The white stag is a familiar creature of myth and legend. Its origins are likely in the totemic period of early Indo-European society, particularly the northern societies of the Celts and pre-Indo-European cultures, whose subsistence was gained not only through agriculture, but through hunting.This dependence on deer may be seen in the zoomorphic Celtic god Cernunnos, depicted as being a man with the antlers of a deer.The white stag in Celtic myth is an indicator that the Otherworld is near. It appears when one is transgressing a taboo--such as when Pwyll tresspassed into Arawn's hunting grounds, or when Peredur entered the Castle of Wonders in his second adventure at the house of theLame King.
appears as an impetus to quest--the white stag or hart often appears in
the forests around King Arthur's court, sending the knights off on to
adventure against gods and fairies.
It also appears in French
romance and lais as a similar indicator, such as in the lais of Marie
de France, when Guigemar happens upon the strange sight of a white doe
He wounds the strange, hermaphroditic--note that
word--animal, which curses him to grow up and fall in love.
It is also an important
element of Hungarian mythology, which believed that a great white stag
led the brothers Hunor and Magar to settle in Scythia. Thus were
established the Huns and Magyars.
To Christians, the white
stag came to symbolize Christ, perhaps in part inspired by the St.
Eustace legend, wherein the Romansoldier Eustace is hunting, and
happens upon a deer with a cross between his antlers. Eustace converts
on the spot, and is put through numerous tragedies, persecutions, etc.,
including the death of his family, until being miraculously reunited
with them. However, it is clear that this pious legend has pagan
It is also worth noting
that in Christian iconography, the unicorn is a symbol for Christ.
There is a close identification between the white stag and the unicorn,
and it can be reasoned that the white stag is the equivalent of the
unicorn in these northern cultures, which do not record the existence
The white hart also was the heraldic symbol of England's King Richard II.
The first thing to examine
is the color: white is a symbol of purity, while also a symbol of
otherworldliness. The white stagin ......
Rise of the Phoenix:
There are Chinese, Japanese, Russian,
Egyptian, and Native American counterparts of the Phoenix. (Fêng-Huang, Ho-oo,
Firebird, Benu, and Yel respectively). All of these birds are identified with
the sun."A mythical bird that never dies, the phoenix flies far ahead to the
front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our
capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment
and the events unfolding within it. The...The surprising realites of mythical creatures
While sailing the ocean near Haiti, Christopher Columbus in 1493 reported seeing three mermaids from a distance. The Genoese explorer was not impressed.Up close, the sea maidens were "not as pretty as they are depicted," he wrote in his journal, "for somehow in the face they look like men."Many scientists now think that what Columbus probably saw was a manatee, an aquatic mammal that resembles a flippered hippo.In a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural His...Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids
The poor, portly manatee, having to endure this gibe time and again: "The early explorers thought manatees were mermaids. Guess they'd been at sea a little too long!"Local tour guides have their own versions of the line and the Internet offers dozens more.Even an estimable literary journal, The Believer, lampooned recently that the female Florida manatee's tail, forelimbs and "prominent nipples" make it "a likely progenitor of the mermaid myth; however, the m...UT professor debunks chupacabra myth
UT professor Pamela Owen can add one more title to her resume: educator, scientist and supernatural investigator. The producers of "Mystery Hunters," an educational TV program for kids, asked Owen to help identify bones reported to belong to the mythical chupacabra. The chupacabra, whose name means goat-sucker in Spanish, is a fabled creature which attacks and mutilates live-stock, sucking the blood of its prey.The bones belong to rancher Devin Macanally who shot the animal while it wa...History of the Unicorn
Today the unicorn is legendary, or mythical. But this was not always so. At one time the unicorn existed--or, at least, was thought to exist. As described in ancient scientific writings and depicted in painting and tapestry, the unicorn was a beautiful horse-like creature with a single long horn thought to have medicinal properties. Respected ancient scholars, such as Aristotle and Pliny, mention them existing in their day. But today unicorns have gone the way of fairies, elves, and trolls. Beli...New TV series explores Celtic monster legends
North Wales film-makers bring ancient monsters and Celtic myths to life in a major new TV series. Celtic Monsters uses animation from Oscar-nominated Joanna Quinn's Beryl Productions to illustrate banshees, dragons, serpents, demons and omens of death including the ankou.The series is produced by Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da and Ireland's Midas Productions.Celtic Monsters was filmed on location in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall and features inter-views with experts and storytellers.C...The mythical 'Toyol' - in a bottle ?
Submitted by Pendekar Timur: Is the toyol – long regarded as a mythical supernatural creature – for real? Hundreds of visitors who thronged the state museum here think so as they scrutinised a figurine kept in a bottle that was on display there. A curious fisherman had found the bottle on Tuesday on the shores of a coastal village, believing that what he saw in it was a toyol. In Malay folklore, a toyol is a goblin-like creature that steals money and commits other mischief or evil at the instruc...Why do magical creatures continue to capture human imagination?
Just when things are looking bleak, elves come to the rescue. When the old shoemaker became too poor to buy more leather, elves sneaked in at night to stitch such fine shoes buyers lined up at his door.And when Santa could no longer grant all children's Christmas wishes, elves took over and ran his workshop all year long. Elves capture the human imagination with their knack for creating a kinder, gentler world, say scholars who study such things."The real world is messy," s...How to explain dragons
Anthony North: We have all heard of the Dragon. Known in culture worldwide, it is usually depicted as a huge reptile or snake with two pairs of legs and wings. Often associated with spirituality, it can also breath fire. In eastern mythology it is often seen as benevolent, whereas to western culture, it is malevolent. Often known as a 'worm', warrior knights fight it, usually rescuing a fair maiden whom it had been guarding. This is the story of george and the dragon.: And the legend is ...