Drawing representing balance between masculine and feminine in a chapter about equilibrium from “Le serpent de la Genèse” (The Serpent of Genesis) Volume 2, by Stanislas de Guaita, 1920. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
In gnostic cosmology, Abraxas is the rooster-headed, serpent-legged god who created the material world. The letters of his name represent the 7 planetary spheres, and he’s often found on magick amulets. He was later demonized by Christians and appears in the Dictionnaire Infernal.
Hyosube is a Japanese yokai, that’s a cousin to the kappa. This child-sized river monster comes out at night and loves to gorge himself on eggplants, sometimes ravaging an entire field. If Hyosube laughs, and you join him, you will die. Image: Bakemono no e
Echidna is a cave dwelling, half-woman, half-snake being. With Typhon, she bore all of Greek Mythology’s most famous monsters: the regenerating Hydra, Cerberus who guards the gates of Hades, the Chimera, the riddle-giving Sphinx, and more. Image: Gabriele Delhey
The Ushi-Oni is a spider-like, ox-headed yokai (supernatural creature) from Japanese folklore who appears on beaches, mountains, forests, swamps, and lakes. They’re savage beasts who spit poison and love to kill and eat humans and livestock. Image: Hyakkai-Zukan
The kallikantzaroi are evil goblins, found in Greek folklore, who live underground and saw the World Tree to try to collapse the earth. When Christmas season begins, they abandon their task to terrorize humans. On Epiphany, they return but the tree has healed itself.
The nuckelavee is a fearsome sea monster found on Scotland’s Northern Isles that, when on land, has been described as humanoid rider fused with a horse, skinless with black blood coursing through yellow veins. Its breath wilts crops and is responsible for epidemics and drought. Image: michael221 on Deviant Art CC-BY-SA
Ephippas is a demon found in The Testament of Solomon that assumes the form of a hellish wind that destroys everything in its path. Solomon uses his magic ring to trap him in a flask, and forces him to help build his temple, and imprison the demon Abezithbod. Image: H.J. Ford, 1913
Images from Mundus Symbolicus (Symbolic World) by Filippo Picinelli, 1687. The book attempted to be a comprehensive encyclopedia of symbols for use in decoding creation. Source: archive.org
Figure 12 from Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752). From Mike Brenner’s translation on levity.com: “The snake eating its own tail represents the solid White and Red Stones. These first harden and solidify the virgin Milk, and then transform into a Salamander who lives in the Fire. The Fire furnishes the Salamander with the energy for its continued evolution.
The flying dragon, now fallen to Earth, breathes fire, which devours all metals, transmuting them into Silver or Gold.
The cross designates the Attraction Field of the Astral Fire whose vibrations color the Salamander Venusian yellow, Martian Citrine-Red, and blood-red. This is the Fire of eternal Youth through multiplication, experienced by many.”
Image source: Embassy of the Free Mind
The Hellmouth is an entrance to hell that manifests as the open jaws of an infernal beast. Depictions of Hellmouths were common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in manuscripts, and even as dramatic mechanical set pieces in theatrical productions.
- Detail of The Mouth of Hell, from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440
- Vision de l’Enfer (Vision of Hell), from Les Visions du chevalier Tondal, 1475
- Ludolf of Saxony, Inferno, from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1455
- Lambert of Saint-Omer, Liber Floridu, 1250 – 1275
- Detail of Jugement Dernier – Damnés (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492