Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Huge surprise and challenge with the Kelpie of Corrievreckan necklace!

Cabochons awaiting embellishment
In my studio I have a delicious bowl of cabochons waiting for me to choose which one to embellish next with seed bead embroidery and luscious fringe. That little rainbow in the photo above is real! 

My studio twinkles with lots of rainbows from a stained glass prism I have hanging in the window. If there's any sunshine, the prism catches the light and surrounds me with magic rainbows. Yesterday I had one floating over my fingers as I finished work on my latest cabochon necklace, and it made me feel rather twinkly : )) But that's not the surprise in my title, read on.... 

Romance? Mystery?
Strong man on horse, swooning woman, hmmm....
A few days ago I had chosen this beautiful image to embellish, loving the romance of the swooning woman and the strong man on horseback.

I generally do a bit of research so that the very special people who purchase my designs have a story to tell, and a little background knowledge about what they're wearing. So I was happy to confirm that the illustration was done by Warwick Goble, one of the very best artists working during the Golden Age of Illustration. And I was very interested to discover it was done for a poem called The Kelpie of Corrievreckan, in Charles Mackay's The Fairy Book of Poetry.

Here comes the surprise and challenge! 

Where has he taken her? What is happening?
When I chose this image I thought it was so romantic and I loved the colors. Hey, strong, heavily infatuated man on beautiful horse holding swooning woman, what could be bad about that?

Oh. I read the poem. Click on The Kelpie of Corrievreckan to read it.

THIS very real, wicked scary place in the photo below is why the poem was written:

With kind permission: The Corryvreckan Whirlpool by Victoria Hillman, wildlife biologist,
award winning photographer, and National Geographic explorer.
THIS is a photo of the whirlpool at Corryvreckan (old English as in the poem title - Corrievreckan). 

It will eat you up. It eats ships. It almost ate George Orwell and his son.

So in case you didn't have a chance to read the poem, it's about DEATH! Not romance! Not a woman swooning for her love, but a woman whose life is being SUCKED out of her by the sea! Surprise!

AND my daughter's name is Jessica (same as the woman in the poem)! After the past year and the challenges we've had, you know I'm verrry protective of my sweet daughter. So I'm thinking "oh, what the heck do I do with this?" Challenge!

Never one to turn away from a good challenge, I did some research. Ah sweet Internet. I learned about kelpies, Beltane (mentioned in the poem), the significance of the May Day Festival of Beltane, and the message behind the poem.


Oh good, I can deal with those.

And, consequently, I can comfortably wear the necklace, though I may put it up on my Etsy shop, Dreamkeeper Creations, because it's truly beeeautiful and I already have several of this style - I like to share : ) 

According to Dr. Lizanne Henderson, course leader of Selkies and Kelpies: The Fairy Tale Degree, a postgraduate course in Scottish folklore, these myths [and poems] reflected a cultural fear of water in an age when many lived by the coast but were unable to swim.

There are a couple of curiosities about this poem. First, it happens during Beltane, (May 1st) the Irish, Scottish, and Isle of Man festival that celebrates the beginning of summer, when the herds were driven out into the pastures and fertility was enthusiastically acknowledged and celebrated. During ancient Celtic times, people were pastoral - dependent on their herds rather than crops and agriculture, so summer "began" earlier than recognized by today's general calendar.

So it is no wonder that during the Beltane festival mentioned in the poem, at that place and time, strong warnings would be given to the partying youngsters not to be seduced by the beauty of the deep but dangerous ocean water, to listen to ancestral guidance and intuition and be prudent in their activities. 

This image is all about the love of relatives keeping young ones safe, about listening to inner intuition and the guidance of our allies. I LOVE that! (Click on the image if you'd like to enlarge it.)

Capturing love, guidance, intuition, and the reminder to be prudent.
The other interesting thing about the poem is that it describes, in the end, the presence of the beautiful maiden's ghost following the Kelpie on his annual moonlight rides during Beltane - a suggestion that when death strikes, though in other forms, life goes on - hmmmm.

I can go for that. 

With a nod of thanks to all our ancestors telling stories to keep us safe because we are loved.


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