Eeny, Meeny,Miny, Moor


Much of the Moorish legacy has been glossed in zoomorphic motifs, mythologized by both ancient and modern writers alike. We find Moorish history deeply embedded in as the foundations of old folklores, fairytales, comics, movies, novels, and even children’s nursery rhymes. All these various mythologizations concerned totemic symbology. Perhaps one of the most notable nursery rhymes, "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe." This so-called children's counting-out rhyme was said to be used to select a person in games such as tag, or for selecting various other things. However, author Henry Carrington Bolton in his book “The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children: A Study of Folk-Lore,” thoroughly describes his research into the origins of various children’s “counting-out rhymes” that were popular at the time. The author suggests there were many variations to the rhyme. 

A common modern version is:
"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, 
Catch a tiger by the toe. 
If he hollers, let him go, 
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. "

The scholars Iona and Peter Opie noted that many  other variants have been recorded. Henry Carrington Bolton tells us that "Some versions of this rhyme used the racial slur "nigger" instead of "tiger" as stated below:

"Eena, meena, mina, mo, 
Catch a nigger by his toe; 
If he squeals let him go, 
Eena, meena, mina, mo."

It is interesting to note that in Salman Rushdie’s novel entitled “The Moor’s Last Sigh” published in 1995, the main character and his three sisters are nicknamed Ina, Minnie, Mynah and "Moor;" an obvious play on the children's counting rhyme if 'Eenie Meenie, Money Moe.' It has also been discussed whether or not the nursery rhyme 'Eenie Meenie, Money Moe' was really a reference to Moors being enslaved. 

According to Vox, the 19th century American version of the nursery rhyme was indeed rooted in the slave trade. Thus, instead of "tiger," it said the word "nigger" being used to describe what would happen if a slave owner subjugated a "Moor" into a state of servitude; and they did not proclaim their nationality (as in holler). If by chance one did u fact holler out (proclamation of nationality), law stipulates they should be freed  Furthermore, another theory describes how slave traders would pinch or pull a slave's toe before purchasing them. Unsurprisingly, the term was changed to "tiger" when the "nigger" became taboo. 

It's intriguing to discover that the "Tiger" has been noted to symbolically represent "strength, cunning, majesty, independence, and immortality." Perhaps its association to independence and the beauty of freedom was the underlining decision to utilize it as a symbolic representation of the "Moors."

There are vast historical references pertaining to Moors and their relation to the Tiger, particularly their famed Tiger Hunts such as those immortalized in the paintings by Rudolf Ernst. Roy Emmett and Jean-Leon Gerome were also noted for capturing the extensive Moorish connection with Tigers as well. 

As stated, Moorish history has been hidden beneath many zoomorphic motifs, and the "tiger" is one such example. It's well documented that the "tiger" is revered throughout India. For many in India, the tiger symbolizes strength and regeneration. In fact, some ancient Indian cultures believed themselves to be descendants of tigers. The Nagas tell a creation story about three brothers born from the union of the sky and Earth. One brother was a spirit, the other a human, and the third a tiger. The brothers began to squabble, as brothers do. While the spirit managed to stay neutral, the man and the tiger battled. The man managed to outwit his tiger brother.  So, the tiger left to go live in the forest. The spirit brother, upset by the rupture, pulled away from the man. Thus, when the tiger was forced to retreat to the forest, the man lost his connection to both his spirit brother and his tiger brother. 

In India, we find no shortage of evidence signifying the glory bestowed upon the tiger. The Hindu deity Durga, who is the goddess of war, strength, and protection, is said to ride a tiger. And another deity, Vaghadeva, was a tiger god, who is described as the guardian of the forest.

The Indigenous Peoples of Siberia and Eastern Russia also call the tiger the guardian of the forest. They view the tiger as a protective spirit who keeps the forest healthy and nature in balance. In ancient China, the tiger symbolize the protection of goodness and the destruction of evil. In Chinese culture, the founder of Taoism – the celestial master Zhang Daoling – was depicted riding a mighty tiger much like the Hindu goddess Durga. The tiger helped Zhang Daoling to destroy demons so he could ascend to the heavens.


 Another curious fact concerning the tiger as a Moorish motif, is it's connection with the dragon. According to ancient Chinese traditions, the  tiger and dragon are ancient symbols of 'yin and yang,' forces that combine to make up the universe. Ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy explains the world in terms of these two forces: 'yin' (from the ancient Chinese word for shady) and 'yang' (from the word for bright). 'Yang' elements include light, fire, rain, and the heavens. 'Yin' elements include darkness, water, wind, and the earth. Male traits are yang, and female traits are yin. Yang qualities are active, while yin qualities are passive. Everything in the universe results from the interaction of yin and yang. 

The dragon and tiger have long been symbols of these two forces. The dragon, a mythical animal thought to reign over the heavens, stands for yang. The tiger, respected in ancient China as mightiest of the wild beasts, stands for yin. 

The tiger crouches low to the rocky ground, a sign that the yin earth is the tiger’s territory. Plants bend in the force of the wind, said to be created by the tiger’s mighty roar. But the tiger’s strength is a quiet power, held in her taut muscles. The dragon, on the other hand, is full of active energy. His head rises out of the yang heavens. His energy causes rain clouds to swirl and waves to form. But the tiger and dragon seem evenly matched. One will not dominate the other, just as the forces of yin and yang balance each other in the universe.

 As we continue, it should be noted that unbeknownst to many, "Tigers" actually come from the 'Feline family,' or family of cats. Its scientific name is "Panthera Tigris." It is one of the ‘four largest cats’ in the genus "Panthera." Tigers are said to be the descendants of a saber-tooth tiger. There are different species of tigers, known as the Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, South China tiger and Sumatran tiger.  "Panthers," or better known as "Black Panthers," also come from the 'Feline family.' Its scientific name is "Felis Concolor." Several species of these variants are the "Wild Black Panther" (Black Panther in Latin America), "Black Jaguars" (Black Panther in Asia and Africa), and "Black Cougar" (Black Panther in North America).

 The Panther, being described as a mystical animal represents magic, fear, death, and positive values like power, beauty, grace, solitude, and self-reliance. In China there were five mythic cats, sometimes painted like tigers or leopards. The black reigns in the north with winter as its season of power, and water it's most effective element. This is the element of the feminine. This is the totem of greater assertion of feminine in all her aspects: child, virgin, seductress, mother, warrioress, seeress, old wise woman.  Barbara G. Walker in her “The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects,” states “The panther (or leopard) was a totemic symbol of Dionysis, whose priests wore panther-skins. Its name in Greek meant "All-beast" referring to the god as "the All" which was also another beast version of divinity, Pan.” In Greek mythology we find that Dionysus (Osiris) on his journey to India rides upon a camel, and on other occasions, he is attended by panthers. The ancient Greeks believed the panther was one of the favored mounts of the god Dionysus.

Other names for this creature are pantera, pantere, and love cervere. Rhea, who is represented as Mater Turrita or Turrigera appears as the goddess of mountain tops, riding on a lion, and holding a scepter in one hand and a cymbal in the other; beside her the moon and a star. At other times she is seated on a throne with a lion in her lap, or with a lion at each side, or in a chariot drawn by lions or panthers. Panther Skin was a symbol signifying the overcoming of the lower desires. E.A. Wallis Budge in his "Book of the Dead," writes that: "The iron which is the ceiling of heaven opens itself before Pepi, and he passes through it with his panther skin upon him, and his staff and whip in his hand." In mythology and scripture, the panther has been a symbol of the "Argos of a Thousand Eyes," who guarded the heifer Io who was loved by Zeus. After his death, the eyes were transferred to the feathers of the peacock. The panther always brings guardian energy to those to whom it comes. This idea is very reminiscent of "The Eye of the Tiger," which is symbolic of a relentless drive or single-minded determination. These "eyes" serve to protect the tiger.


The representation of panthers/jaguars (Panthera onca) in Mesoamerican cultures has a long history, with iconographic examples dating back to at least the mid-Formative period of Mesoamerican chronology. The jaguar is an animal with a prominent association and appearance in the cultures and belief systems of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies in the New World, similar to the lion (Panthera leo) and tiger (Panthera tigris) in the Old World. 

The jaguar is important for certain religious authorities in many Mesoamerican cultures, who often associate the jaguar as a spirit companion or "nagual," which will protect the religious figures from evil spirits and while they move between the earth and the spirit realm. In order for the religious authorities to combat whatever evil forces may be threatening, or for those who rely on the religious authorities for protection, it is necessary for some religious authorities to transform and cross over to the spirit realm.

The jaguar is often a "nagual" because of its strength, for it is necessary that the religious authorities "dominate the spirits, in the same way as a predator dominates its prey." The jaguar is said to possess the transient ability of moving between worlds because of its comfort both in the trees and the water, the ability to hunt as well in the nighttime as in the daytime, and the habit of sleeping in caves, places often associated with the deceased ancestors. The concept of the transformation of a religious authority is well-documented in Mesoamerica and South America and is in particular demonstrated in the various Olmec jaguar transformation figures known as "were-jaguars." These were-jaguar were both an Olmec motif and a supernatural entity, perhaps a deity. 

To the Indians of North and South America, the jaguar especially in the form of the Black Panther - was endowed with great magic and power. The jaguar panther climbs, runs, and swims— even better than the tiger. Because it could function so well in so many areas, it became the symbol of mastery over all dimensions. To the Tucano Indians of the Amazon, the roar of the jaguar was the roar of thunder. Thus the Black Panther was the god of darkness and could cause eclipses by swallowing the sun. This reflects the tremendous power inherent within the feminine forces. To those with the panther as a totem, this power will increasingly be experienced. The Arawak Indians say that everything has jaguar. Nothing exists without it. It is the tie to all life and all manifestations of life (thus ties to the eternal feminine within all life). To them, becoming the man-jaguar was the ultimate shape-shifting ritual.

The Olmecs created monuments to the jaguar, and the Aztecs and Mayans spoke and taught about the power in becoming half-human and half-jaguar. One who can become a jaguar is shorn of all cultural restrictions. The alter ego is free to act out desires, fears, aspirations. The Indian shamans would perform rituals to borrow jaguar power. One who could do such could do great good or great ill.  As to Indian myth, which most of the totems are taken from, Panther is feared and respected, and in some is regarded as the Protector of the universe. The Zuni believed that he ancient ones wanted the world to be guarded by those keen of sight and scent. The puma (the greatest of them) was the sentinel of the north (the most important position).

As we conclude our examination on the symbolic representations of these animal motifs, we must ask are there connections to be established between tigers/jaguars/panthers with the Moor, in which would substantiate these motifs as being historical representations? We find in the KJV of 1611, Jeremiah 13:23 asks: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." However, in the 1599 Geneva Bible, we read: "Can the black Moor change his skin? or the leopard his spots, then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil?"

The word "BlackaMoor" was substituted for "Ethiopian." Are these words equivalents to one another? The very name [Moor] by which the Spanish Christians had always designated the Muslims of the [Iberian] peninsula – moor, meaning “men of Mauritania,” which was the Roman name for the region corresponding to present-day Morocco – came from an old Greek word meaning “black.” The term ultimately is de rived from a native name the Mauritanians designated for themselves ("Mauri") signifying "westerners." Louis Wann in his work entitled "The Oriental in the English Drama of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries" says: “the term “Black Moor” or “Blackamoor” was evidently used as a synonym for “Negro,” “Ethiopian,” or “African” in distinction form the Moor proper, who was brown, “olive colored,” or “tawny,” these characters do not come within the designation of Orientals proper.” 

J.A. Rogers in his "Nature Knows No Color-Line" tells us that: "To Claudian, Moors Ethiopians and Nigritians (that is Negroes), were one and the same. He speaks of the Moors "who dwell beside the waters of Gir, most famous of the rivers of Ethiopia that overflows its banks as if it had been another Nile." The Gis, referred to here is the Ni-Gir, or Ni-Ger, (Niger)." J.A. Rogers further says that: "the Italian dictionary says, "Moro: Uomo nero d'etiope." (Black man of Ethiopia). In the book "Shakespeare After All" written by Marjorie B. Garber, we read the following: “From the medieval period through to the seventeenth century Moors were thought to be black or swarthy, and from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth the term “blackamoor” was used as a synonym for black0skinned African, Ethiopian, Negro, or any dark-skinned person (thus, for example, form Sir Walter Ralegh’s History of the World: “The Negro’s, which we call the  BlackeMores”)."

We find a fascinating link between Moors and panthers in the Moorlands of Europe. David Macritchie in "Ancient and Modern Britons" tell us that the Moors were the natives who possessed the highlands and Moorlands; writing that:  "the early Mauri of Scotland were Maete or Marsh-dwellers."

Its interesting that in British folklore, British big cats,or phantom cats feature in reported sightings of large felids in the British countryside. These creatures have been described as "panthers", "pumas" or "black cats". These panthers roaming the Saddleworth moors have been dubbed "predators of the Moors." Further back there is a medieval Welsh poem "Pa Gwr" in the 'Black Book of Carmarthen' which mentions a 'Cath Palug,' meaning "Palug's cat" or "clawing cat", which roamed Anglesey until slain by Cei. In the Welsh Triads, it was the offspring of the monstrous sow Henwen.

Let us turn to the Americas, we also discover many correspondences between "Moors" and "Panthers."  The Aztec Physical Appearance was described in a sixteenth-century Spanish description: “The people of this land are well made, rather tall than short. They are swarthy as leopards, of good manners and gestures, for the greater part very skillful, robust, and tireless, and at the same time the most moderate men known. They are very warlike and face death with the greatest resolution.” In the Americas during colonial periods we find that he inhabitants of these urban areas were also referred to as Moors in many written documents. Pedro de Alvarado also assigned the Aztec warriors the title of ‘infidel’, a derogatory term that had become a byword on the Iberian Peninsula for ‘Moor’. 

At times, specific customs and appearance of the natives reminded the Spanish of their more familiar non-Christian foe. Juan Díaz also commented on the ‘Moorish silks’ that were worn by many amongst the Aztec leadership. To Catholics, the Indian’s polygamy was reminiscent of Muslims and the hallmark of an infidel. One warrior exclaimed that ‘they have as many wives as they can support, like the Moors’. Cortés, in describing the marketplace of the Aztec capital, compares it at different times to Córdoba, Seville and Granada. Correspondingly, the urban dwelling Aztec elite were frequently compared to the appearance of Muslim Kings.


Clearly, there is much collaborating the associations of Moor and the panther; but let us more thoroughly demonstrate this relationship before proceeding. Let us present various connections from the annals of history. The Byzantine historian Procopius calls the Moors ‘a Phoenician people.’  In the historian’s telling, “Moors were descendants of the people displaced from ancient Phoenicia by the Hebrews after the biblical exodus; the Moors arrival in Africa was said to have preceded that of the next wave of Phoenician emigrants – Dido and her companions – and the foundation of Punic Carthage.”  

Jonathan Conant in his “Staying Roman: Conquest and Identity in Africa and the Mediterranean, 439–700“ writes that: “As a Phoenician people, Procopius tells us that amongst themselves Moors spoke neither Greek nor Latin, but what he refers to as ‘the Phoenician tongue.’ Given his understanding of their collective history, there is every reason to believe that by this the historian meant a language related to the Punic spoken by the ancient Carthaginians, though the name-patterns of sixth-century Moorish leaders might lead us to suspect that a late antique ancestor of the modern Berber dialects was (or was also) spoken in the North African interior.”

Since we have established the connection between the Moors and the Phoenicians, we shall proceed establishing the connections with the panthers. The book "History of Phoenicia" by George Rawlinson tells us that: “The panther or leopard has, like the bear, been seen by Mr. Porter in the Lebanon range; and Canon Tristram, when visiting Carmel, was offered the skin of an adult leopard which had probably been killed in that neighbourhood. Anciently it was much more frequent in Phoenicia and Palestine than it is at present, as appears by the numerous notices of it in Scripture. Wolves, hyænas, and jackals are comparatively common. They haunt not only Carmel and Lebanon, but many portions of the coast tract.“

The book "Outlines of Universal History: Designed as a Text-book and for Private Reading" by George Park Fisher also speaks on the panther skin as trade, he writes that: “Through the hands of Phoenician merchants “passed the gold and pearls of the East, the purple of Tyre, slaves, ivory, lions’ and panthers’ skins from the interior of Africa, frankincense from Arabia, the linen of Egypt, the pottery and fine wares of Greece, the copper of Cyprus, the silver of Spain, tin form England, and iron from Elba.” These products were carried wherever a market could be found for them. “

In "Short History of the Saracens" by Syed Ameer Al, we find the following reference concerning Moors and pastime of the hunt, the author writes: “Hunting was the common pastime of sovereigns and chiefs. With very rare exceptions, the Abbassides were keenly devoted to this exhilarating exercise; and so late as the time of Mustanjid we read of regular hunting-parties. Saladin’s passion for the chase, in which he was generally accompanied by his sons, once brought him to the verge of capture by the Crusaders. Lions, panthers, leopards and deer of all kinds, besides the feathered tribe which each winter brought into Western Asia, were the usual objects of pursuit. Falconry was another favorite pastime.” 

The book "Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe" by Diana Darke mentions the Moorish connection with heraldry. She writes that: “The concept of heraldry originated in Syria, where jousting competitions were first seen by Crusaders and where mounted Saracen knights using a jarid, a blunt javelin, held contests to knock each other off their horses. The Crusaders also saw the use of blazons, in a mix of designs including animals and plants, on Saracen knights' armor and shields. The symbol of Baibars, the Mamluk sultan, was a red walking lion/panther with its right forepaw raised and its tail curled back (similar to the royal English lion of the Plantagenets), which appeared on his buildings above the gateway.

In "The Journal of Philology, Volume 9" we find the article entitled "Animal Worship and Animal Tribes Among the Arabs in the Old Testament" by William Robertson Smith, in which he describes in Arabia before Islam the condition of pure polytheism, and the relics of ancestral heathenism. The author demonstrates the existence of animal tribes or families, or clans which derive their tribal or familial designation from its totemic animal. William Robertson Smith gives examples of tribal designation associated to totemic animals,we read: "The Benî Kilâb, who are Qaysites, are quite distinct from the Kalb, who are Yemenites. Leyth, lion. Two eponyms of this name. The Benî Leyth have been mentioned under Kalb. Yarbů, jerboa; “a sub-tribe of the Benî Tamîm and of the Hawâzin and of the Dhubyân.” Namir, panther; "a sub-tribe of Rabíʻa bin Nizâr, and of the Azd and of Qođâ'a." Anmdr, panthers; “sub-tribes of the Arabs.' Anmâr son of Nizâr is the eponym of a Ma'addite tribe that settled in Yemen. Anmâr is also a son of Saba', the eponym of the Sabaeans (Tabarî, 1. p. 225 1. 9). To the same source belong, no doubt, Numâra, “a subdivision of the Lachm and others,” and Nomeyr (little panther) among the Qaysites."

Smith further informs us that: "Another very distinct proof to the same effect is afforded by tribal names which have a plural form. Anmâr, Kilâb, Dibâb, Panthers, Dogs, Lizards, are originally the names of tribes, each member of which would call himself a Panther, a Dog, a Lizard." The author continues, stating that: "Such tribal names as these stand on exactly the same footing with the animal names discussed above. The sons of the Moon and the sons of the Panther doubtless stood in similar relation to the beings from which they took their respective names." 

Lastly before moving on, below I will present a final reference from William Robertson Smith's work which sums up his connections between the animal worship among Arabian tribes, in which they derived their names. The author says: "We find, for example, side by side, an Amorite town of foxes and another of stags (Judges i. 35); and with the continuous line of connection that binds these names with the Arabic phenomena. A good instance is that of localities with a panther name. We have in the tribe of Gad, Nimrah, Beth Nimrah or Beth-Nimrin, and near it the waters of Nimrim. Now Nöldeke, ZDMG.xxix. p. 437, cites four places with similar panther names in the Haurân, and remarks that the numerous names of places from the root a probably denote the panther-like spotted or striped look of the ground. This conjecture shews the inadequacy of the usual method of explanation. When we find in Arabia a Namir (Sprenger Geog. p. 273) in the possession of the Benî Wâbish, a branch of the Qodâ‘a, we at once connect the name with Namir, a subtribe of the Qodâʻa. Is it not far more probable that the same thing applies to the panther localities east of the Jordan, and that these two have their name from the panther stock which, as we have seen, turns up in so many forms in Arabia. Perhaps we can even identify the totem deity of the name; for Jacob of Sarúg in the text published by Martin, ZDMG. xxix. p. 110 1. 52, speaks of “the son of panthers" as a false deity of Harran."

In the book "Muslim Law: An Historical Introduction to the Law of Inheritance" by Alexander David Russell, the author give more evidence concerning the usage of animal totems as tribal designations. We read the following: "Panther-tribes: Namir, pl. Anmar, and diminutive Numayr are widely spread tribal names. A god of the Harranians, Bar Nemre, ‘son of panthers,’ is mentioned; and the nickname Abu ‘Amr applied to the panther is conjectured to refer to the worship of that animal as parent of the stock. Members of the Numayr (dimin. = ‘little panther’) would call themselves ‘sons of the little panther’ or ‘little panthers’ (al-Numayruna), and every tribesman might call himself ‘little dog’ or ‘brother of dogs’ or ‘sons of dogs,’ one particular mode of expression being prevalent in one particular dog-tribe, another in another. This right of every member of the tribe to call himself by the name of the tribe goes to show that these names are stock-names and personal."

The book "A Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine" by John Murray describes further documentation of totemic traditions relating to an ruined city. The author says: “After following it for a long way he came to a broad wady, in the centre of which is a ruined city called ‘Nimareh,’ “Panthers.” In the midst of the city is a tell crowned by a curious building with a large stone door, and an inscription over it too much effaced to be read. The Arabs have a tradition that this house was in some past age inhabited by a lady rejoicing in the gentle name of Namireh Bint en-Nu-mur, “The She Panther, Daughter of the Panthers!” There is an Arab tribe called ‘Namir,’ “Panther,” and it is highly probable that the tradition and name of this city are in some way connected with it. “ 


There is plentiful evidence illuminating the topic of totemic practices, but let us observe the etymological traces of the word panther beyond the English form. In the work "Greek and Latin Inscriptions" by William Kelly Prentice, we find the following reference in which lays out the Arabic form of the English word Panther. We read that: "The name Namera may be the feminine form of Nameros, found in Wad. 1984. Nameros, however, is from the Arabic namir= panther, the feminine of which, in Arabic, would be namirat: in Greek, the latter would be Napepádn." We also find in the work "French Cultural Studies: Criticism at the Crossroads" edited by Marie-Pierre Le Hir and Dana Stra, insight to the etymology of the word panther.  We read the following: "In Arabic and Berber, Namir means tiger or panther. The Berber referent alludes to the legend of Hammou or Namir, a legend best known in Morocco. In this tale, the young hero falls in love with an angelic fairy, makes her pregnant, then pursues her between heaven and earth. "


Thomas Kelly Cheyne in his "The Prophecies of Isaiah: A New Translation with Commentary, Volume 2" sums up the idea of totemism and tribal names. He tells us that: "The waters of Nimrim.” Seetzen had already identified Nimrim with the lower part (still called Nahr Nimrin) of the Wâdy pointed out (see note in vol. i.) by Consul Wetzstein, the luxuriant meadows of which form a strong contrast with the gloomy scenery of the Wâdy en- Numeira. As to the meaning of the name Nimrim, it is rather tempting to connect it with Arab. namir, Assyr. namri transparent,' and to suppose that Beth Nimrâ derived its name from the waters. But it has been pointed out that there are other places with names from the same root, and that in olden times there were divisions of Arab tribes bearing names (Namir, Anmar, Nomeyr) strongly suggestive of the panther. The Syriac writer, Jacob of Sarug, also speaks of bar nemre, the son of panthers,' as a false deity of Harrân. I find it therefore impossible to resist the conclusion that in Nimrim, as well as in the other cases, there is a reference to the panther. What this panther is, will be clear to those who are convinced by Mr. M‘Lennan's evidence, that in widely separated countries a primitive form of worship prevailed called by him totemism - i.e. ' animals were worshipped by tribes of men who were named after them and believed to be of their breed. ' It is certain that the ancient Semitic peoples worshipped many animal gods, and the most reasonable view is that these were totems or animal-fetishes. Such a totem to some of the Semitic clans of Syria and Arabia was apparently the panther, and from this panther the places called Nimrâ, Nimara, &c., naturally derived their names. (See further below, on lxv. 4. Ixvi. 3, 17). So Prof. Robertson Smith, to whose important paper in the Journal of Philology for 1880 I refer the reader. I do not, however, see that there is a radical difference between him and Graf Baudissin as to the import of the animal deities of the Semites; for it must be remembered that the planets were regarded by primitive man (comp, the Accadian term for the planets, lubat -- i.e. 'a kind of carnivorous quadruped,' Lenormant) as having a quasi animal existence."

A final reference concerning totemic traditions practiced among Moorish populations (such as Canaanites and Moabites), it has been noted by theologians that the panther has also been attributed to Jesus. In the Abodazara (early Jewish commentaries on the scriptures), it is listed as a surname for the family of Joseph. It tells how a man was healed "in the name of Jesus ben Panther." These early Jewish commentaries more accurately write "Yeshu ben Pantera", which translates as "Jesus, son of Pantera".

It has been often suggested that due to this connection between "Jesus" and the panther, it often signals a time of rebirth after a period of suffering and death on some level. This implies that an old issue may finally begin to be resolved, or even that old longstanding wounds will finally begin to heal, and with the healing will come a reclaiming of power that was lost at the time of wounding. It is very compelling to find that in Eastern astrology, the "Year of the Tiger" is also designated as a time of change; a period stated for metamorphsis. The "Year of the Tiger" happens every 12 years and each cycle and element is associated with an animal sign. The year 2022 is the Year of the "Water-Tiger."

It is curious that the panther and tiger both are associated to water. Recall that the Arabic ‘namir’ and Assyrian ‘namri’ derivation is associated to the waters. We also are reminded of the "Underwater Panther" of the Mississippian culture. This water Panther was called "Mishipeshu" or "Mishibijiw" (Msipissi). It was a powerful mythological creature something like a cross between a cougar and a dragon. The legends of some tribes describe Water Panther as the size of a real lynx or mountain lion, while in others, the beast is enormous. 

The Water Panther in its rock art depictions is eerily reminiscent of the "Moorbounder" of Dungeons and Dragons, where it is described as a type of tusked, tailless, highly aggressive panther-like creature that stalks desolate swamps in southern Xhorhas.


We shall conclude by establishing the origins of the totemic practices of Moors, which were derived from the far remote history of the jaguar cult. Leopard-men societies existed throughout the world. One such group is the Anyoto society that operated in the eastern Congo. The leopard men of the Congo have been documented in several European sources between 1890 and 1935.

The "leopard men" costumes of the Anyoto society which have been procured in the collection of the Royal Museum in Central Africa have inspired leopard-men iconography in western sources until today.

There are certain striking similarities between western fictional literature on the Anyoto society and the factual sources, such as eyewitness reports from colonists and missionaries. In Europe there has been a long tradition of representing heathens and non-Europeans as being half man, half beast and behaving like animals, including eating their own species.  

Novels such as “Tarzan and the Leopard men” by Edgar Rice Burroughs is one example. It depicts the exploits of Tarzan coming into conflict with the murderous secret society of the Leopard Men.

Another, is “The Killer Leopardmen of Africa” by Lewis Cotlow, which is a pulp fiction depicting the terror of the leopardmen.


Historically, there are many references and sources of inspiration that could also be drawn upon to demonstrate this ancient rite. In Ethiopia, it is traditionally believed that every blacksmith, whose trade is hereditary, is really a wizard or witch with the power to change into a hyena. These blacksmith were-hyenas are believed to rob graves at midnight and are referred to as bouda (also spelled buda). Belief in the bouda is also present in Sudan and Tanzania where some people regard the bouda as a man or woman who nightly turns into a hyena and resumes human shape at dawn. There are folktales that members of the Korè cult of the Bambara people in Mali “become” hyenas by imitating the animals' behaviour through masks and role-plays. The Crocodile Society of West African was thought to have practiced cannibalism was said to exist in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Conceivably, the most symbolic and allegorical motif alluding to this long forgotten tradition of totemic traditions of Moors is found in “Black Panther” of Marvel Comics. The Black Panther comic character is a symbolic montage that incorporates lost culture and history of Moors who is directly traced back to Pre-Columbian times. The idea of the Black Panther is easily traced back to the ancient Jaguar Kings and the Shamanic Order of the Black Panther found throughout central and South America.

As art imitates life, it is obvious that the story of the Black Panther was greatly influenced by components from the Black Panther party and their political views in addition to the cultural myths of Mesoamerica. But, the Black Panther as a comic book archetype is compromised of mystical beginnings and a paradisal homeland which is both derived from ancient traditions of the religious rites of these panther cults. Though amalgamated with mythic tales of African origins; in its essence and most basic foundations, the idea of the Black Panther is of Moorish Mesoamerican traditions.

The motif and ancestral archetypes that take precedent within the Black Panther series is steeped in the concept of totemism. From its earliest conception, the storyline of the Black Panther comics had depicted its totem motif as a spirit panther that served as an emblem of the ruling Wakandan clan who bestowed the powers of the panther upon the worthy heir.



As the Wakandan government is based on a tribal society, its head of state is the Black Panther. In this role, the Black Panther was the King, the Chieftain, religious leader, and commander-in-chief. The Black Panther is a ceremonial and religious title given to the chief of the Panther Cult. In addition to ruling the country, he is also the chief of its various tribes. The Panther uniform is a symbol of office as well as a religious vestment. The title, although it appears to be hereditary, can be challenged by any citizen of Wakanda for the right to rule in a combat ceremony. The Panther habit is a symbol of office (head of state) and is used even during diplomatic missions.


The Black Panther as head of state can be traced to the Moorish-Mesoamerican society where the Panther was held in the highest esteem second to none. The esoteric aspect of the jaguar was deified in contemporary Mesoamerican societies particularly within the Olmec society, which consisted of a variety of clan-cults like the cult of the jaguar, serpent, and bird. The bird cult was referred to as ‘Kuno.’ The leader of the Kuno cult was the “Kuno-tigi,” which meant Kuno chief. The Olmec humano-feline cult was called the “nama-tigi.” The leader of the Olmec cult was called the “tigi” or “amatigi” meaning "head of the faith". The ‘tigi’ of the Olmec secret societies exerted considerable influence while living and within the afterlife. Alive he could contact the spirits of the deceased, and serve as intermediaries between the gods and mankind. Upon his death his grave became a talisman bestowing good to all who visited his tomb. There is also a relationship between the “amanteca” of ancient Mexico and the “amantigi” of Africa and the Olmecs which has been observed by scholars such as Dr. Clyde Winters.

The nursery rhyme “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” incorporated the totemic Tiger in order to demonstrate the age old order of the Moors that laid the foundations of the world’s oldest civilizations. The Tiger symbolized the very essence of the Moor, with its noble characteristics; of strength, cunning and majesty. The Tiger exemplified the core of independence and the beauty of freedom. And so, it was chosen to represent the Moor in a children’s tale of his denationalizing, and theft of his rightful seat as the head of state.