Tag Archives: Mythology

Interview with an immortal.

Hold your horses!
Hold your horses!

What would Zeus do?

Those are the questions you’re asking as you analyze a character.

There are many ways to analyze a character.

 

 Ask yourself:

What do you look like?

What is your day like?

What is your status in the world?

What relationships do you have?

What symbols or tools would represent you?

Do you have any special gifts or training?

What is one story that defines who you are?

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

What is one thing you regret?

What is one thing you are most proud of?

 

Once you have a handle on your own “character,” perhaps you can start to control another.

 

 

Myth-of-the-Month Club: Kiyohime

KiyohimesmThere are many stories of love-gone-wrong. And when women especially get their hearts broken, well, brother, you had better watch out. They change. They destroy. They…get…really…upset.

Today’s legend is the Japanese story of Anchin and Kiyohime. Just a couple of crazy kids, in love, planning a life. Until Anchin becomes bored, restless, and is ready to move on, literally and figuratively, taking his love on a boat ride…Well, that’s one version. Other versions say he was just hanging out, minding his own business, and Kiyohime mistakes him for her one true love, and turns into a snake/serpent to show that she is VERY DISAPPOINTED. Unrequited love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds, and mars. (Sorry– went back to 1974 for a second).

It’s not really a very old story, relatively speaking, originating circa 928: there are other older an newer stories that connect with this one, such as Medusa (the old “turn you into stone” thing), Circe (“you’re such a pig!”) and various harpies, sirens, Scylla, and Ariel. Yes, I said Ariel. Because in the original Little Mermaid story she takes the high road and doesn’t turn into a sea serpent, murderer, or even a a shrimp boat captain, but sea foam. Sea foam. Really, Hans Christian Andersen? Foam? Ultimately she turns into some kind of spirit that seeks out good children, because for every good kid she finds, it moves her closer to heaven:

The little mermaid lifted her glorified eyes towards the sun, and felt them, for the first time, filling with tears. On the ship, in which she had left the prince, there were life and noise; she saw him and his beautiful bride searching for her; sorrowfully they gazed at the pearly foam, as if they knew she had thrown herself into the waves. Unseen she kissed the forehead of her bride, and fanned the prince, and then mounted with the other children of the air to a rosy cloud that floated through the ether.”

“After three hundred years, thus shall we float into the kingdom of heaven,” said she. “And we may even get there sooner,” whispered one of her companions. “Unseen we can enter the houses of men, where there are children, and for every day on which we find a good child, who is the joy of his parents and deserves their love, our time of probation is shortened. The child does not know, when we fly through the room, that we smile with joy at his good conduct, for we can count one year less of our three hundred years. But when we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of sorrow, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial!”

How’s that for some guilt? Every time you were naughty, you kept the little mermaid from going to her just reward.

But, let’s return to Kiyohime. The symbolic meaning of serpents, snakes, and reptiles is huge. People have been afraid of All Things Wiggly since the beginning of time. Dragons deserve their own day in the Myth-of-the-Month club, and their belly-crawling cousins, snakes.

AnchinKiyohime

 One perspective I found interesting is that Kiyohime is not really considered an evil being, just misunderstood (isn’t that right, gals?):

Kiyohime was not a villainess, even in folklore. The concluding words of Koi no tenarai, “The Learning of Love”, from the Nagauta cycle “Kyo Kanoko Musume Dojoji” paint a sensitive picture of a woman tormented by her love, and an unfeeling rejection from one to whom she considered herself bound.

The moral of the story is, sometimes when you love someone, they don’t love you back. Try not to be so clingy.

 

I’m not sure who originally wrote this website, but there are a lot of misspellings in it. However, you’ll get the gist of the story: http://www.dojoji.com/e/anchin/anchin.html

Here’s a synopsis of the story here: http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/cyw&CISOPTR=311

And a longer, more detailed version here: http://everything2.com/title/Legend+of+Anchin+and+Kiyohime

One more: http://www.robynbuntin.com/dictionary.asp

Myth-of-the-Month Club: Janus

Janus My fellow bloggers out there in the technosphere have taken up the challenge to write a post-a-day on their blogs for the month of January. (“I can do that!” Mrs. L thought to herself.) So what if there’s laundry to do, meals to prepare, and holiday decorations to take down? I can do this! Or can I?

And like any good resolution, which is also part of the “resolve” word family (resolution, resolve, resolute) I am going to give it my best.

But I needed a theme. I love themes. Those are the universal truths and connections among all cultures, societies, time, and beliefs that allow us not to float away, untethered, distracted, or isolated.

Don-da-da-da! (That’s supposed to be trumpets blaring):  The theme for January is the “Myth of the Month Club.” Each day I will feature a myth, legend, folktale, deity (remember? polytheism? deity? gods…goddesses…demi-gods, etc.? Come on…you remember, right?) And what better or more appropriate way to start off January with that two-faced deity himself, doesn’t know if he’s coming or going, looking back to look forward, JANUS!

Roman god of doorways, gates, and transitions, who faced forwards and backwards. The name January comes from the name of Janus. Janus statues show twin faces. – http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/religionmyth/ig/Greek-Mythology/Janus.-_Qs.htm

 

Two-faced rock.
Two-faced rock.

Janus imitates its two-faced Greek god namesake by catching light on two sides.

The brighter side of Janus is lit by the sun while light reflected off Saturn dimly illuminates the rest of the moon and reveals the non-spherical shape of this small satellite.

This image has been scaled to twice its original size. This view looks toward the leading hemisphere of the Janus (179 kilometers, or 111 miles across). North on Janus is up and rotated 22 degrees to the left.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 12, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1 million kilometers (621,000 miles) from Janus and at a Sun-Janus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 112 degrees. Image scale is 6 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel.

Janus is one of Saturn’s (the planet) satellites (moons).  Remember, Saturn is, in mythology, the old man who grunts and grumbles at Baby New Year. It is no accident that French astronomer Audouin Dollfus who discovered this tiny, two-faced moon in 1966 named it Janus.  Janus and Saturn are connected to the same myth: that time turns, we look to our past, and to our futures, all at the same time, in the present moment.

Here is another thought about Saturn:

Vouet completed the piece “Father Time Overcome by Hope, Love, and Beauty” (1627).: 

Old Man Time

(I’m not sure if time can be overcome by love, beauty, and hope. That’s what is advertised to us. If we buy wrinkle cream, we HOPE that we will still have BEAUTY and we can keep LOVE.)

In any case, Happy New Year. Like Janus, I think it’s important to honor the past, learn from mistakes, and appreciate the experiences we’ve gained, while simultaneously looking forward to the future.