Spirit of the Kingdom of Purity
Teaching: The Crown of Purity
Mythology and Folklore
Belief in the existence of the fabulous Unicorn remained strong right up until the 18th and 19th centuries. Many people regarded its existence as a fact even though they had never seen one, in much the same way as they thought of the lion. The Unicorn was a creature of the moon - wise, graceful and beautiful. It represented purity, chastity and gentleness, and was a common subject for medieval tapestries and decorative art.
The first mention of the Unicorn as we would recognize it is by the Greek Ctesias. He described a creature like a horse with white body, dark-red head, and a single horn in the middle of the forehead with a white base, black centre and crimson tip - colors frequently associated with female lunar figures. Julius Caesar, in his 'Gallic Wars' commentary, mentions seeing a bull-sized animal shaped like a stag with a single tall, straight horn. The symbol of the Unicorn must have been familiar to Caesar, as it featured in Roman mythology associated with the lunar huntress Diana, who rode in a chariot drawn by eight Unicorns.
The Unicorn is variously described as. resembling a goat, a stag, a horse or a bull. In most cases the color of the body is white, but the color of the horn Mary vary and the horn itself may be straight or spiraled. Some sources claimed that the Unicorn had cloven hooves, while others describe hooves like a horse. In medieval images of the Unicorn it often has a goat-like beard. In heraldry, it is depicted with the head and body of a horse, the legs of a stag and the tail of a lion, with a single straight or twisted horn on the forehead.
The value of the Unicorn lay principally in the magical properties of its horn, the 'alicorn', which had the power to detect and render harmless any poison, and to purify water. Cups and knife-handles made of the material were therefore much in demand by kings a d rulers worried about the security of their position. The powdered horn was worth 10 times the equivalent weight of gold. Not surprisingly there was much trade in medieval times of artifacts reputedly made from Unicorn horn, although in many cases the material came from either the rhinoceros or, more commonly in Britain, the marine narwhal, which became known as the sea-unicorn. The standard test for a genuine horn was to use it to inscribe a circle on the ground, and place inside the circle a lizard or snake. If the beast remained trapped within the circle, the horn was truly that of the Unicorn.
Noble, solitary and intelligent, Unicorns lived alone in the deep forests and woodlands, acting as guardians and protectors for other woodland beasts. They could not be captured or killed by ordinary hunting methods, and could become savage and fierce when threatened, using the single horn to deadly effect on huntsmen and hounds. But the Unicorn had a fatal weakness which could be exploited by the cunning huntsman - it would become meek and gentle in the presence of a maiden, and would lay its head in the girl's lap, allowing itself to be captured or killed. Huntsmen would therefore lay traps for the beasts, using maidens as bait, sometimes sitting willingly and richly adorned to aid the hunt, at other times against their will, naked and tied to a tree. The obvious symbolism of the phallic horn in the lap of a young girl can also be seen as an allegory for puberty and sexual experience signaling the end of innocence and purity. Once captured, the Unicorn could be led meekly by using a halter made from the virgin's hair, and could be subdued permanently by shoeing it with silver.
The theme of the mighty Unicorn being overcome by innocence and chastity was popular in the medieval church. The image was used to represent the triumph of innocence, with the Unicorn sometimes representing the Devil, and sometimes a lover being lured to destruction. The innocence and purity of the beast also led it to be associated with the Virgin Mary and with Christ himself.
Many stories deal with the legendary battles between the lion and the Unicorn, with the Unicorn representing the moon, night, spring and feminine forces, and the lion symbolizing the sun, day, summer and masculinity. In all of these tales, the mystical Unicorn must eventually give way to the temporal power of the lion, as night gives way to day. King James IV of Scotland was so fascinated by the stories of the Unicorn that he adopted it as a device for his Royal coat of arms, and the battles of the lion and the Unicorn can be seen in some cases as a metaphor for the struggles between Scotland and the English, whose Royal device was a red lion.
The most abiding image of the Unicorn, however, is of a solitary nobleness and gentleness which responds to the purity in humans, sometimes to its own disadvantage. One belief was that every time a Unicorn died, a little more magic left the world.
In a spread, the Unicorn represents power, inner beauty and gentleness - but only when the wild side of the personality is held in check. Otherwise it can mean pride, aggressiveness and stubbornness. The Unicorn has the ability to rise above the needs of the self.
Spiral Path Meaning:
Having inherited her gifts as a young child, Mademoiselle Lynna has been a psychic seer and empath all of her life. She has expanded her learning as an adult under the wings of some very special people i.e. Doreen Virtue, Silver Ravenwolf, Lady Morghana DragonEye, Starr Casas, Raymond Buckland, Kyle Gray, Benebell Wen, Madame Pamita and of course ALL of her Ancestors, known and unknown....