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.

 

Share your thoughts

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

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Denise N. Fyffe, Writer
Guest
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.”

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Thanks for sharing!

Andrew Thain
Guest
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).

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Ah yes. They’re quite helpful that way.

trackback
“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
Guest
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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Thanks so much, Scott. Those little lizards, while skittish around people, sometimes seem curious about us. I love how they cock their heads while regarding us. They are truly cool.

Spiders and mice, UGH!

advocare distributor
Guest
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. 🙂

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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

I’m so glad you shared those two facts, Clifford. The one about the Dogon would be a great ingredient for a science fiction story. Yeah, that’s how my mind works. 🙂

Now that I think about it, the banana “tree” really does look like a ginormous plant.

As for falling lizards, I don’t worry about ’em. I just keep an eye out for those little buggers. 😉

Thanks so much for stopping by. You made my morning.

Fashionable Librarian
Guest
Fashionable Librarian

Reblogged this on Concierge Librarian.

Carol Carlisle
Guest
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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

That must have been a big fella! Oh, the things we do when we’re young and curious, lol. Glad that you enjoyed the trip. 🙂

Lisa W Tetting
Guest
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.

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Haha! Thanks, Lisa. It wasn’t funny then, but I can laugh about it now. Still gives me the creeps to remember it, though. *shudders*

sustainabilitea
Guest
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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Welcome back, Janet. 🙂

No, it’s not a very pleasant thought. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thank you!

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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Appreciate the feedback, Sally. By the way, that’s a banana tree. 🙂

lensandpensbysally
Guest
lensandpensbysally

Oh, thanks–enjoy your week and Mother Nature.

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

You’re welcome. Thank you, I will. Have a super week!

Bailish
Guest
Bailish

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

Nadine
Admin
Nadine

Thank you, and thanks for stopping by.

wpDiscuz