Odin and the Crucifixion of Christ

On the surface it would not appear as if there could be a great deal in common between Odin, the god of the warrior culture of the vikings, who honored bravery, strength, physical power, and presided over Valhalla where those who died a valiant  death would go to spend eternity drinking, eating, fornicating, and fighting, and Jesus Christ the celibate who preached non-violence who preached that the meek would inherit the earth.

But there is one story in particular that has some striking similarities between these two other wise complete polar opposites. Now I am sure that virtually everyone is familiar with the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus so there really is not a great deal of need to reiterate that story. But just to state a couple of points of significance about the story, Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice to be Crucified and while he was on the cross he was pierced in the side with a spear and three days later he was resurrected. 

Now for a story that many people may not be as familiar with. Odin offered himself in sacrifice and was hung from the tree Yggdrasil a sacred tree in Norse mythology also commonly known as the Tree of Life. And very much like Christ, Odin also had a spear pierced in his side while he hung from the tree. He hung for 9 days and 9 nights without food or water (9 being a sacred number in the Norse tradition as 3 is in Christianity. It could also be pointed out the very close connection between the numbers of 3 and 9). The reason for Odin’s sacrifice of himself was in the name of gaining greater knowledge. After his sacrifice Odin was able to perceive the runes which revealed many secrets of all of existence. As one should keep in mind that many of the pre-Christian gods were not omniscient in the way that the Christian god is said to be.   It could also be seen that Odin’s intellectual accession through his sacrifice is symbolic of the more literal ascension when he is restored to heaven. 

Another point to consider is the fact that being that Odin is the god of gods, often referred to as the All Father, sitting above all the other gods, he essentially  sacrifices himself to himself.  And I know that it is held by many (though I understand not all are of this view.) that god and Jesus are in fact one in the same being, and Jesus is god made of flesh of blood, and thus in essence when Jesus is sent by god (himself) to be crucified he is also sacrificing himself to himself.

Maya Creation Myth and Biblical Creation Myth

There are many striking similarities between the creation myth of the Mayas and that which is presented within the Bible. As many are probably readily familiar with the Biblical creation myth I will begin by giving a detailed account of the Maya creation myth. There are many aspects of it which seem to mirror different aspects of the Bible and so I will do a side by side compassion of the all the elements which are similar to each other. But first a presentation of the Maya creation story.

The gods first create birds, deer jaguars, and snakes to watch over the forests and bring offerings to their creators. But the animals cannot praise the gods, they cannot speak at all and when the gods realize this they decree that animals are only good for one thing: to be eaten. 

So the gods try again. This time they fashion a human being out of clay, but the clay is soft and won’t hold together. “It won’t last” the mason and sculptors gods say. “It seems to be dwindling away. So let it dwindle. It can’t walk, and it can’t multiply, so let it be merely a thought.”

In the third creation the gods decide they need something more solid so they make creatures of wood. These beings look like people, talk like people and reproduce like people but they don’t have feelings, they don’t think and worse of all fail to remember their creators.  The wooden people are busy populating the earth when the gods destroy them by flood and by the Gouger of Faces, the Sudden Blooedletter who cuts off their heads, the Crouching Jaguar who devours them, and by their own grinding stones.

In their final creation the gods choose corn for flesh, water for blood, and grease for fat. And thus the first true humans were created. They talked and praised their creators. But their own flaw was they became too smart. “perfectly they saw, perfectly they knew everything under the sky, whenever they looked.  As they looked their knowledge became intense”  The gods clouded human knowledge so “they were blinded as is breathed upon and such was the loss of understanding along with the means of knowing everything.”

To start with the hiarachy of creation, and the idea of first creating the beasts, and then creating man, and the idea of giving man a position of dominion over the animals is directly reflected within the Biblical creation myth.

From Genesis:

 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.1:27 So God created man in his ownimage, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

On an interesting side note, in Milton’s interpretation of mans creation in Paradise Lost he states:

There wanted yet the Master work, the end [ 505 ]
Of all yet don; a Creature who not prone
And Brute as other Creatures, but endu’d
With Sanctitie of Reason, might erect
His Stature, and upright with Front serene
Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence [ 510 ]
Magnanimous to correspond with Heav’n,
But grateful to acknowledge whence his good
Descends, thither with heart and voice and eyes
Directed in Devotion, to adore
And worship God Supream, who made him chief [ 515 ]
Of all his works: therefore the Omnipotent
Eternal Father (For where is not hee
Present) thus to his Son audibly spake.

Let us make now Man in our image,

This interpretation presents a similar idea presented by the Maya myth which suggests that the motivation for the creation of man was a desired by the gods to have a being of which would be capable or worshiping and knowing their creator.

In addition, it is widely held that as in the first creation of the Maya, in the Biblical creation myth man was created out of class as well. And on a side note many of you may be familiar with the Lilith, and though not a part of the Bible, it is represented in the Jewish creation mythology, which deals with the idea of multiple creations. As a quite sum up, originally both man and woman were created out of claw, and Adam’s first wife was Lilith, but she demanded to be treated equal to Adam and would not obey him properly, so Adam complained to God, who banished Lilith and then made Eve from Adam’s rib.

 Another interesting similarity is the fact that we have an example of a flood myth presented here, in which the gods become angered by their creation and thus destroy it, using flood as at least one of the means of doing so, in order to be able to start again. And interestingly enough the Maya particularly mention the way in which the wooden people spend too much time copulating  instead of worshiping the gods, as within the Biblical flood story, God destroys man because of their wickedness and corruption.

Than at the end of the creation in the Maya myth the gods become concerned because they believe man is too knowledgeable, and thus they dampen mans understanding and knowledge so he will not see too clearly or know too much. This to me seems to have a lot in common with the idea of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the way in which in the Biblical creation myth God believed there was knowledge man should not have, and wanted to prevent man from knowing too much.

 

Abraham & Isaac vs. Agamemnon

Many of us are familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac, but to give a brief recap of the story:

God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac and thus Abraham obeys the command and takes his son Isaac to the mountain, and rises the dagger, and in the moment as he is about to slit his sons throat, an angel appears and stops Abraham, and as a reward for his willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of God without question, gives him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

In the Greek myth of Agamemnon there is a story which very closely mirrors this Biblical tale. Agamemnon was ordered by Zeus to go off to Troy to fight in the war but Artemis creates winds which prevent Agamemnon’s fleet of ships from setting sail and will not let him fulfill his quest to go to Troy and free his ships unless he offers her a sacrifice. There are different variations as to the reasons behinds Artemis in demanding this sacrifice of Agamemnon. In some cases it is said that it was because he killed a deer in her sacred forest and boasted himself to be a better huntsmen than Artemis. In some versions, Artemis demands the sacrifice as way of making up for the blood of the innocent women and children who will be killed in the war.

Needless to say, the sacrifice that Artemis demands of Agamemnon is that of his own daughter Iphigenia. Caught between the orders of two different gods that of Zeus telling him to go to Troy and Artemis preventing him from doing so unless he obeys her sacrifice, Agamenon makes the choice to do as Artemis bids and prepares to sacrifice his daughter.

While in some versions of the story the sacrifice is completed, there are other versions of the story which state that at the very last moment Artemis snatches Iphigenia away and than as substitute gives Agamenon a deer to sacrifice instead.

 

Does Santa Equal Satan?

I have always thought it a bit strange the way in which Santa Clause is often refered to as St. Nick  or Jolly Old St. Nick, because “Old Nick” is also one of the names which is frequently associated with the devil. Than as I began to think about it, I began to see several similarities between Santa and Satan. When you really being to think it over, it actually is quite interesting in many ways.

So is it pure coincidence? Or is it something else?

I will state the various ways in which I see a connection between what on the surface would seem to be two vastly different characters and you can decide for yourselves.

First and foremost the name itself cannot be ignored.

Santa Clause vs. Satan

The same exact letters used in both names, only arranged in a different way, in addition the word Clause is pronounced the same as Claws, thus giving it a possible double meaning.

In addition is the fact that both figures are traditionally associated with the color red. Just why does Santa go around in a read suit all the time?

As I began to think about it I also began to realize that in many ways Santa also does encourage and act out upon the so called Seven deadly sins:

Lust/Temptation: He is a tempter of children, and he appeals  most specially to the materialistic and base natures within us. He seeks to lure children towards him with gifts of objects or treats of candy and sweets.  Satan is a figure of many disguises and often comes in a form which is most charming, deceptive, and seemingly harmless, thus he appears to children as a grandpa like figure who can easily earn trust and wishes for children to indulge themselves.

Greed: This links to the above, Santa inspires children to want! want! want!  Christmas is the favorite holiday of most children because of what they think they will get out of it, because of the idea of being showered in gifts. While it sounds nice to say it is better to give than to receive, and for the older and wiser this may be said with sincerity, but to many people and particularly to the young, well they snicker to themselves when they hear grown-ups say such things and they “know” that it is far better to get.

Envy: This also connects to the other two, in a situation in which you have gifts being given you will inevitably end up in situations of children thinking that so and so got more gifts than they did, or got better gifts, or got something they wanted or they will think more of the gifts they wanted but did not get instead of the things which they were given. Instead of simply being grateful for being given free gifts in the first place and just enjoying the occasion, it is just as likely that many will spend their time thinking about the things they didn’t get, or the things they don’t have.

Gluttony: Santa is one of the biggest gluttons around, (no pun intended) not only is he often seen as indeed being a very robust figure, well we all know that he loves to eat. One of the most beloved traditions is the leaving out of cookies and other treats for Santa. Just think, if every house in the world left out something for him to eat, and he vigorously consumes it all.

Sloth: In spite of the fact that Santa has a lot of time off it does not seem as if he looses any weight, in addition to the fact that the guy only works once a year  and he has elves do much of the actual hard work for him ( slave labor perhaps or evil minions?) Elves are often also considered to be a type of imp, and imps are often perceived as being mischievous spirits or demons.

Wrath: While it is hard to imagine Santa, the jolly old fellow who goes around delivering presents to children as being very wrathful or mean-spirited, and yet almost all Santa traditions comes with a dark side, that is the threat of some negative repercussions against naughty children. While within the U.S and other places, it is commonly the thread of being left with a lump of coal, this is relatively tame compared to many other traditions which often involve the idea of naughty children acutally being taken away. Some may recall my article last year on the Krampus a demon who followed Santa around to drag naughty children away in chains and beat them and torment them. This may also being seen as akin to claiming the souls of those who had fallen to his temptations.

Pride/Vanity: This is the one sin of which does not appear to have any direct connections to the occasion and of which it is more difficult to make a case for. Though the holiday does breed a certain feeling of self-centeredness within people, both in leading them to be thinking only of themselves and the things they want others to give them. It can also be said that it breeds pride in those giving away of gifts for those who do seek out to buy bigger, better, more expensive items as a form of trying to show off and perhaps out do others.

When one really thinks about it there are some very hedonistic aspects to the way in which the Christmas holiday is celebrated.

Hercules, Thor, and Christ

Hercules, Thor, and Christ, three names which seem unlikely to appear together within the same sentence. While their are some clear and obvious differences between each of these figures, it is the similarities which thread between them that are far more interesting than they more obvious ways in which they are different.

There are some striking parallels that one through each of them, which will be explored and discussed here.

The one element that is of key importance to all three of them, is a shared balanced between divinity and humanity. This is something that plays a crucial part in each of  thier stories and in who they are, and shapes around their myths and how they are perceived by others. Each of them in their own unique ways have come to be heros of the people, those who stand up for the common man and offer some hope and aide both directly as well as through the symbolism of what they represent. They are all popular idols, meaning, embraced by the everyday person. Champions of the struggle of everyday man. Yet the one thing which allows each of them to achieve this goal is they are all also touched by divinity and have that little something extra which exalts them above mortal man.

Now in this regard Hercules and Christ share the most in common between their stories. Both share a God father and a mortal mother, though it came about in very different ways. Both Hercules and Christ, were born upon earth, and as men and because of their birth, set through trails and tribulations upon earth. They both share something of mortality and both end up having their lives guided by the divine powers which helped sire them. Ultimate they both must sacrifice the ability to live as man, and have the simple joys and happiness of men for a greater divine cause.

In the case of Christ he was put upon earth to fulfill a prophcy, to spread the word of God, and thus in the end die for the sake of man. Because of this he was bound to remain “pure” and chaste, and he was destined to be a prophet.

In the case of Hercules, he was driven by his jealous stepmother Hera, the wife of Zeus, who sought to avenge Zeus’ infidelity upon his demigod son. While Christ was denied the ability to ever have a family, Hercules had his family stolen from him, and knew from then he could never risk having one again.

So while living among men, they both had to live isolated from man as well and had to suffer in ways beyond men, while still sharing in earthly struggles which men could relate to. Niether one of them was given true choice over their own lives.

In the case of Thor there is a slight difference. He was a god and lived within the realm of the gods, and yet, sharing in humanity was a very important part of him and who he was, and his role among the people. In spite of the fact that he was a god, he was still relatable to man because he was suciptiable to the same difficulties and struggles as men were. Like men he was at the mercy of the elements of the earth, and like men he could be tricked and deceived.

There is one important myth laid out with the purpose of highlighting this “human” aspect of Thor. He was deceived by an Ogre King who sought to humiliate Thor and thus presented to Thor three tasks which were impossible to complete.

The first task was that Thor was given a horn of ale and told to drink to the bottom of it. Well being a very manly Norse god, Thor thought, no problem. He could easily drink a horn of ale. So he takes it and starts to drink, and drink, and drink, yet never reaches the bottom untill he must finally admit defeat, feeling pretty low about this.

He is then given his second task, he must lift up the paw of the ogre’s great cat. Well Thor is the god of strength, no one is stronger than he is. He marches up to the cat, and struggles against it, but can barely manage to life the paw off the ground, and is pretty upset that he the mighty Thor could not even pick up a cat.

At the thrid task, the ogre plays at feeling sorry for Thor and offers to give him and easy challenge now, since he did so poorly on the first, and presents his grandmother and tells Thor he must wrestle the old woman. Well Thor is a great warrior who does battle against fearsome giants, he can defeat an old man. He goes to fight the woman and she throws him onto the ground.

Well that was it, Thor was crushed, when the Ogre King reveals to him how he had been tricked.  The horn in which he was to drink from was tapped into the ocean, and no man could swallow the ocean.

The cat whose paw he could not lift was really the Midgard serpent which is wrapped around the world, so no one could lift up the whole world.

And the old woman Thor had to wrestle with was old age, which no man can defeat.

So this shows that though Thor is a god, he has the same weaknesses and struggles that men do, and throughout many of his myths, and his battles against the Midgard Serpent, his arch nemsisies the elements often come into play to hinder him.

Another important factor that runs similar in each of these figures is they all in some way act to do a service for man kind and to help better the world for man.  They all have some duty, function, task, which they must do that benifits mankind.

In the case of Christ, he has his miracles which he performs. He turns the water into wine at the wedding, he walks upon water to save the boat of fishermen, he heals the sick with a touch of his hands, resurrects Lazarus from the dead. One of the things which does make Christ stand out the most from these other figures, is the Christians do counter Pagan myth by making a much more humble and passive hero, opposed to the warrior heroes, Christ does act out of a pure selflessness in the things he does which does vary from Hercules in his own works, but the message and concept behind them remain the same.

Hercules has the 12 Labors which has to perform, but as hinted at above, for him these tasks have a double motive, they not only work to benefit mankind but he also must complete them as a form of penance. When Hercules first attempted to live as normal men do, Hera drove him mad, and made him believe his family were his enemies and so he slayed them in the night. While what he did was not his fault, that does not change the fact that he has what Greeks called the “blood guilt” and thus he must try and purify his soul, and through these labors he hopes to do so.

The Labors of Hercules do work as a benefit to man in a duel way, for one thing, for many of his tasks he must conquer over fearsome man eating savage monsters which have been terrorizing people and so he makes the world safer for man by dominating over these blood thirsty creatures. But he also offers a lesson and symbolic message to man.  He stands up to confront his fears and demons, and he never gives up no matter how impossible the task before him appears to be, he always finds the way to persevere against it. In addition not only does he use his courage, and physical prowess but often he must also use his wit to help him through. Hercules becomes an icon for the everyday man. As men in their daily life must struggle, Hercules also must struggle, and if Hercules can do the seemingly impossible, so man can conquer his own difficulties.

Thor also works in the service of the protection of man, for one of his class sole purposes as a god is defeating this horrible giants which if it were not for Thor, they would be set loose upon the world and wreak havoc among men. 

And in the Viking culture in which the sea, and sailing plays such an important role within their lifestyle, Thor helps protect men at sea from the terrors of the Midgard Serpent.

An interesting way that does reflect a greater similarity between Thor and Christ in a way that Hercules lacks, is through the importance of talismans. The cross has become an almost universal symbol for Christ, it is worn both in honor of Christ and his suffering for man as well as a symbol of protection for the people, almost all Christians bare the symbol of the cross.

In the case of Thor, his greatest weapon, his hammer, was a symbol that came to be worn by all of Thor’s worshippers. Medallions baring the symbol of Thor’s hammer were numerous. And the same as with the cross, at the time, everyone knew the symbol of Thor’s hammer, knew what it was and what it represented. It was worn both in worship as well as for personal protection.

The final key factor in all of this, is that ultimately all three figures in the end become Martyr’s for their cause.

Of corse in the case of Christ, he is in the end crucifed upon the cross to die for the sins of man, and thus returns back to his heavenly father once more.

Hercules has a very similar experience as this in his own death. He is ultimate called up to the heavens by his father Zeus. After he manages to complete his 12 Labors at long last, Zeus decides that he has finally suffered enough, and Hera had her fun, but he steps in to finally alieve Hercules of his suffering and ultimately purify him and cleanse the blood upon his hands. Hercules builds up a great funeral pyre on which he stands and Zeus pulls the soul of Hercules up into Olympus, and ultimately makes Hercules a god and spares him hence forth from all mortal sufferings and struggles so he can live the rest of eternity in bliss and peace.

In the case of Thor, at the coming of Ragnarok, a myth with strong similarities to the book of Revelations (but that is a story for another day) Thor has his final and last battle with the Midgard serpent. They finally get to face off with one another without any interruptions or interferences, and as Thor strikes a mighty blow to kill the serpent, from the wound drips his deadly venom onto Thor, and thus they both fall. Thor gives his own life in his last act to protect the world and mankind and fells his arch rival.

The Garden of Hesperides vs The Garden of Eden

 

 

The Garden of Hesperides’ from Greek Mythology bares some strong resemblance to the story of the Garden of Eden, in addition to the similarities there are also some parallels to the story as well, but there can be found a clear link between the story, that go beyond simple coincidence.

The Garden of Hesperide’s is the orchard of the goddess Hera, and is a very idyllic place of great beauty. It was located in a place beyond the mortal world, and was meant to be inaccessible It was from this garden which the gods got their immortality. The prized position of the garden was none else than golden apples. The gardens were inhabited by nymphs known as the Hesperides, and the apple was guarded by a 100 headed dragon known as Landon.

In reflection upon the Garden of Eden, you can see the similarities between the two of them. A sacred garden that belongs to another realm, and cannot be accessed by man, in which there is a forbidden tree whose prized fruit which is not to be touched or disturbed happens to be that of an apple. There is also the serpent connection between the two of them, though here one of the differences occurs. For in the case of the Gardens of Hesperides the dragon is the protector of the fruit, opposed to the popular story in the Garden of Eden in which it is the serpent that seeks to aid in tempting Eve to eat of the apples.

The Garden of Hesprides offers the reverse when Hercules has to battle the dragon to steal of the apple. This is a rather interesting approach to the story, and it reflects the difference in world view between the ancient Greeks and the Bible, in the story of Hesperides, the hero, is cheered on for his action of stealing from the sacred fruit of the Gods, opposed to the story of Even and the apple, in which she is punished for the action.

As a side note in comparing the two stories, one can also draw some similarities between Eve, and the nymphs Hesperides. Before Eve’s falling to temptation, she is actually a very nymph like figure in the way in which she is a daughter of nature, she roams the gardens freely in a state of innocent nudity and does not know shame for the natural state of her body. In way after the seats of the apple she becomes more human, she looses her nymph like nature when she feels the need to conceal herself.

Now as already alluded to above, another one of the important similarities between these two stories is the need for something to happen to the apple, for man to trespasses the realm of the gods by taking that which is most sacred and prized by them, though for very different reasons, which also offers an interesting aspect.

In the case of the Garden of Eden the apple represents of corse the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the knowledge of God himself which is not intended for man to possess, but Eve is ultimately tempted by the serpent and eats of the apple and tempts Adam to join her. In doing this they violate the one rule of the Garden and are exiled but in this action, comes one of the other importance differences between the stories. In the case of the Garden of Eden the folly of Adam and Eve end up being to the benefit of mankind, in spite of being expelled from the paradise, knowledge is passed to mankind and they no longer have to live in ignorance, through this new found knowledge they also are given the fullest ability to exercise their free will.

Now in the case of the Garden of Hesperides the apple is the source of the immorality of the gods, and in the act of stealing of the apple Hercules is acting upon his own personal behalf, in truth the world at large does not really benefit from the steeling of the apple. It is part of an individual quest and he most take the apple as part of his 12 labors, which will absolve of his guilt over the death of his family.

Another interesting twist within the story is the fact that in this case after Hercules slays the dragon Landon, he actually ends up having to tempt Atlas into the actual picking of the apples for him, because of the Hesperide nymphs who are the daughters of Atlas. The way in which Hercules is able to tempt Atlas into doing this, is by offering to literally take the world off of his shoulders and hold it for him while he enters the garden to pick the apple.

So the two stories intertwine in a way that suggests there must be some interaction and relation between the two of them, this sort of thing appears many times, where myths display some suggestion of communication of some sort between vastly different cultures, and the human experiences run on common thread, in stories like this one can understand Jung’s views about the collective conciousness.

The Fisherman and the Siren

The Fisherman and the Siren by Frederick Lord Leighton

The Fisherman and the Siren by Frederick Lord Leighton

When I first saw this painting it captivated me. There is some deep meaning within this painting and I am trying to understand just what is being said here.  You can see the Fisherman’s pose here has a very Christ like look to it. The way the arms are stretched, and it appears his weight is resting upon them, the relaxed pose of his body. The tilt of the head, and the closed eyes, the serene look while the Siren is hanging around his neck. Also I find it interesting, the basket of fish upon the side. It brings to mind the story about Christ and the Fisherman, also the title of this piece alludes to it.

But what of the Siren? By the fact that she is indeed a Siren, a temptress woman, and her slithery tail which is almost snake like. To me she speaks of temptation. In fact she brings the image of Lilith to my mind. But why link this figure with Christ?

I cannot find any critical essays written about this painting. I was interested and so I researched it but could not find anything.

I feel the water itself must mean something as well.

Lighton was a Pre-Raphaelite painter, they often have a strong use of symbolism in their work. And they touch on many different themes relating to the past. They were concerned with the age of the Romantics, ideas of Chivalry, as well as old myths, lore, and allusions to Biblical stories.

This painting really deeply speaks to me I wish I could uncover its meaning or find some analysis upon it.