Apologies for the delay in posting. The post I mentioned last time will be coming up momentarily. I have been spectacularly unmotivated to read these days and am attempting to work on that. Please bear with me and I hope to have some new content coming up soon. 🙂
World Mythology: From Indigenous Tales to Classical Legends
by Tamsin Hughes
I’m currently reading through a book called World Mythology. It looks at mythologies from around the world from creation myths to specific gods that appear and reappear in multiple countries as well as stories about creatures. It also helps identify the difference between what is a myth, what is a legend, and what is a folk story. These three things can all be quite similar and get confused often. However, they have some distinctions to help make them more clear.
“Myths tell us much about the past, present, and sometimes the future. They form a digest of sorts about humanity and the part it plays in the natural world.”
World Mythology page 17
In the conclusion of the book, the author notes that there are many remarkable similarities among the various versions of these stories across the globe. She also marveled at how creative these people were when they were attempting to understand the world.
“Whether you have read this book from beginning to end or simply leafed through its pages at random seeing what piques your interest, you will surely have marvelled at the creative enterprise that our forbears employed to make sense of their world.”
“Being firmly rooted in an age of science and technology, it is easy for us to be critical of, and even to deride, the fantastical aspects of the belief systems of our progenitors. We can forget just how powerful a profoundly inspiring story was to earlier cultures where storytellers were revered and narrative was the epitome of invention.”
World Mythology pages 247-248
I’m also currently pleasure reading the “Shield-Maiden” series The Road to Valhalla by Melanie Karsak. I had previously read the first four books but had not read the fifth. In these books, the main character Hervor (as well as many of the other characters) has a close and personal relationship with their gods. For Hervor, it’s the All-Father Odin and for her friend Eydis, it’s Loki. Throughout the books, the gods speak to the characters and guide them along their journey. I’m re-reading the series and am about to read book five so I’m not sure how their story ends yet. But I’m sure it will be interesting.
I am still in the process of reading these books (yes, I did skip to the end for some of this.) I do plan to put up another post on mythology in general soon as I plan to have a few more posts on mythology topics/books.
World Mythology: From Indigenous Tales to Classical Legends by Tamsin Hughes
What is the history of Groundhog Day? Does Punxsutawney Phil (or his various other animal friends) really predict the weather? Let’s find out…
The history of Groundhog Day goes back well over 100 years. Similar to the Groundhog Day we are familiar with, a sunny Candlemas meant more days of winter. With the groundhog, a sunny day causes him to “see his shadow” thus predicting six more weeks of winter.
The first time Groundhog Day was in the newspaper was in 1886 in Punxsutawney. In 1887, they started going to Gobbler’s Knob where the groundhog makes the prediction.
As I’m sure you can imagine, the groundhog doesn’t actually make a prediction that is always accurate. Or really make a prediction at all. The “Inner Circle” who are a part of the group that takes care of the groundhog and the ceremony of Groundhog Day, seem to basically pick one of two pieces of paper. One says that Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and the other doesn’t. So basically one is predicting more winter weather and the other an early spring. But it’s all in good fun. Since they technically should be hibernating, my best guess is if the groundhog hasn’t got up from their winter sleep yet, winter isn’t over.
My favorite books of 2021 could probably keep us here all day. However, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few. Most of these deviate from the historical areas that the blog usually leans towards but some are what I will call “history adjacent”. 😄 Some may be repeats to the blog or to you. I hope there are a couple of good suggestions for your shelves.
#1. The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives by Barbara Burman and Ariadne Fennetaux
This was a fun book looking back at the history of pockets in women’s clothing and the journey that we have taken together. It was a little trip through time looking at clothing and how it has changed. I have two separate blog posts referencing this book so you can go back if you have time and see some of my thoughts. (Please see the links here.)
#2. Wild Sign: An Alpha and Omega Novel book 6 by Patricia Briggs
This is just a continuation of one of my favorite series. There are two separate but intertwined series and this is book six of the “spin-off” series. The original series that goes along with this (see the timeline on the author’s website for guidance) is the Mercy Thompson series. Coyote Mercy (full name Mercedes) went to school to be a history teacher and decided it wasn’t for her and became a Volkswagen mechanic. These books are full of supernatural friends, usually saving the day from some disaster or other. I would suggest starting at the beginning with these as the stories all intertwine with each other. But if you don’t, you can always go back.
In Wild Sign, Charles and Anna, the two main characters go to investigate when they find out that everyone in a remote mountain village has disappeared. Happy reading. 😊
#3-5 The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness – A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life
These three books follow the journey of Diana Bishop, a witch, and Matthew Clairmont, a vampire. They meet in a library. They time walk to the time of Elizabeth and back. They search for the truth of the Book of Life, the thing that brought them together to start with. These books have a lot packed in them from scholarly research, murder, and of course, there is the magical world of the witches, vampires, and daemons living in secret and just trying to stay alive.
Alright, time for the 2022 Current TBR List
#1. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
A book 1 of 2 of the Celestial Kingdom Duology – a journey through legends and follows, as the title would suggest, the daughter of the Moon Goddess as she goes on a quest to free her mother.
#2. Elizabeth & Margaret: the Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton
#3. Eleanor by David Michaels
#4. ‘Tis Herself by Maureen O’Hara with John Nicoletti
This list will probably be much longer here shortly as new books are always coming out. Some of these may make a return to the blog, so stay tuned!
More history content coming soon! Happy reading! 🙂
Don’t forget to come and check out the new content coming soon and some of the old content that may strike your fancy as well. Feel free to let me know if I need to change anything about the new look or if anything is difficult to navigate.
On November 4, 1922, a young Egyptian boy was working hard taking water to other workers, when he noticed something unusual. A step hidden by the sand. The search had been going for quite a while and they were about to give up. This was the last chance to find him. Tutankhamen. Was this step, found by the boy accidentally, actually the first real clue after all this time? We’ll find out, but not until Howard Carter does some digging.
Howard Carter had first gone to Egypt as a young artist to sketch for an archaeologist. In 1907, Lord Carnarvon asked Howard to supervise some excavations in the Valley of the Kings. Howard was already quite familiar with the area having worked there for several years already and already discovered tombs. This was just furthering his work there. In 1922, Lord Carnarvon told Howard that he would fund only one more season. This was the last chance to find something.
After the step in the sand was finally discovered, they uncovered a stairway to a door. Howard wanted to wait for their benefactor and so Lord Carnarvon was sent for. They recovered everything that they had found, and waited until he arrived from England. Nearly three weeks later they opened the outside door to see what was inside. When asked what he could see, Howard said “wonderful things,” not knowing what they had even found yet just that they had found something.
It wasn’t until February 17, 1923 that they were able to officially open the burial chamber, having seen other passages and cataloged the items within. They entered the tomb and eventually uncovered the gold coffin of the boy King Tut who Howard had long been interested in and searched for.
Unfortunately, not long after this Lord Carnarvon died from a mosquito bite in April 1923. This was turned into a “curse” by the media based on some of the writings on the door. This circled around for many, many years afterwards.
Howard Carter’s journal and the books that he wrote about the tomb tell a lot about both the items that were found and the way that things were done in the 1920s. It’s a bit like seeing two different time periods at once. The artifacts from 1300s BCE and the techniques of finding and cataloging everything within the tomb from the 1920s. Howard became a celebrity and so did King Tut as Egypt mania spread during this time. This would continue for a while until the next craze caught on.
Howard Carter died on March 2, 1939 at his home in London.
What we know now as Halloween originated with Samhain. A Celtic festival where the people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off the ghosts of the dead. Sound familiar yet?
After the Catholic church began to incorporate, and sometimes replace altogether, local traditions and Christian holidays, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the festival of martyrs and saints from May 13 to November 1. All Souls’ Day was placed on November 2 and included many of the same things that Samhain did as they were both festivals of the dead. They both had bonfires as well as people dressing up in costumes.
The point of the costume was to disguise yourself, not from people but from other things. You were not supposed to be out on what became All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. If you had to be out you should disguise yourself so that the ghosts (or whatever happened to be out) wouldn’t know who you are.
This tradition, of course, has continued today. Children and many adults continue to dress as witches, demons, ghosts, and the fairy folk in hopes that they can survive the night of trick-or-treating and make it home a little bit more chocolate rich.
Sorry about the delay in posting. I have a post coming in just a minute or two. I’ve been planning to post for the longest. My new computer came weeks ago but then I got sick and didn’t want to do anything for a bit so I’m playing catch up. Thanks for waiting! 🙂