Elements of Fantasy – Frogs
For a dame seeking a handsome, wealthy husband who has an affluent family, all she needed to do was kiss a lot of frogs. Simple and foolproof. The Brothers Grimm received most of the credit for igniting the folklore about a frog who helped a girl find her ball in a well. He pressured the girl into kissing him, despite her obvious revulsion at having relations with a frog. All was well once she became angry enough to threw him against the wall and break the horrible spell cast on a dreamy prince.
Frogs appeared mainly in fairytales. In Aesop’s Fables, frogs sought out a mighty king to reside over them. The gods sent a stork that terrorized and ate them. The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher was of an eccentric frog who faced life-threatening challenges during a fishing trip, until he vowed never to kill fish, again.
However, aliens were often depicted as frog-like creatures because of their green skin, seamless facial features and froggy arms and legs. Similar to the exodus by Moses when Egypt was plagued with frogs, the horror movie, Frogs, had the slimy creatures kill humans. Where did the sci-fi element of the amphibians begin?
Frogs were called upon by the Greco-Romans through the goddess, Aphrodite, also known as Venus. With her, frogs symbolized fertility and harmony between lovers. The fairytale of kissing frogs to find a prince demonstrated the purity of true love in finding the perfect husband for you, without judging a man by his appearance or station in life.
If you ever dreamed of holding a frog then your wildest desires soon came true. British Columbian frogs stood for happiness. Chinese frogs represented the good luck of yin energy. Feng Shui promised blessings, a house full of children, and a happy home-life if you kept an image of a frog in an east-facing window. In the northwest United States, frogs are manifestations of a spirit that defeated evil underwater creatures whenever a tadpole emerged as a frog.
When you desired developing your intuition and communicating with the spirits, look around for a frog. Western Europeans categorized the growth of frogs into three stages: eggs, tadpoles, and amphibians. With the three, Christians adopted frogs to show the holy trinity and man’s spiritual resurrection.
Frogs were the connection between life and death. Greek myths described frogs living in the swamps of the underworld. Frogs were known for croaking loudly as man traveled the path of transition from life to death. When weather conditions didn’t appeal to frogs, they appeared to die and then resurrect. Frogs buried themselves in dirt during a drought or even a fire and then dug their way out once the rain fell or the fire dissolved.
A frog’s croaking represented communication between the living and the dead. An ancient Asian tradition believed a person who passed away would safely find his way to the afterlife when the figure of a jade frog was put on his tongue. The frog opened communications between the deceased person and the spirit world, while giving the deceased person the ability to continue speaking with those in the living world.
If life challenged you to make dramatic changes, turn to a frog for strength. On the flip side, if a frog appeared in your path, perhaps you saw frogs on your way to work or coupling frogs moved into your backyard, expect upheavals in your life. If you were an optimist, anticipate opportunities to transition in a different direction. Frogs represented change because of their many stages from eggs to tadpoles to adult frogs. Initially, frogs only survived in water. Later, they shifted between water and land. Even once they adapted to oxygen, they could burrow in the ground and resurface after a drought.
Man experienced drastic emotional and spiritual transformations during his life. Figures and drawings of frogs were particularly positive images for teenagers because teens struggle with the shift between childhood and accepting responsibilities.
The distinct growth stages of frogs appeared in the four Ancient Egyptian gods, collectively called Ogdoad. All four had frog heads and each symbolized a period of development. Heqet was the goddess of childbirth and she was the midwife of the world’s birth. She also protected mothers and newborn children. Isis and Hathor took on the meaning of fertility and birth when a frog was drawn near them. Amun, the supreme creator, sometimes was shown with a frog head, as well. The image of a tadpole represented the sacred Egyptian number 100,000.
Before embarking on a trip, connect with your frog side. The Japanese word for frog also means, “to return.” When traveling in Japan, frogs were good luck for shielding travelers from strife until they arrived back at their homes. Carrying a frog trinket on your body during a long expedition on land and especially on the sea guaranteed a safe and peaceful experience.
Frog legs and other bodily parts should be kept in your pocket if you intend to attract healing powers. The Celts viewed frogs as lord over the earth, including their having the ability to cure ailments and heal diseases due to the frog’s unique qualities for living in, near, or without water.
Frogs made such a strong impression that there were numerous beliefs about the meaning of when a frog made himself known. Good luck and abundance was bestowed on you if a frog entered your home. On a similar vein, Feng Shui suggested placing an image of a frog near a cash register to attract prosperity in business. Carrying a tiny frog charm in your wallet or billfold drew money to you and prevented you from losing money.
Killing a frog was extremely unlucky because they held the spirits of deceased children. That was of course, when it wasn’t a witch that transformed into a frog so she could spy on her victims. For this reason, the Catholic Church used frogs to symbolize the devil during the medieval times.
If a frog croaked during daylight, expect rain. The moon adored frogs and considered them to be sacred creatures because of their ability to summon rain to fall. According to the Hinduism, frogs were deities. Croaking was their form of chanting Brahmins who performed rites during prayers for rain during a drought.
Frogs represented transformation. Japanese folklore told of a woman being transformed into a frog as punishment for her poor behavior. Her most heinous crime was murdering her husband, which angered the gods to sentence her to a life of giving birth to frogs.
Crossing paths with a frog sometimes meant big trouble. Long ago, frogs had tails but they lost them when they selfishly stole fire from man. If you came across a frog living in a well, be warned that the owner of the property was unwise and lacked insight. The Zoroastrian religion of Old Persia told of a demon named Ahriman who created a frog that drank all the water. Aboriginal myths had a frog outsmart his enemies by throwing his voice like a ventriloquist whenever he placed a wooden dish on his back.
This article was originally posted on August 7, 2012.
Title image by JennaVee.