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Creating Your Own Mythic Animals
by Link


When we look at the myths of old, remember that old tales were once quite new. People, not much different than you or I, created stories about animals to explain their surroundings. They dreamt of great birds that rose up from the ashes, or fire-breathing beasts who tested our courage. They lulled children off to sleep on the wings of great white horses who flew like clouds in the sky.


Today we can bring to life our own private menagerie of mythic animals. We can create our own nature tales colored with animal images -- whether a modern-day dragon, or a simple fire-fly glowing in a glass jar.


Some say story telling is a lost art. Don't believe it. Within us all lies a whole nest full of stories just waiting to hatch. Our imagination is most powerful when we share it with others. Pagans are especially adept at this; not only have we rediscovered the myths of old, but we know the power of visualization in creating something new. Think about your own beliefs and try to form a story. If you do not have a nine year old to share these stories with, pretend that you do. Can Mother Earth be a Mama Bird who's eggs are many different colors? Can magick be a caterpillar who changed into a beautiful butterfly? Can you and I be like fish swimming in the same school? You are limited only by your own imagination! (And that has no limits.)


Myth making is nothing more than making an analogy. We use symbols to make a complex idea easier to understand. In days of Old, people lived with animals as part of their everyday lives. It is natural that the poets and bards (and teachers) of the time would use magickal animals to convey their message. If animals are not part of your daily surroundings, then look around and see what you see. Perhaps a piece of office equipment as fast as a panther, or as stubborn as an ox?


You don't have to share your mythic animals with anyone. They can be your private pets, guarding your own inner secrets. Animals evoke a great deal of inner emotion for us all. Perhaps you have a saber tooth tiger standing guard over your home? Are your loved ones followed by friendly eagles, soaring high above to protect them from harm? Maybe your own private pair of Ravens circle the world each day, reporting back what they see to assist in your search for the perfect mate, career, or home?


Want to create something special? Many mythic animals are mixtures: part human, part beast, part bunny, part bird. In your own private petting zoo, you make the rules. You too can combine attributes to meet your specific need. Perhaps you need the courage of a lion, coupled with the speed of a hawk to meet that next deadline? Take out a pen and sketch what this creature might look like. Doing so makes it more real. If you do not like to draw, then use your "inner easel" and imagine the animal. Hear its mighty roar; feel its wings rush. (And then get to work - you have a deadline to meet!)


If you do not wish to create your own mythic animals, you can use a variety of symbols already on hand. One modern-day American myth tells about the great battle that happens every four years, where the Elephant battles the Donkey. Obviously these symbols represent the U.S. political process with both Republicans and Democrats. Mythic animals also exist within our economy. A Bull Market charges ahead and grows. But the period of decline is likened to hibernation and called a Bear Market. Can these be symbols for cycles of change? How do these cycles fit into your own life?


Once your mythic animals become real, you can work with them in a variety of ways. I have heard stories of people dreaming about a certain animal just before the outbreak of a recurring medical condition. The dream became an early warning to signal the need for medical care. Language is nothing more than agreeing on a set of symbols. Ask your own inner vision, your subconscious, your spirit guides, your ancestors to speak to you in a way you will understand. Set up a lexicon of symbols to use going forward - and look for those which have already been used within your own past.


One day when I was nine years old, a little bird whispered in my ear. It had bright blue wings, with tail feathers shaped like spirals. Above its head glowed a small flame like that of a votive candle. Its voice was young and soft and sounded just like my own. It told me I can fly. You can fly too!



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