creatures have two main functions: they bring together the symbolic strengths of different animals; and, in the case of hybrids formed of two species
from different elements
, they represent the fundamental unity
. To the minds that invented them, hybrids presented no inherent contradiction
s, because if all creation was interconnected, there was no reason why certain ingredient
s should not be permutated in new and different ways. There's a lot of evidence
that the ancients
did not separate imagination
in the way that is habitual to (most of) us.
In the great majority of cases, hybrid creatures carried a positive symbolic meaning. They inhabited a dimension that spanned this and other worlds, and therefore could serve not only to help mankind in the struggle against dark forces but also to act as messengers from the gods and as sources of wisdom in themselves. Many Egyptian gods were portrayed as part-animal, part-human, and throughout the ancient world there was a belief in the power of the gods to change their shape at will in orer to influence the world of humankind.
Some hybrid creatures include: