Mythic Beasts and Where to Find Them
We really like legends and myths over here at Sacred Monkey, and to show that we've got our first line of apparel based on Mythical Creatures.
Not very well known outside of it's homeland (Finland), Otso is the collective spirit of all bears.
Otso (that also goes by several other epithets in Finnish) is said to be an ambivalent protector of the forests. A watchful guardian, Otso rarely interacts with humans and instead chooses to stay away from civilization. The beast is further considered to be the spiritual reincarnation of ancestors, close relatives and other loved ones who lost their lives in the forest.
The bear was heavily respected and considered a powerful, mystic beast in Finnish tradition. This probably had to do with the fact that bears have a hibernation period during which they aren't sighted at all.
Living so close to wild nature and in particular the brown bear, Finns had to some large extent live their lives around these creatures, making the bear an important aspect of the culture.
Also known as the nine-tailed fox, this mythic beast hails from Japan. Well depicted in tons of media over the decades, this is one of the more well known mythic beasts.
Kitsune (or quite literally the fox in Japanese) is often depicted as a malevolent (nogitsune) or benevolent (myobu) being. There are many varying legends about these creatures but the most common one involves them taking a human form and affecting the people they come into contact with. The only way to identify a kitsune, in these tales, is by looking for their tail. Which a Kitsune would take the utmost care to hide.
Just like the bear above, foxes and people lived very close to each other in ancient Japan and were heavily respected and considered with awe.
The earliest myths regarding the Kitsune probably came over the sea from China, where legends tell of the Huli Jin, a fox that seduces men.
Anpu is better known by his greek epitaph, Anubis. This Jackal headed god was one of the earliest gods worshiped by an ancient civilization.
Anubis is the god of embalming and decay. Most commonly represented as a guide for people into the afterlife, he employed an important place in the culture of Ancient Egypt. Apart from that his role usually changed based on the context he was in. safe to say, no procession in Ancient Egypt would be complete without Anubis at the head.
A jackal was most likely chosen as the form of Anubis because they would roam around cemeteries and dig the graves at night. Hence the abstraction of them as guardians of bodies into the afterlife. The color black was chosen, possibly because embalmed bodies are black.
Curiously enough, there exists no temples to the jackal headed god in Egypt. Or at least none that archaeologists have found yet.