10

To make sure your vessel is seaworthy. Sailors in the 17th century would sometimes knock with their hands or tools on the wooden hull of their ship to listen for woodworm or rot, hearing a solid sound coming from wood in the hull would mean it was good to go (or ship shape). In fact this was a practice during the age of sail. For continuing your good luck ...


5

In recent time the association seems to have been generally dismissed but not so long ago it was credible. Roland B. Dixon, The Color-Symbolism of the Cardinal Points, J. of American Folklore, V. 12, No. 44 (Jan. - Mar., 1899), pp. 10-16 is perhaps an outdated example. The 7-regioned cosmos of the Pueblo peoples (yellow-corn of the North, blue of the ...


5

Blake came before Tolkien, and Tolkien definitely knew the work of Blake. In Blake's mythology, Orc is a fallen entity who embodies rebellion, and opposes the forces of order and tradition, represented by Urizen. See: America, A Prophecy I'm going to have to revisit Orcus from Roman Mythology, and will append this answer when I do, but I'd be ...


4

witchcraft Red hair was a sign of witchcraft in Christian Europe and it's said that it was often seen as a marker of guilt in the eyes of witch finders. There are many examples of redheads being stereotyped as untrustworthy in medieval times. The "Proverbs of Alfred" warn not to choose a red-haired person as a friend and the "Secretum Secretorum" warns ...


3

A number of reasons: mermaids are part of nature, not culture, Classical depictions of marine deities and other spirits show them naked, and because mermaids are supposed to be sexy.


3

Try "Goetia" instead of "Goethia". Roughly, it means the art of summoning angels, whether fallen or still elevated (though more commonly the former). The Ars Goetia is the first section of The Lesser Key of Solomon. Basically, it lists the demons (with various titles of nobility and royalty) supposedly captured and bound by Solomon. Crowley and another ...


2

My anthropology professor linked it back to the belief that there were spirits, of whatever kind, living in trees and wood, and in order to keep them from hearing what you were saying and spoiling things when they were going well, you should knock on wood as you were speaking.


2

Sadly, I've never been able to find any direct references to Mathonwy anywhere. Bromwich (pg. 439) mentions that the name Mathonwy itself could be a doublet for the name Math, like so many names in Culhwch ac Olwen are. If so, Mathonwy may never have represented a specific character. One final thing worth mentioning is that it's unclear whether Mathonwy ...


1

European folklore is replete with mentions of supernatural creatures being averse to iron, especially in the northwestern and northeastern regions. (Allow me also to highlight for passersby, as mentioned in the article you linked, that “cold iron” traditionally just signifies normal, plain-ol' iron, but nowadays the meaning is often extended to more ...


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