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In many modern traditions, animal symbolisms are incorporated into magical belief and practice. Read on to learn some of the ways people have welcomed animals into their magical practice throughout the ages, as well as specific animals and their folklore and legends.
Spring is the season of new life, and as the ground warms, one of the first changes in the animal kingdom is the emerging of the serpent. While a lot of people are afraid of snakes, it's important to remember that in many cultures, serpent mythology is strongly tied to the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
The crow and raven appear in folklore going back to early times. Sometimes, they're seen as harbingers of doom, but more often than not, they are seen as messengers. In Celtic mythology, the warrior goddess known as the Morrighan often appears in the form of a crow or raven. Typically, these birds appear in groups of three, and they are seen as a sign that the Morrighan is watching.
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The ancient Egyptians honored cats of every colour. Cats were mighty and strong, and held sacred. Two of the most amazing goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon were Bast and Sekhmet, worshipped long ago in 3000bc. Family cats were adorned with jewellery and fancy collars - if the cat died, the entire family went into mourning and sent the cat off to the next world with a great ceremony. For thousands of years, the cat held a position of divinity in Egypt.
In Celtic mythology, the bee is a messenger between our world and the spirit realm. Bees are also associated with wisdom.
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Epona was a goddess of horses honored by the Celtic tribe known as Gauls. The Festival of Epona was a time when worshippers paid tribute to horses, erecting shrines and altars in their stables.
In Scotland, the goddess known as Cailleach is often associated with wolf folklore. She is an old woman who brings destruction and winter with her and rules the dark half of the year. She is portrayed riding a speeding wolf, bearing a wand. In addition to her role as destroyer, she is also depicted as a protector of wild things