Monday, January 25, 2010

Leshy - Protector of the Forest

In the Slavic countries there is a spirit that is thought to protect the forest and it's inhabitants. It is said to favored the Birch trees, but most forests have these creatures protecting them. They are very protective of their territory.
     Their name is derived from 'les', which means forest. They have a shape of a human but with long hair and green bush eyebrows like the grass. They say his hair and beard is actually made out of grass and vines. His skin is pale but his blood is blue which gives his cheeks a bluish appearance. His eyes are fiery green and they have a popping-out appearance.  In some tales he is depicted with a tail, horns and hooves. Sometimes he was described wearing a red scarf and his left shoe on his right foot. He can shape shift into any form, shape or size depending on where he is seen. In the forest he could be a giant but just outside the forest, in the fields, he could be as small as a blade of grass. He casts no shadow and has a horrible cry. When he is in human form, he usually takes the form of a common peasant, except his eyes glow and his shoes are on backwards. He is said to be the Forest Lord and carries a club or a whip to punish the people who mistreats his animals or property.
     His wife is called a Leshachikha and his children are called the Leshanke. He was considered the son of a demon and a human woman.
     He loves and protect the forest animals. His favorable companion with which he held a close bond is the Gray Wolf and many times he is seen in the company of bears.
     He loves to play tricks and games on people especially the hunters and the rich. He mostly left the poor people alone. He would mislead his victim on the wrong path by imitating the voice of a person they knew and eventually the victim would be lead back to where they started. Some tales state that he would lead them to his cave where he would tickle them to death. He would also cause those that he didn't like to be very sick. Another prank of his would be to take signs of the post to confuse people and get them lost. He didn't particular like the wood cutters for sometimes he would hide their axes to stop them from cutting his trees.
     As I said before, he mostly left the poor people and those who respected the forest and the animals alone. He wasn't totally evil, the Leshy would keep cattle from wandering too far and getting lost. Farmers, shepherds and cattle herders would make pacts with the Leshy and in turn he would protect their crops, their sheep and cows. He also would teach them the secrets of magic. Some cow herders would make a pact with him by handing him their crosses from around their necks and sharing their communion with him.
     If you ever were in his territory and you felt that you were becoming a victim of the Leshy then to escape him you had to take your clothes off and put them back on backwards and put your left shoe on your right foot. He then would respect you and let you go. Another way to escape him would be to set the forest on fire. While he is putting out the fire to protect his forest, the you could run away from him. Some people would leave, as an offering to the Leshy, a piece of bread with salt on it. They would leave it at the base of a tree, on some stones or on a stump, before entering the forest.
     So be careful traveling through the grove. Be respectful to the forest and it's inhabitants for if you don't then the Leshy will get you. Make sure you take some bread and salt with you. I bet Hansel and Gretal wish they had done that. LOL

The Lady of the Woods - The Birch Tree


There are 60 species of Birch through out the world. Some can grow to 80 feet tall and live for 100 years. It takes the Silver Birch 25 years to bear fruit. The national tree of Russia is the Birch. It is here where it is worshiped as a goddess during the Green week which is held in early June. The Birch tree is also special to Finland where is the national symbol.
     There are several folk names for the birch; Beithe, Bereza, Berka, Beth and Bouleau. Three of the Norse Gods have an association with the Birch tree; Frigga, the goddess of married love, goddess of the skies and clouds, Freya and Thor, who made the Birch tree his personal sacred tree.
     Every part of the Birch is edible. The Native Americans and early settlers of the New World used it's sap as a source of sugar. The inner bark can be used as a  pain reliever and the leaves used to treat arthritis. The Native Americans used the bark of the Birch for their canoes to travel the lakes and rivers of North America. Also a usage for the bark, because it contains a large amount of resin which makes it resistant to water, was for basket making and for roofing. The charcoal from the Birch was and is still used today to make gunpowder. The lighter twigs were used for thatching roofs, wattle for fences and brooms.
    The Witch's Broom was traditionally made from twigs from the Birch as well as Ash and Willow. The broom was made by tying the Birch twigs around a handle of Ash with strips of Willow. The three together represented the triple goddess. The Ash had an association with water and had command over the four elements. The Birch drew the spirits of the dead into one's service and the Willow allowed communication with the Goddess.
     The Druids considered the tree very sacred. They place the Birch at the start of the Celtic Tree calendar. A Birch can grow on bare soil and it has become the birth of many large forest and groves. The Birch tree has had a long association with fertility and healing magic. Children's cradle were made from Birch wood, because it was thought to protect the child from evil and to bless the child in the beginning of his/her life. If a criminal was caught, then sometimes they were beaten with a limb from the  Birch to drive out the evil influences that cause them to commit the crime. Animals and people would be gently whipped by Birch twigs if they were thought to be possessed. This was done to exorcise the evil spirits out.
     Cattle and deer don't like the taste of the Birch so they stayed away from it, but the twigs were used to bestow fertility on the cattle and also newlyweds as well. People would tied a red ribbon around the stem or branch of a Birch to ward off the evil eye. In the ol' country a lot of the Maypoles were often the Birch tree. The Yule logs were usually birch, too. If someone was planning on building a fire but could not find any dry wood to burn, usually use the wood from the Birch because it will burn even when it's wet.
     Coleridge the English poet of 1772 - 1834 called the Silver Birch the "Lady of the Woods" because of the way she gentle sways with the wind as it blows through it's branches.
     If there are any Birch around where you live maybe go to her and ask if she could help you with any healing or blessings, but don't forget to leave her some treats. If not, just sit and watch her sway and dance with the wind. There are some down here on the river where I live and I have stood and watch them several times dancing. It's a peaceful feeling.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"I am" by Spiral Rhythm music video


I Am by Spiral Rhythmhttp://www.spiralrhythm.net/Members.html

Marion


MySpace Video

The Pendle Witches


In 1612, at Lancaster gaol, located in the English county of Lancashire, ten men & women were hanged for witchcraft. This is probably one of the most known and famous case of witchcraft in England. The reason that so much was known about them is because the proceedings of the trials and executions were written down by Thomas Potts, who were the clerk of the court at the time. He also wrote a book about the incident. It contains confessions of four of the 'witches' and also very detailed accounts of their crimes.
     There were 13 people total that were accused. They became known as the Pendle Witches. They were believed to have murdered 17 people, by witchcraft,  in and around the forest of Pendle.
     Ten of these 13 people lived at Lancaster gaol; Alizon Device, Elisabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle whose alias was Chattox, Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock, Isobel Robey. They were hanged at Lancaster gaol.
     The other three were; Elizabeth Southerns also known as Demdike. She died in Lancaster gaol awaiting her trail. Jennet Preston, who lived just over the Lancashire border. She was tried in Yorkshire and then hanged at York in the same year of 1612. Magaret Pearson was found guilty at Lancaster but not guilty of murder. She only received a sentence of one year of imprisonment.
     It mostly was about a family feud between two families, who both known to practice witchcraft. The two families were lead by two elders who were known for their strong power in the craft. Demdike who had been friends with Chattox had an argument and they feuded bitterly. No one could understand why such confessions came out of the four who were questioned, except that they were so mad at each other and wanted to 'do each other in.' Torture wasn't used in England to extract confessions out of accused witches. It was only used on the mainland of Europe at the time. Yes, you read that right. I found that in itself amazing.
     As usual, it was said that they sold their souls to familiars, spirits and the devil then they received the power to kill or lame anyone that 'crossed' them. The popular method of killing or cursing someone was to make an ethigy of the intended victim. This figure was known as the 'picture of clay.' The figurine was then crumbled or burned over a period of time which caused the victim to fall ill and even die.
     Alizon Device, James Device, Elizabeth Device and Demdike lived at a place called Malkin Tower. Demdike was in her 80s and their elder ( mother and grandmother). She was known in the area as a very powerful witch.
     As I stated above, the majority of the confessions came from four of the accused; Alizon Device, her brother James Device, their grandmother Demdike and their enemy Chattox.
     The Demdike family consist of Elizabeth Southerns also known as Demdike, Elizabeth Device, her daugther and the mother of James and Alizon Device.
     The Chattox family was Anne Whittle, known as Chattox and her daughter, Anne Redferne.
     The Bulcock family was Jane Bulcock and her son, John Bulcock.
     The other 'witches' were Katherine Hewitt, alias Mouldheels, Alice Nutter, Magaret Pearson, Jennet Preston and Isobel Robey.
     There were 17 victims of these 'witches' and their little feud that they had going on.
     John Device, Hugh and John Moore of Higham, Anne and Robert Nutter were murdered by Chattox.
     Richard Assheton of Downham, a child of Richard Baldwin of Wheathead were victims of Demdike.
     Now together with Elizabeth Device & Alice Nutter, Demdike were accused of murdering a Henry Milton of Roughles.
     The victims of James Device were John Duckworth, Blaze Hargreaves of Higham, John Hargreaves of Goldshaw Booth and also Anne Towneley of Car.
     Elizabeth Device was accused of killing James & John Robinson of Barley.
     Anne Foulds of Coine was murdered by Katherine Hewitt.
     Jennet Preston's victim was a Thomas Lister of Gisburn.
     Anne Redferne's victim was Christopher Nutter.
     I can only imagine the publicity that this was getting during that time, just as the O.J. trail was getting the attention during our time. This had to be the story of the century.
     Even their familiars and spirits were accounted for. Alizon Device had a black dog as her familiar. Elizabeth Device's familiar was called Ball. Dandie was James Device's spirit. Chattox's familiar was called Fancie. Demdike called hers Tibb. Jennet Preston had a white foal as her familiar. I bet that was cool. LOL  Magaret Preston's was a cloven-hoofed man.

     Even though this story is fascinating, still people were accused of being a
'witch' and they were hanged or murdered themselves. I'm so glad that we don't have to worry about people's fears and ignorance anymore. We don't have to worry about being hanged or burned at the stake anymore. Let's hope those times don't repeat themselves anymore. Let's keep this country free for ALL RELIGIONS for all of our and our children's sakes.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Janus


Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. He was also considered the patron of beginnings of human life, new historical ages and economical enterprises. Home entrances, gates, bridges and passages were dedicated to him.
     He was depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions. This was to symbolize him being able to look into the future and the past. His two faces or heads were also said to represent the sun and the moon. He had received this gift of seeing into the past and future from the god Saturn for Janus' hospitality.
     Janus was symbolically used to represent changes and transitions of the progression of the past to future, of one condition to another, from one vision to the next and the young people growing into adulthood. Any transitions were thought to be in control of Janus.  He also represented even the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, the rural countries and the urban cities.  What ever the transition was, he was the middle ground.
     He was worshiped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times. Marriages and births were his world as well.
     One legend states that when  Romulus and his men had kidnapped the Sabine woman, Janus was upset. He caused a volcanic hot spring to erupt. Romulus men were buried alive. Romulus was in awe of Janus' power. In his honor, Romulus built a roofless structure and called it 'the Janus' (not a temple which what it was in reality). It had a front door and a door opposite. The doors were kept opened. During the war, a symbolic contingent of soldiers would march through it's doors. The doors were closed in ceremony when peace was concluded.
     Numa Pompilius not only honored Janus with naming a month after him, but also built a structure in his honor. The lamus gemimus or Janus Bifrons was a passage that was ritually opened at times of war and shut again when the Roman army would rest. It was a walled enclosure with gates at each end. It was situated in the Roman forum which was consecrated by Numa. In the time of war, the gates of the Janus were opened and in it's interior sacrifices were held to forecast how the outcome of the war would be. The doors were closed during peace time which was very rare. It is recorded that during the times of the Roman Empire, it was closed only 5 times. Augustus and Nero both loved to advertise the idea of universal peace. They closed the Janus during their reigns.
     Through time and many re-written legends these two structures were thought to be the one and the same.
     Janus can be called upon when a troubled teenager is going through some hard times adjusting into being an adult. He can also be called upon to protect your homes or your property by dedicating the doorways, gates, driveways and entrances to your home or property. He can also be your support during times of transition between marriage or divorce or any transition in your life that can/could be hard for you.

The Origin of January

January is named after the two headed god, Janus. He was considered the god of the doorway. The name origin can be traced back to Roman mythology. It comes from the Latin word ianua meaning door. January is considered the door to the new year. The word janitor can also be traced to the god Janus.
     In Finnish, the month is called tammikuu, meaning the month of the oak, but the original meaning was the month of the heart of winter.
     In Czech, this month is called leden, meaning appropriately the ice month.
     January became the first month of the year in 700 BC. The Roman king, Numa Pompilus added it and Feb. to the calendar. He also moved the start of the year from March to January.
     The Saxons called the month 'wulf-month; meaning the month of the wolf.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I want to apologize to the readers because
I haven't written anything here
lately. It's been busy around
here.
Please forgive me.
I will try tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 8th.
Blessings,
Grannulus

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year


I just wanted to say Happy New Year to all the readers & followers of
Grannulus' Grove.
Since Sept. I have enjoyed writing and sharing apart of myself and
at the same time learning & growing as well.
I appreciate the opportunity to be able to do this.
Since Sept., Grannulus' Grove has had 216 hits and I think that's
awesome.
I hope that all who comes here enjoy what they see and takes a little
with them when they leave.
Blessings As Always,
Grannulus