From Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Assyria and from Mongolia, and China and even in Japanese mythology, the white stag can be found depicted in art, in records and in legends. In Celtic mythology, the White Stag symbolises the existence of the Otherworld and that forces from the Otherworld are present and in action.
The Celtic god Cernunnos was depicted zoomorphically as a man with horns growing from his head. The white stag often appeared when something sacred, or a law or code, was being broken. The story goes that Hunor and Magor the sons of Nimrod, the great hunter king, gave chase to a white stag that led them to a new country and the establishing of the Huns and Magar peoples in Scythia. In some versions, the sex of the creature is ambiguous. Sometimes it is it is a horned doe, or hind that is chased. The cosmos was considered the mother of the sun and was represented by a horned female doe, or hind.
Being a symbol of the cosmos she also carried the stars and the moon as well as the sun between her horns. Just as the cosmos was her mother she was the mother of the stag who symbolised the sun.
Myths, legends, folklore and tales from around the world
The legend goes that on the day of the Feast of the Holy Rood he went out hunting despite advice given to him by his priest who had warned him against it. Ignoring this advice, King David I had ridden out and came across a white stag. He immediately gave chase but became unsaddled from his horse who threw him. The White Stag turned to attack.
Helpless, David fell on his knees and cried out to God to protect him. The Stag charged full on at David with its antlers down. Just as the antlers were about to strike he managed to grab them.
As he did so the antlers turned into a cross and the stag stopped dead in its tracks, lifted its head high and simply disappeared into thin air. To give thanks to God for saving him, David built and dedicated a shrine to the Holy Rood which later became Holyrood Abbey leading to the development of Holyrood Palace. Holy Rood means Holy Cross. In many of the legends of King Arthur, the white stag is elusive and hard to catch. Its entrance or discovery is often the stimulus for his knights to begin a high and noble quest.
The White Hart — Author: In Heraldry in England as well as many parts of Europe it became an important symbol. The magnificent work of art, the Wilton Diptych, depicts Richard wearing a gold and enamel jewel and an image of a white hart. The Virgin Mary is present and the angels also are wearing white hart images. The work of art is actually an alter piece and on the outside is also an emblem of a white hart. In Christian symbolism the white stag can sometimes be seen as a symbol of Jesus. The Roman soldier St. Eustace converts to Christianity at the beckoning of a white stag with a cross between its horns that he encounters.
The stag talks to him revealing that he was Jesus and that he had been hunting him. Versions of the legend appear in many different parts of the globe including Mayan Indian and Japanese versions. In Japanese mythology a stag is hunted by twin brothers but the beast eludes them. The twins argue about which way to take and finally split up in different direction. One goes east and one goes west. The twin that takes to the east eventually discovers Japan.
In many traditions white is the colour of divinity and purity and white can also be the color of peace or of truce. In Celtic tradition white is associated with the Other-world and After-life. The role of the white stag is often to lead the hunters to new beginnings, new places, and new insights and to new knowledge. It was something that could never be captured. There is plenty of evidence with sightings, videos and photographs that prove that the white stag is not just a supernatural beast but natural phenomenon.
White stags and deer are often wrongly thought of as being albino. In fact they inherited a rare genetic condition called leucism. In the USA when a small herd of White-tailed deer became isolated from the outside world in what was once the Seneca Army Depot, Seneca County, New York, the resulting inbreeding produced a high number of white deer making it the largest known herd of white deer in the world.
A report by the BBC and updated on 11 February has a sighting of a white stag captured on video. This shows a white stag moving among a group of does over open moorland somewhere on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. The exact location is being kept secret to protect the stag from hunters and trophy seekers. The Daily Mail also reported in an update on the 7th December of the discovery of a white stag in the Forest of Dean , in Gloucestershire, England by photographer Ken Grindle who managed to photograph it.
Most sightings are now kept secret or their locations are not revealed. The head of a full grown white stag with a full set of antlers would fetch many thousands of pounds. One recent sighting in the Scottish Lowlands attracted such bids from hunters soon after its location was revealed but the landowner is refusing all offers.
Hopefully these wonderful animals will be far better protected than the one that was killed by trophy hunters around the county boundaries of Cornwall and Devon in October These photographs and videos reveal a beast of mystery and majesty. For those who are close to nature as our ancestors were and those of us today who have a deep affinity with the natural world to encounter one in hidden forest glades or moving ghost-like through the mists of the moors, must be an unusual and unforgettable experience.
Indeed, the very stuff legends are made from. This is a version of an article first Published: November 2, on Helium. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this site are actually remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows. Heart and spirit empowered to run like the wind down the mountain with my crippled leg healed instantly cancer survivor.
Remembered my past life as king David suddenly. Never ran that fast for one mile, but previous army time was 5 min. Knew nothing about these legends til now. Quite an amazing experience. Thanx for the info and God bless you. Been inspiring me since I discovered medieval stag carvings in my church back in the early eighties, years old.
The nymph Britomartis was the Hunters' most skilled trapper, and she used her abilities to set snares and concealed nets. The Hunters made noise to scare off the regular deer, while four of the five golden ones charged straight into the traps and were harnessed for Artemis' chariot. The fifth and smartest of the golden deer escaped, later becoming known as the Ceryneian Hind.
She was given Artemis' blessing and protection from other hunters. The Giants planned on attacking Olympus by stacking their makeshift mountains on top of each other, with Ephialtes intending to seize Hera as his wife, and Otis having Artemis.
Having gotten word of this, Artemis charged down the mountain and struck the Alodai twins with arrows. They tried impaling her with their spears, but Artemis was too fast for either of them.
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She tricked Otis and Ephialtes into killing each other by running between them, and dodging at the last moment just as they stabbed at her, causing the twins to kill each other instead. When King Oineus of Kalydon forgot to honor Artemis at harvest time, the enraged goddess summoned a monstrous boar which she unleashed upon the fields of Kalydon, killing many animals and people in the process.
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Oineus consulted his son Meleager, who suggested launching a great hunt to appease Artemis. All the best hunters in Greece were summoned to participate in the Kalydonian Boar Hunt, though Artemis didn't make it easy on them. Mopsos, the strongest spear-thrower in Greece, tried killing the monster by launching his spear at it, but Artemis made it bounce harmlessly off the boar.
Another hunter named Ankaios charged at it with a double-bladed ax, but died when the boar rammed his tusk straight into Ankaios' crotch. It was Prince Meleager who finally managed to kill the monster with help from his friends , but it wasn't enough to please Artemis. She made the other hunters envious, and a full-scale civil war erupted when fighting broke out over who really deserved credit for killing the Kalydonian Boar.
Sipriotes was another unfortunate boy who spotted Artemis bathing. Unlike Actaeon, however, Sipriotes fell to his knees and begged Artemis for mercy. However, having gazed upon her naked form, Artemis would've killed Sipriotes, but as the protector of young children, she decided to give him the option of becoming female to live.
Left with no other choice, Sipriotes was changed into a girl by Artemis and joined the Hunters. Artemis' favorite follower was Kallisto, a beautiful girl who caught Zeus ' attention. He appeared to her in Artemis' form and tried seducing her, but when a confused Kallisto rejected his advances, Zeus revealed his true self and had his way with her. One day after a long hunt, Artemis and the Hunters decide to go swimming. When Kallisto was reluctant to join them, Artemis discovered the pregnancy and demanded to know who took her maidenhood.
When Kallisto told her it was Zeus disguised as Artemis herself, the goddess was unable to do much because of her father's power. Declaring that she would've allowed Kallisto to go peacefully and settle into a new life, Artemis transformed the sobbing girl into a bear, and told her to leave or face death.
Kallisto eventually gave birth to a human son by the name of Arkas, and was later killed by hunters.
Upon death, Zeus honored her in the stars by making her the constellation Ursa Major. He settled on Delos after he had his sight restored by Hephaestus with mechanical eyes, where Artemis allowed him to join her Hunters as the first ever male, due to his impressive hunting abilities. However, one day, Orion got carried away with hunting so much that he began killing harmless animals. Due to Apollo , who drove him crazy for being close to his sister, Orion declared that "[he] will kill all the animals in the world".
This didn't sit well with the Hunters' way of life, nor with his mother Gaea. His claims stirred her from slumber and she sent a massive scorpion that killed Orion with its poisonous stinger. Artemis found his body shortly thereafter. Greatly saddened by the death of yet another friend, Artemis made Orion into a constellation with a scorpion to immortalize his story.
Hippolytos was a charming and handsome prince who had no interest in romance whatsoever. His passion for hunting made Artemis accept him into the Hunt, though her followers were rather hesitant at the thought of having an attractive male among their ranks. Hippolytos, however, never tried anything romantic with the Hunters, with his asexuality and aromanticism greatly enraging the love goddess Aphrodite. When Hippolytos returned home to visit his father King Theseus , the two got into an argument about Hippolytos marrying and having children, despite the latter insisting to remain with Artemis.
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Unbeknownst to father and son, Aphrodite was manipulating their emotions into a fierce rage, which resulted in Theseus drawing a sword and striking Hippolytos dead. Upon hearing of her friend's death, a devastated Artemis promptly rushed to Hippolytos' tomb and carried his deceased body to Asclepius , her nephew and the best physician in all of Greece. She requested that Asclepius revive him from the dead, and he did so with Physician's Cure. This, however, had immediate repercussions, as Aphrodite complained to Zeus about Hippolytos' revival, as did Hades , when it could possibly cause chaos in both the mortal world and the Underworld.
Zeus appeased his brother by personally striking down Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Apollo was angered and devastated by his favorite son's death, and killed one of the younger Cyclopes who forged Zeus' thunderbolts in retaliation. To prevent a feud, Asclepius was resurrected and made into a god, but Hades forbid him from ever resurrecting the dead again. Fortunately, Artemis protected Hippolytos and had him sent off to Italy, where he lived to an old age as a priest to one of her sacred shrines. When Niobe insulted her mother Leto, saying her children were more numerous and better overall, an enraged Artemis shot arrows at Niobe's seven daughters, while Apollo shot arrows at Niobe's seven sons.
Percy Jackson , a man whom Artemis respects. Whilst hunting, she is captured by the General, Atlas , and is used to lure Percy and his friends west, alongside Annabeth. By the time she was captured, Annabeth was holding the sky. Artemis could not simply stand by and watch a young maiden die, and she takes the sky from Annabeth, incapacitating her, as Atlas had hoped. During the fight, although Artemis was exhausted from holding the sky, she was able to hold her own against the Titan General and ultimately manages to force Atlas back and he is eventually pushed back under the sky as Percy rolls out of the way.
She is the first to suggest plans for war preparations against the Titans, and appears fair and honest, as she is horrified at the vote of whether or not to destroy Percy, as he risked his life for them and stands up for him against the other Olympians when they vote. When Percy is fighting Geryon , the only way to defeat him was with an arrow to kill Geryon all three bodies must be killed at the same time. As thanks, Percy offers a part of Geryon's barbecue to the gods after defeating the three-headed giant.
Artemis appears again when she battles Typhon. Her hunters help the campers of Camp Half-Blood fight against Kronos ' army. One of her hunters, Thalia, had a statue of Hera fall on her legs during the Battle of Manhattan. In the council, after Kronos was defeated, she convinced Hades to send her deceased Hunters to the Underworld realm of Elysium and congratulates Thalia on defending Manhattan.
Artemis is noted to be one of the gods who disagreed with Zeus' decision to close Olympus. She sent out her Hunters to search for Percy, showing that she was still interfering in mortal affairs. She is also mentioned by Hylla as she explains to Hazel the difference between the Hunters and the Amazons. Artemis, along with most of the other Olympians, was incapacitated with her personality split between her and her Roman form Diana after Leo was manipulated by Gaea into shooting upon Camp Jupiter from the Argo II. Leo , Frank , and Hazel travel to the island of Delos to find the final ingredient to the Physician's Cure from Apollo, they are also greeted by Artemis, who warns them about the onagers acquired by Octavian.
When Reyna , with the help of six pegasi , finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill , golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods and curing all of the Olympians including Artemis of their split personalities. As a result, Artemis and Apollo promptly leave Delos to participate in the final battle with the Giants in Athens.
The twins help slay quite a few Giants with their arrows, after which Hades sends their bodies back to Tartarus , by opening up abysses after each Giant is killed. After the battle, Artemis attempts to soothe the rage of her father Zeus , who is determined to punish Hera and Apollo for letting another Gigantomachy happen. It is revealed that Zeus has prohibited Artemis from contacting her brother or ordering her Hunters to help him. Artemis is a calm, reserved and reasonable being, but also stoic, serious and extremely pragmatic.
She does not frequently lose her temper and speaks reasonably with others, even demigods like Percy Jackson. She is also selfless and refuses to allow Percy to take the weight of the sky for fear that he isn't strong enough. Artemis possesses a deep caring for maidens, especially for the maidens whom she presides over.
She does not discriminate when selecting girls to join her ranks; Artemis allows mortals , demigods , and even nymphs to become Hunters. Unlike her twin , she is less "easy-going" and more focused with a much greater understanding of mortals than most of the other Olympians much like Hermes. Although she is reasonable, Artemis holds a general dislike of most men, although she does acknowledge and respect those who prove themselves to her, such as Orion , Hippolytus , and Percy Jackson.
Artemis is shown to be an independent goddess who prefers the company of her hunters to even that of other gods.