Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 28 November-3 December – Chapter 10

unsplash-logoSamuel Zeller

“Your father is treating me like a woman of the time. I’ll manage, Matthew.” 

Ah, look. We’re back to gender politics in Shadow of Night. Surprise, surprise. 

Now’s as good a time as any to talk about what I mean by “gender politics” when we talk about it on the podcast or when I talk about reading gender in the All Souls Trilogy. Gender has an enormous influence on our lives. We see, understand, express, and experience gender in a thousand different ways — how we talk, how we dress, how we move, how we see and understand ourselves in comparison to how other people express gender. Gender impacts the way that we navigate the world — how we expect to be treated, how we understand events that happen to us, how we approach risk, how we perceive the boundaries of good/bad/acceptable/appropriate behavior. From birth, we’re assigned a gender and many of us are raised in conformity with that gender assignment.

Fundamentally, when we talk about “what men do” and “what women do” or what’s acceptable for them, we’re talking about power. Talking about power — how we use it, what we do with it, how it shapes the world we live in — is talking about politics. The question of gender politics in literature asks how we portray characters as “masculine” and “feminine,” how much agency or power we give them, how gender determines their importance or power in the text, how characters are marginalized, exploited, emphasized, or celebrated based on gendered expressions of power, etc. This is complicated enough when you’re reading a contemporary text set in a contemporary time period. It’s even more complicated when you’re reading a contemporary text set in a historical time period where contemporary ideas about gender interact with “historical” ideas about gender, or at least historical ideas about gender as the author portrays them.

The quotation marks around the word “historical” aren’t mocking, and they aren’t judgmental. It’s a way of noting that, in writing, we choose every word. We have the power to construct a world how we see it. No work of human creation will ever actually capture history, so we have to be mindful of the fact that when you write, you choose to emphasize, de-emphasize, construct, or otherwise incorporate certain ideas as you do it. Accordingly, the “historical” ideas about gender in Shadow of Night are certainly based partially in “history,” but they’re also based in the story we’re telling and the way that characters interact based on gender is constructed.  

Okay. Back to Philippe and Diana. Since the 1970s and the emergence of the feminist movement in the humanities, students of women’s history (like Joan Kelly-Gidol) have questioned whether the “periodization” of history (“the Middle Ages,” “the Enlightenment,” “the Industrial Revolution”) actually reflects the experience of all people — women, people of color, etc. — or only the experience of European men of a certain socio-economic background. See, for example, J. Kelly-Gidol, Did Women Have a Renaissance?. The point being that a European woman’s role changed very little between the “dark” Middle Ages and the “enlightened” and “artistic” Renaissance. European women had no political or financial independence; they remained dependent on men for financial and social status and remained largely at home. Politically, women had only one card to play — they could be married into other families for strategic reasons. Once married, they were required to maintain their husband’s household. Renaissance women had no sexual freedom; their “honor” belonged first to their father and then to their husband because the legitimacy of heirs remained a dominant concern of the ruling classes.

Alessandro Alessori, Portrait of a Lady (c. 1590)

But this is only part of the story, as the Renaissance also produced incredible and notable female leaders, artists, writers, and scientists. In the last few decades, there has been an emergence of scholarship dedicated to exploring the role of women during the Renaissance. Would you care to guess what the literature has to do with Philippe and Diana? There’s a lot of great scholarship on the role of Renaissance women in… the history of science and medicine. No surprise, since the history of science is Deb’s specialty. If you haven’t already, you should check out her book on science in Elizabethan London — The Jewel House. Scholarship in the sciences and medicine recognizes that occult practices — potions, herbal remedies, alchemy, and astrology — contributed to the development of the scientific method and expanded our understanding of the natural world.

For me, this chapter has always had special meaning in terms of Diana’s development — she’s taking initiative, she’s problem-solving, she’s engaging with and participating in the culture around her rather than remaining passive. With a little bit of background reading, I think it’s also possible to tease out additional themes — the theme of subverting the dominant power structure, the layered conflict of gender and power in the Harknessian version of the Renaissance, the theme of challenging the assumptions that you make and the questions that you ask. Here, I think the reference to “women of the time” is a bit sly — we assume that women in the Renaissance were decorative housekeepers (I’m being deliberately glib, so hold your horses) with little autonomy, but the truth is more complicated than that. You just have to look a bit more closely.

For additional reading, check out:

Findlen, Paula. Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy.

Nochlin, Linda. Women, Art, and Power.

Parks, Katharine. Secrets of Women: Gender, Generation, and the Origins of Human Dissection.

Rankin, Alisha. Panaceia’s Daughters: Noblewomen as Healers in Early Modern Europe.

Schiebinger, Londa. Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science.

Thorndike, Lynn. A History of Magic and Experimental Science.

It was the first time I’d been in this church, and I looked around with curiosity. Like many religious buildings in this part of France, Saint-Lucien’s house of worship was already ancient in 1590.

As we discussed in A Discovery of Witches, the Auvergne is in the south of France. Named for the Arverni, a Gallic tribe who occupied the area at the time of the Roman conquest. It remained part of the Angevin Empire until the 13th century, when it reverted to the royal domain in the reign of Louis IX

The Auvergne has a rich religious history — it is home to a series of famous Romanesque churches like the one described in Saint-Lucien and served as the site of the Council of Clermont that led to the First Crusade in 1095. Romanesque architecture is characterized by semi-circular arches. The arches derive from the Roman style; after the fall of the Roman Empire, architects and builders lost many of the techniques required to build large vaulted spaces and domes, but the rounded arches survived. The Romanesque style is one of the first architectural styles to span all of Western Europe — you can find diverse examples of the style from Italy to Poland to Scotland and Spain. 

Jaca Cathedral, Spain

In the Real-Time Reading Companion, Deb reveals that the inspiration for Matthew’s church is the church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, Italy. 

Sant’Appollinare is “the most impressive Basilica of the Early Christian period.” Constructed in the 6th century, Sant’Apollinare is dedicated to the patron saint of Ravenna and was consecrated in 549. The most notable feature of the church is its rich collection of mosaics, which range from the 6th to 12th centuries. If you’re interested in a video tour of the mosaics, you can find one here

High above there was a beating of wings. A dove had flown through the clerestory windows and lost its way among the exposed roof beams. It struggled, freed itself, and swooped down into the church. 

The dove is a powerful symbol in many traditions. In Christianity, the dove symbolizes peace and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16, Luke 3:22). In early Christian art, doves appeared as funerary symbols representing the eternal peace of the soul returned to heaven. In Judaism, the dove is a symbol of the people of Israel and a sign of life following the flood. In classical mythology, doves are associated with Aphrodite and may be considered as symbols of love.  In the text of Shadow of Night, the dove may symbolize redemption, or hope, or the promise of renewed faith. We discussed the dove and the church extensively in Episode 24, The Trauma Express. The Daemons discussed Chapter 10 of Shadow of Night in Take 34! The One With the Baggage

We’ll see you next on 5 December, when we have to see to some things in a certain hay barn. 

Do you have questions, comments, or thoughts about the Real-Time Reading? You can e-mail us at, follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove, or find us in our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. We can’t wait to hear from you. 


Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 27 November – Chapter 9

unsplash-logoErin DeFuria

Like everything else I touched, the outfit belonged to Louisa de Clermont. Her scent of roses and civet had been suffocatingly thick last night, emanating from the embroidered hangings that surrounded the bed. 

Guys, civet is right up there with ambergris — it’s a gross, prized substance used to make fancy perfume. Civet is the oil from the glands of an African cat prized for its aromatic, musky odor. According to, civet is “pungent and fecal” (DELIGHTFUL) and gives “amazing radiance and warmth to florals.”


For ethical reasons, the civetone is now replicated with synthetics to avoid farming civet oil from live animals. You might think you don’t like civet (I THOUGHT THIS) until you realize that it supplies signature notes in CHANEL No. 5, Guerlain’s Shalimar, Calvin Klein’s Obsession, Chopard’s Happy Diamonds, Givency’s Ysatis, Dior’s Diorissimo, Cartier’s Must de Cartier, and more. In the context of Calvin Klein’s Obsession, the scent is described as “oversexed.” Yikes. I do rather wish my mother wore less Chanel…

“You are too old to moon about in antechambers, Matthaios,” his father commented, sticking his tawny head out of the next room. “The twelfth century was not good for you,and we allowed you to read entirely too much poetry.”

If you happened to be a moody, romantic, brooding vampire, the twelfth century was a TERRIBLE PLACE for you because it gave you FEELINGS.

Well, that’s what I take from Philippe’s comment. No wonder — the twelfth century saw the publication of epic poems and chansons de geste with romantic and chivalric overtones, such as Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot, the Knight of the Court) and Érec et Énide (Erec and Enide), both written by  Chrétien de Troyes.

Erec and Enide. Rowland Wheelwright

Because de Troyes was popular in the twelfth century in France, I’m going to make a reasonable inference that his work is included in the poetry to which Philippe refers. The de Troyes poems emphasize tests, chivalry, and marital fidelity. Consider, for example,  Érec et Énide. É and É is the oldest Arthurian romance to survive in any language. The poem tells the story of an Arthurian knight who wins his bride, Énide, in a sparrow-hunt. Like you do. He falls so deeply in love with her that he no longer wishes to fight and do knightly, manly things. Énide becomes ashamed of him and tells him, essentially, that all of the other boys and girls say he’s lost his edge. Because Érec is completely reasonable and this is a romantic poem, Érec decides that he and his new wife will leave their honeymoon immediately so that he can FIGHT EVERYONE HE CAN FIND. Érec proves that marriage hasn’t destroyed him and everyone goes home happy. You can read about Érec and Énide here.

Philippe’s comment incorporates a broad range of medieval romances, like, Aiol and Mirabel, the story of a knight who sets out to conquer the lands and reputation his father squandered during his life. Armed with grit, determination, and Christian fervor, Aiol conquers “the Saracen princess, Mirabel,” who becomes his bride. He and Mirabel have many children, then there’s intrigue, kidnapping, captivity, and a scene where the villain is torn limb-from-limb by warhorses. Oh, and someone tosses babies into a river (they live). You may read the French text here. I think one can see why Philippe thought the twelfth century a bit… fanciful for vampires of Matthew’s ilk.

“I’ve performed my act of filial piety, Philippe,” Matthew said curtly. “There’s no reason to tarry, and we will be fine in Milan. Diana knows the Tuscan tongue.”

Diana expresses some ambivalence as to her ability to speak Italian fluently enough for 16th century Milan — with good reason. The language we call “Italian” began to coalesce in the 10th century, but grammarians argued about the syntax, use, and pronunciation of the language well into the 16th century. The “Tuscan” dialect used by Petrarca, Boccaccio, and Dante Alighieri had a dominant influence on modern Italian, primarily because of the strong commercial influence of the city-state of Florence. Because modern Italy is the result of the unification of smaller city-states throughout the peninsula, the Italian language still has strong regional dialects. The Tuscan-derived modern language was still used for official business during the occupation of Italy by the Spanish and then the Austrians, but syntax, pronunciation, and usage vary widely between regions. You can watch the following video to hear the differences between different dialects:

“Chef tells me that it will be December on Saturday. I didn’t want to mention it in the kitchen, but can someone explain how I misplaced the second half of November?” I dipped my pen in a pot of dark ink and looked at Alain expectantly.

“The English refuse the pope’s new calendar,” he said slowly, as if talking to a child.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced his calendar in order to fix Easter. You see, the Roman calendar contained a miscalculation that failed to account for eleven minutes of solar time every year. This eventually led to the festival of Easter moving farther and farther away from the spring equinox, which the church didn’t like. The calendar also added leap years to account for missing time, but it’s still not perfect — our “year” is still about eleven seconds short, which means that we’ll eventually get ahead of the sun by a day. In 4909. Ponder that one for a moment — I dare you.

Diana misplaced two weeks, but she wasn’t the first to do so. To institute the new calendar, Pope Gregory XIII simply decreed that, in 1582, October 4 would be followed by October 15. This isn’t exactly unprecedented — Roman politicians apparently added days in February whenever they felt like it. Pope Gregory XIII is also the reason we set New Year’s Day on January 1 — before that, the new year began on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25).

As Pierre points out in the text, Protestant countries like England didn’t adopt the new calendar immediately. Skeptics believed that the new calendar was a CATHOLIC PLOT meant to convert them back to the old faith. England didn’t adopt the new calendar until 1752 — and allegedly, there were riots. Britons wanted the Crown to give back the eleven days they unceremoniously stole between September 4 and 15, 1752. Reportedly, people believed that shortening the calendar would cut eleven days from their lifespan. This is true, at least in theory.

We’ll catch up to you again tomorrow, when it’s time to go to Matthew’s church.

In the meantime, you can find us on our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers, or e-mail us at You can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove. See you soon!


Cait and Jen

Podcast, Uncategorized

Episode 32 – Sexe Hexe

Jay Dantinne

Happy Sunday, Clover! We hope you’re headed into a week of quality time with your friends and loved ones. If you’ve a long drive planned, we’ve got you covered with this week’s episode. 

This week, we dive straight into Section IV of Shadow of Night and discuss the wonders of Prague, Rudolf’s naughty closet, hose before bros, and why everyone carries a torch for Gallowglass.  We hope you have as much fun as we did — stay tuned for the outtake after the end music. We might have gone a bit off the rails while recording — it happens. 

Download the episode here. 

We’re so grateful to have you as listeners and friends. If you’d like to join our Facebook group, please find us — the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. You’re also welcome to follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or shoot us an e-mail at 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Cait and Jen 

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 8-26 November – Chapter 8

unsplash-logoOkamatsu Fujikawa

“We have arrived at Mont Saint-Michel, madame.” Pierre held out his hand.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont Saint-Michel (St. Michael’s Mount) is an island in Normandy famous for its dramatic architecture and powerful tides. The picturesque island and abbey is “a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.” According to, the design for Mont Saint-Michel came to Bishop Aubert of Avranches in a dream in 708 A.D. In the dream, the Archangel Michael told the Bishop to build his abbey on the island at the mouth of the Couesnon River. Image result for mont san michelReportedly, the Bishop ignored him… and the archangel burned a hole in his head to encourage his compliance. The skull of Bishop Aubert allegedly bears a burn mark from this encounter; you can view the skull on display at the Saint-Gervais d’Avranches basilica. According to TripAdvisor reviews, the hole in the skull is “cool,” however it got there in the first place. The abbey at Mont Saint-Michel was an important pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages despite the fact that it houses no major relics and did not witness any particularly significant events in the history of Christianity.

Should you care to visit, you can take a day trip from Paris. Like these guys:

A gentle cough directed my attention to a man standing before one of the blazes. He was dressed in the red robes of a cardinal and appeared to be in his late twenties — a terribly young age for someone to have risen so high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.

Well, Diana — that may be true for anyone except François de Joyeuse, noted churchman and politician. Cardinal Joyeuse came from an “intensely religious” family of bishops and soldiers; he became Archbishop of Narbonne in 1581 (aged 19) and cardinal in 1583 (aged 21). The Joyeuse family was deeply involved in the French wars of religion; François’s brothers all died in support of the Catholic cause. As might be gathered from Cardinal Joyeuse’s (rather terse) exchange with Matthew, the Joyeuse family was very loyal to Henri III of France — Henri III originally supported religious tolerance in France but repealed his more tolerant edicts in 1585 to privilege the Catholic French. Interestingly enough, Henri III was also a potential suitor for one Elizabeth I of England. This… fell through. Referring to a putative spouse as a “public whore” is not exactly best practice, after all.

“What is this place?” I asked after the footmen led us to a deserted château. It was surprising warm for an empty residence, and the delicious smell of cooked food floated through the echoing corridors..

“The house of an old friend … This was René’s favorite hunting lodge.”

Because Deb overlooks no tiny detail, it shouldn’t surprise you that René, Count of Anjou (René I of Naples) (1409-1480), was a real-live person. He inherited the ruins of the castle at Baugé in 1422. His mother, Yolande of Aragon, burned the original structure to the ground to prevent it from falling to the English during the Hundred Years’ War. After René’s death, the chateau fell into disrepair. The French government embarked on an extensive renovation project in 1961, when the chateau became a cultural landmark.


You can still tour the chateau if you happen to be in Anjou, or you could live vicariously through Trip Advisor.

Two days later, as twilight fell, Matthew, Pierre, and I stopped on one of these ragged mountaintops, the de Clermont family chateau barely visible through swirling gusts of snow. The straight lines of the central keep were familiar, but otherwise I might not have recognized the place. Its encircling walls were intact, as were all six of the round towers, each capped by conical copper roofs that had aged to a soft bottle green. Smoke came from chimneys suggesting that some crazed giant with pinking shears had trimmed every wall. There was a snow-covered garden within the enclosure as well as rectangular beds beyond.

Diana describes a living, breathing Sept-Tours very different from the quiet keep Ysabeau occupies in 21st century France. The description of Philippe’s 16th century household aligns nicely with the seigneurial economic system of the period. Seigneurial economics eventually gave way to the market economy but they dominated parts of Western Europe until industrialization. Seigneurialism vested the power in a lord of the manor on whose land peasants settled and worked the fields. They paid for land in labor, goods, and coin. The part of the house Diana describes sounds like the demesne (di-mayne), or the portion of feudal land retained for the use of the lord and his family. Within the walls of the feudal manor, you’d expect to find the lord’s ovens, his grist mills, his stables, his blacksmith, etc. — everything necessary to provide basic goods and services for those living on the land year-round.

You can learn more about medieval manor houses via Wikipedia, or you could always decide to get a closer look and buy this one.


Matthew started at the sound. Alain cast a worried look at him and pushed the door. It silently swung open on substantial, well-oiled hinges.

In the world of the All Souls Trilogy, Philippe is notorious for speaking Greek and Latin — and he prefers that you do, too. If you’ve ever wondered (1) how ancient Greek differs from its modern counterpart or (2) how we know what Latina actually sounded like, I have you covered with these videos:

By the time his father acknowledged our presence, my anxiety and temper were both dangerously close to the surface. I was staring down at my hands and wondering if they were strong enough to strangle him when two ferociously cold spots bloomed on my bowed head. Lifting my chin, I found myself gazing into the tawny eyes of a Greek god.

I haven’t yet come to a conclusion about The World of All Souls and how it figures into our usual death-of-the-author approach. I suspect that Jen and I would lean towards “nice to know, but not textual” — any details we learn from TWOAS are fascinating, but they don’t actually add to the interpretation of the text other than to tell us where Deb was going when she wrote the original trilogy. Unless you can trace the fun little nuggets of information to the original text, we probably won’t use them for interpretation.

I can already hear you saying, “That’s no fun,” but meh. That’s how we choose to do our interpretive work. The good news is that I can still mine TWOAS for details regarding the Real-Time Reading as much as I like.

Which brings me to Philippe’s given name — mentioned on page 168 of SON. Alcides Leontothymos. Alcides is the given name of Herakles/Hercules, the greatest of the Greek mythic heroes who completed the Twelve Labors. “Alcides” means “from the line of Alcaeus” and “Leontothymos” means “lion-hearted.” In a very fun twist, the epithet “leontothymos” is applied to Herakles/Hercules in a poem translated by none other than George Chapman. The poem goes something like this:

I WILL sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus and much the mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Cronos had lain with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife.

Hail, lord, son of Zeus! Give me success and prosperity.

“Curses, like chickens, come home to roost,” Philippe murmured.

This idiom — meant to express that ill deeds have repercussions likely to rebound — isn’t French. It’s thought to come from Chaucer, who remarked in The Parsons Tale (1390) that curses are like “birds that return to their own nest.” The chickens come from a far later iteration of the same expression — most likely dating to about 1810. The idea is premodern — the phrasing, not so much… which suggests that Philippe might be a fileuse de temps, himself (I kid).

In the Real-Time Reading Companion, Deb says:

“Immortal Memory” by Lisa Gerard and Patrick Cassidy. This is, and always will be as far as I’m concerned, “Philippe’s Song.” 

The logistics of travel to Sept-Tours mean that this chapter has to last us until 26 November, when we begin our true stay at the chateau.

We talked about this chapter in Episode 23 – Philippe All Over the Page. The Daemons covered this chapter in Take 32 – The One with the Prince.

In the meantime, you can find us on our Facebook group, the C&C Clovers, you can follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove, or you can e-mail us at

We can’t wait to hear from you.


Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

SON Real-Time Reading – 7 November – Chapter 7

jacek-ulinski-776734-unsplashJacek Ulinski

Chapter 7

It was a dirty, deceitful business, but it had to be done, Rima reflected. The library was a small, specialist archive with scant resources. The core of its collection came from a prominent Andalusian family whose members could trace their roots back to the reconquista, when the Christians had taken back the peninsula from Muslim warriors who had claimed it in the eighth century. 

The Christian kingdoms of northern Spain slowly conquered the southern territories of Andalusia over the course of 750 years (722-1492). The wars came to an end when the armies of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I conquered Granada, a city in the far south of the Iberian Peninsula. The story is rather fascinating — Ferdinand and Isabella (not exactly known for their religious tolerance) pressured a captured emir of the Muslim territories to attack his own father.What-was-the-reconquista-MapThe emir, known to the Spanish as Boabdil, capitulated and began waging war. Boabdil later tried to defect and repel the Spanish, but it was too late. reports this uncomfortable anecdote of the surrender of Granada:

Leaving Granada with his family and retainers, Boabdil personally delivered the keys of the city to Ferdinand. Within moments royal bearers raised a great silver cross and the Castilian banner in triumph from the watchtower of the Alhambra, and the victorious royal couple wept for joy. Later that day, as he crossed over the Sierra Nevada, a dejected Boabdil paused for one last look at the city, shedding a tear for all he’d lost, only to be taunted by his own mother. “You do well to weep like a woman,” she scolded, “for what you failed to defend like a man!”


If you’d like to know more, you can explore the history of the Reconquista through the extraordinarily detailed Historical Atlas of the Mediterranean.

It was the third time this week he’d asked her out. Rima knew that he found her attractive. Her mother’s Berber ancestry appealed to some men.

The Berbers are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa — Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Tunisia, Libya, and the west of Egypt. The Berbers appear in the great histories of the Greeks and Romans, including Herodotus. While the ethnic group is not homogenous, most members speak in the Berber language, which has between twenty-five and thirty million speakers. The Berber alphabet (Tifinagh) may derive from old Berber script and looks like this:

Sample text in Tamazight in the Neo-Tifinagh alphabet

Want to try Berber? Try this video from Free Morocco:

You can watch a short video on the Berber ethnic group here:

In four hundred years, would the only proof of her existence be a page from her calendar, a shopping list, and a scrap of paper with her grandmother’s recipe for alfajores on it, all placed in a file labeled “Anonymous, of no importance” and stored in an archive no one ever visited?

Putting aside the melancholy commentary on the fleeting nature of human existence for just a moment, now is as good a time as any to make sure that you, too, have a recipe for alfajores handy. Alfajores are chewy sandwich cookies with dulce de leche filling popular in Spain and South America. According to Wikipedia, there are towns in Spain whose alfajor recipes date back centuries. Traditionally, the ingredients include hazelnuts, honey, and cinnamon. I am personally more familiar with the Argentine recipe, frequently dunked in chocolate and served with bitter coffee. You can find a recipe for them from ChowHound here.

Such dark thoughts were bound to be unlucky. Rima shivered and touched the hand-shaped amulet of the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima. It hung around her neck on a leather cord and had been passed down among the women of her family for as long as anyone could remember.

The hamsa is a symbol of a hand significant to several cultures and religions. The earliest use of the hamsa dates to ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage (modern day Tunisia).

Image result for meaning of the hamsa

It symbolizes the protecting hand of god and wearers believe that the hand offers its owner peace, happiness, and prosperity. The hamsa may be worn  with the fingers pointing either up or down; unlike the Irish claddagh, I could not find any symbolism for distinct modes of wear. Depending on whether the wearer of the hamsa is Jewish or Muslim, the symbol represents different things — for Jews, the five fingers of the hand represent the five books of the Torah and the fifth letter of the alphabet (Heh) represents one of the sacred names of god. For Sunni Muslims, the five fingers represent the five pillars of Islam and the hand is that of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet.

The phrase Khamsa fi ainek, or “Five in the eye,” is meant to ward off evil spirits.

We’ll see you tomorrow on the journey to 1590 Sept-Tours. In the meantime, you can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or in our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. Feel free to e-mail your thoughts on the Real-Time Reading of Shadow of Night to

Cait and Jen