“To be a hero means being the author of your own myth.” ~ Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D, The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power and Grace of the Earthkeepers
The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a single large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. The unicorn was mentioned by the ancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including Ctesias, Strabo, Pliny the Younger, Aelian and Cosmas Indicopleustes. The Bible also describes an animal, the re’em, which some translations render as unicorn.
In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn, cloven hooves, and sometimes a goat’s beard. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could be captured only by a virgin. In the encyclopedias, its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. In medieval and Renaissance times, the tusk of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.
The unicorn continues to hold a place in popular culture. It is often used as a symbol of fantasy or rarity.
The hippocampus or hippocamp, also hippokampos (plural: hippocampi or hippocamps; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, “horse” and κάμπος, “sea monster”), often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician, Etruscan, Pictish, Roman and Greek mythology, though its name has a Greek origin. The hippocampus has typically been depicted as having the upper body of a horse with the lower body of a fish.
Mermaids have a unique allure that has captivated people throughout history. Myths of half-human, half-fish creatures can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon. Similarly, merpeople are featured in Syrian, Polynesian, and Greek mythology. While some cultures depicted mermaids as beautiful and romantic (in Irish folklore, mermaids could transform into human form and marry humans), sometimes mermaid stories took on a more sinister tone where they were capable of foretelling and bringing disaster.
The Chimera (/kɪˈmɪərə/ or /kaɪˈmɪərə/), also Chimaera (Chimæra) (Ancient Greek: Χίμαιρα, Chímaira means ‘she-goat’), according to Greek mythology, was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat protruding from its back, and a tail that might end with a snake’s head. It was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.
Cosmogony [Gr. Kosmogonia from Kosmos the world and root of gignesthai to be born] is the coming into existence, the creation and origination of the universe. It is also the study of these aspects. So a cosmogony describes how the Universe came to be; hence, the creation myth in the Book of Genesis is one such cosmogony, and there are many others, both scientific and mythological. This contrasts with cosmology, which studies the Universe at large, throughout its existence.
The idea that carrots will help you see in the dark is due to a myth begun by the Air Ministry in World War II. To prevent the Germans finding out that Britain was using radar to intercept bombers on night raids, they issued press releases stating that British pilots were eating lots of carrots to give them exceptional night vision. This fooled the British public, as well as German High Command and an old wive’s tale was born.
Creators, Gods, and Spirits. Many Native American mythologies have a high deity—sometimes referred to as the Great Spirit—who is responsible for bringing the universe or the world into existence. Often, however, the Great Spirit merely begins the process of creation and then disappears or removes itself to heaven, leaving other gods to complete the detailed work of creation and to oversee the day-to-day running of the world.
In many Native American mythologies, Father Sky and Mother Earth or Mother Corn are important creative forces. The high god of the Pawnee people, Tirawa, gave duties and powers to the Sun and Moon, the Morning Star and Evening Star, the Star of Death, and the four stars that support the sky. The Lakota people believe that the sun, sky, earth, wind, and many other elements of the natural, human, and spiritual worlds are all aspects of one supreme being, Wakan Tanka. The secondary gods are often personifications of natural forces, such as the wind. In the mythology of the Iroquois people, for example, the thunder god Hunin is a mighty warrior who shoots arrows of fire and is married to the rainbow goddess.
For many centuries, Native Americans have passed their myths from generation to generation though oral stones and artistic repesentations.
The character Coyote figures in some tales as a trickster and in others as a creator whose actions benefit humankind. Kachinas, spirits of the dead who link the human and spiritual worlds, play an important role in the mythologies of the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, including the Zuni and Hopi Indians. In Hopi mythology, the creator deity is a female being called Spider Woman. Among the Zuni, the supreme creator is Awonawilona, the sun god. The mythology of the Navajo Indians—who live in the same area as the Hopi and Zuni but are not a Pueblo people—focuses on four female deities called Changing Woman, White Shell Woman, Spider Woman, and First Woman.
The Aztecs had a complex and diverse group of Gods and Goddesses. Scholars that studied the Aztec deities established more than 200 gods and separated them into three categories. Each of these groups supervised one aspect of the universe such as heaven or the sky, agriculture and the war and sacrifice. Whenever they took over a new tribe or culture, they often take up the conquered tribe’s gods as well.
The Aztecs had three main gods, four sub-gods and an infinite amount of gods underneath the sub gods. Here are just some of the most important deities in the Aztec culture.
Huitzilopochtli was the most fearsome and powerful of the Aztec gods. He was the god of war, the sun and sacrifice. During the migration of the Aztecs, he was the god that pointed them to the place Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs which Huitzilopohctli is the patron god of. He also has a temple built in honor of him at the center of the city. Huitzilopochtli required blood sacrifice to help him win the battle against darkness. Humans were sacrificed for him as it was thought that the sacrificed warriors were to rise and fight with Huitzilopochtli. But blood sacrifice was not always in the form of human sacrifice. Sometimes there was ritual blood letting used instead of human sacrifice. Huitzilopochtli means Hummingbird to the Left. He was often drawn with feathers and holding a scepter made from a snake.
Tlaloc was the god of rain and water as well as one of the most ancient deities in all of Mesoamerica. His origans can be traced back to the Maya, the Olmec and Teotilhuacan. He was associated with life giving, fertility, agricultre as well as springs, mountains and caves. He was worshipped at the Great Temple in Tenochtitlan. He had a shrine decorated with blue bands representing rain and water. Tlaloc helped the Aztecs most of the time by sending rain and causing plants to grow. However, Tlaloc could also get angry and send thunder storms and hail. The Aztecs believed that in order to keep the god happy and for rain to come down, they must sacrifice their children as the cries and tears of newborn children were sacred to the god. Children were expected to weep in order to bring the rain. Another kind of less gruesome sacrifice to him was having little statues in the shaped children made of dough and offered to him. They were eaten at banquets. He is also worshiped at the top of a tall mountain named Mount Tlaloc where the sacrifices of the children were made to him. He is often drawed with fangs and goggle-like eyes.
Quetzalcoatl was the god of life and wind. He was known as “the Feathered Serpent” and is probably the most famous Aztec deity. He is also known in many other Mesoamerican cultures such as the Teotihuacan and the Mayas. He was a very creative god and he was the patron god of knowledge and learning. He is the twin of Tezcatlipoca and is also often known as White Tezcatlipoca due to the contrast between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca as he is the complete opposite of Tezcatlipoca. After the Fourth sun was destroyed, Quetzalcoatl went to the land of death, Mictlan and created our current world and the Fifth sun by using his own blood to give life to bones. He is also the giver of maize to mankind. Quetzalcoatl is known as a hero to the Aztecs because he made their city flourish and prosper. But due to being tricked by his twin brother into breaking Quetzalcoatl’s vow of celibacy, Quetzalcoatl fled the place but not before promising to return. Quetzalcoatl is described as a white, bearded god who came from the sky therefore leading some Mormon scholars to believe that Quetzalcoatl was actually Jesus Christ. The Aztecs mistakened Hernan Cortez for Quetzalcoatl which led to the downfall of the great civilisation
Tezcatlipoca was a very powerful god associated with many things such as magic, the night and the earth. Tezcatlipoca was the god of the nocturnal sky, the god of ancestral memory and also the god of time. He is also known as the Lord of the North and the twin brother of Quetzalcoatl who was also his arch rival. Tezcatlipoca was the first god to create the sun and earth, however he was defeated by Quetzalcoatl and turned into a jaguar. He had a large temple built for worshipping him in the city of Tenochtitlan. His name means “Smoking Mirror”. He often represents an evil power and is the counterpart of Quetzalcoatl. He is also known as “Black Tezcatlipoca”. Tezcatlipoca could also transform into a jaguar called Tepeyollotl “Heart of the Mountain” and also into a turkey, Chalchihuihtotolin “The Jewelled Fowl.” Chalchihuihtotolin is a symbol of powerful sorcery. Tezctalipoca can tempt humans into destroying themselves but when he takes his turkey form, he can cleanse them from contamination, free them from guilt and help them overcome their fate.
Chicomecoatl was the Aztec goddess of agriculture, nourishment and maize thus making her one of the most ancient as well as important goddess in the Valley of Mexico. Her name means seven snakes and the number 7 in her name is associated with luck and abundance. She was often portrayed as the wife of the corn god, Cenetéotl. She is often drawn as a young girl or a woman using the sun as a shield with her body and face painted red, wearing a distinctive rectangular headdress or pleated fan of red paper. In sculpture, she is also often holding a double ear of corn in each hand. Every harvest season, a young girl representing Chicomecoatl would be sacrificed. Her head would be cut of and her blood would be poured over a statue of Chicomecoatl. Her skin would then be worn by a priest of Chicomecoatl.
The ancient Maya had over 150 Gods in their complex religion, each with clearly defined characteristics and purposes.
1. Itzamn (or Zamn )
Itzamn, the lord of the heavens as well as night and day; could be called upon in hard times or calamities.
Although second in power, Chac was first in importance as the god of rain, and by association, the weather and fertility.
3. Ah Mun
Ah Mun was the corn god and the god of agriculture. He was always represented as a youth, often with a corn ear headdress.
4. Ah Puch
The god of death, ruled over the ninth and lowest of the Maya underworlds. He was always malevolent.
5. Ek Chuah
Ek was the god of war, human sacrifice, and violent death. Not the kind of god you’d want to meet in person.
In addition to these, there were patron gods, 13 of the upper world and nine of the lower, plus numerous calendar gods who posed for glyphs. Other deities, such as Kukulcan and Chac Mool, came into the line-up as the society changed in Post Classic times. The religious hierarchy became so bewildering that it was beyond the comprehension of the average Maya, who relied on priests to interpret the religion (so what’s new?). To the common man, who lives or dies by the cycle of rain and drought, Chac remains the god most frequently involved in daily life.