Transformation in Myth

  • Mathias Guenther


Transformation plays itself out in many forms and ways within San cosmology and its manifestation in the context of San mythology, much of which sets in what some San people refer to as the First Order of Existence (or Creation). This inchoate world’s most ontologically volatile and slippery denizen was the trickster, in particular the !Kung’s /Xué who, at the moments of agitation, was wont to undergo transformation upon transformation, at staccato pace, mutating his being the way a vexed and confused chameleon changes colour. Two other transformation-prone beings of the First Order are the rain divinity !Khwa and the lion, both of them prominent figures in San myth and lore. The latter especially is grist on the San story mill, all the more so as real-life lion encounters add to the store of lion lore on a continuing basis, adding narrative substance and phenomenological significance to this central being within the San bestiary.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Guenther
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityOntarioCanada

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