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The Sun at Midnight - Metalworking and the Sacred Smith

By Liam Rogers
(Originally Published at Imbolc 1997)

The mastery of metalworking by prehistoric man is one of the most impressive achievements in human history, second only, perhaps, to the control of fire that made metallurgy possible. And, as the domestication of fire and the mastery of pottery before, it brought about great changes in the success and structure of the societies that possessed these skills. However, as we shall see later, the ancient smiths had forged a two-edged sword for, despite the benefits afforded by metal tools, the weapons that were unavoidably manufactured helped to escalate the violence between humans and cause countless deaths over the succeeding millennia.

The beginnings of metalworking

According to Johan Goudsblom "...metallurgy appears to have constituted an even more radical innovation than pottery. The original inspiration may have come, as with pottery, from observing processes occurring naturally - after a volcanic eruption, or, closer to home, when the clay used for baking pots contained metal ores that melted. The move to controlling these processes, and to experimenting with the smelting and mixing of various rock substances, was enormous. Not surprisingly, therefore, the activities associated with metalworking were, from the very beginning, the occupation of specialists: miners and smiths."(1)

The earliest use of metallic ores differed little from that of stones; as cutting tools (of the flaked stone variety), objects of decorative or bartering use, and, when pulverised, as a pigment used for painting. Goudsblom reports that metallurgy proper seems to have begun in the fifth millennium B.C. with artifacts of smelted lead. Schick and Toth suggest that copper and lead may have been used as early as eight thousand years ago, when: "...independently prehistoric peoples in such places as Thailand, the Balkans, and the Near East learned that certain types of copper-rich rocks could be heated at high temperatures with charcoal to melt out or smelt their metal contents. Temperatures of eight hundred degrees centigrade (similar to that used in firing high-temperature pottery) was necessary ... this could be reached or surpassed with the addition of blow-pipes into an earthen smelting oven to enrich it with oxygen..."(2)

Neolithic smiths were also to use tin, and even gold and silver, before they learned to alloy copper and tin and the Bronze Age began.

Some ores may have been scraped from surface deposits, or panned out of streams. Later, mining would have been developed, or maybe deposits of ores would have been encountered whilst digging for flint. After smelting in a clay crucible, heated by charcoal, the molten metal was poured into ready made moulds. In Britain early metal artifacts were imported, mainly from central Europe, before sources of Cornish tin and Welsh copper and gold were exploited and eventually began to be exported. Simple one-piece open stone moulds were used by the British to cast axes, dagger blades and the like. Darvill (3) reports that such moulds have been found in Wales at Betws-y-Coed in Gwynedd, at Walleybourne in Shropshire, and in the north-east of Scotland. The cast objects would then be worked with stone hammers to achieve the desired shape, and to harden the material. Tempering by reheating the object might be necessary to avoid excessive brittleness.

When man learned to make bronze, he found a material with far superior properties, one that combined hardness and toughness to greater extent than most of the metals used until then. Copper, gold and silver were too soft to be used for making many practical tools, and henceforth were used for making rather impressive decorative pieces.

However, it was not long until bronze was no longer so viable. Iron became the dominant metal since its ores were available in far greater quantities. The use of iron required a shift in the manufacturing processes. Smelting required higher temperatures than had been achieved up till then, a problem that appears to have been solved in Turkey more than four thousand years ago. It was discovered that iron ore could be transformed by the heat produced by bronze furnaces into a bloom which could then be purified by forging or hammering while it was still hot - thus wrought iron was produced. The resulting material was ideal for the manufacture of weaponry on a mass scale. The tough material allowed the production of such weapons as swords (a copper sword, for example, would be very inefficient - you'd probably only manage to bend it around your foe's head).

Iron technology then quickly spread "across the Old World throughout western Asia and across Europe, rapidly replacing the earlier bronze tools, and then finally penetrated most of Africa, where it actually overtook and preempted the spread of bronze. The rise of the classical Greek and Roman civilizations was accomplished with iron tools."(4)

Smiths and society

The advent of metalworking soon led to a restructuring of societies that created specialists in this new art - smiths were born. As weapons increasingly dominated the output of ancient smiths, so did their importance increase as their main patrons became warriors and kings. Goudsblom is unsure as to whether smiths received special treatment or otherwise, but he does say that:

"There are legends about 'royal smiths' who started their careers as humble craftsmen but became, thanks to their special abilities, the founders of dynasties. The most famous example is the great Mongol conqueror Ghengis Khan, who was said to have originally been a smith, or at least descended from a family of smiths. There may have been a kernel of historical truth in some of these stories in that initially small guild-like clans may have managed to keep both the secrets of their trade and the combined monopolies of weapons' manufacture and military organization in their own hands."(5)

According to Frazer, in the African Fan tribe "...the strict distinction between chief and medicine-man does not exist. The chief is also a medicine-man and a smith to boot; for the Fans esteem the smith's craft sacred, and none but chiefs may meddle with it."(6)

Due to smiths' importance to their communities, they were jealously guarded by the leaders of their villages - for, as manufacturers of weapons, they were vital for the defence of their communities. Their craft also made possible profitable raids on neighbouring villages. The ancient smith was an ambiguous character, as his art could be used for wreaking terrible violence as well as protecting and serving his people. His very importance also made him vulnerable to pressure from the warriors and leaders of his own society, as well as to attack from enemies.


The smith's role in society was reflected in the folklore surrounding him and his craft. We all know of the use of horseshoes to bring good luck, and perhaps we see something of the ambiguity of metallurgy in that horseshoes have the opposite effect when hung with the points facing downward. Haining points out that the horseshoe "...was held in awe well before Christianity developed and could have been seen as a representation of the heavens. As something that was forged from the sacred metal iron in the holy flame of fire, it was regarded in earlier days as doubly endowed...".(7) Also, Wayland's Smithy long barrow on the Ridgeway near Wantage in Oxfordshire was named after the legend of Wayland the Smith in the tenth century. It is said that he would shoe your horse if you left a coin there overnight.

Dwelling a moment longer on the subject of horseshoes, it may be relevant to note that in some variations of "Widdecombe Fair" Tom Pearce's grey mare has one or more hooves unshod - thus making her lame. Brown suggests that the horse in the song is "the means of transport to the Otherworld", with Tom Pearce being Death or the Devil (8). Satan, or course, was often depicted with hooves himself, and I am tempted to see in the shape of the horseshoe a symbol of the horned god. The subject of the lameness that often suggests a demoniacal character will be discussed shortly.

Also, of course, objects wrought of iron are fabled to protect one from faeries, witches, and the Otherworld in general - although I haven't a clue why they should! The explanation has been put forward that faeries are Bronze Age deities who have been technologically surpassed and ignored with the changes in society brought about by the Iron Age - perhaps they were repelled by the shift to more warlike societies that some think occurred when iron started to be used to create more effective weaponry. However this explanation rests on some rather questionable assumptions.

We also see the Devil in the role of a smith. Ginnie Hole tells a tale that probably originated in Scandinavia, where the Devil tricks a man into putting his arm into a fire where Satan cuts the man's wrist. The blood dripped into a cauldron from which the Devil cast enchanted bullets for the man to win a shooting competition to impress his lady love - the trick was that the man was meant to kill the woman. Satan's plan did not succeed, as one would expect from such folk tales, but the story found new life when a man in eighteenth century Germany, by the name of Georg Schmidt was tried for sorcery and charged with casting such enchanted bullets.(9)

One final piece of what could be termed 'metallurgical folklore' was told by one of my lecturers at university a couple of years ago. He said that one of the main reasons Napoleon's army failed in their conquest of Russia was because the buttons on the soldiers' uniforms were made of tin. Due to the bitterly cold temperatures, the tin underwent a phase change from what is called 'white tin' to the far more brittle (and also non-metallic, since tin is a metalloid) 'grey tin' which is a pretty useless material. All their buttons consequently fell off, contributing greatly to the soldiers' discomfort and causing Napoleon to withdraw his forces.

Metallurgical gods

The great role played by smiths in society ensured that the gods of their profession claimed some prominence in the myths of many cultures. There was Vulcan (known as Volcanus in earlier times) who was one of the first Latin gods, and who had a major role in his early career. He was seen in a rather Jupiterian role, as protector of the foundations of Rome, before Jupiter arrived. As well as his role as a smith, he was a more general fire deity who was invoked as a deity of the hearth and the thunderbolt. He had many warlike qualities, and may have preceded Mars as the god of battles (the link between smiths and warriors should hardly be surprising). He was closely associated with Vesta who presided over hearths, and whose priestesses, the Vestal Virgins, guarded the sacred fire and kept it alight.

Vulcan walked with a limp and was depicted by the Romans "as bearded, sometimes with a slight facial deformity which doubtless recalled his infirmity."(10) Many of his later attributes - such as the anvil, hammer and tongs with which he was usually depicted - were imported from Greece.

The smith god of the Greeks was Hephaestus. The son of Zeus and Hera, he was born terribly disfigured with twisted legs and a dislocated hip. His mother was so ashamed of his ugliness that she flung him from the heights of Olympus into the sea where he was taken in by two nymphs. He brooded in a deep grotto whilst he fashioned many wondrous objects, including a golden throne that he finally sent to Hera. When she sat upon it she was gripped so tight that none of the gods could free her from this instrument of his revenge. Finally he set her free after demanding to marry Aphrodite (some sources say it was Athene). The marriage was not much of a success since Aphrodite slept with most of the other gods, and many men as well.

Hephaestus was a master of metalworking, fashioning incredible objects from gold and bronze. He built the palaces of the gods on Mount Olympus, and made tools and weapons for just about every Greek god and hero. Homer described him at work in the mansion built...

"By the great limping god himself. It was wrought of immortal
Bronze and shone out among the deities' houses
Bright as a star. At the moment Hephaestus was busily
Turning from bellows to bellows, sweating with toil
As he laboured to finish a score of three-legged tables
To stand around the sides of his firm-founded hall. On each
Of the legs he had put a gold wheel, that those magic tables
Might cause all to marvel by going with no other help
To the gathering of gods and by likewise returning to his house."(11)

Hephaestus was full of such useful gadgets - to support his frame as he worked, he had fashioned two golden girls to run to his assistance when he needed them!

Hephaestus was probably seen as a god of storms at one time, and perhaps the hammers wielded by many an Indo-European storm god reflect metalworking associations. I shall leave Hephaestus for now, although I shall consider him again shortly.

Labyrinth myths

One of the most notable motifs in many of the legends of metallurgical gods and heroes is that of the labyrinth: Daedalus wrought the one for Minos that he and Icarus eventually flew from, and that Theseus slew the Minotaur in. The Minotaur who stalks the labyrinth could be a representation of the horned god, and related, perhaps, are the satyrs who often helped Hephaestus in his work. On the subject of the horned god, it is interesting to see that the Book of Enoch credits the Watcher Azazel with teaching metallurgy to mankind. Jackson claims his name means "Goat Lord", reminding us of the medieval image of Satan (12). There are several other labyrinth myths with metallurgical associations, such as the Afghan tale of Shaimili's House, and the famous tale of Wayland the Smith.

Wayland, or Volund, gave his name to the Icelandic word for labyrinth - Volundarhus, which literally means "Wayland's House"(13) - and was a smith par excellence. Wayland's first crime was to steal the swan-skin of the Valkyrie Alvit whilst she was bathing, thus compelling her to become his wife. After nine years the spell wore off, and she left leaving him just a ring. He made lots of copies of this ring, but one day noticed the original had gone. That night, the Swedish king, Nidud, surprised him as he slept and captured Wayland to work for him forging weapons.

It should not be too surprising to learn that Wayland was crippled - this time by Nidud, who mutilated his leg to stop him escaping. Wayland built a labyrinth in which to work, where one day the king brought Wayland's magic sword (which Nidud had stolen) to be repaired. Wayland took the opportunity to forge a replica to give back to Nidud, and used the magic sword to murder the king's two sons. "Then he dismembered them, and made drinking vessels out of their skulls, and jewels from their eyes and teeth."(14) These he sent to the king, his queen, and their daughter as macabre gifts.

He had given one of the copies of Alvit's ring to the princess, and one day, when she brought it to him to be repaired, he gave her a sleeping potion and raped her. At that, he donned the swan-skin (which he had kept) and flew away to Elfland - after taunting the king with what he had done.

Pennick sees Daedalus' Cretan labyrinth as something of an aberration among such myths, since Ariadne's role is not central, as he points out "Most labyrinth myths place the woman or goddess at the centre"(15), however there are many similarities between it and the Wayland story too. The goddess in the labyrinth (Nidud's daughter in the Wayland legend) is the goddess of the spring Sun, as McCrickard has shown:

"Whenever the feminine Sun is found in Indo-European myth, and even in some cases outside it, we find the same complex - the spring Sun (or Sun in her maiden form), the withdrawal or imprisonment in a cave, tower, mountain or labyrinth, the involvement of a smith or specially-forged weapon ... Almost until our own time this myth was re-enacted each spring in the form of labyrinth-games or dances, in Germany and other North European countries."(16)

In such myths we see the Sun having a rather acrimonious relationship with either the Moon (who chases her across the sky) or the storm god (whose clouds smother her face, especially in the winter), and it is often one of these two that imprisons her. For instance McCrickard tells us of a Russian folksong in which the Sun maiden, Kolyada, is lost on the night of the winter solstice. The people search frantically for her, and eventually find her within the labyrinthine passages of the storm god's palace. If we recall the links between storm gods and our metallurgical deities, we start to see meaning of the labyrinth myths.

The labyrinth represents the Sun's progress through the year, the inward spiral of her arc as the year grows old (I believe, incidentally, that if you magnify the Sun's rays upon a piece of wood such that the surface burns throughout the course of a year, you end up with a scorched spiral). At the centre of the labyrinth, according to Pennick, " the omphalos ... a very rich symbol, containing within itself the mysteries of human consciousness, birth, transformation and death."(17) Reinforcing this view of the central axis that leads to the Underworld, Devereux reports that the Caerdroia Project have found German labyrinths sporting central trees (18).

So are our smiths representative of the death aspect in the regenerative cycle, deities of night and winter when the Sun seems to descend beneath the ground? It would seem so, for their various limps and wounds usually identify such Underworld deities. I am no etymologist, but I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Volcanus and Volund (Wayland) were linguistically linked to such Indo-European Death gods as the Slavic/Russian Volosu or Volkhv which derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *WLKw, meaning "wolf" (19). Wolves, of course, have many associations with death and the Underworld. Such Indo-European deities often have one leg or one eye. We have already seen the limps, but it may be of relevance to note that Hephaestus was often helped in his various underground forges by Cyclopes.

The siege of Troy, as depicted in the Iliad, can be seen as a labyrinth myth in the light of what we have learned - with Helen as the Sun maiden. Achilles even carried a shield which Hephaestus had decorated with a labyrinth.

We also can sort out Hephaestus' relationship with Athene, whom he spent much time pursuing. The Larousse Encyclopedia comments that " can see in these pursuits and evasions a symbol of the rivalry between these two working gods, or an antagonism between celestial fire (Athene) and terrestrial fire (Hephaestus)?"(20) Since scholars often ignored the existence of Sun goddesses, or mutated their myths to alter their nature, I suggest that Athene may have been a Sun goddess. Her "celestial fire" was perhaps not lightning, as claimed, but solar fire. The Cretans said that Athene was born when Zeus broke a cloud open with his head and revealed her, shining with celestial light - lightning or sunlight? That she was the patron of spinners and weavers (losing a spinning contest with Arachne at one stage, turning the winner into a spider for her audacity) supports a solar connection, as McCrickard has demonstrated the association of Sun goddesses with spinning.

Birds of death and ecstasy

One curious feature of some of the labyrinth myths is the habit of the smiths to fly away in swan skins (Wayland) or the wings constructed by Daedalus. Also, after Ariadne left Crete she founded the crane dance at Delos. In Manx mythology, according to Pennick (21), three cranes stand at the entrance to the underworld who "call to passers-by to keep away, lest they be dragged from this world", and similarly a swan swims the river that separates the underworld from the world of men in the Finno-Ugraic mythic cycle, the Kalevala.

These birds also feature in shamanic practice - the feathered skins of cranes were used in shamanic flight, and the Siberian Ostyaks danced a version of the crane dance wearing crane skins (22). Swans or geese are common symbols of magical flight in Europe, and goose fat was often an ingredient in the flying ointments of medieval witches. Similarly, an English variant of the Wild Hunt motif is that of the Seven Whistlers, a death dealing flight of geese.

There appear to be references to symbolic death and rebirth hidden within these clues. In the Kalevala one of the heroes is Lemminkainen, who was ritually bathed by his mother as a child so that he might become a scholar and magician. It was Lemminkainen who tried to kill the swan that swims upon the otherworldly river, he was instead thrown into the waters and torn apart - perhaps an initiatory theme of symbolic death. His mother later fished out the pieces and revived him. He, however, now lacks the power of speech - reminiscent of the Cymric tales of the Cauldron of Bran which revives the dead mute. Perhaps, as an allegory of initiation, the muteness is a reference to keeping the secrets of the Craft.

Much of the Kalevala is concerned with the mysterious object called the Sampo, which appears to be able to regenerate the land (reminiscent perhaps of the Holy Grail which will be discussed shortly). The Sampo is hidden by Louhi, protectress of Pohja (a rival kingdom to that of the heroes of Kalevala). The heroes set out to retrieve this wondrous artifact (and the daughter of Louhi, who was promised to the smith Ilmarinen in a style rather reminiscent of the myths of Hephaestus).

When the heroes of Kalevala finally retrieve the Sampo after a hazardous voyage in a magic ship (reminiscent of Taliesin's "The Spoils of Annwn" and the Argonauts' quest for the golden fleece), Louhi even goes as far as shutting the Sun and the Moon in a cavern in an attempt to ruin the fertility and prosperity of the land of Kalevala. The Sampo, however, was broken on the return voyage. All this implies a similar theme to the labyrinth myths and the Underworld imprisonment of the Sun.

Perhaps of relevance is how the Sampo was forged by the smith Ilmarinen. He gathered the milk of a sterile cow, a small grain of barley, the wool of a fecund ewe, and the point of a swan's feathers. These he heated in his furnace and watched to see what would emerge. First came a golden bow, then a red ship, a heifer with golden horns, and a plough with a golden ploughshare and a silver handle. All these were broken by Ilmarinen until, finally, the Sampo appeared.

Ilmarinen, for a change, doesn't seem to be lame. We perhaps ought not to get overly obsessed with the aspect of lameness, since the smith of the Kalevala is playing the role of trying to win back the Sampo that is held by Louhi - however, he is clearly a player in the same drama that I have shown occurring in the labyrinth myths. The mythic smith, as we shall soon see, is more than merely a destructive character. However, for anyone who wants a lame aspect, the chief hero Vainamoinen wounds himself in the knee with his axe, and the old healer he consults is unable to help him unless he can tell him the origin of the iron of which the axe is forged - Vainamoinen can't. At one stage Vainamoinen takes the form of a smith: when he was building his magic ship, he needed magic words to finish the job. These he obtained from a giant lying beneath the earth: the giant swallowed him, whereupon he transformed himself into a blacksmith. "From his shirt he made a forge, from his shirt-sleeves and his fur-lined coat he made bellows, from his knee an anvil, from his elbow a hammer. And he began to strike mighty blows in the belly of the prodigious giant."(23) Finally the giant gave in and told him the magic words. This encounter, with a descent into the womb of the earth and the gaining of knowledge, sounds very shamanic indeed.

When it comes to shamanism, we find that smiths who forged the ornaments for Siberian shamans' costumes often were said to have arcane knowledge and were usually able to use some spells to protect them from the spiritual forces of the metal decorations which "sometimes represented the spirits and animal guides of the wearer and sometimes the skeleton of her or his old body, from which she or he had been spiritually reborn"(24). Nigel Jackson reports that amongst the Yakut of Siberia it was said that "smiths and shamans are from the same nest" - the smith being thought to learn his craft from an Underworld smith who also tempers the souls of shamans as he tempers iron (25).

The regenerative crucible

We can now see that our limping heroes have metaphorically stolen fire from the Sun to work their craft, a craft thats main produce was that of death-dealing weapons. The "divine artificer" of India, Visvakarma, took this to a rather literal extreme - he shaved off a portion of solar brilliance from the face of the Sun god Surya, using it to fashion Indra's thunderbolt and other divine weapons.

But metallurgy was also a highly creative and socially useful art, capable of creating items of immense beauty as well as utility. As the alchemists had dreamed of turning base material into gold, so, in a way, smiths have achieved that aim.

Pennick has described the transformative nature of smelting metallic ores in the Cornish story of how Saint Piran discovered tin. "Once, it is said, the hermit-saint was cold and so made a fire, resting the kindling on some black stones that he found near his cell. As the fire heated the stones, so silvery streams of tin flowed from them: thus, shining consciousness, symbolized by the saint's wisdom, emerges from the dark unconscious, represented by the black stones."(26)

Similarly, Rowan has pointed out in the pages of 'White Dragon' that the legend of King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone may be a memory of the early days of metal smelting. The stone appears to represent a metallic ore, and "by discovering the sword within the stone and being able to wield it, Arthur undergoes a fundamental transformation from being an ordinary man into being a leader of immense power and charisma for his people."(27) She also tells me that in certain versions of this story the sword is described as being pulled from an anvil instead of a stone, thus lending credence to a metallurgical interpretation.

Perhaps the most important point to grasp in all this is the concept of the periodic destruction and regeneration of the cosmos that we can see in midwinter and spring rites throughout the world. In Ireland, Bride or Brigit - mistress of the turning year and solar fire - in her underworld aspect retreated beneath Croghan Hill (in County Offaly) where she was known as Brigit-as-Begoibne, or "woman of the smithery". The hill's pointed summit marks the midwinter sunrise when viewed from Uisnech where the stone marking the "navel of Ireland", Aill na Mireann, stands. Here "the smith-goddess made pots, including the sacred cauldrons from which the future was poured ... the chief north-south and east-west natural co-ordinates of Ireland were believed to flow from the same supernatural bowl at the start of each solar cycle, when the land was recreated by dawning sunlight."(28)

Whilst on the subject of cauldrons, it is interesting to read Lewis Spence's analysis of how Ceridwen mixed her inspirational brew according to the ritual recipe of the Pheryllt. Spence tells us: "These Pheryllt appear to have been a section of the Druidic brotherhood, teachers and scientists, skilled in all that required the agency of fire, hence the name has frequently been translated 'alchemists' or 'metallurgists'. Indeed, chemistry and metallurgy are known as Celvyddydan Pheryllt, or 'the arts of the Pheryllt'".(29)

In the depths of winter or in the dark of night, the cosmos returns to its primordial chaotic form, from which Creation begins anew. Perhaps the Slavonic Book of Enoch is talking of the transformative nature of metallurgy when it describes the Creation thus:

"And there came forth a very big stone called Advel, and He, the Creator, saw it and lo, Advel had in its body a big light. And He said: 'Burst asunder, Advel, thou fiery stone, and let the visible issue forth from thee.' And Advel, the fiery stone, burst asunder and out of it broke forth an immense light and forth came an immense aeon which revealed the whole creation as it had been conceived and designed by the Creator, the All-Father. And out of it He made His own throne and sat upon it."(30)

The regenerative cauldron or crucible of Bride (and its counterparts, such as Ceridwen's) was to give rise to the myths of the Holy Grail. Just as the lame Fisher King holds the secret of the Grail, so do these metallurgical myths give us important insights into the themes of personal and cosmic regeneration, secrets to be learnt in the great melting-pot of potential that the Welsh bards named Annwn. And it is here where one can learn to see the Sun at midnight. In the words of the poet Anne Sexton:

"Today life opened inside me like an egg
and there inside
after considerable digging
I found the answer.
What a bargain!
There was the sun,
her yolk moving feverishly,
tumbling her prize -
and you realize that she does this daily!
I'd known she was a purifier
but I hadn't thought
she was solid,
hadn't known she was an answer."(31)


(1) Johan Goudsblom, Fire and Civilization, Allen Lane, 1992

(2) Kathy D.Schick & Nicholas Toth, Making Silent Stones Speak, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1993

(3) Timothy Darvill, Prehistoric Britain, Batsford, 1987

(4) Schick & Toth, op.cit.

(5) Goudsblom, op.cit.

(6) Sir James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough (abridged), Macmillan, 1922

(7) Peter Haining, Superstitions, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1979

(8)Theo Brown, "Tom Pearce's Grey Mare: A Boundary Image", Boundaries & Thresholds (Ed. Hilda Ellis Davidson), The Thimble Press, 1993

(9) Ginnie Hole, The Devil in Disguise, Firefly, 1975

(10) G.H. Luquet et al, New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, Hamlyn, 1968

(11) Ennis Rees (trans), The Iliad of Homer, Bobbs-Merrill, 1977

(12) Nigel Jackson, Masks of Misrule, Capall Bann, 1996

(13) Nigel Pennick, Wayland's House, Nideck, 1993

(14) Ibid

(15) Ibid

(16) Janet McCrickard, Eclipse of the Sun, Gothic Image, 1990

(17) Nigel Pennick, Celtic Sacred Landscapes, Thames & Hudson, 1996

(18) Paul Devereux, Earth Memory, Quantum, 1991

(19) Nigel Jackson, Compleat Vampyre, Capall Bann, 1995

(20) Luquet et al, op.cit.

(21) Pennick, 1993, op.cit.

(22) Ibid

(23) The Kalevala, quoted in Luquet et al, op.cit. Many thanks to Rowan for suggesting I consider this mythic source.

(24) Ronald Hutton, The Shamans of Siberia, Isle of Avalon Press, 1993

(25) Jackson, 1996. op.cit.

(26) Pennick, 1996, op.cit.

(27) Rowan, "The Athame in Myth, Magick and Practice", White Dragon, No.10, 1996. This example of a connection between metallurgy and kingship is not an isolated one. I suspect there is quite a deep association between the two, as is hinted at in this article. The question of kingship, however, is a very large issue which I shall not attempt to address here.

(28) Michael Dames, Mythic Ireland, Thames & Hudson, 1992

(29) Lewis Spence, The Mysteries of Britain, Senate, 1994 (original date unknown)

(30) Angelo S.Rappoport, Ancient Israel: Myths and Legends - Volume One, Senate, 1995 (original date unknown)

(31) Anne Sexton, "Live" (1966), Anne Sexton: The Complete Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1982