Myth and Folklore Thursday – Podcasts

Interested in mythology and folklore? One of my favourite ways to learn more about these subjects are through listening to podcasts. And, o my, isn’t there many to choose from!

Here are just some of the podcasts that I listen to. I may also have appeared as a guest on The Folklore Podcast. Just saying…

The Folklore Podcast

Folklore: Beliefs, traditions & culture of the people. Traditional folklore themes from around the world. Recalling our forgotten history, recording the new.

Lore

A bi-weekly podcast about the dark historical tales that fuel our modern superstitions. Because sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Mythos Podcast

This podcast is a storytelling journey through world-folklore. With brief context and analysis in the introductions, the main focus is the retelling of stories themselves. From saucer-eyed spectral dogs to pond-scum haunting child-eating witches…

Anything Ghost Show

Anything Ghost is a free audio show that has been sharing personal paranormal experiences since 2006! In the show, the host Lex will read the stories – enhancing them with effects and his original music.

The Mythology Podcast

The Mythology Podcast explores myth, folklore, and legend from throughout history and from all over the world.

Just A Story: Urban Legend Podcast

A weekly podcast taking a look at the stories that we tell over and over again. What our myths and misdeeds, fears and fables say about us as humans.

 

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 25: Y & Z

Welcome to week 25! This week I’ll be looking at elements and figures beginning with Y and Z. This post will include: Yam, Yao, Yarikh, Yei, Yew, Yinlungen Bud, Ymir, Yurlunggur, Yurupary, Zhang Guo, and Zhu Rong.

Next week a whole new series of Folklore and Myth Thursday posts will start!

Yam

Yam is the Canaanite sea god. Like “his Babylonian counterpart Tiamat” (Tresidder, 2004:526), Yam embodies the forces of chaos and disorder and is envisioned as a monstrous creature (see Tresidder, 2004:526). According to the mythology, “Yam challenged the storm god Baal for sovereignty on earth… Baal killed Yam, scattering his remains and thereby that he controls the divine waters that [fall] as fertilizing rain” (Tresidder, 2004:526).

Yao

Yao is a “mythical early ruler of China renowned for his humility and modest way of life” (Tresidder, 2004:527). Tresidder (2004:527) notes: “[during] his reign, Yi the Archer came to earth to tackle the ten suns that appeared in the sky”. Yao, Yu, and Shun are revered as the Sage Rulers of Antiquity (see Tresidder, 2004:527).

Yarikh

Yarikh is the Canaanite god of the moon. “One myth recounts the arrangements for Yarikh’s marriage to Nikkal, the moon goddess, and the subsequent birth of his son” (Tresidder, 2004: 527).

Yei

“A group of Navajo creator deities” (Tresidder, 2004:527), the Yei are “invoked during ceremonies by masked impersonators” (Tresidder, 2004:527). Tresidder (2004:527) notes the “chief of the Yei is known as Talking God”.

Yew

The Yew is seen as a tree of immortality (Tresidder, 2004:528), is often “seen in English graveyards, and is associated with strength, resilience, and magical powers” (Tresidder, 2004:528). Tresidder (2004:528) notes that in “superstition, yew was lucky to touch, but unlucky to bring inside the house”.

Yinlungen Bud

Yinlungen Bud, according “to the Chewong people of Malaya” (Tresidder, 2004:529) is a tree-spirit who “taught humans to share food after hunting and how to bear and raise children”.

Ymir

In the Norse mythology, Ymir is “an androgynous cosmic giant … who arose from Ginnungagap … at the beginning of creation” (Tresidder, 2004:529). Ymir “spawned … three creator gods called the Sons of Bor. The three gods slew Ymir and formed the earth from his body, the ocean from his blood and the sky from his skull” (Tresidder, 2004:529).

Ymir gets killed by Froelich.jpg
By Lorenz Frølich, Public Domain, Link

Yurlunggur

Yurlunggur is a great serpent and is “believed to be manifested in the rainbow” (Tresidder, 2004:529) and is part of the origin myth of the “Yolngu Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land” (Tresidder, 2004:529).

Yurupary

Yurupary, the “Manioc Stick Anaconda” (Tresidder, 2004:529) is a “culture hero of the Barasana people of Colombia” (Tresidder, 2004:529). According to the myth “Yurupary stole fire for humans from the underworld” (Tresidder, 2004:529).

Tresidder (2004:529) also notes: “[Yurupary] used [the fire] to kill his brother Macaw, but Yurupary also burned to death and his bones became the charred logs of the first manioc garden”.

Zhang Guo

Zhang Guo is the sixth of the eight immortals of Daoist myth (see Tresidder, 2004:532). “He was said to have lived at the time of the empress Wu (ruled 690 CE – 705 CE) and was famed for his magical skills” (Tresidder, 2004:532).

“Zhang Guo bestowed babies on couples and his portrait would often be hung in the marital bedroom” (Tresidder, 2004:532).

Album of 18 Daoist Paintings - 17.jpg
By Zhang Lu (1464–1538)Telling Images of China (exhibit). Dublin: Chester Beatty Library.
(direct link), Public Domain, Link

Zhu Rong

Zhu Rong is, according to early Chinese myth, the “benevolent ruler of the universe and god of fire” (Tresidder, 2004:532). “He is said to have defeated the malevolent water god Gong Gong in a battle for control of the cosmos” (Tresidder, 2004:532).

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Old Hag Syndrome! Fairies! Slenderman! Fantasy Fiction! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Tresidder, J. (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 24 – X

Welcome to week 24! This week I’ll be focusing on figures starting with ‘X’. These are the Xian, Xuan Zang, and Xi-he.

The Xian

According to Chinese mythology, the Xian “are beings who have gained immortality … [they] are not deities, but have been granted the gift of eternal life” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). These immortals can be celestial or terrestrial (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). Those who are celestial live in “Tian, the Daoist heaven, or th eisles of the immortals situated in the Eastern Sea, or in the Kunlun Mountains” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). The immortals are able to change their appearance, “and are often represented riding on the backs of cranes” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). “The terrestrial immortals live in forests and mountains” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486).

Xuan Zang

Xuan Zang was “a celebrated Buddhist monk of the seventh century AD” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486). “Some of his bones are still revered in temples in China and Japan” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:486).

See also Cotterell & Storm (2007:486) for details on the Xi You Ji by Wu Zheng-en.

Xi-he

Also known as Hsi Ho, Xi-he, according to Chinese mythology “is the mother of the ten suns and the wife of Taiyun Djun, the god of the eastern sky” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:483).

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Old Hag Syndrome! Fairies! Slenderman! An interview with me! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Folklore & Myth Thursday – Week 23 – W

Welcome to week 23’s Folklore and Myth Thursday post! This week I’ll be looking at: Wandjina, Watatsumi-no-kami, water and washing, the White Buffalo Woman, Widjingara, Wisakedjak, and the wren.

Wandjina

Wandjina is an “ancestral spirit of the Dreamtime in the Aboriginal mythology of Australia’s Kimberley region” (Tresidder, 2004:512). Tresidder, (2004:512) also adds that “[each] clan is said to posses a wandjina, linked with an animal, as its protective ancestor”.

Wandjina rock art.jpg
By Claire Taylor from Everywhere, Australia – Wandjina Rock Art, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Watatsumi-no-kami

Watatsumi-no-kami is the Japanese “god of the sea, ruler of the oceans and numerous lesser deities” (Tresidder, 2004:513). Watatsumi-no-kami’s daughter, Tayotama-hime, married Hiko-hoho-demi. They were the grandparents of the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu-tenno. See also Tresidder (2004:513).

Water and Washing

While water is an “ancient and universal symbol of purity, fertility and the source of life” (Tresidder, 2004:513), washin is an “important purification rite” (Tresidder, 2004:513). “[Pools] for ritual ablution are known from ancient Egyptian and Indus Valley temples…” and in Islam, “it is the custom to wash the face, hands, and feet before worship five times daily” (Tresidder, 2004:513). Tresidder (2004:513) adds that in “Buddhist initiation ceremonies, novice monks ritually wash away their past lives” and that, by “washing his hands after his trial of Christ [Jesus], Pilate sought to absolve himself of guilt for the crucifixion”.

The White Buffalo Woman

“A mysterious and beautiful woman of the Buffalo people, according to Lakota myth. She brought the Lakota the sacred pipe central to their ritual” (Tresidder, 2004:517).

Widjingara

According to the “Worora people of Australia’s western Kimberleys” (Tresidder, 2004:517), Widjingara was the first human to die. “Widjingara was killed by wandjinas who, contrary to marriage rules, had wanted to steal a woman betrothed to someone else” (Tresidder, 2004:517). Tresidder (2004:518) adds that Widjingara “later became the native cat… a nocturnal marsupial that scavenges on corpses”.

Wisakedjak

Wisakedjak is the “trickster figure of the Cree people of North America…” (Tresidder, 2004:520). “In Cree myth, the supreme being Gitchi Manitou asked Wisakedjak to teach animals and people to live in harmony, but instead he sowed discord”. Gitchi Manitou sent a great flood which only Wisakedjak and a few animals survived (Tresidder, 2004:520). “The world and its inhabitant were created anew, but Wisakedjak kept few of his powers” (Tresidder, 2004:520).

Wren

An emblem of happiness for Native Americans, the wren is in Welsh tradition the little king of the birds. In Ireland the wren is associated with prophetic powers. See also Tresidder (2004:523).

Odontorchilus branickii.jpg
By Joseph Smit – Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (vol. 1885, plate VII), Public Domain, Link

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Old Hag Syndrome! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Tresidder, J. (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 22 – V

It’s time for week 22! This week I’ll be looking at figures beginning with ‘v’, including; Vlkodlak, Vohhu Mano, Vulture, Vamana, Varaha, and Vila.

Vlkodlak

Vlkodlak is the “wolf-man” from Slavic folklore. Cotterell & Storm (2007:250) states that “he exists because of the ancient respect accorded to the ravenous wolf, which in the forests of northern and central Europe was the animal most feared”.

Voku Mano

Vohu Mano, one of the Amesa Spentas (Holy Immortals), is found in ancient Iranian mythology. “These divine beings were believed to people the universe and to look after humanity” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:328). Cotterell & Storm (2007:328) also adds that “Vohu Mano (’Good Thought’ or ‘Spirit of Good’) reigned over useful animals and was often represented by the cow.”

Vamana

Vamana, a “divine dwarf” (Tresidder, 2004:500) is the fifth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. See also Tresidder (2004:500) for the myth of Vamana and the demon, Bali.

Varaha

Varaha, a “divine Boar” (Tresidder, 2004:501) is the third avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. “When earth, envisaged as a woman, become submerged in the ocean, Varaha lifted her out of the water with his tusks” (Tresidder, 2004:501).

Vila

The Vila in Slavic myth, are one of “a race of female spirits of the dead” (Tresidder, 2004:504). Described as being “forever young and beautiful” (Tresidder, 2004:504), in Bulgarian tradition they are said to represent the souls of young, unbaptizes girls (see also Tresidder, 2004:504). “The Poles claimed that the vila was condemned to float between heaven and earth because she had been frivolous in life. Prominent in southern Slavic folk myth, she was beneficial and loved to dance and sing”(Tresidder, 2004:504). Tresidder (2004:504), adds that there “are stories of vilas marrying mortal men”.

Vulture

“Now a metaphor for opportunistic greed, but in ancient Egypt a pretective symbol” (Tresidder, 2004:511). The Egyptian vulture goddess, Nekhbet, was the guardian of the pharaoh and the queen wore a vulture headdress (Tresidder, 2004:511). Tresidder (2004:511) adds that “[in] ancient Iran, vultures were purifiers, speeding the process of bodily disintegration and rebirth” and that “in Tibet [bodies are fed to them] as a final act of compassion” (Tresidder, 2004:511). Lastly Tresidder (2004:511) lists that vultures are “tutelary spirits in some Indian myths”, they were sacred to Mars in Rome and was ridden by Saturn because they were associated with old age.

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Old Hag Syndrome! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Tresidder, J. (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 21 –

Welcome to week 21 of the Folklore and Myth Thursday blogposts. This week I will focus on figures beginning with the letter ‘u’; Utnapishtim, Utu, Umai, Ulgan, and Ulu Toyo’n.

Utnapishtim

“In the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim is the sole survivor of a deluge sent by the gods to destroy the human race” (Tresidder, 2004:498). Tresidder (2004:499) also notes that this story shows striking resemblances to the Biblical story of Noah.

“The god Enlil was displeased with humanity and decided to destroy it in a flood” (Tresidder, 2004:499). Utnapishtim survives because of the “cube-shaped boat” (Tresidder, 2004:499) he builds. When the waters start at last to recede, “he sent a dove, a swallow and a raven to find land” (Tresidder, 2004:499). Utnapishtim emerge from his craft and offers a sacrifice to the gods. Enlil then bestows immortality on him.

Utu

Utu is the Sumerian sun god, “son of the moon god Nanna and brother of the love goddess Inanna” (Tresidder, 2004:499). Tressider (2004:499) notes: “[they] constitute a great divine triad, equivalent to the Akkadian Shamash, Sin and Ishtar”.

Umai

“Umai is the mother goddess of the Turkic people of Siberia. She is said to have 60 golden tresses, which resemble the rays of the sun, and to look after newborn babies and help couples to conceive” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481). Also known as Ymai or Mai, she may originally have been identical with Ot, the fire queen of the Mongols” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481).

Ulgan

“Ulgan is the great sky god of the Altaic people of SIberia. He sent the saviour Maidere to earth in order to teach men to respect the true god” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481). He is at times depicted as being surrounded by rays of light (see also Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481).

(See Cotterell & Storm (2007:481, 456) for Maidere and Erlik.)

Ulu Toyo’n

“Ulu Toyo’n is the benevolent creator spirit of the Yakut people of Siberia” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481). Living in the third sky, he rules over the Abaasy, or evil beings, “who live in the lower world” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481). “Ulu Toyo’n is also the lord of thunder and is said to have given fire and one of their three souls to human beings (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:481).

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Old Hag Syndrome! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Tresidder, J. (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.

Folklore & Myth Thursday – Week 20 – “T”

Welcome to week 20 of the Folklore and Mythology Thursday blogposts. This week I’ll focus on figures from myth and folklore whose names start with ‘t’, including; Tiresias, Tuatha Dé Danann, Tapio, Triglav, Tuoni, Tahmuras, the Thens, and Tengu.

Tiresias

The son of the nymph Chariclo and Everes, Tiresias is the blind seer of Thebes who was so wise “that even his ghost had kept his wits, and [had] not been overcome by forgetfulness like other inhabitants of the underworld” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:88). Tiresius plays a part in various myths, including:

  • advising Odysseus that “he would never return to Ithaca if he harmed the cattle of Helios, the sun god” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:88)
  • warning King Pentheus about the identity of Dionysus when the god came to Thebes in disguise (Pentheus’ refusal to listen to Tiresias leads, ultimately, to his death at the hands of the god’s worshippers)
  • Tiresias confirms the Delphic Oracle that it was King Oedipus who “was personally responsible for the plague which troubled the Thebans” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:88)

(see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:88).

There are various stories which explains Tiresias’s blindness. In one of these myths Tiresias is blinded by the goddess Hera, but given a long life and the gift of prophecy by the god Zeus (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:88).

Tuatha Dé Danann

The Tuatha Dé Danann (’people of the goddess Dana’) “were the last generation of gods to rule Ireland before the invasion of the sons of Milesius, the ancestors of the present-day Irish”(Cotterell & Storm, 2007:172). Cotterell & Storm (2007:172) notes that the Tuatha Dé Danann overcame the Fomorii at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh “largely because of their superior magic”.

The Tuatha Dé Danann “learned magic, crafts and knowledge in four marvelous cities of the north, Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:172). From these four cities they brought four talismans (see also Cotterell & Storm, 2007:172):

  • the Stone of Fal
  • the sword of Nuada
  • the spear or sling-shot of the sun god Lugh
  • the cauldron belonging to Dagda

After their defeat by the Milesians, the Tuatha Dé Danann went underground, living beneath grassy mounds that contained a “sidhe, a subterranean court which glittered with wonders within” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:172). See also The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends by P.B. Ellis (2002).

Riders of the Sidhe.jpg
By John Duncan – MerlinPrints.com, Public Domain, Link

Tapio

Tapio is the Finnish forest god “who, along with his wife Meilikki and his son Nyyrikki, was believed to ensure that woodland game remained in plentiful supply” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:232). Cotterell & Storm (2007:232) notes that there is also a dangerous side to him “as he enjoyed tickling or smothering people to death”. Tapio is “often portrayed as wearing a cloak of moss and a bonnet of fire” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:232). Cotterell & Storm (2007:232) further states that “[along] with other sylvan deities, [Tapio] was lord not just of forest plants, but also of forest beasts and the herds of woodland cattle”.

Triglav

Triglav is the “three-headed god of the Slavs living in central Europe” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:240). See Cotterell & Storm (2007:240) for more about the temples at Stettin and the war-booty due to the god.

Tuoni

Tuoni is the Finnish god of the dead who lives in a dark world called Tuonela (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:240). “With his wife Tuonetar he had several children who were deities of suffering, including Kipu-Tytto, goddess of illness” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:240). Vainamoinen is one of the few heroes who manage to escape from Tuoni and Tuonela (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:240 and the Kalevala).

Tahmuras

Moving on to Iranian mythology, Tahmuras is the son of Hoashyanga (the firTahmuras (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp).pngst king), who taught people to spin and weave and train birds of prey (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:320). Tahmuras had to take up arms against the Daevas and managed to capture two-thirds using his magic and killed the remainder with his club. (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:320).

“The daevas pleaded for mercy” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:320), promising to teach Thamuras a great secret if he should spare their lives. “Tahmuras relented and … [they] taught him how to write and made him extremely wise and learned” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:320).

By Unknown – Pages 329 and 332 of this book, Public Domain, Link

The Thens

“[According] to the people of Laos and northern Thailand” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:479) the Thens are the “three divine ancestors who, together with three great men, Pu Lang Seung, Khun K’an and Khun K’et, established human society (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:479).

The myths of the Thens also contains a great flood myth (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:479) (similar to that in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh).

“The three great men taught the people how to cultivate fields and how to weave” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:479). For further myths about the Thens, the coming of the different peoples and how other skills were taught to the Thais, see Cotterell & Storm (2007:479).

Tengu

Karasu-Tengu-Statue.jpgIn Japanese folklore the Tengu are supernatural creatures that are sometimes worshipped as Shinto kami (see Rosen, 2009:373). “Tengu are usually depicted as kites or other birds of prey, but, even in bird form, they often have human characteristics. Their bird beak may become a long nose or they may have a human body with a bird’s wings, head, or beak. As Kami, Tengu may take the form of beaked, winged figures with snakes wrapped around their limbs, riding a fox” (Rosen, 2009:373).

See also Rosen (2007:373) for further information and myths surrounding the Tengu.

By WolfgangMichelOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Yule! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books

Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Rosen, B. (2008). The Mythical Creatures BibleLondon: Sterling Publishing.

The Kalevala translation I have read and thoroughly enjoyed is the Oxford World Classics version.

The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends by P.B. Ellis (2002) is also a book I have read, enjoyed and can recommend.

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 19 – S

Welcome back to another Folklore & Mythology Thursday post. We’re already at week 20, which means that we will be looking at figures and elements starting with the letter ‘s’ this week. We’ll be looking at Semele, the Stymphalian birds, Scylla, Spider Woman, the Sangreal, Searbhan, Skoll, Svarazic, Saoshyant, Shachar and Shalim, the Sa-Dag, and the San Qing Daozu.

Be sure to check out the various links at the end of the post as well for some more folklore and myth goodness.

Semele

Semele, daughter of Cadmus, was a priestess with whom the god Zeus fell in love. “Disguising himself as a mortal man, Zeus becomes her lover and the couple conceive a child” (Rosen, 2008:321). Zeus’s wife, Hera, vows revenge when she finds out about the affair and transforms herself into an old crone (see Rosen, 2008:321). “Hera persuades the girl to reveal her lover’s name … [and] demand that Zeus come to her in his full magnificence (Rosen, 2008:321). Zeus agrees, but his lightning and thunder burns Semele and kills her. “…Zeus rescue’s Semele’s unborn son Dionysos – Greek god of wine and ecstasy – and sews the baby into his thigh until he is ready to be born” (Rosen, 2008:321).

The Stymphalian birds

“The Stymphalian birds are a flock of giant man-eating creatures with brass claws and sharp metallic feathers that they can shoot at their victims” (Rosen, 2008:329). These birds are pets of Ares (god of war) and inhabit the land around Mount Stymphalia “where they destroy crops and fruit trees” (Rosen, 2008:329). During his labours, Hercules shoots them with poisoned arrows.

Scylla

Once a sea Nymph, Scylla is a monster “with six necks and six heads, each with gaping jaws and three rows of needle-sharp teeth. Below the waist, her body is made of growling dogs and a fish tail” (Rosen, 2008:335). Scylla was turned into this monster by the enchantress Circe because she was “jealous of the love the sea god Glaucus felt for the nymph (see also Rosen, 2008:335).

Spider Woman

“A widespread myth among Native Americans of the western United States is that – depicted in modern images as a spider with the face of an elderly grandmother – weaves existence together like the strands of a great web” (Rosen, 2008:378). In this myth Spider Woman not only spins a web that create the four directions, but also makes people from molding them from different colours of clay. “Then she divided them into clans and gave each its totem animal” (Rosen, 2008:378).

Sangreal

The Sangreal, or Holy Grail (as many know it) is “the holy vessel of Arthurian mythology during the Middle Ages. It was said to be the cup that Christ [Jesus] drank out of at the Last Supper” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:168). Guarded by the angelic grail maidens, the sangreal was believed to contain the blood that flowed from the spear with which Christ was stabbed during the crucifixion (see also Cotterell & Storm, 2007:168). According to later myths, Galahad was the only knight worthy of the vision of the grail (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:168).

See also Cotterell & Storm (2007:168) for more details and myths surrounding the sangreal.

Searbhan

In Irish mythology Searbhan is one of the Fomorii warriors – on of ancient sea gods (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:169). “This one-eyed, one-armed and one-legged fighter guarded a magic tree, which no one dared approach” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:169).

Searbhan is slain by Diarmuid Ua Duibhne (see Cotterell & Storm [2007:169] for more information surrounding his death).

Skoll

In Norse and Germanic mythology, Skoll is a wolf that pursues the sun on her path across the sky. During Ragnarok, Skoll would at last catch the sun and swallow it. “Just before this happened, though, the sun would give birth to a daughter…” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:228).

Svarazic

Svarazic (sometimes Svarozic or Svarogich) is the Slavic fire god, “especially of the fire that was used to dry grain” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:229).

He is the son of Svaroz/Svarog and the brother of Dazhbog, which was covered in week 4.

“The fire god was depicted wearing a helmet and carrying a sword, and on his breast was a black bison’s head. Human sacrifices were made to Svarazic, including… the German bishop of Mecklenburg [1066 A.D.]. In some traditions Svarazic was identified with the flame of lightning” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:229).

Saoshyant

Saoshyant is the “final saviour in Iranian mythology” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:315). Cotterell & Storm (2007:315) notes that his “appearance will signal the arrival of the last days and the coming of Frashkart, the ‘Final Reneweal’ and it “is sometimes said” that he would be born of a virgin (see Cotterell & Storm, 2007:315). See also Cotterell & Storm (2007:315) for more information.

Shachar and Shalim/Sahar and Salem

(Also Shar and Shalim) “Dawn” and “dusk” “were the offspring of El, the supreme god of the Phoenician pantheon” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:317).

“In ancient texts discovered at Ras Shamra in Syria, on the site of the city of Ugarit, the deities are described as having been conceived when El stretched out his hands like waves to the sea, making his own two wives fruitful” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:317).

The Sa-Dag

The Sa-Dag “are the supernatural ‘Lords of the Soil’ of the indigenous Bon religion of Tibet” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:400). Cotterell & Storm (2007:400) also notes that the Sa-Dag “were assimilated into the Buddhist pantheon as protectors of the religion and are propitiated before any building work of farming is carried out”.

The San Qing Daozu

Known sometimes as the “Three Pure Ones”, the San Qing Daozu “are the supreme deities of the orthodox Daoist pantheon…” (Cotterell & Storm, 2007:471). See also Cotterell & Storm (2007:471).

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Yule! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books

Cotterell, A. & R. Storm. (2007). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hermes House.

Rosen, B. (2008). The Mythical Creatures BibleLondon: Sterling Publishing.

Folklore and Myth Thursday – Week 18 – R

Welcome to another Folklore and Myth Thursday post! This week I’ll be focusing on figures and elements beginning with the letter ‘R’. The figures and elements I’ll be looking at this week are: Rangda, Rangi and Papa, the archangel Raphael, reed, resin, Rhiannon, and robin.

Rangda

Rangda (meaning “Widow”) is a “fierce sorceress queen of Balinese myth” (Tresidder, 2004:408). She is depicted as being “near-naked with long hair and nails” (Tresidder, 2004:408). Rangda, according to Tresidder (2004:408), may have originated in a “notorious 11th century queen of Bali”. Tresidder (2004:408) further states that her “immortal opponent is the spirit king Barong … The combat between Rangda and Barong, acted out in Balinese dance, always ends in Barong vanquishing Rangda”.

Rangi and Papa

Rangi – the sky god – and Papa – the earth goddess – are the “primal creator deities of the Maori pantheon” (Tresidder, 2004:408). Rangi and Papa “embraced so tightly in the primordial void that none of their six children could escape after they had been born. Tane, the god of forests, managed to separate them to the positions they now keep, succeeding where the god of war, Tu, failed (Tresidder, 2004:408).

The Archangel Raphael

Raphael (meaning “God heals”), is one of the archangels (divine messengers of God Tresidder, 2004:33). “Archangel are the independent figures of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel, who together with angels, transmit the word of God to humankind” (Tresidder, 2004:33). Raphael “acts as a guardian angel and is traditionally a protector of the young and of travellers” (Tresidder, 2004:408). He appears in the Apocrypha in the Book of Tobit, wherein he restores the father of Tobias’s eyesight” (see also Tresidder, 2004:408).

Saint Raphael.JPG
By Bartolomé Esteban Murillohttp://www.allposters.com/-sp/Archangel-Raphael-with-Bishop-Domonte-Posters_i1732063_.htm. Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. 2007-11-26 (original upload date) Original uploader was Commment at en.wikipedia, Public Domain, Link

Reed

The reed is a “Japanese emblem of purification in the creation myth of Izanagi” (Tresidder, 2004:410). Tressider (2004:410) also adds that “’The Reed Plain’ is a Japanese metaphor for the mortal world, and the reed for manifestation”.

In the Celtic world the reed was also seen to symbolise purification and was thought to be effective against witches, while it “had fertility symbolism in Mesoamerica and was the emblem of the Pan … in Greece” (see Tresidder, 2004:410).

Tresidder (2004:210) notes, however, that the reed is also a symbol of weakness, “as in the biblical reference to Egypt as a weak ally, a ‘broken reed’ (Isaiah 36:6)”. “The reed cross is an emblem of John the Baptist … [and] a symbol of Christ’s Passion” (Tresidder, 2004:410).

Resin

Resin symbolises immortality and “was used in embalming and was mixed with incense” (Tresidder, 2004:411). This symbolism was “based on the belief that resin was an incorruptible substance of long-lived trees such as the cypress, and that it could ensure life after death” (Tresidder, 2004:411).

Frankincense 2005-12-31.jpg
By snotch – photo taken by author, Public Domain, Link

Rhiannon

Rhiannon is a princess from Welsh myth, in which she is the king of the Otherworld’s daughter. In the Mabinogion she is the hero Pwll’s wife, and is further associated with horses and identifiable with Epona, the Celtic horse goddess (see Tresidder, 2004:411-413).

Robin

The robin is an “alternative to the goldfinch in the legendary story of a bird that plucked a thorn from Christ’s [Jesus] crown and was splashed with his blood” (Tresidder, 2004:415). Tresidder (2004:415) also notes that “[this] may have led to European superstitions that the robin announces death by tapping at a window pane, and that it is bad luck to kill one”.

Sources and Other Websites

Read the previous posts in this series by clicking here.

The official #FolkloreThursday site can be read over here and remember to follow the Twitter conversation using the #FolkloreThursday tag.

Check out The Folklore Podcast – Yule! Fairies! Slenderman! Awesomeness! And more!

Also be sure to stop by Ronel’s blog for her folklore and fiction posts!

Books:

Tresidder, J. (2004). The Complete Dictionary of Symbols in Myth, Art and Literature. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.