Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the University of Essex's Myth Reading Group to run a session on Japanese folklore. The group is part of the university's Centre for Myth Studies, which aims to support and promote the study of myth. For the past two terms, the Myth Reading Group has been focusing on trees... Continue Reading →
Halloween, or Samhain as it is traditionally known, is an auspicious time of year when the veils between worlds are thin. This means that all manner of supernatural creatures can pass through them to visit Earth - both friendly and unfriendly! Be sure to leave offerings for the spirits of visiting ancestors, and carve a... Continue Reading →
Tottori may be Japan's least populated prefecture in terms of people, but if it's yōkai you're counting then it will come out on top. In the city of Sakaiminato, they have taken over the streets with their somewhat disturbing charm. In Japanese folklore, yōkai are mischievous supernatural creatures akin to spirits or demons in Western culture. The... Continue Reading →
North of Caithness, on the islands of Orkney, the ocean is a magical place. The seals are its people. Those angels, who fell from heaven and landed amongst the waves. Sometimes they come ashore to moult or have pups. Sometimes, on the night of the solstice or during a full moon, you will catch a... Continue Reading →
In the city of Ise, you will find many shops selling charms in the shape of dogs. These things are homage to the Okage Inu (thankful dog) of local legend.
Where there are castles, there are also stories. Himeji is no exception. This vibrant, serene city is also home to one of Japan's most famous ghost stories.
In Mie Prefecture, on the east coast of Japan, I learned stories of sea demons, underwater dragon palaces, and the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.
With spring arriving, it's almost time to celebrate Ostara and the vernal equinox. This year, it falls on March 20th. The vernal equinox is when night and day are mostly equal, signalling the end of the dark winter nights. Ostara is one of the Pagan sabbats, and takes its name from the goddess Ostara. She is... Continue Reading →