Medb’s Cairn: the grave of a mythological Irish queen?

Perched atop the monolithic Irish hill Knocknarea west of Sligo town, lies Medb’s Cairn, in Irish Miosgán Médhbh, a 5,000 year old burial mound, even though no one is quite sure whose it is. It is about 55 metres wide and 10 metres high, making it the largest cairn in Ireland outside the Brú na Bóinne complex in Meath. It is believed to date to around 3000 BCE, and it is a protected National Monument. In recent years, archaeologists have warned that the ancient cairn is being eroded by hikers…

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Zhiva: the Slavic Goddess of Life

Zhiva, Dziwa, Zywa, Siwa, or Sewa are all names for the Slavic Goddess of Life. Words that derive from here name are zhizn/zycie/zhyttya, meaning life, zhivotnoye/zywiola, meaning animal/animals, zhivnost – critters, zhivot – stomach, and zhivitsa, meaning tree pitch. Zhiva is an all-Slavic Goddess of life and fertility, although Her cult is more noticeable among Western and Southern Slavs that know her as Vida. Medieval Polish sources mention Her as a daughter of Sventovit and Noncena, respectively deities of day and night, while late Polish sources call Her Dzidzilia (Great)…

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Pleiades: mythology of the Seven Sisters

In Rome and in Greece, in this period, the Pleiades were remembered, and predictions were made on the illnesses of the season. In short, the Pleiades were the seven sisters who, at the time of their death, were transformed into stars from Zeus. After the spring equinox, the ancients were careful not to expose themselves to the unstable climate of the period to avoid the seasonal ills. Since the ascent of the Pleiades coincided with this period, it was common opinion that the constellation was somehow linked to the climate.…

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Leshy: the Slavic God of the forest

Leshy, literally He-of-the-forest is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. He was depicted a tall, elderly man with a face covered with branches, while in other source his appearance was similar to a typical looking man (mostly he wore a forest ranger uniform and carried a gun or thick staff). According to some sources, though he often has the appearance of a man, his eyebrows, eyelashes, and right ear are missing, his head is somewhat pointed, and he lacks a hat and belt. In his native forest…

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Black Shuck: The mythic hellhound Of Medieval England

Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock or simply Shuck is the name given to a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the coastline and countryside of East Anglia, a traditional region of eastern England. Stories about the creature form part of the folklore of Norfolk, Suffolk, the Cambridgeshire fens and Essex. His name, Shuck, may derive from the Old English word “scucca” meaning “demon”, or possibly from the local dialect word “shucky” meaning “shaggy” or “hairy”. In any case, Black Shuck is one of many ghostly black dogs…

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February 17: International Cat’s day

In Norse mythology, Freyja is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr, a type of magic practiced in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age relating to telling and shaping of the future. She was also associated with war and death, and It was said that after a battle, she would lead a band of Valkyries to gather the fallen warriors—or half of them, at least. She would take her share of the dead to Folkvang, her hall in the home of the gods,…

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4th January: Fufluns Festival

Fufluns (or Puphluns) was the Etruscan was a god of plant life, grape harvest, happiness, wine, health, and growth in all things, equivalent to the Greek Dionysus and the Roman Bacchus. He was worshipped at Populonia, in Tuscany region, central Italy (Etruscan Fufluna or Pupluna) and apparently he is the namesake of that town. He was the son of the thunder god Tinia and the earth goddess Semia. Taurine sacrifices were performed in his honor, as the bull was the animal consecrated to him. Fufluns is usually depicted as a…

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How the wren became the King of the Birds

Many years ago, all the birds of the world gathered to decide which of them would be their king. After many days of debate, they decided that they would hold a contest: whichever bird could fly the highest would be the king. Thus, on the day of the competition, all the birds took off into the air. The small song birds quickly tired, with their fragile wings unable to carry them far. They were soon joined by the ducks, crows, and many others. In short order, only the strongest of…

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Fairy Rock, the place where according to local legends fairies used to dance in the moonlight and invite handsome young men into their grottoes ~

The ancient engine house of Saltom Pit is the first large-scale mine ever sunk below sea level. It sits at the base of Fairy Rock on the coast of Whitehaven, England, and Fairy Rock itself is slowly slipping toward the structure. Probably because the soft layer of coal and shale beneath the heavy sandstone becomes slippery when rainwater seeps into its cracks, causing the sandstone to break and tumble downward. Or, it may be an act of revenge by fairies…. There was a time when Fairy Rock was famed throughout…

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La Patasola: the vengeful protector of the Andes

Colombia is full of magic and mystery and there is a single village in the country that does not boast its own spirit or superstition, often passed from generation to generation. Some ghost stories have become so entrenched in the national psyche they are known countrywide, by scaring children and keeping errant spouses in their place. Imagine you are alone, deep in country’s central Andean region. Maybe you are cutting down lumber in the lush forests, or prospecting for some minerals, gold, for istance, in one of valley creeks. All…

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Drangurinn Rock and the Elves in South-Iceland Folklore

Drangurinn rock is a mysterious giant tuff rock formation that sits below the Eyjafjöll Mountains in the south of Iceland. However, according to Icelandic folklore, it did not get there naturally, but It is said that a semi-legendary outlaw tore it from Mount Hrútafell and dropped it just there. According to the story, a strongman named Grettir Ásmundsson once passed through this area in a bad mood. In his rage, he grabbed a handful of the mountain and flung it westwards onto the lowlands. The rock he threw down is…

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Adze: an insectoid source of misfortune in West Africa

As night settles in Africa, across Togo and Ghana, where the Ewe people lives, the Adze, it is said, slips through keyholes, under windows and around doors, flying to the bodies of the sleeping, appearing as mosquitos, beetles, fireflies, or simply balls of light. They prey on men and women, but especially enjoy the blood of children. For centuries, the Ewe people of West Africa have lived in fear of these creatures. According to the legend, there’s no potion, spell, or weapon that can ward one off, and no cure…

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Púca: Ireland’s shapeshifting trickster spirit of Celtic folklore

Try to imagine: you’re a normal worker, and you live in your pretty cottage just outside Dublin. It’s autumn and, despite the wind is brisk, the weather is pleasant and so you decide to take a normal nighttime stroll. You latch your gate behind you, and turn, just to find a stranger dressed in a fashionable suit. He begins to tell you your own family secrets, including sins, adultery, sorrows, destitution. Then he tells you what’s going to happen to you: your wife will leave, your money will run dry…

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St. Senara’s Curch and the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor~

A variety of fish-tailed gods were worshipped by the first civilisations of the Middle East, and the earliest known of these was Oannes, Lord of the Waters, who appeared about 7000 years ago. However, it is unclear what the connection is between these ancient gods and the mermaids that were reported by European sailors from around the 15th century onwards. But sightings were at one time pretty common in Cornwall. British folklore proposes that the mermaid represents an early depiction of the goddess Aphrodite, who was seen as a warning…

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8# The delicious history of the Yule Log Cake – or bûche de Noël

Paris at Christmastime is heaven for sweet tooth. Even if, patisseries on virtually every street corner is attractive at any time of year, there’s something magical about windows packed with elaborately decorated little logs. I discovered that few French people celebrate Christmas without one of these Yule log cake, known also as bûche de Noël, a Christmas cake with a ritualistic and interesting past. Cleverly shaped and decorated to look like a 3-D little log, the cake represents a melding of ancient midwinter traditions: one that celebrated the end of…

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Cottingley’s Fairies: the pictures that tricked also Arthur Conan Doyle

There are fairies in the stream that runs through the village of Cottingley in West Yorkshire. It’s true, and there are pictures to prove it! The very popular Cottingley Fairies refers to five photographs taken by two schoolgirls between 1917 and 1920 near Cottingley Beck, England, close to a narrow stream. Elsie Wright (1901–1988) and Frances Griffiths (1907–1986), cousins living at Elsie’s house in the village, liked to play by the stream at the bottom of the garden, much to their mothers’ annoyance, because they frequently came back with wet…

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Dhanushkodi, the ghost town returned by the sea.

Dhanushkodi was an Indian city located exactly opposite Sri Lanka, the last human outpost before the narrow channel between the two nations. The meaning of its name means “End of the Arch”, and symbolizes the particular geographical position of the city. India is a country full of surprises, both natural and man-made. Dhanushkodi, located is probably the place where the wonders of nature and man become one. This is a place shrouded in mystery, that’s easy to miss by the regular tourist. In fact, it’s not really a part of…

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Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl: the Tragic Legend of the Aztec Lovers who turned into Volcanoes.

Myths and legends of every people of the earth are closely linked to the territory in which they are born. So it was also for the Mayans and the Aztecs who lived in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. In this zone, two of the many volcanoes of that land rich in history have become symbols of a tragic love story. Volcanoes were very important to the Aztecs: in their pantheon, the deity that represented them was Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of the day, of heat and fire, the…

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