Frog-solar symbolism and other meanings

Excerpted from Sun Lore of All Ages, by William Tyler Olcott, [1914], at, Chap V. Solar Folklore:

“The Hindus often referred to the sun as “the eye of Mithra, Varuna, and Agni,” and at sunrise or sunset, when the sun appeared to be squatting on the water, they likened it to a frog. This simile gave rise to a Sanscrit story, which is found also in German and Gaelic.

“Bhekî (the frog) was a beautiful maiden. One day when she was sitting near a well, a king rode by, and fascinated by her beauty, asked her hand in marriage. She consented on the condition that he would never show her a drop of water. He accepted, and they were married. One day being tired and thirsty she asked the king for a glass of water, and forgetting his promise, he granted her request, and his bride immediately vanished. That is to say, the sun disappeared when it touched the water.”

The sun was also regarded as a well, and in the Semitic, Persian, and Chinese languages the words “well” and “eye” are synonymous. Considered as a well, the rays of the sun were likened to the moisture that flows from the well.”

Frogs for in Japan, as in China,  are auspicious creatures, bringing rain, fertility and good fortune…on account of the abundant number of eggs produced by a frog(about 1500). The frog is regarded as the god of rainfall associated with the tsuyu rainy season and with good harvests in Japan(rainfall being particularly important for abundant harvests of rice). In China, the three-legged toad was a traditional pet of the god of the wealth frog, and frog statues with a gold coin in the mouth, are commonly to be found.

Frogs for the Japanese, are ascribed magical powers, and are popular lucky amulets, because the word for frog in Japanese “kaeru” sounds like “kaeru” meaning “return”, therefore implying many happy returns (of money and fortune), a safe return journey, etc.  The website “Symbology” explains it thus:

“Twenty-seven species of frog are found in Japan. Due to an agricultural economy based on the flooded rice paddy, the presence of frogs is considered to bring good fortune. Additionally, the frog has become a creature much beloved in poetry and art. Ceramic frogs are often sold at shrines as the Japanese word for ‘frog’ is the same as ‘to return’.”

Finally, the frog or rather the toad, in Japan, shares the same association with the moon as found across several cultures, such as India, Nepal and China:

“Both/either [Rana-, Bufo-] is associated with auspiciousness and prosperity.   For, it seems that Hou I, a tribal ruler who may have lived 4500 years ago, obtained the Elixir of Immortality from Hsi Wang Mu, the goddess Queen Mother of the West.  When his envious wife, Ch’ang O, stole it she fled to the moon where she was transformed into a toad whose image may be seen there to this day.

This is the Three-legged Toad-who- lives-in-the-moon.  Its digits stand for the three lunar phases.  Some see the 3 as representing the relation of heaven, earth and the opportunity for prosperity. Like the Hare-in-the-Moon, it is a custodian of the elixir of immortality.  During a lunar eclipse, it is said that she/he swallows the moon.”

Other sources readings and references:

The frog (Kaeru) (Hyotan website)

Olcott, William Tyler Sun Lore of All Ages, [1914], at

“The Egyptians regarded the sun as a child when it was rising, and as an old man when it was setting in the evening. These ideas were also transferred to the annual motion of the sun. Macrobius states that the Egyptians compared the yearly course of the sun with the phases of human life; thus, a little child signified the winter solstice, a young man the spring equinox, a bearded man the summer solstice, and an old man the autumnal equinox. They also thought that Hercules had his seat in the sun, and that he travelled with it round the moon…”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s