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SUSAN JOHNSTON OWEN-JAZZ / SITE OWNER/MUSICIAN, WRITER,ARTIST, ELEMENTARY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER (RETIRED)
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Today I am going to write about the Rusalka, I hope that you will
see why I find ghostly nymph so beautiful, and that is why I chose to write
about her to share her with my readers. So lets begin. In Slavic mythology, a
rusalka (plural: rusalki
or rusalky) is
a female ghost, water nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demon that dwelt in a
waterway. According to most traditions, the rusalki were fish-women, who lived
at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the
bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them
with songs and dancing, mesmerize them, then lead them to the river floor to
their death. In most versions, the rusalka is an unquiet dead being, associated
with the "unclean force." According to Zelenin peope who die
violently and before their time, such as young women who commit suicide because
they have been jilted by their lovers, or unmarried women who are pregnant,
must love out their designated time on earth as a spirit. The ghostly version
is the soul of a young woman who had died in or near a river or a lake and came
back to haunt that waterway. This undead rusalka is not invariably malevolent,
and will be allowed to die in peace if her death is avenged. Rusalki can also
come from unbaptized children, often those who were born out of wedlock and
drowned by their mothers for that reason. Baby
rusalki supposedly wander the forest begging to be baptized
so they can have peace. They are not necessarily innocent however, and can
attack a human foolish enough to approach them. While her primary dwelling
place was the body of water in which she died, the rusalka could come out of
the water at night, climb a tree, and sit there singing songs, sit on a dock
and comb her hair, or join other rusalki in circle dances (Polish: korowody) in the
field. Though in some versions of the myth, their eyes shine like green fire,
others describe them with extremely pale and translucent skin, and no visible
pupils. Her hair is sometimes depicted as green or golden, and often
perpetually wet. The Rusalka could not live long on dry land, but with her comb
she was always safe, for it gave her the power of conjure water when she needed
it. According to some legends, should the rusalka's hair dry out she will die.
Rusalki like to have men and children join in their games. they can do so by
enticing men with their singing and then drowning the, while the
children were often lured with baskets of fruit. Men seduced by a rusalka could
die in her arms, and in some versions hearing her laugh could also cause death.
Alternatively, they would attract men, mainly bachelors, and tickle them to
death. Specifics pertaining to rusalki differed between regions. Although in
most tales they lived without men, in Ukraine they were often linked with
water, while in Belarus they were linked with the forest and field. Where land
was fertile, the maidens appeared naked and beautiful. In harsher areas of
Russia, they appeared as "large breasted amazons." Often in the
north, they were ugly and covered in hair. The rusalki were believed to be at their most
dangerous during the Rusalka Week (Rusal'naia) in early June. At this time,
they were supposed to have left their watery depths in order to swing on
branches of birch and willow trees by night. Swimming during this week was
strictly forbidden lest mermaids would drag a swimmer down to the river floor.
A common feature of the celebration of Rusal'naia was the ritual banishment of
burial of the rusalka at the end of the week, which remained
as entertainment in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine until the 1930s. The
rusalki has also been in tons of fiction and some of the fiction the
rusalka/rusalki are in are as follows. The novel Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay features being
called riselka that
are based on rusalki. The Rusalka trilogy novels by C. J. Cherryh feature and
revolve around a rusalka named Eveshka. The third story "A Grain of
Truth" from the short story collection The Last Wish by Andzej. Sapkowski features
a bruxa, named Vereena who is intially mistaken for a rusalka. Rusalka is an opera
by Antonin Dvarak. Rusalka
is an opera by Alexander Dargomyzahsky. The third tale "May Night,
or the Drowned Maiden" from the short story collection Evenings on a Farm Near
Dikanka by Nikolai Gogol. The short story
"Byezhin Prairie" in A Sportsman's Sketches by Ivan Turgenev has a mention of an
encounter with a rusalka. The second tale "Urchins, While Swimming"
from the short story collection Ventriloquism by Catherynne M. Valente, feature a rusalka and
her daughter. It is perhaps of note that the creatures from Hans Christian
Little Mermaid were translated as "rusalka" The video game Castlevania: Order of
Ecclesia features a boss called "Rusalka" who attacks the
player with water and giant waves. The video game Quest for Glory 4 features a
"rusalka" who the player (only as Paladin) can choose to set her soul
to rest by destroying the spirit of the man who murdered her (found out to be a
miserly wraith guarding his treasure) One of Alexander Pushkins's
short tragedies is titled "Rusalka." It features a young woman who,
drowning herself after being jilted by her love the prince, becomes a rusalkas'
queen. The play is unfinished; the title was given by editors after Pushkin's
death. The Magic: the Gathering card Guildpact features five
"Rusalka" creatures. Each is a female ghost with an
ability relating to the way she died. In the 2010 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, the
Rusalka is a Cuba-based Soviet cargo ship housing an underwater broadcast
station. Poul Anderson's novel The Mermaid Children features a rusalka. Rusalkas and Vilas are
mentioned in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods traveling together to Lookout
Mountain to assist the Old Gods in the battle with the New Gods. In the video
game Devil May Cry
4, the Rusalka is a puppet used by "Bael & Dagon" to
attract victims. "Rusalka" is the title of a track in the album Kata
Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Do What Thou Wilt) by the Greek Black Metal band Rotting
Christ. "Rusalka" is used in American post-hardcore band Alesana's
single from their yet untitled album. And that is just some. And now this post
is over, so as always if you would like to know more about rusalka then you can
go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusalka and if you liked this post then
follow my blog and share it with friends and family so they can enjoy it as
well. Also if you have any request then please ask I always take request and
would be happy to write a post for you.
Ruskala is apparently another freshwater spirit in the form of a beautiful young maiden with long golden hair. She loves to dance in the moonlight, sometimes followed by smaller soirits who help her dress and adorn herself with flowers. One folktale about her is similar to Han's Christian Anderson's-The Little Mermaid.
I think I like this version best.
"Trolls, Elves and Fairies" by Jan Slovak- inspired
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. A myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form, within the field of folkloristics. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways.In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any story originating within traditions.
In Greek mythology, twelve gods and goddesses ruled the universe from
atop Greece's Mount Olympus. These Olympians had come to power after
their leader, Zeus, overthrew his father, Kronos,
leader of the Titans. All the Olympians are related to one another. The
Romans adopted most of these Greek gods and goddesses, but with new
Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter)
The most powerful of all, Zeus
was god of the sky and the king of Olympus. His temper affected the
weather, and he threw thunderbolts when he was unhappy. He was married
to Hera but had many other lovers. His symbols include the oak and the
Hera (Roman name: Juno)
was goddess of marriage and the queen of Olympus. She was Zeus's wife
and sister; many myths tell of how she sought revenge when Zeus betrayed
her with his lovers. Her symbols include the peacock and the cow.
HERA was the Olympian queen of the gods and the goddess of women and
marriage. She was also a goddess of the sky and starry heavens.
She was usually depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown and
holding a royal, lotus-tipped staff. Sometimes she held a royal lion or
had a cuckoo or hawk as her familiar.
Some of the more famous myths featuring the goddess include:--
Her marriage to Zeus and her earlier seduction by the god in the guise of a cuckoo bird;
The birth of Hephaistos who she produced alone and cast from heaven because he was crippled;
Her persecution of the consorts of Zeus, especially Leto, Semele and Alkmene;
Her persecution of Herakles and Dionysos, the favourite bastard sons of Zeus;
The punishment of Ixion, who was chained to a fiery wheel for attempting to violate the goddess;
The assisting of the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece, their leader Jason being one of her favourites;
The judgement of Paris, in which she competed against Aphrodite and Athene for the prize of the golden apple;
The Trojan War, in which she assisted the Greeks.
Poseidon (Roman name: Neptune)
was god of the sea. He was the most powerful god except for his
brother, Zeus. He lived in a beautiful palace under the sea and caused
earthquakes when he was in a temper. His symbols include the horse and
the trident (a three-pronged pitchfork).
POSEIDON (Poseidôn), the god of the Mediterranean sea. His name seems
to be connected with potos, pontos and potamos, according to which he
is the god of the fluid element. (Müller, Proleg. p. 290.)
He was a son of Cronos and RheaHe was accordingly a brother of Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia and
Demeter, and it was determined by lot that he should rule over the sea.
Like his brothers and sisters, he was, after his birth, swallowed by his
father Cronos, but thrown up again.
According to others, he was concealed
by Rhea, after his birth, among a flock of lambs, and his mother
pretended to have given birth to a young horse, which she gave to Cronos
to devour. A well in the neighbourhood of Mantineia, where this is said
to have happened, was believed, from this circumstance, to have derived
the name of the "Lamb's Well," or Arne. According
to Tzetzes the nurse of Poseidon bore the name
of Arne; when Cronos searched after his son, Arne is said to have
declared that she knew not where he was, and from her the town of Arne
was believed to have received its name. According to others, again, he
was brought up by the Telchines at the request of Rhea.
was king of the dead. He lived in the underworld, the heavily guarded
land where he ruled over the dead. He was the brother of Zeus and the
husband of Persephone, Demeter's daughter, whom he kidnapped.
After the war with the Titans, Zeus divided the world between himself and his brothers Poseidon
and Hades. Zeus ruled the sky and the living; Poseidon ruled the Seas
and all who travelled on it; and Hades ruled the underworld which was
the land of the dead.
Hades has a cap made for him by the Cyclopes which renders him
invisible. He also has a staff that he uses to guide the souls of the
dead into the underworld (though later this task was often assigned to Hermes).
Hades abducted Persephone (daughter of Demeter)
to be his wife. Though later Demeter was able to secure her return to
the world above, through trickery Hades was able to have her stay in his
realm for part of the year.
Normally only those who are dead enter the underworld. All the Gods of Olympus (except for Hermes and Iris
who acted as messengers) would not do so. Orpheus, Heracles and Aeneas
are the only mortals to venture to that realm and return to the land of
the living. Hades seldom left his realm, and then used his cap of
invisibility to do so unobserved. Hecate also inhabits the underworld, and this was as a reward for her assistance in recovering Persephone.
The underworld lies deep beneath the earth. There are few entrances from
above, and passage to the underworld is normally one way only. There
was an oracle to the dead at Thesproti in Thrace. Odysseus when at the
ends of the earth consulted the dead seer Tiresias. But while sometimes
the living desire to contact the dead, the dead have no point in
contacting the living.
Hermes would as psychopomp conduct souls to the underworld, and the
Ferryman Charon would also ferry them across Oceanus to the gates of
bronze. Once through the gates there was no return to the land of the
living. Oceanus is the world sea, and surrounds both the land of the
living and the land of the dead. The rivers of Acheron, Cocytus,
Phlegethon and Styx all run into Oceanus.
The dead appear as mere shadows and if touched appear to be thin air.
They only regain the power of thought and recognition after drinking
sacrificial blood. Those that died and were unburied had to wait for 100
years near the gates until Charon would pass them any further.
was the goddess of love and beauty, and the protector of sailors. She
may have been the daughter of Zeus and the Titan Dione, or she may have
risen from the sea on a shell. Her symbols include the myrtle tree and
by Micha F. Lindemans
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture. According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros
("sea foam") arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to either Cyprus
or Cythera. Hence she is often referred to as Kypris and Cytherea. Homer
calls her a daughter of Zeus and Dione.
After her birth, Zeus was afraid that the gods would fight over
Aphrodite's hand in marriage so he married her off to the smith god Hephaestus,
the steadiest of the gods. He could hardly believe his good luck and
used all his skills to make the most lavish jewels for her. He made her a
girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magic into the filigree work.
That was not very wise of him, for when she wore her magic girdle no one
could resist her, and she was all too irresistible already. She loved
gaiety and glamour and was not at all pleased at being the wife of
sooty, hard-working Hephaestus.
Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis. Some of her sons are Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios and Aeneas (with her Trojan lover Anchises). She is accompanied by the Graces.
was the god of music and healing. He was also an archer, and hunted
with a silver bow. Apollo was the son of Zeus and the Titan Leto, and the twin of Artemis. His symbols include the laurel tree, the crow, and the dolphin.
by Ron Leadbetter
The son of Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo was the god of music (principally the lyre, and he directed the choir of the Muses)
and also of prophecy, colonization, medicine, archery (but not for war
or hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry and the carer of herds
and flocks. He was also a god of light, known as "Phoebus" (radiant or
beaming, and he was sometimes identified with Helios the sun god). He was also the god of plague and was worshiped as Smintheus (from sminthos, rat) and as Parnopius (from parnops, grasshopper) and was known as the destroyer of rats and locust, and according to Homer's Iliad,
Apollo shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp. Apollo being the god
of religious healing would give those guilty of murder and other immoral
deeds a ritual purification. Sacred to Apollo are the swan (one legend
says that Apollo flew on the back of a swan to the land of the
Hyperboreans, he would spend the winter months among them), the wolf and
the dolphin. His attributes are the bow and arrows, on his head a
laurel crown, and the cithara (or lyre) and plectrum. But his most
famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers.
Ares (Roman name: Mars)
was the god of war. He was both cruel and a coward. Ares was the son of
Zeus and Hera, but neither of his parents liked him. His symbols
include the vulture and the dog, and he often carried a bloody spear.
ARES was the great Olympian god of war, battlelust, civil order and
manly courage. In Greek art he was depicted as either a mature, bearded
warrior dressed in battle arms, or a nude beardless youth with helm and
spear. Because of his lack of distinctive attributes he is often
difficult to identify in classical art.
Some of the more famous myths featuring the god include:--
His adulterous affair with Aphrodite in which the pair were trapped in a net laid by her husband Hephaistos;
The slaying of Adonis, his rival for the love of Aphrodite, in the guise of a boar;
The transformation of Kadmos of Thebes and his wife Harmonia into serpents;
The murder of Hallirhothios to avenge his daughter's rape and his subsequent trial in the court of the Areiopagos;
The arrest of Sisyphos, an impious man who kidnapped the god Death;
The battle of Herakles and Kyknos in which the god intervened in support of his son;
His support of the Amazones, warrior daughters of the god;
His capture by the Aloadai giants who imprisoned him in a bronze jar;
The Trojan War in which he was wounded by Diomedes in battle with the help of Athene.
was the strongest and most fearless warrior in the Greek war against
the Trojans. As an infant his mother dipped him into the River Styx,
which made him invulnerable everywhere but the heel by which she held
him. For ten years Achilles was a great hero in the Trojan War. But in
the end Paris,
son of the Trojan king, fatally wounded Achilles in the heel. Today,
the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone is called the
Achilles tendon, and a small but dangerous weakness is known as an
When Achilles was a boy, the seer Calchas prophesied that the city of
Troy could not be taken without his help. Thetis knew that, if her son
went to Troy, he would die an early death, so she sent him to the court
in Scyros; there he was hidden, disguised as a young girl. During his
stay he had an affair with Lycomedes' daughter, Deidameia, and she had a
son, Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), by him. Achilles' disguise was finally penetrated by Odysseus,
who placed arms and armor amidst a display of women's finery and seized
upon Achilles when he was the only "maiden" to be fascinated by the
swords and shields. Achilles then went willingly with Odysseus to Troy,
leading a host of his father's Myrmidons
and accompanied by his tutor Phoenix and his close friend Patroclus. At
Troy, Achilles distinguished himself as an undefeatable warrior.
Brave and powerful Hercules is perhaps the most loved of all Greek heroes. The son of Zeus
and Alcmene (a granddaughter of Perseus), Heracles grew up to become a
famed warrior. But Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, made him temporarily
insane, and he killed his wife and children. As punishment Heracles
performed twelve seemingly impossible labors (seeThe Twelve Labors of Hercules),
which have been the subject of countless works of art and drama.
Heracles is often depicted wearing a lion skin and wielding a club.
Hercules was both the most famous hero of ancient times and the most
beloved. More stories were told about him than any other hero. Hercules
was worshipped in many temples all over Greece and Rome.
Zeus and Alcmene
There are as many different versions of Hercules' life story as there
are storytellers. Differences between the Disney movie version and
other versions include the explanation of who Hercules' parents were,
and why he had to perform the 12 Labors. Zeus, Hercules' father, was the
most powerful of the gods. That meant Zeus could do anything he
pleased, but it also meant that sometimes Zeus was not a very good
husband to his wife, Hera, the queen of the gods.
Zeus fell in love with a beautiful Greek woman named Alcmene
[Alk-ME-ne]. When Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, was away, Zeus made her
pregnant. This made Hera so angry that she tried to prevent the baby
from being born. When Alcmene gave birth to the baby anyway, she named
him Herakles. (The Romans pronounced the name "Hercules," and so do we
today.) The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera" in Greek, and
that got Hera angrier still. Then she tried to kill the baby by sending
snakes into his crib. But little Hercules was one strong baby, and he
strangled the snakes, one in each hand, before they could bite him.
Hera remained angry. How could she get even? Hera knew that she would
lose in a fight, and that she wasn't powerful enough to prevent Zeus
from having his way. Hera decided to pay Zeus back for his infidelity by
making the rest of Hercules' life as miserable as she could.
was the leader of the Argonauts, the 50 heroes who sailed in search of
the Golden Fleece. Jason's uncle, Pelias, had stolen the kingdom that
should belong to Jason. He promised to return it only if Jason would
bring home the Golden Fleece—the wool from the magical winged ram that
became the constellation Aries. On their journey Jason and the Argonauts
faced down such dangers as the deadly singing Sirens. They ultimately captured the fleece with the help of the sorceress Medea, who became Jason's wife.
King of Ithaca and a celebrated warrior, Odysseus helped the Greeks triumph in the Trojan War. Afterward he journeyed nearly ten years to return home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope. Along the way Odysseus's courage and cleverness saved him and his men from such monsters as the Cyclops
Polyphemus, the Sirens, and Scylla and Charybdis. Back in Ithaca,
Odysseus proved his identity to Penelope and once again ruled his
homeland. These adventures are told in Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey.
Argus may have had as many as one hundred eyes, which were located all over his body. Hera employed him as a guard. He was killed by Hermes. Afterward, Hera put Argus's eyes in the tail of the peacock, her favorite bird.
Cerberus was a huge and powerful three-headed dog. He was owned by Hades, god of the dead, who used the fearsome hound to guard the entrance to the underworld. In his final labor, Hercules went to the underworld and kidnapped Cerberus.
Each of the Cyclopes was gigantic and had a single eye in the middle of its forehead. The Cyclopes made lightning and thunderbolts for Zeus to use. The brutal Polyphemus, a Cyclops and a son of Poseidon, lived on an island, where he was blinded by Odysseus.
The Cyclopes were gigantic one eyed monsters. The
most famous is Polyphemus, the Cyclops blinded by
Odysseus. Hesiod mentions
only three (not a race or tribe): Arges (thunderbolt), Steropes
(lightning), and Brontes (thunder), obviously storm gods.They were born to Gaea and Uranus. They were also the first smiths. When Cronus came to power he imprisoned the Cyclopes in Tartarus. The were released by Zeus and fought with him against the Titans. As a reward for their release the Cyclopes gave Zeus his weapons of lighting and thunder. They continued as his workers at Mount Olympus
forging his thunerbolts
Arges was killed by Hermes while he guarded Io for Hera
Apollo killed at least one of the Cyclopes to retribution
for Zeus killing his son Aesculapius.
by Micha F. Lindemans
In Greek mythology a Gorgon is a monstrous feminine creature whose
appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone. Later there
were three of them: Euryale ("far-roaming"), Sthenno ("forceful"), and Medusa ("ruler"), the only one of them who was mortal. They are the three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto.
The Gorgons are monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales,
with hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a
beard. They live in the ultimate west, near the ocean, and guard the
entrance to the underworld.
A stone head or picture of a Gorgon was often placed or drawn on
temples and graves to avert the dark forces of evil, but also on the
shields of soldiers. Such a head (called a gorgoneion) could
also be found on the older coins of Athens. Artists portrayed a Gorgon
head with snake hair, and occasionally with a protruding tongue and
were horrifyingly ugly monsters who lived at the edge of the world.
Their hair was made of serpents, and one look from a Gorgon's eyes would
turn a man to stone. Perseus killed the Gorgon Medusa by beheading her while looking only at her reflection.
The Hydra was a massive and poisonous serpent with nine heads. Every time one head was injured, another two grew in its place. Hercules sought out the monster in its dark marsh and succeeded in destroying it.
The Minotaur was a man-eating monster with the head of a bull. King Minos
kept it hidden in a labyrinth (a maze) in Knossos, on the island of
Crete, where he used it to frighten his enemies. Theseus killed the
The Nine Muses
were Greek goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences and offered
inspiration in those subjects. They were the daughters of Zeus, lord of
all gods, and Mnemosyne,
who represented memory. Memory was important for the Muses because in
ancient times, when there were no books, poets had to carry their work
in their memories.
Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.
Clio was the muse of history.
Erato was the muse of love poetry.
Euterpe was the muse of music.
Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.
Polyhymnia was the muse of sacred poetry.
Terpsichore was the muse of dance.
Thalia was the muse of comedy.
Urania was the muse of astronomy.
GODS AND GODDESSES AROUND THE WORLD
Gods and Goddesses Around the World
was the god of the sun and of war. He was the patron god of the Aztec
capital of Tenochtitlán, where Mexico City now stands. The Aztecs built a
great temple there in his honor and sacrificed many humans to him.
was the goddess of the earth and the mother of all the gods. She also
gave birth to the moon and stars. In Tenochtitlán the Aztecs carved a
gigantic stone statue of her wearing a necklace made of human hearts and
Chicomecoatl was the goddess of corn and
fertility. So important was corn to the Aztecs that she was also known
as “the goddess of nourishment.”
was the god of learning. A wise god, he helped to create the universe
and humankind and later invented agriculture and the calendar. He is
often depicted as a magnificent feathered serpent.
was the supreme god and the god of the sun. The early pharaohs claimed
to be descended from him. He sometimes took the form of a hawk or a
represented the heavens and helped to put the world in order. She had
the ability to swallow stars and the pharaohs and cause them to be born
again. She existed before all else had been created.
was the god of the underworld and the judge of the dead. He was
associated with the continuity of life and was often shown wearing mummy
invented agriculture. She was the goddess of law, healing, motherhood
and fertility. She came to be seen as a kind of Mother Earth figure.
Horus was a sky god who loved goodness and light. The son of Osiris and Isis, he was sometimes depicted as a young child.
was the god of wisdom and magic. He was believed to have invented
writing, astronomy and other arts, and served as a scribe to the gods.
Nephthys was the goddess of the dead. She was a kind and understanding companion to the newly dead as well as to those left behind.