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:

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:

You can read all the previous essays by Horatio Grin in this directory:

As always Horatio would appreciate your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 5 – A Question of Immortality by Horatio Grin

Today my guest Horatio Grin explores the subject of immortality. Since the dawn of man the search for everlasting life has fascinated humans and is considered to be the Holy Grail by certain scientists. Today Horatio looks at the possibility that there are already certain humans who might carry the answer to this fascinating possibility.

Part 5: A Question of Immortality by Horatio Grin

There is a popular legend, told in many forms. It concerns a young man who meets and falls in love with a beautiful fairy maid. She is reluctant to return his affection because of the heartache it will bring. When he persists in his wooing, she weakens and marries him. Their life is blessed. They prosper. She bears him children, handsome strong sons and clever beautiful daughters. And they are happily… for a time.

As the years pass, the children grow up and the husband grows old. The fairy wife remains unchanged. Resentful and bitter at life’s unfairness, the husband treats her badly; even though he once promised, years ago, he never would. Early one morning, or late one evening, with great sadness in her heart she takes her leave of the man she once loved, and the children and grandchildren, she still does.

Often the story does not end there, for the fairy wife is seen again and again over the coming years. Grandchildren and even great grandchildren, now old men themselves, remember having seen her long ago when they were but infants. Seeing her once more these many decades later, they are struck by how time has left her untouched.

The tale is typical among the Celts with variations found in Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as among the Cornish, the Manx and the Breton. Further afield, it is also found in the stories of Chinese fairies or in the Middle East (where fairies are called Peri) and in the traditional tales of Africans and North American Indians.

Belief in the immortality, or at least the very long life, of fairies may have its roots in a simple explanation. In early societies, girls were often married with the onset of puberty. As shocking as it is today this could be as young as 11, with motherhood soon following.

It is not hard to do the sums and see women would be grandmothers at 24, great grandmothers at 36 and great, great grandmothers at 48. While, at the age of 60, they would be matriarch of a dynasty of 5 generations.

The average life expectancy for a male child born in medieval times, or earlier, was 30 years of age. Many died before the end of their teens, but if a young man reached the age of 20, he had a good chance of surviving into his mid-fifties. Less than 10% of the whole population reached 60.

Although women can expect to live longer than men today, in the past they fared less well. Studies of the medieval population of Europe show men often outnumbered women by as much as two to one. A significant contributing factor was death in childbirth. Due to the risks associated with being constantly pregnant from such a young age, reaching 60 would be a huge achievement for a woman.

With such a low life expectancy in the general population, and high mortality during childbirth, a woman over 60 would seem ancient to her contemporaries. If she looked young for her years – and everybody ages differently – or if she were able to cast the illusion of glamour so as to appear young, she would seem almost immortal.

Or perhaps the fairy race is indeed immortal. Immortality need not be forever and ever. With our short span a few more decades of life and youth is be a gift none would refuse.

The idea of immortality has been with humanity all through recorded history. It was first written of in the epic of Gilgamesh, at least 5,000 years ago. The gods and goddesses, and the fairy races of every culture in the world were all considered immortal.

One of the aims of alchemy was to discover the elixir of life. Both Nicholas Flamel and the Comte de Saint Germain were said to have gained immortality in this way. In the 20th century, Theosophists, and even the Nazis, claimed immortals called ascended masters were overseeing our world’s progress and development. So perhaps it is true and fairies do actually live a long, long time.

Genetics is revolutionising our understanding of why we age and die. It was once thought death was an evolutionary oversight. Now we understand ageing, and even death, is programmed into every individual. It is controlled by our genetic inheritance in exactly the same way as our hair or eye colour.

However it is not quite as simple as some other traits, which are controlled by one set of genes. According to new research there are about 1,800 genes that may alter our expected lifespan.

Life-expectancy is influenced by many factors, such as predispositions to cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure. These factors in turn may be determined by genes controlling the width of arteries or perhaps the ability to digest fats, or even eliminate waste. Such predispositions may well be influenced by how we live our lives: exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating.

Laboratory rats kept on a reduced calorie intake live almost twice as long as others not having their food intake restricted. A study is currently underway looking at the effects on non-human primates. With the expected lifespan of the monkey subjects being around 50 years it will not deliver results for another 15.

Some researchers believe many cancers are linked to lifestyle and environment. The discovery of genetic markers indicating a predisposition to certain cancers, make others think lifestyle factors are irrelevant. Cancer, like obesity and heart disease they claim, is simply down to your genetic inheritance. Admittedly the science is in its infancy.

It is currently a highly complex process to analyse an individual’s genetic makeup. Yet doctors believe in the future, it will be possible to diagnose each and every human being at the genetic level during gestation and by introducing modified genes inside virus type organisms, fix any defects before the foetus has left the womb.

At one time it was thought old age happened through biological neglect. Animals breed when they are young and pass on their genes. Once they have bred and successively reared offspring there is no need for the organism to stay alive. To put it bluntly, once the selfish genes are passed to the next generation, and offspring are successfully reared, the parent is of no further biological use.

Recent studies show the truth of aging to be very different. Every cell in the human body is capable of replacing itself between 40 and 60 times, called the Hayflick limit. With each replication of the cell, part of the DNA, called the telomere, breaks off. When there is no telomere left, cell division stops. At this point the cell starts to wear out. When the accumulated damage to the cells of the body becomes too great, we die by default.

This is why cloning has proved a disappointment. When adult genes are introduced into an empty egg, the telomere is short – for it is the same length as all the other cells in the adult donor. Even though the new animal is an infant, it has the same remaining cellular lifespan as the donor; with the same number of cell divisions left before it reaches the hayflick limit and dies.

Experiments to artificially increase the telomere have proved equally disastrous. In some cells the end of the telomere never breaks off. These cells are truly immortal; able to divide eternally. They are called cancer.

Knowing how genes control aging gives a mechanism to understand why each and every person ages at different rates. Most human beings cluster in the middle of any characteristic: think of a traffic snarl up over a humped backed bridge. The majority of us are neither too tall nor too short: too dark nor too fair. But there are always minorities at the extremes.

At one extreme of ageing there is the disease, called progeria that gives young children all the symptoms of extreme old age. But what lies at the other extreme?


Eternal youth?

Recently the oldest person alive on the planet celebrated his 146th birthday. There are villages in Japan, where people in their 80s and 90s look as young and are robust as others decades their junior.

Thirty years ago, most reputable scientists put a maximum limit of 250 years on the human life span. Today scientists speak in terms of 2,000 years, baring accident. Some are already making the claim that within the next few decades, given expected advances in gene therapy, doctors will be able to prevent or at least delay aging, and perhaps even, eventually, cure death.

Now we are aware of the doctors’ current understanding and their expectation of a cure for ageing at the genetic level, all that remains is to ask, has this already happened naturally?

From the origin of life on this planet some 3.7 billion years ago, tiny random changes to the genetic code called mutations took life from undifferentiated single celled organisms to well… us. And we are by no means the pinnacle of creation.

The changes doctors will make to increase our lifespan are nothing more than directed mutations: the human equivalent of GM (genetically modified) crops. Knowing that, it is perfectly possible such random changes have already occurred in the gene pool.

While it is true they may not have all occurred in one individual or even in our own species, bear in mind our direct ancestors have been on this planet for some seven million years, interbreeding with each other. In the past, humans did not travel as freely as today. This produced small isolated populations that interbred over generations. When this happens in nature, it consolidates genes within the population and results in a new species. As the numbers in a species increase, it travels further afield. It is how we left Africa and colonised the world.

When the incomers meet another species living in a new part of the world, the tendency is for the two groups to interbreed, passing on both sets of genetic advantages to the resulting offspring. This is why Western Europeans have 4-6% of their genes from the Neanderthals.

If mutations favouring immortality exist, they will eventually succeed in coming together. When they do, they will confer a genetic advantage on their longer lived progeny. This means more surviving offspring who in turn pass on their advantageous genes to their children. If people had mutations favouring immunity from illness or granting longer life, natural selection meant they flourished over their weaker brethren.

It may surprise you to know that in the short time HIV has been devastating the world there is already a mutation in a small number of the human population that makes them immune to the virus. In the past a disease like HIV might have killed the majority of mankind, but the small immune group would have survived and repopulated the earth, leaving the virus no more deadly than its ancestor the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus is to monkeys.

We are all aware of our species’ exponential population growth. Despite 2 world wars, myriad other wars, plagues and genocides the world population grew from 1.65 billion to 3 billion between 1900 and 1970. Since then it has doubled to 6 billion. What we forget is that although the world population before the 20th century was low, the birth rate was much higher than today. What kept the numbers down was the high mortality rate. What has allowed today’s world population to boom is better medicine.

Therefore, given a higher birth-rate spreading favourable mutations and isolated populations consolidating any genetic advantage, it is not inconceivable that immortals, or at least those living significantly longer than we dare expect, walk among us today.

©HoratioGrin 2017

Previous posts

You can find out more about the author here:

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

Part Two – Tales of the Old Gods

Part 3: Twilight of the Gods by Horatio Grin

Part 4: The Problem with Erlkings 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:

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

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