Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Z: Zoomorphic deities
Possibly one of the first zoomorphic gods people think of is Anubis: the jackal-headed Ancient Egyptian god of the dead. Several ancient Egyptian deities have animal features, in fact, usually combined with human aspects.
Cernunnos or Herne, the Celtic or British Pagan Lord of the forest, is usually depicted as antlered, linking him specifically to native deer. Blodeuwedd, the Welsh Maiden Goddess, was transformed into an owl, according to the Mabinogion.
In the British tradition, hares are associated with the Goddess, possibly representing her or being sacred to her. This may be due to their tendency to become 'moongazy', drinking in the moonlight (also seen as feminine and therefore associated with the Goddess), which some see as a kind of worship or reverence.
And, of course, shamanistic cultures often worship animals directly, and shamanic leaders may don animal skins to help them take on attributes of an animal, thus leading some early explorers of these cultures to claim that the shamans are seen as part-human, part-animal.
Even Christian tradition represents the Holy Spirit as a dove, and associates some of the angels with animals.
Well, I've posted something for each letter of the alphabet... Thus ends my daily posting adventure! I'll be back on Saturday with my thoughts on the A-Z challenge. I'm currently planning to post weekly on Saturdays from here on.