Mythical Monday: Thought Forms and the Fae by Mae Clair

fantasy landscape in the nigthI recently finished a series of novels by C.S. Friedman called The Coldfire Trilogy/Saga. One of the most compelling things about the novels was a concept the author created for her imaginary planet, Erna.

In the books, Erna is rife with a power that can be manipulated and Worked by those who know how to tap into it. Adepts are born with this ability. Others, such as sorcerers, achieve limited use of it through study and apprenticeship. The fae is divided into categories such as earth fae, solar fae and tidal fae (only women are able to work tidal fae, and even then the gift is very rare).

What I found most intriguing about the fae was its energy at night. When darkness fell, it became highly active drawing strength from, and feeding on, human emotions. Feelings of fear, anger, jealousy and lust allowed the fae to take physical form (usually in the shape/form of something very nasty), which preyed on humans. Wards were needed to guard homes and city gates, keeping these “constructs” outside. Townspeople knew better than to be outdoors after sunset. Nightmarish creatures conjured from human fear and hostility stalked those foolish enough to brave the darkness.

I thought this was a great concept for a series of fantasy novels. Then recently, while reading a book on the Mothman, I learned of something called tulpas, or thought projections. Tibetan monks believe in the ability to conjure thought forms. It’s said that someone with a highly advanced, disciplined mind can conjure a sentient being through the power of thought. The tulpa is in control of its opinions, movements and thoughts, and can only be destroyed by killing the thought itself (if the tulpa is not fully formed) or diluting the thought and then dispatching the tulpa.

GHOST

Did you just experience a goosebump? We’re talking about thought given physical form.

That’s entirely too bizarre for me. I’m not even sure why anyone would want to conjure a tulpa, but I couldn’t help comparing the idea to the fae in C.S. Friedman’s novels.  I much prefer my weirdness to be restricted to the fantasy realms between the pages of a good book. I loved the idea of the fae, but am equally repelled by the concept of a tulpa.

Myth is intriguing, but some things are just too creepy for my taste. This was one of them. What about you? Are there certain myths that give you nightmares? Would a tulpa be one of them?

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: Channeling Changelings

Hey, friends! It’s Mythical Monday!

Before, I kick off today’s star mythology player, I want to announce the winner of my Vampires vs. Werewolves Blog Hop giveaway. Congrats to Tracey D. who won an ebook copy of my paranormal/time travel romance, WEAHTERING ROCK. Tracey, I will contact you by email to see if you prefer a Kindle or Nook version.

Also, congratulations to Joder, who won the Kindle copy of Deborah Palumbo’s paranormal novel, THE UNDERPARTED. Deborah will contact you directly regarding her giveaway. Thanks to everyone who participated and dropped by my blog.

And now, I’d like to channel some changelings 🙂

bigstock-Twilight-in-the-forest-mystic-16150733There is an old legend that circulates among the varied cultures of Western Europe about humans who were spirited away by faeries, with changelings left in their place.

Although adults were often taken, infants were most at risk. New parents were wise to watch their babies closely and stand guard through the dark hours of the night until the day the child was baptized. Left untended for even a brief time, an unbaptized baby might be snatched away and replaced with the unwanted offspring of a faerie, elf or troll. To protect from such calamity, crucifixes or iron could be placed by the cradle as defensive wards. An article of the father’s clothing or a sprig of boxwood blessed by a priest served the same purpose.

Why would the Fae abandon their children? Many were born sickly or frail and deemed a nuisance by their ethereal parents who much preferred a healthy human babe. The changeling child would be placed in the cradle, characteristics like wizened, parchment skin and licorice-black eyes concealed by faerie glamour. Sometimes an enchanted piece of wood, called a stock, would be left instead, magic employed to make it look like the child. Unsuspecting parents wouldn’t realize what had happened until the changeling was presented for baptism and the touch of holy water made the child scream uncontrollably. If a stock, it would wither and die in a short time.

Although changelings were evil creatures, bringing ill fortune to those that housed them, they were not long for the mortal world. Perhaps because they were such a miserable lot, shrieking and howling throughout the day, biting, ravenous of appetite, delighting in mishap. They rarely lived more than two to three years, though even that span was a harsh eternity to any family burdened with one.

It’s no wonder attempts were made to drive the changeling off. Some methods included ignoring its constant wailing, abandoning it on a hillside, threatening it with a heated ploughshare or making it laugh. Given its nature, gaiety of any sort must have been equivalent to a death knell should it hang around.  In many respects, it’s hard not to feel sorry for these wretched creatures who were unwanted by their natural parents. If the changeling was successfully driven away, even years later, the human child would be returned. Those who found their way back to their real parents reported being treated kindly in the Faerie Court.  How pitiful the Fae didn’t extend that same courtesy and love to their own children.

Woman with a nest in hairI think of changelings as one of the darker aspects of fairytales and mythology.  Although I can’t recall a specific book, I know I’ve read several tales in which changelings played a part. Can you think of any fairytale, book or movie that included a changeling? If you’d lived in a time/reality where changelings were real, do you think you could have sympathy for such a pathetic and malicious creature? Do you think a changeling could be turned if treated as a human child?

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Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: Faerie Rings

Wild Magic, Twilight Magic,
fey your folk were named,
but I bequeath the Elfin Lords,
a rekindling of their flame.

Did you ever happen upon a faerie ring?

When I was a kid, living at home, we had a beautiful mushroom ring that sprouted in the front yard. It was fairly large, but only two-thirds of the way formed as if the faeries had been interrupted before they could finish building their gateway between worlds. I remember waking up and going outside, thrilled to discover that arc of pale mushrooms wet and glistening with morning dew. Had the faeries danced and sang throughout the night, giddily twirling to the enchanted harmony of moonlight, stars and honeysuckle-scented air?

According to legend, faerie rings are doors to the realm of the Fae. Mortals who dared step within, often found themselves trapped, forced into a ceaseless dance with the faeries, invisible to anyone outside.  To broach the perimeter of a faerie ring was to invite bad luck, perhaps even death. Tossing wild marjoram or thyme into the circle could sometimes confuse the faeries, allowing those foolish enough to trifle with the ring an opportunity to escape.

For this Mythical Monday, I offer a snippet from ‘ELF-SHINE’ (title to change) an urban fantasy that has been through several drafts over several years and, at some point down the road when I’m  satisfied with it, will eventually see the light of day. Here my lead character, Raven Stewart, awakens after following the sound of pipes and flutes into a woodland where he’s been foolish enough to step inside a mushroom ring. Poor guy. I have a feeling it’s not going to be his night. The scene preceding this, ends with him passing out.

~ooOOoo~

A full moon illuminated the glade when Raven regained his senses. With a groan he rolled onto his back, blinking up at a star-strewn sky.  A bright ache bloomed in his temples and splintered down his neck, cautioning him to sit slowly.

“Human.”

He glanced to the side, drawn by the strangely-accented voice.

The glade was aglow with soft light, cast from the otherworldly beings gathered around him. Some were small, no larger than his thumbnail, and looked as insubstantial as rice paper. Others, tall and willowy, were dressed in gleaming armor and shimmering cloaks of gold. All had translucent skin, pale-white like the fey Beltane moon, and lavender eyes. He heard the rustle of wings and realized many had the ability to fly. Blood thrummed in his ears, igniting a wild jackhammer beat in his chest.  A small orb of glowing blue light bobbed  beside him.

A will-o-wisp, his grandfather’s voice echoed inside his head.  How many fool mortals has it led to their doom?

“You are different, Child of Man,” a young male with flowing silver hair addressed him. He wore a tunic the color of spring lilacs, belted by a pearl-white sash.  His words were foreign, spoken in another language, – – an old language – – but Raven understood them. “On this night we celebrate. What brings you hence?”

Raven wet his lips.  His throat was dry. The overpowering scent of clover made his head spin. Around him, tiny creatures danced in the air, laughing in small chime voices.

~ooOOoo~

Although I know what happens to Raven I’ll stop there, having introduced the idea of the danger inherent in stumbling onto a faerie ring. The next time you happen upon an arc of mushrooms in the grass, pause a minute. If you listen closely, you might hear the faraway tinkling of chimes singling the Faerie Court has trailed off in search of hollow hills or twilight meadows where the night breeze and moon shadows conjure magic.