Shape Shifters & Their Stories: The Golem; Lilith; Werewolf; The Dybbuk; Silkie; & More (Paper Original)

Article number: 9781906958664
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"Long ago the trees thought they were really people Long ago the mountains thought they were really people Long ago the animals thought they were really people Someday, they will say Long ago the humans thought they were really people" Constance O'Day-Flannery, Shifting Love Introduction Shape-shifting is a common theme in mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. In its broadest sense, shape-shifting occurs when a being (usually human) either (1) has the ability to change its shape into that of another person, creature, or other entity or (2) finds its shape involuntarily changed by someone else. If the shape change is voluntary, its cause may be an act of will, a magic word or magic words, a potion, or a magic object. If the change is involuntary, its cause may be a curse or spell, a wizard's or magician's or fairy's help, a deity's will, a temporal change such as a full Moon or nightfall, love, or death. The transformation may or may not be purposeful. The desire to be different in some way so as to match some ideal promoted through advertising has become an obsession, especially for vulnerable younger members of society. Perhaps the pressure to conform to some unrealistic ideal is something that has always been with us, but surely not to the extent that now is the case. And it is this desire that helps to account for the current interest in shape-shifting as it would seem to provide a means of achieving the goal to bring about change. However, as many of the tales in this collection show, it is only by coming to terms with who we really are that peace of mind can truly be ours once again. Another, and perhaps even more significant reason for the fascination with shape-shifting is that stories and shamanic journeys that involve such transformations let us cross the threshold between this reality and other worlds, at least in imagination. Through such tales and journeys we learn to appreciate that we can in fact wear many shapes and inhabit many skins, and we are reminded that we are all living beings beneath the fur, the feathers, and the scales. Having no scripture, liturgy or singular deity, if one's ... desire is to find universal truth it is easy to perceive the Pagan outlook as too diverse and individualistic to have any weight or worth. (Restall Orr, 2012, p.96). On the other hand, if you take a Bible and put it out in the wind and rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone, whereas for the Pagan his or her Bible IS the wind and rain. And although there may not necessarily be key texts or set teachings to guide the Pagan, there are stories: legends shared with other people, other lands, tales from other, older, cultures that speak to us, and it is those stories that form the focus of this book.