Marinette-bra-chéch: If you hadn’t already got the message that dealing with the devil is bad

My standard apology for featuring anything in voudou: I have a hard time finding reliable resources. Someone write a book for us, okay? (I’ll picking up http://amzn.to/WojigG when it’s out in January.)

Also, like many other spirits I feature here, loa/lwa are not demons. They’re sort of like gods, sort of like saints, and sort of like neither in a way I don’t really understand. Any way you slice it, best not to piss them off.

One of the youngest voudou loa/lwa is one of the scariest.

In 1791, Haitian slaves were rebelling against their French rule. Legend has it that on August 14 of that year, a voudou priest named Dutty Boukman led a voudou ritual of the darkest kind. The priest, or bokor, and a female priestess, a mambo/mamba, called on Satan through the sacrifice of a black pig. All the attendees drank the pig’s blood and swore their allegiance to the devil for 200 years if he would help them overthrow their masters, kill them, and destroy all their stuff. The pact is known as the Boukman Contract.

The revolution was a success and independence was declared in 1804. In fact, it’s the only slave revolution in history that resulted in the establishment of an actual government, under Jean-Jacques Dessalines. The revolution also slipped up Napoleon’s foothold in the New World, which could have seriously affected the outcome of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the War of 1812 in North America.

But there are other legends.

One of them says that the mambo who actually slit the pig’s throat suffered an evil fate. After her death, she became a lwa herself. Her name was, you guessed it, Marinette. She’s sometimes known as Marinette-bra-chéch or Marinette pied chéche, which is a patois of the French “Marinette bras/pied séc”, or Marinette of the dry arms/feet. This suggests she has a skeletal form (or so I read).

Marinette is very powerful and very feared. However, the flip side of her personality is that she frees people from their bondage. So, she does have her devotees.

Marinette’s aspect is that of a screech or barn owl. She’s also associated with werewolves—some say she’s the queen of the Haitian werewolves, and that they all follow her. I read one resource that said she hunts humans while in her werewolf form, but then I read some stuff on that resource that says it’s full of crap.

Sigh. What’s a researcher to do?

The sacrifices she likes most are black pigs and black roosters plucked while still alive. That possibly-unreliable resource says she wants her sacrifices buried in the ground so that other lwa can’t find them and steal them from her.

Why anyone, even another lwa, would think it’s a good idea to steal anything from this lady is unexplained.

Hecate: Goddess of witches

… he
Will come to know his destiny.
Your vessels and your spells provide,
Your charms and everything beside.
I am for the air. This night I’ll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end.

–Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 5

In modern times, Hecate has become known mostly as the goddess of witchcraft.

It’s speculated that she was actually around before Zeus and his Greek cronies, as an earth goddess. But she entered the common Greek myth as a titaness who turned on her people and aided Zeus and the Olympians against the titans. Because of her help to Zeus and his lot, they didn’t destroy her.

To the Greeks, she wasn’t the ugly crone that we (Possibly thanks to Shakespeare) think her. She was a lovely goddess with power over gateways and crossroads, which is probably the way she became associated with passing over to the underworld. Her totem animal is the dog. Not only were they often sacrificed to her, but her arrival was always heralded by dogs barking.

She’s associated with horses, but to a lesser degree.

In addition to passing into the next world, she also had responsibility for helping babies into this one. She assisted in childbirth and women would pray to her when they wanted help raising male children.

She appears in the seasonal myth of Persephone’s yearly journey into the underworld. When Demeter, Persephone’s mom, wandered the earth looking for her daughter, it was Hecate who suggested that Demeter go to Helios, the god of the sun to ask if he’d seen the girl. Of course the sun god sees everything, and told Demeter that Persephone was in the underworld, abducted by Hades and taken to the land of the dead.

In Euripides’ tragedy Medea, she’s the patron goddess of Medea, who is a witch. (By the end of the play, Medea kills her own children. Which should be a lesson to guys–if you marry a witch, don’t cheat on her. Actually, if I was a witch and my husband cheated on me, I’d just kill him. Or maybe some kind of curse would do the trick.)

The “Malleus Malificarum,” (The hammer against witches), a 1487 handbook for budding witch hunters, says that Hecate was revered by witches, who worshipped her as their goddess.

Hecate’s love life is a mystery. Some people say she was the mother of the Scylla, one of two sea monsters Odysseus has to face to get home in Homer’s Odyssey. Others say she stayed a virgin all her life and so wasn’t anyone’s mother.

She’s sometimes portrayed as a triple goddess, with three faces. If you’re in the ‘witch’ camp, those faces are Maiden, Mother, and Crone. But she’s also sometimes portrayed as having the heads of animals–usually dog, serpent, and horse.

Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, in ...

Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, in les Dieux Antiques : nouvelle mythologie illustrée (Paris, 1880). A Neoclassical rendition of a late Hellenistic or Roman original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apsaras, the Desperate Housewives of Hindu Mythology

Français : Apsaras, détail d'une partie inféri...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These lovely celestial spirits come from Hindu mythology (and Buddhist) and, being gorgeous, stacked, and awesome dancers, are very un-demonic. They do have a bit of moral ambiguity to them, though. So they count under my Bad Girls category.

Apsaras serve Indra, the Hindu leader of the gods and the lord of heaven. He’s also the god of war and storms. Apsaras are usually court dancers and musicians. It’s common for an apsara to be the wife of a Gandharva, a male supernatural warrior.

Here’s where the moral ambiguity comes in. Lots of stories about apsaras tell of them serving Indra by visiting meditating sages. Thing is, sages who are close to enlightenment… Well, Indra gets worried about these guys. See, if they achieve enlightenment, they get really powerful. Perhaps powerful enough to challenge the lord of heaven.

So, to divert a sage from his studies, Indra just might call on one of his favorite celestial maidens to take a trip to Earth. There, her job is to find the sage and lead him off the path of enlightenment. Which she generally does by sleeping with him.

Okay, that’s not really great behavior, but think about it. Indra’s chief weapon, his alternative for distracting a sage, is a bolt of lightning. So, if you had a choice, would you rather be fried to a crisp or seduced?

I thought so.

Apsaras can fly, change shape (though they’re beautiful, so why would they want to?) and rule over luck and good/bad fortune. They also escort the souls of dead warriors to the afterlife, so they have a lot in common with your Norse valkyries.

Baba Yaga: Not just *a* witch. *The* witch.

Baba Yaga

Image via Wikipedia

I wasn’t sure I was going to put Baba Yaga in this blog or not.

For starters, she’s not really a demon.

Also, I didn’t want to piss her off.

In Slavic fairy tales, Baba Yaga is the archetypical wicked old witch who lives in the darkest part of the forest. She’s like the witch who lives in the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel. Except she’s way cooler.

She’s got a funky condo, a hut that can stand up on chicken legs. The hut doesn’t have windows or doors. When she needs to leave, she flies out the chimney. She does this on her sweet ride, a mortar (a kind of a bowl, usually made of stone) that can fly around the world whenever she feels like it.

Baba Yaga is sometimes really evil, kidnapping and eating children. But in the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful, she helps Vasilisa, who is s kind of Russian Cinderella. She’s also helpful in other stories, too.

But even when Baba Yaga is good, she’s never really nice.

She might help you if she feels like it, but you have to be pure of heart and be very, very polite. Try to avoid asking her questions, since she ages a year for every one someone asks her, and whatever you do, do not ask her about the invisible servants.

You won’t get your answer. And you’ll probably feature in her dinner.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca
(Paperback)
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Yaga

Alrunes: “Hun-ey, I’m home”

When the Germans and Scandinavians first saw the Huns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hun), they said to themselves, “Holy crap, these guys have got to come from demons or something.”

They figured the Huns’ moms were the Alrunes, demons/sorceresses who were plugged in to the secret knowledge of the world. The Alrunes were all shape-shifty, morphing into animals of any kinds–the only thing they couldn’t change was their gender.

Right up until last century, some people kept small statues of the Alrunes in their houses, treating them to food and drink, and even the occasional change of clothes. In gratitude for these offerings, it was said that the statues could tell you the future. Just ask a yes or no question and the Alrune might nod its head.

But there was a catch (there usually is). If you didn’t keep your Alrune statue happy, they would get pissy on you, yelling out how much you suck and bringing bad luck into the house.

Source: Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. 2nd Ed; Shepard, Leslie A., ed. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 3rd ed.

Demonspotting : Naamah

A member of Satan’s vile harem. Naamah’s a hot female demon who likes hanging out with her gal-pal Lilith.

Her name means ‘charmer,’ but that might just be ironic–or it might refer to her penchant for charming men into the worship of false idols.

She might originally have been a human woman, the daughter of Lamech and Zubal according to Genesis 4:22. In the myths where she was human, she was so beautiful that she tempted the angel Shamdon to sin. Their most famous kid was Asmodeus, though they had a bunch of other demon-spawn, too.

Using Kabbala magic, she was transformed into a spiritual being/demon. She and Lilith run around at night, strangling babies and seducing men.

Now, this ‘seducing’… There may actually be a more prosaic force at work here. The whole idea of  succubi probably grew out of the, uhm, occurrence… that sometimes happens to males… uhm, at niiiight… and more often to teenage boys at night… due to their, uh, hormones… Oh hell.

She has spirit-children by the men she seduces, but they are all raised by Lilith.

Interesting–Naamah is seen as the inventor of divination in Kabbalistic mythology. And she’s kind of the patron saint of prostitution, demon-wise.

Sources

The Hebrew goddess
Raphael Patai

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehema

Vieschitsa: Slavic succubi

These fun-loving party girls are Slavic succubi who party with sleeping men, giving them a special sort of social disease: bloodlust. They have wings of fire, which is pretty cool. In their spare time, they turn into hyenas and drag kids into the woods.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Shilling my book

Hi guys:

So, some of you probably don’t know I write fiction on the side. In fact, I started this blog as an outlet for the research I was doing for my novels.

Well, I just published my first novel on Amazon.com and Smashwords! Yay me! It’s actually on sale right now because I don’t have the right cover art yet. Sam Garvey will be doing some awesome cartoon cover art for me, and when it’s done, I’m jacking up the price. But if you want to buy it now for $1.99, you can email me at teresawilde at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a spanking new copy with the good art when it’s ready.

Strange Academy is a paranormal romance with some sex love scenes in it and a sense of humor. Here’s my pitch:

“I love this book. If Jane Ann Krentz and Harry Potter made a baby, it would be this book.”
–U.S.A. Today Bestselling Author, Sharon Page

Determined to uncover the secret behind her eccentric aunt’s mysterious death, Sadie Strange, a quirky substitute teacher with a Master’s degree in comic book superheroes, takes a job at isolated private school Strange Academy. Her biggest obstacle? Haughty hottie Lorde Gray, the chemistry teacher who looks down his Roman nose at her as he tries to get her fired.

Undercover demon hunter Gray vows to use his spell-brewing powers to protect Strange Academy’s true purpose—educating extraordinary children with paranormal gifts. If the world knew that the school’s extraordinary children have paranormal gifts, it would start a war that would destroy humanity. Gray won’t let a feisty mortal threaten that, no matter how much she swishes her heart-shaped ass.

When fate throws them together, strange allies Sadie and Gray seek to uncover the hidden forces behind her aunt’s death before they destroy Sadie—and the school. But when the demon hunter forbidden from associating with mortals and the mortal woman who can’t trust her own judgment around alpha males find themselves falling for each other, love is going to get a little strange…

***

Sadie Strange answered the door fresh from the shower, still tying the belt of her black kimono. Her dark hair dripped over her shoulders, dampening her robe almost to her breasts. Her red-painted toenails looked like cinnamon heart candies in her slippers.

Cinnamon heart candies? Damn, Gray thought. He really needed to get laid.

“Does this usually work for you?” A sneer tinged her voice, turning it caustic. When he looked up from her breasts, he saw the contempt on her pink lips.

“What?” When had Nons started speaking another language?

“Yeah. Definitely does. This—” She waved a hand at his chest. “—gets you whatever you want from women. You just walk up, ring a bell and they salivate.”

And it all became clear. She actually intended to fight him. He smiled inside. There was only one thing he liked better than an easy fix.

A challenge.

“But you feel nothing,” he said.

“I feel something, Gray. Nauseous. I know everything, by the way.”

A millisecond of panic. Then his hunter’s calm clicked on. He looked her in the eye while his right hand slipped inside his charcoal gray sports jacket and fingered the finger-slim vial in the secret pocket above his heart. Not a love potion. Something more permanent.

“Please be a bit more specific about this ‘everything’ you know,” he said.

“I know you don’t want me here. No one’s watching, so turn off the fake charm before I lose my dinner.”

He relaxed and took his hand from his pocket. No desperate measures. For now. “I told Cross that stuff in confidence.”

“A secret is something you don’t yell at the top of your lungs. The entire academy probably heard it.”

He followed as she walked into Pippa’s small kitchen, though he doubted she was going to open a bottle of wine. The damp robe clung to the upside-down heart of her backside.

“I don’t yell.” When he got mad, he spoke lower than usual. But his heart pounded in his chest, just like now. That’s how he knew he was pissed at her, not turned on by the way her slim waist twisted when she put the kettle on the ancient gas stove.

“‘I don’t care if her aunt was Pippa Strange. She’s not one of us. She won’t fit into the environment.'” She mimicked his voice’s manly timbre.

How had she heard that? He stiffened, feeling enclosed by the tight kitchen. And her in it.

“You don’t want me here, so you move into Strange Hall. What’s the point? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”

“And your lover handcuffed to the bedpost,” he added.

Here it is on Amazon.com and Smashwords (for non-Amazon formats).

 

Lauma/Laumė

Once, Laumas (Latvian, Lauma/Lithuanian, Laumė) were sky spirits who looked down on the Earth and saw the suffering of orphan kids, so they decided to leave their place in the heavens to become fairies help children with no parents.

Laumas are great at housework–washing, spinning, weaving. Any job that traditionally falls to women. They are hard workers, but have two fatal flaws: They can’t start a job, and they can’t finish a job. So they might come at night and work on a weaving that you started, but they will leave before the final threads are placed.

One of my sources, R.G. Latham’s The nationalities of Europe (Wm. H. Allen & Co., 1863) says that the fairies aren’t malicious, only mischievous, but goes on to say they kidnap children and replace them with fairy changelings. Uh, how that isn’t malicious I don’t know. Also, where do they get these fairy doubles, since they can’t have kids themselves?

A Lauma might take on a child who has lost both its parents as a project, Fairy Godmother-style, but when they give a gift with a warning, they mean it. So if a Lauma gives you a length of fabric and says don’t measure it, DON’T MEASURE IT.

Some say that Laumas spin and weave the fabric of life, weeping while they do, for the fate of mankind.

Some also say that the Laumas have lost their beautiful looks, due to disrespect from humans, and now look like ugly old hags.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauma

Marija Gimbutas, Miriam Robbins Dexter, The Living Goddesses, University of California Press, 2001