A2Z Challenge: R is for Rakshasa

Rakshasa is from Hindu mythology and was later incorporated into Buddhism. Rakshasas are also called maneaters, females are called rakshasi.

Rakshasas were created from the breath of Brahma when he was asleep at the end of the Satya Yuga. As soon as they were created, they were so filled with bloodlust that they started eating Brahma himself. Brahma shouted “Rakshama!”, Sanskrit for “protect me!”. The god Vishnu came to his aid and banished all Rakshasas to Earth. Thanks, Vish, like we needed them.

Rakshasas are ugly, fierce-looking, and big. Most have two fangs protruding from the top of their mouths with claw-like fingernails. They are mean, growling, and cannibals that smell human flesh.

The most ferocious have flaming red eyes and hair, and they drink blood from human skulls. They can fly, disappear, and have other magical powers.

Rakshasas may be either good or evil. As warriors they fought alongside armies of both good and evil. This sounds very human to me. Do we not see each other like this?

In D&D, rakshasa are evil outsiders now native to the Material Plane. They are powerful magic users that, although they disdain physical fighting as ignoble, can be dangerous in close combat against player characters.

Look both ways changing realms.
Be mindful of the many gaps.

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A2Z Challenge: Q is for Qilin

From Chinese mythology we may know about the dragon and the phoenix, but have you heard of the Qilin? As with other mythological animals, the Qilin is composed of different animals. Also, like others, depictions of Qilin have changed over time.

This YouTube video presents it much better than I can. Rather than read my flapdoodle, enjoy the video. It’s only about three and one-half minutes.



Reality or myth, look both ways and mind the gaps.


A2Z Challanege: P is for Pooka

Pooka (or púca, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca, púka, or some other variant), while mostly a creation of Celtic folklore, is a ubiquitous goblin around the world. These little dudes are bringers both of good and bad fortune.

Pooka have dark or white fur that is more like hair. They are not very large. One can take on a variety of different looks, therefore, each may look different that others.

Pooka have similar equivalents throughout Europe. For instance, in Welsh mythology it is named the pwca and in Cornish the Bucca. In the Channel Islands, the pouque were said to be fairies who lived near ancient stones; in Channel Island French the pouquelée, pouquelay, poulpiquet, or polpegan may be them.

The pooka can be either menacing or beneficial. There are plenty of stories where they are wicked assholes, and others where pooka save the day and are heroic. Some stories have them as blood-thirsty, vampire-like creatures who are man-eating beings that hunt down, kill, and eat their victims.

According to legend, a pooka can assume a variety of terrifying or pleasing forms. This can be confusing, but they may be human, animal, or some hybrid creature. As an animal, they’re usually a horse, cat, rabbit, raven, fox, wolf, goat, goblin, or dog. So, we have lots of bases to cover since almost anything can be a pooka.

In most cases, if we humans are enticed onto a pooka’s back, it will be a wild ride. However, unlike a kelpie, which will take its rider and dive into the nearest stream or lake to drown them, the pooka does the rider no permanent harm. I know, “but you just said.” For a second there, I was pooka-possessed and wrote conflicting the things. It’s fantasy, but I suggest passing on the pooka ride.

Although pooka enjoy confusing or terrifying humans, they are generally benevolent.

If you carefully look both ways, you may see a pooka.
Keep away, be nice, and mind the gaps.

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A2Z Challenge: O is for Orcs and Ogres

The traditional mythological creature is the ogre. Orcs are more contemporary and were used by Tolkien in literature (Lord of the Rings), and have since found their way into RP games such as D&D. But ogres and orcs have much in common.


Both are brutish, aggressive, repulsive, malevolent, and nasty creatures. Both characterize evil and represent deadly harm to humans in some way. Both are generally presented as creatures that eat people. Orcs are cannibalistic. In most cases, both are presented as somewhat stupid creatures. There is one clever orc in Tolkien’s stories, but he was still evil.

In the case of Orcs, they often end up as fodder or pawns in battles or doing the bidding of another more intelligent character. They can also be cowardly.


Generally, Ogres, while rightly and properly representing evil, are used or fooled by others and are often tricked into things leading to their own demise, precipitated by their own greed and nastiness. But these creatures are more classic and date back farther in history than orcs.

Scary cartoon character?

A note about cartoons and nice little very un-Brothers-Grimmly characters such as Shrek. When these characters are depicted as sweet and not-so-ugly, misunderstood, and mistreated heroes; it is playing with folklore and a silly cartoon. Ogres are bad news, period. No exceptions. A character is an ogre based on behavior and outlook, not skin color, size, or birthright. I like Shrek, but he is no ogre, regardless of what the Hollywood script says.


You say I’m not an ogre?

To further jump the fence to human mischaracterization, peeps are often metaphorically referred to as ogres. This is not because they look like ogres (some may). It’s because they are considered by someone as bad people based upon their behavior. There are no good orcs or ogres. If they are good, behave well, and hold some moral high ground, then they are something other then an orc or ogre. Evil is what they do, and that defines what they are.

Remember: Scorpions sting frogs. Frogs that can be persuaded otherwise drown. If you don’t know that story, click here.


Look both ways for any harm coming your way.
Avoid doers of evil and mind your own gaps.


A2Z Challenge: N is for Nyx

I have done some writing and reading about darkness and night. So, I picked this goddess to review. I am also a fan of another Nicks, the lady called Stevie. It made sense to me.


Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night. By some accounts, Nyx is the offspring of Chaos; by others, she precedes him. Varying accounts have Nyx, in mating with her brother Erebus (Darkness and Shadows), as the mother of many deities. All this Greek deity myth stuff is very confusing and conflicting. Kind of makes me wonder why someone didn’t just decide on one omnipotent god and leave it at that. Anyway, Nyx had a bunch of kiddoes as well as other brothers and sisters.

Other sibling of Nyx, children of Chaos include Gaea (Earth), Tartarus (Underworld), and Eros (Love).

Disregarding paternity (we don’t care who the daddy was), Nyx was the mother of Hypnos (Sleep), Thanatos (Death), Aether, (Brightness), Hemera (Day), Moirai (the Fates), Geras (Old Age), Moros (Doom), Keres (Destruction), Oneiroi (Dreams), Monus (Blame), Oizys (Pain), Hesperides (Daughters of the evening), Nemesis (Retribution), Apate (Deceit), Philotes (Friendship), and Eris (Strife).

I find it interesting that Eros, god of love or sexual desire (think an adultish Cupid), is a direct offspring of Chaos. Yet, unlike other primordial siblings, he is not a physical world deity, but a god for the condition of procreation. Thus, while accounts may vary, ancient Greek mythology elevated the god of love to a primary level. I like that. I have heard love and sex referred to as primordial desires. Now I know why. I plan to use this information when I get back to writing about the paradox of love.

Nyx appearances are sparse in mythology, but they grant the goddess of night such exceptional power and beauty that she was feared even by Zeus. The story goes that Hypnos (her mischievous son and god of sleep) put Zeus to sleep, allowing Heracles to have a very bad day. Can you imagine, the god Zeus sleeping on the job?

Zeus was pissed and would have tossed Hypnos into the sea. But the sleep-god ran to his mama, Nyx, for protection. Even gods did that. Zeus did not want trouble with Nyx, so he chilled and let Hypnos off easy. Tenuous relationships followed.

The vision of Nyx’s power in the cosmos is further enhanced in poems by Orpheus. In one, the entire universe dances to the tune of Nyx singing or chanting. Now that goddess has a voice better than any angel. Right?

Each night Nyx emerges with Erebus. They block the light emitted from Aether, bringing night and darkness to the world. The next morning Hemera emerges to sweep away the darkness of night. Nyx briefly returns to her abode. Mother Nyx and daughter Hemera are never in the same place at the same time. Things may have changed in later Greek mythology, but Nyx is never subjugated.

Look both ways, especially at night.
Find the gaps and mind them well.

A2Z Challenge — M is for Minotaur

It is not always the impressive awesomeness of the fantasy creature that gets me. Sometimes it’s the story of how it came to be that I find most interesting. I was gunna go with something different today, but when I read about this one, I simply had to tell you about the Minotaur from Greek Mythology. Seriously, who came up this stuff?

With all the family drama, jealousy, hanky-panky, and bestiality, here is how it all went down. Minos, king of Crete, fought his brothers for rule. So, Minos asked the god Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull. Seeing this, his brothers would back off. The god sent the bull and it worked. But then Minos was supposed to kill the bull to honor Poseidon. Minos had a better idea, and that’s when the trouble started.

King Minos decided to keep the bull cuz he thought it was cool. So, King Dum-dum kills another bull thinking this sea-god will not notice or care. Greek gods can be so persnickety. Not just any dead bull would do. It had to be the pretty white one. Poseidon was pissed.

To get revenge, the god does a thing so that Pasiphaë, Minos’s wife, gets the beasty hots for the white bull. You with me? The king’s queen falls all lusty-love for this freakin’ horny bull. Today, this shite would be all over youtube.

No bull, white or not, is gunna do the dirty deed with the queen, lusty-love or not. So, Queen Pasiphaë had a very skilled crafty guy name of Daedalus make a hollow wooden cow. Can you see where this is going?

It must have been one fine piece of work to fool the bull into climbing on board and hammering away. Anyway, the queen climbed inside it and for the rest of the story, I suppose you had to be there. All I can say is Poseidon had an insane sense of humor, if Greek gods did funny things.

The child born was the monstrous Minotaur. The baby was not so cute with the dad’s head and a mostly human body. Pasiphaë nursed him (don’t get sick on me), but he grew and became a ferocious vile creature, being an unnatural (to say the least) offspring of a woman and a bull.

Minotaur devoured humans (preferably children every few years) for sustenance. Minos, after getting advice from the oracle at Delphi, had Daedalus (builder of the wooden cow) construct a gigantic labyrinth to hold the Minotaur and that is where he lived until he was killed by Theseus.

Look both ways.
If there is a bull in the field, do not climb the fence.
Mind the gaps as you cautiously walk around.
And do not piss off any Greek gods.

A2Z Challenge — L is for Leprechaun

As I look back, growing up in an Irish Catholic home, superstition and myth were taken as part of life and often mixed with religion. The wee people were never mixed with religion but being Irish certainly was.

It seems like leprechauns were taken for granted. While no one believed they existed, few of us would have been shocked if one was to suddenly appear. Maybe I could say we were more like leprechaun agnostics than non-believers.

In this case, I developed a mental image of leprechauns regarding appearance and spirit, or morality, and I hold to that even today. I did not know the history, but I understood that they could be blamed for everything – good and bad, mostly mischievous. I continue to see leprechauns as childish pranksters. They’re sort of like gremlins on airplanes or motorcycles. (Ever see a motorcycle with a small bell tied to it? It’s there to annoy the gremlins who delight in causing mechanical malfunctions on bikes).

Leprechauns have a folklore family tree. That enchanted race of mythical fairies and leprechauns of Irish folklore are descended from the ancient divine race called the Tuatha Dè Danaan, or “peoples of the Mother Goddess Danu.” The Tuatha Dè were a race of gods that inhabited Ireland before they were defeated by the Celts/Gaels, the ancestors of the present-day Irish and those of Irish descent around the world.

I have no idea how leprechauns procreate since they all seem to be males. But given the family ties with fairies of other natures, I suspect that can be worked out.

Often referred to as The Folk, The Good Neighbors, The Fair Folk, or the Wee People, they can be appeased with offerings. Never anger or insult them. They are often thought of as stunningly beautiful, though they can also be terrible and hideous.

The movie, Leprechaun, relies on some of this myth. Here is the trailer for your review. It’s not too scary, but a wee bit.

Look both ways as you travel to the pot of gold at the end of rainbow.
Be mindful of the wee people and the gaps.

A2Z Challenge — K is for Kelpies

E’m sure y’erd aboot eh Loch Ness Monster, but di’ye know o’ the Loch Ness Kelpie?

Kelpie in horse form

Or is it water kelpie? Whatever, the Scots name given to a shape-shifting water spirit inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland is kelpie (not to be confused with the Aussie dog). It’s usually described as a horse able to adopt human form.

Some say the kelpies retain their hooves when appearing human, but that’s nonsense. The arrival of Christianity in Scotland resulted in an association of kelpie with the devil.

Your ride

Robert Burns casts a humorous kelpie net in his 1786 poem Address to the Deil. Disclosure: I love the accent, when I understand it.

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord
An’ float the jinglin icy boord

Then, water-kelpies haunt the foord
By your direction
An’ nighted trav’llers are allur’d
To their destruction.
O THOU! whatever title suit thee—
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,
Wha in yon cavern grim an’ sootie,
Clos’d under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie,
To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
An’ let poor damned bodies be;
I’m sure sma’ pleasure it can gie,
Ev’n to a deil,
To skelp an’ scaud poor dogs like me,
An’ hear us squeel!

–Taken from “Address to the Deil” by Robert Burns (1785) Read full poem here.

Virtually every sizeable body of water in Scotland has an associated kelpie, but the most extensively reported is the Loch Ness kelpie.

Kelpies have been portrayed in various forms in art and literature. Two 98-foot-high steel sculptures in the community of Falkirk, The Kelpies, was completed in October 2013.

Myth or not, these are supposed to be Kelpie

Other similar creatures of Scotland include the shoopiltee and nuggle of Shetland, and the tangie of Orkney. The Welsh have ceffyl dŵr and the Manx cabbyl-ushtey (I can’t pronounce it either).

Kelpie are usually described as powerful and beautiful black horses inhabiting the deep pools of rivers and streams of Scotland, preying on humans. If you’re not sure, look at the hooves. Kelpie hooves are reversed from a normal horse, a trait shared by the nykur of Iceland. Another variation has mane of snakes. The resident spirit of the River Spey is white and can entice victims onto its back by singing.

Some folklore says kelpie can be useful, hurtful, or may be seeking human companionship. Others say kelpies take their victims into the water, devour them, and throw the entrails to the water’s edge. It gets creepier.

Another story is the one of several children clambering onto the creature’s back while one remains on the shore. Usually a little boy, he then pets the horse but his hand sticks to its neck. In some variations the lad cuts off his fingers or hand to free himself. He survives but the other children are carried off and drowned, with only some of their entrails being found later. Who makes this shit up? No wonder Scots eat haggis.

Your kelpie awaits

Kelpies can transform into humans, but they may betray themselves by the presence of water weeds in their hair. As humans, kelpies are almost invariably male, but in my opinion, the best art has them la femme.

Even near the water look both ways.
Mind the gaps, lest the kelpie get ya.


A2Z Challenge — J is for Jinn

Jinni (plural Jinn) is romanticized and anglicized as Genie. In Arabic mythology Jinn are supernatural spirits below the level of angels and devils. Types of Jinn include shape shifters, evil spirits, and treacherous spirits of variable form. There are several types in Arabic. Jinn are beings of flame or air who can assume human or animal form and are said to dwell in all conceivable inanimate objects—stones, trees, ruins—underneath the earth, in the air, and in fire. I left out bottles and lamps, but those too.


Jinn have the same bodily needs of humans and can be killed, but they’re otherwise free of physical restraint. Jinn delight in punishing humans for any harm done them, intentionally or unintentionally, and are said to be responsible for many diseases and all kinds of accidents; however, those human beings who know the proper magical procedure can exploit Jinn to their advantage.


Belief in Jinn was common in early Arabia, where they were thought to inspire poets and soothsayers. Even Muhammad originally feared that his revelations might be the work of a Jinni. Their existence is acknowledged in Islam; thus, as with humans, they must face either salvation or damnation. Jinn, especially through their association with magic, are popular in North African, Egyptian, Syrian, Persian, and Turkish folklore and are hot topics in much of our popular literature and entertainment.

Important point to make: people believe in these, even today.

So, look both ways as you rub the lamp or uncork the bottle.
Do not piss off the genie and mind the gaps.


A2Z Challenge — I is for Imps


An imp is a mythological being like a fairy or goblin, frequently described in folklore and superstition. They can be ugly little trouble makers. Their faces are like thin stone frequently twisted into a smirk or a grimace. They have big ears, sometimes horns, and leathery bat-like wings. Their skin may be a reddish brown, or gray and scaly. Imps walk with an unpleasant hunch.

Imps are pranksters who know how to switch babies in cradles. They lead people astray in the wilderness. But they’re not very creative. They don’t design elaborate, malicious schemes by themselves. Their pranks are impulsive humor. If an Imp is seen engaging in more cleaver games, someone else is the mastermind.

Long ago, imps and fairies were considered the same. At some point, the imps became ugly and evil, while the fairies transitioned into sweet things like fairy godmothers, or Disney’s Tinkerbelle.

Fairy. See the difference?

According to folklore, Imps have limited magical powers. They can shapeshift and they may conjure up fire. They’re good spies because they sneak along quietly, disguise themselves, and can disappear. Every private investigator wants at least one. Imps could put all investigative journalists out of work if they could write.

Some cultures may still see Imps to be the same as fairies because both share a sense of free spirit and enjoyment of all things fun. Both enjoy pranks and misleading people. Most of the time, the pranks are harmless fun, but some could be upsetting and harmful.

Imps are not solitary. They like people and crave our attention. To that end, they consider their behavior good when we find it funny. This sometimes backfires when people tire of the imp’s annoying efforts, or become the target of impish antics.

A cutie, but still an Imp

Even when an imp is successful in friendship, it often plays pranks and jokes on its friends because that is the nature of the imp. It’s what they do. This trait is the source of the term “impish” for someone who loves pranks and practical jokes.

When tolerated, imps are familiar spirit servants of witches for whom the little demons serve as spies and informants. During the time of the witch hunts, supernatural creatures such as imps were sought out as proof of witchcraft. Often, the so-called “imp” was a dog, cat, lizard, toad, or some other form.

Imps can be bound or contained within an object like a sword or a crystal ball. They can be kept nearby and summoned when their master wants. Some may grant wishes like a genie.

In the 1891 story by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Bottle Imp, an imp is contained in a bottle and would grant the owner their every wish, provided that the owner’s soul would be sent to hell if the owner did not sell the bottle to a new owner before dying.

Carefully look both ways. The imps are watching you.
Mind the gaps.
Don’t forget to sell the bottle. An estate sale is way too late.