The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

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The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Stuart » 9:49 am

There's a story in the Old Testament about Samson tying torches to the tails of three hundred foxes together and setting fire to Philistine grain. The Romans were apparently so impressed by this that they re-enacted the story in their Cerealia ceremony. Seems preternaturally cruel but probably isn't meant to be taken literally. In any case, even though the Romans were relatively tolerant of other people's beliefs, surely they had more than enough legends and superstitions of their own already?

The fox website says
Foxes are an important part of human culture, being central characters of many myths and folklore. In the past, they were associated with forces of the supernatural. The Achumawi Indians believed that a silver fox assisted the coyote in preparing the world for the coming of the first people.

Aurora borealis
In Finland, the aurora borealis is known as revontulet ("fox fires") because it was believed that the lights were produced by a fox, painting the sky with its tail as it ran through the sky.

If it is assumed that megalithic sites relied on and/or replicated certain star directions (as above so below), is there any significance in this legend of a fox lighting the sky?

Are silver foxes supposed to be stars?
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Martin » 11:00 am

Foxes are associated with guile and cunning, one could draw a parallel with Hermes the trickster. Guiding lights maintained by hermits come to mind.

Stars are also guides of course.
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Donna » 11:14 am

Martin wrote:Foxes are associated with guile and cunning, one could draw a parallel with Hermes the trickster. Guiding lights maintained by hermits come to mind.

Guy Fawkes is a fire-guy, his effigy is set alight on or near All Hallows Eve. The burning fox tails destroying Philistine crops could be quite a pleasing metaphor for fire-brands purifying the nation.

But the old fox failed as did Samson who had a surge of strength we are told after his hair grew long but perished (in the fire?).
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby hvered » 2:35 pm

Foxes are usually associated with the colour red, but the tip of the tail (sorry, brush) is white. It's the tail that's kept as a trophy I think at the end of a hunt. Red and white are very Megalithic colours.

The emphasis on tails reminds me of ermine whose black-tipped tails feature in heraldry and royal robes.
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Donna » 2:44 pm

Silver foxes have been studied by Russian scientists for several decades. A palaeontologist told me recently that due to the Russian breeding programme the foxes have gained (or lost) certain characteristics. He cited 'floppy ears' which are a characteristic of puppies. They seem to have regressed to cubhood. But they're not really white, as 'silver' indicates.

Whiteness tends to be associated with purity though other cultures such as the Chinese have different interpretations e.g. death.
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Maribel » 2:46 pm

Whiteness tends to be associated with purity though other cultures such as the Chinese have different interpretations e.g. death.


Goya knew what he was about

Image
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Penny » 3:11 pm

Stuart wrote: Are silver foxes supposed to be stars?

Donna wrote:Whiteness tends to be associated with purity though other cultures such as the Chinese have different interpretations e.g. death.


The most iconic white animal in northern climes at least is the polar bear and bears, big and small, are very much associated with stars!
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby Maribel » 12:55 pm

Chalk is brilliantly white, some people claim that Albion or the old word for Britain means white land or somesuch, perhaps from the white cliffs on the south coast, a major landmark for travellers from the Continent. Interestingly the Greek word for bronze is chalko which is almost the same as chalk. The dictionary says chalk comes from khalix meaning pebbes and that the Latin for chalk is creta.

There may be a link between creta and Crete where chalk is still quarried.

Image
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby spiral » 3:12 pm

Donna wrote:Whiteness tends to be associated with purity though other cultures such as the Chinese have different interpretations e.g. death.


Not sure about this. To my way of thinking, white is almost universally "purity". It's true some Chinese mourn in white but that might be because they are mourning the passing of a pure life rather than a death?
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Re: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

Postby spiral » 6:22 am

Maribel wrote:Chalk is brilliantly white, some people claim that Albion or the old word for Britain means white land


Al...ban.....Alp Blanc=White hill/mountain.
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