Celtic Mythology and Folklore

GreekTammy and Roman Mythology never really made much of an impression on me. I know in some schools its part of a general curriculum to learn about Zeus and the many exploits of the dysfunctional celestial beings. It’s just my opinion, but they all seemed like mean, nasty “gods” and the poor humans were put in their charge to see how much we would take from them before we got angry.

Now I am not an expert by any shape of the imagination when it comes to knowing about Celtic folklore.  I find most of them make more sense to me then some. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are mostly surrounded by water, so it seems perfectly normal for a sea deity by the name of Manannan mac Lir to exist in Irish Mythology. This king of the sea is fabled to escort those who have passed from this world to go into the “Otherworld”. He would be offered bundles of reeds, meadow grasses, and yellow flowers in a ritual accompanied by prayer for his aid and protection in fishing. He is also known to cover a person or place in a protective “mist” against a known enemy.

Then there are the really interesting tales of Fairies. These wee creatures are known in two different classes. Those who fly, and the others who roam on the ground. They can be benevolent, or not so much so in that they do love to stir up trouble when vexed. My favorite is the “Brownie”, oh how I wish I had one! Brownies are house elves. They wait until the household is asleep, and during the night they tidy up the messes made by the family. I can see myself jumping out of bed with more pep in my step if I knew there was a clean house to wake up to that’s for sure!

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Pooka’s are shape shifting fairies. They can also be benevolent or malevolent. Remember the Jimmy Stewart movie called “Harvey”? Well the big white rabbit was a Pooka. He liked Jimmy Stewart well enough, but I think he must have like to play practical jokes on the rest of the people. That’s one of my favorite childhood movies. A classic.

Banshee means “fairy woman”. She foretells the death of a member of a household. She does not cause their death,  but crys and wails as if in mourning. Some say she is an old hag, while other stories tell of a young woman with long blonde hair in a white dress is the Banshee. Whatever form she comes in, I’m very glad I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her.

The most commonly known Fairy is the Leprechaun. We see him frequently during the month of March during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. He likes to play practical jokes on gullible humans, and invade our breakfast cereal. You know….Lucky Charms!  He likes to tempt us with pots of gold at the end of rainbows too.

In most old civilizations, you will find stories of some sort of spirits that aid a warrior in battle through protection or valor. Whether it’s tale originates in Greece, Rome, Norway, or Ireland, people were looking for an explanation for the trials of life, the tragedy of death, or just a reason for everyday hurts. Thus a benevolent, unseen spirit would walk through it with them until they heard the message of a real God who would give them a purpose for living, triumph over death, and a hope for the future. Thank you, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 

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Hallee Bridgeman

 

10616692_10204467355224766_6506580771030408786_nToday we welcome best-selling author Hallee Bridgeman to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Hallee: These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Hallee: I think I would love to be Sherlock Holmes – just for a day. I want to know how a mind like his works, and experience it.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Hallee: My dream trip would be to go to Israel during the Passover.

Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy.

An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a teenaged daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker(tm) (http://www.halleethehomemaker.com). Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC).

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@bridgemanfamily.com

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Temperance’s Trial – A Novella (Christian Historical Suspense): Virtues and Valor series, Part I [Kindle Edition]

The Third Reich Seeks to Extract the Information She Alone Knows

MARIE GILBERT and her elder brother flee from Vichy France after the Gestapo arrest her father for suspicion of aiding Jewish children to escape the oncoming fascist front. Once in London, Marie is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills.

Known only by her code name, TEMPERANCE, she is trained to operate a wireless radio and returns to her beloved France. With a new identity, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters but unwillingly attracts the attention and apparent adoration of a handsome but ruthless Nazi officer, Oberleutnant LEOPOLD SCHÄFER.

As the H-hour to execute their daring mission draws ever closer, Marie plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the unrelenting and merciless young Lieutenant Schäfer and the Nazi soldiers under his command.

TEMPERANCE’S TRIAL is part one of seven serialized novellas entitled the Virtues and Valor series.

Seven valorous women — different nationalities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds — come together as a team called the Virtues.

In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

Introducing the Virtues and Valor series by Hallee Bridgeman. Seven serialized novellas, each inspired by real people and actual events, reveal the incredible story of amazing heroines facing the ultimate test of bravery.

Mythology and Folklore Around the World

Betty Boyd 1Mythology and folklore have been around since first human existence.  There are tales and legends, especially Greek mythology. I learned about Greek mythology in school, but I found it difficult  to believe Zeus would send down a clap of thunder to correct one of his people.

While I was growing up, my parents would read to us from The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. These were my favorite stories. As I am writing this blog piece, I  want to go back and review some of those special stories I so enjoyed.

The first story is called The Angel.  It is about a young boy who is dying and has a plant that was forgotten. The Angel wanted to take this special plant up to heaven.  It reminds me that God sees all of us as special. God will never leave us and is always with us no matter what.

The next story is The Ugly Duckling. This is a quote from the end of the story,  “Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds”. This story helps me to realize that no matter what mistakes I have made that I too, have beauty given to me by God.

The story of Little Tiny or Thumbelina reminds of helping others.  In the story, Thumbelina helps an almost dead swallow. The bird befriends her and takes her to the land where she was meant to live.  Throughout the story is a thread where Thumbelina is always helping others, regardless of her circumstances, and she never gives up hope of one day finding the right place to live.  I am reminded that I too, must never give up and it is God’s time and not my time for when things will happen.

The final story is the Emperors New Clothes. This story taught me that I should always look beyond what a person is wearing,  to their character and values.  The people in the story did not want to face reality and tell the emperor the truth.  The Bible states, “The truth will set you free”.  I feel freer just knowing that truth is the right path.

Myths and folklore have a place in my life and have given me life lessons I need to heed and make a part of life.

Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan

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Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival, released Sept 8th. She’s a novelist, a humor columnist, and a multi-published playwright. She resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, their chef son, and two very large dogs. You can find Ane at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

 

Congratulations! You’ve written a book and seen it to publication. What are three things you’ve learned from this experience?

1. Perseverance – it took me nearly 13 years to see a book published. If I’d given up somewhere along the way, I wouldn’t have made the goal.

2. Writers can’t have egos. Somebody must critique your work and if that hurts too much, then you’ll never get better. I donned rhino skin the day I found a critique group.

3. Always figure God in the equation. After about 3 or 4 years of hard work, I began to go to committee, but never got a contract. I received a lot of confirmation that my writing was ready, but God wasn’t ready for me to publish yet. I often wondered if that was because those whom God gave me the story for weren’t ready to hear it.

It was such a long journey most people assumed I was already published. Oh don’t get me wrong, I whined—a lot and asked God why when all my critique partners were getting published. But He kept telling me to have faith and wait. He didn’t give me any alternative, so I chose to wait.

What is your favorite sentence or paragraph in the book?

It’s not a literary gem, but it’s so indicative of Claire:

Claire nearly tripped over her heart as it zinged to her toes. Was that what was wrong with her and Joel? She never prayed for a husband. Well, she did, but not like that. She asked the stars to send her one. The day she met Joel, she fell in love and never looked back.

Writers sit for extended periods of time. What do you do to combat fatigue?

With two English mastiffs that are like two-year-olds, I never get to sit too long before one of them just has to have a drink from the bathtub faucet, or needs a rawhide chewie, or a Milkbone biscuit. Throw one hubs into the mix, and I’m up and down more than an elevator. I get a workout before I go to the gym.

How do you personally handle “writer’s block?”

I don’t get blocked totally, but sometimes, I get off track. If I can’t figure out what’s wrong, I study the scene. Why is it here, what am I trying to say, and how does it further the story. Then, if all that fails … I immediately call my brainstorm buddies.

What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you?

I’ll take a girls’ road trip at the drop of a hat. There is nothing more fun than a car full of girlfriends and the open road. Put a book event or research destination at the end of that road trip, and that’s my idea of Heaven. But don’t tell Hubs. ;o)

Chapel Springs Revival

 

CSR COVER copyWith a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

 

 

 

Mythology: The Oldest Stories

blog picI grew up reading Norse and Greco-Roman myths. My dad bought three oversized illustrated picture books of myths that my brothers and I would pour over for hours. When we ate lunch on the deck behind our house, we dumped the last little bit of juice in our glasses over the rail as a libation to the gods. Yes, we were obsessed.

Originally mythology consisted of religious stories. Nowadays, most people don’t believe in Thor and Zeus. Though I do hear that neo-paganism, which often brings in the worship of these gods, is on the rise. I’m not sure why. If Thor and Zeus couldn’t even keep their following going 2000 years ago when people were a lot more gullible, let alone win enough wars to keep their worshippers from being overrun by foreign empires, I highly doubt they are true gods.

But apart from the religious nature of the stories, mythology tells us about human nature. There are no novels from thousands of years ago. They say the novel as we know the literary genre today only came into existence in the 18th century. So we can’t look back at ancient novels to discover how Greeks and Romans interacted or how Norse men and women fell in love. But in their mythology, we see glimpses of what people from those years valued, fought for, loved, and desired.

Read as a novel, mythology is fascinating because it touches on some of the most basic parts of human existence. Therefore, it makes for great story prompts. In one Greco-roman myth, the three most beautiful goddesses, Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera are fighting about which is the most beautiful. The most beautiful one will be awarded a golden apple. A man, Paris of Troy, is appointed to decide. Rather than leave the contest up to his judgment, the goddesses decide to bribe him. The bribe he takes is the offer of the most lovely woman in the land, Helene of Troy. One slight problem, she’s already married so taking her will start a war. And thus begins the Trojan war memorialized in poem by Homer in his Illiad and Odyssey.

Three beautiful women fighting for pre-eminence, now there’s a story that’s been repeated time and time again. If you’ve ever watched a high school movie with its cliques and beauty queen drama, you’ve seen this theme repeated. The Brothers Grimms’ 19th century version of Snow White uses this same idea of jealousy over beauty. And we’re all familiar with the Disney adaption where the wicked stepmother repeats, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?” Then, of course, she tries to kill Snow White for being fairer than her.

Marvel comics use mythological ideas more explicitly by incorporating Thor and Loki into their comic strips. And these comics are so popular they are coming back as box office hits. So if you’re ever stumped for writing ideas, take a look back at mythology. You just might be inspired.

Writing Prompt: Create a story outline for a modern rewrite of the mythological story of Persephone who is abducted to the underworld by Hades. Post your story idea below.

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Ada Brownell


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Today we welcome author Ada Brownell, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

 

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Ada: My favorite novel is a historical romance, Prairie Rose, by Catherine Palmer because descriptions are so vivid. Rosie Cotton Mills is so delightful, humor pops up on every side, and the developing romance pure and powerful. But a more recent favorite is The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson, a powerful book which has won all sorts of awards.

My favorite books about writing are Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan and Words that Work by Frank Luntz.

My favorite Christian education books are The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond, a book from another Century, and Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. I still use those books as references.

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Ada: I would want to be Marty, the grief-stricken young widow of Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. I would want to be Marty because she developed such strong Christian character with a great capacity to love others.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ada: Ireland or Sweden. My family has roots in Ireland, but I met this interesting woman at the airport from Sweden and while we had a layover I had a great opportunity to explain the gospel to her. She thought if she is a good person, she’ll get to heaven, but she knows almost nothing about Jesus or what the Bible says about Salvation and living forever. We discussed faith deeply and she was astounded to realize she developed her own faith system, and it is faith as much as the faith of those who believe in God.

“I’ll have to think about that,” she told me.

I now pray for her every day.

 

Thanks, Ada, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of her Bible studies; Imagine the Future You or Swallowed by Life:  Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal.

 

The Lady Fugitive

How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?THE LADY FUGITIVE COVER 2

Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.

Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.

Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in? Will she find peace, joy and love?

 

Ada Brownell is the author of five books, about 300 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. She and her husband L.C., have five children, one of them in heaven, and wonderful grandchildren.

Among her books: The Lady Fugitive, released July 18, 2014, Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study (November 2013). Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, (Jan. 15, 2013); Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, (Dec. 6, 2011); and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle; All the books are available in paper or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You audiobook is available at www.Audible.com  Free book with new Audible membership.

The Lady Fugitive  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LYDWAIW

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries

Twitter: @adellerella

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

 

 

Mythology & Folklore: Giants on the Earth

Osmar_Schindler_David_und_GoliathAs a young reader, I loved mythology. I became interested in the myths in school when we had to read them, but continued on my own. So imagine my surprise when I found the following Bible verse:

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.–Genesis 6:4 NKJV

Could it be true? Had there really been giants on earth? Pre-flood, pre-Noah? The answer is yes. And they were men of renown. Well-known. Talked about. And why not? These were called the Nephilim, descended of angels. Later, after the flood, giants still existed in the form of the Anakim, the children of Anak, and also the Emim (Deuteronomy 2:11, 9:2 & Numbers 13:33).

Remember Goliath? He was nine feet tall. Nine. So it’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe the myths may have been based in reality. And of course, as people do, they told tales about them. Fish stories. With each telling, they became bigger, taller, stronger, more powerful. Israel’s spies in Numbers 13 were shaking in their boots. No way were they going back there. Giants lived in the land.

2013-08-25 03.55.16Folklore is the passing down of stories, myths, sung or recanted. Loveable stories like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan. Fun to read, fun to listen to around campfires. But fiction, all the same. Blown out of proportion by the tellers, but good clean fun, most of the time.

So could these stories also be based in truth?

They never seem to lose their fascination. Moviegoers flock to the hero sagas. Thor. Hercules. Can anyone play Zeus better than Liam Neeson?

As a young reader, finding that verse in the Bible (whose words are truth) was like a door opening on a whole new existence. My imagination shifted into overdrive.  I could see how people would think those men were gods. They towered over everyone else.

I hope my ideas have inspired you to look further into the history of mankind. Search the scriptures on your own and see what you think. Are the myths based in reality?

Writing Prompt: As writers, we have a wealth of ideas thrown at us in the stories of old. What can we do with them? Pull one of them out and give it a current setting. Mix in a little romance, if you will, or a good dose of humor. Make it real. Make it your own. Be creative! Leave us a short sample in the comment section.

“Osmar Schindler David und Goliath”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg

Betty Thomason Owens