Sometimes the forest guards mysteries, and sometimes the mysteries guard the forest. Or maybe they’re just hungry! In the case of the eloko (plural biloko), both could be true. An eloko is a powerful little mystery said to haunt the Congo rainforest. I’ve wanted to cover biloko since reading A Song Below Water, which gives the eloko several delightfully modern face. Yet when I started digging, I found that, a bit like Norwegian trolls, biloko wear more than one face in legends too. Clear details about those faces proved frustratingly difficult to sort out in English-language sources. As a result, my image of the eloko is a bit fractured. However, I hope I’ve found enough to give you something to chew on regarding this enigmatic being. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Eloko: Beware the Bell (or the Stick)”
The word “fairy” can refer to many different types of mythical beings. Both the teeny winged fairies still popularly pictured and the wilder human-sized fae of YA and adult fantasy novels often reflect a patchwork of source material. Since it would take many posts to adequately cover all those sources, I’m going to focus on the aos sí of Ireland today. A fair amount of modern fairy lore hearkens back to these Good Neighbors, who, like most neighbors, were never really good or bad. They were simply their own people, with their own motivations and standards. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Aos Si: The Complicated Neighbors”
Let’s talk about trolls. No, not the online hater type; it’s the original ones from mythology I want to cover today. You probably have your own go-to image of a troll, whether it’s big or small, deadly or cuddly. Yet the name has been applied to a surprising range of creatures, mostly from Scandinavian mythology. Most of the traditional trolls are antagonistic to humans, but beyond that, what makes a troll? Where do these trolls come from, and how did they go from menacing gods and cave explorers to prancing about in children’s movies? Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Trolls: From Hostile Magic to Lovable Goofs”
Spring is here! I hope all of you are getting a chance to enjoy some sign of new life and returning light. I’ll admit my hay-fever gives me mixed feelings about spring flowers, but so far things haven’t been so bad. I even got to enjoy some lovely spring rain, which tends to put me in the writing mood. How about you? How is spring treating you so far?
It’s tricky to pin down wee folk, and not just because of their size. Small humanoid beings appear in mythology around the world, and they are especially numerous in European cultures. However, many of the most well-known names are treated as somewhat interchangeable. Research a brownie and you’ll end up with fairies and hobgoblins and so on. So rather than tackle a general category of these tiny people, I decided to focus in the tomte. I’ve been curious about tomtar for a while now, and it turns out the different definitions of them will allow me to touch on a variety of those larger categories without getting in over my head. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Tomte: A Legend of Many Categories”
Well, we made it. It’s 2021. I know it’s a bit late, but Happy New Year, everyone! I was hoping to get this posted last week, but then things got a bit crazy. How about you? How has 2021 been for you so far? Continue reading “New Year’s Updates 2021”
Japan boasts a robust collection of ghost stories, with one small group focused on an unusual habitat: the toilet. These specters are a variable lot. Some are relatively modern legends while others are quite old. Some are mostly irritating and some are downright deadly. Collectively, they represent centuries of anxiety around a place often treated as a necessary evil in Japanese culture. So let’s take look at the things that go bump in the stall. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Japanese Toilet Ghosts: Look Behind You”
I often focus on more obscure creatures for Quarterly Bestiary, but today I’d like to touch on a mythical heavyweight: the unicorn. Now, before you expect sparkles and rainbows, bear in mind there’s a lot more to unicorns than that. Behind the modern image lies a history full of strange, sometimes dark twists. I couldn’t hope to cover it all in one post even if I limited myself to only the unicorn of Western Europe, so I’ll focus my discussion around the unicorn’s horn, also called the alicorn. Even with that limitation, there’s simply so much myth and media on the unicorn that I’m approaching this a little differently. Instead of going over the mythology in one section and the media in another, I’ll take each topic by topic. So let’s take a look at the alicorn, possibly the unicorn’s source of power and the thing that identifies it as more than a horse. Continue reading “Quarterly Bestiary: Unicorns: The Power of the Alicorn”
Hello, everyone! I’m doing my updates post a little early because I’ve got a few special posts coming up this month. First up, Red Thread Reblog is back! If you’re not familiar with this feature, Red Thread Reblog reaches out into the blogging community and ties together two posts, one covering media inspired by mythology and one on the mythology behind the media. I won’t give too much away yet, but I will give you one hint: dragons. Continue reading “June 2020 Updates And Beast Suggestions”
Many dangerous creatures haunt the mythical landscape of Scotland. Kelpies, horse-shaped water spirits, are among the better known, and they even have connections to one of Scotland’s most famous monsters. They are fairy horses, though if you’re thinking of innocent winged ponies, you’d best think again. Kelpies are fierce flesh-eaters. Yet like many fairy beings, kelpies are more than mere monsters up close. They are wild, it’s true, but they still have a complex intelligence hidden deep within their shifting appearance. So today, let’s take a breath and dare to swim with the kelpie.