The first witch of Western literature, Circe lived what appears to be an idyllic, solitary life on the island of Aiaia. She spent her time honing her enviable magic spells, collecting herbs from the thick forest that fringed her land and doting on her magically docile pet lions and wolves.
The Mabinogion is a mess of misconstrued mythology, a minefield of mistranslation and misinterpretations. It’s also the font of all fantasy, a literary sub-genre that did not have any following before Lady Charlotte Guest presented her loose translation, first published in seven volumes between 1838 and 1845. Much effort was put into making them read as a cohesive, integrated story, which they were not. They were compiled from many traditional tales told in the Welsh language dating right back to the earliest bardic tradition and originate in an ancient culture that spanned pre-Roman Briton and Eire.
By their very nature saints are exceptional beings and none more so than the select few female saints. These were women who stood up against accepted norms, with many rejecting marriage in favour of service to God. It is little wonder that many female saints are today held up as feminist icons, their strength of character and resolve to follow their beliefs in a patriarchal society marking them out as unconscious trail-blazers of later feminist movements.
Brazil is full of folklore, myths and superstitions. Here in Brazil, we’ve got a fascinating and complex collection of stories and of monsters that merge European, African and Native Indigenous Peoples’ cultures.
The early sirens, the ones Odysseus encountered, were not fish at all but bird-women, but they had those great siren qualities – bewitching songs and the will to lure the unwitting to a bad end.