Monday, May 22, 2017

Rose Symbolism


"But he who dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose." - Anne Brontë




The rose is the queen amongst flowers and her influence on our psyche is ever enduring.  From the ancient to contemporary, she has represented everything from the sacred to the sensual. It is no wonder that one symbolic meaning of the rose is immortality, for she truly is.

This is by far a favorite flower of mine and I love to receive them (wink wink, nudge nudge, to my husband, "Gomez"). Their imagery and symbolic meanings are also amongst my favorite and a source of inspiration for my current work in progress, working title Fresh Cut Roses. The dark red rose echoes the color of blood and the thorns, invoke dark feels. Inspiring beauty and pain, really, what's not to love?



Different color roses have different meanings. More meanings can be found in my Language of Flowers post.

Red - Sensual/Passionate, Immortality, Undying Love, Courage, Health
Pink- Beauty and Innocence, Gentility, Sympathy
Lavender/Purple - Majestic, Mystery and Unattainable, Enchantment and Magic
Turquoise(Green) - Prosperity and Rejuvenation
White - Purity, Spirituality, and Mysticism, Virginal/Youthful
Yellow - Happiness, Friendship, Maturity, Good Luck, but could also mean Infidelity.
Orange - Congratulations, Pride, and New Beginnings
Black - Yes, there is such a thing. Most black roses are really dark indigo/purple or maroon, but a true black rose variety does grow in Tibet. They can mean tragic romance, black magic and hatred, death, mourning, and farewell, but also can be used to mean rebellion and mutiny.


Here are some other Gothic associations and references regarding the rose.

Sacred/Spiritual
  • Rosary
  • Rose windows in Gothic cathedrals
  • Christ's blood and some say the blood of the stigmata smells like roses
  • The Virgin Mary "a rose without thorns"
  • Crown of thorns - Sacrifice
  • White roses at weddings "I am worthy of you"

Rose Window


Mystery/Secrecy
  • The rose on the Tarot card represents balance. Namely, the Magician, Strength, Death and Fool cards of the major arcana.
  • Secrecy - Roses suspended over tables in Roman times meant secrecy, and that what was said there was kept there. Roses were also painted on Roman ceilings to represent this secrecy and are where the meaning of "sub rosa" came from. This practice was mimicked in medieval times and placed on confessionals, even the Tudor Rose of King Henry VII is painted in his personal chambers where decisions made there were to remain secret.
  • Alchemy where the unfolding rose petals represent the unfolding of wisdom.  The rose cross is a symbol of the Philosopher's Stone of immortality, the ultimate goal of alchemy.
  • Harkens to Secret Societies like The Rose Cross and Freemasonry.
The Rose and The Cross

Love/Passion
  • The bud or flower denotes the feminine and the thorn the masculine
  • Aphrodite's sacred flower. Running to her mortally wounded love Adonis, she cut her feet on thorns and the blood formed roses on the thorns or she bled on white roses turning them red. In the Roman version, it was Venus and it was her tears over Adonis' death that created the rose. A rose bush is said to have grown from the pool of blood where Adonis died. Aphrodite also gave her son, Eros a rose to give to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to keep her sexual indiscretions secret, so the rose became the symbol of love and desire, as well as, of silence and secrecy.
  • Love poetry and prose mentioning the Rose too numerous to mention.
    • I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys; As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. - the Song of Solomon.
    • A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. - Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
  • St. Valentine - Valentine's Day is a day of love and roses have become its official flower. This is mostly due to the language of flowers created during the Victorian times. It isn't the holiday that is gothic, but the tragic story of St. Valentine that urges me to include it here. In short, the Emperor decreed that young men couldn't marry, as they made better soldiers if they remained unmarried. Valentine continued to officiate marriages between young couples in secret. When discovered, he was ordered to death. In jail, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter and his last letter to her was signed, Your Valentine, a sentiment still in use today.
  • Cleopatra's seduction of Marc Anthony included layering floors with rose petals and adorning the walls with rose garlands. It is also reported that her bed was covered in rose petals. I call that invoking the power of Aphrodite.
The death of Adonis,  a painting by José de Ribera, 1637


Other favorite references.
  • Morticia Addams, of The Addams Family, cuts the heads off her roses, displaying only the thorny stems.
  • Playing cards in Alice of Wonderland paint the white roses red.
  • The enchanted rose of Beauty and Beast.
  • The hedge of thorns in Sleeping Beauty, where many princes died a sorrowful death. But then turned to roses after a hundred years, which parted for the young man who came and kissed her, awakening her kingdom. She was also named Brier-Rose.
  • Grimm is a treasure trove of stories depicting roses,  like the two rose bushes, one white and one red in Snow-White and Rose-Red and so many others. I highly recommend researching them for inspiration.


Has your storytelling ever been inspired by the rose or any of its many associations? Are there other rose references you would include?


Stay beautifully haunted.🌹 


♥ Shadow.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Poisonous Flora A-Z




"One man's poison ivy is another man's spinach." - George Ade



April showers bring May flowers. So, this month I'll be focusing on . . . you guessed it, Flora.

Now, I'm a black thumb, through and through, with only the ability to keep cactus and bamboo alive for any length of time. Most other plants save themselves the long, gruesome death and just shrivel upon my looking at them. But, during this time of year, I can't help but dream cherry blossom dreams.

I imagine what it would've been like to stroll through botanical gardens and the iron and glass mammoth greenhouses of the Victorian era. Like the Royal Botanical Society Gardens at Regents Park or The Conservatory Garden of South Kensington. Plants and flowers were all the rage during that era, as a gardening boom took hold, giving birth to exotic and tropical wonderlands.

However, amongst the beauty and romance of the blooms and foliage, there are the poisonous plant species that lie in wait, like wolves in sheep's clothing ready to be plucked and used to add mystery and perhaps a method for murder in some dark tale. So, while I'm digging in the dirt this spring, I've listed, from A to Z, some poisonous flora for your darker side. Welcome to my garden of Bane!





Aconitum
Other names: aconite, monkshood, leopard's bane, mousebane, wolf’s bane, women's bane, devil's helmet, queen of all poisons, or blue rocket.
Poisonous effect: severe gastrointestinal upset, slowing of the heart rate is often the cause of death
Interesting fact: Hunters in the Aleutian Islands coated the heads of their harpoons with an extract of this to kill whales

Adenium
Other names: Desert Rose
Poisonous effect: nausea and vomiting, larger doses will result in a fatal heart attack

Angel’s Trumpet
Poisonous effect: ingestion can include paralysis, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migraine headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, and death

Anthurium
Other names: tailflower, flamingo flower, laceleaf
Poisonous effect: The sap is irritating to the skin and eyes

Azalea
Poisonous effect: low blood pressure and heart rate as well as irregular heart rhythm. Can be life threatening. Honey resulting from azaleas and rhododendrons have a slightly hallucinogenic and laxative effect, often called “Mad Honey”
Interesting fact: receiving a bouquet of azaleas or rhododendrons in a black vase was once a well-known death threat

Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

Belladonna
Other names: Deadly Nightshade
Poisonous effect: dryness in the mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, blurred vision from the dilated pupils, vomiting, excessive stimulation of the heart, drowsiness, slurred speech, hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, delirium, and agitation
Interesting facts:

Bloodroot
Other names: sweet slumber
Poisonous effect: causes drowsiness leading to a coma and death

Black cohosh
Other names: squaw root or papoose root
Poisonous effect: headaches and larger doses can lead to vertigo, impaired vision, pupillary dilatation, nausea, vomiting, and bradycardia, may cause delirium tremens and miscarriages.

Castor oil plant
Other names: Palm of Christ
Poisonous effect: stomach pain, dehydration and destroys the main internal organs and is more poisonous than cyanide

Cerbera Odollom
Other names: suicide tree
Poisonous effect: paralyzes the heart
Gloriosa

Crownvetch
Poisonous effect: can cause slow growth, paralysis, or even death

Daphne
Poisonous effect: Headaches, delirium, and convulsions

Datura
Other names: devil's trumpets (not to be confused with angel's trumpets), moonflowers, jimson weed, devil's weed, hell's bells, thorn-apple
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions

Doll’s Eyes
Other names: White Baneberry
Poisonous effect: cardiac arrest and death 

Dracula’s flower
Other names: voodoo lily
Poisonous effect: releases an extremely pungent odor akin to rotting meat, all parts of plant are poisonous if ingested and touching the plant may result in skin irritation or an allergic reaction

Gloriosa Lily
Other names: flame lily, fire lily, glory lily, superb lily, climbing lily, creeping lily
Poisonous effect: nausea, vomiting, numbness, and tingling around the mouth, burning in the throat, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea, dehydration, respiratory depression, altered mental status, seizures, coma
Interesting facts: has been used as a means of committing suicide

Hemlock Water Dropwort
Poisonous effect: violent and painful convulsions, nausea, vomiting, cramps, muscle tremors, and death can occur within hours of ingesting

Henbane
Henbane
Other names: black henbane or stinking nightshade
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions
Interesting facts: Henbane was historically used in combination with other plants, such as mandrake, deadly nightshade, and datura as an anesthetic, as well as for its psychoactive properties in "magic brews". The smell of the flowers can cause giddiness.


Horsenettle
Other names: radical weed, sand brier or briar, bull nettle, tread-softly, apple of Sodom, devil's tomato and wild tomato
Poisonous effect: fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death

Larkspur
Poisonous effect: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscular spasms, death is usually due to respiratory collapse or cardiac arrest


Lily of the Valley
Poisonous effect: abdominal pain, vomiting, reduced heart rate, blurred vision, drowsiness, and red skin rashes

Manchineel
Other names: poison guava
Poisonous effect: severe allergic reactions, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and seizures, smoke from this plant can cause blindness

Larkspur
Mandrake
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions

Naked Lady
Other names: Amaryllis belladonna
Poisonous effect: gastrointestinal symptoms convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, multi-organ failure and blood clots forming in many places around the body, muscular weakness, and paralysis, respiratory arrest. The effects have been described as very similar to cholera leading to a slow, agonizing death but consciousness remains to the end.
Interesting facts: Murderer, Catherine Wilson, is thought to have used it to poison a number of victims in the 19th century

Oleander
Poisonous effect: nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may contain blood, irregular heart rate (racing heart then slows), skin pales due poor or irregular circulation, drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death

Opium(Poppy)
Poisonous effect: contain chemicals that suppress the nervous system and can cause death

Philodendrons
Poisonous effect: increased salivation, a sensation of burning of the mouth, swelling of the tongue, stomatitis, dysphagia, an inability to speak, and edema

Poinsettia
Poisonous effect: diarrhea and vomiting if eaten, Sap in the eye may cause temporary blindness

Poison Hemlock

Poison Hemlock
Other names: devil's bread or devil's porridge, poison parsley, spotted corobane, spotted hemlock, the killer
Poisonous effect: respiratory collapse and death
Interesting facts: The poison hemlock was a common ‘assassin’s choice’ in ancient Greece, and is believed to be responsible for the death of the philosopher Socrates

Pokeweed
Poisonous effect: death due to respiratory paralysis

Red Cherries (okay, so I know that this isn’t exactly a flower or plant, but I thought it was interesting enough to belong here anyway)
Poisonous effect: The fruit of cherries is not toxic but the cherry pits, damaged leaves, and pruned limbs of the tree do contain cyanide compounds

Veratrum
Poisonous effect: Rapid cardiac failure accompanied by a long list of other symptoms leading to death


Have you ever used poisonous plants or flowers in your stories to add mystery and/or used to murder one of your characters?  

Stay beautifully haunted!

♥ Shadow

Friday, May 12, 2017

Night Writer - R.C. Matthews


I'm so excited to have author R.C. Matthews join me here today to talk about her Gothic inspirations and welcome you to a pirate's life.


R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and gothic romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.

So, tell us about your series.

I’m in the midst of writing the Tortured Souls series which is set in 1880 / 1881 and follows the stories of Devlin Limmerick, Victor Blackburn and Charles Moore – three pirates bound in friendship while serving on the notorious ship, The Bloody Mary. Each man battles his own demons and suffers a tortured soul. So it stands to reason that only women who suffer their own tortured existence are capable of truly seeing the worth of each man beneath his stony exterior. These courageous women will face their men and provide exactly what each longs for in his hour of need. Grace … Mercy … and Hope.

DEVIL’S COVE: Captain Devlin Limmerick, the pirate feared as the Devil on the high seas, eagerly takes ownership of an abandoned manor in his quest for vengeance on his past. Only Grace, a beautiful but blind medium, can aid him with his nefarious plan. Yet even though she finds herself drawn to the Devil’s darkness, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set his revenge in motion. Plunged into the throes of passion and danger, their skills will be tested beyond any foes they’ve ever faced.
Don't miss an excerpt of the DEVIL’S COVE below.

BLACKBURN CASTLE: Victor Blackburn shouldn’t have to pay for the sins of one of his ancestors with a brutal death at the age of twenty-seven. His only hope for survival is a young witch capable of casting the counter spell to the Blackburn curse. It seems simple enough; find Mercy Limmerick and drag her to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands. But nothing in Victor’s life has ever been simple. He killed Mercy’s mother. Now she wants him dead. The clock is ticking. Can he find a way to break through her hate, and can she find it in her heart to forgive him before it’s too late?

THE RIVER ROAD: Charles Moore relishes the dangerous life of a pirate where he earned the nickname, Hatchet. The daily toil of manning a clipper ship keeps his mind off the brutal loss of two loves of his life. Both dead for the crime of having given him their hearts. He cannot ignore the whispers anymore that the Voodoo Queen hexed his family. So when he returns to New Orleans at the request of his ailing mother, he will move heaven and earth to banish the curse with the assistance of a high priestess. Madam Hope Leblonc bristles under the Black Codes that forced her practice of voodoo underground, and stripped her of so many freedoms she enjoyed before the civil war. So when the ship carrying an ancient voodoo relic of her ancestors is set upon on the high seas and a dark, brooding pirate visits her brothel, Hope is a little more than suspicious of his motives. Can Hatchet restore Hope’s faith in the beauty of a white man’s soul?

Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?

I’m a big fan of romance, paranormal and horror stories. Gothic romance offers a little of each and features an imperfect hero who is dark and mysterious. That’s simply irresistible for me. And the heroines are no milksops. They need a backbone to face the snarly heroes. Add mansions … hauntings … curses … dark passages … secrets … unsavory staff. I love it!

What is your favorite Dark/Gothic novel?

I have to pick just one? Dracula is a classic and holds a special place in my heart. My love affair with vampires hasn’t waned since I first read it. But more recently, I could not put down Dark Prince by Eve Silver and The Darkest Frost by Tanya Homes was fascinating and unique.

What is your favorite Gothic motif? Any particular reason why?

My favorite gothic element is the haunted space – whether that’s a castle, manor, abbey, woods, or ship. It is that feeling of being watched. Of danger lurking. Or discovering something horrible. I have no idea why. Guess I’m strange that way – loving it when I’m scared out of my wits. My husband laughs at me whenever I scream or hold onto his arm tight during tense scenes.

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing the Tortured Souls series?

Honestly? I started with Google and ‘gothic fiction’ in the search engine. There aren’t a ton of in-depth resources. You get bits and pieces at each website and follow the breadcrumbs. I searched ‘tragic heroes’, ‘gothic themes’, ‘gothic motifs’, and ‘gothic elements’. I read about the four types of dark heroes: satanic, Byronic, herculean and promethean. In addition, I wrote notes about what elements I adored in all of my favorite gothic stories. Personally, I enjoy writing gothic stories that have a paranormal aspect to them, but that isn’t essential. Maybe that’s what I love about the genre – there is so much flexibility around what you can include in your story.

Here are two resources that are brief but to the point:
https://engineoforacles.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/100-gothic-themes-motifs/
http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.htm

Do you have plans to continue writing in this genre? If so, is there anything you would be willing to share about it?

Absolutely. I’m writing book three in the Tortured Souls series now but plan to write many more in the future. I’ve been mulling over a gothic story set in Detroit. There are so many gorgeous gothic homes in Detroit which are deserving of a story. I’d love to find more settings in the US for gothic romance.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking into writing Dark/Gothic Romance?

The storyline for Devil’s Cove originated from a picture of an abandoned ballroom. So I follow ‘Creepy Things’ on Facebook, hoping another picture will strike me for a great gothic story. I’ll also troll through #gothic on Twitter occasionally. I’ve searched the internet for other gothic forums but haven’t found many. There must be others out there like me who love gothic stories so please let me know of any other groups or forums out there that I can join!

Thank you so much for sharing!

☙ Shadow ❧

Places you can find R.C. Matthews.

Website: www.rcmatthews.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3361802.R_C_Matthews
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RC-Matthews-762414770455240/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RCMatthews123

Excerpt from DEVIL’S COVE:

A gust of wind blew through Grace’s hair, sending gooseflesh racing down her arms and reminding her why she despised sitting close to the tavern entrance. Only this time it was different as a hush settled over the boisterous room. Grace cocked her head to one side and listened closely. Nothing but the hiss of the gas lanterns could be heard. Not even the telltale squeak of the wooden floorboards as Mercy Seymour made her rounds, racing from table to table in a never-ending attempt to keep the tankards full. This was odd, indeed.

But even odder was the sense of foreboding that crept into Grace’s veins. She inhaled a deep breath, and her nostrils itched. Fear had a distinctive scent, and the air was rife with it. She shivered.

Mercy shuffled past Grace’s table, mumbling under her breath, and just like that, the muted voices resumed and the unsettling moment passed. As the clanking of forks against plates grew louder, Grace exhaled and tuned out every last speck of noise, homing in on the conversation taking place at the entrance. Ever since she had gone blind at the age of seven, her cochlear and olfactory nerves had sharpened to an astonishing level, almost as if God mourned the loss of her sight as much as she had and gifted her with heightened sense of sound, taste, and smell.

“Evening, sir,” Mercy said with the tiniest of tremors lilting on her words. “I’ve a fine table for you this way. Please follow me.”

The floorboards groaned under a heavy set of boots, and a mixture of fresh sea air and sandalwood assaulted Grace’s senses. She bit down on her lip when the footsteps paused, and her fingers tensed around the fork and knife she held steady over her plate. His heavenly scent enveloped her; he must be a fine fellow to smell so good. Her heartbeat thumped painfully against her ribs, and she hated herself in that moment for falling victim to vanity. However, she couldn’t help but wonder if the man stared at her in disgust, drawn with a morbid curiosity to gawk at the sightless spheres that rested in her eye sockets.

Her mother had gazed often into her eyes and proclaimed their beauty when she was a child. Bluer than the bluest sky on a bright spring morning. That was a long time ago and much had changed. The brothers of the priory couldn’t afford much, but she was thankful for the simple prosthetic eyes they’d procured. Brother Anselm assured her the dark-brown shade was appealing.

She shoved the treasured memory to the back of her mind and resumed cutting a piece of roasted beef on her plate. Let the man stare if he must. Bowing her head, she pulled the fork toward her mouth and welcomed the taste of the savory beef, seasoned to perfection. It melted on her tongue, tender as it was.

The footfalls resumed against the wooden planks, and the noise of the tavern reached its normal deafening pitch. Grace lifted her head toward her supper mate as the tension left her body. She must know about the newest patron of The Black Serpent. That he should bring the entire establishment to dead silence spoke volumes about the man, yet she yearned for specifics.

“Brother Anselm,” she began, licking her lips. “Please.”

She needn’t say more. After living in each other’s company for nearly fifteen years, he understood her plea. What she didn’t know was whether he would comply and provide the details she sought.

A soft chortle from across the table was enough to bring a smile to her face. Brother Anselm was amused, so the tale must be a good one. As she waited for him to collect his thoughts, she fished for a potato on her plate. They were always the largest pieces, and her fork sank into them with ease. She speared a tasty morsel and bit into it, delighting at the creamy gravy rolling over her tongue.

“It’s Captain Devlin Limmerick,” Brother Anselm said in a hushed tone.

Grace stopped in midchew and her stomach fell to the floor. “The pirate?”

“Privateer,” he countered. “Or at least that is what he would have the good people of Devil’s Cove believe. He has taken residence at Devil’s Cove Manor. Can you imagine?”

She forced the potato down her throat and washed it away with a sip of ale. That was only one of many rumors she’d heard about the man. A shudder ran through her. “No, I can’t imagine living there. The man must be the very devil himself to reside in a mansion reputed to house the gatekeeper of Hell. Pray tell, does he look like the devil?”

“Ah, my dear girl,” Brother Anselm said with an amused lilt. “You cannot believe the nonsensical rumors whispered about the gatekeeper. But the man … should you like to hear that his hair is black as night, and that he sports a chiseled jaw capable of ripping his opponents to shreds? Tall, with rippled muscles that will crush every foe? Eyes so dark and sinister that to even look into their depths would send a man screaming in the other direction?”

Grace’s lips twitched as the heat of a blush rushed up her neck and into her cheeks. That was exactly what she wished to hear. But from the sound of her mentor’s voice, it wasn’t entirely the case.

“Oh, that would be fine, indeed,” she said on a sigh. “Is it not so?”

Brother Anselm laughed and pulled her hand into his. “I would liken him to an archangel. Golden hair kept long and pulled away at the nape of his neck. Quite unconventional. Chiseled jaw, that much is true. But his eyes. From what I could see in this dim light, I believe they must be as dark blue as the fathomless sea upon which he commands his ships.”

Not what she had been hoping for, but all was not lost. There must be more to the man in order to command a room with only his presence. Perhaps he towered over everyone and wielded an axe or sword. Yes, that would do nicely. “Would you say he’s as big as Goliath?”

“Quite,” came the answer from an amused baritone at the edge of their table, and Grace froze.

Good Lord, the pirate was standing right there. Brother Anselm could’ve forewarned her, at the very least.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Beltane - May Day


Beltane, May Day - April 30 - May 1



Beltane or May Day, to me, is one of the sexiest days of the year, conjuring images of unabashed promiscuity, the wild abandonment of going a-maying in the woods, lustful dances to drums around a bonfire. This holiday is all about fertility, the union of the God and Goddess.

I’m visiting The Wheel of the Year (as they occur in the Northern Hemisphere), the eight seasonal festivals or pagan holidays, also called Sabbats. A lot of rituals, symbols, and folklore revolve around these pagan holidays, and several of the elements, symbols, and themes can be used in gothic storytelling. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration.

Here are some of the themes, symbols and story elements conjured by Beltane, that you might want to explore.

Themes:
Hedonism
Challenging societal mores
Lust
Marriage and Betrothal
Chastity vs Promiscuity
Adultery
Fertility
Blessed Children – (Merry-Be-Gots)
Conceiving out of wedlock
Eternal beauty
Morning dew would be collected on Beltane morning to wash in for beauty.

Symbols:
Fire and Bonfires
Passion
Trial by fire
Purification
Rebirth - Destruction of the old

Bees
Messengers to the other world
Wisdom
Pollination (hints at promiscuity)
“Tell the bees” when someone dies, the bees will spread the message.

Butterflies
Transformation
The soul - the ability to fly between this world and the hereafter.
Luna Moth – not technically a butterfly, but mistaken for them often enough, and associated with the moon and intuition.

Phallic symbols
      Knives and Swords
      Antlers

Womb symbols
      Flower wreaths and crown
      Chalice - I can't help but think of poisoned wine.

Spring water and morning dew - The Fountain of Youth.

Flowers and Gardening

Places:
Forests and pastures.

Weather:
Misty
Dew

Mythology and Fairytales:
Cernunnos, Pan, Aphrodite, Maid Marion (Robin Hood), Guinevere (Arthurian), Tess of d’Urbervilles (Literary reference to May Day)


What impressions to do you get when you think of May Day? Have you found references to May Day in other books?

♥  Shadow.


Reading Recommendation: Beltane: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for May Day by Melanie Marquis