Do YOU Believe In Magical Creatures?
Magical and mythical creatures have been around for a long time. Do you remember the first time you saw or heard about a dragon? Was it on the television screen or in a movie theater? Or was it from a children’s book or bedtime story?
Every culture has tales and folklore surrounding mystical and magical animals. These animals often inhabited stories as a way to explain and make sense of life on earth and act as a kind of spiritual doorway into the realm of the unknown. These stories told of how the world came to be.
Aboriginal people related stories visually through paintings on rocks and inside caves. Such paintings can be found in Australia, Africa, parts of Europe, and the Americas. According to many Native American legends, these animals came from the underworld, the sky world, and the Four Sacred Directions. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the gods created both humans and animals and they were interdependent on each other. The Egyptians also believed that when the gods came to earth, they took on the animal forms whose qualities they shared. Likewise, many ancient Greek gods were also part beast, and the Greek legends tell of strange beasts defeated by heroes.
The Supreme All-Powerful Dragon
The dragon is probably the most supreme of all mythical creatures. In the West, dragons conjure up powerful images of a mythical beast to be feared for its destructive capabilities. Dragons often appear in fairytales and folklore, challenging a heroic knight or warrior, and quite often, the dragon is defeated in a struggle of good versus evil. However, there are also times when the dragon symbolizes good and uses its strength to terrorize evil and offers protection against evil forces. Attributes of the dragon include power, strength, luck, and good fortune.
In the East, the dragon is the most important symbol of wealth and luck. This magical creature assumed chief importance in China, where it represents goodness. Dragons are worshipped there in temples and are strongly associated with emperors. The Chinese have many theories about how dragons came to be. One theory suggests that the early dragon evolved from an ancient, giant crocodile. It is said that dragons can sense changes in air pressure and can detect the coming rain. Another theory about dragons is based upon the findings of dinosaur fossils. And according to yet another theory, the legendary Emperor of China, Huang Di, initially used the figure of a snake on his royal emblem. Every time he conquered another tribe, he incorporated their animal into his own emblem, and that was how the fantastical dragon was born.
The Eternal Phoenix
The term “phoenix” actually comes from the Greek word for “red,” which is not surprising as the phoenix is associated with both fire and the sun. Its attributes are rebirth, rejuvenation, invincibility, and regeneration. Many cultures have their legends about this famous bird, which has become a symbol for immortality, as it literally “rises from the ashes.” In Egypt, the phoenix was known as the “Bennu,” and was a symbol of the sun god and associated with Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, who himself was resurrected.
Interestingly, only one phoenix exists in the world at a time. According to legend, after the passing of 500 or so years, the phoenix gathers aromatic herbs, woods, and spices and builds its own funeral pyre. Sitting on this nest of cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, and other magical herbs and spices, the phoenix then ignites a fire, either by fanning its wings or with the help of the sun’s rays. Its body is then consumed, and among the ashes an egg is found, which will hatch a new phoenix.
The Sacred Turtle
Turtles are among the most ancient and enduring of animals. They saw dinosaurs evolve and become extinct. They survived the Ice Age. Not surprisingly, endurance, persistence, strength, longevity, and success are attributes associated with turtles. Cultures around the world seem to have found something sacred in this animal, which seems to embody the earth itself and unite with heaven. The rounded, curved shell spreads like the heavens over the earth and the turtle seems to represent a model of the world itself, with its four feet being the four corners of the earth. Some believe that the future can be read in the pattern of the turtle shell.
In the Hindu religion, the turtle is the second incarnation of the god Vishnu. It was said that a great flood occurs every four billion years and covers the earth, which is when Vishnu transforms himself into a great turtle. He carries a vessel on his back containing all the elements necessary to replenish the earth. After a thousand years, when the earth has been reborn, the turtle remains in place, with a large elephant on his back, to support the planet.
The Importance of Magical Creatures
Magical creatures are creations evolved from the human mind. These mythical creatures originated from a variety of sources: oral histories, folklore, travelers’ tales of exotic animals in faraway exotic lands and the imagination. Some of these mythical creatures represented powerful natural forces early humans could not understand and dangers they had to contend with, while others embodied mankind’s deepest desires and wishes to exude power over life. Either way, these creatures are beautiful and mesmerizing and their strong universal presence speaks of the power of their existence.