Saturday, 19 October 2013

Queens' Broomsticks on The Bayou

Today is a special day as we participate in a wonderful blog party Broomsticks on the Bayou. Special thanks goes to Anna of Frosted Petunias and Marfi of Incipient Wings - two creative ladies, mixed media artists and simply one of those bloggers who bring magic to your life.
Let us start our journey then. It is definitely a journey for me as I get to know so many new things while preparing this party entry. It was somewhat difficult to find what I exactly wanted to write about also because of the topic itself which revolves around New Orleans and its Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. I, being a foreign blogger, am not familiar with oh so many cultural phenomena of America, that simply retelling a story of Marie Laveau taken from Wiki was not an option. So I chose to mix and connect, my Slavic roots with American tradition.
At first I looked at the name of the Voodoo Queen Marie and couldn't help but recollect my forever favorite heroine Margarita, who by the way became a Queen of the Ball of the Full Moon once, if you remember. So both are Queens and well, witches. The meanings of both names are different though, as Margarita means "pearl" and Marie (Maria) supposedly means "beloved", "love". 
 In addition their names have a common syllable mar- which is also can be related to pro-Indo-European root *mer, meaning "to die". I know that these analogies are just a theory, imagination of you want, nevertheless I believe that as soon as linguistics and other human sciences propose existence of a pro-Indo-European language which was common on our Earth before the continents separated, any such coincidence is possible, even though some may argue that roots can just sound similar but be of a different origin. I don't insist on linking Marie and Margarita through the names, but somehow one being a book character, another, a real person, are connected by a thread of witchcraft. And you know what, they once met at the Bayou, not far from Moscow, in the beginning of 20th century. What do you think they spoke of with each other that night?
"Margarita, hot after the flight on the broomstick, slipped into the soothing waters of a small river. The Moon was shining bright and she could see its glitter on the water. "I can do anything tonight!", - thought she. She felt so much strength in her body that needed more movement, more action, when she suddenly heard a rhythmic sound of drums, somewhere half kilometer away from the pond. "I want to dance!" - vigorous thought crossed Margarita's mind, and leaving her broomstick on the bayou, she followed the sound which was becoming louder with her approach. "What a wonderful night!", - she couldn't stop that fountain of joy and happiness beating its waters from inside her. 
Dancing Margarita came near the lush of bushes and trees through which she could witness what was happening in the inner open space: a gorgeous woman was sitting in the center of a circle and beating one of the drums with her right hand. "The Queen", - guessed Margarita, and she wished to immediately enter the circle of dancing people and creatures. Not even a second passed how she was already among joyous crowd, which was shouting "Queen!" and bowing... to her, Margarita! "There must be a mistake! That one is worth being called Queen, not me!"
- That's right, my dear, you are the Queen of the Ball of the Full Moon today. And I am your preceptress tonight. Come over here and help yourself with that steaming drink!
Margarita smiled at the lady and accepted the chalice from a goat-like creature. 
- To The Queen! - shouted from all the sides.
-To the Queen of the Ball of the Full Moon and the Voodoo Queen! - screamed the goat-like creature.
When Margarita's chalice was empty, she was offered to sit beside the Voodoo Queen. Now looking at this woman so close she could recollect dreams she experienced three months ago of far land, and a woman in bright cloths and a turban, who always seemed to call Margarita somewhere, and it used to feel so good, so soothing, like mother's presence...
- I know you, Voodoo Queen. I knew you before I even could realize it.
The Voodoo Queen kept on looking at the dancing and the big bonfire in the middle, a smile kindled on her face:
- My dear Queen Margo, I never left you. It is just you didn't understand me then, and perhaps were afraid of me, but when the time came, you accepted me and now you are me as much as I am You. I hope you enjoy my little gathering on the bayou tonight, but don't be late for the Ball, my dear."
Hope you too enjoying the Broomsticks on the Bayou, my dears, and trying out all the yummies Marfi and Anna prepared for us!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Anna Dressed In Blood - Modern Witches and Witchcraft in K. Blake's Fiction

“It isn’t going to work. I can’t cast the circle. I’ve never had the knack for witchcraft. Mom must’ve told you. I messed up her Beltane cookies every year until I was seven.”  ("Anna Dressed in Blood", Ch. 13, Kendare Blake)
When I stumbled upon Kendare Blake's dark horror story, I expected some kind of violent fiction, full of characters' dark thoughts and intentions.. but it appeared to be a very pleasant read for a teenager age group, and okay, for adults, like me, though I don't feel like I am a grown up woman yet.
Most interesting for me in this story was a leitmotif of witchcraft (obviously!). The author creates a world where the souls are vengeful and like to kill and a hero who kills...  those vengeful souls. The hero's mother is  a witch who helps her son named Cas in his job of murdering the awoken dead. 
Cas calls his Mum a "mobile witch" because they move from one place to another quite frequently. She makes their living by "doing tarot card readings and aura cleansing over the phone, and selling occult supplies online". There might be some irony in those words about people believing in such things, but for Cas it is pretty much a reality of his life. 
I must say that the way Blake portrayed her witches is somehow close to what I got to know about modern witches's lives through some of my blogger friends. For us, people far from the practices of witchcraft (for the time being), what they do is what they believe in, this is their life, and it is not something to be afraid of or go away in disgust. Other story characters accept the fact of having witches as their neighbours totally normal and they are even not as much amazed to see the witches performing rituals accompanied by the ignition of flames out of nowhere or a tremor of the ground and so on.
Nevertheless the story's depiction of the witches is not free from representation in popular TV series. The witches control the weather, ignite flames, get inside your mind, and can destroy. I believe that the entertainment industry of course needs spectacular scenes, breath taking adventures, extraordinary characters. This could be the reason why the witches are presented in a such an "out of this world" way.
What I like about Blake's writing is that she has that witty irony through out the narrative. You can go by the extracted lines I gave in the very beginning of this post - messing up Beltane cookies? Oh my, that could be a catastrophe! But the author makes it feel like an ordinary thing (like burning an oatmeal cake), because it is such for her characters, and there is no exaggeration of the life of a modern witch.
"Anna Dressed in Blood" contains not only witches but also warlocks, one of them is a Cas's schoolmate, another - this schoolmate's granddad, who actually passed on the witchcraft skills to his grandson. So these two and Cas's mother make a magical team who fights with a powerful soul of an obeahman. There was also a good educational moment for me personally as I never knew who that was and had to read about it in the net. For me this novel was a novelty, a fresh insight into the modern witchcraft and a nice free from judgement depiction of what witches do or what they don't. 

P.S. I have the 3d and the last post about Gogol's horror story in my mind, though I decided to switch to another witch in this post. Pannochka is yet to come! Stay tuned, my dears.

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Ukrainian Witch in Nikolay Gogol's Short Horror Story "Viy" - Pannochka

I am sorry but you will have to go and check out my latest post about the Ukrainian witch in order to have a link to this one :) Just kidding of course. I am going to tell you what happened after the crone jumped on Homa's back and bewitched him to take her...out in the fields and forest at night! Gogol' knows how to ignite fear... 
In a state of bewitchment Homa sees the nature around him differently. He is able to perceive every single flower, feel the smell of the soil, and the Moon appears to be the Sun to him as it is so bright. Homa's senses are at  the limit, "He felt a tedious, unpleasant and at the same time sweet feeling, rising to his heart". This state of his I can compare with a great Margarita's flight scene, in which heroin's perception of the actuality becomes sharper, transforms and seems like another dimension. There are even more reminiscences with Bulgakov's writing. Like that of when Homa notices a mermaid swimming in the pond, and mermaids are one of the first creatures Margarita sees when arriving at Sabbath.
Our hero though is afraid of what is happening to him (opposite to Margarita), he starts saying some prayers or some kind of exorcism spells, when feels that the witch is no more gets tight hold of him. Homa manages to snatch a log lying on the ground and starts beating the witch for all one is worth. The witch screams, curses, but fianlly falls on the ground with words "Oh, I cannot take it anymore"", when it is already the hour of dawn. However when Homa looks at the defeated witch he sees before him... a beauty, with tousled luxuriously scythe, with long, like arrows eyelashes. Insensitively she threw the white naked hands on both sides and moaned, lifted up her eyes full of tears".
The hero, tormented by the feeling of guilt and strange anxiety, flees the place, with a desire to reach Kiev (a capital of Ukraine) and never be seen again in this spot. But another Russian writer told us, where there is a crime, there is a punishment ...
Homa reaches a nearby settlement and spends some time in drinking and thinking in a pub... when accidentally hears that the daughter of one of the richest centurions who resides on a farm just few kilometers away from Kiev, "came back home from a  walk all beaten up, had barely strength to limp his father's house, is now near death; and in the hour before death she has expressed a desire that the dirge and pray for her to be read for the next three days after the death by one of the Kiev seminarians: Homa Brut".
Pannochka (1) by nordlige-tale Deviantart

To Be Continued...
1. Pa'nnochka (Rus. панночка) diminutive from panna - unmarried young woman, unmarried daughter of a pan (meaning "gentleman"). Pan, panna and other words with the same root, are the words of Slavic languages like Polish, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Belorussian. However only Polish language seems  to have  preserved these words for usage in polite or formal communication.

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.

Friday, 10 May 2013

A Ukrainian Witch in Nikolay Gogol's Short Horror Story "Viy" - Who Is Viy?

Viy (Вий)... I bet no one of you have ever hear this name. But for Russian literature this short story was
of a great significance. It was written by Nikolai Gogol' - a Ukrainian born Russian writer of the 19th 
century, who along with Pushkin and Griboedov created the way for Russian literature development in 20th
century. My favorite 20th century Russian writer Bulgakov, author of the novel "Master and Margarita", was Gogol's admirer and you can definitely find influence of this in his fantastic compositions.
Viy Illustration by Eduard Novikov
But why do I choose to speak about Viy and who is this at last? This would be not easy to explain. Though giving a definition of Viy Gogol himself says that "He is a colossal creation of folk mind.
By such name among Ukrainians is called a chief of gnomes, 
eyelids go till the ground.The whole this story is a legend. I didn't 
want to change it in any way, so I am telling it in the same simplicity as I have heard it." The author told us where Viy was originated 
from...but in real there was never such a creature in Ukrainian 
folklore. Hence Viy is a pure fictitious character, which was born in Gogol's mind, and who knows, how it ever got in there.
However, I am not going to dedicate my post to this "sleepy" monster, as I have something more interesting to discuss. And this is a witch of course. Before I had acquainted you with Russian witches mainly, whose witchy nature either helped in solving love and life issues, or made their love story unhappy. Both however had to flee of the society in order to gain peace of mind and soul.
The witch I am going to tell about has particular differences from those created by Bulgakov and Kuprin. Let us explore this.
Gogol produced such a story which to this day excites reader's mind and lets be honest, scares. On just about 20 pages the complete narrative unfolds with all the details of horror genre which I believe are used by nowaday writers and filmmakers. The author uses folklore plots as well as his own creative mind to describe the scenes and characters. The conventional motif of many Gogol's short stories is a scary legend or a hearsay told by one of the story's characters, which then becomes true as the narration proceeds. This is how  the real world and the world of supernatural is linked  in Gogol's early compositions, and "Viy" is not an exception. However one can not deny the author's subtle irony in his writings somehow prevents you from being swallowed by fear... unlike the protagonist of the story Homa Brut... Now it is time to switch to witch!
Homa Brut is a philosopher - a senior student of a seminary, who being on vacations, makes his way back home with two of his fellows. They cross various places, settlements, stay in the fields over night, but at some point of time they feel to rest and refresh. They make a long journey, but all the efforts of finding a sanctuary for the night come to nothing. Homa with his friends don't give up and when the night already has covered the fields with its cloak they see a flickering light afar - a sign of a farm (a "hutor" in Ukrainian). The travellers are very pleased to finally reach near humans...
As they approach one of the houses of the farm, and knock the door, an old lady opens them and first is not happy to see young lads and refuses to let them stay. But the seminary students good at talking, they coax the old woman, and she being wary makes them sleep in tree different places of the farm. Homa Brut is settled in an empty sheep barn. Late at night he is awaken by a noise of a door opening  in the barn - the old woman enters premises. Homa asks why is she there... but the lady proceeds walking towards him with open arms... He assumes that the crone comes to get some pleasure from him what scares him a lot and he is trying to stop the woman but she stares at him and he is not able to move or speak... : "He could only hear how his heart was pounding, and he saw an old woman came up to him, clasped his hands, bent his head, with the swiftness of a cat jumped on his back, hit him with a broom and by his side, and he bouncing around like a horse, carried her on his shoulders...". That is a moment when Homa thinks : "Aha, it is a witch."

To Be Continued...

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Exploring Pagan Yourself

After a wonderful celebration of Pagan Culture's anniversary, I again fell into void...It is not like I've nothing to write about, because I still keep on posting in Hindustanka's Sunny Indian Days. Today I would probably be more open with you than any other time I used to write. Open in a sense that I've never voiced the following thoughts. They kept on whirling in my head, but now I have a place and friends to share it with.
We had a great weekend with my husband, met our friends, and on the Saturday night, when we returned home, we sat on the chairs at the backyard and started talking. The sky was cloudy, the Moon was not visible, and I kept on looking at what was happening up high and suddenly I asked my husband whether it is okay in India to worship... nature. I mean, not Jesus, not Krishna... but nature itself, which is the most fascinating thing we have on Earth. He said in India all the beliefs are accepted... Then I asked in a different way: are you yourself okay with such idea? (meaning some of my Pagan interests of course). He said he was fine with this too... I felt like I really wanted to free my dreams...make them reality, believe in what I want to believe and learn. 
Every year I celebrate all Christian holidays, I do what needs to be done on these days, I go to Church... but without dedication. I do enjoy preparing Easter eggs and Christmas cakes, but those are just attributes.  Perhaps I'd not like to be pure Pagan at the same time, but definitely would like to mix two traditions... because you see, there was Pagan Russia before 998 year when Vladimir baptised it. My ancestors worshipped nature, they had Gods and Goddesses, who helped them in living life. I was always into learning of ancient mythology, be it Greek or Egyptian, or Scandinavian. My Mum was the one who supported these interests and she taught me such things like chiromancy, introduced to the Zodiac circle, movement of the Planets. I used to see her and my father sowing seeds and getting good harvest every Autumn. Nature was my guide and friend since my childhood... I don't want to lose it.
I realize now that this blog is giving opportunities for finding my inner self. I don't want to seem though as some kind of a double personality, I don't hide this blog and my interests from anyone, including my family. Hence if anyone reads it some day, it is about me too. I am glad to have found people who share same views  with me and who find it interesting what I write here and in my other blog, which, you must have noticed, have a great part about plants and nature :) Do read it here if you wish so.
It is the time of Beltane festival, and in order to celebrate it I offer you a picture of Slavic Goddess of the Spring Lada. May your days be fresh, bright and full of warmness of the Sun.

Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Baba-Yaga - Leg-Bone

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Not finding (yet) anything  suitable to the theme "Witches in fiction... To The Bone" in actual fiction I've read, I again come back to folklore. Russian folklore of course, and my favorite witch Baba-Yaga. Sometimes her name gets that funny sounding in Russian "Kostyanaya-Noga", what means Leg-Bone. Why is that so? Let's find out of course. 
Baba-Yaga has many archetypal references and linked to the pagan tradition of ancient Rus'. I personally incline to the version that under her name is hidden (and most probably forgotten nowadays) image of ancient Slavic Goddess Makosh', you can read a nice article about her here.  In the Russian fairy tales Baba-Yaga always lives in the hut in the deepest part of the forest, and the hut where she dwells is not an ordinary one. It has so called chicken-feet on which it stands..and turns and maybe dances. Now be ready for a scary historical fact:  in ancient times the dead were buried in Domowina - - houses, located above the ground at very high stumps with roots peeking out of the ground, like chicken feet. Domowina staged so that the hole in which it was drawn was turned in the opposite direction of the settlement (village). As you can see in the picture below, Baba-Yaga actually lives in such "house" hence she has connections to the world of the dead, though herself is not dead at all. She is in between, and this is the explanation (according to one of the versions) WHY she is called Leg-Bone.
You can also see that the skulls with shining eye holes usually depicted in the fairy tales as a necessary attribute of hut's exterior. Yes, Baba-Yaga likes bones. I stumbled upon interesting thought  that "Baba-Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. Wild and untamable, she is a nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth" **.
Here is a cute illustration of my dear witch I found in the internet. 
Another one, more realistic, and scary. But don't be afraid, we are just celebrating To The Bone!
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.

*Image credit (in order from top to bottom):

Monday, 1 April 2013

Drink to Being

Today is the first day of the 4th blogoversary of Magaly Guererro's inspirational "Pagan Culture". This event has got a very intriguing name "Witches in Fiction... To The Bone". The celebration will continue till 13th of April, and I'm sure it's going to bring many interesting posts to live. I'm very grateful for such  idea to mark the event because it will give me a kick to post regularly in Witchcraft and More. Also Magaly will be holding various giveaways in her blog, so there is a chance of winning some nice art pieces and goodies. 
Now, let's celebrate! The very first time I saw the theme of the blogoversary, I immediately recollected a greatly suitable episode from my favorite novel "Master and Margarita". I had made few posts about this novel as it has such rich material for exploration and reflection.
The episode I want to talk about belongs to the series of events at the Ball at Satan's. The last moments of the ball were perhaps the most difficult and most terrifying for Margarita. She appeared on the podium in the middle of the room. Then Woland turned up in the very same look he was in the apartment just some time before, wearing dirty night gown, and home slippers, using his sword as a cane to ease his limping. He stopped beside his podium, and Azazello offered something on the tray... which appeared to be... 

** "a severed head of a man with broken front teeth. 
Woland called out quietly to the head:
 -  Michael Alexandrovich -, and then the eyelids of the killed lifted up, and Margarita, shuddering, saw absolutely lively, full of thought and suffering eyes on the dead face. 
- All come true, is not it? - Woland continued, looking into the eyes of the head - the head is cut by a woman, the meeting did not take place, and I live in your apartment. This is - the fact. And the fact is the most stubborn thing in the world. But now we are interested in the future, and this is not a fait accompli. You have always been a hot preacher of the theory that by cutting off the head life in the person stops, it turns to ashes and goes into oblivion. I am pleased to inform you, in front of my guests, although they serve as proof of a different theory, that your theory is solid and witty. However, because all the theories are all the same. Among them are such, according to which each will be given according to his faith. It might be fulfilled as it is! You go into oblivion, and I will be happy to drink for being out of the ***chalice, to which you turn. - Woland picked up his sword. Immediately head skin darkened and shriveled, then fell off in pieces, the eyes were gone, and soon Margarita saw on the dish yellow with emerald eyes and pearly teeth, and on the golden leg, skull. Skull cap sat on a hinge."

Our heroine of course was shocked and terrified, but what happened next, made it even worse. Another guest entered the ball room through the fireplace. It was baron Meigel, a person, known for spreading the rumors about Woland's visit, and therefore considered to be a spy, he had to be executed by the government  anyways (here author refers to Stalin's regime). In order to "help" him to avoid such destiny, Azazello insensibly stabbed him into the heart, and blood covered Meigel's starched shirt and waistcoat. 

"Koroviev meanwhile put the skull chalice under the spurting, and when it was filled handed it over to the Woland. 
- I drink to your health, gentlemen - Woland said quietly, lifting the cup and touched it to his lips.
Then there was a metamorphosis. The patched shirt and worn-out shoes disappeared. Woland turned to to wear some black mantle with a steel sword on his hip. He quickly approached Margarita, offered her the cup, and said imperiously:
- Drink!
Margarita's head started spinning, she was unsteady, but the cup was already at her lips, and someone's voice, and whose - she could not make out, whispered in both ears:
- Do not be afraid, Queen ... Do not be afraid, Queen, the blood long since gone into the ground. And where it is spilled, already growing grapes."
The ball at Satan's ends here, but Margarita's venture continues... like our journey into the world of fiction with the next To The Bone post! Just let me find something witchy-nice for you :)
Happy blogoversary, Magaly!
* Skull Chalice image credit - Sergei Tunin.
* *Translation of the Russian text is by me. Not perfect, but hopefully is good enough to understand the idea.
*** Read about the symbolism of Chalice here.
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature

Monday, 11 February 2013

Witchcraft and ... Magic

Now it's time for me to finally get back on track and continue with Witchcraft and More. I've read plenty of articles, some books about witchcraft. Somehow it became more familiar to me, I can proudly identify the witchcraft tools when they showed on TV, and can say that yes, a witch and a wiccan is not the same. However, while opening up my blog's page I actually asked myself what is the relation between witchcraft and ... magic.
First, magic is a broader concept, I hope you agree. The Macmillan on line dictionary says that magic is "the mysterious power some people believe can make impossible things happen if you do special actions or say special words called spells". That's how it is understood in modern TV shows and movies. The latest  (one of them) vampire saga  "The Vampire Diaries" pictures a witch, who uses spells and her implicit powers for performing different rituals and creating magic. Or my favorite fantasy novel Harry Potter portrayed magic in an appealing way (besides all those Lord Voldemort's dark deeds).
I was already raising same kind of issue with witchcraft and witch connotations in old time and modern life. In my search through the global network and books, I found an acknowledgement of my thought once again - the concept of witchcraft bears a negative element, while magic is treated as a fascinating phenomenon. 
cannot agree with this as witchcraft is a part of magic, or better, one of the ways of its implementation.  As Wiki says "in non-scientific societies, perceived magical attack is an idea sometimes employed to explain personal or societal misfortune. In anthropological and historical contexts this is often termed witchcraft or sorcery, and the perceived attackers 'witches' or 'sorcerers'". 
There are such expressions like "a magic moment", "a magic touch", which we take positively, we love to say them to show that something was special and it made us happy. But imagine such word combinations (if they can exist ever) as "a witchcraft moment", "a witchcraft touch" ... one probably recollects a steaming cauldron, dark rooms and black robes. Feel the difference?
In my opinion, witchcraft is a very personal thing, judging by the blogs of the modern witches I follow. It's not something what comes easily to you. It is personal also because every witch invents her own ways of making a brew, or cleansing a house. Also witchcraft has a very big psychological impact in a way that saying of  a particular spell, or may be any written spell, tune you in a successful problem resolution for example.
Another moment I'd like to reflect on is that magic actually can be of two kinds: black and white. I  consider that here's where the confusion occurred. Association of witchcraft with black color, and dark side overall automatically linked it to black magic, and further, all the witches were considered causing only harmful things. However, there were and are such women/men in every country of the world who do such "magical" actions like herb brewing and healing with the help of words and touch. Are they doing magic? Probably, no, but they use witchcraft techniques, if there are such.
I don't know where today's thoughts led me, and whether I was able t and explain them to you, but I feel that something became more clear for me in the world of witchcraft.
Just as addition: I'm reading a very nice horror fantasy novel "Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake, and I'm liking it! Guess, what attracted me first of all in this novel?;)
Thanks for all your comments and staying with me even if I don't post frequently. My other blog takes a lot more of my attention, but this one is dear to my heart too. Keep on writing and reading.
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Goya's Dark Painting

Two days ago we were watching a program on BBC channel, in which the anchor travelled to Spain, Barcelona. Among the facts about this beautiful city, he was also telling about Spanish artist Francisco Goya and his Dark paintings. I used to see these paintings before but never knew the story behind them. It's a dark story of person's mental and physical suffering, as Goya became deaf due to some serious illness, and it lead to change in his art. This narrative disturbed me that much that I was trying to find more information about it since then.
Obviously that our creations reflect our inner self, our emotions, or their absence, our feelings. Goya's late paintings is a mixture of apocalyptic vision and despair. I would like to pay attention on one of them which is called Witches' Sabbath or The Great He-Goat which was created. The figures in this painting look like a solid piece of clay, they fear and their faces express horror. There is a girl sitting separately from others who seems to be calm, as she is observing the happening. It's said that she is likely to be initiated into coven.
(El Gran Cabrón/AquelarreWitches' Sabbath 
Certainly you don't need to be a visual arts specialist  to notice that the colors Goya chose for his painting are dark, light is dim, and the figure of Devil in goat's disguise/costume is more like a shadow than a real entity. What was the condition of a man who created such scary, disturbing picture? What did he see what other couldn't or were afraid of? The Peninsula war and other political causes of 19th century Europe serve as an explanation of Goya's dark images and scenes incarnated in his works.
But I feel it might be something like games which artist's mind played with him dragging out the darkest fantasies and making him to create on the walls of his house... and live among them, those fantasies. This Witches' Sabbath painting is just one of the examples of the artist's mental breakdown, which actually increased over ages, as he had painted another Witches' Sabbath before, but the colors in that picture were brighter and figures - more clear.
You can read more about Goya's art, the story of his isolated life and a search for some way out of the turmoil in his mind and chaos in the world. I found this painter's works actual for our modern time, when the world is distorted by wars, conflicts which sparkles even more violence, hatred, wish not to preserve but ruin.
I hope my post wasn't too gloomy, I just wanted to share some interesting subject with you, dear friends :) Hope you found some thoughts close to what you reflect on or, at least, worth reading once. I haven't started to discover my dear witches in other folk tales or any fiction, but I intend to start searching again :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Saddest Little Zombie - Not a Cute One

Hello, my dear friends! Hope your days are great and full of things you enjoy to do. I do enjoy reading and, as it happens frequently, some new read finds you itself.
I was looking for some good point and click game in the net, and found one with oh so creepy pictures! Then I saw there was a link to a book, I followed it and met even creepier poem "The Saddest Little Zombie" by Douglas Clegg! Some of you might have heard about this author, for me however, his name is completely new. 
Well, so I'm talking about the book. As the author says himself, it's neither for kids nor for adults...then maybe for zombies? The content is indeed is not kind and sweet,  it's a not a story about a cute living dead chap. The illustrations by Glenn Chandbourne made me speechless, as they are way too expressive, but I liked this. The plot has many scary events which take place during the Christmas holidays. I find that the idea of the presence of something dreadful close to the most jolly time of the year is a reflection of our reality - while someone is happy and celebrating, others dying and suffering.
To my delight I can also include this poem in my research, as one of its characters is a French Voodoo Queen, who actually awakes the little zombie and unfortunately is stabbed by him on the spot. 
The story of course has big bits of irony in it too, and calls for not a "serious" reader, the one who will start complaining about the book's dark content. That's why I'm inviting you to go ahead and simply enjoy this modern dark poem, which you can download here on the author's website for free.