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Peryton: Mythological Beast of Samhain



One of the mythological creatures of Samhain is the Peryton, a ferocious creature combining the head of stag with the enormous wings and plumage of a bird. With the passage of eons, stories become legend which fade into myth; thus it is for the Peryton.
Said to be an inhabitant of Atlantis, the Peryton supposedly developed its dislike of mankind with the destruction of the utopian island and swore vengeance upon all humans for their role in Atlantis downfall and destruction. The Peryton is described as a fearsome and foul tempered creature who was impervious to all man-made weapons, and could only be slain with magic. It had little use for humans, and would hunt and kill them whenever it had the opportunity. It is interesting to speculate though which type of humans it targeted. It didn’t seem to like the Romans much.
A Peryton had the magical ability to cast the shadow of a man, luring unwary humans to their death. Once it had killed a human and eaten its heart, it’s shadow would revert to its true form of a gigantic and fearsome winged stag. Supposedly after consuming a human heart, the Peryton lost it’s invulnerability to man-made weapons, however that might have been wishful thinking. All accounts of these mythical beings describe a terrifying beast with a deep abiding hatred of men. Like all chimera such as the manticore, minotaur, sphinx and others, the creature seems to have been hunted to extinction around the time of the Romans.
The Perytons is said to have had a ravenous taste for human flesh. As chronicled by a 16th century rabbi, the Roman invading General Scipio was defeated by a flock Perytons near the Strait of Gibraltar sometime between 237 and 183 BC. The ferocious creatures made quick work of the Romans, using razor sharp antlers, deadly hoofs and terrifying fangs.

Architectural and cultural references to the Peryton span cultures around the globe. Hindu reliefs at Stanch show two winged stags posed back to front, while winged stags are included in the Segovia gardens built by King Philip V of Spain dating from the 1700s. In Scotland the Linlithgow Palace built by King James of Scotland in the early 1500s includes a pair of winged stags.

Compiled by Kamberlyn: When not writing for Ravenhawks, Kamberlyn works with clients seeking a more spiritually centered life. In her work, she helps people realize the relationship, career and finances that belongs to their soul. She can be found on KEEN at Kamberlyn Divine Love or through her website,

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