Half-Human Half-Beasts Love and Lust in Mythology

Half-Human Half-Beasts Love and Lust in Mythology

Half-human half-beast creatures are found loving and lusting, warring and whoring in myths and legends of nearly every, if not all, cultures in the world. Although many of them made their debut in stories from ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, these creatures have their origins in a much older concept that was passed down over millennia. Whether they are gods, teachers or musicians, they played varying roles in many different contexts from trickster or villain to divine heroes and anthropomorphic deities, depending on the particular culture.

Satyr men, satyr women, and satyr children BY Peter Paul Rubens (Public Domain)

Satyr men, satyr women, and satyr children BY Peter Paul Rubens (Public Domain)

Ancient Greek’s Pan, worshiped by hunters and shepherds, is depicted with the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat while otherwise being mostly human in his appearance.  Both mischievous and cheerful, Pan symbolizes and rules over the untamed wild. Another anthropomorphic deity is Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, depicted as a figure with the body of a man and the head of a jackal with pointed ears, holding a gold scale weighing the heart of the soul against Ma’at’s truth feather. Anubis was one of the most frequently represented deities in ancient Egyptian art as he provides sovereign to mummification rituals and funerals. In Buddhist mythology, there is the Kalaviṅka, a divine bird with a human head who preached the Dharma through its songs and in South-East Asian mythology. Two of the most beloved mythological characters are the benevolent half-human, half-bird creatures known as the Kinnara and Kinnari, celestial musicians who come from the Himalayas and watch over the well-being of humans in times of peril.


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