Where in the world did these werethings come from?
by Coral Moore
by Coral Moore
Werewolf legends can be traced back to the mythology of ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Scandinavians. One of the first and most widely accessible texts to consolidate much of the folktales was The Book of Were-Wolves, by Sabine Baring-Gould published in 1865. If you’re a lover of all things were, like I am, this is an invaluable reference tool for historical stories and accounts. Early on in the book Baring-Gould gives a brief rundown of a few kinds of shifters:
Among the ancients this kind of insanity went by the names of Lycanthropy, Kuanthropy, or Boanthropy, because those afflicted with it believed themselves to be turned into wolves, dogs, or cows. But in the North of Europe, as we shall see, the shape of a bear, and in Africa that of a hyæna, were often selected in preference. A mere matter of taste!
This is what I want to talk about today, not werewolves specifically but some of the different types of werebeasts and why they hold such an allure for us.
Therianthropy is the more general term for a human that shifts into an animal. The duality of their existence might be part of what makes them so appealing. Where is the line between man and beast drawn? Can humans triumph over their baser instincts? What kind of power can these man/animal hybrids tap into? Their complexity makes them interesting, and maybe that’s why humans turning into animals have been a staple in stories throughout our history.
Though wolves are the most common, there are a huge number of different shifter tales originating all over the world. Werecats can be found in the folklore of many cultures—in the Americas men became jaguars, in Africa they turned into lions, and in Asia people transformed into tigers. Native Americans and Scandinavians both told stories of men that changed into bears. Humans in every corner of the globe have been known to transform into seals (selkie), hyenas (bouda), vultures (chonchon), and foxes (kitsune). Some myths maintained that there were men who could change into any animal at will—skinwalkers in the Americas and rakshasa in India.
This is just a tiny sampling of the many flavors of shapeshifters found in our ancestral cultures. If you want to fuel your imagination with a variety of weres from around the world, there is a list on SeekerWorld that makes for interesting reading.
My own werecreatures are strictly of the wolf variety, although I dove into mythology to put a slightly different spin on them. The werewolves in the world of Broods of Fenrir are of Nordic descent, and as a result have a more primitive feeling than most you’ll read about these days. I also have some ideas for expansion into different types of therianthropes in later books. Do you have a favorite kind of shifter?
***Stop by and talk with Coral about all things were on her Blog, Goodreads, or Twitter. Find out more about her new Urban Fantasy Broods of Fenrir.
Broods of Fenrir
By Coral Moore
Shapeshifter Brand Geirson was raised to rule the Broods of Fenrir, but he refused his birthright. Instead, he killed their brutal leader–his own father–and walked away.
For hundreds of years he’s avoided brood society, until a werewolf kills an innocent human woman and Brand finds himself dragged back into the violent politics of the shapeshifters. When the two brood women who mean the most to him come under threat, he must take up the throne and risk becoming the kind of vicious bastard his father was, or let the broods descend further into chaos–taking the friend he swore to protect and his lover with them.
Broods of Fenrir is available in paperback and ebook formats.
Where to Buy:
GIVEAWAY:Thanks to Coral I have a digital copy of Broods of Fenrir to giveaway. To enter leave a comment along with your email address. Open to everyone. The winner will be announced on January 27th. Good Luck!