Baldr, the Norse Goddess of Light, Joy, Purity, and So Much More #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #norse

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As the holiday season continues, I give you yet another god that embodies the season’s spirit. Depending on who you ask, Baldr represented a lot of different things. The only commonality among these interpretations is that he was clearly the most beloved god. Everyone liked him.

Here’s a video on his tragic end.

Don’t feel sad, though. Baldr “returned” when Christianity spread through Scandanavia.

I hope Baldr’s joy reaches you during this holiday season.

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Euphrosyne, the Greek Goddess of Good Cheer, Mirth, and Merriment #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Greek

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With the holiday season upon us, it seems appropriate to mention one of the three charities, Euphrosyne. Along with her sisters, she was tasked to fill the world with joy and pleasant times. More specifically, she’s the goddess of good cheer, mirth, and merriment. Like many figures in Greek mythology, NASA has named a heavenly body after her. Euphrosyne is the 7th largest asteroid NASA has catalogued.

I wish you her blessings during this holiday season.

Not really. She’s not real. I just hope you enjoy yourselves.

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Tyr, the Norse God of War #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #norse

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This past weekend was Veterans’ Day, so what better subject for the following Mythology Monday than a god of war, justice, and sacrifice?

…..

There is none. That’s the answer.

$117 cheap! I will not be buying it.

Tyr was a brave man. Here’s a video describing his great sacrifice as well as his heroic end.

I’m annoyed that most of the imagery online is from a video game.

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Indra and Airavata #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #India

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Today’s Dictionary.com word of the day is vajra, which is a thunderbolt of Indra. It seemed appropriate to provide you with a video describing Indra, who in the 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons world is the chief of the Indian pantheon. Here’s a video about him.

I know that a lot of you have short attention spans, so here’s another one that’s only 3 minutes long.

One thing that’s important to note is that there are people that still practice this faith even today. When I was in 7th grade, I had a friend named Shashank. He was Hindu, and I showed him the entries for the Indian pantheon in Deities & Demigods. The only thing I remember him saying from 42 years ago was that Indra’s elephant, Airavata, was known for its trunk, which it wielded as a formidable weapon. The legends of which I’m aware state that Airavata has seven trunks, and he most notably used it to “reach down to the watery underworld, suck up the water, and spray it into the clouds. Indra then caused cool water to rain down, thereby linking the waters of the sky to those of the underworld.” Hinduism is a large religion, which means the stories can easily change from person to person. There’s no right answer, as often legends are essentially fan fiction spanning generations.

In any case, Shashank displayed took pride in the entries, not offense. Not everyone would have the same reaction. To me, mythology is nothing more than an anthropological study, so I take the same approach to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. as I do any religion generally considered, “mythology.” If it makes you feel better, I find the “mythologies” far cooler.

Tread lightly when discussing others’ religions.

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Brutal Watch: The Northman @TheNorthmanFilm @bjork @neilhimself #GoodWatch #mythology #folklore #DnD #ADnD #RPG #TTRPG

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A few of weeks ago, I saw The Northman. I loved it but understand that it isn’t for everyone. It’s a Norse tale, which means it doesn’t fit the formula for what sells in Peoria.

This character was loosely based on me.

The cast was great, but this post isn’t a review. The movie, like several others before it, got me thinking.

I didn’t study mythology because of my interest in 1st Edition D&D (“1e”); it was the other way around. Mythology (and dinosaurs) got me into 1e in the 1970s. I thought, “Wow! I can tell my own stories within these settings and characters?!” However, whether it’s D&D, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, or Bulfinch’s Mythology, western literature tends to sanitize the characters and their stories. The “good-aligned” deities are often presented as noble, loving, and helpful. There are certainly some exceptions — Zeus was an asshole — but the sense of right and wrong have been aligned at least to some extent to what the modern audience thinks as “good.” We really do make the gods in our own image. The Northman reminds us that the “good guy” is not someone you’d want to marry your daughter. Life was brutal and uncaring back then, and being that way yourself was an effective survival strategy.

That said, there’s a reasonableness to garnering lessons from these myths. In a very narrow, personal way, I relate rather strongly to the protagonist’s backstory (appropriately discussed today). I would never handle our similar predicament in the same way, but the character’s backstory loosely parallels my own. If you dig through the primitive details of the specific culture at hand, you can find some universal truths, or at least something to which you can relate (no more than vaguely, I hope). After all, people take from stories whatever message they want to hear. We tend to cut out the brutality from these stories, and thus also ignore how those that wrote them applied them to real life.

So no, you wouldn’t want to invite any of these ancient people to dinner.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Gods of Death #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Egypt #Greece #MCU

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D&D didn’t get me into mythology; mythology got me into D&D. I loved mythology as a kid (still do), so I loved the idea of playing a game that allowed me to write stories within those worlds. The MCU is now getting deeper into the mix with Egyptian gods in Moon Knight, Greek and Egyptian gods (and maybe others) in Thor: Love and Thunder, and perhaps more in Black Panther 2 and others further down the pike.

So, continuing with the death theme of past few days, I give you a couple videos of death gods. First up, Anubis from the Egyptian pantheon.

Next, Thanatos from ancient Greece.

From Haiti, we get Baron Semedi.

The Japanese give us a host of death gods called the Shingami.

And then there’s the goddess of death from my favorite pantheon.

No, not her.

Depressed yet?

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Mythic Watch: Moon Knight @moonknight @MarvelStudios #MoonKnight #MCU #GoodWatch

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So, Moon Knight. Today’s the season finale.

As always, I got up early to watch it.

This isn’t a traditional review that implicitly claims that a show is good or bad based on some make-believe objective standard. I hate that pretentious nonsense. Whether or not you like a movie, song, TV show, or food is purely subjective. Instead, my approach to reviews is to explain why I like what I like and hate what I hate. If what makes me like/hate it applies to you, then maybe you’ll like/hate it too. I say, “maybe,” because there are other factors beyond what I can possibly express, but at least you have a better chance of predicting your reaction.

So, here is the context to understand the place from which my feelings arise:

  1. I grew up reading about dinosaurs and mythology, so anything involving either one of them has an advantage in gaining me as an audience, but are still not all winners.
  2. I’m not a fan of the comic book genre. However, when I was in elementary school, I’d sometimes hang out with my cousin. When it was too hot or cold to play outside, we’d read his comics. I remember them oddly well, but there were very few that grabbed me.
  3. I’m an apologist for comic book movies.

So, what do I think of Moon Knight? I love it. Considering the context given above, I don’t think I need to say much beyond that, as the explanation has already been given. However, I don’t want any of you asking for your money back, so here’s a little more. As with Shang-Chi before it, Moon Knight is opening the door to folklore, legends, and myths of a culture rarely addressed in western media. I’m sure most (non-bot) readers of this blog get that, but for our society as a whole, these other cultures are untapped resources. Disney is just scratching the surface with Egyptian and Chinese cultures. Give me Quetzalcoatl! Give me Shango! Give me Raijin! But please keep Chris Hemsworth as Thor. 😊

I suspect the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is going to have me lose my shit for the same reason.

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Temporal Deities @MythsExplained #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Egypt

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Due to my one year streak of posts soon coming to an end, the theme of the weekend has been time, so here are a couple of videos on time deities, starting with Chronos, the Greek god of time. This one also discusses how mythology often resembles fan fiction. Some gods were worshipped over centuries, and some over millennia. Some stories passed orally, while others were changed as the political winds shifted. Ancient peoples believed what they wanted to believe, and that changed.

Next up is the closest thing we have to a time deity in Egyptian mythology, Shai, a goddess of destiny. Like time, the story told has no ending. It was . . . lost to time. Get it?

Time is almost up.

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Dionysus @MythsExplained #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #actor #theater

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Continuing my current theme of acting, I provide a video of Dionysus. One of the lesser known (if unsurprising) domains of Dionysus is the theater. But don’t worry; this video just talks about getting drunk.

Well, no. It speaks a lot about his story generally. Something, something, grapes, something. Maybe I’m the one that’s been drinking.

Raise a glass!

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