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Archive for November, 2010

Seelie and Unseelie

This is another two categories most faeries fall under. Seelie means that they are friendly towards humans. They will help humans when asked and will protect them from harm. The unseelie faeries are obviously the opposite of this. They are more likely to assault or harm travellers or plague humans.

 

http://www.medbherenn.com/faerie-lore.html

Both solitary faeries and court faeries fall under these categories. Some of the solitary fae that fall under the seelie category would be selkies or leprechauns or brownies. Some that would fall under the unseelie category would be boggarts or nixies or red caps. As for court faeries, there are seelie courts and unseelie courts. The courts are either all seelie or all unseelie, there are not some that have a mix of seelie and unseelie faeries, and of course the seelie and unseelie courts are at war most of the time.

http://www.medbherenn.com/faerie-lore.html
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There are two categories of faeries, court faeries and solitary faeries.

Many people are more familiar with the solitary fae, the leprechauns, the selkies, the banshees, brownies, etc. Basically beings of the earth. These faeries are bound to either an element or an animal or a lifestyle or a place, etc. that defines their existence. For example selkies are seal people bound to the sea. Banshees are faeries bound to the deaths of a family. You get the idea. Because these creatures are bound to the earth as they are, they are in a way beholden only to what holds them to this world.

The court fae on the other hand are not faeries of the earth. They are breathtakingly beautiful and operate in a sort of Victorian court system with a king and queen and so on. They sometimes even dress in old English court fashions, depending on the story teller. When people tell stories of humans falling in love with a faerie or vise versa, or a faerie liking a human’s gift with music or healing so much that they take him or her away, they are referring to the court fae and not the solitary fae. These are also known as Trooping Faeries, as they like to travel in long processions on various nights. These faeries, more than the solitary fae, live in other realms and create portals between their world and ours.

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This is one of my favourite songs ever. There is nothing better in the world than the first minute or so of this song. Truth. Amon Amarth is a Swedish band in the melodic death metal or viking metal genre. In general metal bands can be kind of ridiculous. If you’ve ever seen the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey there’s a scene when Dunn is interviewing Alice Cooper and he says that it’s hilarious to see some of these death metal magazines with the pictures of different bands on the cover because they’re all trying to out bad-ass each other to almost the point of hilarity. (By the way if you haven’t seen the film go out and watch it, even if you aren’t in the slightest a fan of heavy metal. It’s a highly entertaining and informative documentary on one of the lesser discussed genres of music. And it’s done by an anthropologist so you know it was done well… no bias what so ever here……) Anyway. I find that this band is more pleasant to listen to than some of the other hard-core metal bands out there simply because of the melodic mastery. I also like the vocals. If you listen to even a small variety of metal you’ll notice that some, or most, of the singers have very sharp, piercing vocals that either remind you of a squealing pig or a vacuum tube with a hole in it. And everything has a time and a place I suppose, but in comparison the vocalist of this band almost sounds soothing and smooth. It almost has a sort of gravel-y aspect to it that gives it a sort of earthy feel. Also, and maybe most importantly, I love the poetic flavour of the lyrics. Songs now a days, I don’t care what genre… they don’t sound like this. Baby, honey, boo, girl, oh yeah, I got the money, you’re my life I’ll die without you, etc. Very rarely do you find a song with actual content and even more rarely is it as poetic and descriptive as this song is. I mean it’s no Yeats or anything, but I enjoy it.

The song itself is the retelling of a part of a Norse myth. A guy named Hermod (a sort of messenger for the gods) goes down to the under world on the mythological eight- legged horse, Sleipnir, to beg the life Balder (god of light, beauty, innocence and joy who was killed by Loki, trickster god, who was jealous of him) from Hel, a supernatural being who presides over Helhiem, aka house of Hel. So he pleads with Hel saying- the entire world is mourning the loss Balder, please let him go and give him life once again. And Hel says, well I guess if the entire world is feeling his absence… sure.

In the actual story though, Hel’s terms for Balder’s release was that everything had to weep for him, since he was so beloved, and if not everyone in the entire world, alive or dead, wept for Balder he would not be released. And when he was released almost everyone did weep for him, all except for Loki, the one who orchestrated his death in the first place. So of course he had to remain dead.

This video has some pictures to go with the story and annotations with all the lyrics, so enjoy!

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Believe it or not, Hannah Fraser is a professional mermaid. She is a model, ocean environmentalist, and performance artist. She has always been interested in the mermaid myth, enough so to make being one her career. She has done photo shoots, commercials, and just some random swimming around in the ocean.

Check out more of her work here www.hannahfraser.com

And this site is strictly the mermaid stuff http://www.hannahfraser.com/mermaid/

Here is an interview on a show called Super Human, talking about her  livelihood

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Boy in the Oak is a picture book that almost can’t be called a picture book. The story is told in full pages of text which are punctuated by black and which drawings and divided by translucent pieces of coloured, patterned paper. The pages of text are pretty full, I would almost be tempted to say that the book was meant for early readers, but the font is too small. Not your average picture book.

The story is about a young boy who was very rough and mean when he played outside. He would scare the animals in his backyard and do not so nice things like cut trees and pull out plants. The fairies in the area took notice and got so angry at the boy that one day they put a curse on him that trapped him inside an ancient oak tree. His parents went sick with worry and finally moved away when they couldn’t find their little boy anymore. A new couple moved into the house. There were rumours that when it was very windy you could hear a boy crying near the house, but the couple ignored the rumours and moved in with their little daughter. The parents took care of the house and planted new flowers, and though the fairies were cautious of people they liked this. They really liked the daughter though. She was kind to all of the plants and animals and the fairies took note of this and appreciated her, especially in comparison with the mean boy. She fell asleep under the oak one day and because the fairies liked her so much, decided that they would put a spell over her so that she would never wake up and leave them. The boy in the oak over heard this and was outraged. He’d spent so much time in the tree that he had more than learned his lesson and had learned about the fairy’s magic in the process, and he pushed both the girl and himself from the fairies.

The story is well told and unique, but the thing that will set this book a part is the presentation. I wouldn’t personally associate that kind of art with a children’s book. It is somewhat abstract and its displayed in the traditional way picture books associate pictures to text. The two translucent sheets that separate each page of text have nothing to do with the story and are there for a purely ornamental purpose and from my experience that is a little too intellectual for the average 3-5 aged child. I still recommend the book however. As I said the story is pretty good and it might be a fun way to introduce new art forms or storybook formats.

Here is the author’s website http://www.jessicaalbarn.co.uk/index.html. She has some book information and has more artwork on display.

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