The whole of Neolithic Europe, to judge from surviving artefacts and myths, had a remarkably homogenous system of religious ideas, based on worship of the many-titled Mother-goddess, who was also known in Syria and Libya.
Ancient Europe had no gods. The Great Goddess was regarded as immortal, changeless, and omnipotent; and the concept of fatherhood had not been introduced into religious thought. She took lovers, but for pleasure, not to provide her children with a father. Men feared, adored, and obeyed the matriarch; the hearth which she tended in a cave or hut being their earliest social centre, and motherhood their prime mystery. Thus the first victim of a Greek public sacrifice was always offered to Hestia of the Hearth. […] Not only the moon, but (to judge from Hemera of Greece and Grairme of Ireland) the sun, were the goddess’s celestial symbols. In earlier Greek myth, however, the sun yields precedence to the moon — which inspires the greater superstitious fear, does not grow dimmer as the year wanes, and is credited with the power to grant or deny water to the fields.
The moon’s three phases of new, full and old, recalled the matriarch’s three phases of maiden, nymph (nubile woman) and crone. Then, since the sun’s annual course similarly recalled the rise and decline of her physical powers — spring a maiden, summer a nymph, winter a crone — the goddess became identified with seasonal changes in animal and plant life; and thus with Mother Earth who, at the beginning of the vegetative year, produces only leaves and buds, then flowers and fruits, and at last ceases to bear. She could later be conceived as yet another triad: the maiden of the upper air, the nymph of the earth or sea, the crone of the Underworld — typified respectively by Selene, Aphrodite and Hecate.
© Robert Graves, ‘The Greek Myths’, pg.11 (Complete Edition, 1955, revised 1960)
'Chimerical' is an adjectival form of the noun chimaera, meaning 'she-goat'. Four thousand years ago the Chimaera can have seemed no more bizarre than any religious, heraldic, or commercial emblem does today. She was a formal composite beast with (as Homer records) a lion's head, a goat's body,…
Whenever there is an oil spill in the world’s oceans, a sea slick is “born”. Countless animals lose their lives to the thick, clinging clutches of oil, dying miserable, wretchedly drawn-out deaths. Sea slicks are born of the lost souls of those animals and the sludge that bound and choked the life from them. As such, sea slicks are always referred to as “they” and “them” rather than “it”, and it’s said that if you chance upon a sea slick near the surface, their soft, melancholy vocalisations carry the haunting remnants of sea birds and the whispers of shoals of fish.
Despite their fearsome appearances, they are very much docile creatures, preferring to near-constantly swim through the depths and the quiet of the sea they were robbed from. Sea slicks are amortal, being unable to die, as they were never truly what we would call “alive” to begin with. Over time, however, sea slicks do disintegrate, usually over the span of several years, losing pieces of semi-sentient oil to the surface waters.
Ambitious wixes track sea slicks to gather these pieces, as they make especially valuable, durable invisibility cloaks capable of protecting wearers from even the deadliest of spells.
I love this! Modern, industrial fantasy creatures. Wow, so cool!
"Everyone thinks of [fairy tales] in terms of poisoned apples and glass coffins, and forgets that they represent girls who walked into dark forests and remade them into their own reflections."-Seanan McGuire, “Indexing” (via owls-love-tea)
Eugene Delacroix. Illustration for a poem by Johann Goethe “Faust”. Mephistopheles. Lithography
Boleslaw Biegas with fantastically bizarre vampire themed paintings. Where the traditional depictions of vampires portray humanoid bat like creatures, Biegas carried through a wild bestiary of interpretations… insect vampires, winged camel vampires, elephant vampires, and so on.
Weird shit, eh?
See more Biegas artwork at this site.