White Ladies and Phantom Monks

Bonjour From Brittany

The sunken pathways and ruined castles of Brittany are rich in legends of ghosts and supernatural spirits. Many of these fall into the category popularly known as White Ladies; spectral women wearing white gowns that appear at night to haunt the localities of their tragic death. Sometimes, the circumstances of their deaths are still remembered while others are barely known but a common theme appears to be betrayal, deceit or lost love and the ghosts are either lamenting their circumstances or warning, those that would listen, of the cruel hand of fate.

Ghostly white ladies are said to haunt the Place du Parlement de Bretagne in the city of Rennes but I have not been able to find records of any reported sightings to suggest that this is not a relatively new phenomena. Who knows, perhaps this urban legend will be established folklore in a century or two? A little…

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Celtic Roots of Santa Claus

The Shamrock and Peach

Irish Christmas Celtic Christmas

This Christmas I have been exploring the fascinating  ancient Celtic traditions of Christmas. So much of the Christmas festival we enjoy is a blend of ancient tradition and cultures that have somehow become meshed together over the centuries, and I thought you might find it interesting to know where some of these wonderful traditions we enjoy each year come from…

So, where or better to start with than Father Christmas?   It’s impossible to to point out one real Santa Claus because his origins are a culmination of Celtic and Scandinavian mythologies. An ancient blend of the Norse god Thor, who rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by goats giving gifts to children at the end of the year. Befana, a Roman goddess bearing gifts and the Celtic Winter god, the Holly King.

The Druid Holly King wore a Holly wreath as a crown and…

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At Home with the Faeries — British Fairies

The Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye, by Anne McKinnell I’ve just visited the British Library to look at several folklore books by Scottish writer Otta Swire. Her 1964 publication on the Inner Hebrides and their legends included a fascinating little account of faery life in the western isles of Scotland. A girl from Skye was […]

At Home with the Faeries — British Fairies

flood myths

Indigenous Peoples Literature

Aflood mythordeluge mythis amythin which a greatflood, usually sent by adeityor deities, destroyscivilization, often in an act ofdivine retribution. Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of thesemythsand the primaevalwaterswhich appear in certaincreation myths, as the flood waters are described as a measure for thecleansingof humanity, in preparation forrebirth. Most flood myths also contain aculture hero, who „represents the human craving for life“. Theflood-myth motifoccurs in many culturesas seen in: theMesopotamianflood stories, theGenesis flood narrative,Nuh (Noah)inIslam,manvantara-sandhyainHinduism, theGun-YuinChinese mythology,DeucalionandPyrrhainGreek mythology,BergelmirinNorse mythology, the arrival of the first inhabitants of Ireland withCessairinIrish mythology, in parts of

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The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Archetype of Ancient Flood Mythologies.

The Ancient World

By Pat Lowinger

The ancient literature and religious traditions of the Greeks, Egyptians and Hebrews each contained mythologies of a great and catastrophic flood that nearly destroyed all of mankind.  One of the earliest written accounts originated in Mesopotamia, in what is commonly known as The Epic of Gilgamesh.  First recorded in the early to mid second millennium BCE, this ancient Mesopotamian flood myth was widely disseminated, emulated and modified throughout the ancient Mediterranean.

Ancient Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia Map depicting region(s) commonly referred to as ‚The Fertile Crescent.‘

The name Mesopotamia is derived from ancient Greek, and means the land between two rivers.  These two great rivers were the Tigris and Euphrates which formed the eastern portion of what archaeologists, anthropologist and historians commonly refer to as the Fertile Crescent.  By c. 3000 BCE, numerous city-states had formed and cuneiform writing had been established. By c. 2250 BCE, the Akkadian Empire had established its dominance in the region.  In the…

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Understanding The Epic of Gilgamesh: History, Philosophy, Evolution — Discourses on Minerva

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest work of extant literature in the world.  The text was discovered in the nineteenth century and patched together into a working piece of literature and is a foundational read in any mythology or ancient Near East class.  It is also an ancient tale we are all familiar with: […]

Understanding The Epic of Gilgamesh: History, Philosophy, Evolution — Discourses on Minerva

Trenches, Training and Television: the importance of community engagement to the success of the Rutland Villa Project — ULAS News

The story of the magnificent discovery of the Trojan War mosaic and the Rutland Roman Villa captured the world’s attention when its discovery was finally announced to the public in late 2021.  We were incredibly proud that the media attention shone a very positive light on the archaeology of Rutland, and in turn the collaborative […]

Trenches, Training and Television: the importance of community engagement to the success of the Rutland Villa Project — ULAS News