Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dragons Around the World

Mandarin Chinese: Lung (Loong) (Wade-Giles Romanization)

The Lung is the stereotypical Oriental dragon. Long and snake-like, the Lung has four claws and carries a pearl. According to traditional lore, this dragon has the head of a camel, horns of a deer, ears of an ox, eyes of a devil, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, scales of a fish, talons of an eagle, and paws of a tiger. A Lung often starts as a snake and go through a series of changes before becoming a dragon.

Hindi: Naga (Naaga)

The Naga is a multi-headed serpent. Usually resembling a king cobra, this dragon possesses a pearl between its coils. Some Indian Nagas have human heads and upper bodies.

Australian Aboriginal –Kunwinjku tribes: Ngalyod, the Great Rainbow Serpent (male), and Yingarna (female)

The Great Rainbow Serpent is a large snakelike dragon, striped with the colors of the earth and sky. There are two Rainbow Serpents – the female is the Mother and the male, the Transformer. According to some Australian tribes, the Great Rainbow Serpent is blind. In addition, some Australian artists depict the Rainbow Serpent with a kangaroo head and crocodile tail.

Latvian: Pukis (Pukys, Puhkis)

In the air, the Pukis is a flying fiery ball. On the ground, it takes the form of a cat. This household dragon can be bought, and then bred by the family it resides with.

Hawaiian: Mo’o’inanea, Mo’o

The Mo’o traditionally resembles a large lizard. For Hawaiians, the Mo’o is a shape shifter, who can appear either as a woman or a boulder. This dragon is often found near groves of hau trees.

Works Cited:
____. “The Rainbow Serpent”, Aboriginal Art Online, 2001, 28 April, 2009, .

____. “Indigenous Australia: Spirituality”, Australian Museum, 2004, 28 April, 2009, .

DeKirk, Ash “LeopardDancer”, Oberon Zell Presents Dragonlore, New Page, Franklin Lakes (NJ), 2006.

Dobell, Steve, ed., Dragons: Heroes and Legendary Beasts in Poems, Prose, and Paintings, Anness Publishing, London, 2004.

Nigg, Joseph, The Book of Dragons and Other Mythical Beasts, Quarto Press, London, 2002.

The Serene Dragon, 2002, 28 April 2009,

Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon and Ash “LeopardDancer” DeKirk, A Wizard’s Bestiary, New Page, Franklin Lakes (NJ), 2007.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Medicine Wheel Astrology

Because I teach people about traveling through time and space, I am familiar with the Medicine Wheel. I consider it a useful tool to reconnect with both natural rhythms and spiritual spaces. Rather than a Native American construction, I think of the Medicine Wheel as a Neo-Pagan one.

When I read Sun Bear’s book, “Earth Astrology”, I regarded it to be traditional Western Astrology with Native American trappings. Instead of Virgo being helpful and practical, it was Brown Bear. For me, Medicine Wheel astrology was another example of New Age syncretism.

I liken Sun Bear’s book to Ann Williams-Fitzgerald’s “auz astrology”. She changed the traditional Zodiac to Australian animals for Australians. Like Sun Bear, she included colors, crystals, and other elements in her astrology. I see their approaches as infusing Western astrology with new ideas and approaches.

The commonality between Medicine Wheel astrology, Celtic Tree, and Chinese is the same as between Western astrology and those two modalities. Celtic Tree astrology shares the most commonalities because it tries to explain people’s character by the seasons. Chinese astrology, which is based on different ideas, has little in common with Medicine Wheel astrology.

However, I think that by playing with Medicine Wheel astrology, it could resemble Chinese by adding the plant, mineral, direction, element, and color. As Chinese astrology has five elements, you can use the Medicine Wheel’s elements in a similar way. Since the Wheel is an arc, you could add these elements to deepen the readings.

Before I would use Medicine Wheel astrology, I would play with it first. Working out how the plants, etc, could be combined with the animal would be an interesting challenge. Medicine Wheel astrology has the potential to expand Western astrology into a more fun direction for the general public.

Works Cited:
Bear, Sun and Wabun Wind, The Medicine Wheel Earth Astrology, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1980.
Williams-Fitzgerald, Ann, auz astrology: the australian animal zodiac, Oracle Press, Moorooka, Australia, 1997.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2009,
contact me at animalteachers @

Monday, April 13, 2009

Celtic Astrology: Did It Exist? (2 of 2)

According to PCT, the Celts expanded from westward towards the East (not vice-versa under PIE theories). The Irish migrated from Iberia to Great Britain. However, the Greeks, who spread astrology in Europe, had closer roots to Anatolia in Eurasia. Through the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Greeks also had connections with India. What traces of Vedic astrology in later Irish astrology may have been transferred through the Greeks.

In my opinion, the Celts did not have astrology until they came into contact with the Romans. Early Celtic culture does not support any practice of astrology. They had their own methods of divination and knowledge of the stars. The Celts did not need to use astrology.


1. Diffusion of early Pro-Indo European languages.

“India and South Asia”, History 086, University of Pennsylvania, 2008, 4 April 2009,

2. Paleolithic Continuity Theory by Mario Alinei
1. “Continuity is the basic pattern of European prehistory and the basic working hypothesis on the origins of IE languages.”
2. “Stability and antiquity are general features of languages.”
3. “The lexicon of natural languages, due to its antiquity, may be "periodized" along the entire course of human evolution.”
4. “Archaeological frontiers coincide with linguistic frontiers.”

Alinei, Mario, “The Paleolithic Continuity Theory on Indo-European Origins”, 2009, 2 April 2009, .

Works Citied:
Alinei, Mario, “The Paleolithic Continuity Theory on Indo-European Origins”, 2009, 2 April 2009, .

Ellis, Peter Berresford, “Early Irish Astrology: An Historical Argument”, C.U.R.A. The International Astrology Center, 1996, 4 April 2009,

Gryphon, Nina, “History of Astrology: A Time Line”,, 2009. 4 April 2009, .

Hand, Robert, “The History of Astrology -- Another View”, The ARHAT Journal 2007, 5, April 2009, .

Panshin, Corry, “The Paleolithic Indo-Europeans”, Torgholm, 2006, 5 April 2009,
indoeuropean/indoeuropean1.html .

Pennick, Nigel and Prudence Jones, History of Pagan Europe, Routledge, Abingdon, Great Britain, 1995.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celtic Astrology: Did It Exist? (1 of 2)

(portion of Coligny Calendar)

Did the Celts practice astrology? Peter Berresford Ellis of the Irish Astrological Association contends that they did. Basing his work on the Diffusionist Theory of Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE)(1), Mr. Ellis found the same concepts for astrology in the Irish and Sanskrit languages. He, also, noted the similarities between the Vedics and Irish in their approaches to astrology.

The Celts practiced many forms of divination. They studied signs, read entrails, watched how their captives died, practiced sortilege, and went on Shamanic journeys. Did they also use astrology? Would they need to?

The Celts divided their year into two: the Light Half from May to October and the Dark from November to April. In May, the Celts drove their cattle into the hills, and in November brought them back for wintering in. Since their survival depended on the seasons, the Celts were familiar with the cycles of the stars, moon, and sun. An example of their consummate skills is the Coligny Calendar (from First Century BCE), a sophisticated lunar-solar calendar.

However for me, it would a leap of logic for the Celts to go from astronomy to astrology. Moreover, their close cousins, the Germanic peoples, were noted navigators, who also studied the stars. However, they did not see the necessity of astrology for divination. Why would the Celts?

Meanwhile, astrology, which was invented by the Babylonians, traveled westward with the Greeks. The Romans learned astrology from the Greeks. As the Roman Empire, expanded so did astrology. By the First Century C.E, Britain and Continental Gaul were under Roman rule. Celts under the Romans would have spread astrology to Ireland and elsewhere. As proof of Irish astrology, Mr. Ellis cites from writings from the Eighth Century CE. Of course, by then, the Irish would have incorporated astrology into their culture.

However, what about the Celts before Roman contact? Mr. Ellis based his thesis on various PIE theories. According to these theories, PIE peoples were a horse culture that swept from the steppes of Eurasia into Europe, overturning the local populations. They also moved into Iran and India as well. Therefore, according to diffusionist PIE theories, Sanskrit and Irish are branches of a root language, and share some commonalities.

However, Paleolithic Continuity Theory (PCT)(2) began to usurp PIE theories in the 1990s. PCT explains more aptly how early European civilization came to be. According to PCT, Europeans developed their own cultures and languages, without an invasion of foreign peoples.

Copyright: Virginia Carper, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Barred Owl

BARRED OWL: Being A “Generalist”

Barred Owl is a great actor. Using his voice to great effect, He startles others with a loud and resounding hoot. Barred Owl may seem imposing, but He is actually quite harmless.

As the most benign of Owls, Barred Owl reassures others with his charm and grace. With his big round head and black eyes, He is the prototypical Owl of fairy tales and children’s picture books. His melodious call “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” often elicits positive feelings.

Called “Barred”, this Owl has horizontal barring on his chest and vertical bars on his stomach. He is abundant in wetlands, swamps, and second growth forests. Not fussy at all, Barred Owl will use hollow trees or abandoned squirrel nests to raise his Owlets in. He eats anything He finds from Fish to Lizards to Rabbits. Barred Owl’s scientific name, Strix varia (“Diverse Owl”), reflects his diverse nature. People’s names for Him also reflect this. They also call Him: Swamp Owl, Hoot Owl, Eight Hooter, Wood and Rain Owl.

Barred Owl teaches the value of being a “generalist”. Instead of relying on one area to live in or one animal to prey upon, He lives almost anywhere He can and eats whatever He finds. Even as people modified the land, Barred Owl expanded his range and his numbers. Learn how to be a “generalist” from Barred Owl.

Barred Owl’s Teachings Includes:
Using Your Voice to Great Effect
How to be a Good Actor
Reassuring People
How to Be Charming
Having an Affinity With Children


Copyright: Virginia Carper, Animal Teachers, 2009

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