Tag Archive: foxglove


Bon Dammes

“lyinf around” by ~tytaniafairy

“The Bon Dammes’ themes are rest, pleasure, fairies, playfulness and youthfulness. Their symbols are any fairy plants (foxglove, primrose, oak, thorn, ash).  The Bon Dammes are devic Goddesses in Brittany that appear much like fairies and often act with much impishness. Having a kindly nature, the Bon Dammes inspire playful, youthful outlooks to take with us into early fall with childlike wonder in our hearts.

Follow the custom of all regions the United Kingdom (except Scotland) and take the day off. Enjoy family outings and a little leisure before the warm weather really starts to fade. Sleep in a bit, ask for a few hours off from work, get outside and play with the Bon Dammes. Leave them gifts of sparkling stones, honey, and sweet bread beneath any flower or tree that captures your eye and makes you smile. In return, the Bon Dammes will make sure your day is filled with pleasurable surprises.

Think about an activity you really enjoyed as a kid and recapture that moment sometime today. Jump down a hopscotch board, play tag with the wind, climb a tree (carefully please), pick buttercups, go berry picking, skinny-dip in a stream, or do whatever re-inspires the Bon Dammes’s youthfulness in your heart. You’ll find that this moment refreshes your entire outlook and provides extra energy for the days ahead.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Man, striking out here!  I couldn’t find anything on Saki-yama-hime, Braciaca turned out to be a god, and I could not find anything on the Bon Dammes!  I did however run across two references to “Dames”: Dames Blanches (White Ladies) and Dames Vertes (Green Ladies).  Now, according to Sacred-texts.com, “the Fairy-lore of the North of France, at least of Normandy, is, as was to be expected, similar to that of the other portions of the Gotho-German race. We meet it in the fées or fairies, and the lutins or gobelins, which answer to the Kobolds, Nisses, and such like of those nations.

The Fees are small and handsome in person; they are fond of dancing in the night-time, and in their dances which are circular they form the Cercles des Fées, or fairy-rings. If any one approaches their dance, he is irresistibly impelled to take part in it. He is admitted with the greatest courtesy; but as the whirling movement increases, and goes faster and faster, his head becomes giddy, and he falls to the ground utterly exhausted. Sometimes the fées amuse themselves by flinging him up to a great height in the air, and, if not killed by the fall, he is found next morning full of bruises. These little beings, it is also said, haunt solitary springs, where they wash their linen, which they then dry by way of preference on the Druidic stones, if at hand, and lay up in the hollows of rocks or barrows, thence named Chambres or Grottes des Fées. But, further, it is said of them, like the Lutins, they select particular farms to which they resort at night, and there making use of horses, harness and utensils of all kinds, they employ themselves at various kinds of work, of which, however, no traces remain in the morning. They are fond of mounting and galloping the horses; their seat is on the neck, and they tie together locks of the mane to form stirrups. Their presence, however, always brings luck, the cattle thrive where they are, the utensils of which they have made use, if broken are mended and made as good as new. They are altogether most kind and obliging, and have been known to give cakes to those to whom they have taken a fancy.

The Fées of Normandy are, like others, guilty of child-changing. A countrywoman as she was one day carrying her child on her arm met a Fée similarly engaged, who proposed an exchange. But she would not consent, even though, she said, the Fée’s babe were nine times finer than her own. A few days after, having left her child in the house when she went to work in the fields, it appeared to her on her return that it had been changed. She immediately consulted a neighbour, who to put the matter to the proof, broke a dozen eggs and ranged the shells before the child, who instantly began to cry out, Oh! what a number of cream-pots! Oh! what a number of cream-pots! The matter was now beyond doubt, and the neighbour next advised to make it cry lustily in order to bring its real mother to it. This also succeeded; the Fee came imploring them to spare her child, and the real one should be restored.

“Shaylee of Faylinn” by *DragonDew

There is another kind of Fées known in Normandy by the name of Dames Blanches, or White Ladies, who are of a less benevolent character. These lurk in narrow places, such as ravines, fords and bridges, where passengers cannot well avoid them, and there seek to attract their attention. The Dame Blanche sometimes requires him whom she thus meets to join her in a dance, or to hand her over a plank. If he does so she makes him many courtesies, and then vanishes. One of these ladies named La Dame d’ Aprigny, used to appear in a winding narrow ravine which occupied the place of the present Rue Saint Quentin at Bayeux, where, by her involved dances, she prevented any one from passing. She meantime held out her hand, inviting him to join her, and if he did so she dismissed him after a round or two; but if he drew back, she seized him and flung him into one of the ditches which were full of briars and thorns. Another Dame Blanche took her station on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dive, in the district of Falaise, named the Pont d’ Angot. She sat on it and would not allow any one to pass unless he went on his knees to her; if he refused, the Fee gave him over to the lutins, the cats, owls, and other beings which, under her sway, haunt the place, by whom he was cruelly tormented.” [1]

“Be careful with the Fae” by ~Angueru-sama

Then, there are the Dames Vertes.  Patricia Monaghan writes, “The ‘Green Ladies’ of Celtic French folklore were seductive but cruel, luring travelers from the forest paths and holding them upside down over waterfalls, laughing all the while.  As wind spirits, they traveled speedily over their chosen countryside, invigorating all the plant life they touched.  When visible in human form, the Dames Vertes were said to be tall and seductive, dressed in long green robes, passing so lightly over the grass that it seemed only wind had disturbed it” (p. 96).

Based on this description, the Dames Vertes almost sound similar to the Rousalii or Rusalki of Russian folklore who were also reported to have worn green robes…curious, very curious indeed…

In conclusion, it would seem to me that Bon Dammes would translate to “Good Ladies” and either be related to the Dames Blanches or actually be the Dames Blanches as they clearly don’t fit the description of the Dames Vertes.

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines, “Dames Vertes”.

Sacred-texts.com, “The Fairy Mythology: Celts and Cymry: France“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Cymru, Gordd. Celtic-twilight.com, “The Fairy Mythology – Great Britain“.

O’Keeffe, Christine. Tartanplace.com, “Christine’s Faery List: Dames Vertes“.

Phillips, Valerie. Dnaalchemy.com, “Devas, Elementals and Fairies“.

Wikipedia, “Fée“.

The Veelas

“I miss you” by pranile

“The Veelas’  themes are fairies, nature, healing, wealth and abundance. Their symbols are sweet bread, sacred fairy plants (oak, ash, thorn, foxglove, etc) and healing herbs.  These Balkan Goddesses preside over the woodlands and have the power to heal or harm, depending on the circumstances. The Veelas kindly treat humans who respect them and the earth, rewarding them with the knowledge of how to work harmoniously with the land, which, in turn, creates prosperity and abundance.

In ancient Macedonia, today was a time to appease the spirits of nature, called Drymiais. We can follow their customs by not harvesting any plants (especially vining ones), and not doing any cleaning (especially with water). If you must do one of these forbidden activities, carry iron to protect you from mischievous fairy folk.

If you live near any oak, ash or thorn trees, leave under it a little gift of sweet bread for the Veelas. As you do, whisper a short request to the Veelas for renewed health and permission to gather some herbs associated with health and healing today. Afterward, look for an ash or oak leaf or some tansy flowers. These will act as an amulet for well-being whenever you carry them with you.

For prosperity and abundance, and to improve your connection with the earth, give the Veelas an offering of honey instead, and eat a bit yourself to consume the earth’s sweetness.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Goddess Artemis” by Sierra-san

Medussa, in an piece written for the Order of the White Moon, presents a very clear picture of who these nature spirits were: “The Veelas, also known as the Vily; the Eastern European name for ‘the Goddess of energy moving through the earth as nature’. They were an ancient Kith long before the Sidhe rose to dominance over western Kithain. They live mostly in Eastern mountains and forests. They were born from the primordial worship of the Great Mother in Her warrior aspect.

The Veelas are the most beautiful women but not human; they are tall and strong, with moon bright skin and white golden hair that fans out behind them, even when there is no wind. They have flashing eyes of grey or pale blue, their voices are low and musical. But do not be mistaken, they are warrior huntresses and very protective of their terrain. They are great shape-shifters able to change into animals such as snakes, swans, falcons and horses. They love to play and dance and if contacted with a great respect they may grant you health, wealth and abundant crops. But if an intruder should show disrespect they would dance the offender to death.

The Veelas prowled the land from Scythia in the south to the Capland in the north sharing dominion with their cousins the Valkyries. They enjoy their most satisfying relationships with trolls. The Veelas are extremely given over to honor and battle.” [1]

This led me to dig a little deeper and found reference an actual Goddess named Vila.  “Vila (pronounced vee’lah) is the eastern European name for the Goddess of Energy moving through the earth as nature.  Vily (plural) are known as female spirits that lived in the woods, mountains, and clouds; they could shape shift into swans, horses, falcons, or wolves.

In Slovakia, they are regarded as the souls of dead girls that lead young men to their deaths; they fire arrows that may disturb one’s reason.” [2]

“Vila” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that Vila was “one of the most powerful European Goddesses [also] called Samovila…or Judy according to the language of the people, who pictured this woodland forces as a fair-skinned winged woman with glistening garments and golden hair falling to Her feet.  She lived deep in the woods, where She guarded animals and plants as well as cleaning rubble out of streams and assuring sufficient rainfall.

Hunters were wary of beautiful, well-dressed women speaking the languages of animals, for Vila was fiercely possessive of Her wild herds.  Should one be injured or – worse yet – killed, Vila mutilated the offender or lured him into a magic circle and danced him to death.  Alternatively, Vila might bury him in rocks by starting an avalanche, or simply cause him to keel over with a heart attack.

Vila was able to masquerade as a snake, swan, falcon, horse or whirlwind.  Cloud Vilas could transform themselves into clouds or fog.  Born on a day of soft misty rain, when the sun formed miniature rainbows on the trees, She knew all the secrets of healing and herb craft.  Should a human wish to learn Her skills, blood-sisterhood was forged with Vila.  The applicant appeared in the woods before sunrise on a Sunday of the full moon.  Drawing a circle with a birch twig or a broom, she placed several horsehairs, a hoof, and some manure inside the circle, then stood with her right foot on the hoof calling to the Vila.  Should the spirit appear and be greeted as a sister, Vila would grant any wish” (p. 311).

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessrealm.com, “Vila Goddess of Transformation“.

Medussa. Order of the White Moon, “The Veelas“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Vila”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Finnegan, Margaret. Margaretfinnegan.blogspot.com, “Goddess of the Week: The Vily“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Samovila“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, Vila: Shape-Shifting“.

Omda.bg, “SAMODIVA” (translated from Bulgarian).

Stanton, Sandra M. The Goddess in World Mythology, “Samovila“.

Wikipedia, “Samodiva“.

 

 

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