Dragons, Unicorns, Cyclops and Other Legendary Creatures Descend on New York!

The belief in legendary creatures like dragons, Pegasus, mermaids, unicorns, the Sphinx, and Sasquatch has prevailed across cultures since the dawn of humanity.

And now specimens of all of the most famous and enduring of these mythic beings -- and some of their lesser-known counterparts too -- have converged on New York City... and they'll be marching on to Chicago and Atlanta after that!

No, it's not a new movie with a hundred-million-plus budget (but hey, Mr. Spielberg, it'd be a cool movie, and I am available if you want help scripting it. Or acting in it, for that matter. I can do a mean Bigfoot.)

Instead, it's a fascinating exhibit called Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City through January 6, 2008, and then moving on to Chicago's Field Museum and Atlanta's Fernbank Museum.

If you're into understanding yourself and humanity and you can make it to New York, Chicago or Atlanta, definitely consider sacrificing a few hours of your time to these legendary creatures. (And if you can't make it, at least check out the the American Museum of Natural History website that includes photos of many of the legendary creatures.)

Among so much else that they can signify, Cyclops, Yetti and all the rest speak to our fears of the unknown, our hopes for the unknown, and how we pull from the natural world to handle them.

As you're exploring the legendary creatures, including the similar and different interpretations of creatures like dragons across cultures, consider asking yourself questions such as:

* How do I handle my fears of and hopes for the unknown?

* What are the "mythic creatures" I may have created in my own life? What in the world within and around me have I created their traits from?

* Have I built certain people in my life currently or from the past into legendary creatures in a way?

To varying extents, I believe we all do -- and have to -- mythologize the others in our lives, whether living or dead, whether they're strangers or close kin. Perhaps even ourselves. If all the truths could be shared, who we believe someone else is would never jibe with who that someone else believes they are ... probably never even close.

But just as it is in the greater social sense, this mythologizing does not have to be considered a "lie," per se,

but a device we use to understand that which we can never truly know -- this other person, or another thing, or the past or future for that matter -- and to find our place and sanity within it.

Anyway, if you want to find yourself immersed in intense thoughts like those above, OR even if you simply want to see some of the best artistic examples (and some over-the-top examples too) of history's greatest legendary creatures and leave it at that, definitely check out the Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids exhibit (or at least the site and all the legendary creatures pics there.)

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