Warning messageThis content is filtered. APPPAH membership is required for full access to journal articles.
This paper examines the cross-cultural appearance of myths, stories, customs, and legends that refer to images of protection and guardianship of a fetus before, during, and after birth. Included in this discussion are the Jewish angel Lailah, the Christian guardian angel, the Greek daimon, the Roman genius, the Chinese goddess Kuan-yin, the Mauri goddess Hine-Titama, the Egyptian god Bes, as well as a look at indigenous peoples' mythologies that appoint guardianship status to trees, land, animals, and inanimate objects. An attempt is made to make sense of these images through an examination of the biological aspects of prenatal development and birth, as well as through a more transpersonal or spiritual perspective on human development. It is concluded that further research into these images can help shed light on specific aspects of human development including understanding our need for inner images of protection and guidance, and comprehending the deeper passions or stirrings of "the genius within us," who assists us moving through our lives.
Listed in order of use
Howard Schwartz, Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 57-58.
Allan Bloom (trans.), The Republic of Plato (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books, 1991, p. 303.
New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology. London: Hamlyn House, 1968, p. 217.
W.Y. Evans-Wentz (ed.). The Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford, 1960, pp. 155-196.
George R. Elder (ed.). An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism: The Body. Boston: Shambhala, 1996.
New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, p. 39.
Patricia Grace, Wahine Too: Women of Maori Myth. New York: Viking, 1984. Cited in David Meltzer (ed.). Birth: An Anthology of Ancient Texts, Songs, Prayers, and Stories. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1981, pp. 204-5.
The Complete Grimm Fairy Tales, New York: Pantheon, 1972, p. 124.
David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, New York: Pantheon, 1996, p. 167.
Joseph Campbell, Historical Atlas of World Mythology, Vol I: The Way of the Animal Powers. Harper and Row, 1988.
David Roberts, Iceland: Land of the Sagas. New York: Villard, 1990, p. 90.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield. New York: Bantam, 1981, pp. 1-2.
Bohus, B., G.I. Kovacs, and D. de Wied. (1978) "Oxytocin, vasopressin and memory: Opposite effects on consolidation and retrieval processes." Brain Research, 157, 414-417.
C.A. Petersen, and A.J. Prange, Jr., (1979) "Induction of maternal behavior in virgin rats after intracerebroventricular administration of oxytocin," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 76 (12), 6661-5.
Thomas Armstrong, The Radiant Child. Wheaton, IL: Quest, 1985, pp. 1-11.
Eric Neumann, The Origins and History of Consciousness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971, p. 24.
James Hillman, The Soul's Code. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.
To speak with a representative about our products and services or for technology inquiries, please call 1-720-490-5612.