Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales

HAPPY BLOOM’S DAY 2018!

jamesjoyceYes, it’s the 16th of June, better known to James Joyce geeks like me as Bloom’s Day. The day is named in honor of Leopold Bloom, the Jewish advertising sales rep and Freemason who is one of the major characters in Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The novel also brings along Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist of his earlier novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

For those unfamiliar with this work, Ulysses is Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness novel in which he metaphorically features the events from the Odyssey in a single day – June 16th, 1904, in Dublin. (The day he met Nora Barnacle, the woman he would eventually marry after living together for decades) Bloom represents Ulysses/Odysseus, Stephen represents Telemachus and Leopold’s wife, Molly Bloom, represents Penelope.

The novel is jam-packed with allusions to all manner of mythology (including sly references to the ancient Semitic myth which was the forerunner of the Odyssey, that’s why the character representing Ulysses is Jewish), Irish history and politics as well as a great deal of mystical and literary philosophy. Anyone into the Rosicrucians and their teachings should love spotting all the hidden meanings.  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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NON-DILLINGER: QUICK TAKES ON OTHER GANGSTERS OF HIS ERA

With John Dillinger folklore given WAY too much attention, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of the legends versus the ugly reality regarding some of his contemporary gangsters. 

Two Gun Crowley biggerTWO-GUN CROWLEY

Real Name: Francis Crowley

Birth – Death: October 31st, 1912 – January 21st, 1932

Lore: Crowley was supposedly born out of wedlock to a German-American woman and a New York police officer who refused to marry Crowley’s mother. This supposedly accounts for his intense hatred of the police.

Reality: Such shallow, Pulp Magazine thinking doesn’t seem likely. The young man was adopted by a family in which Francis grew up alongside a cop-killing older brother named John Crowley. John himself would be killed in a battle with police.

This background seems a more likely explanation for Francis’ issues than some mythical hatred of an unknown father who abandoned him and his mother. 

Two Gun Crowley in bedCriminal Career: By age 19, Crowley had a reputation as a competent holdup man and hit & run armed robber who never slipped up enough for a conviction. He might have escaped suspicion entirely if not for his excessively belligerent attitude when questioned by authorities.     

On February 21st, 1931 Crowley, packing the omnipresent pair of hand-guns that earned him his nickname, crashed an American Legion dance in the Bronx. Two-Gun was accompanied by a pair of male accomplices, one of whom was believed to be frequent associate Rudolph “Fats” Durringer.

When the Legionnaires attempted to expel the uninvited trio Crowley whipped out his pair of firearms and opened fire, wounding at least two innocent men before fleeing. With charges of attempted murder now hanging over his head, Two-Gun was about to enter the busiest period of his career. 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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INUIT MYTHS: ILAGANIQ

Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE 

Bering SeaILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.

Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.

Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. Continue reading

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SUN GODS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Balladeer’s Blog’s mythology posts are among the most popular parts of this site. As a change of pace from my examinations of multiple deities from a single mythological pantheon this time I’ll do a light-hearted look at solar deities – both male and female – from around the world.

Seqinek11. SEQINEK

Pantheon: Inuit

Lore: Also called Malina, Seqinek’s home was in Udlormiut, the land that was on the other side of the sky. In Inuit cosmology the sky was the roof of the enormous ice- house (igloo) that enclosed the world and Udlormiut lay on the other side.

By day Seqinek would leave her home and run across the sky, with the sun itself being the flame from the torch she carried as she ran. The goddess was forever fleeing her brother, the moon god Tatqim, whose partially burnt- out torch was the moon.

For more Inuit deities – https://glitternight.com/inuit-myth/

10. SURYA

Pantheon: Hindu

Lore: The sun was Surya’s chariot racing across Continue reading

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ARKOANYO: A GOD OF THE TUPARI

Tupari live near the Rio BrancoARKOANYO – The bird-creating deity who often protected his fellow divinities, especially from the storm god Valedjad. That god often grew so angry with his fellow deities that he unleashed powerful storms on them, sometimes destroying lesser deities who dared to oppose him.

At one point Valedjad grew so angry he caused a storm so powerful it flooded the Earth, killing many of the other gods and goddesses. The surviving deities struggled to devise a way of at last ending Valedjad’s reign of terror. Arkoanyo, the bird-creating deity was the one who took action.  Continue reading

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