Myth in Life Pt. 4 Chariots of the Gods

After the Honda Odyssey made an appearance in the last Myth In Life, I thought i might be able to sneak one or two more into the next segment. Well the more I looked, the more i found myself stumbling upon a whole theme. Buckle your seatbelts!

Avalon

We’ll start with a familiar one. Avalon has already made an appearance in the “Whining About Myths” section. Avalon, also known as Apple Island, Island of Blessed Souls, Island of Glass, is the home of Morgan Le Fay. Supposedly the sacred sword Excalibur was forged on the island by the faery folk. When King Arthur was mortally wounded, he was taken by boat to Avalon to be healed.

In other myths Avalon is the hiding place of Ogres who guard sacred Golden Apples which they have stolen from the Gods.

Titans

Those well familiar with Greek Mythology know that the Titans were the big dogs before the classical pantheon. The leader of the Titans was Chronos who rose up against his father Uranus and castrated him. Later, in fear of the same fate, Chronos ate all his children immieditly after they were born. With a little trickery, Zeus escaped this fate and was able to free the rest of his siblings who usurped their predecessors.
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Chronos Devours his Children, Goya

Mazda

Mazda, or Ahura Mazda is the Zoroastrian creation God of Persian culture. When Zoroaster was in his thirties he received a vision of Ahura Mazda told him about the Good Religion. Zoroaster returned to his people and explained that Ahura Mazda was the only god to be worshipped and that his antithesis, Angra Mainyu, was the source of all sin and evil.

Mercury/Hermes/Thoth

Mercury is the Roman name for Hermes, the Greek God who in his first day of birth stole Apollo’s Cattle and created the Lyre to make piece with him. Some believe that in return for the Lyre, Apollo gave him the caduceus (the winged staff entwined with serpents), others believe Zeus gave him the staff along with the winged sandles and cap when Hermes became Harold to the Gods.

He is also known as Hermes Cthonius. This name respects his magical powers and it is said the only being more powerful was Hecate.

In the realm of scholars and alchemists he is known as Hermes Trismegistus, who has the Egyptians call Thoth.

Pleiades

Its easy to just quickly glance at the Subaru logo and not think to much about it. Its just a bunch of stars. But which stars are they? Turns out they reference a start cluster known as Pleiades, and that actually means a lot!

In Greek Mythology, Pleiades represents the Seven Sisters who were changed into seven doves to escape the relentless pursuit of Orion.

Pleiades had a "Staring" role in the Nebra Sky disk. Its the cluster in the upper right

The Inuit refer to cluster as a group of hunters and dogs who went chasing a great bear, while the Blackfoot tribe say they are lost children who had nothing here, so they went and found a home in the sky. The Cherokee say it is the home of the Anitsutsa, or star-spirits.

Pleiades is also the name given to the sisters who guarded Hera’s Golden Apples with the dragon Ladon.

Groups of UFOoligists credit Pleiades as the home of a Scandinavian Alien race.

Osiris

There are quite a few who believe that the Chrysler symbol is a reference to Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Dead. In the Egyptian Myth, A kingdom was divided between two brothers, Osiris and Set. Set wanted the whole thing, so he put Osiris in a casket and tossed him in the Nile. The body eventually found a resting place where a tree grew around it. When the tree was cut down, the body was discovered and returned to Osiris’s wife/sister Isis. While mourning, she conceived Horus.

Not liking where this was going, Set got a hold of Osiris’s body, cut it into little pieces and tossed them in the Nile. Isis recovered the pieces, all except his penis(bummer), and restored him to life. After all this, Osiris decided to retire and rule the underworld, leaving Horus in charge of both kingdoms.

*an interesting side story, Set gouged out one of Horus’s eyes. Thoth(Hermes) restored it

Well thats it for this round. As always, your own Myth in Life pictures are more than welcome at mythblogogy@gmail.com. I’ll leave you with this. Its anothe rendition of Ahura Mazda, compare it to Osiris…

Myth in Life Pt. 3

….and we’re back. Hopefully this newest myth in life segment will symbolize a kickstart with more articles to come. Enjoy!

Sprite

Obey Your Thirst!

I love sightings like this, because its right in front of you on a daily basis, with a rich mythological history. Sprite is a blanket term for fairies, pixes, brownies and goblins. This all falls into “little people” mythology. Many culture’s have stories of little people who poses some degree of magic. They can be benevolent or mischievous, sometimes depending on the ethics of the people who encounter them. In Ireland there are the Leprechauns, in Hawaii you’ll hear about the menehune, and new sprite myths have come about int he past 100 years. In World War I, Royal Air Force pilots began blaming “Gremlins” for issues with their planes.

Bugs Bunny Vs. a Gremlin in "Falling Hare"

The Odyssey

Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey barrows it’s name from Homer’s story of Odysseus. His name and story have created a word that means a “grand adventure or quest.”

The Original Odyssey

Mars

God of War Bar

Mars is the son of Jupiter, the Roman God of War. Every day the Roman version of Ares is staring you from the grocery store shelf. I like to think that J.J. Abrams was inspired by the Mars Bar to create his own God candy bar in the hit t.v. show Lost.

Apollo Bar from Lost

Argonaut

The Argonaut

Argonaut refers to a member of Jason’s crew on board the Argo, the ship he used on his quest for the Golden Fleece. The crew included such Mythic Celebrities as Hercules, Orpheus, and Bellerophon.

The Kraken

A bottle of Kraken Rum, courtesy of Hawaiian Mythic Correspondent, Mike Ray

The Kraken has become very popular ever since Davey Jones commanded on in the new “Pirates” movies, and the sea beast also had a cameo appearance in the Clash of the Titan films. In the original “Clash,” the Kraken was one of the last remaining Titans who was unleashed to punish mortals. But the Kraken was never a Titan, in fact, the Kraken doesn’t have roots in Greek mythology; the Kraken is Norwegian. The original Kraken tales aren’t of a tentacled beast, bus something much larger. The Kraken is the monster you heard about in the stories of sailors landing on a mysterious island, only to have it sink out underneath them or swim away. This island sized creature was supposedly a mile-and-a-half in diameter!

Welcome to Hell, I’m Sisyphus, and i’ll be your tour-guide today…

A Blog for those who are “Wicked Smart” or have fallen in love with their Rocks

Sisyphus. He gets a bad wrap in most mythology books. We see him in the Odyssey, as well as in Orpheus’s journey to save Eurydice. But the information is brief. A man must push a boulder up a hill, but just as he reaches the hill, the boulder tumbles back down to the bottom and the task must be repeated, over and over. Usually when he is mentioned, he is paired with Tantalus.

Tantalus

Tantalus is the guy who shall forever stand up to his neck in a pool of water, with grapes hanging down above his head. Whenever he tries to reach a grape, a breeze blows them out of his reach. Whenever he bends down to drink, the water sinks away. For all eternity he goes hungry and thirsty. Tantalus was given he opportunity to hold a feast for the Gods, but in his arrogance he tried to fool the Gods. He killed his own son Pelops, cut him to pieces, boiled him, and served the flesh to his guests. (Don’t worry, Pelops is resurrected) Cannibalism is a horrible act in Greek culture, so it can be understood why he receives a harsh punishment.

But what has Sisyphus done? What horrible crime has he committed for his eternal punishment. Sisyphus was the King of Corinth. Sisyphus was a very clever king, and his intelligence was actually his undoing.

The action begins, as it usually does, with Zues not being able to keep it in his toga. The target this time was Aegina, a smoking-hot river nymph. Not having any restraint, Zues  transforms into an eagle and wisks her away to an island where he has his way with her.

Zues Kidnaps Aegina As An Eagle

The father of Aegina, the river-god Asopus, is naturally upset and he chases after his daughter. Unfortunately, he has no idea where Zues has taken his daughter. That’s where our King of Corinth first comes in. Sisyphus agrees to tell Asopus the island where the two lovers are, but only for something in return. Asopus must create a fresh-water spring for his city. Asopus agrees, creating the spring, and catching Zues red handed…

Zues, having a temper problem, decides Sisyphus’s time is up and he sends Thanatos (death, that’s right. Hades is the lord of the dead, but not death himself…) with shackles to take Sisyphus away to Tartarus. Sisyphus being extremely clever, trick Thanatos into putting on the shackles. With Death trapped, people cannot die.

This is a motif that has become very popular throughout folklore. Death is somehow tricked into a sack, a tree, whatever, and the resulting consequence is that people cannot die. This is still a popular motif today and was used for humor in a very early episode of Family Guy.

Peter Takes Over For Death

Without people dying, war loses some of its sting, so a very upset Ares comes down and frees Thanatos and takes Sisyphus to Hades. Our clever hero has a back up plan. Sisyphus instructed his wife to leave his body out, no burial, no ceremony, nothing. When Hades and Persephone learn how poorly his body has been treated, the allow him to return to the land of the living to discipline his wife and get his funeral in order. Once out of Hades, Sisyphus ignored the instructions to return, and lives to an old age. For his crimes, Zues himself takes him to Tartarus where he is condemned to role his rock. Not for cannibalism, not for killing a sun, just for being a little to smart.

I think its easy for those of us in the tourism industry, or anyone who is in a very repetitive job, to relate too Sisyphus. We say the same thing every day, or take people to the same place. What makes it difficult is the knowledge all the hard work of today will make no difference tomorrow. The rock will roll back down the hill and we are stuck saying or doing the same thing we’ve done the day before. In his poem “Sisyphus,” A.E. Stallings writes:

…the massive
machinery of hope,
the broken record of alive.
Why object?
The luck of all the draws
Is the weight of stone.

More often than not, we to find ourselves stuck on “the broken record of alive.” Not only can we relate and empathize with Sisyphus, through the work of Albert Camus, we can find a hero.

Camus

In his book, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Camus writes that Sisyphus doesn’t have to be damned. Tantalus is stuck, standing forever with everything he wants just out of reach. Sisyphus can take action. Camus argues that if Sisyphus pushes the rock, enjoying his burden, then it is the gods who lose and not our hero. The last sentence written is very powerful. “We must imagine Sisyphus happy.” I personally believe that the reason we “Must” view Sisyphus this way, is it is the only for us to improve out view on our own lives. If we can see this man, in hell, moving forward, undiscouraged, than the own repetitions we face in life may not be as insurmountable as we have come to believe.

But I think a lot of us get to that stage. At least some of the time. But here’s the next step, the revelation. I sometimes imagine Sisyphus happy, as Camus instructs, pushing his rock. But there is more going on there than happiness. That emotion actually covers another, anxiety. For over the eons, Sisyphus has fallen in love with his rock, and the fear of not having it runs deep.

I find this is a situation we often find ourselves, falling in love with our own rock. Most of the time we don’t eve know it. We moan and groan and complain about the dreary repetition of the work we do, but the truth is, our grumblings cover up our fear. For having no rock at all is truly terrifying at times.

Films like “Clerks” and “Waiting” are all about Camus-like hero’s, but they are also about hero’s who have fallen in love with their rock. We need to recognize when we have fallen into that trap.

I like to picture an alternative to the Myth of Sisyphus, when Zues first brings our hero to the steep hill, enormous boulder sitting at the bottom.

“All you have to do is push that boulder to the top of the hill” says Zues

“Then what?” Sisyphus replies

“I can’t tell you what comes next. You must complete this task, then you will see what comes after.”

And just like that Zues vanishes and our hero is left alone. He begins to push the stone up hill. It is a very steep hill and a very heavy rock and it takes a lot of effort and time, maybe a week, maybe a month, to get the stone near the top. And the whole time, Sisyphus is left alone with his thoughts. “Will this end once I reach the top? Will I be redeemed? Will their be a worse punishment? Will the pain stop? Can I rest? What if this is only a fraction of the pain to come?”

And just as he reaches the top, in a moment of panic and uncertainty, he lets his grip loosen and allows the boulder to role back down to the bottom. He is shocked. Months of effort, sweat, pain; gone. Does he know he let it go on purpose? Does he lie to himself, call himself stupid and clumsy? He must now begin the long journey back to the bottom.

Again he is alone with his thoughts. What does he think? “I won’t let that happen again. Next time I’ll really do it. Whatever comes next can’t be as bad as that. Next time I’ll really do it.

And so he continues until the end of time.

The First Blog

So I’m blogging now. Never thought this day would come but here it goes. I guess this is a place for intellectual discussion about mythology. My hopes are that the comments on the blogs will be longer than the blog itself and some interesting discussions will start up. So stop on by and see what you think. I’ve never done this before, so making it look “pretty” may come later than sooner, but oh well. Enjoy,

Nate

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