Lynx (Lynx canadensis) A lynx is any of four medium-sized wild cats. All are members of the genus Lynx, but there is considerable confusion about the best way to classify felids at present, and some authorities classify them as part of the genus Felis. The Caracal, despite sometimes being called Persian Lynx or African Lynx, does not belong to this genus.
The four species placed in this genus are:
- Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
- Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
- Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus)
- Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
The Lynx is an elusive, ghost-like animal that sees without being seen. Often called "the keeper of secrets of the forest", its magical appearance stems from the mystery that such a creature's secrecy can also be its strength. The Lynx teaches us that even the smallest can succeed in life, and that the world can unfold itself to those who stop and listen.
Roles of the Lynx
The lynx is not a guardian of secrets so much as the one who knows them, especially when it comes to those secrets that are either obscured by time and space or are completely lost to the world. The lynx is therefore associated with divination and clairvoyance. Those who seek the lynx may find difficulty in getting it to cooperate. Just because the lynx knows secrets does not mean it wishes to share them. Only by respecting the lynx's behavior and listening carefully may one begin to receive an answer.
This power and ability to remain unseen attracted ancient warriors to adopt the lynx and, thus, they believed, its nature. Cunning, solitary hunters, lynx have large eyes and a keen sense of hearing which enables them to hunt at night.
Those who have been touched by the lynx's presence may be given a boon and bane. A lynx may guide the listener to a secret, whether it be a lost object or a hidden truth that is somehow relevant at the present time. On the other hand, the lynx may be an omen to warn those who have somehow betrayed the confidentiality of oneself or others.
The lynx was chosen as the emblem of the Accademia dei Lincei ("Academy of the Lynxes"), one of the world's oldest scientific societies. Its piercing vision was invoked symbolically as characteristic of those dedicated to science.
Associations and attributes
The lynx is associated with Dionysus <ref>Source: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/dionysus.html (Friday, 31 August 2007)</ref> and Lugh. Though lynx are undoubtedly of keen eyesight, this quality of the lynx may have been conflated with the attributes of the near homophonic Lynceus.<ref>Source: http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/lynx.htm (Friday, 31 August 2007)</ref>
In Medieval Mythology
In medieval times, the lynx was said to produce a gem. According to many bestiaries, the Lynx would urinate in a hole that it had dug in ground, and then cover it with dirt. The urine would form a gem after so many days. Forcing the Lynx to produce the gem was believed to be a devilish act. Many Medieval naturalists identified the gem as a carbuncle, which is an archaic term for the garnet. The typical feline behavior was interpreted as being somewhat "miserly" according to Medieval observers.
- Howen, L. A. J. R. (1994). Animal parallelism in medieval literature and the bestiaries: A preliminary investigation. Published in "Neophilologus": Issue: Vol. 78, No. 3, July 1994 Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/l61r5u40q4512878/ (Friday, 31 August 2007) ISSN 0028-2677 (Print) 1572-8668 (Online)
- http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/lynx.htm (Friday, 31 August 2007)