Archive for the ‘Legends’ Category

Among the many wonderful Celtic legends is that of the selkie, a creature that can become human by removing its seal skin, and return to its life in the sea by once again donning that skin. A selkie who cannot find its seal skin is doomed to stay on land in human form.

A common element of the selkie myth is that of a man who sees a selkie become a woman and hides her seal skin, so that she must become his wife. Typically in these stories, she loves her husband, and loves the children she bears him, but one of those children unwittingly finds the seal skin her husband has hidden for so many years, and she will without hesitation return to her life in the sea. It infallibly calls to her more strongly than her husband and children, despite her love for them.
A selkie man is said to be unusually handsome, with great powers of seduction over women, in their human form. They have the power to cause storms and sink ships.
There are several ideas about where the stories of the selkies originated. One is that shipwrecked Spanish sailors, washed up on the Celtic shores, looked at a glance like seals, with their jet black hair slicked back with seawater. Another theory revolves around the Sami of Northern Norway, traveling the sea in kayaks wearing sealskin coats. Some stories say they are fallen angels (those that fell on land became fairies, and those that fell in the sea became selkies), while others say they are the souls of people who committed suicide or those who had drowned. Regardless of where the stories originated, they are known throughout the Celtic world, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, and the Orkney, Faroe, and Shetland Islands and Scandinavian countries. Some claim the stories are of Scandinavian origin while others claim they come from the Orkney Islands.
In addition to the ancient legends, there have been numerous modern novels and movies involving selkies. The Secret of Roan Inish is a great favorite around my house, but there is also Selkie, made in 2000 and featuring Shimon Moore of the Australian band Sick Puppies, last year’s Ondine with Colin Farrell, and the upcoming animated movie, Song of the Sea. There are far too many novels, songs, and even television depictions of selkies to list.

An old ballad call The Great Selkie of Skule Skerrie tells the story this way:

I heard a mother lull her bairn,
and aye she rocked, and aye she sang.
She took so hard upon the verse
that the heart within her body rang.
“O, cradle row, and cradle go,
and aye sleep well, my bairn within;
I ken not who thy father is,
nor yet the land that he dwells in.”
And up then spake a grey selchie
as aye he woke her from her sleep,
“I’ll tell where thy bairn’s father is:
he’s sittin’ close by thy bed feet.
“I am a man upon the land;
I am a selchie on the sea,
and when I’m far frae ev’ry strand,
my dwelling is in Sule Skerry.
“And foster well my wee young son,
aye for a twal’month and a day,
and when that twal’month’s fairly done,
I’ll come and pay the nourice fee.”
And when that weary twal’month gaed,
he’s come tae pay the nourice fee;
he had ae coffer fu’ o’ gowd,
and anither fu’ o’the white money.
“Upon the skerry is thy son;
upon the skerry lieth he.
Sin thou would see thine ain young son,
now is the time tae speak wi’ he.”
“But how shall I my young son know
when thou ha’ ta’en him far frae me?”
“The one who wears the chain o’ gowd,
`mang a’ the selchies shall be he.
“And thou will get a hunter good,
and a richt fine hunter I’m sure he’ll be;
and the first ae shot that e’er he shoots
will kill baith my young son and me.”
Great is the secret yet easy to master,
giving to thee the mastery of time.
When upon thee death fast approaches,
fear not but know ye are master of Death.”

The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Atlantean

 

The debate about the Knights Templar holding the secrets of the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, the Philosopher’s Stone and other mystical treasures of antiquity rage on today just as they have continued to catch the imagination of writers, poets and researchers for the past 603 years since the Templars were rounded up on Friday, the 13th of October, 1307 and imprisoned for heresy. 

The history of the Templars as recorded does not account for the thousands of Templars who escaped the purge in 1307.  They went somewhere and that is where the controversy, speculation and wild imagination came into play.  Some said that they quietly disbanded and joined with the remaining chivalric orders of the day such as the Knights of Jerusalem and the Teutonic Knights. Others believe that they took their ships and went to Scotland where they joined up with Robert the Bruce to fight the King of England for Scottish Freedom.  Still others believe that they made voyages to the Americas where they buried the Templar treasures at Oak Island in a booby-trapped pit.  None or all of these could be true.  Certainly there were enough ‘leftover’ members of the Order to undertake a number of enterprises and the records show that they also had the financial means to do whatever they pleased.

I am not a researcher, nor have I ever written a non-fiction work.  I am but a poor writer of fiction for the Knights of the Temple.  On the other hand, my extensive research into the Knights Templar has taken me to the far reaches of obscurity over the years. I have delved into the history of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Sumerians and the Mormons; the Romans, the Greeks and the Celts.  I have studied the crusades and the history of Scotland, looked into the mysteries of the Freemasons and plowed through prehistory and speculation regarding Stonehenge, Maes Howe, Ley Lines, the Great Pyramid and the Tomb of the First Emperor of China.  My research has crossed the globe from the cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea to the plains of Nazca overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  In my mind, I have traveled the world in search of answers and I believe that I may have found some.

What, you may ask, is the significance of the bit of poetry at the top of the page?  That short refrain is but a part of a mysterious book called the Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Atlantean.  The thirteenth chapter is called: the Keys of Life and Death.  In this chapter, the author tells of a way of bringing on death whenever the soul is ready for a new body and describes a method for transferring the memories of the current life into the brain of the next physical incarnation, explaining that this is the way of the Great Souls of Old and the Avatars.  Many people think this is a book of nonsense.  Perhaps it is.

During my studies of the Templars, I learned that they were connected heavily with France and that the first Templars or founding fathers were all French.  In France, the Templars made connections with the Cathars, a religious sect in which the leaders were called the Parfaits or the Perfects.  These Cathars were seen as a threat to the Catholic Church because it was rumored that they knew something that could potentially damage the Church or that they had great treasures needing to be pillaged for the benefit of the Church.  And so, the Pope declared them heretics and set out to rid the world of the Cathars in a crusade known as the Albigensian Crusades that started in 1207, one hundred years before the Templar atrocity and continued on until 1255 when military operations against them ceased.  The last burning of a Cathar took place in 1321, seven years after the Templar Grandmaster was roasted in Paris.  Strangely enough, the Cathars inhabited the southern part of France known as the Languedoc, the same region of France where the Templars allegedly planned to build their own country.

When the army besieged the Cathar stronghold of Montsegur in 1243, the Cathars there held out for nine months before falling.  Just before the castle fell, two or three people allegedly escaped from the castle by scaling a rope down the cliff face and taking with them the Cathar’s greatest secret.  Some sources said that these escapees were Templar sympathizers and that the Cathar secret was the Holy Grail or possibly the Ark of the Covenant.  Scaling a cliff with the Ark of the Covenant seems unlikely.  The Holy Grail?  Maybe, if it was indeed a chalice and that is an entirely different can of worms.  But more likely, it is possible that it was a precious book or scroll and possibly even something that the Templars had entrusted to the Cathars to keep for them.  Possibly something that the original Templar founding fathers had found buried under the ruins of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. 

The Cathar’s, it seemed, practiced an odd ceremony or sacrament called the Consolamentum wherein the acolyte apparently gave up everything that might corrupt the body and lived entirely on water and air.  Unfortunately, not many of the Cathar Parfaits or Perfect Ones lived very long after partaking of this sacramental ceremony.  However! And this is where the above reference to the Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Atlantean comes into to play, in reading the records of how the crusaders found the Parfaits after the fall of Montsegur and comparing their condition with the writings in chapter 13 of the Emerald Tablets, it seems that the Cathars were practicing Thoth’s Keys of Life and Death.  The Parfaits were found lying on their backs in a circle with their heads pointed toward the center, peacefully smiling and utterly dead without the slightest evidence of what might have killed them.  The rest of the Cathars were marched out of the castle down the hill to a place where the soldiers had built a roaring bonfire.  The Cathars are said to have walked calmly into the fire while singing and died without giving out the least sign of pain or suffering. 

Chapter 13 of the Emerald Tablets also refers to passing from this world into death without pain and suffering much as the Cathars did at Montsegur:

“Hear ye, O man, and list to my voice.
List to the wisdom that gives thee of Death.
When at the end of thy work appointed,
thou may desire to pass from this life,
pass to the plane where the Suns of the Morning
live and have being as Children of Light.
Pass without pain and pass without sorrow
into the plane where is eternal Light.”

With these connections in mind, I wrote into my Assassin Chronicles, book number twenty-three (as yet unpublished), the idea that Thoth, the Atlantean was indeed a real entity, an Atlantean Priest King who founded Egyptian civilization after the sinking of Atlantis .  And that, even though he lived over 36,000 years ago, he is still alive and waiting for the time when he will be needed again.  All we have to do is study his tablets and learn how to call upon him to return from the Halls of Amenti.  Yet another mysterious legend tied to the Knights Templar.  Obscure, maybe, but great fodder for faith or fiction, your choice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Brendan Carroll is the author of over thirty books, including the Assassin Chronicles, Red Cross of Gold series and Tempo Rubato, a story of Mozart, mystery, and time travel. 
Brendan Carroll was born and raised in Southeast Texas, finally ending up in the beautiful Texas Lake Country. Throughout his scholastic career, he wanted nothing more than to tell a good story, get a few laughs or give a few frights. After high school, he joined the US Navy and spent the next four years serving the country in the fighter training squadron VT-86 out of Pensacola, Florida. In college, he majored in Environmental Science and Geography with a minor in Geology and ended up with a teaching certificate for Secondary Earth Sciences. After one year of teaching fourteen and fifteen-year-olds, his desire to inspire young minds was laid to rest and he took up a position serving the State of Texas in the Correctional Field. In his spare time, he has produced over thirty novels which are currently being published in Kindle format as well as paperback at a much slower pace. His one aim is to entertain the reader with a good tale and hope that they may get something more from his work than just a laugh, a fright or a sigh.
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Brendan will be back Friday with an interview, and on Monday, I will be posting a review of his book Tempo Rubato, the mystery and adventure story of Mozart rescued moments before his inevitable death to be brought to the 1990′s.