Feather & Scale

Think of this one as a Crazy Wall of my own knot of synchronicities—associative, allusive, weaving a serpent journey, as the raven flies.

I’m not pushing equivalencies here: one is not the other is not that one. Think of this as me noticing different lines and synchronicities that’ve been in my wake for a long while. It’s okay: this isn’t a coherent shape.

Feather

I went inside to try and pull it off. I lit the one candle, put on some drum music, lit some sandalwood…Morrigan had told me before she would “take me”—that I would “come with her”—after a bit…[and journeying] out onto that branch, she comes with all the crows.

I was devoured by the crows and her—as she alternated between [raven/corvid] headdress goddess and gigantic dire corvid as dozens of crows pecked and ate. “Rise!” she called, and I’d try to rise, giving them access to my body even as I showed they hadn’t finished. I convulsed under the onslaught, stopped moving, but I was breathing hard in a lull—so obviously I wasn’t dead yet.

When I was, I regenerated, alive if fatigued.

—there had been pain, terror, mingled with an awareness of what [kind of] initiation was going on—

When I’d regenerated, she asked if I would suffer that again? I said, “Feel free.” So they did.

More crows, more devouring and death. Throughout I tried to keep ____________ at hand even if I wasn’t using it. After a point, I was dead—no, half-dead, half-corpse. I couldn’t really move, and she asked me—at one point, I wanted to cry, but couldn’t. Why, she asked, did I want to cry? I wasn’t sure. Why wasn’t I? Because I was just half a corpse. They finished the job, and I lay until I regenerated again. “You know what’s coming next,” she said. We knew I knew… Two deaths weren’t enough. One might’ve been, but we’re fey. So, yes, a third death.

I was told to turn over as they tore into my back, so I eventually flipped over, and they continued. I lay there, and she circled me on the branch: “Corpse or crow,” she repeated. “Will you be corpse or crow.” My corpse said, realized, I was already with, in the crows—the crows had become me. I could escape the question—I tried to cheat the binary she offered, assert [some other role], but no—she kept it binary. Corpse and death or life and crow—even She’s a Crow, after all—and though I could cheat and escape the binary by refusing the…initiation, by getting up & leaving, I’d be turning my back on everything to this point, and I’d be a spiritual corpse. So, I went with Crow. And I regenerated again, propped myself up and then rested as she bid.

I lay there and rested, on my front so my wings would be free.

here

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Mysticartdesign | Pixabay

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Athena holding a helmet and a spear, with an owl. Attic red-figure lekythos. (photo via Marie-Lan Nguyen, CCA2.5)

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Winged Nike of Samothrace

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Loki’s flight to Jötunheim (using Freya’s feathered cloak) (W. G. Collingswood)

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Burney Relief, the Queen of the Night, (probably Inanna/Ishtar)

And Thaumas wedded Electra the daughter of deep-flowing Ocean, and she bore him swift Iris and the long-haired Harpies, Aello [Storm-swift] and Ocypetes [Swift-flier] who on their swift wings keep pace with the blasts of the winds and the birds; for quick as time they dart along. —Hesiod, Theogony, 265-7

“Sirens have wings and claws because Love flies and wounds; they stay in water because a wave created Venus. It is imagined that there were three sirens, part woman, part bird, that had wings and claws. One of them played the lute, another the flute, while the third sang; they charmed sailors to cause shipwreck. This in untrue [says Isidore]; they were actually prostitutes who led travellers into poverty.”

“The siren is a monster of strange fashion, for from the waist up it is the most beautiful thing in the world, formed in the shape of a woman. The rest of the body is like a fish or a bird. So sweetly and beautifully does she sing that they who go sailing over the sea, as soon as they hear the song, cannot keep from going towards her. Entranced by the music, they fall asleep in their boat, and are killed by the siren before they can utter a cry.”

Siren illustrations are varied, and can often be confused with the mermaid. Sirens are always female, and usually have wings. Some are depicted as having a fish body from the waist down; others have a bird body. Some illustrations show the uncertainty of whether sirens are part fish or part bird by giving them attributes of both; the siren in Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 3466 8º (f. 37r) has a fish tail and stands on bird’s feet. The join at the waist of woman and fish is often marked with a colored band or belt, making the creature look like a woman in a fish suit. The siren in Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 1633 4º (f. 40v) has wings but no arms, and has a pronounced tubular band around her waist. The siren and the onocentaur often appear together, sometimes in the same illustration, as in British Library, Sloane MS 278 (f. 47r) and J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig XV 3 (f. 78r). The siren is sometimes shown plying her trade, enticing sailors or pulling them out of their ship.—“Siren,” via The Medieval Bestiary


In the journey, I often come to a ridge I have to negotiate down to woods surrounding a lake shore, and there I find a rowboat. You can’t swim the lake because it is toxic, or venomous beasts dwell within. But you can enter the boat and launch, and it will guide you over the waters to the far shore.

There, you will first encounter a cabin. It generally looks rustic or run-down, almost out of place. For me, it’s sometimes like the cabin from Evil Dead. Sometimes, it’s a backwoods house that’s run-down and kinda…Deliverance. The thing is, the cabin is a trap–it is alive, hungry. Most of the people who cross the lake are women. When I told my friend about this journeying experience, guided by a raven, he recognized the details. His good friend of a long time had told him how she had dozed half-asleep in bed and dreamt she crossed a dangerous lake in a boat to a shore with a dangerous or cursed cabin. And he remembered a colleague at work who, one day, for some reason, had told him about a dream she’d had of the lake, the boat, the cabin–

The cabin is not a “test” or “challenge.” It is a predator. You pass the test by not going inside or getting too close. I move past the cabin and into the woods, and in the woods is a large clearing. My friend’s friends had told him about women in white gowns or dresses going out into the woods beyond the cabin, but they hadn’t followed.

In the surrounding woods and hills are ruins, with a settlement along one hilltop a ways off. But in the clearing, women come together in triads, with each triad seeing only their own triad even as you can sense the others are also there. And An Morrigan comes here; this realm is sacred to her and the Morrígna who journey here.


Edited to add:

White women. Some give the names of white women with sylphs, nymphs- and to fairies who are Germany, protecting children and showing interest àquelquesfamilles. Others hear from some ghosts that cause more fear than NiAl. There is a kind of harmless spectra, diLDelrio, which appear in. women all white in woods and meadows; sometimes even we see them in the stables, holding wax candles lit they leave drop drops on the forelock and horse hair horses, which they paint and braid then very cleanly; these white women, adds the same author, are also named sibyls and fairies. In Brittany, white women, who are called washerwomen’s singers night, wash their clothes singing, in the light of the moon, in the broken fonts; they proclaim the help of passers-by to twist their clothes and break the arm that helps them bad thanks.

Modern Sibyls. There was succession, little known to the truth, in the Sibyls. Pierre Grespet, in his two books Of hatred of the demons for men, quotes some facts. The Cave of Nursia, in the land of Naples, is called still the cave of the Sibyl, and one. sibylle y (lored in the Middle Ages and in the early time of reform. Dominique Mirabelli, we do not know the origin, arrested for magic, because he carried with him magic books, confessed, in his interrogation, which he had visited the sibyl of Nursia, with some companions! that Scot, one of them, had received from her a book mysterious, – with a demon enclosed in a ring; that he had then done wondrous things in front of several princes; that with the help of book and ring he could ship where he wanted, whenever he did not have the winds otherwise. He added that the religious authority had established guards at the gate of the cave; but those who were introduced to magic there went in making themselves invisible. He portrayed the sibyl: his height was small; She was sitting on a low seat, and her hair floated to the ground. While the visitor was talking with it, the lightning and the thunder desolated the surroundings of the cave. Mirabelli, his friend Scot and his other companions were taken to Paris. —Dictionnaire Infernal (run through Google Translate)


Scale

I’m off in the woods with my little sister, who’s clutching her plush cat, and I’m in theory leading us on my excursion, following the compass point because that’ll lead us where we’re wanting to go. (In hindsight, that’s apparently rather Captain Jack.) Despite being the younger sibling, my sister has a better idea that I probably don’t know what I’m doing. We walk along a dry stream bed by Turquoise Lake in Colorado, in the woods. We’re out for at least half an hour as I follow the arrow on the compass. We wind up circling back around to our family’s camp, following north, and it’s only as we get back that the thought occurs to me that’s not how compasses work.

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Mt. Elbert and Turquoise Lake (Sally Pearce, Colorado Department of Transportation)

I don’t tell my parents that story until decades later.


I am having a conversation with a close friend on the phone. I’ve been depressed and having existential angst, feeling not directionless but not wanting to go in the direction my notions of “career” would lead me. I realize what I want is magic, to live a magical life, to be magic. My friend and I start talking about weird shit. I have the unsettling sense that I’m being watched by a woman–I can see her giant eye watching me, like a partial dissolve against the backdrop of my bedroom.


I’m in my first proper Shakespeare class in college, and we’ve been reading Romeo & Juliet. I’m sleep-deprived for whatever reason that day, and I doze off unwillingly while someone reads a passage. I have a vision of the classroom, the students and teacher still sitting in our circle, but everything’s silent, unmoving, and there’s a beautiful woman with long dark hair, blue dress (sorta like that), whispering urgently at me, her features a bit blurry and indistinct as I startle awake.

It’s only years later, after I’m a Shakespeare doctor, that I’m outside on my balcony, enjoying a spring morning, reflecting on that episode, and I realize the passage that’d been read and was being discussed was Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech. I laugh out loud, recognize the synchronicity finally.


At the time, I had called her a particular name that wound up translating as “sweet” (via Quen-darin, of course), and I interpreted her within a past-life frame–and years later, when I was resuming my practice, Athena pointed me to a glyph (a “wyrm that is wise”) that led me to begin seeing what at first was a coiling mass of wyrms or serpents in the distance with a pale dark-haired woman foregrounded, whispering urgently to me, trying to get me to pay attention and to look at whatever was behind her. As I returned to this glyph and vision, it resolved into “Queen Mab” and a tree behind her. I called her “goddess” for a while, and a few other names.


I have just called her within my little bless-my-heart visualized circle of octarine light after having worked with the Feri directional Guardians out of T. Thorn Coyle’s Evolutionary Witchcraft for a while, and I’ve called their attention, too, and I’ve called this “Goddess.” And she’s there with me, but she’s silent. And I ask her if I can actually hear her? And she opens her mouth and utters a word, and it is like thunder. I fall to my knees, almost senseless–I’ve made no sense of what she might’ve said, just felt like thunder struck me. I ask her to speak again after a moment. And she still speaks with thunder. But I’m okay with that at that point.


I am moving with her through some other, off-scale forest, and I am off-scale, larger and more diffuse than I am used to, but she and the others I encounter are far more massive, denser–


I have a sense one night that she will show me something earth-shattering the next day. I go through the next day at work without real incident, and as I’m taking the bus on the way home, I suddenly realize that I can see a titanic world tree rising, partly obscured by what seems like the bluing of the atmosphere, to my south-by-southeast–and she is, in my mind’s eye, there before the Tree.


She went from seeming insistent and urgent that I pay attention to quite pleased that I was finally paying attention.

Sometimes, I see her strolling quite happily before the Tree in meadows, plains–and sometimes, I see her in a forest in which the Tree–titanic from my perspective here–is just one of the trees in that Endless Forest. And I dreamt once a silent dream in a twilight place, her face–older and more mature than she usually seems–just staring and watching, that I can remember. But in the forest, she will sit me down by the waters, and she will tell me things.

In these reaches of the otherworld, she is often by a river. It is the same river, though it rushes with a spray in parts while in others it is winding and placid. I have taken to calling this river the Annwyn Waters–yes, Annwn, or however you wish to spell it, but Annwyn is how it feels like I should spell these waters–

And she teaches me things, shares her wisdom and craft–she keeps showing me to mark something into the branches of the trees, but I haven’t gotten them right yet when I try to bring it back to here. Weave and wind your story onto the branches.

One time she told me to go into the waters, and they were filled with the souls of the dead, and they pulled at me, but I could keep walking across the bottom of the waters until I reached the other side.


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Owain Departs from Landine (Edward Burne-Jones)

About the middle of the repast, the yellow man asked Owain the object of his journey. And Owain made it known to him, and said, “I am in quest of the Knight who guards the fountain.” Upon this the yellow man smiled, and said that he was as loth to point out that adventure to Owain as he had been to Kynon. However, he described the whole to Owain, and they retired to rest.

The next morning Owain found his horse made ready for him by the damsels, and he set forward and came to the glade where the black man was. And the stature of the black man seemed more wonderful to Owain than it had done to Kynon, and Owain asked of him his road, and he showed it to him. And Owain followed the road, as Kynon had done, till he came to the green tree; and he beheld the fountain, and the slab beside the fountain, with the bowl upon it. And Owain took the bowl, and threw a bowlful of water upon the slab. And, lo, the thunder was heard, and after the thunder came the shower, much more violent than Kynon had described, and after the shower the sky became bright. And when Owain looked at the tree, there was not one leaf upon it. And immediately the birds came, and settled upon the tree, and sang. And when their song was most pleasing to Owain, he beheld a Knight coming towards him through the valley, and he prepared to receive him; and encountered him violently.

Never did Owain see an assemblage so gorgeous with satin, and silk, and sendall. And following the train, he beheld a lady with yellow hair falling over her shoulders, and stained with blood; and about her a dress of yellow satin, which was torn. Upon her feet were shoes of variegated leather. And it was a marvel that the ends of her fingers were not bruised, from the violence with which she smote her hands together. Truly she would have been the fairest lady Owain ever saw, had she been in her usual guise. And her cry was louder than the shout of the men, or the clamour of the trumpets. No sooner had he beheld the lady, than he became inflamed with her love, so that it took entire possession of him.

Then he inquired of the maiden who the lady was. “Heaven knows,” replied the maiden, “she may be said to be the fairest, and the most chaste, and the most liberal, and the wisest, and the most noble of women. And she is my mistress; and she is called the Countess of the Fountain, the wife of him whom thou didst slay yesterday.” “Verily,” said Owain, “she is the woman that I love best.” “Verily,” said the maiden, “she shall also love thee not a little.”

And there was a cleft in the rock, and a serpent was within the cleft. And near the rock stood a black lion, and every time the lion sought to go thence, the serpent darted towards him to attack him. And Owain unsheathed his sword, and drew near to the rock; and as the serpent sprang out, he struck him with his sword, and cut him in two. And he dried his sword, and went on his way, as before. But behold the lion followed him, and played about him, as though it had been a greyhound that he had reared.

They proceeded thus throughout the day, until the evening. And when it was time for Owain to take his rest, he dismounted, and turned his horse loose in a flat and wooded meadow. And he struck fire, and when the fire was kindled, the lion brought him fuel enough to last for three nights. And the lion disappeared. And presently the lion returned, bearing a fine large roebuck. And he threw it down before Owain, who went towards the fire with it.—Mabinogion: The Lady of the Fountain

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Strength from the Visconti tarot deck (Bonifacio Bembo)

And the youth saluted Owain. And Owain marvelled that the youth should salute him and should not have saluted the Emperor Arthur. And Arthur knew what was in Owain’s thought. And he said to Owain, “Marvel not that the youth salutes thee now, for he saluted me erewhile; and it is unto thee that his errand is.” Then said the youth unto Owain, “Lord, is it with thy leave that the young pages and attendants of the Emperor harass and torment and worry thy Ravens? And if it be not with thy leave, cause the Emperor to forbid them.” “Lord,” said Owain, “thou hearest what the youth says; if it seem good to thee, forbid them from my Ravens.” “Play thy game,” said he. Then the youth returned to the tent.—The Mabinogion/The Dream of Rhonabwy


But the chief pride and ornament of Tibur were the windings and falls of the Anio, (now Teverone,) which runs close to the town, and renders it cool and moist. This river, having meandered from its source amid the vales of Sabina, glides gently through Tivoli, till, coming to the brink of a rock, it precipitates itself in one mass down the steep, and then, boiling for an instant in its narrow channel, rushes headlong through a chasm in the rock into the caverns below. One of these caves is called the Grotto of Neptune. The other, lower down, is termed the Sirens’ Grotto, into which the torrent pours with tremendous impetuosity, and a deafening noise.2 A beautiful temple crowns the rock which hangs over these caverns. It is commonly supposed to have been dedicated to the Tiburtine sibyl, called Albunia, and from its vicinity to the waterfalls… —John Dunlop, History of Roman Literature during the Augustan Age, vol. 3 (London, 1827), 208.

 

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Priestess of Delphi (John Collier)

‘The fact is, Boëthus,’ said Sarapion, ‘that we are ailing both in ears and eyes, accustomed as we are, through luxury and soft living, to believe and to declare that the pleasanter things are fair and lovely. Before long we shall be finding fault with the prophetic priestess because she does not speak in purer tones than Glaucê, who sings to the lyre, and because she is not perfumed and clad in purple when she goes down into the inner shrine, and does not burn upon the altar cassia or ladanum or frankincense, but only laurel and barley meal. Do you not see,’ he continued, ‘what grace the songs of Sappho have, charming and bewitching all who listen to them ? But the Sibyl ‘with frenzied lips,’ as Heracleitus has it, ‘uttering words mirthless, unembellislied, unperfumed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice through the god.’ And Pindar says that ‘Cadmus heard the god revealing music true,’ not sweet nor voluptuous nor with suddenly changing melody. For the emotionless and pure does not welcome Pleasure, but she, as well as Mischief, was thrown down here, and the greater part of the evil in her has, apparently, gathered together to flood the ears of men.’ —Plutarch, De Pythiae oraculis 6


I conjure thee Sibylia, O gentle virgine of fairies, by the mercie of the Holie-ghost, and by the dreadfull dale of doome, and by their vertues and powers; I conjure thee Sibylia, O gentle virgine of fairies, and by all the angels of and their characters and vertues, and by all the spirits of and and their characters and vertues, and by all the characters that be in the firmament, and by the king and queene of fairies, and their vertues, and by the faith and obedience that thou bearest unto them. I conjure thee Sibylia by the bloud that ranne out of the side of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified, and by the opening of heaven, and by the renting of the temple, and by the darkenes of the sunne in the time of his death, and by the rising up of the dead in the time of his resurrection, and by the virgine Marie mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the unspeakable name of God, Tetragrammaton. I conjure thee O Sibylia, O blessed and beautifull virgine, by all the riall words aforesaid; I conjure thee Sibylia by all their vertues to appeare in that circle before me visible, in the forme and shape of a beautifull [235] woman in a bright and vesture white, adorned and garnished most faire, and to appeare to me quicklie without deceipt or tarrieng, and that thou faile not to fulfill my will & desire effectuallie. For I will choose thee to be my blessed virgine, & will have common copulation with thee. Therfore make hast & speed to come unto me, and to appeare as I said before: to whome be honour and glorie for ever and ever, Amen.

I conjure thee Sibylia, O blessed virgine of fairies, by the opening of heaven, and by the renting of the temple, and by the darknes of the sunne at the time of his death, and by the rising of the dead in the time of his glorious resurrection, and by the unspeakable name of God + Tetragrammaton + and by the king and queene of fairies, & by their vertues I conjure thee Sibylia to appeare, before the conjuration be read over foure times, and that visiblie to appeare, as the conjuration leadeth written in this booke, and to give me good counsell at all times, and to come by treasures hidden in the earth, and all other things that is to doo me pleasure, and to fulfill my will, without anie deceipt or tarrieng; nor yet that thou shalt have anie power of my bodie or soule, earthue or ghostlie, nor yet to perish so much of my bodie as one haire of my head. I conjure thee Sibylia by all the riall words aforesaid, and by their vertues and powers, I charge and bind thee by the vertue thereof, to be obedient unto me, and to all the words aforesaid, and this bond to stand betweene thee and me, upon paine of everlasting condemnation, Fiat, fiat, fiat, Amen. —Reginald Scot, “Chapter VIII. An experiment of the dead,” in Discoverie of Witchcraft (London, 1584).

If we were to look for the most influential faerie queen of the magical literature, however, that honour would be visited upon one who has been hitherto unmentioned:  the lady Sibyllia. In Greek and Roman belief, the Sibyls were women of great mystical power, most particularly the ability to divine the future.  The most famous of these figures is the Cumaean Sibyl, who led Aeneas on his trip
into the Underworld. Pausanias calls our attention to the first Sibyl who gave prophecies at Delphi, and who was said to have been the offspring of Zeus and Lamia, daughter of Poseidon.  Lamia was said to be a sea-being similar to a shark, evoking similarities with the figure of Kalé.  The 10th century Byzantine lexicon the Suda lists ten different Sibyls, corresponding to different areas of the world.

Perhaps the earliest sources of magic that discuss this figure is, as with Kalé, the Hygromanteia.  One rite calls for a young boy to skry into a mirror set up against a black-handled knife, which has been used to inscribe a circle ‘like a grave’ into the ground.  The boy then views a cook on a public road, who he dispatches to obtain and butcher three lambs.  After a rich table is set, the Queen Sympilia arrives.  The magician calls upon her to send a servant to King Solomon, to obtain a talisman on which she will swear to answer the magician’s questions truthfully.  After the queen has finished answering, she and her followers may eat. The most famous mentions of Sibylia appear in a later English work, Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584).  Scot’s book was a treatise attacking all manner of targets – Roman Catholics, magicians, proponents of witch-trials, and charlatans. He republished several spells, many of them from a manuscript written by one T. R. and John Cokars, in the hope of both discrediting magic and highlighting its ties to Catholic imagery and practice.  Within this work we find two different spells directed toward Sibylia.
—Dan Harms, “Spirits at the Table: Faerie Queens in the Grimoires,” in The Faerie Queens: A Collection of Essays Exploring the Myths, Magic and Mythology of the Faerie Queens, edited by Sorita d’Este, Kindle Edition (Avalonia).

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Die schöne Melusine (Julius Hübner)

Elinas of Scotland (called Alba or Albany and mistranslated in some later versions to Albania) used to hunt frequently.  One day, desperately thirsty, he approached a fountain, where he heard a woman singing.  The woman was the beautiful fairy queen Pressine, who agreed to marry him as long as he never visited her when she was lying-in in bed.  Elinas agreed and they had triplets, Melusine, Melior and Palatine (or Palestine).  Nathas, the King’s son, rushed to tell his father, who without thinking rushed into his wife’s chamber as she was bathing their new daughters.  Pressine cried that he had broken his word, and so now she had to leave, and disappeared with their daughters. Pressine reared her daughters on the Lost Island, also called Avalon, which could only be found by chance by man, no matter how often a person visited it.  When Melusine and her sisters were fifteen, she asked her mother what their father had done wrong.  When she was told, she concocted a plan, and with her sisters went to Scotland, and used a charm to enclose him and all his wealth in a high mountain called Brandelois. When Pressine found out what they had done, she cursed Melusine to become a serpent from the waist down every Saturday until she met a man who agreed to marry her on condition that he never saw her on a Saturday, and kept his promise.  The other two sisters received less severe punishments in accordance with their lesser roles following Melusine’s lead.

Now it happened that a man called Raymondin, who had [accidentally] killed his uncle, the wise Count Aimery with his boar-spear whilst hunting, was wandering in the forest.  Before his death, Aimery had predicted from the stars that a man who killed his lord in that hour would gain great fortune and success.  He arrived at the fountain known as the Fountain of the Fairies, or the Fountain of Thirst, famous for its miraculous occurrences.  Melusine and two other fairies were dancing in the light of the moon at the fountain, and he was quickly enamoured of her beauty and manners. Melusine soothed Raymondin, concealed his deed, and married him, on his oath that he would never see her on a Saturday.  Melusine stressed to him that if he broke his oath she would have to leave, and they would both know unhappiness for the rest of their lives.  With her magic and wealth as fairy queen, she built the castle of Lusignan, near the fountain, as well as other places including Cloitre Malliers, Larochelle and Mersent. Melusine and Raymondin’s children were affected by the curse on her, and were born deformed, but this did not diminish Raymondin’s love.  However, Raymondin’s brother (or cousin) whispered malicious gossip in his ear and suggested his wife was having an affair on Saturdays.  Raymondin hid himself and saw Melusine in her half-serpentine form with grey, sky-blue and white scales.  Raymondin kept silent, not wanting to lose his wife.

Germany, with its traditions of Rhine-Maidens and Undines would prove a particularly popular haven for Melusine, and Die Schöne Melusine (‘The Fair Melusine’), based on Coudrette’s tale, was written in 1456 by the mayor of Berne Thüring von Ringoltingen for the Margrave of Hochberg.  In this first German version of the tale, Melusine has the mermaid form seen in many later descriptions and in heraldry.  This image shows Melusine as a mermaid with a twin split tail, and holding a tail in each hand.  It is found in heraldry as a symbol of eloquence and enlightenment, where this mermaid image is appropriately known as a ‘melusine’. —David Rankine, “Melusine: Enduring Serpentine Queen,” in The Faerie Queens: A Collection of Essays Exploring the Myths, Magic and Mythology of the Faerie Queens, edited by Sorita d’Este, Kindle Edition (Avalonia).

Apocalypse Songs

On the day of judgment, he will be spared who has done service.

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, man and true eternal God, from Heaven will come to judge and to everyone will give what is fair.

Great fire from the heaven will come down; seas, fountains and rivers, all will burn. Fish will scream loudly and in horror losing their natural delights.

Before the Judgement the Antichrist will come and will give suffering to everyone, and will make himself be served like God, and who does not obey he will make die.

His reign will be very short; in these times under his power will die martyrs, all at once those two saints, Elijah and Enoch.

The sun will lose its light showing itself dark and veiled, the moon will give no light and the whole world will be sorrow.

To the evil ones he will say very sourly: —Go, damned, into the torment! Go into the eternal fire with your prince of Hell!

To the good he will say: —My children, come! Lucky ones, you possess the kingdom I have kept for you ever since the world was created!

Oh humble Virgin! May you who have given birth to Child Jesus on this night, pray to your son so he will want to keep us from Hell!
The Song of the Sibyl (English translation of original medieval Catalan

39. I saw there wading | through rivers wild
Treacherous men | and murderers too,
And workers of ill | with the wives of men;
There Nithhogg sucked | the blood of the slain,
And the wolf tore men; | would you know yet more?

45. Brothers shall fight | and fell each other,
And sisters’ sons | shall kinship stain;
Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom;
Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,
Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;
Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

57. The sun turns black, | earth sinks in the sea,
The hot stars down | from heaven are whirled;
Fierce grows the steam | and the life-feeding flame,
Till fire leaps high | about heaven itself.
—selected from Voluspo, Poetic Edda

I do not see a world of the living:
Summer will be without flowers
Cows will be without milk
Women without modesty
Men without valour
Conquests without a king
Walls of spear-points on every plain
Sad mouths
Forests without mast
Sea without fruit
Tower-wall of white metal///a multitude of storms
Around bare fortresses
Empty their dark buildings
High places cannot endure
A lake has attempted
To flood past a multitude of kingdoms
Welcome to its evil
Howling occupies
Every face
Great unbelievable torments
Many crimes
Battles waged everywhere
Trust in spiked horses
Many hostile meetings
Treacherous princelings
A shroud of sorrows
On old high judgments
False maxims of judges
Every man a betrayer
Every son a brigand
People will be born without surviving
Evil time
In which the son will derange the father
In which the daughter will derange…
—The Morrigan’s “Dark Prophecy,” translated into English by and via Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen, 159-60


Featured Image: Winged Women stenciles (by Eelus) at the Cans Festival in London (photo by Erin Lin) (cc-by-sa-2.0)

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