Through the looking glass

rocket-ship_lge

I’ve just about recovered from the shock of seeing our American chums (or the half of them that bothered to vote) elect an evil clown as president. Coming not long after the Brexit fiasco, it feels like all the rules of the universe are now open to question and anything is possible. Tomorrow my bus driver might be a duck, the sky may have turned green and all the fish could be strolling around town in tiny berets, affecting a French accent and taking selfies in front of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
George Carlin

It’s one of those periods when whole nations seem to go a bit gaga and do something that had just months earlier seemed inconceivable. I took the news quite badly, and I’m not even an American citizen. But my US chums on Facebook and WordPress seemed equally aghast. What new folly had they sunk to? Were they, as one cartoon suggested, competing with Britain for the ‘dumbest nation’ title?
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Me, me, me!

dali_metamorphosis-of-narcissus_med

There was a survey a while back that showed that a quarter of the American population believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, and not the other way round. This was of course the mainstream view until our old chum Nicky Copernicus upset the apple-cart with his heliocentric model, published in the 16th century. At last the Earth was put in its rightful place, although not everyone was thrilled with this particular advance in human knowledge. There were certainly some major grumblings from the Catholic church. Still, at least Mr C managed to avoid the fate of his defender and fellow astronomy clever-clogs, friar Giordano Bruno, who apparently was just too much of a rebel for the church and had his chestnuts roasted on an open fire, along with the rest of him.

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God of the week – Huitzilopochtli

Huitzilopochtli_VIt just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Apart from sounding a little like somebody clearing their throat first thing in the morning, what do we know about this colourful Aztec war god? Apparently the name is the subject of much disagreement, but has something to do with hummingbirds.

According to Wikipedia:
“There are a handful of origin mythologies describing the deity’s beginnings. One story tells of the cosmic creation and Huitzilopochtli’s role. According to this legend, he was the smallest son of four—his parents being the creator couple Tonacatecutli and Tonacacihuatl while his brothers were Quetzalcoatl and the two Tezcatlipocas. His mother and father instructed both him and Quetzalcoatl to bring order to the world. And so, together they made fire, the first male and female humans, created the Earth, and manufactured a sun.”

That’s quite a story! I’ve heard of pushy parents, but telling your kids to ‘bring order to the world’ is quite a tall order. And boy the kids certainly didn’t disappoint.

There is more:
“Another origin story tells of a fierce goddess, Coatlicue, being impregnated as she was sweeping by a ball of feathers on Mount Coatepec. Her other children, who were already fully grown, were the four hundred male Centzonuitznaua and the female deity Coyolxauhqui. These children, angered by the manner by which their mother became impregnated, conspired to kill her. Huitzilopochtli burst forth from his mother’s womb in full armor and fully grown. He attacked his older brothers and sister, defending his mother by beheading his sister and casting her body from the mountain top. He also chased after his brothers, who fled from him and became scattered all over the sky.”

Wow! That’s quite an entrance for a newborn. I wonder what he did for an encore?

“Huitzilopochtli is seen as the sun in mythology, while his many male siblings are perceived as the stars and his sister as the moon. In the Aztec worldview, this is the reason why the Sun is constantly chasing the Moon and stars.”

So how did the Aztecs honour this high-achieving creative dude?

Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was the Aztec month dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices.”

Ah it was all looking very festive and jolly, until we got to that last part. I know they say we all have to make sacrifices, but that’s one tradition probably best left to ancient history.

Here’s to you Huitzilopochtli. Now where did I put the sun-lotion?

© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.

Text and image source: Wikipedia
 
 

God of the week – Fukurokuju

Fuku-japanese god_medThis jolly chap is the Japanese god of wisdom, luck, longevity, wealth and happiness, and one of the seven lucky gods of Japanese mythology.

With alleged Chinese origins, he is said to have a head almost as large as his body, which probably made him very smart but difficult to buy hats for.

He is often accompanied by a turtle, a crow or a deer and apparently likes to play chess (putting that big brain to good use).

He is credited with the ability to raise the dead, putting him head and shoulders above many competing gods.

Hats off to you, Fukurokuju!

 
© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.

Sources: Godchecker / Wikipedia

Image: Mingeiarts.com
 
 

God of the week – Axomamma

potato god
For the second in the new series, god of the week, we have the Incan Potato Goddess Axomamma, aka Acsumama/ Ajomama.

This female deity from the Andes is especially popular with modern humans, with people all across the world giving thanks to her bounty by consuming vast quantities of french-fries and other potato-based treats.

All praise Axomamma, sourceress of spuds, temptress of tubers and titan of tatties.

 
© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.
 
 

God of the week – Ahti

gods - Ahti
To kick off this new feature we have Ahti, an Egyptian goddess ‘with the head of a wasp and the body of a hippopotamus.’

I don’t imagine the hippo body made her very aerodynamic. I’m sure she also got a lot of shit from both wasps and hippos, all of which probably accounts for her supposed spiteful and angry demeanour.

She would definitely ruin a nice picnic.

Do you have a favourite god? Let me know in the comments.

 
© Copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.