Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Animals and Witchcraft
(The Witches Familiar)
Pronghorn antelope of America
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Antelope is the common name applied to a large group of cloven-footed, hollow-horned mammals belonging to the family (Bovidae), which includes cattle, goats and sheep. The group is made up of about 150 different species, but true antelopes are only found in Africa and Asia.
Addax - Blackbuck - Dama Gazelle
are ruminants and have well-developed molar teeth used to grind cud (i.e.
chewing the cud) into a pulp for further digestion. They have no upper
incisors but rather a hard upper gum pad against which their lower incisors bite
in order to tear grass from the ground and leaves from trees. Using a
complex digestive system, plant food is first swallowed, stored and part
digested before being regurgitated back to the mouth for chewing, then
re-swallowed into the next stomach. Antelopes as well as cattle, goats,
deer and giraffes, all have a four-chambered stomachs. Their digestive
systems also allows them to survive without water for long periods, getting all
the water they need through the plants, shrubs and sagebrush they feed on.
many species of antelope both males and females have horns, which are permanent
unlike the annually-shed antlers of deer. Those of the male antelope tend
to be larger, but size and shape of horns vary immensely. Most common
antelope have backward curving or backward pointing horns like the Yellow-backed
Duiker, or straight and upright horns like the Steenbok. Others have
twisted horns (Common Eland), spiral horns (Greater Kudu), “recurved” horns
(Reedbucks), lyrate horns (Impala) or long and curved horns (Oryxes).
Horns are efficient weapons and tend to be better developed in those species
where males fight over females making their horns clash in combat.
Oribi - Impala
on the species, an antelope’s age to maturity can vary from 9 months to 5
years, while their lifespan in the wild is thought to be 6 to 8 years. In
captivity, wildebeest have been known to live beyond 20 years old, and
Impalas have reached their late teens. In the wild however, few animals of
the passive prey species live to an old age, as the old and weak fall prey to
their predators; antelopes are no exception to this rule.
Pronghorn antelope of America
the past the pronghorn was widely hunted as a game animal, and during the 1920s
the number of pronghorns left in the wild was thought to be less than 20,000.
Today with better control of hunting and good wildlife management, the
population is back to between 750,000 and 1 million.
Myths and Folklore
In the folklore of Liberia, the Royal Antelope is a figure renowned for its speed and wisdom. Because of its small size and habits, it was known locally as the “King of the Hares”, and it is from this kingly appellation that the common name “Royal Antelope” was derived.
many cultures the horn of an antelope is prized for its medicinal and magical properties. The horn of the male
“saiga antelope” for instance, is ground up as an aphrodisiac and was once
threatened near to extinction by demand for its horn in traditional Chinese
medicine. Once a vanishing species,
the saiga antelope is now protected and in 1994 was listed in Appendix II of
CITES requiring a special permit for its trade.
Its total population in 1995 was estimated at about 1 million.
iconography sometimes uses the antelope’s horns as a symbol representing the
Old Testament and the New Testament. The
antelopes ability to run swiftly has also led to their association with the
wind, such as in the Rig Veda, as the steeds of the Maruts and the wind
god Vayu. In
the Congo the horns of the antelope are thought to contain ancestral spirits.
In African mythology as creatures of grace and speed, the antelope suggests the power and elusiveness of the spirits. They are often seen in the Chi Wara, a headdress or facemask worn by the Bambara of Mali. The Chi Wara antelope mask is made of polished and painted wood, and is worn by members of the Bambara in rituals associated with planting and harvesting. The dance they perform while wearing this mask honours Chi Wara, the Bambara God of agriculture.
Chi Wara Antelope Mask
the Kurumba people of the Nilgiri Hills in southern India
produce a masked headdress
in the form of an antelope. The
powerful neck supports a head with a long pointed protruding snout.
Earlier versions had large ears curving to the towering horns in a
semi-circular fashion (echoing the curve of the chi wara mane of the Bambara).
Early versions of the masks were fashioned with face covering much like
the masks of the neighbouring Dogon people of Mali.
Many of the masks are painted with geometric designs using natural
pigments of white (kaolin), black (river mud or charcoal) and reddish brown
(ochre), while the horns are banded in stripes of the same colours.
Kurumba Antelope Mask - Antelope Dancers - Decorated Kurumba Mask
Kurumba masks are used in three major events during the tribes annual cycle.
In the first instance the masks are worn to escort the corpses of dead
elders to their tombs, and supervise the burial on behalf of the spirits of
their ancestors. Weeks or even months later during the dry season, the masks
are used again to complete the funeral rites by honouring the deceased and
freeing their spirits to travel to the world of their ancestors.
Finally just before the first rains of the season the masks are worn at
collective sacrifices in which the ancestors are honoured together with the
spirit of the protective antelope “Hippotragus koba”, the totem antelope of
most Kurumba tribes.
At funerals and at public performances, the masks act as the physical re-embodiment of the spirit of the deceased elder, during which the mask may be addressed using the dead person’s name. The mask is a means of preserving the memory of the dead, by providing a physical reminder of the dead elder’s achievements in life. In addition a mask carved at the death of a high-ranking elder serves to enhance the prestige of the deceased. When not in use the masks are placed on altars in the ancestral spirit house located within the family compound, on this the living offer sacrifices to the dead and secure their blessings for the year to come.
Stories and Tales
Antelope and a Frog
Kootenai Indian tribes who once
inhabited the area of present-day west-Montana tell a story about an Antelope
and a Frog: “The antelope
was very proud animal, but also very arrogant about his running ability.
One day he boasted to frog about his superior speed over all other
animals. This irritated the frog
who decided to trick the antelope into a race along the creek-bed.
The antelope smugly took up his challenge and bet heavily on winning the
race. Before the race however, frog
called all his relatives and cleverly hid them in the reeds of the creek-bed,
and when the race started they jumped up in sequence just in front of the
speeding antelope. Since each frog
only had to jump once they never got tired, while the antelope soon became
exhausted and was beaten to the finish line.
When the antelope expressed his amazement at the speed of the frog, the
frog confessed and told him it was not so much that he was a faster runner, more
that he was a faster thinker” :-)
Antelope and the Deer
In a Tachi Yokut Legend of the Native North American peoples in central California, an antelope and the deer were roaming together around Tulare Lake when the antelope said: “I bet I can beat you running”, “I think not” said the deer “for I can leap and bound as quick as you can run”. The antelope replied: “Well, let us try”, and so the antelope and the deer agreed to run a race.
The deer said: “Let us go to the south of the lake and run northward”. When they arrived they could see that to the west of the lake was open plains, while the east of the lake was covered in patches of brush. The antelope said: “As you boost you can leap and bound as quick as I can run, I will take west side of the lake and you can take the east side”, to which the deer agreed.
As part of the agreement the antelope said: “If I win, all this open country will be mine and you will have to hide forever in the brush”. The deer replied: “Very well then, and if I win it will be the same for you”.
Needless to say the antelope won, for the deer couldn’t complete the race when he leapt into a particularly dense patch of brush and failed to get out. This is why today the antelopes live on the plains while the deer remains hidden in the brush.
In a folktale from West Java there once was an old and poor man who lived alone in the jungle. His wife had passed away years ago and he did not have any children. He made a humble living by collecting firewood, which he sold in the local village. One day the old man saw a beautiful antelope, but it was different from any other antelope he had ever seen, for the colour of its skin was golden. As the old man walked slowly towards the antelope, he could see that it looked very weak. When he gave the antelope some food it spoke and said: “Oh! Thank you Sir, you are very kind”.
The old man was shocked: “You can talk? Who are you? Are you the ghost of the jungle?” he asked in surprise! “I’m sorry old man, but I cannot tell you who I am, if I do many people will come and hunt me, so please don’t tell anyone about me” replied the antelope. Since the old man had found a new friend in the golden antelope, and someone to talk too, he didn’t feel lonely anymore and promised not to tell a soul.
Sometime later the old man fell ill and couldn’t collect his firewood. “Don’t worry old man, I will collect the wood for you” said the golden antelope. The golden antelope then went out into the jungle to collect the wood, but didn’t realise that some hunters were following. One of the hunters was a handsome young prince called Wijaya. Prince Wijaya loaded an arrow in his bow and fired it at the golden antelope. When the arrow hit the antelope a plume of smoke surrounded its body, but when the smoke dissipated instead of seeing the antelope, a beautiful young girl appeared.
“Oh! Thank you Sir, you have just released me from a curse. I am Princess Sutha. A witch cursed me into a golden antelope and I could only turn back into human if a prince hit me with his arrow” she explained. Later Prince Wijaya asked her to go back to his kingdom with him, but Princess Sutha would only agree is the old man could join them. So they returned to the old man’s house and asked him. The old man was surprised to have a prince and princess visit his home, and was so happy after Princess Sutha explained everything. He then agreed when they asked him to live with them in the palace. Not long after Prince Wijaya and Princess Sutha were married and lived happily ever after.
Legend of Unumbotte
Bassari tribe in northern Togo, West Africa, worship a creator God called
Unumbotte, who according to legend made all living things:
When Unumbotte came down from the sky he made human beings and named them Man. Unumbotte made an antelope and named it Antelope. Unumbotte made a snake and named it Snake. At the time he made these three there were no trees but one, a palm. Nor had the earth been pounded smooth. One day while all three were sitting on the rough ground Unumbotte said to them: “The earth has not yet been pounded smooth. You must pound the ground smooth where you are sitting”. Unumbotte next gave them seeds of all kinds and said: “Go plant these seeds”. Then Unumbotte went away back into the sky.
When Unumbotte returned from the sky he saw that the three had not yet pounded the earth smooth. They had planted the seeds however, for one of the seeds had sprouted and grown into a tree. It had grown tall and was bearing red fruit. Every seven days Unumbotte would return from the sky and pluck one of the red fruits. One day Snake said: “We too should eat these fruits. Why must we go hungry”? Antelope said: “But we do not know anything about this fruit”. Then Man and his wife took some of the fruit and ate it.
When next Unumbotte came down from the sky he asked: “Who ate the fruit”? They answered: “We did”. Unumbotte asked: “Who told you that you could eat that fruit”? They replied: “Snake did”. Unumbotte asked: “Why did you listen to Snake”? They said: “We were hungry”. Unumbotte then questioned Antelope: “Are you hungry too”? Antelope said: “Yes I get hungry. I like to eat grass”. Since then the Antelope has lived in the wild eating grass.
Unumbotte then gave Man seed to plant sorghum, yams and millet, and thereafter all the people gathered in separate eating groups and eat from the same bowl, never the bowls of the other groups. It was from this that differences in language arose. And ever since then the people have ruled the land. But Unumbotte gave Snake a medicine, with which to bite people :-)
Totem Spirit and Medicine:
Contributed by - Patricia Jean Martin
totem spirit animals, all horned or antlered animals have a strong connection
to the qualities related to the Brow (or Third Eye) and the Crown Chakras.
Those related to the Brow/Third Eye indicate intuition, insight and
meditation, which clear the subconscious to open the Chakra to knowledge and
intellect. Those related to the Crown are to do with the Higher Self,
Spirit and spiritual connection to the Divine, other ethereal matters and
"Animal-Speak" by Ted Andrews
Written and compiled on the 20th April 2008 © Patricia Jean Martin
Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation.
Hutchinson Reference Library Copyright (c) 1996 Helicon Publishing and Penguin
Britannica 2005 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD.
Copyright © 1994-2003
Written and compiled on the 22nd April 2008 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
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History of Thanksgiving / Auras - Part
1 and Part 2 /
Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /
The History of Thanksgiving / Auras - Part 1 and Part 2 / “Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Samhain / Yule / Imbolc / Ostara / Beltane / Litha / Lammas / Mabon
Tools of a Witch / The Besom (Broom) / Poppets and Dolls / Pendulums / Cauldron Magick / Mirror Gazing
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat / Rats / Unicorn
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Mystical Sacred Sites - Stonehenge / Glastonbury Tor / Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni / Avebury / Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant / Ireland - Newgrange /
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill / I Talk to the Trees / Awakening / The Witch in You / A Tale of the Woods / I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
Pliny the Elder / Hesiod / Pythagoras
A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Allan Kardec (Spiritism) / Alphonsus de Spina / Amber K / Ann Moura / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Balthasar Bekker / Biddy Early / Barbara Vickers / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christopher Penczak / Christina Oakley Harrington / Cornelius Loos / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Donald Michael Kraig / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edain McCoy / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jean Bodin / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim - the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Lodovico Maria Sinistrari / Ludwig Lavater / Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Michael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" / Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Martin Antoine Del Rio / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Olivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Paul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school / Peter Binsfeld / Philip Heselton / Raven Grimassi / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Richard Baxter / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Rossell Hope Robbins / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / Walter Ernest Butler / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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