Category Archives: mythology

Mjölnir – Hammer of Thor: The Mythology Series




Mjolnir 2
A 4.6 cm gold-plated silver Mjölnir
pendant from Bredsättra parish, Runsten
hundred, Borgholm municipality, Öland,
Kalmar county, Sweden.
This post is late because I was busy busting my arse to get Stalking the Demon to my editor, which I managed around lunch-time yesterday.

So. Thor’s hammer. Every wonder why the handle is so short? Me neither – until I had to write this post.

Now it’s been brought to my attention, of course I realise that the typical warhammer is a long-hafted, two-handed weapon. Mjölnir, by comparison, has a haft so short it can only be wielded one-handed – more like a mallet.

It turns out there’s a reason. Loki bet his head with the two dwarf brothers, Sindri and Brokkr, that they could not make items more beautiful than the dwarves who made Odin’s spear. The brothers accepted the challenge.

Sindri placed a pig skin in the forge and instructed Brokkr to pump the bellows and not stop until he returns and removes the skin. As Brokkr pumped the bellows, Loki assumeed the shape of a fly and bit Brokkr’s arm. Nonetheless, Brokkr resolutely kept pumping the bellows. When Sindri took the pig skin from the forge it had become Freyr’s boar.

This scenario is repeated with some gold in the forge, and that time Loki bit Brokkr on the neck, but he persisted and the gold becomes Odin’s ring, Draupnir.

The third time iron is placed in the forge. As Brokkr worked the bellows, Loki bit him on the eyelid, so hard it drew blood. When the blood ran into Brokkr’s eye, he was forced to stop the bellows long enough to wipe his eye clear. When Sindri pulled the iron from the forge, it had become Mjölnir, but the handle was shorter than he planned.

So basically it was Loki’s fault.

Interestingly, when the brothers presented the hammer to Thor they put a bit of PR spin on this defect by telling him the hammer was so small he could “keep it in his sark” (shirt).

Mjölnir was a mighty weapon capable of levelling mountains and no matter how hard or far Thor threw it, it would always return to his hand.

I find the etymology of the name interesting myself. Mjölnir is usually interpreted to mean ‘that which smashes’ from the verb molva (to smash) which is similar to the Slavic molot and Latin malleus (which is where the English word mallet comes from).

 
An oversized replica of Mjölnir to promote the movie Thor
An alternate theory compares Mjölnir to the Russian molniya and Welsh melt, which mean lightning. This also fits, since the name Mjölnir then makes it the weapon of the storm god associated with lightning – which indeed Thor is!
In Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is also referred to as hamarr, which in Old Norse could mean stone, rock, cliff or hammer, and which comes from an Indo-European word that has the same derivation as the Sanskrit word, asman. Asman means stone, rock, stone tool, hammer and thunderbolt! 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my July Newsletter if you missed it.

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The Egyptian Scales of Justice: The Mythology Series




Anubis was the jackel-headed Egyptian god of the underworld, and the most important of all the gods related to death. The jackal association came from the Egyptian cemeteries, where it was common to see jackals unearthing and devouring the dead – that’s a bit eww really! Unlike a real jackel, his skin was black to represent the fertile Nile soil and the process of rebirth.

Although he was the original god of the dead, this role eventually passed to Osiris and Anubis’s role changed to protecting the deceased souls and leading them to the afterlife. He was also the keeper of the scales of justice. Is this a promotion or a demotion? I’m not really sure…


A deceased soul would enter the Hall of Two Truths where the scales were kept and his conscience (depicted as a heart) would be weighed against the feather of Ma’at, goddess of truth. If the heart was lighter than the feather, and therefore pure, the deceased soul was permitted to travel onwards towards Osiris and rebirth. The decision would be recorded by the god Thoth. 



And boy did you want to hope your heart was pure, because if it wasn’t and your heart were heavier than the feather, then Ammit got to eat your soul! Ammit was a female demon with a body that was part lion, part hippo and part crocodile – because more is, you know, more. The soul would then ‘die a second time’. The Devourer of Souls was not worshipped, as she embodied all that the Egyptians feared – no, really? Because she’s a lion and a hippo and a crocodile… it’s safe to say she was scary.


Like many Egyptian gods, Anubis filled a number roles. One of the odder roles was that of leading public processions! 


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my May Newsletter if you missed it – the July edition will be out shortly! 

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Summoned by Rainy Kaye: Giveaway and Blog Tour


http://www.rainyofthedark.com/summoned-tours-giveaways/

Author Interview


What preconceived notions do people have about being an author?

Some people seem to think coming up with concepts is the hard part. Telling me I should write about a guy who does this one thing is not, in fact, “half the work done already”. Now I just say “Great idea!” and bust out with the plotting charts, scene outlines, and character development papers. That usually stops the little hamster in its wheel mid-spin, and I can go back to eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate and making weird faces at the monitor.

What is one piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t mistake terrible writing with “voice.” I would like to elaborate on this, but that pretty much covers it. If nine of out ten people in the critique group say they have no idea what’s going on in your story, and the tenth person is fascinated with their fingernail dirt, chances are you need to pop open an energy drink and get back to work.

What process do you go through before writing?

Step 1. Do the dishes because that won’t happen again for a while.
Step 2. Stock up on caffeine like beer for a frat party.
Step 3. Apologize to the significant other that for the next few weeks, he will be known as Person Who Doesn’t Let Me Starve.
Step 4. Say farewell to the sweet bliss of sleep.
Step 5. Make an awesome playlist.

Did a character or plot in Summoned take an unexpected twist?

Silvia Walker. She started out as just a logical piece of the world building—of course the master would have an heir—but once she stepped into her first scene, it was on. He role became so fundamental to the story, I can’t believe she wasn’t part of the original outline.

How did you decide on the cover?

Ha, the cover. That’s a topic all on its own. I actually wrote a post about it, and it turned out two pages long. The short version: I tracked down the model for the concept photo, then drove my graphic designer insane until the cover was perfect. Hey, that was less than 140 characters! I knew all that Tweeting would pay off.

Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman
Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky
Photographer: Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl


More About Summoned


Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com


Excerpt

 

I halt in the doorway, taking in Syd’s body. Unbelievably, she is back for round two. More unbelievably, I let the little crook into my house again. I still have no idea what I would tell Karl about a hotel charge, though. I will just have to keep an eye on her this time.

“You’re lying.” She turns to face me. “There’s no downstairs. Is your mom that type who shows up every week to do the cooking and cleaning?


“Can you stop asking stupid questions?”


She blows air through her teeth. “You suck.”


“Oh, be quiet.” I bat my hair out of my eyes. “Want some wine?”


She drops her purse on the floor next to my bed. “That’s more like it.”


“Red or white?”


“Didn’t realize I was in the presence of Dionysus.” She perches on the edge of the mattress. “Red, please.”


I consider skipping the drinks altogether and just taking her right there. So many beautiful things await under those clothes, ready to be explored all over again.


Instead, I turn around and cross the house to the kitchen. A half bottle of Malbec waits in the fridge. I pour a glass, think better of it, and pour one for myself too. Then I return to the bedroom.


She has her shoes off, sitting cross-legged on the bed, but hasn’t removed anything else. Thankfully. That’s part of the fun.


I knock the door shut with my foot and hand her a glass.


She sips her wine, looking oddly sophisticated for someone with Ozzy Osbourne eye makeup and enough silver in her ears to take down a werewolf.


She peers up at me. “Is it a celebrity?”


I stare at her, dumbly.


“The person you protect, is it a celebrity?” Her eyes light up. “Oh! Is it Stevie Nicks?”


“What? No.”


“Linda Ronstadt?”


“No.”


She bounces a little on the mattress. “Is it Jenna Jameson?”


“Good god, Syd.” I move forward and take her glass, then place it with mine on the nightstand.


She says, “You didn’t drink any of your wine. Did you—”


I interrupt the chatter mouth with a kiss.


Author Bio


Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at http://www.rainyofthedark.com>RainyoftheDark.com and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (@RainyoftheDark). She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

New Blogging Schedule – Scotland, History, Mythology and More!



Whew! The A – Z challenge was fun, but boy am I glad it’s over – it was getting a little gruelling there towards the end.

In the wake of the Challenge, I’ll be returning to my usual bi-weekly posting routine with a few changes. So here’s what you can expect going forward: 

  • Mondays  – The usual Monday Morsel feature, but as I’ve just started writing Stalking the Demon, the sequel to my novella, Confronting the Demon, I’ll be alternating morsels from In the Company of the Dead and Stalking the Demon.
  • Fridays:
  • In 2016, I’m returning to Scotland! It’s been six years since my last visit, and this next one is so close I can taste it. To share the experience with you, every second Friday I’ll be posting about one of our planned destinations on the trip. Come tour Scotland with me!
  • Once a month I’ll be posting an historical feature on medieval arms and accoutrements;
  • I’ll be reviving my mythology series, with a twist – instead of looking at mythological creatures, I’ll be looking at various aspects of European mythology. This feature will also be appearing once a month; and
  • If there’s five Fridays in a month you’ll get a special feature post, or otherwise from time to time I may make additional posts at a time of my choosing.


I hope there’s something in the new feature to interest you, and I hope to see you soon. 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it. 

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this. 

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Valkyries – Special Edition of the Mythological Creatures Series


Welcome to this special edition revival of my mythical creatures series.

The valkyrie comes to us from Norse mythology and were believed to be female virginal warriors. They were usually depicted as blonde, blue-eyed and fair-skinned. The word ‘valkyrie’ literally meant ‘chooser of the slain’ and so it was believed the valkyries decided which warriors on the battlefield would live and which would die. Six, nine, or thirteen valkyries would await above the battlefield as the battle was fought, and afterwards the valkyries would choose half of the slain to bring with them to Valhalla, ruled over by Odin, while the rest went to Freya’s Folkvangr. Anyone not taken by Freya and judged unworthy of Valhalla went to the goddess Hel and her underground realm.

In fact, it was Freya who led the valkyries, and Freya had first choice of the fallen, so the better way to express it is to say the chosen went to Folkvangr while the balance were escorted to Valhalla by the valkyries, provided they were judged worthy. Freya was the goddess of love, fertility and beauty, and was sometimes also attributed as the goddess of death and battle as well. She possessed a cloak of falcon feathers which allowed her to take the form of a falcon.

Arthur Rackham‘s illustration to The Ride of the Valkyries
Some valkyries could assume the form of white swans, but if such a valkyrie were ever seen by a mortal in her womanly form, she was doomed by Odin to mortality and could never again walk the halls of Valhalla.  At this point the legend of the valkyrie seems to have fused with that of the swan maiden. Swan maidens were believed to possess a cloak of feathers, and if a mortal found and kept the cloak, he could possess the maiden – similar to the legends of the silkies.

The origins of valkyries are uncertain, and a multitude of storytellers and poets has contributed to the lore, muddying the original core substance of the valkyrie. In the very dim past, the valkyrie in its first form may have been similar to the Celtic warrior-goddess, the Morrigan. They were also possibly influenced by Germanic paganism, and may have in the early days been viewed as demons of the dead (a theory posited by Rudolf Simek).

“The Ride of the Valkyries” by the German painter William T. Maud.    
In this guise, the souls of the dead would have ‘belonged’ to the valkyries, as contrasted with their later role of conductors of dead where they merely escorted the dead to Odin. As the view of valkyries changed, they became more human and less demonic, and it was then that tales of valkyries falling in love with mortals began to emerge.

Hilda Ellis Davidson theorises that the valkyries may have originally evolved from the concept of priestesses to a god of war. Such priestesses may have overseen the putting to death of captives after a battle. Who would die was usually chosen by lot (to send a message to the enemy and demoralise his forces) and may have involved the concept that those who were to die were chosen by the god, and the priestesses would preside over the sacrifice. I rather like this notion… now which book can I use this in!

References

Davidson, Hilda Roderick Ellis (1990). Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-013627-4 

Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer ISBN 0-85991-513-1 

This is an A to Z Challenge post. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!