A Thing or Two About Unicorns
- There are very few mythical creatures considered to be “good” in all different stories, cultures/traditions. But the unicorn is one of them.
- The unicorn itself represents many things in different stories. Most commonly, the unicorn is a symbol of purity and virtue.
- In the Middle Ages, the unicorn became a religious symbol, especially in art. A beautiful woman (who represented the Virgin Mary) captured a unicorn, and when it was tame it laid its head in her lap. Through the years, this story grew. The unicorn began to represent Christ, the death of a unicorn was likened to the Passion of Christ.
- A group of unicorns together is called a “blessing” of unicorns.
- A unicorn’s single horn can be meant to represent many different things. Among them: heraldry, unity, the cycles of time, endlessness, and the sword.
- Unicorns’ horns are said to be magic. They are harder than diamonds, and have the ability to neutralize poisons.
- If you are fortunate enough to see a unicorn, you may be granted a wish.
- The tears of a unicorn have the ability to heal both physical ailments and sorrows of the heart.
- In the early 1600s, the Dutch theologian, Petrus Plancius, included the unicorn constellation, “monoceros,” on his celestial globe.
- Unicorns in real life? Alexander the Great claimed to have rode a unicorn into battle, the famous explorer Marco Polo claimed to have encountered a unicorn (although his description fits that of a rhinoceros rather closely …), Julius Caesar said he saw a unicorn in a forest in Germany, a unicorn “appeared” to Confucius’ mother, foretelling his birth, and later “appeared” to Confucius himself, foretelling his own death.
- Unicorns are said to be able to tell the truth from lies. When confronted with a liar, the unicorn will pierce the liar through the heart with its horn.
- For many years, unicorn horns were sold for their medicinal properties, although most of these turned out to be the horns of goats, cows, or even narwhals.
- Queen Elizabeth I is said to have owned a unicorn horn. And the throne of Denmark was supposed to have been made from unicorn horns.
- Legend says that Noah would not allow unicorns onto the ark, and that is why they are extinct today.
- There are quite a few references to unicorns in the King James version of the Bible, although more modern versions translate “unicorn” into “bull” or “oryx.” (Numbers 23:22, Job 39:9, Psalm 22:21, Isaiah 34:7, among others).
Being a reader and writer of Christian allegory, I can’t help but imagine some of the ways unicorns could be used symbolically in stories. Can you? I may have to keep that in mind for my next book …
What’s your favorite mythical creature? Does it lend itself to a deeper meaning in a story you might like to read or write?
Posted on September 19, 2014, in fairy tales, fantasy, mythology and tagged allegory, Christianity, facts, Fairy Tale, Fairytale, fantasy, legend, magic, magical, myth, mythical creature, mythical creatures, mythology, narwhal, purity, storytelling, symbolism, unicorn, unicorn horn. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.