Want to get creative about a big financial decision coming up? Research shows that making progress towards your goals is positively affected by your inspiration. However, for inspiration to happen you must be in the right frame of mind and have the right stimuli in your environment. So, why not take a leaf out of our ancestors’ book, by having a look at how they explained the weird and wonderful natural phenomena like Dragon’s blood tree of course, around them. Helpfully, the good people at hometogo.com have put together a list of some of the most interesting legends behind natural wonders across the world.
Imagine if your native land was covered in an odd-looking tree, whose sap was a deep, dark red and had wonderful medicinal properties. Where would you think it had come from and how did it get there? Well if you were a resident of the island of Socotra, a unique botanical treasure trove in the Arabian Sea, the answer would be simple. The Dragon’s Blood Tree , of course, was created from the blood of a dragon which seeped into the ground following a battle with an elephant.
Wounds from a great battle are also the explanation the Ute Mountain Tribe in Colorado use to explain the appearance of the 9,000 foot Sleeping Ute mountain. How else would a mountain come to look like a great warrior god lying down with his arms folded unless that’s exactly what had happened? The legend goes that following a great battle with the “Evil Ones”, this god lay down to recover. His blood was the water of the rivers and lakes and clouds came out of his pockets.
Not every great back story has to be about death though! Some of the most original stories explain why geological formations look so odd. Like the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, which locals believe were created by underground fairies, who used the mushroom shaped rock towers as dwelling places.
It was also a supernatural creature that had a hand, or rather a hoof, in the creation of the Asbyrgi Canyon in Iceland. Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Odin, supposedly created this three-mile-wide and 300-foot-deep canyon when placing his foot on the island while riding across the sky.
Next time you need to do some thinking outside the box let your mind wander to someplace a bit fantastical. To times when anything at all seemed possible, so long as you gave your imagination the license to soar.
Here we look at the legends behind them.
1. The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia (Cappadocia, Turkey)
These rock formations have made Cappadocia one of the most popular destinations in Turkey. The surreal land wouldn’t look out of place in Star Wars or Game Of Thrones. The spiraling stone formations rise like mushrooms out of the earth and magically change color with every sunset.
Early inhabitants believed that the chimneys were built by fairies who lived underground.1
2. The Land of the Dragon’s Blood Tree (Socotra Archipelago, Yemen)
The other-wordly dragon’s blood tree legendsare native to the Socotra Archipelago in Yemen. They stand around fifteen feet tall, with tangled networks of branches and spiky green leaves.
Legend has it that the first dragon’s blood tree was created from the blood of a wounded dragon after it battled a brave elephant. The Dragon's blood tree "blood" is used locals as medicine to heal their ills.2
3. The Giant’s Causeway (County Antrim, Northern Ireland)
Arriving at The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim of Northern Ireland is like landing on another planet. 40,000 massive columns rise out of the sea like stone pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
This lunar landscape was said to be caused by two fighting giants, Finn and Benandonner. When Benandonner threatened Ireland, an enraged Finn grabbed chunks of the coast and threw them into the sea. The rocks created the causeway across the North Channel, enabling the two giants to meet and sort out their problems.3
4. The Sleeping Ute (Colorado, USA)
Overlooking a tranquil, sage-covered plain on a small mountain range in Colorado, The Sleeping Ute lies peacefully on his back with his arms crossed across his chest.
The legend tells the story of the Great Warrior God wounded whilst battling evil. The battle left him wounded, and he fell into a deep recuperating sleep. His bleeding wounds became rivers, and rain clouds formed from his pockets.4
5. The Shelter of the Gods (Asbyrgi Canyon, Iceland)
Sitting within 300-foot- tall cliffs, Asbyrgi Canyon is a spectacular horseshoe-shaped rock formation and one of the most magical locations in Iceland.
Legend says it was created by the horse of a Norse God. When the hoof of Sleipnir, Odin´s eight-legged horse touched down on the earth, it flattened this area, just over two miles long and more than a half mile wide.5
6. The Moeraki Boulders (North Otago coast, New Zealand)
The Moeraki Boulders lie on the North Otago coast in New Zealand. Often mistaken for dinosaur eggs or crashed alien ships, the mysterious stones weigh several tons and measure up to three meters in diameter.
The Maori legend goes that the Kähui Tipua people sailed out to find kumara sweet potato plants, but a storm engulfed them, leaving them shipwrecked. The baskets and gourds that transported the goods were washed ashore and forever preserved.6
7. The Giant’s Tears of Salar de Uyuni (Potosi, Bolivia)
Salar de Uyuni in Potosi, Bolivia is one of the most remarkable sights in the world. This wonder covers more than 4,050 square miles and is the world’s largest salt flat.
Legend has it that the mountains surrounding the area, named Kusina, Kusku, and Tunupa, were once three giants stuck in a messy love triangle. When Kusku left his wife Tunupa for Kusina, Tunupa cried a lake’s worth of tears, which dried and created these moon-like salt flats.7
The legends may be mythical but the magic of these locations is very real. Now that you know the stories, why not explore the wonders for yourself and walk in the footsteps of giants, fairies and other legendary beings?
1 Heller, C. (2015). Turkey’s ‘fairy chimneys’ were millions of years in the making. smithsonianmag.com
2 Oberhoizer, O. and Cockburn, A. (2010). Socotra Island: Exploring the land of the dragon’s blood tree. cntraveler.com
3 Ireland. (2017). The giant story. ireland.com
4 Best Hotels Colorado. (1999). Legends and children's stories of the Ute tribe. besthotelscolorado.com
5 Visit Húsavík. (2017). Ásbyrgi Canyon. visithusavik.com
6 Lin, K. (2017). Moeraki boulders – Spheres of nature in Otago, New Zealand. historicmysteries.com
7 Weekday Wanderlust. (2017). Salar de Uyuni. weekdaywanderlustlooks.com