Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – My review for Thomas the Rhymer and FREE Downloads


I am so pleased that Paul Andruss accepted my invitation to become Writer in Residence this year and I know that many of you have enjoyed his descriptive, detailed and fascinating posts on myths, legends ancient and modern, and many events and people that we thought we knew…. but didn’t.

Paul is a modest but very talented author and he has two books currently available. I have read and reviewed Thomas the Rhymer earlier in the year, and I thought today I would remind you of that review, and also give you the link to download the epub version of the books for FREE.

Paul also has a pdf file available and you can read for FREE by obtaining a copy from Barnes & Noble for Nook readers and also from Kobo.

You can find out how to download from Paul’s site and also links to the other options at this link.

http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/amazon-links.php

It would be amazing if you do download and enjoy the book as much as I did. If so then it would be great if you could put a review on Amazon by adding in a sentence at the beginning – Disclaimer: I was gifted with a copy of this book from the author..  Or you can leave a review on Facebook and tag Paul in the post by using his full name Paul George Boylan.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul AndrussAbout Thomas the Rhymer (Jack Hughes Trilogy Book 1)

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.

But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

My review for Thomas the Rhymer March 2017

Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter.

After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.

I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.

However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.

This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.

Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.

The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!

The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries, are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.

The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!

I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at £1.22 it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.

Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.

Buy the Kindle Thomas the Rhymer at all online bookstores including your local Amazon: http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/amazon-links.php

Now would be a good time to read and there are two more books to be released in the series.

Also by Paul Andruss

Finn Mac CoolFind out more about Paul Andruss and his books: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

By now you will have seen that Horatio Grin is in fact none other than a brilliant figment of the imagination of our Writer in Residence Paul Andruss, who revealed all in this article.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/will-the-real-horatio-grin-please-stand-up-and-free-book-offer/

I think you will agree with me that the articles that Horatio (aka Paul) has shared with us were thought provoking, brilliantly illustrated observations about the beliefs and myths that we have grown up. I will admit to taking some of those myths and legends for granted without delving into them to discover truths and in some cases fabrications.

Paul has compiled all of the essays with the two new additional ones (I have read and they are amazing) into either an Epub format or a pdf.  This will enable you to have one source for all the essays in book format.

I know many of you may have a Kindle rather than Epub reader but that is easily remedied.. We use Calibre for all our ebook reading and it can be downloaded to your computer of device from this safe link: https://calibre-ebook.com/

As to the actual copies please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and I just need to know if you would like in Epub or pdf format and I will email you back.

You can find the links to all of Paul’s posts that have appeared here on Smorgasbord in this link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Thank you for dropping by and I would be grateful if you could share this post and Paul’s books far and wide. Thanks Sally

Will the Real Horatio Grin Please Stand up! And FREE book offer.


Paul Andruss Comes Clean

Sally and I knew it wouldn’t take long for you clever lot to rumble us. Knowing the joke was wearing thin we chose leave some hefty clues when Horatio Grin returned for his second guest spot with Smorgasbord.

Thomas the Rhymer

Horatio Grin is a fictional character from my novel Thomas the Rhymer. He is an occultist skilled in magic who works for a shadowy organisation of accountants, specialising in rescuing children kidnapped by the fairies. And you thought accountants were boring!
I suspect many of you might have noticed in his 2nd week Mr Grin spoke of his deceased personal secretary as Dorothy. In Thomas the Rhymer, I named Mr Grin’s P.A. Dorothy in tribute to my friend, work’s mum’ and colleague, the subject of the 2nd Writer in Residence post for Sally: ‘My Gift from God’.

Mr Grin’s initial contributions for his 2nd stint with Smorgasbord involved 3 tales. The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed an uncanny parallel between The Fairy Bride to The Fairy Maid post I wrote for Sue Vincent: https://scvincent.com/…/guest-author-paul-andruss-the-fairy-maid-and-free-ebooks/

The Fairy Wife and The Changeling both originated in a story Rosie tells Jack in the novel.
We are sure Sue Vincent guessed (and sportingly kept stumm), for apart from the fact there is no fooling Sue, I included a photograph of Mr Grin in another post I did for her on The Story of Thomas the Rhymer: https://scvincent.com/…/guest-author-paul-andruss-the-story-of-thomas-the-rhymer/

Brigid Gallagher: https://watchingthedaisies.com/ wondered if Mr Grin and Sally’s Writer in Residence were twins. I coyly responded…

Dear Brigid, I am flattered you think so. As you know Mr Grin is featured on the Great British Occultists website: http://britishocculthistory.yolasite.com/

Why would anyone go to the trouble of creating a phony website with a phony photograph of Mr Grin based on the actor Charles Grey playing Mocata in the film The Devil Rides Out set against a background of the blue drawing room in Buckingham Palace? It seems very unlikely.

I think you need to ask yourself is an author who writes fiction really the type of person to make things up?

Apart from all that… well spotted!

At this point I need to say if you were outraged by this calumny then I take full responsibility.
If however you consider this a delightful wheeze, in what is traditionally the silly season of the British Newspapers, the period when parliament was in recess and Fleet Street scrabbled for stories, no matter how far-fetched, to fill column inches, then Sally deserves at least 50% of the credit.

Now if you want to learn about the enigmatic Mr Grin, grab yourself a cuppa or a glass of your favourite tipple and let’s gossip.

The surname Grin came about because I thought it was both sinister and jolly.

He was christened Horatio after Lord Nelson who made his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton a bequest to the nation in his will. Nelson met Emma when she was married to the elderly Sir William Hamilton. He accepted the affair, happily living in a menage-a-trois with Nelson and Emma that beguiled the British public.

Nelson asked the government to provide for Emma and their child in his will. Despite his status as a national hero they ignored him. Emma died in poverty in Calais. Their daughter Horatia never publically acknowledged Emma as her mother.

The photograph of Mr Grin came about when I was developing the Thomas the Rhymer website and started playing with Photoshop. I had always been fond of the Devil Rides Out.

Later, I wrote an essay turning it into Mr Grin’s rough notes for a speech to new recruits. It was for new web content and to present the ideas underpinning the book to readers who wanted to know more. The 6 essays I later reused in Mr Grin’s 1st Smorgasbord appearance grew from there as did the phony British Occultists website. Again sharp-eyed visitors no doubt noticed it contains articles suspiciously similar to some blog posts.

http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/history-of-the-fairy.php

Before I gained experience blogging, Mr Grin was ideal for presenting the ideas underpinning Thomas the Rhymer. He could speak as a scientist without being weighed down by uncertainties. I felt if you wanted that, you’d read textbooks.

I worked hard to keep things factual. But all facts are controversial. For every argument there is a counter argument and for every proof, a denial. Scientific ideas change quite rapidly. When I started writing Thomas the Rhymer palaeontologists categorically denied we ever mated with dumb stupid and brutish Neanderthals. After the Neanderthal Genome Project, not one of those ideas remains.

I was delighted by the reception Mr Gin’s work received on Smorgasbord and everyone’s generosity. I was also a little embarrassed.

Sally suggested the posts might look good in book form, which we could give away as a free download. I wanted to add a bit more value with new essays.

Genius Loci and Angels and Demons (featured Thursday and Friday of Mr Grins 2nd stint) were the result. In addition Mr Grin’s book has two new essays: Parallel Planes discusses heaven, hell and other ethereal realms. While In Search of the Multiverse discusses ethereal planes in terms of Mr Grin’s subject Quantum Physics. Be prepared for some surprises in that one. It surprised me!

All that remains is for me to say thanks for supporting Mr Grin and hope you were entertained as much as you seemed to be.

My turn

I think you will agree with me that the articles that Horatio (aka Paul) has shared with us over the last three weeks have been thought provoking, brilliantly illustrated observations about the beliefs and myths that we have grown up. I will admit to taking some of those myths and legends for granted without delving into them to discover truths and in some cases fabrications.

Paul has compiled all of the essays with the two new additional ones (I have read and they are amazing) into either an Epub format or a pdf.  This will enable you to have one source for all the essays in book format.

I know many of you may have a Kindle rather than Epub reader but that is easily remedied.. We use Calibre for all our ebook reading and it can be downloaded to your computer of device from this safe link: https://calibre-ebook.com/

As to the actual copies please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and I just need to know if you would like in Epub or pdf format and I will email you back.

Thanks for all your comments for the Horatio Grin articles and the book will be available here until August.. so get your copy now.

 

 

Guest Writer – Essay Seven – Part Two – Fantastic Realms: Angels and Demons


Part one of this special essay was yesterday and you can find it here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/guest-writer-fantastic-realms-1-genius-loci-by-horatio-grin/

Fantastic Realms 2: Angels and Demons by Horatio Grin.

It is not surprising the Huldr and Nixie appear to bridge two of the planes of existence; the mortal plane due to their appearance and the angelic due to their kindred Chinese fox spirits having the same sexual appetites as demon succubi. Both angels and demons have produced offspring with the children of Man. As I said earlier, according to the Religions of the Book, the major demons were once angels. Satan himself is a fallen angel.

The sacred writings of the Religions of the Book are the only sources we have of angelic lore. Although they are based in much older traditions, those traditions were corrupted over the millennia due to the view there is but one god; an idea which reduces all other celestial beings to angels or demons.

Islam recognises four Religions of the Book, so called because at their heart is an almost common scripture. These are Zoroastrism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; which makes it a shame that they are persistently at each other’s throats: except for Zoroastrism now almost obliterated through persecution and only found in outposts in Iran and in the Farsi of Northern India.

As people are familiar with the big three, here is a summary of the original. Zoroastrism, the first monotheistic religion, was founded in ancient Persia by the mythical prophet Zoroaster. It gave rise to many concepts common to the Religions of the Book. There is one god, Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord of Light, whose symbol is the sun and fire. There is a battle between good and evil under the messiah-like Mithra (in the Roman Empire the cult of Mithras was a rival to Christianity) and his demon twin Ahriman. At Judgement Day the Sons of Light, Mithra’s righteous followers, will triumph, driving Ahriman’s followers into everlasting flame, while they are rewarded in paradise.

Over the centuries a lot of angelic lore was deleted from the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. However ancient excluded books such as the Book of Enoch and Hemetic texts from the third century library of fifty-two Gnostic texts discovered in Nag Hammadi in 1945 are more forthcoming.

Many of these works were previously only known as quotes or corrupted versions from the Corpus Hermeticum, a sixth century collection of manuscripts written in Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Coptic (ancient Egyptian written in the Greek alphabet). They were attributed to Hermes Trimegistus (Thrice Great) a combination of Hermes, the Ancient Greek messenger god and Thoth, the Egyptian bird-headed god of writing and magic.

The books tell of God creating the choirs of angels to control the rhythms of creation. As angelic lore was built up over millennia there is no definite list of angels. Different books may call the same angels by different names. We think of angels as essentially winged humans. This is a mistake. Only the cherubim and the lowest choir of the malakim look human, for they were made in the creator’s image to act as messengers from God and man.

Guardian angels come from the malakim. Like elementals their leaders, the Archangels, are a single attribute, not of nature but of God: Michael is like God; Gabriel is the strength of God; Uriel the light; Raphael the healer; Jophiel the countenance and Hadraniel the greatness. Guardian angels and similar divine attributes called the ‘Divine Sparks’ are found in Zoroastrism: Goodness, Righteousness, Dominion, Devotion, Wholeness and Immortality.

We can see man and melakim are closely related by the fact two prophets were elevated to archangels. They are Metatron and Sandalphon and once were the Old Testament prophets Enoch and Elijah. Both were carried bodily to heaven in a fiery chariot to act as scribes recording names in the book of life.

The higher choirs consist of Seraphim, God’s attendants. They are ‘full of eyes all round’ and have six wings, to cover their faces and their feet, and a further two for flight. Cherubim, manlike and double winged, guard God’s glory. The many eyed Ophanim are the fiery wheels of God’s throne. Hashmallim are fiery thunder clouds. Thrones embody humble submission to God’s order, while the Dominions oversee the working of the universe. The Virtues govern nature and control the elements, while the warrior Powers defend man and the universe against evil.

There are also two other choirs which may be related to God’s own Cherubim as they have the shape of men. They are the Elohim: puzzlingly referred to as ‘Gods’ and the Bene Elohim: ‘Sons of Gods’. These may be the angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven to become demons and whose leader was Lucifer- the Light-bringer, who appeared before dawn as the Morning Star- the planet Venus.

The Book of Enoch says rebel angels lusting after the beautiful Daughters of Man, came down to earth to take them as wives, and taught them enchantments. It is likely the beautiful women were Adam’s daughters to his first wife Lilith who left the Garden of Eden to live with the archangel Samael- Venom of God- a seducer and destroyer. Lilith is now remembered as a winged demon with clawed owl feet; a succubus and the mother of witches. She may be Inanna: the mother of the Ancient Mesopotamian gods.

Later Enoch mysteriously calls the rebel angels ‘Watchers’. He says they deserted their appointed habitations to gratify their lust. Originally it was an angelic duty to guide the seven visible plants across the heavens: the Sun and Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Each planet had its own sound (the music of the spheres) still used today in the musical octave: the eight note is a repeat of the first but higher. They also gave their names to the days of the week. Sun-day Moon Day, Twys (Norse god of War) Day, Wotens (Norse Mercury) Day, Thor’s (Norse Jupiter) Day and Freya’s Day (Norse Venus) and Saturn’s Day.

The offspring of the Sons of Gods and the Daughters of Man were the Nephilim. They may be the Djinn of Islam. Djinn are certainly identified with whole range of demons from the flesh-eating shape-shifting ghoul that haunts cemeteries; the Ifrit, giant winged demons of smoke; Djinni, female djinn who prey on sleeping men as succubi, to the Shaytan (Satan) a group of powerful Djinn thrown out of heaven for refusing to obey God’s will when he demanded they bow before Adam. Their leader is Iblis, the devil himself.

Before God created Adam from mud, he made the Djinn from smokeless fire. Like both the angels and man, God gave the Djinn free-will, making them the third race of beings who have the choice of obeying God or not.

In many ways Djinn are similar to their younger brother, Man, for they live in cities where they eat, marry and die, have armies and kings. However they live much longer than Man.

Made from subtle fire Djinns have no physical form and so thousands can live in a tiny hole. Generally they remain invisible, although they can see us, but over the centuries some have taken on human form to live unknown among us. They can also transform themselves into animals.

Like fallen angels, Djinn are powerful magical beings. Some specialise in Black Magic. According to legend, King Solomon used invisible Djinn to build his magnificent temple in Jerusalem. His legendary grimoire, a book of spells, that allowed him to summon and gain mastery over the Djinn is the much sought after Key of Solomon.

With the examination of ethereal beings at an end, you are in a position to see how subtle the relationships are between these different entities. I also sincerely hope you now understand why I feared being drawn into labyrinthine explanations when attempting to discuss the human type fairies found in Celtic myth.

©Horatio Grin 2017

A brief bio for Horatio Grin

Horatio William Grin was born 29 July 1940 in the village of Kingstone Warren, Oxfordshire, in the shadow of White Horse Hill. His parents were William George Grin, Barrister and latterly King’s Counsel and Beatrice Caroline Grin nee Lough, a younger daughter of Squire Horatio Arthur Lough of the Oxfordshire Loughs.

After matriculating from Whychwood and Rye School, where he stayed as a day boarder, Horatio Grin went up to Girton and Caius College at Cambridge to read Particulate Physics, graduating with First Class Honours. For his Masters he read Russian and Mandarin. Eschewing a career with his alma mater, he joined military intelligence at the age of 23. Little is known of him for the next twenty-five years except for small snippets from diverse sources.

H. W. Grin is credited as a Research Assistant in the abstract of a paper from a team headed by Professor Able Epstein of Cambridge University. Professor Epstein acted as a Senior Researcher at the Los Alomos Facility in New Mexico during the atomic bomb tests. The research paper is not particularly significant, a description of the projected paths of post-collision sub-atomic particles.

His latest work on fairy lore called ‘Fairies: a Hidden History, the Collected Essays of Horatio Grin’, again containing no publisher’s mark, is a series of articles rumoured to be from the Archives of the Magi Temple of Central England. The essays are remarkable for effortlessly marrying ancient mythology and fairy folklore with the latest discoveries in the scientific disciplines of archaeology, genetics and physics. They are currently the subject of controversy among different schools of occult thought.

Please follow the link to read the full biography of this remarkable man: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

You can read all the previous essays by Horatio Grin in this directory:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-fairies-the-hidden-history-by-horatio-grin/

As always Horatio would appreciate your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 4: The Problem with Erlkings by Horatio Grin


Welcome to today’s post by Horatio Grin. However much we might like to belief in fairies or their various visitations, it is very difficult to prove their existence when history has been repeatedly scrubbed of any tangible evidence. This is true of the fairy overlords.. The Erklings who science has found lacking. However, Horatio takes us on a journey to potentially restore them to glory.

Part 4: The Problem with Erlkings by Horatio Grin

The first fairies were the offspring of early modern humans and Neanderthals, whose developed frontal lobes indicate telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Fairies are telepaths and cast glamour – an illusionary spell to make an object look different. But glamour does not satisfactorily account for all instances of fairy magic. Sometimes not only the appearance, but also the substance, of an object changes and telekinesis seems the most likely explanation.

Telekinesis is the ability to move objects by the power of the mind. In doing so it holds the key to the manipulation of the universe. There is only a difference of degree between moving a plastic ball across a table and sub-atomic particle.

What we perceive as a solid object is nothing more than a myriad of energy bursts vibrating at the sub-atomic level. If the rate of an object’s atomic vibration was changed, it would cause one solid object to pass through another. If the energy potential from one part of an atom is transferred to another part, elements transmute, quite literally from lead to gold – the aim of generations of alchemists.

When we consider that telekinetic ability is present in no more than a few thousand people out of a world population of almost seven billion, we realise how rare it is. During the last 50 years, laboratory condition experiments in America, Europe and Russia have only yielded a dozen or so subjects. But it may well be that many more people are simply not aware they possess the ability.

Poltergeist activity in teenagers is often the result of spontaneous psychokinetic outbursts, suppressed in later life. Others may discount the talent. I once witnessed a young man make a pencil swing back and forth like a compass needle. He considered it nothing more than a party trick and of no practical use.

His attitude probably reflects a general feeling. People studied under laboratory conditions can do no more than roll a ball across a table, spin small paper cones or control electronic random number generators.

Perhaps people with the gift do not see telekinesis an asset because it is not easy to master. Such is the complexity of nature that turning lead into gold is child’s play when compared to making a living thing like a flower. This may explain why a fairy’s sumptuous feast tastes no better than muck.

The question remains, how would a telekinetic person learn to use the ability?

Acrobats and jugglers have the same bodies as us, but do things we would never attempt. This is because a teacher sculpts their natural skills from an early age. So where are the teachers for gifts such as telekinesis?

Through the ages there have been many schools teaching mastery of the universe, the Orphics, Pythagoreans, Kabbalists, Gnostics and Hermetics to name but a few. Some like the Tibetan Vajrayanas believe enlightenment cannot be attained without a higher guide or master.

Today a teacher may be a yogi, a lama, a high Rosicrucian or even one of the ascended masters of the Theosophists. In ancient times they were probably thought of as gods. I say this because ancient civilisations were most particular to draw a distinction between semi-divine beings such as nymphs, who seem to fit our idea of the fairies, and the gods themselves, who were seen to be entirely different.

To the ancients the Gods were not the same as we would think of God today – an omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal creator, responsible for the whole universe. The gods were more like what we call superheroes, but without the moral fibre. The universe had existed long before they came along. It was created in the time of their forefathers; sometimes by unknown gods. Some gods even prayed to older gods. Others slyly claimed to be related to them; although even mortals were known to take such snobbish conceits with a pinch of salt.

Ancient people knew only too well the gods were flawed; that they could be injured or even die. Two gods died in historical times. The first was Asclepius the Greek God of Medicine. Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt for bringing the dead back to life. The great God Pan died during the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, sometime around 30 AD. No one knows how he died, but the story goes his death was announced to a sailor passing the Isle of Paxos.

There is evidence Fairy Queens can detect the telepathic talents in others, and this is why they steal children to perpetuate their race. They train their protégés telepathically, amplifying the natural talent to resist the bombardment of incoming thoughts and project their own thoughts outwards. An empathic side-effect is the seepage of the fairy queen’s personality, beliefs and even personal memories into the young apprentice.

Perhaps the gods once detected and trained those with telekinesis in much the same way. The theory would certainly account for tales of gods stealing youngsters such as Ganymede and taking them up to the heavens. It would also account for the immortality of gods, especially when we know gods did succumb to injury, disease, and death.

Perhaps when a god died, the apprentice filled the vacancy. Trained telepathically like the pupils of a fairy queen, the apprentice would have empathically absorbed much of their master’s personality, identity and memories, and so was able to seamlessly take the god or goddess’ place. In fact, they may have considered it a sacred duty.

As already discussed, the ancient world met with a series of devastating pandemics that decimated gods and fairies along with the mortals. Compared to mortals both gods and fairies were rare breeds, but the gods were especially so. There were often no more than a few dozen of them at any one time in any one place.

After centuries of plague undermining confidence in their own immortality, and with growing indifference from the population as they failed to stem disaster after disaster, the gods may well have come to see themselves in a different light. In the same way as the fairies did, they would have left behind their claims to divinity becoming magicians or even saints.

It is in the far north of the world, the last stronghold of the old religion, where in early Christian times that we first hear of Erlkings. The name Erlking is a corruption of alder king and identification with the alder tree allows us to trace Erlkings all the way back to Gilgamesh and the Annunaki Star Gods of ancient Sumeria. Despite the name, Erlkings are not exclusively men. Rather the word is used to denote a status or rank more powerful than a fairy queen.

Today the glory days of Fairyland are long gone, and all that remain are isolated fairy nests. With the passing of the splendour much history was lost and all we know of the Erlkings are fragments of half remembered tales. Originally whispered among the fairies themselves, they were recorded by monks desperate to preserve their own dying world from the predation of Viking raiders.

Fairy stories speak of Erlkings as malevolent creatures – enchanters and shape shifters, who turn men to beasts, bring stones to life, conjure castles from thin air, or even kill with a thought. The fact they are shrouded in legend indicates many centuries had passed since one was seen. So why should we believe they ever existed at all?

There is a wealth of evidence of monsters and miracles in a variety of ancient documents stretching across the ages. These days science doubts everything and explains away what it can.

The one-eyed Cyclops is dismissed as the skull of an extinct elephant found in ancient Greece, because the opening for the trunk looks like a giant single eye socket. It is the same with the bones of giants; now viewed as extinct animals that roamed the land a few million years earlier. Dragons are dinosaur bones or perhaps even crocodile skulls, such as those decorating medieval castles in Central Europe. While unicorn horns are merely Narwhale tusks.

From Procopius’ stories of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, whose head he claimed would fly about the palace at night, to equally miraculous Dark Age tales of Celtic saints found in medieval manuscripts, there is a thousand years of miracles and wonders where men turn to stone; settlements vanish; animals talk; fantastic creatures, strange lights or aerial boats appear; where phantom armies arise and entire kingdoms drown.

But no matter how reputable the chronicler, or how large the number of witnesses, because we know better today, science dismisses all of them as no more than allegory, fancy, hysteria or even group hallucinations cause by eating rye bread infected with the ergot fungi – a naturally source of the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

Although we continually complain about factual liberties taken by journalists in our own age, we would be outraged at the thought of future historians treating our newspapers in the same way.

I believe evidence does exist of unusual magical events from the Golden Age of Fairies in 5th century Britain. For example there are three distinct legends of catastrophically drowned lands, from a period when there is no evidence at all of rising sea levels.

The remains of the drowned land of Cantre’r Gwaelod can still be seen in Cardigan Bay at low tide. Its king, Gwyddno Garanhir, was the owner of one of the 13 Sacred Treasures of Britain – a magical hamper that produced whatever food was desired. Gwyddno was under the protection of the Fairy High King Gwyn ap Nudd.

Gwyn ap Nudd was a powerful magician and the lord of the underworld. Gwyn appears in Arthurian legend and is associated with Glastonbury. A poem records a dialogue between the two kings where an exhausted Gwyn ap Nudd talks of gathering the slain of Britain from the battlefield.

It is known Gwyn kept the Cauldron of Inspiration in his fortress on Glastonbury Tor. This may well be the same miraculous vessel the raven god Bran once possessed; a cooking pot that brought the dead back to life when they were boiled inside it. It is likely Bran inherited the cauldron from his predecessor, Cernunnos: the Celtic stag-horned god of the Wild. Cernunnos is sometimes shown dipping warriors headfirst into his bubbling cauldron.

Maybe Gwyn asked for the loan of Gwyddno’s magical hamper to feed his army of the undead. Perhaps angered by his vassal’s refusal to loan out his sacred treasure, Gwyn caused Gwynddno’s whole kingdom to drown.

Half a century later, Gwyn’s kinsman, Gwentholeu (owner of one of the 13 treasures – a miraculous chess set that played by itself) would seek the rest of the 13 sacred treasures in order to become High King of Britain. But his cousin Rytheric (owner of the sword White Hilt, whose blade burned with flame when touched by a brave man – another of the 13 sacred treasures) betrayed and killed him, sending Gwentholeu’s magician, Merlin, mad with grief.

All that remains of Lyonesse, off Land’s End, is the archipelago of five inhabited islands of the Scilly Isles, along with numerous other small rocky islets. Roman navigators said Scilly was a single island. Today the field walls of ancient farms can be seen at low tide. All evidence points to a catastrophic drowning in the Dark Ages. Unfortunately its fate is not recorded. It was the same with the city of Ys off the coast of Brittany, like Lyonesse another drown place. This time cursed for its wickedness by a Celtic saint.

These three events are now dismissed by science and I think this elegantly summarises the whole problem with Erlkings. If science dismisses every piece of evidence it cannot finds alternative explanations for, simply because it does not believe in psychic phenomena or magic, then how will it ever be possible to prove Erlkings once existed?

©HoratioGrin 2017

Previous posts

You can find out more about the author here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-1-lost-beginnings-of-the-fairy-races-by-horatio-grin/

Part Two – Tales of the Old Gods

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-2-tales-of-the-old-gods-by-horatio-grin/

Part 3: Twilight of the Gods by Horatio Grin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-3-twilight-of-the-gods-by-horatio-grin/

Thank you for dropping and Horatio would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Horatio’s next post will be on Monday.

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 3 – Twilight of the Gods by Horatio Grin


Welcome to the third post by guest writer Horatio Grin.. So far we have gone back to the age of dawn and the myths and legends of fairies.. then yesterday the Tales of the Old Gods. You will find the links to the previous posts at the end of today’s piece.

Today Horatio explores the fallibility of the various God nations attached to successive civilisations and offers some theories as to their final demise.

Part 3: Twilight of the Gods by Horatio Grin

Because the old myths speak of the gods as immortal, we assume they cannot be harmed. However there are stories of gods who suffer agonies, or are injured, disabled and even die. In Greek mythology Uranus was castrated. The Roman blacksmith god, Vulcan, was lame. Norse Odin lost an eye and the Irish king of the gods Nuada an arm. The Sumerian god Tammuz was murdered. Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt. While in the time of Christ, during the reign of Tiberius, a voice from the Greek mainland announced to a passing ship that the great god Pan was dead.

The story goes that Pan’s death was announced to a sailor called Thamus. As his ship passed between the Greek Isles of Paxos and Antipaxos, he heard a disembodied voice call out to him over the sea from the mainland. ‘Thamus, when you reach port take care to proclaim the great god Pan is dead.’ When Thamus dutifully broke the tragic news, his announcement was greeted by groans and lamentation.

In Norse mythology the death of Balder causes Ragnarok; the twilight of the gods. Knowing Baldur’s death will bring the end of time, his mother extracted a promise from every living thing on earth not to harm her son. However, she overlooked a single mistletoe plant; too young and tiny to hurt anyone. Loki, the god of mischief, fashioned an arrowhead from the tender shoot and breathing on it made it hard as iron.

Believing nothing could hurt their kinsman, the gods passed the time throwing weapons at Balder for sport, but Balder’s blind brother, Hodur, could never join in their games. Ever helpful, Loki gave Hodur the arrow and guided his hand.

Not fooled by Loki’s protestation of innocence, Odin sentenced him to be chained under a serpent whose fangs dripped poison on his face. Loki’s ever-faithful wife took it upon herself to catch the acidic poison in a bowl. But every time she needed to empty the bowl the poison burned Loki’s skin to the bone and made the earth quake as he writhed in agony.

Despite long lives and miraculous health it is obvious, from such tales, gods can be struck down by injury and disease. Maybe this is why none are alive today… as far as we know. Perhaps they only survived so long because like their cousins the fairy queens, they kidnapped children to train as apprentices; so that over time, although the actual person changed, the god they represented continued.

Population growth in the ancient world led to densely packed cities where literacy and philosophy flourished. As people became more educated, they began to doubt the gods. The idea of a spiritual, and above all moral god was much more appealing than the lustful, greedy, jealous, spiteful and somewhat stupid old gods who gave no guidance to man.

Among the educated there arose the idea of an idealised and purely spiritual god, the ‘deus’, who was seen in much the same way we see God today. He became so popular many city authorities, fearing the wrath of the old gods made impiety a crime. Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, the philosopher Socrates was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens through such outlandish impiety. Ordered to commit suicide, he drank a potion made from poisonous hemlock, while surrounded by loving pupils and admirers.

The dense urban population that brought wealth, leisure and learning also brought disease. Unsanitary conditions brought outbreaks of plague to the individual city-states with depressing frequency. In addition, every few hundred years a pandemic swept across the ancient civilised world. Much like the Black Death a few thousand years later, such pandemics could last for decades and have equally devastating results.

Today we think of plague solely as bubonic plague, but historians believe ancient plagues could have included anthrax, dysentery, malaria, tuberculosis, typhus, smallpox or even chickenpox and measles. Pandemics such as the Plague of Athens, which swept through Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya in 400 BCE, the Plague of Rome, in 120CE, and the Plague of Constantinople, in the 500s, killed as much as half the population dwelling within the heartlands of each empire.

Much like ordinary mortals, gods would be vulnerable during times of plague and especially vulnerable during pandemics, because the gods were so rare. Each group was basically an extended family unit. There were little more than 50 original Annunaki Star-gods, and about 30 Olympians of Greece and Rome – taking into account the minor gods and muses. There was roughly the same number of Scandinavian and Celtic gods. No wonder they chose to live on isolated mountaintops above the bad air and infection of the cities.

After successive waves of plague took their toll, and with Christianity having finally succeeded in redefining the nature of divinity, perhaps the gods joined the fairies in considering themselves in a different way. Maybe they adopted the role of magician such as the legendary Apollonius of Tyana, who raised the dead; or Simon Magus, who made statues talk, was served by invisible servants and could fly. In some cases, perhaps they even became Christian saints.

The glory days of the fairy kingdoms are so long gone, even their histories have crumbled to dust. All we can do is pan the half remembered fragments, part myth; part wishful thinking, for nuggets of truth, as rare as red gold in a Welsh mountain stream.

It is probably safe to say Fairyland has been in decline since the time of the Fisher King and the plague from Constantinople that left our fair isle such a wasteland. The pandemic of 500CE – called the Justinian Plague after the Byzantine Emperor – destroyed a fairy golden age in Britain that had lasted more than 150 years.

It is not until the 1200s do we find fairies once again making the same sort of impact on society with the introduction of chivalry to Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Court of Love at Poitiers, and the revival of Arthur as a romantic ideal through the poetic lais of Marie of France – whose work was soon to be wiped from history by Geoffrey of Monmouth’s definitive description of Arthur’s reign in his masterly tome ‘The History of British Kings’.

The Black Death, which followed in the 1350s and killed between 20% and 60% of Europe’s population, put an end to this fairy renaissance. In the following centuries, persecution by church, and then state, and subsequent outbreaks of plague prevented the fairy population ever climbing back to Golden Age levels.

The industrial revolution, a few hundred years ago, only exacerbated the situation as the increasing population, flooding into rapidly expanding cities, once more brought unsanitary conditions and pollution on a much more massive scale. Epidemics of typhus and now cholera – a new disease from the East; from which no one had immunity – were rife.

In the stories of this time, we may catch a glimpse of one of the last of the old gods, or perhaps merely a powerful fairy queen, in the shape of the legendary Typhoid Mary, a woman in New York who was immune to the disease, but a potent carrier. Typhoid Mary caused wave after wave of fresh outbreaks to ravage the city, before she finally vanished from history.

Although we will never know for sure, the final collapse of the fairy kingdoms may have taken place in the last year of the First World War with the outbreak of Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu killed more people than the actual fighting. Estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people or 3% to 6% of the world’s population, it remains one of the deadliest single natural disasters since the Black Death.

©HoratioGrin 2017

Previous posts

You can find out more about the author here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-1-lost-beginnings-of-the-fairy-races-by-horatio-grin/

Part Two – Tales of the Old Gods

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-2-tales-of-the-old-gods-by-horatio-grin/

Thank you for dropping and Horatio would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 2: Tales of the Old Gods by Horatio Grin


I am delighted to welcome as a guest writer for the next week the esteemed Horatio Grin who takes us back in history to the beginnings of the legends and myths surrounding fairies. Today Horatio explores the origins of the old gods.

  You can find out more about the author here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/smorgasbord-guest-writer-part-1-lost-beginnings-of-the-fairy-races-by-horatio-grin/

Part 2: Tales of the Old Gods by Horatio Grin

As we saw, the fairy race may have originated around 40,000 years ago. Yet, we know nothing about the fairies and very little about humans for much of this time. In this period the Ice Age reached its maximum extent. For thousands of years there were glaciers a mile high where London and New York stand today. Much of Europe and North America were bleak frozen wastelands.

About 12,000 years ago the ice began to melt, marking the rise of man and creating the modern world. At first people continued to live as they had always done, eking out a nomadic existence by following animal migrations and seasonal fishing; picking what wild fruits and grain were available as they passed. As the climate became more favourable, they stopped hunting and foraging, and started farming crops and herding animals. Cities developed such as Jericho and Çatal Hüyü, and civilisation arose in the Fertile Crescent in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and along the Yellow River of China.

As civilisation developed, whole families of gods replaced the goddess cult of the Stone Age and Çatal Hüyük. The oldest of these were the Annunaki or the Star-gods of the Sumerians. Although the original tales of the Annunaki Star-gods are lost, some fragments remain in the earliest written records of five and a half thousand years ago. These say the Annunaki Star-gods created man as their slave, but freed him when he became too difficult to handle. Some of these gods were said to worship a great mother goddess, perhaps a memory of an earlier, more primitive, time.

As with tales of the Egyptian, Indian or Olympian gods, and even in the much later Celtic fairy stories, the Annunaki Star-gods are presented as human, with all our shortcomings and vulnerabilities. They need to eat and drink, rest and sleep. They squabble, are selfish, stupid, and capricious as spoilt children. They get married, have affairs, get drunk and have hangovers.

They are immortal and have superpowers, but they are by no means all-powerful. In many ways they are limited in what they can do, and often are not all that clever. They are spoken of as enchanters: able to cast spells; bring fire from their bodies; travel at great speed and transform rain into chickpeas and barley. Many of the gods have no function at all, which seems strange to us who tend to think of the Greek and Roman gods of the sky and sea, love and war.

All these ancient gods were the same: quarrelsome, vain and lustful. Only in Judaism did God come to be regarded mystically. In all other ancient religions the gods were seen, in a very human sense, as overlords to be obeyed, feared and served. When thinking about the ancient gods in this way, it is hard not to see them as Erlkings; those mysterious entities whispered about by the fairies.

The word fairy only came into use 1,000 years ago, long after Rome fell. It is a Middle English word borrowed from Old French and comes from the Latin ‘fata’ meaning a guardian spirit, while ‘ry’ denotes a place.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans took care to distinguish nymphs and demigods from the ‘little gods’, the so called ‘genius loci’ or spirits of a place, which in magical terms are more like elementals – forces of raw nature possessed of consciousness and some would even say intelligence.

It would seem that while Ancient Greece and Rome did not share our modern concept of a unique fairy race, the nymphs and demigods of field and stream were merely fairies under different names. Perhaps in the separation of Olympian god from local guardian spirits, we find the first evidence of Erlking and fairy.

The earliest surviving tales from Northern Europe date to around 2,000 ago. It is here the Alf, or Elves, are first mentioned.

The word Alf probably comes from the old German word for ‘white’ and as such recalls the White Goddess – described in the book of the same name by Robert Graves. It is remembered in sacred place names that survive today beginning Alb or Elbe. Britain was once called Albion and the Romans described it as a holy place, where druids from Gaul went to learn their craft.

The earliest Norse gods were the Vanir, lords and ladies of the wildwoods associated with nature, fertility and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are not known outside the far north of Europe, the edge of the retreating ice. They shared the land with their cousins, remembered as dwarfs, trolls and the Jotunn or giants of ice and fire. In some tales the Vanir are even called the children of the Jotunn. And often the Norse gods and goddess are described as being giants themselves.

The Aesir, the tribe of Thor, Odin and others, were immigrants from the east, which means they originated in ancient Mesopotamia. As their homeland was remembered as a place more fertile than any other, it is more than likely they came from early farming communities. Like the Annunaki Star-gods of the Sumerians, their sacred trees were the ash and the oak, so they were probably related.

Legends hint they migrated to the frozen north because they were fleeing something. One 13th century story says they were fleeing the fall of Troy. This is obviously a confused memory of a flight from persecution a few thousand years earlier, when the priests of the new god Marduk overthrew the ancient Annunaki Star-Gods and hunted them down.

When the Aesir and Vanir met there was a brutal war that abruptly ended in truce as the two tribes united. The Vanir retained their old association with nature, while Odin and his sons assumed leadership and defence. Their truce seems a reasonable compromise, especially if the Aesir brought with them the new technologies of farming and metalwork. But equally, to call a truce in the first place each side must have recognised some kinship with the other.

It is apparent both groups freely intermarried and interbred, as indeed they did with the Jotunn giants, the dwarves and trolls. The giants were forever trying to carry off goddesses from Asgard. Odin and Thor had affairs with giantesses and Frey married one. Like gods everywhere, they all bred freely with mortals, producing semi-divine children, such as daughters skilled in magic and fearless, heroic sons.

With the advent of Christianity the old gods were absorbed into the new religion or dismissed as objects of ridicule. The Irish fire goddess Bridget became Saint Bride; while the sun god became ‘little leaping Lugh’, a Leprechaun. Perhaps it was during this time the fairies began to leave behind their old association with pagan nymphs and godlings and adopt a new identity; one less provocative to a church that was becoming increasingly hostile to the old ways.

In the long run even a change of identity could not save the fairy race. In the long dark centuries ahead, they were accused of witchcraft and trafficking with the devil, and ultimately persecuted, tortured and killed.

Thank you for joining us today and thanks to Horatio for another fascinating look at the legends and myths of gods and fairies. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 1: Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races by Horatio Grin


I am delighted to welcome as a guest writer for the next week the esteemed Horatio Grin who takes us back in history to the beginnings of the legends and myths surrounding fairies.  You can find out more about the author here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/smorgasbord-guest-writer-19th-june-to-27th-june-author-horatio-grin-biography/

Part 1: Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races by Horatio Grin

In talking about fairies, we need to distinguish between the two types in popular imagination. The first are nature sprites or elementals, supernatural beings outside the scope of this discussion. The others are fairies of myth and legend. Tales as far apart in time and place as China and the Celtic fringe, speak of fairies as human, despite their extraordinary magical abilities.

When analysing fairy magic, much of it involves fooling mortals into seeing what is not there. Fairy gold turns to ash; palaces become caves or hovels; and splendid feasts, unpalatable muck. While the fairies themselves, appearing young and beautiful, are revealed in their true form only once the spell is broken.

Today, the word for fairy magic ‘glamour’ is used to describe the illusion of beauty achieved through maquillage and toilette. When looked at this way, it appears fairy magic is no more than illusion. Thoughts telepathically implanted into another’s mind.

Although unfashionable to say in this day and age, men and women’s brains are hard-wired in slightly different, but equally effective, ways. Man tends to think in terms of cause and effect as befits the mighty hunter he claims to be. Whereas a woman’s thought processes are more complex, weaving through social networks with a combination of empathy and intuition – aspects of a developed tendency towards telepathy.

Parapsychological studies show telepathy is stronger in women, a fact fitting neatly into the traditional image of fairy societies where women dominate. But where could such telepathic abilities arise?

Research indicates telepathic abilities may be part of our genetic inheritance from cross breeding with Neanderthals, recently proved not to be the brutes we imagined. On average, Neanderthals had a brain a fifth larger than modern humans. They also had larger frontal lobes, which parapsychologists view as the home of telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

If all this is true, fairies are nothing less than our cousins and their story, traceable through prehistory, is very much the same as our own.

For almost half a million years, while the world was held in the grip of the Ice Age, Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals evolved along separate paths. In the warmth of Africa, early Homo Sapiens were free to explore the environment, developing curiosity and creating new technologies to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape. Locked in the frozen northern wastes of Eurasia, Neanderthals had nothing to develop but their powers of mind and imagination.

Research indicates when anatomically modern humans came to Europe 40,000 years ago they bred with Neanderthals. Skeletons of children from Mount Carmel in Israel and Lagar Velho in Portugal display characteristics from both sets of parents. The recently completed Neanderthal Genome Project shows modern humans and Neanderthals are virtually genetically identical; with between 99.5% and 99.9% of their genes in common. At least 4% of the genes in modern Europeans, and their descendants across the globe, are unique to the Neanderthals.

Scientists once maintained humans and Neanderthals never crossbred and Neanderthals went extinct over 30,000 years ago. However, the recent finds at Portugal are only 24,000 years old, and so amply demonstrate how science must continually revise its ideas, which are often based on assumption rather than hard fact.

From the 17th century onwards, the Russian Tsar sent explorers to map the furthest reaches of his sprawling empire. Arriving in these remote and previously inaccessible regions, the scientists sent back reports of an extraordinary creature called Alma by the indigenous peoples.

The Alma ranged from Siberia as far south as Kazakhstan and the Caucasus Mountains, lying between the Black and Caspian Seas. The last reliable sighting of one such fabulous creature was made by the Russian scientist Alexander Pronin in 1948.

In the 19th century, a female Alma with dark red hair and a sloping forehead was captured in the Caucasus region. Recent genetic research on remnant Neanderthal DNA concluded they were actually red or sandy haired. It is interesting to speculate whether this accounts for the irrational prejudice against red-haired people throughout history. Many cultures claim being red haired is a sign of being a witch or demonic. Christians have traditionally claimed Judas Iscariot had red hair.

The exception to this prejudice against red hair is found in Gaelic countries. In Ireland and Scotland, red or strawberry blonde hair is considered a sign of physical beauty, especially in women. Ireland and Scotland along with the other Celtic countries continue to have a strong enduring fairy tradition.

According to the historian Boris Porshney, the female Alma, named Zanya, mothered four surviving children by different men. He reported all the children were said to look similar to normal humans except they were stronger.

Porshney investigated Zanya’s living descendants and remarked on their unique features, including a robust jaw. Although he failed to find her grave, he dug up the remains of her direct offspring and concluded their skeletal structure was more similar to Neanderthals than modern humans.

The legend of the Alma supports the idea the Neanderthal race is not extinct, but still lives in the isolated and inhospitable parts of Eurasia that formed their traditional home territory.

The period Homo Sapiens first met our Neanderthal cousins is marked by a huge explosion of creativity and imagination in our species, not previously found in the paleontological record. For the first time, we produced art.

It is quite feasible this blossoming resulted from the mix of the two races. Neither is it unreasonable to believe in some members of the population, the Neanderthal genes were dominant, producing enlarged frontal lobes and attendant telepathic abilities. These people would be the very beginnings of the modern fairy races.

Before farming, small groups of humans roamed large territories hunting and gathering food with the seasons. These groups were often extended families of about 30 individuals. It is estimated each group needed 100 sq miles to provide enough wild food for the whole year – whereas with farming, one sq mile feeds a 100.

Stone Age burials usually have different grave goods. Men are invariable buried with napped flint tools, while women are buried with drilled and carved shell beads. The exceptions are burials containing both stone axe-heads and drilled beads, regardless of the sex of the corpse. Palaeontologists deem these to be the remains of the tribe’s shaman. They suggest an elite whose status was passed down through the female line due to the offering of beads even in men’s graves.

It is easy to see how with family groups sharing some rudimentary telepathic ability, the most powerful telepathic individuals would become the shaman of the tribe.
Evidence for women taking a leadership role comes from the many Neolithic Venus statues – not one male figurine has ever been found. Scientists emphasise the sexual nature of the carvings. While procreation is a powerful factor in society, that cannot explain a beautiful head of a young woman.

 

Stone-Age Venuses

Fertility symbols or something more?

Unfortunately for long periods following the Ice Age, there is no evidence of the development of the fairy race, other than the myths buried deep in our psyche. Then comes Çatal Hüyük in Turkey. Settled 9,500 years ago, it is one of the first proto-cities in the world.

Çatal Hüyük is built as if it were underground, with the entrance to each house through the roof, surely reminiscent of ancestral cavemen and the dwellings of their descendants, the fairy folk, who are said to live underground in hollow hills.

Although men and women were equal in Çatal Hüyük, only female figurines are found. One in particular showed a goddess seated on a throne between two lionesses.

Çatal Hüyük – Room entrance from the roof

Goddess between lionesses

When excavated, every house was scrupulously clean. Perhaps this is evidence of a society run by women. For among the mammals, what mother does not keep her nest clean to protect her children from infection?

As each fairy race is as culturally different from each other as we are from our fellow human beings across the globe, I will conclude by concentrating on the evolution of Northern European fairies.

After the Ice Age, Europe was the last place to thaw and the last to be farmed. The spread of farming from the Middle East to the Hebrides of Scotland, took six thousand years – an extraordinary amount of time.

Heavily forested and largely unpopulated Northern Europe became the home for another set of myths, those of the dwarfs and trolls. Described as living in isolated mountains and caves, they were said to be ancient and strong, but slow-witted and notably ugly.

Perhaps the description is a racial memory of our Neanderthal cousins, who survived into historical times at the northern edges of the world, before being overwhelmed by the greater population farming brought. The probable fate of Neanderthals living anywhere touched by farming was the same as any other nomadic group of hunter-gatherers; to be absorbed into the more adaptable, and maybe more aggressive, culture of humans.

Maybe the old legends of trolls and dwarves marrying our ancestors are no more than early memories passed down through the generations. What is certain is that legend claims the descendants of human and troll intermarriage were the elfin; very first race of what we now think of as fairies.

My thanks to Horatio Grin for this fascinating insight into the origins of fairies and please join us again tomorrow at the same time for part two of the story.