Folklore & Myth Thursday Week 7 – G


The red garnet is the best known of the garnets and has a similar colour to venous blood (Nazedar, 2010:351). The garnet has also long been associated with blood and “is said to be efficacious in treating bleeding wounds, blood disease, and hemorrhages” (Nazedar, 2010:351). As it was believed to be able to stanch bleeding, it was used as a talisman by some and set into sword hilts and shields (Nazedar, 2010:351).

“A very tough stone, the garnet is one of the twelve stones which were set into the breastplate of the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem” (Nazedar, 2010:351). Nazedar (2010:351) also adds that garnets may be used as a healing stone to regenerate body and spirit and treat melancholia.

Garnets are also associated with the Aquarius zodiac sign, the month of January, and the Root Chakra or Muladhara (Nazedar, 2010:352).


In Taoism the gourd is a symbol of good health. “One of the eight Taoist Immortals, Li Tie Guai, had the gourd as his personal emblem, and because he was able to ‘escape’ from his body, it became symbolic of release from the material world” (Nazedar, 2010:295). Gourds are also sometimes seen as emblematic of “the body as the container of the soul” (Nazedar, 2010:295).



Garuda Vishnu Laxmi.jpg
By Unknown artist from Bundi, Rajasthan, India – From LACMA [1] Gift of Jane Greenough Green in memory of Edward Pelton Green (AC1999.127.32), Public Domain, Link
Part of the Hindu pantheon. The Garuda is a mythological bird that acts as the steed of the god Vishnu. “Garuda is described as a ‘golden-winged sun bird’ and shares aspects of its appearance, as well as symbolic meaning, with the eagle, simurgh and the phoenix” (Nazedar, 2010:259). Garuda is often pictured with a snake in its talons “symbolic of the struggle between the heaven and the earth (spirit and matter) and also between fire and water…” (Nazedar, 2010:259).



“A Grindylow is a pale green water demon that lives in the weed beds at the bottom of lakes in Britain… the creature is described as humanoid in shape, with long arms, long, brittle fingers, sharp little horns, and small green teeth” (Rosen, 2008:140). They are said to grab small children who venture too close to the water and eat them.


“In Jewish folklore, a Golem is an animated artificial man. The word ‘golem’ comes from the Hebrew word gelem which means ‘raw material’” (Rosen, 2008:203). Golems are made from clay with the word Emet (truth) written on its forehead or placed in its mouth (Rosen, 208:203). A golem could be “deactivated by erasing the first letter to form the word Met (death)” (Rosen, 208:203).


Nazedar, A. 2010. An Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs. London: Harper Collins Publishers.

Rosen, B. 2008. The Mythical Creatures Bible. London: Sterling Publishing.

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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