Unfortunately for Australia 2020 has started with epic bushfires in the east of our country. Which has lead me to write a post on Fiery Beasts of the mythological world.
Fire, is something of a necessity for humanity, and is something we both love and loathe. Useful for warmth and cooking, fire has a darker, much more destructive side. Like a ravenous beast it can be wild and terrifying, consuming all in its path. It really is little surprise that wealth of mythological creatures have come into existence to explain the wild, unpredictable nature of of this primal element.
For the sake of brevity, I will not be discussing common fiery mythological beasties such as dragons and the phoenix, as you're probably already familiar with them.
|Image Courtesy: Skygalleon|
The actual fire salamander is a real animal, that can be found in Europe, on some Mediterranean islands, northern Africa, and the Near East. They are often kept as pets and can live up to 10 years in captivity. Members of the Amphibian class, they can grow up to 12 inches, and are usually black and orange / yellow in coloration.
The mythical fire salamander however, is an altogether different creatures. The actual word Salamander is derived from the Greek salamándra meaning "Fire Lizard", and these mythological creatures were said to be live in fire, and/or have the power to create fire. There is a faery legend that suggests that fire salamanders were the creatures who introduced humanity to the element of fire. A potential origin for this mythology found in real life salamanders, "which are known to hibernate through the winter in logs that were then picked up and used to fuel fires. As a result of being tossed into a roaring inferno, they would wake up and scamper out of the fire. Due to their cool and damp skin, they would be able to survive the escape from the flames. As such, it was misunderstood that salamanders were entities of fire themselves." ref
Image of Australian Bushfire smoke, courtesy Daily Telegraph
Just looking at the photo from above, its not hard to see how people believed in enormous fire giants.
The fire giants that we are looking into today, hail from Norse mythology, in particular the realm of Muspelheim. According to Norse mythology there are nine realms, the realm of the Gods (Asgarth), of the Vanir (Vanaheim), of the elves (Alfheim), of men (Mithgarth), of the giants (Jotunheim), of fire (Muspellsheim), of the dark elves (Svartalfaheim), of the dead (Niflheim), and of the dwarfs ( Nithavellir). Muspelheim is described as a hot and glowing land of fire, and is guarded by Surtr, with his flaming sword. The fire giants apparently will play a big part in the coming of Ragnarok, at the end of the world.
|Image Courtesy: AndrasaWiki|
The Cherufe is a large man-eating mythical creature from the Mapuche mythology of the indigenous Mapuche people of south-central Chile
Cherufe is an evil creature made of rock and magma inhabits the magma pools found deep within Chilean volcanoes and is the cause of many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The Cherufe's appetite for destruction could be calmed by throwing a sacrificial victim into the its volcano. Unsurprisingly in mythology, the Cherufe preferred virginal women for its dinner.
And that's it for today, I hope your 2020 is a good one.