Saturday, March 30, 2013

ASTARA the ancient Goddess of Easter - by Vijaya Schartz

The 8th century British writer Bede, mentions that the name for Easter is derived from a Pagan spring festival of the goddess ASTARA. Revered by the Babylonians, Sumerians, Persians, this goddess derived from ASTRA and OSTARA the Greek goddess of spring and fertility. The name means STAR and she is sometimes referred to as the Star Goddess.

She is said to be the last Pagan goddess to leave Earth, bound for the stars, during the Bronze Age, and was worshiped throughout the civilized world of that time, even in Asia (under the name of Kali). Ancient Alien theorists will tell you that she must have been an alien visitor, who remained on Earth to teach the populations of the time, then flew back to the heavens.

The familiar Easter bunny and the multicolored eggs (both symbols of fertility) come not from the Christian or the Jewish Passover traditions, but straight from the Pagan festival of ASTARA.  Since this was a spring festival, around the same time as the Jewish Passover that marked the resurrection of Christ, the early Church made both events coincide, and blended the traditions.

In other words, if you cannot prevent the Pagans from celebrating their festivals, join them and call it a Christian holiday. This technique worked well for early Christian rulers, and helped impose Christianity in many Pagan societies.

Even the last supper and the modern communion was a tradition from ancient Egypt, where the priests and priestesses symbolically partook of the body of Osiris during religious rituals.

Now that we have forgotten the origins of our festivals, we take for granted that Christian or Jewish holidays include only Christian and Jewish traditions, but the deeper roots of these traditions go far back into our ancient past. It seems that religions evolve, but somehow, the traditions remain. 

Learn more about ancient traditions by reading THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE, a Medieval series based on authentic Celtic legends. Find these books on my Amazon page HERE.

Vijaya Schartz
Swords, Blasters, Romance with a Kick

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Win an eReader from Books We Love


Kindle Paperwhite    Nook Simple Touch      Kobo Touch

 Books We Love is celebrating Spring by giving away an eBook Reader. On June 15th one lucky winner will receive his or her choice of the pictured readers, Kindle Paperwhite, Nook Simple Touch, or Kobo Touch. All you have to do is sign up! Find the entry form here:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The origins and legends of St. Patrick's Day - by Vijaya Schartz

There are many legends and traditions associated with St. Patrick's Day. Who was the real St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was not actually Irish. he was born around 373 A.D. in the British Isles near the modern city of Dumbarton in Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name of Patrick, or Patricius, meaning "well-born" in Latin, after he became a priest.

During Patrick's boyhood, the Roman empire was near collapse and too weak to defend its holdings in distant lands. Britain became easy prey for raiders, including those who crossed the Irish sea from the land known as Hibernia or Ireland. When Patrick was sixteen, he was seized by raiders and carried off to Ireland.

After years of guarding sheep, the slave escaped to return much later as a man of God, now a bishop, called by a dream.

For the next 30 years he converted Ireland to Christianity.

It is believed that in 441 A.D., St. Patrick fasted and prayed for 40 days at the summit of Croagh Patrick ("the Reek") in County Mayo. During this time, as blackbirds assaulted him, St. Patrick continued to pray and ring a bell as a proclamation of his faith. In answer to his prayers, an angel appeared to tell him that the Irish people would retain their Christian faith for all time. Today, more than 100,000 pilgrims visit the Reek annually to follow in St. Patrick's footsteps. Traditionally, pilgrims ascend the rocky trail barefoot. 

It was while atop the mountain that St. Patrick drove all the snakes in Ireland to the sea. Historians generally agree that this myth serves as a metaphor for St. Patrick's good works. Since snakes are a common pagan symbol — and are not found in Ireland — this tale symbolizes St. Patrick's driving paganism out of Ireland. 

It is said that the saint used the shamrock as a symbol of the trinity. Christians wore it like the sign of the cross. The Druids believed a four-leaf shamrock could ward off witches.

The old saint died in his beloved Ireland on March 17th, 460 A.D. Most of what is known about St. Patrick comes from his own Confession, written in his old age.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

 Check out my medieval legends series THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE on Amazon HERE 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

ERGOTISM, the bane of the Middle Ages - by Vijaya Schartz

For those of you who wonder what kind of hallucination-filled madness afflicts Sigefroi in Lady of Luxembourg, ERGOTISM is the answer. It was known at the time as St. Anthony's Fire, after the Saint who spent most of his life caring for the victims of the disease.

In a wet year, the grain that is not yet harvested, or already stored for the winter, often develops a fungus called ERGOT. In times of scarcity, eating tainted grain seemed better than dying of hunger. Consuming tainted grain, however, not only leads to illness, but creates vivid hallucinations and convulsions. The affected appear quite mad.

In medieval times, the suspicious grain was often fed to prisoners on purpose, not only because it was not safe to eat, but also because it made their urine extremely acidic, a desirable quality for the tanning of hides. Prisoners fed this diseased grain eventually died of kidney failure. Who said medieval societies were not practical? The prisoners of the time didn't have lawyers to protect their rights.

So you can see how such treatment in a dungeon would affect the mind. In this case, the mind of my hero, Sigefroi of Luxembourg. In this dire state, and under torture, can he keep Melusine's secret? Find out in LADY OF LUXEMBOURG.

Find this book and many others online, everywhere eBooks and paperbacks are sold. Here is the link to my author page on Amazon HERE

Vijaya Schartz
Medieval and Sci-fi Romance with a Kick

Monday, March 4, 2013


Finally, the long awaited Lady of Luxembourg, Book 4 in the Curse of the Lost Isle series, is out in kindle!

Find it today at:

978 AD Melusine the Fae, immortal and cursed Lady of Luxembourg, managed to hide her Pagan nature from mortals for many years. She fiercely protects her handsome Count, Sigefroi, but in their princely bliss, neither of them seems to age, and a few suspicious bishops take notice. Then an ondine wreaks havoc during a battle, luring enemy soldiers into the river.
Betrayed, Sigefroi reflects on his many sins from the depths of a rat infested dungeon. Under torture, will he reveal her deadly secret? And when her beloved turns into a devout Christian, can Melusine salvage her happiness? Can love truly redeem her curse, or will she burn at the stake?

This gritty, edgy, realistic medieval romantic series is not for the faint of heart. If you like realism in your medieval novels, this series is for you. Reviewers gave it five stars and called it “bloody and bloodthirsty in places.” So beware!

The books in the Curse of the Lost Isle series can be read separately, but if you are like me you’ll want to read them in the right order. Here they are:





There is also a special edition including the first three books in the Curse of the Lost Isle in one kindle download, for a bargain price.

Find the entire series as well as my other books on my Amazon page, HERE:

Vijaya Schartz

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick