Manticore Press

Manticore Press


Blodewedd: The Mabinogion May Queen

Juleigh Howard-Hobson   The May Queen. We celebrate her appearance and her blossoming forth at this time of the year through Walpurgis observances, May Day faires, and Beltaine festivities. We’ve always known her, whether she is called by her ancient names of Flora, Maia, or Freya or the relatively modern names of Godiva, Guinevere, or Marian. The Welsh legend of Blodewedd [1] (which is pronounced almost as it looks: bloody-weth )  is not so well known, but Blodewedd — of all the incarnations of this Spring Earth Goddess — is the most splendidly interesting May Queen of them all. Blodewedd was considered to be the fairest maiden ever seen, a lovely sum total of the nine types of blossoms — bean, broom, burdock, chestnut, hawthorn, meadowsweet, nettle, oak, and primrose — that were used to magically form her. To emphasize her beauty, her supernatural origins, and her ultimate role as a May Queen, her name in Welsh means ‘Flower Face’.  Blodewedd was created out of love, a family gift to by-pass a curse placed on the great Welsh hero, Llew Llaw Gyffes, which caused him to never be able to wed a real woman. Llew’s uncles piled flower on top of flower until they had made a flower woman, a lady of the green, a May Queen, for him to marry. The mystical manifesting of Blodewedd restores balance and lets life go forward, as happens when winter meets spring. Llew is
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Pysanky Eggs

Pysanky Eggs – A Transcendent Spring Gift

Juleigh Howard-Hobson With their intricately wrought designs and deepset colors, Ukrainian Pysanky eggs are as fascinating as they are lovely. Pronounced “peh-san-keh”, these decorated eggs are considered Easter Eggs these days, and/or seen as examples of Eastern European folk art by collectors and tourists alike. But Pysanky (singular Pysanka) are far more numinous than that. Pysanky have roots that stretch far back to Ancient European pagan spirituality. Indeed, traces of Trypillian symbology (Neolithic Era) can be still seen in many Pysanka designs. Although best known, Ukraine is not unique in its indigenous European egg decorating. From the Polish pisanka, over to the Hungarian hímestojás, eggs have been decorated with dye and wax every spring since prehistoric times. For brevity sake, I’m going to refer to all of these by their Ukrainian name Pysanky. There are other decorated eggs, but Pysanky created with dye and beeswax (it must be beeswax, due to sacred solar associations with bees and flowers) are special. Goose and duck eggs were once preferred, but hen eggs are used now. The egg must be raw, the designs ‘written’ with a “kistka”, a tool that holds flame-melted beeswax (flames bring sacred solar energy). The eggs are dyed and designs applied in succession until the Pysanka is finished. Then it is baked, to melt off the wax and set both the egg and the sacred intention it carries. Traditionally, Pysanky are personal to the maker and to the recipients. Older people are
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killer rabbit

The Dark Side of Rabbits

Juleigh Howard-Hobson Just as there is an abundance of milk and dark chocolate bunnies this time of year, rabbits themselves possess both light and dark folkloric aspects. The sweet side is well known far and wide, not only as the Easter Bunny, but also as Tsuki no Usag the cute Japanese rabbit who mashes mochi on the moon, as well as that erratically delightful body part (the left foot) which bestows upon its owner good luck. The dark side of rabbits is as vast and as old as any legend about them can be. And just as interesting. The lucky rabbit foot is just that: lucky. But the luck can be good or bad depending on circumstances. If you don’t stroke the foot three times before invoking its good luck power, it will bring bad luck instead. If you keep the foot in the wrong place on your body (there is debate concerning the proper place, but the majority of opinion says the foot must be kept in the left pocket of the owner to bring good luck) or if you possess the wrong foot (many people buy a rabbit foot without understanding that the left hind foot is the one to own if you want good luck) or if you happen to lose your rabbit foot, bad luck will plague you as surely as a rabbit plagues a farmer’s garden. Because rabbits are creatures that dwell under the ground, they are
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Tantric Traditions

New Release: Tantric Traditions

Gods, Rituals, & Esoteric Teachings in the Kali Yuga Gwendolyn Taunton March, 2018     Tantra. The word conjures forth a million images – including sex, transgressive practices, and the occult. But how accurate are these portrayals, and how do they compare to actual Tantric practices in India? To the casual observer, Tantra appears to partake of an oppositional role in regard to Vedic teachings, but this conceals a much more conservative core, for the Tantric traditions actually strive to reinforce their Vedic heritage. The Tantras are believed to be the appropriate teaching in the Kali Yuga, and understanding the role that the Kali Yuga plays in Tantric traditions is absolutely vital to interpreting the nature of Tantra itself. Contrary to being opposed to Vedic teachings, Tantra is actually an extension of them – it is a reinterpretation of the Vedas for the modern era. In addition to explaining the complex role Tantra plays within the larger corpus of Hinduism, Tantric Traditions also examines the way in which Tantra is linked to sacred geographical locations, and provides explanations on the nature of Siva, the Devi, the role of the Traditionalist School in the export of Tantric
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hinduism solar

Pralaya – Part II

Cosmic Floods, the Sun and the Solar Race Part II Alexander Jacob   Manu of the Sun   The course of the sun’s emergence in our universe coincides with that of the first Man, who is called Manu Vaivasvata, or Manu of the Sun (Vivasvant). This primal man is of interest in a study of the flood since it is he who is said to preserve the life of the universe in a boat that is at once a solar barque, as in Egypt, and an ark that carries the seeds of universal life through the flood to safety atop a mountain (from whence the sun too will arise). Manu is thus the divine ancestor of the race that is to inhabit the universe. As a personification of enlightened humanity the role of a Manu is to maintain the cosmic order at the time of the creation of the universe (BP VIII,14,3). Since Manu is called King of Drāvida in BP VIII,24,13, we may assume also that the entire mythology of Manu appeared first among the proto-Dravidian peoples, who, as we shall see, are also identifiable with the proto-Hurrians,[1] and the Noachidian race. Manu Vaivasvata is also called Shraddhādeva (BP VIII,13,1) and is the seventh Manu of our
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The Golden Bough

The Golden Bough of Initiation Part I

A Study on the Italic Roots of the Western Inner Tradition with a Renaissance Treatise on “The Practice of Philosophical Ecstasy” David Pantano In Roman mythology, the Golden Bough is a votive branch with gilded leaves from a tree of the sacred grove that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas to journey through the underworld safely. The Bough was sacred to Persephone, the queen of the underworld, and associated with the Goddess Diana. The legend of Aeneas and the Golden Bough found in the Aeneid is a seminal myth of the Western World as told by the Roman poet Virgil. Ancient legends tell of lands to the West known as Hesperia that follow the trajectory of the evening star Venus. Venus, the Goddess of love, mother of Aeneas and benefactor of the Trojans and their descendants, helps her son whenever the Gods venture to harm him, causing conflict among the Gods. According to these legends, the spirit of Anchises, Aeneas’ dead father, appears and tells Aeneas to visit the underworld, where he will learn what the future holds in store for his people. First, however, Aeneas must find the oracle known as the Sibyl of Cumae, who will lead him to the land of the dead. Aeneas locates the oracle, who informs him that he cannot pass through the underworld safely without the Golden Bough. When Aeneas enters the forest to look for the sacred branch, two doves lead him to an oak tree that shelters the bough leading to a portal that descends into the underworld, the domicile of Gods, heroes, and demons of Hesperia.
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