Beings of Legend Lore and Myth

A bestiary, or Bestiarum vocabulum is a compendium of beasts. Bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals, birds and even rocks.

Location: In the stories of past lore myth and tales of old
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Latest Activity: Feb 11, 2014

The natural history and illustration of each beast was usually accompanied by a moral lesson. This reflected the belief that the world itself was the Word of God, and that every living thing had its own special meaning. For example, the pelican, which was believed to tear open its breast to bring its young to life with its own blood, was a living representation of Jesus. The bestiary, then, is also a reference to the symbolic language of animals in Western Christian art and literature.

Bestiaries were particularly popular in England and France around the 12th century and were mainly compilations of earlier texts. The earliest bestiary in the form in which it was later popularized was an anonymous 2nd century Greek volume called the Physiologus, which itself summarized ancient knowledge and wisdom about animals in the writings of classical authors such as Aristotle's Historia Animalium and various works by Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, Solinus, Aelian and other naturalists.

Following the Physiologus, Saint Isidore of Seville (Book XII of the Etymologiae) and Saint Ambrose expanded the religious message with reference to passages from the Bible and the Septuagint. They and other authors freely expanded or modified pre-existing models, constantly refining the moral content without interest or access to much more detail regarding the factual content. Nevertheless, the often fanciful accounts of these beasts were widely read and generally believed to be true. A few observations found in bestiaries, such as the migration of birds, were discounted by the natural philosophers of later centuries, only to be rediscovered in the modern scientific era.

Two illuminated Psalters, the Queen Mary Psalter (British Library Ms. Royal 2B, vii) and the Isabelle Psalter (State Library, Munich), contain full Bestiary cycles. That in the Queen Mary Psalter is in the "marginal" decorations that occupy about the bottom quarter of the page, and are unusually extensive and coherent in this work. In fact the bestiary has been expanded beyond the source in the Norman bestiary of Guillaume le Clerc to ninety animals. Some are placed in the text to make correspondences with the psalm they are illustrating. [1]

The Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci also made his own bestiary.

The Aberdeen Bestiary is one of the best known of over 50 manuscript bestiaries surviving today.

Mediaeval bestiaries are remarkably similar in sequence of the animals of which they treat.

In modern times, artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Saul Steinberg have produced their own bestiaries. Jorge Luis Borges wrote a contemporary bestiary of sorts, the Book of Imaginary Beings, which collects imaginary beasts from bestiaries and fiction. Nicholas Christopher wrote a literary novel called "The Bestiary" (Dial, 2007) that describes a lonely young man's efforts to track down the world's most complete bestiary. Writers of Fantasy fiction draw heavily from the fanciful beasts described in mythology, fairy tales, and bestiaries. The "worlds" created in Fantasy fiction can be said to have their own bestiaries. Similarly, authors of fantasy role-playing games sometimes compile bestiaries as references, such as the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons. It is not uncommon for video games with a large variety of enemies (especially RPGs) to include a bestiary of sorts. This usually takes the form of a list of enemies and a short description (e.g. the Metroid Prime and Castlevania games, as well as Dark Cloud and Final Fantasy).

Some mythical creatures, such as the dragon and griffin, have their origin in traditional mythology and have been believed to be real creatures. Others were based on real baby creatures, originating in garbled accounts of travelers' tales; such as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which supposedly grew tethered to the earth (and was actually a type of fern)[1]. Examples of the legendary creatures can be found in medieval bestiaries.

Conversely, some creatures downplayed as just storytelling, have been rediscovered and found to be real in recent books, such as the giant squid (the Kraken). In Africa, Natives of the Congo told European visitors of an animal that looked like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe. While the visitors assumed the stories were just folk tales, in 1901, Sir Harry Johnston brought back pelts that proved the creature, which we now call the okapi, was real.

Often mythical creatures are hybrids, a combination of two or more animals. For example, a centaur is a combination of a man and horse, a minotaur of a man and bull, and the mermaid, half woman and half fish. These were not always intended to be understood as literal juxtapositions of parts from disparate species. Lacking a common morphological vocabulary, classical and medieval scholars and travelers would attempt to describe unusual animals by comparing them point-for-point with familiar: the giraffe, for example, was called camelopard, and thought of as a creature half-camel, and half-leopard. The leopard itself was so named as it was historically believed to be a half-lion (Latin: "leo") and half-panther (Latin: "pardus"). This etymology has been kept until the present day, despite its zoological inaccuracies.

Many legendary creatures appear prominently in fantasy fiction. These creatures are often claimed to have supernatural powers or knowledge or to guard some object of great value, which becomes critical to the plot of the story in which it is found. Dragons, for instance, are commonly depicted as perched on a gleaming hoard of gold which becomes the target of adventurers.

Other legendary creatures are thought to exist even today, including chupacabras, Bigfoot, Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil, Mothman, Yowie, Yeren, Pukwudgie, and even space aliens. These are called cryptids by cryptozoologists.

Throughout history legendary creatures have been incorporated into heraldry and architectural decoration. Legendary creatures have also been accepted into many facets of popular culture, most notably in fantasy role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons or Everquest, video games, and Hollywood movies.

Discussion Forum

RAVEN FOLKLORE by Rev. Carol A. Ingle (Raven) 2 Replies

RAVEN FOLKLOREThey slept until the black raven,the blithe heartedproclaimed the joy of heaven- BeowulfNative AmericanAccording to Jamie Sams and David Carson, in their excellent book Medicine Cards (which accompanies a beautiful deck of animal…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 11, 2014.

~ The Crow ~ by Christine Narducci 2 Replies

Here is a different take on what we know of the Crow. Some of which is obviously myth...and some might actually be fact. I had to make a few corrections to this article, but it is not mine in any way. I borrowed this excerpt from:…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 7, 2014.

Hecate, Greek Goddess of The Crossroads by Teths Place 5 Replies

Hecate, Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft -- once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries.…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 1, 2014.

The Goddess Nerthus & the Ancient Franks:

The Goddess Nerthus & the Ancient Franks:(Pictured:Nerthus (1905) by Emil Doepler) During the time of Roman expansion in Europe, the Romans encountered many Germanic tribes on the other side of the Rhine and Danube rivers. The German people…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 1, 2014.

Water Deities

Water DeitiesA water deity is a supernatural being in mythology associated with water or various bodies of water. Water deities are common in mythology. Water deities usually were important among civilizations in which the sea or ocean, or a great…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 31, 2014.

Vampire Graves Unearthed 1 Reply

World News - Construction sites are becoming popular scenes for discoveries of everything from prehistoric mammoth fossils to newly discovered spider species. In following that trend, a recent construction project near Gliwice, Poland uncovered a…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 26, 2014.

Power Animals & Guardians by Michelle Clarke


Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 25, 2014.

Lycanthropy by Dark Reaper 1 Reply

I was just doing a little reading and came across this. It just amazes me what some people will believe sometimes. The blind and misled are only out numbered by the things they choose to believe it seems. LycanthropyLycanthropy is the transformation…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 25, 2014.

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on April 2, 2010 at 1:14pm
A Brief Outline of the Elementals
(Creatures of the Elements)

By: Keitha (FireWind)


Chiefly ruled by the Gnomes. These exist in a plane that is very close to the vibration level of the Earth.

Different Types: Gnomes, dryads, hamadryads, elves, satyrs, pans,
brownies, sylvestres, goblins, and tree spirits.

Area of Work: Tend to work with rocks, stones, gems, metals, minerals,
and plants. In humans and other animals, they tend to work with the bones.

Ruled by: Gob; hence, Goblins.

Appearance: Most earth elementals are generally small. Some are short
and stocky (ever seen the Hobbit? :) tree spirits tend to look like the plant
in which they live. Sometimes it is said that the spirits of poisonous plants
are frightening to look at.

Personality: Most are slow to trust, but devoted when trust is won.
Never betray an earth elemental, however; since they can be vengeful and
formidable enemies. It is said that some like to eat a lot, and like to collect
things. Sometimes they guard treasures (like the pot of gold).

Society: Sometimes the gnomes live in groups, and have families,
society, culture and government; female gnomes are called gnomides. Hamadryads
live in the plants that they take care of, and their bodies look like their
host plant; these are also known as tree spirits. Satyrs and pans tend to live
in the forests.

Astrological Associations: The elementals of Earth are associated with
Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo.


Chiefly Ruled by the Sylphs. The element of air has the highest rate of vibration.

Different Types: Sylphs, Fairies,

Area of Work: They form snowflakes, and cast the winds. They also work
with the undines to make clouds. Sometimes it is said that they cause dreams,
and prophesies. In the human body and other creatures,the Sylphs work with the
gasses, and the nervous system.

Ruled By: Paralda.

Appearance: They appear as very airy spirits, and some of them have
wings. Fairies are said to be very beautiful, active, and very benevolent.

Personality: They have great intelligence, and see the true natures of
things. They change their mind quickly, and are generally very happy. Sometimes
you can see the evidence of their dances in the grass in the mornings.

Society: They tend to live a very long time, and don't have any kind of
sickness of disease. They like to live on the tops of mountains, and their
ruler lives on the top of the highest mountain in the world. They don't like to
stay in one place very long, however, and tend to wander around a lot.

Astrological Associations: Most closely associated with Gemini, Libra,
and Aquarius.


Chiefly ruled by the Salamanders. These are the most powerful elementals of all.

Different Types: Salamanders, Acthnici.

Areas of work: Without the Salamanders, it is impossible to make a fire.
In the human body and other creatures, they tend to work with the emotions, the
liver, the blood stream, and they help to regulate body heat.

Ruled by: Djin.

Appearance: They appear as the ball of light in the center of a flame.
Other people said that they looked lizard-like; appearing in the flames.
Sometimes the acthnici appeared in the masts of ships as balls of flame; this
was called St.Elmo's Fire.

Personality: Nobody really knows for sure, since it is almost impossible
to communicate with them. Probably they are passionate, quick to anger, and
highly energetic. They do tend to be most attracted to people with passionate
natures, or quick tempers.

Society: Not known.

Astrological Associations: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.


Chiefly ruled by the Undines.

Different Types: Undines, Water sprites, mermaids, limoniades, oreades,
naiades, nereides, potamides, sea nymphs, and perhaps the Lady of the Lake.

Areas of work: They cause the ocean waves and help the tides. Some guard
streams, lakes, and fountains. It is said that every streamlet and fountain has
a guardian spirit. They also have the job of bringing beauty to the world. They
love flowers very much, and also work to protect them. In the human body and
other creatures, the Undines work with the fluids.

Ruled by: Necksa.

Appearance: They are usually described as being very beautiful. They are
most graceful of all the elementals; usually they are depicted as being female.

Personality: Their names usually derive from the body of water which
they guard. Sometimes they take on human form and interact with humans.They
tend to be very emotional and graceful, and benevolant.

Society: They usually live in their chosen source of water. They
sometimes live in coral reefs and caves under the ocean. Some live in

Astrological Associations: Most closely associated with Cancer, Scorpio,
and Pisces.

Copyright Info: All articles by Keitha may be copied, posted, printed, distributed, reprinted, and linked to as long as the text is not changed, money is not earned, full credit is given to Keitha at, and
this notice is attached.

For all other uses, please contact me

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 2005 2006 Keitha.
All Other Rights Reserved.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 31, 2010 at 9:09pm
BRUXSA being is of portuguese legend. This shapeshifter combines both aspects of the werewolf and vampire. While not really either creature, it has the savagry and ferocity of the werewolf combined with the careful bloodletting of the vampire. Usually created from evil witchcraft when a woman invokes a demon, the Bruxsa takes on an appearence of a bird like creature. This is usually done as a ritual of revenge or as a cult decision once the Bruxsa completes its mission it goes home where it feeds on the blood of family members, who are its slaves. Especially children.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 31, 2010 at 9:08pm
In Japan, the 'werefox' is known as kitsune. Although they can be both male or female, in most legends they are beautiful women. They are known for being superb illusionists, especially in regard to their houses. Most kitsune houses look like regular fox dens on the outside, holes in the ground or whatnot, but inside they are beautiful palaces. Most kitsune are 'bad' meaning they do not have humanity's best interests at heart, and will try to trick you, though if you aid them, they are honor bound to give you a gift. Some kitsune, however, are messengers and servants of the deity Inari, the god/dess of rice in Japan whose gender isn't exactly clear. These foxes are often pictured as white, with two, five or nine tails. The number of tails is a sort of karmic marker, denoting how spiritually advanced said kitsune is. Kitsune can lose tails by doing evil deeds, which is why bad ones usually only have one tail. Nine-tailed foxes are the highest of the high, so to speak and they are rumored to live for a thousand years, or forever, depending on the source. In some stories, kitsune are elemental in nature, with some being wind kistune, and some being thunder kitsune etc. but in most older legends, they are all depicted as have 'kitsune-bi' or foxfire.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 31, 2010 at 9:07pm
In northern China there is a tradition of beings that inhabit the netherworld between the material plane and the unseen demensions. In their human forms they are very attractive people, hoever they are betrayed by their tails. They can mate with humans, however in this culture to do so would make that human a slave. Werefoxes change shape within sleep or when they drink to much.
In Japan the werefox is much more dangerous and mischevious. The nogitsone is oftentimes a troublemaker and has no remorse for the chaos it causes. In Japan its betrayed by a mirror or a pool of water. Some of them however can stay hidden for a very long time.
While not as physically dangerous and easier to kill then other shifters the werefox is none the less dangerous. Their cunning more than make up for their lack in strength.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 31, 2010 at 9:04pm
Werewolves- Werewolves are arguably the most famous kinds of shapeshifters. They are also known as lycanthropes, which is from the Greek "wolf man." As you probably already know, these are humans that turn into wolves. According to mythology, they change on the night of the full moon into to huge, prenernatually intelligent and bloodthirsty wolves. In some stories they do not not remember what occurs when they have changed. They can only be killed by silver bullets. Lycanthropy is usually contracted from the bite of a werewolf, though in some myths you can drink from a puddle made by a werewolves paw print. Old time werewolf mythology paints lycanthropy as a horrible curse, but many modern interpretations have been more benign. Read Blood and Chocolate for a good modern werewolf story, its much beter than the movie.

Kitsune- Shapeshifting foxes thought to have originated from India, where they are the sworn enemies of the Raksasha, evil tiger shapeshifters that I don't know much about. They migrated through China but have their strongest presence in Japan, where they are associated with the rice deity, Inari. They can be malevolent tricksters, beautiful women, or benevolent pranksters. Giving aid to a kitsune is a sure way to receive a wondrous gift. They are superb illusionists. In Japanese mythology it is said that a kitsune in human form casts the shadow of a fox.

Vampires- Everyone knows that vampires drink blood, but they are shapeshifters too! Although most people remember that vampires turn into bats, in other stories they turn into wolves..or sometimes pigs, which is kinda weird.

Selkies- Slekies are a part of Celtic mythology that is not very well described. They are Seal People that live in the ocean, but sometimes shed their seal skins to come on land. If you can take a Selkie's skin they will do anything for you to get it back. They are said to give wondrous gifts to those who ask, but they always exact a price. They are thought to particularly like music.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on February 24, 2010 at 3:37pm

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on February 24, 2010 at 3:37pm

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on February 24, 2010 at 3:36pm

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on February 24, 2010 at 3:35pm

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on February 24, 2010 at 3:34pm


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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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