The Howler

Origin: Himalayas

Rudra, forest spirit, wanders naked, covered by nothing but white cremation ashes except for his perpetually erect penis, which is painted with red, black, and white chalk. His bright red hair is matted; his teeth are sharp and jagged. His eyes are always red, variously attributed to weeping, smoke irritation, and intoxication. Rudra leads a procession of howling dogs, ghosts, and goblins. He howls, laughs, and juggles flaming sticks. He makes his home in caves.

Rudra, Lord of Thieves, is a hunter, healer, shaman, metalworker, and is himself a master thief. He has dominion over plants and animals. He is a master of spirits and may be requested to banish malicious spirits who are bothering you.

Rudra is the Vedic spirit of storms, pine forests, and ascetic sages. Three hymns in the Rig Veda are dedicated to him. Some scholars believe that he is an indigenous Himalayan spirit who was encountered by Aryans as they traveled through India. He is a sacred, holy, dangerous, volatile, and potentially violent spirit who is now identified with Shiva.

Favored people: Shamans, magicians, witches, conjurers, fire walkers, swindlers, thieves

Iconography: Rudra is venerated in the form of an erect phallus.

Attribute: Upward pointing triangle, axe, drum

Elements: Fire, water

Constellation: Rudra and his hunting hound are manifest in the constellations Orion and Sirius.

Color: Red

Animal: Dog

Plant: Amanita muscaria (fly agaric: toadstool)

Trees: Pine; Rudraksha (Elaeocarpus ganitrus)

See also: Bagalamukhi; Shiva; and the Glossary entry for Identification

From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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