Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Sacred Crocodile

The crocodile is the most misunderstood animal on earth. It's associated with anything brutal and bad. Most people think crocodiles are just only interested in sleeping, swimming and eating. Seen as unfriendly man eaters, devourers of anything and considered living dinosaurs by some, crocodiles are far more beautiful and interesting.

First of all the crocodile mother have very strong maternal instincts and protects her young. She also loves her babies and nurtures them as well as a mammal mother. Crocodiles are sociable creatures and often found in groups. They have feelings and emotions. Some can even get frightened of sudden noise and shocks. They appear to show hostility but in actual fact they're just relaxing and cooling down in the warm sun. Crocodiles are only aggressive when during the mating season and defending their offspring against other predators.

Crocodiles have a lifespan of up to 80 years, roughly above human lifespan. Although people can live beyond 80 years, many die between the ages 40 and 70 on average. Crocodiles as a species have been around for longer than the dinosaurs and outlived them. They also have barely changed physically for millions of years.

In Egyptian mythology, Sobek was a crocodile deity, sometimes shown with a human body and crocodile's head or as a crocodile in full form. He was a powerful and ferocious god of war and fertility. He warded off evil entities and was seen as a type of solar god. The Egyptian goddess Ammut was seen as a divine crocodile demoness, who ate the living dead and always sits on judgement.

Mayan royalty was buried along with crocodiles and alligators. It's unsure and unlikely that people in ancient Mayan culture had crocodiles and alligators as pets, but these animals were valued with respect. Stone crocodiles are found throughout ancient Mesoamerican art. In Aztec mythology, Cipactli was a crocodile goddess who ruled the earth as a protector and guide, and she was linked to the beginning of time and the start of civilisation. A crocodile or alligator features in the Aztec calendar, as the first day, the day sign "Cipactli" of the East. In the Trecena or 13 days calendar, the crocodile is again the first tutelery divinity to appear.

The crocodile as an aspect of the mother goddess also appears in Hindu myth as Makara, of the River Ganges, associated with travel, wealth, power and aggression who carries a goddess across the water. The Egyptian goddess Taweret is a pregnant goddess with the head of a crocodile, with humanlike female breasts, limbs of a lion and the rest of her like a hippo. She's associated with fertility and childbirth as well as magic and power. Tiamat is a dark goddess and an aquatic monster from Mesopotamian mythology. Although from the description she might've been a sea dragon, it's considered that she had crocodile features and possibly resembles the Machimosaurus species. If anyone studies monsters in mythology, they have clues about known animals and prehistoric beasts tied with them.

I've found that the myths and stories of crocodiles overlap with myths and stories of dragons the further back one looks in history or the different corners of the earth one finds. There are many types of prehistoric crocodiles that existed in the world and many fossils of ancient crocodiles found all over Europe.

Today people simply look upon crocodiles with scorn, fear and greed for their leather. It's disgusting that crocodiles are farm bred for the purpose of their skins, as these animals have always nourished the earth and given much spirituality to humans in our earliest beginnings. Crocodiles are prone to affection but with much training and with warning, for not anyone can be closely bonded with these powerful animals. Ancient people saw crocodiles as gods and the herald of early civilisations. Perhaps these animals, more widespread in prehistory across the world, were the dragons that we revere in fantasy and folklore? 


A crocodile story from Papua   
Book "Crocodiles: Their Natural History, Folklore and Conservation" by C.A.W. Guggisberg.
Legends and myths of crocodiles
Aztec calendar crocodile day sign Cipactli
Crocodiles of the World 
Crocodile evolution timeline

No comments:

Post a Comment