Sacred and Mythological Animals
A Worldwide Taxonomy
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About the Book
From the common household cat to horses that can fly, a surprisingly wide range of animals feature in religions both ancient and modern and in mythologies all across the world. The same animal can take on different roles depending upon the sacred tradition. For example, the raven can be a symbol of evil, a harbinger of death, a wise messenger, or a shape-changing trickster. In Norse mythology, Odin’s magical ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) come to perch on his shoulders and bring him news.
This informative and entertaining compendium draws upon religious texts and myths to explore the different ways that sacred traditions incorporate animal images, themes, and associations into rituals, ceremonies, texts, myths, literature, and folklore from across the world. Sections are organized by the main animal classifications such as mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and insects. Within each section, each chapter covers one significant grouping such as dogs, cats, and horses. Each chapter first describes the animal scientifically and details the general mythological attributes. Then the chapter provides numerous examples, citing the text or myth. A final section provides additional coverage of references to animal hybrids, animal monsters, and mythical animals. An appendix about “animals in the sky” covers stars, constellations and Zodiac symbols named after animals. Another appendix lists and describes basic details of the religions and mythologies covered in the book. A glossary defines uncommon religious terms and offers explanations of scientific animal names.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020