Monday, January 21, 2013

Mysterious Monday: The White Hart

When you think of white stags, what do you think of? Do you think, “Yum! Venison.” Or do you think of Arthurian legends where the white stag was a symbol of good fortune? For me, I think of other worlds, of the world beyond the veil, glimpsed at the times of year when that veil shimmers away to almost nothing. I think of the two times every day when the same occurs to a lesser extent—dawn and dusk. I think of magic and purity and love and fortune.

In the ancient world, the white hart, or male deer, did a full one-eighty. To the ancient Celts, sighting one of these “magical” beings represented misfortune; somehow, over the years, that viewpoint turned completely around. Put yourself in the boots of one of Arthur’s knights, out riding one foggy evening. There, at the edge of the dark, dangerous forest, with the mist curling about his body in soft tendrils, stands a magnificent stag. But this is not just any stag—this one’s coat gleams in the dying sun, the white hair a stark contrast to his nearly invisible brothers and sisters. Being a good Christian, you would cross yourself against such an obviously supernatural creature before putting spurs to your nervous steed and galloping to the nearest shelter for the night.

I have always loved that mental image—of the white stag standing at the edge of the forest, head held high despite the heavy weight of his antlers, nostrils flaring as he scents the air for danger, liquid black eyes alert. Perhaps that is why my character in Quantum Kiss decided he wanted his name to be Hart, despite the fact that he gets teased about it on a pretty regular basis, and has to explain that it’s H-A-R-T, not H-E-A-R-T. Hart is strong, intelligent, otherworldly and yet not, beautiful in a masculine way, and every bit as unique as his fair namesake. The more he reveals himself to me, the more I am glad that I listened to him and gave him this unusual name.

In Quantum Kiss, it is a white stag that causes the initial car crash that leads my Hart to the alternate reality where he will meet his love. I wanted to add this touch of mythology to the story, which blends the scientific and the natural, all with a supernatural thread woven throughout. Hart’s stag will play an important role in the story, as a sort of link between nature and science. Keep track of my progress by watching the counter on the right and reading my Wednesday blogs.


Anonymous said...

I love the mythology of the white hart. It takes me back to the days of junior high and high school when I read several books revolving around the legend. I even had "hart" earrings! And my female lead in WEATHERING ROCK is Arianna Hart, LOL. I couldn't resist the urge to tie that name in, given I've always been enamored of the legend.

Lynne Kensington said...

Even before I took an Arthurian legends class in college, I could not get enough of these sorts of things. And it is such a seemingly small part of these legends until you look beyond what we see in the stories. Then it becomes so much more--purity to symbolize the purity of the quest or the questers, for example. I absolutely adore symbolism and tearing apart some of the old stories looking for it.

Funny that you used the name in your character's last name. My fella is Hart Mason (which has to do with working stones, of course, and sacred stones figure prominently as well in my story). Thanks for stopping in and commenting!