Planes of Existence and the Number Seven
Published on November 5, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1817


I have been working on book two in the Witches of Griffin series, which is a time travel, paranormal, romance with spiritual elements called Securing Sanctuary.  In this story the Griffin sisters have to enter the astral plane to secure the Map to Sanctuary.  The map, stolen by a dark priestess, is being held in the astral with the help of a voodoo Loa.  If this map isn’t recovered, life on our planet will alter drastically, allowing evil the upper hand.

There are seven colors in the rainbow, seven tones on the music scale that hold seven different vibrations, and according to esoteric teachings, seven planes of existence.  There are also the seven days of creation, seven deadly sins, seven days in a week, seven seas, seven continents, and the lucky number seven.  To many people seven is considered magical.  The number is popular around the world as is seen in art, literature, religion, and culture.  In esoteric cosmology, the seven planes of existence are conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe.  The concept of planes was likely derived from shamanic and traditional mythological ideas of a vertical world-axis.  The planes of existence tie into the states of meditation according to the Chinese Tao.

The Seven Planes

The slowest vibrational speed occurs on the first plane, which is the Physical Plane.  This is where our souls are now.  The second plane is called the Astral Plane, this is the etheric plane the sisters have to enter and it is a place that is often entered while we dream.  It is considered the plane of emotion and it is the first place we go to once we leave our physical bodies.  This plane is said to be populated with angels, spirits, and other immaterial beings.  The Causal Plane is the third plane and is made of intellectual energy.  The fourth plane of existence is called the Akashic Plane.  This is a neutral plane of existence that interconnects with the other six planes.  This is where the Akashic records are said to be found.  These records are believed to hold everything that has ever happened in the universe.  It is also where the deceased go to review past lives and learn from the life they just left.  People who have entered this plane through Past Life Regression describe a place where you can watch scenes as if a movie was playing.  The fifth plane is called the Mental Plane and it is filled with intellectual energy that emphasizes truth.  The Messianic Plane is the sixth plane and it is filled with emotional energy that emphasizes love.  It is believed that Jesus incarnated from this plane.  The highest plane and the seventh plane is called the Buddhaic Plane, which is made of pure or abstract kinetic energy and is described as a realm of pure consciousness. Many of the planes have a variety of sub-planes.  The planes also have different names depending on the source.

To read more about Astral Travel: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=143


A special thank you to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601281/Why-lucky-7-really-magic-number.html,http://www.michaelteachings.com/7planes.html, Michael Newton, Journey of Souls, http://www.thetadnaactivation.com/medical2.html, and http://www.esotericscience.org/article10a.htm




Pickpockets, Highwaymen, and Footpads
Published on October 14, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1059

As in today’s world, earnings in Regency England were all over the income scale.  The lowest laborer earned less than £25, while the upper classes usually earned around £10,000 or more; taxes to support the royal family exceeded £1,000,000 a year.  Theft was rampant in Regency England, as one aristocrat’s timepiece was tempting and likely to be worth more money than the lowly wage earner made in a year.  If you add in devastating harvests and famine, the hungry and desolate become more willing to take desperate measures.  Of course there was the death penalty to deter thievery, but with an inadequate police force, catching the culprits was ineffective.  Even death wasn’t a strong enough deterrent for these men.

Large gatherings were favorite places for pickpockets.  Some of these criminals were skilled and often dressed well to deceive their victims.  Common places to find these criminals were at racetracks, festivals, theaters, fairs, funerals, public lectures, hangings, and markets.  Any area that was fashionable or known to be crowded would have its fair share of pickpockets.  The pickpockets that frequented racetracks were usually adults.  The pickpockets that frequented the streets were often young boys from gangs.  With overpopulation in London and school not required, many children were left to their own devices while their parents worked.  A common item stolen was the handkerchief since it could easily be taken and resold.  The large majority of young pickpockets were never prosecuted in court and often beaten if captured by the victim or citizens willing to give chase.



The highwaymen were thieves on horseback who terrorized travelers for their purses.  They often made their attacks at night on remote stretches of highway.  Interestingly, these men usually didn’t commit murder and even returned items to the victim if the victim was overly distressed by the encounter.  Ah, yes the nice robbers.  They actually had a reputation for gallantry.  They often awaited travelers on the outskirts of towns and cities.  They were excellent horsemen, which was necessary to make a speedy escape after committing the crime.  Many were believed to be ex-soldiers.  Of course there were also reported incidents of violence and gunshots fired in these situations.  About one in five attacks by highwaymen resulted in brutal violence and death.  It was also known that some highwaymen enjoyed breaking the glass windows of the carriage to cause more fear to their victims.  They wore masks and took care to disguise themselves.  Stagecoaches were prime targets, and like the personal coaches, were attacked since they lacked protection.  “Stand and deliver!” was a famous demand used in the 17th century.

Highwaymen were considered socially superior when compared to footpads.  Highwaymen were generally proud of their exploits and enjoyed boasting to the crowd, even more so once they were arrested.  Many of them made an effort to live up to the public’s image of them being “Gentlemen of the Road.”  They were often from the middle class and were educated as apprentices or for trade occupations.  Many never completed their apprenticeships and were dissatisfied with low wages.

The Great North Road was a main route from London to York and beyond.  It is upon this road that travelers may have been met with the words, “Your money or your life!” which is from the mid-18th century.  Dick Turpin was a famous highwayman of the Great North Road.  Turpin was known to be dashing as he committed his crimes while riding his mare, Black Bess.  From trying his hand at smuggling, to robbing isolated farmhouses with other criminals, Turpin became involved in highway robbery at the end of his long criminal career.

Another famous highwayman is John “Swift Nick” Nevison, known to be a flamboyant criminal whose exploits earned him praise from King Charles II.  Nevison had robbed a man at 4 am one morning in Kent, he then made his way across the River Thames by ferry, rode toward Chelmsford, rested his horse, and continued his travels as fast as he could until he reached the Great North Road, he then hightailed it to reach York by sunset.  He bathed and changed his travel clothes before hurrying off to visit with the Lord Mayor who was playing bowls.  He engaged the Lord Mayor in conversation and laid a bet on the match at 8 pm that evening.  Nevison was still arrested for his crime, but he had the Lord Mayor as his alibi witness.  The court refused to believe a person on horseback could make the 200-mile journey in such a short time and Nevison was found innocent of the crime.  His journey was a stunning achievement that impressed the king, who was believed to have given Nevison the nickname Swift Nick.  Eventually Nevison’s life of continued crime caught up with him and he was hanged in 1684, his body placed in an unmarked grave in York at Saint Mary’s Church.  I’m unsure of Nevison’s behavior when he met with the hangman’s noose, but it was said that many highwaymen went to the gallows laughing and showing no fear; the spectators admired these men.

The last recorded highway robbery occurred in 1831, but these kinds of attacks had declined around 1815.  This was due to repeating handguns becoming more affordable for the average citizen, turnpike expansion, which were manned and gated making it more difficult to escape undetected, and the expanding police force.  The last highway robbery prosecution was heard at the Old Bailey in 1897.

Footpads often worked in gangs and attacked travelers.  Unlike the highwaymen, the footpads had no issue with killing their victims and were known to murder in an inhuman manner for very little coin.  It is assumed they murdered their victims because they didn’t have a horse to make a speedy escape.  Footpads were known to ambush coaches by lying in wait beneath bridges or other unprotected areas.

Outlaws are often portrayed as folk heroes and romanticized in books and movies.  They are admired for their boldness to face a person head on and take what they want.  They represent freedom and independence from authority and live life according to their own rules.  Although they are often glorified, they were ruthless murderers and thieves.  Nevertheless, the outlaw captures the imagination as is seen in the numerous tales and legends written about them.  The most famous outlaw of medieval times was Robin Hood.  Other romanticized outlaws include Billy-the-Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, and Jesse James.

 

To read more on Royal Spending here’s my blog on the Prince Regent and the Royal Pavilion. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=8

To read more on Policing in Regency England. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=167

 

A special thank you to:  Roy and Lesley Adkins, Jane Austen’s England and http://www.stand-and-deliver.org.uk/great_north_road.htm and http://18thcand19thc.blogspot.com/2013/12/child-pickpockets.html and http://rictornorton.co.uk/gu08.htm


Pregnant and Unwed in Regency England
Published on September 29, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 996

Unwed pregnant women from Regency England had very few options.  Unmarried mothers were often filled with shame and sought special hiding places to keep their impregnated state from Society’s ever-watchful eye.  There were advertisements in the newspapers offering discreet asylum for these pregnant women for a fee.  These places offered the women a place to “lie-in” while their babies would be put out to nurse and be taken care of by others.  Secrecy and money was key to making these institutions successful.

Unfortunately, due to the ostracism and shame societal judgment cast on unwed pregnant mothers, some of these women were desperate enough to try and abort the fetus by ingesting poison or by inserting a wire or knife into the uterus.  This often harmed the mother as well as the fetus.  Midwives often assisted these desperate women and recommended elixirs to induce a miscarriage.  These potions were often made of ergot, rue, pennyroyal, tansy, and savin.  An unwed mother could not seek employment and many resorted to drastic measures to make sure they didn’t lose their standing in Society.  Many of these women were young and found themselves shunned by their families with nowhere else to turn.

For married women contraception took the form of abstinence or breastfeeding, which is why Regency married women averaged six to seven children, this number does not include miscarriages.  Married women were encouraged to breast feed for 3-4 years so they could time their pregnancies better, but many women chose to hand their child over to a wet nurse, thus their menstruation returned.  “It was deemed morally unacceptable for married women to use artificial contraception.”  Nevertheless, this does not mean women did not try to prevent pregnancy.  Sponges soaked with vinegar or lemon juice were used to try and prevent pregnancy, while condoms were used to try to prevent disease and pregnancy.  And yet, condoms were not used by married women, they were used by men to prevent disease and pregnancy when they were with prostitutes or mistresses.  This method of birth control was linked to vice and practiced in the houses of ill repute.  Regency condoms were made from dried out sheep gut or a linen soaked in a chemical solution and tied with strings to stay in place.  Mistresses were kept by financially solvent men from the gentry and upper classes.  There were many prostitutes during the Regency Period and men of all classes were known to frequent them.  The Regency Era was a time when mistresses and prostitutes were tolerated by Society.  In my Time Travel, Desirea’s Escape, my 21st century heroine finds herself in London Regency’s red light district surrounded by these used condoms.  Not only is Desirea lost in time, she’s lost in the wrong area.

Unwanted children were abandoned in markets, churches, and on porches, this assured the mother that the parish would provide for her abandoned children.  The parish was responsible for caring for abandoned children and orphans when the relatives were not known.  In 1741, Thomas Coram opened London’s Foundling Hospital for abandoned children and in 1801; the doors were opened for illegitimate children too.  In my Regency Historical, The Vengeful Earl, the hero opens an orphanage for young girls on his property.  And in my new release, The Wallflower’s Godmother my hero’s illegitimate child is left on his doorstep.  It was not uncommon for illegitimate children to be brought into a peer of the realms family and even to be raised by the man’s current wife, although the illegitimate child would need to live on the fringe of Society when compared to their legitimate half siblings, and they were not in line to inherit anything tied to their father’s title.

My blog on Regency England and Medical Care http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=133

 

A special thank you: Roy and Lesley Adkins, Jane Austen’s England and https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/to-conceive-or-not-to-conceive-that-is-the-regency-question/


Researching Ancient Objects
Published on September 14, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 794

Klerksdorp Spheres are small, spherical to disc shaped objects that were mined from three billion year old pyrophyllite deposits in South Africa.  Some believe these out-of-place objects were manufactured by intelligent beings.  Geologists have concluded that the objects are not manufactured, but naturally made.  The appearance of these objects, which look manmade, is what brought them to my attention.  I’m working on a plot for book three in my time traveling Witches of Griffin series and I wanted to find an ancient object I can tie into Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt.  Before I decide to use any objects in my story I do quite a bit of research about them, which is why I decided to turn what I learn into a blog, while also explaining the process I use to create my stories.

The Klerksdorp Spheres range in diameter from 0.5 to 10 centimeters, with colors ranging from dark reddish brown to dusky red.  Many specimens consist of hematite and goethite and some of them have distinct parallel latitudinal grooves, while others are inter-grown with each other.  Geologists Cairncross and Heinrich argue that the grooves are caused naturally in volcanic ash sediments over 3 billion years ago.  There have been other similar objects found in Australia and New York, although the Klerksdorp Spheres are the oldest known examples.

After researching more about these spheres, I decided not to use them in my story. They don’t seem very mysterious since they formed naturally and so it is not what I’m looking for.  And now I’m done wasting time on them and shall move onto a new idea.

Moving onto the Sphere of Destiny, which is a sphere of flawless, natural quartz crystal that weighs about 10 pounds.  There are only a few flawless quartz spheres of this size in existence on earth.  The crystal sphere was believed to have been smuggled out of Acre, Isreal by the Knights Templar in 1291 AD.  The Templars history states that the sphere was carved from a powerful seer’s stone, which was reputed to be the original Eye of Cleopatra.  It is uncertain how the object came to be in the Templars possession, but at that point in history the Knights were collecting objects of power and art from all over the East.  The mention of Cleopatra in affiliation with the crystal sphere is why it was brought to my attention.  I’m debating on having the sisters travel back to assist their many greats grandmother Cleopatra and this research is part of my process to find a reason for their journey.

The Eye of Cleopatra was a large 25-pound rough quartz stone block that had been ground and polished to a glassy shine on its upper surface.  If someone stares into the dark depth of the crystal it is said the past and future will be revealed through images.  It is also said that Cleopatra could speak to her generals through the stone.  History states that Cleopatra saw Mark Anthony’s face for the first time by looking into the stone. 

It sounds like a scrying mirror that can be purchased today, which is believed to show images of the past or future.  Since this crystal can tell Cleopatra the future and allow her to speak to her generals, it is worth a great deal to her and it is definitely something I can work with in book three.  If this crystal was stolen she’d want it returned quickly, and who better to come to her rescue than her triplet 21st century granddaughters who share her gift of magic.  I’m liking the idea, but back to the research.


The Eye was considered ancient even by Cleopatra’s time, and is believed to be from a time before written history.  I do love the sound of that as ideas are flooding my mind regarding its origin.

The Sphere of Destiny was taken from the Knights Templar, who had carved the block of seer stone into a perfect shiny crystal ball.  The Mamluks then took this roughly ten-pound sphere in 1302.  It was later purchased by a wealthy occultist in Egypt, and was passed between various seers over hundreds of years.  The crystal has been used to predict the most accurate prophecies ever documented.  It is currently in a private collection in Istanbul.  It is also the same crystal referenced in Frank Baum’s movie The Wizard of Oz.

This is that same crystal used by the priests of Isis and Osiris, in which Cleopatra first saw the approach of Julius Caesar...and so on, and so on... --Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz."

Well that is all the research I can do today, I’ve read so many articles that my brain needs a rest.  Now is the point that my imagination ties in Cleopatra’s magical stone block into the rest of what I envision for the book.  It is a process, but I already know that the research has helped to get the story ideas flowing.  Plus, I’ve learned about Klerksdorp Spheres and the Sphere of Destiny, whereas I knew nothing about them before.

 

A special thank you to:  http://www.pophaydn.com/sphere-of-destiny.html http://www.studentsocculthistory.com/sphere-of-destiny.html https://eyeofcleopatra.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/the-sphere-of-destiny-and-also-the-eye-of-cleopatra/


Bow Street Runners – London’s First Police Force
Published on August 26, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 1609


Bow Street Runners were considered London’s first professional police force and were instituted due to the high levels of crime and vice in the city.  In 1748, London was dealing with a gin consumption problem, which caused more crime.  The British Magistrate and writer Henry Fielding reported, “that every fourth house in Covent Garden was a gin shop.”  As a means to tackle these issues, Magistrate Henry Fielding brought together eight constables, known as “Mr. Fielding’s People.”  His people soon gained a reputation for their honesty and efficiency in pursuing criminals.  These constables became known as Bow Street Runners.
Henry Fielding

Initially there were only eight Bow Street Officers, Runners was the public’s nickname for them.  The Runners had a formal attachment to the Bow Street Magistrate’s office and were paid by the magistrate with government funds.  This made them unlike the “thief-takers” who were men for hire who solved petty crimes for a fee.  The Runners worked out of Fielding’s office at No. 4 Bow Street in London’s Covent Garden.  This was also the courthouse and Fielding’s residence.  The officers did not patrol the streets, but served writs and arrested offenders.  They had leeway to travel all over the nation in search for criminals.  To improve relations between the public and the law, Henry Fielding began a newspaper called The Covent Journal.  The following appeared regularly in the journal: “All persons who shall for the future suffer by robbers, burglars, etc., are desired immediately to bring or send the best description they can of such robbers, etc., with the time, and place, and circumstances of the fact, to Henry Fielding, Esq., at his house in Bow Street.”  In my suspense Regency thriller The Heiress Killer, which is not yet released, my hero, the Earl of Ravenswood is a great “thief-taker.”


After Henry Fielding’s death, his brother Sir John Fielding succeeded him as Chief Magistrate in 1754.  Blinded by an accident at the age of 19, John Fielding became known as the “Blind Beak.”  It was said that John could recognize 3,000 thieves by voice alone.  It was Sir John who turned the Runners into an effective police force for London.  He persuaded the government to contribute more to the expense of the small police force and made pamphlets for his runners, listing the criminal’s descriptions.  In 1805, Bow Street Officers included a horse patrol, this was the first uniformed police unit in Britain.  In the 1800’s, concerns about thefts in the dockyards led to the Thames Police Office at Wapping.  This office eventually had 3 stipendiary magistrates and 100 constables to police.


To encourage people to report crimes made against them, there were rotation offices established in the City of London and Middlesex.  These offices were established to assure that a Londoner could always find a magistrate during the fixed hours.  Two well-known runners who gained reputations for their good works as officers were John Sayer and John Townsend.  These two also made a fair amount of coin in pay, reward, and upon an offender’s conviction.  The coin offered for capture and conviction ended up altering criminal trials, as the witnesses testimonies against the criminals were challenged by defense lawyers who questioned the honesty of a witness who was set to gain a reward.

In 1829, Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police Act was instituted; this system centralized the police force of 3000 men under the control of the Home Secretary, with responsibility to police the entire metropolitan area.  These uniformed officers wore blue tailcoats, top hats, and carried wooden batons, handcuffs, and a wooden rattle to raise the alarm.  A whistle eventually replaced the wooden rattle in the 1880’s.  These officers were referred to as the “Peelers” or “Bobbies,” which is a reference to Peel’s name.  Bobbies was one of the nicer nicknames given to the officers.  Policing caused fear due to the repressive secret police that aided Napoleon in the French Revolution, which is why the public did not readily accept them.

Even with all the new officers, the victim of a crime was still responsible to report the crime, identify the criminal, and prosecute them.  Gradually a change was made as officers assumed the responsibility for prosecuting the offenders.  In 1839, a second Metropolitan Police Act pretty much cemented the institutions existence as the police extended their jurisdiction and increased the number of officers to 4300.  This Act also abolished the post constable employment at the old magistrates offices.  At the same time another Act was instituted to create a similar police force for the City of London.

By the end of the 18th century, London had a substantial body of watchmen employed to prevent crime and apprehend criminals.  By the end of the 19th century a full-fledged police force was in effect.  Due to the Turf Fraud Scandal the Metropolitan Police Detectives were reorganized with the formation of the Criminal Justice System.  By the 20th century, the Criminal Justice System could claim to be modern and scientific in their pursuit of criminals.  The first conviction made from an offenders fingerprint was in 1902, when Harry Jackson was convicted of burglary.  Nevertheless, the policing system still relied on the victims reporting the crimes and making positive identifications.  The most significant changes from the late 17th century was the introduction of uniformed, salaried officials who were controlled by the Home Office and responsible for tracking down suspects and making arrests.  In my Time Travel Destiny Series, two of my heroes work for the Home Office. http://www.amazon.com/Londons-Quest-Destiny-Book-1-ebook/dp/B004YL2QFI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The rise in crime led to vicious penalties.  To read more about Judicial Beheadings http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=121 and to read more about Judicial hangings: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=119

 

A special thank you to: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Bow-Street-Runner, http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Policing.jsp and Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins and http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Sir-Robert-Peel/



Gunter's Tea Shop
Published on August 17, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 2165

Gunter’s Tea Shop was a famous confectioner and considered “one of the great institutions of Regency London.”  The aristocracy enjoyed lounging about outside the establishment on Berkley Square, while enjoying a delicious treat or a frozen sorbet on a hot day.


The shop was originally called The Pot and Pineapple and established in 1757 by Italian pastry chef, Domenico Negri.  The pineapple was a symbol of luxury and commonly used by confectioners.  The shop sold English, French, and Italian wet and dry sweetmeats, which are sweet treats made from sugar or honey.  The confectioner’s art of creation was like a science, as many processes of heating and cooling were used to refine sugar and produce the tasty treats.  Items served consisted of creatively shaped custards, ice cream, frozen mousses, jellied fruit, candies, syrups, biscuits, and caramels.  Some of the ice cream flavors include chocolate, lavender, maple, Parmesan, Gruyere cheese, and bergamot, which is a type of orange that is yellow like a lemon.  The Bergamot orange is inedible, but its extracts are used to flavor treats.  It is said to taste less sour than a lemon, but bitterer than a grapefruit.  Mousses were often vanilla, saffron, and pineapple.  For more information on sweetmeats, chocolate, and ice cream in Regency England: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=145



In 1777, James Gunter became Negri’s business partner, and by 1799, Gunter was the sole proprietor.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, Gunter’s was considered a fashionable light eatery in Mayfair, well known for its ices, sorbets, and confections.  James Gunter garnered enough wealth from his business to purchase a fine mansion in Earl’s Court.  Gunter’s son Robert studied confections in Paris and eventually took over his father’s business after his death in 1819.  Robert eventually brought his cousin John in as a partner, assuring the business would remain in the family.  Robert went on to write a cookbook, Gunter’s Confectioner’s Oracle, which was published in 1830.  His book was said to be filled with gossip, name-dropping and a terrible dictionary of ingredients, but I’m sure there were recipes too.  He began his cookbook with a dream he had of being led to a banquet by a witch.  It certainly sounds interesting and unlike other cookbooks I’ve read.  There were also famous apprentices who worked at the shop and went on to write their own cookbooks.


Located on the east side of Berkeley Square, Gunter’s became a trendy place for a gentleman to take the lady he was courting.  According to the Encyclopedia of London, “A custom grew up that ices were eaten, not in the shop, but in the Square itself; ladies would remain in their carriages under the trees, their escorts leaning against the railings near them, while the waiters dodged across the road with their orders.”  Gunter’s was the only establishment where a lady could visit with an admirer in an open carriage, without a chaperone or relative, and no harm would come to her reputation.  Mayfair happened to be were the aristocracy lived and famous people like Beau Brummell lived near the shop.  King George III was known to purchase his buns at Gunter’s Tea Shop.   For more on Beau Brummell:  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=91


Gunter’s was also known for its catering business and for their wedding cakes.  The bride cake for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s Granddaughter, Princess Louise of Wales, was made at Gunter’s.

Gunter’s Tea Shop is no longer located at its original location and was moved to Curzon Street in 1936.  The shop closed for business in 1956, although the catering business lasted for 20 more years in Bryanston Square.

To read more about the Regency Period: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=104

A special thank you to: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/tag/gunters-tea-shop/ and http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/07/11/gunters-tea-shop/ and Secret London by Andrew Duncan

 



Historic Sights Part Fourteen
Published on August 10, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 975

Bojnice Castle is located in Bojnice, Slovakia.  The medieval fortress was originally built in the 12th century as a wooden fort with thick walls and a moat.  Through the centuries, the wood structure was gradually replaced with stone.  Bojnice Castle was home to King Matthias in the 15th century.  He gifted the castle and grounds to his illegitimate son, John Corvinus.  In 1528, the Thurzos family, the richest and most influential family in the Hungary Kingdom, acquired the castle.  Renovations began and two wings were added, turning the once wooden fortress into a Renaissance Castle with Gothic elements.  From the 16th century through the 19th century, the castle remained in the Paiffy family.  Count Janos Ferenc Paiffy had the castle reconstructed to mimic the French castles he admired in the Loire Valley.  Paiffy’s remains lie inside the castle in a red marble sarcophagus.  The castle also boasts a natural travertine cave inside with two small lakes.  The castle and lands were sold in 1939 to Jan Bata.  In 1945, the Czechoslovak government confiscated the property.  It suffered through fire in 1950 and was rebuilt at the government’s expense. Bojnice Castle is open to the public.



Ta Prohm is the modern name for the temple at Angkor.  Located in Cambodia in the Siem Reap province, the temple was built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries.  The temple became a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university, which was founded by the Khmer King, Jayavarman VII, who dedicated Ta Prohm to his mother.  Ta Prohm is a traditional Khmer structure, consisting of a series of gradually smaller enclosures, with the center tower connecting the smaller towers through passageways.  The site was home to more than 12, 500 people in the late 12th century, with a population of 800,000 in the surrounding villages.  The temple was modified after King Jayavarman VII’s death, and modified later by Hindu and Thervada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious beliefs.  After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 17th century, the temple was abandoned. Restoration to conserve the temples of Angkor began in the early 21st century, but it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left in its ruined state.  The jungle surrounding the temple merged with the ruins, giving it a new overall appeal to the tourists who frequent the temple.  Although the ruins are bound by massive roots from the fig, silk-cotton, and kapok trees, the area was stabilized to make the temple accessible to tourists, which was necessary since Ta Prohm is Angkor’s most visited temple.  Ta Prohm was inscribed by UNESCO and placed on the World Heritage list in 1992.   The temple includes 260 statues of gods, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 different residences.  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed there.

Inveraray Castle is located in the county of Argyll, in western Scotland.  The castle sits on the shore of Loch Fyne, which is Scotland’s longest sea loch.  The estate has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century.  The castle’s architecture is neo-Gothic in design, with crenellated circular towers.  Inveraray is believed to be haunted by a harpist, who was hanged in 1644 for “peeping at the lady of the house.”  The television series Most Haunted has filmed at this location.  And in 2012, the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey was partially filmed at Inveraray.  The castle is home to the 13th Duke of Argyll, his wife, and their three children.  The homestead boasts a 16-acre garden that encompasses only a small fraction of the 60,000 acres estate.



Olite Castle is located in the town of Olite, Navarra, Spain.  The medieval castle was built during the 13th and 14th centuries and served as the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, until its union with Castile in 1512.  King Charles III of Navarre extended the castle during the 15th century.  Due to various expansions, the overall plan is irregular in design.  Although the palace looks like a military bastion, the castle served as a residential palace.  King Charles III kept many exotic animals like giraffes and lions at the palace.  The castle has whimsical towers, battlements, and courtyards.  It was seen as one of the most beautiful castles of Europe during Charles’ reign.  The palace was invaded in 1512 and fell into ruin, although it was used to house the occasional nobleman.  It was intentionally burned during the Peninsular War of 1813.  The destruction by fire was to prevent French troops from using it for strategic positioning.  In 1913, the provincial government acquired the ruins.  The palace was declared a National Monument in 1925 to save it from destruction.  In 1937, restoration began and was completed thirty years later, although according to documentation there are difficulties achieving its original state.  The palace is open to the public, with the old palace serving as the Parador de Olite Hotel.


Rod of Hermes
Published on July 13, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 2131


The Caduceus symbol is an ancient symbol used to represent modern day medicine in the United States.  Throughout time this symbol has been used in the medical field, politics, government, shamanic healing and metaphysical healing.  The symbol’s origins date as early as 2600 BC in Mesopotamia.



As an alchemy symbol the caduceus is the intermingling of sulphur (male) and quicksilver (female), referring to a synthesis of opposites.  The word caduceus is Greek and means “herald’s staff.”  A herald was a messenger for the monarchy.  So to the Greek’s, the center rod symbolized Hermes who was a messenger of the gods.  The caduceus’s center staff also represents the I Am consciousness, and is seen as a conduit between heaven and earth.  The staff is a symbol of power and used in magic, it’s associated with wisdom, mysticism, and leadership.  This aspect of the staff is shown in scripture from the religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  In the Bible, God instructs Moses to fashion a pole with a bronze serpent, this Nehushtan would spare the lives of Israelites bitten by venomous snakes.



The sacred sphere at the end of the staff is said to represent the world.  The two entwined serpents represent duality of the physical and metaphysical becoming one, where opposites integrate to create a balance for harmony.  Much like the symbolic meaning behind the Yin and Yang.  The spiraling effect shows the expansion of knowledge.  The snakes represent the Kundalini energy, which is a primal energy found at the base of the root chakra in all humans.  Specifically it is referring to the three nadis.  Nadis are channels were energy flows and they are connected to the chakras.  Ida and Pingala rise up the spine, which are the two snakes, while Sushumna forms the staff and runs through the seven main chakras.  Awakening the kundalini is said to bring about spiritual enlightenment, which can be done through deep meditation and spiritual practices.  The kundalini is one of the components that make up the subtle body, along with the nadis, chakras, prana, and the bindu.  Thus, the rising of the kundalini represents healing on every level, this includes the spiritual and emotional, as well as the physical.

The wings on the caduceus symbolize travel to the higher plane and represent an awareness gained from a heavenly vantage point.  See my blog on Angels. http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=156

Hermes was not the only god to carry this symbol for it is also seen with Anubis (Egyptian god of afterlife) Baal (Phoenician god of universe) Mercury (Roman god of abundance) and Aesculapius (Greek god of medicine).  The symbol being attributed to modern medicine came from Aesculapius, the god of healing and was popularized further by Carl Jung as he felt it was a great symbol to represent homeopathy.  In 1902, the U.S. Army Medical Department adopted the caduceus as its symbol.  It is used by 76% of doctors in the US, while in other parts of the world the Asclepius, a single serpent staff, is used.



The meaning gained from the symbol varies in different cultures.  The symbol continues to represent spiritual awakening and healing.  Famous ancient healers include Pharaoh Imhotep from 1000 BC Egypt.  The Greek healer Aesculapius's efforts were considered miracles, and Hippocrates from 460 BC was known as the “Father of Medicine.”  Then of course there was the greatest healer of all time, Jesus.  Unfortunately in 12th century Europe, Pope Alexander III warned that the devil was influencing the healers and that the sick should be left to the physicians.  By the end of the Middle Ages, holism was banned from being used as a form of healing. (Holism treated the entire person, mentally as well as physically, while looking at all contributing factors as a whole.)   Natural herbal remedies were axed as licensed physicians began to prescribe medicines.

http://www.absoluteempowerment.com/Caduceus.Symbol.php http://www.symbolic-meanings.com/2008/10/15/double-snakes-caduceus-symbolic-meaning/


Power Symbols
Published on June 13, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 1413

Symbols have been used since ancient times to represent belief, action, or material entities.  Through time, symbols are often transformed and repurposed to take on new connotations.  Symbols are used to convey a sense of meaning to the viewer interpreting them.  There are many symbols referenced in my Witches of Griffin series; some are mentioned in this blog.

The Reiki Cho Ku Rei is a power symbol used in Usui Reiki.  Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui developed Usui Reiki in 1922.  Of course “hands on healing” with energy has been done since ancient times, so Reiki can be seen as a resurgence of the ancient healing methods.  The Cho Ku Rei symbol essentially means, “Place the power of the universe here.”  I practice Usui Reiki and the Cho Ku Rei is the symbol I use most, since this symbol can increase the power of Reiki.  It also serves as a sign of protection.  Here’s my short blog on Reiki: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=94

The Triskelion is a symbol of three interlocking spirals.  These spirals are said to represent three bent human legs or three curved lines that extend from the center.  The triskelion’s first appearance was in Malta in 4400-3600 BC.  The triple spiral is a Neolithic symbol in Western Europe and although it’s considered Celtic, it’s actually pre-Celtic, although it was incorporated into Celtic culture and is seen on Megalithic and Neolithic sites in Ireland.  The symbol took on new meaning with the arrival of Christianity to Ireland, as it came to represent the Holy Trinity.  To the pagans, this symbol represented the three realms, Sea, Sky and Earth, as well as deities like Manannan mac Lir, a sea deity in Irish mythology.  This symbol often represents the power of three.


The Chinese Taijitu is a fairly common symbol in the United States and is usually referred to as the Yin/Yang symbol.  “The symbol is to serve as a diagram of supreme ultimate” according to the followers of the religious and philosophical traditions of Taoism.  The symbol consists of one black and one white tadpole shape that fit together to form a perfect circle.  Each side contains a part of the other, as is represented with the dot of the opposites color in each halves center.  This signifies how the halves becoming whole when placed together.  The dark side represents the Yin, which is the feminine side (earth, moon, night, passive, and cold) and the light side the Yang, the masculine side (fire, sky, day, aggressive, and hot).  The symbol signifies how everything exists in duality, but one cannot exist without the other, as they are interdependent.  Thus the symbol’s power comes from having perfect balance.


The Ankh is the Ancient Egyptian symbol of Life and one of the most recognizable hieroglyphs in the world.  It looks much like the Christian cross with a loop above the transverse bar.  The meaning of the ankh is eternal life for it represents the souls immortality.  This symbol is often seen in Ancient Egyptian art, with the ankh being fed or inhaled by the pharaoh to assure the leader’s immortality.  This symbol was later associated with Christianity and referred to as a Coptic cross.

A special thank you to: http://www.alkhemi.co.uk/page33.htm http://www.reiki.nu/treatment/symbols/chokurei/chokurei.html http://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/taijitu.html

 


What I’m Currently Working On…
Published on June 3, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 710

It’s been a busy time in my writing world.  I’m currently working on getting my new release The Wallflower’s Godmother into the marketplace.  My cover and interior designer moved onto new life adventures and this had me searching for someone else to do the work, which took some time.  I was lucky to find Dafeenah Jameel from Indie Designz and she did a wonderful job for me.  Today I uploaded the various book files to different markets, which used to be done for me.  Fingers crossed that the book and cover will upload on the different sites without issue and I receive the go ahead.  If all goes as it should, the book will be available in paperback through Lightning Source, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon around June 7th.  The eBook will be available on Amazon at that time and available at Barnes and Noble, Apple, and other venues in three months.

In The Wallflower’s Godmother, the Earl of Dunford owns an estate with a hedge maze where a folly is found at its center.  The cover art shows the scene quite well and I was really happy with the photos I found to represent the story and my heroine.  As it states in the blurb, this story is about a lady who is treated poorly by her relatives and removed from such hardships by her spiritual godmother.   Johanna Cavanagh finds sanctuary, inner strength, and love on her journey.

While this book was with the editor and interior designer, I moved on to work on book two in the Witches of Griffin series.  I’m currently on page 119 and the words are flowing easily, which is always great!

Securing Sanctuary is the title of book two in the Witches of Griffin series.  The Griffin sisters find themselves searching for the Map to Sanctuary in the astral plane.  Meanwhile, a Native American Legend from the 17th century has seemed to come alive in their 21st century home.  With multiple tasks to complete for the Goddess Isis, the sisters find themselves at their breaking point when one of them becomes stuck in 1615 North Carolina.  As soon as book two is finished, I will begin working on publishing book one.  I’d like to release them fairly close together.  I do plan on creating book three as well and plot lines are already flowing through my brain.

I’m also thinking I’ll publish another one of my Historical Regencies, but I’m unsure which one to release.  It’s between a pirate story (The Lady Charmer, book 3 in the Bewildering Love series), a hero with a laudanum addiction (When Love Wins), or the story of a courtesan’s daughter simply called (The Courtesan’s Daughter).  The latter two do not have the second books written yet, although my goal is to make them series.

This has been what I’ve been working on in the past months.  I’m excited about my new release and look forward to reviews.  The story is character driven, and my hope is my readers will connect with the emotional ups and downs of the hero and heroine.  While I market The Wallflower’s Godmother, I plan to continue writing book two in my witches’ story.  Namaste.