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Foxes

Discussion in 'Mythology & Folklore' started by Celtic Skogsra, 21 June 2015.

  1. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    De Gubernatis wrote about canine myths pointing out the fox/jackal are opposed to the sun (as the devourer of the solar cockerel in his interpretation) and connected somehow to the red western and eastern skies at evening and dawn.

    For some reason most IE peoples tabooed the fox, and also did not hunt it. Fox symbolism therefore persists best in legends outside of canon mythology especially those preserved by marginal economic groups - hunters such as Peer Gynt. Elements of foxes as fertility deities however existed among the Romans and elsewhere in the Mediterranean among the Semitic Hebrews. Such traditions are close to those found in China, Korea and Japan about fox spirits and notions of a trickster fox are common across Eurasia. Mongolian Tengrism in a pastoralist society however has largely demonized foxes though like Erlik himself they retain a benign function: they protect children through their liminal early lives.

    The wolf by way of contrast despite howling at the moon is an animal of solar figures such as Apollo and Amaterasu, often in association with the bear. They still have a connection with twilight ie. the Rokkr, but even in Norway and Iceland the wolves are associated with Ironwood in the east. From an early association of canines with both the west and the east, the fox in IE thought came to represent the west and the wolf the east.

    De Gubernatis discusses the wolf in two aspects, diabolical and protective esp. of heroes as children, and touches upon animal transformations and the relationship of the wolf to the crow and the raven. Late shamanic rituals from Europe involve werewolf transformations ie. around the Baltic. The connection to the mannerbunden described by Eliade in the Balkans connects the wolf transformation and the shamanic werewolf to the wolf's protectorate of the hero and even the graveyard wolf or black dog and the cannibalistic werewolf if the initiation in antiquity involved consumption of human flesh. Late folklore has the wolf as a patron of merchants taught the language of the wolves, in line with the notion of the crossroads wolf or black dog.