General - The use of the bow and arrow dates. From the early Stone Age period and the arrow itself has great significance in many mythologies.
  • The Bushmen use arrows as sacrifice to their ancestors who live in the rivers. Other stories include the worldwide tale of the arrows shot one after the other to form a bridge to heaven up which the archer, a culture-hero, ascends.
  • In Arabia, arrows are used as charms to keep the blood in good order.
  • The Assyrians associated arrows with the deities Ashur and Ishtar.
  • In Buddhism an arrow in five colours is used in demon-worship. In Tibet, this arrow is called dar-dar.
  • In Greek myths, arrows feature in stories of the hunter deities Apollo and Artemis and the lovegod Eros as well as in the tale of Chiron, the Centaur, who was wounded by one of the poisoned arrows of Heracles. Achilles was killed by an arrow, shot by Paris, which struck his only vulnerable spot - his ankle A sunbeam is called the Arrow of Apollo and the Arrow of Artemis is a moonbeam.
  • Hindu myths associate arrows with both the love-god Kama and the war-god Karttikeya, Siva killed the demon Tripura with an arrow and they tell of a magic arrow (the sabdabhedi arrow) which can seek out and strike the origin of a sound.
  • In Ireland, an arrow might be carried as an amulet to ward off the arrows fired by the elves, while water drunk after being poured over an arrowhead was said to be effective as a remedy for croup.
  • Italian stories allege that an amulet in the form of an arrow would ward off the jettatura, the evil eye. As a weapon, the arrow was an attribute of the Etruscan god Usil.
  • In Japanese myths, the god Susxanowa had a bow and arrows and a magic whistling arrow.
  • North American Indian tribes have many stories involving arrows. The Cheyenne have a set of four arrows, used in religious ceremonies, which, they say, have been in the possession of the tribe from time immemorial. They are used in rites which cleanse any man who has killed one of his own tribe. A Kwakiutl woman will place an arrow under her bed to ensure that any child she conceives will be male. The Ojibway, fearing that the sun extinguished during an eclipse may never return, fired burning arrows to re-ignite it. The Nez PercĂ© have a story in which the trickster-god, Coyote, turns himself into an arrow. The chain-of-arrows story is common to many tribes. One such story has it that when a man was killed and decapitated by a man from the sky, the dead man's brother shot such a chain and climbed up it to the heavens where he rescued his brother's head. When this was joined to the still bleeding torso, it became the redheaded woodpecker.
  • In Mexico, arrows are associated with both the gods Mixcoatl and Quetzalcoatl.
  • In the Pacific, the Philippine god Abog is placated with offerings of arrows while in Melanesia Qat went to heaven via an arrow-chain to retrieve his wife.
  • In Siberia, the Buriats relate how Ten Geris, a thunder-god, used flaming arrows as his weapons when fighting demons while the Koryaks have the story of Eme'mqut who opened the road to the underworld to retrieve his wife by throwing an arrow into the fire. They also tell a slightly different chain-arrow story; in their version, just one arrow is fired but it carves out a road to the heavens.
  • Some South American tribes, like the Ojibways of North America, fire flaming arrows into the sky to restart the sun after an eclipse.
  • Another arrow-chain story has the two sons of Tamoi climbing to the heavens where they become the moon and sun.
In some references, known as arrow.

Nearby Myths