Disease and Illness in Regency England
Published on March 4, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 4490

Throughout history, communal diseases have caused many deaths and countless heartbreak.  England’s rapid population growth led to overcrowding, poverty, and a lack of sanitary living, which resulted in rampant disease. Patients were often isolated from others, and treatment could be painful, causing death.  Below is a limited list of illness and disease, along with herbal remedies and toxins used to try to counter them.

Ague- is another name for malaria.  This disease brings on chills, shivering, and fever.  The ague existed in England until the mid 19th century, and was transmitted by the mosquito as it is in the West Indies.  It was found in the marshlands of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.  Proper drainage helped eradicate the disease.  Cinchona Bark- 1677 it is listed in the London Pharmacopoeia.  Used to cure King Charles II of England from malaria, as well as helping many others.

Apoplexy- is a stroke.  The results of a stroke could bring death, while recovery usually involves some paralysis.  Many died within hours of the attack.  Bloodletting was believed to help the patient.  Survivors were sometimes mistaken as mad due to their inability to speak or control bodily functions.  Some were placed in asylums.

Cholera- is caused by bacillus that lives in the intestines and is dispelled by human waste.  Sewage ran into the Thames, which supplied the drinking water and in turn the disease is ingested.  This disease did not affect Europe until the 1830’s.  Symptoms are nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, burning feeling in stomach, and thirst.  Death usually occurs in 24 hours after first sign of symptoms.  Cholera hit London’s slums the hardest.  Physicians would treat the symptoms with bloodletting or an opiate like laudanum.

Consumption- is tuberculosis of the lungs.  Spread through the air, saliva, and blood.  It causes weakness, fatigue, and in the latter stages of the disease people have a burst of energy and creativity.  The disease killed more people in Britain in the 1800’s than smallpox, measles, typhus, whooping cough, and scarlet fever combined.  Like many of the diseases mentioned, there was not an effective treatment for the disease.  It was however seen as a “romantic disease” as the sufferer had a heightened sense of sensitivity as death neared.  The disease progressed slowly, allowing people to get their affairs in order.  Lord Byron is quoted to have said, “I should like to die from consumption.”  The disease came to represent spiritual purity and temporal wealth.

Croup- this name applied to many illnesses at the time, including diphtheria.  This disease occurred with children, leading to hoarseness and coughing.  Severe cases led to convulsions and death.  Nowadays we say the patient is barking like a seal when they contract this virus.  Croup causes inflammation in the upper airways. The disease often begins with signs of the common cold. White Horehound Syrup- used to try an alleviate cough and lung trouble.  Known to have a pleasant taste.

Diphtheria- was not diagnosed or named correctly until the 1820’s, this illness affected children more severely than adults.  Transmitted by sneezing, it caused inflammation in the mucous membranes, making breathing so difficult that it often led to death.  Also known as the Boulogne sour throat in England.  Today, a vaccination is administered for prevention, usually in a combination DTP shot.

Dropsy-this wasn’t an actual illness, but a symptom of an underlining health issue.  Dropsy is swelling in the body caused by fluid.  This could be a symptom of kidney problems or poor circulation due to hardened arteries.  The person may have edema due to congestive heart failure.  Foxglove- highly toxic, given only by doctor.  Camomile- is a syrup made using the juice of Camomilien.

Dyspepsia- indigestion caused by overeating and lack of thorough chewing.  Fennel- treated indigestion and helped to increase a nursing mother’s milk supply.

- this disease can be hereditary and was found among the upper classes, since they consumed large quantities of meat and wine.  The uric acids in combination of the food and drink can cause painful swelling in joints. White Willow Bark- used to treat gout, headaches, diarrhea, and dysentery.  It is also known to relieve pain and inflammation.

Palsy- this paralysis is caused by a host of diseases such as Parkinson’s, sciatica, and muscular dystrophy.  Partial paralysis can be caused by apoplexy and paraplegia.  Palsy causes uncontrollable shaking.

Pleurisy-is an inflammation of the lungs that produces a hacking cough and sharp chest pain.  Respiratory infections and pneumonia are the main causes of pleurisy.  Milk Weed- helps to relieve breathing difficulties, ease pain, and lesson inflammation.  Leeches- applied to ribcage where the pain was located.

Smallpox- virus causes blister bumps on skin and in the mouth and throat, accompanied with a fever.  If you get this disease and survive, you would not get it again.  Believed to have emerged in 10,000 BC.  A smallpox rash was found on Pharaoh Ramses V of Egypt.  It can cause blindness due to ocular scarring.  Eighty percent of children that contacted this disease died.  It is airborne and easily inhaled or transmitted through bodily fluids.  One of the first vaccinations ever created was for smallpox in 1798.

Typhoid Fever-brought on by consuming food or water that has been contaminated by human waste either directly or through flies.  Could lead to delirium and death if untreated.  Often accompanied by a rash that is similar to Typhus.  It has four stages with a variety of terrible symptoms.  Sanitation and education is the way to prevent it.  Bloodletting and Calomel- Calomel is Mercury and it acts as a purgative and kills bacteria.  It also does irreversible damage to the patient.

Typhus- is spread by body lice. (aka. Putrid fever)  Napoleon’s army lost thousands from this disease on their retreat from Russia in 1812.  Symptoms include delirium, headaches, fever, and a rash, which usually cleared in two weeks unless the disease was fatal.  The disease is caused from overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.  If you have typhus as a child it can return.  Jane Austen had typhus as a child.  Nothing could cure Typhus until the invention of antibiotics.  Bloodletting and diluting the blood-diluting the blood called for mercury and antimony (both toxic) to be administered in doses orally and in enemas.  Many patients were stripped naked and doused in cold water since it was believed the patient should be kept cold.

Yellow Fever-a tropical disease spread by mosquitos.  It usually occurred in seaports and carried flu like symptoms.  This disease killed many British soldiers in the West Indies.  Severe cases led to kidney and liver failure.  Bloodletting, cold baths, and a calomel and James’s powder purge. Often bled 4-5 times in a 30-hour period.

Related Blog Articles:

Regency Home Remedies:  Leeches and Bloodletting http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=102

Drugs and Addiction in Regency England  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=114

A special thank you to Daniel Pool What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew.  Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon, Book of Poisons. Scott Cunningham Magical Herbalism. Roy and Lesley Adkins Jane Austen’s England.

Published on February 16, 2015 by lahilden | Views: 2457

Angels are spirits found in various religions and mythologies.  They are depicted as benevolent beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth.  The word angel means messenger.  Their role is to protect and guide humans for the higher good.  They are found in the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  And yet, angels described as Divine helpers are found in the ancient writings of Sumer, Babylonia, Persia, Egypt, and Greece.  These writings influenced the future religions.  There are also benevolent beings mentioned in other religions: Hinduism has avatars and Buddhism has devas and bodhisattvas.  Spirit guides are mentioned by many tribal cultures throughout the world.  Since these similar beings are all seen as messengers from Heaven, it is difficult to pinpoint the origin of the angel.  References to angels have existed as long as recorded human history.

Angels are often described as beings of light.  They are above average human height, and often portrayed with halos and/or wings.  Their wings are shown to signify the idea of traveling back and forth from the earth realm to the spirit realm. Wings were symbolic of the travel between life and the afterlife, and depicted on ancient gods like Hermes in Greece and Nepthys in Egypt.  Wings also appear on animals like the griffin, winged lions, and bulls.  The Vikings had winged Valkyries, this female figure visited battlefields to choose who lived or died, while taking the chosen slain back to Valhalla.  Angels have been appearing on battlefields for centuries.

In the 5th century, Syrian monk, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, studied the angels in passages from the New Testament, and concluded there was an intricate hierarchy of angels, which he divided into three spheres.  This hierarchy he created is met by skepticism, but it is still accepted today and is found in his book De Coelesti Hieratchia (On the Celestial Hierarchy). One of the debates is that the Syrian monk was trying to defend the hierarchy of the Catholic Church by creating a hierarchy amongst the angels.

First sphere: Seraphim, Cheribum, and Thrones (Serve as heavenly counselors)

Second sphere: Dominions, Virtues, and Powers (Serve as heavenly governors)

Third sphere: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. (Serve as heavenly messengers and soldiers)

Out of all the spheres of angels the most well known are the archangels.  They carry God’s most important messages to humans.  There are said to be twelve Archangels, of course this is debated as well, the main four are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.  These four work most closely with humans.  Archangel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God.  Gabriel also appeared to Muhammad and revealed to him a verse from the Quran.  The Gospels also speak of angels at Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Archangel Michael is often shown as a warrior, complete with armor and sword, as he battles with evil.  He is also depicted with the scales to weigh the souls of the dead, which sounds a great deal like the Egyptian god Maat.  Michael is the protective angel.

The Angels are our closest intermediaries to God, and each of us is assigned an angel at birth.  Our Guardian Angel’s loving guidance awakens us to our true potential.  Angels do not judge as they hold unconditional love for us.  They understand the perfection of creation and recognize the Divine inside us.  They are here to help with our human journey, but due to free will, they need your permission to assist you.  Be sure to ask for their help, guidance, or healing when needed.  In art, angels are often portrayed with human features, but in essence they are spirit energy of love and light.  The Guardian Angel is different from the spirit guide, who is also with us from birth, but unlike our spirit guides, angels have never been human.

“For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Psalms 91: 11, 12.

Since the beginning of time angels had made appearances in the earth realm.  Many have felt their presence, and there are scores of stories surrounding these amazing encounters.  George Washington often spoke to his guardian angel and credited his success in Valley Forge to the inspiring heavenly being.  Abraham Lincoln was known to call upon the wisdom of the angels to help guide him and heal the nation.  I have also called upon my guardian angel and received amazing responses.  Angels were created when light was created, at the dawn of the beginning; they have infinite wisdom to share.

In my book The Wallflower’s Godmother, Lady Saint Eden speaks to the angels, and with their help, she assists her goddaughter in reshaping her destiny.  This book will be released this year.

A special thank you to: Doreen Virtue, Archangels & Ascended Masters and How to Hear Your Angels. http://healingdeva.com/ranks-angels/ The History Channel, History of the Angels, http://angels-angelology.com/hierarchy-and-orders, and  http://www.heirarchyofheaven.com/TheWayofSpirit/HeirarchyofHeaven.htm

Historic Sights Part Thirteen
Published on January 28, 2015 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1362

Blair Castle is located in the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland.  The castle is strategically located in the Strath of Garry, making it the gatekeeper to the Grampians, and the most direct route to Inverness.  John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, owned Blair Castle.  While Lord Badenoch was fighting in the Crusades, his northern neighbor David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl built upon Badenoch’s land.  Upon his return, Badenoch won back his land and incorporated the new tower into his own castle.  Although the castle was built in the 13th century, the majority of construction was done during the 15th century.  The castle was under siege twice, once by Cromwell’s army in 1652 and again in 1746 by the Jacobites.  Apartments were added in the mid-18th century.  The clock tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1814.  In 1870’s, the castle was remodeled in the Scots Baronial style, and a ballroom was added.  A new ballroom wing was added during further remodeling in 1885.  There is a Grand Fir tree on the property, which is considered the second-tallest tree in Great Britain.  The castle is open to the public.

Castle de Haar is located in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands.  The current buildings were built upon the original castle, which dates back to 1391.  The castle was given by Hendrik van Woerden as fiefdom to the De Haar family.  The De Haar’s remained in possession of the castle and lands until 1440, when the last male De Haar family member died without heirs.  The castle passed to the Van Zuylen family, and suffered through a fire in 1482.  The remaining structure that still held military use was incorporated into the new castle in the early 16th century.  The castle fell into ruins when Johan van Zuylen died without children, and was eventually bequeathed to a cousin.  Etienne van Zuylen, husband of Helene de Rothschild, of the Rothschild family, inherited the castle ruins.  Financed by the Rothschild’s, they set about fully restoring and modernizing the castle with the help of famous architect Pierre Cuypers.  Cuypers worked on the project for twenty years.  The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms.  The castle is open to the public.

Lismore Castle is located in the town of Lismore, in the County of Waterford in Ireland.  The castle sits on the site that was occupied by Lismore Abbey, which was established in the early 7th century.  Lismore Castle was originally built in 1185 by Prince John and is situated high above the Blackwater River.  When the prince became king, he gave the fortress to the church and it was used as a Bishop’s Palace.  The castle was leased and later purchased by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1589 and he sold it to Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork in 1602.  Cork transformed the simple keep into a magnificent residence, which included castellated outer walls, a gatehouse, and additional apartments.  Lismore Castle passed to the Fourth Duke of Devonshire in 1753.  The Sixth Duke of Devonshire was responsible for the castle’s current appearance.  In the 19th century, the duke hired architect William Atkinson to rebuild the fortress in the Gothic style, using cut stone from Derbyshire.  Nearly 30 years later the duke hired architect Sir Joseph Paxton to carry out additional improvements.  Lismore Castle is considered a luxury destination that is open to guests and available for exclusive hire.

Powis Castle is a medieval castle located in Powys, Wales.  Powis castle was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes in Mid-Wales.  The castle was built by Welsh prince Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn in 1252 AD.  He wished to establish his independence from the North Wales princes, who were traditional enemies.  Powis Castle was built by the Welsh, unlike many of the castles in Northern Wales, which were built by the English.  Gruffudd was forced into exile in 1274 and the castle was destroyed.  Within three years, Gruffudd returned and rebuilt Powis Castle.  With no male heir, the castle and lordship passed to an heiress, Hawise, who married Sir John Charlton from Shropshire.  Descendants of Charlton held the castle for over 100 years.  Again, due to the lack of a male heir, the castle passed to two daughters.  In 1578, Sir Edward Herbert leased the castle and eventually purchased it in 1587.  In 1644, Powis Castle was captured by Parliamentary Troops and not returned to the family until the restoration of King Charles II.  The fortress is known for its remarkable State Bedroom, extensive gardens, deer park, and beauty.  The castle is under the ownership of the National Trust.

Resurrectionists-Body Snatching Trade
Published on January 7, 2015 by LA Hilden | Views: 869

Removing a corpse from its resting place was done for the advancement of science and seen as a necessity for medical students to learn the anatomy correctly.  Since the 15th century, British anatomists have used corpses for the purpose of study.  By law, only executed criminals were available for dissection and learning, which limited the number of bodies available.  During the early 19th century in England, capital crimes were continually reduced, which lessened the number of criminals executed, in turn making the growing medical institutions desperate for cadavers.   Low supply and high demand brought about the new trade of body snatching.  Due to this high demand, authorities often looked the other way when body snatching occurred.  Body snatching was kept quiet from the public to prevent riots, which were known to occur when such a crime was publicized.  The men that stole the corpses were known as resurrection-men.  Unlike grave robbers looking for personal treasures, the resurrectionists snatched bodies to sell.

Body snatching was not considered a felony.  The punishment consisted of a fine and imprisonment, whereas, grave robbing, taking personal items from the corpse, was a felony and punishable by hanging.  So taking the body wasn’t as bad as taking the body’s socks.  Body snatching was considered lucrative enough that resurrectionists were willing to take their chances with the law.  The institution of St. Bartholemew’s purchased corpses for four guineas apiece, which was a great sum.

Trade in corpses led to family members watching vigilantly over the deceased to assure themselves that the would-be-surgeons stayed far away.  Some decided to “mortsafe” their deceased.  This is where the corpse would be placed in a vault and allowed to putrefy before burial, thus rendering the corpse of no value to the robbers who sold them to the colleges.  Mortsafes were iron contraptions that protected the coffin from robbers.  They were usually removed after six weeks and reused elsewhere; for a special charge, of course.  Mortsafes were often weighted with stone, making exhumation of the deceased difficult.  The lack of refrigeration at the time meant the bodies decayed quickly, so stealing them had to happen with haste if the corpse was to be useful for dissection.

In part due to the scare from the Burke and Hare murders in 1828, where two Irish immigrants murdered 16 people and sold their corpses to a doctor for his anatomy lectures, vaults and watch houses began to pop up in cemeteries.  People with loved ones in the cemetery often took shifts in the watchtower overlooking the cemetery, remaining vigilant for any resurrectionists.  People were also known to set traps like spring guns to deter the robbers.

Of course these methods of safeguarding the deceased worked for many, but resurrection-men were tenacious and would dig further away from the mortsafe, and tunnel their way to the corpse, making the grave still appear undisturbed.  Nothing was foolproof.  With the Anatomy Act of 1832, unclaimed bodies and those donated by families were now allowed to be dissected in the pursuit of knowledge.  This left the medical institution with enough corpses to dissect, and body snatching lost its lucrative incentive.  The deceased were relatively left in peace, with the exception of the occasional grave robber.

My book Born Reckless delves into the hardships and upset caused by body snatching, when the Earl of Camden’s brother refuses to mortsafe his deceased wife, and her body goes missinghttp://www.amazon.com/Born-Reckless-Alter-Ego-Book-ebook/dp/B006V5820I/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1420308908&sr=8-6&keywords=born+reckless

A special thank you to: http://www.kuriositas.com/2013/05/the-mortsafe-or-how-to-protect-your.html http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/body-snatching-a-most-ghoulish-19th-century-affair/

History of the Mistletoe
Published on December 16, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 1833

Mistletoe is a hemiparasitic plant, meaning it is the kind of plant that attaches itself to a tree or shrub with its roots and absorbs its nutrients from its host.  There are different varieties of mistletoe around the world, and a heavy infestation can kill the host.  Mistletoe can be found growing on its own, but that isn’t common.  The European mistletoe is a green shrub, with yellow flowers, and white berries that are poisonous.  The North American mistletoe grows along the east coast, from New Jersey to Florida, it has green, oval-shaped leaves with white flowers, its berries can be red, orange, yellow or white, which are poisonous.  Both of these types of mistletoe are commercially harvested for Christmas decorations.

So if mistletoe is a parasitic plant with poisonous berries, why do we carry the tradition of kissing beneath it?

Kissing under the mistletoe was first associated with the Greeks when they celebrated the festival of Saturnalia.  Since the mistletoe was believed to bestow fertility, and the dung of it was said to have “life-giving” power, people would kiss beneath them.  The Greeks believed mistletoe held mystical powers, likely due to its sudden appearance in trees, which was done by birds distributing the seeds from their beaks or droppings.  Mistletoe also remains green throughout the winter, making it a wonder to the ancients, since its roots were not in the ground.  Mistletoe was said to bestow life and fertility, used as a protection against poisons, and also used as an aphrodisiac.  The practice of kissing beneath the mistletoe eventually extended to Greek wedding ceremonies.

Mistletoe was considered sacred in pre-Christian Europe.  Ancient Celts and Germans used the rare oak mistletoe as a ceremonial plant.  Using mistletoe to decorate at Christmas is a custom carried over from the ancient Celtic Druids, who welcomed the New Year by bringing branches of mistletoe indoors.  In the Middle Ages, these branches were also hung from the ceiling to ward off evil spirits.  In Europe, they were hung over doorways to prevent the entrance of witches.

In Scandinavia, the mistletoe represents peace, so feuding married couples would kiss beneath the mistletoe.  Norse myth claims if you came upon your enemy in the woods, and found yourself standing under mistletoe, a truce would be declared and weapons disengaged until the next day.  Thus, kissing beneath the mistletoe became a sign of goodwill and friendship.

There is even said to be proper etiquette for kissing under the mistletoe.  Men can only kiss the woman or girl on the cheek, once the kiss is complete, he removes a berry from the plant.  When the berries are gone, the kissing ends.  So make sure your mistletoe has lots of berries, because kissing is known to reduce stress.

Remember, the BERRIES of all mistletoe are TOXIC.  Keep them away from children, pets, and people who don’t know better.

http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/history/mistletoe.htm http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/articles/mythology_folklore/mistletoe.asp http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/WRG_mistletoe.html

What I’m Currently Working On
Published on November 29, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 945

I’ve finished the final draft of book one in my Witches of Griffin series.  I planned to title the book Isis’s Order, since the sisters are following the orders of the goddess Isis.  But after my endless research, I realized you can no longer type in the goddess’s name without getting pages and pages about the terrorist group.  That being said, a title change was definitely in order.  It’s now called Divine Legacy, which I like better.

Here’s the intro to the story.

Descendants of the first supreme witch, the great Queen, Cleopatra of Egypt, have returned to the earth plane.  Possessing illuminating wisdom and the ability to manipulate energy in various spiritual planes and dimensions, the sisters are new to their craft and under the guidance of the goddess Isis.

Great care was taken to bring about the triplet birth of the enlightened ones.  Enormous foresight and collaboration was necessary to make the three of them balanced and powerful when united.  Their looks, personality, and magical abilities differ, allowing them to become powerful conduits of universal energy.

Kira Griffin was gifted with hair as red as the fires that destroyed the great Library of Alexandria, where the most complete collection of ancient literature ever assembled, including the sacred scrolls of Isis, were destroyed by fiery flames.  Skye’s hair was black as a raven’s wing, representing the life-giving silt left by the river Nile, symbolizing fertility, new life, and resurrection.  And Regina was given golden blond hair to represent the flesh of the gods and goddesses, symbolizing eternity and indestructibility.  Their blue eyes represent the color of the heavens and hold true to the supreme Cleopatra’s eyes.  The higher realms hold great hope for the Griffin.

There is a lot of symbolism in this story as it delves into the nature of energy, how to utilize it, and how to overcome tragedies and pitfalls that occur on the earthly plane.  Life is a journey of learning and the sisters, like the majority of us, have much to learn.  The afterlife is referred to often in the story and is taken from years of personal research.  The descriptions and details of the afterlife are based upon people who have experienced past life regressions or near death experiences.  The information regarding the healing light of Reiki, healing crystals, tinctures, etc. is based upon my own experience and knowledge, as I am a Reiki practitioner.

Throughout the book, the Griffin sisters strive to maintain a positive mindset, to manifest what they need, and to accept things they can’t change.  Through the universal life force of energy that surrounds us, the sisters set out to make great changes in the world around them.  Of course they have some whacky relatives to assist them on their journey, as well as spiritual friends guiding their way.  Their life seems a constant battle against evil and yet the Griffin sisters always find time for the most powerful energy in the universe…love.


I have two books I want to get to the editor and many more in the works.  I want to make sure book two of the Witches of Griffin series, blends in seamlessly to book one, so I will probably work on book two, before sending book one to the editor.

My next release is a Regency Historical Cinderella story, which I love.  It’s called The Wallflower’s Godmother.

Here’s the blurb:

In any Cinderella story, the damsel must find Prince Charming, but what if the man destined to be yours is not the least bit charming?

Working like a scullery maid in her family’s home is no picnic for Johanna Cavanagh.  When her godmother sails into her life to remove her from such hardship, Johanna sees this as a gift from heaven. She’s immediately swept into a new life filled with lessons in husband catching.  She assumes her godmother’s quirky behavior of speaking to heavenly spirits can only aid her in this endeavor, but…

When the angels encourage Johanna to find favor with the rude and off-putting Earl of Dunford, Johanna believes her future bleak.

Eli Benton, the Earl of Dunford, who nearly drowned in quicksand, is now considering it time to reassess his plans for a future and finds himself beset by a pretty guest of his neighbor’s.  Miss Johanna Cavanagh furiously accuses him of allowing his staff to abuse animals, but if that isn’t enough, this same woman returns back into his life when his daughter is returned to him, causing Miss Johanna to somehow feel it her duty to make sure he treats his child correctly.  Eli finds her meddlesome.

If this is a match made in heaven, why is everyone getting in the way, including Eli and Johanna's own awkward efforts at understanding relationship building.  Amidst Eli’s brother possibly being suspected for murder and kidnapping, a sister whose ice princess image must be melted, and a grief stricken five-year-old, Johanna and Eli keep pursuing love.

The Wallflower’s Godmother is a Regency Historical Romance with spiritual elements.  It is Book One in the Surrounded by Angels series.

I will let you know when this one nears release.  I’m thinking March of 2015.

Symbolism of the Pentacle
Published on November 11, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 3942

I finished an edit on book one in my Witches of Griffin series and decided to blog about a positive symbol that is often misunderstood today.  The pentacle as evil is a relatively modern concept, but when viewing the image, some associate it with Satanists or the dark arts.  In actuality, this ancient sign is considered a potent and powerful symbol of love and light. Throughout history, this five-pointed star encased in a circle, was incorporated by many religions as a positive emblem.  The earliest known use for the pentacle dates back to 3000 BC.  The Sumerians and Babylonians are believed to have used it to depict angles and provide direction.  Some historians believe the pentacle was used for astrological purposes, with the five points representing Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus.

Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician, studied the geometry of the pentacle and recognized that the division of lines resulted in the “Golden Ratio” making it an emblem of perfection, since it is in perfect harmony and balance with the cosmos.  Pythagoras’s followers embraced the mystical concept that the soul was eternal through the process of transmigration.  His followers attributed the points of the pentacle to the elements of earth, air, water, fire, and ideas.

In Egypt, the five-pointed star was known as the star of Isis.  Isis was one of the earliest and most important goddesses in Egypt.  She was the goddess of magic and life.

The Holy Roman Emperor, Constantine used the pentacle as a seal and amulet.  When the church was formed, many Christians associated the pentacle with the five wounds of Christ, or the five joys of the Virgin Mary.  The pentacle was also said to represent the five virtues, while others associated it with the five human senses.

In medieval times, the pentacle was associated with the legends of King Arthur and said to represent the five primary religions.  According to Sir Gawain, a poet, King Solomon designed the five-pointed star as his own magic seal.  It was seen as a symbol of truth, with five points that link and lock with each other, forming what is called the endless knot.  The pentacle was said to represent the five virtues of knighthood: chastity, purity, courtesy, piety, and generosity.  Knights would often have a small pentacle painted on their armor or garb during pilgrimages and battles.  It was common for knights to utilize pagan symbols and allot them religious and spiritual meaning.

The pentacle represented a variety of positive attributes throughout history with the stars point reaching toward the heavens.  The symbol is often linked with the occult for it is a main symbol used by Wiccans.  The sacred nature of the number five was amplified in Celtic traditions from which modern Paganism is derived.

Wiccans see the pentacle as the symbol of Divine knowledge.  The five points represent the directions or elements with the fifth point representing the realm of spirit.  The circle around the pentagram represents unity as a whole.  Thus symbolizing the connectedness that we are all one.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s when the pentacle was inverted so the two points faced upward that a negative association was made and the pentacle became a symbol of darkness. The inverted pentacle is called the Sigil of Baphomet.  It is said to represent the goat head of Baphomet.

In the early 14th century, during the Inquisition, when the Roman Catholic Church interrogated the Knights Templar, Baphomet made its first appearance in history.  At that time, Baphomet was the term used to describe the idol the Templars were accused of worshipping.  Many assume the inverted pentacle’s description was a byproduct of the torture methods used, rather than an actual statue idolized by the knights.  Of the 231 knights examined by the Pope’s commissioners in Paris, only twelve, while under torture, admitted to recognizing the idol, there was also little agreement among the knights descriptions of Baphomet.  It wasn’t until 1856, when the inverted pentacle was associated with the Sabbatic goat image, drawn by French occult leader Eliphas Levi.

Today the Sigil of Baphomet is widely used by the Church of Satan, which was founded in 1966.  The inverted symbol is said to attract evil forces because it has been overturned, harming the proper order of things.  It is a sign of antagonism and fatality, with the three downward points symbolizing rejection of the holy trinity.

The pentacle has deep roots in history, as it is an extension to the potent and powerful pentagram.  The pentacle is a positive symbol of Divine knowledge and connection.  It is used as an amulet of protection.  They are often used in magical rituals, invocations, and spells.  A pentacle made of silver is said to bind the energy of the Moon, while one made of gold binds the energy to the Sun.

A special thank you to http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_pent.htm http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma&c=basics&id=2875 http://www.gothwitch.co.uk/Symbols.htm

Staying Clean in Regency England
Published on October 17, 2014 by lahilden | Views: 2454

Bathing in Regency England is sketchy in regards to historical information, since people didn’t often write in journals the daily habits of their toilette, likely they felt such information boring and mundane for their literary genius.  This makes bathing habits speculative at best, but we do know some facts.

Soap was a luxury and not all were able to enjoy its benefits.  Soap was usually spherical in shape and could fit in the palm of your hand.  Soft soaps were made of mutton fat, wood ash, and natural soda; herb oils could be added for scent, but they were more expensive.  Soap was sometimes referred to as a wash ball and was kept in a wash ball holder next to a basin.  Pear’s Soap was sold in 1807; it was an oval bar, transparent, and said to carry the scent of an English garden.  Hard soaps were made with olive oil, soda, lime, herbs, and flowers.  People in rural areas were known to make their own soap.

The majority of Regency folk did not bathe their entire bodies, they spot cleaned body parts, which is still common in many parts of the world.  There was an old belief that washing could bring about illness and water could carry disease into the body through the skin.  Nevertheless, Beau Brummel, who was said to bathe everyday, advocated for frequent washing.  (To read more on Brummell follow link: http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=6&p2_articleid=91)  Many folks visited public medicinal baths believed to bring about health and even cure skin ailments.  These people were not actually bathing to get clean, although this would occur.  My Regency Historical, The Vengeful Earl has scenes that take place in the public spas, in Bath, England.  http://www.lahilden.com/index.php?categoryid=1&p2_articleid=124

The most common form of bathing was done with a basin, which was usually placed in the bedroom.  The basin was filled with water from a jug and then a cloth or sponge was used to get the job done.  It was rare to have a full bathtub where you could submerge your entire body, and showers were uncommon, thus workers utilized rivers, streams, and lakes.  It was not unusual to only bathe once a week, and many went much longer.  Perfumes and colognes worked wonders to try and hide body odor.  Swimming for fun also brought about clean bodies, but people were more likely to swim in the sea to improve their health than to have fun, since seawater was believed to have medicinal purposes.  Upper and middle classes did not swim together, and men and women were isolated from each other.  Bathing machines became popular.

A Bathing machine was a wheeled buggy that carried the bather into the sea, the bather would then return to the machine to dry and dress before being wheeled back onto the beach.  There were fees to use the bathing machine, but let’s move away from swimming.

The assumption is the lower classes were cleaning themselves in the rivers and half barrels, while the middle and upper classes were sending for moveable tubs.  These small tubs were usually placed behind a dressing screen in front of the fire in a bedroom.  Often they were lined with linens, perhaps to ward off the cold metal of the tub or to prevent splinters from a wooden one.  Footmen would carry buckets from the well to the kitchen to be boiled and then carried to fill the tub.  Sometimes a servant would leave a bucket on the fire to add as the water cooled.  This same water would then need to be carried away again.  Woven linen was used to dry off.  The hauling of water was labor intensive, and water was shared when necessary, especially by the poor.  This is why the basin and pitcher method was utilized by the majority, and even found in bedchambers in respectable inns.

The idea to have a room devoted to bathing can be traced to the 17th century to Samuel Pepys, an English navel officer.  Wimpole Hall had a bathhouse with a shower, but it was unusual for the era.  Until plumbing with warm water was introduced in the mid 19th century, showers remained rare.  The third Earl of Hardwicke had a plunge pool installed that heated the water from a basement boiler.  Toward the end of the 18th century, attitudes toward bathing were changing and bathing became associated with good health.


A special thank you to Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Leslie Adkins, https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/personal-hygiene/ http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2011/08/bathing-customs.html

Rainbows Through the Ages
Published on October 3, 2014 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1809

Rainbows are caused by reflection and refractions of sunlight with water droplets in the atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of seven colors.  The water droplets act as a prism and when met with sunlight, they disperse the light into a rainbow.  Rainbows caused by sunlight appear in the section of the sky, opposite of the sun.  The double rainbow has a second arc where the colors are reversed, the reds face towards each other when this occurs.  Rainbows can be full circles, but we usually only see the arc from our viewpoint.  The rainbow effect can be seen around waterfalls.  A rainbow’s spectrum of color goes from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and then violet.  These seven colors also represent the seven spheres of heaven, and are associated with the seven main Chakras.  In turn, the colors represent the Divine in all of us.

Rainbows have been around since the dawn of man.  They have been studied by great scholars, mentioned in the bible, used in numerous mythologies, displayed in works of art, and written about in epic Babylonia poems.  One of the earliest references to the rainbow is mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Genesis 9, in the story of Noah after the great flood.  Christians view the rainbow as a symbol of promise.  Greek philosopher, Aristotle, devoted great attention to rainbows in his studies.  Roman philosopher, Seneca the Younger, wrote a book of his observations and hypotheses.  Hindu and Buddhist Tantra followers try to reach the highest meditative state available so to experience the “rainbow body.”  In Hindu mythology, Indra, the goddess of thunder and war, shoots rainbow arrows of light.

In Norse mythology, the rainbow symbolized a burning bridge connecting earth with Asgard, the home of the gods.  In ancient Greece, the virgin rainbow goddess, Iris communicated with the mortals on behalf of Zeus and Hera.  The Egyptians also believed the rainbow a bridge to the heavens.  The degree of a rainbow is similar to the outer slope of the Great Pyramid, intermingling the symbolism of the rainbow with the pyramid.  The Irish leprechaun hiding gold at the end of rainbow comes from the ancient Celts, who saw the rainbow and the cauldron as feminine symbols, while the gold was symbolic of offspring.  So to the Celts, the rainbow represented a promise of new life provided by the divine feminine.  The pot of gold in the end is the manifestation of your dreams coming true.  The ancient Japanese believed the rainbows served as bridges to their ancestors, while the Navajo Indians believed the rainbow to be the path of the holy spirit.

For thousand of years, rainbows have inspired awe and wonder with their beauty.  Rainbows remind us to take a moment and thank the Divine for the gifts in our lives.

A special thank you to http://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbolic-meaning-of-rainbows.html http://www.aseekersthoughts.com/2012/03/rainbow-as-symbol.html and http://www.datalyse.dk/Rainbow/history.htm

Calling Card Etiquette  Regency England
Published on September 25, 2014 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 1660

Like the modern day business card, calling cards were a necessary accessory carried by both gentlemen and ladies during Regency England.  If a person visited friends or acquaintances, they would present their calling card to the butler, who would then announce their arrival to the head of the household.  A person would not be received in a good household without a calling card being presented first.

Calling cards were made from a high quality paper and engraved with the gentleman’s name and address.  A lady’s calling card did not have an address, but it did carry the woman’s married name.  Decorating the card was considered taboo and in poor taste, but the cards did become available in more colors in later years.  The engraving was simple and people were labeled with Mr. or Mrs., of course titles of rank were included on the calling card.

Lady’s calling cards were larger than the male counterpart, since the males needed to fit theirs in a breast pocket.  Women’s calling cards may be glazed and engraved with simple type, but like the colors, the script became more elaborate as the years past.

Calling cards were a great way to recall who visited and to know if a return call was necessary.  A lady returning to town may make the rounds, allowing her groom to pass out her cards while she waits in the vehicle.  A dog-eared card meant the card was delivered in person by the caller, and not from a servant.

Once a card was received, the head of the household would decide on whether to receive the caller.  To be informed by the butler that “the mistress is not home” is a rejection and code for the mistress does not wish to make your acquaintance.  If the caller receives a reciprocal card not presented formally, than this meant there was no interest to continue the acquaintance.  A formal returned visit meant a friendship was possible.  Callers unsure of the reaction they’d receive, usually left a card and didn’t ask if the mistress was home.  In turn, the mistress would feel obligated to return the call, if only done by leaving her card.  An unreciprocated call meant the person was rejected.

Cards were often placed on a silver salver in the entry hall, with the most influential names purposely placed on top of the pile.  This allowed guests to glimpse lofty visitors.  The less affluent used a bowl to hold the cards.

Of course there were special guidelines and even a timetable for paying a call upon someone.  Morning calls, which were less formal, were made between eleven and three.  These calls usually lasted fifteen minutes, and children and pets were not allowed.  Formal ceremonial calls (congratulations or condolences, which was seen as a duty) were made between three and four in the afternoon and typically took place a week after the event.  Semi-ceremonial (after a ball or formal dinner) calls were conducted between four and five, and typically made a day after the event.  Intimate calls were made between five and six.  Sunday was a day reserved for family and friends, no acquaintances or strangers paid calls on the Sabbath.

Calling cards were also a way to let people know you’ve arrived in town or that you were preparing to depart.  Generally the caller left more than one card, one for the mistress of the house, one for the gentleman, and one for the butler.  Calling cards were carried in decorative cases, often made of silver, ivory or paper-mache.  The lids of the cases were artistically detailed later in the century, but during the Regency they were primarily filigree, leather, or tortoiseshell.  Only the wealthy could afford cases made from pure metals like gold.


A special thank you to http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/the-etiquette-of-using-calling-cards/ and http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article026.html and Visiting Cards and Cases by Edwin Banfield, Baros Books, Wiltshire, 1989.