Around about now–on the last Tuesday of January–the citizens of the small Shetland town of Lerwick celebrate Up-Helly-Aa, a festival around two hundred years old that harks back over a millennia in celebrating these remote Scottish islands’ Norse heritage. Essentially a fire festival hailing the reborn sun, a “Guizer Jarl’s squad” of men dressed as Vikings carries a replica Viking longship through the streets at night, followed by hundreds of “guizers” (men in various, often termed, disguises) carrying firebrands. At journey’s end, the longship is set alight, initiating a night of wild carousing (womenfolk included)
“A Saintly Savior”
Remember St Aidan (Maedoc of Ferns, d. 626) on his feast day, for this Irish bishop protected wild animals. He is symbolized by the stag that he is said to have rendered invisible to its pursuers. (A stag, or its antlers, also represents the Horned God.)
Earth Witch Lore – Trolls
Trolls, or trows as they are sometimes called, are often thought to live under bridges. They are said to be ugly little creatures, but there are some old myths that claim that trows could pass for human. Some of the myths infer that trows are nocturnal and can only move about at night, while others say they are invisible and therefore simply unseen. Folklore from the Shetland Islands in Scotland lays claim to one distinguishing character trait carried by trolls; they walk backwards. Trolls has a distinct hatred for locked doors and are known to sneak into people’s homes at night if the occupants have locked the door before retiring.
While the tales of the trolls feature in folklore contain both gruesome and nonsensical elements there is little doubt that the troll relates to and falls under the rule of earth. Trolls were known to have magical powers. It was said that they could fly and enchant the wind and were masters of mixing healing potions, ointments and elixirs.