Archive Tag:mythology

Drabble 34 – Unseelie

Unseelie
Scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Edwin Landseer

Remember how last week I felt like the year was closing in on me and I was running out of time? Well, my drabble is late for precisely this reason. I am too busy for the end of the year to happen at all and I can’t wait for 2016 to roll around so I can heave a sigh of relief and tell myself I have an entire year to get my life together.

Anyway: fairies. I’ve never been much for fairy tales, at least not until I got older and discovered that I’d been lied to for the vast majority of my life–fairies are way creepy. I stumbled upon Holly Black’s Tithe as a teenager and discovered that a world where fairies were dark and weird and malevolent was way more interesting to me than one where they danced around on flower buds and sipped dewdrops. Tithe introduced me to classic fairy stories (like, the ones about kelpies and changelings and so on) and somewhere along the way I learned about Bordertown and I’ve been hooked ever since.

And like, sure, the picture I chose for this is of Titania, who seems pretty much as Seelie as you can get, right? But let’s be real: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is all about fairies dicking around with mortals for their own purposes and amusement. The lines are not sharply drawn between Seelie and Unseelie, but I wonder whether we ought to draw them at all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble, and let’s hope nobody curses me for my insolence. Maybe I’ll leave out a bowl of cream just in case.

Drabble 32 – Vernalagnia

Vernalagnia
Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

If I’m being honest, November was a difficult month.

I’m a dweller. I think long and hard about things that happened in the past, or that may happen in the future, and forget that things are happening all the time right around me. Between thinking of far-off events and alternating between drowning in work and not having enough of it, I spent most of November elsewhere, and that elsewhere was nowhere pleasant.

Artemis is my favorite Greek goddess, but Persephone, or Proserpine, or Proserpina, depending on who you are and where you’re from, is up there too. When I was a child I found her story frightening: one day, someone whisks her beneath the earth and tricks her into remaining there for six months out of the year. Sometimes she reigns above the earth, sometimes below.

There’s a duality to Persephone that, as an adult, is fascinating to me. I’m the kind of person who loves the transitory seasons best, when things are growing and things are dying. That she rules over death with the same hand that she makes plants grow–that’s powerful. I care very little about her relationship with Hades and very much about her, about her mysteries, her cult.

Her story is dark and sad and dreary, and yet I can’t help but find hope in a goddess who brings life forth from the dead earth. And yes, it’s another mythology story.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 30 – Kodama

Kodama
Forest Light by broombesoom.

The moment anything goes wrong in my life, I have an instinct to run away to the woods. There’s no good reason for this–I have no wilderness survival skills, no particular instinct for directions, and no idea what sorts of things forest-dwellers eat.

It’s not even that I want to be some kind of quiet forest hermit. I imagine myself existing not as a fixed person, but as some kind of spirit-like entity that shows up to guide lost folk out of the woods. Given my lack of wilderness skills and my general lack of magical ability, this is not likely.

Maybe sometimes I’m a vengeful spirit, wreaking subtle havoc on the lives of those who disrespect my home. Mostly I’m kind, but what spirit can exist without a hint of darkness?

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 29 – Astrolatry

Astolatry
Orion Constellation by Miska Saarikko

There are few things more fascinating to me than religion. I’m not religious, personally, but not following a religion myself doesn’t mean that I can’t be interested in the things other people believe. Religion brings a lot of comfort to a lot of people and hearing people talk about their beliefs is them sharing a bit of their worldview with you–it’s informative and fascinating and wonderful.

That means that I have quite a few words on my enormous vocabulary list that end with –latry, meaning “worship of” the preceding noun. One of them is here, and at some point I’ll have a bunch more too. The only words on my list that approach the number of -latry words are those ending in -phobia (which has shown up once) and -philia, which means “an abnormal liking for or tendency toward,” and if you’re familiar with the suffix, you might have guessed why I haven’t posted any of those yet. Someday, someday.

Words are interesting. We construct our whole world, including our belief systems, out of them. Words are very, very powerful, and not just when they end with -latry.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 28 – Autochthon

Autochthon
Not that I think the moai were once people, but…who knows? Photo Credit: Uspn via Wikia.

First of all, I’m posing drabbles on Tuesday now because Mondays are kind of atrocious with my workload. I hate changing my schedule for anything, but I sincerely doubt that anybody is going to raise a fuss about me changing the day I post a hundred-word story to my personal blog, so, you know. If you’re going to raise a fuss about it, tough.

I can’t get enough of reading creation stories. I love reading about how cultures explain their own existence–where we come from and how we got to where we are is a fascinating story with or without myth. My favorites are the ones that involve trickery, the ones where all of humanity springs from a devious joke or some kind of seedy beginning.

Because even more than creation stories, I like tales of rebuilding. I like the stories where we’ve been utterly destroyed–whether by ourselves or by an outside force–and we put ourselves back together, better than we were before. There’s hope in that; hope you don’t find in your average dystopian story, the thinly veiled allegory for how, if we don’t get our act together, the world will end in violence. Those stories have their place too, to warn us of what can happen–but I like to know what we learn, what we’ll do better next time.

Sometimes you have to burn it all down to start again, but I like the building part better.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 25 – Triune

Triune
The Remorse of Orestes by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I read The Oresteia for a class, and while there were a lot of things that lingered about the play, what really left an impression was the Erinyes, or the Furies.

What’s not to like about three snake-haired women who pursue those who spill family blood into madness? And like, I get that Agamemnon is a big war hero and by Greek standards he’s pretty great, but by modern standards he’s a jerk and uh, hello, also killed his daughter. Not to mention the cheating double-standard and the fact that he brings his war prize, Cassandra, home like some kind of fancy goblet to show off to his wife.

Only his wife kills him. And then her children get revenge. And then the Erinyes come for the son, Orestes, for spilling his mother’s blood, only Athena intervenes and turns the Furies into the Kindly Ones with a bunch of goddess of wisdom trickery and a thinly-veiled threat of god-killing lightning bolts.

Blood for blood may not be the best solution to a problem, and three vengeful goddesses with snakes in their hair maybe aren’t the best representation of women. But damned if they, like so many other goddesses and other mythological figures that come in threes, aren’t more interesting for all their evilness.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 17 – Ambrosia

Ambrosia
I was aiming for a decadent picnic photo and I think I found it. Image Source: ElliotJames via Flickr.

I’m not going to talk about my love for mythology. I’m not going to talk about my love for mythology. I’m not going to talk about my love for mythology.

But isn’t it interesting the way word meanings change over time? A food that makes you immortal becomes a dessert known for its cloying sweetness. There’s probably something poetic there, but I’ve always been a fan of the interpretation that immortality is more liable to make you bitter. How long can you appreciate all the beauty that life has to offer before it starts to grow stale with age?

It doesn’t have as bad a rap as, say, fruitcake, but canned fruit, coconut flakes, and heavy cream do not a food for the gods make. Don’t get me wrong–I like ambrosia, or at least the variation we have up here in the upper left corner of the United States. My grandma’s is particularly good. But the idea of gods sitting around eating canned fruit cocktail in cream is kind of funny to me.

So here’s a drabble.

Drabble 15 – Serein

Sunset in the Rain by Cam Miller
“Sunset in the Rain” by Cam Miller.

Folklore tends to go hand in hand with mythology, so I doubt it comes as a surprise that I’m fond of folk and fairy tales as well as stories about gods. They’re even better when they’re tied in with etymology–I don’t remember exactly when I found out that the days of the week were named after Norse gods, but I’ve never forgotten it.

I remember hearing a particular bit of folklore when I was at the community fair with a boy I absolutely detested. The weather was beautiful and warm, but it started raining suddenly, and he told me that meant either God was spitting on me or that the devil was beating his wife.

Neither of those sounded all that great, to be honest. I remember being struck by the idea that the devil had a wife–who was she? Why was he beating her? Did she live in Hell, too?

It stuck with me, as weird, folkloric references often do. Though “the devil beating his wife” is typically a Southern phrase for a sunshower, it found its way to my hometown in the Pacific Northwest. Myths are weird like that; they have a complete disregard for geography.

Anyway, a drabble.

Hurts So Good: The Wicked + The Divine Tore My Heart Apart and I Loved Every Minute of It

The Wicked + The Divine is totally something I judged by its cover, by which I mean I saw a preview image of the cover for issue number one floating around and decided that I needed to read it.

The premise helped considerably; as I’ve said multiple times, I’m a sucker for mythology of any kind. I’m also a music fan (who isn’t, really?) and I know too well the feeling of being so invested in a band that it becomes an enormous part of your identity. Plus, gorgeous artwork and beautiful colors. There’s nothing not to like.

A brief summary: The Wicked + The Divine follows Laura, a normal human who finds herself entangled in the affairs of the Pantheon and twelve (ish–we meet them over the course of the narrative) people who find themselves to be reincarnated deities. For two years, they live as glorious pop stars, inspiring orgiastic rapture in their fans. Also, drama, power struggles, and puns.

The Wicked + The Divine happened to come out around the time I graduated college and suddenly had time to read things for fun. It’s been a slow swan-dive into comics hell ever since then, and this beautiful, terrible, painful comic is part of the reason I have big heart-eyes constantly for the medium. And no issue sums up the beautiful, terrible, painful nature of the medium than issue eleven of The Wicked + The Divine.

Warning: MAD SPOILERS BEYOND THE CUT. LIKE, ALL THE SPOILERS. AS A PERSON WHO DOESN’T NORMALLY CARE ABOUT SPOILERS, I’M TELLING YOU RIGHT NOW THAT YOU SHOULD REALLY READ THE COMIC BEFORE READING THIS POST BECAUSE THE REVEALS, TWISTS, AND SURPRISES ARE SO GOOD YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO EXPERIENCE THEM FOR YOURSELF.

Drabble 10 – Nukekubi

Nukekubi
“Nukekubi” from the Bakemono-Dukushi Yumoto-C.

Whoops. After a night of not sleeping well thanks to a thunderstorm and thunderstorm-inspired nightmares, I spent most of yesterday in a haze. At 12:30 a.m., I woke up and realized I’d forgotten to post this, but decided for once in my life I would prioritize sleep over anything else. So it’s late, but it’s here.

I absolutely love ghost stories of all kinds. Somewhere on my list of blog topics to eventually tackle is one on my weird relationship with horror—specifically that I simultaneously love and crave it, while also being petrified of the dark, of weird noises at night, of mirrors.

Somehow I stumbled onto Japanese yōkai, a class of creature that falls toward the ghost end of the supernatural spectrum. When reading about yōkai, I learned I have a weird thing about long-necked people, the thing being that, for some reason, it completely terrifies me.

These long-necked spirits (calling them ‘long-necked’ defangs them a bit for me—I get more of a giraffe vibe than sheer terror) are called rokurokubi. They are one-hundred percent not okay, and looking at these old paintings of them gives me a serious case of the creeps. Somehow the word nukekubi ended up on my vocabulary list and hey, what do you know? There’s a creepier, more violent version of rokurokubi out there.

Anyway, a drabble.