Local Mythology and Legends

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Jiva
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Local Mythology and Legends

Postby Jiva » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:22 pm

I wondered if anyone has any local mythology, legends etc. they'd like to share from their home area or somewhere they've lived? Doesn't matter if it's particularly significant or not, or just something that is nostalgic etc. so I guess this'll be a more light-hearted thread :).

The only thing I can personally thing of at the moment – and which definitely falls under the unimportant nostalgia category – are the Black Shuck. These were supposedly huge black dogs the size of horses which prowled East Anglia. They were basically a variant of the European Wild Hunt legends but typically threatened people or were a portent of some horrible accident rather than animals that actively killed people.

The Fens get incredibly foggy (with visibility sometimes down to just a few metres) and a Black Shuck or a pack of them was supposed to appear while riding a wave of fog. They were also supposed to have huge glowing eyes which makes me think they were sort of crossed with the will-o'-the-whisp, particularly as until as little as a few centuries ago large parts of the Fens were either underwater or marshland. A few places are still called islands or have something similar in their names despite being 20-40 miles away from the sea.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
Nokkonen
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Re: Local Mythology and Legends

Postby Nokkonen » Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:04 am

Hmm. I love how places in Great Britain have so much myth and legend associated with them due to long written tradition, and I think the same goes with places like Iceland and the very old cities in Europe.

This makes me think how little I know about the places here from mythological standpoint -- practically nothing. The locals here have been very secretive about their beliefs because they literally own the folklore and can't share it easily without, in a way, giving it away. Well, Mount Denali which is a couple of hours drive from here has sacred meaning to Athabaskans of that area, but what? we don't know. Little bit of googling tells me that the theosophists of Great White Brotherhood think Denali as a place of power that can transmit cosmic order into the earth.

In Finland I knew much more about place names, sacred sites, and place mythologies. I really miss that sometimes.
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Jiva
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Re: Local Mythology and Legends

Postby Jiva » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:14 am

I didn’t think of this until your post. It is very lucky on my part that comparatively large sections of historic British culture has been preserved for centuries and sometimes millennia. At least in the area where I live, there’s usually some sort of local legend or tradition, even if it’s recreated as a kind of local quirk. With that in mind I live quite near a place called Whittlesey (another former island) which has a local Straw Bear festival of the sort more often found in Germany I think. It stopped taking place in the 1900s at some point but started again in the 1980s. It's basically absorbed Christian mythology but obviously has ancient roots, so perhaps if it was still part of an active non-Christian tradition the locals wouldn’t give it away too easily either.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Nayana
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Re: Local Mythology and Legends

Postby Nayana » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:56 pm

In western Germany's Rhineland, there is the myth of the headless horsemen, who were said to be sighted during the night, either appearing out of nowhere or galloping out of a grave or a burial vault, depending on the version of the myth.Their appearance was taken as a sign for imminent death for one unlucky enough to make such an encounter, and a touch from the Headless horsemen was considered deadly.

Apparently there is a corresponding myth from northern Germany, telling the story of some teenagers finding themselves facing a funeral cortege with both horses and participants headless, whereupon one of the teenagers is slapped in the face and in consequence dies some days later.

Headless horsemen were considered revenants of either suicides, whose corpses where either beheaded or buried at a crossroad or another unhallowed place up until the 17th century, or of those who intentionally displaced landmarks to enrich themselves with the farmland of others. The latter kind of revenant is connected to an ancient, although apparently seldomly practiced execution, in which the fraud was buried up to the neck at the spot the landmark actually was placed and got his head crushed with a plow.

However, the headless horsemen were considered penitents in folklore who could be released from their fate by prayers, or simply a salutation in which God or Jesus are named.
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Heith
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Re: Local Mythology and Legends

Postby Heith » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:05 pm

Nayana wrote: Headless horsemen were considered revenants of either suicides, whose corpses where either beheaded or buried at a crossroad or another unhallowed place up until the 17th century, or of those who intentionally displaced landmarks to enrich themselves with the farmland of others. The latter kind of revenant is connected to an ancient, although apparently seldomly practiced execution, in which the fraud was buried up to the neck at the spot the landmark actually was placed and got his head crushed with a plow.
Fascinating! Thank you for sharing.

The headless horsemen immediately brought to my mind "the wild hunt", where Odin is said to ride accompanied by the spirits of the dead.

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