Folklore, History & the Study of Myth

The Writings of Gary R. Varner

Books released in 2012 and 2013 are now available, including Hidden in Plain Sight: A Visitor's Guide to the Hidden Symbolism of Sacramento's Public Buildings. This is an illustrated history of the iconic architectural figures found on the public buildings of Sacramento, California. For the curious addresses are provided for a lesiure self guided tour.The list price is $10.95. In addition a second title in this series is Hidden in Plain Site II--Pittsburgh. At $9.95 this too is available. A third book in the series is in preparation and is titled Hidden in Plain Site: Kentucky. My most recent accomplishment is a cultural history of Ethiopia--titled simply Ethiopia - A Cultural History of an Ancient Land. This will be followed as well by subsequent works on various aspects of Ethiopian culture, history and art. Currently this book is available on in a kindle edition and paperback. All of these titles are fully illustrated. 2012's offerings include the recently released Portals to Other Realms: Cup-Marked Stones and Prehistoric Rock Carvings now in Kindle format and paperback. The introduction is by my friend Vyacheslav Mizin, member of the Russian Geographical Society and expert on ancient stone monuments and sacred sites in Russia. Vyacheslav is not only an explorer but an author and filmmaker.This book is an illustrated analysis of the mysterious cup-marked stones found around the world.These ancient cup-marked stones have been created since the dawn of time. They appear on every continent and have almost identical characteristics. With so many of them still in existence and so many people aware of them one would think that current day archaeologists would know what they are—what they meant to ancient man. The sad fact is current science doesn’t have anything more than theory, assumption and guess to go on. Were they used for healing? Did they signify the burial of great teachers, warriors and leaders? Were they used as star maps? Priced at $5 in the Kindle edition, paperback will retail at $9.95. The first for 2013 is Remembrances of the Dead - Graveyard Art and Symbolism which is available from Kindle now and  in paperback. This book examines the history, art and folklore of pre-twentieth century gravestones and tombs from Nova Scotia to South Carolina and California. Fully illustrated with over 70 photographs. It was a fun project and hopefully it will be of interest to those interested in history and art and graveyard studies, available in a Kindle edition and $11.95 in paperback from or Lulu Press.


My newest offering for 2014 just published is the second volume on Ethiopia--The Ancient Religion and Beliefs of Ethiopia. Currently a kindle book, it will soon be available in paperback as well from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all other retail outlets.

Gargoyles, Grotesques & Green Men

Just Released 4/22/08

 $16.95 from, B& and other on line retailers

180 pages, illustrated, ISBN 978-1435711426

The symbols and strange images that we find in our cemeteries, religious structures, banks and in our parks are the same symbols that have been part of the framework of the human psyche for thousands of years. While contemporary man may think that they are simply decorative manifestations of a by-gone era, they represent the fears, dreams, ideas, beliefs and struggles that humankind has endured since we began to walk upright. This book surveys many of these icons and will give a meaning for them both in the context of ancient history and folklore as well as a meaning that is suitable for our contemporary times. Illustrated with dozens of photographs, this book will be of interest to anyone interested in historic preservation, ancient symbolism, the Green Man and the universal application of imagery. Gary R. Varner has written numerous books on ancient traditions, folklore, the environment and contemporary issues. He is a member of the American Folklore Society and the Foundation for Mythological Studies.

Maria Lionza: An Indigenous Goddess of Venezuela


María Lionza is at once a native girl, born in the 16th century to an Indian chief in the Venezuelan region of Yaracuy, and a goddess of nature, peace and harmony to over eight million Venezuelans in the 21st century. Her name means “Mary of the boar,” taken from her full name “Santa María de la Onza Talavera del Prato de Nivar”—a title given by the Catholic Church in the attempt to Christianize her cult. This book is María’s story, as much as can be told. Other than a few scholarly articles, the existence of María Lionza and her following is unknown in Western literature. Gabriel Ernesto Andrade of La Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela wrote “If I would have to find one word to describe the María Lionza religion, it would be ‘mysterious’.” And so María, as well as her origins and how she became regarded as the goddess of the people of Venezuela, remains a mystery in many ways. And that is as it should be.  An OakChylde Publication available from Lulu Press at $9.50. ID# 1329353

My latest title from Algora Publishing is Creatures in the Mist: Little People, Wild Men and Spirit Beings Around the World - A Study in Comparative Mythology. Selling at $21.95 in trade paper and $29.95 in harcover, the Library Journal gave it the following review in the August 15th issue:

Varner (The Mythic Forest, the Green Man & the Spirit of Nature) has published another volume in a series of works comparing legends and beliefs from cultures around the world. This latest covers mythological beings including fairies, giants, mermaids, horned creatures, harpies, werewolves, and vampires as well as the folklore of animals and insects. He provides an overview of creatures from ancient times to the present, incorporating examples from European, Asian, African, and Native American traditions. This global comparison emphasizes shared customs and illustrates a universal belief in these mythic beings. Though not a comprehensive look at folklore themes, this book is unique in its focus on the magical creatures of our collective imagination. It is appropriate not only for popular reading collections but also for academic research collections, as sources are cited throughout and a bibliography of resources is included. -Eloise R. Hitchcock, Western Carolina Univ. Lib., Cullowhee, NC


ISBN: 978-0-87586-545-4, Illus., Bibliography, Index

Some oy other recent titles include The Dark Wind: Witches and the Concept of Evil; Strangely Wrought Creatures of Life and Death: Ancient Symbolism in European and American Architecture; and The Mythic Forest: The Green Man and the Spirit of Nature.


ISBN: 1430318139  $15.95. Distributed by Lulu Press. Illus., Index, Bibliography                       


ISBN: 1430302615  $15.95. Distributed by Lulu Press.  Ilus., Index, Bibliography                          

ISBN: 0875864341  $21.95 trade paper, hardcover $29.95.  Published by Algora Publishing. Illus., Index, Bibliography

All books available from, B&, and other fine online retailers.