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Posts Tagged ‘History’

     The Autumn Equinox marks the annual fruit and vegetable harvest and is the season best known for apple-picking.

     According to Arthurian Tradition the fallen King Arthur was transported to Avalon – “The Isle of Apples” – symbolising winter death and the promise of rebirth in spring.

     Click the link below to discover more about this Wheel of The Year festival…

https://lilywight.com/2013/09/25/modron-the-autumn-equinox-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

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     You can call it Midsummer, The Longest Day, Litha or The Summer Solstice.  Whichever you prefer just click the link to read all about it in our popular guide to The Wheel of The Year festivals…

https://lilywight.com/2013/06/20/litha-the-summer-solstice-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

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     How will you celebrate your May Day bank holiday weekend?  You could always get married, jump over a broomstick or get naked and paint yourself red like these folks.

     You can discover the origins and traditions of the Beltane festival by clicking the link below for Lily Wight’s Beginner’s Guide To The Wheel Of The Year.

Beltane Fire Festival

https://lilywight.com/2013/05/01/beltane-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

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     Ostara is an Anglo-Germanic fertility festival celebrated at The Spring Equinox.  This year’s festival coincides with a rare solar eclipse on Friday 20th March.  Click the link to read all about it in Lily Wight’s Guide To The Wheel Of The Year.

 

https://lilywight.com/2013/03/20/ostara-spring-equinox-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

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     The Celtic Fire Festival, Imbolc is celebrated on the 1st of February.  Click the link to read all about it in Lily Wight’s Guide To The Wheel Of The Year.

 

 https://lilywight.com/2013/02/02/imbolc-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

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Lily Wight

Updated 18/12/2014

     There are four Solar Quarter Days (two equinoxes and two solstices) on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  Yule or The Winter Solstice is celebrated during a twelve day period from December into January.

     Yule commemorates the demise and rebirth of the sun’s powers because The Wheel continues to turn and daylight hours begin to lengthen again beyond The Shortest Day.

     The name “Yule” is thought to derive from the Old Norse ” jólnar”  – a collective term for the gods or “Yule Ones”.   Jólfaðr (Yule Father – interchangeable with All-Father) is one of many names attributed to Odin.  In Old Norse poetry names and terms for Odin are frequently synonymous with celebration and feasting.  Odin The Gift-Giver is undoubtedly the origin of our Santa Claus.

     The Midwinter period between the last harvest (Samhain)…

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Lily Wight

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 23/09/2014

     The Wheel Of The Year calendar comprises four Celtic fire festivals interspersed with two solstice and two equinox celebrations.  September’s Equinox denotes the height of the Autumn season.

     The Autumn Equinox is named variably as Modron (Mother Goddess) or Mabon (Divine Son) – deities from Welsh Mythology who can be found in The Legends Of King Arthur.

     Modron is a harvest and fertility goddess who shares characteristics with the Roman Ceres.  On the agricultural calendar Lughnasadh (August) is The First Harvest (grains and cereals) and The Autumn Equinox (September) is The Second Harvest (fruits and vegetables).

     At the Equinox the year wanes, yet the harvest is plentiful.   The ancient tribal people of The Western Hemisphere believed their Mother Goddess entered the third trimester of her pregnancy whilst her…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 29/07/2014

     Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-na-sah) is one of eight festivals celebrated on the ancient Wheel Of The Year seasonal calendar.  It marks the midpoint between The Summer Solstice and The Autumn Equinox.  It was once observed when the first sheaf of corn was cut and now, most commonly, on 1st August.

     The First Harvest is named for the Irish Sun God, Lugh, who also lends his name to the Modern Irish name for August.  In Gaelic Mythology Lugh held a funeral and athletic games to honour his foster-mother, Tailtiu who died of exhaustion after clearing the land for agriculture.  Tailtiu represents an earth or harvest deity whose labours feed and nurture the people.

     At Lughnasadh tribal people throughout Western Europe and The Northern Hemisphere gave thanks for their grain and cereal harvest and sought blessings for…

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Lily Wight

  

*Postage stamps, matches, refrigerators, lightbulbs, antiseptic, inflatable tyres, cars, buses, telephones, iron bridges, railways, cameras, bandstands and promenades are all Victorian inventions.

*After the death of Prince Albert (1861) Queen Victoria dressed in black and had fresh clothes and a wash-stand prepared for Albert every day.

*She also spoke of “the mad, wicked folly of women’s rights”.  No comment.

*Only two British monarchs have reached their Diamond Jubilee.  Victoria celebrated hers in 1897.

*Britain and China went to war… over Opium trafficking!

*A large part of the world still speaks English today because of Victoria’s empire.

*The Commonwealth is made up of countries which were once under British rule.

*The River Thames was so thick with sewage that paddle-steamers could hardly move.  After 30 years of work a new improved sewage system was completed in 1875.  It is still in use today.

*Victorian architecture favoured Medieval Gothic and Classical…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 24/06/2014

     The ancient seasonal calendar – known as The Wheel Of The Year – has reached Litha (meaning “wheel”) also known as The Longest Day, Midsummer and The Summer Solstice.

     Litha marks the height of the sun’s powers at the middle of the year before the inevitable shortening of daylight hours.

     Midsummer has been observed since Neolithic times.  It held special significance to the Scandinavian, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon people and is still celebrated throughout The Northern Hemisphere today.

     Litha was a time to urge the growth of crops in the hope of a plentiful harvest.  A wheel would be set on fire and rolled downhill to “warm” the fields, a practice first recorded two thousand years ago.

     Golden-flowered  Midsummer plants, such as Calendula and St. John’s…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 17/06/2014

     Here at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana we are not ashamed to trawl kids’ books for fascinating factoids.  Here are few of our findings…

 

*Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital opened in 1852.  If you scroll down the sidebar you will find a link to Children With Cancer UK, this site’s nominated charity 🙂 

*Edward Jenner helped to wipe out smallpox in just 40 years when free vaccinations became available in 1840.

*The bell residing in the Houses of Parliament clock tower was cast in 1858 and named for building supervisor Sir Benjamin Hall.  Big Ben of course.

*Building ships from steel instead of heavy iron was a very good idea.

*Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1863) influenced Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweeps Act.  The use of children as sweeps was finally stamped out in 1875.

*Today southeast…

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Lily Wight

Updated 09/06/2014

     All these amazing facts have been borrowed from the Snapping-Turtle Guide, Victorian Life by John Guy.

*The average life expectancy for a Victorian city-dweller was a measly 40 years!

*At the beginning of Victoria’s reign (1837) 20% of the population lived in towns.  By the end of her reign (1901) this figure had risen to 75%.

*Beer was less than a penny a pint causing problems with drunkenness… especially amongst children.

*This was probably because both boys and girls wore dresses until they reached about five years old.

*Thomas Edison didn’t just invent the phonograph (1877) he suggested talking-books for the blind.

*The Railway Age created affordable travel for all and inspired that Great British pursuit: a day-trip to the seaside!

*Victorian Artists and Poets reacted against The Industrial Age by incorporating romanticised Myths, Legends and The Natural World into their work.  (Click the…

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Lily Wight

     A “subtle” hint of Literary misogyny has confined Carmilla to countless Hammer-style lesbian vampire flicks yet J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s perfectly executed short novel (1872) preceded Bram Stoker’s Dracula by a good twenty years.

     Many familiar folkloric traditions were collected and presented here first, so Le Fanu’s tale has lost non of its relevance.  The foggy Eastern European locales, racing horse-drawn carriages, suspicious locals and masquerade balls are all present and continue to contribute to the variable laws of vampirism.
     The prose is fast-paced and contemporary with a tantalising cinematic quality.  Taut with tension and genuinely chilling Carmilla deserves just as much adoration as The Count!

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Lily Wight

     Updated 29/04/2014

     Beltane (meaning “bright fire”) or May Day is one of eight festival days marked upon the ancient seasonal calendar known as The Wheel Of The Year.

     Beltane heralds the beginning of Summer as it lies halfway between The Spring Equinox (Ostara) and The Summer Solstice (Litha).  It is a time when daylight hours are long, trees blossom and herding animals are turned out to pasture.

     Beltane was originally observed by the Gaelic people of Ireland, Scotland and The Isle Of Man who performed protective rituals for their crops and livestock whilst The Celtic Tribes of Western Europe and Britain also celebrated mating rituals and male potency.

     Beltane is named for the Celtic Sun God, Bel (Belenos/Belenus) who is associated with West Cornwall, formerly Belerion.  The Romans dubbed him the “British Apollo” and…

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     If you enjoyed Lego William Shakespeare last month you’re sure to appreciate a brickish selection of his finest works…

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Lego Picks Every Month!  Click To See Them All 🙂

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Lily Wight

     Updated 15/03/2014

     Ostara (Old High German) or Ēostre (Old English) falls upon 20th March.  It is one of eight ancient Wheel Of The Year festivals denoting seasonal shifts.

     Ostara marks The Vernal (meaning “youthful”) Equinox: the height of Spring.

     Daylight and darkness are balanced at The Equinox, prior to the lengthening of days: a period sometimes referred to as Lent.  It is a time to celebrate fecundity and growth.

     Ostara is named for an ancient Germanic goddess and the month that bears her name; Ôstarmânoth, now April.

     Ostara is a dawn goddess associated to the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora.  She represents the resurrection of light following the death of Winter.

     Ostara’s totem animal is the hare: a symbol of fertility dating…

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     When two great cultural icons collide…

Cmf_shakespeare lego-globe-theater LEGO-Shakespeare tumblr_lr1p3guOUy1r2ae7wo1_500

Amazing Lego Picks Every Month!!!  Click To See Them All.

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Lily Wight

     Updated 06/02/2014

     Kate Mosse’s début novel, Labyrinth was much-loved and promoted by Richard and Judy’s TV book club allowing Mosse to swiftly and decisively establish herself as the female answer to blockbusting airport favourite Dan Brown.

     Sepulchre, Mosse’s second standalone novel, combines folklore and history to weave a simple yet compelling treasure-hunt mystery with Tarot magic and the lush French countryside thrown in for good measure.

     As with Labyrinth the past and present intertwine around the comparable adventures of two female protagonists but the Nineteenth Century heroine easily trumps her modern-day counterpart whilst secondary characters are frustratingly underwritten for a novel with such a hefty word count.

     It is Mosse’s descriptive and lyrical prose which prevents accusations of peddling pulp and Sepulchre stays the right side of sentiment; emerging as the thinking woman’s…

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Lily Wight

     Updated for 2015

     Imbolc (pronounced i-MOLK meaning “in the belly”) is one of eight seasonal festivals marked on the ancient calendar known as The Wheel Of The Year.  Imbolc is observed on 1st February each year.

     Imbolc heralds the first stirrings of  Spring as it lies halfway between The Winter Solstice (Yule) and The Spring Equinox (Ostara).  It is a time when days lengthen, new buds and shoots appear and the first lambs are born.

     Imbolc was originally observed by the Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) people as a vital indicator of a new agricultural year.

     The festival was deemed sacred to the Gaelic goddess Brighid (pronounced breed) the midwife of the year and protector of women, children and newborns. 

     Hearthfire celebrations involved the baking of bannocks; the origin…

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Updated 18/12/2014

     There are four Solar Quarter Days (two equinoxes and two solstices) on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  Yule or The Winter Solstice is celebrated during a twelve day period from December into January.

     Yule commemorates the demise and rebirth of the sun’s powers because The Wheel continues to turn and daylight hours begin to lengthen again beyond The Shortest Day.

     The name “Yule” is thought to derive from the Old Norse ” jólnar”  – a collective term for the gods or “Yule Ones”.   Jólfaðr (Yule Father – interchangeable with All-Father) is one of many names attributed to Odin.  In Old Norse poetry names and terms for Odin are frequently synonymous with celebration and feasting.  Odin The Gift-Giver is undoubtedly the origin of our Santa Claus.

     The Midwinter period between the last harvest (Samhain) and the stirrings of Spring (Imbolc) was a time of hardship for agricultural communities.  A feast of preserved foods and good fellowship whilst celebrating warmth and light would boost morale and inspire hope during a bleak and inhospitable time.

     Homes and halls would be decorated with evergreens to symbolise life’s tenacity in a barren landscape and anticipate the rebirth of Spring.  Spikey holly – with its blood-red berries – represented protection, ivy denoted endurance and mistletoe (for kissing under) symbolised fertility.

     Germanic and Celtic people perceived the mating cycle of their Father and Mother deities in the changing seasons.  At Midwinter the solar god – who passed into The Underworld at Samhain (Halloween) is reincarnated as his own sacred son and “reborn” to the goddess at Yule.

     Yule is also regarded as the season of The Wild Hunt, a supernatural procession of hounds, horses and huntsmen.  Hunt leaders vary, from horned gods to folk heroes, depending on country and culture.  In the United Kingdom hunt leaders include Odin’s equivalent Woden, Gaelic Fairy Folk, Herne The Hunter and King Arthur.

     Hunt leaders, often cursed into service, would manifest in their most violent and dangerous forms to cleanse the realm, both spiritually and physically, by rounding-up stray spirits, changelings, evil folk and wrongdoers.  Early Christian clerics regarded hunt legends as diabolical due to their association with horned gods and hoofed animals.  Controversial Boxing Day Hunts are still enacted throughout the UK today.

     Father Christmas’s supernatural chariot drawn by horned and hoofed reindeer bears association to The Wild Hunt.  Santa is most likely derived from Odin – a giver of gifts to those who are nice – but also, as a Hunt leader, a judge to those who are deemed “naughty”.  In Belgium and The Netherlands Santa Claus is assisted not by Norse Elves but Zwarte Piets; the devilish child-taunting mischief-makers who paint their faces to resemble, you guessed it, the followers of The Hunt.

     However you choose to celebrate remember that Yule is a time to recuperate and re-energise ourselves in preparation for another turn of The Wheel and the coming of a brand new Spring.

 

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     Updated 23/10/2014

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from Summer pasture to be housed or slaughtered for winter, furthering the festival’s associations with death.  The eighth century scholar, Bede refers to November as the “blood month”.

     According to ancient beliefs the mythic courtship of a god and goddess symbolised the eternal rotation of seasons.  At Samhain the Goddess, in her crone or hag aspect, midwifes the waning or sacrificed God into the Underworld where he will journey until his rebirth at Yule with the promise of Spring. 

     Crone Goddesses, such as Celtic Ceridwen and Greek Hecate, ease transitions and guard borders and crossroads.  They are keepers of arcane wisdom and herbal lore who are associated with broomsticks (for cleansing thresholds) and cauldrons (for brewing natural medicines).  Halloween “witches” are a modern remnant of this frequently misunderstood ancient archetype.

     Sexy Halloween witches owe their style to The Morrígan, the Gaelic Dark Mother or Raven Goddess  who presides over death and battle – akin to the Scandinavian Valkyries.  At Samhain The Morrígan mates with The Dagda (the Gaelic All-Father) to bring creation from chaos.

     Samhain is considered a liminal time; when the veil between the mortal and the preternatural realms – the living and the dead – is at its thinnest.  Ancestors are remembered and honoured with a variety of worldwide customs that continue to this day, such as the Mexican Dia de Los Meurtos or Day of The Dead.

     Costuming for Halloween is an ancient tradition with many possible origins and purposes.  Celebrants may have daubed themselves with ash from ritual bonfires or disguised themselves to confuse, deter or even consort with mischievous otherworldly creatures before parading from house to house to collect donations for the Samhain feast: the likely origin of trick or treating.

     It wouldn’t be Samhain without a pumpkin lantern.  The gourd was the first domesticated plant species and has been used for carving for thousands of years.  Pumpkin lamps were carved with fearsome faces as festival decorations; to light parades and repel unwelcome spirits.  Jack o’ Lantern was another name for will-o’-the-wisp; strange but naturally occurring flares of marsh gas.  Jack o’ Lantern evolved into a folkloric hero who tricks The Devil in a variety of tales.  Barred from the afterlife he roams the world forever, carrying a single ember from the fires of Hell in his pumpkin lamp.

 

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     We have reached the third book in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula (or Red Reign) series in which each novel, although uniquely different, is consistently strong.

    This time the action relocates to a super suave Rome on the cusp of 60’s cool; an era of glamourous movie stars, paparazzi, familiar super spies and legions of the un-dead.

    Newman’s light style and knowingly referential wit bring charm but also surprising depth to a serial killer mystery that unites some familiar characters.  The setting is vibrant and there is an insightful sensitivity to the handling of female characters during a period sometimes tinged with misogyny.

    Back in 2012 this reviewer hoped for a further sequel to this series and it seems Mr. Newman makes wishes come true!  Anno Dracula IV: Johnny Alucard is ready and waiting to be read. 

Next Post 17/19/13 (18.00 BST) ~ Lily Wight’s Tarot Reading For Autumn

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Anno Dracula I

Anno Dracula II: The Bloody Red Baron

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Lily Wight

     Updated 16/10/13

When bookshops are heaving with Twilight knock-offs it’s a travesty that this superb novel is out of print in the UK  and had to be sourced secondhand, from overseas.”

     At least that is what a certain reviewer (ahem) said the last time they considered Kim Newman’s superlative Anno Dracula – the first book in a truly diverse, enlightening and remarkable series.  Since then Newman’s twenty-two year old vampire novel has received a  well deserved new edition and relaunch to go with its brand new sequel, Johnny Alucard (2013).
     Part Dracula sequel, part alternative history, Anno Dracula is a tour-de-force of literary and historical research enlivened by Newman’s light touch and rich detail.   Fans of The Age of Empire will enjoy recognising and sourcing the characters and events which are effortlessly woven into an…

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     Greetings Blogsprites!  Its October and autumn is well and truly underway.  This month folk at home, by the Land of Green Ginger, will be looking forward to our annual travelling fair and the usual Halloween celebrations.

     Here, at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana, there’ll be things to make you go “ooh” – cute gifs, Lego art, the latest installment of our Wheel of The Year calendar – and things to make you go “AAAaaaarrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!” – a whole month of grim, gothic and generally spooky vamp things (or vampy spook things if you prefer) including art, books, graphic novels and the odd jack o’ lantern.

     Carved pumpkins won’t be the only form of illumination this month as we’ve also received a lovely Shine On blog award from http://modernoracletarot.com/.  If you enjoy the Tarot posts you find here you’ll enjoy Ronda Snow’s work too.

     Last, but not least, a huge thank you to 7,798 subscribers who read this blog over 9 syndicated sites and helped Lily Wight achieve a daily hits personal best with 3,427 visitors on September 17th.  Keep those comments coming everyone x

Dare you peek into the Macabre?

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