As one of the most majestic creatures, the deer is associated with woodland deities Saba, Flidais, and Cernunnos. The deer is linked to the arts, specifically poetry and music in ancient Celtic animal lore due to its graceful form. The Celts also believed that deer were associated with the fairie realm, and would lead troops of fairies – hundreds of them trailing behind them as the stag cut a path through the forest. The deer is regularly used in stories as a sign of weakness, feebleness and even innocence. In fairy tails, you’ll often see the baby deer (e.g. Bambi) as an animal that is in need of help and protection. Here, deer and youth symbolism intersect to magnify that symbol of innocence. In other fairy tales, the deer is often seen as something that’s cursed, or even a cursed person who has been turned into a deer. Whenever a deer appears in folklore, it usually signifies a profound change. Both Celts and 89 observed the deer to be savvy when it came to finding the best herbs. These earth-bound peoples would follow the deer to prime herb patches – many of which proved to be highly beneficial in their medicinal purposes.
Dogs are one of the most noted and symbolic of animals. In Celtic myths, they were known as shapeshifters also, in Celtic tradition, it was a great honour to compare a warrior to a dog, as the strong spirit of the animal isn’t easily broken. On the other hand, Classic Antiquity art classified man’s best friend as vigilant, faithful, and wise. During the Renaissance era, they represented fidelity and female seduction.
In ancient Egypt, they guarded the gates of holy places, associating them with protection. What is more, the Egyptian city of Cynopolis translates as “Dog”. In this region, it was actually a law that the people of the city care for all Dogs diligently. They also worshipped the Dog Star (Sirius) because its position in the sky predicted the flooding of the Nile. This marked the New Year. This predictability of the Dog spirit equated to faithfulness and also gives Dog an additional metaphysical relationship with prognostication.
Leaders in Babylon and Assyria both have numerous Dogs mentioned in their chronicles, along with the concept that Dogs have psychic vision and see ghosts or imperceptible dangers. They use this mystical ability to protect their owners not only in this life but the next.
The dragon is associated with China more than any other animal. Since the Tang dynasty, the Dragon Robes were the everyday dresses of the Chinese emperors. Under the Qing dynasty, the bright yellow dragon robes were only worn by the Emperor and the Empress.
As the king of birds, the eagle symbolises fearlessness and victory. In different cultures, it’s regarded as a mystical symbol of the sun and sky. Native Americans even believe that it carries the prayers of people to the sun god. To the Celts, it was the symbol of spiritual knowledge. As a totem animal, the eagle is believed to help you reach new heights.
Aesop: Cockerel Dog and Fox (read by Michael Rosen)
Beck: Diamond Dogs
Café Tacube: Dog: God
GoGoPenguin: Garden Dog Barbecue
Chocolate + Joy: Dog It (Re-edit)
Lena Horne: I Want a Little Doggie
Thundercat: Dragonball Durag
Michael Lloyd & Le Disc: Trot The Fox
Miles Davis: Little Blue Frog
Agnes Obel: Grasshopper
Thomas Newman: Old Dog, New Tricks
Community radio midnight show Through the Bohemian Looking Glass is aired every night at midnight (GMT). A new episode is aired every Friday midnight on Wirral Wave radio or AirTime. Later on SoundCloud for some time.