A lynx (plural lynx or lynxes) is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wild cats. The name “lynx” originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word “λύγξ”, derived from the Indo-European root “leuk-“, meaning “light, brightness”, in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. There is considerable confusion about the best way to classify felids at present, and some authorities[who?] classify them as part of the genus Felis. Neither the caracal, sometimes called the Persian lynx or African lynx, nor the jungle cat, called the swamp lynx, is a member of the Lynx genus. ynx have a short tail and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears; large, padded paws for walking on snow; and long whiskers on the face. Under their neck, they have a ruff which has black bars, is not very visible, and resembles a bow tie.
Body colour varies from medium brown to goldish to beige-white, and is occasionally marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs. All species of lynx have white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs, fur which is an extension of the chest and belly fur. Also, the lynx’s colouring, fur length and paw size vary by its climate range—in the Southwestern United States, its short-haired fur is dark and its paws are smaller and less padded. As the lynx ranges to colder northern climates, its fur gets progressively thicker (for warmth), the colour gets lighter (for camouflage), and its paws enlarge and become more padded (for snowy environments). Its paws may become larger than a human hand or foot. The lynx is considered a national animal in the Republic of Macedonia and is displayed on the reverse of the 5 denar coin.
Lynx in Norse Mythology
The lynx, a type of wildcat, has a prominent role in Greek, Norse, and North American mythology. It is considered an elusive and mysterious creature, known in some American Indian traditions as a ‘keeper of secrets’. It is also believed to have supernatural eyesight, capable of seeing even through solid objects. As a result, it often symbolises the unravelling of hidden truths, and the psychic power of clairvoyance.
Lynx in Greek Mythology
One of the earliest known depictions of the lynx in Greco-Roman mythology is recorded in Ovid‘s epic poem, Metamorphoses. The goddess Demeter (often conflated with the Roman goddess Ceres) commands Triptolemus to travel the world teaching the art of agriculture. He arrives at the court of King Lyncus, who grows desirous of the goddess’s favour, and plots to kill Triptolemus in his sleep. No sooner than he raises his sword, however, he is transformed into a lynx.
Lynx in Medieval Times
In medieval times, the lynx was said to produce a gem. According to many bestiaries, the lynx would urinate in a hole that it had dug in ground, and then cover it with dirt. After a number of days, the urine would harden into a gem that resembled a carbuncle. It was believed that the Latin name for amber, ‘Lyncurium’, was derived from this superstition. However, other medieval scholars pointed out that this amber was mined extensively in Lyguria, which may hint at a more plausible etymology.
Lynx in Astronomy
Lynx is the name of a constellation in the northern sky, defined by Johannes Heveliusin 1687. The name is said to have been chosen because the stars which make up the constellation are so faint that only those with the eyesight of the lynx can perceive them.
Tree of Life Attributions: The Seventh Sephiroth: Netzach
The sacred animal attribution dir Netzach is the lynx (Aleister Crowley, 777, p.10)