Wiliness, slyness and cunning, craftiness, trickery and guile, and yet wisdom too: these are all the qualities that are generally accepted throughout the world as belonging to the fox. An intelligent animal, Reynard, the famous fox that appears in fairy tales, has human characteristics and often converses with men and women in their own language. The first recorded instance of hunting the fox with hounds is from the sixteenth century, but the tradition is supposed to be much older. Although the animal was hunted for its beautiful pelt, the actual chase often turned into an escapade that resulted in a slaughter so bloody that the fur itself was rendered completely useless. The reason for the persecution of this creature, beyond mere straightforward culling, remains a mystery, although it may stem from early Christian belief that made the fox synonymous with that most cunning of tricksters, the Devil. Because foxes live in holes and tunnels in the ground, they are attached to the Earth element and accordingly are the totem animals of several earth deities. The fox is also the symbol of the seducer or, most dangerously, the seductress; the “foxy lady” is aptly described. The fox is the totem animal of Dionysus, whose seductively foxy priestesses wore fox skins.
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Animals main description
THE SECRET SYMBOLS OF THE ANIMAL REALM
This section not only encompasses real animals, insects, and birds, but also takes a look at some of the more fantastical creatures that occupy a significant space in our collective psyche. The attributes of all our animals, real or otherwise, give us an incredibly rich and diverse catalog of symbols. Sometimes, the reasons behind these symbolic meanings are due to historical misconceptions about the habits of certain creatures, and probably date back to a time when we were less well informed than we are now. These curiosities—such as the beaver being a symbol of chastity because of the notion that it would rather eat its own testicles than be captured—give us a delightful insight into the minds of our ancestors.