Also known as the Eight Pillars of the Sky, the Eight Pillars are not one mountain but instead (as the name suggests) eight, each said to be located along one of the main compass points. According to Chinese mythology, the mountains were thought to hold up the sky, although only seven still maintain this purpose. The eighth, Buzhou (of the North Western point) was damaged by the water god Gong-Gong in a fit of pique after he lost a battle to claim the throne of heaven.
One of the mountains, Kunlun, was home to the Yellow Emperor, or Huangdi as he was originally called. A semi-historic mythical figure credited with the introduction and creation of wooden houses, boats, bows and arrows, and even writing. His wife is said to have first created the process of silk production – historically one of China’s most important imports.
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Guardian Lions, sometimes mistakenly referred to as 'Foo Dogs' traditionally guarded Palaces, Tombs and Buddhist temples. Originating in China, these lions were traditionally depicted in pairs and placed in the entranceway. The Male represented Yang, and typically held an embroidered ball beneath his paw. He protected the house's structure and exterior. The female, representing Yin, was accompanied by a cub and protected the house's interior and inhabitants.
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“The slither of darkness on the moon is growing deeper. Will grow deeper until the very face of him is gone. But once that is over, he will return. Growing fuller every day”
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Brasil, or Hy-Brasil is a legendary island thought to lie off the coast of Ireland. It is cloaked in thick mist which only lifts once every seven years. Though apparently unreachable their are accounts of people who made it to the island’s shore.
Some people claim that Brazil was named for this mythical island, however the most accepted theory is that Brazil’s name came from the export of native brazilwood, named for its dark reddish colour.
The last recorded sighting of Hy-Brasil was in 1872, and reports an old man who claimed to have spent two days on the island.
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Sekhmet and Bastet are two facets of the same Egyptian goddess - usually depicted with with either catlike or lioness features.
Bastet represented the gentler aspects of the goddess and was usually depicted with the features of a housecat, while Sekhmet represented the fierce warrior aspect and was usually depicted with the head of a lioness.
She was the daughter of Ra, and so closely associated with the sun. Her son Maahes was a god of war, and was also depicted with the head of a lion.
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Mount Penglai is a mythical mountain in Chinese mythology. The mountain can be found on one of four islands, said to be home to the Eight Immortals of Chinese Legend. Humans who have ascended to immortality.
It is said that the mountain is entirely white, with palaces made of platinum and gold, and precious gems growing on the trees. The mountain and island that it resides on is thought of as a utopia. with no winter, or misery, or pain. The cups and bowls never run empty, and the fruit can heal wounds, grant eternal life or raise the dead.
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Sedna is goddess thought to be responsible for the ocean’s bounty.
Once human, and known for her beauty, Sedna married a handsome man who she later discovered was the king of birds in human form. Worried that he had not heard from his daughter, her father set out and found her living on an uninhabitable rock. Together they fled, but Sedna’s husband summoned a storm and followed.
Terrified, Sedna’s father flung her overboard, cutting off her fingers when Sedna clung to the boat. Some of her fingers became whales. Others became seals. When Sedna is happy her ocean children are plentiful, and hunting is good. When Sedna is unhappy her children retreat, and food becomes scarce.
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Originating among the indigenous tribes of North America, the Thunderbird was a powerful being capable of bringing thunder, lightning and storms. Most mythology depicted the bird as benevolent, protecting humanity from creatures of the underworld such as the Horned Serpent - Misikinubik. Some speculate that the mythology originated from humans discovering Pterosaur bones, and ascribing them a Mythological origin.
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Like many of Zeus' children, Dionysus was not 'born' in the traditional sense.
His mother Semele was killed by his father Zeus, either deliberately or by accident.
In one of the more popular versions of the myth, Semele was tricked by Hera into requesting to see Zeus' true form. Hera was jealous of Semele's affair with her husband, and knew that a mortal would be unable to survive the sight.
While Semele died, her half-god child survived. Zeus cut open his own thigh, placing the child inside and sewing the wound closed. Some months later, Dionysus was born.
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Treasure in mythology is not always as simple as gold or jewels, and some of the most innocuous items could in fact turn out out to be incredibly desirable and powerful.
One example of this is in Norse mythology, where one of the greatest treasures was the Mead of Poetry. Made from the blood of a murdered god and mixed with honey, this alcohol was able to grant wisdom and knowledge to the drinker.
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The Axolotl is named for the ancient Aztec god Xolotl. He was the twin brother of Quetzalcoatl both born to a virgin mother. He was the god of monsters, misfortune, sickness and deformities. He was a guide for the dead and one of his duties involved dragging the sun through the underworld each night, protecting it from the dangers there.
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Inari is a Japanese Deity or Kami, associated with foxes, who are said to serve as messengers for the god. Beliefs about Inari vary by location, with the deity being depicted in various forms, both male and female.
Inari has many different areas that they are said to preside over, including rice, tea and sake. They are also said to be a patron of blacksmiths, entertainers and warriors.
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“Our spines fit together, like jigsaws, or fingers, Bone settled gently against perfect bone. My palm in your palm, where it lovingly lingered, When I was still we, and you were my own. Together we stayed, with no thought of leaving, Joined, as we’d been, from the moment of birth. Never alone, no sorrow, no grieving, Perfectly one – the Children of Earth. The gods looked down, unjustly haughty, Never to know the things that we knew – Their palace and powers were all for naught, We had the great riches, you, I, and I, you. And happy, below, we saw nothing wrong, The Daughters of Earth, the Sons of the Sun. But in the high heavens, with jealousy, bitter, The gods looked down on the edge of a knife. If they were our gods, of course they were better, Then why did they yearn for our short mortal lives? So, Zeus in his envy, and crackling wrath, Came down from the heavens to tear us in two. He darkened our eyes, and filled them with ash, ‘Til you didn’t know me, and I didn’t know you. Yet still, when I sleep, I long and remember, The feel of your skin, the press of your spine, And wake and want, the dream turned to embers, As I grieve in the echo of when you were mine. And even with decades as One and not Two, I wake with my fingers still reaching for you.”
— by Mythos
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Jenny Greenteeth is a figure from British Folklore, likely used to warn children away from dangerous waters. Her presence was indicated by thick pondweed on the surface of the water which she would lurk beneath - dragging the unlucky beneath the water.
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Known as the Japanese Unicorn, the Kirin is a creature of extreme gentleness. It is described as having the body of a deer, scales of a dragon and a mane of holy fire. The Kirin is thought to symbolise the rise of a great leader for it only appears in times of great prosperity. Never harming another living creature, the Kirin walks the earth without bending so much as a single blade of grass.
The Kirin's origins are entirely separate from that of the Western unicorn, coming to Japan through the Chinese Chimeric creature; Qilin. The word for Giraffe in Japanese is Kirin for their resemblance to the creatures.
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“Yet still, when I sleep, I long and remember, The feel of your skin, the press of your spine, And wake and want, the dream turned to embers, As I grieve in the echo of when you were mine.”
— by Mythos
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While the Eastern dragon shares a name with its Western counterpart, the two types of dragon are in fact so dissimilar they can be thought of as two separate creatures. It is likely that it was only the superficial similarities between the two that has led to them sharing a name. Both are flying, reptilian creatures – and this is where the similarities end.
Eastern dragons are typically depicted as serpentine, with a long snaking body, four legs and no wings. While they are capable of flight, this flight is powered by their magic and they are most commonly depicted among clouds to reflect this. They are also chimerical creatures, said to be made of many composite parts. They are often thought to have the body of a snake, that antlers of a deer, the head of a camel, the belly of a clam, the scales of a carp, the claws of an eagle, the paws of a tiger and the ears of an ox.
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Funerary practices were highly important in Ancient Egypt, where the body was preserved through the process of mummification. Part of the process involved the deceased’s important organs being removed and placed in funerary jars. This was believed essential for the rebirth of the deceased.
The jars were shaped as the four sons of Horus - human-headed Imsety who represented South and held the liver, baboon-headed Hapi who represented North and held the lungs, Jackel-headed Duamutsf who represented East and held the stomach and falcon-headed Quebehsenuef who represented West and held the intestines. Ironically the brain was not a protected organ, and this was destroyed in the mummification process.
Each of the four jars were also protected by a companion goddess, and these were; Nephthys, Neith, Isis and Serket.
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The Badb (or the Badb Catha) is a goddess from Irish myth. She was associated with battle and war, said to sow confusion among soldiers to lead to their defeat. She was also said to appear before great battles as a forewarning of the carnage that was to follow. Her sisters, Macha and Anand were also known as The Three Morrigan. They were associated with crows and ravens, and said to take their form.
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Honey was significant in Ancient Rome as food, medicine, painkiller and even an offering to the gods. Due to its importance, it is unsurprising that the Romans should have a deity associated specifically with it. Mellona is the Roman Goddess of honey and bees. She took care of the honey and the hive, ensuring that both were well looked after.
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