Folklore and Mythology

Algol - The Demon Star

Algol is the second brightest star in the northern constellation, a beautiful example of an eclipsing variable star.  In ancient times people where afraid of Algol, it's name comes from the Arabic "al Ghul" or a ghoul, meaning "The Demon".  It is in fact an example of a two beautiful stars revolving around each other in a rhythmical gravitational dance.  You can see it without the use of a telepscope.

In Greek myths, Algol represented the head of Medusa which Perseus used to turn Celus, the sea monster into stone.  For this reason ancient people considered Algol to reperesent misfortune. 

In The Bitti Chai Reigneth is born whilst Algol is eclipsing in ancient times this was considered a bad omen.

The Three Hares

This symbol is used in the acknowledgements in The Bitti Chai and references are made to hares throughout the book.  As a small child I was told stories by my Romany grandfather about hares and their mystical qualities.

The following is an extract of wording attached to a carving miniature of the Three Hares by Herefordshire stone masons and craftsman, Martin and Oliver Webb.

"This ancient and enigmatic symbol depicts three hares prancing round each other, each sharing its ears with its neighbours, joining them together and forming a central trefoil.

The hares' origin and meaning remain obscure, but their frequent siting near to the equally mysterious Green Men, often in the form of roof bosses, suggest their origin is similarly associated with pagan beliefs about fertility and regeneration.  Their presence in churches has also prompted speculation about symbolism of the Trinity.

Curiously, their greatest  proliferation is in Devon and on Dartmoor, which gained them the title "Tinners Rabbits", in fact no connection with the local tin mining industry exists.  However, the Three Hares can be found in many locations, including Chester Cathedral and St David's Cathedral in Wales.  In Europe they have been found in France and Germany. Probably the earliest example discovered so far appears as a Buddhist cave painting in China, dating from about AD 600, whilst the oldest in the UK dates from about 1300."