Region of origin: Finland
An oceanic deity of Finnish mythology, Iku-Turso is heavily associated with evil, considered a god of war and a bringer of pestilence, literally fathering all diseases into existence with another god known alternatively as Loviatar or Louhi*, daughter of the queen of the Finnish underworld and a god of death and disease in her own right. He is thought to live in the depths of the waters to the far north, near a frozen, evil land called Pohjola; in the epic poem the Kalevala, he was summoned by Louhi to guard the Sampo, a vaguely-defined magical artifact, before being beaten by the demigod hero Väinämöinen and his crew and is banished back to the bottom of the sea and told to never return.
*In some versions of the stories the two names seem to be used synonymously, others identify them as separate figures.
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Region of origin: Egypt
Relatively little information about Ahti has survived, but it is thought she took on a form consisting of the body of a hippopotamus and the head of a wasp. It’s believed the wasp aspect represented her role as a goddess of malicious intentions and she was a spiteful, malevolent figure aligned with the god of darkness, Set, leading to few recorded examples of worship or depiction. Alternatively, the name Ahti has also been associated with Bes, a more benevolent god who protected homes and childbirth.
Region of origin: Basque Country, Pyrenees
Used today as a generic term for bad or stormy weather, Odei or Hodei was a sky-spirit and the personification of thunderstorms, who set out to frighten humans and damage crops. He was said to be able to be calmed down or warded off by performing rituals such as burning laurel branches or placing an upturned axe at the entrance to your home.
Originally posted on Tumblr on October 20, 2016
Region of origin: Central Mexico
Deities from the depths of space, the Tzitzimime were undead women, primarily ones who had died during childbirth, and goddesses that traveled back to earth in times of total darkness, most powerful during solar eclipses and at the end of the Aztec century. They hunted mortals, especially children, and gathered pregnant women to add to their ranks. Rituals were performed at the end of each century to ensure the sun came back and the Tzitzimime would not run rampant, ushering in the end of the world. The Tzitzimime’s multiple eyes in their joints were considered to be the stars that made up constellations in the night sky. They wore pieces of humans as jewelry and clothing made of bones and shells which rattled as they approached their victims. Despite their apocalyptic role, the Tsitzimime were not viewed as unanimously evil, and were in some cases said to cure diseases as well as cause them and could also function as protectors and fertility goddesses.
Originally posted on Tumblr on October 6, 2016
Region of origin: Mie Prefecture, Japan
“Fire of the God of the Bad Way,” the Akurojin-no-Hi is a living flame that may appear to travelers lost on rough or old paths in disrepair. Possibly confused with fox-fire or other local ghost-lights, they are actually a manifestation or aspect of the god of the road, created to show their displeasure over the human’s trespass. A person who shows the god the proper reverence in the form of fleeing from the fire in terror and vacating the god’s domain should be fine, however, anyone who lingers and allows the fire to approach or touch them will begin to grow increasingly ill and die soon after the encounter.
Originally posted on Tumblr on September 8, 2016
Region of origin: Bundjalung Nation, Australia
A creation deity for people of the Bundjalung nation in western Australia, Dirawong was spirit who took the form of a giant goanna during the Dreamtime and functioned as a protector and a teacher, instructing mankind in all manner of subjects, from societal matters such as language and law to artistic ones like dance and painting. He fought with the Rainbow Serpent after the serpent had committed some now-forgotten evil act and their battle ravaged the then-flat countryside, altering the landscape and creating new rivers, islands and other geographical features.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 21, 2016
Region of origin: China
The “Heavenly Dog,” Tiangou is a massive black dog who lives in the sky, often depicted as a meteor. During solar eclipses, it was said Tiangou had eaten the sun, and the deity Zhang Xian was then charged with shooting him with arrows until he spat it back out.
Originally posted on Tumblr on August 15, 2016