44 Days of Witchery- Day 9: A favourite mythological animal.

                            

This one was an easy choice for me, not only am I a fire sign, but my natural element is Fire as well! So, of course, My choice for my favorite mythological animal is the Salamander. 

History: (From wiki) Of all the traits ascribed to salamanders, the ones relating to fire have stood out most prominently in salamander lore. This connection probably originates from a behavior common to many species of salamander: hibernating in and under rotting logs. When wood was brought indoors and put on the fire, the creatures “mysteriously” appeared from the flames. The 16th-century Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571) famously recalled witnessing just such an appearance as a child in his autobiography.[10] According to some writers, the milky substance that a salamander exudes when frightened and which makes its skin very moist gave rise to the idea that the salamander could withstand any heat and even put out fires.

The salamander is mentioned in the Talmud (Hagiga 27a) as a creature that is a product of fire, and anyone who is smeared with its blood will be immune to harm from fire. Rashi (1040–1105), the primary commentator on the Talmud, describes the salamander as one which is produced by burning a fire in the same place for seven years. According to Sahih Bukhari (810–870), Muhammad said that salamanders are “mischief-doers” and “should be killed”.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) wrote the following on the salamander: “This has no digestive organs, and gets no food but from the fire, in which it constantly renews its scaly skin. The salamander, which renews its scaly skin in the fire,—for virtue.” Later, Paracelsus (1493–1541) suggested that the salamander was the elemental of fire, which has had substantial influence on the role of salamanders in the occult.

Early travelers to China were shown garments supposedly woven from salamander hair or wool; the cloth was completely unharmed by fire. The garments had actually been woven from asbestos. According to T. H. White, Prester John had a robe made from it; the “Emperor of India” possessed a suit made from a thousand skins; and Pope Alexander III had a tunic which he valued highly. William Caxton (1481) wrote: “This Salemandre berithe wulle, of which is made cloth and gyrdles that may not brenne in the fyre.” Holme (1688) wrote: “…I have several times put [salamander hair] in the Fire and made it red hot and after taken it out, which being cold, yet remained perfect wool.”

An alternative interpretation was that this material was a kind of silk: A 12th-century letter supposedly from Prester John says, “Our realm yields the worm known as the salamander. Salamanders live in fire and make cocoons, which our court ladies spin and use to weave cloth and garments. To wash and clean these fabrics, they throw them into flames.” Friar also notes that Marco Polo believed that the “true” salamander was an incombustible substance found in the earth.

     

 The Significance of its Name: Salamander comes from the Persian words sām, “fire” and andarū, “within.” Throughout history, salamanders have been associated with the fire element. It was often believed that salamanders were born from fire (probably because the living Fire Salamander, Salamandra salamandra, commonly hibernates in logs and would run out of them when thrown onto a fire, thus appearing to be born from it).

Astrological associations: The three astrological signs of this elemental are Leo (July 23-Aug. 22), Aries (Mar. 21-Apr.19), and Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21).

Metals: Iron and Gold are metals associated with the element of fire.

Herbs/Plants: Garlic, hibiscus, onion, pepper, nettle, mustard, and flowering Almond trees are plants corresponding to fire.

Planets/Astronomical Bodies: The Sun, Mars, and Jupiter are planets corresponding to the fire element.

Season: Summer

Jewel: Fire Opal

Direction: South

Chakra: Manipura (the Solar Plexus chakra)

Qabalah Associations: Geburah is the fifth sphere of the Qabalah Tree of Life. It stands for strength. Netzach is the seventh sphere, and it stands for victory. Both are associated with the element of fire.

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