Giants That fell From the Sky (Giant Primer part 5)

Last of a five part Primer on Giants (which starts here).

The religious mysteries of the various cultures that surrounded the Mediterranean Sea basically start with some sky god knocking up the earth goddess. Some have a prologue of sorts where an unknown (and bored) creator diety brought all creation into being, and then that god – or his son, knocks up mother earth, and the action starts.

Invariably, though, He spills his seed upon the ground, and that makes a mess of paradise.

You know what this means, right? Yes. Aliens.

When I expand upon that notion (wholly unsupported with actual fact – so that we’re all clear) I think of Titans. First, because you can derive a narrative like this fairly cleanly from known mythology. Second, because I happen to know a good bit about that mythology and third because Titan is easy to spell and type.

Also, the Titans were big. Sources that agree on nothing else agree on this. Big horny giants from the sky. Aliens.

The Titans

atlas_santiago_toural_gfdl
Atlas – via Wikipedia commons

Here’s how I have imagined it for my time-traveling superhero RPG Go Action Fun Time:

As the Old Galactic Empire fell apart, during what we call the late Pleistocene,  a starship made its way out into the frontiers of the Galaxy, far beyond any working jump-gate, and took orbit around our small planet. The starship was crewed by refugees, or revolutionaries, or criminals, depending upon your perspective, but none disagree that they were no longer safe in known Imperial Space.

They set up operations on a small continent (Atlantis – as it would turn out), tectonically unstable, but rich in resources. The operation was to be brief – a rest stop to re-supply the Mother Ship – but something went Very Wrong in orbit, and the landing party found itself stranded in this primitive paradise. Or, alternately, depending on the source, the Mother Ship recalled them and when they refused to go, they were abandoned. Or, they were simply abandoned.

The Titans, like most advanced races, found it easier to adapt themselves to an environment rather than the other way around, and they assumed a form modeled on one of the most versatile species in extant in that biosystem at the time – namely hominids. Except they adopted a really astonishingly large version of it.

(c) Watts Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Titans – doing what they do best.

They possessed star-age technology, but little infrastructure to support it. For that they needed labor.  The legendary Hectonchirie and Cyclops were gigantic automatons, but even these great things were insufficient. They began modifying the local fauna, creating giant chimeric monsters to serve as beasts of burden.

Even this proved unsatisfactory. The local hominids seemed puny, but they were relatively bright and versatile. What could we do with them to make them a little larger?

Among their wondrous artifacts, though, was a “wish machine”, a matter/energy converter that can be controlled by thought; the pinnacle of Titan technology, and almost certainly stolen by this particular group.

Sheltered by their isolation, and cushioned by their stolen technology, their passions ran unchecked by hardship for centuries, and the whole planet became their footstool. Their civilization was a long, destructive party that raged for thousands of years. But their slaves kept learning, and became more and more independent, running a shadow society around and in spite of the quarreling Gods, who took it all for granted until it was far too late.

Civil war, a slave insurrection, and tectonic instability finally caught up to them, and they were forced to abandon their civilization. Many abandoned the planet altogether, but a few remained: The Titans, the Aesir (who would inhabit North America until the end fo the Ice Age),  the gods of Egypt and Mesopotamia and Greece. But they were too few to call a civilization, and the world, as it were, had passed to humans.

The Nephilim

nephilim-giants
Good, clean Biblical fun.

Closely related to this are the Nephilim – mentioned in the Bible and consequently speculated upon by all manner of new age and fundamentalist Christian wackos to the point where it’s not even fun anymore.

For my money Nephilim = Titan. The outcome was the same.

SOURCES:

A nice clean summary:

http://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/titans.html

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The Muans (Giant Primer pt4)

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Kumbhakarna the rakshasa out for a stroll.

The third of our giants who grew from the ground are the Muans. The series starts here.

Muans ( a term made up well after the fact) are a race of supernatural immortals native to southeast Asia. Their lost history informs the legends and myths behind the Asura and Devas and Jinn and Oni of more recent human cultures.

The term comes from the pseudo-scholarly work of Col James Churchward at the end of the 19th century. While he was in error about just about everything in his speculative account of a prehistoric south-pacific lost continent, we have appropriated the name anyway.

The lower sea levels of the late Pleistocene revealed the fertile hills of a great peninsula stretching from south-east Asia, across what is now called Oceanea, and nearly to Australia. Across these muddy hills, a large and aggressive strain of Homo Erectus concocted a civilization of sorts that we now call Mu.

That Homo Erectus inhabited this peninsula is a paleo-archaic fact. Beyond that, we speculate that they developed a civilization of sorts, and then a mighty civilization. That civilization allowed them to grow – physically – into something much larger and fiercer than their humble Homo Erectus progenitors.

Homo Erectus topped out at 6’ or so, which was enormous compared to contemporary hominid species. While they matched modern human in size, their skulls were smaller and flatter. This did not stop them from using fire and devloping a distinct style of tool making often referred to as Acheulian culture. (So if you need a name that is not Mu – there you go).

Let us imagine now that some of these fellows went beyond fire and finely chipped stone axes; that they created a genuine civilization of some sort on the muddy shores of that ice-age subcontinent. What might remain? Not much, the rising seas would not have been kind. But folklore in that part of the world goes back a looong way.

Hawaiian lore speaks of a transpacific civilization before the Polynesian culture which conquered the island around the 13th century. This civilization actually had very little structure. The people hunted and fishing, shared everything communally, and disputes were settled by the eldest among them. This speaks more of a low population density than any particular enlightenment.

Southeast Asian folklore is filled with ogre-like creatures with fangs and occasionally too many limbs or heads. These creatures were slavers and cannibals. Until you get to Hindu myth – which is never that simple.

r050994
Ravana fighting Indra and his elephant because politics.

The Asuras and Rhaksasas of Vedic myth opposed the gods (specifically they opposed Indra and his allies), and often behaved badly towards those ends, but not all were evil. Most adhered to a fairly ascetic life, and the differences between the Asuras and the gods seem mostly political.

Asuras and Raksasa are shape-shifters, and come in a bewildering variety of forms.

Let’s put this together in a single (wholly fictional) narrative:

At least a half million years ago, the advancing Acheulian civilization stumbled upon the secret of eternal life. Perhaps it was gift from Outside Forces, perhaps it was derived from purity of spirit, perhaps they developed it through science. Remember: humans got from wild wheat fields to landing on the moon in just over 5000 years.

So the Muans had biological regeneration, shape change, and dimensional manipulation (to carry some legends forward). That’s better than computers and gunpowder. Respect.

It may be that the price of eternal life was never having children.  If so, it seems the Muans found a way around it, but the results might have been horribly mutated: the Oni of Japanese myth, and a tribe of descendants crossing Africa and eventually working northwards up the Atlantic to become the Fomorians.

Muans themselves lived by a strict moral code. They worshipped no gods, and indeed spat upon all supernatural notions. They fought one another, but never to the death, and serious disputes were always arbitrated by other Muans. They had an ascetic philosophy of continually improving oneself – for what else is the point of eternal life?

But Muans regarded all other human variants as little more than animals, suitable only as slaves, and occasionally food. Hece their reputation in folklore.

As the ice age ended, about 15,000 years ago, the waves would start to overtake their homeland. Crushed for resources, the Muans began to battle one another – unheard of to that point. Even so, a series of volcanic eruptions about 8000 years ago would have sealed their doom as a coherent people. The survivors wandered inland, and disappeared into myth.

SOURCES:

Mu in general:

https://redice.tv/news/the-lost-lands-of-mu-and-lemuria

Homo Erectus

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-erectus

http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo/homo_2.htm

http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/homo-erectus-a-bigger-smarter-97879043

http://www.becominghuman.org/node/homo-erectus-0

Hawaii:

http://www.kahunaresearchgroup.org/case-log/legend-of-the-mu-people-hawaiis-original-inhabitants

Other Mythology

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/hmvp/hmvp43.htm

http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Asura

Asuras are mythological lord beings in Indian and Persian (Ariæns) texts who compete for power with the more benevolent devas (also known as suras).[1] Asuras are described in Indian texts as powerful superhuman demigods or demons with good or bad qualities. The good Asuras are called Adityas and are led by Varuna, while the malevolent ones are called Danavas and are led by Vritra.[2] Other specific sections of Asuras exist, and they are known as Daityas, Anavayas, and Raksasas.

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2010/06/difference-between-asuras-and-rakshasas.html

http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php/Rakshasa

http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/jinn-tales-wish-masters-throughout-time-005138

Images:

http://www.indiatimes.com/culture/who-we-are/9-facts-you-didn-t-know-about-kumbhakarna-the-rakshasa-258358.html

http://www.indyachalo.com/chalukya.html

Jack meets the Cockatrice

In this excerpt from my upcoming novel, The Beanstalk and Beyond, the Ogress has imprisoned Jack in the giant chicken coop, where he discovers that he is not the only non-chicken trapped within.

Cockatrice scan

 

When I have told this story in the past, I typically described the bird as a hen or a goose. Truth is far stranger; I have not seen anything like this bird before or since. In the moonlight, it seemed about the size of a good goose, but parts of its head had scales instead of feathers. Its eyes glowed amber, like a dragon’s, if you’ve ever had the misfortune to stare into such a gaze, and its beak had teeth.

“We must escape tonight, before sunlight,” that beak announced.

“Wha-aaw!” I jumped, for I was yet unaccustomed to animals starting conversations with me.“You talk.”

“Of course I talk; I’m a cockatrice. And I am relieved that you speak some words as well. You’re a human, right? Funny, I’d always imagined your kind larger and hairier. No matter. We must escape tonight.”

 

 

Beanstalk and Beyond preview 4 of several

I recently turned in my final edit for the Beanstalk and Beyond, being volume 1 of the Autobiography of Jack the Giant Killer.

I am posting short excerpts from that work at random intervals. This is one of them

The Ogress (the giant’s wife) is explaining some history to Jack.

“Long ago,” she continued, “While your like was just poking their tiny heads out of caves, this world belonged to the giants. Not the demented cretins you might encounter these days, but true Giants, like my husband. Thousands of them who could all trace their mighty lineage to the Titans themselves.”

Some Inconvenient Truths about St Patrick

I’m going to break with widespread internet tradition and write about St Paddy on a day other than St Patrick’s Day. I have other reasons for my interest in him.

I never need to invent reasons to drink beer.

saint-patrick-day
You’ll not be getting any green beer from this island!

History Ireland has a good summary of how beloved old St Patrick was quite likely a crank who is preserved in history because he wrote stuff down.

Patrick—to his fellow bishops, probably in Ireland, who would have seen his activity at close quarters—had gone completely ‘off message’ with his unique vision of himself as the apocalyptic preacher. Yet by answering these anonymous level-headed pastors, the real founders of Irish Christianity, Patrick became the only one who left a name and any account of evangelising in Ireland!

 

http://www.historyireland.com/st-patrick/st-patrick-the-legend-and-the-bishop/

 

What he did not leave was any account of his driving away all of the snakes. This is because Ireland almost certainly had no snakes within human history there. It was a glacier covered island until the tail-end of the ice age.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140315-saint-patricks-day-2014-snakes-ireland-nation/

The brief version of the tale is that Patrick, while on an extended fast, was beset by snakes, so he preached the gospel to them and thereby drove them into the sea. Which, so we’re clear, was meant as an accolade of the power of his preaching, not an indictment.

The most popular interpretation of this legend is that it is a far  more recent invention, and snakes = pagans as an allegory.

http://www.ancient-origins.net/comment/17829

Not so fast, say pagan scholars such as P. Sufenas Virius Lupus are oft quoted, every March, saying things like:

There is the idea, recently given voice inGalina Krasskova’s article on this subject at Patheos.com, that St. Patrick drove out the snakes of Ireland, but that the snakes were really “the druids,” and that therefore some modern pagans and druids celebrate “Bring Back the Snakes Day.” Unfortunately, this isn’t true, and the hagiographies of St. Patrick did not include this particular “miracle” until quite late, relatively speaking (his earliest hagiographies are from the 7th century, whereas this incident doesn’t turn up in any of them until the 11th century). St. Patrick’s reputation as the one who Christianized Ireland is seriously over-rated and overstated, as there were others that came before him (and after him), and the process seemed to be well on its way at least a century before the “traditional” date given as his arrival, 432 CE, because Irish colonists (yes, you read that right!) in southern Wales, Cornwall, and elsewhere in Roman and sub-Roman Britain had already come into contact with Christians and carried the religion back with them when visiting home.

Also referenced here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/03/saint-patrick-druids-snakes-and-popular-myths.html

The snake thing, then, was almost certainly an invention by later (church) “historians” ofr obscure propaganda reasons – or maybe they just thought it was really cool.

That doesn’t work for me at all.

So I’m going to give away some plot of my next book to you, al three of my loyal followers:

It was a brood of dragons. They were being compelled to remain in Ireland by the Druids somehow, but Patrick schemed to subvert that. The dragons ask how they can repay him, and the old crank replies, “Repent and turn to God.” The dragons ask him any other boon, so he says “Then leave, and never come back.” Which they did.

That is all 50 years history at the start of the novel, but repercussions of that (dragons have a long memory) contribute to The Problem.

 

OTHER SOURCES

http://www.craveonline.com/culture/966109-st-patricks-day-whole-snakes-thing-got-started

https://realtruth.org/articles/328-spmtal.html

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2000/03/st_patrick.html