A brilliant professor once told us that desire always lurks at the heart of Arthurian legends. Desire for glory, for love, for kingdoms, for power over one’s own life. While the desires of Arthurian women often led to unflattering depictions (depictions that Feminist retellings of the legends strive to rehabilitate or explain with a backstory), they also make them some of the legends’ most compelling characters. This is particularly true when magic is involved! With this in mind, today we offer a discussion of our top five most magical women of Arthuriana.
From Macbeth’s castle in the Scottish Highlands to the shores of Hampshire, Britain has many haunted castles that go bump in the night. Sad stories, gripping tales, injustices, battles and sieges, kings and queens, all spanning two thousand years of history.
Each morning the sun rolls across the sky. In Estonia it was the hatched egg of the enchanted swallow bird, an emu’s egg bursting into flames in Australia, and a golden piece of bacon for the Nama people of South Africa. In the evening, it descends into the sea, as a bridegroom or warrior, golden rays transformed into spears or robes of light, hissing with heat as the waters close over it, before swimming back to the east. Sometimes in gloom-shrouded nights, we may imagine it will never return and we will be plunged into unyielding darkness, but still it rises and always will, at least for the next five billion years or so!
Plants play a major part in the many customs surrounding the Christmas festivities. The Yule log for example, was essentially associated with Christmas Eve, for on the evening of that day it was traditional to transport the log to the fireplace, ignite it and allow it to burn for at least 12 hours if ill-luck was to be avoided.
Simon Young is gathering in material for a boggart census, a survey of the last people who grew up with talk of the north’s most mysterious folk monster. Can you help?