The Birthplace of Halloween

The site of Tlachtga (aka Tlachta) on the Hill of Ward, in County Meath, Ireland is believed to have been the first site of the celebration of Samhain, the precursor to our modern Halloween. The ringfort dates from around 200 AD but festivals and rituals at the site may have taken place as far back as 1000 BC. Priests, augurs and druids used to assemble there to light the winter fires of the Great Fire Festival on Samhain eve. Under penalty of law, all fires that were lit within the kingdom that night were to be kindled from the fire at Tlachtga. Samhain was a festival celebrating the dead and it also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year. It was during this time that the Irish believed that the graves would open and their gods and spirits, who dwelt inside, would walk the earth again. The emerging of creatures from a cave, Oweynagat, (Ireland’s so-called ‘gate to hell’) is part of this belief.

The site takes its name from Tlachtga the daughter of the Druid Mug Ruith who died there giving birth to triplets. It was known in medieval Ireland as a place where Mug Ruith’s flying machine Roth Rámach had been seen, and where the Ard Rí (High King of Ireland) Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair had held a massive assemblage in 1168. He was the last High King of Ireland before the Norman invasion. It’s one of only three similar sites in Ireland; the others being the Hill of Tara and Rathcroghan in nearby County Roscommon.

You asked me, mother, why I only ate six seeds, then,
and I didn’t know what to say, way back when.

Why six seeds?
Because I love the places living things grow,
but I love more the home of lifeless bones.

Why six seeds?
Because I love the summer breeze,
but I love more the falling leaves.

Why six seeds?
Because I love the blue skies,
but I love more the things that died.

Why six seeds?
Because I love you, mother,
but I love more my broken lover.

Why six seeds?
Because I love the echoes of that distant shore,
but I love my freedom so much more.

—  Persephone’s confession | (h.c.r.)



Gameunjang-agi (가믄장 아기) is the Korean goddess of fate and luck.

The legend tells of a beggar couple who birthed their first child. The farmers in the area gather gifts in a silver bowl for mother and child. Therefore, the first daughter is named the silver child. After the birth of the second daughter, the farmers bring their gifts in a brass shell and the girl is named the brass child. After the birth of the third daughter, the people bring their gifts only in a wooden bowl, so the last daughter is named the timber child. This is Gameunjang-agi.

With her birth, luck and wealth come to the house of the beggar. The parents become rich, forget that they were once beggars and ask their daughters to whom they owe their good life. The first two daughters claim that they owe their happiness to heaven, earth, and their parents. However, the youngest daughter replies against their expectation, that she owed her happiness to heaven and earth, father and mother, and her own power. The father gets so angry that he throws his youngest daughter out of the house. In retaliation, Gameunjang-agi transform her sisters into a centipede and a mushroom while the two parents are afflicted with blindness.

Gameunjang-agi wanders around the country, finding shelter in the small house of a family with three sons. The first two sons come home with roots, cooking them and giving themselves the better parts. However, the third son saves the worst part of the root for himself, giving Gameunjang-agi a better part instead. Eventually, she and the third son fall in love. One day, they find roots of gold in the forest. Becoming wealthy, they marry and live in happiness.

But Gameunjang-agi begins to long for her parents, so she organizes a party for all the beggars and the blind in the country. From everywhere they come, but her parents she cannot discover. As the festival approaches to its end, a blind beggar couple runs about the place: the parents of Gameunjang-agi. She gives them food from the feast and makes herself known as their daughter. Her parents, in a shock, begin to regain their eyesight.


The legend of the “giant octopus” (Kraken) may have begun by chance sightings of dead giant squid (Archeteuthis dux) that floated up from the abyss. Ancient sailors may also have encountered the enormous beaks and tentacles of giant squid within the stomachs of beached or hunted sperm whales and pilot whales.

"Sea serpents" and the Lusca of Caribbean mythology may also have their origins in the giant squid.

While it’s unlikely that a giant squid ever sank a seafaring ship on its own, the flailing arms and hooks of a dying squid certainly would have seemed like an attack, and in 1873, one specimen near Bell Island, Newfoundland, overturned a dory (a small, shallow-water boat) and cut the flesh of the young boy and minister who thought they were out for a calm day of fishing. What a fishing story THAT would have made!

Histoire naturelle, générale et particuliere, des mollusques, animaux sans vertèbres et a sang blanc. Felix de Roissy and Pierre Denys de Montfort, 1805.

Have you guys heard of the Penelopiad?

I’m reading some Margaret Atwood for my Canadian Lit class, and boy-howdy has she ever got a lot to say about mythic writing. She’s written essays on the significance of death and the hero’s journey into the underworld, as well as how these tropes appear in modern fiction.

I didn’t know until just now that she also wrote The Penelopiad, which is a story about Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, reminiscing about the events of The Odyssey, her husband, and time in Hades. I haven’t read it yet but you’d better believe I’m gonna be all over that come semester’s end.



This is a part of my project ”30 Gods of Comedy”. 

Day 5.

Geb/Heb/Seb, the green god of the Earth, has every reason for being indignant. After all, his friend Ra exasperated his temper by forbidding his wife to bear their children and after poor goose did its dirty job it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. 
(In ancient Egyptian art Geb was usually depicted with a goose on his head.)