Category Archives: mythology

CEREMONY UPON CANDLEMAS EVE


Near to Twelfth Night, I thought to give warning using the words of Robert Herrick.

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.

My Nativity Scene


I snuck into a Dragon’s Lair
and found they have their own Nativity Scenes.

I barely escaped with my camera intact.

Nativity6

It could be I was not the only intruder.

(click on the image to embiggen it)

Daffyd Gruad


The tale was written long ago in a limerick minstrel style reminiscent of the early lutist mummers who roamed throughout the Celtland Kingdoms.

Enough of my own bombastism.

Herewith, the tale (again).

flying_dragon

My dragon is named Daffyd Gruad
Of his hoard he is very proud
If you steal a jewel
Don’t look for renewal
You will not be needing a shroud

Its not only smoke he exhales
When he’s breathing out in big gales
Melts lead on the roof
Large birdies go “Poof”
And thieves simply leave large ash trails

He has a soft spot for sapphires
They’re something that raise his desires
And emerald green,
He likes to be seein’;
These gifts sometimes dampen his fire.

Daffyd and the dwarves are at war.
Dwarves love to deep mine for rich ore;
And stones of great hue
They deftly pursue.
In these things they place greatest store

while dragons need them for their hoards.
The dwarves set out guards with big swords
In their deepest cave,
Attempting to save
Their jewel encrusted gold gourds.

The great dwarven lore tells just where
A sword can be stuck, with great care.
And dead dragons’ bones
Make underground thrones
And great dwarven Kings will sit there!

But dragons will not just stand still
And try to do dwarven guards ill
And sharp dwarven swords
Have Daffyd’s hide scoreds
And stuck, like a porcupine quill.

So Daffyd’s huge jewellery hoard
Holds many a great dwarven sword
Surrounded by skulls
From dwarven guard culls
And all of their jewels his reward!

Around these small baubles revolves
This story and all it involves.
With dragons a’wing
Some greed and thieving
And virgins and sorc’ry evolves

flying_dragon

The events which now will be written.
Somewhere in the hills of Old Britain
Sir Ffrank the rapacious,
For being predacious,
Was denounced by the Lords of the Witan!

So covered in armour all black
He continued the weak to attack
But they were so poor.
He wanted much more;
Rich pickings that he could ransack.

On hearing some rumours, anon,
Of a village whose dragon was gone
He snuck to its cave
(This frumious knave)
And with all its gold was begone!

The small hoard of Thomas the Blue
Unguarded – by dwarves he was slew.
Despite fourteen dead
They cut off his head
And on his cooked flesh they did chew.

Sir Ffrank became boasting and proud
And told of his exploit out loud.
Handmaidens be-tressed
Were more than impressed
And round him they formed a big crowd

flying_dragon

Go back twenty years, a real meanie,
By all of the witches made Queenie,
Who stirred up her pot,
Made spells from old snot,
And worse, her true name was just Jeanie.

A dragon that Jeanie just hated
For birth in a field she just waited
And cute little Morgan
Was born in the sorghum
But goblins to Jeanie then prated

The witch in her madness and wroth
Cast spells in her pot and then quoth
“Now Morgan is cursed
As human be nursed!”
And added a terrible oath.

“And girl you shall be ’til you walk
Through Dragonfire without a balk
Only then will your scales
Attract dragon males
‘Til then only human you’ll talk!”

flying_dragon

So Morgan was raised as a girl
And learned how to knit and to purl
And often her sister
Would gladly assist her
While putting her hair in a curl.

Her sister was Vicki the good
Who helped in young Morgan’s girlhood
Raised fit for an Earl
But she’d only twirl
At the sight of the dragon Daffyd.

For Daffyd was handsome and strong
A dragon whose tail was so long
With a flame that’s so hot –
The smile that he’s got
Makes Morgan’s young heart sing a song.

flying_dragon

Meanwhile, the crude lusts of Sir Ffrank
(Whose hose was unwashed and it stank)
Now caused him to ask
(Taking sips from his flask)
For the hand of sweet Morgan, point-blank!

Sweet Vicki said, “Bold Dragonslayer,
Sir Ffrank, will you please hear my prayer
Although Morgan does cower
A right royal dower
Will surely make her so much gayer.”

“Perhaps,” she said, thinking so fast,
And trying to flabber his ghast,
“A chest full of jewels.
Quite often it fuels
The passions of those thought downcast.”

Young Morgan cried, starting to swoon,
While Ffrank, the black armoured poltroon,
Just glared at them both
And swore a great oath
And spat, but he missed the spittoon.

“For Morgan’s fair hand I will bring
A Dragonstone green, and be-ring
My best chosen wench.”
And being part French
He started his au revoiring.

And when he had gone through the door
Our Morgan arose from the floor.
“Oh Vicki,” She cried
Quite far from dried eyed
“I heard the fell oath that he swore!”

“My Daffyd loves green stones the most
Now soon he will just be a ghost.
The nasty Sir Ffrank
Will come back and swank,
He’ll brag with bravado and boast!”

But Vicki just smiled, “There’s a cost
To love which must risk being lost.
Run, give him your glove.
In battle, your love
May save him from being down-tossed.”

flying_dragon

Sir Ffrank entered into the cave
The home of our Daffyd the Brave
In which all his gems
And gold diadems
The walls and the floor line and pave.

Sir Ffrank hid the reason for meeting
Behind a kind jovial greeting
So Daffyd smiled back
Not fearing attack
And offered both tea and a seating.

For dragons are basically kind
They love just to talk mind to mind
Their thinking is deep
Providing you keep
Returning stray jewels you find.

The blackest of knights looked around
His eyes lit on gems in a mound
Dissembling still,
He planned to do ill
While visiting there, underground.

flying_dragon

And Morgan was scared for her Daff
So she left the castle so safe.
Evading the guard
She then ran so hard;
Arrived at the cave like a waif.

And entering inside she saw
The drama unfold on the floor
With glove in her hand
She only could stand
And watch the green dragonblood pour.

From dwarven law foul Ffrank had learned
That drag’nblood by dragonfire’s spurned
And so the first blow
Unwarned, from below
Had split Daffyd’s snout ‘fore it burned.

The blood falling down like a stream
Split his fire and turned into steam
Two small bands of flame
Confused Daffyds aim
For Ffranks scheme had worked like a dream

Defended by split bands of fire
Hurt Daffyd watched Ffranks sword rise higher
Now aimed at the eyes,
There were no replies.
It seemed that Sir Ffrank was the slyer.

Fair Morgan, in fear, gave a shout
And ran to give Ffrank a hard clout
She passed through the flame
That from Daffyd’s mouth came
Distracting Sir Ffrank with a shout.

And the oath that the witch Jeanie made
Caused Morgans sweet girlhood to fade
And there in her place
Was a gold dragon face
And Ffrank, now in fear, dropped his blade.

They herded him back to the castle
And gave him to Vick like a parcel
Who had him all stripped
And deservedly whipped
Then sent to the fields as a vassall.

So that’s how my own Daffyd Graud
Found his mate of whom he is proud.
Sweet Morgan and he
Soon married will be
‘Neath a sky where there isn’t a cloud.

flying_dragon

FINIS

Image

WHO KILLED THE EASTER BUNNY?


easter-bunny-dead-demotivational-poster

Persisent Mythologies; Pt3, Gardens of Eden


Gardens of Eden

The successive warming and cooling periods of the various Dryas periods since the last Glacial Maximum have left folk memories in the traditions of the people of Eurasia.

Just as Australia has 15,000 year old folk myths of the last Glacial Maximum, Eurasia  has its own oral history which goes back around the same length of time, or longer, before the invention of writing fixed these memories and ended pre-history.

The identification of this oral tradition adds a more human element to the dry suppositions about our ancestors gained from the archaeology of brick walls, stone flakes, funerary rites and pottery shards.

If we are to date the adverse climate change which forms the core of these myths to a Dryas Period it is worth remembering that, while there was a limited amount of Glacial growth, it was also a time of  dry cold as moisture was held on the Ice Sheets and on the glaciers.

Which Dryas period these tales refer to can be estimated by the number of extraneous elements there are to the tale. In the case of these Gardens of Eden it seems there are later stories blended into the original campfire tale. One of the key points is that while the men in the story lose their easy way of life, there is little talk of them losing farms or of cultivation. Indeed, in this collection, only the Indian one speaks of “irrigation”. Nowhere are “herds”, implying ownership, mentioned. Just “beasts” which implies wildness or freedom.

The similarity of these stories could be attributed to either a common experience or a common ancestry.

Since the best estimates for the beginning of cultivation appear to set it in the gap between the Oldest and the Older Dryas (14,650BC) it is reasonable to set the Gardens of  Eden back beyond the Oldest Dryas. ie; beyond 18,000BP.

The standard Garden of Eden story can be reduced to just a few elements. Mankind lived for a time in a world of ease and plenty. He was then forcibly ejected from that place either by a god or by changes in the weather. Good times then return.

Here is a collection of those myths from across the Eurasian Continent.

The Hebrew Eden

Rather than the normally quoted version of this story, here is the story untouched by Christian dogma. From  “Antiquities of the Jews”,  Josephus

Chapter1, Para3. Moses says further, that God planted a paradise in the east, flourishing with all sorts of trees; and that among them was the tree of life, and another of knowledge, whereby was to be known what was good and evil; and that when he brought Adam and his wife into this garden, he commanded them to take care of the plants. Now the garden was watered by one river, (3) which ran round about the whole earth, and was parted into four parts. And Phison, which denotes a multitude, running into India, makes its exit into the sea, and is by the Greeks called Ganges. Euphrates also, as well as Tigris, goes down into the Red Sea. (4) Now the name Euphrates, or Phrath, denotes either a dispersion, or a flower: by Tiris, or Diglath, is signified what is swift, with narrowness; and Geon runs through Egypt, and denotes what arises from the east, which the Greeks call Nile.

4. God therefore commanded that Adam and his wife should eat of all the rest of the plants, but to abstain from the tree of knowledge; and foretold to them, that if they touched it, it would prove their destruction. But while all the living creatures had one language, (5) at that time the serpent, which then lived together with Adam and his wife, shewed an envious disposition, at his supposal of their living happily, and in obedience to the commands of God; and imagining, that when they disobeyed them, they would fall into calamities, he persuaded the woman, out of a malicious intention, to taste of the tree of knowledge, telling them, that in that tree was the knowledge of good and evil; which knowledge, when they should obtain, they would lead a happy life; nay, a life not inferior to that of a god: by which means he overcame the woman, and persuaded her to despise the command of God. Now when she had tasted of that tree, and was pleased with its fruit, she persuaded Adam to make use of it also. Upon this they perceived that they were become naked to one another; and being ashamed thus to appear abroad, they invented somewhat to cover them; for the tree sharpened their understanding; and they covered themselves with fig-leaves; and tying these before them, out of modesty, they thought they were happier than they were before, as they had discovered what they were in want of. But when God came into the garden, Adam, who was wont before to come and converse with him, being conscious of his wicked behavior, went out of the way. This behavior surprised God; and he asked what was the cause of this his procedure; and why he, that before delighted in that conversation, did now fly from it, and avoid it. When he made no reply, as conscious to himself that he had transgressed the command of God, God said, “I had before determined about you both, how you might lead a happy life, without any affliction, and care, and vexation of soul; and that all things which might contribute to your enjoyment and pleasure should grow up by my providence, of their own accord, without your own labor and pains-taking; which state of labor and pains-taking would soon bring on old age, and death would not be at any remote distance: but now thou hast abused this my good-will, and hast disobeyed my commands; for thy silence is not the sign of thy virtue, but of thy evil conscience.” However, Adam excused his sin, and entreated God not to be angry at him, and laid the blame of what was done upon his wife; and said that he was deceived by her, and thence became an offender; while she again accused the serpent. But God allotted him punishment, because he weakly submitted to the counsel of his wife; and said the ground should not henceforth yield its fruits of its own accord, but that when it should be harassed by their labor, it should bring forth some of its fruits, and refuse to bring forth others. He also made Eve liable to the inconveniency of breeding, and the sharp pains of bringing forth children; and this because she persuaded Adam with the same arguments wherewith the serpent had persuaded her, and had thereby brought him into a calamitous condition. He also deprived the serpent of speech, out of indignation at his malicious disposition towards Adam. Besides this, he inserted poison under his tongue, and made him an enemy to men; and suggested to them, that they should direct their strokes against his head, that being the place wherein lay his mischievous designs towards men, and it being easiest to take vengeance on him, that way. And when he had deprived him of the use of his feet, he made him to go rolling all along, and dragging himself upon the ground. And when God had appointed these penalties for them, he removed Adam and Eve out of the garden into another place.

“Antiquities of the Jews”,  Josephus

If myths live for thousands of years, there will be additions and alterations. Yet the core of the myth will remain. By looking at other creation stories from the past we can dig out that core.

A Greek Eden

This tale is found all over the internet and is short and very readable. Unlike the much denser story recounted by the scholar, Robert Graves in his book “The Greek Myths” Chapter 39 j.

Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men.

Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora’s beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora’s curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became to great. She opened the jar and out flew all manner of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing – hope.

“The Greek Myths” Chapter 39 j. Robert Graves

Again there is a time of wealth and ease in a generous world followed by misfortune caused by a disobedient woman.

Despite Greece being small in the context of Europe, it was made up of a number of City States, each with its own Pantheon of Gods influenced by other civilisations, from Lybia and Egypt to Mesopotamia and beyond. There are several Greek Gardens of Eden.

The Anatolian Eden

It was however, Hannahanna, the “grandmother”, whose name is written with the ideogram of

Hannahanna, the Bee Goddess

the Sumerian Mother Goddess Nintud, who was really the Phrygian Magna Mater. Thus, in the Telipinu myth recording the disappearance of Telipinu, the son of the Weather-god, bringing all life to a standstill, it was to Hannahanna that appeal was made to intervene in the desperate situation that threatened the extinction of every living thing. On her advice, a bee was eventually sent out to discover the whereabouts of Telipinu and sting him but although this device failed she was finally successful in securing his return and the restoration of fertility.”

The Ancient Gods; EO James

Oh oh! There is no disobedient woman in this story. Just the Utopian Garden of Eden which is damaged by a change in the weather.

An Indian Eden

The seven rivers of the Earth had been swallowed by the evil dragon Vritra and imprisoned in his mountains. Vritra lay down on top of the mountain to guard them, and gradually the land became dry and arid. Without water, the trees and plants began to shrivel and die. Unable to irrigate their crops, the people prayed to the gods to help them, but none of the gods felt strong enough to challenge Vritra. Eventually all the food was used up and the people began to starve, much to the dismay of the gods, who saw that they were powerless to help.

Indira, Bronze, British Museum

 However, Indira, the youngest, yet the most strong-willed of the deities, was determined to do something. He drank three bowls of the magical soma, feeling himself becoming stronger with each bowlful. When they were finished, he knew he was mightier than any of the gods, and bravely grasped his thunderbolt, and set out to confront the dragon.

When Vritra saw Indira approaching, he let loose the full panoply of his evil powers, trying to overpower the god with blackening fog, blinding lightning, deafening thunder, and piercing hailstones. Indra was impervious to Vritra’s earth-shattering attack, and hurled his thunderbolt at Vritra, who fell lifeless to the foot of the mountain, When Vritra’s mother appeared to avenge her son, Indra killed her too.

Indira broke open the mountain to free the seven rivers, which poured down the mountain, filling the cracked river beds and reviving the plants, trees, and crops.

Found in”Indian Gods and Myths” Pub.  Chartwell Books, 1999 (no Author)
Wikipedia also has the story and quotes from
Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1896] HYMN XXXII. Indra.
Also on the internet here.

 A Chinese Eden

Yi The Hero

This legend is rather similar to the European tale of William Tell. Yi was a highly skilled bowman and was known as “the excellent archer.” In the time of King Yao ten Suns appeared in the sky, scorching and burning the Earth with their heat, drying up rivers, and destroying crops and plants.

The people began to starve, and centaurs, wild boars, huge serpents, and other monsters began to roam.

The hero Yi appeared and shot down nine of the Suns with his magic bow, restoring order, fertility, and harmony to the world.

Found in”Chinese Gods and Myths” Pub.  Chartwell Books, 1999 (no Author)

This following version found on Wikipedia

In the remote ancient times, there was the supreme God Di Jun (帝俊) who existed in the Heaven much the same as the Greek God Zeus. Xihe (羲和), the sun-goddess, bore ten suns for Di Jun. Changxi (常羲), the moon-goddess, bore twelve moons for Di Jun. Xihe and her sons lived in the east. Her sons rested in a divine tree Fusang (扶桑). Every morning, Xihe took one son to Gan Pool (甘泉) and bathed him. Then she drove a sun-chariot and carried her son from the east to the west in the sky in the day, and returned to the east through the underground in the night.

One day, the ten mischievous sons of Xihe played in the sky together. Di Jun and Xihe doted on their sons, and actually didn’t stop them from their mischief. Crops and trees began to wither, and many people starved. At that time, many evils and savage beasts went out and harmed humans. Humans suffered terrible disasters. Di Jun started to sympathize with humans, then he sent a god Hou Yi (后羿) and his wife Chang-e (嫦娥) to descend to the world of mortals and help humans. Di Jun gave Hou Yi some divine arrows.

Hou Yi was an excellent marksman. He killed many evils and savage beasts. Yet the ten suns still had their mischievous fun in the sky. Hou Yi had to warn suns, but the suns thought reasoned to themselves that they were the sons of the supreme God Di Jun, and Hou Yi was merely an ordinary god. So the suns ignored the warning of Hou Yi. Hou Yi was hesitant whether he should shoot the suns. When he saw there were too many starving people in the world, he indignantly shot at the suns. The suns which were shot became crows which had three legs and fell down to the earth. When there was only one sun in the sky, the people stopped Hou Yi and told him they needed a sun to warm them and light the world.

A Japanese Eden

Susanoo, the Storm God, became restless and went on a rampage destroying his sister’s rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, and killed one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, who was in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato (“heavenly rock cave”), thus effectively hiding the sun for a long period of time.

Remembered from a scrap in an old book and this found in Wikipedia

Another version of this myth, again from the Internet

Amaterasu

Susanowo was the god of the sea and the storms according to the ancient Japanese religion Shinto, which means “the way of the gods”. He had a furious and impulsive temper. He could create ravaging storms that caused a lot of damage. Once, his sister, the Sun goddess Amaterasu, was so distressed by his fierce temper that she decided to hide herself in the cave of heaven.

Unfortunately, without Amaterasu, who ruled the realm of light, darkness surrounded the world. Evil spirits left their hiding places. Using a trick, the assembly of the gods got Amaterasu to come out of the cave. Light once again invaded and colored the world. To prevent another similar accident, the gods banished Susanowo in the province of Izumo and took everything he had.

I have been unable to find an Egyptian or Libyan Garden of Eden although they may not exist.

The Egyptians relied much more of the flooding of the Nile which is sourced much closer to the equator. It is likely the Dryas periods had less effect on Egypt than on Mesopotamia.

The Libyans were based on the Northern edge of a vast fertile, pre-Saharan plain and again, may not have noticed the Dryas.

Persistent Mythologies; Part 2


In any discussion of Pre-history it is worthwhile looking at the environment in which humans were living and interacting. While we do not have any direct records of the people of the time, we can look with some certainty at the climate.

As we are coming to recognise in our modern, warming world, climate affects how humans act. We can see the dangers of changing land uses and water availability. Dangers which could overturn civilisation as we have come to know it.

There is a vague idea in most people’s minds that there was an ice age, the glaciers retreated and things warmed up sometime around 20,000 years ago. This allowed the Hunter-Gatherers to gradually learn about agriculture and then settle in one place to protect their crops from marauders.

Like most vague ideas this is both true and false.

I am going to add a disclaimer here because the field of Glaciations and Ice Ages and their dates is difficult and confused as each continent was affected at different stages. I am concentrating on Eurasia and Northern Africa.

The last major glaciations, within the current (yes CURRENT) ice age reached their maximum extent of glaciation approximately 22,000 years ago. Allowing around 2,000 years for the warming to become noticeable, I’m picking a date for the first “warm” time as starting around 20,000BP. There were major variations across the both Eurasian Continent and North America which make absolute dating impossible. What has been agreed is that from around 110,000 years ago to around 10,000 years ago, the weather in the Northern Hemisphere ranged from VERY cold to colder than today.

It is a time covering the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age 2.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago with a number of proto-human and human ancestors) and the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age which lasted roughly from just after the end of the last glacial maxima till some 5,000 years ago) periods.

The gradual warming was not a smooth process and there were three major interruptions probably caused by major changes in geography and ocean currents as the glaciers retreated. These cooling periods are named after the pollen of a particular plant, the Dryas octopetala (an arctic-alpine flowering plant in the family Rosaceae) the range of which moved up and down the latitudes with the temperature.

So we have the three Dryas periods with warmer interregnums;

Dryas Periods Chart

We can only imagine the terror felt by generations of post-ice age man as the cold began to return in each of the Dryas Periods. It was not a case of the ice returning, it was a case of less worldwide evaporation and a consequent severe decrease in rainfall. Cold droughts  would have stamped out the earliest attempts at agriculture.

Man is a story-telling animal and there would have been explanations for the colding and the warming told and re-told. There was no written record although, as we have seen with the Australian Aboriginal oral tradition, stories can be transmitted and remembered for at least 15,000 years, There is no time period during these European events to match the Australian time span.

In Eurasia writing appeared around 6,000 years ago. It had developed from trading records and marked the end of “Pre-History”. Largely the province of the temples who were due much of the traded produce, some adventurous scribes began to write the stories of their tribes and kingdoms. They naturally included the tales of their non-literate parents and grand-parents.

The tales which were the oral tradition finally became fixed. In those tales are the myths and legends which reveal some of our hidden past. In those tales is much which decides how we live today.

Persistent Mythologies; Part 1


I have a number of interests, many of which I have shared on this blog. Yet I have one secret passion which has lasted for many years

Dragons.

The real dragon. The one which was able to travel from Wales to Japan, slaying knights, stealing maidens and sowing fear and evil from the Basque country to the Isles of Japan. Except that the Dragons of the Far East suddenly appeared to be quite benign. Something had happened during their journey. Just where had their travels begun?
After a decade away from tracing their paths I am again drawn back to the search. The initial questions were asked four decades ago. During my research I found a need to ask further questions. Dragons are still a passion yet the other questions seem to take up more of my time because they need to be answered before I can make definite statements about the Origins of the Dragons.

sbargld.gif

How Old Can A Myth Be?

By its very nature a myth has its origins in the times before writing. In the oral traditions of pre-literate peoples.

One such story is from what is now the Port Philip Bay area of Victoria.

As told on the blog “Wilddogroad” comes a tale of the last major sea rise some 10,000 years ago and handed down in an unbroken oral tradition.

Bunjil is an Aboriginal god of creation

“Many years ago this land that we now call Melbourne extended right out to the ocean. Port Phillip Bay was then a large flat plain where Boonerwrung hunted kangaroos and cultivated their yam daisy.

But one day there came a time of chaos and crises. The Boonerwrung and the other Kulin nations were in conflict. They argued and fought. They neglected their children. They neglected their land. The native yam was neglected. The animals were killed but not always eaten. The fish were caught during their spawning season. As this chaos grew the sea became angry and began to rise until it covered their plain and threatened to flood the whole of their country.

The people went to Bunjil, their creator and spiritual leader. They asked Bunjil to stop the sea from rising. Bunjil told his people that they would have to change their ways if they wanted to save their land. The people thought about what they had been doing and made a promise to follow Bunjil. Bunjil walked out to the sea, raised his spear and directed the sea to stop rising. Bunjil then made the Boonerwrung promise that they would respect the laws.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, on its website, tells of the climate of Australia in the time of human habitation.

During the time-span of Aboriginal settlement in Australia, there have been great changes in the climate of the continent.

The main weather event of this era consisted of an ice age which arrived about 20,000 years ago and lasted for some 5,000 years, during which time the average temperatures fell by some 10 degrees, rainfall decreased, and cold, dry winds blew across the land.

What was previously a place of plenty, with ample water supplies and bountiful game, became a stark and inhospitable countryside which threatened the very survival of the Aboriginal people. It has been suggested that up to 80% of the entire population may have perished during this extended period of cold and dry weather.

The Bureau’s website goes on to say;

The Bibbulum people of the southwest Western Australia talk of a far off time when it was not as warm and congenial as it is today. Stories of this time begin with “In the nyitting times…” which translated means “In the icy cold times of long, long ago….”.

The implications are interesting. Aboriginal society was completely non-literate until European settlement yet they were able to keep folk memories of the Ice Age and its ending alive for around 10,000 to 15,000 years. Australia’s indigenous people keep much of their mythology hidden within “Secret Men’s Business” and “Secret Women’s Business”.  Information which is reserved for initiated elders. With the loss of Indigenous culture, most, if not all, of these myths will disappear.

Elsewhere in the world, there have been similar situations where the myths and stories of cultures have been destroyed along with the culture. Where there was no form of literature then the loss is irretrievable.

There is one obvious culture which was able to leave its myths and legends behind in a written form. Mesopotamia. The early Middle-Eastern cultures. Ranging through the Euphrates/Tigris valleys a series of villages transformed into towns and cities with rulers, agriculture, secondary industry and record keeping. The record keeping gradually developed into a written language and for the first time the oral history of the people living in those towns and cities were written down.

Some of those stories have been saved, either through the original stone tablet or a translation into another written language. Some of those stories have been returned to the oral tradition and rewritten. The tales they tell seem to be confusing, sometimes contradictory and down-right impossible. Yet beneath the stories of Gods and world-changing or creating events I believe there is a core of reality.

Not only a core of reality but a core of history stretching back into the unknown reaches of pre-history. History is only possible with written permanency. Anything which happened before writing is, by definition, pre-history. Just how far back can this oral, mythological form of history extend? In the instance of the Australian Aboriginal we can see a time line back to the end of the last ice age. A time of at least 15,000 years.

In the case of the early Middle Eastern civilizations, where writing was invented around 3,000bce, if we take 15,000 years as a reasonable time for an event to be handed down in an oral tradition, then we can add 5,000 years to the Australian example.

What events could we reasonably expect to find in the written myths of Mesopotamia? Possibly the entire human history of the Eurasian landmass. From before the beginning of the Holocene at the end of the last Ice Age some 13,000 years ago. Perhaps it may be possible to find traces of life during the last Ice Age in Europe and Asia. The cave paintings of Lascaux date to between 15 and 17,000 years before the present while Chauvet is dated at 32,000 years old.

Could a study of myth and legend take us back to the people who painted those caves? Could those tales take us back even further, to the humans who lived at the end of the middle palaeolithic? Is this all simply a pipe dream?

I have researched some myths and will write more as I assemble it into an approachable form. Somewhere in that mass of information are my dragons.

A Blushingly Wild Unicorn


Just for the sheer awe of it.

The Great God Awto; Clark Ashton Smith


(Class-room lecture given by the Most Honorable Erru Saggus, Professor of Hamurriquanean Archaeology at the World-University of Toshtush, on the 365th day of the year 5998.)

Males, females, androgynes and neuters of the class in archaeology, you have learned, from my previous lectures, all that is known or inferred concerning the crudely realistic art and literature of the ancient Hamurriquanes. With some difficulty, owing to the fragmentary nature of the extant remains, I have reconstructed for you their bizarre and hideous buildings, their rude mechanisms.

Also, you are now familiar with the unimaginably clumsy, corrupt and inefficient legal and economic systems that prevailed among them, together with the garblings of crass superstition and scant knowledge that bore the sacred names of the sciences. You have listened, not without amusement, to my account of their ridiculous amatory and social customs, and have heard with horror the unutterable tale of their addiction to all manner of violent Crimes.

Today I shall speak regarding a matter that throws into even grosser relief the low-grade barbarism, the downright savagery, of this bloody and besotted people.

Needless to say, my lecture will concern their well-nigh universal cult of human sacrifice and self-immolation to the god Awto:

Continued here – – –

Intelligent Design wins! (now stand by for details)


Blasphemy or Humanity?


This Christmas Season, a billboard has been erected by a New Zealand church.

The Vicar of Auckland’s progressive Christian church St Matthew in the City, Glynn Cardy, says he wanted to lampoon the literal Christian conception story and get people discussing miracles and God. “We’re trying to lampoon the idea of a literal male God who somehow, it’s assumed, impregnated Mary,” he said. “Most Christians don’t believe that, but the message that the general society hears from the church is this message; they think that they’re meant to take it literally. We actually think God is about the power of love as shown in Jesus, which is something quite different than a literal man up in the sky.”

But a few hours after the billboard went up, an angry man with a pot (not a kettle or a pan or a tin or a can, but a pot) of brown paint covered over Mary and Joseph’s faces. (The damage has now been repaired)

I know – I am going to burn in Hell for this one. Certainly there shall be disapproval amongst the masses and I risk the vilification of the devout.

At least burning at the stake has gone out of fashion. Mostly.

Then again, Hell may be closer than I think!

Of course, if I’m lucky, I may not be in the hot stuff. (I really should go to Hell for over-use of the parenthesis keys)

Although, as Jan deBoer said, “”Considering all the evil that exists in the world, the fact that all of religion’s condemnation is focused on expressing disapproval of two people loving each other proves just how evil religion is.”  

Thought for the Day


Well, it is possibly the only thought I shall have this week.

Actually it is not my thought. It is a thought which flashed across the mind of Ambrose Bierce.

So I thought I would share it with you.

MYTHOLOGY, n. The body of a primitive people’s beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.

Dragon Eggs


I took a couple of hours off today.

I drove out to the local hills with my gold panning gear and, surprise, surprise, my camera.

I got a trace of colour in my few attempts at panning but I really struck gold with my camera.

There were high clouds which were fun to capture, hills in silhouette against the smudged sky all followed by a spectacular sunset.

Best of all, I found a clutch of dragon’s eggs.

dragoneggs

I believe the rule is that I must now care for these eggs and, should i do a good job of caring for them,  I will live until they hatch.

Does anyone know what I need to do to look after these little ones?

Which Mythological creature are you?


This is so stolen – from azahar


You Are a Pegasus


You are a perfectionist, with an eye for beauty.
You know how to live a good life – and you rarely deviate from your good taste.While you aren’t outgoing, you have excellent social skills.

People both admire you – and feel very comfortable around you.

What Mythological Creature Are You?

LOLthulhu


It had to happen.

The LOLcats have had their souls eaten.

LOLthulhu is here. With his own blog.

Visit the rest at the now totally insane LOLthulhu