Mythology and More

Fictional Beasts and Where to Find Them II

fictional beasts phoenix griffin sphinx

The other day on a local radio station a boy and girl were arguing if dragons were real or not. Actually.. let me rephrase.. the girl was insisting that the boy be open to the possibility of the existence of dragons. The world of Game of Thrones is real, she reasoned. The future of their relationship depended on the outcome of the argument.

So, in case you are ever faced a similar situation let me arm you with all the necessary knowledge to survive.

Here is part II of my list of Fictional Beasts and Where to Find Them –

Phoenix

The Phoenix is such a popular bird that it is hard to reconcile to the fact that it is indeed mythical. In legends, the Phoenix is usually depicted as a bright colourful bird with a magnificent plume of orange, yellow and gold; a close association to the rising sun. Its stories are popular is many cultures like Greek, Egyptian and Chinese. The central theme revolves around resurrection.

In most myths, including Harry Potter (and since I love the series so much am going to consider this its own mythical universe!), the Phoenix lives in all its glory until it turns to ashes. But, don’t be sad.. the Phoenix is reborn out of those ashes.

It is extremely faithful and mates for life. Its tears have healing properties. In the Egyptian myth, the Phoenix symbolises Re, the sun God. It can fly far and ahead. And can regenerate, remaining timeless like the divinity.

In the Chinese legends, the Phoenix counterpart is called Feng Huang. But, these are 2 separate birds for yin and yang. The female represents the lunar cycle while the male brings in the glory of the solar cycle.

Griffin

A Griffin has the head and wings of an eagle with a body of a lion. The combination signifies intelligence and strength. Dante’s Divine Comedy and Persian poet Rumi have all added to the myth of this creature.

In Greek mythology, a Griffin draws Apollo’s (God of wisdom) chariot. He is swift and strong and worthy of this honour amongst all the other creatures.

The other traits include a love for gold and jewels. They horde these treasures and make for great guardians. With the beak of an eagle, they are the mortal enemy of serpents and the infamous basilisk. So, if you find a hero dodging the bite of a snake, all he needs is to find a Griffin for protection!

Sphinx

Head of a human and the body of a lion. The awe-inspiring size of the Sphinx in Egypt in pictures or in real life that almost defies imagination. The man made wonder has a story to it.

In the 14th Century, Prince Thutmose IV wandered away from his castle. He fell asleep somewhere in the sand dunes. In his dreams came an apparition, part human part lion. The apparition claimed a great destiny awaited the young prince. He was born to rule. All he had to do was clear the sand off the lion’s feet. He completed the restoration and went on to become the 8th Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt.

But, the Greek legends will warn you not to believe everything the Sphinx says. In the ancient city of Thebes, was a terrible Sphinx ho destroyed crops and killed travellers. Some say it was Ares (God of War) while some think it was Hera (Goddess of birth and marriage) who had sent the Sphinx. When Oedipus (with a very long confusing backstory) tries to enter Thebes, to allow him passage into the city, the Sphinx asks him a riddle or two (there is some confusion here too). If Oedipus got it wrong she would kill him. Oedipus got the riddle right and the tables had turned. The Sphinx killed herself in despair that someone had outwitted her.

So, when travelling, look out for cunning riddlers, and in the meantime, try your luck at the 2 riddles the Sphinx had asked Oedipus..

What is that which in the morning goeth upon four feet; upon two feet in the afternoon; and in the Evening upon three?

There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first.

 

Read more Fictional Beasts and Where to Find Them

AARWEN’S INDEX

Pic Credit Niyati from her travel diary on Instagram : Life Out of a Suitcase!

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