A Divine Female

I want to share a story I recently came across concerning Inanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess of both love and war, connected to Venus, known as the Queen of Heaven, celebrated and honored as a powerful deity.

Inanna went to visit her sister, who ruled the underworld. Before she went, she instructed her servant to contact the gods if she hadn’t returned by the third day because anyone who entered the underworld wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Wearing an elaborate outfit, Inanna descended.

She passed through seven gates in the underworld, all of which had been ordered closed and locked by her sister. At each gate, Inanna was forced to give up a part of her outfit until she finally stood before her sister naked and powerless. She still made her sister get off the throne so she could sit, but judgment was passed against her. Inanna was sentenced to death and hung on a hook.

Three days passed and her servant appealed to the gods. At first, they refused to help, knowing Inanna had brought about her own punishment but the god of creation and magic was troubled by the occurrence and agreed to help. He created two figures to collect Inanna’s body. Her sister was in agony, willing to trade anything to gain respite. The two take Inanna’s corpse and sprinkle the food of life onto it, resurrecting her.

Creatures are sent by the queen of the underworld to take someone in Inanna’s place. Inanna will not let them take her loyal servant and friends, because they had mourned her. However, her husband had not, entertaining other women while she was believed to be dead, and so she let them take him in her place.

Inanna’s sister-in-law pleads on behalf of her brother and is able to take his place for half the year in the underworld, thereby giving rise to the seasons.

~

This is one of the oldest recorded myths. You will notice the themes of descent into the underworld, death and resurrection. In three days, no less. Food of life…Seasons changing. I’m sure you’ll also notice how these particulars themes carry on throughout other cultures’ mythologies, first among female deities (Persephone, for example) and then to males (like Jesus.)

I don’t particularly care what you believe, I just think it’s interesting that a common myth begins with a goddess, and yet, so many have never even heard of her. A woman who lost her power, was trapped in a world with no light or life, but brought back and resurrected to retake her throne.

Would that womankind did the same.

In recent days, we have, again, been bombarded by the fact that many men still hold no respect for women. We have seen rapists and molesters in powerful positions come to light and we have seen rapists and molesters put into powerful positions against all commonsense. We are losing girls to the sex trade, taken as they walk home from school, snatched off the street and seduced on the internet. The stories go on and on, memes, hashtags and movements abound, but still it seems like so many are swimming against the current, and so many are deliberately pretending to an obtuseness that can’t possibly be genuine.

It wasn’t always like this. A long, long time ago, women were venerated, respected, loved and cared for. They were the leaders of their families and of society. Lineage and authority were traced through the mother’s line because she knew who her children were, while men had to take her word for it. She wasn’t called vile names for knowing the worth of her own body, nor was she vilified for celebrating all the things her body could do.

She held power over her own self, her own actions and her own future.

I’m a traditionalist in the sense that I think society as a whole should revert back to ancient traditions concerning power roles. Essentially, to my view, women were meant to lead because we are the caretakers and men were meant to protect, following their leaders’ directives, because they are physically stronger. Somewhere in humankind’s past, men took over the power—and don’t argue because this is well-accepted history. For the past several thousand years, men have controlled ‘civilization’ and they’ve been running it into the ground.

Because they aren’t natural caretakers. They are natural protectors, but what they’ve been protecting are resources, money, institutions that guarantee them more power. Women tend to care more about people, the elderly, the downtrodden, the children. Society.

Yes, I know that’s overly simplistic and there will always be exceptions to the rule, but it seems to me that the way people are viewing the world these days, it’s best not to complicate the message.

I think it’s time the women got another shot at leadership. I think it’s time we started looking into our own history and mythology, so much of which has never been written down because history has been preserved by men. So many truly important deities were depicted as women, in both love and war, hearth and home, travels, life and death. And justice, most especially justice. Interesting, right?

I think women should step up and show their strength, and I think that’s happening right now.

Foxes, Bookstores and Getting Organized…

Foxes, Bookstores and Getting Organized…

What do they have in common? Me. That’s about all.

I’ve had a pretty hard summer, to be honest. If I was really honest, I’d admit to having a rough decade but, looking back, I feel like it wasn’t too bad. Sure, I cried rivers, came down with a mysterious illness doctors still can’t diagnose, developed anxiety and depression and a bit of an OCD tic where I repeat words and sentences to myself (thankfully not out loud), I’ve gone from one job to another, been stymied in my dreams, my ambition held back by old men and I’ve broken up with my oldest friend who felt I wasn’t worth the truth anymore—though I was worth asking for that loan…

Anyway.

I look back and think it wasn’t so bad, but that’s only because I came out stronger. It’s amazing how your perception changes over time. Hell, even just the other day I cried, but, listening to other people’s stories I consider myself lucky and blessed and I think they have had a harder time than I…Except maybe they didn’t.

Emotions, motivation, aimlessness, sickness, death…blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been trying to open a bookstore. It’s nearing the time I’d wanted to be open, and I haven’t heard from my lawyer in a month, I’m not a legal entity yet and the place I wanted was sold out from under me by a suspiciously-resistant-to-selling realtor who likes to stand entirely too close to women in basements. The new place I looked at is oddly perfect…except the left front corner of the foundation is sinking and since I pointed that out, I haven’t heard back from that realtor.

No one is talking to me.

Except the universe.

My father always pokes a bit of fun at my term ‘the universe.’ I use it in place of ‘God’ which means my mother and grandmother just call me a heathen. Mmm, for the record, pagan, yes, but not heathen.

Strap yourselves in for some mysticism.

The universe speaks to me through insects—because who doesn’t love creepy crawlies, yeah? Scores of dragonflies and the occasional butterfly, a multitude of ladybugs and moths, sometimes a cricket and rarely a katydid. Ants and spiders, earwigs and silverfish, centipedes and caterpillars…sometimes a waterbug which I’d prefer not to get, and yet, the signs are there and I see them and understand. They really do tell me what’s coming or what to focus on.

So, imagine my surprise when the bugs stopped and the foxes started. Sometimes there were birds, so it wasn’t just me and the creepy crawlies, but believe me when I say the foxes got my attention as nothing else had. They’re so different from what came before.

And I live in a city (well, at the edge). Yes, foxes and even coyotes are everywhere in the US, but you don’t normally hear them calling out in an urban environment.

A fox has been waking me in the night, screaming—but it’s not mating season, so I don’t know what she’s looking for. I feel like she’s telling me to wake up, which fits with the theme of the random bugs and birds that have been knocking on my window all summer long. The day after I first heard the fox, I met two separate people wearing fox shirts. After that, two more fox shirts, a slew of new people named Fox have come to my attention, fox emblems, charms, quotes from people named fox showing up on social media…Foxes have taken over my awareness. It’s  only been a week and a half. Before you start sputtering about coincidence or seeing what I’m paying attention to, this is a very high amount of ‘fox encounters’.

So I looked them up. And there are a lot of truths that have slammed into my face as I did so. Now, in case you haven’t noticed from above, I’m closer to following pagan traditions than anything else, though I was raised Christian—specifically Lutheran. But, I also have a degree in world religions (and politics) so I understand a little bit about a lot of things. I can tell you now that no one has all the answers, and maybe one day I’ll share my theory of the Christian story concerning the Tower of Babel.

For now, let me just say that there are truths and messages coming to me on an urgent tide. Let me also give you a warning. I’ve separated my religion and my politics from my business. Writing books is my business. But I feel like spreading my truth. Like the fox, which can symbolize teaching, guidance, patience (and mischievousness, tricks and definitely intelligence) I’m ready to call out and wake someone up. Foxes have long been linked to camouflage, blending in when necessary, but, also, they know when to leap.

I’ve been hiding and I’ve been hidden. I contorted my life so as not to outshine the people around me, but I’m tired of that. I’m tired of waiting, I’m tired of others holding me back because somehow they’ve gained more influence over my life than I have, and I’m tired of biting my tongue so that my truth doesn’t offend.

But, you know what? This is my real estate. I’ve gotten my house in order and I’ve rearranged this website, hence the ‘organization’ part of the title. I’m ready to move into the next phase of my life, ready to step into my future and I pray it’s better than what I just went through.

I hope you’ll stick around and read what I’ve got to share. I hope you’ll take a look at my books and head over to my new webstore to see if there’s something you like, but if you can’t respect my opinion and my right to voice my opinion, then you may go immediately.

And to all the people personally in my life, it’s my turn now.

 

The Bane Moon

When I began my story about a witch with no magic, I pictured an event so rare, though naturally occurring, that it would have to be destiny, and have to speak of destiny. I chose a full moon, and called it a Bane Moon.

bane

In my Magic Matched series, Georgeanne Davenold is a Bane-born witch, born under the very rare Christmas full moon, but in the book, this corresponds with the winter solstice.

No, I didn’t get it wrong. I had decided to give my witches a combination of beliefs and customs that would set them up as the forerunner to the neo-pagan religions, traditions and lifestyles we still have around us today. But I also wanted my witches to have a greater, though subtle, influence through history.

 

Now, we celebrate the solstice, or the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, typically on the 21st of December. But over the centuries, the calendar has gone through changes, science has advanced and timepieces have become more accurate. Back in the olden days, they were using sun-lit rocks, stars and seasonal cues, and it turned out the ancient pagans were pretty spot-on, all things considered.

The winter solstice, in ancient days, was celebrated on December 25th. (This is fairly simplistic, but trust me, okay?) In the general timeframe of what we now know is the shortest day of the year (northern hemisphere), the ancients celebrated with a wide variety of customs and rituals meant to bring people together during the darkest of days (literally!) and share a communal sense of optimism for brighter days to come. (Ahem, again, literally…) Examples include Yule and the Feast of Saturnalia.

So when the early Christians began making inroads, they saw a way to insert their own rituals and beliefs into the festivities, and voila! We got Christmas.

I think that’s pretty fascinating, but also really important. Think about how many cultures and religions all celebrate holidays around this time, and think about why. For me, it goes back to the need of being with friends and family in the darkest of days, sharing a communal sentiment about optimism, hope and love. This is the season where we gather together, we eat, drink and be merry (hopefully), knowing that the dark days are just about behind us, and soon the sun will shine bright and warm.

Twenty-three years ago, my witches had a full moon on Christmas. For Georgie, the moment of her birth set her destiny. Bane witches have no magic…or do they? Bane moons are very rare, after all, so who can say what magic she has or doesn’t have? She’s the key to unlocking Silviu’s ability, so maybe she’ll find a bit of her own somewhere in the mix.

This year, we have a full moon on Christmas. My wish for you, no matter what holiday you celebrate, is that, like Georgie, you can meet your destiny in the coming days, that you, too, have/find/accept the gifts you’ve been given and look forward to brighter days ahead.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a season filled with joy and love. And hope, because, for me, that’s the whole point.

xmas banner

My Mythology: Liderc

I had never heard of a Liderc. In fact, there was no real reason for me to have ever learned about a Liderc, except I looked up Succubi, which led me to Lilith, which led me to Lilin. The site I was on at the time listed their monsters in alphabetical order and Liderc was right there. It had a single sentence about Liderc being shape-shifters who attached to their victims like a Succubus.

Two days later, that popped up from the depths of my brain and snuck into the development of the story haunting me. I couldn’t find the website again, but if I ever stumble across it, you can believe I’ll write it down. They listed hundreds of mythological creatures and proved an excellent starting point.

When I tried to research Liderc, I was amazed at the lack of information. (Granted, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, but still…) Apparently this thing isn’t so popular to write about, but by then it was too late for me to change my direction. I wanted a villain that was villainous, with no redeeming qualities and the Liderc gave me a great option. As it turned out, the lack of information let me create a beast the incomplete mythology of the Liderc doesn’t necessarily allow for.

Some say Liderc hatch from the egg of a black chicken. Some say it’s a tiny egg, others say it’s a special egg, and still others claim any egg from a black hen will birth a Liderc. Some stories say the egg must be incubated under a person’s arm, others say in a pile of manure. It’s unclear whether the thing that hatches is a chicken with the ability to shape-shift into a man or woman, or a humanoid that hatches from the egg. Typically, the stories concerning this version agree the Liderc becomes its owner’s lover and is attached to its owner forever.

Some say the Liderc is a spirit that comes to its owner in a bottle or a rag and brings riches. The owner of this Liderc would be blessed by good fortune. Others claim a Liderc is a  fairy, but that wasn’t a widely held opinion. These creatures can take on the appearance of dead relatives, or enter the house through chimneys and keyholes, but always leave a mess when they leave.

The third, and to me the most interesting, theory is that Liderc are very similar to Succubi or Inccubi. They are little demons that steal a person’s soul, or their life force, through sexual contact, predominantly within dreams. Most stories claim the Liderc can only come out at night – though other stories refute this theory – and must disappear before the cock’s crow at dawn.

I tossed all these stories together to create my own version. Then I added a dash of vampire to the whole thing. Hungary, like Romania, is in the heart of Vampire Territory. I have no idea if vampire stories are more prevalent there, but most us choose to equate the area with vampires, so I went with it.

In Demon’s Bond, I made Liderc the origin of those vampire stories. I attached the creature to my character through an exchange of blood and sex, a very common theme in many mythologies, and gave it certain qualities indicative of a Succubus. I kept the shape-shifter qualities, the dreams and the attachment, as well as suggesting some believed methods of banishment such as birch trees, which hold enough mystical properties to allow someone to trap a Liderc within its trunk.

But I created a nightmare beast that was neither-nor. I tossed a few things into the mix, shook up the bag and then dumped it out to see what I had created. I’m rather pleased with the results. I think you will be too.

If you’d like to read Demon’s Bond to see how I put all this together, you can buy it at Smashwords  Amazon or Barnes & Noble

1Kobo

My Mythology: Succubi & Incubi

In my book, Demon’s Bond, Meggie agrees to help Kyle and Jim get rid of what she mistakenly believes to be a Succubus. I did a ton of research into all kinds of Succubus and Incubus legends, read a lot of personal experiences on internet forums, and then mashed them all together into my own understanding of this legendary creature. I combined what I found with my own imagination, and hopefully my readers will never know which part is which.

For the sake of this particular post, most of the information I’m sharing came from Wikipedia and angelfire.com. That being said, here’s the run-down on Succubi and Incubi.

Succubi:

This demon is widely regarded as female and predominantly attacks men. Most believe that a Succubus only appears in dreams, but there have been stories where the creature appears in corporeal form. They are said to drain their victim of their life force, resulting in overwhelming fatigue, and in some cases death.

The most popular version of this myth stems from stories of Lilith, the first female created. According to legend, she was made as Adam was, from the clay, and therefore had no emotional ties to him (as Eve did when she was made from his ‘rib’). She left him for Lucifer (or Samael in some stories), and was turned into an insatiable sex machine – a Succubus. (Other stories say Lilith sired a slew of little demon babies called Lilin with fallen angels.)

As per usual in mythology, while the creature may appear quite beautiful, there will be deformities upon closer inspection. Some say talons or tails, though for my money I don’t see how these things could be hidden. But, like all things evil, there must be something wrong with it physically, right?

To write this post, I visited www.angelfire.com/ks/cybersuccubus/demonology.html I had to point this out because this was not a site I visited when I did my research for Demon’s Bond, and in my story I theorized that Succubi and Incubi were the same thing, as demons would have no gender, and just changed their appearance based on the preference of their victim. So when I saw the same theory on angelfire.com, I had to throw it in here.

Also according to angelfire.com, the word Succubus comes from the Latin ‘succuba meaning prostitute, which in turn comes from medieval Latin sub cubaire meaning ‘that which lies beneath’. The male version is the incubus (from Latin- ‘that which lies above’).’ (For more info click the link above.)

Other places I looked at in my research all suggested that it was easy to get rid of Succubi, and some of the forums I read suggested it was cruel to get rid of a creature that was essentially harmless. Yet old stories say Succubi either drain its victim of life, breath, their soul or their sperm (in order to have demon babies called Cambion).

Incubi:

This is the male version that attacks females, but this one is a little older, and has a special twist that Succubi don’t have. (Male dominated history, people- the women must be demons, while the men are seemingly excused.) Apparently, Incubi legends go all the way back Mesopotamia, where Gilgamesh’s father visited women in the night and seduced them in their sleep. Some also considered them sylvans and fauns, popular in Greek and Roman mythology, but then Thomas Aquinas said they were demons, so that was that (and it leveled the playing field between male and female sex demons).

‘It became generally accepted that incubi and succubi were the same demon, able to switch between male and female forms.’ (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incubus). Wow, had I but known that was actually a working theory, I wouldn’t have debated with myself for so long before using it in Demon’s Bond. See, I was originally going to use the two-different-types-of-demons school of thought, but my brain kept telling me to make them the same. Now I am corroborated by two other sources.

Again, Wikipedia was not a site I used in my research, but I guess I should have. According to the site (click the link above to see it for yourself) Succubi slept with men, gathered their seed and then changed into Incubi to impregnate their female victims. In spite of all reproductive donations (or thefts, depending on how you look at it) being human, this resulted in supernatural (demon) babies.

Some stories say that Incubi can actually father children on their own, however, and this is where Cambion come from. A popular theory claims this was Merlin’s genesis, his father was an Incubus.

Succubi and Incubi can be gotten rid of through exorcism, though most of my research sources overwhelmingly advised people to let the thing go away on its own – which it does after a night or two. In Demon’s Bond, I borrowed ideas for a few banishing rituals from various Wiccan websites with a healthy dose of interrogation of my friend, who lives the lifestyle. (Um, should you read my book, don’t use the rituals, because they are completely made up. I only borrowed bits of rituals, not full rituals, and God only knows what will happen if you attempt to use them.)

Demon’s Bond takes a bunch of different theories and glues them together. I don’t list any sources for my book because I got things from everywhere, and never used any piece of information directly, or in its entirety. However, for this post I did, and I have credited my sources (additionally, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succubus ). They are great places to start looking if you’re interested in learning more, otherwise just do an internet search and thousands of things will pop up to lead you on your journey.

If you want to see how I pulled all my info together, buy Demon’s Bond, an erotic horror, on Smashwords   or Amazon just by clicking the links!

1Kobo

My Mythology: The Vila Legend

My novelette Lured From the Path features a mythical creature called Vila. I thought I’d give a little background on this creature.

I scoured the internet for information on the women of the forests. I found many places, including a couple of Eastern European chat rooms where people told and retold many different versions of the Vila myth. I take little pieces from everywhere, never big chunks, and write it all down. Then I go through the list and pick what strikes me and weave it into my own imagination. (Smorgasbord storytelling.) This is why most of my stories will have a sentence in the very front explaining that literary license has been taken, resulting in an amalgamation of whatever myth or legend I’m writing about.

If I did my job right, the reader will never know what came from research and what just popped out of my head.

So the Vila stories are told throughout Eastern Europe and each country seems to have its own take on it. These are the most popular:

1. They are nymphs who lure men from the forest paths. The stories that focus on the nymph aspect is very typical of what you’d find in Celtic fairy tales. They can hurt you or they can help you. They could play practical jokes, cause mischief or simply satisfy their own curiosity. Sometimes they are associated with fairy mounds, or forest clearings, especially where lightning has struck. These stories claim the women have control over wind.

2. They are female spirits who have been too frivolous in life to move on after death. Their voices are beautiful, like a siren in the woods, and this is how they lure men from the paths. They make the men dance with them and can help them, but will kill the man if he defiles them or breaks a promise. They also have clearings where they’ve danced, and to step on one is to bring bad luck. These spirits also have power over the wind, cause the ground to shake and have prophetic gifts.

3. They are spirits of women who were engaged, but died before their wedding could take place. This is the saddest version I found. Some stories say they make the men dance until they die of exhaustion.

Those are the main three, the most popular versions- or at least the most told. There are countless other stories, though, everything from mean witches to gentle protectors of nature. Some say the Vila can be kept if you take a piece of hair, or killed if you burn a piece of their skin. Some say men should leave offerings for the Vila, in the form of cakes, fruit, flowers and ribbons, at sacred sites.

There have been countless stories, ballets, and plays written about the Vila. When I stumbled across the mythology, I was captivated. I grew up on Celtic fairy tales, so I was actually a bit surprised to find something so similar in the Eastern European culture, although I shouldn’t have been. Celts were in Eastern Europe too, after all.

I thought the very idea, and especially the three versions mentioned above, were beautiful. They are sad, they are strong, they are tragic and playful and lovely. They dance and sing, they shape-shift into swans, wolves and snakes. They are all about female empowerment, and yet are still romantics at heart.

And that, is the mythology of the Vila. If you want to know more, do an internet search and you will find many places where the stories are told and debated.

L2Amazon

 

If you want to read my version, you can find it on

Smashwords   Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Kobo      Apple