Brownies are household spirits from British folklore.
Religio Romana (RR) is the name given to pre-Christian
Roman beliefs and culture by modern followers of the religion.
(Old Norse) = effete/homosexual. It was
the worst insult in Heathen culture. Poofter
(offensive) is a British
= ‘pelt changer’ in Latin = werewolves
in Roman mythology.
The ancient Roman Republic was governed by magistrates. The
two consuls were the most senior, followed by praetors and quaestors.
Marcus makes the fica sign. What is said about it and the
evil eye sign is true.
Even numbers were considered unlucky by the Romans.
The Lemuria was the major Roman rite for pacifying unwelcome,
unwanted or malicious ghosts. It took place on the ninth, the eleventh and the
thirteenth of May.
In Roman mythology, Rome was founded by the brothers Romulus
and Remus. They argued about which hill their city should be built on and Remus
was killed either by Romulus or by one of his supporters.
According to the Roman poet Ovid, the Lemuria was in
honour of Remus.
The Roman author Pliny the Elder (CE 23–79) said that the
name of the Fabia tribe came from bean.
Pope Boniface IV began celebrating Christian martyrs on the
thirteenth of May during the 7th
century. The date was changed to the
first of November during the 9th
century to coincide with pagan
Raucus’ proposed offerings to the manes (the loved dead)
(Latin) = life spirit, soul.
Romans of either gender wore veils when engaged in
Silvanus is a god of the borders between domesticated and
Juno was regarded as a goddess of marriage and family
life, as was Frigg in Heathen mythology. According to the Poetic Edda Lokasenna
26, Frigg bedded Odhin’s brothers.
The Welsh town of Caerleon was the headquarters of Legion
II Augusta – one of four Roman legions in Roman Britain. The amphitheatre is
The Roman re-enactment societies Legio II Augusta (second
Augusta), Legio VIII Augusta (the ‘Eighth’) and Ermine Street Guards exist.
The Primus Pilus was the senior centurion of the first
cohort in a Roman legion
(Latin) = red.
We have no evidence for any Roman military salute. What
little there is shows something much more relaxed than modern salutes.
The most senior centurion in a Roman legion was known as
the primus pilus (first file or spear).
Romans generally kept the ‘tria nomena’ of a private
personal name (praenomen), clan name (nomen) and a public personal name (cognomen).
(Latin) = little badger.
Taken the boat
– in Roman mythology, Charon ferried
souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of
The description of the Roman Lupercalia is accurate.
St Albans (Roman Verulamium) was the second-largest Roman
town after London.
Aedile was a Roman magistrate above the level of quaestor
and below praetor. They were responsible for the regulation of public festivals
and had powers to enforce public order.
Vigiles were the firefighters and police of Ancient Rome.
Roman cognomen were frequently ironic. One of the theories
about Julius Caesar’s name was he was dubbed Caesar (hairy) because he was
In Roman mythology, there is no association between
werewolves and the full moon.
Cirencester Museum has an excellent collection of Romano-British
mosaic floors and other Roman artefacts, including the celebrated Orpheus floor.
Hellene (Greek) = a Greek, especially an Ancient Greek.
In classical mythology, Orpheus could charm animals by
playing his harp. The myth about the rescue of his wife from the Underworld exists.
He lost her by looking back to check she was following him out of the
One of the accepted pre-Christian representations of
Cernunnos is in the Cirencester Museum. As Koura says, there aren’t many across
Europe and some are disputed.
Defixiones and necromancy are part of Classical magic.
Defixiones are curse tablets and were usually made of lead.
According to Ovid, the first night of the Lemuria began
at midnight. Fasti
(festivals) book 5 (May).
Examining livers (and other entrails) and observing the
flight of birds were two of the principal means of divination in ancient Rome.
(Latin) = lady, Mistress.
The Strophalos of Hecate is mentioned in the Chaldean
century CE). My image and Marnie’s
explanation of it is based on a popular modern symbol and its associations. The
Classical understanding was probably a spun wheel used as a theurgical tool,
rather like a Buddhist prayer wheel.
Ouroboros is an ancient symbol (with this meaning) that
passed from the ancient Egyptians to ancient Greek magic.
In Heathen mythology, Jörmungandr/the Midgard Serpent surrounds
the earth and grasps its tail. It’s one of Loki’s children. See the Prose Edda Gylfaginning
Torches are part of the Classical iconography for Hecate.
The Roman goddess Ceres (Greek Demeter) is associated
The information about Hecate comes from Classical
mythology. The theories about her exist.
Most of what we know about the Lemuria ritual comes from
the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC – 17/18 AD).
The Lemuria ritual generally follows Ovid’s description,
though I made a couple of small alterations. Instead of nine bean-castings and
prayers, I made it nine times nine. Also, I included the pots throughout
instead of leaving that to the end.
What Marcus says about May and February in the Roman
religion is true.
Marcus makes the horned sign against the evil eye.
Calu is the Etruscan god of wolves. The Romans absorbed
the earlier Etruscan culture.
The ‘human myth’ about Rhea Silva, Romulus and Remus the
she-wolf and Acca Larentia comes from Roman mythology, mainly from the Roman
Some tales of Acca Larentia were that she was a prostitute.
Lupa is Latin for wolf and was a slang term in ancient Rome for a prostitute.
Ovid (in The Fasti
book 2) claimed that the Fabian
tribe supported Remus and the Quinctilian tribe Romulus.
The Saracen’s Ferry across the River Wye at Symonds Yat exists.
In Classical mythology, Charon is the ferryman for the
dead. His payment was an obol. This was a small coin placed on the eyelids of
(Latin) = masks. In Roman mythology, larvae
were the worst type of lemures (malignant spirits).
The Fabian and Quinctilian tribes formed the two colleges
of the priests of the Lupercalia.
Acca Larentia was probably an Etruscan deity.
Culsans and Culsu are Etruscan deities of doorways. Culsans
was similar to Roman Janus, while Culsu’s doorways were to the Underworld.
In the Roman culture, rituals were carried out to protect
women in childbirth from molestation by Silvanus. (Augustine City of God
Hecate and Mercury are both associated with the
Weston’s cider mill in Herefordshire is over a hundred
What Marcus says about Roman keys is true. The image is
of such a key.
The word grail comes from a medieval Latin word for dish.
What is said about the Nanteos Cup is true, except for
its history. That is based on a statement by the Cup’s owner in 1878.
What John says about the goblet is true.
What Marnie says about the Last Supper is true.
The information about the Sluagh in this chapter and the
next is true. They appear in Scottish and Irish folklore.
Red-figure is a type of ancient Greek pottery design.
Ovid held that the Lemuria began at midnight when the 9th
Hecate’s titles are from ancient Greece. The information
about her is true.
In Irish and Scottish folklore, west-facing windows were
sometimes kept closed to keep out the Sluagh. Knives and scissors were removed
from the rooms of the ill and weak for fear of cutting their ties with life.
The Mercuralia occurs immediately after the Lemuria.
A quaich is a shallow two-handled drinking cup or bowl used
The information about the Genoese Chalice and the
Jerusalem Chalice is true.
The information about the Holy Grail and the Holy Chalice
The information about the Antioch Cup is true.
Vodou veves exist and are for the purpose described. The
loa are gods and a mambo is a Vodou priestess. What is said of Maman Brigit and
the Gede is true.
Graveyard dust is a common component of Vodou magic.
you dey help, abi
(Nigerian pidgin) = you’re going
to help, aren’t you?
Papa Legba is a loa in Haitian Vodou. He is the
intermediary between humans and the loa. He gives or denies permission to speak
with the spirits (gods).
In Heathen mythology, at Ragnarok Frey (Freya’s brother) fights
the leader of the fire demons without his sword. Poetic Edda Gylfaginning
The prayers to Hecate were compiled by me from ancient
Greek texts, mainly: Nonnus, Dionysiaca
44 and Orphic Hymn 1 to Hecate.
The information about the Valencia Cup is true.
In Classical mythology, black animals were used as
offerings to Chthonic (Underworld) gods.
The details of the necromancy ritual are closely based on
the one in Homer’s Odyssey
The spirit of Herakles (Greek/Hercules (Roman) is
conjured by Odysseus in the Odyssey
The quote is from the Bible, John 1:5, King James
The description of the shape of the lamp is accurate for
a Roman design.
Hecate is associated with serpents. See Sophocles The Root-Cutters
(fragment) or the Argonautica
of Apollonius Rhodius. As with other
cultures, dragons in Greek mythology were a form of serpent.
Assisted suicide was not legal in the UK in 2013. It was
available in Switzerland.
In Greek mythology, aether was thought to be the pure
essence that the gods breathed. As quintessence, it was the fifth element used
by medieval alchemists. It was thought to rid the body of any impurities or
In medieval alchemy, the Philosopher’s Stone was said to
turn base metals into gold and to enable rejuvenation.
What is said about John the Presbyter/Prester John is
from medieval Christian folklore.
Thomas the Rhymer was a historical character who lived in
the Scottish Borders in the 13th
century. He appears in Scottish folklore
as someone lured into Elfhame.
The Victorians split the poor into deserving (those who
were poor through no fault of their own) and undeserving.
Hellfire Club was a name for several clubs for high
society rakes in the 18th
century. The famous one met in High
Gwydion fab Dôn is a magician, hero and trickster of
Welsh mythology, appearing most prominently in the Fourth Branch of the
Qumran was a religious community in Judea 1st
century BCE to 1st
century CE. Pottery goblets of the kind described
were found excavating the ruin.
There is an academic theory that two types of cups may
have been used at the Last Supper.
What is said about the Jewish Passover seder is true.
The information about the Prester John legend and the
details of Arthurian stories and their authors are true.
Best and Greatest (Optimus Maximus) is a title given to
Jupiter by the Romans.
Come friendly bombs and fall on Sluagh
corruption of the first line of Betjeman’s poem Slough
: ‘Come friendly
bombs and fall on Slough!’
In Heathen mythology, the goddess Hel rules a kingdom
with the same name.
In Heathen mythology, Bifrost is the rainbow bridge to
Asgard, where the gods live. It will break at Ragnarok.
In Irish mythology Tír na nÓg (Land of the Young) is one
of the names for the Otherworld.
Gwydion’s ritual is a parody of the Anglican communion
In Heathen mythology, the Norns tend wyrd (fate).
In ancient Roman mythology, the Parcae (Fates) were
female personifications of destiny who directed the lives of humans and gods.
Memories Are Made of This was written by Terry
Gilkyson, Richard Dehr, and Frank Miller in 1955. The most popular recording
was by Dean Martin.
Yo se yon dwol kaka (Haitian Creole) = they are a mouthful
Three Years previously
There is a hotel in Copenhagen that resembles an Indian
Fremragende, tak (Danish) = Excellent, thank you.
Orlog is a concept from the Heathen religion related to
wyrd. It can be expressed as the total of everything that has made someone the
person they are. Wyrd is a Heathen concept related to fate.
Miss Havisham is a character from Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens. After being jilted at the altar, she only wears her wedding
The tale of Aphrodite and Tithonus is from Greek
The Hunger is a 1983 vampire film directed by Tony
Scott. It was adapted from a novel by Whitley Strieber.
Urdh is one of the great Norns.
Bon! (French) = good!
Rozzers (British slang) = police.
‘No passing go; no collecting £200’ is a reference to the
board game Monopoly. It was used as a metaphor of going somewhere
Urtication (flogging with nettles) was reputedly used in
Rome for sexual pleasure. In Petronius’ Satyricon chapter 138 it is used
to cure Encolpius’ impotence.
Toy soldiers is SAS slang for the Territorial Army.
Tata (Latin) = Daddy.
Regurgitation is induced in wolves by licking the muzzle
of an adult. It’s a way for adults to transfer undigested food to cubs.
The Romans believed Avernus to be the entrance to the
The information about tribunes and ancient Roman law
(forced suicide) is true.
The description of the statue of Mercury is authentic to
The prayer to Mercury during the Mercuralia ritual is from
Orphic Hymn number 27, translated by Thomas Taylor.
Temerarius (Latin) = reckless or foolhardy.
In ancient Rome, the Praetorian Guard was an elite
The rune pictured at the start of the section is a
combination of several runes to form a type of sigil called a bindrune.
The description and portrayal of Maman Brigit and the
Baron are authentic to Vodou. They are the head of the Gede loa.
In Roman mythology, Mars is a god of agriculture as well
Mercury’s titles come from ancient Greece.
In the Classical religion, rams were sacred to Hermes and
red mullet to Hecate.
Roman soldiers used a short sword.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Ammit existed to devour
hearts that failed the test when weighed against the feather of Ma’at.
The meanings for gifu and cen are from the Anglo Saxon
fais-tu la sourde oreille (French) = are you deaf? (Literally – are you turning a deaf
Tu es un chenapan complet (French) = you are a
The Centuriate Assembly of the Roman Republic was a way
Roman citizens could vote on matters of state. Only the Centuriate Assembly
could declare war.
Gardener’s Question Time is a long-running radio
programme on BBC Radio 4.
The information about The Godfather is true.
(French) = of course.
Pas de titres, hein? Appelez-nous par
nos noms, s'il vous plait? (French) = No titles, eh? Call us
by our names, please.
D’accord. Ce que vous voulez, Michel (French) = Okay. Whatever you want, Michael.
Voulez-vous une table dans la cour? (French) = would you like a table in the courtyard?
Slavery exported Vodou from West Africa to Haiti and
other countries. Houngan is the Haitian word for a Vodou priest. Mambo comes
Fon is spoken mainly in Benin by the Fon people.
The Holodeck is a fictional device from the television
series Star Trek.
Survivor guilt is a recognised medical condition.
Parisians desert their city in August if they can.