Archive for the ‘Symbolism’ Tag

“The Word Of Your Head Wolf Is Law! ~ Obey!!”   75 comments

 

The Law Of The Jungle by Rudyard Kipling

Poetry Classics

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay on December 30th 1865, son of John Lockwood Kipling, an artist and teacher of architectural sculpture, and his wife Alice. His mother was one of the talented and beautiful Macdonald sisters, four of whom married remarkable men, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Poynter, Alfred Baldwin, and John Lockwood Kipling himself.

The Law of the Jungle 

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

The Law of the Jungle_The strength of the Wolf is the Pack 

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; 

And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own.
Keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.
When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.
Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!

And the strength of the Pack is the Wolf 
If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.
The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.
Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.

Cub-Right is the right of the yearling_Lair-Right is the right of the Mother

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.
Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.
Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!

The head and the hoof of the Law - OBEY!!!

Japanese Wolves ~ “Guardian Dog of the Mountains”   66 comments

 

Japanese Wolves

“Yama no Bankun” (Guardian Dog of the Mountains)

Japanese Wolves_The Guardians of the Mountains

Ōkami (wolf)  狼(おおかみ)

Also known as: Okuri-inu 送り犬 (escorting dog), Okuri-ōkami 送り狼 (escorting wolf), Yama-inu 山犬 (mountain dog)

Officially, the last of the Japanese wolves was extinct in 1905 and no wolves now exist in Japan. The Hokkaidō or Ezo wolf, cousin to the grey Honshū wolf (Canis lupus hodophylax, or ōkami, the smallest of all wolves) located in Hokkaidō fell victim to extinction in 1889.

                               Japanese Wolf Japanese Ezo Wolf Japanese Honshu wolf_National Museum of Science and Nature 

It is however thought locally, that the wolf, also very much a creature of folklore and religion is still living, deep in the Japanese mountain forests and many people continue to claim they have seen one. This is probably based on the Wolf’s unique ability to keep so well out of sight of man, that it was almost invisible, allowing it to also keep an unwatched eye on man! Local Hongu saying: “The wolf can hide even where there is only a single reed.”

Wolf Deities – The Wolf in Myth and Legend

 jap wolf agyo at Mitake jinja in shibuya2

The wolves association with the mountains also remains very clear with places names such as Okamitaira (Wolf Plateau), Okamizawa (Wolf Marsh), Okami’iwa (Wolf Rock) and Kobirotoge (Howling Wolf Pass) in the Kii Peninsula mountains abounding.
The wolf, closely connected with the god (kami) of the mountains is considered to be the gods pet or their messenger (otsukai お使い) in the Tamaki Jinja and Takataki Jinja shrines located in Totsukawa Mura. In some cases it is even thought to be a god in its own right, "great kami (大神)", and the Ōguchi-no-makami (大口真神, "true god of the great mouth") is a wolf figure that is worshipped at Mitsumine Shrine in Saitama Prefecture,

“Yama no Bankun” (Guard Dog of the Mountains)

                                                  Guard Dog of the Mountains_Yamu no BankunJapanese_wolf_poster_Canis "Hodophylax"

The Japanese wolf is commonly known as Yama-inu,(mountain dog), and as with domestic dogs that display guard-like behaviour, in myth and legend the okuri-inu or okuri-ōkami ("escorting wolf") can also be seen as man’s protector, frequently from the dangers of other wolves when they are alone in Japan’s deep mountain forests. Another type of wolf is thought to escort in the form of stalking mankind as prey, malevolently attacking if their human “prey” should fall or trip and taking many different forms in order to deceive and bewitch humans. This has led in South/Central Honshū and Shikoku, to the belief that the wolf is a supernatural being. But one which if treated with respect by humans is also an honest creature, willing to offer protection when asked to spare a life and in the face of submissive human behaviour towards them.

Canis hodophilaxCanis Hodophylax – the Japanese scientific name linked to the legend of the benign okuri-ōkami ("escorting wolf") derives from the Greek word for “way/path” – Hodo, and the Greek word for “guard” – phylax, together creating “guardian of the way.” ** This also relates to the Ice wolves of Europa – Guardians of the Wolf-Gates and Pathfinders of the Wolf-Ways (interstellar pathways/gateways between worlds)

Such wolves are encouraged to remain protective with rewards consisting of their favourite foods (salt or sekihan -azuki beans and rice) when they have ensured safe passage for those concerned, helping to cement the relationship between man and wolf. Sekihan was also offered in congratulation, according to tradition in Yamanashi Prefecture, to the She-wolf when her wolf-cubs were born. It was believed that by the giving of this ceremonial food, usually served at the time of newly birthed human babies, would lead to return gifts of congratulation from the wolf when the villagers babies were born, in the form of deer, boar, hares etc.

“The Cypress of Dog Howls”

http://youtu.be/tupOeH4bcfw Wolf Howl in Asahiyama (Hokkaido, Japan)

               honshu-wolf_statue2and Japanese Wolf SymbolThe Cypress of Dog Howls Symbolism

North of Hongu high in the Tamaki mountains “The Cypress of Dog Howls” is found – a giant tree where on the eve of the 1889 Great Flood that killed numerous inhabitants of Hongu and surrounding areas, prophetic wolves howled continuously. They materialised on the Tamaki mountains to protect and aid the vulnerable villagers from the disaster that had overtaken them.

Wolf Charms and Boar Deterrents

Villagers would often pray to the wolf. "Lord Wolf [oino tono], please protect us and stop the ravages of the deer and wild boar.”  Especially in the Sendai region, this would happen whenever the wolf was spotted, as it was believed they would protect the mountain farms and help to control the ever increasing and destructive boar population. So strong was this belief, that even charms were used in the wolf’s absence, enshrined in the shrine of the village. In Hongu and even across Japan they had and still do, a wolf charm (ofuda) they called a boar deterrent (shishiyoke) to guard against the wild boars.

Japanese Wolf’s Natural Symbolism of Society in Japan

Japanese Wolf The quality and nature of the wolf’s relationship to humans, also reflects its moral relationship to them. This can be clearly seen in “Japanese wolf lore” which relates tales not of good or bad wolves but of good or bad people. Wolf lore promotes the wolf as a “natural symbol of society”

There is a strong message to the Japanese people that the exchanges they share with the wolf are also a model of how they should conduct the relationship between themselves and nature.

The wolf symbolises both the wildness and the control of the mountains (Yama) and although the original Japanese wolf may now be extinct, it is most certainly not out-dated or superseded. The reintroduction of wolves to Japan – as has been appealed for over recent times would have many positive influences:

· The wolf would help restore order to the ecology of Japan’s forests

· Nature would also be restored in the process 

· Human control would be reinstated

· The Japanese mountains would become manageable again…..

But in order for human control to be reinstated, first the return of the Yama no bankun, the "guard dog of the mountains"  is a required necessity.

                                  Kuroinu_Japanese Wolf Mask

Sources: 
1.  John Knight ~ "On the Extinction of the Japanese Wolf." Asian Folklore Studies

2. “Japan Guide Book” ~ japanguidebook.com

Ki Lin–Chinese Unicorn   43 comments

 

Ki Lin – Fabulous Unicorns of Chinese Mythology

(Equus orientalis) (Updated 3 March 2012)

 

imageThe Chinese Unicorn known as the Ki Lin (pronounced chee-lin), haimages for thousands of years been an integral part of Chinese mythology. It’s most common form and the one most familiar, is that of a horse-like creature, though probably a different branch of the horse family to the Unicorn, with a deer’s body, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a horse, and a single short horn growing prominently from the middle of its forehead. On occasion it is said to have a minimum of three horns! Multi-coloured (five) hair on its back represents the five sacred Chinese colours: red, yellow, blue, white, and black. Yellow hair can be found on its underside. In fact with its green scaly skin and manes of hair it bears a closer resemblance to a dragon than a unicorn. Neither is it the traditional Western unicorns shimmering white colour, but can be found in a range of colours including black, red and green.

The Ki Lin, (Ki, the male Unicorn, and Lin, the female Unicorn.) is a gentle creature that will not harm any living thing. It consumes only non-live plant life such as dead grass. Its exact habitat is unknown but it has a lifespan of around 1,000 years and stands about 1.5m tall. It is also in receipt of powers far greater than those of the “standard unicorn” and these work to ensure that it is impossible to both catch or kill, and it is claimed that it sprang from the centre of the Earth and has the power of speech.

ki-lin

As one of the “Four Fabulous Beasts of Chinese Mythology” the Ki Lin is representative of all mammals and furred creatures, as well as the West-pointing direction of the compass. They symbolise purity, innocence, truth and justice, and in Chinese mythology the Unicorn’s appearance was interpreted as a sign of good times, that came to humans only on important enterprises. It is said it will return again when good and prosperous times return to the lands…could be a long time coming then!

Many traditional Chinese stories indicate that the Ki Lin are great defenders of the innocent but have a particular dislike of the guilty and have a tendency to spear them creating major courtroom dramas! It is thought of as a holy creature. During the Court of Genghis Kharband expedition the Ki Lin passed on a message, speaking with a voice of melodious gong-like quality, of such love and peace to the “Great Leader”  that he was moved to make the momentous decision to recall one of the worst and most bloodthirsty of his military campaigns avoiding much bloodshed.

(Updated 3 March 2012)

Mythology of the Stars   22 comments

Interstellar Mythology…Star Myths

The stars, remote but also familiar, have been a source of fascination us throughout history and are an integral part of many myths and legends. Early references to the Greek constellations mythological significance are found in the works of Homer, dating back to around the 7th century B.C

                          deep_sky_big_dipper

“Children of the sun and moon” is the way The Paiute of North America refer to the stars. They consider the sun loves to eat his children, based on the stars disappearing at sunrise. They say the moon, is the mother of the stars, who dances happily across the sky with them. To the Yakut of Siberia, see the stars as crystal windows giving the gods opportunity to look upon earth. The Turko-Tatar, tent-dwellers of Central Asia view the sky as a large tent covering earth, and the stars tiny holes in it.

Myths of the Milky Way.

The Milky Way, the faint band of light visible in the sky on clear dark nights, runs along the line of the galactic equator, marking the centre of the galaxy to which our solar system belongs. It consists of a combination of the light of a vast array of stars, and in areas clouds of obscuring interstellar gas and dust. 

      milkyway Our_Location_Milky_Way milky_wayA

One Peruvian tradition, believes the Vilcanota River is a reflection of the Milky Way and water constantly circulates back and forth between the river and the heavens. In the minds of The Navajo the Milky Way was created by “Coyote” a con artist who using a blanket threw and scattered in a huge arc, in the sky, an array of sparkling stone chips to form a pathway between heaven and earth.

           Vilcanota_Rivernavajo xibalba

The Maya considered the Milky Way to be the road to Xibalba, the underworld. Native Americans believed the Milky Way was the path the souls of the dead walked. According to the Southern African Zulu and Ndebeles the stars are the ancestor’s eyes, watching over them.

Constellations and Individual Stars in Myths.

 By the 5th century B.C., most of the constellations were connected to myths, “At this stage, the fusion between astronomy and mythology is so complete that no further distinction is made between them” (the Catasterismi of Eratosthenes)

In Chinese mythology gods such as the god of literature and the god of long life, were connected with the stars.

                                                god of literature god of longlife

In Greek mythology Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan, Atlas and the ocean nymph Pleione. Zeus placed them in the sky to protect them from Orion the hunter. But Orion became a constellation and continued to chase the Pleiades across the heavens. The Inuit of northern Greenland considered Orion a series of steps in a great bank of snow linking earth and heaven.

                                         pleiadesatlas

Mythology, influenced the naming of many objects in the night sky, including planets. Their Roman mythological name reflected their characteristics

In Norse mythology Venus was originally the toe of the hero Aurvandil. Thor carried Aurvandil out of Giantland across the river Elivagar. En-route, one of Aurvandil’s toes froze, so breaking it off Thor threw it into the sky. To the Greeks, Venus was Hesperus, grandfather of the goddesses called Hesperides. She who guarded the golden apples of eternal life on western sea

            Surface_of_VenusThor planet-venus

Even the names of the Galilean moons of Jupiter (the four largest). Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto were all desired–and taken by force–by Jupiter. Ironically the mythological women the king of the gods so fervently pursued now revolve around him.

          jupiter-moons-1Jupiter_and_moonsGalilean_moons

**(Credit for this blog post topic and also previous one: “Androgoth Prince of Goths”)

Thank you for the subject suggestions Androgoth Smile

 

Trees in Mythology and Symbolism   24 comments

  

Trees in Mythology

Probably the most profound way in which trees are regarded is by their association with mythology. Trees bewitch us and offer a sense of mystery. In mythology, trees take on magical powers and become the centre of our fascination. In this context trees give us a sense of the unknown. To actually see and touch such trees is a powerful and profound experience, despite our inability to physically draw on that power. We are unable to grasp the complexity of these feelings, and for this reason we bow to the superiority of the tree over us.

World Tree/Cosmic Tree/Tree of Life

Many mythologies around the world have the concept of the World Tree, a magnificent tree growing at the centre of the universe providing a link between the cosmos, earth and the underworld: its stem pierces through the world of human affairs, its branches reach high up into the sky, supporting the cosmos, with its stars and planets, while its roots stretch deep into the darkness of the Underworld, forming a gateway to the realm of the dead. In European mythology the best known example is the tree Yggdrasil from Norse mythology

                   YggrasilFinnishVersion worldtree_01 yggdrasil 

Trees in Symbolism

Trees are the gladiator’s of Nature, fighting to keep a foothold in the most extreme conditions. This characteristic of strength is symbolised in three parts of the tree – roots, trunk and branches. Its roots lie deep in the ground drawing up nutrients and providing a solid base which symbolises the concept of ‘roots’ and our striving for a sense of belonging in a community daily interaction with our environment. The canopy contains the leaves that draw energy from their surroundings, symbolising our consuming desire to know our cultural heritage. The drive to find an historic link with our present lives is almost instinctive driving us to search for status and a reason for being. The trunk stands above ground providing material strength for the whole tree which could be considered symbolic of our need for inner strength.

                                                   9eef1c72-5fcb-4ed5-b406-4033b428fe85wkd_raven 

It is believed groups such as Pagans, worshipped the actual trees, and that they still hold valid today some of the values associated with them. Trees are linked with longevity and fertility which may be a contributing factor to the sacred position some trees still hold.

The feeling of awe and wonder felt by the early pagans is echoed by John Evelyn, in his book ‘Sylva — A Discourse of Forest Trees’ in 1664;

“He that in Winter should behold some of our highest hills in Surrey clad in whole woods of these last two trees (Yew and Box), for divers miles in circuit, might without the least violence to his imagination easily fancy himself transported into some new or enchanted country.”

      tree-of-lifeWkd_Audacity stairwaytoheaven1