A - Z of Mythological Creatures (Just 'D')
I know, I know, ‘D’ is supposed to be all spooky as hell. Here, I get to talk about some of the really old, popular creatures. Creatures you inadvertently talk about on a daily basis. I mean you got Deeeeemons, and you got Draaaagons and don’t forget, Deeeeevil... (Laughs sinisterly) But this has been fun, though. One good thing about doing this series on Mythological Creatures is that I actually get to test my own knowledge in the subject. And I gotta say, when I read back through the stuff, I’m kinda surprised how much I know about mythological stuff. So it does seem that all those years of reading Greek history, and watching old Legend and Lore movies is finally paying off, huh. No friggin’ Kidding!
Is someone getting bored at my yapping? Is someone really, really aching to getting to know the ‘D’ of Mythological creatures? Well, you better!
Not Demon. Daemon. This creatures according to Greek Mythology, is supposed to be good. Good? Yead, good. Of course, some have been known to turn over to the dark side; like the Lamia for one (Wait for ‘L’).
The thing about the Daemon is that they are actually spirits given to men by Zeus as a protector and guide. So you might say the Daemon is pretty much like the Greek version of what a guardian Angel is in Christianity – the real notable difference though, between a guardian Angel and a Daemon is that a Daemon actually becomes a part of the person to whom it is sent to. In fact, the ancient Romans who basically copied off everything from the Greeks had a word for the Daemon. They called it genius. This was because the spirit was supposed to guide you in life, like your intellect and all.
When I think about it, it’s kinda funny – I mean, back in the day geniuses were people with spirits. These days...hah!
Of course, i’mma have to talk about them. How the hell I’m I not supposed to talk about demons. Get it? How the hell...?
Anyway, demons are deviant creatures, who are supposed to be really evil. In Mythology though, that is not always the case. Traditionally speaking, they are supposed to be real ugly things, with horns, and a tail and large gnarling teeth and all that. But in the real sense, they can actually take on any shape they please, be it man, woman, animal, plant or object...or they can just go poof! Invisible, as they often are. I mean, chances are than not, there’s a demon reading this hub alongside you. Spooky, huh!
In Christian doctrine, they are fallen angels – who bereaved of their celestial bodies goes about seeking whom to possess. Anyone possessed or inhabited by a demon then requires exorcism. A biblical verse readily comes to mind -
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
(Luke 11:24-26 KJV)
Being that they (demons) are fallen angels and all, they have a fiery hatred for God and anything good. They know they’re pretty much damned anyway, so they do whatever the hell they can to damn as many people as possible. Their master is of course, Satan, who is also called Lucifer, Beelzebub and a thousand other names.
A person possessed or a demoniac possesses super-human strength, and in extreme cases, will often scream blasphemies and obscenities against God, foam from their mouth and or vomit strange objects out of their mouth – objects that have no business being inside them in the first damn place; like say a hammer, or a kitchen sink. I mean, you know a lot of guys who swallow hammers? Just for kicks? I didn’t think so.
These creatures come from some of the Modern New Age philosophies who are nature spirits or guardian forces of nature. Devas are more or less like fairies in appearance, brightly coloured and full of light – that’s when you can see them. You’ve gotta have the third-eye and all to see them.
Writings about the Devas originates from the theosophist Geoffrey Hodson, who in his book Kingdom of the Gods (madman book, no friggin’ kiddin!) even goes as far as describing what the Devas are supposed to look like when you see them with your spiritual or third-eye. The book has paintings of Devas as well. Hodson claims to have seen these nature spirits, who he describes as the intelligence or group soul of a species.
Devas are nature spirits, so they’re basically harmless...they probably weep when people cut down forest trees and all. Probably sucks to be a guardian of something when you can’t guard squat!
Dandy Devil Dogs
These are unholy dogs from Jolly Ol’ England who are known to run amok at night; running across the skies, or on the open grassland; especially on stormy nights. Like the Banshee (see ‘B’ part of the series) their screams or in this case barks portends death. However, unlike the Banshee they’re almost always known to be the cause of it.
So, if you live in England and you find yourself in a stormy night, and then all of a sudden you hear dogs barking in a weird way, especially when you know that there aint no dogs around where you live...two words, pray hard.
Also called Jinn or Genie
God made man from the dust of the Earth.
Angels from Light.
And the Djinn from Fire.
So did the ancient Arabians say. The Djinn are said to be evil spirits who came into existence before the creation of what we now know as Earth, and were created from black fire. But though evil, their place in creation is more or less ambivalent or neutral, as the case may be...yeah, right! Tell that to the ancient Arabians. Ha!
In early Arabia, Djinn were believed to be the cause of virtually all man’s woes, from diseases to accidents, and to just generally any form of bad ‘luck’. A human being who is highly advanced in the art of dark magic can and does summon a Djinni, and will often exploit the Djinni to his own benefit. This is where the whole Genie and the Lamp concept comes from, where you get to make any wish from a Genie. However on the dark side, if the magician shows a hint of weakness, the Djinni will escape from the Magician’s grasp and utterly destroy the magician and his remembrance from off the face of the Earth.
Arabian legend has it that when shooting stars appear, it means that the Djinn are growing too powerful, and so the gods throw their fiery darts (shooting stars) at them to prevent them from becoming all powerful.
Now, you know where the wishing on the star bit comes from, right...
He’s a Russian brownie. (See Brownie subheading in the concluding ‘B’ part of the series). Nothing special about him, except that he’s hairy as hell, like an old hairy little man. And he’s got a wife, too. Domania, who’s as hairy as he is.
Just imagine, a hairy Russian brownie-couple...so damn romantic!
I always wonder when I talk about these creatures. They sure know how to lure women, these ones, No friggin’ kidding! Here’s what I mean, I’ll explain myself –
Dracs are actually dragon-like beasts from Europe, who reside in the waters, and because they can’t bear children they lure pregnant women into the waters. And it’s how they do it that gets me the most – they transform themselves into golden rings within the water, and when the woman reaches out to take it, they pull the woman in. It knows just how much women love the bling. No kidding!
In the French legend of Le Drac he is known to have taken one of his victims - woman underwater to raise her son. When she was released after seven years (it’s always seven years with these tales, gawd!) she was endowed with the ability to recognize the Drac in all his disguises with one of her eyes; as he would often mingle among the ancient townspeople as a man. When the woman spotted him out in the town market, he ripped the woman’s eyes out. Then went ahead to kill 3,000 knights and villagers. Armies were sent against Le Drac but all attempts to vanquish him failed. It is assumed that Le Drac died of old rage or that he still leaves beneath the waters of the French Rhōne.
Everybody knows this one! You probably know that it’s a gigantic serpent-like creature with wings, thick leathery skin, and breathes fire from its mouth.
The thing is, I can probably write a ‘bible’ about this creature; its origins in history cannot really be traced to any particular people. But if I had to say, I would pick Egypt (and not ‘cause I’m African) as a strong contender; followed closely by ancient Greece, then the rest of the Middle Eastern World.
In the then world, the dragon was feared and revered. The creatures were known to live in secluded caves. And warriors who ventured into those caves and came out alive were celebrated as heroes, such as Beowulf, in Norse Mythology. Dragons came to be seen as symbols of strength and virility in war and battle, as warriors would often paint dragons on their shields, or on their ships and war banners to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies. You see, psychological attack didn’t start today. Lol.
In the Christian doctrine dragon is used to depict evil or darkness; and is actually used to refer to Satan himself.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan...
(Revelations 12:9 KJV)
Notice the usage of dragon and serpent interchangeably, which goes to support the ancient description of the dragon as a serpent-like creature.
Unlike other ancient traditions and myth, Chinese mythology on dragons has the creature as a more benevolent, than malevolent creature. In fact, the creature represents the yang, the principle of heaven, or light. They are helpers to humans, and represent strength, power and virility. The Japanese later adopted dragon beliefs similar to that of the Chinese as well.
I love dragons; I mean they breathe fire and all - I would have you know that I fierycj has an animus – and it is the Dragon...now go ahead, run for your dear lives! (Monstrous laughter echoes in background)
So you see, the ‘D’ part of this hub series is actually full of creatures you know pretty much about; and of course Dwarves are no exception.
The only thing though is, when you say ‘dwarf’ people think of ‘little men’, a lot of people do not realize that dwarves are originally magical creatures. Hmmm....And no ordinary ones either.
In Norse mythology, they were guardians of the minerals and precious metals of the Earth. And they’re supposed to be gifted as well, too – superb blacksmiths, bakers, tailors, and fortune tellers. One that readily comes to mind is Alberich and Oberon (from whence the cartoon/comic series of the same name comes from). Alberich was the guardian of the Nibelung (heroes) treasure, and owner of the Tarnhelm, a helmet which made its wearer invisible. Oberon is the dwarf-king who lives in the woodlands and has awesome magical powers.
There’s a lot of pride and valour associated with dwarves in mythology – for instance, the J.R.R. Tolkien tale The Lord of the Rings (one of my all-time favourite books, as well as movie), Tolkien spins a yarn where he places a dwarf, Gimli as one of the chosen in Fellowship of the Ring, who go on the grand quest to destroy the One Ring that the Dark Lord, Sauron seeks to acquire in other to rule the world. In fact, Gimli played such a role in this tale that he finally helps to reconcile the age-old conflict between the Elves ( See 'E' )and Dwarves by his loyalty and kindness to Galadriel, as well as friendship with the Elf warrior, Legolas.
When I think about the mythology of dwarves, I can’t help but wonder – maybe if these ‘little men’ knew a little more about the origin of their name; perhaps they wouldn’t be too self-conscious about their height. You catch my drift!