Guardian spirits find different forms all around the world. In Hawaii, we find the mo’o, or legendary lizard. She is an important figure in the creation myths of the Hawaiian Islands. I’ve included the basic description below, but the stories linked below are worth the read.
The Mo’o / Gecko
Descriptions of the mo’o vary. It is said to resemble a lizard, black skinned, and dragon like in its size, but as a shape shifter, the mo’o is is also depicted as a female goddess. They are said to be found in fish ponds and caves, and if a fish pond contains a mo’o, it is said to bring prosperity to a village. Foam in the fish pond means the mo’o is home. While most stories are benevolent, in human form the mo’o is sometimes depicted as a jealous lover, who might eat or drown her lover rather than share him.
The mo’o is said to guard places, individuals, as well as families. The household gecko resembles the mo’o and is considered good luck, and to kill one would bring bad luck.
- Legend of Wailuku Falls
- My Name is Waihili: Hidden meaning of the Mo’o Goddess
- The Gecko or Mo’o (Includes list of famous Mo’o Goddess’)
- Nu’uanu, O’ahu – Arrival (Translated story)
- Geckos (Evolution of the mo’o stories)
Related Creatures: dragon
Region of Origin: Hawaii
Elsewhere in the world I’ve run into folk beliefs that lizards can bring thunder and storms, and should be killed. The contrast is stark. I for one, am really happy they eat bugs. One less cockroach in my bed thanks! Do you know of any guardian spirits beyond dogs and cats?