Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I'm going to take various tropes of previous mythologies, and I'm going to spin them around. I'll pretend to present them as prehistorical human beings might have weaved these stories of gods and monsters, but I will usually be self-aware with a modern understanding of the symbols.
So let's start with the big one: God. The head god of various Indo-European language pantheons, and likely other language families as well, is the Daytime Sky. He's Zeus for the Greeks, Jupiter for the Romans, Odin+Thor+Tiwaz (it's complicated) for the Norse, El for the Canaanites, etc., etc. The Daytime Sky is the big, blue, all-seeing protector and advisor of humankind.
Come to think of it, the Daytime Sky also describes the monotheistic god of several religions. Our Father, who art in heaven; our Father, who is heaven? In any case, Big Blue is the good god of this new/old mythology.
If there is a good god, then there has to be an evil god as well. Many religions have this duality in place. Humans seem to be, by nature, afraid of the dark. Therefore, the Nighttime Sky is the evil god of this new/old mythology: Darkness, the unknown, secrets, predators, fear ...
The Daytime Sky seems to have two children/companions: The Sun and the Moon. Humans eventually figured out that the Sun is responsible for daytime, but for minds not ready for any scientific truth: The Daytime Sky is big and blue in all directions; the Sun is a little yellow circle. A blinding little yellow circle, but little nonetheless. Big Blue is a god, and Little Yellow is his sidekick.
The Sun is always by his father's side. The Moon, however, is sometimes with the good god, but usually she is in the domain of the evil god, the Nighttime Sky. There are at least two ways to read this cycle of celestial bodies:
The first way is standard in its misogyny. The Sun, identified as male, is the ever-faithful champion of the Daytime Sky. The Moon, identified as female, is inconsistent with her waxing, waning, and showing up in the Nighttime Sky, perhaps to betray the Daytime Sky? That's a really awful way to explain why the objects in the sky are the way they are. Misogyny happens in various forms of civilization, and we are pretending to be pre-civilization in formulating this new/old mythology.
The second way is fairly equal, if we're going to continue to assign gender to heavenly bodies. The Sun is pretty much a homebody, always hanging out with Big Blue. He keeps the Darkness at bay, as long as he can, but his endurance changes depending on the season. Sometimes, especially in the summertime, the Sun becomes overzealous of his powers, and it's just uncomfortably hot for the rest of us. (In this new/old mythology, humans haven't figured out what the Sun really is.)
The Moon, it seems, is the battle-tested champion of the Daytime Sky. She will "physically" fight against the Nighttime Sky, but only when she is strong enough. At her strongest, as the Full Moon, she will seemingly defeat the Night, but the victory is always short-lived. As the Nighttime Sky injures the Moon, she will grow weaker and weaker, finally dying in her father's arms. But, yes! She will be reborn and grow stronger to once again battle the Darkness. The Moon's cycle of death and rebirth occurs monthly, while the Sun's cycle happens over the course of a year.
I think we'll use the second option for our new/old mythology. The Sun and the Moon are equally badass in that scenario.
And what of the stars and planets? Whose side are they on? Are these little specks of light minions of the Nighttime Sky, or are they the army of the good Moon? That is a tale for another day, I suppose.
Clouds, it seems, are double agents. When the Summer Sun is cruel, they mercifully hold him back. When the Moon seems to defeat the Darkness, clouds have the ability to defeat herq. Clouds bring rain to end droughts, but clouds bring also dangerous storms. Anyhow, another tale, another day ...
Bottom line, to paraphrase The Dark Knight: The Moon is the heroine humanity deserves, but not the one we need right now. So we'll hunt her. Because she can take it. Because she's not our hero. She's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A silvery ... warrior princess, apparently.
I don't know why we'll hunt the Moon, so scratch all of the Batman stuff. Now that we have some semblance of a primitive cosmology, we can move forward to the equivalent to the Garden of Eden or Golden Age or Dawn of Man.
Until next time!