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.
The hamsa is a palm shaped symbol used in many parts of the world as a protection amulet against the evil eye. The evil eye is a destructive energy given by others that arises from envy, hatred, or jealousy. The evil eye is believed to cause illness, death, or unluckiness, which is why the hamsa often carries the symbol of the eye upon its palm. The amulet is shaped like the hand with three fingers in the middle. The curved thumb and pinky are bilateral and symmetrical in form. The word hamsa means five and refers to the five fingers. The number five is a powerful number symbolizing defense, strength, and fortune. The origin of the hamsa dates back to ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and predates Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It evolved to become a sacred and respected symbol in many religions. The hand serves as protection against evil and danger, but it also represents femininity and is referred to as the woman’s holy hand. This sign of protection is believed to hold a powerful energy as it represents blessings, power, and strength.
The hamsa carries different connotations in various religions. To the Muslims the hamsa represents the hand of Fatima (Prophet Muhammad’s daughter) with the five fingers representing the Five Pillars of Islam for Sunnis and the Five People of the Cloak for Shi’ites. The hamsa represents the hand of Mary to the Christians and those of the Jewish faith refer to it as the hand of Miriam (Sister of Moses with the fingers representing the five books of Moses). The hamsa hands are not always symmetrical and hamsa’s shaped like actual hands are also used.
The symbol can be worn with the fingers pointing up or down, both ways are believed to bring happiness, peace, and protection.
The Hamsa Prayer
Let no Sadness come to this heart
Let no trouble come to these arms
Let no conflict come to these eyes
Let my soul be filledwith the blessing of joy and peace.
Since I’m working on the Witches of Griffin series, which focuses on Ancient Egypt, I found that the Sky God Horus, claimed men could never escape the eye of conscience, because the eye is always open and the eye monitors all life. The eye of Horus is a symbol that represents God in mathematical form. Essentially, the whole is divided and then divided continually, making the sum of the numbers 63/64. The sequence can continue into infinity and the number one will never be reached. The determination is that God is one. Metaphorically, the hamsa is the Hand of God and the ultimate defense against all evil. If you draw the Eye of Horus, the cross section of the mid-brain takes you to the thalamus, where the pineal and pituitary glands are located. The pineal gland is also known as the third eye or a person’s spiritual center. The third eye, if opened, is believed to connect you with spiritual dimensions and provide perceptions beyond ordinary sight.
Due to the renewed interest in Kabbalah and mystical Judaism, the hamsa pendant is making a comeback. The hamsa can be found in art, clothing, and jewelry. Unfortunately, the symbol is sometimes misunderstood today, with people tying it to the Illuminati to represent control and surveillance by the elites. Nevertheless, the hamsa represents God and it has a positive, uplifting spiritual message.
Although the people in Regency England couldn’t enjoy one of those yummy caramel and milk chocolate squares made from Ghirardelli, there were other sweets available at the time.
Making ice cream was an expensive process, since hauling and storing giant blocks of ice was an arduous chore that began in the freezing winter months. Cut ice was stored in an icehouse, which was dug deeply enough underground to allow the ice to remain frozen during the summer months. Since ice cutting, transporting, and storing were laborious, this made the cost of ice very high. So only the affluent with icehouses consumed ice cream.
In the 19th century, Italian Swiss entrepreneur, Carlo Gatti, began to import great quantities of ice into London from Norway, in turn making ice more affordable. He is credited as the first to make ice cream available to the general public. In turn, confectioner shops in London began offering ices and ice cream to their customers. Ices were often flavored with flowers, like violets, orange flowers, roses, etc. One of the most famous confectioners, and the one mentioned in my books, is Gunter’s Tea Shop (Originally established in 1757 and called The Pot and Pineapple). Gunter’s was considered a fashionable light eatery in Mayfair, and known for its ices and sorbets. Located on the east side of Berkeley Square, Gunter’s became a trendy place for a gentleman to take the lady he was courting. Gunter’s was the only establishment where a lady could visit alone, without a chaperone or relative, and no harm would come to her reputation.
Chocolate was introduced to Europe from Central America in the 16th century.
A Frenchman established the first chocolate house in London in 1657, but the chocolate was made into a beverage. During Regency England, the higher classes often enjoyed hot chocolate in the morning with breakfast.
There were some chocolate candies available at the time, like the conserve of chocolate, which is like fudge. They also had flat discs of bitter chocolate that were covered with nonpareils. Due to the bitterness of chocolate, new techniques were used to improve the texture and taste. Chocolate was used in baking chocolate rolls and cakes, but it wasn’t until revolutionized approaches to better the quality, did companies like Cadbury begin to sell boxed chocolates in England in 1868. The first chocolate bar was made in 1847, but milk chocolate wasn’t made until 1875.
Sweetmeats (which simply means sweet food.)
Marzipan candies were introduced to England in the late Middle Ages. Marzipan is made from ground almonds, sugar, and usually rose water. They were often served at the end of a meal and were displayed as centerpieces at a gathering or upon the dessert table. Marzipan could be sculpted to make animals, people, castles, etc., nowadays it’s often molded to resemble fruit.
Licorice was used as a medicinal plant for centuries, until in 1760 when Englishman, George Dunhill, added some sugar and turned it into a sweet. Made by hand, this treat was expensive until after the Industrial Revolution.
Chewy caramels were available in the 18th century, along with toffee, taffy, spun sugar, and butterscotch. These were not necessarily made the way they are made today, and taffy pulls weren’t invented until the 1840’s.
Dried fruits, gingerbread, sugared almonds, and jellied fruits were enjoyed in England since the Middle Ages.
A special thank you to https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/regency-food/, englishhistorianauthors.com, and http://www.localhistories.org/sweets.html
In my Griffin Witches series, my main characters are triplet sisters who have the ability to manipulate energy. They are very spiritual beings. Due to the loss of loved ones close to them, these stories delve into the afterlife and reincarnation.
According to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of American’s believe in reincarnation. The research also claims that women are more likely to believe than men, and Democrats are more likely to believe than Republicans. Being stuck in religious dogma can hinder the mind to be open for learning, but I believe it is always important to look outside the box. Many in the West believe the soul’s order is birth, life, death, and rebirth. Where after your life you die, you’re judged, and you’re sent to heaven or hell with no appeals allowed for eternity. In the East, there are nearly a billion Hindu’s and a half billion Buddhists, not to mention the ancient civilizations, who have a cyclical view. They believe the soul’s order is birth, life, death, and because no one is perfect, the soul is reborn on earth to begin anew.
The concept of reincarnation dates back 3,000 years to India and Greece, although it has largely been rejected by the Jewish and Christian traditions. The idea of reincarnation has been stepping to the forefront in the West due to pass life regression hypnotherapy and the fascination American’s have with the idea of living before. I’ve read dozens of books regarding these past life regressions and life between life regressions. Although it cannot be proven with certainty that what these people experience is true, it has been proven that experiencing these kinds of regressions have been known to help the therapist’s client heal. In Lifetimes new series, Reincarnated: Past Lives, the clients’ stories often contain historic names and places. This information is then traced through history to be found factual. Could these people just be making up tribal signs and places they never heard of from imagination? Is this information stored in some energy grid and pulled from the ether? Or are they in essence experiencing a life they had once lived? I definitely find these theories fascinating and I hope to one day participate in my own Life Between Life session. And when I do, I will be sure to blog about it.
The people who undergo this type of therapy believe what they imagine under deep hypnosis has happened to them and they seem to have intense feelings and often cry while undergoing a past life death. If you are interested in learning more I suggest researching Michael Newton. And since I feel it essential to examine concepts from various angles, it’s important to note that skeptics believe these hypnotic journeys into past lives is due to a construction of the brain to project itself into a future state that doesn’t exist. Many scientists point to cryptomnesia (the emergence of forgotten memories), suggestibility by the hypnotherapist, fantasy and imagination, hysterical dissociation, wishful thinking, or self-delusion. Science has not proven life after death to be true or untrue, making reincarnation and past life regression therapy, controversial theories.
Jim Tucker, a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia claims, “there are good reasons to think that consciousness can be considered a separate entity from the physical realty.” To read more on this, http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation And according to Dr. Ian Stevenson, Ph.D., former Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who spent 40 years researching reincarnation stories with children states, “About 35% of children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers.”
Spiritualist, like my characters, believe we are here on earth to learn and love, that we are all connected, and when we harm another, we harm our eternal soul which then needs to make an amends in this life or in another life. As Dr. Weiss states, “We are souls having a human experience.” We are always connected to the higher power, our angels, and our deceased loved ones, and thus we are never truly alone. Our higher self still exists on the higher plane, learning and teaching younger souls, as a portion of our soul on earth is also busy learning. We learn through love, compassion, and giving, as we try to raise our vibration and energy levels higher so to become closer to God. The trials and tribulations we face on earth are in place to teach us empathy toward others. Once our spiritual energy is wise enough, we no longer find it necessary to incarnate, unless we wish to. We tend to become guides to younger souls, sharing with them the wisdom we learned through our own soul’s journeys. Thus, the Griffin sisters do not believe in coincidences, and know there is much more being manipulated and arranged by our guides and angels than we realize. Perhaps there’s a reason why you feel you’ve known someone forever, it could be because you have. The Griffin sisters see the signs before them, but they do not always read them correctly, which in essence, is part of life.
It is easy to learn about reincarnation, as the Eastern traditions are making their way West in the form of Yoga studios, Reiki, acupuncture, movies, and much more. The eternal soul is not a new concept, but not all believers in eternity believe we return to begin life anew, as a new person, likely in a different culture, and with many of the same souls we’ve journeyed with before. It’s little wonder the concept is so fascinating to ponder.
A special thank you to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/fashion/29PastLives.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/the-scientific-evidence-for-reincarnation-fact-or-fantasy/#sthash.Yfz0pZTi.dpuf Also special thanks to Michael Newton and Brian Weiss.
In book two of the new witch series I’m researching, the sisters must capture their mother’s murderer and retrieve the map to Sanctuary. Unfortunately, the Yoruba priestess has taken refuge in another dimension, making their travel by astral projection, necessary.
Human beings have five subtle bodies; these color spectrums of light surround the body and act much like auras and chakras. These energies are broken down as 1) Etheric body 2) Astral or emotional body 3) Mental body (concrete mind) 4) Causal body (abstract mind). The subtle body exists with the physical body, and each subtle body has its own aura and set of chakras, and corresponds to a particular plane of existence.
Astral projection has been around for thousands of years and dates back to ancient China. It is often associated with the New Age Movement. The idea of astral travel is rooted in religious accounts of the afterlife. Soul travel appears in various religious traditions throughout history, like the ancient Egyptian concept of the Ka’s (the soul’s) ability to hover outside the physical body.
Reality is created by our consciousness and then projected into the physical grid. In astral projection, the mind leaves the physical body and moves into the astral body to travel. When a person astral travels, they still remain attached to their physical body by a long silver cord. This type of travel can be achieved while awake, meditating, dreaming, or during drug experiences, and it is often referred to as an out-of-body experience (OBE).
Science has yet to prove this is possible. Through brain scans of a lady having an OBE experience, the scan proves this person is experiencing what she claims through brain activity, but it doesn’t conclude that the soul in traveling. The scientists of this experiment believe her astral travel a type of hallucination, triggered by some neurological mechanism. (You can find the article here: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/scientists-unlock-mystery-of-woman-who-sees-herself-out-1538196076 )
Astral projection is considered a spiritual theory, there’s no physical evidence of the phenomena other than first hand accounts. From these accounts, the travelers claim to have visited deceased loved ones and aliens from other worlds. These astral explorers speak of rewarding experiences in their travels and great learning. But not all experiences are said to be rewarding, Erin Pavlina describes her first astral travel as terrifying, as spirits began to coax her to leave her body. Pavlina went on to have many more astral experiences and she learned to fight negative spirits like a feisty heroine.
According to philosophical thought, whether it is Hermeticism, Neoplatonism or various others, the astral plane is a world of light between heaven and earth, composed of planets and stars. These astral spheres are believed to be populated by angels, demons, and spirits. Many sects belonging to Islamic mysticism interpret Muhammad’s night ascent (Isra and Mi’raj) to be an OBE. In India, the Yogic tradition is a system of meditation and astral projection. Astral projection is one of the Siddhis (spiritual powers) considered possible by yoga practitioners. Christians acknowledge it’s existence in the book of Ecclesiates, and Paul speaks of astral projection in his second letter to the Corinthians. There are Inuit groups who are said to have the capability of astral projection, and they claim to visit remote places. Shamans are also known to astral project. Anyone can practice astral projection if you can reach that type of hypnotic state. Jerry Gross is considered an expert of out-of-body experiences and he holds workshops and classes on the subject. When asked about astral projection, Gross had this to say, “Astral projection is the ability to leave your body. Everyone leaves their body at night, but before they do leave, they have to put the physical mind to sleep. Most people don't remember this, but when the physical mind is asleep, the subconscious takes over, and this is usually when you do your astral projection. In other words, everybody does it, but they just don't remember doing it.” The conscious mind is concerned with the here and now, while the subconscious mind is concerned with processing the soul’s lessons and experiences.
Belief in the afterlife may affect what you see, if you expect to see angels and deceased love ones then you likely will, if you expect to see hell, well then that is likely what you will get. Form follows conscious and sub-conscious thought, so try to remain in a positive mind-set. If you come upon negative energy, offer it love and understanding, it is said transformation occurs from unconditional love. The person traveling decides where they want to go. Gross claims astral travel is a gift to us to learn how to use. Those who experiment in this form of travel, speak of various planes shaped by energy and light. As in dreams, your thoughts guide the experience. A person must allow the subconscious to take control, while refusing the conscious mind from leading.
A special thank you to crystalinks.com, Paranormalbeliefs.com, http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/astral-projection.html and http://paranormal.about.com/od/outofbodyexp/a/astral-projection.htm
In celebration of the World Cup, here are some of the hottest men in the game.
Neymar Da Silva Santos Jr. (Brazil) Age 22
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Age 29
Oliver Giroud (France) Age 27
Asmir Begovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina Age 27
Haris Serferovic (Switzerland) Age 22
Nicola Lodeiro (Uruguay) Age 25
James Trusi (Australia) Age 25
Airth Castle is located in the village of Airth, in the Falkirk area of Scotland. The Gothic castle dates back to the 14th century. The castle is often linked with the family of Robert the Bruce, since they owned the castle during the 15th century. The castle was burned during the Battle of Sauchierburn in 1488, but later rebuilt. An extension was built on the east side of the tower in the mid-16th century, and in 1581, a northeast wing was added, in turn creating an L-shaped design. In 1717, the castle passed into the hands of the Graham family, an ownership that continued over the next two centuries. In the 19th century, the Graham family commissioned architect, David Hamilton to fill in the L-shape. This changed the face of the castle to what it is today. The Graham family sold the castle in 1920, and it was converted into a hotel in 1971. Airth Castle is currently an award winning hotel and spa.
Balmoral Castle is located in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The name Balmoral is Gaelic for majestic dwelling. The castle is steeped in history with the first house being built on the site by Sir William Drummond in 1390. The Gordon family built a tower house on the property, when the first Earl of Huntly’s son rented the estate. The castle passed to Jacobean sympathizers in 1662. In 1798, James Duff, the second Earl of Fife, purchased and then leased the castle. And in 1830, the third Earl of Aberdeen acquired the castle and began major alterations implementing the Scots Baronial style. Balmoral has been a Royal residence since 1852, when Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert purchased the castle. The Queen deemed the existing 15th century house too small, and it was demolished once the new estate was completed in 1856. It remains the private property of the monarch, and is not considered a part of the Crown Estate. There are guided tours, but hours vary, with certain months unavailable for visitors.
Edinburgh Castle is located in Edinburgh, Scotland. The fortress sits upon volcanic Castle Rock, which erupted over 340 million years ago. The first human habitation of the site dates back to the 9th century BC. A royal residence has remained at the site since the 12th century AD. The fortress was involved in many wars and was besieged at many points throughout history. Tensions between the English and Scottish monarchies nearly always focused on Edinburgh Castle, for he who held the castle held rule over Edinburgh and in essence all of Scotland. Some of the buildings were destroyed by artillery in the 16th century. The chapel however was left unharmed and dates back to the 12th century. Around 1510, the Great Hall was built by James IV. During the 17th century the castle was used as a military base. Edinburgh Castle’s importance as an historical landmark was recognized in the 19th century and restorations began to take place. The castle sheltered many Scottish monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots. In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland. This stone is now displayed in the Crown Room at the castle. Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s l
eading tourist attraction.
Dalhousie Castle is located in Midlothian, Scotland. The first castle was constructed in the mid 15th century, although the current structure dates to the 17th century. The castle is made from pink sandstone and sits on the River Esk. The drum tower is the oldest part of the L Plan design. There was a dry moat around the castle, complete with a drawbridge, but it was filled during the late 20th century. Dalhousie Castle was the seat of the Earls of Dalhousie, the chieftains of Clan Ramsey. In the early 20th century, Clan Ramsey moved to Brechin Castle, but they kept ownership of Dalhousie Castle until 1977. After eight hundred years of being in the Dalhousie family, the castle was leased for a boarding school, and then converted to a hotel, before it was eventually sold in 2003. This is the longest any one family owned a castle in Scotland. The Ramsey Coat of Arms is carved in stone above the castle’s entrance. Dalhousie Castle is currently a hotel and spa.
I’ve been working on my spiritual witches series. This series delves into Reiki, the afterlife, energy, witchcraft, reincarnation, ancient Egypt, astral travel, time travel, and of course, love. One of the subjects I explored was Sacred Geometry. Sacred Geometry involves universal patterns used in the design of everything in our reality. This includes the Golden Ratio (Phi), Divine Proportion, and Consciousness.
The belief that God created the universe according to a geometric plan has been believed since ancient times. These beliefs were culminated through the study of nature and the mathematical principals at work. These harmonic proportions are found in music, light, and cosmology. Sacred Geometry is used when planning the building of churches, temples, mosques, altars, and other religious structures. It is also used in holy places and in religious art. Sacred Geometry has symbolic and sacred meanings, which are ascribed to geometric shapes of various proportions.
These geometrical patterns can be found throughout nature and history.
The honeybee constructs hexagonal cells to store honey.
The ancient Egyptians geometrically aligned the Great Pyramids with Orion’s belt.
It is said that by connecting with these pattern recognitions of Sacred Geometry that the believer contemplates the “Great Mysteries and Great Design” and that the insight gained may assist in achieving an understanding of the laws of the universe.
In music, modern theorists claim reality is created by harmonics following the pattern of Sacred Geometry. Pythagoreans believed these harmonic ratios gave music the power to heal. Like Reiki energy, music can align the chakras and heal the body by lifting energy vibration levels.
The Flower of Life can be found in all major religions of the world and the Seed of Life is found in every Flower. The Flower of Life is the modern name given to the geometrical figure of multiple and evenly spaced, overlapping circles. These circles are arranged to form a flower like pattern with a six-fold symmetry like a hexagon.
To some, the Flower of Life contains the fundamental forms of space and time, seen as a visual expression to connect all souls, and believed to be a type of Akashic Record for all living things. The oldest representation of the Flower of Life was found in stone at the Temple of Osiris in Abydos, Egypt.
Consciousness and reality are set in linear time. We are here to experience and record human emotion. Sacred Geometry revolves around the Wheel of Time or Karma, where we experience earthly life and evolve. We are eternal souls of light having a human experience, where our consciousness spirals down through the patterns of the Golden Ratio, until we reverse the spiral and return to the Creator.
For more information regarding Sacred Geometry and its portrayal in the Bible, and to further understand the creation of man according to Sacred Geometry, I suggest watching the following video.
A special thank you to www.crystallinks and Sacred Geometry Explained-YouTube
Since antiquity, people have protected their feet with the use of footwear. Not only are shoes used to protect, they also make a statement, whether of fashion or status.
During Regency England, those who could afford it had their shoes made by a cobbler. Of course styles changed from round toe to pointy toe with the times. These changes are most evident in women’s slippers, where different fabrics, colored leathers, and fancy embellishments were added for flare.
The most amazing aspect of ladies shoes at this time was how completely unsuitable most styles were for outdoors, which is why boots were often worn when outside or spending time in the country. In inclement weather, ladies often wore pattens. Pattens were a type of overshoe with a wooden soled sandal on the bottom and fastened to the shoe by an iron ring. Women slipped their shoes into the pattens, which then raised their height, so their skirts wouldn’t touch the muddy roads.
Early Regency saw a collection of heeled slippers, but after the French Revolution heels began to disappear, symbolizing that everyone was born equal.
Shoes were made to fit, but they had straight lasts, meaning the shoe would mold to your foot with more wear, and thus create a left and right shoe over time.
The half boot became favorable for outdoors. These flat-soled boots could be worn for various occasions. They were more durable than slippers, but they were often made from goat leather, nankeen, and denim-like fabrics, which tended to absorb water. The lace up half boots were popular, nevertheless, the leather was thin and easily damaged by the elements.
For the most part, men’s shoes during this time consisted of a black leather shoes with a small heel and buckle. Men often wore riding boots, which were available in calf or knee length. Hessians were quite popular with the privileged class.
The poor and labor classes were likely to wear wooden clogs. Some wore thick leather shoes with wooden soles.
A special thank you to englishhistoryauthors.com, Janeaustensworld.com, Jane Austen’s England, by Roy and Lesley Adkins
Fans have been sending messages since their inception. Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, surrounded herself by slaves who fanned her in an effort to ward off the scorching heat. The fan was seen as a sacred instrument by the Egyptians and was used in religious ceremonies in many ancient cultures. It was a symbol of royal power.
Over time, fans became more than ceremonial symbols, tools to cool us, or another pretty accessory, they became an instrument for ladies to speak in secret code.
Allowing your wrist fan to do the talking became second nature to some in Regency England. During this time a person was often judged and defined by the cut of their jib, or in this situation, the fineness of your fan. Fans gained popularity in the 16th century, but these were fixed fans, often made from feathers or wood. The folding fan originated in Japan and over time came to replace the fixed fan by the end of the 17th century. Fixed fans had become gauche and a lady would be considered quite out of fashion is she carried one.
The folding fans, made from vellum or paper, were considered stylish, but they could be costly. Fans were often painted with historic commemorative events, Biblical passages, Asian, mythological, or pastoral scenes. Fans were used both in the day and night time hours, but eventually they were restricted to the evening. During the Regency period, Vernis Martin fans were highly sought. The Martin brothers came up with a special technique for the hand painted scenes, and their fans had the mother of pearl handle guards. Not only did artists partake in this new canvas, but ladies also took to painting their own fans.
There were three types of folding fans. The old folding type had sticks fastened together and pleated fabric or paper fastened to the sticks. The cockade fan was pleaded paper, attached with two sticks, and opened into a full circle, with the sticks forming the handle. From what I learned during my research, cockade fans were not used in ballrooms. The brisé fan had numerous sticks put together that were painted individually to form a scene.
Fans, like many accessories, followed fashion trends, and when dresses became more colorful and elaborate, so too did the fans. Over the centuries, a type of fan language evolved, this was likely a way for the young to cope with the stifling rules of social etiquette at the time. When proper decorum insisted that a lady could not approach a man they’re interested in or reject a man that they’re not, what is a lady to do? Seems they create their own type of sign language to send their rejections or encouragement with the hopes that parents will be none the wiser. I can’t imagine what occurs if you move your fan in a way that wasn’t intended, but I think it would be great to add to a story. Some historians argue that fan language didn’t exist. But Charles Francis Badini’s book, Fanology or Ladies’ Conversation Fan, was published in 1797 and fan usage was published in many etiquette books and magazines at the time. Perhaps it was all a ploy to gain more fan sales. Badini’s book listed the gestures and what these secret flicks of the wrist conveyed.
Here’s a small list of gestures from his book:
Carrying Open fan: come speak with me
Twirling the fan in the right hand: I love another
Twirling the fan in the left hand: We are being watched
Placing the fan near your heart: I love you
A half-closed fan pressed to the lips: You may kiss me
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: Yes
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: No
Dropping the fan: We will be friends
After reading a small portion of the gestures I tend to wonder how many men actually read the subtle clues ladies were giving them across a dance floor. Seems you could hold an entire conversation just by moving your fan. The fan reached its peak during the Victorian era, but they fell out of favor in the mid-20th century.
A special thank you to inkwellinspirations.com, angelpig.net, and ageofsteam.com