Unicorn: two visions on a fierce healer

Do you remember your first encounter with a unicorn? Nobody ever saw one, but everyone knows the unicorn and everyone likes it.

Even though we all think the unicorn is a mythological animal, there are no mythological stories about unicorns. Maybe because people used to think it was a living animal and not a mythological one.

In Lascaux France, where in the Stone age drawings were made there is this picture of a unicorn:

Unicorn in Lascaux France

As far as 14,000 years ago. Ctesias, Greek traveler is the first one to write about unicorns. Julias Caesor claimed to have seen them running around in the German Hercynian forest. Cosmas Indicopleustes mentioned them in the sixth century. He did not actually see one. He tells that in the court of Ethiopia there is “a brass figure of a ferocious beast whose strength lies in its horn”. The horn of the unicorn can neutralize poison and give healing.

The Unicorn as a healer

If you look at this clip from the BBC series “Merlin” you see the unicorn as a symbol of trust, intuition and healing. This ultimate faith in nature is violated by the prince (Arthur in his younger years) and applauded by Uther, If you see Artur as the ego and Uther as rationality, the scene tells you that you have to trust in healing, friendship and unity between people.
In the bible the unicorn is mentioned several times.
Later, in the Middle ages, the unicorn became associated with Christ. His horn is healing, and he lies his head at rest in the lap of a virgin (the Virgin Mary).

The Unicorn as the devil

The other vision on the unicorn is that it is a creation of the devil. In Physiologus, an ancient Greek text from an unknown author the unicorn is the evil that can be overcome by the Virgin. The unicorn as a sexual symbol, being hunted by men and captured by a virgin is enough to run the imagination wild.

Carl Jung thought that the unicorn could be a symbol of the Self in the magical process of individuation. In the Mindfunda Magnificent t-shirt you can show your awareness of the magic and symbolism surrounding us: “Dreams tell the myths, forgotten by the day”. A quote from Jung to tell the world you listen to magic.



What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Mythofunda:
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths” Joseph Campbell used to say. This part of Mindfunda shows you how your personal mythology can create peace in your life.

Read more about Mindfunda here, or visit our Courses Page.

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4 Replies to “Unicorn: two visions on a fierce healer”

  1. What an interesting post! I didn't know the unicorn was in the Bible. And I didn't know the Unicorn was associated with the devil. You bring my mind to the powerful Unicorn Tapestries at The Cloisters in New York City. Time to think about a trip to the city. Thank you.

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