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Various Occult, Tribal

& Celtic Images

Turtle Worlds
Although the Norse imagined the worlds being
supported by a great tree, many tribes thought of the
land as being carried on the back of a giant turtle
swimming through an infinite sea. This is why North
America is sometimes referred to as “Great Turtle
Island.” In India, the disc of the Earth was thought to
be supported on the backs of four colossal elephants,
and they, in turn, stood on the shell of a mighty turtle,
swimming eternally through space. Terry Pratchett has
written dozens of delightful satirical novels set on such
a world, called the “Discworld.” These books are
favorites among magickal people (they feature some
memorable Wizards and Witches), and a couple have
been made into animated films.


by Oberon
Egyptian Deities

Sekhmet, Anubis, Horus, Thoth

Horus and Thoth binding together
the thrones of Isis, Osiris, and Nepthys

Manjet and Mesektet

Creation of the cosmos


NORTH (Green) EAST (Yellow)

SOUTH (Red) WEST (Blue)

" #
A Few Common North American Animal Tracks
Racoon Squirrel Rabbit
Porcupine Skunk
Talisman for
Success in
(Le Petit
Albert, 1722)

Talisman for
(Grimoire du
Carbon 70 Buckyball Nanotube
Canis Major
(big dog) Crion
(the hunter) Taurus
(the hare)



Scorpio Ophiuchus
(the Tetra- Cube Octa-
(the scorpion) (the serpent- Tetra- Cube
handler) hedron hedron

Dodeca- Icosa-
hedron Icosa-
hedron hedron
Fabulous Beasts great three-headed dog with the
tail of a dragon. It was brought
out of Hades’s realm by Heracles,
who apparently lost it in a bet to
Rubeus Hagrid, who installed it at
Hogwarts to guard the Philosopher’s Stone.…
Chimera—A composite monster with
the body of a goat, the head
of a lion, and the tail of a
dragon. There was only one,
slain by Bellerophon from the back
of Pegasus, the flying horse.
Dragon—A giant reptile, often possessing bat-like
wings and fiery breath. There are many varieties, liv-
ing in all the Elements: Earth, Water,
Fire, and Air. Wingless ones are
called orms or worms. Eastern
dragons are wise and benevolent
Aspidodelone—A sea monster like a creatures of clouds, rain, and bodies
giant whale or turtle, so immense of water. Western dragons are more
that when it is basking on the likely to be crafty and evil, and many
surface sailors mistake its back were slain by various heroes and knights.
for an island and land on it. When
they build a fire, however, the Gryphon (or Griffin)—Depicted with
living “island” plunges into the depths, dragging the the hind body and tail of a lion and the
ship and crew to a watery doom. head, wings, and foreclaws of an eagle, in
actuality, it is the vulture-eagle, or lam-
Basilisk/Cockatrice—Half snake mergeier (“lamb-stealer”). A “mane”
and half rooster; so poisonous that its of long ragged feathers around its
very glance or breath paralyses. The head and neck has given it the name
basilisk is shown as a monstrous ser- of “lion eagle” or “bearded vul-
pent crowned with a dramatic frill or ture.” The largest and most powerful of all raptors, it is
crest. The cockatrice is depicted as a the eagle of Zeus.
rooster with a dragon’s tail
and bat-like wings. Its en- Harpies—Foul and hid-
emy is the weasel or mon- eous creatures with the
goose. In actuality, both de- gnarled faces and withered
rive from the Egyptian spitting co- breasts of old hags, and the wings,
bra, which sprays poison from its bodies and talons of vultures. Jason
fangs with great accuracy into the eyes of its victims. and the Argonauts encountered these
on the quest for the Golden Fleece.
Catoblepas (or Gorgon)—A bull-like creature of
Ethiopia covered with scales like Hippocampus—An aquatic mon-
a dragon, tusks like a boar, and ster or sea horse, it has the head
no hair except on its head. It and forelegs of a horse with
is probably based on the gnu. the body and tail of a fish.
The “Gorgon” name bears no Its equine forefeet terminate in fin-
relation to the Gorgons of an- like flippers rather than hooves.
cient Greece, such as Medusa. Hippogriff—Similar to a gryphon,
Centaur—Half man and half but with the hind parts of a horse
horse. Most were savage and instead of a lion. Harry Potter’s
lustful, frequently carrying off friend Sirius Black has one called
human women. But the cen- “Buckbeak.”
taur Chiron was a wise teacher Kraken/Hydra—A huge
who tutored many Greek heroes. multi-tentacled sea monster.
Cerberus—Guardian of the Greek Underworld; a Heracles killed one whose
“heads,” on long tentacle-necks, sprang from the neck of the
grew back two for every one that Gorgon Medusa when Perseus
was severed. Scylla was such a beheaded her. The only one
monster who snatched sailors from who ever tamed and rode him
the deck of Odysseus’s ship. Vi- was Bellerophon. See him in
kings reported encountering the movie Clash of the Titans (1981).
squirming tentacles over acres of
sea. This is actually the giant
Phoenix —Sometimes called the
firebird, she looks like a flame-colored cross
squid, of which the largest speci-
men recovered (April 2003) would have had an adult between a peacock and a pheasant (though
the name means “reddish-purple one”).
body bigger than a city bus! It was named Mesonycho-
Every 500 years, she lays a single egg in a
teuthis, or “colossal squid.” No giant squids have
ever been captured alive, but a number of dead nest of incense cedar, which bursts into
flame, consuming her. When the egg
ones have washed up on beaches.
hatches, warmed by the embers, she
Lamia —A scale-covered is reborn from the ashes. Albus
quadruped of Libya with a Dumble-dore has one called “Faux.”
woman’s head and breasts. She
has hooves, a horse’s tail, and catlike forelegs.
Ruhk (or Roc )—A gigantic bird of
Madagascar made famous in the stories of
Makara—A monstrous “elephant-fish” of India. Sinbad and the journals of Marco
From its depictions, it may be the same creature as Polo, said to be large enough to carry
the Loch Ness Monster. The off elephants. In reality, it was the
elephant-like “trunk” could be huge flightless “elephant bird” or
a long neck and small head. vouron patra (Aepyornis maximus),
which reached 11 feet in height and
Manticora—A red lion-like creature of India with weighed 1,100 pounds! Its 3’-circumference eggs,
the head of a man, mane of a lion, tail of a scorpion,
bigger than any dinosaur eggs, were the largest single
three rows of iron teeth, and a
cells to have ever existed on Earth. It was exterminated
beautiful musical voice like a by sailors in the 16th century.
trumpet or flute. It is usually
thought to be a tiger, but I Salamandra—Named for
believe it is actually the Fire Elementals, these are
hamadryad baboon. brilliantly colored lizards or
small dragons that can live in
Mermaid/Merman—From the waist up, they are flames. Erroneously believed to be poisonous, they
like humans, but their lower body is like a will actually put out fire. Fireproof asbestos fibers were
fish; tales say they longed for a soul. In
said to be “salamander wool.” The small colorful
actuality, the legends are based on the
amphibians we call salamanders hibernate in dead
dugong, an oceanic mammal of wood, and often end up in the fireplace as they crawl
Indonesia, which has a long sleek
out of the logs, awakened by heat. When frightened,
body, a large whale-like tail, and
they exude a harmless milky fluid that can extinguish a
breasts (on the females) exactly weak fire.
like those of women.
Sea Serpents —Any of a
Minotaur—A ferocious beast with the wide variety of huge serpentine
body of a powerful man and the head of a sea-monsters that have been re-
carnivorous bull. There was only one, the
ported over the centuries by sea-
monstrous offspring of Crete’s Queen
farers. Some appear to be giant
Pasiphae and a beautiful white bull. snakes, huge eels, immense sea
King Minos kept it in the labyrinth
slugs, or even prehistoric crea-
and fed it on human prisoners.
tures. Some may be based on seeing tentacles of giant
It was killed by Theseus. squids. Although there have been many documented
Naga (male)/Nagini (female)—Serpent- sightings, no specimens have ever been retrieved.
people of India. They look human from
Selchies—Seal-people of Scotland. They can take
the waist up, but are giant snakes from off their sealskins and seem
the waist down.
to be normal people, but
Pegasus—The magnificent winged white horse who they are really seals at heart.
Sirens—These are depicted Dragons
variously as part woman and The dragon is the primordial and archetypal mon-
part bird, part woman and part ster of Western mythology. Dragons dominate each
fish, or a composite of woman’s body, of the four Elements: There are wingless cave drag-
fish’s tail, and bird’s feet. Their haunt- ons, flying dragons, sea dragons, and fire-breathing
ing voices lure sailors to their doom. dragons. Males are called “drakes” and females are
Odysseus survived these by plugging his crew’s ears “queens.” All have been depicted in occidental legend
with wax. It is believed that the song of the sirens is as ancient, ferocious, and terrifying reptiles—symbolic
actually that of the nightingale bird, of the raw, untamable, and even hostile power of Na-
heard from the sea along the shore. ture. Dragons are intelligent, crafty, cruel, and greedy.
Sphinx— She had a lion’s body They have a passion for collecting vast hoards of trea-
and paws, and the head, breasts, sure: gold, jewels, arms, and fabulous relics. These
and arms of a beautiful woman. they pile together and sleep upon,
The Greek Sphinx also had eagle guarding them jealously.
wings, but the Egyptian ver-
sion was wingless. She is fa- Tatzel-
mous for posing the following riddle to travelers: wurm
“What goes on four legs in the morning, two legs in of the
the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” If they German
Alps, by E.
answered correctly, they could pass; but if they failed, Topsell, 1607
she would devour them. (Figure it out.…)
Unicorn—A lovely, white, clo- Dragons know the speech of all living creatures,
ven-hoofed animal with a single and a drop of dragon’s blood tasted by the Teutonic
straight or spiral horn growing hero Siegfried enabled him to understand the language
perpendicularly from the center of of birds and animals. Possessing strong individual per-
its forehead. There were several dif- sonalities, dragons have distinctive and magickal names
ferent “species” at different times and that give power to those who learn them. Such names
periods in history. The best known as Vermithrax, Draco, Kalessin, and Smaug have been
is the caprine (“goatlike”) unicorn given in stories. But Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex,
depicted in a number of famous Renaissance tapestries. Carnotaurus, Deinonychus, and Spinosaurus are other
In actuality, these were real animals whose proto-horn dragon names in the Old Speech.
buds were brought into fusion by a secret Winged dragons are of two basic types: the four-
process that I rediscovered in 1976. legged variety, with additional wings like those of bats
or fins supported on extended ribs, and the two-legged
Wyvern—A kind of flying dragon
wyvern, whose bat-like wings are formed of its fore-
with bat-like wings and two hind
legs; basically, a large pterodac- limbs. These appear so much like prehistoric ptero-
dactyls as to invite speculation as to the survival
tyl, like Quetzelcoatlus. of such creatures into historic times.
There is a little 10”-long
“Creatures of Night gliding lizard of the Malay
Peninsula called Draco
Brought to Light” volens (“flying dragon”), Draco
which has fin-like rib- volens
Back in 1975, Morning Glory and I began researching
wings. Mummified bodies of
the truth behind the legends of fabulous beasties. We
these were taken to Europe and exhibited as “baby
intended to write a book, to be called Creatures of dragons”—proof positive of real flying dragons!
Night, Brought to Light (a line from Peter Beagle’s
Although the biological basis of dragon legends
wonderful novel, The Last Unicorn). But when we
no doubt include giant lizards, crocodiles, and fossil
discovered the long-lost secret of the unicorn, we gave remains, I believe that the apparently authentic records
up on the book idea and set out on a magickal quest to
of living dragons in medieval Europe derive from such
bring real-life unicorns back into the world. It was
invertebrate creatures as the Loch Ness Monster. At
through that work that I first became a true Wizard. least this explanation would fit all those accounts in
Nonetheless, we have continued to gather lore, so here
which the dragon is called a worm or orm. However,
are a few more extensive entries on some of my favor-
there is also Mokele-mbembe in Africa, which may be
ite magickal beasties; I have sculpted images of each a genuine reptilian dragon!
of these.
But these are only poor vestiges of a once-mighty
order: the dinosaurs, or Archosauria (“ruling reptiles”). Hippocampus
For 150 million years these true dragons ruled the The mythical sea-horse or
Earth, in every size and form imaginable—until their hippocampus (meaning
reign came to an abrupt end with the impact of a giant
asteroid. But such powerful spirits and intelligences
that had existed for so long are not simply exterminated
overnight. Just as the long-gone elves and little people
live on as spirit beings of Faerie, so the souls of dragons
continue their ancient lineage in the Dragonlands of
Konrad Gesner, 1551
The Dreaming, holding sway in our collective memories
over the entire span of mammalian existence. “horselike water monster” in Greek) has the head and
forequarters of a horse with fins instead of hooves,
Gryphon and the hindquarters of a fanciful fish. It is also known
The mythological history of the gryphon goes back as the water-horse or horse-eel, and was a favorite art
more than 5,000 years. The word gryphon in every lan- subject in Greco-Roman times, especially in Roman
guage (French griffon, Italian grifo, German greyff, and baths, where it is frequently found depicted in mosaic.
English griffin) derives from the Greek grypos— In Roman lore the hippocampus was said to be the
“hooked”—because of its large predatory beak. fastest creature in the ocean and thus, the favorite
steed of Neptune, King of the Sea.
In Scotland the water-horse is called the kelpie.
It haunts rivers and streams and, after letting unsus-
pecting humans mount it, will dash into the water and
drown them. In Ireland the same creature is known as
the each-uisge (ek-OOSH-kee) or aughisky (og-ISS-
Merian, kee), where it inhabits seas and lochs and is far more
1718 dangerous. After carrying its victims into the water, it
will devour them. If the aughisky is ridden inland, how-
ever, it is quite safe; but the sight or smell of the sea
will doom the rider.
The gryphon figures prominently in the art and The water-horse may possibly be identified with
legends of the ancient Sumerians, Assyrians, the legendary Loch Ness Monster and its relatives,
Babylonians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Indo- other lake monsters and sea serpents, which have been
Iranians, Syrians, Scythians, and Greeks. In medieval reported in dozens of locations throughout the
European heraldry, gryphons are frequently repre- world. The head and neck of these creatures
sented as a symbol of eternal vigilance, and in ancient is commonly described as appearing horse-
astrology, they pulled the chariot of the Sun. Accord- like in profile, and they are frequently actu-
ing to legend, gryphons lived in the country between ally called “water-horses” by eyewitnesses.
the Hyperboreans, the North-wind people of Hippocampus is now the scientific
Mongolia, and the Arimaspians, the one-eyed tribe of name given to the curious little fish com-
Scythia. The favorite prey of the gryphon was horses, monly known as the seahorse, of which the
and its greatest enemies were the Arimaspians, who largest are no more than eight inches long.
were continually trying to capture the vast hoard of
gold guarded by the gryphons. Mermaid
Although the gryphon is usually described as hav- The mermaid—a beautiful girl to her waist but a
ing the wings, head, and claws of an eagle with the fish from the waist down—has always been a favorite
body of a lion, it is actually based not on the eagle but creature of legend and romance. There has never been
on the lammergeier, gypaetus barbatus (“bearded vul- a time or place in nautical history in which mariners
ture”), which measures four feet in have not told of mermaids they encountered. The folk-
length with a nine-foot wingspan. The lore of merpeople is ancient and widespread, crossing
powerful but rarely seen lammergeier cultures, continents, and centuries. They have been
(whose German name means “lamb called by diverse names—sirens, selchies, tritons,
stealer,” from its habit of carrying off undines, melusines, morgans, korrigans, lorelei,
lambs) inhabits high mountain ridges rusulki, nixies, nereids, naiads, and ningyos.
in Southern Europe, Africa, and Asia. The mermaid of tradition is seductive and
There is also a griffin vulture (Gyps dangerous. She personifies the beauty and treachery
fulvus) found throughout Southern of the sea, especially of the shoals and rocks of the
Asia and South Africa. coastline. Her long hair is said to be composed of
invariably represented in medieval tapestries and
woodcuts as being white in color, cloven-hoofed, with
a high plumed tail and a goatee, flowing silken mane,
Matthäus and feathers of hair on the backs of his legs.
Merian, Because these characteristics are derived from
1718 goats, the medieval unicorn is also called the caprine
(“goat-like”) unicorn, to distinguish him from the bull-
like taurine unicorns of the Bronze Age, the ram-like
arien unicorns of the Iron Age, or the imaginary
modern equine, or horse-like, unicorns.
seaweed. For a sailor to see a mermaid is almost always An animal is only

Albertus Magnus, 1545

a portent of disaster—storm, shipwreck, or drowning. called a unicorn when its
Merfolk live in a kingdom on the bottom of the sea, single horn
ruled by Neptune, and they entice sailors to leap into grows from the
the water with singing and lovely music. center of his
The mermaid was believed real by both natural forehead. As it
historians and explorers, who have reported many grows, the
sightings and encounters over the centuries. Pliny the medial horn
Elder (23–79 CE) was the first naturalist to record her in alters the
detail, in his monumental Natural History. In the mid- shape of
19th century, stuffed “Mermaids” (monkey-fish com- the skull,
posites created by Japanese taxidermists) became spec- enlarging
tacles in Victorian London. The the brain case and affecting the pineal and pituitary
most famous of these Fiji Mermaid glands. The unicorn grows larger, more intelligent,
curiosities was the more charismatic, and more capable of effective
“Feejee Mermaid” defense against predators. It becomes a superior herd
brought to Broadway leader and guardian. The unicorn thus became a symbol
by P.T. Barnum in 1842. of royalty and eventually divinity; the Physiologus
The universality and vitality of the mermaid leg- identifies it allegorically with Christ.
end suggests a substratum of fact: an actual animal Unicorn horn was greatly valued as an antidote
that may appear mermaid-like from a distance. Pos- for poisons. Its medicinal values were vast, and a bit
sible candidates have included sirenians (manatees and of powdered horn sprinkled upon suspect food or drink
dugongs) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). In the would counteract the effects of any poisons therein.
early 1980s, off the coast of New Ireland, north of One of the most famous legends of the unicorn is that
New Guinea, anthropologists reported seeing an un- of “water conning,” whereby he purifies a polluted well
known sea mammal. The na- or spring by dipping his magickal horn into the water.
tives called it a ri or ilkai, de- Though always rare, unicorns have existed for
scribing it as having a fishlike more than 4,000 years. They were produced according
lower body and a humanoid head to a closely guarded secret formula known only to a
and torso, with prominent breasts on the few tribes in North Africa and the Middle East. This
females. In other words, a mermaid! This secret was lost for
identification was reinforced by its Pid- centuries until Lancelot,
gin name: pishmeri (“fish-woman”). Morning Glory the Living
In March of 1985, I led an ERA/ISC div- and I rediscov- Unicor n
ing expedition to New Ireland to identify and ered it in 1976, and

video the ri. We discovered that the we produced sev-

pishmeri was none other than the Indo- eral living uni-
Pacific dugong, a rare sirenian exhibiting corns in the early
behavior unknown to marine biologists. 80s. Lancelot, the
first caprine uni-
Unicorn corn in more than
400 years, was
Out of the darkness of the Middle Ages, the legend
born at Ostara of
of the unicorn (“single-horn”) emerged as a bright and
1980 and later be-
shining beacon, standing for beauty, strength, grace,
came the star of
and purity. The Physiologus describes him thus: “He
the Ringling Broth-
is a small animal, like a kid, but exceedingly fierce,
ers/Barnum & Photo by Ron
with one horn in the middle of his head.…” He is Kimball, 1981
Bailey Circus.
Green Man


Sun God


Ankh = Udjat
eternal life (“Eye of Horus”)
= protection


[ Pentagram
\ Pentacle

Hexagram, or
Star of David

Golden Spiral
or Elfstar


North: Gestures to call the Quarters:


Spirit Mari,
The Bird Goddess The Sea Goddess
Jack, Belenos,
The Greenman The Sun God