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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in mythic animals

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Minoan Menagerie Part 4: Mythical Animals

We've already had a look at the animals of the Three Realms (land, sky, and sea) in Minoan art. But that doesn't cover all the creatures the Minoans depicted in frescoes, seals, and other works of art. The last place we'll find animals in Minoan art is the realm of myth and imagination. Though these creatures were all borrowed from other regions (Mesopotamia, Egypt), the Minoan artists depicted them in a way no one else could.

So, for instance, we have the exuberant griffin in the gold seal ring above, from the Minoan cemetery at Archanes Phourni. Here, there's an equally exuberant female figure - a priestess or perhaps the goddess Therasia, since the griffin is her animal. Though this is probably a scene from myth or ritual, some of us like to imagine the humorous caption "Fetch!" for this one.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Jackalope: Barbed Humor

One of the symbols of the American West, the jackrabbit lives in open areas such as grasslands and deserts. With his strange ears, this hare is one of the animals of the American West that people will often remember.  The biggest, fastest, and flashiest of this Family of Hares is the antelope jackrabbit, who can outrun run everything except the antelope (i.e. pronghorn).

The antelope jackrabbit is the source of jackalope (horned rabbit) legends. One joke that Westerners play on new people is to tell them about the jackalope (a large jackrabbit with deer horns). This legendary animal is often seen by people who have had too much to drink.

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The Loch Ness Monster: The “Unknown Unknowables”

Stories about monsters lurking in deep lakes abound worldwide. Noted cryptozoologists (Note 1) Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe have collected these stories and analyzed them. They believe that the 1933 sighting of the Loch Ness Monster (Note 2) ignited the public’s interest in Lake Monsters. Now sightings of these beasts are reported regularly worldwide. Meanwhile, “Nessie,” as the Loch Ness Monster is now known as, has entered popular culture as an endearing character.

Loch Ness is a tectonic lake that lies on the Great Glen Fault Line. Long and narrow, it was gouged deep by receding glaciers. This area is seismically active, which makes searching for any Lake Monster difficult. Add to this difficulty is the deepness of the lake that hinders extensive searches.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dragons of the Cosmos: Timeless Chaos

Dragons of the Cosmos are a part of the fabric of the Universe. According to many myths, these Dragons have either created the world or plotted to destroy it. They have an intense unbounded energy to accomplish their aims. Because of the danger They pose, these dragons are best to be avoided. Moreover, Cosmos Dragons only have relations with the Gods, and usually ignore humans.

The Great Mother Dragon, Tiamat of Babylon (pictured above) is one of the best known of the Cosmos Dragons. As the Creator, She formed the first Heaven and Earth with Her Body. Tiamat is also called the Lady of the Primeval Chaos, who avenges her spouse’s murder. According to Babylonian myth, She tried to rid the Earth of both Gods and humans, and nearly succeeded.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Families of Dragons

To understand dragons better, people have commonly divided them into various families. As with scientific classification, organizing dragons into groups gives folks a framework to learn about them. By studying dragons in families, you can discern who are friendly and who are dangerous. Since each family has their own unique talents, they can also offer their matchless wisdom to seekers.

In Western Tradition, dragons are usually grouped into families by the elements. I have used that system to construct my classifications of dragons. Living in the East, the Dragons of the Air ride the winds. Meanwhile, the Dragons of Fire reside in fire, and are of the South. In the West, the Dragons of the Waters frolic in the waters. With the Air Dragons and Ice Dragons, Water Dragons rule the weather, as well. Ruling the Earth and guarding its treasures are the Dragons of the Earth, who reside in the North. Because each dragon family governs a cardinal direction, therefore in rituals a seeker can avoid the hostile ones and ensure her safety.

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Each-Uisge (Water-Horse): Be Cautious, Be Aware

Throughout the lands surrounding the North Sea, stories abound of dreaded lake monsters who lurk below the surface. These tales describe many of the monsters as “water-horses.” This beast resembles a seal with two sets of flippers, a long neck and a small head. People usually divide “water-horses” into two types – the long-necked Nessie and the maned Each-Uisge. While Nessie of Loch Ness is more benign, the Each-Uisge, also of Scotland, is more sinister. Haunting lakes and lochs, this shapeshifter kills and eats unwary humans (leaving only the liver). The Each-Uisge usually lures people by pretending to be a docile horse.

 From ancient times, the Each-Uisge has filled people with dread and fear. The Picts depicted Him in all his ferocity their pictographs. The Romans recorded deadly sightings of this beast during their time in Britain. Described as a glistening black horse with a greenish patina, the Each-Uisge would appear on the roadside as a tame horse. Seeing relief, the weary traveler would mount Him, only to find themselves firmly affixed to the beast’s back. After that, the “horse” would quickly trot off. When the Each-Uisge smelled water nearby, He would race into the lake drowning the unfortunate victim.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Griffin: Majesty and Nobility

The Griffin (Gryphon) has had a long association with humans. For example, She is a part of people’s last names and featured in their coats of arms. Since the time of Sumner, the Griffin has stood for majesty and nobility.

 Various myths depict the Griffin as the combination of the lion and the eagle. Since both of these earthy animals are monarchs of their own domains, the Griffin is considered the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. This mythic animal, with her offspring Hippogriff, are the only members of the Tribes of the Cosmos. While the Griffin protects the Tree of Life with its Golden Apples, the Hippogriff carries the worthy traveler between the worlds. Because of this, the Griffin is also the Sentinel of the Throne of Heaven and Earth.

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