The Oakman.

Oaken are the most widespread tree fairies in England; sometimes they are merged with oak trees, and sometimes the appear as forest dwarfs who offer tempting food to passing mortals, which will turn out to be poisonous fungi disguised by fairy glamour. They inhabit copse, it invariability indicates the presence of oaken, and mortals should be warned to avoid the area.

Oaken become extremely angry and dangerous if their tree is cut down. It was said the when an oak is felled, it gives out shrieks and groans that can be heard a mile away.

Oaken also guard all the forest animals and punish those who harm them, such as foxhunters. However, they also possess beneficial, magic; the rain that gathers in their oak hollows has powerful, magical healing qualities.

The oak tree has manifold associations with fairies. The majority of fairies are found in woods and forests, particularly oak groves. Elves and fairies are often said to dwell within the hollow trunks of oaks. A New Forest rhyme advises to “turn your cloaks for fairy folks are in old oaks”. The concept of tree spirits is ancient and very widespread. In Greek myth, dryads and hamadryads are the spirits of the trees themselves.

The oak is a tree that is perhaps more honored in lore than any other. The Roman writer Pliny recognized that the Greek drus, meaning “oak” or “oak spirit,” Is related to the Celtic word druid. Some authors suggest that the second syllable may be related to the Indo-European wid, meaning “know,” and the derived meaning would be “oak knowledge.” It has been proposed that bard in Welsh is bardd. The Celts carved the grove of oaks. On the island of Anglesey there are still traces of the ancient groves of the druids. An oak coppice or grove near Loch Saint on the Isle of Skye was so sacred that no one would enter it, even into the nineteenth century. Oaks were often designated local meeting places, a practice that goes back to druidic times but persisted well into the recent past, with Gospel Oaks being popular location for itinerant Christian preachers.

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Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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Morgan Le Fay

Morgan le Fay was the sister of King Arthur. In his stories, Thomas Mallory made her the wife of Urien and the mother of Yvain. She was a rather tempestuous, malefic woman who tried to murder both her husband and King Arthur, and who had a number of lovers. She learned the magical arts from Merlin and used this knowledge to trick Arthur into sleeping with her. From this union she bore Mordred, the son who brought discord to Camelot and died inflicting a fatal wound on his father.
But these tales are of a late date. Earlier tradition makes her the ruler of the island of Avalon. Some associate Avalon with modern-day Glastonbury in England. Its name is derived from the Welsh afall, meaning ‘apple”, since the island is covered in apple orchards. It is also sometimes called the Fortunate Isle and may be compared with the Irish Tir Nan Og.

Avalon is inhabited by nine sisters, of which Morgan is the most beautiful and most powerful. As king Arthur lay dying after the battle of Camlann, Morgan appeared with a ship of women and carried Arthur to the island of Avalon. There he still lies with his knights under a fairy hill until Britain shall need him again. The island exited in legend long before the familiar Arthurian tales. In early Celtic legend, it could only be reached on a boat guided by the sea god Barinthus, and was a place fit only for the bravest and best.

Morgan was a goddess of the druids, perhaps related to Modron or Matrona, the Welsh divine mother goddess. She has aspects of maiden, mother, and crone. She is certainly related to the Lady of the Lake and to the fairy rulers of enchanted islands. Her name may be derived from the Welsh môr, “sea”, and gân, “a birth,” i.e., “born of the sea.” Again, the name may arise from the Welsh Mor Gwyn, meaning “white lady.”

Published in: on October 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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