Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 1 February – Chapter 26

unsplash-logoShai Pal

Verin de Clermont sat in her Berlin home and stared down at the newspaper in disbelief.

“Verin” derives from the English and German “Verena” or may have Slavic origins. It means either “Faith” or “Truthful.”

“What is it, Schatz?” Ernst Neumann put a glass of wine in front of his wife. She looked far too serious for a Monday night.

Schatz is a German term of endearment meaning “gem, jewel, or treasure.” You could also call your beloved Schatzen or or Schatzi, both of which mean “little treasure.” If you want to branch out, you can use Mauschen/Mausi (little mouse), Haschen/Hasi (little bunny), Barchen (little bear), or my personal favorite (and oft-heard in my house), Schecke or Schnecken (little snail).

“Where are you, Gallowglass?” Her nephew was a drifter. In the past he’d sent postcards with nothing but a phone number on them from whatever stretch of road he was traveling at the moment: the autobahn in Germany, Route 66 in the States, Trollstigen in Norway, the Guoliang Tunnel Road in China.

The “autobahn” refers to Germany’s controlled-access highway system.

While unregulated sections of the autobahn have no speed limit, there are increased penalties for causing accidents at high speeds and many areas impose speed limits due to hazards like construction or substandard road surfaces.

Established 1926, Route 66 is one of the original highways in the US Highway System. The original route of Route 66 stretched from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, passing through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona on the way. The original route no longer exists, but you can still drive many of its sections by following a turn-by-turn map.

Cadillac Ranch, from the Amarillo Visitor’s Council

In 1938, Route 66 became the first US highway to be completely paved. It’s also mostly flat, which made it popular with truckers and tourists heading west. During its heyday, Route 66 had hundreds of points of interest dotting its length — including the Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas), the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Petrified Forest National Park (Holbrook, Arizona), and the Santa Monica Pier (Los Angeles, California). The National Parks Service maintains a very detailed map of Route 66 Historic Sites broken down by groups of states along the way.

The Trollstigen, or Troll’s Road, runs from Geiranger to Stigrora in Northwest Norway. It’s a popular tourist attraction with eleven steep turns up the mountainside and beautiful views.

The mountains surrounding Trollstigen reach an altitude of over 1600m above sea-level. The area is full of stunning hiking opportunities and gorgeous fjords.

The Guoliang Tunnel merits an entry in the Atlas Obscura, so you know it must be odd. The road–dug into the side of a mountain at the cost of several lives–connects the village of Guoliang to the outside world, including the larger municipal area of Zhengzhou. Because the villagers followed the path of least resistance while tunneling the road, it dips and winds its way through the rock and is only wide enough for one car to pass through at a time. The video (embedded below) gives me hives.

“Where in the hell is Warrnambool”? Verin demanded.

“Australia,” Ernst and Gallowglass said at the same time.

Warrnambool is a city along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, which follows the southern coast of Australia and has a number of points of interest, including beaches, whale-watching sites, wineries, fisheries, and Aboriginal cultural landmarks. On this snowy, drizzly day in the national capital region, it sounds AMAZING. Oh, also — Warrnambool has a Cheese and Butter Museum listed on its “things to do” list. I am packing my bags as we speak.

“The number” had been generated in the earliest years of the telephone. Philippe had picked it: 917, for Ysabeau’s birthday in September.

17 September is a busy day in history: in 1630, it’s the date of the founding of the city of Boston, Massachusetts. In 1787, it’s the day that the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. In 1849, it’s the day that Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. In 1954, it was the publication date for Lord of the Flies. In 2011, it was the day the Occupy Wall Street movement began.

Nyd, the rune for absence and desire. Gallowglass dipped his hand into the bag again to better understand what he wanted the future to hold.

“Rune” means “holding a secret.” Viking age civilizations used runes to predict the future or obtain answers from the oracle. In addition to serving as a “magical” system and potential system of divination, runes constituted a writing system in several countries that form part of modern-day Scandinavia. You can now buy rune stones on Amazon, though they may lack the historical and sentimental value of those Gallowglass carries.

As Deb points out in the Real-Time Reading Companion, Gallowglass has the last word until we re-join Matthew and Diana upon their arrival in Prague in March. Deb thinks of this song, Circa Paleo’s “The Gael” as “Gallowglass’s Theme.”

If you like what we do, please consider supporting us on Patreon. You can also find us on Facebook as the Chamomile & Clove Clovers.

If you’re suffering from #Witchdrawal, consider joining us tomorrow (2 February 2019) as we live-tweet Episode 1×03 of A Discovery of Witches TV at 4:30 PM Pacific/7:30 PM Eastern/12:30 AM GMT using the hashtag #ccalchemy. We’ve had a killer time live-tweeting Episodes 1×01 and 1×02 and we’d love for you to join us. Follow us @chamomilenclove on Twitter for updates. If you have questions, comments, or thoughts, send us a note at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

xoxox

Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 28-30 January – Chapter 25

unsplash-logohowling red

“I believe your husband and his friends call me the Old Fox. I am also, for my sins, the lord high treasurer.”

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, lived from 1520-1598 and served as a primary advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. As a cautious and loyal advisor to the throne, the queen nicknamed Cecil “Spirit.” She had an apparent passion for nicknames and reportedly called one of her French suitors her “frog.”

After the death of Francis Walsingham, Cecil became the head of Elizabeth’s intricate spy network aimed at discovering (and squashing) Catholic plots against the queen.

In the text of Shadow of Night, Diana has every reason to be nervous about the appearance of Lord Burghley — after all, she knows that Matthew is in England as a Catholic spy on behalf of the de Clermonts. Lord Burghley did not believe in religious toleration — he believed that England “could never be in safety where there was a toleration of two religions. For there is no enmity so great as that for religion; and therefore they that differ in the service of their God can never agree in the service of their country.” 

The little snippet of Latin Lord Burghley quotes to Diana (Vanitatis vanitatum, omnis vanitas) comes from the Vulgate translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2, a verse which translates as “Vanity, vanity, everything vanity.” It’s a curious bit of verse for a Protestant, as it comes from the official version of the Latin Bible dating from the 4th century.

If you’re interested in Lord Burghley as a spymaster, there’s a current BBC series airing on PBS that looks pretty interesting.

“Because if we are not in the audience chamber at Richmond Palace by two in the afternoon tomorrow, Elizabeth will arrest us both.”

Going to court in Tudor England was no small thing. First of all, the Tudor palaces were explicitly designed to restrict access to the monarchy and channel people of different rank into appropriate spaces. Because only the most important (and affluent) people made it into the presence of the king or queen, it paid to appear in court dressed in the finest clothing money could buy. In Tudor times, proximity to the king or queen was the quickest way to attain favor–and thereby improve your title and fortune. However, if Elizabeth I felt that you slighted, betrayed, or otherwise disobeyed her, the consequences could be brutal. Court was complicated, political, and highly performative.

In Shadow of Night, Elizabeth I’s court is located at Richmond Palace, the lost palace of the Tudor monarchy. Henry VII died in the palace and it became Elizabeth I’s favorite — she died there in 1603 and her body made the journey to Westminister Abbey from its gates. In the mid-seventeenth century, after the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and his administration systematically stripped the palace until only a few bits and pieces remained. You can still visit the site of Richmond Palace in southwest London today.

“And silver and black are the queen’s colors. That’s why Walter is always wearing them,” Mary explained, smoothing the puffed sleeves.

Elizabeth I had a vast and impressive wardrobe. As she grew older, she apparently leaned into the image of herself as the Virgin Queen and preferred to dress in black, white, and silver — colors she believed represented purity and virginity. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign, England remained under strict sumptuary laws — Elizabeth I believed that her courtiers should dress according to (but not exceeding) their rank. This is why Elizabeth has a bit of a fit when she notices Diana’s borrowed ostrich feather fan — a luxury restricted to gentlemen and above by the sumptuary laws. Fans in particular were a symbol of wealth, and fixed fans were a bit of A THING for Elizabeth I (you can see all of her fixed fans in her portraits here). Ostrich feathers came into fashion in England in 1552 and remained popular for the rest of the sixteenth century.

Three days later on the feast of St. Brigid, we set sail on our long journey to see the Holy Roman Emperor, find a treacherous English daemon, and, at long last, catch a glimpse of Ashmole 782.

The feast of St. Brigid takes place on 1 February and marks the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the beginning of spring. Brigid is the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, cattle farmers, midwives, mariners, milkmaids, and poets. After her death, St. Brigid was reportedly buried in the Kildare Cathedral — but many of her relics were destroyed in the sixteenth century during Lord Grey’s deputyship of Ireland. In a funny little historical twist, St. Brigid’s head was presented to the Society of Jesus in Lisbon by none other than our buddy Emperor Rudolf II. We’ll talk about him PLENTY in the coming weeks — don’t you worry.

We hope you’re enjoying the Real-Time Reading of Shadow of Night. If you like what we do, consider supporting us on Patreon or joining our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. As always, you can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or e-mail us at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. We talked about this chapter and the end of Section III in Episode 31 — Full Elizabethan.

Until we see Verin in Berlin, take care of yourselves.

xoxo

Cait

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 17 December – Chapter 13

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

I like being married,” I said drowsily.

Diana and Matthew spend the first ten days of their THIRD AND MOST EFFECTIVE MARRIAGE in a sort of honeymoon. The “honeymoon” apparently originated in Britain as a way of visiting relatives and friends who couldn’t make it to your actual ceremony. The word “honeymoon” may refer to an old tradition (5th century or earlier) of drinking honeyed wine a month after your wedding to aid in conception. In the absence of contraceptives, that gesture seems a bit… belated. 

In some cultures, the honeymoon period refers to the time between when grooms kidnapped and captured their brides and (1) the point at which the bride became pregnant and couldn’t be returned to her family, or (2) the point at which the family gave up hope of finding her. As this tradition appears to be vaguely Norse in origin, we should probably have a long talk with Gallowglass. For the record, this also makes a great deal of sense considering the real reason why bridesmaids all wear the same dress — to act as decoys for the real bride. Your only job as a bridesmaid is either to distract would-be kidnappers from the actual bride or lure evil spirits. Your call. 

There are hundreds of Auvergnat euphemisms for making love, but I don’t believe that’s one of them. I’ll ask Chef if he’s familiar with it.”

While I couldn’t find any Auvergnat euphemisms in particular, I figured I would favor you with a few very saucy French ones. Allons-y.

  • Faire boum boum – Literally, to make the boom boom. As in, naughty time so loud you can hear it. 
  • S’envoyer en l’air – “To be sent into the air” – casual, no-strings-attached whoopie. 
  • Avoir du monde au balcon – Er, “to have people on the balcony.” It means that your lady-friend fills out her top. 
  • Tremper son biscuit – “To dip the biscuit” – a person who likes to get naughty with everyone. 

Here are more, for fun:

Tonight was Saturnalia, the official beginning of the holiday season at the chateau. 

Saturnalia, which celebrates the agricultural god Saturn, traditionally fell on 17 December and lasted until the Julian solstice on 25 December. Celebrants observed Saturnalia much the way Deb depicts the holiday in Shadow of Night — feasting, dancing, gambling, singing, music, and gift-giving. There was also a strong tradition of role reversal — by some accounts, masters served their slaves, in others, slaves were allowed the rights and privileges of ordinary citizens

Hey, girl. You wanna play topsy-turvy? *wink wink*

It’s no coincidence that the Christian feast of Christmas falls on 25 December: as the Bible does not give a particular date for celebrating the birth of Christ, churches settled on combining the Christmas celebration with that of Saturnalia somewhere in the 4th century C.E. Pope Julius I apparently believed that combining celebrations would encourage more converts to Christianity. 

If you’re looking to celebrate Saturnalia, take a page out of Philippe’s book — decorate outdoor trees with stars, suns, and moons, drape greenery over doors, windows, and people, and throw a party. If you can do so safely, cause a festive ruckus in your street and organize a parade. 

The clock was unlike any I’d ever seen before. A carved and gilded cabinet surrounded a water barrel. A long copper pipe stretched up from the barrel and dropped water into the hull of a splendid model ship suspended by a rope wound around a cylinder. 

In the Real-Time Reading Companion, Deb indicates that Philippe’s clock is the missing water clock of mathematician and cartographer Oronce Fine. The water clock, or clepsydra, dates back to 1500 BCE. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of a water clock from the same era, but you can read about the evolution and function of water clocks here

Friday marked the shortest day of the year and the celebration of Yule.

The pre-Christian Scandinavian festival of Yule lasts for twelve days and celebrated the “re-birth” of the sun at the winter solstice. Yule celebrants lit bonfires, toasted trees, fields, and crops with wassail (spiced cider), and went between houses with pomanders and other fragrant gifts. The European pagan tradition also recognizes and celebrates Yule and gave us the Yule log — the burning of the log banished evil spirits and brought luck for the coming year. The pagan rituals also celebrate the return of the Oak King, who presides over the warmer half of the year, and the retreat of the Holly King, who rules in the dark winter months. 

If you’re interested in celebrating some Yuletide traditions in your own home, consider taking a solstice walk to gather a Yule log for burning in your hearth. You could create a Yule altar filled with “solar-related botanicals” such as cinnamon, star anise, and cloves. You could incorporate gratitude for the return of the sun in your meditation or yoga practice. Give the gift of seeds to those you love to celebrate the coming spring. If you’re feeling super festive, you might make something special, like this wassail, to share with your friends. If you’d like alcoholic wassail (*raises hand*), you might try this version. 

We covered this chapter of Shadow of Night in Episode 25 – Partyfamilias. Until next time, we hope that you and your loved ones celebrate a healthy and happy Saturnalia, a blessed solstice, and a merry Yule. Feel free to join our Facebook group, or shoot us an e-mail at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove.

Merry merry,

xoxo

Cait and Jen