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Publication Date: 
March, 2000
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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.


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