Tag Archives: witches

Hekate, Witch or Goddess?

The Abduction of Persephone

Tuesday’s March Tale   March 30, 2021

Springtime is hardly known as the season of witches, but if you are a lover of supernatural stories—and like me you are fascinated by the myths, history, and fiction about witchcraft—every month is the season for witches. Also, since my birth date is on Halloween, I have both a fear and an attraction to witches. And while witches (associated with the word wicked) are traditionally thought to possess evil powers who communicate with spirits and underworld realms, acting out their powers of womanhood, I am wondering if there is much more to discover about witches than just their dark arts.

Today we are exploring the Titaness deity known as Hekate, or Hecate (pronounced Heck-ah-teh), an ancient witch-priestess. You may have seen images of this well-known witch, deemed the queen of witchcraft, black magick sorcerer, as a three-headed figure (she sees in all directions), standing at crossroads, holding torches or keys, with a black dog at her feet. She is revered as the goddess of magick of the night and the underworld, the moon, ghosts, and necromancy. Pretty hot babe, wouldn’t you say? She is among other dark goddesses like Kali, Morrigan, Brigid, Hel, Baba Yaga, Aradia, Isis, Persephone. 

In the story for this month’s reading, The Abduction of Persephone, Hekate makes a brief appearance in this tale of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of the earth) who have lost their daughter Persephone. Hades has abducted the girl. Hekate hears her screams from the Underworld. When Persephone eats the food of the dead, Zeus and Demeter must make a deal with Hades to get their daughter back.

This is an enchanting flash fiction (10-minute read), totally enjoyable, which symbolizes our shifting earth seasons, grief and loss, and brings meaning to mother/daughter love relationships. Reading myths can answer timeless questions about the value and insights of life, love, trust, good and evil. In the art of storytelling, these human experiences are everything.

Read the myth at Muses Realm:

http://www.musesrealm.net/stories/abductpersephone.html

Hekate has a much more powerful and impressive role in The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius (Chapter 47). In this myth, Hekate speaks to us and identifies her qualities. When the narrator Lucius is turned into an ass, it is Hekate who shows him how to return to his human shape.

Read Chapter 47 at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1666/1666-h/1666-h.htm#link2H_4_0061

In my research about Hekate (for a short story I’m writing and my upcoming supernatural novel Draakensky) I found a mix of good and evil in her mythical history. Hekate knows she has powers to both destroy and create and uses that power wisely. Many believe her to be an intuitive goddess, soul-knowing, who holds both darkness and light within her powers. Hekate favors the color black, lavender, and the Yew tree. She is said to be the Dark Mother. I can’t help align her with Mother Nature who brings us fruit, grain, herbs, flowers, the beauty of sunrise and sunset, but also brings us hurricanes, drought, poisonous plants, pestilence and disease.

Other reports of Hekate are less flattering. She is said to be the high witch of the underworld Hades, her rituals and rites associated with death and secrecy, and she can banish or produce a ghost or ghosts infestations. She holds the ultimate skeleton key to unlock the gates to all realms, including Hades. Does she cast spells? Probably. Does she invoke the devil? Some say yes, some say no. There is a clear uncertainty about Hekate. But truth is like the sun, it eventually shines.

If you are in the season of the Crone, on the wise woman’s journey to deeper self-discovery, or curious to experience the cave of feminine power, Hekate is a woman you might like to explore. The archetype of “the witch” is a seeker and bringer of ancient secrets if not deeper knowledge. Witch, goddess, priestess, queen, crone, healer, medicine woman, warrior, shaman, leader, mentor, whatever you call her, feminine power is on the rise in our society.

For more on Hekate, stop by Keeping Her Keys website by Dr. Cyndi Brannen, a psychologist, author, and teacher who writes from the crossroads of psychology, spirituality, and traditional wisdom merging ancient knowledge with modern practices.

https://keepingherkeys.com/

Interested in reading more about the Dark Goddess?

https://thegoddesscircle.net/dark-goddess-magick/

Also, here is a post about Lilith: Ancient Diety: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/lilith-ancient-demon-dark-deity-or-sex-goddess-005908

At this point, I cannot help but wonder where the crossroads meet between wicked witch vs. good goddess and what we might discover there. Is the shadow side of the Crone archetype the wicked witch? Or maybe it’s something else. What is the Dark Mother really about? You can read about The Dark Mother here: https://thenephilimrising.com/2017/06/22/the-dark-mother-lessons-from-lilith/

Do you think the patriarchy is losing power? These days the Divine Feminine is becoming stronger and more visible every day. There are legendary stories inside all of us. What is yours at this challenging time in our world? Is there a warrior woman inside of you?

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this page. I would love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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Dawn Wind in the Hawthorne

The Witch’s Headstone  by Neil Gaiman  (2008)

Tuesday’s Tale  of  Ghost Fantasy,  June 16, 2020

 

Who doesn’t remember the green-tinted witch in the film The Wizard of Oz? Deep inside our psyches, we are all ten years old when it comes to witches. And maybe deep inside you, there’s a little bit of a witch stirring around. Have you buried her? Author Neil Gaiman writes a story about not just ghosts in a graveyard, but a buried witch. I urge you to dig up your witch’s psyche and read what Gaiman has to tell us about traveling into the world of the dead.

A boy named Bod.  A witch. A graveyard. And of course, ghosts.  Bod is a charming young fellow who visits a graveyard and is fascinated by the residing ghosts. He meets the witch from Potter’s Field, and his adventures with an ancient Indigo man and the frightening Sleer create even higher dangers in the real world. An exciting little story that is entertaining for adults as well as for a YA audience (55% of YA readers are adults who love coming of age stories).  I felt like I was brought back to my own childhood with Bod exploring a graveyard and finding a mission to please the dead. As modern fairy tales go, this one is a charmer.

(Witch’s Headstone, illustration)

 

Read the short story here at Epdf.pub:

https://epdf.pub/the-witchs-headstone.html

 

The Witch’s Headstone was published as a short story in the Gaiman anthology M Is for Magic and in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy. This story is an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. If you enjoyed Bod’s adventures, you’ll likely want to read The Graveyard Book.

 

Neil Gaiman

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month.

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

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When I Was a Witch

When I Was A Witch  by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1910)

Tuesday’s Tale of Witches    February 19, 2019

Women and their identities have long been a theme in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s fiction. This short-short is a cunning little story about when wishes come true. If you are an animal lover of cats, dogs, horses, and fascinated by the power of witches, you’ve got to read this one!

 

“The thing began all of a sudden, one October midnight–the 30th, to be exact. It had been hot, really hot, all day, and was sultry and thunderous in the evening; no air stirring, and the whole house stewing with that ill-advised activity which always seems to move the steam radiator when it isn’t wanted. I was in a state of simmering rage–hot enough, even without the weather and the furnace–and I went up on the roof to cool off.”

 

 

Read the short story (30-minute read) here at Fantasy-Magazine:

http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/fiction/when-i-was-a-witch/

Listen to the audio (21 minutes) on YouTube:

Librivox  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3XDqr7H3rc

 

Many of you here at this blog know Gilman for her ground-breaking, bestselling The Yellow Wallpaper (read it here). She was a member of the prominent Beecher family of Connecticut, author of novels and nonfiction, 200 short stories, plays and thousands of essays, a poet, philosopher, and Utopian feminist for social reform.  Suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt called Gilman “the most original and challenging mind which the (women’s) movement produced.”  Gilman was inducted into the National Woman’s Hall of Fame in 1994.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman took her own life in 1935 after learning she had inoperable breast cancer.

 

“It is not that women are really smaller-minded, weaker-minded, more timid and vacillating, but that whosoever, man or woman, lives always in a small, dark place, is always guarded, protected, directed and restrained, will become inevitably narrowed and weakened by it.”  – CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Witch Hunt, Shirley Jackson Style

The Witch  by Shirley Jackson

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   August 8, 2017

Everyday evil. Shirley Jackson is a master at the subtleties of normal life streaming with little horrors. Most of us know Jackson’s most famous The Lottery (which she reportedly wrote in one morning) and The Haunting of Hill House.  In this 14-minute read of The Witch, the story opens with a little boy and his mom on a train. There is a little sister too. All cozy, right? Enter the witch, and this one is far from the old crone  you’d expect.

 

 

 

 

 

Read the short story here at jlax.wikispaces.com.

 

Listen to the  11-minute audio here at YouTube.com

 

 

 

“Shirley Jackson is the master of the haunted tale . . .   Everything this author wrote . . . has in it the dignity and plausibility of myth . . .  Shirley Jackson knew better than any writer since Hawthorne the value of haunted things.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Leaves no doubt as to Miss Jackson’s craftsmanship and power . . . utterly convincing detail that breaks down the reader’s disbelief.”
Saturday Review

 

I also recommend Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a novella, twisty and suspenseful tale. Book review on Amazon.com.

 

Do you love to read book reviews? I have about 100 book reviews on Amazon.com at Paula Cappa Reviews. Please stop by and take a quick read and click into the book title to read full review. I’d love it if you answer YES ‘if this review was helpful to you’:  PAULA CAPPA REVIEWS ON AMAZON.

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’

Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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A Witch is a Witch

The Witch  by Anton Chekhov (1918)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   March 3, 2015

images

The lovely and young Raissa, adorned with hair plaits that touch the floor, is a witch. Or maybe not. Her husband Savely is a red-haired, grouchy and repulsive  older man who believes his wife is a witch and blames her for the wicked snowstorm and cold they must endure in their little house in the countryside.

Our story opens in true Chekhovian style with descriptive atmospherics.

 

imgres“A plaintive lament sobbed at the window, on the roof, or in the stove. It sounded not like a call for help, but like a cry of misery, a consciousness that it was too late, that there was no salvation.”

A postman and his partner become lost in the storm and knock at their cabin door. Raissa opens the door to these strangers. And the postman becomes enchanted, or should I say bewitched, by Raissa’s lovely neck.

 

 

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Watch for the fascinating dark imagery that is the star of this story. Sexual and spiritual desires are themes in this fiction by the long acclaimed master of the short story, Anton Chekhov. He is famous for his anti-climactic endings that leave a reader to ponder Chekhov’s messages. And his prose! We can still marvel today at his talents.  Eudora Welty  said “Reading Chekhov was just like the angels singing to me.” For my writer followers here, in case you’ve not read Chekhov’s Six Principles of a Good Story, here they are. My favorite is #6. Chekhov certainly fulfilled that one.

  1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature
  2. Total objectivity
  3. Truthful descriptions of persons and objects
  4. Extreme brevity
  5. Audacity and originality: flee the stereotype
  6. Compassion

 

150px-Anton_Chekhov_and_Olga_Knipper,_1901Chekhov’s death has been a well-known story in literary history. Raymond Carver fictionalized it in his short story Errand (read it here). If you’re a Chekhov fan, you must read Errand. Chekhov’s wife Olga  tells it like this.  “Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): Ich sterbe (“I’m dying”). The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: “It’s a long time since I drank champagne.” He drained it and lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child.” [From Olga Knipper, Memoir, in Benedetti, Dear Writer, Dear Actress, 284]

 

anton-chekhov-by-serov-1903

 

Read The Witch at the Classic Reader http://www.classicreader.com/book/394/1/

Unfortunately I could not find an audio of this story but there are many others here at Chekhov Audio.

[Art of nude witch is by Albert Joseph Penot, “Sabbat,” 1910]

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 Bibliophilopolis

Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Ancient Sorceries, Dabblers in the Dark Arts

Ancient Sorceries by Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   February 5, 2013

“Because of sleep and because of cats.” What an odd turn of phrase. Got you puzzled? There is a deep mystery in these words in Blackwood’s short story Ancient Sorceries. If a passenger on a train said these words to you while stopped at a small town in France, would you think it was a warning or a riddle?

Blackwood, a masterful writer of the supernatural, was a psychical researcher who believed secret powers lie in everyone. So it seems fitting to trust him to mesmerize us totally with his imagination. In Ancient Sorceries, he writes a seamless prose that moves along with a plot of witches, felines, demons, and reincarnation.

The psychiatrist, John Silence, is a doctor of the mind but also of the soul, a psychic physician with great spiritual sympathies for his patient, Arthur Vezin. Vezin, a timid and sensitive man, recounts an experience to the doctor that is so bizarre, that Vezin barely survives to speak of it—or at least Vezin thinks he survives.

Vezin is travelling to London by rail but exits the train at an unknown sleepy hill town in France. He is attracted to this little town and stays at a rambling ancient inn because it was so warm and still, making him want to “purr.” But he quickly discovers that there are secrets in this town and the people he sees. Enchanted with these secrets, Vezin likens this experience to a “softly-coloured dream which he did not even realize to be a dream.”

What a very weird place to be.

He meets a woman with “red lips” and “laughing white teeth.” He falls in love. His intense longing for her versus his intense dread for her propels the story with great suspense. This woman’s dark magic ensnares him. Can he resist the adventure or does he succumb to the Dance that never dies?

Blackwood does not disappoint his readers with this “sweet and fearful fantasy of evil.” Ancient Sorceries will certainly leave you spellbound. Perhaps Blackwood is right that there is a force secretly hidden in all of us.

Read it here:

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/blackwood/algernon/john-silence/chapter2.html

Stop back next Tuesday for another Tale of Terror.

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Dreams in the Witch House … Lovecraft

Dreams in the Witch House by H.P. Lovecraft (1933)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror,   November 30, 2012

hauntedhouseimages

PICTURE THIS:  A bleak winter’s night. One candle light flickers. You are in the gabled attic bedroom of a 235-year-old house in Arkham, Massachusetts, not far from Salem.  The sinister scratching of scurrying rats from the wormy walls keeps you awake. Above is a cobwebbed sealed loft. A triangular gulf of darkness hangs to your left from the odd angles of the garret roof: slanted walls, peaked ceiling like a witch’s hat,  red, sticky fluid is smeared on a wall above a chewed out rat hole.

Now really, could you fall asleep? Don’t we love to be afraid like this? Well, at least in the safe confines of fiction, we do.

Walter Gilman, the main character in  Dreams in the Witch House  by H.P. Lovecraft, knows his garret bedroom in the old Witch House is likely haunted. That’s why he moved there. Mathematics and quantum physics are his studies; magic, legend, and three-dimensional space much occupy his mind. But more than that is his attraction to the story of old Keziah Mason’s witch trial back in the 1600s and how she vanished from that very attic room by casting her spells on the walls’ lines and curves  into points that created a dark spinning passage into the beyond.  Poof!

A dark passage into a fourth- or even a multi-dimensional reality, you ask? Walter believes this is possible, and he wants to find it. What he doesn’t count on is old Keziah and her darting sharp-tooth furry rodent with a bearded face, and tiny sets of human hands, who sucks the witch’s blood and relays messages between Keziah and the devil.

I ask again, why do we like this grisly stuff? Aren’t you dying to know what happens to our poor Walter?

When the nightmares begin, Walter is certain it is due to his brain-fever. Well, of course! But soon these dreams go far beyond ordinary nightmares:  Walter dreams of unspeakably menacing darkness with wild shrieking and roaring confusion, a labyrinth of hideous bubbling and choking, which plunge him into muddy abysses.  Oddly enough, when he wakes he finds this disgusting mud inside his bed. The dream becomes reality?

In another dream he actually meets Kaziah. The old crone is bent back, her face long-nosed with a shriveled chin. She drags him away by his pajama sleeve into a “violent-litten” peaked space.

Does Walter succeed in his exploration of space and dimensions? What sphere of points does he enter? Does the old witch and her fanged furry horror win? There’s no spoiler going to happen here. You’ll have to read The Dream in the Witch House yourself.

Dreams and nightmares will continue to puzzle and haunt us.  But fiction about nightmares can create deliciously scary tales that we really can’t resist. For another classic short about the supernatural power of nightmares, try The Leather Funnel by Arthur Conan Doyle. You won’t be disappointed in this chilling adventure.

Below is a link to The Dream in the Witch House.  And please take a look at my page of published short story links on another blog page; none are about nightmares. But my novel, Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural, certainly is.

The Dreams in the Witch House by Lovecraft: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/dwh.asp

The Leather Funnel by A.C. Doyle: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700561h.html#s2

Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural by Paula Cappa

http://www.amazon.com/Night-Journey-Tale-Supernatural-ebook/dp/B009ONWSC2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350058974&sr=1-1&keywords=Night+Sea+Journey+paula+cappa

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