Q & A with Linnea Tanner

Introduction

It is with great pleasure to share my interview with Luciana Cavallero, an Australian Author and Historian, that was recently posted on her website. If you click below, you will find out more about what inspired me to write Apollo’s Raven.

Q & A with Linnea Tanner

Come and meet Linnea Tanner in an interview about her debut book Apollo’s Raven. In her novel, Linnea Tanner weaves Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, betrayal and intrigue into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and Britannia. (Click here to go to the interview)

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Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 7)

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Furthermore, we have not even risked the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. Joseph Campbell

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure — Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 7)

Impressions of a Heroine

Before completing the series of the photographic adventure of Catrin, the heroine in my unpublished historical fantasy, APOLLO’S RAVEN, I wanted to post some comments from my eleven-year-old granddaughter, Maylin, about her experience posing as a Celtic warrior princess. Needless to say, it is not everyday a crazy grandmother asks her granddaughter to dress up as a warrior and re-enact sword fights and summoning a raven. In addition, I asked Maylin about her favorite mythological characters and young adult novels she enjoyed reading.

My granddaughter was quite the trooper during the photo shoot and interview. But Maylin finally admitted that at first she wondered if she had been thrown under the bus when her mother graciously volunteered her to do the photo shoot.

Thank you, Maylin, for sharing this wonderful adventure with me.

Interview with Maylin

Question 1. What were your first thoughts when your mother volunteered you to pose as a young Celtic woman warrior?

Answer: At first I wasn’t  happy. I asked my mother, “Why would you want to throw me under the bus?” I did not want to go through the fuss of make-up and dressing up like a warrior. The only reason I did it was because I loved my mother and grandmother. (Note: Always the perfect answer for a grandmother.)

Question 2. What type of characteristics would you like to see in a heroine?

Answer: Heroines should be fighters and stand up for what they believe in. Yet they should protect people who they love. I liked Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games because she traded places with her sister to protect her. Heroines should have a soft side, too.

Question 3. What is your favorite mythological character?

Answer: Poseidon is my favorite because he is a god associated with the sea and water. I liked the character Percy Jackson because he was the son of Poseidon, a demigod, in the series of novels written by Rick Riordan. I like to swim on my school team. My favorite monster is the serpent-like hydra that has many heads. For each head cut off, it grew two more heads back in place of one.

Question 4. If you were given the opportunity to have supernatural powers, what powers would you like?

Answer: I would like to have the power of telekinesis. Specifically, I would like to read the minds of other people and levitate objects. I would like to read my friends’ thoughts to know if there is anything wrong. Possibly I could help them.

Question 5. What comes to mind when you think of a raven? What types of powers would you envision a raven to have?

Answer: A raven is a bird. Nothing comes to mind as to what raven powers would be.

Question 6. How did you feel as you were being transformed into a Celtic warrior princess for the photographic shoot?

Answer: I was pretty amazed at what could be done with make-up, particularly the raven tattoo. The whole process of dressing up and re-enacting Catrin in an ancient time was pretty amazing. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Celtic Woman Warrior Sword Fight

Question 7. What were the favorite aspects of the photo shoot for you?

Answer: I like the photographic shoot of the sword fight in the forest. Not until I saw my facial expressions in the photographs did I realize how much I really got into role-playing the part of a warrior. I particularly liked the scenes where I had to sword fight with Shevek, an assistant off-camera.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior in Battle

Celtic Woman Warrior in Battle

Question 8. What are your favorite books and authors?

Answer: My favorite series of novels were the mythological adventures of Percy Jackson written by Rick Riordan. What I liked best is Rick Riordan actually went into some of the original Greek myths in his book. I also liked the Harry Potter series and the world created by J. K. Rowling. Finally, I liked Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins.

Reference: Joseph Cambell, The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers; Published by Doubleday; New York, July 1991.

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 6)


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 The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual  potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke these powers in our lives — Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 6)

Photographic Journey

On June 13, 2012 the photographic adventure was completed with my eleven-year-old granddaughter, Maylin. She posed as the heroine in my unpublished novel, APOLLO’s RAVEN, a historical fantasy about Catrin—a Celtic spiritual warrior from Ancient Britain.  Below is a continuation of the photographs  and excerpts from APOLLO’S RAVEN which best captured my vision.

Excerpts APOLLO’S RAVEN

Catrin took the red-jeweled sword from Mor and pointed the blade toward a raven flying over the chalky cliffs.

Soaring Raven

Raven Over White Cliffs Britain

The brilliance of the sun escaping the cover of the horizon momentarily blinded her.

Celtic Warrior Princess

Catrin, Celtic Spiritual Warrior Summons Raven

A biting wind carrying the smell of salt roared across the water as she beseeched the raven’s spirit. “Let me see my enemies.”

Celtic Woman Warrior Summons Raven Spirit

Catrin Summons Raven

Her spirit shot like an arrow into the soaring bird. A light flashed in her mind and she became one with its spirit. Sparks burned through her legs and into her spine and arms; her muscles contracted in synchrony with the bird’s wings. Now she could see the world through raven eyes.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Catrin Spiritual Warrior Joins Raven

 

(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure; Photographs and Excerpts)

 

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 5)


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Since brevity is the soul of wit, I will be brief,” said Polonius in HAMLET—wise advice for writers.

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure of Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 5)

Photographic Journey

Finally on June 13, 2012 the photographic adventure was completed with my eleven-year-old granddaughter, Maylin, who posed as Catrin—the Celtic spiritual warrior in my unpublished novel, APOLLO’s RAVEN, a historical fantasy set in Ancient Britain, 24 AD.  All the challenges for this shoot had been successfully met:

  • Maylin was costumed in leather chest and wrist armor based on actual replicas from archaeological digs.
  • The hills next to Fairview High School in Boulder, CO provided an ideal landscape similar to the Dover Cliffs hillsides in Britain.
  • A stencil was uniquely designed as a template to paint a raven on Maylin’s forehead.
  • Maylin’s long hair was braided; leather strips and feathers were tied into her hair.
  • Maylin was armed with a Celtic sword.

Isabelle Kai made-up Maylin at the South Boulder Recreation which took approximately 1 ½ hours. Some young girls watched with fascination as Isabelle transformed Maylin into a Celtic warrior princess—not a typical event one would expect to see before a workout.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior Close-up

Catrin–Celtic Warrior Princess

After Maylin was made-up and dressed, she met Rebekah West and three of her assistants (Isa, Emily, and Shevek) beside the high school’s concrete wall, the backdrop for a stone fortress. Amazingly right before the shoot, a raven landed on the roof and cawed at us—a wondrous start for the shoot. Maylin embodied Catrin and the scenes from the story came alive.  At sunset, a hilltop and a pine tree grove close to the school set the stage for the final photographs.

Below are photographs and excerpts from APOLLO’S RAVEN which best captured my vision.

Excerpts APOLLO’S RAVEN

Catrin silently walked through a grove of trees and stepped over a few brambles to find several warriors sharpening their swords. Catrin waved to one thirteen-year-old girl. She thought to herself, I’m the same age as that girl. Why wasn’t I asked to fight? 

Celtic Woman Warrior Prepares for Battle

Celtic Woman Warrior Prepares for Battle

 

The breaking dawn provided light for Catrin and Mor on the cliff top pathway. When they reached the summit, they could see clouds in the eastern horizon aflame with orange. Mor tied feathers into Catrin’s golden braids and using blue woad, painted wings on Catrin’s forehead.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Catrin, Celtic Spiritual Warrior

(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure; Additional Excerpts and Photographs)

 

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Spiritual Warrior (Part 3)


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I have fled in the shape of a raven of prophetic speech —Taliesin’s Song of his Origins, 6th century

Raven Tattoo

One of the challenges in the photo shoot was to transform my eleven-year-old granddaughter, Maylin, into the adolescent Celtic warrior princess, Catrin—the heroine in APOLLO’S RAVEN. Isabelle Kai, a makeup artist from Boulder, worked with Rebekah West (Rebekah West Photography), and myself to design a raven tattoo for placement on Maylin’s forehead. The raven is the protector animal that guides Catrin and helps her prophesy.

Isabelle created a unique stencil template that was used to spray paint the raven on Maylin’s head. The British Celts were known for tattooing their bodies by using the leaves of the Woad plant to create a viscous blue dye. The indigo paste was tapped into the skin with needles to force the stain under the skin layers. In addition, feathers were pasted on Maylin’s face to highlight the strength she garners from her raven spirit.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Catrin, Celtic Spiritual Warrior

Mythological Raven

The mythology of ravens is widespread throughout the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia. Ravens have been associated with prophesy and wisdom, but they also conjure dark images of bad luck and death (discussed below).

Raven Animal Protector

A spiritual warrior society, the Celts revered animals as protectors and teachers. They believed the physical world is one level of existence. Overlaying this mortal world is the Otherworld, the world of spirits and forces which can guide and help us. Ravens, in particular, were revered for their ability to bridge these two worlds. They served as messengers from the Otherworld and acted as guardians and protectors.

Celtic Warrior Princess

Catrin, Celtic Spiritual Warrior Summons Raven

Raven Light Symbolism

In Greek and Roman mythology, the raven was associated with both Athena (Roman: Minerva) and Apollo—deities closely affiliated with the sun and the light of wisdom. Apollo was an oracular god, and thus, the association between the conversational raven and the god of divination made sense.

Mythological Raven

Apollo’s Raven

In Norse mythology, the god, Odin, was pictured with two ravens on his shoulders: Hugin representing the power of thought and active search for information; Mugin, representing wisdom and its ability to understand by intuition. Odin would send these two ravens out each day to spy upon the lands. They would return to tell him what they learned on their journeys.

Raven Dark Symbolism

Ravens are associated with predators, particularly wolves, which kill prey for ravens to scavenge. As human civilization became more war-like, fostering conflict and the spread of disease, ravens often picked at the bloody remains of fallen warriors in battle. People interpreted this predictable biological response as a supernatural sign and came to view ravens as omens of bad luck and harbingers of death. The sight of elongated beaks pecking into corpses reinforced the nightmarish images of ravens.

The Morrigan was the shape-shifting Celtic Goddess of war, fate, and death. She soared over battlefields in the form of a raven and frequently foretold or influenced the outcome of the conflict.

Soaring Raven

Raven Over Battlefield

The Norse god, Odin, was also known as the Raven God. His daughters, Valkyries, would transform into ravens and whisper to the souls of fallen Norse warriors to follow them to Valhalla in the sky.

My next series of posts will continue to unfold how Rebekah West prepared for the photo shoot that transformed Maylin into a Celtic warrior princess based on historical accounts in Ancient Britain.

(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure)

 

Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Woman Warrior (Part 2)


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Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure—Celtic Woman Warrior (Part 2)

 “…a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one [Celtic Gaul] in a fight if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, begins to rain blows mingled with kicks like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult.”

–Ammianus Marcellinus


Historical Background

The Celtic heroine, Catrin, in Apollo’s Raven is based on reliable evidence of first-century warrior queens of powerful tribes in Ancient Britain (Ancient Roman Britannia). These real-life  female rulers and military commanders were recorded in historical accounts by the Romans who invaded Britain in 43 AD.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior in Battle

Celtic Woman Warrior in Battle

Tacitus, a first-century historian, wrote in his Anals: “it is not the first time that Britons have been led to battle by a woman.” He wrote extensively on two Ancient Britain warrior queens:

  • Cartimandua (Sleek Pony): Queen of the Brigantes, a north-central British tribe; Roman client queen in 50 AD.
  • Boudicca (Victoress): Queen of the Iceni, a Northeastern British tribe; military leader of both female and male warriors in major revolt against Roman occupation in 60 AD.

The rights and position of Celtic women far exceed those in Rome, where the male head of the family (paterfamilias) had complete control over his wife and family. Further, there was historical evidence for the existence of female druids—spiritual leaders—in the Celtic society. Boudicca may have been a priestess of the goddess ‘Adrasta’, the goddess of victory.

Celtic Woman Warrior Battle Dress

One of the challenges for Rebekah West [Rebekah West Photography and Creative International; Website: http://rebekahwest.com%5D was to locate authentic costumes and weapons in preparation for the photo shoot on 13 June 2012 when my granddaughter, Maylin, posed as Catrin, an adolescent Celtic warrior princess. Rebekah’s son, Shevek, who had a background in theater arts, provided Celtic swords used in the various settings. Just prior to the photographic adventure, he practiced with Maylin in the proper handling of the sword.

The more difficult obstacle was to locate authentic wardrobe for a Celtic woman warrior. My original vision was based on documented battle gear of Celtic male warriors: multi-colored tunics, mail-shirt or leather chest armor. In advance of the photo shoot, I provided key measurements to Rebekah for outfitting  Maylin. After an extensive search, Rebekah finally located a woman’s leather chest and wrist protectors based on actual replicas from archaeological digs. And just in case—a local artist was ready to weave a mail-shirt as back-up wardrobe.

Below is a photograph of Maylin posing as Catrin in battle dress (leather chest and wrist protectors and earth-brown tunic) and armed with sword.

Celtic Spiritual Warrior on White Cliffs

Celtic Spiritual Warrior

 

(To be continued—Quest for Catrin: Photographic Adventure)

Reference:

The Roman History of Amminus Marcellinus, published in Vol. I of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1935; Book XV, 12 The Manners and Customs of the Gauls, p. 197.