Posts

Yokai in Folklore and Art

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Yokai is an umbrella term for the supernatural creatures of Japan. I find them endlessly fascinating and have decided to dedicate a separate post to links and information that may be of interest to those wanting to learn more about yokai. For general information about Japanese folklore I have a separate post here with additional links.

Folklore in Art

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Folklore, mythology and fairy tales have long been the subject for artists around the world. In this post I have started to collect some links and resources to explore.


Folk and Fairy Tales

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"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

Witches

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Cats in Folklore and Art

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There is something magical about cats. Perhaps that's why they are the most popular pet on the planet and feature prominently in the folklore, myths and artwork of so many cultures throughout time. Believed by many to have special powers, and often the companions of royalty or witches, they are mysterious creatures and hold a special place in our hearts. I've included below some links for anyone interested in exploring more about cats in folklore and art.


Cats in Folklore and Mythology

Cats in Folklore: Not Just a Witch's Familiar - Icy Sedgewick
Cat Folklore and Legends from Around the World
14 Legends About Cats From Around the World
Cats and World Mythology
Cat Magic, Legends, and Folklore
Yokai.com Cats
Black Cats
Beware of the Cat: Tales of the Wicked Japanese Bakeneko and Nekomata – Part 1
Beware of Cat: Tales of the Wicked Japanese Bakeneko and Nekomata – Part Two
Cats Throughout History: Tales of Good, Bad and Just Plain Kooky Feline Legends
Meet the “King of Cats” From Celtic…

A Benzaiten Pilgrimage

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My long awaited trip to Japan coincided with a fierce typhoon that passed over the country during my stay in the coastal city of Kamakura. As I lay listening to the wind howling outside and the shutters banging against the side of the house, I began to understand how it came to be that an entire region was convinced that a monstrous five-headed dragon was terrorising the coastline. From the relentless, wind-whipped ocean with waves crashing into the shore, to the ghastly winds that seemed intent on tearing away everything in their path, if ever I had sensed the presence of a dragon, it was that night. And so when I woke the next morning to find the house still miraculously standing and the sky now a clear, bright blue, I too felt a debt to the benevolent goddess Benzaiten, who must obviously have weaved her magic to placate the fierce beast. As promised by the locals, the majestic Mount Fuji that had been thus far obscured by haze was now clearly visible across the bay. …

Tengu in Folklore and Art

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In Japanese folklore, one of the most intriguing yokai is the Tengu. Considered by some to be a type of demon, and by others as a demi-god, the tengu can be found throughout the folklore and art of Japan.



In this post you'll find:
A quick overview of the two types of tenguSome information and photographs from Mt Takao and the Tengu ShrineUkiyo-e art featuring tenguResources and links for further reading about tengu

Dragons

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Dragons are one of the most enduring of mythical creatures and hold a special place in the hearts of many people. They have been present in the myths, folklore and art of a diverse range of cultures throughout time, and stories about them continue to this day. This post is primarily a collection of links to resources for those interested in finding out more about these amazing mythical creatures.


Scottish Folklore

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Scotland is one of my favourite places in the world. To me, everything about it is magical. From the cobbled closes of Edinburgh to the misty and moody highlands, magic seems to hang in the air. In this post I've gathered together a list of links and resources for anyone interested in Scottish folklore.


Folklore of Cities

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I was reflecting recently on the type of content that had been shared during Folklore Thursday's cities and urban areas theme. It was interesting to me that there was a significant amount of folklore that was of the spooky kind. There were plenty of ghosts, hauntings and the supernatural. I pondered the reason for this, and for the eerie nature of a lot of urban legends. Now, I may be totally wrong, but I can't help wondering if it isn't the case that when a lot of people find themselves together in cities, somewhat isolated from the natural world, that the tone of tales also becomes rather unnatural. Things don't feel right when we isolate ourselves from the natural order of things.

Benzaiten

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Benzaiten, also known as Benten, is the Japanese goddess of all that flows, including water and rivers but also words, music, poetry, speech and learning. She originated in India as the Hindu goddess Sarawati and shares a lot of the same characteristics. Over time she evolved into a Buddhist goddess and is now included as the only female amongst the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan.


Folklore of Bats

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Throughout history bats have made their way into the folklore of cultures around the world. Interestingly there is disparity between their role in western folklore to that in the east. Exploring different folktales has given me a new appreciation for this remarkable animal.

Folklore Reading List

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I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of books, websites and articles for those curious souls who are interested in folklore and mythology. I will continue to update the list as I discover new treasures, and am happy to take suggestions.

The Greek Myths in Art

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Many artists over the years have chosen the Greek Myths as the subject of their work. During the late 15th and 16th centuries classical mythology was a particularly popular subject of paintings. Perhaps this is why many of the Renaissance paintings remain timeless for they have tapped into the universal nature of humanity and in them we are able to see ourselves reflected. Due to the vast amount of artwork based on mythology I include here a small selection of my favourite paintings and myths.