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Norse Mythology

Norse mythology is a collection of tales of Gods and heroes, emerging from various sources, revolving around the pagan period. It is a collection of North Germanic people’s myths starting from the time of the pagans and beyond the time of Christianisation of Scandinavia and its modern folklore. Norse mythology consists of middle age manuscripts, reflections of archaeology and traditional folk.  

The tales are about various gods. The god Thor (thunder god), who protects humanity and fights bravely with his foes. The god Odin who possesses worldly knowledge and spreads it around the world intelligently. The beautiful goddess Freya with feathered cloak, and the fierce and brave goddess Skadi who enjoys the wolf howls in the mountains. The mighty god Nijord who can control the chaos of the world and distribute wealth and property. Frey who turns the world peaceful through his farming and weather associations. Idunn the goddess helping to prevent age and retain youthfulness forever. Heimdall the god of mystery and the son of nine mothers who can listen to the growing grass and possesses a horn. Loki, the one who brings misery and tragedy to other gods as he engineers the demise of Baldr who is the son of the goddess Frigg, and many other gods.

The mythology revolves around these gods and how they connect with other people. It includes the Jotnar’s connection with humanity, how they could become friends or foes, be in love, and belong to the same family of gods. The Norse mythology talks about the nine worlds which revolve around the tree, Yggdrasil. The cosmology elements along with the time represent the beings and gods.

Ymir is the ancient being from whose flesh the world is created, with Ask and Embla being the first creations. The world is then regenerated after being burnt during the battles of Ragnarok. In the new world, the gods who would survive will meet and the world will be populated by two humans again.

Since the 17th century, many scholars have been studying these myths and placing emphasis on some of the important aspects which have been brought to the attention of various intellectuals. In today’s time, the interest in these myths has been reawaken by the romanticists and modern culture that consists of many references to this Norse mythology. For the followers of Neopaganism, this mythology has also been awakened in religious contexts.

The mythology was originally in the North Germanic language – the Old Norse – the language that the people of Scandinavia and their ancestors spoke in the middle ages. The myths were gathered orally from the pre-Christian inhabitants and put onto paper and turned into manuscripts.

The Drury Lane Ghost

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is one of the oldest theatre situated in the West End in London. The earliest theatre on the same location was started in 1663, and the current building dates from 1812. There are several ghost stories associated with Drury Lane, two of which are mentioned below.

The Clown

In his very first known pantomime, Joseph Grimaldi was an actor who had a very distinguished and long theatrical profession. His character (the white deceitful clown) became an inspiration for many of the present day ‘joeys’. Grimaldi’s fans used to love him as his character gave them a gift of laughter and joy. Unfortunately, his craft took a horrific toll on his health, due to which he had to give up his acting career. By 1818, Grimaldi was destitute.

He died in 1837 and since then many people have seen his ghost wander around the Theatre Royal. Many people working at Drury Lane have discussed some unusual happenings such has feeling like they’ve been kicked by someone. All of the cleaners, actors and ushers have been kicked.

An odd thing is that before Grimaldi died, his will was that after his death his head should be severed from the body before burying it. Many witnesses have reported seeing his white face floated around the theatre.

Man in Grey

The Man in Grey is the most famous ghost of Drury Lane. His head is covered by a hat and he wears a powdered wig. Some people have witnessed him wearing a grey cloak and white shirt, as well as a sword, and can often be seen limping around. 

He is often seen to be following the same route during the day – his spirit going from one side of the upper circle to the other, after that he just disappears through the wall.

The Man in Grey was first witnessed in the year 1939, when nearly half of the cast of ‘The Dancing Years’ was on stage. In the past few years, many famous actors, managers and other staff has witnessed the presence of the Man in Grey. On various occasions, people have witnessed his ghost sitting in the 4th row close to the central gangway of the upper circle. The story of the Man in Grey is a mystery, but in the 1870s, during the renovation of Drury Lane, one worker found a skeleton of a male body with a dagger sticking out of his ribs. Some of the people believe that this is a possible explanation for his presence.

Bloody Mary Legend

Bloody Mary is a famous folklore legend which many of us have heard during our childhood. The legend is basically about the ghost of a woman named Mary, who would come in the mirror after being repeatedly called by the name ‘Bloody Mary’. The story is all about the performance of a ritual which involves revealing what the future holds and conjuring a spirit.

There used to be a ritual practiced by young girls in historic times that involved standing in front of a mirror holding a candle with the hope to find their future husband’s face in the mirror. Instead of finding that, they used to see a grim reaper’s face or a skull, the meaning of which was that the girl would die before getting married.

As per the ritual it is believed that the ghost of Mary would appear in the mirror when you call her with the name ‘Bloody Mary’ 13 times while standing in a dark place in front of the mirror. It is perceived that the ghost only comes to those people who call out to her and involve themselves in catoptromancy (divination by a mirror or by crystal gazing). As per the legend, when you see the ghost she’s covered in blood, she screams and strangles her victims and drinks their blood. The ghost is also called by the name ‘Mary Worth’ and ‘Hell Mary’.

The explanation behind this concept is that when you are standing in front of the mirror and staring at it for quite some time, you’ll find yourself hallucinating. Even if your facial features look similar to you, there might be some variations. This is a result of the dissociative identity effect caused when the brain can’t identify the facial features and turns recognition into something that is not entirely true. This phenomenon is also known as Troxler’s fading or self-hypnosis. In modern times this legend has now turned into an inspiration for directors and producers who have used it as content for their movies and shows.

Additionally, it was believed by many people that spirits and ghosts travel through mirrors so they used to place them facing the wall or completely cover them with a cloth to be safe. They thought that an open or uncovered mirror would be an indication that you’re inviting the ghosts or spirits into the room. 

Some people believe that the story of Bloody Mary is only a result of an overactive imagination in childhood. The very popular psychologist ‘Jean Piaget’ explains this story as ‘nominal realism’ which is a belief that thoughts and words have a direct impact on reality. Additionally, it is stated that there’s a whole body of superstition and folklore ascribing magical properties to mirrors dating back to the historic times. One of the very common superstition that is also believed by some people even now is that breaking of a mirror will bring bad luck. 

Magical Charms

What are Magical Charms?

Magical charms don’t have to be complicated. There are simple and quick charms that can be prepared by using herbs, fruits, vegetables and various frequently used items. But, what are magical charms? A magical charm is basically a spell, magic formula or an incantation that can create a magical effect on something. Such spells can also be performed in some prayers or rituals in order to make something happen. This word is synonymously heard as spells or rituals. A magical charm is not necessarily something evil. It can be a lucky charm – an association with some object that brings luck into your life. You might have heard about charms in movies and books where witches used them to perform magic. A common word used in association with this is ‘hex’.

Following are some simple charms that can be used, but not for medical treatments.

  1. Laying thorny branches before your doorstep to keep away evil.
  2. In order to manifest money, keep cedar wood pieces in a box along with a few coins.
  3. Hang seaweed in your kitchen in order to keep away evil spirits.
  4. Dividing an apple into half and give the other half to your lover to build a healthy relationship.

Historical Examples

Magical charms are considered the simplest of all magic that is performed. The word ‘charm’ has originated from Latin, having the meaning of a song, incantation or a verse. A charm can be the small verbal ditty that you’ve seen people recite in movies or shows when performing a ritual. Many charms now consist of a verbal element and hold a spell energy. Following are some examples of charms from the historic times:

  1. During the Neolithic times, carrying trinkets, stones or bones for luck was a common practice done by hunters.
  2. Romans and Greeks used to wear lockets for the purpose of showing respect for Deities and in order to keep their loved ones close, they used to house things like snippets of a woman’s hair.
  3. Another example is from the medieval times when women used to send a ‘favour’ along with their husbands going to war. This favour was for protection and used as a symbol of devotion.

Thus, the intent of magical charms is to bring positivity into our lives. This can be in the form of health, happiness, good fortune or romance. Apart from this, magical charms can also be placed on objects, in order to bring in luck, or build a relationship or anything in particular. In general terms, a charm is usually believed to be something that will bring in luck and good fortune to the lives of people, or unity into a family.

Magical Words

Magical words are something we often hear in movies or novels. They’re powerful words which sometimes have a specific, strong and unintended impact. Magical words are words that are portrayed as being a part of some adamic, secret, divine or any other empowered language. They’re usually used by stage illusionists or in works of fantasy fiction. The biggest example of this can be the novel/movie “Harry Potter”, which is entirely based on magic. In this movie, we’ve seen a frequent use of such magic words including, Avada Kedavra, Reducto and more. Every word has a different impact on the things around you. We see particular heroes in comic books using magic words in order to activate their powers. Apart from this, magic words are also used to access a cheat or Easter egg in software, operating systems and computer games.

The Real Magic

Magic, sometimes referred to as close up magic, stage magic, or illusion, is an art in which magicians use tricks to entertain the audience by doing the unexpected. Magic is one of the arts that has been practiced since the oldest times. Nowadays, it has become a form of entertainment, known as the modern magic.

Use of Traditional Magical Words

Aajaye – This word was often used by clowns Jaye’s magic circus

Ajji Majji la Tarajji – A form of Iranian Magic

Hocus pocus – A common magic phrase used by magicians also heard in movies frequently.

Abracadabra – Another famous magical word which is used by magicians very frequently.

These are only few of the many magical words that exist.

Manners and Magical Words

Have you ever asked someone for a favour and heard them say “say the magic word”? What do they mean by that? Are they talking about the magical words mentioned above? No. The term magic words, is being used here to refer to words that portray manners or etiquette. Such words include: Please, Thank you, Sorry and more. These are words that strengthen bonds, pacify temper and make the other person feel important.

Technology and Magical Words

Magic words are also used in software like MediaWiki which require them to be used for making system information accessible to editors and templates such as {{CURRENTTIME}}.

Magic Numbers: These are referred to as Hexadecimal “words” that are required in byte code in order to identify a specific data format or a particular file.

The use of magic and magical words goes back to the 1300s where it was basically practiced by stage magicians in order to entertain a huge number of audiences. People were actually interested in such entertainment during that time period. Nowadays, such words or concepts are either linked to the supernatural or used in fantasy fiction novels or books.

The Tale of Psyche and Cupid

Following on from the article about Roman Mythology, today we’re looking at two interesting figures.

This tale is taken from the Latin author Apuleius, who was interested in writing myths in the form of entertaining tales rather than discussing statements of beliefs. Psyche, who is the protagonist of this tale, is the most beautiful of three princesses. Psyche was so beautiful that people started worshipping her rather than worshipping Venus (Aphrodite). When this happened, Venus was insulted and made a plan to take revenge by sending her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with the most hideous creature that exists. However, the plan backfired when Cupid (Eros) himself fell in love with Psyche. Roman Mythology shows that although Psyche was loved and worshipped by everyone, she never fell in love. Both her sisters were married, but she was not.

Psyche’s father visited Apollo’s oracle in order to ask how Psyche could find a good man for herself, but Cupid had already discussed about his desperate love to Apollo. The king was told to leave Psyche at the hilltop where she would be married to a powerful winged serpent. Psyche went to the hill terrified, but the winds directed her to an opulent palace. That night while lying in bed, Psyche felt another presence. She was told that the presence is her husband, but she is forbidden to see him. As time passed, Psyche started to fall in love with her husband, still unseen.

One night, Psyche was warned by her husband that soon her sisters will be passing by. Psyche insisted on meeting them, but her husband warned her that this won’t turn out to be good. However, she was delighted to meet them and tell them the entire story. Her sisters became jealous and convinced her to see her husband in order to be sure that he’s not some kind of a beast. She was wracked with doubt now. She did this and found the beautiful Cupid to be her husband, however, Cupid found out and left.

Psyche was crushed with sadness and shame, and went to Venus. Venus found this as a great opportunity to torture Psyche and force her to go through some tasks if she wanted things to be right. Psyche became successful in fulfilling all the tasks and got her happy ending.

In this tale, the power of love depends upon trust and obedience. A mortal being loved and worshipped by everyone always faces jealousy and hate, which is shown in this tale. Furthermore, the oracle of Apollo has played a significant role in various myths, acting as a vehicle for inevitable and tragic faiths. Also, many Roman myths involve random orders from God to mortals, such as Cupid ordering Psyche not to see him.