Saturday, March 17, 2012

Guest post from author Elizabeth Marx

Hooray!  The lovely Elizabeth Marx agreed to do a guest post today for St. Patrick's Day!  Her book, All's Fair in Vanity's War, is based in Celtic myth.  We thought it would be a perfect tie-in for today.  You can check out her book on smashwords.  She also has a new book, The Seer's 7 Deadly Fairy Tales, A Compendium.  It's a companion to Vanity's War and best of all, it's free!!!  It is also available on smashwords.

Here is a description of Vanity's War:

Salem’s always had sinister secrets. No one comes to understand this better than a sixteen-year-old girl who dies on Halloween night and is reborn a Seer.

The Seer can’t imagine anything worse than being an invisible teenager with enormous black wings. Until she finds out she’s been sacrificed to watch over Locke’s new flame.

Locke Cavanaugh is a Druid and part of the Order, a clandestine organization entrusted with keeping its members cloaked in the Ordinary world. Physically scarred from the accident that took his girlfriend’s life, Locke is searching for the OtherWorldly magic that damaged him because only those without blemish can rule the Order. And once at the helm of the Order, he has every intention of finding those responsible for her death.

On the West Coast, Keleigh Flaherty witnesses her parents’ murder by beasts that should only exist in nightmares. She is whisked off to the safety of Salem, where she learns how potent and dangerous her concealed Vate talents are. Keleigh wants to be Ordinary, but when her mother reaches out from the OtherWorld, and implores her to find a forgotten relic she’ll have to use all her ExtraOrdinary powers to locate it.

As Locke and Keleigh join forces, they unravel the Order’s involvement in the witch hysteria and murmurs of a Celtic prophecy. While Locke’s affection for Keleigh blooms, The Seer is torn between her duty to protect Keleigh, and her desire to stop Locke from making the ultimate sacrifice in order to earn Keleigh’s love . . .

But if they don’t find the witches bottle before the ShiningOnes do, someone stalking Keleigh from the shadows will take her instead and plunge all worlds into chaos.


Now on to Elizabeth's special post!


Celtic Spring 
 “Buttercups and daisies,
Oh, the pretty flowers;
 Coming ere the Springtime,
 To tell of sunny hours.”

Spring is definitely in the air with the warming temperatures. Here are some of the Celtic symbols of Spring and their meanings.


Four Leaf Clovers

"Lucky clover" and "lucky leaf" is wood-sorrel or Oxalis tetraphylla.
The four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three-leaved clover. According to tradition, such leaves bring good fortune to their finders, especially if found accidentally. According to Celtic legend, each leaf represents something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck. The four leaf clover is known to be magical because it alone can break through the glamour that fairies use to disguise themselves and the reality of their surroundings.

Cluricaune

The cluricaune is related to the leprechaun and the far darrig in that he is a solitary creature. Some writers even go as far as to substitute the two less well-known spirits for the leprechaun in stories or tales to reach a wider audience. The cluricaune is considered by some to be merely a leprechaun on a drinking spree. He is a solitary fairy who prefers to lounge around and dress fashionably in a red suit and his shoes have silver buckles. The Cluricaune is knows for dropping stray sods which will make you forget whatever business you were about and they never do anything for anyone without calculating what their reward will be.

Vernal Equinox

The vernal equinox called Ostara, is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere in mid-March. Among the Celtic Sabbaths, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane. This year it falls on March 20th which is very close to St. Patrick’s Day.
The name Ostara may be related to the word for "east". It has been connected to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. This festival is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. It is the first day of Spring and the actual Vernal or Spring Equinox is when night and day stand equal. It is considered a rare day of magic due to the balance of light and dark. Ostara is the time of planting.

The Goddess Ostara

According to the Venerable Bede, Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic goddess Ostara. Her feast day was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox -- almost the identical calculation for the Christian Easter in the west. There is very little documented evidence to prove this, but one popular legend is that Eostre found a bird, wounded, on the ground late in winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but continued to lay eggs. Many pagan traditions are transferred onto Christian holidays so this might be where the bunny and eggs come from at Easter.

Mad as a March Hare
The Spring equinox is a time for fertility and sowing seeds. So nature's fertility goes a little crazy. In medieval societies in Europe, the March hare was viewed as a major fertility symbol -- this is a species of rabbit that is nocturnal most of the year, but in March when mating season begins, there are bunnies everywhere all day long. The female of the species can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with a first. As if that wasn't enough, the males tend to get frustrated when rebuffed by their mates, and bounce around erratically when discouraged.

I hope you all enjoyed this special bit of Celtic knowledge as much as I did.  Go to smashwords.com and check out Elizabeth's books.  

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