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"Zaporozhian Cossacks write to the Sultan of Turkey" by Ilya Repin (1844–1930)

The Cossack Sorcerers of Folk Legends and Historical Chronicles

The image of Cossack Sorcerers was so popular that there are many legends about them. One tells of the Battle of the Cossacks against the Poles. As soon as the Cossack Sorcerer Kravchina (army) hit...
The Flying Carpet, a depiction of the hero of Russian folklore, Ivan Tsarevich by Victor Vasnetsov, 1880.

Cossack-Sorcerers: The Secretive and Magical Warrior Society of Ukraine

Almost everyone knows about Japanese Ninjas and Chinese Shaolin monks. Their combat skills are well promoted in Hollywood. However, few know that at one time in Europe there were soldiers, whose...
Detail of ‘The Punishment of Sisyphus’ (1548-1549) by Titian

The Myth of Sisyphus: Lessons in Absurdity

The legend of Sisyphus begins with a man who, if we are to believe Homer, was one of the wisest and most prudent of mortals. Nonetheless he would fall out of favor with the gods of ancient Greece. He...
‘L’enlèvement de Proserpine’ (The Rape of Proserpine) (circa 1636) by Peter Paul Rubens.

The Rape of a Goddess: How Demeter Beat the All-Powerful Zeus

Who were Demeter and Persephone? And why did their myth resonate so strongly with women of ancient Greece? The story of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and her daughter Persephone, queen of the...
Prometheus and Hercules by Christian Griepenkerl.

Betrayed by the Acts of Others? The Events that Led to Prometheus’s Perennial Punishment

The story of Prometheus, Epimetheus and Pandora is a popular myth of ancient Greece - one that has been told and retold throughout the ages. It is a tale of Prometheus, the son of a titan, who was...
Depiction of a bonnacon in a medieval bestiary.

Do Not Attack the Bonnacon, A Medieval Beast with a Toxic Defense

The bonnacon is a strange beast believed to have existed in the ancient world. The first attestation to the existence of the bizarre creature is traced to the Roman natural historian, Pliny the Elder...
Folkvangr.’

If Not Valhalla, Goddess Freyja Welcomed Viking Warriors to Folkvangr

Folkvangr (translated from Old Norse to mean ‘field of the people’, ‘field of the warriors’, or ‘field of the hosts’) is one of a few places where the dead could go to their afterlife in Norse...
An illustration depicting Frigg.

Frigg: Queen of Asgard, Beloved Norse Goddess, Mother

Frigg or Frigga (which means ‘Beloved’ in Old Norse) is a goddess found in Norse mythology. As the wife of Odin, and the mother of Baldur, she is the ‘Queen of the Æsir’. This deity was worshipped as...
Krakow mound

Mounds of Krakus and Wanda: Earthen Mausolea of Legendary Polish Aristocracy?

On a visit to Krakow there are some remarkable earthworks to behold. Of the four that exist, two are fairly modern, being built in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. The other two have much more age to...
Skyrnir and Gerda - Illustration by Harry George Theaker (1920).

Freyr and Gerd: Lovesick Norse God Seeking Giantess

There is a well-known Norse myth which tells of how the Vanir Freyr fell in love with the giantess Gerd, wooed her, and eventually convinced her to marry him. She was not any easy catch - many...
Artist’s representation of Vanaheimr.

Where is Vanaheimr, Land of the Norse Nature Gods?

In a realm of nine worlds, one might assume that the gods would be satisfied with one. One world where they could live away from humans and watch over their antics as one might watch a TV show. In...
Right: Detail of a statue of a reclining Attis. The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. Statue of Jesus Christ as a shepherd with a lamb.

The Pagan Attis and Christian Jesus: A Spurious Connection?

Recently, it has been popular to suggest in some circles that Christianity was influenced, or even derived from, the ancient Roman mystery religions – religions often known to have orgiastic rituals...
‘Njord god of the sea’. (Deriv.)

Njord: The Tumultuous Marriage of a Norse God of the Sea and a Goddess Giantess

Njord was the god Norse sailors and fisherman turned to in times of need. He was a sea god with powers over the wind and the fertility of land along the coast. But what this deity is best remembered...
Old rusty sword

Notorious Knight Greysteil and His Magical Sword Sit on the Cusp Between Legend and Reality

Swords imbued with magical powers and supernatural qualities are like nails in mythological systems and having originated in ancient legends, they now feature in fantasy fiction. Being inspired by...
Avalon finalised

Magic into Myth: Avalon, Mystical Isle of Medieval Arthurian Literature

The Isle of Apples, Isle of the Blessed, and the Otherworld. These titles have long been associated with the magical resting place of the early medieval king, Arthur Pendragon. A realm imbued with...
Ravens and Crows have been symbols and played a role in myth since ancient times.

Feathered Tricksters Since the Dawn of Time

In the Bible, crows and their close cousins, ravens, were called “unclean” and with this unshakable spiritual grey cloud these bullied birds have subsequently been associated with the occult,...

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