Jamaican Folklore: The Lizard’s Story

In Jamaica, old-time people say, “If a lizard jump on a woman, it mean she pregnant, or soon pregnant.”

While one of these little fellas, like the one I snapped, have never jumped on me, one did run over my hand once. I guess that doesn’t count, ’cause I’ve never been preggers.

Old-time people say, “If you dream ’bout lizard, it mean you have an enemy.”

Pours a cup of tea, and takes a long sip.

These little creatures have different meanings in other cultures. Ancient Romans believed that the lizard symbolized death and resurrection, because it sleeps during winter and reawakens in Spring.

For the Greeks and Egyptians, the lizard represented divine wisdom and good fortune.

Moreover…

“Throughout the entire continent of Africa, the lizard recurs again and again as a motif in popular culture. The Dogon tribe of West Africa carve lizards on their house and granary doors to invoke protective spirits. On the Grasslands of the Cameroon, the lizard is a potent fertility symbol among the Bamum, whilst for the Babanki, a lizard represents household tranquility.” (The Henna Page Journal)

I never could understand why I liked having them around, even inside the house. Now I know.

On the other hand, I can’t say the same for two of their relatives, the Jamaican croaking lizard and ground lizard. Both creep me out.

Normally, the former tends to be pale, although I’ve seen some in darker hues, and one with spots a couple of times. Yes, they croak, yes, they’ve kept me up at night, and yes, they can be brazen. If I had a dollar for all the times I’ve tried shooing one out a window, only to have it make an about-turn and take a challenging stance, I’d be as rich as J.K. Rowling. And once, one fell off the ceiling, and almost dropped on my head. Never mind that it didn’t. Just the thought of it stuck in my hair, and the sound of its sticky plop! on the floor was enough for me to start hollering.

As for the latter, as its name suggests, you would be hard-pressed to find it in a tree. This kind is large and long, with an even longer tail, and slithers. They’re fast, too. One chased me when I was a little girl, so I’m convinced they bite. I managed to escape it by climbing onto some burglar bars.

I wonder what old-time people have to say about those two.

 

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23 Comments on "Jamaican Folklore: The Lizard’s Story"

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Denise N. Fyffe, Writer
Denise N. Fyffe, Writer

Reblogged this on THE ISLAND JOURNAL and commented:
In Jamaica, old-time people say, “If a lizard jump on a woman, it mean she pregnant, or soon pregnant.”

Andrew Thain
Andrew Thain

We’re glad when we get the little geckos in the house, keeps the mosquito population down (and the boy gets bitten less).

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“Where de Lizard?” Why the Caribbean is Fascinated with Them · Global Voices

[…] the Caribbean, lizards have special significance as well. Jamaican blogger Nadine Tomlinson examines the many ways in which lizards feature prominently in local folklore and old wives’ […]

Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell

Awesome little writeup here Nadine. Whenever I’m in the Caribbean or other tropical area I see some kind of little lizard like that and they never make me uncomfortable, even when they are in the house. Here in Michigan I can’t stand spiders and other insects and even mice. So there must be something cool about lizards

advocare distributor
advocare distributor

An interesting fact is that the Dogon say that lizard (some say fish) people created them and gave them astronomy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogon_people
Also that bananas don’t grow on trees, they are actually herbs.

http://treesandshrubs.about.com/od/commontrees/p/bananatree.htm

The mind is a powerful thing and perception creates reality. Don’t let your thought of falling lizards scare you. Until it happens then you can worry. 🙂

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Clifford T Mitchem
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Nutrition + Fitness = Health
http://www.AdvoCare.com/13087657

Fashionable Librarian
Fashionable Librarian

Reblogged this on Concierge Librarian.

Carol Carlisle
Carol Carlisle

Fun reading the history of lizards. I once tried to capture one so I could walk them on a leash. Poor thing just went around in circles. BTW I was 10.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane

Lisa W Tetting
Lisa W Tetting

This is a great post Nadine. You had me over here laughing at the thought of that lizard falling in your hair and you running and hollering. Too funny.

sustainabilitea
sustainabilitea

Nadine, I just got back from Arizona, where I saw a number of lizards. The idea of a lizard falling on my head isn’t one I like to think about very much, but I did enjoy your photo and stories. 🙂

janet

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Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Peonies) | Lens and Pens by Sally
lensandpensbysally
lensandpensbysally

Good morning Nadine, adore the story of the lizard and your image. I like that you captured it with its head revealed by the backdrop of the palm. Happy Photo Challenge.

Bailish
Bailish

I liked the Jamaican woman’s voice at first. Good writing.

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