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Author Topic: Deities and associated animals  (Read 31701 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: June 05, 2008, 07:29:24 am »

I'm interested in hearing how deities and animals are related in your beliefs and practice:

  • Do you work with deities who are associated with animals or have animals which are sacred to them or do you work with deities who are fully or partially animals?
  • How are animals related to your deities or in paths you find interesting? Are the animals doing something for the deities or vice versa? What kind of relationship do they have?
  • If you have a relationship to a deity with sacred/attributed animals or one that is fully or partially an animal, how is your relationship to those animals or animal characteristics and what role does this play in your religious/spiritual practice?

On the different natures of deities this thread is more focused on: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=5796.0 ("Alien-ness" of Gods)


On a personal side I'd like to get some hints about which deities are associated with following animals if you know. They showed up in meditation and dreams and I'd like to research them from another point of view and find more myths and lore (though some may not be associated with any deities we know of):

otter, owl (Athena?), frog, raven (The Morrighan?), bear, stag (Horned God?), bat, snake, dog, elephant, sparrow, parrot, (snow-)leopard, praying mantis, sucker fish (any deity associated with any fishes at all?)
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Mandi
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« Reply #1: June 05, 2008, 07:54:03 am »

I'm interested in hearing how deities and animals are related in your beliefs and practice:

  • Do you work with deities who are associated with animals or have animals which are sacred to them or do you work with deities who are fully or partially animals?
  • How are animals related to your deities or in paths you find interesting? Are the animals doing something for the deities or vice versa? What kind of relationship do they have?
  • If you have a relationship to a deity with sacred/attributed animals or one that is fully or partially an animal, how is your relationship to those animals or animal characteristics and what role does this play in your religious/spiritual practice?

On the different natures of deities this thread is more focused on: http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=5796.0 ("Alien-ness" of Gods)


On a personal side I'd like to get some hints about which deities are associated with following animals if you know. They showed up in meditation and dreams and I'd like to research them from another point of view and find more myths and lore (though some may not be associated with any deities we know of):

otter, owl (Athena?), frog, raven (The Morrighan?), bear, stag (Horned God?), bat, snake, dog, elephant, sparrow, parrot, (snow-)leopard, praying mantis, sucker fish (any deity associated with any fishes at all?)

Quite a laundry list you have there. 

Animal relationships don't always indicate deity relationships.  So deity shopping by species isn't necessarily going to bring pay dirt.  It might just end up being a scenic detour.

I do some work with Vulture, but there is no deity connection there, unless you were to include spirit as deity.  (Manitou)  Totemic Vulture Spirit is more like the inner vulture of all things vulture, past, present or future.  It can manifest through any vulture, while that vulture is simultaneously being just itself, when the moment is over, we all pick up our clothes and go home and go on with life.

What usually happens are up close and personal fly bys.  I'll be working in a yard and there they are.  On the fence.  I'll be out wandering and look up and there they are, either on a tree or hovering nearby.  I'll be sitting at a stop light and there they are hovering a stones throw above my windshield.

In most cases, I see them as a reminder to 'look closer'  something smells funny.  or other rather sensible things.  Work smarter not harder, don't turn your nose up at what might at first seem like something you didn't want.

The times that I see them minding their business doing weird loopy things on the breeze I just enjoy watching them.

Are they sent by deity?  No.  Tonan isn't as into vultures as I am, although I do like the South American name for them, 'Aurea'

'Him' of the Monomoyicks I don't really know well enough to have symbolic exchanges with, and I don't think vultures would be it. 

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Waldfrau
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« Reply #2: June 05, 2008, 08:11:11 am »

Animal relationships don't always indicate deity relationships.  So deity shopping by species isn't necessarily going to bring pay dirt.  It might just end up being a scenic detour.
Mandi, I tried to explain that I'm just interested in researching them from another viewpoint and finding more myths and lore via associated Gods. I'm not shopping deities nor going to believe that deities sent me every single animal. But I see nothing wrong in researching all lore you can get even if it involves deities. Researching doesn't mean you do have to believe everything you find straight away or do you work like that?
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« Reply #3: June 05, 2008, 08:20:11 am »

Mandi, I tried to explain that I'm just interested in researching them from another viewpoint and finding more myths and lore via associated Gods. I'm not shopping deities nor going to believe that deities sent me every single animal. But I see nothing wrong in researching all lore you can get even if it involves deities. Researching doesn't mean you do have to believe everything you find straight away or do you work like that?

Are we back to the reflexive *auuuuggghhhh it's a mandi attack* every time I post something that isn't a tailors fit to your uses or methods?  I would simply not respond to your threads, but by not representing that there are more ways to work with a concept, I feel I would be doing disservice to both my belief system, and the threads as that they can become very one sided, and viewpoints become very inflexible.  Approaching an equation from an exclusively Celtic POV when gathering information is to ignore a significant portion of lore.

Just because I'm saying that didn't work for me does not make it an attack that needs to be stomped out as quickly as possible lest it infect your thread.  The detour is scenic.  I give it that.  It is an enjoyable pass time. 

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I'm interested in hearing how deities and animals are related in your beliefs and practice

This is how animals and deity interact, or in my case do not interact.  Take it or leave it.
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And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #4: June 05, 2008, 09:45:22 am »

Do you work with deities who are associated with animals or have animals which are sacred to them or do you work with deities who are fully or partially animals?

Yes.  Most of the Greek Gods are associated with at least one animal.

Quote
How are animals related to your deities or in paths you find interesting? Are the animals doing something for the deities or vice versa? What kind of relationship do they have?

In myth they are seen either as the pets (Hera's peacock), messengers/minions (Zeus' eagle, the gadflies Hera sometimes inflict upon others, etc.), were created by that god (Poseidon and horses) or pull their chariots (Dionysus' leopards, Rhea/Cybele's lions, etc.).  All wild animals are considered sacred to Artemis, domesticated animals/livestock are considered sacred to a multitude of gods and the whole lot could be considered sacred to Gaia.

Quote
If you have a relationship to a deity with sacred/attributed animals or one that is fully or partially an animal, how is your relationship to those animals or animal characteristics and what role does this play in your religious/spiritual practice?

Sometimes Dionysus is depicted with ram's horns but he never appeared to me in that way so I never asked about it (this is also the case with Hekate).  Eros and Morpheus (two of the gods I fell somewhat connected to) are most of the time pictured as having wings.  Aside from other winged deities, the only other part-animal god I worship is Pan but I don't have as strong of a relationship with him.

Quote
On a personal side I'd like to get some hints about which deities are associated with following animals if you know. They showed up in meditation and dreams and I'd like to research them from another point of view and find more myths and lore (though some may not be associated with any deities we know of):

otter, owl (Athena?), frog, raven (The Morrighan?), bear, stag (Horned God?), bat, snake, dog, elephant, sparrow, parrot, (snow-)leopard, praying mantis, sucker fish (any deity associated with any fishes at all?)

I vaguely recall a Norse deity being associated with otters.  It's been a while since I studied Norse mythology so I'm sorry I can't help out more.

Among the Greek pantheon, various species of owl are associated with Athena, Ares and Hades; the stag with Artemis; the dog with Artemis, Ares and Hekate; the snake with Athena, Ares, Demeter, and Hekate; the sparrow with Aphrodite; the leopard with Dionysus (although he is associated more with African leopards and not snow leopards); the fish with Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Artemis (although with sucker fish [which I assume you mean lamprey] I would think Poseidon would be your best bet).

Ravens, snakes and stags appear in a multitude of mythologies so those may be difficult to pin.  The only deity associated with elephants that I can think of is Ganesha.  Can't think of anything for the others.
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« Reply #5: June 05, 2008, 10:19:26 am »

    I'm interested in hearing how deities and animals are related in your beliefs and practice:

    • Do you work with deities who are associated with animals or have animals which are sacred to them or do you work with deities who are fully or partially animals?

    Yes.  Epona is someone I am trying to re-establish a relationship with after being on a hiatus for the past year.

    Quote
    otter, owl (Athena?), frog, raven (The Morrighan?), bear, stag (Horned God?), bat, snake, dog, elephant, sparrow, parrot, (snow-)leopard, praying mantis, sucker fish (any deity associated with any fishes at all?)

    You might find this link a big help for what you are seeking.  It happens to be the best list of animal spirits / Totems that I have yet to come across.

    Myself, I have an eagle for my Totem animal which is something that suits me very well for those that know me.
    [/list]
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    Waldfrau
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    « Reply #6: June 05, 2008, 10:49:53 am »

    To be honest, Mandi, I often just don't understand your posts because you jump from one subject to the other without explaining your reasoning behind it.

    I just thought you might have misunderstood my post, because I didn't understand how the 'deity shopping' comment is supposed to relate to my question. So I was clearing up my own perspective so you could understand it better, because it sounded like you jumped to the conclusion that I was 'deity shopping' just because I wanted to research myths and lore. Clearing up my own point is what I normally do if I have the impression people misunderstood me.

    I appreaciate to read other people's viewpoints. That's why I posted the thread. I'm not working with deities myself and wanted to look at things from a different point of view. I'm a newbie trying to learn. I don't understand if you attacked me or why you should do such a thing or if you're just ranting randomly or if this 'deity shopping' concept is just somehow part of your own spirituality.

    Why don't you explain your jumps of thoughts? I can't read your mind and I can't get enough info from your profile to know where you are coming from religiously (as you didn't list your religion) so I can't guess very well what you mean either. I'm not that experienced with Pagan discussions, so frankly, your posts just confuse me.
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    « Reply #7: June 05, 2008, 10:57:00 am »

    otter, owl (Athena?), frog, raven (The Morrighan?), bear, stag (Horned God?), bat, snake, dog, elephant, sparrow, parrot, (snow-)leopard, praying mantis, sucker fish (any deity associated with any fishes at all?)

    Correct me if I am wrong...

    Bear is associated with Artemis (maybe Diana instead?)

    Dog is associated with Diana

    Kundilini Energy is represented by a snake and linked with Shakti (Shakti being the Energy)

    Elephant is associated with Ganesh?

    I don't know any Deities assoicated with fish, except maybe Jesus Smiley

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    « Reply #8: June 05, 2008, 11:05:40 am »

    the sparrow with Aphrodite
    Gosh! I didn't have big hopes of finding deity lore for the sparrow! (And I haven't found much about the sparrow yet anyway.) Just thought it was worth a try!

    What's a good original text to start reading Greek myths where animals appear? The Illias and Odyssee? (I've read some fabulae from Aesop.)

    Regarding Artemis. I've seen pictures of statues where she has wildlife depicted on her body/clothes. Is that some kind of pantheism (that wildlife is her body kind of) or just a representation? Do you know how the ancient Greek saw this? And how do you see this (if you have a relationship with Artemis)?
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    « Reply #9: June 05, 2008, 11:10:14 am »

    I don't know any Deities assoicated with fish, except maybe Jesus Smiley
    Cheesy I didn't think of that! Not sure if I remember correctly, but wasn't it originally some sort of abbreviation that just happend to spell ichtys?
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    « Reply #10: June 05, 2008, 11:28:54 am »

    Cheesy I didn't think of that! Not sure if I remember correctly, but wasn't it originally some sort of abbreviation that just happend to spell ichtys?

    I'm not sure if it was before the abbreviation, but it could have something to do with his title of "fisher of men?"
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    « Reply #11: June 05, 2008, 11:31:09 am »

    the fish with Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Artemis (although with sucker fish [which I assume you mean lamprey] I would think Poseidon would be your best bet)

    The fish I saw life in an aquarium before I dreamed of it. (The dream does have a bigger significance to me than being just a random day experience replay.) It's the dotted one often used to get rid of algae. I'm not sure if it's also called lamprey in English or what the scientific name of this specific one is (because a big group of fishes are called 'sucker fish' and wikipedia doesn't show pictures of all of them). Here's a picture I found somewhere else, but without label:

    http://www.greataquarium.com/tank_maintenance/sucker_fish.html
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    « Reply #12: June 05, 2008, 11:37:44 am »

    Cheesy I didn't think of that! Not sure if I remember correctly, but wasn't it originally some sort of abbreviation that just happend to spell ichtys?

    Well, I was thinking only of the adapted symbol, but thinking about it now, there are a few incidences in the Bible which could allude to the association. 
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    « Reply #13: June 05, 2008, 11:40:42 am »

    Here's a picture I found somewhere else, but without label:

    http://www.greataquarium.com/tank_maintenance/sucker_fish.html

    The first one I thought of I've heard nicknamed a "plecky" - probably the Plecostomos mentioned in that article.  I think they're pretty cute.  Smiley

    One thing you might want to consider is what is *your* symbolism of these animals.  What of their traits do you find significant?  You can learn a lot by researching the scientific and natural history aspects of them.  Most descriptions of "spirit animals" (at least the more New Age and not Native ones) are based on observed traits of the animals that are then abstracted.  (And some of the lists miss ones that could be important.  One of my personal associations with the red-tailed hawk, which is my primary animal guide, is adaptability.  They make their nests along highways and land cleared for development.  I've never seen this listed in "meanings" for Hawk.)

    So, umm, that was a tangent, but hopefully a good example.  My thoughts on the Plechy... what in you makes use of/nourishes yourself with things that could otherwise be harmful?  Too much algae chokes a fishtank, but Plechys are useful in the "community" of the fishtank because they eat the algae.  Do you find yourself doing this around others?
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    « Reply #14: June 05, 2008, 11:48:09 am »

    Gosh! I didn't have big hopes of finding deity lore for the sparrow! (And I haven't found much about the sparrow yet anyway.) Just thought it was worth a try!

    You're welcome

    [/quote]
    What's a good original text to start reading Greek myths where animals appear? The Illias and Odyssee? (I've read some fabulae from Aesop.)
    [/quote]

    All of the animal lore isn't in a single text.  Plus, I haven't really read the Iliad or Odyssey so I wouldn't know much Embarrassed  One good source for info on the Greek gods in The Theoi Project   On of the primary sources quoted on the sacred animals sections is Aelian's On Animals.  I would recommend that website above any other Greek Mythology site because most of it is quotes from ancient Greek and Roman sources.  Although it specializes in lesser know deities and the sections dedicated to Zeus, Poseidon, Athena and Apollo (and to a lesser degree, Hera) are still largely under construction.

    Quote
    Regarding Artemis. I've seen pictures of statues where she has wildlife depicted on her body/clothes. Is that some kind of pantheism (that wildlife is her body kind of) or just a representation? Do you know how the ancient Greek saw this? And how do you see this (if you have a relationship with Artemis)?

    I don't have a strong relationship with Artemis, but I will try to answer your question as fully as possible.  The ancient Greeks probably didn't see this as a form of pantheism (assuming you mean "Artemis is in every animal").  She was called Artemis Agrotera (of the wilderness) and Potnia Theron (lady of wild beasts) by the ancient Greeks.

    So I think it is just a representation of these titles.  Besides nature spirits, the ancient Greeks were not very pantheistic and probably didn't believe that Artemis resided in every wild animal.
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