Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zephyr

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.

Yeah, I could have gone the easy route and did a post on Zeus, but since we're at the very end, I want to continue to share with you some of the other lesser-known myths. So for my final A-Z post of 2015, I give you Zephyr, winged-Greek god of the west wind.

There are many different myths concerning Zephyr and his different wives and offspring, but the most interesting one had to be how he fought with fellow god Apollo over a Spartan hero named Hyacinth. Apollo is probably the most good looking god, so yeah, Hyacinth chose him over Zephyr.

Zephyr wasn't happy about it, obviously, and it drove him crazy. One day, he saw that Apollo and Hyacinth were in the meadows...playing a game that's our equivalent to ring-toss. No seriously. They were alone throwing metal discs.

When Hyacinth threw a disc, Zephyr used his wind power to make the metal veer of course and smack the Spartan hero in the head, killing him. Apollo, saddened over the death of his lover, turned Hyacinth's body into a flower.

Apollo was about to kill Zephyr, but Eros (Cupid) stepped in and protected him. Maybe he helped him out because they both have wings, but Eros said that Zephyr had acted out of love.

Um....really?

I hope you all enjoyed my take on world mythology this year. It's been fun for me! My Reflections Post will be up next Monday, May 4th.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yachihoko

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.

Yachihoko is from Japanese myth, and he's known as "the spirit of 8,000 spears." He is an interesting god, as he was always the victim of assassination attempts.

He had 80 brothers and sisters, and when all the brothers fell in love with Princess Yakami, the bickering came to blows.

When the princess picked Yachihoko as her husband, the brothers conspired against him. They tricked him into chasing after a red boar, which was actually a giant boulder that was super hot. Of course, Yachihoko caught it and died from burns.

His goddess mother petitioned the other gods to bring him back to life. So his brothers decided to kill him again. This time, they somehow got him to walk into a huge wooden log that was only held open by a wedge. When Yachihoko stepped inside, they removed the wedge, and the log slammed shut, killing him.

Mom saved his arse again, but this time she had him low in the Underworld. There, he fell in love with the storm god's daughter, Suseri-hime. Her father would have none of it, so he sent Yachihoko to sleep in a chamber full of poisonous snakes. He survived. Next, he made Yachihoko sleep in a room full of venomous insects. Once again, he survived.

The storm god fired an arrow and ordered Yachihoko to run across the field and retrieve it. When the poor sap started running, the storm god set fire to the field. Luckily, a mouse showed Yachihoko where to go, and he escaped with his life.

By this time, the storm god actually started to like Yachihoko and allowed them to marry. With his new wife's powerful and enchanted bow and arrow, they fought off his jealous brothers when he returned to the surface.

After his victory, Yachihoko deserved to become the ruler of Izumo Province.




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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Skin-Walker

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 seen several interesting supernatural/horror novels come out the last few years that give their own spin to the Skin-Walker tales. With its roots in Native American culture, I find the myth not just fascinating, but pretty terrifying.

Skin-Walkers originate from the Navajo, and they are not actually monsters. They're shaman who've developed enough power to shape-shift into other creatures and want to kill other people.

Okay, so maybe they are monsters. To the Navajo, they're more like evil sorcerers.

Skin-Walkers tended to shift into: coyotes, owls, foxes, crows, and wolves. These are all animals that were mostly associated with fear within the Navajo tribe. The transformed Skin-Walkers would often attempt to gain entry into someone's home, although they must be invited in (i.e. vampires and the Black Eyed-Kids).

They have the power to read human thoughts too.

Skin-Walkers were also known to use corpse dust to kill its targets. Corpse dust was finely powdered infant bones that would be blown into the face of the victim, and the poor person would start to have seizures before dying.

The only way to kill a Skin-Walker was to successfully track one down and then say their correct, full name. Three days later, the Skin-Walker will get sick and die as punishment for his sins.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Roc

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 guess I'm on a monster/creature roll with this mythology stuff!

On this lovely Tuesday, I'd like to introduce you to Roc, the legendary HUGE bird. Interestingly, many cultures all around the world have monstrous bird myths. Here in the St. Louis area, for example, the myth of the Piasa Bird is quite famous.

But Roc is from Arabia. And this giant bird has been known to carry off elephants for dinner. Marco Polo, while traveling along the African island near Madagascar, reported: "This It was for all the world like an eagle, but one indeed of enormous size; so big in fact that its quills were twelve paces long and thick in proportion. And it is so strong that it will seize an elephant in its talons and carry him high into the air and drop him so that he is smashed to pieces; having so killed him, the bird swoops down on him and eats him at leisure."


They brought the Roc's feather to Kublai Kahn, which was probably a tropical tree palm. Oops.

In the world of stories and myth, the Roc was most famous for having grabbed Sinbad up to the mountains.

Theories trying to explain the countless reports throughout the Middle East and Asian of a giant winged bird have varied between it being just a giant eagle to maybe some sort of African ostrich.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quetzalcoatl


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 "feathered serpent" was one of the most important deities in Teotihuacan (Mes-American/pre-Aztec) civilization. Quetzalcoatl seemed to be closely related to vegetation for some time until a subgroup of Aztecs migrated from the north, and the interpretation of the god underwent a major overhaul.

Since this new group practiced war and human sacrifice to pay homage to the skies, Quetzalcoatl was a god now associated with the heavens. As the Aztecs continued to settle in the Teotihuacan area, the deity continued to evolve. During the 12-16 centuries, Quetzalcoatl became a patron of priests and a symbol of death and resurrection.

There are so many interesting stories surrounding Quetzalcoatl, which range from his virginal birth to him fighting (and losing) to another god. But the funniest tale involves him getting tricked by another deity to become drunk. Intoxicated, he had sex with a celibate priestess and then burned himself as punishment.

Ouch.

When he died, his heart became the mornings star.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Pegasus

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'll never forget the 1981 movie, Clash of the Titans. It featured Pegasus, the Greek winged horse. I thought is was way cooler than unicorns. The image of a winged horse remains an iconic figure, and the creature symbolized creativity and inspiration.


Pegasus, a white stallion, has an interesting background. Poseidon (the god of the sea) and Medusa (the Gorgon) were his parents. After the hero Perseus threw Medusa's head in the water, her blood became the winged horse, and that's how Pegasus was born.

The hero Bellerophon tamed Pegasus and rode him into battle against the Chimera and the Amazons. There are also stories of the hero Perseus riding Pegasus too, but that came much later. In the original tale, Perseus used Hermes' winged sandals to fly.

Zeus loved Pegasus, and he knocked Bellerophon off of the beloved horse. Zeus then had the horse bring him thunderbolts. And the stallion's obedience was rewarded with having a constellation created in his image. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, you can find the constellation Pegasus high in the sky (east/northeast) in late Summer through early Spring.


Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Oni

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.

Every culture has their own version of demons, and the Japanese is no exception. Oni is a general term for demons, devils, trolls, ogres, and other nasty creatures. They usually have horns, fangs, claws, and have blue or red skin. Many myths also have oni act as shapeshifters.

Japanese villages would hold a ceremony once a year to keep the oni away. They'd roast soybeans and throw them around, expelling any oni that might be hanging around. Within wealthy households, priests would purify the building and cleanse the area of any oni energy hanging around.

In more modern times, people would weak oni masks and run around while people threw soybeans at them. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a heckuva lotta fun!

Homes were NEVER built towards the northeast, as this direction was called the "demongate." Temples often faced northeast to help protect the area from demons.

Oni were often the bad guys in countless tales, and even to this day, lots of Japanese anime books and movies still use oni as their antagonists.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Nine Worlds

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.

If you've seen the movie Thor, you're probably pretty familiar with the Nine Realms of the universe. In Norse mythology, the cosmos unified by a giant tree, called Yggdrasill. The giant tree's roots drink from the three worlds beneath it:

Asgard: Home of the principal gods (Odin, Thor)
Vanaheim: Home of the Vanir (sorcerers)
Alfheim: Home of the Elves

Below these worlds is the middle of the cosmos, also known as Midgard. That's where us humans live.

To Midgard's left is Nidavellir, the land of dwarfs. To the right resides: Jotunheim (the home of the giants) and Svartalfheim (the home of the dark elves).

Then there's Niflheim, the cold world of fog and mist. And you can't forget Muspelheim, the home of fire giants and other demons. A huge, angry fire demon named Surt lives down there, and he really hates Odin and all those other gods way up there in Asgard.

In fact, Surt is just biding his time for the Ragnorok where good and evil will have one big showdown. It's essentially the end of the world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Mwuetsi

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.

Mwuetsi is the first human, according to African creation mythology. Maori, the creation god, created Mwuetsi in a lake. Mwuetsi had a horn filled with some kind of oil that helped spawn all the creatures of the water.

But Mwuetsi wasn't happy living in the water, so he was allowed to live on dry land. Once again, Mwuetsi complained about his new living arrangements. Apparently, land was desolate and barren. Maori created a woman to keep Mwuetsi company.

So Mwuetsi and his new woman got along so well, she gave birth to plants and trees. After a couple of years, his wife grew bored of him, so she left. Maori created another woman for Mwuetsi, and she bore him all kinds of animals. Chickens, goats, cows, lions, scorpions, snakes, spiders, and eventually children.

 Maori told Mwuetsi to stop having so much sex, but the first man wouldn't listen. Mwuetsi apparently became attracted to snake, and the darn animal bit him. So Mwuetsi died.

There's a bunch of moral lessons here, but I'll leave that up to you to come up with!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for Linus

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'm a big Peanuts/Charlie Brown fan, so I had to do L for Linus today.

Linus was the Greek God of Music. His father was Apollo, and his mother was one of the muses (although there's a little ambiguity which of the muses is his mom). He is the inventor of rhythm, melody, and the stringed lyre. Linus' brother was Orpheus, the God of Poetry.

Later, Linus became Heracles' music teacher (Heracles was renamed Hercules by the Romans). One day, Heracles was trying to play the lyre, but he messed up. Linus made a comment about the mistake, and Heracles got ticked off. The Greek hero then killed Linus with the lyre.

No big surprise, this Heracles also killed his own children.

Poor Linus. But his death at Heracles' hands is just one version of his death. The other story is that Apollo grew jealous of his son's talents and killed Linus.

I guess filicide is a pretty common theme in mythology from all over the world. Lots of parents killing their own kiddos.


Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kagutsuchi

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 got a really weird one for you on this fine Monday. It's the Japanese myth of the fire spirit/diety, Kagutsuchi.

During his birth, he was so hot and fiery, his mother, Izanami, was burned during the delivery. Even though she was also a deity, he died. Kagutsuchi's father, Izanagi, in a fit of anger and madness, beheaded his child. Yeah. That's right. He beheaded his newborn son and then chopped him up into eight pieces.

Izanagi then went to the underworld to be with his wife, who also
was his sister (by the way). Izanami was stuck in the underworld, rotting with maggots all over her. She didn't want Izanagi to see her like that, so they divorced. Makes sense, right?

Meanwhile, the eight pieces of Kagutsuchi's body each became a volcano. The blood dripping from Izanagi's sword also spawned other deities including the rain and sea gods.

Kagutsuchi is depicted in several different ways in Japanese cartoons and comics. He's sometimes a powerful looking dude on fire, other times, he's a fire breathing dragon.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jorogumo

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 Japanese myth of the Jorogumo reminds me a lot of Medusa's tragic story. Instead of the creature being a woman-snake hybrid, a Jorogumo is part SPIDER. Yes, yet another creepy monster that instills fear in everyone...especially men.

So, when a spider turns 400 years old, it gains the ability to shape-shift. These magic spiders often like to change into beautiful women who could sing. They'd lure unsuspecting guys who want to check out a hot lady singing in the forest, and BOOM! The Jorogumo would devour the poor fella.


One of the most well known Jorogumo myths begins with an innocent guy just cutting down trees near a waterfall. He drops his ax into the water, so he dives in to get it. He finds a beautiful woman who gives him his ax, only if he promises to never tell anyone about her.

Of course, this guy is enchanted by the woman. He goes to visit her everyday, and yet he grows weaker after each visit, as the Jorogumo is sucking his life force. One day, he grows so weak, he's powerless against the spider's thread being wrapped around his feet. Luckily, a Buddhist monk comes to the lumberjack's rescue. He says some prayers, and the spider web disappears.

After his rescue, the lumberjack can't just forget about the beautiful woman, so he goes back to the waterfall and jumps in, never to be seen again.

By the way, Jorogumo literally translates to "whore spider."

Um, yeah. I see that now.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Ishtar

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 had to do a post on Ishtar, only because I posted about the movie in my A-Z Challenge back in 2013. So now, I'd like to introduce you to the Babylonian god, Ishtar.

Ishtar is the goddess of war, love, fertility, and...sex. Overall, she was considered a maternal goddess who

protected marriage and motherhood. That's the nice side of her. Like many gods, she had a dark side, and that's where the war and storms came to play.

One of her epic stories is about how she was cast into the underworld. It all started with an innocent visit to the underworld, since Ishtar's sister ruled that very-not-so-place. To get to the underworld, she had to pass seven gates. At each gate, Ishtar was stripped of her goddess powers. So by the time she arrived in the underworld, her sister was waiting for her and killed her.


Another god, Enki, found out about Ishtar's death, so he went off to rescue her. Ishtar was brought back to life, but Enki had to replace her body with another. Ishtar decided to sacrifice her husband to the underworld.


Doesn't it seem like many of these gods and goddesses are jerks?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for Horus

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 Egyptian god, Horus, is actually a pretty controversial topic. Let me give you a quick rundown of information out on the internet about Horus, and you figure out why...

- Horus is often depicted with a falcon's head (not so controversial)
- He was born to a virgin mother, Isis, since her husband (Osiris) was killed
- Horus was baptized in a river by a guy named Anup, who ended up being beheaded later
- Horus was tempted while alone, wandering in the desert
- He healed the sick, walked on water, was crucified, and resurected
- Oh, and he had 12 disciples

So I think it's pretty obvious why the myth of Horus is controversial. The issue here is that the information is either false or sketchy at best. His birth is a weird event, though not a virginal birth. The rest is not really accepted as part of Horus' myth.

Horus IS the god of the sun, war, and protection. He often battled with Set, the god of the desert. They fought for 80 years, and they finally decided to settle it with...a boat race. Not just any boat race, but boats made from stone. Horus cheated, as his boat was made out of wood and painted to look like stone. So yeah, he was and got to rule over all of Egypt as the main god.

Nice job Horus!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Gorgons

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.

Just about everybody knows about Medusa, the half woman-half snake creature from Greek Mythology who could turn you to stone. But did you know that she had sisters? Oh yes. Three lovely ladies with snakes on their heads...and if anyone looked them straight in the eyes, they'd turn to stone.

It's interesting that Stheno and Euryale were immortal. In fact, they supposedly had different parents. Maybe Medusa's tragic tale is why she is more well known than her other sistes.

Stheno was the eldest sister, born in the caverns of Mt. Olympus. Stheno was the worst of the three. She had killed more people than her sisters combined. Maybe it's because she was turned into a monster because she happened to be standing right next to Medusa when Athena turned them into scary creatures.


Euryale is the middle sister. Her claim to fame is her ferocious cry when her sister, Medusa, is killed.

Medusa is the youngest, and she was seduced by Poseidon. Athena found them in her temple, and she was so ticked off, she turned Medusa and her sisters into Gorgons complete with snakes for hair, fangs, and wicked faces. Some even say they had wings and looked more like demons.

Perseus, the Greek hero, was on a quest to appease a king, and he killed Medusa by beheading her. The sisters went after him, but Perseus flew away using Hermes' winged sandals.

Many psychologists (Freud), philosophers, and writers (Jack London) have all given their opinions on what Medusa represents. I think it's safe to say she is "female fury" personified. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Feng Po Po

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.

There's two reasons why I chose Feng Po Po for the Letter F today:

1) The art depicting Feng Po Po is utterly gorgeous
2) Her name is just cool to say

Feng Po Po is the Chinese goddess of the wind. She's often seen riding a tiger in the air, carrying a bag of winds in her hand. Feng Po Po also uses flying dragons to do her bidding.

If you're feeling weary, tired, or stuck in a negative pattern, you can pray to Feng Po Po, and she will come to help by clearing out the negative energies. She brings "new air" to your life.

However, if you piss her off, she will bring a hurricane to your life. She transforms into her darker persona, Feng Poo Poo. Okay, I made up that part. Not true. The last thing I need in my life is to anger the "Wind Goddess."

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Elegua

For all of those who celebrate Easter, I hope you had a great one!

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.

Elegua is an interesting myth, as it associated with Africa (Nigeria and Benin) and Afro/Cuban people in Latin America, so the god also known as "The Trickster" has a pretty far reach.

He's dressed in black and red, and can be depicted as a child and an old man. He represents the beginning and end of life, and all the crossroads of one's life. Elegua is also the god of luck and second chances, so when things don't go your way, he might just grant you another shot to make things right.

Practioners make offerings to Elegua on Mondays (his favorite day of the week), and this offering would usually consist of stuff he likes. This includes: three balls of cooked cornmeal and canary seeds, a cigar, bottle of rum, kites, whistles, toys, candy and smoked fish.

He's known as a "Trickster" because he likes to makes things complicated for us humans. He'll often play with our minds and make simple things complex. He just loves paradoxes. Despite his love for vexing us mere mortals, he expects to be treated with respect.

If you don't make a proper offering, you're life is going to suck since Elegua makes all things possible.  And since he's also a messenger to the higher gods, you'd better get this god on your side.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Daidarabotchi

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.

Daidarabotchi was a creature from Japanese mythology that was said to be so huge, it looked like a mountain when it was sleeping. The creature was actually a "yokai," or a phatom-like spirit that roamed the earth.

This mythological spirit would create ponds and lakes from its footprints. It even took Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tsukuba in each of his hands to see which one was heavier. It accidentally dropped Mt. Tsukuba, which is why it consists of twin peaks today.


I'm not sure if the ancient Japanese people created the Daidarabotchi myth to explain mountains, lakes, and ponds, or if they threatened to send their kids off to this colossal beast if the children didn't behave. 

Creatures like Daidarabotchi are still evident today. For example, in the animated movie Princess Mononoke, a Daidarabotchi-like creature is featured. And you also can't forget Godzilla and all the other kaiju monsters in Japanese entertainment.

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Cangjie


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.

Cangjie is a Chinese legendary figure that I had to share with you just because the guy is so WEIRD. He was said to have four eyes. Isn't that so messed up?

And he invented the Chinese characters used in writing.

Emperor Huangdi, the "Yellow Emperor," realized that the quipu method of record keeping (tying knots in threads) was not very efficient or accurate. So Cangjie was put in charge of creating a new system.

One day, Cangjie noticed the tracks left behind by animals. He got the idea that he could
create similar symbols to represent words. This was around the time the Egyptians created their hieroglyphic method of writing, and the earliest Chinese characters were also very "pictoral."

So Cangjie is not typically seen as a god, per se, but a legendary character who created the first written system in China. This is pretty important, as written language is usually considered one of the pillars of civilization.

But still, what's up with having four eyes???