Welcome to the latest in our on-going column, ev0king the Question. Here, we invite regular ev0ke contributors and guests to share their thoughts on a particular question. Sometimes, it will be silly. Sometimes, it will be serious. Sometimes, a little bit of both.
Below, find this month’s question, and answers from Pagans and polytheists from a variety of backgrounds and traditions. Do you have thoughts of your own? If so, please feel free to share them below.
The Question: Fantastical animals populate world mythology, often interacting with Gods, Goddesses, and heroes alike. What are your favorite mythical animals, and why?
Laurelei Black is a folkloric Witch and priestess of Aphrodite. Connect with her work via linktr.ee/laureleiblack.
I have two favorites, although I have worked with many mythical creatures with whom I feel a bond. But for me, Unicorns and Dragons are my ultimate favorites — having found a secure place in my psyche from a very young age.
I was one of those Unicorn-girls in the 1980’s. There were posters on my wall, every imaginable figurine, a porcelain music box, a pewter jewelry set given to me by my grandparents (which I still have and keep on my Ancestor altar), and a painted and engraved sign with my name (which I also still have and keep on my working altar) — all adorned with Unicorns. I never gave up my love for Unicorns, although I did stop collecting figurines and such. (I have a third Unicorn piece that sits on my altar — a framed print of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry.)
Unicorns represent joy, freedom, mysticism, and spirituality — among other ideals like purity and health. They are one of the embodiments of the Mysteries, and are a guardian thereof. Only those with pure hearts can approach.
They also represent what I think might best be called “spiritual beauty.” They are physically beautiful, of course, but they shine with an inner “something” that we recognize as beautiful on a deeper level.
I went straight from being drawn to Unicorns as a child and young teen to being captivated by Dragons as an older teen — purchasing the first of the figurines I would collect in what was really a magical act to embolden myself and give a bulwark to my tenacity.
The coven where I studied and trained as a Witch before “hiving-off” was deeply connected to Dragons and other mythical creatures. In fact, the tradition was called “Clan of the Laughing Dragon,” and the Dragons were spiritual Allies with whom we worked very closely.
They are also connected with the Mysteries — carrying their own keys to unlock spiritual Truth, and having their own means of defending that Truth. They are intensely magical, fierce, loyal, and clever. They also have a rapier-sharp wit, and a wicked sense of humor.
Over the years, even after having left the Laughing Dragon tradition of Craft, I find that I am often drawn to folks with Dragon-energy, who are Dragon-kin, or who have Dragon as an Ally in the spiritual realm.
Rebecca Buchanan is a regular contributor to ev0ke, and (most recently) the author of The Secret of the Sunken Temple and Not a Princess, But (Yes) There Was a Pea and Other Fairy Tales to Foment Revolution.
Sorry to say, but picking a single favorite mythical creature is pretty much impossible. As a little girl, I was particularly fond of alicorns (winged unicorns, or horned Pegasi, whichever way you want to look at it). As I got older, my focus shifted to mermaids; and then to talking foxes; and gryphons; and so on. At the moment, my favorites are winged cats, sometimes called pegicats. I think it’s the combination of cuddly, curious, clever, and free-spirited. I’m not sure how long this interest will last. And I wonder what my favorite will be next?
Ashley Nicole Hunter is the founder of, and a regular contributor to, ev0ke.
Dragons have consistently been my favorite mythological creature, in part because aside from some key features (larger-than-life reptilian nature, fangs, wings, supreme power) they vary so much. But no matter how much their features may differ, one look at this creature across any culture or time and you know: this is a DRAGON.
My favorite dragons were the clever folk of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles and, later, Jeremy Thatcher: Dragon Hatcher. For all that they were depicted as fierce and dependable guardians in old stories, they increasingly came to represent all that we had lost when humans had ascended, and all we longed to reclaim.
I view them now as symbols of reenchantment and rewilding, of throwing off our self-imposed burden of “superiority” to once more marvel at the world around us. I hope that one day we can discover that we don’t know all there is to know, we have not yet climbed every mountain, and that there are still places where maps might read “here be dragons.”