Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xolotl

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

I've always been fascinated with Aztec culture, so while many are probably going to struggle with the letter X for today's challenge, I found myself with a bunch of possibilities. I guess the letter X is popular in the Aztec world.

Every culture seems to have their own god/goddesses in charge of helping the dead crossover. Xolotl was the god that assisted the dead when traversing into the Underworld.

Interestingly, Xoltol was also the god of lightning and fire. At the end of the day, when the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, it was Xolotl's job to protect the sun during that journey. So maybe he's a god in charge of transition in more than one way.

Despite having these important jobs, Xoltol is pretty darn fugly. He has a hound's head, his feet on his skinny body have grown backwards, and Mexican's named a breed of hairless dog after him.

How's that for reverence?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Weapon of Myth and Legends

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

We're at the very end of this year's A-Z Challenge! Today, I have the pleasure of hosting fellow author and blogger, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Take it away Alex!

Jay’s theme centers around world mythology. Since he has so graciously turned his blog over to me for today’s topic, I’m going to stick with the theme but take you beyond this world.
 
There are many reasons why and how myths form. One of those comes from truthful or hyperbolic accounts of historical events. In my latest release, Dragon of the Stars, that is exactly what happens.

The Dragon was designed to by Hyrath’s greatest ship. Not just a powerful spaceship, but one that was the strongest weapon the galaxy had ever seen.

However, she vanished on her maiden voyage–but not before demonstrating the force of her destruction.

In the years that passed, the Dragon fell into the realms of a myth. Was she for real? Was she truly that powerful? Or is it all a legend?

And when the other races declare war on Hyrath, the question becomes–can they locate the Dragon after all this time…?

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057
What Are the Kargrandes? http://whatarethekargrandes.com/

The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter. But when the Alliance declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray and told he won’t make captain. One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Purchase:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vritra

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

In ancient Hinduism (early Vedic Period), the Vritra was a horrible sea dragon known to cause death and drought to the people. He would block the flow of the river, allowing the people on land to die without access to precious water.

The god of rain and thunderstorms, Indra, had to come down and whoop Vritra's arse. He started by destroying all 99 of Vritra's palaces with his fashioned thunderbolt (sound familiar). The battle was a violent one. Vritra broke Indra's jaw, in fact, before being defeated.

Vritra's mother was also killed by Indra.

Later, Vritra's myth was altered during the Puranic Period. Here, Vritra is a demon who swalows Indra. But the other gods force Vritra to vomit him out.

I know. Weird. It get's even weirder.

Vishnu promises not to attack Vritra with metal, wood, or stone. So Indra uses the ocean foam to somehow kill Vritra. Not sure how that works, but he did it.

Yea Indra! Boo Vritra!

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Ulysses

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

Ulysses is the Latin name for Odysseus, the Greek hero in Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. Virgil took Homer's story and tried to "improve" it for the Roman people. So for our purposes, Odysseus and Ulysses really are the same dude.

And so it fits with the letter U for my A-Z Challenge, we'll stick with Ulysses.

During the ten year Trojan War, it was Ulysses (King of Ithica) who came up with the idea of building the giant wooden horse in order to sneak into the walled city and defeat the enemy. After their victory, Ulysses failed to pay proper homage to the gods and he and his men paid dearly for his
ego.

Ulysses and his men encountered all kinds of problems in trying to get home: malnourishment, sirens trying to lure them to their deaths, goddesses using their sexiness to seduce them, sea monsters trying to drown them, and a cyclops who wants to eat them.

Eventually, only Ulysses escape these dangers with his life, and he was found clinging to life on a beach. The foreign king nursed him back to health, and after hearing of Ulysses tales of the ten year war with Troy and the harrowing ten year journey afterwards, he provided Ulysses with his fastest ship to take him back to Ithica.

Get outta my house!
But it had been 20 years since he'd been home, and Ulysses didn't know who was loyal to him or not. So the goddess Minerva (Greek = Athena), gives him a magical disguise as a beggar so he can scope out his kingdom and find out who his friends are. He finds his son, who is now 20 years old, and together, they wipe out all the suitors who've been turning his palace into a dump and waiting for Ulysses' wife (Penelope) to choose her next king.

The story of Ulysses is one of the biggest influences of my writing, and for those who have read my Asian-inspired steampunk series, The Mechanica Wars, you will for sure see many elements from this epic poem in my novels.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Tannin


Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

The Bible actually describes a few interesting creatures including dragons (dinosaur), a leviathan (sea serpent that breathes fire), and a behemoth (a brontosaur-type creature). The sea creature known as the tannin is also in the Old Testament.

Tannin was a sea creature that was extremely powerful and almost impossible to kill. Many point out in Exodus that "tannin" is some kind of serpent, however, throughout the Old Testament, it's referred to as some kind of sea serpent like a leviathan.

Is a tannin a sea dragon? A dinosaur? A jackal? A giant whale?

Scholars continue to debate this, as the issue is with translation.

I'd rather think of the tannin as a typical sea dragon because that's WAY cooler than imagining it as a cobra.