Chinese Unicorns: Harbingers of Good Omens

Chinese Unicorns: Harbingers of Good Omens

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Considering that fanciful animals, which the Chinese collectively dub pixiu ( pi hsieh ), typically stem from a real creature, the question must be asked: Were there once horses with horns? Although unicorns feature in worldwide cultures, there is no evidence to support their existence. However, there are deer, which have horns, and sometimes the Chinese portrayal of unicorns, which they call qilin (ch’i-lin) display a deer’s attributes, while others have attributes of multiple animals juxtaposed onto them.

Ceramic figures decorating the Hall of Supreme Harmony at the Imperial Palace Museum. The 10 mystical beasts indicate the highest status in the empire for this building ( CC BY-SA 1.0 )

A Dinosaur?

The previous article Chinese Fantastic Beasts: The Taotie Demon Who Eats Humans , focuses on the creature’s diabolical origin, but the origin of the qilin is not that simple, as the earliest Chinese qilin depictions did not have characteristics of gentle deer. They are most likely chimerical, having attributes of multiple animals juxtaposed onto the same creature, and it is possible that their depictions originated from discovered skeletons. The Chinese were familiar with the triceratops, a dinosaur that appeared during the Maastrichtian stage of the Cretaceous Period. It had three horns on its neck frill, and was therefore called triceratops, which meant ‘three-horned-face’ in Greek, and although the animal became extinct about 66 million years ago, their skeletons were unearthed and artists depicted the animal that they imagined upon seeing its bones. Clay figures date from the Six Dynasties Period (420-617 AD) and they always have irregular horn alignment. This is due to the fact that triceratops’ skulls, when found, were typically crushed flat.

Triceratops horridus skull in the Gallery of Paleontology (French National Museum of Natural History) ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Interestingly, figurines based on triceratops’ skeletons have hooves, indicating that the Chinese perceived the animal as deer-like, hence unicorn-like. Looking at figures from the Japanese Edo Period (1603-1867), the qilin’s combined characteristics (of other creatures) are clearly visible. They have horns, but one is more serpentine or dragon-like, while another is more deer-like.

Large bronze incense burner with qilin shape. This type originated during the Ming Dynasty, when dragon and lion attributes were added to deer-like qilin depictions. Japanese, Edo Period (1603-1867). (From the collection of Walther G. von Krenner)

Feng Shui Corner and Buddha Collection

According to Legends, It is one of 9 sons of a Dragon, which can distinguish between Good and Evil. Pi Xiu is a mythical creature of good fortune. It has the head of a dragon, the body of a tiger, the wings of a phoenix and the tail of a tortoise. These four creatures are the celestial guardian of the four cardinal directions. As such, the Pi Xiu is a creature that harnesses the wealth fetching, wisdom, resilience aspects of the dragon the might, authority aspects of the tiger the grace, fame aspects of the phoenix and the protective, stability aspects of the tortoise in one. The Pi Xiu is believed to have the ability to attract/suck in wealth and fortune and nothing that gathers in its stomach will leak out as it does not have an anus. Traditionally, the Pi Xiu is also believed to be in very good affinity with the Grand Duke (Tai Sui/Jupiter) and as such carrying an amulet of the Pi Xiu is believed to be able to calm the wrath of the latter should anyone comes in conflict with the Grand Duke accidentally or periodically.

As a rule this animal is depicted having a few Horns, Green and Blue Scaly Skin, Hooves of a Deer, the Head of a Dragon and a Bear’s Tail. In some aspects it resembles Western Unicorns. Like the European unicorn, Pi Xiu symbolizes Longevity and Prosperity. It is believed to live for at least 2000 years.

The Chinese believe that it is always Lonely, and Appears only during the reign of an outstanding ruler or when a great sage is born or dies for instance, it was seen shortly before the Birth and Death of Confucius. It can only be seen by the chosen ones. It is considered a harbinger of happiness.

On his back, Pi Xiu may have babies. Legends state that it brings extraordinary children from heaven. Like the stork in the European tradition, in China it brings a long-awaited heir to the happy parents.

It is also mentioned in connection with some important events in the history of China. For instance, five thousand years ago one Chinese emperor was sitting on the shore near the Yellow River, when he saw Pi Xiu. The dirty water of the river turned crystal clear green. Pi Xiu stood before the emperor, stomped on a rock three times, and spoke to the emperor in a voice similar to a temple bell. When Pi Xiu turned to leave, the emperor saw magic signs on his back, and copied them. According to legends, this is how the first written language appeared in China.

The mention of this mythical animal goes back to the days of Confucius. Back then, it had a more peaceful appearance. When walking, it did not cause any harm even to insects. When stepping on the grass it did not crush it. It fed on magic grasses. It could walk on water and fly. Carved on gravestones, it would protect from evil spirits, as well as accompany the dead to heaven. However, over time it changed its appearance and symbolism – once a symbol of peace and gentleness, it also acquired the features of power and strength.

In Feng Shui, Pi Xiu symbolizes Long Life, Celebration, Magnificence, Joy, Wisdom, and Famous Children. It is a Gentle, Kind, and Benevolent Creature. It carries a mystical good omen. This feng shui is believed to help facilitate the success of children. Pi Xiu’s images or statues can help women who wish to have a child. The main function of this ornaments in Feng Shui is the Elimination of Negativity, and to Attract Wealth.

If you want to place this ornament in your home, remember that this charm should face toward the exit. You don’t need to activate it however, it “likes” to listen to folk songs and fairy tales, and this is supposed to make it work harder for its owners.

History of Unicorn

Unicorns are mentioned in the folklores of the medieval period. Though, there has been no mention about the unicorns in early Greek myth, it has been mentioned in Greek natural history because historians claim to have come across unicorns in India.

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The earliest description of a unicorn is found in the works of Ctesias. He has described a unicorn as an animal with a horn on the forehead which is colored white, red, and black. Aristotle had also mentioned unicorn in his works. He has mentioned two one-horned animals – oryx, believed to be an antelope, and an Indian ass. A Roman natural historian Pliny supported his views. Aelian, a Roman author and a rhetoric teacher mentions in his writing about the one-horned horses belonging to India. These horses were sometimes called “ carcazonon ” or “ monoceros . “ Carcazonon ” in Arabic means “rhinoceros”. A Roman geographer, Strabo, has mentioned about one-horned horses with stag-like heads were found in ancient India.

In Chinese mythology, a unicorn is known as a Ki-Lin or Chi-Lin. The ancient Chinese believed a unicorn to be represent great and good things and also as a harbinger of good fortune. According to one of the Chinese legends, Chi-Lin would appear at the time of birth of wise men and emperors. They also believed at the time of birth of a Chinese philosopher and thinker Confucius, a Chi-Lin appeared carrying a piece of imperial jade in its mouth. The prophecy of the baby was written on it. This happened as early as 2700 BC. Unicorn occupies a significant place in Chinese mythology.

Chinese believed a Chi-Lin had a very long life and lived up to 1000 years. They considered a unicorn as an embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. Chi-Lin had a beautiful voice and he was extremely gentle animal. However, a Chinese unicorn never resembled a European unicorn. Chi-Lin was a combination of a lion and a dragon, the single horn was short and it grew backwards.

The Old Testament of the bible also mention unicorns lived in the “Garden of Eden”. A few theologists claim unicorn perished in the Great Flood while some believe unicorns were good swimmers so survived the catastrophe. They are painted on the European biblical tapestries.

The Vikings of Norway traded in the tooth of narwhal, a small whale found in the northern seas. They had not revealed from where they got this tooth for over 300 years. It was during the 17th century, the unicorn horns became popular and people were willing to pay heavily for a small fragment of a horn. It was believed to cure diseases and apparently helped prove whether a noble maiden was a virgin or not.

One of Good Omens' Best Additions Was an Excuse to Give David Tennant and Michael Sheen More to Do

The Good Omens TV show is a delightful adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s beloved novel—retaining all of its charms while effectively parceling out the book into six neat chunks of TV. But it goes beyond that by adding some wonderful elements to the original, including a grand sequence mainly born out of giving its stars more to do.

The story behind the benevolent, if bickering, oddball friendship between the demonic Crowley (David Tennant) and angelic Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) is mostly left to implication in the original novel, but the Good Omens TV series gives us a joyous recap of it in its third episode, “Hard Times. ” Not so much of “ cold open” as it is a “ cold half of the episode, ” w e’re treated to a nearly 30 minute sequence of scenes across history of Aziraphale getting chided by God for “losing” his flaming sword—which he’d actually given to Adam and Eve once they were cast out of Eden—before bumping back into Crowley. It all s parked a series of meetings and a blossoming friendship that tracks everywhere from Noah’s ark, to a workshop recital of Hamlet at the Globe theatre, to the French Revolution and beyond.

It’s goofy, it’s charming, and it’s basically an excuse to watch Sheen and Tennant bounce off of each other in the best way (and with a series of elaborate wigs) . And, speaking to TV Line about the sequence, Gaiman revealed that the reason it exists was basically because the part of Good Omens he’d set aside to adapt for the third episode just didn’t have much for Crowley and Aziraphale to do in the first place:

When I got to Episode 3, I went, ‘Oh, Crowley and Aziraphale aren’t in this 50-page chunk,’ so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll do a mini-movie of Crowley and Aziraphale through time, and it will give Michael and David something to do.’

Despite the fact that the sequence was very costly thanks to all the single-scene sets and costume work involved—much grander versions of the scenes in t he Globe and the Revolution were cut down to save money —it’s very good that it got in. If only because not only did some of the cost-saving mechanics actually make parts of it funnier (turning the Hamlet performance into an early flop, to Crowley’s disdain, rather than a packed-out showing), but it ended up being Sheen and Tennant’s favorite thing to film:

Sheen: Or, for instance, the scene with Shakespeare at The Globe. That was, again, originally hundreds of people watching the performance of Hamlet. And they’re like, ‘We can’t do it.’ So Neil then went away and thought, ‘OK… so either it’s a rehearsal, or it’s a flop… It opens up a whole new dimension to the scene. So working within restrictions is actually quite useful sometimes. But I think it was the most enjoyable thing for us to film.

Tennant: Yeah, because those scenes were sort of sprinkled through the schedule, so they were like little treats. Every few days there’d be, “Oh, we’re going to ancient Rome today!”

Good Omens retains the very best parts of the book, but it is made so much more satisfying for readers thanks to bits like this. Thank god Gaiman had a clever solution to giving his stars more to do!

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Traditional Feng Shui Good Luck Symbols

We are aware that different charms and practices could help us attract good fortune, excellent career, harmonious relationships and healthy long life. In this article, we will tackle different traditional feng shui good luck symbols. You may have seen most of them but not yet familiar with their use or impacts in your life. Feel free to share your thoughts about these symbols:

Number eight (8)

The Chinese pronunciation of number eight is “ba” which is close to the sound “fa” meaning prosperity or to make a fortune. The number eight also has a perfectly symmetrical shape and connotes perfect balance, considered to be the ideal in feng shui. If you’d observe, other business owners would request or purchase special phone numbers with a few number eights in it. Number eight is believed to attract good fortune endlessly.

Mystic knot

Mystic knot is made of six (6) infinity symbols. This charm is also called as the endless knot or eternal knot, in Chinese it is “Pan Chang” knot. You can display the mystic knot as is, but others add several charms and decorations into it. Having mystic knots is considered to deliver you from misfortunes, and bad lucks, including sickness and dangers.

Chinese Coins

It is recommended to use Chinese coins minted during the reign or rule of a good emperor. Chinese coins are one of the classic symbols of wealth. They are usually tied together with a mystic knot. Aside from being a magnet for money and good luck cure, it also offers protection.

Laughing Buddha

The Happy, Hotei or Traveling Buddha, but most regarded as “The Laughing Buddha” is an unconventional Buddhist monk but well-known and loved by people. It grants abundant wealth and good fortune, not only to the owner but also to their offsprings if this charm is correctly placed. On top of that, the Laughing Buddha is also believed to bring good and happy energy and blessings – the reason why you would often see it in establishments and homes.

Bagua Mirror

Pa Kua in Chinese, Bagua is a round mirror with an octagonal wooden frame with the feng shui design. This should be placed outside of your house and not inside of your room. Bagua is used as a powerful protection and filter against negative energies.

Red Envelope

The red envelope or “ang pow”, “hungbao” or “laisee” is a symbol of gratitude as its history can be traced back at Sung Dynasty. A young man helped the village people to fight against a demon, and in return, the villagers gave the man a red pouch with money. As time changes, the pouch became an enveloped designed with lucky icons in feng shui. Others believe that if you receive an empty ang pow, it is still lucky and enough to attract good fortune.

The Lucky Cat

One of the adorable good luck symbols in feng shui, the lucky cat is actually from Japan, but feng shui practitioners adopted using Maneki Neko (its Japanese name) for wealth and prosperity. As advised by an expert, you should have the lucky or money cat because you like the energy or vibes it gives, and not just because feng shui told you so. It is usually placed at the entrance of establishments and houses to entice wealth and attract good fortune. The lucky or money cat is not limited to the miniature itself. You can also find it embroidered or designed in shirts, key chains, etc.

Chi Lins

Chi Lin is a mythical creature with the head of a dragon, horse for the body and with the scales or a carp fish. This might look weird and unpleasant at first, but Chi Lins are believed to protect you from different harm and bring you blessings of great wealth and prosperity. Chi Lins are also known as Dragon Horse and Chinese Unicorn.

Fu Dogs

Fu Dogs are regarded to be the Imperial Guardian Lions. You would often see them outside the houses of royal or wealthy families as they also served as status symbols. Having them in pairs and placed at the front entrance of your house, they will be protecting you from dangerous people such as thieves and burglars.

Pi Yao or Pi Xiu

At first glance, Pi Yao or Pi Xiu can be mistaken as Chi Lin or Fu Dog. If you’d take a better look, Pi Yao or Pi Xiu is a fierce winged lion. In Chinese mythology, they are the strongest protector against Grand Duke or Tai Sui, known to be a negative energy. Aside from being a bearer of protection, it is also a symbol of much fortune and prosperity.

Three-legged toad

The three-legged toad is a great feng shui symbol for attracting fortune and wealth. Most three-legged toads have Chinese coin in their mouth. Check if the visible part of the coin is with the Chinese characters and have the three-legged toad face the room, and never an outside door.

Yin Yang (Dragon and Phoenix)

The Dragon (Yang) gives you career luck and strengthens your current work or position in a company. You would see the Dragon with a pearl or a crystal in its claw which represents wealth, power, and presence of a lot of opportunities.

On the other hand, the Phoenix (Yin) helps create a new life or beginning from scratch or “rising from the ashes.” Together, the Dragon and the Phoenix balance each other and it also attracts the same energy – harmony and balance.

Turtles or Tortoises

In feng shui, turtles or tortoises are one of the four celestial animals or guardians. They are said to guard your home with good energy of infinite abundance, fortune, and stability.

57" />57" />Elephant

The primary feng shui energies elephants are said to bring are protection, good fortune, wisdom, and fertility. They can be placed in your office or at your home. The elephant’s trunk in upward position manifests showering of good luck. If you are looking for a symbol of friendship and love, intertwined trunks of elephants are a good representation of such.

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9. Dragonfly

Bright color, winged miracles who usually appear where water hides nearby. Dragonflies are directly connected with the Fair Ones are also known as the Fairies (or Shidhe, pronounced as Shee – click here to see how to spot Fairies). The Dragonflies are usually reminders that the spirits of Nature watch down our work and they constantly try to be part of it.

Dragonflies can also be spirits of our ancestors who with the help of the fairies are here to help us by giving us the strength and the wisdom we need to proceed with our lives. Dragonflies are omens of nature’s blessings and a reminder that life does not end here. We are immortal and we should never give up!

Strange Encounters with Unicorns

Among the more bizarre of sightings reports of strange creatures and entities are those that seem to describe something from straight out of a fairy tale. It is something I have covered here on Mysterious Universe before, and such surreal cases never cease to baffle and amaze. Equally from fairy tales and just as seemingly out of sync with the real world, yet nevertheless often depicted as being real and with sightings, are those reports throughout history of real live unicorns. Far from being merely the product of myth and imagination, some strange accounts seem to suggest that there is more to these fantastical creatures than we may think. As bizarre as it may seem, here is a look at odd accounts both historical and more recent that point to unicorns as having perhaps existed in some form or other.

There is perhaps no other fairy tale creature of lore as well-known and also beloved as the unicorn. Often depicted as a majestic white horse with a flowing mane and a single horn protruding from the center of its head, but also variously as a one-horned deer, ass, or goat, the unicorn has actually been depicted in one form or another for millennia and throughout cultures around the world. Such one-horned creatures have been depicted in art and legend since at least the Mesopotamian era (5000-3500 BC), and can be found in the legends of such far-flung countries as Greece, India, China, and several countries of Europe, especially in Scotland, where it is to this day designated as their national animal. Unicorns are mentioned in many sacred books around the world, including the Bible, where the creatures are mentioned numerous times. Unicorns in various cultures are typically said to have magical powers to some extent, and they were thus highly prized for these qualities. Other traditions regard them as signs of good luck, or conversely harbingers of tragedy.

Considering that they are such a part of myth and legend, unicorns are considered by many to merely just that, and that they cannot possibly exist for real outside of the confines of folklore. Indeed the very word “unicorn” has become virtually synonymous with something which we want to exist, but which is either a myth or so rare to the point of being nearly nonexistent. Yet there have been numerous reports throughout history that suggest that they may have been perhaps real.

For instance, from around the 15th century in Europe there were often said to be “unicorn horns” brought forward, which were considered to be valued well beyond their weight in gold, and powdered unicorn horn was a popular, sought after item all the way up until the 18th century. The horn was said to have all sorts of beneficial effects, and could supposedly heal or cure all manner of injuries or ailments, as well as serve as an antidote for poison. Pope John III and King James I of England both allegedly paid great sums of money for whole unicorn horns, although it is not known what happened to them and these may have very well been the horns of the one-horned narwhales. Similarly, unicorn milk, tears and blood were also thought to be very real, and to have remarkable healing properties and even potent aphrodisiac qualities, which fetched them exorbitant prices. Often even whole skeletons or other parts of unicorns would turn up, although these are mostly considered to have been cleverly crafted fakes, such as such a skeleton put together by German scientist Otto Von Guericke, who even provided a sketch of the creature in an otherwise serious book on natural history in the 1600s.

Sightings of unicorns go back even further, with one of the earliest seemingly realistic accounts coming from the Greek doctor Ctesias in the 4th century BC, who wrote quite seriously of such creatures during his travels through Persia. In this case the animal was described as being a type of wild ass as large as a horse, which had a white body, red head, and bright blue eyes, with a multi-colored single horn sprouting from the head measuring around one and a half feet in length. These animals were described as being very powerful and fast, to the point that they were able to easily outpace any horse. There is nothing in the account to suggest that this was seen as anything other than a real, unidentified beast. The Greek historian Herodotus also wrote about the “horned ass” of Africa in the 3rd century BC. Other travelers such as Pliny the Elder, as well as Marco Polo, who called them “ugly brutes,” would also write of encountering unicorns during their journeys. Other famous historical figures who claimed to have encountered unicorns were Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and the Chinese philosopher Confucius, among others.

It has since been speculated that these early reports were most likely misidentifications of some other exotic one-horned animal such as the rhinoceros, or that they were misrepresentations of other horned animals such as oxen, bulls, ibexes, onyxes, or goats, perhaps stemming from exaggeration or sightings of deformed individuals with some form of genetic mutation, all of which could have been colored by local myth to fit in with unicorns. A mutation is perfectly feasible, as there have indeed been found one-horned specimens of these animals on occasion. Yet many of these witnesses would have been familiar with some of these other animals to some extent, and don’t seem likely to have mixed them up with a supposedly mythical beast like the unicorn. What did they really see? Know one really knows for sure.

Sporadic sightings of supposed unicorns have have continued right up into the modern day. In 1991, the renowned Austrian naturalist Antal Festetics allegedly saw a unicorn while filming a wildlife documentary in the Harz Mountains. He claimed in an interview with Die Ganze Woch magazine that he had been out on horseback one evening when he saw something he would never forget. He would say:

Suddenly a unicorn came towards me at a gallop. There was a glow of light around the animal. My horse reared and almost threw me. Then, just as quickly, it was gone.

He would tell this account more than once, and Festetics even said that he had videotaped the creature, although it is unknown where this footage got off to, and it never did make it into his documentary that he had been filming at the time. Speaking of photographic evidence, there have been several supposed photos and videos of unicorn sightings that have come out over the years. In 1968, a Robert Vavra claimed:

My first face-to-face encounter with a unicorn took place in a Mexican jungle near Tamazunchale in the spring of 1968. The one photograph that I was able to snap is reproduced on this page. This picture, as the reader can see, is so blurry and nondescript that had I attempted to publish it at the time, I would have been considered as much a crank or hoaxter as those persons who occasionally submit to the press out – of – focus, suspect.

A video of a supposed unicorn was taken in 2010 in the wetlands of the Don Valley, near Toronto, Ontario, Canada by a local birdwatcher named Peter Hickey-Jones. The video seems to show a white horse with a single horn emerge from the trees gallop though a creek and disappear into the woods again, and this footage was then purportedly submitted to the Ontario Science Center for analysis. When this video began making the rounds on the Internet it created quite a stir, and not surprisingly many immediately claimed it to be a hoax, especially since the video conveniently coincides with a promotional push for an exhibit at the center entitled “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids.” It certainly looks questionable, but you can see the video here and decide for yourself.

A still from the Unicorn footage

Even more recently is a sighting made in the highlands of Wick in Caithness, Scotland, in 2014. The unidentified witness claims that he was out hiking near the Castle of Old Wick when he saw what he described as “basically a horse with a horn,” which wandered off towards Loch Hempriggs, to the south of the town. At the time the sighting became big news in the area, even spawning plans to launch a “unicorn safari” for any curiosity seekers that came in to investigate. It is unclear just what the witness saw or what became of this report, but it is certainly odd.

It seems that in this modern world there should be no place for such mythical creatures anymore, and that they cannot possibly be real in any sense. It seems absurd that anyone could possibly see a real-life unicorn, but there these reports are. One wonders if there is any grain of truth that can account for such reports throughout the ages. Were these misidentifications, mutations, or hoaxes? If they are real, what could they be? Are they an undiscovered species or subspecies? Are these unicorns perhaps something more magical in nature, or maybe something from another dimension seeping into our own? It is unknown, but certainly interesting to think about.

Omens of Death in Folklore

1. Black Cat

Black cats are definitely one of the most famous omens of death, and are found in folklore traditions around the world. There are many different ways that interacting with a black cat is seen as a sign of danger, or of the approaching death of either you or someone you love.

For example, an old German superstition states that if a black cat sits at the bedside of sick person, this is a sign that they will die very soon. Hearing the meowing of a black cat at midnight is another common superstition, said to be an omen of someone’s death. A black cat crossing the path of a funeral is a sign that a family member of the deceased will die soon. The worst part however is that these superstitious omens has resulted in black cats being adopted significantly less than other cats.

2. Crows

Crows are yet another very famous omen of death or misfortune. Even in films today, it is not uncommon to have crows present in scenes that are meant to be dark, dangerous, and foreboding. Seeing a single crow is believed to be an omen of bad luck, rather than death. However, if you see a large group of 5 or more crows (also called a “murder” of crows… yikes), this is believed to be an omen of the illness or death of yourself or someone you know.

In some cultures, crows were believed to be messengers between this world and next and In the middle ages, people believed that witches used the crow as a symbol to cast death spells. Crows are incredibly intelligent birds who can pick locks, steal food from closed containers, and more. No wonder people have been afraid of these omens of death!

3. Owls

The owls are not what they seem…

Owls are yet another bird that have an unfortunate reputation in folkloric superstitions. For example, if you are walking under a tree at night, and you hear an owl hooting overhead, this is believed to be an omen that family a member is going to die soon. If an owl is perched on your rooftop, this is also a sign that death is coming for someone you know. There are even famously rumoured instances of owls foreshadowing death in history. It is believed that before the death of the Roman Emperor, Antonius, an owl was seen perched above his bedroom door.

4. Doppelgängers

Doppelgänger is a German word, meaning “double goer”. It refers to someone’s exact replica born of completely different parents. In German and Irish folklore, seeing one’s doppelgänger was believed to be a sign of your own immanent death. If one’s doppelgänger was seen by a family member or friend, this would also signal impending danger or misfortune.

Doppelgängers are also referred to as “evil twins” in such folklore, as it was believed that if you spoke to your own doppelgänger, they would trick you, and plant sinister or evil ideas in your head. So much like the Highlander, there can only be one!

5. Deathwatch Beetle

Deathwatch beetles are insects that are known for damaging wood – especially during their mating season, when they attract mates by knocking their heads against a hard surface (making them a metaphor for many humans). This makes a tapping or ticking sound, which can be heard quite clearly in a quiet, old house at night.

Because of this, the sound of the deathwatch beetle became associated with sleepless nights, often at the bedside of a dying loved one. As a result, as omens of death, the deathwatch beetle and its tapping was seen as bringing about misfortune.

6. Death Knocks

There is an old superstition that when you hear three knocks at your door, and open it to find no one is there, death is coming for you. These knocks, also called the “knocks of doom”, are heard of in many different cultures, such as Irish, Scottish, and Native American communities. This omen is still often referenced today in horror films used as a sign that someone is about to die, or something dangerous is on its way.

7. Phantom Funerals

Phantom funerals (also known as “goblin” or “fairy” funerals) are old superstitious and supernatural events that can allegedly only be seen by certain people. When phantom funerals are seen, they are believed to foretell the death of a loved one. These processions will appear as funerals comprised of ghost-like figures, and are said to occur in the same place and take the same route as the funeral that is being foretold.

Found in the folklore of Britain, Germany, and Switzerland, these omens of death will only signal one’s own if you look into the casket!

8. Solar Eclipse

In the past, when humans knew less about the planet and the solar system, a solar eclipse was usually perceived as a dangerous disruption of the order of nature – a sign that something was going to go (or had gone) wrong. Different cultures had different stories associated with the eclipse, such as in ancient Greece, where the eclipse was believed to have been caused by angry gods who were signalling an impending danger. From stories such as these, the solar eclipse eventually became a sign of danger and approaching death.

9. Fan Death

The last in our Omens of Death list is very specific to Korean culture. It is believed by many Koreans that sleeping in a room with a fan running and the windows closed will result in immediate death. While this superstition would seem easy to disprove, you’d have to risk death to try! Fans in South Korea are often sold with timers to prevent them from being accidentally left on before bed. While no evidence exists suggesting fans to be real omens of death, the myth is perpetuated online, and even in news media coverage.

Questions & Answers

Question: What does it mean if a bird flies in a circle above you?

Answer: So it&aposs like a bird is drawing a circle around you from above? If this happened to me it would be hard not to imagine myself not as "the center of the universe," but certainly as the center of something. I&aposd have to stop and ponder what, exactly.

Question: What does it mean if a bluebird hits you in the head?

Answer: If any bird hit me in the head, I&aposd definitely have to wonder. Physical contact with a wild animal is very unusual, and wild animals seldom touch humans for no reason. I&aposd definitely think that the bird was trying to get my attention and warn me about something.

Question: What does it mean if a blackbird lands on your shoulder, unafraid?

Answer: If a blackbird landed on my shoulder, I&aposd imagine that bird thought it knew me. I&aposd assume it was an old friend of mine or an ancestor trying to communicate or reach out for some reason. I&aposd ask myself which friend/family member was trying to connect with me, and I&aposd look at the details of the situation to try to guess who (and imagine what, exactly, they were trying to convey). Where you were and what you were doing and what you were thinking about right before the bird landed. Those are all important parts of the story. I&aposd also take it as a sign of my relationship with and connection to the environment/world/universe.

Question: What does a dead blackbird mean?

Answer: When you come across a dead creature, it&aposs always a bit jarring. Being reminded of your mortality and vulnerability is always a bit of a shock. It&aposs a little reminder that nobody—no living creature�n see their end we can&apost predict or know or control it. The bird couldn&apost, and you can&apost either. It&aposs good to be reminded of this fact of reality every once in a while, especially since we like to fool ourselves. If you see a dead bird, take a moment to pause and consider all those obvious, plain truths that you&aposd prefer to forget. Being reminded of your lack of control might be an opportunity to reassess what is really important now, at this moment, so that you can reassess how you are living and how you&aposre spending your time.

Question: I saw a white bird (it looked decently large but I couldn&apost make out what it was, it moved in and out of sight so fast) in the middle of the night fly across the road just where my headlights could see it. Do you think this could be symbolic of anything or just coincidence?

Answer: I think anything can be symbolic if you want it to be, and if it were me, I might definitely see a large, ghostlike bird revealing itself to me at night as a significant event. Perhaps it was an owl? Owls always seem important and significant to me.

Question: My mom is always coming across injured birds, or abandoned baby birds. Songbirds and ducks mostly. What does this mean?

Answer: If I were her, I&aposd definitely wonder if the universe was trying to tell me something. It seems as though she is being asked to help or challenged to become emotionally and physically involved with nature and the environment. Maybe it&aposs a skill she has or one she might consider working on.

Question: What does it mean when a bird flies into my house, lands, stares at me with its mouth open, and then flies out?

Answer: I have seen crows do this on hot days. When you see a bird "panting" like this, it usually means it&aposs hot, thirsty, or its central nervous system is affected by heat or dehydration. It&aposs almost as if this bird were begging you for help. Has it been very hot where you live? Maybe it hoped you&aposd put out a bowl of water?

Question: What does it mean if a crow or raven tapped on my window and then hovered there with its wings rubbing against the window?

Answer: Whenever a wild bird seems to be trying to get into one&aposs house, whenever they even notice the glass that separates domesticity from the great outdoors, it is an unexpected and thrilling event. Why was the crow trying to get your attention? Why was it attempting to breach the barrier between you? That&aposs a question only you can answer.

Question: Three sparrows flew into my girlfriend&aposs car. Does it have any meaning?

Answer: If your girlfriend doesn&apost already know why the number 3 is important to her now, she should pay attention𠅎specially for the next three days, weeks, or month— to see what special importance the number 3 has for her.

Question: I work at a mortuary and yesterday I walked outside to find a dead sparrow with only the head skeletonized outside the door. what could this symbolize?

Answer: Do you mean that the sparrow&aposs flesh and feathers were intact everywhere but on its head? What a macabre and bizarre sight that must have been! I&aposd definitely have to think about why the head (and all that a head represents: thinking, knowing, consciousness, etc.) and the body (and all it represents: mobility, flight, instinct, etc.) behaved or were treated differently. Why separate the two? I&aposd consider whether this vision helped explain some division or separation in my life, and I&aposd wonder why the contents of the head were revealed to me but not the body.

Question: What does a visit from a predatory bird mean?

Answer: As usual, the viewer has to look at the context of their life to know what it means. Do you feel aligned with the predator—is it a friendly visit from a friend—or do you feel threatened? Predators are known for their eyesight. The term "eagle eye" refers to extraordinary vision. An eagle&aposs eyes are four to eight times more powerful than a human&aposs. What perspective can you gain from a bird&aposs eye view right now?

Question: We were eating breakfast and we saw a yellow bellied bird that for some reason just captured our attention. It just walked and strutted across our view. But it felt different and symbolic for some reason. What does this mean?

Answer: It&aposs strange, isn&apost it, how you might see birds all the time but one particular bird seems more significant or important? It doesn&apost make sense but still, it does seem important (and certainly doesn&apost hurt) to notice and trust your intuition. As always, it&aposs important to consider the circumstances. Who were you with when this happened? What were you talking about when the bird appeared? These answers will help guide you towards a particular, personal meaning.

Question: What does it mean if pigeons have been crying outside my window for almost a week?

Answer: Interesting that you interpret a pigeon&aposs call as a cry—to me, the sound is more of a coo than a cry, and I imagine that the pigeons are especially chatty this time of year, which is likely mating season. I have seen male pigeons strutting and cooing up a storm, trying to get the females&apos attention. Could this be what you&aposre hearing?

Question: What does it mean if a crow follows you?

Answer: It&aposs likely that the crow recognizes you for some friendly reason. If a crow follows you, it feels a connection to and curiosity in you for some reason. Maybe you fed the crow once before (or you look like someone who did)?

Question: On two separate occasions at work, a raven appeared at my window. The second time, I went outside to see it and it wasn&apost afraid of me. He looked like he was telling me something by his beak motion. What does this mean?

Answer: If a wild animal ever seems unafraid of a person, this is something to pay attention to. It definitely seems like the bird was trying to tell you something. Either it was just the bird&aposs interest in you (maybe you looked familiar to the bird—maybe the bird was hoping for food?) or perhaps it represents something else&aposs interest in you-- a deceased loved one, an ancestor, or just the universe, trying to connect with you for some reason.

Question: I&aposve seen 6 (maybe more) dead birds very close to where I live over the last two or three days. What&aposs going on?

Answer: Although it might be tempting to look for spiritual reasons for this, I&aposd be inclined to worry about a physical threat in the neighborhood first. Before looking for supernatural reasons, I&aposd look around to see if there&aposs some real danger or explanation. Is it spring? (Lots of newborn or fledgling birds don&apost make it.) Is there some poison? Is someone killing them? I&aposd answer these questions before looking for spiritual reasons.

10 Animals As Omens When They Cross Your Path

During the Old Times animals and plants were all associated with Gods and Goddess. Athena had Owl as her sacred animal while Poseidon protected Horses and Artemis (Diana) deers. Everyone had a soft spot for animals, therefore close encounters with animals were supposed to be divine interventions at some point. We have selected the ones who are considered to be the most powerful omens of all.


Owls are believed to be harbingers of doom and carriers of unimaginable wisdom at the same time.(Read here more about Owls as totem animals) Maybe owls know things and they appear to warn us about what is coming – usually something huge – either this is for good or ill. Owls have been associated with many gods and goddess but one of the most powerful association is with Athena (Minerva) the Goddess of Wisdom in Ancient Greece.

When an Owl appears one has to be extra careful about his/her next steps as the Owl tries to make us ready for what’s coming (it doesnt have to be bad but it’s certainly very important or even life-changing). If you are a Witch, the appearence of an Owl probably means that our magic is strong and we should be very careful with the energies we summon. We should choose wisely!

Owls are not omens of Bad Luck or Harbingers of Doom (they can be if we see two owls fighting and shouting over a house). They are messengers of Great News. Owls are considered Royal Birds, therefore seeing them can be considered as omens of success.

2. Spider

Spiders are also associated with the Goddess Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. Spiders are also considered sacred animals as their web symbolises that we are all connected with each other and all nature. However the appearence of a Spider does not have the same meaning as Owls. Spiders are trying to “ward” or remind us of a friend.

In ancient time Spiders were omens for a friend (either from the past or a close friend). We will probably soon meet this friend who is going to give us brand new information. In general, Spiders are good omens, bearers of Good Luck.

If you find a spider at night, it means good luck.” Kemp P. Battle

3. Cat

You walk by the street thinking of your daily routine when for some reason a cat caught your attention. You refuse to believe that this is important but the cat for some reason follows you and tries even harder to make you turn around. Cat is the personification of intuition (click here to read more about Cats as totem animals). When a Cat appears out of nowhere and for some reason and you can’t help but notice their weird and cute moves, it’s an omen (or omens) that you have to listen to your heart.

Cats are associated with powerful and Wise Goddesses like Bast, Freya and Brigid. The weird cat symbolises your hidden magical and spiritual powers which now you have to listen. If you are witch then you should probably be more careful the next time you cast a spell as the cat tries to warn you that you’ve probably have to get in touch with your higher self before you cast more spells. The Colours of cats do matter:

White Cats: symbolise fertility and change in romantic affairs

Orange Cats: symbolise different planes of existence and spiritual travels

Black Cats: symbolise the change of Luck (for good or ill) and Wisdom

4. Crow / Raven

These creatures have the bad reputation of being harbingers of death and dark magic. However, although they sometimes can bring bad news, they are the personification of truth. Crow / Raves in the Sacred bird of Thoth, Great Egyptian God of Wisdom and Magic. Moreover, Crow/Raven is sacred to Apollo (the God of Sun), Hera (Queen of the Gods) and Asclepius (God of Medicine).

Seeing a Crow means that truth is going to be exposed to you soon. Ancients believe that wisdom cannot be achieved if you are not ready to receive this information. The sight of a Crow is the divine confirmation that you are now ready! Soon you will learn something really important.

5. Deer

These wonderfully enchanting horned creatures are sacred to the Goddess of the Moon, Artemis (Diana in latin). Artemis was believed to love them so much that she kept having one as her close companion. Artemis is a solitary Goddess who loved being alone in the Woods with her beloved animals and trees.

Seeing a deer is a symbol that Heavens know what you’re going through and that you should continue facing these problems with Grace, Purity and Dignity. Deers keep their heads up even when hunted. Be like the Deers. Stand up and face the problems without losing your inner beauty. Become a beautiful Warrior of Life.

6. Rabbit

These fluffy playful creatures symbolise Springtime itself as they appear after winter in large number. Rabbits reproduce themselves easily and rapidly and this is why seeing a rabbit is considered to be an omen of fertility and abundance. They love play in the grass, digging and searching for precious food.

Moreover, rabbits are believed to be really lucky as some believe to be fairies or good witches transformed. When a Rabbit crosses your path a change of luck is coming (mostly for the good) and the message is that you should trust Heavens.

7. Lizard

Discreet but strong, quiet but fierce, lizards symbolise the Dreamworld. If a lizard happens to catch your attention is an omen that you have to pay more attention to your night time as dreams can reveal something really great about you. Try to be more organised. Get a Dream journal and start writing down your dream history. You are about to reveal a great truth.

Alchemists believed that Lizards are EXTREMELY lucky creatures and the sight of one was a promise that their work is on the Right path! Therefore, if lizards cross your path then your work is probably blessed by the divine powers.

8. Snake

Snakes also have a VERY bad reputation as it was linked with the Devil and his minions. Although rarely snakes can be harbingers of evil magic, this is usually not the case. Snakes symbolise Mother Earth and nature magic. In fact Snakes symbolise the Old Religion at some point – some believe that when St. Patrick expelled snakes from Ireland he was actually banishing the Pagans from the island. But please, the next time someone tells you that snakes are satanic remind them what Jesus said: “be wise as the snakes – γίνεσθε οὖν φρόνιμοι ὡς οἱ ὄφεις” Matthew 10.16

Seeing a snake is a reminder that we humans hide very powerful forces inside of us as Mother Earth embraces all these powerful natural phenomena. However we have to master our passions and direct all this instinctive energy to something really creative. Snakes are symbols of great wisdom and power.

9. Dragonfly

Bright colour, winged miracles who usually appear where water hides nearby. Dragonflies are directly connected with the Fair Ones also known as the Fairies (or Shidhe, pronounced as Shee – click here to see how to spot Fairies). The Dragonflies are usually reminders that the spirits of Nature watch down our work and they constantly try be part of it.

Dragonflies can also be spirits of our ancestors who with the help of the fairies are here to help us by giving us the strength and the wisdom we need to proceed with our lives. Dragonflies are omens of nature’s blessings and a reminder that life does not end here. We are immortal and we should never give up!

10. Ladybug

More like Lady-Luck this wonderful creature is a symbolic synonym of Good Luck. Whenever they appear something good is going to happen as they symbolise the conquer of Life over Death. Good Luck will conquer Evil Magic and Good wins! Ladybug whenever appears tries to cheer us up and help us understand that no matter how hurt we feel, this should be a turning point and change our way of living.

Ladybug is the messenger of Joy. Observe how kids (who are far more sensitive to spiritual forces) react when they see a ladybug. They instantly cheer up and start shouting that they found one! Yes, this is NOT a coincidence. Ladybugs are the spiritual forces of good news and good luck! Cheer up! Good wins!

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