Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #FolkloreThursday

Most recents (24)

THREAD for @FolkloreThurs’s #Underworld + #underground theme: Katabasis (descent to an underworld) is common in classical myth + lit, e.g. Odysseus, Aeneas, and Orpheus visit the Underworld. But this mythological theme is also prominent in fantasy literature:
#FolkloreThursday
Examples: in Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Farthest Shore, Ged + Arran journey to the Dry Land of the dead to discover why magic is “thinning” in Earthsea. Resisting the desire for immortality (or rather serial longevity) is key in Le Guin’s mythos.
@FolkloreThurs #FolkloreThursday
In @PhilipPullman’s The Amber Spyglass, Lyra and Will have their own katabasis and “harrowing of hell” (alternative to the Christian one) too. This visit will determine their fate and that of their worlds!
@FolkloreThurs #FolkloreThursday
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Good morning to one and all! Here are a few tales of #elderly folk, on this crisp #FolkloreThursday morning. 1/5

“Gudbrand on the Hill” tells of the marital bliss that comes as a couple grows older.
norwegianfolktales.blogspot.com/2018/04/gudbra…
Regine Normann’s “The Woman Who Understood Not to Moderate” lifts the lid on our unending quest to live for ever. 2/5
nordlandsnatt.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-wo…
“Friends in Life and Death” is a solemn reminder to live well. 3/5
norwegianfolktales.blogspot.com/2017/12/friend…
Read 5 tweets
1/ The runic script, the 1st to be adopted by Germanic speakers, was rarely used for everyday writing. The symbols represented both letters & cosmic forces, giving runes an added spiritual significance. But what's myth behind the script? #FolkloreThursday

(Ovre Stabu Spearhead)
2/ Rune means both 'letter' & 'secret' in many Germanic languages - hinting at their supposed magical origins. The Norns, 3 powerful female Jotun, were the 1st to use the runes. They'd carve them into the world tree Yggdrasil to control the fates of gods & men. #FolkloreThursday
3/ Odin envied the Norns' power. Yet, he knew the runes would only reveal themselves to those worthy of such insight. Odin pierced himself with his spear & hung himself off one of the branches of Yggdrasil, sacrificing himself for the runes. #FolkloreThursday
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(1/11) THREAD👇#FolkloreThursday: During the 19th century, many people living in Derbyshire meticulously collected and stored their fallen or extracted teeth in jars. When a person died, these teeth were placed inside the coffin alongside the corpse. (Photo: Hunterian).
(2/11) On Judgment Day, those who failed to do this would be damned to search for the lost teeth in a bucket of blood located deep within the fiery pits of Hell. Stories like this help us to understand why people in the past feared the anatomist’s knife.
(3/11) Deliberate mutilation of the body could have dire consequences in the afterlife. For many living in earlier periods, dissection represented the destruction of one’s identity. Most people imagined the dead to have an active, physical role in the next world.
Read 11 tweets
POP QUIZ: What’s the most dangerous magical animal?
If you said ‘A mouse that’s actually a lady married to a dude w/ a grudge,’ then DING DING DING
This will make more sense after you read a #folklorethursday story thread called
MANAWYDDAN, THE SON OF LYR
Or
‘Mist Connections’
IMAGE: Illustration from “ Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic,” Albert Herter, 1898
Our story begins on the heels of Branch 2 of the Mabinogion, taking place after the Welsh did an accidental genocide on the Irish, then went on a decades-long quest to bury a severed head, but 8 of those decades were in a magic land so YMMV re: timelines.
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Fascinating thread on djinn, a type of invisible being in Middle Eastern and Islamic folklore, that specifically cause illness, with insights into the medical culture that made space for both natural and “supernatural” via @aaolomi #folklorethursday
Assyrian and Babylonian medicine made space for natural explanations (snake bites, fevers) alongside the demons, gods, ghosts, and other forces thought to cause illness.

For example, Ishtar, goddess of love and war, was responsible for sexual dysfunction.
The Babylonian and Assyrian demon Pazuzu, the baddy of “The Exorcist”, gets a bad rap but was actually used to ward off other demons.

Depicted with a human head and canine jaws, protruding ribs, bird’s talons, and arms that end in claws, he was terrifying, but apotropaically so.
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The idea of fairies at the bottom of the garden might seem twee and childish, but consider the implication. All wild space - no matter how small or close to "civilised" - is magical. Nature waits hungrily at the edges of our concrete world, ready to reclaim at a moment's notice.
Wow, this is unexpectedly popular. Please check out mine and @pauljholden's weekly #FolkloreThursday #folklorecomic s
Not many years ago now, my eldest son (who would have been about 6 or 7 at the time) and I found a tiny, leather satchel/bag. Maybe two or three inches wide, but like a normal leather satchel. A gnome's handbag, is what we called it. 1/2
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The forest has always been a liminal space, the last boundary between the civilized world and the wild lands. Since the roman epoch and its writings on the gloomy celtic woods where shapeless gods dwelt. But forest isn't only a wild space but a sacred one too.

#FolkloreThursday
Civilization grew up, and so did the Shadow of the forest. Since the wild began to be identified as evil, the sacred woods were, turned into the home of witches, werewolves and other mean creatures. People forgot their own nature, the wild part inside us.

#FolkloreThursday
Gothic literature reflects us that separation between the city, world of humankind, and the woods, home of ghosts and witches. But not always was in that way. We must remember that there was a time when men went wild, became wolves and run through the forest.

#FolkloreThursday
Read 3 tweets
#FolkloreThursday In the 1850s Michael Aislabie Denham collected a vast amount of folklore of the north of England, known as The Denham Tracts, including a list of supernatural creatures with which in earlier times "the whole earth was so overrun." This is his list.
ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis fatui, brownies, bugbears, black dogs, spectres, shellycoats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin-Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, breaknecks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hobhoulards, boggy-boes, dobbies,
hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mum-pokers, Jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubusses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, fire-drakes, kit-a-can-sticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs,
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Another #FairyTale for #FolkloreThursday's #tree theme: The Golden Apple Tree & the 9 Peahens.
In a case of the disappearing golden apples, 3 sleepy sons swear to discover the culprit. The youngest gets woken up by midnight (!) & sees 9 chicks (birds-then-girls) fly in...
Art ^ & v: Petar Meseldzija
.. & get serious apple noms. 1 keeps him occupied with 'kindly conversation' & leave him 2 apples by request. Jealous bros employ a stealthy old woman (from the Secret Sista Society we assume) to see how little bro got "them apples". #FolkloreThursday
#FolkloreThursday
Secret stealthy senior hides under bed, under apple tree & sees glowy "waaah" fr bird to chick; sneak-snips lock of her hair. "Screech!" chick back to bird & all little birdies fly away 4eva. Prince upset. Has SSS torn to pieces. He cries. The End. Not really...
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New thread starting ready for 26 Aug @NationalDogDay! 'Irish Dogs, Myths, Saints & Other Interesting Facts!' Suggestions welcome (you might think of something I haven't)! @MagicalEurope @CruftsFans #FolkloreThursday #dogsoftwitter #NationalDogDay #InternationalDogDay! 🐶🐕🐩🐾
@NationalDogDay @MagicalEurope @CruftsFans Irish Wolfhound, symbol of #Ireland! Wolfhounds one of the oldest breeds of dogs recorded in world! Its impossible to know for sure, but skeletal remains suggest they arrived c 8,000 BC! 📷: Aella Grace, with owner Rebecca at neolithic Newgrange, Co Meath (younger; c 3200 BC)! 🐾
@NationalDogDay @MagicalEurope @CruftsFans 279 BC when Celts sacked Delphi📷 #Greece, survivors left accounts of fierce Celts & huge dogs who fought with them & at their side. No doubt Wolfhounds! PS-Ancient Greeks considered the @UNESCO Delphi the centre of the world, marked by the omphalos📷stone! #FolkloreThursday
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Lands inhabited solely by women are a recurring theme in Indian folklore. In one tale, the Sage Matsyendrānath is cursed by the goddess Pārvartī so that he forgets his asceticism and is enchanted and deluded by the wiles of the women of Kadalī. #FolkloreThursday
Some versions of this tale have Matsyendrā voluntarily entering the land of women and becoming the lover of Queen Mainākinī and her 1600 courtesans. Orders come from the Queen and Matsyendra that no men – and particularly no yogis - be allowed into the kingdom.
Eventually Goraknath turns up – and in some versions of the tale – he fights Hanuman – who, due to Queen Mainākinī’s devotions, is enforcing the order that no man may enter the kingdom – and argues his way past Rama.
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Since medieval time in Ireland, during the moth of May, it was a custom to go into the fields to collect wild flowers. These were then used to decorate statues of Mary, the "Queen of May" museum.ie/Country-Life/F… #FolkloreThursday @MagicalEurope
There is also a tradition in Ireland (And England) of choosing a pretty girl to be crowned with flowers as the ‘May Queen’. Her duty was to lead the May Day procession. Pic: Elisie Pearey of Dipton after being crowned as May Queen in 1956 @MagicalEurope #FolkloreThursday
In Serbia, the procession of young girls, decorated with wild flower wreaths is performed on the last Sunday before Easter, which is in Serbia called "Cveti, Cvetna nedelja", meaning "Flowers day, Flower Sunday". oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2016/04/flower… #FolkloreThursday @MagicalEurope
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Witte Zwanen, Zwarte Zwanen
Wie gaat er mee naar Engeland varen
Engeland is gesloten De sleutel is gebroken
Is er dan geen timmerman die de sleutel maken kan? Laat doorgaan laat doorgaan
wie achter is moet voorgaan!

1700s #Dutch #NurseryRhyme
#FolkloreThursday
Translation (1)
White Swans, Black Swans
Who will sail to England with us?
England is closed, the key is broken
Is there no carpenter who can fix the key?
Let through, let through!
Who is behind must go in front!

The most common explanation: the rhyme refers to the 1667 Medway incident (2)
during the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War.
Th Dutch sailed up the Medway - which at a strategic point had an enormous chain from bank to bank - after a searing defeat by the British. They snuck up the river, cut the chain & managed to nick the British Fleets' flagship The Royal Charles. (3)
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THREAD
Here’s a bit of dark Easter folklore for your #FolkloreThursday 🐣

Easter time—the dark period between Christ’s death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday—was considered particularly vulnerable to evil.
It was once believed that on Maundy Thursday in Sweden, witches would come out of hiding and fly stolen brooms or livestock, landing on rooftops and causing all sorts of trouble for the villagers.
The idea of witches riding brooms or beasts during this time originated with beliefs about an early Norse fertility goddess, Freyja, who was thought to ride a chariot pulled by giant cats
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For all the #women who’ve ever felt disregarded, ignored, used, or silenced – you’re not alone.

It’s a #FolkloreThursday - #WomensDay story thread called

THE GOOSE GIRL
Or
“Blow Me (One Last Hat)”

IMAGE: Title card for "The Goose Girl", Robert Anning Bell, 1912
Once upon a time, a long-ruling Queen had a daughter (who we’ll call Gigi, which is long for GG which is short for Goose Girl) who she loved very much. Nice to see some genuine familial affection for once, generally it’s the parents causing the mayhem.
The time had come for Gigi to leave home & travel to a distant kingdom where her fiancé, the prince waited. As she was Queen’s only child, the departure was, emotional.
QUEEN: WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH
GIGI: Mom, calm down.
Q: [sobbing] I JUST LOVE YOU SO MUCH
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A human edenic vision haunts the moonlit pastoral landscapes of Somerset by British folk artist John Caple (b.1966) #FolkloreThursday
John Caple's paintings:

1-The Broomsquire's Cottage
2-Wild Horse-Full Moon
3-The Hermitage
4-A Dusk Wish
This painting by Caple evokes the "paradise lost/regained" motif: Though we are all fallible we still believe what have been lost could be regained once more by returning to a sacred relationship between humans and nature.

John Caple-An Eden
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#FolkloreThursday Rappaccini's Daughter is a fairy tale/short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne about a girl who lives in a poisonous garden, having become poisonous herself due to her botanist/mad scientist father's experiments. A young scholar sees her over the wall & falls in love.
“..as if she were another flower, human sister of those vegetable ones—more beautiful than the richest— still to be touched only with a glove, nor to be approached without a mask. ...she handled & inhaled odor of several plants, which her father had sedulously avoided.”
Boy enters via a secret door, meets her, idly touches her 'sister' flower, she grabs his hand away - POISONOUS! - he finds a painful burn on it the next day. Love and poison spread on through the story. (read notes on the room cutaway image attached for cool story details)
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It's a wet, dreary #FolkloreThursday, so let me tell you about one of the most interesting guys you've ever heard of. A bloke who straddled the world of science and folklore, fact and fiction. A scholar of the haunted and the weird. His name? Justinus Kerner. THREAD 1/
Southern Germany is a place of myth and legend. Perhaps it's the landscape, perhaps it's the distance from the commercial centres from the north, perhaps it's just a land apart. Wuerttemberg, the region surrounding Stuttgart, is especially so. /2
Nearly every valley, every peak, every forest in Wuerttemberg has its legends, its hauntings, its supposed secrets. In the early 19th century, they persisted in a way that they simply do not do now. This was the world Justinus Kerner was born into in 1786. /3
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We live in a world of light and noise. For many, huddling around the warmth of a fire is a novelty, not a necessity. We have no fear of the restless dead and their torments. It’s not often we get a window into a world where this was not the case… THREAD #FolkloreThursday /1
Sometime around the turn of the 15th century, a monk at a Cistercian monastery at Byland Abbey in North Yorkshire used the blank pages of a manuscript (Royal MS 15 A xx) to write down a number of stories. /2
Centuries later, in 1922, the Cambridge medievalist M. R. James - remember that name - translated the stories from Latin, & what he discovered was something terrible & wonderful. What he had, in the voice of a 15th century man, were tales of the dead walking among us. /3
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In Germany, 'Die Weisse Frau' is said to haunt the Hohenzollern family, as a portent of death - there are a few origin stories, but the original seems to Kunigunde von Orlamunde, who *supposedly* murdered her children to marry a Hohenzollern. #folklorethursday
The legend appears to be traceable back to the Plassenburg, in Kulmbach. Kunigunde was a real person... though she had no kids. Despite this, the Hohenzollerns took the legend very, very seriously.
Incidentally, Kulmbach is a wonderful town and you should totally visit it. Spent 6 blissful months there as a teen.
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The Sanskrit word for ghost is Bhuta, which roughly translates to both “past” and “being”. The craziest types of Bhutas in Hindu mythology are demons called Rakshasas. #FolkloreThursday (1/11)
Rakshasas can fly and disappear, like most ghosts. But they also have Maya, which is the power of illusion. Maya is also a Hindu term for everything we perceive, which is ultimately just illusion, according to non-dualistic Vedanta. (2/11)
Using their power of Maya, Rakshasas can change size and assume any form. They can become beautiful temptresses or giant, man-eating monsters. (3/11)
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Lately, I’ve told tales of women from medieval history - in particular, those who refused to stand aside & gave no fucks. Today, I’ve got your Halloween special: a mysterious woman at the heart of an act that shocked Europe: ‘The Black Hoffman.’ THREAD /1 #folklorethursday
In 1525, the Protestant Reformation, poor harvests and growing populace intersected to instigate one of the greatest popular revolts in Europe prior to the French Revolution. The German Peasants War, as it’s become known, blazed throughout the Spring and Summer. /2
Bands of farmers, commoners and unemployed soldiers roamed southern Germany, looking to cut down those feudal lords who had overstepped the mark in cruelty towards their subjects. High on the list was Ludwig von Helfenstein, who had a castle at Weinsberg, near Heilbronn. /3
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I'm interested in ghost stories, not just because they give me a fulfilling sense of dread, they can also tell us something about the place & time from which they emerged. The haunting of Burg Werdenfels, deep in the Bavarian Alps, is such an example. THREAD /1 #FolkloreThursday
Some of you will know that in another life, I was a high school teacher, living in Stuttgart, Germany. Every year, we'd take our Year 7 class to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, near the border with Austria. Every year, we'd hike up to Burg Werdenfels. /2
Burg Werdenfels isn't the most imposing castle ruin you'll ever come across, but it has a commanding view, and was quite the power base when it was built sometime around the 13th century - chiefly to protect trade coming up from Italy. /3
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