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Foxes: Folklore, Myth and More

The Fox is an incredible animal who is as diverse in its sub-species to where they live which is every continent except Antarctica. They can be found from Australia to the Arctic and just about everywhere in-between. So it is not surprising that when it comes to folklore and mythology both newer tales to those of ancient times you will find the Fox mentioned more than any other animal from Japan to the Native American tales. The Fox also happens to be a personal favorite of mine so featuring them on my Blog for me is a must.

Foxes in Folklore

Symbolism and metaphor are often used in folklore to explore the depths of human emotions and how we have connected with the world around us. Animals in particular, have long been a popular source of inspiration, acting as reflections of our best and worst qualities, or appearing to us as magical creatures linking the mortal and spirit realms.

There are maybe only a handful of animals, both real and mythological, that are more commonly found in folklore globally than the fox. Considering the relatively close proximity humans and foxes have had with each other, it is no surprise that we included this relationship in our mythologies and tales. Even the ancient Sumerians were inspired by foxes and included one in the Eridu Genesis myth, first recorded around 1600 BCE.

In general, there is a split consensus cross-culturally when it comes to the depiction of foxes in folklore. The fox is perhaps most well known as a trickster, sneaky and cunning in behavior, creating devious plans which they occasionally fall victim to. In Aesop’s Fables, they are egotistical, con artists, and benefit from the misfortune of others. Phrases like “sly as a fox” and “outfoxed” are references to the trickster persona. Continue reading HERE. And find Part 2 HERE.

Fox Carved in Stone Göbekli Tepe. Acsen. Shutterstock.
Göbekli Tepe is a world heritage site in Turkey. The monolithic structures are thought to have been erected around 9,600-8,200 BCE.

It would be difficult to compile a complete list of all the available fox mythology. In the Scandinavian countries, foxes were believed to cause the northern lights. These aurora were called “revontulet” in Finland, meaning “fox fires”. SOURCE

The Scandinavian legend of Aurora borealis by CORinAZONe on DeviantArt

A more modern version of the of the Northern Lights regarding a Fox written by Don Fowler is a favorite of mine which I want to share with you.

Long ago when the world was young there lived in the forest of Midgard a small fox named Rav who was as black as night. He was a sly little fox who liked to play jokes on the other animals of the forest. Needless to say, he didn’t have many friends in the forest.

One day he was confronted by some rabbits that wanted to make fun of his abnormal black fur. He ran past them and swiped his tail over the grass in passing, lighting it into flames. The scared rabbits bound off in fear and hasted deep into the forest to escape the flames.

The land wight of the forest lake got upset with Rav and scolded the fox for causing such trouble. Rav tried to lie to the forest lake, telling her that he would not do such a thing again. But the forest lake knew better than to trust a fox and sent him from Midgard across Yggdrasil to Jotunheim, the land of giants and trolls.

Jotunheim is a cold, icy land, and there the fox found his lovely black coat had gone arctic white. Worse than that, now the little arctic fox was all alone and had to constantly flee from the giants and the trolls of the wild north. He did well at protecting only his own hide and the years passed before he knew it.

Then on a bitter cold day he spied a small fire where two travelers were eating. One had red hair and a beard and carried a mighty hammer. The other had black hair and seemed, to Rav, to be very cunning and fair. But as he was watching the giants played a trick on the travelers by making the snow storm so hard the travelers could not find their way. Rav knew the lost travelers would come under attack by the giants soon.

It was then Rav felt regret for his own actions in the past, and felt sympathy for the bold travelers. Running ahead, he swept his tail over the snow, sending up a whirl of fire into the sky making it like day. It was enough to startle the giants as he lit a path to the Bifrost bridge for the travelers.

At the top of the bridge one of the travelers companions could make out what was going on far below. He quickly alerted all in Asgard of the danger of the trouble making giants. So it was that in the end the travelers made it back to their land safely despite the snow storm.

Impressed with the little arctic fox they made Rav a small home at the base of the Bifrost bridge where it meets the frigid snow of the north. It would be the little arctic fox’s duty to send up flames nightly so that anyone lost could see and find their way back home. He was so good at making his northern lights that they became known as the Foxfires or the Revontulet.

The Fox is the star of more fairy tales and fables than any other animal! Find out why by reading this book. From California to Norway, Africa to Ancient Greece these stories have traveled with the people who loved them best. You can learn to be witty, clever, and outsmart your foe with the help of these fox tales. Maybe you too can learn to sing your own fox songs! The author, Brian “Fox” Ellis once had a pet fox! He has studied the science and folklore of foxes and shares his love of these cunning creatures with all who will listen. He infuses the folktales with solid science and writes science with a fairy tale spin. He has performed Fox Tales around the world and because his name is Fox, folks have given small fox carvings of virtually every style imaginable. This book is the fourth in a series called Fox Tales Folklore that blends history and ecology, poetry and personal narrative to explore themes like A River of Stories, Prairie Tales, Bird Tales and Fish Tales. All of the books will soon be available here on Amazon as a paperback or eBook, but you can also visit www.foxtalesint.com to download an audio book or you could even watch a live performance of these stories on his YouTube channel Fox Tales International.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 19. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
“On this highway is a place called Teumessos (Teumessus), where it is said that Europa was hidden by Zeus. There is also another legend, which tells of a Fox called the Teumessian Fox, how owing to the wrath of Dionysos the beast was reared to destroy the Thebans, and how, when about to be caught by the Hound [Lailaps (Laelaps)] given by Artemis to Prokris (Procris) the daughter of Erekhtheus (Erechtheus), the Fox was turned into a stone, as was likewise this Hound.”

THE ALOPEX TEUMESIOS (Teumessian Fox) was a giant fox sent by the gods to ravage the countryside of Thebes as punishment for some crime. Kreon (Creon), regent of Thebes, commanded Amphitryon destroy the fox–an impossible task for the beast was destined never to be caught. The hero solved the problem by setting the magical dog Lailaps (Laelaps) on the trail, for it was destined to always catch its quarry. Zeus, faced with a paradox of fate–an uncatchable fox being pursued by an inescapable dog–, turned the pair to stone, so freezing their contest in time. SOURCE

Kitsune

Kitsune (狐, キツネ, IPA: [kitsɯne]) in the literal sense is the Japanese word for “fox”. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict legendary foxes as intelligent beings and as possessing paranormal abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shapeshift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others – as foxes in folklore often do – other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and humans lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto “kami,” or “spirit,” and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. Continue reading HERE.

The Role of Foxes in Slavic Mythology and Folklore

By @Dunoss.Art on Instagram

The early Slavs often had a similar perception of the fox that is still popular in modern culture across the world today. No matter the species, foxes were seen as sly and cunning tricksters. They use this skill often to deceive protagonists, and this makes them often villains in folk tales. Among the Slavs, though, the fox has positive roles as well.

When tricksters are mentioned in Slavic mythology, it’s impossible not to mention Weles (Veles), god of the lowlands, underworld, serpents, and cattle. Like the fox, Weles is often incorrectly perceived as evil, stealing Perun‘s cattle as well as his son, Jaryło. The god serves a crucial role, though, and so does the fox, serving as the symbol of mind over brute strength. Continue reading HERE.

The fox is a scavenger carnivores dog generally found in urban city areas in the northern Hemisphere. The fox is a nocturnal mammal meaning that the fox only goes out a night to hunt for prey. Wild foxes tend live for around 6-7 years but some foxes have been known to be older than 13 in captivity. The wild fox hunts for the mouse and other small mammals and birds but foxes appear to enjoy all species of insect.

Further Resources

Foxes and Fox Lore

The Nine Tailed Fox of Chinese Mythology

Foxes in Mythology

Native American Fox Mythology

Vulpes, Vixen and … Vulpix? Foxes in folklore and popular culture

Fox Symbolism & Meaning

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Fireflies: Folklore, Myth and More

Fireflies are in my top five of favorite insects and a lot of those reasons will be within what you find in this post from their mystical appearance at night to the significance they hold in a lot of folklore. The Firefly also known as a lightning Bug can be a significant meaning in your dreams, as a totem and even a spirit animal which will be covered here as well but first let me share with you a story about myself and Fireflies which sometimes I wonder if there are Fae among them in disguise.

Many years ago I lived in a beautiful part of the Appalachians on a property with a pond in front of my house over an acre in size with it surrounded by grass. Every day right at dusk I would sit or lay on the grass in front of the pond. I would watch the fish nipping at the bugs on the surface of the pond ass the Bats began swooping like acrobatic jets above beginning to feed. All the time as it darkened the Fireflies would emerge from the grass undergrowth and it truly looked like a scene from a fantasy movie. Truly an amazing experience every time.

The Magic & Folklore of Fireflies By Patti Wigington

In China, long ago, it was believed that fireflies were a product of burning grasses. Ancient Chinese manuscripts hint that a popular summer pastime was to catch fireflies and put them in a transparent box, to use as a lantern, much like children (and adults) often do today.

There’s a Japanese legend that lightning bugs are actually the souls of the dead. Variations on the tale say that they’re the spirits of warriors who fell in battle. Our About.com Japanese Language Expert, Namiko Abe, says, “The Japanese word for a firefly is hotaru… In some cultures, hotaru might not have a positive reputation, but they are well liked in Japanese society. They have been a metaphor for passionate love in poetry since Man’you-shu (the 8th-century anthology).”

Even though fireflies put on a pretty great light show, it’s not just for entertainment. The flashing of their light is how they communicate with each other – especially for courtship rituals. Males flash to let the ladies know they’re looking for love… and the females respond with flashes to say they’re interested.

Fireflies appear in a lot of Native American folklore as well. There’s an Apache legend in which the trickster Fox tries to steal fire from the firefly village. To accomplish this, he fools them and manages to set his own tail on fire with a piece of burning bark. As he escapes the firefly village, he gives the bark to Hawk, who flies off, scattering embers around the world, which is how fire came to the Apache people. As punishment for his deception, the fireflies told Fox that he would never be able to use fire himself.

Using Firefly Magic

Think about the different aspects of firefly folklore. How can you use them in a magical working?

  • Feeling lost? Catch some fireflies in a jar (please, poke holes in the lid!) and ask them to illuminate your way. Release them when you’re done.
  • Use fireflies to represent the element of fire on your summer altar.
  • Fireflies are sometimes associated with the moon – use them in summer moon rituals.
  • Incorporate firefly light into a ritual to attract a new mate, and see who responds.
  • Some people associate fireflies with the Fae – if you practice any sort of Faerie magic, welcome the fireflies into your celebrations.
  • Incorporate firefly symbolism into a ritual to honor your ancestors. SOURCE
Firefly (Junkiri) glowing at night. Image credit: Nepali Times 

The Symbolic Meaning of Crossing Paths With a Bright Little Firefly or Lightning Bug This Summer by Rebecca Norris

Fireflies—which are technically a type of nocturnal beetle!—often go unnoticed until nighttime. But, as soon as the tail of their abdomen begins to glow, the little bugs (also called lightning bugs) transform into seemingly-magical creatures that create specks of light in the dark evening air, leaving children and adults alike in awe. What makes them extra special is that they’re only around for a few weeks in the summer, and only in certain areas (in the U.S., that means warm, humid climates east of Kansas).

According to Honigman, fireflies serve as powerful and empowering reminders for anyone who sees them. “A little light shining bravely in the darkness,” she says of their symbolic meaning. “Small and alone, showing us that we are each worthy, that every person shines their own unique light, and in our own world, be represented in the global struggle for illumination. Light over dark. Positive over negative. However tiny you are, your light still illuminates the darkness.”

Honigman says they’re also reminders to be intentional about the light you seek in others. “Fireflies have a unique way of shining their light, in order to draw the exact right mate to them,” she explains. “They flash their light in specific patterns, and only the right mate responds to each individual pattern. This reminds us to be specific with the people we keep around us, and to be intentional with our circle. One firefly won’t be drawn to another one unless communication is exact and specific. Similarly, the right people for you will heed your call. If it feels ‘off’ then this isn’t your person.” Continue reading HERE.

Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs is the first-ever comprehensive firefly guide for eastern and central North America. It is written for all those who want to know more about the amazing world of lightning bugs and learn the secrets hidden in the flash patterns of the 75+ species found in the eastern and central United States and Canada. As an independent researcher working with numerous university teams, naturalist Lynn Frierson Faust, “The Lightning Bug Lady,” has spent decades tracking the behavior and researching the habitats of these fascinating creatures.

Fireflies

by Bliss Carman

The fireflies across the dusk
Are flashing signals through the gloom—
Courageous messengers of light
That dare immensities of doom.

About the seeding meadow-grass,
Like busy watchmen in the street,
They come and go, they turn and pass,
Lighting the way for Beauty’s feet.

Or up they float on viewless wings
To twinkle high among the trees,
And rival with soft glimmerings
The shining of the Pleiades.

The stars that wheel above the hill
Are not more wonderful to see,
Nor the great tasks that they fulfill
More needed in eternity.

Sir David Attenborough explores the world of bio-luminescence, the often spectacular natural light produced by some creatures. Specially designed cameras reveal nature’s leading lights.

Further Resources

Firefly Symbolism & Meaning

Spiritual meaning of fireflies: the symbolism! Does it indicate good luck?

Common Names for Fireflies

The Light of the Firefly: What is its Role in Japanese Culture?

Symbolic Meaning of the Firefly

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Canadian Coastal Wolf: My Spirit Animal

A person’s spirit animal is discovered in numerous ways which could be through a dream, spirit-walk or by other means in which they connect. For me it was a personal experience I prefer keeping private but the out come has led me on a path of deep connection and passion to a species of Wolf known as the Canadian Coastal Wolf also known as Sea Wolves. The Canadian Coastal Wolf is said to have “one paw in the forest and one paw in the sea” which is a saying that deeply resonates with me. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and spending a lot of my adulthood in Oregon, Washington and even British Columbia I have always been partial to the coastal forests. Even more so being a man of the sea who had a career in the U.S. Coast Guard I have a passionate love of the sea. I resonate so deeply with these Wolves on so many levels from their diet to their lifestyle that it is almost overwhelming at times when I get to see new footage taken of them in their coastal environment on the coast of Canada.

The Canadian Coastal Wolf is so unique that they get their own classification as a sub-species of the Gray Wolf. So now I am going to load you with a tone of great resources of articles, documentaries and books I highly recommend you browse through. This species of Wolf is so unique and special yet very few are aware of them and their essential part in the balance of the Canadian coastal environment. Sadly they are in danger of hunting and humans encroaching upon their environment. It for me and others so important these Wolves are protected and their feeding grounds be preserved so that the Sea Wolves can carry on with many generations to come.

The amazing sea wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest By Ziya Tong

The wolves eat the brains” says William Housty. If you’re walking along the creek beds of the Great Bear Rainforest and see decapitated salmon scattered about, it’s a tell-tale sign that sea wolves have been in the area. “They just take a bite take out of the head, and everything else is left fully intact.” This unusual feeding strategy has evolved among the coastal wolves that live in and around Bella Bella, B.C. 

First, sea wolves — or marine wolves as they’re also known — are fast, powerful swimmers. Housty remembers an encounter he and his father once had while boating: “We looked ahead of us and we could see something in the water. We couldn’t tell what it was, but it was moving. As we got closer, it was actually two wolves swimming across the channel.” One reason the wolves are tricky to spot, is because they move stealthily in the water, their backs and bodies submerged, and with only their eyes, ears and snouts peeking above the surface.

The wolves aren’t just dog paddling, either; they’re distance swimmers. There is at least one pack on Goose Island off the coast, about 13 kilometres from Bella Bella, and there is no other way to get there except to swim. We also know that the wolves aren’t sedentary. Many of them migrate through the archipelago, swimming from island to island throughout the year. At times, they’re tracking the salmon, but other times they show up even when there’s no salmon to be found. That’s because sea wolves have a diverse diet. A recent study found that it can be up to 85 per cent marine-based: lone wolves take down seals and otters, while packs have been spotted feasting on the occasional whale carcass. The carnivores also, surprisingly, eat shellfish. Using their paws, they dig in the sand for clams, and use their powerful jaws to crack open the shells of mussels. As for the remaining terrestrial diet? Like their larger mainland counterparts, the timber wolf, sea wolves also hunt moose and black-tailed deer. SOURCE

Canadian Coastal Wolf going for a swim

Unfortunately as far as books regarding Sea Wolves there are only two I know of and one of them I recently ordered from Canada which I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. The one I do have is absolutely fantastic which is called The Sea Wolves: Living Wild in the Great Bear Rainforest. This book is filled with stunning photography and wonderful detailed information about these special Wolves. The two men responsible for this excellent book are Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read. Ian is and award winning photographer and filmmaker as well as a co-founder of a great organization called Pacific Wild which supports the protection and preservation of the Canadian coastal environment. Nicholas Read is a life long lover of animals and a retired journalist and was an instructor at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I absolutely love having this book as a part of my library.

The other book which I am eagerly waiting for can be found on Pacific Wild’s website store which is The Last Wild Wolves by Ian McAllister and you can get your copy HERE.

My Recommended Documentaries

I really enjoy documentaries of many different subjects but to find some all about my beloved Sea Wolves is fantastic. Below are three videos I thoroughly enjoy and are a part of my online video collection.

This wildlife mini documentary follows the daily life of one wolf pack as they fight to survive along the wild west coast of Canada. Some of the most secluded beaches of British Columbia are home to a unique wolf species that has evolved to gather their sustenance from both land and sea. Call of the Coastal Wolves follows a group of filmmakers over a two week expedition as they endeavor to film the elusive wolf. This short film asks us to reflect on our impacts to the natural world as we witness these compassionate, loving animals that deserve more attention and respect.
In the towering rain forests along the northern shores of the Pacific, scientists recently discovered a new subspecies of the gray wolf. Unlike its genetic kin anywhere else in the world, this wolf swims, fishes for salmon and roams great distances from island to inlet across both water and rough terrain.
An introduction to the wolves of the coastal rainforest

Further Resources

Moving like ghosts along the shoreline, these wolves forage for their meals and can swim miles between islands and rocky outcrops to feast.

The Extraordinary Sea Wolves

Meet the Rare Swimming Wolves That Eat Seafood

Biodiversity: Coastal Wolves

The Coastal Wolves of British Columbia

These Rare “Sea Wolves” Have Researchers Utterly Captivated

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Dragons – Mythology, History and more

The stories of Dragons have fascinated me my entire life from folklore around the world to how they are depicted in books and movies. Dragons are depicted in every kind of style and color you can imagine from fiery titans in size with impenetrable scales to small more feathery gentle creatures. They can be seen as cave dwellers hiding hoards of treasure such as J.R.R. Tolkein’s Smaug to the legendary Fafnir of Norse mythology.

Dragons can be found in the folklore of pretty much every ancient civilization on every continent and is heavily a part of many important tales involving Gods and Goddesses from Scandinavia, to China and in between. They are even to this day wrapped up in a lot of modern culture as we see in movies, books and even festivals. The subject of Dragons is quite massive and could take pages and pages on my blog to cover in full extent. Instead what I have chosen to do is provide my readers with one massive post that includes some of the best resources available.

Dragons can be placed in two groups- East and West dragons, and they were regarded as either good or very fearsome and evil creatures.

In ancient China, a dragon was a highly significant creature that became a symbol of the Emperor and his throne was sometimes called the Dragon Throne. Ancient Chinese believed dragons were in control the weather and water. These creatures were said to be able to manipulate oceans, floods, tornadoes and storms.

There are nine distinctive Chinese dragons and some of them are serpent-like creatures with large bodies and long heads. The dragon in China is believed to be a benign creature that is said to bring wisdom, power and luck. They are famous for their goodness and to ward off evil, protect the innocent and bring safety to all.

Tradition and celebration of New Year in China can be traced to a dragon named Nian (or “year”).

Nian was a legendary wild beast that attacked people at the end of the old year. Villagers would use loud noises and bright lights to scare the creature away, a practice that slowly morphed into the Chinese New Year festivities. Today the dragon has its own year on the Chinese calendar.

On the British Isles and in Scandinavia, dragons were often depicted as wingless creatures. In this part of the world, the dragon was depicted as a more malevolent creature that was very difficult to kill. The West dragon was wingless and lived in dark places or wells where he was guarding hoard treasures. Approaching the dragon was almost impossible because of its poisonous fire breath.

Dragons in British and Scandinavian mythology often appear in stories when a prince tries to save a young maiden from being abducted by the fearsome animal. If he can slay the dragon, he can become the new King and win the girl as his bride. Continue reading HERE.

Draken Harald Hårfagre is a modern real working Dragonship from Vikinggården, Avaldsnes, Haugesund, Norway.

Dragonships were large longships that had carved heads of dragons and other magical beings mounted on their stem. They were ships for chieftains and kings. The ship’s dragonhead was a visual message about the owner’s status.

His dragon with her sails of blue,
All bright and brilliant to the view,
High hoisted on the yard arms wide,
Carries great Canute o’er the tide.
Brave is the royal progress — fast
The proud ship’s keel obeys the mast,
Dashes through foam, and gains the land,
Raising a surge on Limfjord’s strand.

(The Song of Canute, Saga of St. Olaf)

Many have asked if Dragons really existed? Do they still exist in a spiritual realm? Many believe they indeed do just as Elves, Faeries and other mystical beings in some way cohabitate in this world.

Further Resources:

Dragons: Exploring the Ancient Origins of the Mythical Beasts

Zmaj and the Dragon Lore of Slavic Mythology

Dragons of Greek Mythology

Dragons from Myth, Folklore and Magick

Dragons of Fame

Dragon as a Totem

Dragon Totem Meaning and Dragon Symbolism

Dragons were once thought to be just as real as wolves, boars or deer. Now, go inside some of the greatest battles between man and dragon in Western folklore and explore the many influences that came together to create the sum of all medieval fears.
The legends of Dragons
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Horses: Their Spirit, Lore and Mythology

The Horse throughout history is one of the oldest animals found in ancient Indo-European culture, folklore and mythology. The Horse holds such significance in many cultures for not just providing a mode of travel but even as a source of food and milk like Airag, the Mongolian fermented Mare’s milk drink. From the Middle East, Mediterranean, Asia and across Europe, The Horse is wrapped deeply in many cultures and local mythology including the close relationship of the Horse with certain Gods and Goddesses. Of course still to this day many relate and have themselves connected to the Horse spirit animal. Which is why I decided to put this Blog post together for everyone who has any connection or interest in all that I will include regarding the Horse.

Horse symbolism changes depending on whether the Horse is wild or tethered. When the Wild Horse enters your awareness, often there is more than enough energy to motivate you and carry you through anything. As you read through the in-depth collection of Horse information, take some time to meditate on it. Consider what kind of spiritual gifts Horse bestows on you and how you should work with the creature’s Energies.

A Wild Horse brings vitality and freedom in on its galloping hooves. There is no constraining Horse when it runs with the wind, but the creature also enjoys the company of family and friends. It’s always more fun to gallop together in a setting where individuality never gets lost. That’s why Horse symbolism speaks to your social nature and how you connect with those you hold dear.

Carl Jung suggested Horses symbolize personal power, the things you master in your life, and your natural gifts. Horse is a creature representing success and self-actualization. When you know what drives you and puts the awareness of your motivations to work, you can get much further and faster than you ever imagined possible.

When tame, Horse represents those parts of your personality you restrict and confine, like sexual urges. The tame Horse also symbolizes service and trusting relationships. If Horses show up in images where they’re in a stable or tied up, it could be a message that something is holding you back and limiting your autonomy. It may also speak of low energy levels and the need to pay attention when using your physical resources. Continue reading HERE.

Automedon with the Horses of Achilles; Artist
Alexandre Georges Henri Regnault (1843-1871)

Horse Symbolism, Meanings & The Horse Spirit Animal

Horse Spirit Animal Meaning & Symbolism

Horse Spirit Animal

Horses and the Heavens

Some of the oldest myths in the Indo-European tradition concern the existence of supernatural or divine horses. The earliest text in Sanskrit, or indeed any Indo-European language—the family that includes most of the main languages of Europe, South Asia, and parts of western and central Asia—is the Rig Veda, a collection of sacred hymns written sometime in the late second millennium B.C., during the Bronze Age. Among its more than 1,000 hymns are prayers and poems appealing to and honoring the gods. At the time the Rig Veda was set down, the myths it references were already centuries, if not millennia, old, but it was during the Bronze Age that Indo-European-speaking peoples began to travel and trade across great distances, carrying with them beliefs that were then communicated across a vast territory, stretching from Asia to Scandinavia.

Archaeological evidence collected in Europe provides the strongest parallels for early Indo-European myths first set down on the Indian subcontinent, says Kristian Kristiansen of the University of Gothenberg. One of the most important of these shared Bronze Age myths is that of the sun cult, wherein the sun’s daily journey is symbolized by a horse drawing a chariot across the heavens. This is also widely interpreted as the journey from death to the afterlife. Continue reading HERE.

Ultimate List of Mythical Horse Names

Mythical Horses

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Bears: The Myth, Symbolism and Folklore

Since the dawn of time and where ever humans and bears have cohabited there have been folklore and spoken myths regarding the Bear from being spiritual creatures to Gods to being a spirit animal for the fierce warrior from the Amerindians to the Northern regions of Europe and all around the world really. I find Bears to be a joy to watch in the wild and just see how they live from the mother Bear raising her cubs to watching them catch salmon in a river. There is so much rich history and stories of Bears in so many different cultures that I decided to offer in this post the best I have found for you to learn more from and hopefully enjoy.

Bear folklore is widespread, especially in the far northern hemisphere. It is not surprising that this awesome beast was one of the first animals to be revered by our ancestors. From as far back as the Palaeolithic (around 50,000 years ago) there is evidence of a bear cult in which the bear was seen as lord of the animals, a god, and even the ancestor of humans. Various species of bear played a central role in many shamanic practices of the north, and brown bears were part of our native forests as recently as the 10th century, when hunting and habitat loss drove them to extinction.

The Celts venerated the bear goddess, Artio – like a mother bear she was a fiercely protective influence. The bear god Artaois is closely linked to the warrior-king, Arthur; with his legendary strength and fighting prowess, Arthur’s name and emblem both represent this animal. Celtic families would often have their own animal totem, a tradition that is still evident in the family name McMahon, which means ‘son(s) of the bear’.

Viking warriors were famous for working themselves into an insane battle frenzy (it has been suggested that the psychotropic fly agaric mushroom was sometimes used). They invoked the bear spirit, at times even donning a bear skin, to imbue them with superhuman strength and fury. These were the Berserkers, their name being derived from a Norse word meaning ‘bear shirt’.

In Greek legend, Zeus fell in love with the huntress Callisto, and she bore him a son named Arcas. In a fit of jealous rage, Zeus’s wife turned Callisto into a bear. Time passed, and one day Arcas was out hunting. How was he to know that the bear he was stalking was his own mother?! On seeing that Callisto’s life was in danger, Zeus whisked her up into the night sky out of harm’s way. She can still be seen in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. (In another version, Arcas is also sent skywards, and becomes the adjacent Ursa Minor, the Little Bear.) The Big Dipper, or Plough, is one of the more familiar groups of stars within this constellation. Interestingly, the Druidic name for this group was Arthur’s Plough, and the constellation was also seen as a bear in Native American and Hebrew tradition.

In Native American folklore there are many tales about bears. It is highly respected as the ‘keeper of dreams’, and ‘the keeper of medicine’, and is one of the most powerful totems. (Bears hibernate, giving them associations with the world of dreams.)

Human fascination with this animal has not always worked in the bear’s favor. The bear appears in the names of many English pubs, and this is thought to be a hangover from the days bear-baiting – medieval ‘entertainment’ which involved tying a bear to a post and setting dogs on it. The Caledonian bear was said to be so fierce that it was favored by the Romans who used them in their amphitheaters, for similar purposes. In 1902, U.S. President Theodore (‘Teddy’) Roosevelt was on a hunting trip along the Mississippi, but showed mercy to an old bear he could have easily taken as a trophy. The story of this act spread quickly, and the Teddy Bear was born.

Bears still make an appearance in recent literature. Beorn in Tolkien’s The Hobbit was a man who could take the shape of a bear, echoing ancient shamanic practices. And who could forget wise old Baloo, the teacher of the wolf cubs from Kipling’sJungle Book, Paddington Bear (think marmalade sandwiches and hard stares), or Winnie the Pooh? More recently, Benjamin Hoff’s Tao of Pooh used this unassuming bear to illustrate the Taoist principles of modesty, simplicity, and intuitive, practical wisdom. In Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights, the young heroine, Lyra, befriends a fierce and loyal polar bear king named Iorek Byrnison, helping him to regain his throne. Read more here.

Bear Spirit Guide

Bear Folklore, Through Myths, Legends and Folktales

Native American Bear Mythology

Following the Bear in Mythology

All about Bears

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Otters – Folklore, Symbolism, Tales

A lot of people may not be aware of how fascinating the tales are and even the importance of the Otter within Northern European folklore and mythology from the British Isle, throughout Scandinavia and into Finland. In the Pacific Northwest region of America Otters are also featured in Native American folklore as well. Another place that holds a place for the Otter in folklore and mythology is Japan which are very intriguing tales to read. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I had many close encounters with both river and sea Otters and I can tell you they do give a flare of mischief which always resonated with me. I actually have a funny story about a Wildling bevy of Sea Otters while I was stationed at USCG Station Cape Disappointment in Washington. But perhaps that’s good to share another time.

Otters of Myth and Folklore

Sleek, lithe and playful, at home on land and in the water, the otter is a well-loved member of the Caledonian Forest fauna. A Scottish name for the otter is the ‘dratsie’, and in Scottish tradition there are tales of ‘Otter Kings’ who were accompanied by seven black otters. When captured, these beasts would grant any wish in exchange for their freedom. But their skins were also prized for their ability to render a warrior invincible, and were thought to provide protection against drowning. Luckily, the Otter Kings were hard to kill, their only vulnerable point being a small point below their chin.

Otters sometimes swim single file as a family group, and it has been suggested that this might account for some of the Loch Ness Monster sightings! In a similar vein, an old Anglo-Saxon name for the otter was the ‘water-snake‘.

The otter features in an ancient shamanic Welsh tale. The sorceress Ceridwen left young Gwion to guard her cauldron, but he tasted the draught by accident and gained knowledge of all things. He transformed into a hare to escape her wrath, but she pursued him as a hound. When he plunged into the river as a salmon, Ceridwen became an otter to continue her pursuit. Gwion was eventually reborn as the great bard, Taliesin.

In Celtic and other folklore the otter is often characterized as a friendly and helpful creature, and is given the name ‘water dog’, alluding to these qualities. In the Irish story The Voyage of Maelduin, otters on the Island of Otter bring the sailors salmon to eat, and the Voyage of Brendan tells of how an otter performed this service for a hermit, even collecting firewood for him! St. Cuthbert is the patron saint of otters, and after standing waist-deep in the North Sea during his nightly prayer vigils, two otters would come and warm his feet with their breath and dry them with their fur.

Bizarrely, there was debate among Celtic clerics as to whether otter flesh was fish or meat, determining whether of not it could be eaten at Lent; and the Carthusian monks of Dijon, who were forbidden to eat meat, ate otter as they classed it as a fish!In Norse mythology, the mischievous god Loki killed the dwarf Otr while the latter was in the form of an otter. The dwarves were furious, and demanded compensation from the gods who gave them the otter skin filled with gold. In ancient Persia the otter (again known as the ‘water dog’), was esteemed above all other animals, and a severe penalty was imposed on anyone who killed one.

This popular mammal also features in more recent literature. Otter in Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows is an affable character, with a particularly adventurous son. The moving tale Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson follows the life of an otter in the rivers of North Devon, and Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water recounts the touching, funny and tragic true story of his friendship with otters, giving a lyrical portrayal of their intelligence and irrepressible playfulness.

Human admiration for this animal is perhaps best expressed in the words of the American naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton: “…the joyful, keen and fearless otter; mild and loving to his own kind, and gentle with his neighbor of the stream; full of play and gladness in his life, full of courage in his stress; ideal in his home, steadfast in death; the noblest little soul that ever went four-footed through the woods.” Source

For what reason is gold called Otter’s Wergild?

The Otter Woman

The Otter in Folklore

The Otter Kawauso of Japan

Ainu legend: The otter is why mankind is imperfect today

Otter’s Ransom

Native American Otter Mythology

Finnish Mythology: Hillervo the goddess of otters, her partner was Juoletar. Hillervo lived near rapid waters, streams and fountains

Otter Symbolism & Meaning

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Ravens: The Folklore, Myths and Spiritual

Ravens are perhaps the most common bird symbol in the mythologies and religions of ancient cultures. They assume a variety of roles, ranging from messengers of deities and sages to oracles and tricksters. They play a central part in many creation myths and are typically associated with the supernatural realms lying beyond the ordinary experience. What is so lurid about these black-feathered creatures and why does the sight of them send a wave of shivers down one’s spine? Studying the folklore of different cultures may unravel the motives underlying the superstitious beliefs and religious faiths.

In most North European mythologies birds such as ravens, vultures and others feeding on carrion—the flesh of the dead—commonly pass as symbols of war, death, and misfortune. Celtic and Irish goddesses were believed to appear in the form of a crow or a raven, gathering over the battlefields, where they would feed on the flesh of the fallen warriors. Also, seeing a raven or a crow before going into a battle gave a sense of foreboding and meant that the army would be defeated. When the giant Bran, king of Britain in Welsh mythology, was mortally wounded while warring against the Irish, he commanded his followers to behead him and carry his head to the Tower of London for his burial and as a sign of protection of Britain. A popular superstition arose declaring that if the ravens ever fled the Tower of London, the monarchy would fall. As long as they nested there, Britain would never be successfully invaded. In medieval times, these pagan legends resulted in demonetization of crows and ravens, which were consequently depicted as familiars of witches.

However, the raven as a symbol, also have a positive interpretation. The omniscient god Odin, one of the chief gods in Norse mythology, had a pair ravens called Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Mind) perching on his shoulders. Each daybreak they were sent out into the world to observe what was happening and question everybody, even the dead. By sunrise, they would come back to whisper their master what they had seen and learned. Since they embodied Odin’s mind and thoughts, they symbolized his ability to see into the future. The book also makes a mention of an early Norse poem Hrafnagaldur Óðins (Odin’s Raven Chant), in which Odin sends the ravens to the Underworld to investigate the disappearance of the lost goddess Idunn. Sometimes Odin himself would turn into a raven.

In North American folklore ravens are the creators of the world. Details of the creation tale differ, but essentially “the Raven”—a creature with the human body and raven’s beak—is believed to have made the world. He gave light to people, taught them to take care of themselves, make clothes, canoes and houses. He also brought vegetation, animals, and other benefits for the human kind. Much like the biblical story of Noah, he is said to have taken animals two by two on a big raft in order to save them from a massive flood. After all, he had done for the humans, he wished to marry a woman in turn, but her family refused to let her go. As a revenge, the myth says, the Raven created mosquitoes from crushed leaves to pester the humans forever.

Learn more about the raven in folklore, myths and spiritual meaning below.

Raven symbolism and meaning

Raven in Mythology

Ravens in Celtic Mythology

Ravens in Celtic and Norse Mythology

Native American Raven Mythology

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The Spiritual Nature of Cats

Cats – The Folklore, Symbolism, Spiritual Significance and Paganism

It has been said that a cat is more a spirit than an animal. Historically, little distinction has been drawn as to the difference between witches, fairies, spirits, goddesses, and the feline, for at different periods in time the cat was believed to represent them all in corporeal form. –from Cat Spells by Claire Nahmad

The cat has always been considered a Moon creature, and sacred to such Goddesses as Isis, Bast, Artemis, Diana, and Freyja. When Diana became known as Queen of Witches in the Middle Ages, the cat was associated with Witchcraft and Goddess worship.

Followers of the goddess Diana also considered the cat sacred because she once assumed the form of a cat, and cats were under her special protection. In Scandinavia, Freya’s chariot was drawn by cats. The Celtic goddess Ceridwen was also attended by white cats, who carried out her orders on earth.

It is generally assumed today that witches’ familiars were (and are) always cats. However, during the Burning Times any small animal that was kept in the house was suspect, and records show that accused witches were forced to confess having familiar spirits in the form of cats, rats, mice, dogs, weasels and toads. It was also firmly believed that witches could take the shape of cats, and accusers sometimes claimed that they were followed or tormented by witches in the shape of cats.

Witches regard their cat familiars as founts of wisdom and occult secrets. Cats can lead their mistresses in dreams to spiritual knowledge. They can foretell the future, predict the weather, and bless magickal endeavors, and represent the soul of magick, secrecy, and freedom.

Spell To Become Closer To Your Cat

Preparation: You will need brown candles and the following herbs:

Catnip -helps create a bond between you and your cat

Vervain -for Peace and Protection

Gardenia -for Spirituality

Saffron -for Strength

Love Seed -for Friendship

Passion Flower -for Friendship

Consecrate each herb before starting. Take 1/2 of the empowered herbs and wrap in a small square of brown cloth and tie it off with a brown cord or string. Take the other half and make a smaller satchet for your pet. Wear yours four days meditating with your pet at least once a day. You can tie the pets satchet on while meditating. After those four days take all the herbs and burn as an incense while sharing a meal with your pet.

Magick Cat Collar

What you need:

1 yellow candle

1 candle holder

matches

1 Amethyst stone (fairly small)

1 Brown collar

apple, peach or lavender oil

5 silver paper clips

brown fabric paint

Needle-Noses Pliers

This spell should be done during the waxing moon. Light the candle. Take four or the five paper clips and bend them all out as straight as possible (use the needle-nosed pliers). Now take the paperclips and (do what feels right to you) wrap the stone as you would a crystal. Chant the following while doing this:

“This collar I have made by hand shall protect my pet, all evil shall be banned. It will keep him/her in good health and always loved it is a source of good luck that is always watching from above. No harm shall ever come to my pet. And m will, So mote it be!”

Anoint the collar with the oil you have chosen. Attach the wrapped stone to the collar (like you would a license tag). Source

Further great resources

https://www.playfulkitty.net/2014/03/17/cats-in-history-celtic-folklore/?fbclid=IwAR0K1qnSHtqJzLwSOt_PoO8GtspdfEGVBEvif-E_gu9RDTPhNA1T7LEtTkk

https://www.worldhistory.org/article/466/cats-in-the-ancient-world/

http://www.mustlovecats.net/Cat-Mythology.html?fbclid=IwAR2AtgTT-cIBsV7wBcY8gPrFr4qBWLd_pY7UalJC8DasG_VVVsfvR5E6fCY

Cat Spirit Animal

https://www.ancient-origins.net/opinion-guest-authors/cat-came-back-more-mythical-history-part-i-006710?fbclid=IwAR13XxIRdAMk8UfDAIRCrof6g7tB4X9S6wC5L6oaf-5oMk7lAGHNqE1Z-ek

Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland

by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde[1887] Chapter – Cat Nature

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The Wolf – The Folklore and Myths

Still today, many people associate wolves with the “bad evil wolf” of fairy tales, like the “Little Red Riding Hood”. For the past centuries, wolves were systematically demonized, especially in Europe and North America. It is important to change people’s underlying attitudes if we want to protect wolves in our modern world and since early childhood, people are being shaped by fairy-tales and werewolf movies. The aim of this page is to show the positive image that wolves once had, and still have today, in many cultures, and the important role wolves play(ed) in mythology and religion in various cultures across time and space: from wolves as divine messengers, to the role of wolves in creation myths and even to “wolf gods” that were (and still are) worshiped. Once, when people lived closer to nature, they observed and respected wolves. Wolves were also important as teachers for humanity, telling people how to live as a family, how to hunt and survive, as in this North American quote: “The wolves followed a path of harmony, and they did not like anything to upset their way.” “Wolf was chosen by the Great One to teach the human people how to live in harmony in their families. Wolf was to teach a truth, as each animal… would do also for the humans to survive”. But with increasing urbanization and exploitation of resources, wolves were more and more given the part of the ‘evil’ predator who was competing with humans.

Below you will find the following sections: -Wolves in Rome (she-wolf, Lupercalia, wolf & Mars, etc.) -Wolves in Greek religion (Apollo/Zeus Lykaios; Lykoreia; Leto) -Italic Wolf Cults (Hirpi Sorani; Etruscans) -Wolves in Norse, Germanic & Hittite Mythology-Wolves in Celtic Mythology, ancient & medieval-also Iberia, Scythia & Mesopotamia (Gilgamesh epos)

Click here for 1st page: https://ralphhaussler.weebly.com/wolf-mythology-italy-greek-celtic-norse.html?fbclid=IwAR1NZlxJIyv8JgCDWtXHHaU55Iz-yTT970ELx2DpDTlcC6nInuWKNLB-sKk

On the 2nd page, click here: https://ralphhaussler.weebly.com/wolf-mythologie-creation-japan-americas-inuit-egypt.html?fbclid=IwAR24h7aDDbLnqBJ6OKQRvAO3G-ygZJ6jWAVvWa2qO5c51d6IHBowiFHgbMA

On the second page you will find these myths & cults:

Wolves & Creation Myths (Japan/Ainu, N America, Chechenia, Mongolia/Turcs, Hirpi, Dacians) -Wolves as Divine Beings & “wolf gods”, notably in Japan -“Wolf Gods” in Egypt-Inuit Wolf Myths-and many more.

Further Resources:

https://treesforlife.org.uk/into-the-forest/trees-plants-animals/mammals/wolf/

https://www.learnreligions.com/wolf-folklore-and-legend-2562512