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
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."
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??