LGW 1Loups Garou/Werewolf: Shapeshifting humans popular in mythology and folklore, also known as lycanthropes. Able to transform themselves into a wolf, or a human form with anthropomorphic, lupine features, these cursed individuals were most often subjected to a bite or scratch from another werewolf in order to gain their gifts. Blessed with heightened strength and senses and only able to shift on the rising of the full moon, werewolves remain dominant figures in the realms of Gothic horror for their savage demeanours. However, it remains to be seen as to whether they are truly evil creatures or, as some believe, the hounds of God sent down to do battle with witches and demons. Individuals with epilepsy were often thought to mistakenly have lycanthropy, and in medieval Europe, methods such as surgery and medicine were used to attempt to cure it. Some were even executed and their bodies cremated, the better to stop them from rising again as vampires. While crucifixes and holy water have no effect on the beasts, only silver weapons seem to cause the werewolf any harm, most commonly in the form of bullets.

GOR 1

Gorgon Gorgon: Hideous female creatures from Greek mythology. Derived from the Greek gorgós, or ‘terrible’, these vile women possessed claws, fangs and scaled skin, while their hair was made of living, writhing serpents. First appearing in the very earliest written records, including the writings of Homer, their likenesses were often placed upon objects or even houses, the better to provide protection with their deadly gazes that could turn a man into stone. Within mythology and legend, three Gorgon sisters existed as the daughters of the sea god Phorcys and Ceto the sea monster; Stheno and Euryale who were immortal, and Medusa who was not. The hero Perseus was able to sever her head while looking at her reflection in Athena’s mirrored shield, but upon returning to court and holding up Medusa’s head, everyone present turned to stone. The superstitious also believed that drawing blood from the right side of a Gorgon granted the power of resurrection, while the left side was a fatal poison.

EEU 1Empress Eugenie: Born in Granada, Spain, Eugénie de Montijo was the last Empress Consort of the French between 1853 and 1871, and husband of Emperor Napoleon III. While their marriage was thought to be questionable due to it being a love match – not arranged for any diplomatic purpose – and she was treated with some contempt by her people, Eugénie proved to be a wise and fair consort, often acting as Regent in Napoleon’s absence. In fact, so enamoured was Napoleon of his wife that he presented her with a lavish wedding gift; the Blue Heart, or Empress Eugénie Diamond. Influencing the trends of fashion throughout Europe, she also proved to be a strong advocate for the papal temporal powers in Italy, which caused her much slander by the anti-clericals of France. After the battle of Sedan and the capture of her husband, Eugénie fled Paris and went into exile, where she lived out the rest of her days.

FDL 1Fleur-de-Lis: also known as the Merovingian Lily, the three-pronged flower-head was as very sacred symbol, (of the goddess Juno - the Lilly Maid, mother of war god, Mars), used by the early Gauls and the powerful Salian Frankish dynasty that reigned across France from circa 481 to 751, and continued as the representation of France by the Normans. Used in many other European coats of arms during the Middle Ages, the Fleur-de-Lis also had martial as well as religious connotations. The Roman Catholic Church decreed that it should be the emblem of the Virgin Mary and therefore symbolic of the holy bloodline, or Sangraal, while the three petals of its flower are thought to represent not only the Holy Trinity, but also the Christian values of faith, wisdom and chastity. However, the Lilly’s meaning holds striking duality and affinity to Mars, as well as the values of war; Joan of Arc carried the Fleur-de-Lis on her flag as she rode with her French troops to victory in battle, while the military often interpret its shape into that of an ornate, upright spearhead – indicating power, fearsome force and brute strength.

BC 1Balkan Revenant’s Cross:  Also known as Crux Orthodoxa, the Eastern Orthodox Cross, and as a variant of the Greek Orthodox or Patriarchal Cross. It is most often seen in Russia, Ukraine and other Slavic countries. Traditionally, the top beam is inscribed with ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’, as well as its Latin abbreviation (INRI) and Russian abbreviation (INBI). It is believed that the slanted lower bar represents the footrest upon which Jesus’ feet were nailed; reflecting the repentant thief and the unrepentant thief that were crucified alongside him. The penitent criminal to the right ascending into heaven, while the unapologetic man to his left falls into the fires of hell, as well as eternal separation from God. As such, it is also meant to serve as a reminder of the Final Judgement.

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