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31 votes
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Why did Egyptian Gods have animal heads?

Egyptian gods were often depicted in therianthrophic – part human, part animal form, to depict the personality of that particular god/ess in a symbolic way. For example, Sekhmet, goddess of ferocious ...
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27 votes
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Why are goats associated with Satan?

Several reasons The reasons for the associations of goats with Satan vary. Some are quite ancient, while others are of more recent vintage. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats Sheep are loyal. They ...
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22 votes
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Why are cats so important in Ancient Egypt?

Their association with Bastet coupled with their general usefulness in day to day life is the reason they were treated as they were Bastet was the goddess of more than just cats, she was also the ...
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19 votes

Why did Egyptian Gods have animal heads?

It's mentioned in the Coffin Texts that only the dead can know the true forms of the gods. (Erik Hornung- Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt.) "None of these images shows the true form of a god, and ...
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15 votes

Why are goats associated with Satan?

You can at least find 2 main reasons: Goat gods are pretty old beliefs. You find them in almost every cultures spreading everywhere. Celts have Cernunnos. In norse myth you have Tanngrisnir and ...
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11 votes

What was the role of the bear in Norse mythology? (Are there bears in Asgard?)

You raise a really good point. It is strange that there are no bears in Norse myth. The wolf seems to have really engaged them, perhaps because of the duality of wolf/dog, tame and wild, while the ...
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  • 5,818
9 votes

What was the role of the bear in Norse mythology? (Are there bears in Asgard?)

Bears do not feature much in Norse mythology, at least when it comes to the stories involving the gods. The one story I can think of which even mentions them is how Gleipnir, the chain that fettered ...
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8 votes
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Why are cows sacred in India?

As you say, cows are sacred and respected in India. Indeed, a cow is often referred to as Go-Mata, meaning Cow-Mother. There are a pretty high number of reasons why the cow is so sacred. When ...
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8 votes

Why are cows sacred in India?

Very good question! In the ancient vedic texts and in Srimad Bhagavatam (composed about 5000 years ago) in particular, there is a mention of the 7 mothers for a human being who are as follows: (1) ...
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  • 171
7 votes

Why are cows sacred in India?

I would like to add a point. Surely, as answered by Malay, there are many references to different forms of cows playing a major role in various pastimes. However, along with those references and the ...
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  • 171
7 votes
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Is there a myth that dolphins were humans who chose to return to the sea?

In Ovid's Metamorphoses, book III, there is of course the story of the Tyrrhenian pirates that Bacchus turn into dolphins, but it's against their will, and as a punishment for betraying him. Here is ...
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  • 3,519
6 votes

Where does the idea of counting crows come from?

I did some quick searching and found this page recounting a British nursery rhyme, with the oldest version accounted to be: One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral And four for ...
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6 votes

What animals were represented in gods in ancient Egypt?

Animals representations are quite common in Egyptian mythology. Here is a partial list of Ancient Egyptian deities with animal associations and attributes: Lion: Aker Pat Remler: Egyptian Mythology,...
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6 votes
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Are there tales where people are turned into rats?

There are certainly tales where humans are turned into rats. The Aarne-Thompson motif index, which categorizes fairytale tropes, includes one for “Transformation: man to rodent” (with the identifying ...
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  • 453
5 votes

What animal did Demeter transform into?

I can't find anything on Demeter at present. Wikipedia seems to be drawing from the Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis, which has no mention of additional divine transformations: Apollo became a ...
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5 votes

Origin of "horses that instinctively open a vein with their teeth in order to breathe more freely"

Here is the original Goethe text: http://www.deutschestextarchiv.de/book/view/goethe_werther02_1774?p=24 Man erzaͤhlt von einer edlen Art Pferde, die, wenn ſie ſchroͤklich erhizt und aufgejagt ſind,...
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5 votes

Is there a myth that dolphins were humans who chose to return to the sea?

Are there any myths or stories about dolphins being humans who chose to return to the sea? I've long suspected that dolphins are the real subjects of Mermaid mythology. And I wouldn't be surprised to ...
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  • 426
5 votes
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Are there any deities or mythological beasts inspired by snow leopards?

There is a collection of snow leopard myths on the Snow Leopard Conservancy website: Nepalese Myths Surrounding Snow Leopards (1) Nepalese Myths Surrounding Snow Leopards (2) Tibetan Myths ...
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5 votes

Trying to find a hunter myth I was told as a child

There is a Dutch folktale about a hunter who waits for a giant hare. Here is a tentative translation: A hunter once had heard rumors about an extraordinarily large hare, which every night around ...
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5 votes
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What bird species is associated with Pallas Athēnē?

The animal that is commonly associated with Athena is the γλαῦξ (glaux), which is often translated simply as 'owl', but actually refers specifically to the Athene noctua. See for example the γλαῦξ ...
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4 votes
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Why do snake (serpent) and bull often come together as symbols of deities?

This is only a partial and working answer until I can look into Cerunnos, Veles, and Shiva. My first inclination is that this is a case of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. These four gods have ...
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4 votes
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What are some examples of snakes as a source of knowledge in Greek mythology?

Melampus He told his servants to not kill two snakes, and he in turn learned the language of the Animals. When Melampus lived with Neleus, he dwelt outside the town of Pylos, and before his house ...
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4 votes

Why are goats associated with Satan?

Leviticus is mentioned as a source on the scapegoat as noted by @Obie 2.0. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. 10"But the goat on ...
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4 votes
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When did chicken become a synonym of cowardice?

According to this Quora answer on the exact same topic: The primary uses, however, remain those that suggest weakness. Thus the early use to mean a girl or woman, which would become the more recent ...
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4 votes
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Are there any gods or similar beings other than Nemesis that laid eggs?

Yes. A really close fit, fulfilling all of your criteria in one narrative is the origin of a Burmese king called Pyusawhti, who is hatched from a dragon's egg and raised by peasants. Pyusawhti has a ...
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3 votes

Did a pagan cult remove the gallbladder of animals before sacrificing them?

My esteemed brother-in-law just emailed me an answer. He wrote: Shalsheleth Haqabbalah may not be as good as a bona fide dead clock which (assuming it is analog) is exactly correct twice a day, ...
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3 votes

What animal did Demeter transform into?

From the birth myth of Arion, we are told (Pseudo-Apollodorus) that the horse was birthed by Demeter while she was in 'the likeness of a Fury'. We are also told that Despoina is the daughter of ...
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3 votes

Why are cats so important in Ancient Egypt?

Cat's weren't exactly worshiped in Egypt, despite what Herodotus wrote. They were slaughtered by the millions to be mummified and serve as messengers to the gods. It's also interesting to note that ...
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3 votes

Why is the Indian Dragon at war with the Elephant?

According to Indian mythology,the demon Vritra( an indian dragon) representing drought is enemy of Indra (the king of gods and god of rain). Indra rides elephant named Airavata. So elephant ...
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3 votes

Why is the Indian Dragon at war with the Elephant?

This sounds to me like a (very exaggerated) description of Python molurus, the Indian python; they will sometimes climb trees and kill by constriction, but I don't think they've ever been known to eat ...
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