Friday, April 26, 2013

King Redbeard or Frederick Barbarossa of Kyffhaeser

Emperor Barbarossa and his sons, Henry, King of Rome and Frederick, Duke of Swabia

Grimm’s Saga No. 23  Frederick Barbarossa at Kyffhaeuser 

Many stories have circulated about this Kaiser which assert that he is not really dead but shall live until Doomsday. Also no other rightful king shall ever come after him. Until then he sits concealed within the Kyffhausen Mountain and when he emerges he shall hang his shield on a barren branch, whereupon the tree shall sprout and better times shall come. Sometimes he speaks to the people who arrive at the mountain. At other times he shows himself to them. Often he sits on a bench by a round stone table, holds his head in his hand and sleeps. He bobs his head and blinks his eyes. His beard has grown long; some say it has grown through the stone table. Others have said his beard winds around the table in such a way that it must go around three times before he wakes up. But until now his beard has only encircled the table twice.

A farmer from the village of Reblingen wanted to transport his corn to Nordhausen in 1669 but he was stopped by a man of diminutive size and led into the mountain. There he was instructed to empty his sack of corn and fill it with gold instead. This farmer saw the Kaiser sitting but he did not move.

A gnome also once led a shepherd into the cave. He was whistling a song that the Kaiser enjoyed, whereupon the Kaiser stood up and asked “Are the ravens still flying around the mountain?” When the shepherd replied yes the king cried out: “Now I must sleep one hundred years longer.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

“The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk."

The Owl of Minerva (Roman) or Menrva (Menerva, Etruscan)

Menrva was an Etruscan goddess most like the Greek goddess Athena.  Bearing helmet, lance and shield, the myth surrounding the birth of Athena was also part of Menrva's backstory.  Menrva purportedly sprang from the head of Tinia. Tinia was the Etruscan god of heaven, sometimes depicted with a beard, at other times beardless, but always bearing a bundle of lightening bolts.

Minerva, the Roman goddess, was the protector of skilled manual laborers, craftsmen, and teachers. Her primary festival was held March 19 - 23 and called the Quinquatrus. Because of Minerva's skill and knowledge she was also held in high esteem as the guardian of doctors.

Athena the virgin goddess of Athens has been tied to a Crete Goddess of the Palace and in this regard associated with snake goddesses (picture of Athena as snake goddess appears in the Parthenon). She was allegedly owl-eyed, an all-seeing creature even in the dark and as such an all-knowing being and symbol of wisdom.

“The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk." (Hegel)

To read an owl fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm:

And more about owl mythology: