Magical, Mystical and Mysterious Unicorns

“All the beasts obeyed Noah when he admitted them into the ark. All but the unicorn. Confident of his own strength, he boasted, “I shall swim!”

Ukrainian folktale.

Meditation can be a real eye-opener, take this morning for example when a unicorn appeared by my window. Actually two unicorns appeared by my window.

They were eye-popping in their brilliance; a luminous white one and a bold, darkest of black, black one, playfully prancing by my window before suddenly morphing into a large yin and yang symbol.

With this vision before me curiousity about unicorns got the better of me, and by late morning, after a little digging around, I discovered a few interesting things about these fabled creatures of magic and mystery.

Firstly I discovered the western unicorns align somewhat with an eastern version namely Ki Lin in Chinese mythology. According to folklore when Ki-Lin appears it heralds a new age of harmony and enlightenment, and as the unicorn identifies with a Messiah it would appear that we might just be on the verge of a new age and probably in need of help (hence the arrival of a Messiah).

Maybe the new age is now which some call the Age of Aquarius although exact dates are unclear and vary. For example, Herr Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher, social reformer and esotericist believed we will enter this age around 3573 AD, while Australian writer and astrologer, Terry MacKinnell has it around 1433 AD. Others still place the start date just after the Mayan calendar finished, or the year 2000. Maybe we missed the exact time when we crossed the threshold, or we’re in for a surprise later on.

Back to unicorns; “What is it about them?” I wondered

Unicorns can tell much about ourselves, and the world around us through multi-layered stories, poems, and dreams, so let’s begin with dreams. To dream of a white unicorn is positive and indicates a move towards a better life and attainment of goals. Black unicorns on the other hand, indicates obstacle overcome and power to stay the course. According to Zolar’s Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Dreams, if you dream of one unicorn expect anxiety caused by falsehoods; many unicorns, expect a large sum of money (watch for herds); a unicorn in a cage, avoidance by acquaintances (this can be good or bad depending on how one looks at it); and lastly to kill a unicorn, loss of real estate (Really? I’m certain there’s more to this than real estate). Dreams often bring us answers to life’s many questions and conundrums in the form of symbolism so I imagine I am about to enter a new age myself.

What do they  look like; what do they symbolise?

The unicorn of ancient myths and legends is best described as having the body of a horse or goat, a lion’s tail, cloven hooves and a distinctive spiral horn upon its head said to have magical healing powers. Many theories abound this fabled creature and although the ancient Greeks mentioned the unicorn it’s apparently not part of Greek mythology, rather it’s deemed part of natural history, the observation and study of life.

As mentioned previously the unicorn plays a role in symbology.The white unicorn is a symbol of purity and innocence, gentleness, prosperity, Christian symbol of incarnation, and because only virgins could capture a wild unicorn, they also came to symbolise femininity. The black unicorn on the other hand denotes the masculine, masculine power, active, the shadow side, and is no less important and provides balance – the Yin and Yang.

While the lion symbolises the sun the unicorn is associated with the moon:

The Lion-sun flies from the rising
Unicorn-moon and hides behind the
Tree or Grove of the Underworld;
the Moon pursues, and, sinking in
her turn, is sun slain.

~ Robert Brown, the Unicorn: A Mythological Investigation (1881)

From biblical times to antelope, Dino, Big Foot and Nessie…

According to the King James Bible Psalm 92.10 the unicorn is found in biblical times:

“But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of a unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

However in other bible versions wild ox, wild bull, or buffalo are used, and although some legends
say Adam named the first animal Unicorn I found no mention of this in a copy of The Bible
Revised Standard Version, the Book of Genesis.

It’s possible the unicorn may have been mistaken for the oryx, an antelope with spiral horns, or a rhino (ethereal at a stretch – no offense intended to the totem animal). The outside bet is the legend of the unicorn may have begun before caveman stood upright, namely with that of an extinct dinosaur like the tsintaosaurus spinorhinus which roamed parts of China and which may not have been entirely extinct.

Some legendary animals are elusive and adept at playing hide and seek, take the yeti and Nessie of the Loch. Much time, money and equipment has gone into trying to find these two, which are only sighted again after the search party goes home. You may laugh but there might come the day when big foot comes marching out of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan or Nessie decides to breach in broad daylight during peak tourist season.

In more recent times it was reported in 2008 that a deer was born in a nature preserve in Tuscany Italy with only one horn, the name bestowed upon this beautiful creature not surprisingly, is Unicorn. Whilst the horn was a genetic flaw (Unicorn’s twin was born with the standard two) it’s entirely possible that such a birth happened in ancient times and so a legend began and grew.

From starring in the distant constellation of Monoceros, the unicorn had a starring role on the silver screen in the movie Legend…

The unicorn has once again achieved fame with its mention in the fantasy Harry Potter franchise as a XXXX classification magical creature and in the 1985 movie starring a young Tom Cruise.

This movie is mesmerising not only because it’s a young Tom Cruise in action, there’s that haunting music, the enchantment and ethereal qualities of a good old fashioned good versus evil, dark fairy tale involving two Unicorns who guard The Power of Light, which of course the Lord of Darkness wants to snuff out.

My 20 second synopsis of this movie goes like this: The stallion has his horn cut off, is poisoned and dies. Tom (Jack) saves the day (literally) and The Light and the damsel in distress who had been under a spell, Tom then kicks Darkness to where the sun don’t shine. Meanwhile the unicorn’s horn is returned to the stallion which is then magically revived, and gallops off into the sunset with his beloved unicorn mare. And so good prevails over evil yet again with the help of all things magical, mysterious and filled with utter goodness, the unicorn.

Myth and legend may or may not be true but when one casts their eyes way back in time there was once a seed that grew and grew.

Finally…

The unicorns of this morning’s meditation were as real to me as are the unseen hands that continue guide me. No hard evidence has yet has emerged of their physical existence however for those who are open-minded there’s an invisible world of immense proportions that’s alive and rich beyond imaging waiting to be discovered. It’s within these other realms where you’ll find magic, the impossible, the weird, the wonderful, the bizarre, and the downright terrifying – just because one can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

When something is given form through thought it creates an outward ripple and strange things can happen. So for now, stay tuned for a unicorn sighting or two, it might just be around the corner or you might find one or two in your dream state, when you’re contemplating your navel or during your next meditation.

 

Bibliography

  • Burns, D. C. (1998). Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated. Australia: Sharing.
  • (The Bible, Revised Standard Version, Twenty-second impression 1975)
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn
  • The Complete Encyclopedia of Signs & Symbols by Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey
  • http://www.unicorns.co.za/unicorn-lore/unicorn-symbolism.html
  • http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/06/12/deer-with-rare-unicorn-horn-spotted-in-italy/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_(1985_film)
  • Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated by Dr Cathy Burns