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Salamander in the flames, being tended by an alchemist, seventeenth century. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Some Wiccan traditions that use ideas from Ceremonial Magic acknowledge elemental beings as "Guardians of the Watchtowers" of the four corners of the ritual Circle. These elementals are creatures that personify the qualities of Air, Fire,

Water, and Earth. The element of Air, in the east, is associated with the elemental spirits known as Sylphs. Fire, in the south, is associated with Salamanders; Water, in the west, with Undines; and Earth, in the north, with Gnomes.

According to tradition, Salamanders taught humankind the use of fire. They are sometimes seen at night as balls of light floating over bodies of water or marshy ground. St. Elmo's Fire is the Christianized name for this phenomenon. Salamanders are usually depicted as lizardlike creatures, sometimes partly human.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
At that moment, one of the salamander's braids of hair became unfastened, and a piece of yellow copper which was attached to it, rolled to the ground.
Is a Teton horse a salamander that he can walk amid fiery flames unhurt, or do you think the Lord will show his might in your behalf, as in the days of old, and carry you harmless through such a furnace as you may see glowing beneath yonder red sky?
She would say, 'Take a salamander,' as if a general should command a private to catch a Tartar.
"If that will be YOUR married look, I, as a Christian, will soon give up the notion of consorting with a mere sprite or salamander. But what had you to ask, thing,--out with it?"
Much remains unknown on the microanatomy of the urogenital system in salamanders, in particular the epididymal complex, and we feel insights from salamander reproductive anatomy will continue to play a leading roll in our understanding of higher-level salamander evolution.
Resulting PCR products from 10 salamanders were sequenced and compared with the corresponding sequences of the 5 known iridovirus strains by using a BLAST search (
Four-toed salamanders were first described by Coenraad Jacob Temminck and Hermann Schlegel in 1838 from a specimen collected near Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee (Tilley et al.
Although sexual differences in body size have previously been investigated in many species of salamanders (De Lisle & Rowe 2013), dimorphism in body shape has received much less attention (Malmgren & Thollesson 1999, Kalezic et al.
Ben Tapley, the Zoological Society of London's curator of amphibians, said: "We work closely with Border Force to identify unusual animals, but even I was astonished to see that they were Chinese giant salamanders - one of the world's most critically endangered amphibians.
The density of terrestrial amphibians, especially salamanders in the eastern United States, can be exceptionally high (Burton and Likens, 1975b; Davie and Welsh, 2004; Semlitsch et al., 2014).
Torrent salamanders (genus Rhyacotriton), endemic to the Pacific Northwest of North America, have concealed oviposition sites that are rarely encountered.
Steen's study found that the mythical beast is actually a siren, one of the world's largest salamanders. The species is scientifically known as Siren reticulate and are found to be completely aquatic.