the man to die and vice versa. Elsewhere the possession of a tutelary spirit in animal form is the privilege of the magician. In Alaska the candidate for magical powers has to leave the abodes of men; the chief of the gods sends an otter to meet him, which he kills by saying "O" four times; he then cuts out its tongue and thereby secures the powers which he seeks.

The Malays believe that the office of pawang (priest) is only hereditary if the soul of the dead priest, in the form of a tiger, passes into the body of his son. While the familiar is often regarded as the alternative form of the magician, the nagual or bush-soul is commonly regarded as wholly distinct from the human being. Transitional beliefs, however, are found, especially in Africa, in which the power of transformation is attributed to the whole of the population of certain areas. The people of Banana are said to change themselves by magical means, composed of human embryos and other ingredients, but in their leopard form they may do no harm to mankind under pain of retaining forever the beast shape. In other cases the change is supposed to be made for the purposes of evil magic and human victims are not prohibited.

A further link is supplied by the Zulu belief that the magician's familiar is really a transformed human being; when he finds a dead body on which he can work his spells without fear of discovery, the wizard breathes a sort of life into it, which enables it to move and speak, it being thought that some dead wizard has taken possession of it. He then burns a hole in the head and through the aperture extracts the tongue. Further spells have the effect of changing the revivified body into the form of some animal, hyena, owl or wild cat, the latter being most in favour. This creature then becomes the wizard's servant and obeys him in all things; its chief use is, however, to inflict sickness and death upon persons who are disliked by its master.

In Melanesia there is a belief in the tamaniu or atai which is an animal counterpart to a person. It can be an eel, a shark, a lizard, or some other creature. This creature is corporeal, can understand human speech, and shares the same soul as its master, leading to legends which have many characteristics typical of shapeshifter tales, such as any death or injury affecting both forms at once.[20]

References in popular culture

Fiction

A Practical Guide to Monsters, a Dungeons and Dragons themed book published under Wizards of the Coast's juvenile publishing imprint Mirrorstone Books, makes reference on page 33 to D&D's use of the term lycanthrope to refer to many different types of humanoid/animal shapeshifters. The text goes on to state that "A better term for this group would be 'therianthrope,' from the root therios (animal)."[21]

Although the were-wolf is the best known animal transformation figure in popular western culture, the plots of several novels in the fantasy and mythic fiction fields revolve around other kinds of therianthropic characters. Swim the Moon by Paul Brandon, set in contemporary Australia, explores Scottish selkie legends. The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich, set in modern-day Minnesota, draws on Ojibway myths of women who can shift between human and antelope shape. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson, set in historic Japan, re-tells a kitsune legend in novel form. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore is a contemporary comic novel about a Native American trickster who can shift between human and coyote forms. Hannah's Garden by Midori Snyder, set in the rural American midwest, draws on Anglo-Irish legends of shape-changing hares to tell a story about death, family dynamics, and the power of creativity. The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, set in Tucson, Arizona, and most of the novels of Charles de Lint, set in Canada, blend the shape-shifting legends of European folklore, the therianthropic lore of tricksters and shamans, and animal-human hybrid characters drawn from various Native American mythologies. Alice Hoffman draws on the folklore of therianthropy and lycanthropy in her contemporary novel Second Nature, although in this case the protagonist shiftshapes metaphorically rather than literally, having been raised by wolves in the wild.[22][23] In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Beorn was a man who could assume the appearance of a great black bear.

Self Identification

The first widely-known internet use of the term developed among the Usenet group alt.horror.werewolves (ca. 1992).[24] Some Usenet users began publicly asserting that they were part animal, generally in a spiritual sense.[25] Such people initially called themselves lycanthropes or weres, but because lycan specifically refers to wolves the term therianthrope became more widely used. From these foundations, a subculture of individuals identifying as therianthropes has developed.[26] Some self-described therianthropes also consider themselves members of the Otherkin subculture.[27] Many therianthropes also claim they have a psychological connection, rather than a spiritual one to their animal. Some therianthropes use the term species dysphoria to describe their feelings of disconnect with their human bodies as a result of their identification.

See also

Boanthropy
Clinical lycanthropy
List of shapeshifters in myth and fiction
Morphological freedom
Nagual
Potnia Theron
Shapeshifting
Theriocephaly
Totem
Angel
Animal worship
Zoanthropy

Notes and references

^ Edward Podolsky (1953). Encyclopedia of Aberrations: A Psychiatric Handbook. Philosophical Library.
^ "Trois Freres". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
^ De Groot, J.J.M. (1901). The Religious System of China: Volume IV. Leiden: Brill. p. 171.
^ Guiley, R.E. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves & Other Monsters. New York: Facts on File. p. 192. ISBN 0-8160-4685-9.
^ Brinkley, Frank; Dairoku Kikuchi (1915). A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era. The Encyclopædia Britannica Co.
^ Ramsland, Katherine (2005). The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation. Berkley Hardcover. ISBN 042520765X.
^ Greene, R. (2000). The Magic of Shapeshifting. York Beach, ME: Weiser. p. 229. ISBN 1-57863-171-8.
^ De Groot, J.J.M. (1901). The Religious System of China: Volume IV. Leiden: Brill. p. 184.
^ Greene, Rosalyn (2000). The Magic of Shapeshifting. Weiser. p. 9.
^ Nutini & Roberts p. 43.
^ Keck PE, Pope HG, Hudson JI, McElroy SL, Kulick AR (February 1988). "Lycanthropy: alive and well in the twentieth century". Psychol Med 18 (1): 113–20. doi:10.1017/S003329170000194X. PMID 3363031.
^ Garlipp, P; Godecke-Koch T, Dietrich DE, Haltenhof H. (January 2004). "Lycanthropy—psychopathological and psychodynamical aspects". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 109 (1): 19–22. doi:10.1046/j.1600-0447.2003.00243.x. PMID 14674954.
^ Steiger, B. (1999). The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink. ISBN 1-57859-078-7.
^ Eliade, Mircea (1965). Rites and Symbols of Initiation: the mysteries of birth and rebirth. Harper & Row.
^ Hamel, F. (1969). Human Animals, Werewolves & Other Transformations. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books. p. 15. ISBN 0-8216-0092-3.
^ Pijoan, T. (1992). White Wolf Woman & Other Native American Transformation Myths. Little Rock: August House. p. 79. ISBN 0-87483-200-4.
^ White, D.G. (1991). Myths of the Dog-Man. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-226-89509-2.
^ Cultural Life – Literature Turkey Interactive CD-ROM. Retrieved on 2007-08-11.
^ T.C. Kultur Bakanligi. Nevruz Celebrations in Turkey and Central Asia. Ministry of Culture, Republic of Turkey. Retrieved on 2007-08-11
^ Hamel, F. (1969). Human Animals, Werewolves & Other Transformations. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books. p. 21. ISBN 0-8216-0092-3.
^ Hess, Nina (2007). A Practical Guide to Monsters. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, Inc.. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7869-4809-3.
^ "Shapeshifters: Art Inspired by Animal-Human Transformation Myths, The Journal of Mythic Arts, 2003: http://www.endicott-studio.com/gal/gshifters.html
^ "The Artist as Shaman: Madness, Shapechanging and Art in Terri Windling's The Wood Wife" by Mary Nicole Sylvester, Mythic Passages, September/October 2003, The Mythic Imagination Institute.
^ Chantal Bourgault Du Coudray (2006). The Curse of the Werewolf: Fantasy, Horror and the Beast Within. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1845111583.
^ Cohen, D. (1996). Werewolves. New York: Penguin. p. 104. ISBN 0-525-65207-8.
^ Greene, Rosalyn (2000). The Magic of Shapeshifting. Weiser. p. 239. ISBN 1578631718.
^ Lupa (2007). A Field Guide to Otherkin. Immanion Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-905713-07-3.


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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:20 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otherkin

Otherkin are a community of people who identify themselves as non-human in all but outward form, contending that they are, in spirit if not in body, non-human animals or creatures traditionally associated with mythology or folklore. Belief in otherkin is related to the changeling concept.

The therian, vampire, and draconic subcultures are related to the otherkin community somewhat, and are considered part of it by most otherkin, but are culturally distinct movements of their own despite some overlap in membership.[1]

Some may claim to be able to shapeshift mentally — meaning that they may experience the sense of being in their particular form while not actually changing physically. The existence of Otherkin is variably explained as being made possible through reincarnation, having a nonhuman soul, ancestry, or symbolic metaphor.[1]

Otherkin identify with familiar creatures from mythology, folklore and religion along with various terrestrial animals: angels, demons, dragons, elves, fairies, sprites, aliens [2][3]

The oldest Internet resource for otherkin is the Elfinkind Digest; a mailing list started in 1990 by a student at the University of Kentucky for "elves and interested observers". Also in the early 1990s, newsgroups such as alt.horror.werewolves[4] and alt.fan.dragons on Usenet, which were initially created for fans of these creatures in the context of fantasy and horror literature and films, also developed followings of individuals who identified as mythological beings.[1][5]

On 6 February 1995, a document titled the "Elven Nation Manifesto" was posted to Usenet, including the groups alt.pagan and alt.magick. On Usenet itself, the document was universally panned and considered to be either a troll or an attempt to frame an innocent party. However, enough people contacted the original author of the Elven Nation post in good faith for a planned mailing list to spin off from it.[6]

The modern otherkin subculture grew out of these elven online communities of the early-to-mid-1990s[6], with the earliest recorded use of the term otherkin appearing in July of 1990 and the variant otherkind being reported as early as April 1990.[1]

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Len on Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:40 pm

The Forbidden Fruit


SYNOPSIS:

An investigation regarding three people in the Garden of Eden and the Forbidden fruit. The Forbidden fruit was consumed by Eve and Adam.


INVESTIGATION:

On Tuesday November 15, 2011, I was given an investigation to look into the matter of the Forbidden Fruit and the reason for its removal from its tree.

On Monday January 9, 7501 BC, an incident was reported inside the Garden of Eden regarding a missing piece of Forbidden Fruit.

On arrival, I met with Clarence who claimed to be an Angel Second Class however; this Angel did not possess any wings.

Clarence said that I had mistaken him for a distant relative by the name of Clarence Odbody would be born in May of 1654 and would help a ‘kind fella’ by the name of George Bailey in 1946 AD.

Clarence said that one of his many jobs in the Garden was to make sure everyone had food and water to drink which included all the trees in the Garden and just finished the task of helping Adam naming all the animals in the Garden.

He said it was difficult because he had to interpret the names from Adams grunts since Adam was having difficulty in his new speaking ability.

I then asked Clarence to take me to the location of the tree of Good and Evil. The tree was easily located at the center of the Garden, about 15 meters in height with leafy green leaves and bearing fruit ready for the harvest.

Once there, Clarence said that while he was checking on the tree and making sure it got watered, he noticed that one piece of fruit was missing from the tree. I then asked Clarence what he did next. Clarence said that the next thing he did was to look for it on the ground so he could turn it in so no one would be able to take it for personal use.

Clarence then said that during his search, he spotted Ladon, the Guardian Serpent just hanging around in the tree as he usually does. Clarence then said that he asked Ladon if he had seen the fruit. Ladon responded by saying that he might have just before climbing to higher branches. I thanked Clarence for his time and began looking for Ladon the Guardian Serpent.

After about 10 minutes of searching, I located Ladon high up in the tree relaxing. I called to Ladon and introduced myself and asked him what he was doing in the tree. Ladon’s answer was simply, ‘ what up’ and ‘just kickin’ it homes.’

I asked Ladon if he would answer a few questions for me in which Ladon only answered by a flick of his tail.

I then asked Ladon if he knew what happed to the missing fruit. Ladon responded by saying that he may know but that he didn’t see the actual taking of the missing fruit. I then asked Ladon what he saw. Ladon provided me with a verbal statement in which I read back to Ladon to verify its correctness.

Ladon said that on Monday January 9th at about 4:30 in the afternoon, some noise caught his attention. It was Eve running from the tree but thought nothing of it until she stopped near the ravine where she met with Adam who was trying to be careful not to be seen. Yeah he was trying to act all pimpin’ near the ravine. It wasn’t until about a minute or two later that I saw Eve open her hand and take a bite of a fruit but I couldn’t tell what kind it was. Eve then gave the fruit to Adam who also took a bit of the same fruit. A few seconds later, Adam began to get a woody and it occurred to me that the fruit was from this tree and the only thing I said after that was when I was yelling at God. I then asked Ladon what he yelled to God? Landon said he yelled to God saying ‘Hey God, there goes the hood’!!

I asked Ladon if there was anything else he wanted to say. Landon only said ‘I told God we needed a fence here but, did he listen?? NOOOOOO. Well I gotta go.

I then left the area and came to a campsite where I found Adam and Eve sitting next to a fire. I then introduced myself and told them that I was investigating the incident of the missing fruit. At first, both denied taking or eating the fruit. I told them that there may have been witnesses to the incident and that at least one witness places Eve near the tree and Adam near the ravine.

It was then that Adam blurted out that it was Eve who took the fruit and gave the fruit to him to eat. Eve then yelled at Adam, using a few choice words telling Adam that it was going to be a ‘cold day in hell’ before he got any ‘kitty’ from her. Adam responded by saying ‘that’s ok, Lilith was, hella better! It was at that point I left the both of them next to their cozy fire.


CONCLUSION:

Due to Ladon’s statement as well as Adam’s statement it can be argued that Eve took the fruit from the tree and both her and Adam consumed the fruit. Eve’s evasion in giving a statement on her own behalf would imply deception during the interview.

** Some information taken from Wikipedia for reference
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_fruit
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Barrister on Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:27 am

Oh well effing done Len

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:12 pm

Very cool Len. Now we have your cherry broke on posting, we expect more from you in the future

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:39 pm

One of the things I noticed in Marnie's shop was the statue of St. Death by her door, so I thought I would tell you a little about this image and how it is used in magik and the occult.

Santa Muerte is a sacred figure venerated in Mexico, probably a syncretism between Mesoamerican and Catholic beliefs. The name literally translates to "Holy Death" or "Saint Death." Mexican culture since the pre-Columbian era has maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread Mexican celebration of the syncretic Day of the Dead. Catholic elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality.

Santa Muerte generally appears as a skeletal figure, clad in a long robe and carrying one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe. The robe is most often white, but images of the figure vary widely from person to person and according to the rite being performed or the petition of the devotee. As the cult of Santa Muerte was secret until recently, most prayers and other rites are done privately in the home. However, for the past ten years or so, worship has become more public, especially in Mexico City. The cult is condemned by the Catholic Church in Mexico, but it is firmly entrenched among Mexico’s lower classes and criminal worlds.

Mesoamerica had always maintained a certain reverence towards death, which manifested itself among the religious practices of ancient Mexico, including in the Aztec religion. Death became personified in Aztec and other cultures in the form of humans with half their flesh missing, symbolizing the duality of life and death. The Aztecs inherited from their ancestors the gods Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl, the lord and lady of Mictlan, the realm of the dead, who died of natural causes. In order for the deceased to be accepted into Mictlan, offerings to the lord and lady were necessary. Many of the offerings given then are the same as those offered to Santa Muerte today. In European Christian tradition, many paintings used skeletons to symbolize human mortality and the illusion associated with earthly life. According to INAH researcher Elsa Malvido Miranda, the worship of skeletal figures has precedent in Europe during times of epidemics. These skeletal figures would be dressed up as royalty with scepters and crowns, seated on thrones to symbolize the triumph of death. In Latin America, the skeleton was used to remind Catholics of the need for a "good death," (muerte santa) fully confessed of sins. Bones are also associated with certain saints, such as San Pascual Bailón in Chiapas. The Catholic Church has a long history of venerating the bones of saints.

Santa Muerte is referred to by a number of other names such as Señora de las Sombras ("Lady of the Shadows"), Señora Blanca ("White Lady"), Señora Negra ("Black Lady"), Niña Santa ("Holy Girl"), and La Flaca ("The Skinny One"). Images of Santa Muerte are generally individualistic and personal. No two are exactly the same. Sizes vary immensely from small images held in one hand to those requiring a pickup truck to move. Some people even have the image tattooed on their bodies. The appearance of the "Black Lady", "White Lady", etc. vary, but all are dressed either in long robes or (less commonly) long dresses, covered from head to feet with only the face and hands showing. This symbolizes how people hide their true selves from the rest of the world. The robe or dress covers the skeletal figure like flesh covers the bones of the living. Both are said eventually to fall away. The most common image is Santa Muerte in a robe, with a scythe in the right hand and the globe in the left. The robed image of Santa Muerte looks a bit like that of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. However, there are many variations of the robe’s color, and what Santa Muerte holds in her hands. Interpretations of the robe color and carried objects can vary as well.

In Marnie's statue, the statue is dressed in gold and holds a triangle, which in some occult practices denotes a doorway into the world of the dead or even an association with darker, baleful magik.

The two most common objects that Santa Muerte carries are a scythe and a globe. The scythe can symbolize the cutting of negative energies or influences. Also, as a harvesting tool, it can symbolize hope and prosperity. It can represent the moment of death, when a scythe is said to cut a silver thread. Sort of like the Norns of Swedish mythology or the three Fatum of Roman mythology. The scythe has a long handle, indicating that it can reach anywhere. The globe represents Death’s dominion, and can be seen as a kind of a tomb to which we all return. Having the world in her hand also symbolizes vast power. This image is also seen in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, as he is one of the horsemen who ride out to gather the souls and bring them before God for judgement... In European traditions, he is called the Mower and he cuts down your life and gathers it up to either go to heaven or to hell.

The image is dressed differently depending on what is being requested. Usually, the vestments of the image are differently colored robes, but it is not unknown for the image to be dressed as a bride (for those seeking a husband) or even in a colonial-era nun's habit. Associations between colors and petitions vary. White is the most common color and can symbolize loyalty, purity or the cleansing of negative influences. Red garb is for love and passion with partner and/or family. It can also signal emotional stability. Gold-colored robes indicate economic power, success, money and prosperity. Green garb signals justice or unity with loved ones. Amber or dark yellow indicates health or money. Images with this color can be seen in rehabilitation centers, especially those for drug addiction and alcoholism. In black garb, the image represents total protection against black magic or sorcery, or conversely for negative magic or for force or power. Blue garb indicates wisdom, which is favored by students and those in education. It can also be used to indicate health. Brown robes are used to invoke spirits from beyond and purple robes indicate the need to open some kind of pathway. There is also a version of the image in a rainbow-colored robe. This is called the Santa Muerte of the Seven Powers. The colors of this robe are gold, silver, copper, blue, purple, red and green. Gold is for wealth, red for love and passion, purple for the changing of negative to positive, silver for luck and success, green for justice, copper for lifting negative spirits, and blue for spirituality. In addition to the vestments, each adorns his or her own image in his or her own way, using U.S. dollars, gold coins, jewelry and other items.

Santa Muerte also has a “saint's day.” Most often this is cited as November 1, and the image is dressed as a bride. However, some celebrate her day on August 15. August 15th is the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Other objects that can appear with an image of Santa Muerte include scales, an hourglass, an owl, and/or an oil lamp. The scales allude to equity, justice and impartiality, as well as divine will. An hourglass indicates the time of life on earth. It also represents the belief that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of something new, as the hourglass can be turned to start over. The hourglass denotes Santa Muerte’s relationship with time as well as with the worlds above and below. It also symbolizes patience. An owl symbolizes her ability to navigate the darkness and her wisdom. The owl is also said to act as a messenger. A lamp symbolizes intelligence and spirit, to light the way through the darkness of ignorance and doubt.

Often, Santa Muerte stands near statues of Catholic images of Jesus, the Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Peter, or St. Lazarus. In the north of Mexico, Santa Muerte is venerated alongside Jesús Malverde, with altars containing both frequently found in drug busts. However, some warn that Santa Muerte is very jealous and that her image should not be placed next to Catholic saints or there will be consequences.

The cult of Santa Muerte attracts those who are not inclined to seek the traditional Catholic Church for spiritual solace, as it is part of the "legitimate" sector of society. Most followers of Santa Muerte live on the margin of the law or outside it entirely. Many drug traffickers, mobile vendors, taxi drivers, vendors of pirated merchandise, street people, prostitutes, pickpockets and gang members are not very religious, but neither are they atheists. In essence, they have created their own religion that reflects their realities, identity and practices, especially since it reflects the violence and struggles for life that many of these people face.

Devotion to Santa Muerte is what anthropologists call a “cult of crisis.” Devotion to the image peaks during economic and social hardships, which tend to affect the lower classes more. Most new religious beliefs start with the lower classes, as they offer a spiritual way out of hardship. Santa Muerte tends to attract those in extremely difficult or hopeless situations. Experts say that residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods such as Mexico City's Tepito have begun to revere Santa Muerte more than Jesus. Some of her most devoted followers are prostitutes, pickpockets, petty thieves and drug traffickers, associated with economic crimes often done out of desperation. A larger group of believers are poor people who are not necessarily criminals, but the public belief in her by drug traffickers and other criminals has associated her with crime, especially organized crime.

While the cult is most firmly based in poor neighborhoods, Santa Muerte is not unknown in upper class areas such as Mexico City's Condesa and Coyoacán districts. However, the cult's negative image in the rest of society has an effect. With the exception of some artists and politicians, some of whom perform rituals secretly, those in higher socioeconomic strata look upon the cult with distaste as a form of superstition.

Mexican authorities have linked the worship of Santa Muerte to prostitution, drug trafficking, kidnapping, smuggling and homicides. Criminals, among her most fervent believers, are likely to pray to her for successful conclusion of a job as well as escaping from the police or jail. In the north of Mexico, she is venerated along with Jesús Malverde, the so called “Saint of Drug Traffickers.” Altars with images of Santa Muerte have been found in many drug houses in both Mexico and the United States. Among two of Santa Muerte’s more famous devotees are kidnapper Daniel Arizmendi López, known as El Mochaorejas, and Gilberto García Mena, one of the bosses of the Gulf Cartel. She is considered to be the “Virgin of the Incarcerated.” Many of those who enter prison in Mexico without believing in her, come to do so after a number of months. Many cells have images of Santa Muerte in different forms. Conversely, however, both police and military in Mexico can be counted among the faithful who ask for blessings on their weapons and ammunition.

As noted above, the cult's roughly two million adherents are mostly in Mexico State, Guerrero, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Campeche, Morelos and Mexico City, with a recent spread to Nuevo León. However, Santa Muerte can be found throughout Mexico and now in parts of the United States.

Culled from Wiki and Rosemary Ellen Guiley's Encyclopedia of the Saints and Santeria and Its Practice


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Rosaries

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:09 pm

I wanted to do a write up about this because Lafayette is often seen wearing a rosary and the witches this past season were wearing rosaries in some scenes.

Used by many faiths and spiritual practices, the rosary is a series of beads, stones or knots to help the faithful keep track of prayers. It is used by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and some Pagan religions. They have also been known to be used by Native Americans particularly the Shawnee.

Muslims call their rosary (which means string of roses) the Mishbaha. They are commonly referred to as worry beads by Westerners. Each bead contains the name of Allah and a principle of Islam. The recitation of the Mishbaha is meant to help the user remember the tenets of the faith and to open the mind to the voice of Allah who reveals all. It is said Mohammed actually did this on his fingers and some strict Muslims eschew the use of the beads as a sort of vanity though it is still popular among the Sufi.

Buddhists and Hindus use the Mala, which are used for mediation and to recite mantras from holy writings. They also use the Mala to enumerate and pray for weaknesses of character or sin, The Mala can be a long string of beads as seen on Buddhist monks or they can be a short hand held strand like the Mishbaha.

Native Americans used a string of beads or fetish images with symbols for protection or strength during physical trials or spiritual journeys. They are usually made by the shaman and are different from person to person. After the trial or journey, the rosary may be ceremonially destroyed or it may be kept in a charm bag by the user.

A Witch Ladder is a sort of rosary used by Pagans and Witches. A Witch Ladder is a series of spells and intentions. A length of cord is knotted with a certain number of knots and each knot may be tied around a piece of paper with a prayer or a stick of a certain tree, a stone, a charm, or flower or herb or it may simply be a number of knots with the spell tied up inside it by the witch to be released as needed. When all the intentions are met, the witch may disassemble the ladder ritualistically or otherwise destroy the ladder. In some witch lore, the witch ladder was made up for sailors who would need to either to raise a wind or the calm one down, since witches are thought to control the weather.

In Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity, the rosary is a string of 59 beads with a crucifix and center piece. The rosary has five basic prayers: The Apostle's Creed, the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel, The Our Father, The Hail Mary, and The Glory Be. On certain days of the week, the rosary is used to recount the lives of Jesus and Mary in series of remembrances called the Mysteries: The Glorious, the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Luminous mysteries.

Chaplets are shorter versions of the rosary and they address a certain saint.

There are many reasons one might wear the rosary. For the faithful, they are an outward symbol of faith and can be used as a talisman for protection. Others may wear them as fashion, like Madonna or Billy Idol did in the 80's or the girls in The Craft. Others may wear them in rebellion. Among some Latinos and prison groups, they can be worn as a gang symbol of affiliation, particularly if they are of a certain color.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-03-16-rosaries-gangs_N.htm
http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/rosaries_a_popular_gang_tool_but_not_ususally_for_prayer/

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=98158
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061115180717AAlIWe1

http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f49/rosary-not-just-fashion-item-10020.html

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Barrister on Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:46 pm

I think this is the most well developed and detailed mythology thread I have ever seen on a forum or informational site, I can't imagine that anyone could claim ignorance of the mythology of our favorite show after they have had a taste of this thread....Well done sweetheart and well done to everyone who contributes

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:17 pm

Very very well thought out and explained meanings and uses for rosaries, thank you ever so much Aslinn! Your a gem as always. What I personally always appreciate is that no matter how it comes, when it relates to religion, I see it as always coming back to ways we can relate to each other as human beings and not seperating us. To me, thats the most precious and useful message of all in the information. Thanks luv, your a doll. cheers
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Santa Muerte

Post  Len on Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:41 pm

Santa Muerte

To people who believe in Santa Muerte, this is a REAL saint. People who believe in Santa Muerte, associate this saint with the Catholic Church in Mexico and the prayers which are done are similar to praying to any other saint with the exception of the type of prayers... Santa Muerte can grant favors that no other saint can, such as cause a person to fall in love with you, damage property, or even harm or cause the death of someone, but only in the name of justice (how it's interpreted by the person praying)

Mexican authorities have linked the worship of Santa Muerte to prostitution, drug trafficking, kidnapping, smuggling and homicides. Criminals, among her most fervent believers, are likely to pray to her for successful conclusion of a job as well as escaping from the police or jail. In the north of Mexico, she is venerated along with Jesús Malverde, the so called “Saint of Drug Traffickers.” Altars with images of Santa Muerte have been found in many drug houses in both Mexico and the United States.

A side note: The existence of Malverde a.k. 'El Rey de Sinaloa' is not historically verified, but according to local legends he was a bandit killed by the authorities on May 3, 1909. He has earned a Robin Hood-type image, making him popular among Sinaloa's poor highland residents. The outlaw image has caused him to be adopted as the "patron saint" of the region's illegal drug trade, and the press have thus dubbed him "the narco-saint."

You've probably seen TV shows about law enforcement and how they go about their business, not knowing what waits for them at the next call or around the next corner... well I can tell you this because of my experience, when I walk up on someone where I work and I see keychains, t-shirts, jewelry or other items which have Santa Muerte on them, I know that their expectation of me or my well being is diminished and could lead to me getting hurt. One of the main reasons for this is that most who wear the saint mostly see themselves as 'invisible' to people who could harm them or send them to jail or prison.

It has also been my experience that if a vehicle has an article of the saint, you'll most likely find drugs or stolen items in the car. Well, it's time for me to get back to work... popcorn

Thought I would add the link to the article...Thanks Len for the goodies.....

http://truebloodanonymous.forumotion.com/t9p200-mythology-of-true-blood-and-the-sookie-books#1657
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:10 am

Very well done, thank you sweety!
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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Barrister on Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:11 am

Well done mate....And a great addition to Aslinn's article.....

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks Len for your insight...

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:31 pm

Asatru- The Neo-Pagan Nordic Religion

While the religion of the ancient Norse people is lost to us, just as Celtic and other tribal and clannish religions, we do have a new or Neo- Pagan version of the practices of the early Norse. Called Asatru, meaning Faith, the religion basically tries to follow the various feasts and practices that are noted in the Sagas and Eddas of Scandinavia. It is more popularly seen in the United States but there are Heathen groups in Scandinavia and Germany.

Also called Odinism, the practitioners call upon the gods and goddesses of the Norse pantheon and celebrate what they call blots. These blots more or less follow the wheel of the year in Celtic based religions and they have a ceremony consistent with the practice of cakes and ale or holy communion called a sumbel.

The leader of their religious celebrations are called Gothar, which is basically priest.

It has a great appeal and is elastic enough for personal interpretation. There are basic tenets of the faith and they encourage extensive scholarship and study. It is not magik centered but there are some elements of the rituals which do imply the use the magik if passively or through prayer alone with little in the way of tools, like wands or athames or candles.

They embrace a warrior's concept of honor and they live by the notion that through bravery and courage and a sort of chivalry, the believer will be honored by the gods and rewarded with an afterlife in Valhalla.

One of the troubling aspects of Asatru is the attachment of the religion by white supremacist groups and this has caused multiple rifts in the organized groups trying to promote the faith, so much so the original founder disbanded his original group and reorganized it with a clearer outline for the faith. Basically the argument consists of questions concerning who can actually follow the Neo-Norse faith. There are those who believe only those of Nordic racial background: basically Scandinavians and Germans. Others however believe the closeness one feels toward the gods of the Norse pantheon is the only requirement to become a follower of Asatru.


AlThings-Past, Present and Future
By Valgard Murray

The Thing is defined by The Dictionary of Northern Mythology as "The legislative and executive assembly of free men in Germanic antiquity...In the free state of Iceland the Althing was the latter day successor of the Germanic Thing and was a proper legislative and jurisdictional parliament...."

Ancient Althings

We know from numerous ancient accounts that our ancestors held the legislative body known as the Thing to be sacred. The Germans, according to Tacitus, allowed the whole community to debate major isues at the assembly where the priests were in charge of the proceedings. Tacitus wrote in The Germania, "The Assembly is competent also to hear criminal charges, especially those involving the risk of capital punishment. The mode of execution varies according to the offense. Traitors and deserters are hanged on trees; cowards, shirkers, and sodomites are pressed down under a wicker hurdle into the slimy mud of a bog...Less serious offenses, too, have penalties proportioned to them. The man who is found guilty has to pay a fine of so many horses or cattle, part of which goes to the king or the state, part to the victim of the wrongful act or to his relatives."

We also know that the Thing elected judges and magistrates to administer justice in the villages. Also, the Thing was the proper place to present a young man with his weapons, a public recognition of his manhood.

The Swedish Thing had the power to elect or depose a King. With the final evolution of the thing principal in Iceland, they extended the mandate of the Thing to become a governmental body of freemen. The concept of Lords and Kings had now become obsolete.

By the time that Tacitus wrote of the Germans in the year 348 Runic Era, it is clear that the concept of the Thing, and its sanctity in the culture of the Germanic people was already quite ancient. So one would surmise that the ideal of self government, the sacred respect for tribal law, and the sacredness of the Thing itself, evolves from the primal past of our ancestors. Only the ancestral soul knows how long our Folk practiced self rule.

Ancient Thing sites have been identified in Continental Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, and many of the North Sea Islands peopled by our Folk. Most often they were marked with a circle of stones. The old accounts tell us that the actual Thing site was protected by a marked boundary. Most often a rope was used, perhaps strung around poles. Once you entered the Thing boundary, you were bound by tribal law to respect the proceedings and conduct yourself in such a way that lent dignity and decorum to the proceedings.

Some of the most well known Thing sites of ancient times are; Frosta and Gula in Norway; Uppsala and Skara in Sweden; and Viborg and Oresund in Denmark, The most well known of such sites though is Thingvellir in Iceland. Located about 25 miles East of Reykjavik, it is a National Park and fully protected for future generations.

In the book Thingvellir written by Thorsteinn Gudjunsson, he defines the three main
factors that constitute a valid Thing;

1. The recitation of the Law, the pronouncement of sentences, issuance of
summons, and public announcements.
2. Judicial proceedings and decisions about the validity of Law, and the Law
Council.
3. The audience of Thing people (the Folk).

The first AlThing was held at Thingvellir in the year 1180 Runic Era, and was believed to be a continuation of the Norwegian Thing presided over by Law Speaker, Thorleif the Wise. The three Icelanders who were given credit for the founding of the AlThing in Iceland are; Ulfljotr, Goat hair, and Thorsteinn Ingolfsson who was the son of the first settler of Iceland.

The judicial body that composed the first AlThing was the Gothar of Iceland who sent 36 of their number to form the first law body. This was after the custom of the Norwegians, except in Norway, Jarls and Chiefs shared the law making decisions with the Gothar. In Iceland, it would be different. Thus the Godic Republic was born. Free of the fetters of Kings, Earls, and the wealthy who had taken control of the law from the people earlier on.

The first order of business at the first Icelandic AlThing, was to choose a Law Speaker. Of special note was the first law passed, which prohibited warships from scaring the Land Spirits with their dragon head prows.

The ancient AlThing was called to order by the Allsherjargothi. This means "every man's priest". The Allsherjargothi was considered first among equals. But other than opening the AlThing with Blot, he had no more power or duties than any of the other members of the Gothar. Although we do not know for sure which of the High Ones was honored with Blot at the Icelandic AlThings, place names survive to this day in Norway and Sweden which attest to Njord's, Freyr's, and Tyr's Law being in force in local districts.

The Icelandic Althings soon progressed into both a judicial and legislative body which became the government of Iceland. This historical feat was unprecedented anywhere else in the Northern world, and became the model for later AlThings in Greenland and Vinland. I have no doubt in my mind that the Constitution and form of the government of the United States is soundly based upon the principles of the early Heathen AlThings, not upon the monarchies and king's law espoused in the Christian bible. That the law of the United States is founded upon Semitic law is one of the biggest lies ever told.

Although the Godic republic thrived for thirty years in Iceland, this all came to an end with the coming of Christianity. King Olaf of Norway seized a number of hostages, the children of many of the leading citizens of Iceland. He sent word to the AlThing of 1250 Runic Era, that unless the Thing recognized Christianity as legal and above par with Asatru in Iceland, he would execute the children.

After days of heated debate, the AlThing delegates came to a compromise which would make Christianity the religion of Iceland, but at the same time allowing private worship of the old Gods. A few years later, with Christians in firm control, they made it the death penalty for anyone to worship the old Gods even in private. Asatru then went underground, and the Godic Republic effectively died.

In Iceland they still call their legislative body the AlThing, and it is the oldest continuous legislative body on the planet. Such is the legacy of our ancestors.

Present Day Althing

With the rebirth of Asatru in Europe around the beginning of this century, AlThings were once again held by the Folk. Not much is known about the revival of this most important gathering of the Folk, but the bombs and bullets of World War two soon silenced the new Thing Speakers. Asatru went underground again for a short period of time.

In the year 2238 Runic Era, Asatru was revived both in Vinland and Iceland by pioneers of the Folk. Stephen McNallen in Vinland and Sveinbjorn Benteinsson in Iceland began to publicly worship the old Gods and Goddesses and proclaimed to the Folk that Asatru Lives!

In Iceland, Sveinbjorn and Thorsteinn Gudjonsson went to the Icelandic Government and demanded that Asatru be recognized by the AlThing. After some predictable political maneuvering, and a lightening bolt striking the Minister of Religious Affair house (lightening is very rare in Iceland), Asatru was recogized as the official religion of Iceland on equal par with the other state religion, Lutheranism.

At the same time in Vinland, Steve McNallen, soon joined by Maddy Hutter and a handful of other Asatruar, worked to formulate and rebuild a religion long thought dead, burned, and buried. By diligently studying the ancient Sagas, Eddas, and supporting historical documents, Steve was able to piece together much of the lore and heritage of the past and document it for study and practice by modern day Asatruar. The Asatru Free Assembly was born.

In the year 2230 Runic Era, Steve announced plans for the First Annual AlThing of the AFA which was held in Northern California. This first national gathering of the Folk became a tradition which continues to this very day. Although the AlThings of the AFA were not really AlThings in the true sense of the word, there was no reading of the Law and no legislative body, there were members of the Folk present, so it was a good start.

At the AFA AlThings, there were Blots, formal Feasts, Sumbels, Ceremonies of the Folk, seminars, guided meditations, skaldic contests, and many other activities which made them both historic and memorable occasions. They could be favorably compared to the Folk Moots originally produced by the Odinist Fellowship, and later by the Arizona Kindred and Thorr's Hammer Kindred. There have been other regional gatherings which have been organized by independent Asatru groups and called AlThings, but they did not fit the criteria of an AlThing, so are in effect Moots. I'm sure there will be others who mistakenly call their getherings AlThings in the future, but are in effect holding Moots. This error on their behalf should be brought to their attention.

In the year 2237, the Asatru Free Assembly was dissolved. This was not the end of Althings, though, but really the beginning. Seven surviving Kindreds of the late AFA worked together to continue the AlThings and the religion of Asatru in Vinland. In the late Summer of 2237 they drafted a set of By Laws which in effect would become the first set of codified Asatru Laws in Vinland. They then invited every known Asatruar in the country to an AlThing to legally discuss and then vote upon these proposed set of By Laws.

On Midyear 18, 2238 R.E. AlThing 8 was formally opened with a Tyr Blot performed by Valgard Murray and Thorsteinn Thorarinsson. This first true AlThing in Vinland was called to order by an elected Thing Speaker. A delegate was chosen to sit on the Thing council from each Kindred present, and then the proposed By Laws were read, debated, and then voted upon. Asatru history was made the day that the Asatru Alliance was founded and The Annual AlThing of the Asatru Alliance of Independent Kindreds continues to this day.

While the Thing is the most important business of the AlThing gathering, and takes precedence over any other activity, time allowing, there are also many other religious, cultural, social, sporting, and other events at a modern day AlThing. It is without a doubt the largest and most important Asatru gathering in Vinland.

Althings of the Future

As Asatru continues to evolve, so does the AlThing. As the ancestral Soul of our Folk strengthens, so will the devotion and dedication of the Folk. What once was a loose confederation of independent Kindreds, is now a closely knit Asatru Community developing its own traditions and heritage as it grows. The true Gothar of the Asatru Community are working together to build the Nation of Odin, and prepare the Folk for the Wolf Age soon to come.

I see in the future, the rebirth of the Godic Republic here in Vinland, with the AlThing as the legislative and judicial body as in times of old. I see the Nation of Odin growing and prospering as the Folk return to their ancient and sacred ways, and I see the Gods and Goddesses of Asgard pouring their blessings upon the Folk once again.



Runic Era Calender
Feast Days and Days of Observance

This Asatru Calendar has been prepared to aid members of the Asatru Faith properly schedule Feast Days and days of mandatory ritual observance. Some Feast Days may be observed on the nearest Saturday to the actual observance. However, the High Feast days of Ostara, Midyear, Winter Finding, and Yule must be observed on the listed dates because of their solar significance. NOTE: This is year 2012 CE

Snowmoon / January

Snowmoon 3,
Charming of the Plow: This is the date of an agricultural ritual performed in Northern Europe from ancient times. Grains and cakes were offered for the soil’s fertility, and the Sky Father and Earth Mother were invoked to that end. Meditate upon your dependence on the soil, and crumble upon the earth a piece of bread as you call upon Odin, Frigga and the Land Spirits to heal the Earth and keep it from harm.

Snowmoon 9,
Day of Remembrance for Raud the Strong: Raud was a landowner in Norway who was put to death by (St.) Olaf Tryggvason for his loyalty to Asatru by having a snake forced down his throat. Rauds lands were then confiscated in the name of the king and his monks. Raise a horn in honor of Raud and all of his kinsmen who gave their lives, rather then submit to the enforced love of the kristjan empire.

Snowmoon 14,
Thorrablot: This holiday began the Old Norse month of Snorri. It is still observed in Iceland with parties and a mid-winter feast. It is of course sacred to Thorr and the ancient Icelandic Winter Spirit of Thorri. On this day we should perform blot to Thorr and invite the mighty Asaman to the feast.

Horning / February

Horning 2,
Barri: This is the day we celebrate the wooing by Ingvi Freyr of the maiden Gerd, a symbolic marriage of the Vanir God of Fertility with the Mother Earth. It is a festival of fertility, the planted seed and the plowed furrow. For those of you who garden, this is the time to plant seeds indoors, to later be transplanted in the summer garden.

Horning 9,
Day of Remembrance for Eyvind Kinnrifi: Olaf tortured him to death by placing a bowl of red-hot embers on his stomach until his body burst open. Eyvind’s crime was a steadfast loyalty to the Old Gods. A good day to reflect on kristjan kindness.

Horning 14,
Feast of Vali: This feast originally celebrated the death of Hothr at the hands of Vali. This late winter festival relates to the triumphant return of the light of the sun over the dark days of winter. Today it is traditional celebration of the family. A time for the customary exchange of cards and gifts with loved ones. It is also a time for the renewal of marriage vows and an occasion for marriages.

Lenting / March

Lenting 9,
Day of Remembrance for Oliver the Martyr: He was an adherent of Asatru who persisted in organizing underground sacrifices to the Gods and Goddesses despite decrees by St Olaf the Lawbreaker forbidding such activities. Betrayed by an informer, he was killed by Olaf’s men while preparing for the Spring sacrifice in the village of Maerin Norway. Many other men whose names are lost to us were also killed, mutilated, or exiled for taking part in such sacrifices.

Lenting 20,
High Feast of Ostara: This is the Spring Equinox. The end of Winter and the beginning of the season of rebirth. Today we honor Frigga, Freya and Nerthus with blot and feast. Pour a libation of mead onto the Earth; celebrate the rebirth of nature, Asatru, and the new hopes of our Folk.

Lenting 28,
Ragnar Lodbrok Day: Ragnar was one of the legends most famous Vikings. On this day in Runic Year 1145 he raided Paris. It just happened to be Easter Sunday. Today toast Ragnar and read from his Saga.

Ostara / April

Ostara 9,
Day of Remembrance for Jarl Hakon of Norway: As ruler of the western part of the realm, Hakon restored the worship of the Old Gods and cast out the alien religion. In the process, the common folk regained political liberties which were erased under the kristjan yoke, and the flame of our Troth burned brighter in an era of gathering gloom. It may be that Hakon’s defense of our ancestral ways helped encourage the survival of our traditions in Iceland, where they eventually became the seeds of modern day Asatru. On this day reflect on how the actions of the individual can impact world events and the future of Odinn’s Nation.

Ostara 15,
Sigrblot/Sumarsdag: Today we celebrate the first day of Summer in the Old Icelandic calendar. In Iceland it had strong agricultural overtones, but elsewhere in the Nordic world, it was a time to sacrifice to Odinn for victory in the summer voyages and battles.

Ostara 22,
Yggdrasil Day: On this day we realize the great significance that the World Tree plays in our culture, heritage, and native spirituality. It is from the World Tree that we came, and it shelters and nurtures the Asatru today, and will offer refuge to the Folk come Ragnarok. Trees are the lungs as well as the soul of Midgard. Plant a tree today, nurture it, and protect it. In this act the Folk must abide.

Ostara 30,
Walburg: this is better known as Walpurgisnacht or May Eve. Walberg is a goddess of our folk combining some of the traits of Her better-known peers. Reflect on this day on Freya, Hel, and Frigga as the repository of the glorious dead, and you will have an idea of Wulburg’s nature. On this day pour a horn of mead upon the earth in memory of our heroes.

Merrymoon / May

Merrymoon 1,
May Day: The first of May is a time of great celebration all across Europe, as the fields get greener and the flowers decorate the landscape with colorful confusion. Freya turns her kindly face to us after the night of Walburg. Celebrate the birth of Spring and the gifts of Freya on this day.

Merrymoon 9,
Day of Remembrance for Guthroth: One of the upland minor kings. Guthroth had to the audacity to make a speech opposing the policies of Olaf Tryggvason, who at the time was busy killing people who did not want to become kristjans. For exercising his Gods given rights to worship his tribal Gods, Guthroth was captured and his tongue was cut out. Use your tongue for the Gods today! Sing their praises and recite some heroic poetry, tell someone of the Gods glory, and call a kinsman to keep in touch.

Merrymoon 20,
Frigga Blot: Today we rejoice in the warmth and splendor of Spring. A traditional time for a Kindred campout, perform blot to honor the AllMother and thank Her for the health and vitality of the Family, Kindred and Tribe.

Midyear / June

Midyear 8,
Lindisfarne Day: On this day in the year 1043 Runic Era (793 CE) three Viking ships raided the Isle of Lindisfarne, officially opening what is the Viking Age. Toast these brave warriors who began the noble resistance of the alien invasion of the Northlands and sought rightful revenge for the slaughter of the Saxons by Charlamange.

Midyear 9,
Day of Remembrance for Sigurd the Volsung: He is the model Germanic hero. His wooing of the Valkyrie Brynhild, the winning of the treasure of the Nibelungs, and the constant theme of Odinic initiation that weaves itself throughout his story are priceless parts of our Asatru heritage, that provide endless material for contemplation and inspiration for action.

Midyear 19,
Asatru Alliance Founding Day: On this date 2238 R.E. seven Kindreds of the former Asatru Free Assembly joined together by ratifying a set of By Laws to preserve and continue to promote the cause of the AFA and Asatru in Vinland. On this day reflect on just what YOU can do to preserve our Folk Ways.

Midyear 21,
Midsummer: This is the longest day and the shortest night of the year: Now Sunna begins its ling decline, sliding into the darkness which will culminate six months from now at Yule. Identifying the sun with the brightness of Baldur, we celebrate in honor of both. Hold blot to Baldur and High Feast. This was the traditional time for holding the AlThing in ancient times.

Haymoon / July

Haymoon 4,
Founder’s Day: On this day we honor the unselfish personal sacrifice and unswerving dedication to our Folk exemplified by the founders of modern era Asatru, H. Rud Mills of Australia, Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson and Thorsteinn Guthjonson of Iceland. On this day reflect on just what YOU can do to promote the growth of our ancestral religion and protect our sacred heritage and traditions.

Haymoon 9,
Day of Remembrance for Unn the Deep Minded: Unn was a powerful figure from the Laxdaela Saga who emigrated to Scotland to avoid the hostility of King Harald Finehair. She established dynasties in the Orkney and Faroe Islands by carefully marrying off her grand daughters. As a settler in Iceland she continued to exhibit all those traits which were her hallmark-strong will, a determination to control, dignity, and a noble character. In the last days of her life, she established a mighty line choosing one of her grandsons as her heir. She died during his wedding celebration, presumable accomplishing her goals and worked out her orlog here in Midgard. She received a typical Nordic ship burial, surrounded by her treasure and her reputation for great deeds.

Haymoon 29,
Stikklestad Day: Olaf the Lawbreaker (“St. Olaf”) was killed at the battle of Stikklestad on this date in the year 1280 R.E. Olaf acquired a reputation for killing, maiming, and exiling his fellow Norwegians who would not convert to Christianity, and for carrying an army with him in violation of the law to help him accomplish his oppression. Today honor the Asatru martyrs who died rather then submit to gray slavery. Also honor the warriors who brought justice to the Lawbreaker.

Harvest / August

Harvest 9,
Day of Remembrance for Radbod: On this date we honor Radbod a king of Frisia what was an early target kristjan missionaries. Just before his baptism ceremony, he asked the clergy what fate his befallen ancestors who died loyal to Asatru. The missionaries replied that Radbod’s Heathen ancestors were burning in Hell-to which the king replied: “Then I will rather live there with my ancestors than go to heaven with a parcel of beggars.” The baptism was cancelled, the aliens expelled, and Frisia remained free. Drink a horn this day in memory of Radbod.

Harvest 19,
Freyfaxi: Freyfaxi marked the time of the harvest in ancient Iceland. Today the Asatru observe this date as a celebration of their harvest with blot to Freyr and a grand Feast from the gardens and the fields.

Shedding / September

Shedding 9,
Day of Remembrance for Herman of the Cherusci: Few mortals have privileged to serve our Folk as did Herman, a leader of the tribe called the Cherusci. We he defeated Varus’ three Roman Legions in 9 C.E. he blocked our amalgamation into the Mediterranean morass. Herman was very aware of his duties not only as a member of his tribe but also as an Asaman - indeed the two were probably inseparable with him. Shedding is the ideal time to give him praise, because the crucial battle for which he is remembered was fought during this month.

Shedding 23,
Winter Finding: The Fall Equinox; Summer and Winter balance for a moment and the cold, old man wins - for now. Brace yourself for longer nights and the onset, eventually, of the cold and darkness of Winter. Do blot to Odin for inspiration to get through your personal lean times, whenever they may strike. This is the traditional time for Fall Fest and the Second Harvest Feast.

Hunting / October

Hunting 8,
Day of Remembrance for Erik the Red: Praise the stalwart founder of Greenland, and father of Leif, the founder of Vinland. Erik remained loyal to Thor even when his wife left the Gods and refused to sleep with her Heathen husband. Pause in memory of Erik today; drink a toast to his honor. No doubt he gets enough warmth in Har’s Hall to make up for his wife’s coldness.

Hunting 9,
Day of Remembrance for Leif Erikson: this is a day that even the U.S. Government admits who should dedicate to the man who beat Columbus to the shores of Vinland by over 500 years. Don’t let it slide quietly - write your local newspapers and share the word of the Norse colonies with neighbors and friends.

Hunting 14,
Winter Nights/Vetrablot: In the Old Icelandic Calendar, winter begins on the Satyrday between Hunting 11th and 17th. Winter Nights celebrates the bounty of the harvest and honors Freya and the fertility and protective spirits called Disir, that She leads (often the Disir are seen as our female ancestors). Give glory to Freya and pour a libation of ale, milk, or mead into the soil an offering to the Disir and the Earth itself.

Fogmoon / November

Fogmoon 9,
Day of Remembrance for Queen Sigrith of Sweden: When Olaf the Lawbreaker had been king of Norway for three years, he asked Queen Sigrith of Sweden to marry him. She agreed, but when he insisted that she give up her ancestral Gods Sigrith replied, “I do not mean to abandon the faith I have led, and my kinsmen before me. Nor shall I object to your belief in the god you prefer.” As usual Heathen tolerance was met with kristjan imprecations and a blow to the face. The wedding was off - depriving Olaf of political power that could have sped the christianization of Scandinavia. As it were, history tells us that the Heathens held on for over 300 more years in the Northlands. Hail Sigrith, defender of Asatru, and women of stubborn virtue!

Fogmoon 11,
Feast of the Einherjar: The chosen heroes who sit in Odin’s Hall are the Einherjar. Today we honor those dead kin who gave their lives for Family and Folk. If you have friends or family who died in battle, visit their graves today, if that is not possible, drink a libation in their memory.

Fogmoon 23,
Feast of Ullr: The Feast of Ullr is to celebrate the Hunt and to gain personal luck needed for success. Weapons are dedicated on this day to Ullr, God of the Bow. If your hunting arms were blessed by the luck of the God of the Hunt, your family and tribe shared the bounty with a Blot and Feast to Ullr.

Yule / December

Yule 9,
Day of Remembrance for Egil Skallagrimsson: Odin was his God, and the blood of berserks and shape-shifters ran in his family. His lust for gold and for fames was insatiable. Yet the same man was passionately moved by the love of his friends and generously opened handed to those who found his favor. The same brain that seethed with war-fury also composed skaldic poetry capable of calming angry kings. Can it be by accident that Egil worshipped Odin, the great solver of paradoxes and riddles? Indeed all Asafolk - but especially those who follow the one-eyed God of battle and magic - can learn much from the life of this amazing man.

Yule 21,
Mother Night: As the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We honor the beginning of Sunnas return and the breaking of Winter’s spell. This is a time to honor Thor and Freyr, celebrate by Blot, Sumbel, and High Feast. Burn a Yule Log and jump the flames for luck and purification.

Yule 22,
High Feast of Yule - Beginning of Runic Year - Sacred to Thorr and Freyr

Yule 31,
Twelfth Night: This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule. Each day of which is a month of the preceding year in miniature. Reflect on the past year. Take stock and lay a course for the future. Make New Years resolutions in the old way by swearing your oath on Freyr’s boar or on your Hammer.

By-Laws of the Asatru Alliance
As approved by Althing, June 11, 2243 Runic Era

1. Asatru is the ethnic religion of the NorthernEuropean peoples.
2. The Asatru Alliance is a free association of Independent kindreds seeking to preserve and protect the ancient faith of our ancestors.
3. The Alliance is organized along democratic lines . permitting the full expression of our religious opinions, opting for the preservation and sanctity of our Asatru Faith.
4. The Alliance is apolitical; it is not a front for, nor shall it promote any political views of the 'Right' or 'Left'. Our Sacred temples, groves and Moots shall remain free of any political manifestations.
5. The Alliance does not espouse a priest class. Each kindred is free to determine its own spiritual and tribal needs.
6. The Alliance will promote the growth of Asatru through the sponsoring of national and regional Things and Moots. We will also publish books, magazines, and newsletters, as needed to achieve our goals.
7. A Thing Speaker will be chosen for Allthing by the host kindred. The Thing speaker may convene the Thing as needed. Althing Delegates of record shall serve as a standing legislative body with full authority of the Thing, until the commencement of the next Althing. The Thing Speaker or any delegate of record can call for a caucus of delegates for suitable cause.
8. The Thing has absolute authority in dealing with by laws or other issues of The Asatru Alliance.

Kindreds

1. The Alliance will promote the establishment and growth of kindreds.
2. The Alliance will not interfere with the functions of kindreds unless petitioned by a majority of members of said kindred for aid.
3. Kindreds are free to apply for membership to the Alliance, or leave the Alliance, as voted upon by a majority of the subject kindred membership.
4. A kindred shall consist of at least three members and meet on a regular basis.
5. Alliance kindreds are strongly urged to incorporate or be chartered by a legally incorporated Alliance kindred.
6. Each kindred is expected to send at least one delegate to the Althing each year. No attendance, no vote. Kindreds may address the Thing by proxy.
7. Any kindred can be removed for cause from the Alliance by the majority vote of Thing delegates after a fair hearing.

Membership

1. Any member of an Alliance kindred is a member of the Alliance.
2. Any person wishing to join the Alliance can only do so by joining a kindred of the Alliance.
3. Three or more individuals of the Asatru Community can band together and form a kindred, and apply to the Alliance for membership. They must send a representative to the Thing with a formal petition for membership. This petition will be studied and voted upon at the next or a future Althing.



This entry is pretty basic and as I find more information, I will add to it.

Still working on it

Sources: Asatru in Wikipedia and The Way of Asatru by Michael J Smith and http://www.asatru.org/index.php


Last edited by Aslinn Dhan on Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:56 pm

Asatru is a very fascinating and complex religion. There are parts to it I find very appealing and so much of it is familair to me, albeit with different names. Yet again, on the flip side, there is much that is unknown or that sounds like a real turn off. I often think its one of those things where you would really have to study and understand it to knows its worth. I hope you find lots more as I think its an interesting topic in general and one very near and dear to our Eric's heart.
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What is a Spell?

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:03 pm

Over the last season in our adventures we talk about spells and using spells and charms to get things done in a magikal way. But what is a spell really? What makes a spell a spell and what empowers it?

A spell is the equivalent of your most heartfelt prayer. It makes a very specific request and as Holly explained to Tara, the most important ingredient is intent. Intent is simply your strongest desire and a belief this is the thing that would be the most helpful thing to happen to the person for whom you are casting.

Physically, the spell sets out what is wanted or desired. Witches and other spiritual workers will define the trouble of the person for whom the spell is cast. Now if someone comes to a witch or spiritual worker and says they need magikal work done for them, the caster may interview the person at length. The person may come in and say they want a spell to get an enemy off their back. The caster may ask about the person in question but a wise caster will ask the person who wants the spell more about themselves. They may ask questions like: Do you stand up for yourself? Are you confident of your work? Do you have new ideas that could help your job? Are you using all your resources to bring in positive results? Are you inspired?

Once the person asking for the spell work has answered the questions, the caster may feel the problem is not the coworker but the person themselves. The witch may decide to do work to empower the person requesting the spell. A courage spell might be called for. A spell for inspiration may be useful. A specially charged amulet or talisman may be called for.

Okay, the caster has decided what they must do. What next?

The caster may consult their Book of Shadows first to see if there is already a spell there to fulfill the needs of the person. Perhaps the image of a god/dess or an angel or saint or even the person's astrological sign will be in order. Perhaps a small bag of herbs that give courage and strength and inspiration can be mingled and carried around with the person. A charged candle may be prepared and given to the person and burned for a few minutes everyday. A prayer or a short spell can be given to the person to repeat when they are stressed or they feel threatened. Casting for one's self is considered the most powerful form of magik because it is the spirit and desire of the person for whom the witch is working that makes the spell the most successful.

Do all spells work?

No. Just as all prayers are not always answered, or at least not in the way the suppliant perhaps wants not all spells work. And it is not because the spell was not properly worked. Sometimes hardships are meant to be so you will learn from them. Plus there is the element of faith. Prayer without faith, and or, casting a spell without faith will not conclude in a successful outcome. If you don't believe then you have no intention and no amount of utterings, mutterings, candle burning or herb gathering or salt slinging will change an outcome.

Payment for spell work

This is a touchy subject for spiritual workers and witches. Should they charge for their work? Some practitioners believe payment is essential because the money represents a sacrifice to the universe and it fosters a belief in the work being done for them. Others believe it is okay to accept money after a successful completion of the spell. Others believe that money should be given just for materials of the spell. Others believe no money should be accepted, that your reward will come from the universe for the good work you do. For example, if you are a witch or spiritual worker, you may be a few bucks short on the rent or the power bill and you do some work for someone and low and behold, you are given the money or find the money some way totally unconnected with the person you are working for. That way there is balance in the magikal world and your magik is part of your life, not a commercial enterprise.

Casting spells against someone's will

Casting against another person's will is tricky. Some witches and spiritual workers have no problem with casting against another person's will for any reason. Some however believe you should only cast against someone's will if they intend to do harm to the person or themselves. And still others believe there is never a time when it is right to cast against someone's will. This is an age old conundrum among witches especially those who work within the confines of the Wiccan Rede. The Rede states: Harm none, do what thou will and casting against another person's will is a form of harm. That is why the caster may look to empower the person asking for the spell instead of casting a baleful spell or curse against the person who is the adversary in the person's life.

How is a curse different from a spell?

There is no real difference in the form of the curse except intent. Again, intent is everything. If you wish bad things to happen to the person who is the adversary, then bad things will come upon them. But beware. The universe is listening. Every good you do comes back threefold. Same with every bad thing. And it will not just visit the person the curse is meant for but the person requesting it and the caster themselves. For example, if one goes to a witch or spiritual worker and says "John is a coworker and he is mean to me and belittles me and puts down my work, I want him cursed." The caster then goes about casting spells and curses. John then loses his job. Six months later, the person who asked for the spell then gets laid off. Then the caster may lose something of value, maybe even go through a period where the magik doesn't seem to work for them. Many people may chalk this up to just coincidence, but the truth is, the universe was listening and the universe has rewarded everyone involved for their negativity...Karma is a bitch....and has puppies...




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Re: Mythology of True Blood and the Sookie Books

Post  Guest on Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Very well put and to the point. I often have to go about explaining to people that when I do spells, its just praying, thats all. The biggest difference between praying and spellwork, as you said, is that I think most witches are very very specific about what it is they are praying for and the outcome they wish and desire. I was always taught that you think about what it is you want and you ask WHY. Why , why , why , until there simply are no more why's and then you have the actual root of the issue. Sometimes its what you knew it would be, and sometimes its entirely different, but that is how you know what to cast and where best to apply it.

The one thing that wasnt addressed altho it was sort of, is casting healing spells for those who are unable to give permission. Most people I think would say that if it helps, then of course you should! Some witches tho, including myself think a bit differently. When I do healing for someone who is unable to give me permission to do so, then I phrase it in such a way as that its available to the persons spirit if they choose to accept it. You cannot force anything upon anyone without fear of retribution. Since the physical body cannot answer, then you still must make the choice availabe , even to the spirit. Also, one has to understand that not all healings will be effective. If the higher power above has other plans, then no amount of prayer, healings, or spellwork will help. Then you can only pray for peace and less suffering.

At any rate tho, before I go off on a tangent in another direction, it was very well written and thank you very much Aslinn! Anything that takes the fear out of such things is a good thing I think. It may be different but the only thing scary about it is the lack of knowledge about it. cheers
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Scrying

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:33 pm

Scrying is the ancient art of clairvoyance using a shiny surface, meditating til visions appear. The word scry comes from the old English word descry which means to make out dimly. Popular images of scrying have used the crystal ball, though any smooth reflective surface will do, especially when done at night. Some witches like to use natural sources of waters such as small ponds and even puddles. John Dee used a scrying mirror made of obsidian. Dark bowls filled with water or pieces of glass painted black on one side are also useful and far less expensive than crystal balls.

It is a very personal way of divination as the scryer develops personal symbols and has their own interpretations of them. Some scryers see stationary pictures, while others claim to see moving pictures just like looking into a miniature television into the future. Some witches create scrying surfaces and decorate them to imbue their most personal energies into the object.

Other scrying tools may include glasses of water, pieces of polished metal, shiny stones, and even plain mirrors.

Judika Iles A to Z Encyclopedia of Witchcraft

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