The Griffin and the Keythong

Charmed protector of the Heavenly Realm
She is majestic, ancient, strong
Creature both of earth and air
Unlike her opposite, Keythong

The female variant of the breed
Griffin has strong eagle-like wings
An eagle’s head, lion’s body and serpent tail
And a look revered by kings

The Keythong is much the same
Only wingless and quite rare
And when they meet and meet to mate
Together a lifetime they share

Ignis Fatuus

Ignis Fatuus is more of a phenomenon than a myth or legend, but that is still no reason for it not to be included in my ATC series on Mythical Beings and Imaginary Friends.

This particular being loves to send the spooks up unsuspecting travellers late at night. Why these late night travellers would be around a swamp or bog or marshland is beyond me, but there is always some kind of odd or dangerous element to all of these legends so we shall leave it there. Ignis Fatuus is known by many names, and just pops up like a dancing flame whenever and wherever it pleases. It poses no real threat, apart from the impish element of surprise it invokes, or the fact that it causes curious passers by to walk off their safe path and find themselves lost. It will swiftly run or fade away should anybody dare attempt to get close to it.

Its more familiar name is Will-o’ The Wisp, or Jack O’Lantern… or simply Ghost Candles when they make an appearance in graveyards.

This ATC, as with all of the others in this series has been created using pastels, gel pens and gold and silver markers. I tried to give it a little swirling and almost solid form but in reality they look more like a flickering candle flame… however, legends being legends can have their stories and appearances altered over time. This is my interpretation of a will-o’ the wisp.


ATC: Melusine

Melusine is a fresh water spirit from legends in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and Cyprus. She is sometimes seen with wings, one fish tail or two. She was a fairy queen who had to take on the part serpent form every Saturday. She was a hard-working soul, building many castles each and every night throughout the night, and with her human husband had many children. The unfortunate thing was that all of these children had some sort of odd defect, one with different coloured eyes (red and blue), another with one ear larger than the other, one filled with murderous rage and others. She never wanted her husband to see her on a Saturday, which he agreed to, but one day he did. He thought it was because of her serpent side that all of the children were as they were. Devastated that her husband had gone against her wishes and saw her in her Saturday form, she turned into a huge serpent and eventually flew away… visiting her children at night and leaving her husband. He was never happy again.

The legend continues as it is said her descendants became some of the region’s great leaders, including Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen consort of France and England.

And she is still seen today – if you notice the Starbucks logo… that’s her on the image.

My ATC, another very quick one so not much time for great detail, shows her in her one-tail form, flying out of a fresh water lake. She was created using pastels, gel pens and gold and silver markers, as all of the others have been in this series. I think the image looks better on the actual ATC than it does in the photographs, as the glitter in the gel is reflecting back the light of the flash, and this isn’t as noticeable on the 2.5 X 3.5 inch picture.


 

ATC: Hippocentaur

Not one of my better ones, this, but my usual excuse of not enough time comes into play again here. That said, it is still a creation, and I made a promise to post them warts and all, so that I must do. Although this dud is certainly no masterpiece it still illustrates my next ATC in my Mythical Beings and Imaginary Friends series, now totalling six. Before colouring with pastels (as with the others in this series) the face looked chiselled and devilishly handsome, but the pastels smudged the black gel ink, distorting the face somewhat. The body is also longer and fatter somewhat than intended, especially at the tail end, and the legs were rather stumpy compared to how they should be, but I think I’ve managed to hide that by the text for the creature’s name. When I have time, I shall either return to this or create another one, spending a little more time rather than just racing to get it done.

So. The hippocentaur. Centaur to you and me, but I have chosen to use its full name here. The centaur is a mythological creature with the lower body of a horse and upper body of a human. They are usually only seen in male form, but centauresses do exist as well. My centaur has long golden hair, and golden stripes similar to those on a zebra, and is seen in its animal form. If they go for their human nature, they tend to wear cloaks, hoods, gloves and carry bows or spears. In their animal nature they shed all things human and run around naturally as horses would.

To me, they are friendly beings, but they are troubled by the split they have between their animal and human sides. They can’t be accepted by either, so live an isolated existence, but help out human and animalkind when they deem it necessary, but then return to their woodland habitat rarely being seen.

This is my legend of them, by the way, not the true legend which stems from both Greek and Roman mythologies, and other mythologies around the world. One more, I feel, just adds to their magic.

So. Here’s the hippocentaur, taken with and without a flash, although I’m not sure which is the better option…


Which Phoenix? That Phoenix!

History.
Mythology.
Legend.

The more you delve, the more convoluted it becomes. The more answers you find, the more questions you ask. Links appear and disappear like clockwork, characters crawl out of the woodwork and connections that you wouldn’t expect to exist appear within the framework.

Everything and everyone in his, her or its place. And somebody else’s as well, it seems.

Take Phoenix for example.

Now, take another one. And add in a third.

I very often write about Phoenix the bird; well, less often than very often, but there you go. I’m fascinated by legendary and mythological creatures such as these, and dragons and wyverns. I don’t know that much about them, but I love delving into pages of facts and piecing bits of information together. I never seem to get the information I’m looking for, but the snippets I come across are just as good.

In China, they had their own Phoenix. Two of them, actually: one was male and the other female. They probably had more than just the two, but we’ll leave that for now. The male version was called Feng, and the female version Huang. They were huge birds, that looked like composites of other animals all mixed into one. Over time, the two sexes ‘merged’ and the bird became wholly female, known as Fenghuang, and became the female ‘partner’ in the ‘marriage’ between the ‘Phoenix’ and the Dragon. Strictly speaking, the Fenghuang isn’t a Phoenix, but has become to be known as such.

One good thing about the Fenghuang, well many good things truth be told, is that they are omens of great fortune, and represent peace, virtue and compassion amongst other things.

The legends of Greek Mythology, well some of them, also carry tales of compassion and fortune, and possibly even peace, considering the battles and wars they had, curses and counter-curses and other carryings on.

Phoenix, a person this time, was a charioteer during the Trojan War. The son of Amyntor and father-figure and friend of Achilles, he was blinded by his father for purportedly having a bit of a fling with his father’s mistress, at the request of his mother, Cleobule. The fling was all nonsense, apparently, and eventually Phoenix’s sight was restored by Cheiron, the wisest Centaur (before Centaurs became half-man half-bull, they were savage-like people living rough in the hillside of Thessaly).

See what I mean about characters appearing out of the woodwork and unexpected connections? It’s better to expect the unexpected, I say.

Another Phoenix, and the one I’m more familiar with was King of the Phoenicians, and he named the historic African country of Phoenicia after himself. This Phoenix was the son of Agenor and Telephassa (or Telephe), and he was the father of Adonis, who fell head over heels for Aphrodite.  Aphrodite’s son, incidentally, Aenaes, was one of the few Trojan survivors when the city of Troy fell…

So, putting two and two together, there is a slight chance that these two Phoenixes would have existed at the same time. The ‘people’ Phoenixes, that is. The Firebird and the Fenghuang could possibly have also existed at the same time, so that’s now four Phoenixes we’re dealing with.

I think I’ll end here, for fear that another one will appear through some mystical fold in mythology. Stranger things have happened!