(e) Gods may be sacrificed (in theriomorphic form) to themselves as a means of renewing the life of the god.
- Theriomorphic creators are most fully attested for the Red Indian tribes, whose very backwardness renders them so valuable to an anthropologist.
The Algonkins, however, thought otherwise, and the myth itself suggests a theriomorphic earth-maker.
(See Hawk, below.) (ix.) It is commonly assumed that the animals associated with certain deities are sacred because the god was originally theriomorphic; this is doubtless the case in certain instances; but Apollo Smintheus, Dionysus Bassareus and other examples seem to show that the god may have been appealed to for help and thus become associated with the animals from whom he protected the crops, &c.
Here again, though to a less extent than in tree cults, the theriomorphic aspect recurs; in the north of Europe, in ancient Greece, in China, the water or river spirit is horse or bull-shaped; the water monster in serpent shape is even more widely found, but it is less strictly the spirit of the water.
Besides the anthropomorphic " giants, " mentioned above, Northern mythology speaks also of theriomorphic demons, the chief of which were Midgar6sormr, the " worldserpent," and Fenrisulfr, a monster wolf, the enemies of Thor and Odin respectively.
There is an obvious development from the serpent qua reptile to the deity or the devil, and that the original theriomorphic form is not at once forgotten can be seen in Zeus Meilichios, Aesculapius Amynos, in the Cretan snake-goddesses, or in the Buddhist topes illustrated by Fergusson.