Saturday, October 12, 2013

Celebrating All Hallow's Eve with Witches and Wizards...

Wizards and Witches and Ghosts, oh my! (Okay, that's enough of that...I swear...) Seriously, what would Halloween be without an adorable little poppet showing up at your door with black dress and pointy hat? After all, witches and wizards have been around since the most ancient of times, working their magic in every culture throughout the world.

John William Waterhouse - 1849-1917

Take the beautiful sorceress, Circe, for instance. In her forest home near the Adriatic Sea, she kept sailors as pets. After luring them to shore with her enchanting songs, she would turn them into pigs, bears and wolves. Not half bad when one considers what she did to Scylla, the nymph. Now Scylla had a shepherd lover that Circe desired as well. So, Circe created a spell that would rid her of her competition. She poured the emerald green liquid into the sea where Scylla bathed and then disappeared.

Come the dawn, the lovely Scylla stepped into the crystal blue water. At once the water turned green. The tides swirled all about her, holding her captive while they slithered up her thighs and then dragged her deep into the water. In the depths of the ocean a hideous transformation took place. The once lovely nymph now had a head, split in twain, and fangs took the place of her teeth. Her lyrical voice could do naught but howl like a beast. In a sorrow that turned to rage, Scylla spent the remainder of her life terrorizing sailors who crossed the seas... (Ahem).

Ceridwen - 1910
In Penllyn, Wales, Ceridwen, the sorceress resided in a castle, some say, under the waters of the lake. Here she gave birth to Morfran, nicknamed Afagddu, (or "Utter Darkness") for his hideous form. The poor lad was shunned and demonized by those who saw him. In a mother's desire to give recompense, Ceridwen brewed a potion intended to give her son the world's full knowledge and the gift of prophecy. This potion would take a year and a day to conjure. Special herbs had to be added at specific times. Once complete, three drops would spring forth from the cauldron and bless her son with these gifts. Ceridwen hired an old blind man, and Gwion Bach (the boy who served as his eyes) to stir the pot and keep the fire going. This they did.

According to this legend, just as the brew achieved full potency, Gwion Bach pushed Morfran out of the way, thus allowing the drops to fall upon him. As you might guess, Ceridwen was not happy. Intent on murdering the boy, she chased after him. He sought escape by changing into a number of different animals as the sorceress pursued him in like manner. At the end of the chase, he changed himself into a single piece of grain, blending with a thousand others on the winnowing floor. In response, Ceridwen turned herself into a chicken, ate the grain, and consumed the hapless lad.

Nine months later, she gave birth to a beautiful, perfect, baby boy. Ceridwen had every intention of murdering him, but found she just couldn't do it. Even so, she would not raise him as her own. She stuffed him into a coracle and tossed him into the river where he drifted until he reached a famous weir near Castell Deganwy. You see, every year on the day of Samhain, this particular weir would supply a wealth of salmon as a gift to the kingdom. However, on this particular year, instead of fish, the Lord's son, found the coracle. He drew back the wrapping and gasped, "Tal iesin,"  or "Behold the radiant brow."

Thus, the enchanter Taliesin, the beloved Celtic bard, whose poetry contained magical powers, came into being...

The stories are as endless as they are fascinating, and in celebration of Halloween and my newly released novel "Van Locken's Witch," we'll explore a few more of them throughout the remaining days of October and into November. I hope you'll join me!

Do you have a favorite myth or legend concerning witches and wizards??


  1. Loved the story..Can hardly wait for your new book release...It is awesome..And as far as favorite anything you write lol...

  2. Awww.... Thanks Tammy! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You know I love them...

  3. You just told my favorite enchanter's tale....that of Taliesin . So cool seeing it played out here! I knew about Circe but not what she did to Scylla. How positively dreadful.

    I'm looking forward to the release of Van Locken's Witch. Another tale from you will be fab! :)

  4. Awww...Thanks Mae! I'm happy you stopped by and I love the story of Taliesin as well. Now there's a wizard with an interesting life...