Category Archives: Mythology

TANGAHAU, A FIGURE FROM BEL-REN MYTHOLOGY

Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular as a sub-category of Polynesian myths. (CLICK HERE )

Solomon IslandsTANGAHAU – In my opinion Tangahau is more like an Odysseus of Bellona and Rennell Islands than Takitaki (covered previously). However, Tangahau’s reputation as a wanderer originally from the Duff Islands seems to tip the balance to Takitaki. Here’s a brief look at Tangahau’s cycle of myths.

If there is enough interest I will do one of my exhaustively detailed examinations, like with Nayanazgeni in Navajo myths, Pele and Hi’iaka from Hawaiian myths, Mwindo from Africa or Baybayan from the Philippines and so many others that I’ve covered.

I) On Taumako Island, Tangahau, a sea captain renowned for his raids on many islands, was preparing for another voyage. The young bachelor’s mother was crying and rending her ears in sorrow since she knew every one of his dangerous journeys might be his last.

II) Tangahau and his crew, which included the priest Nasiu and his son, set out and eventually passed between two flaming islands which Nasiu warned were one of the entrances to the realm of the dead. (Rationalizations of the flaming islands of this tale attribute them to volcanic activity during the early stages of island formation.)

III) Next the voyagers spotted Rennell Island off in the distance. Like many ancient mariners they at first mistook it for an enormous whale. As they drew closer, they spotted Mount Gugha and realized their mistake. They determined to stop and mount a raid. Continue reading

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TAKITAKI: THE ODYSSEUS OF BELLONA AND RENNELL MYTHOLOGY

Solomon IslandsBalladeer’s Blog’s look at the gods and myths of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven very popular. (CLICK HERE ) The figure Takitaki is not a deity but he is often considered the Bel-Ren equivalent of the mortal hero Odysseus from Greek myths.

TAKITAKI – This hero of Bel-Ren myths was a very clever thief whose nautical adventures took him all around the Solomon Islands. Sometimes Takitaki traveled in a canoe small enough for one person but other stories feature him commanding an entire crew on much larger vessels.  Here is one of the best-known exploits of this member of the Togo Clan:

Arriving at one of the other Solomon Islands after a long voyage from Bellona and Rennell, Takitaki surreptitiously made his way inland until he came across a populated village. The famished hero began stealing taro from one of the gardens.

At length Takitaki was caught in the act by the owner of the garden. A general alarm was sounded and our protagonist ran, stuffing his mouth as he fled. He took shelter in an abandoned home but soon found himself surrounded and besieged by the villagers.

Takitaki wielded his spear so expertly that he finished off the first few villagers who tried coming in after him. The others contented themselves to settle in for a siege, knowing the intruder would have to emerge sooner or later. Takitaki nearly despaired when those surrounding him announced themselves as cannibals who would use him as a meat dish to complement their servings of taro. Continue reading

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AZTEC DEITY TEZCATLIPOCA

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LIST OF THE TOP ELEVEN AZTEC GODS AND GODDESSES CLICK HERE  

aztec-empire-mapTEZCATLIPOCA – The god of sorcery and human sacrifice as well as the patron deity of thieves and other evildoers. Tezcatlipoca was originally also a war god but his martial attributes were later taken over by Huitzilopochtli. Many myths about Tezcatlipoca involve his conflicts with the wind and culture god Quetzelcoatl, conflicts that even caused the destruction of two of the previous worlds.

The First World was peopled by giants and was ruled over by Tezcatlipoca. After centuries of intermittent warfare between the two deities Quetzalcoatl at last succeeded in overthrowing Tezcatlipoca, who chose to destroy the world rather than cede it to his archrival. He did this by creating countless giant jaguars who devoured all of the giants and other life forms and then devouring each other.

The Second World was populated by monkey-type humanoids and was ruled over by Quetzalcoatl. Eventually, Tezcatlipoca overthrew the Big Q, who likewise preferred to destroy the world rather than see it ruled by the Big T. He destroyed that world with a massive global windstorm of unprecedented proportions. Continue reading

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ALEISTER CROWLEY: MY TRADITIONAL APRIL FOOL’S DAY POST

Clouds Without WaterWhat better way to mark April Fool’s Day than by commemorating one of the wittiest and most daring of practical jokes, one perpetrated by Aleister Crowley in those brilliant years before drugs and/or self-delusion fogged his mind. Decades before the pathetic “Peekaboo Crowley” of much renown Aleister was still churning out some very enjoyable poetry – some of it brilliant. The Sword of Song and Konx Om Pax are my favorite volumes of verse by “the Laird of Boleskine” … AFTER Clouds Without Water, that is.  

Clouds Without Water was not Crowley’s only literary practical joke, of course, but the humor of it resonates to this very day, thanks mainly to the never-changing air of pious self-righteousness that afflicts most of the world’s clergy-members. And not just pious self-righteousness but a habit of condemning in the strongest language works of art which their self-limited minds clearly don’t understand.

aleister crowley

****************  Crowley’s autobiography explained this photo in the poignant chapter titled “I Go Completely Nuts and Start Believing Anything and Everything”

THE JOKE: Clouds Without Water was published under one of Crowley’s pseudonyms – Reverend Charles Verey. It was circulated to various ministries and teaching colleges allegedly as a condemnation of “the type of atheism and socialism” that the young and the bohemian were embracing. Crowley – writing as Reverend Verey – wrote a foreward and a closing prayer for the volume of poetry as well as (when you know the full story) HILARIOUS footnotes expressing the kind of simplistic moral outrage that only the most narrow-minded of holy-rollers can spout. 

Under another assumed identity Crowley ALSO wrote the sonnets being condemned by his Reverend Verey alter ego. On the surface the poems were written by a college professor scandalously celebrating an extramarital affair with one of his female students, a young woman named Lola.

The sonnets reflect the supposed couple’s flouting of social and sexual conventions until the affair ends in tragedy for all concerned. Crowley’s fictional persona Reverend Verey was denouncing the poems and the lifestyle reflected in those poems in the strongest possible terms.

He was also feigning profound outrage and blaming “works such as this” for corrupting the morals of the young and turning their minds against God and religion as well as tempting them toward socialism. That type of behavior from the clergy rings right through to the present day as, over the past several decades religious fanatics have condemned everything from movies to popular music to books and magazines and television and video games for eroding the country’s (any country’s) morals and conduct. Continue reading

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SEASONAL MYTHS WITH THE SAME THEME

Persephone and pomegranateSpring keeps trying to arrive but this bitter winter refuses to give up just yet. Our nationwide longing to be liberated from the tyrannical grip of winter made this a good time to examine some of the ancient myths about winter and the coming of spring.

The celebration of those myths at this time of year plus the fact that many of those myths centered around dead and resurrected deities necessitated Christianity’s attempt to superimpose its OWN dead and resurrected deity over top of those older stories. Hence the celebration of Easter in springtime. (And it’s not just Christianity that behaved that way – other religions also would superimpose their own celebrations over top of those held in honor of the previously dominant gods in their region. I’ll cover the behavior of those other belief systems – especially Islam and the Incan faith – another time.)

Not all seasonal myths conformed to the following pattern. I’m limiting this list to the ones that did.

PERSEPHONE

Pantheon: Greek (The Romans called her Proserpine)

The Tale: Persephone was the beautiful daughter of the goddess Demeter (Ceres to the Romans). Persephone caught the eye of Hades, the god who ruled over the realm of the dead. Overcome with lust Hades (Pluto to the Romans) emerged from his subterranean domain and stole Persephone away to his realm to become his Queen.

The Savior: Demeter went searching for her daughter throughout the world, often assuming the form of a mortal woman. Her search wore on and on with no results, causing Demeter to fall more and more deeply into despair. Because she was the goddess of nature that despair manifested itself in colder weather, in the leaves falling off the trees, other vegetation dying and some animals hibernating or migrating to flee the cold. 

As this first winter wore on, human beings began praying to Demeter to restore the world’s greenery and the warmer temperatures of the past. In her overwhelming sadness at the loss of her daughter Demeter ignored those prayers, prompting humans to begin praying to the other gods to intercede on humanity’s behalf. At length Zeus, the sky god who ruled over all the gods in the Greek pantheon, realized that the only way to end Demeter’s despair and end the terrible winter was to find her daughter Persephone and reunite mother and daughter. Continue reading

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ORION: THE ELVIS PRESLEY HOAX/ PUT-ON/ TEASE

5.1.2

It’s Battle of New Orleans Day AND Elvis Presley’s birthday! In the past I’ve posted my review of Change of Habit, the Elvis movie with him as a doctor, Mary Tyler Moore as a nun and Ed Asner as a cop. I’ve also posted about the musical in which Elvis IS Andrew Jackson – Rock ‘N’ Roll vs the Redcoats. (With an Ann-Margret drag queen as pirate Jean Lafitte. )

This time around I’ll dredge up the often-neglected Orion business from decades ago. It was a fun bit of nonsense that only the most far-gone Elvis Conspiracy Theorists take seriously. As always I consider conspiracy theories, put-ons, hoaxes and ARG’s to be modern variations of myth and folklore.

Yes, Elvis died in 1977. That’s not the point. The point is the way the whole Orion/ Jimmy Ellis/ Elvis Conspiracy rabbit hole deserves to be studied forever because of the way fiction and reality seemingly influenced each other to the point where they became almost inseparable.

Orion 2

I WANT EL SANTO AND I WANT HIM NOW!

If you’re new to these events get ready for the Elvis Presley equivalent of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast. And let me make it clear I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I have no idea what anyone’s motives were regarding any aspect of the following.

I’ll present the tale in the style of the fictional Carl Kolchak – as “items” in a list:

ITEM: Elvis Presley died in August of 1977, yet in the years that followed an ever-increasing body of folklore and myth would develop regarding the late rock star supposedly faking his own death. His motives varied according to the theory.

ITEM: For a time Elvis sightings seemed to outnumber sightings of Bigfoot, UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster combined.

ITEM: The novel Orion was published. Conspiracy lovers often cite either 1977, 1978 or 1979 as the year of publication, so you can see how deep some of the rabbit holes run.

ITEM: Orion featured a very Elvis-like young man from the American south who becomes a sensation as a rock singer. In the end the character Orion is so weary of the stresses of stardom that he fakes his own death to get away from it all.

Orion RebornITEM: Claims are made that enigmatic power players managed to get the novel removed from bookstores. The claims are sometimes accompanied by insinuations that this was done because the book might have struck too close to reality with its “fake death” ending.   

ITEM: A masked singer – who looks like a standard Elvis  impersonator except for the mask – appears and calls himself Orion. He begins releasing albums and performing in public. This Orion’s first album, tantalizingly titled Reborn, is released in 1978. Continue reading

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PALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE

Carolingian empireTradition and folklore hold that Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope on Christmas, but in real life it apparently did not happen until the following February. Still, Charlemagne’s anointing as Holy Roman Emperor on top of the kingly titles he already held was recounted as a Christmas tale for quite a while.

Most importantly, so much attention is paid to King Arthur – who may not have existed at all – that the real-life Charlemagne gets overlooked. But then reality has no place in the following look at the legends surrounding Charlemagne’s Paladins (Knights).  

Twelve PeersTHE TWELVE PEERS – This term was the Charlemagne equivalent of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

If you’ll recall the reason that King Arthur’s table was round was so that nobody could be considered above the others in rank or status. The same reasoning applied with Charlemagne’s designation of his Paladins as Twelve PEERS or equals.

MaugrisMAUGRIS THE ENCHANTER aka MALAGIGI – This magician was the Frankish equivalent of Merlin from King Arthur lore. Maugris was raised by a Fairy named Oriande and appears in a supporting role in many tales of Charlemagne’s Paladins, often in a mystical disguise.

Maugris was generally depicted as younger than Merlin is depicted, and often used a sword in combat. This Frankish Wizard had an Enchanted Tome in which information he needed could magically appear. Maugris often conjured up winged demons to use as flying mounts to transport him from one location to another.

THE PALADINS

Bradamante BETTERBRADAMANTE – This female Paladin was the sister of Renaut de Montaubon.

Bradamante, who wielded an enchanted lance that unseated any opponent it touched, rescued her true love, the Saracen warrior Ruggiero from his captivity in a glass dome atop Mount Carena in Northern Africa. Continue reading

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