Folklore

The Old Corpse Road Folklore Collective

The Old Corpse Road Folklore Collective provides a resource for people interested in folklore, paganism, mythology, legend and all related matters. The site is aimed at those wanting to connect with other like-minded individuals and groups and allows us to share and enjoy the fruits of our past. We also extend our interests to all related matters such as black and folk metal, traditional folk music, artwork and local and worldwide events. If we sound like your type of people then join us. We accept all people into the collective as long as you respect one another...

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Cinnamon

Is a wonderful herb to either burn as an incense or make into a sachet. Fill a green or gold sachet with Cinnamon to draw money and success or to use as a healing charm. A purple sachet can be used to increase your magickal and/or psychic powers. A pink or red sachet of Cinnamon can be worn, carried with you, or placed under your bed to draw love or to promote lust. Use a white sachet filled with Cinnamon to increase your spirituality and to confer protection.

Ash

N~Nuin~Ash The ash tree has deeply penetrating roots and tends to sour the soil, which makes it hard for any other plants to grow around it. Its branches are thick and strong . The ash can grow to one hundred and thirty feet high. The March tree has distinctive black buds and its seeds grow in bunches, each with a long, thin wing. It grows in all climates, but tends to do best in soil that is rich with lime. Its white wood is excellent for burning, and was often used for oars, ax handles, and was a favorite of the Celts when making spears. An old Christmas custom is to burn an ash faggot bound with green twigs on the hearth, making a wish as each bond snaps. Unmarried girls can also choose a bond the one who's bond parts first will be the first to marry. The ash tree was credited with magical properties which would cure a child of hernia or rickets. Before sunrise the naked child was passed through a cleft trunk that was then bound and sealed with clay. As the trunk healed so did the child. To cure a lame animal a hole was bored in an ash and a live shrew sealed inside it. As the shrew dies and the tree healed the animal recovered. The world tree is an ash, or is known as "The Cosmic Ash." It appears in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil (or the tree of Odin.) and it spans the universe, with its roots in the lower world and its branches supporting the heavens. In Celtic cosmology it connects the three circles of existence - Abred, Gwynedd, and Ceugant - which are sometimes interpreted as the past, present and future (or as confusion, balance and creative force.) Use ash a substitute for Rowan as a protection against fairies.

Will-o’-the-Wisp

Also called Fairy Lights, Elf-fire, Hobbedy’s Lantern or Night Whispers. No one is quite sure what these distant floating balls of flame are, but they are generally associated with and are sometimes thought of as faeries in the British Isles. Usually known as small winged fairies whose glowing lights can be seen at dusk in the meadows and grassy hills. Known to appear at night in lonely places carrying a lantern. It uses this light to cause travelers to lose their way.

Apple

All apple trees are descended from the crab apple, which was likely the tree mentioned in the tree Ogham, as it grew wild in the British Isles and across much of Europe during the time of the Druids. The apple represents choice and the letter Q (Quert) in the druidic tree alphabet. The apple has long been a symbol of fruitfullness. The rhyme 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' probably comes from a Norse myth in which apples were given to the Gods to stave of old age. Apples were used to discover who a girl would marry ; the apple was peeled and the complete peel thrown over the shoulder, if it formed a letter then this was the initial of her future husbands name. 'Wassailing' - a ceremony to ensure a good apple crop is still performed in the West country usually on Twelfth night. The felling of an apple tree was unlucky and to leave the last apple on a tree meant a families death. The wood of the apple tree is good for both burning and carving, and poultice made from roasted for boiled apples removes burn marks from the skin, and eases inflamed eyes. It is also known to be good for the bowels and for sufferers of asthma and other lung ailments. The bark of apple trees or the fruits themselves have the power to transport a true-hearted seeker to the Other world. Burn the bark as an offering to the Good Folk on Midsummer's night. Also used in Faery love spells.

Water Leaper (Llamhigyn Y Dwr)

The Water Leaper, also known as Llamhigyn Y Dwr, is a creature from Welsh folklore that lived in swamps, lakes and ponds. It is described as a giant frog with a bat's wings instead of forelegs, no hind legs, and a long, lizard-like tail. It jumps across the water using its wings, hence its name.It was blamed for problems ranging from snapping fishing lines to eating livestock or even fishermen.

Alder

The alder is a very ancient tree that has grown in the British Isles for thousands of years. The January tree is easily recognized by its regularly spaced branches and its conical shape. Like the willow, it is a water-loving tree. The timber is oily and water-resistant, and is often used for under-water foundations. Parts of Venice and many medieval cathedrals were built on alder foundations. The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is found along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protected areas they may grow to 65 feet tall. Alders are members of the birch family (Betulaceae). A tree associated with several pagan gods, the alder represented the letter F (fearn) in the druidic tree alphabet. It was known in medieval legend as the tree of the Erl King, or alternatively as the tree sacred to the god Bran, brother of Branwen who kept the Cauldron of Regeneration. Thus the tree stood for the idea of resurrection. It bore the same significance in the Odyssey. Legend says that Bran used his body to span the river Linon, forming a bridge to protect his followers from the flooding waters, as alder wood does when used as a building foundation. The beginning of the Celtic solar year was marked by the alder tree. In the territory of Celtic druids there used to be a tribe known as Arverni, 'People of the Alder'. A whistle made of Alder is the basis for the old superstition of whistling up the wind.

Trows

Trows (Alternatively trowe; a Scots term for troll)  live on the Shetland and Orkney Islands and are probably the best known, and widespread, element of Orkney folklore.

Description 

Similiar to the Scandinavian Trolls and like them, they live beneath the ground and have an aversion to daylight. In many cases indistinguishable from the fairy folklore found throughout Northern Europe, the archetypal trow was an ugly, mischievous, little creature that resided in the ancient mounds scattered across Orkney.Their traditional grotesque and outlandish appearance is confirmed by some of the names ascribed to them - names such as Truncherface (trencher face) and Bannafeet (bannock feet). Trows, like faeries in general, can be helpful to those they found favorable and offended by any gifts set out for them.

Although some tales declared that a trow could pass for a human - although usually old, wizened or deformed - in general they were said to be short, ugly, stunted creatures and considerably smaller than a man.

Lore 

In what may be one of the earliest recorded trow tales, the creatures were said to be nocturnal and never appeared in daylight. If a trow is caught above ground when the sun rises he cannot return to his home until the sun sets again. Even when they emerged at night, to many they were invisible. This element of trow folklore echoes both the traditions that the Orkney fairy was invisible and that the Norwegian troll was unable to venture outside in sunlight.

Another account of invisible trows explains how an Orkneyman was unable to see the creatures dancing on the shore. Only by holding his wife's hand, or placing his foot on hers, was he able to watch their exploits.

A practically identical account from Shetland explains that only certain people had the power to see the trows. "Normal" mortals could not see the creatures unless without touching one of these gifted individuals.

King Trows were exclusively male and would leave their homes to court and marry mortal women, though as soon as her baby was born the mother would die.  They are frequently observed performing a curious lop-sided dance called 'Henking' 

In days past, trows were said to be frequent night-time visitors to the house. Once a household had retired for the night, the trows would enter the building and sit by the glowing fire. Numerous tales recount how the terrified farmer and his wife would lie in bed listening to their unwanted guests scuttling around in the other end of the house. This, together with the trows' documented hatred of locked doors, strengthens opinion that the tradition is a remnant of the creatures' origin as an undead spirit.

In Norse tradition, the ghosts of the family's predecessors had to be welcomed into the house - a custom particularly prevalent at Yule, when later tradition has the trows at their most active and dangerous. At this time of the year, one of the last preparations on Yule Eve was to unlock every lock in the house.

Within their earthen mounds - known locally as howes or knowes - the dwelling-places of the trows were said to be sumptuous and dazzling. Gold, silver and previous materials were said to decorate the walls, while only fine food and drink was served at their tables. Deep inside these magical halls, the trows would satisfy their insatiable passion for music and dancing, very often luring mortal fiddlers inside to perform at their otherworldly celebrations.

But although the majority of trow tales come to us as mere folktales, there are still a few intriguing accounts that supposedly detail actual trow encounters. In the late 1960s, after the Orcadian folklorist Ernest Marwick published some stories about the trows in a Scottish magazine, an Englishman who had spent time in Hoy during World War Two wrote to describe:

"a never-to-be forgotten experience that would seem to lend weight to the belief in the existence of these supernatural creatures."

Trowie Tunes

Some Shetland fiddle tunes are said to have come to human fiddlers when they heard the trows playing. One example of such a "trowie tune," Winyadepla, may be found in the playing of Tom Anderson on his album with Aly Bain, The Silver Bow.

... a troop of peerie folk came in. A woman took off the nappie from her baby and hung it on Gibbie's leg, near the fire, to dry. Then one of the trows said, "What'll we do ta da sleeper?" "Lat him aleen," replied the woman, "he's no a ill body. Tell Shanko ti gie him a ton." Said Shanko, "A ton he sall hae, an we'll drink his blaand." After drinking, they trooped out of the mill, and danced on the green nearby ...

White Ladies

The use of White Ladies for both ghosts and fairies is an indication of the close connection between fairies and the dead. The White Ladies were direct descendants of the Tuatha De Danann.The name "Guinevere" means "white phantom".They may be female Gentry (see Gentry) or the Tuatha who vanished into the Mists.

Tylwyth Teg

(terlooeth teig) .

Tylwyth Teg is a general name for the fairies in Wales, it means the 'fair folk'. Like the euphemistic Bendith y Mamau the flattering name was thought to appease them, in an attempt to avert their kidnapping activities. Fairies would typically leave a sickly changeling child in the place of the healthy child they had stolen.

In many accounts, their king is said to be Gwyn ap Nudd. They are associated with a number of places in Wales, including the lake, Llyn y Fan Fach.They are like the Daoine Sidhe, and dwell underground or underwater in under hollow hills and in deep crevices, and to frequent ancient places such as Bronze Age Barrows or cromlechs.

They are small in stature and have golden or fair-hair and dress in white. Like other faerie folk they are fond of dancing and singing and making fairy rings. They are partial to golden haired mortals. The danger of visiting them in their own country lies in the miraculous passage of time in Faeryland. According to many stories time in their realm passed much slower than in ours, a day in their realm could be a year or a hundred years in ours. This difference could prove disastrous for any mortals returning from the fairy realm. They give riches to their favourites, but these gifts vanish if they are spoken of.They are usually portrayed as benevolent but capable of mischief. The Tylwyth Teg are said to fear iron and unbaptized children could supposedly be protected from them by placing a poker over their cradle.

They often interacted with mortals in the past and the fairy maidens are easily won as wives and will live with human husbands for a time , although they always longed to return to their own people.

One example of the Tylwyth was the Jili Ffrwtan, female fairies who were of a proud and amorous disposition.

A common belief was that the Tywyth Teg had Fairy paths upon which it was death for a mortal to walk.

Wichtlein

Wichtlein behave in much the same way as goblins. They announce the death of a miner by tapping three times. When a disaster is about to happen they are heard digging, pounding and imitating miners work.

Spring-Heeled Jack

Spring-Heeled Jack, a high-jumping man-like creature first seen in the 1840's near London. Jack would attack women or cause carriages to run off the road, then run off with a high-pitched, mocking laugh. According to those who encountered him, Spring-Heeled Jack had red eyes and breathed fire. While this may seem ridiculous to us today, sightings of him were taken very seriously, enough so that the mayor of London had to appeal for calm while the demon-like creature was investigated. Sightings of Jack would continue well into the 20th century, but no conclusive explanation has ever been offered.