swallowing the serpent

gorgosgorgos  asked:

Hello!! Long time follower! I am from the US mid-west, where there are many americans of Polish descent. An intern at my mother's school, who is from Poland, told her that the original spelling of my family's last name, Szczesny, means "lucky one" in polish. Is this true? If true, are there any uniquely polish symbols for luck? Thank you I love love love your blog!

Hello there and thank you for those kind words! ♥

I looked around for the meaning of the adjective ‘szczęsny’ (it’s not in regular use in the modern Polish language anymore) and I can confirm that in the old-Polish that word meant fortunate / lucky.

It’s closely related to the modern adjective ‘szczęśliwy’ which has a spectrum of meanings and depending on a context it can be translated to English as lucky or happy / joyful. I’d say it describes a mental feeling of luck and happiness.

Some sources say ‘szczęsny’ and ‘szczęśliwy’ are the same (only old vs modern Polish).

Both of them came from the noun ‘szczęście‘ that can also mean either luck or happiness (or both). A phrase ‘mieć szczęście’ means precisely ‘to have luck’, or ‘to be lucky’. Its etymology is the proto-Slavic sъčęstьje that meant happiness.

I had to think for a while about any unique symbols of luck in Poland. Most of them are universal (known worldwide or across all Slavic countries / eastern Europe). We cherish symbols like the horseshoe, four-leaf clover, rabbit’s foot, wishbone, cheemney sweeper (in my region after seeing the cheemney sweeper you have to grab a button and see a person in glasses within a few minutes while holding the button in order to grant the luck). 

Something I’ve been told is a bit more unique is a stork that is bringing luck in the Polish and Slavic folklore. 

A swallow can also bring luck, and the person who saw the first swallow arriving in spring was granted luck for the rest of the year. House which was chosen by a swallow to make a nest under its roof was predicted to have luck as well. 

In folklore of many Polish regions gray or white cats were bringing luck. 

To bring happiness and prosperity into the farm the rural people were making ‘the first spring blessing of cattle’ ceremonies and in them a cow in a wreath made of flowers and herbs was bringing the luck for the entire farm. 

Many behaviours of the horses were bringing the luck. In general, horses were among the most sacred animals in old-Slavic beliefs and their behaviour was used in divinations. I think the beliefs about the horseshoes are connected to it in the particular example of Poland and other Slavic countries. A horseshoe was often burried under the foundation or tresholds of a new house to bring luck into it in the future. You can find many really cute designs of horses upon looking for a ‘konik ludowy’ (’folk horse’ in Polish), at least in the Polish google.

Some types of serpents native to Polish lands were bringing luck into the households, and they were believed to have their own serpent king (adder / viper king) - killing him was a doomed fate and its killer could’ve been excluded from the community. According to ethnographic sources there were regions in Poland where serpents were sacred animals and even kept in households, meant to protect from evil spells and bring the luck. In old legends and folklore a viper (żmija) was associated with a good land dragon (żmij) that in turn was associated with the Slavic god Weles / Veles.

A popular symbol bringing luck from the legends is the fern flower.

Houses were decorated with wycinanki - the decorative papercuts - and those had a whole range of purposes including protection but also bringing luck and happiness into the house. Many decorative pisanki (Easter eggs) were also meant to bring luck.

If you’re really looking for uniquely Polish symbols I suggest you can totally use some wycinanki for the luck. You can sometimes find a design with horses or storks and something like the one below would look great with swallows too [x]:

Here I have to also mention that many of such decorative, colorful flowers in the Polish wycinanki are sometimes interpreted as symbolizing the luck-bringing fern flower.

If you want a special amulet, a luck-bringing protective amulet from old Polish / Slavic folklore was a nawęza (simplified English spelling: nah-ven-zah). To make a nawęza you have to find either a small stone (the best is flat), a bone part, a fossil, a shell or a piece of wood that has already a ‘natural-made’ hole in it. Nawęzy are worn around the neck on a thin leather strap, or inside small pouches made of linen or wool that can be embroidered.

These are only a few examples, let me know if you want to know more :)

Legendary Creatures [B]

From Wikipedia, See the Full Alphabet HERE

Cool fakemon idea: legendary Pokemon that is a fusion of Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf. It is the ultimate Pokemon of spirit and has an ethereal look, like it’s not entirely solid. It is Dragon/Psychic type and looks like an elegant serpent/Eastern dragon so that it matches its counterparts, Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. Its name is derived from the words “our”, “ouroboros” (the mythical serpent swallowing its tail to symbolise the cycle of nature) and “aurora borealis”. Auroras appear in the sky above Mt Coronet when this Pokemon uses its power.

Dendar, The Night Serpent

Colossal Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar)

Climate/Terrain: The Fugue Plane 

Organization: Solitary

Alignment: Neutral evil

“In Shar’s domain of night I rest,

So dreams may show me how

I’m blessed.

If screams of terror break my sleep,

Then Dendar’s sunk her fangs too deep.” -  Prince of Lies, James Lowder

During the time known as the Blue Age, a race of sea creatures was living on Toril in the planet’s single, vast ocean. 

The Blue Age came to an end when a primordial known as Dendar the Night Serpent swallowed the sun, giving way to the Shadow Epoch. 

Sarrukh myths and legends tell of great battles during this time between the primordials and the Elder Gods led by Ouroboros the World Serpent. 

The war turned in the gods’ favour when the primordial Ubtao the Deceiver assisted the elder gods in slaying, imprisoning, or driving away the remaining primordials


Some say that Dendar the Night Serpent was created the first time a mortal creature had a dream. 

Since her creation, Dendar has been devouring the nightmares of mortals, gathering them in her gullet where they swim in an eternal miasma of fear and hatred. She takes pleasure in swallowing the fears of mortals and immortals alike, particularly enjoying the fancies of kings and gods. 

The Night Serpent is said to be the harbinger of the end of the world, so that when she has swallowed enough nightmares, she will come forth from her lair to douse all of existence in darkness and fear. Even the gods will be unable to stop her, because they are subject to the same nightmares as the mortals who serve them.

A sect of plane-hopping clerics and monks of Kelemvor (formerly Myrkul) believe that it is their sacred duty to stop this from happening. They train every generation to hunt the Night Serpent on her plane, forcing her to expend precious nightmares in defence of her lair and her life. Although these religious fanatics know that they go to their deaths when they move against Dendar, they believe that they are vital to the continued existence of Faerûn and its people.

Although she sometimes slithers across the fiendish planes, Dendar is content to spend most of her time in her lair, contentedly gorging on the world’s unremembered nightmares. 

She lives in a vast cave near the river that surrounds the Fugue Plane, and the hiss of her breathing echoes throughout that plane as she sleeps. She is automatically aware of any creature that approaches her cave, and she awakens in order to savour the taste of their worst nightmares before she destroys them.


The Night Serpent appears as a 300-foot-long serpent with scales that range in colour from midnight black to deep green. These scales represent the physical embodiment of the nightmares that she has swallowed over the millennia. 

Her slit-pupil eyes are the sickly yellow-black of rotten eggs, and her forked tongue flickers incessantly over her smooth lips. Dendar’s mouth unhinges at the jaw to reveal a maw large enough to swallow a dragon without trouble. She has four jagged fangs that sink deep into the flesh of her enemies, injecting a nightmare venom that slowly works to destroy their minds.

Her tongue is a weapon, too, able to knock giants from their feet with a single swipe and entangle bitten foes so she can swallow them whole. Beneath her tongue is a viscous pit of greasy spittle and the bones of enemies past. She secretes the essence of nightmares that she has devoured, and constantly regurgitates the souls of those she has destroyed.


Dendar prefers to confront attackers head-on, using her awesome bite attack and nightmare venom to incapacitate a single combatant at a time. She prefers to target spellcasters first, since her nightmare scales can eliminate or severely weaken melee fighters before she finishes them off. 

She often just slithers over creatures in her path, crushing them under her awesome weight. Dendar tries not to kill her opponents, preferring to put them into an endless sleep with her venom so that she can feed upon their nightmares forever.

Dendar does not need to worry about most mortal challengers, and it would take a concerted effort by several of the most powerful angels, demons, or devils to give her pause. Should she ever find her opponents actually damaging her, she would not hesitate to unleash the nightmares from her gizzard in an attempt to trap her attackers inside their greatest fears forever.

Dendar the Night Serpent in Faerûn

The Time of Troubles was more than just a time when the gods walked the land. It was also a formidable recruiting tool for apocalyptic cults everywhere. 

As the gods died right before the eyes of ordinary Faerûnians, it began to seem as if the entire world might be in peril. 

Even though things have calmed and the reorganized pantheon has begun to rebuild its base, gods continue to disappear (the recent upheaval in the Underdark because of Lolth’s disappearance is a prime example), while others war for dominion of the various aspects of existence. This was the perfect time for the cults of Dendar the Night Serpent to make great gains in both numbers and resources.

Cults revolving around Dendar are active across Faerûn, but the two largest and most devoted can be found in Calimport and the Jungles of Chult. In Calimport, the Sacred Order of Akabar recruits thieves, assassins, and other skulks to fulfil their twisted purpose.

The Order in Calimport expect to rule over the remaining planes of existence as the Serpent Mother’s chosen people. They do so by kidnapping and drugging the dregs of Calimport society, who are kept in a secret chamber and feed Dendar with an endless string of poison- and narcotics-induced nightmares.

The other large group of Dendar-related cultists can be found in the Jungles of Chult, hidden among the caves below the Peaks of Flame. Unlike the Sacred Order of Akabar, these cultists are bent on preventing the Night Serpent from destroying the world. 

They believe that they are the guardians of an enormous iron door through which Dendar will one day slither and attempt to eat the sun. The Spearbearers of Ubtao, as they call themselves, believe that they must maintain a long list of rituals in order to give their god the strength to defeat Dendar when she finally hungers for the light of the world. 

Many of these rituals require the sacrifice of sentient life, however, leading the Spearbearers to commit evil acts in the act of saving the world. 


          There was something to be said for the tranquility that came from stalking his prey. Out shrouded in darkness, his way lit only by the ghostly glare of streetlights, had always been where his best ideas had been crafted and put into use. After all, he’d always been proficient when it came to thinking on his feet, and while some preferred to pace in a dimly-lit room he’d always found a certain comfort in stepping into a more predatory mindset. It allowed him to listen to his instincts with a clarity he found difficult during the day, at a time where neither desperation nor depression could cloud his thoughts. It allowed him to put together a plan he could use.

          It also provided him with the semblance of a connection that was alien to him in his everyday life. He knew his chosen and their lifestyle better than almost anyone; he knew their friends, their schedule, the dates of important events in their lives… hell, he could have told them what they had for breakfast every Monday morning. Provided there weren’t any surprises in their daily activities, there wasn’t much that he couldn’t figure out merely by watching them. If his obsession became great enough—and there were occasions, much like this, where it had—he might even decide to extend the time he spent talking… and take bolder risks in doing so.

     Something about Ansen had caught his eye in a way few others did. 

          Now, weeks later, his plans had been put into action—sort of. Originally, much like all other prey he stalked and hunted, he was meant to drag Ansen back to a remote place to dispose of him. For better or for worse… he’d shifted away from his usual routine. After supplying the oh-so-necessary fracture to his skull, instead of finding a remote location to dump his body, he’d ended up bringing him to an empty cabin four hours from his abduction sight. A few further attempts to keep him unconscious had ensued, but aside from the minor trauma to his skull, his so-called victim had suffered very minor injuries—especially given what he normally enacted.

          Of course, it meant instead of safely embraced in the arms of death, he was chained to a comfortable-looking bed in a cabin a good hike away from civilization, and that happened to be used by its owners only twice a year. Worse still, he was trapped with a ( more than ) slightly panicked, dissatisfied, and otherwise deranged serial killer… one currently occupied with pacing through the empty hallway in an anxious haze, waiting for Ansen to awaken.

Request for a dream oracle: Take a strip of clean linen and write on it the following name. Roll it up to make a wick, pour pure olive oil over it and light it. Formula to be written is this:
In the evening then, when you are about to go to sleep, being pure in every respect, do this: Go to the lamp, say 7 times the following formula, extinguish the light and go to sleep. The formula to be spoken is as follows:
“SACHMOUNE PAEMALIGOTEREENCH, the one who shakes, who thunders, who has swallowed the serpent, surrounds the moon, and hour by hour raises the disk of the sun, ‘CHTHETHONI’ is your name. I ask you, lords of the gods, SETH CHREPS: reveal to me concerning the things I wish.”
—  PGM VII. 359-69

How do you fly so close
to the sun without glare?
Your kind should be turned to stone
in the light; warmth seems the antivenom
to your snake blood.

Does the bright promise of the sky not
obscure the space between clouds?
You move like the moon
costumed as Apollo,
Hades’ heart hidden–
have you etched a face to the name

I swallowed your serpent spit
pomegranate seeds;
grow a world tree, adopt foreign mythology,
desire driving belief.

Hera must admire Artemis,
consider setting the titans free
when lightning leaves the atmosphere
for dirt.

My mirror reveals Valkyrie wings;
your vampire eyes lack reflection.

The Starry Night

by Anne Sexton

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

Winter is Coming

The dark winter is coming, I have seen it in my dreams

Dark skies, frozen lands, the glaciers creeping toward us

Ragnarok, the serpent swallowed sun

The wolf Fenrir breaks his bonds and seals their fate, the gods

Thor battles the world serpent and meets his final doom

The dark winter is coming I have seen it in visions

Steam rises and flames grow as the sky grows ever darker

Ragnarok, the fire red raging sky

Odin one eyed all father falls in battle

all is lost, all is lost, the gods have perished, all is lost

๑ Samsaran ๑

’“keggǫld, skálmǫld skildir ro klofnir

vindǫld, vargǫld áðr verǫld steypiz.

Mun engi maðrǫðrom þyrma.

Axe age, wind age, wolf age

Brothers will fight and kill each other

No man will have mercy on another.”

– Völuspá, The Poetic Edda verse 41

it happens all the time.

i meet male journalists, and they smile at me and they say, like they already know the answer, “so, you want to be a features writer, then?”

because, you see, that’s what women do in journalism. they don’t want any of the things i want. they don’t want crime, investigation, a war. we write fluff pieces and do cat stories. we write about lipstick and hemlines and shoes. (and, of course, writing about these things has no value, besides, because these things have no value for men. these things are for silly little girls, because that’s all we are.)

we don’t do things that are dangerous. we don’t do things which might force men to compete with us. we don’t do things that are hard.

and every single time, i don’t smile, and i think to myself, ‘i wonder how much it stings you that the greatest journalist who’s ever lived was a woman?

okay, what about marie colvin? johanne suttonjulia campbellveronica guerin? yolanda ordaz de la cruz? lissy schmidtmichelle langzahra kazemizakia zakiveronika cherkasova? uma singhregina martínez pérezlea schiavimaría isabella cordero? the women who died for the truth, are they important enough, are they clever and cunning and dedicated enough, are they enough? are they enough to matter?

i lie awake at night, and i wonder. how much will i have to do to prove my commitment to this. where will i have to go, without ever seeming scared, because fear is weakness, and you can’t afford to be weak. how many things will i have to do, that no man would ever have to, just to be allowed a place at the table, and not a very good place at that. how perfect do i have to make the mask. how many facts to i have to learn and books do i have to read and laws do i have to recite. how many times will i have to sit through a man telling me that he would never want what i want, so i shouldn’t either. how many times? how many times is too many?

because male journalists, you see, just have to be better than their contemporaries. it’s easy for them, or, at least, easier. i have to be better than all of them. they have to be better. i have to be the best.

and it might just be me, but that doesn’t seem like the greatest way to fight a war on information that’s hardly even begun, in a world which we barely understand, with a cacophony of voices that are almost never heard. the straight white middle class cis male default is in impediment to understanding, to perception, because it obfuscates. because it lies. 

and sometimes i wonder, is it childish to care about this? and that’s the biggest, most dangerous, most debilitating lie of all– because, no. fuck, no. it’s my job

but that’s sort of the problem isn’t it. because, as usual, this serpent swallows its own tail.


The dark winter is coming, I have seen it in my dreams

Dark skies, frozen lands, the glaciers creeping toward us

Ragnarok, the serpent swallowed sun

The wolf Fenrir breaks his bonds and seals their fate, the gods

Thor battles the world serpent and meets his final doom

The dark winter is coming I have seen it in visions

Steam rises and flames grow as the sky grows ever darker

Ragnarok, the fire red raging sky

Odin one eyed all father falls in battle

all is lost, all is lost, the gods have perished, all is lost

๑ Samsaran ๑

’“keggǫld, skálmǫld skildir ro klofnir

vindǫld, vargǫld áðr verǫld steypiz.

Mun engi maðrǫðrom þyrma.

Axe age, wind age, wolf age

Brothers will fight and kill each other

No man will have mercy on another.”

– Völuspá, The Poetic Edda verse 41