Thursday, April 9, 2015

A to Z Challenge -- H -- CORD, HUNT, AND CROSSROADS


HANDFASTING -- A traditional trial marriage or engagement ceremony dating back to the ancient Celts.  Some believe that it lasted a 'year and a day'.  After the predetermined time, the couple could separate in a handparting, if they wished, or make the match permanent.  

The couple's hands were tied by a cord to symbolize their unity.  Many modern couples use the cord to signify what they wish from the relationship and to reflect their vows.  Colors like red, pink, and green are used to represent passion, love, and fertility respectively in the cord.    

Now, a handfasting is more akin to a wedding in truth. 

HAWTHORN --  One of the sacred trees.  It is one of the triumvirate of trees said to be the gateway to the fae land or to see fairies; Oak, Ash, and Thorn.

Hawthorns legends have that fairy live within them and that to cut one down was bad luck.

Parts of the tree were used as medicinal and edible substances, including the leaves and berries.

Magically, the hawthorn is used as protection and banishing evil spirits.  It's used to draw luck into your home at the new year.

Beltane and May Day are two of the prevalent celebrations where hawthorn is used.

The Greeks and Romans also used hawthorn in rites of marriage and as protection of virgin purity.


HECATE -- (Pronounced hek-uh-tee, also Hekate)  Let's just say She is one powerful goddess and is associated with many, many different things.  She is the 'Queen of Ghosts'; goddess of the cross roads, sorcery, childbirth, witchcraft, and others.  She is associated with the dark of the moon.

Pre-Olympian, Hecate came from Thrace and maybe even Egypt.  In the pantheon of Greek Gods, She was powerful in her own right.  Zeus gave her unprecedented powers to give and take away from mankind as she saw fit.  No other had that kind of power besides him.  She also had access to all three realms, Heavens, Earth, and Underworld.

Hecate's appearance has changed as time and cultures adopted her.  She went from young maiden (her associations to them) to the haggard crone (Medieval Church demonization).  Her statues were sometimes depicted with three heads as to signify she was ever vigilant.

Her origins are all over the place, depending on which place it was associated.  Some called her one of the last Titans, others had her as a Fury.

 At three-way crossroads, travelers traveling at night would leave offerings to her shrines for safe passage.  Hecate Trivia (Roman tri-via) was celebrated on November 30th.


Herne the Hunter
HORNED GOD --  This is an archetype to represent the God's masculine energy.

Cerunnos is one such version of this god; only he is antlered not horned.  Many times depicted surrounded by animals, he is assumed to be the Lord of Forest and Wild Things.

Herne the Hunter is another and could be considered one version of Cerunnos.  He may be a different god altogether. He is the leader of the Wild Hunt in some of the legends.  Herne may have been heavily influenced by the Anglo-Saxon.



Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me.  I found them on Google.

18 comments:

  1. Rudyard Kipling has a great poem about Oak and Ash and Thorn. I always thought his fairy writings were better than his Indian works :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Haven't read those, but I will keep them in mind!

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  2. Great H finds.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  3. Handfasting sounds interesting. Amazing women were allowed to live as part of a married couple for a year without a commitment.

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    1. I know, but what is also surprising is the Welsh allowed women to own her own property in medieval times and the Scottish titles could pass to the daughter.

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  4. All really interesting. I like the idea of the handfast. It's a lovely tradition.

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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    1. I think it is too. There will be more about it.

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  5. My friends had a handfasting - it was a lovely ceremony.So how does Hawthorn protect a virgin's purity? Is it something to do with the thorns? ;) Yay for Herne!
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. Power of suggestion? I don't remember the specifics if they said.

      I haven't seen one. Lucky you.

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  6. Wow, Hecate sounds seriously badass. And I didn't know the lore behind the hawthorn tree, which was pretty awesome. :D

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    1. She is a badass! I was drooling over her awesomeness. She is an amazing goddess that needs more exposure.

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  7. Hawthorns are one of my favorite trees, and amazingly stubborn. We have one on our property that the grapes had nearly killed, but it's doing its best to bounce back.

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    1. I hope it completely recovers. I'm not lucky enough to live in a place that would support it.

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  8. Oh wow handfasting is really interesting...its like getting married on a trial basis :)

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    1. It is an interesting tradition that's with ancient roots deep in the annals of history.

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  9. Great post! I wasn't familiar with a single thing. One of the things I love about A to Z - it's almost like a mini-liberal arts course. :) We should all get an "A to Z" degree or diploma.

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    1. I know. Love learning about all those lovely poisons. So much fun. And your stories are amazing!

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