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Other Cultures Think Differently. Don’t Judge Them by Us


Fox (Photo credit: jans canon)

A recent post on (this site) refers to a study of fox skeletons or skulls found in human graves. The assumption was that the foxes were pets.

Apparently the authors were unfamiliar with the animist concept of totems, which are animal (or plant or mineral) ancestors claimed by families, clans, or nations. So the people who buried foxes with their dead may have been honoring their mythical ancestors.

Today most people overlook the many animal names families use even in modern times: Crane, Swan, Swallow, Sparrow, Bear (or Behr), Wren, Lyons, Wolf, Hare, and so on. I’m sure you can think of others. Such names exist in many cultures worldwide.

Rómulo y Remo, bajo la Loba Capitolina

Rómulo y Remo, bajo la Loba Capitolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We forget (or are not told) that the story of Romulus and Remus probably indicates that the wolf was the original totem (mythical ancestor) of Rome and the Romans. Closer looks at other myths reveal similar ancient beliefs.

By the time of the classic Greeks and Romans, weird stories had already been composed to explain away the remnants of animism and totem stories in mythology. Just as the gods and goddesses who originated as animal deities were still depicted with their former animal forms and sometimes said to have transformed into such animals sometimes, the clues still remained.

It’s easy to understand why monocultural modern people are ignorant about the origins of names and legends, but when archeologists seem to lack basic knowledge of how primal people think and believe, it’s downright scary.

Posted in Animism, Dogs & Canids, Europe, Modern Musings.

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