Fairy Origins

 

From the Latin term for “fate” (fata), faeries (or fairies) are a “host of supernatural beings and spirits who occupy a limbo between earth and heaven” (Guiley 1989 117). Faeries could be either good or evil creatures, and at various points in history have been confused with witches.

Fay or fey is the archaic term for faerie meaning bewitched or enchanted. The state of enchantment is fayerie, which became fairy and faerie.

In an attempt to save their own lives, many accused European witches claimed to have been taught their arts by faeries. These witches believed that faerie-taught craft may not be seen as malevolent as that taught by the Devil. However, the clergy conveniently allied faeries with the Devil.

Several theories exist for the origins of faeries:

  1. Faeries are tiny humans. There is some evidence small-statured races occupied part of Europe in the Bronze Age and Neolithic periods before the population by the Celts. Known at the Thuatha de Danaan in Ireland, they lived in shelters burrowed under mounds and hills. As more aggressive races migrated into their territories, these secretive little people retreated into the forests. However, some possibly maintained a guerilla warfare against the newcomers, giving rise to the legends of Rob Roy and Robin Hood.
  2. Faeries are nature spirits. Faeries were believed to be some of the spirits which populate all places and objects on Earth.
  3. Faeries are fallen angels. In the lore of Scandinavia, Scotland, and Ireland, when God cast Lucifer and his angels from heaven, God raised His hand and stopped them in mid-fall. These angels were condemned to remain where they were, becoming the faeries of seas and rivers, the earth, and the air.
  4. Faeries are the souls of dead pagans. Since the pagans are unbaptized, they are neither considered good enough to go to heaven nor bad enough to go to hell. They are therefore caught in a netherworld, becoming faeries (Guiley 1989 117).
  5. Faeries are the children of Adam and Lilith. In the folklore of Norway, faeries, or tusse, are the children of Adam and Lilith (Odegaard).
  6. Faeries are the hidden children of Adam and Eve. In Norse folklore, Eve went on to have a multitude of children after Cain, Abel, and Seth. She had so many children, even in her years in which women stop bearing, that she was ashamed. When God asked to meet all her children, she brought out a flock of them, but left quite a few behind because she was embarassed. God understood, but felt hurt, and he said the children she was hiding from him would always be hidden from her. The missing children were then transformed into faeries, or haug-folk (Skar).

Dogs in Witchcraft

 

Being “Mans” best friend, in this case man being the key word here I would think, the dog is one animal that is not often seen in assosocation with witches and witchcraft, as the dog unlike the cat has much more masculine associations, as well the dog’s wiles can be much more easily conditioned than a cat. While domesticated cats often still seem to share much in common with thier wild cousins and ancesestors, and have a strong independent streak, the dog can be more easily brought to heel to man’s rules and human behavior. And dogs typicaly share far less in comon with thier canine cousisins canus lupis.

But there are still some cases of dog devilry if you will.

Dogs as Familiars

A dog may be man’s best friend, but sometimes, that dog might be something even more: a familiar, or maybe even Satan himself. A fifteenth-century German manuscript (Eine spatmittellalterliche deutsche Anleitung zur Teufelsbeschworung mit Runenschriftverwendung> claimed the “Devil will come in the form of a black dog and will answer all questions” (Kieckhefer 162). The belief that the Devil takes the form of a dog was also prevalent in Lorraine, France. One typical story comes from Jean Gerard, who believed he had seen Claudatte Jean in the company of an unknown woman and a huge black dog before dawn. The accused owned no dog, and the group fled as Gerard approached (Briggs 109, 110).

In April 1590 or 1591 in Munich, Marco Antonio Bragadino, a would-be alchemist and accomplished swindler, was put to the torture and beheaded. His two black dogs were shot because they were considered ‘fiendish servants in the form of beasts'” (Kunze 385, 386).

Alice Kyteler was believed to have a dog familiar by the name of Robert or Robin Artisson, described as being a lesser demon (Russell 1972 191).

Dogs in Potions and Spellcraft

Occasionally, dogs and dog parts were incorporated in magic. The heart of a dog could be used to keep dogs from barking (Kieckhefer 75). Dog skulls were used to treat sick animals in Lorraine, France (Briggs 124). A fifteenth-century magic manual known as the Munich handbook included a recipe for a love spell. This spell involved taking the blood of a dove and using it to draw a naked woman on the skin of a female dog (Kieckhefer 7).

In addition, the blood of dogs was sometimes believed to be offered as a sacrifice to the Devil (Russell 1972 260).

Dogs were also used as one-time harvesters of the deadly mandrake root. The mandrake root would be extracted from the grount “by tying a rope around it and affixing the other end to a hungry dog, then throwing meat to the dog. The animal would pull the mandrake from the ground and would thus suffer its vengeance” (Kieckhefer 14).

In a similar fashion, although less fatal for the poor dog, was the medieval pagan belief that Christians conducted orgies.

The pagans had claimed that at the Christian orgy the lights would be extinguished in an extraordinary fashion: dogs were tied to the lamps and then tempted away with bits of meat so that, rushing to get the food, the animals would upset the lamps, upon which the orgy would proceed. Later witch literature reproduced this scenario with either a cat or a gog, which was assumed to be a manifestation of an evil spirit (Russell 1972 90, 91)..

*Image info: A witch riding a black dog from the 1926 bookLa Vie Execrable de Guillemette Babinby M.Carron.

Cats in Spells

Occasionally, cats were thought to have been used as sacrificial victims in the casting of spells. In 1590-1591, John Fian and his coven were accused of trying to drown Queen Anne and her husband King James on their ocean voyage to Denmark. Apparently, the witches christened a cat, tied it to a chopped-up human body, and threw the bundle into the ocean while reciting incantations. A huge storm arose and the royal ship was forced to return to Scotland (Guiley 1989 53). In another explanation for the same storm, according to the 1591 Newes From Scotland,

John Fian, alias Cunninghame, master of the school at Saltpans, Lothian, ever nearest to the devil, at his left elbow … chases a cat in Tranent. In which chase he was carried high above the ground, with great swiftness, and as lightly as the cat herself, over a higher dyke. Asked to what effect he chased the creature, he answered that in a conversation held at Brumhoillis, Satan commanded all that were present to take cats: like as he, for obedience to Satan, chased the said cat, to raise winds for destruction of ships and boats (Wedeck 158).

In other folklore, if a cat jumps over a dead body, the corpse will become a vampire. To stop this, the cat has to be killed. In addition, during the 17th century, a cat boiled in oil was believed to be excellent for dressing wounds. Illnesses could be tranferred to felines, which were then driven from homes. Diseases could also be created with cats. In order to cause the plague, a powder made from the body of a cat stuffed with fruit, herbs, and grain is hurled down from mountaintops (Russell 1972 240).

As a fertility charm, “a cat buried in a field will ensure a bountiful crop” (Guiley 1989 53). Conversely, to destroy crops, some accused witches were said to have filled the skin of a cat with assorted vegetable matter, put it in a spring for a period of three days, and then to dry and grind the mixture. “On a windy day they go up a mountain and scatter the powder across the land as a sacrifice to the Devil, who in return for their offering will destroy the crops” (Kieckhefer 195-196).

Cats as Familiars

 

By the mid- to late 1500s, cats had emerged as classic familiars. Since familiars often acted as a cipher for a witch’s own anger and desires, the explicit sexual nature of a cat tied in well with the sexual desires of a witch. In 1566, during one of the very first English witch trials, Elizabeth Francis of Hatfield Peverel admitted her grandmother had counselled her to renounce God and His word, and to give of her blood to Satan (as she termed it) which to delivered [to] her in the likeness of a white spotted cat, and taught her to feed tghe said cat with bread and milk, and she did so. Also she taught her to call it by the name of Satan, and to keep it in a basket.

When this mother Eve had given her the cat Satan, then this Elizabeth desired first of the said cat (calling it Satan) that she might be rich, and have goods, and he promised her she should, asking her what she would have, and she said ‘Sheep’ (for this cat spoke to her, as she confessed, in a strange hollow voice, but such as she understood by use) and this cat forthwith brought sheep into her pasture to the number of 18, black and white, which continued with her a time, but in the end did all wear away, she knew not how.

Item: when she had gotten these sheep, she desired to have one Andrew Byles to her husband, which was a man of some wealth, and the cat did promise thae she should, but he said she must first consent that this Andrew should abuse her, and so she did.

And after, when this Andrew had thus abused her, he would not marry her, wherefore she willed Satan to waste his goods, which he forthwith did, and yet not being contented with this, she willed him to touch his body, which he forthwith did, whereof he died.

Item: that every time he did anything for her, she said that he required a drop of blood, which she gave him by pricking herself, sometime in one place and then in another, and where she pricked hereself there remained a red spot which was still to be seen.

Cats were cherished by the witches who owned them, and anyone who harmed these familiars potentially endangered themselves. In the Lake District in England,there lived a witch whose cat was killed by the innkeeper’s dog. The old woman stood by, sad but dry-eyed (witches could not weep) while the innkeeper’s servant dug a grave for the animal. The old woman asked the servant, whose name was Willan, to read some verses over the cat from a book she had, a request that sent the man into howls of laughter. He threw the small, furry body into the hole he had dug, reciting in a loud voice a silly, mocking rhyme: ‘Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Here’s a hole and go thou must.’

‘Very well,’ said the old woman bitterly. ‘You will be punished, as you will see.’

And Willan was indeed punished. A day later, as he was plowing the innkeeper’s field, the plowshare caught in a rock on the ground; the handles flew up into the air and pierced the young man’s eyes. He was blinded for life.

*Image info: The Love Potion, Evelyn de Morgan

The Devil as a Cat

 

Much folklore surrounds cats. Presumably because a cat is thought to have nine lives, witches were able to assume the shape of a cat nine times. Broth made from black cats will theoretically cure consumption. However, black cats were thought to be the Devil himself, and on Easter and Shrove Tuesday during the middle ages, black cats were routinely hunted down and burned. Cats accused of being witchs’ familars were generally burned alive (Guiley 1989 53).

The testimony in many trials portrayed witches or heretics like the Waldensians and Cathari as gathering together to kiss the posterior of a black cat. The Cathari, or Cathar, were given their punning names for this reason. According to William of Paris’12th-century De Legibus, “So according to the idolatrous practice of this age Satan is believed to appear in the form of a black cat … and to demand kisses from his adherents: One abominable kiss, under the cat’s tail…” (Wedeck 101).

In the 1307-1314 trials of the Templars, members of this military religious order were charged, along with many other offenses, of venerating a cat (Kieckhefer 188).

In 1665, a Suffolk witch by the name of Abre Grinset was put on trial. The charges went back quite a few years. In 1652, Samuel Petto wrote in his A Faithful Narrative, “The Devil did appear in the form of a Pretty hansom Young Man first, and since Appeareth, to her in the form of a blackish Gray Cat or Kitling, that it sucketh of a Tett which Searches since saw in the place She mentioned”

Shapeshifting Witches

 

A common theme in witch trial witness testimony was that of a strange cat which would enter a household at night to attack babies or smother sleepers. This theme was reinforced by confessions of witches. Some claimed to be able to shapeshift into the form of cats in order to reach their victims.

According to The Fawne, by John Marston (c. 1575-1634), “A hag whose lies shoot poison–that has become an ould witch, and is now turning into a gib-cat” (Wedeck 160). (A gib-cat is a neutered male cat.)

In one trial,

Demenge Thiriat had told a story about how he awakened, felt there was someone else in the bedroom and touched a woman’s clothes. He heard voices he thought were those of Marion Arnoulx and Barbeline Mareschal, but when his wife lit a candle the room was empty and the door locked. Both suspects later confessed that they had entered the room in the form of cats, after Persin [their master] had stripped them naked and rubbed them with grease. They squeezed painfully through the shutters to enter the room, then were transformed back into their normal shape in order to put a poisoned grain in Demenge’s mouth; when he awoke, Persin hastily converted them back into feline form so that they could make good their escape. This elaborate scenario failed to explain how they came to be fully clothed in the room, but no-one thought to ask about this inconvenient detail (Briggs 109).

In 1427, a woman claimed to have murdered thirty children by sucking their blood. She confessed to Bernardino of Sienna of having anointed herself, and although appearing unchanged to others, of believing herself to have transformed into a cat. With satisfaction, Bernardino reported this woman had been burned as a witch (Kieckhefer 194-195).

In 1608, George Gifford wrote in A Dialogue of witches and Witchcraft,

In good sooth, I may tell it to you as to my friend, when I go but into my closet I am afraid, for I see now and then a hare, which by my conscience giveth me is a witch or some witch’s spirit, she stareth so upon me. And–There is a foule great cat sometimes in my barne which I have no liking unto” (Wedeck 160).

In the seventeenth century, Isobel Gowdie revealed the formulae by which she turned herself into a cat and back into a woman again. To change into a cat, she would say the following three times:

I shall goe intill ane catt,
With sorrow, and sych, and a blak shott;
And I sall goe in the Divellis nam,
Ay will I com hom againe.

To change back into her human form, she would say the following three times:

Catt, catt, God send thee a blak shott.
I am in a cattis liknes just now,
Bot I sal be in a womanis liknes ewin now.
Catt, catt, God send thee a blak shott

Vampire Love

 

In honor of the day, I thought I would make today’s article on something that I have pondered over within my mind for a while now. An idea that has been handled in a varity of different ways throughout legend, and media sources alike, and has been approahed in many different ways. Though there is no denying the vampires are perhaps the most sensual and sexual of all monsters, how do vampires love? Are they even capeable of love, and can they physcial act upon feelings of love or lust? All in all how do vampire relationships work.

Of course the very earlier of vampires were not attributed to any notions of love or lust, they were reduced to little more then proawling feeding monsters, but this idea began to transform, and the vampire, became more refined as his interest in beautiful young maidens began to develop.

Though in most accounts the feedings process is used a the replacement for other sexual relations as it is often described and dipicted as being very orgasmaic, for vampire and victim alike, but the idea of vampires enjoying more mortal forms of love making has been brought to the surface in varrious media sources and they all seem to have thier own spin upon the matter.

First I just have to mention Anne Rice whom I think is the master of vampire lietature, and her apporach to the subject, in which vampires were rendered impotent of thier mortal extremities for love making, but they were still hoplessly romantic lovers in someways. Also a rather interesting interpitation she put upon the subject was the fact that it seems once they had risen to the rank of vampire, they no longer so differences between genders, that is to say they loved man “the human race” for what it was not as men and women, and thus thier love was not limited, they could equally and pasionately love both men and women, as well this love was not shared only between mortals, but there were occurances of love among vampires, but look how hard it is for human’s to stay together sometimes with the same person for thier mortal expense in life, imagine now being with the same person for all etnernity? Needless to say relationships between vampires were often given to be rather on and off. A pair or sometimes a group of vampires would come together in love and companionship over the years, but at some point they would part ways, only to come together again and part again with the passage of years. But even at the moments when they hated each other, they never stopped loving each other.

In the book Cold Kiss, that I have mentioned here it seemed that any sort of vampirc intercourse could only be preformed between vampires, and that vampires could not be intiment with human’s in anyway besdies the feeding process, as the only way in which vampires could achvie arrousal was through pain. Vampires had to inflict great pain upon each other, biting, sctrachings, physcialy abusing each other, in order to experince any sort of climax.

The TV show Moonlight seems to entertain the idea that vampires and humans can exeprince a rather normal relationship between each other both physically and emotionaly.

One interesting display of vampire relationships was in the movie Van Hesling in which vampires could not only preform sexually with each other, but they could acutally mate in such way that produced vampirc young. This idea is not one that seems to turn up very often, the idea that a vampire could in fact father a child through the natural, mortal means of doing so, or that a vampire could acutally give brith to a child, though one other movie also toys with this diea.

The Hamiltons  which entertains a rather interesting persecptive on vampires acutally attributes vampires with the ablity to have seemingly normal families, with the execption of having to drink blood. But they can marry, have relationships, as well as childern, and try and fucntion into normal society as much as possible.

There was one other book I read sometime ago, though I know cannot remeber the name of, but it was part of a seiries, though I had only read the one book, and it was about a vampire dective, I think, as it was sometime ago, but I do remember one scene within the book which was quite an intresting take on the union of vampires. There was a man and a woman whom had been married as mortals, and both had become vampires, and continued thier relationship as vampires. And there was this one scene in which they united on a completely different plane. It was not a uninon of thier physcial bodies, but thier two souls acutally bound together and became as one, and so in affect they two became as one being, merged together in utimate union with each other.