Friday, September 30, 2016

Mythic Animals: Magic

What is a mythic animal? Traditionally considered a product of people’s imaginations, they are animals that do not exist on the physical plane. In fact, many mythical animals are a combination of several real animals. (They usually have the characteristics of both animals.) But mythic animals are real to those who dream.

Mythic animals live on the edges of our minds. Moreover, they live in our world, in places where everything is a little wild and primitive. Furthermore, we may encounter them, when we least expect it. For example, on a foggy day or a moonlit night, you may glimpse one. I have seen dragons sunning themselves on mountains as I traveled a busy highway. Dragons have also appeared briefly in raging snowstorms in my local area.

The edges of cultivated areas and wild areas are the best places to encounter mythic animals. Since they are “between places,” these border areas have great power and mystery. At marshes and beaches, encounters with water beasties will often occur. Also, you can come upon mythic animals in deserts or deep in the forests, where things are lonely and wild.

Mythic animals come from many places. To ancient peoples, they were the forces of nature, in all her aspects. For example, thunderbirds governed the weather. Later travelers returning from faraway places told of the exotic creatures they saw. Romans reported on dragons that lived in Joppa in the Middle East. In the Middle Ages, people reported on their encounters with local dragons and other animals. They listed them in their bestiaries, describing each animal.

When people started measuring and examining the natural world, they lost their ability to see any mythic animals. At the same time, all the mythic animals seemingly disappeared. In modern times, people usually seek rational explanations for every phenomenon that they witness.

However, the mythical beasts never really went away. Some people believed that they could still see them. The mythic imaginations of these folks led scholars to continue collecting tales of griffins and others. Today, more people have been able to see more of the mythic animals.

In her book, The Great Work, Tiffany Lazic writes that “mythical beasts guide us in our quest to find the synthesis between our inner and outer worlds.” She sees their uses in heraldry, such as the griffin, connects people to the past and to the future. Because mythic animals are both products of the human imagination and composite of actual animals, Lazic believes they are excellent helpers for integration work.

How do we begin the search for the Mythic Ones? What do the mythic stories, from around the world, have in common? What is the true treasure that the Mythic Ones hold? Does it differ from mythic animal to mythic animal? How can we deepen our relations with the ones, who are friendly to humans? Are there any that we should avoid? Study the myths of the world for the answers.

One example would be the griffin (half-lion and half-eagle). Often used as a last name, this mythic animal is also featured on people’s coats of arms. Lions and eagles both represent royalty. Moreover, the eagle is the Ruler of the Skies, and the lion, Ruler of the Land. Mythology has the griffin protecting and governing both realms. Given the griffin’s exalted status, only the most noble and courageous of people could approach him.

Once we know who are friendly to humans, such as fu dogs, we can begin to approach them. When we do that, we widen our realm of possibilities and develop a new sense of worth. Our relations with them will nurture our hopes and dreams, as well as, give us a greater reverence for all life. When we embrace their energy, we become conscious of the mystical in our lives. Finally, we align ourselves with the mythical world. We bring magic back into our lives.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tarot: Who Am I in the Cards

I took one of those quizzes about "who are you in the cards?" I took the quiz to find what member of the Tarot Court that I am. The quiz itself is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is said to show how people perceive the world and operate in it. Personally, I have problems with the MBTI because it divides people into four groups of four. As someone who is familiar with statistics, I find the MBTI methodology suspect. I regard MBTI as something that either you believe in the results or you do not.
 The questions that this quiz asked assumes that the person who takes it is neuro-typical with a fully functioning brain. They also have a normal perception of life and not a distorted one. These people can choose whatever they will whenever they want. Since everything I do costs brain function, I have to choose what favorite activity that I can do. Also, since my visual perception has been damaged from my injury, I see the world literally differently from most people.

 The quiz came up with two cards for me – the Queen of Pentacles and the Knight of Pentacles. I think that this reflects the divide between my injury and my desires. The Knight is reliable and trustworthy but prosaic, while The Queen is creative and mature. This reflects both my unpredictable brain and my creative problem solving.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Animal Relationships: Introduction

To know their animal teachers more fully, people should study how these animals relate to other animals. All animals live in ecological systems where they have a role. Some are keystone species such as the alligator, who makes “gator holes” that provides food and homes for the other animals. Other animals contribute positively to the places that they live in. Stag beetles eat dead trees to make soil. “Negative” animals such as leeches have a role, too. They kill their host and help to keep the animal population in balance.

Some animals ignore each other, while others compete for the same food. More importantly, many animals form special relationships. Some are allies, and still others are in predator-prey relationships. The wolf and coyote compete for beaver, while the ratel (honey badger) and honeyguide look for bees together. The plover picks off leeches from a crocodile’s gums. (The plover gets a meal, and the crocodile gets her gums cleaned.) The great white shark pursues the elephant seal but is prey to the orca. Animal relationships are indeed complex and varied.

Read more at Witches and Pagans: animal wisdom: animal relationships: introduction

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tarot of the Animal Lords: Hero's Journey (2)

Laying out The Tarot of the Animal Lords to follow the Hero’s Journey requires a deeper knowledge of animals. Each card in this deck reflects either the natural history or the folkloric history of various animals. Some animals are an obvious selection for their card such as the fox for The Magician, the lion for The Emperor, the raven for Death, and the male goat for The Devil. 

However to understand the other animals which are representing themes in the Major Arcana requires knowledge of their natural history. For example, The Fool is an European Badger setting out on his own. European badgers live in societies of setts, which are towns constructed of burrows. Some setts are over three hundred years old, with generations of European badgers inhabiting them. A lone European badger going out on his own would be a fool. (In contrast, American badgers, a separate species, usually live by themselves.) 

Featuring a flamingo for Temperance is another example. These birds live in the hot salt flats of Africa and eat brine shrimp. This gives them their bright pink color. If they are too pink or too white, this means that the flamingo is nutritionally out of balance, and will need to change their diet.

 To understand other animals featured in this deck’s cards for the Major Arcana requires knowledge of their folklore. For example, The Moon features an owl and a cat, reminding the reader of the children’s poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear. In that poem, these two animals go out to gaze at the moon and the stars in wonder. Meanwhile, The Lovers depict two mandarin ducks. In China, these ducks are believed to be lifelong mates. They use mandarin ducks in their wedding decorations to symbolize fidelity.

 Each animal that is chosen for their particular card enhances the meaning of the Hero’s Journey for me. At first glance, each selection may seem a bit opaque but within each card are clues to explore further. The reader can ponder each card’s meaning further through that particular animal.

Thursday, September 01, 2016


The Black Bass Family, a family of freshwater fish in the Sunfish Family, is well known in sport fishing for being strong explosive fighters. This Fish Family of North America are called the Micropterus (incertae sedis) to differentiate this Family from other fish called “Bass.” Fish in Black Bass Family include Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, who are popular with anglers. Since They come in various shades of green, grey and black, most people identify the different Members in this Family by their jaws.

Preferring clear, clean waters, Black Bass Male usually nests in gravelly bottoms. He builds a small round “bed” and then chases after Female Black Bass, when She enters his territory. After an intense mating dance, She lays her eggs and leaves. A diligent Father, Black Bass keeps his Fry (Baby Fish) safe until They are ready to leave the nest. He constantly patrols the area guarding against anyone who would attempt eat his Fry.

Black Bass use their keen senses to hunt their prey. Their inner ears can pick up the click of the claws of a crayfish walking on pebbles. With their lateral line (a row of sensory pores that extend from their gills to their tail), Black Bass can sense vibrations in the water. Added to that is their excellent eyesight which includes seeing colors.

As an apex predator, Black Bass will eat small alligators, birds, and mammals. This wily Fish will seek out the deepest parts of a pond. Waiting patiently, He will suddenly explode into action gobbling up the unwary Duckling paddling by. Highly adaptable, Black Bass can adjust his feeding habits to wherever He lives. His popularity in sport fishing has made Black Bass a sought after fish. Because of this, He has been introduced to many places outside of North America such as Fiji and South Africa. But his voracious appetite has decimated native populations of Fish. Japan, for example, considers Black Bass to be an invasive Fish.

Black Bass are some of the scrappiest Fish that swim. Catch one, and He will fight you with wild airborne leaps and jolting strikes. “Inch for inch and pound for pound, the gamest fish that swims,” 19th Century sportsmen entered in their journals. Even today anglers feel passionate about Black Bass. Because of their high stamina and great speed, these Fish can break fishing lines and snap poles. Leaping into the air, Black Bass will throw off the lure. In cunning and skill, Black Bass will match anything that an angler can think up to try to catch Him. (Black Bass are the original Pokemon.)

Passion is what Black Bass teaches people. Exuberance for life is why these Fish are top predators. Passion is how They mate and protect their Fry. Devotion is why anglers seek to match wits with Black Bass. However, Black Bass can also warn of prolonged volatility in your life, swinging between nothingness and frenzy. Remember moderation in what you do.

Many fish are called “Bass.” The temperate bass belong to the family Moronidae and the Asian sea bass to the family Lateolabracidae. Black sea bass are members of the sea grouper family (Serranidae). The giant sea bass belongs to the wreckfish family (Polyprionidae).