Friday, 29 August 2014

Crystals, glitter and iron maidens

In the time of legends, considered to be the Golden Age, were fabulous robots made of gold, silver, bronze and precious metals. Some of the most famous of these artifacts were the beautiful handmaidens of Hephaistos, the metal working god of Greek myths. These maidens were made entirely of gold. They were able to move like women and they had the ability to talk. They were called the Kourai Khryseai.

Homer, Iliad 18. 416 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Hephaistos left his bellows] took up a heavy stick in his hand, and went to the doorway limping. And in support of their master moved his attendants. These are golden, and in appearance like living young women. There is intelligence in their hearts, and there is speech in them and strength, and from the immortal gods they have learned how to do things. These stirred nimbly in support of their master."

The idea of robots and other intelligent machines has existed in myths and legends for ages. Even Leonardo de Vinci designed drawings of a robot knight. Certain dolls are types of robots in a way. Beside the fascination with robots, there are imaginary machines that were once organic living beings. One of the best and earliest science fiction films called "Metropolis" (1927) by Fritz Lang featuresthe appearance of a robotrix woman nicknamed Hel. Women robots have flowered in films and literature ever since. The golden robotic girl Dot Matrix in "Spaceballs", the Stepford Wives, Fembots, and many other machine women serving as attendants, playthings or seeds of warfare. In "Terminator 3", the female cyborg T-X or Terminatortrix was the deadliest of all as she set off nuclear explosions.

As we're in the industrial age, a time when most women have hardened with the rise of machines, is it possible that we're evolving? A few decades ago, the UK's first woman prime minister Margaret Thatcher, was nicknamed the "iron lady". Many iron ladies have come after her reign. Even actresses and women pop stars of today are not so flowery as those before (gentle and sweet). They're quite metallic (harder, tougher, acidic, cold).  Women, politicians, entertainers and all those who move in the system, seem to pick up the energy of metals and minerals. Iron maidens and iron ladies such as Hillary Clinton, Madonna and even Beyonce represent the women who live alongside machines.

Let's not forget that as humans we're still very much part of the earth. We're not seperate. Having machines to aid us is what the gods intended for us to have, in order to assist us in living, to help those of us who are sick and diabled, and help restore the planet, animals and land from damage. Technology is a tool craft and a gift that we need to help communicate also and keep close together if we're too far away because, no matter what people think, we're not really that telepathic! Machines and technology is both useful and important, it's an artform and it's also a healer and helper, it should teach us more about the universe. One day machines, if developed properly could show us how to become better people spiritually.

This is where I'm going to sound mad. Instead of focusing too heavily on the machines as metals, let us consider the under respresented power of gemtsones and how crystals help manufacture rockets, medicinal equipment, computers and space technology.  Crystal power, unlike metal power, touches the esoteric and other worldly. While miderals are part of the physical world, it can help to heal emotions and restore ones life mentally and block negative energies. I imagine a future of spiritual machines that can be a source of healing.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Nazca geoglyph dog and more puzzles

Recent storms have revealed new geoglyph shapes on the vast Nazca Plain, a mountainous and desert region of Peru. One of the new hill figures is called The Dog due to it's canine like features and long snarling muzzle. The oddest part of the Nazca figure, as seen with other animal figures, shows that The Dog is double tailed.

Other newer forms have revealed a massive Snake figure at about 60 metres long and 5 metres wide. There are also giant llama figures, birds and trapezoids. Some say that the Nazca shapes represent an art focused civilisation, particular to the ancient Ica people who lived near the site thousands of years ago. These people's culture was creative and mysterious. They made relics, artwork, pottery and statues showing similar looking animals to those found on the landscape of Nazca. But how did they make them all and why is a question everyone's been asking.

The mystery gets weirder, depending on how you observe it. It's easier to assume that the present landscape of Nazca, which is severe and desertlike, was different thousands of years ago, maybe. There are criss cross patterns of gigantic straight lines, as if someone used a rular to draw across it. The lines can be seen from outer space. Who made those and how did they do it? It's anyones guess.

Other hill figures show dozens of creatures, even more than one species. They include fish, a monkey, hummingbirds, condor, spider, humanoids, plants, frigate, lizards, pelican, rhino (that to me resembles a triceratops), dragon (? some call it a Snakebird), parrot, pelican (it actually looks like a pteradactyl by the way), peacock, spirals, squares, geometric patterns, stars, and many more oddities.

One of the taller standing humanoid figures seems to be a person dressed in a space suit, wearing a large domed helmet. It's called an "Astronaut". Closest to the Astronaut figure is The Dog beside him with trapezoids on the other side.      

The Dog looks closely similar to the ancient breed of domestic dogs in Peru called the Peruvian inca orchid dog, distinctive for it's hairlessness but not the two tails. The Dog is nearest to the human Astronaut and so could provide a clue as to the relationship humans always have with dogs, the story of humans introduction to the Earth and how the two share a connection of friendship. Even all the figures might be a gigantic clock calendar but that's an idea.

All the hill figures at Nazca are only visible from the air. Space satallites reveal even more complex details and how precise, accurate and clever these shapes are embedded on the land.

I will point out that a number of the animals listed here are just some of many of the animals and more bizarre shapes. Most of the figures are easily identified as local animals although others on the Nazca site look like mythical and prehistoric creatures. 

More info on Nazca geoglyphs:

Nazca dog
Photos of Nazca shapes 
Nazca lines
Mystery Peru


Friday, 15 August 2014

Poisonous & Beautiful: Pterois

To be fair this particular subject is venomous and not necessarily poisonous. But I include creatures with venom in this project too on Poisonous and Beautiful lifeforms.

The Pterois is a venomous and lovely looking exotic fish. Most people know these fish as Lionfish. They have incredible and fascinating striped spines. Some species have one bright colours of the sprectrum. There are many types of lionfish, red lionfish, green lionfish, black lionfish, blue lionfish, ect.

Often found in the Pacific Ocean, the lionfish with fanned spines have large opal eyes and broad faces. Lionfish prefer to rest in shadowy undersea tunnels, hidden among corals, vegetation and caverns. Their wide fanning spines are a dorsal fin spine that must be avoided because of its venom. Also touching the base fins (pelvic and anal fins located under it's belly part) is also quite venomous.

The venom protects the lionfish from predators. It's thought that lionfish are successful because of their physical defences and because of that they don't have any natural predators although some claim to have witnessed sharks eating lionfish.

Humans are possibly the lionfish's greatest predator as lionfish food is quite popular in restaurants. There is a delicate way of preparing lionfish meat to avoid touching the venomous areas. 

More on this venomous fish:

Lionfish Lair

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Valkyrie Kara

This is quite a difficult valkyrie to discuss in the next subject. She's known by two names, Sigrun and Kara. Sigrun was a mortal woman and a valkyrie, who went through a metamorphosis and became Kara, a supernatural valkyrie of the air. Kara's name means "curly" and "wild curls". This makes reference to her hair, that was cascading and plaited or in ringlets.

To start with she was a beautiful princess named Sigrun. She worked as a shield maiden, rode horses, wore armour and was part of a group of other valkyrie shield maidens. It was said there were nine altogether, making up a magical number. She had flowing curly hair that she braided and her eyes were like aquamarine stones. 

She was the daughter of King Hogne, who ruled over Ostergotland, or East Gothland, a realm that was in ancient Sweden. Today it's full of little islands, fairytale castles and modern cities. It's possible that King Hogne, Sigrun's father, was part of the legendary Wulfings or "Wolf Clan". This story probably goes back to the 7th Century when Hogne ruled.

In the Volsunga Saga, Hogne had three children, two boys named Dag and Bragi, and a girl that was Sigrun. The medieval Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturluson, wrote that Bragi was a god of poetry and whose father was Odin. According to other legends, Bragi is the son of king Hogni and other Bragis appear as sons of different men in other poems and legends. It's possible that Bragi was a popular boys name and also likely Bragi manifests in stories again and again in different variations. Besides him, Sturluson wrote that king Hogne was said to be the father of Hildur and Hilda, brother and sister.

Putting aside that confusion, and focusing on the valkyrie Sigrun. Her father wanted her to marry Hothbrod, the son of the warrior king Granmar. She didn't love him. Already she is said to have been a shield maid with supernatural abilities, enabling her to tell the future, ride through the air and summon magical storms. Perhaps she was capable of projecting herself across vast distances using sorcery. She travelled across a sea and came to a great longship. On there was a handsome, muscular man who was startled to see Sigrun at first. He introduced himself as Helgi Hundingsbane, the son of hero Sigmund and the princess Borghild. Helgi and Sigrun instantly fell in love with one another. She tells him about herself, her life and how her father wanted to marry her off to Hothbrod.

What followed next in the story was an angry war. Helgi went with warriors to the kingdom of Granmar and killed everyone in a bloody battle. Only Sigrun's brother Dag survived and this made him bitter and angry towards his sister and her new lover. Sigrun was pleased that Hothbrod and her father was dead so that she could be free to marry Helgi.

Helgi and Sigrun married and had children. Then Dag wanted revenge. He sought Odin, who gave Dag a weapon to kill the strong Helgi. This is how Dag killed Helgi, when Helgi wa asleep in bed, Dag pierced his heart with a spear. Sigrun was overcome with distress at losing her husband. She worked with dark sorcery to punish her brother, and had him sent into the forest where he remained, eventually turning into a wolf.

Helgi was buried in the ground along with his sword and treasures. When Sigrun visited his grave every day, she encountered her husband's ghostly form that was so cold it made her tears turn to ice. She continued visiting his grave where they kissed but her husband's spirit stopped appearing one day. She visited the grave in the hope that Helgi's spirit might return to her but he didn't. Eventually she died of a broken heart, and was reborn as a Valkyrie named Kara.

She was reunited with her husband again but she became a Valkyrie of storms and escorted souls of warriors to Valhalla. Little of Sigrun as Kara was written about. A mortal woman turning into a valkyrie might have been connected to the ancient Northern beliefs in reincarnation, or reaching a higher spiritual goal in the next plane. Her name Kara was associated with curls and storms, perhaps hair or maybe even spiralling whirlwinds.   


The Volsung Saga


Monday, 4 August 2014

Adventure Girls: Ariel

This is the third post of a new series of different story adventuresses."Adventure Girls" are about different heroines from fairytales, story books, folklore and legends. They're girls who've been on exciting adventures, and many of them had to survive or overcome their fears. Tough girls, and always seeking quests. Some have been led down scary sinister paths, or taken to other lands outside of their control, but soon regained their courage to get what they want. Many of these girls are pretty famous favourite characters from fairy stories. Others are not so well known but whose stories of adventure and magic have been around for a long time.The inspiration of doing this new project is an extension from other projects of mine, covered here on this blog, with the titles "Power of the Goddess" (focusing only on Norse and Germanic goddesses) and "Fairytale Gromoire" (there are 8 of those altogether).

Adventure Girl Part 3 = Ariel

Appears in: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Anderson
Pets: None although different versions include pet dolphins and fish.
Features: A young mermaid with a fish tail, later transformed into a human without a voice.
Other info: A princess mermaid that falls in love with a man.

It was very difficult thinking of a name for the title of this blog as she used to be knowned only as "little mermaid". In 1989 when Disney animations created a princess based on the heroine with a name Ariel so so I went with the name "Ariel" as it's the name that she's now famous for. In a way I'm thankful that Disney gave her a name and made her character stronger and no more of a tragic story. In other versions she's called Lena and Marina.

Before 1989, the little mermaid was a damsel in distress or actually a siren under stress. She was head over tails in love with a handsome prince that she rescued from a sunken ship. Her obsession took her deep into the depths of the sea, where she confided in a solitary sea witch. The sea witch gave her a potion that she had to drink on the seashore. When she woke up, her fishy tail was gone and now she had a pair of human women's legs. The only sacrifice she made was giving up her beautiful singing voice. Her whole voice was gone.

The voice of a mermaid is what draws ships. Sirens are said, throughout history, and in myths, to cause hallucinations, consume sailors with delirium and pull people to their doom. A siren's voice is like a weapon. It's also part of a siren's allure. So losing her tail and her voice cuts off Ariel from her heritage of the sea.

In the original version and other adaptions, Ariel is lost without her voice but gains a new talent through dancing. Yet it's not enough to win the heart of the prince as he married another woman and Ariel is heartbroken. Her sea sisters appear, who offer her a special knife to kill the prince so that Ariel can be restored again and return to the ocean. Ariel fails to kill the man she loves. In the end, she turns to foam and dies. The sad end of the Little Mermaid had so many children crying over the ages. Thanks to Disney, Ariel wins her prince and stays human and happy. In the earlier pre-Disney version, the mermaid is like Lady of Shalotte and Ophelia, who are sad by unrequited love and perish out of despair, by drowning.

The changes, not just with Disney but other versions and ballet adaptions of the story is that making the sea witch, Ursula, very prominant and an adversary, made the prince intelligent enough to see through the spell to fall in love with Ariel. But had the sea witch Ursula not have been wicked, and another girl did challange Ariel, would Disney's Ariel still have thrown herself into the sea? Maybe not, as she's a clever bubbly character and not a wet waif.

Because altering the characters and plot makes a different turn of events. Like altering fate, altering a story too will change the outcome. But it doesn't change the nature of a girl's love for a man being so strong that she's willing to do anything to be his including self sacrifice and giving up her assets, her home, job and even her body to seek a new life.

Different actresses who played the Little Mermaid:

Shirley Temple (1961)
Hayley Mills (1966)
Nina Gulyayeva (1968)
Victoria Novikova (1974)
Fumie Kashiyama (1975)
Shelley Duvall (1987)
Jodi Benson (1989)
Tia Carrere (1997)
Emma Watson (TBA)


Little Mermaid statue
Surlalune Little Mermaid

The picture on this post is called "Mermaid Ariel" and the artist is Alena Lazereva