Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gryphons! Creatures From The Imaginal World?





I wanted to do a bit about these interesting -mythical? creatures because I think they are so cool. I prefer the "gryphon" spelling instead of the way it is usually spelled-"griffin"-I don't know why. I hope to have the main article about this subject here by the 10th or 11th. Please forgive me for not having it all ready to go. I was getting tired of seeing the post below at the top of the page. The guys and girl in it are very good looking, so it's nothing to do with that. I was just ready for a change.

From Bulfinch's Mythology pages 128-129 and the index: "The Griffin or Gryphon is a monster with the body of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle, and back covered with feathers. Like birds it builds its nest, and instead of an egg lays an agate therein. It has long claws and talons of such a size that the people of the country make them into drinking cups. India was assigned as the native country of the Griffins. They found gold in the mountains and built their nests of it, for which reason their nests were very tempting to the hunters, and they were forced to keep vigilant guard over them. Their instinct led them to know where buried treasures lay, and they did their best to keep plunderers at a distance. The Arimaspians, among whom the Griffins flourished, were a one-eyed people of Scythia. Milton borrows a simile from the Griffins, "Paradise Lost," Book II:




"As with a Gryphon through the wilderness,



With winged course, o'er hill and moory dale,



Pursues the Arimaspian who by stealth



Hath from his wakeful custody purloined



His guarded gold," etc.

Here is the description of the gryphon from Bulfinch's index, page 909: "A fabulous animal, with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle, dwelling in the Rhipaean mountains, between the Hyperboreans and the one-eyed Arimaspians, and guarding the gold of the North."

From Wikipedia: "The griffin (griffon or gryphon) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.

Most contemporary illustrations give the griffin legs like an eagle's legs with talons, although in some older illustrations it has a lion's forelimbs; it generally has a lion's hindquarters. Its eagle's head is conventionally given prominent ears; these are sometimes described as the lion's ears, but are often elongated (more like a horse's), and sometimes feathered.

Infrequently, a griffin is portrayed without wings (or a wingless eagle-headed lion is identified as a griffin); in 15th century and later heraldry such a beast may be called an alce or a keythong. In heraldry, a griffin always has forelegs like an eagle's; the beast with forelimbs like a lion's forelegs was distinguished by perhaps only one English herald of later heraldry as the opinicus. The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin, as for example, Robin Lane Fox, in Alexander the Great, 1973: 31 and notes, p. 506, who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic at Pella, perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater ca. 397BC-319BC). Antipater was a Macedonian general who supported Alexander the Great. In 320 BC, he became regent of all of Alexander's empire."

The first image is one I stole from somewhere;-). The second image is of a gryphon outside of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The third image is a very early appearance of gryphons, dating from before 2000 BCE. Two of them are shown with the Sumerian deity, Ningishzida-a Mesopotamian deity of the underworld. Ninghiszida was also a patron of medicine-Ningishzida is the earliest known symbol of snakes twining around an axial rod. It predates the Caduceus of Hermes, the Rod of Asclepius and the staff of Moses by more than a millenium. Here are some links (done the lazy way-sorry!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffin , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ningishzida , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipater



Here is a link to Loren Coleman's Twilight Language blog that Anadae Effro was kind enough to point out about the sad death at the age of 34 of paranormal/Fortean/UFO investigator Mac Tonnies http://copycateffect.blogspot.com/2009/10/tonnies.html Loren Coleman's blog has many other fascinating articles in it also for people interested in all sorts of different subjects.



11 comments:

Michael said...

Hi Devin, I always loved Gryphons too! I was watching a Freeman Fly video (about as woohoo as you can get - Obama is a cloned mummy, UFO's, Sirius, etc.) and he brought up how important gold is to the elites, and how it was originally mined for the aliens, who used it to bend space/time, like the Spice of Dune, or something like that ;-) Anyway, Freeman would probably say that Gryphons were some alien bio-engineered guards of the gold! OK, beam me up after that one! Hope you are well and all the best to you.

Michael

Autumnforest said...

Great subject! I was just watching a show on TV about mythical creatures and they did minotaurs (love that story). I remember as a kid, I was horrified of gryphons because my older sister (who did this kind of thing all the time) told me that if I used a swear word outside, one would swoop down and grab me. Mind you, this is the sister who told me not to look into the back of the TV set or I'd scare away the people on the TV shows and they'd never come back to our set again and also told me that gypsies would steal me if I didn't finish my supper. Yeah, one of those sisters--a 60s hippie whose favorite color was "clear."
I'm digging this series--I wish you'd do more on other mythical creatures!

foam said...

kewl...
I like gryphons ..
looking forward to more ..
:)

Anadæ Effro said...

Wonderful, Devin, just wonderful! The gryphon! I love those guys! Also? You MUST make this the beginning of a "fabulous animals" series, the original name for mythical beasts of yore. Of course, shamanka DJ Conway has a book, "Magickal, Mythical, Mystical Beasts: How To Invite Them Into Your Life", if you're looking for contact.

Thanks for mentioning Mac Torries again. What a SAD loss to "our" realm of thinking. Bet it was an assassination. he was really on to something. Witness his "The Cryptoterrestrials", to come out next year from Anomalist Books.Remain in Light, my brother, & be ye thrice blest.

From Virginia somewhere,
Anadæ Effro (•8-D}

Devin said...

Michael so glad you could stop by!! Freeman Fly-that really sounds like something -Obama a cloned mummy-haha does the mummy come equipped with a TelePrompTer:-) I did enjoy the Dune series very much and will have to look into that-all the best to you also my friend and Var!-I hope to get caught up on your blog today!!

Autumnforest thanks as always for stopping by and commenting!! I would actually love to do more on other mythical creatures -especially dragons, the garuda, minotaurs, etc elves too altho we gno they aren't really mythical!! I will try to find other books at the library and stuff I have here to see if I can get anything together-it might take me awhile to get stuff ready but I am definitely interested-all the best to you my friend!!

Devin said...

foam I hope you will enjoy this series and I am glad you like gryphons also!! thanks so much for stopping by and commenting I really appreciate it!!

Anadae that is kind of what i would like to do also in line with Autumnforests thinking if I can just find the right material to work from -I am also very saddened by the death of Mac Tonnies and will be looking for any kind of news about him-thanks for the heads up with the Coleman article!!
a "john shirley" commented at Loren's site about how Tonnies had been very depressed of late and that he knew him-I was wondering if this is the same John Shirley that i know and love as a horror writer (of Lovecraftian bent!)I clicked on the name but it didn't go to a blog or anything-all the best to you my friend!!

Devin said...

thanks for yet another link also my friend!!

Justin Russell said...

Gryphons = Übercool.

Devin said...

Justin thanks so very much for stopping by!!! Man what time is it in your part of the world? I think you are kind of a night owl as i am -although its more insomnia or shitty neighbooors that cause it for me anymore -definitely nothing fun !! so great to hear from you and i can't wait to read your next article !! that last one was splendiferous !! I agree about the Gryphons -I can't decide which i like better between them and Dragons -but they are at the top of my most favorite monster list!!all the best to you my friend!!!

Justin Russell said...

What time is it here? Late! lol. I've just finished doing an extremely problematic reinstallation of the operating system on my PC. Spent most of yesterday doing it, then it turns out the installation was corrupt. Then had more fun redoing it all today. Aren't computers great? They're meant to be a convenience but they end up taking more time than they're worth, seemingly!
I should have my next article up by the end of this week. Hopefully. These days I find no rush to put posts out. Yay!

Best to you Devin.

Devin said...

O man Justin I am so sorry for your puter troubles!! If I ever have puter probs that need a brain to fix i am finished haha-i dont know if you saw my blog during the two days i had effed up the layout-the name of the blog, links, news thingy, bloglist-all of that was on the bottom of the last post on the page!!
took me that long to just figure that out and i needed help to do it-i was lucky that i could just delete a post and have it return to normal -otherwise i woulda had to go into HTML code and prob woulda accidentally deleted the whole blog!!
Your articles are definitely worth waiting for so no rush there - i really did think the last one was a 12 on a 1 to 10 scale!!
I was going to try to do all of this special type stuff as i am going into one year of blogging on the 16th but just dont have the energy to do it -i am like you -i dont feel rushed at all anymore to post -i have messed up so much when i have rushed and never remember to go back and change things!!
all the best in the world to you my friend and i hope your puter troubles are over and that you can get some sleep now!!