Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In Greek mythology, Scylla (pronounced /ˈsɪlə/,sil-uh; Greek: Σκύλλα, Skulla) was a monster that lived on one side of a narrow channel of water, opposite its counterpartCharybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other—so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass too close to Scylla and vice versa.
Scylla was a horrible sea monster with six long necks equipped with grisly heads, each of which contained three rows of sharp teeth. Her body consisted of twelve tentacle-like legs and a cat's tail and with four to six dog-heads ringing her waist. She was one of the children of Phorcys and either Hecate, Crataeis,Lamia or Ceto (all of whom may be various names for the same goddess). Some sources, including Stesichorus cite her parents as Triton and Lamia.
Traditionally the strait has been associated with the Strait of Messina between Italyand Sicily, but more recently this theory has been challenged, and the alternative location of Cape Scilla in northwest Greece has been suggested by Tim Severin.
The phrase "between Scylla and Charybdis" (popularly reworded "between a rock and a hard place") has come to mean being in a state where one is between two dangers and moving away from one will cause you to be in danger from the other.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
A water sprite (also called a water fairy or water faery) is a general term for a legendary creature, an elemental spirit associated with water, according to alchemist Paracelsus. Water sprites are said to be able to breathe water or air, and in some cases, can fly. They are mostly harmless unless threatened.
These creatures exist in mythology of various groups. Ancient Greeks knew water nymphs in several types such as naiads or nyads, which guarded the fresh water bodies for the gods, while Slavic mythology knows them as vilas.
The exact term for each type varies somewhat from source to source, though these four are now the most usual. Most of these beings are found in folklore as well as alchemy; their names are often used interchangeably with similar beings from folklore. The sylph, however, is rarely encountered outside of alchemical contexts and fan media.
The basic concept of an elemental refers to the ancient idea of elements as fundamental building blocks of nature. In the system prevailing in the Classical world, there were four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. This paradigm was highly influential in Medievalnatural philosophy, and Paracelsus evidently intended to draw a range of mythological beings into this paradigm by identifying them as belonging to one of these four elemental types.
Selkies are able to become human by taking off their seal skins, and can return to seal form by putting it back on. Stories concerning selkies are generally romantic tragedies. Sometimes the human will not know that their lover is a selkie, and wakes to find them gone. Other times the human will hide the selkie's skin, thus preventing them from returning to seal form. A selkie can only make contact with one particular human for a short amount of time before they must return to the sea. They are not able to make contact with that human again for seven years, unless the human is to steal their selkie's skin and hide it or burn it. Examples of such stories are the ballad, The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry and the movie The Secret of Roan Inish.
One folklorist theory of the origin of the belief is that the selkies were actually fur-clad Finns, traveling by kayak. Another is that shipwrecked Spaniards washed ashore and their jet black hair resembled seals. As the anthropologist A. Asbjorn Jon has recognized though, there is a strong body of lore that indicates that selkies "are said to be supernaturally formed from the souls of drowned people".