Monday, September 1, 2014

Tschäggättä

The Valley of Lötschental Switzerland remained isolated for thousands of years, with tall mountains surrounding it, and no real roads in or out until 1907. This allowed their traditional festival Tschäggättä to survive into the modern day.





It's difficult to know the exact origins of this festival, however, it's possible that it was a way of scaring evil spirits from a village, an or honoring dark spirits as well in order to convince them to leave the village alone. Both these ideas were fairly common in ancient Europe, though again it's difficult to know the exact function of the masks in Tschäggättä.







Friday, August 22, 2014

Manifesto - Make something beautiful

This picture comes from "A New Year's Present to the little ones from five to twelve. Part III." It's the first time a Santa was in a sleigh or had a reindeer. Such a simple picture but it changed the world and helped to inspire "The Night Before Christmas" which turned Christmas into a holiday about family, generosity, and wonder. For this reason this picture and poem, based on folk lore from The Forest Finns, the Dutch, the English, and the Germans has perhaps  done more than all the Olympics, Nobel Prizes, etc., to bring peace and happiness to people.

Modern scholars would have hated these poems if they had come out in our time, just as most critics hated "Star Wars," and many folklorists often hate Disney.

The truth, however, is that good stories and art are the ones which change the world, or at least improve someone's life. They give us moments of magic, help us feel better emotionally. It's been shown that the right picture can reduce depression, improve concentration, and more. The right pictures in this case being beautiful pictures of nature, or cute things. The right stories, too can inspire generations of people, and often these works of art and stories are inspired by fairy tales.

However, as I studied cross-cultural psychology focusing on folkloristics I found scholars acknowledging in the intro's and prefaces to their books that folkloristics is the driest field to study something interesting. Yet they then go on to write dry books which study the means of studying folklore.

Yes this is useful for textbooks, but it serves only one real purpose, to help scholars understand scholarship. In order to make these scholarly articles and books relevant for people we have to use them to make books that are interesting as useful for other purposes. Briggs, has done a great job with this in her books on fairies, but such scholarship is limited to England and  only goes so far.

I wanted to create something different, something with a purpose, and the purpose I chose was to help writers and artists, because they can change the world. Yes the things that artists and writers say they want such as archetypes are things that scholars hate, but there are lots of books on folklore that are useful for scholars, and hundreds of journal articles published every year as well.

So while I may pour through scholarly articles, books, etc., most of us have to have a different purpose than just writing these articles, we have to apply them to something. I've decided to apply them to help the people who make the world a more beautiful place through stories.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Celtic Tribes



There were many tribes in Ancient Britain, and Genetic studies show that the tribes of Wales are genetically different... to a limited extent. However, the people of Britain are also surprisingly similar. So even after all the invasions by Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Norman and more added their DNA to the mix, the British still remained. So the question is how much of their stories remained?

There are ghosts to whom waterfowl sing, that ask those they meet to feed and take care of the people of their land, and whom sailors ask for protection. There are black dogs which could be guardians to the underworld. It's hard to know what such stories mean, but stories can survive the conquest of other people, for example, the people of Greece were ruled by many outside nations for thousands of years, yet they retained a lot of their stories, to some extent.

In Greek fairy tales gods such as Hades would at times become a Magician from Turkey in order to kidnap the daughter of Demeter who became St. Demetrius. Churon became the lord of the underworld, rather than the boatmen to it, and Zeus became the Christian God, fighting a rebellion of Giants with thunderbolts, then after victory he buried them them under the mountains as Zeus had buried the Titans. We know this because we know the original myths that these fairy tales are based on. What we don't know is the myths that the British tales are based on. Still it seems that just beneath the changes to their stories exists older ideas. We can never truly know these stories, but by mapping them and looking at them in a different light I believe that we can better understand them.

I'm working on a map of Celtic Fairies and a Book to help you interpret Europe's Fairy Tales on Kickstarter.




Facts from a few tribal regions

Looking at a few specific tribal regions we find some interesting facts such as;

The Iceni tribe was always very resistant to change, when the Roman's conquered many of them fled to the fens (Wash) rather than submit to Roman rule and their queen Boudicca lead a revolt that killed thousands of Romans. And we see in this region some of the strongest continuing fairy traditions in South Eastern England. This land still had many fairies meeting, enforcing morality, for long after such traditions had faded. In addition to their good relationship with the fairies, they often had remnants of a sometimes troubled with the fairies, from the typical fairies kidnapping humans to tales of humans kidnapping fairies, for example;

The tale of two green fairy children who were taken in by a human, although the boy died of sorrow the girl slowly became human after eating human food.

Another tiny fairy was captured here, he called to his brother for help, but none came and he too pined away and died.



Corieltauvi Tribe in the Northern Fens includes stories such as;

A Moon Goddess which battles evil spirits on the fen but is captured, buried and must be rescued, after which she banishes away many of the evil spirits which makes the world safer for humanity.

The last deity which protects sailors in the East.


Dumnonii
Isolated by vast moors and quick to accept Roman Rule, the Romans allowed them to continue to live as they always had. Interestingly enough they seem to have one of the closest relationships with the fairies in their stories I've ever heard, with the fairies commonly doing farm work, etc, for them. Here too there are also stories of fairy refugees fleeing to hide in their land.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2 More Witch Archetypes

The Lost

The world is filled with desperate people, but this was even more true in ancient times when women were forced to marry men who often didn't love them in distant villages where they were treated as outsiders by every human around them. Men too, could find themselves leaving home because there wasn't enough food in the village to feed them, then unable to find work they found themselves starving to death, looked down on by everyone around them.

In lore some of these people were lucky, they found a fairy who was willing to help, but not all fairies are helpful. Seeing an opportunity to pump up their ego, to take advantage of a lonely and desperate person many of the less kind fairies would attach themselves to the lost. They would give the lost magical secrets and aid in return for their complete emotional, physical, and often sexual subservience.

The fairies attached to The Lost were aggressive, controlling, and fickle. Acting like an abusive husband they would beat and torment the witch to get their way. The Lost couldn't leave even if they wanted to, for they were trapped in a supernatural relationship, however, they seem to have started to justify their relationship with the fairy, and become proud of it. The Lost had so little control over everything that they reveled in the magical powers they gained, but like children they often bragged about things they shouldn't have. They used their powers to threaten and blackmail the people around them, often trying to gain control over something. Thus many of these witches were found out because they would publicly yell at people that they would curse them to die, or because they would use their powers of divination to find out a powerful persons dark secrets.

Things would get progressively worse for The Lost, until at last the fairy bored of them and left. Grief stricken and relieved The Lost might swear that never again would they find themselves in such a situation, but there were are always more fairies looking to boost their ego through a relationship with a human. And in the end The Lost desires the feeling of power that comes from magic, even if it requires the abuse of something cruel.


Lucky Adventurous Tricksters

Examples: Hermes, "Jack and the Bean Stalk," hero in "Devil and the Three Golden Hairs," Hero in "The Drummer," and many, many more.

Perhaps the most common witch in fairy tales, the Luck Born are some of the most liminal of witches, for in fairy tales the pop in and out of the spirit realm with such ease, and gain spirit allies so readily that people hearing the story often don't even realize they are using magic.

Free loving and free wheeling they are quick to accept any task placed in front of them, and quick to befriend or trick any spirit at will. The hero of "The Drummer," for, pretends to be leading an army in order to force a giant into carrying him to the glass mountain (the other world).

Lucky Born are willing to work hard to accomplish their tasks, but at the same time, they are also willing to just lay down when a task is impossible and assume it will resolve itself, because for them it almost always does with the help of kind fairies. Fairies have always helped them, and always well, because the fairies like the kind free wheeling nature of the Luck Born.

Again going back to The Drummer, he's the only protagonist I know of who ever returned the shift of a fairy when he got a hold of it. Most stories of swan maidens, sky women, sealkie, etc, involve someone stealing these to gain power over the fairy. The Drummer, returned it immediately once he learned it belonged to someone. Then he risked his life to rescue the fairy whom it belonged to, despite knowing very little about her.

The one serious flaw with Luck Born is that since they think everything will always turn out, that the beans are magical, that if they just lay down some fairy will come along and do their work for them, etc. And they love to be helpful, they are quick to give advice, which won't work out very well for anyone else.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 Fairy Archetypes



Peter Pan Fairy Archetypes

There are many childish fairies, playful and curious, they tend to live on a constant roller coaster of emotions, going from extremely rambunctious highs to terrible fit throwing lows very quickly.

Adventurous these fairies love taking risks, love to cause mischief and trouble.

They constantly need to be the center of attention and crave positive feedback from others, which leads them to be show offs.

Ainsel of Northern England is a good example of this. A soot covered fairy who bursts out down chimneys to play with, and show off for, human children.

The Mocachicchio of Italy are also another good example. These fairies love to play with human children, especially games in which they can act the part of the leader. When things don't go their way they can quickly become demanding and rude, and when things really don't go their way they become emotionally overwhelmed and begin weeping.


Fate Bringers

Filled with powerful and often overwhelming emotions, fate bringers are the most extreme version of the artist archetype. Unlike human artists who are limited to telling stories or painting pictures, fairies manipulate the fate, the story of humanity is their greatest art. The they can create the story of "Sleeping Beauty," rather than having to tell it.

Banshee's are a good example of this fairy. Ancestral spirits who are so in love with their human family that they cry until their eyes turn red when they learn that someone they love is going to die. They do not cause this death, however, instead they bring the gifts of poetry and greatness to their family members.

The fairies of "Sleeping Beauty" were another example of this archetype. Happy to help, but also so easily offended they were willing to curse a baby to die.


Water Mothers

Water mothers love purity, beauty and serenity above all else, which makes them extremely important for villages which need a clean source of water. Dwelling in pools they have a naturally caring nature, helping the people of the village almost as they would children. Yet their sensitive nature means that they are easily offended by swearing, by immoral behavior, and most of all filth. The Rusalka, for example, were so offended by immorality that they left their homeland to find a new place to live.

The "But Aba" of the Mari-El are a good example of this fairy. Choosing to adopt a village keep the lake or river clean for the people to drink, most of the time. If they get too upset however they became depressed and listless. In this state they allow the lake to grow filthy, requiring the people to give the gifts (porridge or the blood of a black hen are common though fishermen often give them vodka as well).

She loves to engage the people of her village, so when new wives move to the village they would introduce themselves to the lake and give it a little porridge. Further at various times of the year the village would have a feast by the lake in her honer.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Forgotten Witch Archetypes

Once upon a time there were many dozens of types of witch archetypes, more than most writers today would ever imagine. At this time a witch was a person who worked with the fairies (spirits) in order to gain their powers.

The Possessed Warrior

Example: Germanic Berserkers

The beserker's berserk state comes from being possessed by a spirit known as the dyr-fylgja, which allows the berserker to enter battle with the ferocity of an animal, and supernatural strength, speed, and an immunity to damage. While other berserkers are able to send their souls from their bodies in the form of animals in order to engage in battle.

Both of these powers require an incredible amount of mental discipline, which comes from contemplative meditation. So while they were extremely brutal they were also highly meditative and mentally sharp.

Rather than being chaotic, as is so often depicted, these witches were often willing to follow their leader and their societies laws to the death. Yes they might lose control while possessed and in this berserker rage kill even their own comrades, but this isn't who they were, any more than any person is the being which has possessed them. Indeed the fact that they only occasionally lost control is a testament to their ability to control the spirit possessing them.

The Hardworking

Example" Blacksmiths in fairy tales that have magical powers, Girls who would herd sheep for the fairies, etc.

In fairyland it's often the hardest worker who survives, for fairies respect and even demand hard work. So those who stumble into fairyland and are willing to work hard are often given magical rewards.

Although patient with their work these witches easily lose their temper with those who don't follow the guidance of the spirits, or who are immoral. Celebrations, ceremonies, and tradition tend to have a great meaning for them, so they almost never forget important details in events or their friendships.


Wise Warrior

Examples: Odin, Diana, Artemis, male practitioners of Shamanistic magic in Germanic lore.

Wise warriors will suffer any agony in order to gain knowledge is more important that happiness, and many sacrifice their place in society in order to gain knowledge. For there were many spells that were limited to men or women alone but the wise warriors would ignore these rules. For example, Odin was banished for performing womanly magic as were many Germanic cross-dressing witches.

Despite the fact that they fail to follow social norms Wise Warriors do have strong convictions, and they seek to protect humanity, and the nation which often derides them from outside invaders, or at times to protect the weakest members of society. They have an overwhelming need to take action, and often get themselves into trouble for instigating war when others seek peace. This is because of their power to foresee the future, and their willingness to sacrifice anything to accomplish their goals.

Their spirit journeys are often filled with suffering, such as when Odin hung himself from the worlds tree, or gave up his eye to learn the use of ruins and divination.

Despite being strong warriors they are also very cunning and will use guile as often as they use their skill in combat to get their way.

Despite the fact that these witches seem like they should be serious their knowledge of the future, along with their constant struggle means that they need to cut loose more than most. Because of this they love wild parties and hunting difficult prey.



Learn more about the witches of fairy tales and the past in my book "A Writers Guide to Fairies, Witches and Vampires."



Friday, July 18, 2014

Grimm's Fairies





"Grimm's Fairies" is a book I'm planning to launch on Kickstarter which will serve as a guide to the fairies, witches, vampires, and folk religion within fairy tales.

In this book I'll discuss in detail the fairy beliefs and myths of a number of different people's including the Uralic people's of the Steppes, the Romanians, the Germans, the Celts, the English, the Northern Italians, and more. By carefully examining the fairy tales and beliefs of these people's one by one I hope to take you on a guided journey which will lead you to understand Europe's fairy beliefs of once upon a time.

Of course this book won't happen without your help so please sign up to help me make this book happen when I launch it.

Send an email to tyhulse@yahoo.com if you are interested.

“Once Upon a Time” people didn't believe that fairies lived in some distant land, for nearly  everyone had a story of encountering fairies in the lakes, forests, moores, and even the cities of their homeland. “Fairy Lands” will discuss not only these fairy tales, but the folk religion behind them, as well as the regions they took place in, and the history of the people who told them.

With extensive maps to show you where different fairy encounters occurred, this book will take you on a guided journey across Europe to understanding the almost forgotten fairy realms.

I'm planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign for this book, and but would like to find support for it before I launch. So please sign up to receive an email when I launch this project.


This book will closely examine the stories, history, and folk belief's of many unique lands, which like a path of bread crumbs through the sylvan forest, each culture's beliefs will lead you ever closer to understanding of the fairy realm.
From the alpine fairy realms of Northern Italy, to the stillness of the Eurasian Steppes, to the quite rivers of Mongolia, "A Dreamer's Guide to Fairies and Fairy Tales," will help readers understand the beautiful and often strange fairy realms.
Thanks to the supporters for my last successful Kickstarter campaign I was able to publish "A Writers Guide to Fairies, Witches, and Vampires." And I was also able to get rough drafts of a number of books, including a book on Fairy Tale Archetypes and Japan's Folk Religion. I am coming back now to get these rough drafts edited, and to get another book edited on fairies across Eurasia. 
As a child growing up in Yupik villages I heard a lot of folktales from people who still respected them, more than this i discovered that each story I was told had a story behind it.











Each fairy tale has a setting, a place which isn't often discussed in the fairy tales, because the people listening to the story knew this setting. Yet this setting is intimately important to truly enjoying the fairy tale. My hope is that learning about the beauty and fairy faith of lands such as Northern Italy, or the isolation of the Selkup villages will help stir your imagination. 
People used to believe in the witches, vampires and fairies in these stories. They were afraid that a wolf might take human form in order to eat them, they really did hope that a fairy would come and bless them so they could escape their ordinary life. Further in ancient times many leaders would take spirit journeys, entering the realm of fairies in order to understand the nature of humanity and the universe. So once upon a time whole societies would base their philosophies and activities on their belief in fairies, deities, spirits and similar beings. So fairy tales are not abstract morality tales, they are stories filled with the spirits people feared and credited with controlling fate which is why the word fairy at it's origin means in essence 'those who control fate.
Because of this people thought a lot about and discussed fairy tales as stories filled with real beings, beings people needed to avoid or get on the good side of. So fairies and vampires were assigned personalities, given goals even if these aren't overtly stated in fairy tales.
I'm including links to a few sample articles I've posted on my blog. Part of what I want to do with this project is flesh out an lengthen each of these articles and many to provide you with more information fairies.
Here in this land it's difficult to tell if you are in the fairy realm in the sky, the underworld, or still in the Middle Realm of Humans and strange spirits. For a person can find themselves in fairyland simply by stepping off the path, or walking out their door at the wrong time... Read More