Four Mythical Creatures
The four mythical creatures of Vietnam are symbols that represent auspicious blessings. The 4 mythical creatures are the Phoenix, Dragon, Turtle, and Qilin. These symbols are found throughout Vietnam and much of South East and East Asia. More than just decorations, these creatures each have a symbolic meaning and blessing when used.
The Phoenix rises from the ashes of its nest and is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. It appears in times of calm and symbolizes peace
The Dragon is strong and fierce and represents power and strength
The Turtle’s long life and endurance serves as a symbol for longevity, strength, and intelligence.
The Qilin is a mythical creature also often referred to as a unicorn, that demonstrates faith, good fortune, and strength.
I lived in Vietnam for five years and each of these creatures cropped up again and again. They adorn temples, they inspire festivals, they find their way into several facets of contemporary living. I started drawing them, doodles at first, then colouring pages, and I started to create digital art based on these images of mythical creatures in 2017. This archetypal representation of the creatures slowly materialised over the last four years: I have worked and reworked them, as they have become full of more meaning and mystery with each fractal, each layer, each spiral of truth.
Each piece carries the symbolism of each mythical creature while also presenting the strengths of different archetypes. The archetypes and the qualities they display were chosen based upon the meaning of the creature they represent and the felt experience of each completed piece. Whether one of these art pieces resides in your collection, or you experience it as a viewer, may it imbue its blessing and archetypal strengths upon you.
The Dragon represents power, regality, and immortality and it has thus been a symbol of emperors for millenia. The yang energy of the dragon is held in balance by the Queen Archetype in this piece. She is benevolent, compassionate, and kind; a protective but firm leader.
“May I use the power I have to do what is right for the benefit of all beings.”
The Phoenix traditionally represent feminine nobility, however it is depicted here through the male peaceful warrior Archetype. This allows for a balance of yin and yang energies. The Warrior uses his peaceful heart and warrior spirit to fight his inner battles that allow for the peace, regeneration, and rebirth of the phoenix’s flame.
“May I have the strength to face my inner conflicts with equanimity.”
The Turtle symbolises longevity, strength, and intelligence. Here, he takes the form of the Priest archetype, serving as a spiritual channel of divinity. He is in a constant pursuit of knowledge and development intellectually. He seeks to maintain the knowledge that has been acquired, understand more, and pass on this knowledge to others.
“May I serve as a light to others, May I help others to see the light within themselves.”
Qilin High Priestess
The Qilin is an embodiment of peace, mercy, and good fortune. The Qilin High priestess protects and provides sacred spiritual knowledge. She represents the importance of the divine feminine in the lives of all. The Priestess reminds us to connect to our intuition, empathy, and inner wisdom in order to achieve the enlightened compassion that the Qilin supports.
“May I have the faith to follow my intuition, the clarity to see its wisdom, and the resolve to share its knowledge with compassion.”