Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Mythology’

Sleeping Beauty – An Enduring Tale/Cycle of Dreaming and Waking/the Breath of the Unmanifested and Creation

Introduction to a Well Known Author:

Fairytales are atmospheric, creepy and often cruel showing us temptation in the form of hope usually after great turmoil and sacrifice. They’re not often stories for children but more warnings as Pamela Travers herself claimed she didn’t write the Mary Poppins books for children. To some of us they can be seen as culmination of learning and with her tempestuous life perhaps a yearning – Ms Poppins being someone she wanted to be or wanted to guide her through the storm? Poppins being someone who glided through extremities like only few and a ‘nanny’ (granny, Dark Mother figure – remember the Dark Mother is an honourary title, she doesn’t have to be a Mother).

The remakes of well known fairytales in recent years have emphasized further that they are not really ‘family friendly’ and even modern authors from Roald Dahl to J. K. Rowling have shown us ‘dark’ children’s and young adult fiction, easily read by adults, and yet they hold a map for childhood. Dystopian themes have made it to the forefront of youth fiction – but then did they ever really leave? The scary has always been at home with musical folk tales and poems of old and are always present watching and coming closer to us from the periphery, they sometimes get watered by the likes of Disney but even Disney shows protagonists in danger. Is it a safe ‘threat’ we hanker for like that of a roller coaster where we feel the thrill but never the peril or is there something in us that really wants to fall? We never really face the unknown we just go round in circles, patterns and trends.

But Disney was right to excise from Mary Poppins the Zen mysticism and symbolism, about which academics had preposterously written lectures and learned papers. And although Disney’s songwriters the Sherman Brothers are on record as finding Travers “a hellcat” to work with (“like having two weeks of ulcers”), she comes across in the film as ultimately sympathetic, commanding respect for facing up with spirit to the Disney men. Travers was fond of saying that all women pass through three phases: nymph, mother, crone.

As Lawson writes, in the initial days of Disney’s charm offensive, P L Travers “fell into Walt’s embrace like a lovesick fool, but the fortune he gave her almost made up for the betrayal”. She got $100,000 upfront and 5 per cent of the gross, so she had to forgive “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and dancing penguins. And after five years of “uneasy wedlock”, the film emerged – unsubtle, sugary, sentimental; “gorgeous, but all wrapped round mediocrity of thought” – and won five Oscars. Sam Goldwyn wrote an open letter saying everyone in the world should see it. Never mind that Disney’s editions of Mary Poppins books outsold hers; her own sales trebled. She would later say that she had written “a small unpretentious book, but as full of meat as a sausage is. The film made it grandiose, pretentious and took all the stuffing out of the story.” But she always praised Julie Andrews and even thought Dick Van Dyke’s cockney was “really not too bad”. She discussed a possible sequel without objection.

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/12/strange-life-creator-mary-poppins

Was he right to White wash (his own life and business White washed of course)? I love the Mary Poppins film (and I can understand why Emma Thompson was chosen to portray P. L. Travers due to her role as Nanny McPhee – the films of which I didn’t really like – and her bearing in general) but I’m aware there was more going on in her life and in the series. It seems as if Travers got caught up in great knowledge and mixed with great cultural icons who themselves did the same but like many were far too a bohemian, rich, elite set indulgent and immature for the wisdom they sought/practiced.

Too bad we can’t all be like the characters we create and adore; perhaps she wanted Mary Poppins but had some of that in her aunts and would have been better off with Granny/Mistress Weatherwax (another Dark Mother/Witch/Wise Woman/Crone figure) from Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’, whom many of us love… At a distance and with great respect and perhaps some bitterness and begrudgement, and she was the ‘good one’ out of her and her sister 😉 !

What we want and need are sometimes two very different things.

Discerning the Nature of Free Will

In the chapter entitled, “John and Barbara’s Story,” a starling, a wise bird, visits the nursery at Cherry Tree Lane and communes with Mary Poppins and the babies, John and Barbara. Through their conversation, we become aware that the babies, the starling, and Mary Poppins understand the language of the wind, the stars, and the sunlight. However, the starling laments that the children will soon forget everything about where they came from. The children, of course, vehemently protest. Soon, however, they do forget.

This theme is explored further in the chapter entitled, “The New One” in Mary Poppins Comes Back. When the baby Annabel is born, the starling makes another visit, and he turns somersaults on the windowsill, clapping his wings wildly together each time his head comes up. “What a treat!” he pants, when at last he stands up straight. (Now he had someone to whom he could speak again.) The starling asks Annabel to tell the fledgling that accompanies him to tell where she came from:

“I am earth and air and fire and water,” she said softly. “ I come from the Dark where all things have their beginnings. I come from the sea and its tides, I come from the sky and its stars, I come from the sun and its brightness—and I come from the forest of earth. Slowly, I moved at first always sleeping and dreaming. I remembered all I had been and I thought of all I shall be. And when I had dreamed my dream I awoke and came swiftly. I heard the stars singing as I came and I felt warm wings about me. I passed the beasts of the jungle and came through the dark, deep waters.” “It was a long journey! A long journey indeed!” said the starling softly, lifting his head from his breast. “And ah, so soon forgotten!”

This episode is reminiscent of the soul’s encounter with the river Lethe in Greek mythology. The souls of the dead bathe there before they are born, so they will not remember their previous history and choices made before birth (karma) until their life is over. If we knew what happened in past lives with the people we know in the present, we might avoid these people and many of life’s experiences. How can we operate with free will and choice if we know our sacred contracts, asks Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts. In The Secrets of Dr. Traverner, Diane Fortune, the occult fiction writer of the early twentieth century, wrote about a character who refused to come completely into her body because she knew her fate and was afraid to face it. This presents the paradox that from ignorance we exercise free will; from knowledge we forfeit our right to choose.

https://www.theosophical.org/publications/1240

The above link explores symbolism in the Mary Poppins series and Travers was herself an ardent student of mythology and culture which brings us to one of her passions, a passion of intrigue with eternal beauty.

The Allure of Beauty in Death/Slumber, the Conflict of Choosing Between Immortal and Mortal Love:

I’m not going to explain the symbolism in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ such as a the Spinners/Fates/Wheels but simply quote some of Travers’ own words as found in the ‘Afterword‘ of her book ‘About The Sleeping Beauty’. Therein she outlines five versions of the story from different cultures following her own refashioning. Bear in mind that I do not agree with everything.

The idea of the sleeper, of somebody hidden from mortal eye, waiting until the time shall ripen has always been dear to folkly mind – Snow White asleep in her glass coffin, Brynhild behind her wall of fire, Charlemagne in the heart of France, King Arthur in the Isle of Avalon, Frederick Barbarossa under his mountain in Thuringia. Muchukunda, the Hindu King, slept through eons until he was awakened by the Lord Krishna; Oisin of Ireland dreamed of Tir N’an Og for over three hundred years. Psyche in her magic sleep is a type of Sleeping Beauty, Sumerian Ishtar in the underworld may be said to be another. Holga the Dane is sleeping and waiting, and so, they say, is Sir Francis Drake. Quetzalcoatl of Mexico and Virochoca of Peru are both sleepers. Morgan le Fay of France and England and Dame Holle of Germany are sleeping in raths and cairns.

The themes of the sleeper is as old as the memory of man. Where it first arose we do no know. One can never find where myth and fairy tale begin any more than one can find wild wheat growing. They are not invented, that is certain. They germinate from seeds sown by an unknown hand. ‘The Authors’, as the poet William Blake has said, ‘are in Eternity’, and we must be content to leave them there. The story is, after all, what matters.

The appearance of this lady at the Christening [in her version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’] is the great moment of the tale, the hook from which everything hangs. Properly to understand why this is so we must turn to Wise Women in general and their role in the world of men. To begin with they are not mortal women. They are sisters, rather, of the Sirens, kin to the Fates and the World Mothers. As such, as creatures of another dimension, myth and legend have been at pains to embody them in other than human shape – the winged female figures of Homer, the bird headed women of the Irish tales, the wild women of ancient Russia with square heads and hairy bodies and the wisplike Jinn of the Middle East who were not allowed grosser forms than those of fire and smoke. It was to do away with their pantomime image and give them their proper weight and authority that our version provided the Wise Women with their hairless heads of gold and silver and made their golden and silver feet hover a little above the earth as the gods do on the Greek vases. And in dressing them in colours of the spectrum that the Thirteen are parts of the single whole and the opposites complementary.

For it should be remembered that no Wise Woman or Fairy is in herself either good or bad; she takes on one aspect or the other according to the laws of the story and necessity of events. The powers of these ladies are equivocal. They change with changing circumstances; they are as swift to take umbrage as they are to bestow a boon; they curse and bless with equal gusto. Each Wise Woman is, in fact, an aspect of the Hindu goddess, Kali, who carries in her multiple hands the powers of good and evil.

It is clear, therefore, that the Thirteenth Wise Woman becomes the Wicked Fairy solely for the purpose of one particular story. It was by chance that she received no invitation; it might just as well have been one of her sisters. So, thrust by circumstance into her role, she acts according to law.

Up she rises, ostensibly to avenge an insult but in reality to thrust the story and keep the drama moving. She becomes the necessary antagonist, placed there to show that whatever is ‘other’, opposite and fearful, is indispensable an instrument of creation as any force for good. The pulling of the Devas an Asuras in opposite directions churn the ocean of life in the Hindu myth and the interaction of the good and the bad Fairies produces the fairy tale. The Thirteenth Wise Woman stands as the guardian of the threshold, the paradoxical adversary without whose presence no threshold may be passed.

This is the role played in so many stories by the Wicked Stepmother. The true mother, by her very nature, is bound to preserve, protect and comfort; this is why she is so often disposed of before the story begins. It is the stepmother, her cold heart unwittingly cooperating with the hero’s need, who thrusts the child from the warm hearth, out from the sheltering walls of home to find his own true way.

Powers such as these, at once demonic and divine, are not to be taken lightly. They give a name to evil, free it, and bring it to the light. For evil will out, they sharply warn us, no matter how deeply buried…

Without the Wicked Fairy there would have been no story. She not the heroine, is the goddess in the machine.

But if the Prince is a mysterious figure, how much more so is she who is the crux of the story, the maiden of surpassing beauty asleep behind her wall of thorns, she whom men from the beginning of time have pondered on and treasured. I say the beginning of time with intent, for when a woman is the chief character in a story it is a sign of its antiquity. It takes us back to those cloudy eras when the world was rule not, as it was in later years, by a god but by the Great Goddess. Here, as with the Prince, is a heroine who has ostensibly nothing to do, nothing to suffer. She is endowed with every blessing and grace and happy fortune, no slights or indignities are put upon her as is the case with her sister heroines, Show White, Cinderella, Little Two-Eyes, or the Goose Girl. She simply has to follow her fate, prick her finger, and fall asleep. But perhaps – is this what the story is telling us? – perhaps it is not a simple thing to do to faithfully follow one’s fate…

Who is she, this peerless beauty, this hidden sleeping figure that has kindled the imaginations of so many generations and for whom children go about on tiptoe lest she be too soon wakened?

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[My comment: The Princess is the representative on Earth, the Earth as the creation, she is the illuminated light illuminated from the light of the Mother like the moon to the sun; part divine, part mortal – the link between the Mother and potential creation, and the created. She is the Daughter and in a story involving a love interest she is like Persephone, abducted or tricked into staying in manifestation, separated from the Creator like a tool/weapon/treasure. She is the Fallen, fallen with creation which in itself is fallen because it is no longer with/an immediate part of the Creator. In this story and many she is Fallen by the actions of a Father figure and she is then through transformation of some kind, here it is sleep, rescued by the Dark Mother.]

There are those who see the tale exclusively as a nature myth, as the earth in spring, personified as a maiden, awaking from the long dark sleep of winter; or as a hidden deep in the earth until the kiss of the sun makes it send forth leaves. This is undoubtedly as aspect of the story. But a symbol, by the very fact of being a symbol, has not one sole and absolute meaning. It throws out light in every direction. Meaning comes pouring from it.

As well as being a nature myth, it is also possible that there are elements of a secret and forgotten ritual in the theme, reminders of initiation ceremonies where the neophyte dies – or sleeps – on one level and wakes on another, as a chrysalis wakes into butterfly. Or again it may be that since all fairy tales hark back to myth we are present here at the death and resurrection of a goddess, of Persephone down in the underworld biding her time until she returns to earth.

So, face to face with the Sleeping Beauty – who has long been the dream of every man and the hope of every woman – we find ourselves compelled to ask what is it in us that at a certain moment suddenly falls asleep? Who lies hidden deep within us? And who will come to wake us, what aspect of ourselves?

[My comment: And hopefully they shall not waken us with a kiss.]

Are we dealing here with the sleeping soul and all the external affairs of life that hem it in and hide it’ something that falls asleep after childhood; something that not to waken would make life meaningless? To give an answer, supposing we had it, would be breaking the law of the fairy tale. And perhaps no answer is necessary. It is enough that we ponder upon and love the story and ask ourselves the question.


I think she may have had a more conclusive answer being so well educated and thoughtful in her work and only seemed to naval gaze (as we all do at times) in wistful, poetic moments to make the prose (including her ‘afterword’) richer. Perhaps she thought the keys to the tale/threshold/door were not for us to know.

Gallery

Hidden in Plain Sight (Saturn again)

Terry Pratchett aka the man in the big Black hat – one of the UK’s former leaders in fantasy/sci-fi but also popular with the international populace in general. He expired on 12.03.15 at age 66.

I was thinking about the Scone of Stone recently – from his books it’s a dwarf made bread that’s so hard it’s only edible as a last resort and used as a weapon more often, the Scone of Stone however was sat on by a ‘Low King’ (since they live underground low actually means high, and higher than a regular provincial king in the hierarchy) of the dwarves 1500 years ago when it was still soft and so left an impression. Hence ever since the Kings (and remember this is a race where being female is taboo so they mostly pretend to be men) have sat on said stone. (Well it’s not as bad as sitting on a popular public transport route seat I guess that’s had millions of bums on it.)

The above reminded me of the ‘London Stone’. Every time I passed its box at 111 Cannon Street (a highstreet, and that address has seen many shop changes) I’d stop and stare at it for a while and it was like I’d slowed down to think whilst masses of people would just walk by like it wasn’t there, never existed and was insignificant. There are more stones like that in the UK and Ireland including the Stone of Scone that the current Elizardbeth like many before her was coronated with it under her butt.

Now look at this cover, what is out of place?

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

Yes I noticed it at first too and thought “why is that here, that’s weird” and promptly put it out of my mind o_o I’d just been looking at it every day and reading a bit for the past week.

Then I wrote ‘Saturn and Kali or Ka & L‘ post and the next day Mum said to me:
“Look at that”
“eh? Por quoi?”
“Look at that [plonker]” *pointing at the cover*
“Oh my gosh!”
“Finish reading it and see if it’s in there”
*Does as told, she gets tired waiting…”
“This is the answer [stupid]!” *turns book around to reveal:*

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

“Oh. My. Gosh”
“You’re so silly, how could not notice it!?”
“Eh…. … But… But you told me to read it and you were right, to check it just in case!”
“I was testing you!”
“But I still have to finish it!”
“I’ve already found the answer [dopey]”
*I continue reading anyway* “There’s more to it, look at the border, see it looks like a castle or cave and that statue in the bottom left, and the Blue computer spiral like a fingerprint in the background.”

… Time passes by, no mention of Saturn…
“Ah-ha!”
“What?”
“I found where the border came from but not the centurions”
“The centurions?”
“The Watch” *pointing them out*
“The what?”
“The Watchmen there in the bottom right.”
“The what?”
“The Watch, the police, the Ankh-Morpork police force!”
“Oh them”
“Yes them”
“What do they matter?”
“They’re not in the artwork in the book for one, they’ve been added to the scene, and look at their expressions they’re scared and ready to attack.”
“Scared of what?”
“Look their scared of him, their Maker/Creator, the writer with his books [knowledge]. Whilst he’s surrounded by Death’s domain and when he looks up he can see Saturn looking down at him with its polar vortex, the ‘Eye of Saturn’ [the All Seeing Eye]**”
“We already knew that”
“Yes but!”
“What’s the”
“bu..”
“point?”
“There’s more!”
I ALREADY KNEW [BECAUSE I’M OMNIPOTENT, OMNIPRESENT AND OMNI-EVERYTHING. SO THERE].

And just so you know, this is the back inlay cover:

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

The important thing here is that as aforementioned Saturn isn’t any of the stories within, a couple of possible allusions but they don’t relate to it in their context. Also the majority of Pratchett’s work was hand illustrated by Josh Kirby (died 2001, age 72) followed by Paul Kidby (still living). The image of Saturn however is not in the illustration of Death’s domain, it’s a photograph and/or cgi. It’s an eyesore design wise, out of place, not part of the background photo with the books because it’s not in the perspective plus it’s clear and they’re blurred, what would be the point of leaving it sharpened? It’s meant to be there imposingly.

Also the picture of Death in disco gear (which is funny because Mum’s favourite style ever is Punk – which combines her other two faves Goth and Biker but looks like it vomited fluorescence over them and doesn’t need to go together in any way, yet is still cool – and she was saying this morning how she’s going to look Punk again. I told her that Death is wearing 70’s clothing but she’d already been there, done that, didn’t want to talk about it again and said “it’s still punk and I’ve been talking to you about massive shoes for a while haven’t I, especially Red ones”, “Yes, you have.” *Deep breath*.) As I was saying, the picture of Death at the disco is actually from the story ‘Turntables of the Night’ (1989):

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

The story features a couple of guys, one a music aficionado collector who collects for the sake of collecting every piece of music that’s ever existed on vinyl, and the other his mate who looks after him. Death visits a Hallowe’en party they’re DJ’ing at to raise money for the church… And only the collector can see him but his friend notices a space on the dancefloor that people aren’t avoiding exactly, they’re just not going into it like they don’t notice it, but seeing the state his friend is in he braves it. In doing so he can almost see but definitely hear Death’s voice in and around him asking to be introduced to his friend. Once he and the collector get talking Death states that he too is a collector, he has all the greats; Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon…
“Fairly wide spread, musically… Have you got the complete Beatles?”
NOT YET.

Apparently due to an overload of sockets, connectors irresponsibly put together and bad/old wiring there’s an electrical fire and the church burns. The collector’s friend and the other guests are outside but the collector is nowhere to be seen, no remnants of him at all. That is very strange for Death the Grim Reaper who usually cuts the soul away and leaves the body.

** The All Seeing Eye/Eye of Saturn is a hexagram that later became known at the six pointed star in masonic symbolism.

Death's 'parasite dimension' illustrated for the book 'Mort' (1987)

Death’s ‘parasite dimension’ illustrated for the book ‘Mort’ (1987)


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Many people credit Pratchett for his imagination but anyone who knows about world culture/customs/religion/history knows he knew too. Like other authors he did his research, in his case it started early, the first published short story in this book was written in 1963 (an important number and indeed date for some) when he was 13 (again another important one and indeed it’s known as ‘Kali’s number’ though like many old things has been twisted over time). In that story a boy named Crucible plays double agent making a deal with both God and the Devil (‘The Hades Business’) and highlights Pratchett’s knowledge of religion and folklore (one of his companion  books mentions a comprehensive book of mythology and folklore he bought as a young boy). He continued to build upon and use that knowledge for his characters/situations/world building, sometimes he just changed names, others the info got twisted and added to. When he parodied (which is the point of Discworld and Ankh-Morpork [London]) it stood out to people who were/are educated in those areas like his books about Macbeth and The Phantom of the Opera did to even more people.

What he was great at was re-packaging, making the stories relatable and hilarious. His work had layer after layer of info, even the jokes needed to be read over. His name was a master tinkerer (like The Borrower-esque characters he wrote about separate to Discworld), not original in substance but in style.

‘A Blink of the Screen’ was published in 2012, the same year a ‘The Long Earth’ co-written with Stephen Baxter (expanded from Terry’s short story ‘The High Meggas’ – 1986 – where characters are ‘stepping’ (like the ‘jaunting’ of ‘The Tomorrow People’ UK tv show 1973-79) through the layers of reality on Earth), a book I’ve previously said disappointed me greatly for in my opinion towing the masonic ‘party line’, but this collection of short stories has more of his usual style. There’s something in here for everyone topic wise but a few are very ‘dark’, the ones in first person where the protagonist is an ‘average guy’ not too bright or imaginative but has his feet on the ground witnesses and becomes involved in the strangest things; to killing his own creation (hero in a book) who then turns up on his door step to receive his reward and the reward plus reality gets inverted (‘Final Reward’ – 1988), another where virtual reality and ‘real’ reality again get confused but apparently people thought it a safe and fun hobby at first reducing crime because people were doing it in their heads instead including getting rape off the streets for an increase in virtual prostitution (akin to raping whilst the victim is unconscious), making zombies out of the people playing and even though it doesn’t leave physical bruises it can still cause massive stress and kill them but apparently it’s romantic and loving for the creator of such reality. An entertainment addiction for everybody else (‘#ifdefDEBUG + ‘world/enough’ + time’ – 1990). Then another where Merlin oops Mervin is a time traveller who got stuck in Albion, rigs the sword in the stone looking for Arthur ‘Artos the Bear’ but ends up with Ursula (remember my post about Disney’s ‘Brave’), Latin for Bear (‘Once and Future’ – 1995 – there’s a marker around the page number 174), the constellations and an old form of Mother Goddess worship. Interestingly enough he also mentions women’s suffrage in that and women water bearers, he shows that the recommendation to pipe the water directly to people’s homes wouldn’t be allowed because the men don’t carry the water and so wouldn’t see the point in it (remember my mention of Aquarius in my previous post – water bearers are traditionally female and Aquarius used to be represented just by a vase pouring water but changed to a male carrier but it is seen as a heavy, tedious and inferior job for males. Another reason is that the Earth was sacred and female, so only women could mine for metals or carry it’s life giving elements for example, otherwise it was raping Mother Earth – but not many people remember that and those hard jobs became of many that most people didn’t want to do so fobbed it off on those who they call/think of as weaker than themselves). And a poem where he tried to write like his 13 year old self again, about how parents teach their kids about life and death via pets (‘The Secret Book of the Dead’ – 1991).
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The person who wrote the foreword had a similar experience as I did with Pratchett’s work, we were both offput by the artwork so avoiding reading them until we finally did and were hooked. That was strange for me as I don’t usually judge a book by it’s cover, Mum however does and sometimes brings selections of books for me to read, one of which was either ‘The Colour of Magic’ or ‘The Light Fantastic’. I said to her it was a two-parter and when she went to the library could she get me the other one, after that the next time I went to the local (and others) I came back with armloads of them. One of the librarians had said “cor, I like Pratchett but I’ve never read so many at once, how are you going to carry them?” A man at a bookstore gave me a knowing nod and said “good choice”. After reading many of the books, I realized that the grotesque characterizations in the artwork were fitting. I never made it to one of the Discworld conventions though even before I knew about all the symbolism I’d intended to go as Death, it being my favourite character, followed by the Nac Mac Feegle and The Luggage. I wonder how I would have replied had that librarian said “ook”. That said I’m not as reverential as Byatt is in his foreword.

Additionally if I were Tiffany in ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’ I wouldn’t enlist the help of the old guys who helped make/perpetuate the problem let alone the Elf King and give the Dark Mother’s steading to Geoffrey. I dinnae like most of those witches either 😉

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I don’t remember being a fan of the idea of the Galactic Federation in practice

The Tomorrow People UK 70's tv sci-fi alternative history mythology show galactic federation aliens

Eh what’s that? You thought the Galactic Alliance (GA) or Galactic Federation (GF – and sometimes Galactic Federation of Light 🙄 ) as it’s more commonly called was invented by Star Trek (United Federation of Planets) or Lilo & Stitch? Well I don’t know where nor when they were invented but they do take quite the prominent role in UK tv show ‘The Tomorrow People’ (1973-79). I should say before I continue that people around the world believe in the Galactic Federation, not as a cult following of this somewhat obscure series but as something they’ve heard of, I don’t blame them for that – the idea of a benevolent group of um… Places in our/and or various galaxies having representatives and forming a coalition of peace and keeping the riff raff out but in this tiny life of mine I couldn’t imagine it working. Committees aren’t my thing but then neither are dictatorships and courts are enough to make anyone sick unless they’re addicted to competitive debate and black mass cosplay. That doesn’t stop people hoping though, and believing in things like The Ashtar Command, the Zetas, Adama wait I think he’s GA’s blond blue eyed guy boss head… Lemme see who else the Andromedans, the Pleidians, Cassiopeians, Archons, the peeps from Sirius and Orion can’t miss those celebs out and well everywhere else possible. Again not an unreasonable thing to think there’s life or as many prefer to say ‘intelligent life’ ‘out there’ unless you suffer from excessive arrogance but I’m disenchanted with the Earth and how everything these groups say is too little, too late. Also just because I know something (and I’m not saying the aforementioned aliens are true) doesn’t mean I believe [in] it. I know humanity exists but I have little to no faith in us as a species. Make sense?

Good let’s move on.

The theme tune is fittingly bizarre and intense alongside the image sequence which changes per story arc but has some interesting staple pictures:

The Tomorrow People UK 70's tv sci-fi alternative history mythology show galactic federation aliens

All seeing Eye spy is that a particle accelerator? No wonder CERN had Shiv in their lobby. Ignore the circles forming a circle around the eye, that’s from the video player

There were 8 series with 22 story arcs, story arcs had a varying number of episodes throughout and series 8 had only 1 arc consisting of 4 episodes. The series wasn’t secure, pitted as an alternative Dr Who (1963-present) but not so well produced it saw constant changes to its lineup bar 1 character who apparently cheated his way into the part and if true understandable that he was reluctant to give it up.

SO WHO ARE THE TOMORROW PEOPLE?

Youngsters who represent humanity’s next stage of evolution (if you agree with/believe in the theory of evolution), they are no longer homo-sapiens but homo-superiors. Possessing psionic powers e.g. telepaphy, telekineses and teleportation, and with energy transfer abilities like that can also heal. Having such a stage of self-possession/control they also have different mindsets i.e. they’re not aggressive (but can defend & stun), they don’t kill (excluding ‘lesser animals’ whatever they technically are), they don’t support or take sides with military, they are not patriotic as they work and indeed exist to advance all humanity and they’re moderators in the galaxy at large.

They do not start out at members of the GF because Earth does not have enough of a telepathic population to qualify but over the series they gain exceptional status of honorary members as ambassadors of an ’emerging planet’. Plotwise they mostly start without knowing about the GF or who their local representative of the GF is and yet John, the fist known Tperson built their secret lab in an abandoned London underground station with some help from the GF and their biological computer TIM has the voice of their GF representative Timus and knowledge of the GF. John at 17 is a scientist/inventor and also the unofficial leader – it had to happen sometime eh instead of the tech ‘guy’ being in the background although I’ve seen an awesome cartoon called ‘Detentionaire’ (2011-15) where the tech guy is also the big thug bully and the protagonist a boffin or an ‘original [cool] boffin’ as some of us used to call ourselves in school… I chuckled when the first time the Tpeople come into contact with the GF over some notorious galactic criminals was in Kennington where I grew up (and the weird things that happened there).

What are their goals in life – to find and help other Tomorrow People adjust to their growing pains since becoming a Tperson is a bit like puberty except for the first few it was almost fatal and only gets easier the more Tpeople there are, to prevent them falling into the hands of unscrupulous people like various military and governments who see them both as a threat and potential weapons, and to generally ‘do the right thing’ but sometimes that turns into doing the pragmatic thing and helping parasites in order to ultimately save Earth. I found those occasions particularly distasteful given I’m not an end justifies the means person. Overall though I could sympathize and empathize with them, they’re damned if they do damned if they don’t since if they told people about themselves they’d be subject to all kinds of harassment and negativity, people who’d begrudge, try to debunk/humiliate them and feeling the need to prove they’re just as ‘special’ whilst those with power/money try to use/abuse them. In the series we come across telepaths who aren’t Tpeople and the difference seems to be that anyone can be telepathic but a Tperson emerges out of the concern for the welfare of others. Jealousy is an issue, both telepaths and non-telepaths don’t listen to Tpeople because they’re too busy hating them and jumping to assumptions.

Arguably the Tpeople are not actually tomorrow people but original/early Earth peoples/beings as described by old cultures when referring to really bygone days, the iconic ‘golden age [of everything]’ or ‘when I were a lad/lassie err I mean my great, great, great, greatgreatgreat, great, great so and so was around things were better, life was simpler, people weren’t as disgusting, ‘orrible and generally deserving of a good slap’ etc.

The lineup of the Tpeople changed regularly throughout the series and I found most of their exits to be unsatisfactory, they just disappeared never to be seen again and sometimes we got a short explanation before quickly moving on. Overall there were 9 members with John being the most dominant one so you often to and fro between liking/disliking him, Elizabeth who was a rare Black actress lead on tv at the time and the show played to that big time mentioning her skin colour as much as possible but interestingly for all the [top notch and true] talks she gives on social prejudice we never see her discriminated against for that rather people are impressed with her colouring especially those who’ve never seen a dark skinned person before. That said when she’s not talking we don’t often see her do much of anything and in that respect I preferred Carol who was always ready to get involved, she good at both talking and physically helping out and seemed to have boundless energy which I admired. The two really stand out characters for Stephen and later Mike – they were younger mid-teens and did the most undercover work, Stephen was quite the well mannered knight in shining armor and Mike was my favourite (probably because at first he reminded me of me and then later I found him sweetly amusing); he was a regular London boy whereas John and Stephen were posh, he looked after his mum and sister, kept an eye out for the people on his block and wasn’t satisfied when he realised the law is hypocritical to class, he was also abit of a gentleman towards females like Stephen. The other Tpeople weren’t given as much of a chance but they included: Kenny, a 12 year old Black boy who seemed to like his solitude, apparently his acting was deemed as wooden but I liked him, Tyso another younger boy from gypsy lineage, lives in a caravan with his family and is generally willing and eager to help out, Hsui-Tai a mid-teen Chinese girl who didn’t have much of a part but did well when paired with Andrew a young-midteen Scottish boy who split his time between Tpeople HQ and his home up north, they both had strong heritage in their clothing & accents and just generally got on well together.

The Tomorrow People UK 70's tv sci-fi alternative history mythology show galactic federation aliens
The Tomorrow People UK 70's tv sci-fi alternative history mythology show galactic federation aliens

On a sidenote – their ability to teleport was called ‘jaunting’, a name I wasn’t keen on, and they were able to jaunt short range but with the help of a belt (and later bracelet) they could go long distance and with TIM’s help even further.

WHAT IS THE GALACTIC FEDERATION?

Ah well here’s where you might get some more interesting info than you usually find elsewhere:

  • The Galactic Police I mean Federation cover 64 million planets spread over 5 galaxies.
  • Enough telephathic creatures make a planet eligible for membership, otherwise it’s a ‘closed planet’ i.e. a no-go area but that doesn’t stop non-telepathic races visiting since they’re not members and they can do whatever they want with said planet/inhabitants as the GF have a ‘non-interference’ policy on those. Apparently telepathic planets require permission so if you’re not telepathic you’re open-house, ouch.
  • There are 1 million+ ’emergent’ planets revolving around an insignificant sun, insignificant solar systems, in the rim of a rather insignificant galaxy, double ouch.

That said depending on the personality of your GF representative, they might be more or less caring of your emergent status – in our case our rep is seemingly well meaning and slyly uses the Tpeople to help out in areas where their skills are needed but can’t officially send them e.g. to closed planets where people have been enslaved.

  • The GF headquarters is called The Trig.

Another organization which may or may not be linked to the GF is the ‘Eternal Order of Time Guardians’, they are time travelers who use ‘tine lanes’ and ensure that events happen as they should or stay happened as they were… In one story arc Peter (the Time Guardian, also telepathic) is captured and needs the Tpeople to help him ensure that a rogue time traveler doesn’t make the Roman empire last longer than it did. It involves the death of another boy who did die at that time, they have an opportunity to change that but should they – it’s a moving story and I could feel just as Elizabeth showed the helplessness of feeling what’s the point in having power if you don’t/can’t use it to help and the sacrifice of one life is just one sacrifice too much, if someone needs help right in front of you how can you ignore it, and yet if they hadn’t the Roman empire would have spread, conquered, enslaved and continued to do so into space. These are the kinds of situations the Tpeople face all the time and I don’t always agree with their choices but it’s not easy when you’re massively outnumbered, that majority including groups/other animals who prey on you and when you can only trust each other otherwise you’ll end up in a not so nice end or existence of torment and then who’ll try to alleviate the mass suffering?

Sidenote – Peter calls the Tpeople ‘homo novus’ i.e. new man.

There were times when I wanted to give the GF a good swift kick up the backside. What’s the point in saying you won’t interfere and talk about free will, then watch all and sundry ravage a planet? The final episode echoed my sentiments – in which we’re shown the GF judiciary process similar to our court system where it can easily be about theatre and saving face in front of the public but of a very niche class in private. They can say whatever they want to/about you but if you say anything that possibly offends their fragile egos it’s contempt of court and that is somehow a criminal offence. (There’s a story arc in ‘The Rockford Files’ private detective US tv show 1974-80 that eloquently portrays how contempt of court and being held indefinitely without proper charges and trial is a convenient way of preventing/postponing justice by lawmakers, many of whom were born into or had the way paved into their profession, and have their own agendas besides or instead of responsible ‘authorities’.) The final arc also shows what happens to those who are technologically forwards and socially backwards.

THE STORY ARCS

Given that the production/visuals of the show left a lot to be desired especially in comparison to today’s standards it helped that the balance between story and acting really made this show interesting. The problem was that the stories and acting were hit and miss, when they had it they had it and when they didn’t it was obvious. Storylines covered all kinds of ground from reptilian shape shifters to mining the Earth, slavery on other planets, the Scottish Rite, sleep/dream manipulation, Ancient Egypt and the use of the pyramids, war in space etc. I think however the acting was at its best when they didn’t have to compete with bad stages & costumes and when they were focused on things they could probably relate to if they were really in the position such as the exploitation of power, bureaucracy, people willingly continuing the enforcement of barbaric practices taught and enacted upon them by masters just so they & ‘theirs’ can have relative safety/status in comparison to those they sell out, military/espionage – there’s one episode where a Russian female Tperson meets a most awful death and her bravery is truly befitting of her title. People are all too quick to use them as tools, she had no choice but she also knew what she had to do and damn well did it.

Then there were the low points like the Loch Ness Monster angle, the ‘bubble suits’ made out of bubble shaped alien skins that then possessed people, a reanimated Hitler made of green gloop and controlling others with black goo and it all started with the occasion they decided to do comedy in a dominatrix episode where for the one and only time they made fun of the alien characters, put them down and generally considered them pointless. In all of the other story arcs no matter how ridiculous the costumes were, or how strange the customs, how much they disagreed with or couldn’t understand them such as the silver men which religious fervor and a great big statue they believed guided them or beings who committing atrocities left, right and centre the Tpeople still showed them respect but for one episode the decided to go anti-feminist with the usual ignorant stereotyping and interestingly enough out of all the aliens it was pre-historic Mother Goddess culture that got twisted and got the brunt of it. Ironically they were also the only aliens that they incorporated into Earth culture but where they claimed they fitted in well, in Earth culture it’s shown that the ‘universal goddess’ theme was overthrown via degradation, demotion, deception, deviation, disrepute and dissemination in the Freemason usurper system which brought us ancient to modern day religions/patriarchy. From that story arc the series went downhill, the script wasn’t as gripping, the numbers of episodes per story were reduced and there were only a couple of highlights towards the end.

Before that they were quite meticulous in their culture/mythology for example most ‘alternative’ folk think that if reptilians exist then they’re the top dogs on this planet. However at the top of their pantheons usually sits a male known for his All Seeing Eye, it’s not often pointed out really so when I saw that the mechanoid/humanoid (reluctant to call it a cyborg or android) with the big ol’ serpent symbol on him was actually working for a cyclops I thought “not bad, not good either because it’s really crappily done but at least they got it in there” i.e Ra & his descendents in ancient Egypt became known for the one-eye, Shiv the alpha male of the vedic-Hindu pantheon is known for his enlightened third eye which only opens to destroy enemies and later there was Odin of the Norse pantheon. Plus the show not only put the upper hierarchy in there but the lower section too aka the human deviant group with ‘dinosaur’ on the back of their clothing. They are the human/dino hybrid made by reptilians to make lesser reptoid noble/ruling families i.e. the upper levels of the masonic degrees. (Two of those human hybrid/society that has secrets reps, the brothers Harding who have a US connection, after working against the Tpeople decide to protect them doing much of the physical violence that the Tpeople cannot and I don’t think I’ve seen a car – that belongs to one of them – covered in so many insignias before.)

Interestingly enough in the early episodes some of the sounds used, particularly piercing and droning ones may have an numbing/tiring effect on you that lifts as soon as they stop.

Ultimately the series seemed to express that war will never end as long as there are people who benefit in some way and consider war/espionage as duty/patriotism, a career and status. Many service personnel go on about ending war and the next best weapon will end war forever but as Elizabeth highlights with example after example the same train of thought was used with every stage of weapons development, each new type of weapon or spying strategy was going to put an end to war once and for all and it never did because without admitting it some people profit from war and want it to continue whilst they use those who need something to live/die for and an outlet for frustration to fight for them. Hence it’s misguided to go on about ‘serving one’s country’ when one’s nobles are busy marrying, going to the schools/educational institutes of, the weddings, parties etc of those they tell the public are the enemy and they have various levels of immunity and data secrecy from their ‘own people’ that lasts as long as they see fit. It’s even more pointless arguing such things with the TPeople who are beyond political boundaries and represent all of humanity instead of those who pit masses of people against others in their ancient grudge matches.

CONCLUSION

It was a very interesting show that wasn’t managed very well and perhaps before its time which isn’t a bad thing but meant that it was easily ignored and changed by later generations in remakes.

I also don’t see the point of the TPeople being young, they mention a couple of times that people with telepathic abilities can still become TPeople but we never see it and all new TPeople are kids (not goat children). It fits in with the whole ‘the children are the future’ line that we get all the time in media and education (whilst simultaneously dumbing them down) but what about TPeople or potential TPeople who’ve been blocked, drained, restrained/suppressed/oppressed etc? If they reach a certain age [range] are they past their use by date? What about all the adults in the GF? Did they start as children/teens and then just get older? I believe more in the present, we’re all responsible for our present and have the responsibility of remembering our past, I don’t want to focus on the future and live vicariously through children, I want to get as much done today as possible and not lose sight of the time I have. I’m also not keen on the idea of preferring young people because of their energy levels, I don’t think that’s fair on them or us older folk, there’s many factors that if removed from our lives we feel healthier, younger and stronger, I don’t think it’s fair to our body’s cellular memory to say I’ve reached an age like 30 and now it’s time for the next gen nor do I think it’s right to make adults of children (though of course youth is not an excuse for everything). Poor children, eldest children and children from single parent/other relative/guardian families already have enough of that as it is. Plus I’m not a vampire, I want my own energy thank you very much.

Last but not least by any means the TPeople don’t care any more about non-human Earth animals than normal whereas they’re not speciesist when it comes to aliens or at least aliens they can understand (since we see animals like horses on other worlds). That’s not homosuperior to me.

Gallery

Brave – Beauty and the Beast of Old Style

Brave Merida Archer Daughter

Released: 2012
Directed by: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly
Rating: PG

This is not your average Disney fairytale (via Disney/Pixar design), it’s gone back to the days of epic verses, it’s not just a piece of a story, it’s the story, digging right to the roots of humanity’s cultural history. There’s no charming princes, theatre singing, show stealing sidekicks, they’ve tapped into the raw origins of myth and psychology.

I don’t usually delve like this into Hollywood for reviews, unlike filmmakers in other countries (except US-cross border projects) they tend to radiate symbolism all over the place but don’t explain it and act like it’s a coincidence but here it’s loud and proud.

It garnered overwhelming positive review and support from viewers but there were some it just rubbed the wrong way and who probably without understanding dismissed it as a dud. The emotive issues and relationships involved between parent-child and boundaries were too much for some people and hopefully this review will help to dispel the misperceptions and misconceptions.

PLOT

In medieval Scotland a princess was born, her name was Merida, her mother Elinor and father Fergus lived seemingly contently until they were attacked by a huge black bear called Mor’du. Mother ran to protect the child and father lost his leg in fighting. We see them again later in a castle with Merida as a teenager and with 3 little brothers (triplets). Merida has come ‘of age’ and has to get married much to her surprise and dismay, Elinor is nonchalant about it and feels it a done deal it’s just a question of which suitor will be the one. This causes a tear in the fabric of their relationship and things will never be the same again as Merida fights for her right to her own body and Elinor battles with tradition/duty.

Action packed and emotive from the start the friction with the characters vs the audience start when Merida is given a cake by an old woman in the woods (Crafty Carver who won’t admit she’s a witch) to give to her mother, the cake turns Elinor into a bear and if the spell’s riddle isn’t solved in time she will remain one…

Arranged Marriage – How dare she control my entire life? How dare she defy me?

The standout theme of this film is arranged marriage, and for some people I’ve come across translated into ‘what a spoiled, selfish s*** that girl was’ and ‘I wouldn’t have tolerated her [Merida’s] behaviour’. Personally I’m totally, utterly against arranged marriage for myself, I don’t like or tolerate inferences from meddlers and people with too much spare time on their hands who then see a single person and think one/some/all of the following ‘a project to enjoy, something/profit to gain, a wedding to arrange and more children to play with that aren’t mine and since this one’s old and boring now’ let alone people who actually try to set me up… One of my aunts once told me that my mum was going to marry me off and thereafter I spent years in a campaign to show I was independent but still dutiful without being able to mention the incident. Then when I was asked what I thought about arranged marriage for 2 other members of the family (which I never told them because I didn’t want to sour their relationships) in no uncertain terms I disagreed and was having no part in it. Obviously that meant I was in the bad books for a while and the wannabe arrangers more friendly than usual with their previously intended marriage targets, typical, every time one of them had an argument they’d cozy up with one of the others even if they’d argued just before, playing off each other and since I don’t I end up looking like the trouble maker.

That said, I’m not against it for people in their 20s+ who decide they want to look for someone to get married to and go to an ‘elder’/marriage maker/family/agency etc to make it happen. As long as they’ve done so without any pressure, obligation or manipulation of any kind, are aware that they might not find the ‘right candidate’, and if they do get married it might not work out and divorce is ok. I’m not into the ‘new’ marriage brokering of blind dates because ‘children’ are still under the duress of duty to participate even if they ‘play the game’ in a way that suits them and even though their parents say they can say no if they want to (it’d be easier if they just got an actual doll set instead of playing barbie and ken with the kids and be happy with them as they are without pushing them to add more to the brood just because they’re ready to be a grandparent and/or want more property or to get someone abroad/into a certain family).

Not all arranged marriages go or end badly, some people learn to live together respectfully, even contentedly and/or actually fall in love like Elinor and Fergus but it’s a big risk to take with a life especially when children and emotions can’t be undone.

I didn’t like that Elinor was made out to be the bad parent in contrast to Fergus’ reticence and lax attitude but we were shown the political bonds that held the clans together – they formed an allegiance after disliking each other due to a common enemy and that alliance assured by property, title and basically knowing they’ve got a foot in the door in each other’s families and spreading their lineage. Interestingly the film highlighted the role of women in perpetuating and enforcing arranged marriage as well as being victims though for some reason the men were shown as none too bothered by it nor resistant to the idea of changing it later on and more interested in fighting & drinking. They were just going along with it for the sake of appearances and because it was the done thing whilst the mother was for it also out of a misplaced sense of love, duty and what she thought was right. Some people do that because they feel it’s the only or best security and even escape they can provide or have and if it comes down to risking happiness with security then they go with security (though many women find their personal safety has also been compromised). Elinor says ‘it’s only marriage, not the end of the world’ which was hypocritical given she has a happy marriage and is the basis of the most important things in her life i.e. her family and position. So it’s not ‘only’ marriage, it’s a huge thing and it can be a deciding factor in people’s personal world’s i.e. their life. Then there are those women who are like the men in the film just go along with it without thinking it through. Elinor didn’t have sympathetic circumstances other than ‘this is how royalty behaves’ and ‘its for the sake of the kingdom’ aka its the duty of the acknowledged offspring of royalty the representative of god to sacrifice oneself for the sake of the kingdom/people (more pervasive in a tribal setting like this than modern royal counterparts) and that restriction is well played through the attire given to Merida. Elinor cared deeply for Merida but couldn’t balance the child/sentient being vs property/object, and who along with Merida were ultimately taught a lesson by a higher mother figure.

This film shows how 2 close but very frustrated people have to rely on each other in uncertain conditions without community and convention to tell them what to do or provide examples. Merida learns the responsibility of having a dependent, Elinor is taken out of her comfort zone of protocol and has to re-learn how to communicate and ultimately they have to save each other from Mor’du and Fergus & blood thirsty clans, plus figure out the crone’s cryptic message to mend their broken bond without being able to contact her again, all within a time limit.

Brave Merida Daughter Elinor Dark Mother Bear Goddess

Parent-Child (similar to Teacher-Student or Guardian-Vulnerable)

The driving theme of this film is parent child relations and whereas we covered boundaries, this part is about communication. Let me just say that I’m only going to refer to the situation shown in the film rather than families in general, I’m well aware that there are very problematic, ungrateful children that parents/guardians just can’t cope with for example. However in regards to the film and similarly to the reactions provoked by the above, trying to talk to someone you love or spend a lot of time with such as family and dependents/co-dependents can be very difficult. If there’s a power imbalance aka the double yet understandable standard of a parent over child it can be very frustrating for a child to talk about their thoughts/feelings, frustration can lead to crying and/or lashing out when they just want to be angry and then embarrassment at the inability to express themselves clearly. A lot of parents react in just as juvenile a manner but instead of crying can be smug and rely on ‘see I told you so’ and ‘now you’ll see how hard it is yourself’. I can understand that in single parents or those without much if any support, but in the case of Merida’s mother she’s got a solid, respected position in the family and power/influence, she just reacted out of being questioned and her plans rejected. That doesn’t justify Merida giving her spiked food and then claiming it wasn’t her fault (it wasn’t fully her fault). However I think the main thing a lot of people I’ve come across miss is the symbolism of the bear and indeed turning her mother into one was not an insult at all despite being presented as a rash, immature move necessary to move the story along and for character development. (If it was ‘real life’ I’d be against that but film audiences need and crave drama otherwise they feel stagnated.

Beauty and the Beast

Apparently there is an event in one’s life, something that severs the psychological umbilical cord. It’s usually an argument or something big enough to make us differ from our parents/guardians in some way. It doesn’t have to be permanent, it can be a temporary thing but it’s a defining event that marks a transformation in the relationship.

My first thoughts when watching were ‘this is very well designed, beautiful reconstruction eh what the? They didn’t have bears in 10th century Scotland!’ and then ‘Oh’ Disney weren’t messing around (as much as usual) with this one.

Maid-Mother-Crone (the Witch and Bear)
Daughter-Mother-Dark Mother

Child to Woman and Mother to Dark Mother

That is the symbolic theme to hold the story up with in comparison/contrast.

There were a lot of goddesses in ancient Britain (and of course these Isles have been through many waves of European invasion), you can still see some relegated as modern day saints and others masculanized or removed over time. The significance of the triple goddess and the ‘other’ (nowadays superimposed by the father/son/holy spirit and possibly adversary) has remained in remnants, probably most known here would be the Morrigan, and has been weaved (an intentional term there) into the film. Culturally 4 became 3 with the dark mother sometimes also described as the ‘other’ and that is shown through the masculine in the film aka the story of the 4 brothers/princes inheriting equally and the oldest believing he was robbed – 4 brothers became 3. Then from the father (Fergus) comes the triplet brothers (1+3 which in itself is symbolic of the 3 become 1, and 1 become 3 and ultimately the 4, in one way the triplets could be seen as one being and interchangeable with the father) and then the 4 clans with 3 fighting over the right to Merida. Celts are no strangers to bear symbolism and the Gauls have the mother goddess Artio, to the Irish Celts ‘Art’ meant ‘God’ and divinity in translation to people’s social structure = royalty.

I titled this review ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as an indicator/short form of the above (hey it was a limited space title). Neither female protagonist or the witch is either Beauty or the Beast, all characters are both with the witch being the transformation agent and the ‘dark mother’. Hence the use of the will-o’-the-wisps, like the witch sometimes seen as tricksters and here are her messengers/guides apt since they’re known as foolish fire and the fool is not an idiot or clown but a symbol of hidden knowledge.

The Dark Mother is a figure usually given wicked stepmother/jealous wife/evil aunt status but originally she was the fierce protector, the wisdom, always tying back to blackness, time and eventually from the ones most still widely known, Kali of pre-Vedic Hinduism (i.e. she pre-dates modern Hinduism being an entity recognized worldwide but Hinduism is the living remnants of that and that’s where the root mother is ‘housed’).

The hard I mean dark mother is often seen as ‘tough love’ even cruel but when it comes down to the overbearing/unbearable vs the can’t bear it, she helps the latter. I’ve never been one for throwing your kids out of trees, off cliffs, off ice caps and watching them hit everything possible on the way down to see if they’re strong enough to survive but at the same time male lions kill other people’s cubs. The dark mother is usually the last resort, when things have gotten so bad, sh*t has hit the fan and covered everybody, when even the bad guys and not just their victims are calling ma/maat/mat/math(a)/mahi/mata/m-om (root words for mother) for help. It’s upto her to teach us some bloody manners or return the child (creation/manifestation) back to whence it came (inside herself to some). In ‘smaller’ form usually as the Daughter she’s shown in stories and scripture to help people on a lesser scale.

However just because one is a bear and the bear is a symbol doesn’t mean they’re all nice or good, not all women are goddesses not all men are gods not all children are innocent and not all bears (or any living example of a symbol) are loveable. If you’re a beast, even unintentionally, after a while you become one. It’s also easy to forget oneself in transformation (and be pushed into it) to lose consciousness/self-awareness.

Micro and macro storytelling – Bears, bears, bears!

The bad bear, brother bear or the bear who didn’t learn his lesson. In usual roundabout fashion (even grandmothers/witches/crones are busy and a lot beings need help) a circular nature is shown here. Breathe in, breathe out and repeat. It is said that the original Dark Mother/the source made the Mother/manifestation who was also of course the Daughter but she was too big and too multi-dimensional for the smaller parts of herself (stars, planets, carbon lifeforms etc) to comprehend/appreciate/be in contact with other than in a mundane ‘this is where we live and what it looks like’ sense so the Mother/Daughter made another Daughter to act as a link/representative. But there was a bad apple so to speak, he resented and rejected the mother (tough when you’re a part of a body) but succeeded in a takeover, like a deadly illness/injury that bit by bit takes consciousness and energy. To some He is described as a/the malformed part. In a historical, Earth sense (since the story is not just about Earth) it seems to coincide with patriarchy. As with conquerors in general (religious, political, business, schools of thought) if you can’t vanquish the conquered you copy and assimilate it/them and history tends to get repeated as empires rise and fall. Whilst the daughter/mother/dark mother is still heavily hidden/veiled in our current versions of older cultures, the fourth is even harder to find out about but is still mirrored in some. The ‘lost’ one, is it the traitor, the original sinner who defiled his/the mother? Anyway, 4 brothers, 1 turned into a bear (Mor’du) by the crone and didn’t make it through the transformation properly and guess what – he already attacked the mother&daughter in smaller form Elinor and Merida (who both represent the daughter of the dark mother/crone) when Merida was a baby, Fergus lost part of a leg fending him off (losing a part to/due to the lost part itself) and here he is again attacking them again in another transformation period. He is the embittered obstacle that couldn’t be dealt with before.

Ultimately Elinor and Merida change and become even closer and Merida is the figurehead of this story, she is Brave. The daughter of the bear and in Celtic mythology bears were also symbolic of bravery, although people were scared of them in many European/Eurasian areas they were still respected. In other cultures such as to Native Americans bears symbolize power, strength, nurturing/protection and introspection (particularly in dreams in Shamanism).

From the Gauls we have Artio (also known as Dea Artio – see Deanism and Filianism which again is the focus on the Daughter/Mother/Dark Mother as the Supreme Creator/Creatrix/Matrix) the bear mother goddess and with the spread of Celts in general we can’t ignore their link to the Romans (and hence Greeks). Goddess Fortuna favours the brave, and Artemis (also known as Artemis Kalliste) and Diana (thought to have been the cultural morph/absorber of Artio) have goddess-bear symbolism. As aforementioned the word ‘Art’ to Irish Celts meant God, and that’s shortened from Bear Mother/Goddess. In Greece we have ‘arktoi’ for ‘bears’ more specifically ‘she-bears’ with ’arkt’ being Indo-European for ‘bears’. Also remember the link between Artemis and C/Kallisto (many k-words get changed or added to with ‘c’) going on to the constellation Ursa Major and Ursa Minor ‘the little she-bear’ the bear or the north, the Pole Star seen best at the ‘arc’tic. Kallisto was raped by Zeus/Jupiter much to the embittered Hera/Juno, who is generally shown as the angry wife/evil stepmother morph/version of the older ‘dark mother’, turned Kallisto into a bear after she gave birth. Her son as a teenager met his mother bear again without knowing her and tried to kill her – mirrored by Fergus trying to kill Elinor in the film and Merida stopping him. (In the Sophianic Myth, Deanism and Filianism the malformed/wrongly made later becoming the lost and twisted one represents the ‘son’ who is also in later religions a/the father figure as like the daughter/mother connection they/he is ultimately a son – easier for the modern mindset to think of in terms of the Graceo-Roman scenes of fathers/sons marrying or just sleeping with their mothers/sisters). Merida speaks back to root stories so instead of Mother-Son being sent to the stars in heavenly union and rekindling of the relationship this one strips back the false/bad father/son (Zeus/Jupiter parallel) connection and makes Merida the daughter saviour (again). Then all live ‘happily ever after as a happy family with children (not just the youngsters because all the characters are ultimately children to the crone) making their own choices’ – in actuality we don’t know the ending of the Daughter/Mother/Dark Mother root culture creation/manifestation story and the Sophianic Myth but Disney can’t say that – bit anti-climatic for the audience.

In Europe there has been a linguistic taboo over the words for bear so many opted for phrases particularly including their colour and the ability to destroy/get angry. The Indo-European words ‘Bher’ (bright, brown) and ‘Rkso’ with the Sanskrit word being ‘rkshas’ meaning ‘bear’. The problem and confusion is in morphed/twisted language e.g. any Hindu should know that rakshas refer to demons or enemies of God rather than thinking of bears (though most don’t know that pretty much all the ancient religions say the gods/God/demons we know of as the ruling pantheons and singular today came from various places in space and got stuck here) but remember Kali ‘The [Great] Destroyer [of Worlds]’ (Kali means Black and Time) is older, tribal pre-organized religion found through and all over the world from the streamlined Hinduism aka Buddhism to the beautiful dreadlocked versions in Africa to the triple goddesses throughout Europe and the Black Madonna. The words with Rkso and its variants indicate or mean destruction, not demon by default – demon is the association because usually destruction is seen as bad (whereas raskshas are evil hence demonic in action). For example both Hindus and Muslims would recognize the use of ‘shaytan’ and ‘satan’ as definite demons (yes plural) both by behaviour and species sub-type (though daemons/jinn are not defined as bad or good as individuals, they’re another species group) and the word ‘devil’ is anti-devi, definitely anti-God. In the case of bears another example is Japan’s use of the words ‘yokai’ for spirits, ghosts/phantoms and ‘kami’ for deities, gods, demons denote various groups in general rather than saying they are good/bad).

Even though I don’t agree with the notion of ‘the end justifying the means’ in ‘real life’, the story in Brave isn’t a blame game to take offense at and pick sides – Merida and Elinor needed each other to grow, closer to each other and as individuals. Hey if you ever get the chance to turn someone into a bear, generally the answer would be no way jose (I hope), but bears are at least stilled beloved in today’s culture. Many of us have moved on from the terrible rituals associated with bear worship with adults giving toy versions to children and pets all the time who have them for comfort and companionship. Although many of us still continue to sacrifice and torture others for enjoyment/business/entertainment and even in religious worship in the act of will hurt creations and disciples whilst praising/appeasing the very beings who supposedly made them. Yeah because hurting someone’s beloved/one of their beloved will endear them to you.

Brave Merida Daughter Elinor Dark Mother Bear Goddess Tapestry

Brave Merida Daughter Bear Mother Elinor

My Mum’s the same, prefers straight hair (usually has hers plaited) and makes fun of my bushy locks :-p

The Archer

Whilst the bear symbolism is rampant the archer is less obvious (anyone wanna lookup famous archer princes and divine beings – numerous to say the least with notable characters from India, China and Western Asia/Middle East). The bow and arrow in general symbolism tends to alternate between phallic imagery, fighting instincts to warlike tendencies but also truth and clarity and fiery Merida the Archer on her horse has an ode to Sagittarius. In conjunction with the bear the characteristic of introspection during hibernation, self-evaluation is one of the Jewish attributes to the bow and arrow. The placement of arrows is also code for Native Americans, left and right but also a broken arrow meant peace, two arrows in opposite directions meant war and crossed arrows meant friendship. We don’t see that in Brave however and her use of them mostly showed her indomitable spirit, warrior nature, independent mind and ability to reach her goals. Possibly worth noting that akin to Merida breaking Elinor’s shackles of royal pageantry, Elinor threw Merida’s regal looking bow into the fire forcing her to have to use another, plain one. They broke their boundaries and went back to the wild/nature in more ways than one.

Brave Merida Daughter Archer

What’s in a name

Whilst Elinor, Fergus, Hamish, Hubert and Harris (the triplets) can be easily identified with Scottish peoples Merida (mare-uh-duh) is an interesting name. In the above I’ve explained that the Daughter-Mother-Dark Mother story has been inverted over time to male characters and in what we think of as traditional we would associate her character with a prince. At first glance ‘Merida’ is similar to ‘Meridel’ and ‘Meredith’ (and it is) though to people of the Latin Americas they’d probably think it Spanish. In common in the UK usage it’s a male name in Scotland and as part of Brave sort of reclaiming its heritage we have the princess with the prince’s name and being the saviour with the royal/divine connection.

Names and words that have context e.g. describe personality (like when I described above the taboo around using their direct words for ‘bear’ in Europe) can be tough to understand so it’s easier to work backwards from their common meanings to find their roots.

Meridel and Meredith are in the ‘Mary’ family (like with Spanish Marita, Marie and all of which have a water connection to root term ‘Mori’), Meridel means ’merry/joy’ most probably from ‘mear’ in Gaelic and Meredith means ‘great ruler’ and interestingly in Hebrew means ‘rebellion/defiant’.
Root terms:
Mer- to rub away/harm but there’s also (s)mer which is to deserve/share
Duh – Germanic form meaning strong

As for Mor’du
In Gaelic: mòrdha is great/noble and it seems the ‘du’ can be taken from the ‘dubh’ for black.
Root term ‘Medhu’ means honey/mead – that taboo in Europe meant that in Slavic areas bears were called honey-eaters and the root term in current Hindustani/Bengali it’s still madhu for sweet/mead (but depending on dialect/place can be modhu).
As an exact word in current language the French mordu is to bite/be bitten.

Brave Merida Poster

Brave Merida Poster

VISUALS

The animation is sumptuous from the start and somewhat contrasted by the less realistic human characters but that is characteristic of Disney/Pixar. The textures in the environments shone through from lush, dense greenery, to the flowing water and suitably murky atmosphere at night especially at the ruins.

I’m not an expert, I haven’t been to Scotland but reading early articles (Brave was announced in 2008) it seems the research team took the time to explore places for scenes they’d like and of which people recognized in the movie. Mythically I liked the setting of the witch in the woods/grove and the stone circle as a gateway/barrier and according to Wikipedia they actually made and registered 3 original tartans for the clans which apparently caused a little political kafuffle.

Interestingly enough though even I can see that for the level of attention given to the setting and story Brave seems to be set in multiple time periods, the physical appearance/mannerisms at times… I don’t know if that was intentional as if to say this is a story that spans generations/traverses time or they just liked what they saw/had in mind and wanted to put it all in! Either way at least it works.

It was a bit shocking to see Merida as a teenager, it was like looking at myself but a pale skin version. Her hair was exactly like mine (mine was even auburn/copper with gold hints at age 14/15) and I know there are other ‘Cousin It’s out there but the few I’ve seen have straight-ish hair. I’d never met anyone else with the big bird’s nest! Apparently it took Pixar the best part of the 4 years since the film was announced in 2008 to draw her hair leaving them only 6 months for the rest.

Brave Merida Daughter

SOUND

Given that Brave isn’t the norm for Disney I was glad that characters didn’t burst into song let alone repeatedly. That’s not to say that Disney doesn’t have a catalogue of great, catchy, sing-a-longs but seriously, no. For some people singing is a deeply personal thing so I’m glad that Merida has snippets of song at the beginning sung in her mind. Even the comic relief (her brothers) don’t sing and aren’t really in your face like in other movies, if anything they’re abit creepy rather than funny.

I appreciated the use of Scottish instruments and vocals in the score though given it is an action packed film I didn’t notice it so much during those scenes, I noticed it more in a scenes like when Merida is teaching Elinor to be a bear. I also enjoyed hearing the different accents and Doric (dialect) which I just about understood though that may have partially been due to the tone and circumstance. As a language overall the pronunciation of vowels and composition is obviously different but l also liked hearing the emphasis on each syllable. The enunciation didn’t sound lazy though it did sound conversational and comfortable.

“There’s no point marrying a girl who doesn’t want to be married.”

Recommendation

At this point I would usually give comparisons, and there was a book I thought was called Brave that I borrowed from a library approx 7 years ago, Young Adult genre but for some reason I’ve never been able to find it since and can’t remember the author… It was a about a girls orphanage where they don’t have names or personal items and wear a grey plain uniform because they aren’t allowed to have personal identity. One of the girls rebels and breaks out to tell people that the institution isn’t benevolent like it purports and to find another girl’s family. She’s found out, kept in isolation and discovers a terrible secret, offered a bribe but maintains her courage of conviction. After a while everybody forgets about her except one girl who uses her memory to change things. If anyone knows the author and perhaps new/different title please let me know.

Cinderfella – A Fractured Fairytale Glorious Gender Bender!

Jerry Lewis was one of my favourite comedians as a kid and Cinderfella (1960) was my favourite film of his alongside The Nutty Professor (1963), to me it displayed all his best acting traits whilst taking a well known story and freshening it up. I watched it again recently and it hasn’t lost any of its charm, great for people who like parody or fun and creative family friendly films 🙂 Funnily enough I only ever really liked his solo films sans Dean Martin and that hasn’t changed over time!

Plot

Ok so you know the Disney version of Cinderella (1950) but Cinderfella did more than just change the sex of the main character…

We first see the last will and testament of his father (not mother as you would expect here) being read to the stepmother and her two sons and Fella is apparently in another room looking out at the pouring rain. The Bel-Air style mansion and all ‘worldly goods’ are left the stepmother in faith that she will take care of her stepson… Yeah we know how that goes in fairytales.

Cut to years into the future and we see ‘mother dearest’ using the intercom from her very Disney like bedroom to Fella sleeping in a storage looking room where it looks like items are just there for the sake of it and his tiny mattress doesn’t even fit the bed. Strangely he’s wearing two large rings but those are quickly overshadowed by the speed in which he has to get ready and go to the kitchen to make breakfast for everybody. His place in the family is further exemplified as we see his room is at the end of a very long, lavish corridor but when it reaches his part all the decoration ends! Servants quarters indeed.

Cinderfella bedroom

The usual being bossed about, belittling and lecturing ensues – he can’t do anything right, doesn’t show his appreciation for being ‘given room and board out of the goodness of her heart’, he ‘doesn’t have a cent to his name’, has ‘ordinary blood in his veins’ etc etc. Perhaps luckily for him he actually enjoys housework and fixing things (though he’s not very good at the latter) and all those unkind and deceptive words seem to slide off him, but they don’t.

By this point we’ve already been shown the not-so-ugly but actually very suave, debonair and manicured stepbrothers (one of which could actually be a moving mannequin), and the plot swiftly moves on to the ball the stepmother is holding at the house for Princess Charming (pronounced ‘Charmaine’). Determined everything will go right and one of mummy’s little darlings will marry well. I don’t know why there is a stepmother and not a stepfather but the former are very much embedded as evil characters in Disney-fied fairytales so perhaps they thought they couldn’t change that but I think for a gender bending film they could of undid the prejudice and gone for a villain instead of a villainess.

Usher in the fairy godfather – and whose high pitched yet nasal voice many of us will know from other films – floating on the swimming pool in a classic stripped swimming cozzy and bowler hat, wacky indeed. He’s worried that Fella doesn’t have any ambitions because he thinks one day Fella might be a very important person.

Cinderfella-fairy_godfather

The noblesse oblige ‘do’ they’re holding will cost a bomb and really stretch their assets it seems (though we know what that means for many i.e. their version of being hungry and homeless after over extending themselves are still nice hotels, long visits to friends, lot’s of credit and not really suffering at all) but still it’s imperative that they purloin more funds so they can maintain their lifestyle. Where will these funds come from? Ahh well that’s the problem, this next extortion from Fella won’t be so easy the key is in his memory, his dreams to be exact in which his late father is telling him the location of a secret fortune. How on Earth are they going to get that? They decide to change tactics and be nice for once! Shock! Yes it is, they’re so bad at pretending to be nice it’s cringeworthy; their fake smiles are creepy and it looks like their faces will crack in the effort, they’ve never complimented his cooking so it really affects him and then they try to wear him out as much as possible (even moreso than with his usual chores) by sharing hobbies with him. Does it work? And just how crooked are those brothers!?

Cinderfella fake family

Cinderfella dining room hypocrisy

They’re really being nice eh… Plus his meal is poverty plain whilst they get the full works which he cooked.

Another interesting feature in this film is that the fairy godfather introduces Fella to another of his clients, Disney’s Cinderella! A ravishing and indeed roaring (you have to see it to believe it) Cindy who really makes a great appearance in this tribute movie and gives Fella her support.

Cinderfella-Fella_meets_Cinderella

Time for a ball? Fella is locked in his room and ‘the family’ (very mafia tone inserted there) have hired a fleet of staff to do all the work, that way they won’t be interrupted or embarrassed by ‘that lunatic’. Poor Cinders I mean Fella, will he ever make it to the ball and perhaps even destiny? Will the fake family’s poor attempts at politeness last against their wicked ways?

Acting

Jerry Lewis always seemed to play confused, diamond in the rough and dare I say ‘needy’ characters or characters in need and having seen the made-for-tv biography Martin and Lewis (2002) it seems he was one of those actors that played what he knew best – a version(s) of himself. Needless to say he plays this part very well and in his signature style.

The Wicked Stepmother (played by Dame Judith Anderson) – plays a stoic, refined, cutting, hypocritical, bossy b(r)itch(es) who fawns over her beloved sons very well. Her clear, sharp tones were made for commanding.

Two Tailored Twits, the older brother Rupert (played by Robert Hutton) and the younger Maximilian (Henry Silva) obviously spend a lot of the time in the salon/spa and playing sports with peers; they’re every bit the cocky, pampered, spoiled, spying and demanding duo but just not ugly or uncultured 😉

Princess Charming (played by Anna Maria Alberghetti) reminds me somewhat of Audrey Hepburn and as part of the revamp gets more of an emotional part than Prince Charming. She not only dances and clutches a shoe well but is not just a wooden doll, she tells Fella that she feels, she’s a person and it’s not her fault that people see her as her title/namesake and she’s convincing, she even cries.

The effervescent and quirky Fairy Godfather (played by Ed Wynn the ‘Mad Hatter’ in Alice in Wonderland (1951) and ‘Uncle Albert’ in Mary Poppins (1964) delivers his lines characteristically well and matches Lewis with his own funky facial expressions.

Anti-Feminist? Nah.

There’s one point where the fairy godfather goes into a diatribe about women; the women who wrote history, the women behind and effected by the Cinderella story, ordinary women’s expectations, follies and all those poor men. However it is ironic like the nature of the film and another twist on ‘his-story’ but also includes some interesting observations about people in general as they are rather than twisted. It’s particularly funny (not if you were in the scene or Fella) though that he says in order to right all the uneven and unfair doings of womankind that the ‘big Him’ in the sky and various societies working for ‘Him’ elected to choose a male example to tip the balance and make up for it but instead of a ‘tall, handsome’ honey that they all wanted the fairy godfather chose Fella instead. “He’s not tall, not handsome, anything but clever” he’s just ordinary – though quite frankly Lewis never really was ordinary in my opinion even as Fella ;-).

An interesting political insert that the Disney 50s version didn’t have and I also liked that in this version Cinderella oops I mean Fella realizes s/he’s being abused, tries to pull her/himself up by the bootstraps taking a cynical tone to stand up for her/himself. That change doesn’t last but it’s ok because the character doesn’t really want to be angry or aggressive but it was needed at the time.

Songs and Music

This isn’t your usual musical, the songs just flow into the filming and some are spoken-sung so it doesn’t feel like you’re being hit full in the face with a big sing-a-long theatre number out of nowhere, they’re shorter too. My favourite is probably the shortest ‘Let Me Be A People’ where he explains that he likes being a regular ‘people’ and feels sorry for ‘persons’ who are people of importance and my second is actually an instrumental that he mimes playing the instruments to in the kitchen (and mime is a tough art to make look interesting!) Most of the numbers have a jazzy feel to them and very much in keeping with their time although I think still have a contemporary feel. Additionally there are a couple of soft, heartfelt songs captured perfectly well with the surrounding visuals and mood.

Aside from the obvious numbers there is a fair bit of lovely classical either as excerpt sound effects or in the background. The big band numbers at the ball are particularly impressive especially ‘that’ scene where Lewis make’s his dramatic debut down the stairs to the shock of all assembled.


That epic stair scene, funky dance and clock striking midnight.

Overall Finish

This film is one of the better produced ‘light hearted’ films of the time in my opinion, everything comes together really well from the score to the costumes, nothing feels too gaudy or out of place – not even Lewis’ kooky, slapstick style! The colour is vibrant and rich, the details are well thought out from fixtures and fittings to entire scenes, the dialogue is clever and moving and the updating of the Disney-version really makes this something worth seeing and remembering. Great film 🙂

Recommendations/Comparisons

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1988) – another revamped version of the story in which Drew Barrymore and Prince Charming’s characters are developed more. The part where Fella tries to act with self confidence reminded me of this film though understandably not to the same extent as this has a more serious tone.

Rags to Riches (1987) – A rich businessman adopts 5 orphans as a PR stunt for a merger and has no intention of raising them but through no fault of their own they end up raising hell for his work but he learns to love them. More of a musical than Cinderfella.

Lastly is a film I can’t remember or find the title for and maybe one of you know it – an old Black & White film in which a young lady wins some money, quits her job and goes to the ‘big city’ to spend it all whilst pretending to be high society. There she meets an annoying bellboy who keeps getting sacked who turns out to be a prince in disguise.

Gallery

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange – Disappointing

The First English Translation of a Medieval Arab Fantasy Collection

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange

Published: Penguin Classics, Nov 2014
Hardback, 496 pages
Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons

This is a collection of 18 short stories found in an incomplete manuscript in Istanbul and presented in 1933, it is thought to be dated between the 14th-16th centuries but the authorship of the stories go back as early as the 10th century and the content is sometimes backdated further still or at least referring to earlier times. The title and apparently second half of the anthology are missing so the title of the translation was taken from the first title found within and as such is a book featuring many marvels from moving statues to treasure to a mermaid.

This is not a religious work but the author(s) assume that the reader is so there’s lots of mention of God, the Prophet, relatives of and general praising plus a introductory praise at the beginning of each story. That said, there is also Christian content because this is sufficiently old enough to include Christianity as it is and was, a close relative and part derivative of Islam rather than something different and so the integration of Muslims and Christians is normal and interestingly there is almost no conflict but mostly respect and even crossover. For example Gabriel and the sage Simeon appears and are not out of place to the Muslim cast, they are treated with deference but of course the people of the religions were not equal and as usual society was not anywhere equal either. There is less credit given to the older cultures Islam supplanted and incorporated/morphed into itself but the main areas of the world these stories are based are Western Asia and Northern Africa probably focused on Persia, Syria and Egypt. At times it does read like Islam had always been there and that is typical of world cultures in general especially empires (I have come across many that think of and refer to Ancient Egyptian things as Arabic.)

It’s sounding very religious but even parts of the world that are/were thought of mainly in terms of their main religion(s) still have extensive culture, everything from art to science. Yep science, science and technology have historically been very important even in religious dominated society and that’s because they weren’t seen as opposing or separate like they are today. Bear in mind that the bulk of orthodox scientific theory taught as truth in schools – even if not uniformly believed nor always used as basis for other theories by scientists – was put together, fought for, supported by Christian and Muslim administrators. Society from economy to education was governed by religious bodies so even with the continued Graeco-Roman and flourishing teachings in maths, science and philosophy – those with influence still had to take some form of religious study and/or occupation e.g. cannon law and so both the tools and theories were developed by Christian and Muslim clerics and university tenured/lecturers, many were acting ministers. Yes they weren’t always appreciated, there are always in-house battles especially at regime change times – and the Inquisition – but ultimately what we think of as the pillars or foundations of scientific thought were accepted and not barred by religion and ruling elite akin to the necessity and sometimes conditions of sponsorship and peer support.

My point is that I borrowed this from the local library without prejudice and misconception out of historical interest but I did make an assumption due to the look and sound of the book and now I’m disappointed. I chose this over Mayan, Tibetan and Christian fiction because I thought it’d be an enjoyable and lighter read to those ones that were decidedly crime thriller.

Note – this book is not family or child friendly.

Misogyny, Racism and Classism

Females are definitely objectified and thought of in terms of their sexual value. Rape, incest, blaming and ‘devaluing’ the victim are normal – previously valued females can be deemed worthless/not worth being ‘kept’ and given to their rapists. Even ones that their family were extremely possessive over keeping separate and unknown to society until someone deemed worthy came along and could pay the dowry of course (and in the subverted way of paying it to brides male family instead of them giving her money as a nest egg or backup.) Sometimes the victims are described as not minding being attacked if the male is handsome and others will accept ‘pity marriage’ as an honour. Multiple wives are normal of course and virginity highly prized but chastity and hiding are not expected of males and if one of your females is raped it’s acceptable revenge (I say ‘revenge’ and not ‘retribution’) to rape a female belonging to the enemy in return and that enemy doesn’t have to be an enemy afterwards especially if they become family. In many cases I was reminded of ‘Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded’ by Samuel Richardson (1740) and the section of the Kama Sutra that explains how to rape and marry at the same time.

Love is described aplenty but it’s more like lust and infatuation.

Light skin is better. That is not exclusive to the Muslim culture of that time and place; from the ‘English Rose’ to Japanese White makeup, Eastern Asia has plenty of darker and Brown skin natives but they’re not put on a pedestal and some places equate dark skin to dirtiness and poverty. In modern times if you went by Bollywood and Latin American films you may think dark females don’t exist and that a larger population than realistic has non-Brown eyes, male actors aren’t expected to be light or attractive by default but the heroes and popular ones do tend to fit that bill. With Western Asians I’ve come across many who are adverse to tanning not for health or cultural reasons but purely cosmetic. So basically most of the ‘good’ characters in the book are fair skinned, the females in particular likened to the moon without further symbolic context. Physical beauty also means that a female is either a prize or untrustworthy but is a mark of integrity in a male.

Servants and slavery are normal, typically female servants are just as attractive when youthful as their mistresses and the slaves are Black people (given the later conflicts between Islam, Judaism and Christianity having and trading Black slaves is a mutual point particularly in Muslim and Jewish history). As usual for servants and slaves their masters due not limit their ‘duties’ to domestic and guarding, they are owned entirely in body if not soul.

Many of the stories are devoted to the rich who are generally made even richer to the point of ‘disgustingly/filfthy rich’. They are extremely decadent and it seems more likely to have the ‘finer feelings’ than their poorer counterparts.

Moral of the Stories?

As aforementioned these are not religious stories/parables but they are not fables either that have moral points; some do focus on piety and humility (especially for the poor and the poor have to suffer more to get relief) so you could say “don’t emulate the indulgent rich folk… For it’d be harder for them than for a camel to get through the eye of a needle” but then the rich folk are often the heroes and their masses of wealth a reward… Even if given by demons. It’s not about good and evil either because characters described as heroic (remember nobility are often heroic by default) or criminal and any type of behaviour can lead to a ‘happy ending’ (which is more like relief than happiness for some). These are short tales, though of great variance in shortness, that just tell a story so they could be likened to partial-biographies if the characters were real.

Jinn

Jinn or in singular form jinni (later and more commonly but incorrectly thought of as ‘genie… In a bottle’) it wouldn’t be accurate to describe them as ghosts or ghouls, perhaps more like spirits bearing in mind that many cultures have spirits that manifest in 3D and hence shape shift. Jinn are a race of beings that live alongside humans and other animals and most noted for guiding or interfering with them – they were not thought of as good or bad as a race like the word ‘daemon’/demon is often used interchangeably with ‘spirit’. Races like or even the same as them are seen in many cultures from fallen angels, nephilim/demi-gods, monsters and aliens. Nowadays the word demon is often interchangeable with ‘devil/s’ as in plural of the Devil (who is also mentioned in this book) but lesser demons can serve that or not, some even serve and are most pious to the one(s) called God(s) – to me that (and other things) explains why despite all the praise and description of God or gods it/they are not omnipotent or omnipresent because its/their enemies can bring a damned tough and even direct fight with masses of suffering and people treat all around unethically.

It is not unusual or seen as undesirable for humans and jinn to interbreed and marry.

Inconsistencies

The authorship and dates of the stories are unknown, according to the introduction some or parts of some were found in later collections and as always with changing times and editing there are inconsistencies. For example in one story the hero’s nurse is described as being so close that she’s like a mother and then after she’s described as his mother. In another the protagonist meets a sorceress at the beginning and then near the end meets her again for the first time.

This is not uncharacteristic of literature or history in general, bear in mind that what I call ‘modern Hinduism’ shows deviation from original or earlier pre-vedic/diluvian based Hindusim and that modern Hinduism is a collection of scriptures that were translated by Muslim and British scribes, conflict of interest. Similarly early Buddhism is a streamlined version of Hinduism with different names and that makes sense given who started it, but modern Buddism is even more streamlined and has a centralised masculine Buddha (even though some claim genderless). There are many scriptures and literature in India are not transliterated or translated and so in the same line of thought I wonder what the difference is between the language of the manuscript and the English in this book, especially in the poetry which manages to rhyme in places. I’m not doubting or disputing the translator’s ability but there is always room for error or compound errors over time and version.

The titles

I’m not going to summarize any of the stories as the titles are already telling.

1. The Story of the King of the Two Rivers, Saihun and Jaihun, his son Kaukab and his experience with the Chamberlain Ghasb. An astonishing tale.

2. The Story of Talha, the Son of the Qadi of Fustat, and What Happened to Him with His Slave Girl Tuhfa and How She Was Taken Away from Him and What Hardships Befell Until There Was Relief After Grief.

3. The Story of the Six Men: The Hunchbacked, the One Eyed, the Blind, the Crippled, the Man Whose Lips Had Been Cut Off and the Seller of Glassware.

4. The Story of the Four Hidden Treasures and the Strange Things That Occurred.
The First Quest.
The Story of the Second Quest, with its Marvels and Terrors.
The Story of the Third Quest, for the Crown.
The Story of the Fourth Quest, for the Golden Tube.

5. The Story of the Forty Girls, and What Happened to Them with the Prince.

6. The Story of Julnar of the Sea and the Marvels of the Sea Encountered by Her.

7. The Story of ‘Arus al-‘Ara’is and Her Deceit, As Well As the Wonders of the Seas and Islands.

8. The Story of Budhur and ‘Umair Son of Jubair al-Shaibani with al-Khali’ the Damascan, with News and Poetry about Them.

9. The Story of Abu Disa, Nikcnamed the Bird, and the Marvels of His Strange and Comical Story.

10. The Story of Sul and Shumul with Reports and Poetry, and How Shumul Was Abducted, As Well As What Ordeals Her Cousin Sul Faced and How the Two Were Reunited. It Is a Marvellous Tale.

11. The Story of Abu Muhammed the Idle and the Marvels He Encountered with the Ape As Well As The Marvels of the Seas and Islands.

12. The Story of Miqdad and Mayasa, Together with Poetry and Reports, and the Conversation of Miqdad and Mayasa at the Hand of ‘Ali Son of Abu Talib, the Exalted by God.

13. The Story of Sakhr and al-Khansa’ and of Miqdam and Haifa’. With Poetry and Prose.

14. The Story of Sa’id Son of Hatim al-Bahili and the Marvels He Encountered at Sea and with the Monk Simeon.

15. The Story of Muhammed the Foundling and Harun al-Rashid.

16. The Story of Ashraf anf Anjab and the Marvellous Things That Happened to Them.

17. The Story of the Talisman Mountain and Its Marvels.

18. The Story of Mahliya and Mauhub and the White-Footed Gazelle. It Contains Strange and Marvellous Things.

Recommended?

For those with an interest in Islamic and Christian history though interestingly enough I’d say not for people into general fantasy and fairytales as these are not as engagingly written, atmospheric or epic feeling as those genres generally are – at times I felt even the poetry a chore. The narration seems detached to me and author(s) don’t really describe the other species as much as I’d like other than that they can do things humans wish they could but are actually very human like in behaviour.

I’d say to definitely read the introduction by Robert Irwin, one of the best reviews/intros to a book I’ve read in a long time and more educational to cultural aspects with lots of references.

There is a glossary at the back for Islamic words but a good English dictionary may also be needed and by that I mean 20+ years old (I’ve found most modern editions almost useless over the years as well as detrimental when playing Scrabble and they certainly wouldn’t help here.)

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All this Is-is nonsense

Modern Egyptians are not ancient Egyptians. I consistently come across people who if you don’t specify the difference will claim the culture/history & modern representations/paraphernalia of as their own from the iconography to the eyeliner.

Now one of the major figures in the later pantheon has been attributed to, I’ll be ‘nice’ and just call them another ‘group’/grouping, further away and to anyone in a negative way that doesn’t totally disagree with them or doesn’t totally agree with those doing the mis-name calling.

Isis was a Roman-Egyptian goddess, a major one, a mother goddess whose schools (and no I don’t agree mystery schools, secret societies, hidden knowledge be they kohl wearing, sitting on mountains, or ‘everyday men’ at lodge parties) were the remnants of the unity all-is-one/source values at the time/place i.e. that of the divine mother/feminine/the galactic centre. She represented a creator, carer and saviour – those who loved her (and yes she was very popular) needed security and protection, those who sought her out and got initiated into hierarchies, well that’s an organized beast of elitism. She was paired with Osiris and later described as the mother of Horus – a figure used in much US symbolism. She was not an Egyptian goddess or the mother goddess proper, she was a later representation – it’s easier for invading/newer peoples to take dominance by not totally destroying what was there already but by incorporating it like missionaries in India dressing and parading Mary statues like Indian goddesses.

Isis came about at the later point of the goddess Aset of Kemet/Khem (pre Graeco-Egypt and meaning Black Land) many say they’re the same or that Isis was based on Aset, they have a lot of parallels and confusion with the demises of Ra and later Osiris doesn’t help and the motherhood of Horus but they grew apart as Isis was more Roman and later more likened to Demeter and Cybele. It really depends on the part of Egypt and timeframe e.g. Hathor is sometimes also called the mother of Horus. It’s so convoluted. Bat, Maat etc are former Mother goddesses proper. Isis has also been associated with Hathor and Western & Central Asian goddesses like Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Asherah, Al-lat etc though as usual there’s overlapping and differences in the stories, and the astronomical associations like with the planet Venus, the moon and constellations. She was later associated with Aphrodite. The Inanna (Anna)/Ishtar characters in part are representations of the primordial Daughter later in the ‘game’ called daughter goddesses (and making of the Dark Mother into an evil entity though she is shown as a sister in their story but later referred to by some as a Dark Mother figure) – so a big mish mash of Mother Goddess inspired/stolen culture juxtaposed into malefic systems with the likes of Anu/Enki/Enlil.

The A’s: Astarte, Asherah, Al-lat (all in the origins of Hebrew and Islamic culture) are more Isis like than Inanna/Ishtar so why not use their names then? Isis is more well known by name, easier to pronounce/spell/use as an acronym and easier to tie to those other people seen as similar in some way and lumped together (like how many don’t seem to realize there are loads of types of Brown people, a couple of major groups whose cultural hate for each other goes back further & is bloodier yet they’re both being put in the same group on sight/association – heck I used to get treated rudely by both anti-South & Central Americans and anti-Muslims in US airports and I’m neither – nor am I religious or give a crap about skin colour). Though as usual the use of branding is easily confused by trash talking and blurring the lines i.e. Isis was popular in the Roman empire but that seems easily forgotten nowadays. Her tradition later known as a cult was reduced or changed, like a lot of things/people, by later Romans who preferred the total devastation, hide everything before & criminalize technique. The ancient Greeks were master chameleons, pretenders of ‘goodwill’ like they were doing other people a favour (even by things like mass forced marriage i.e. controlling the gene pool) & loved that they could take on the grandiose nature of the Egyptian cultures and mix it with their own. They were more of the force them beneath and keep ‘em alive style – but both elite Greeks and Romans liked slavery, personal decadence, bloody entertainment and generally feeding/living off those around them – like any tyrant from anywhere.

It’s a tough one deciphering between goddesses and wannabe goddesses i.e. the tools. Most of the modern goddesses who are thought of as ancient by modern standards (I’ve used the word ‘ancient’ thus far for ease of understanding/introduction but I’ll stop that now to put cultures and systems as we currently know them into bigger perspective) are figures in a patriarchal framework and those who need them are between a rock and a hard place so settle since digging takes time and energy. The same characters (man, woman, child, other species) are recycled all over with different names & faces and when there are differences in attributes it’s usually due to local circumstances and/or regime changes. Many of the goddesses we know today are straight up degradations of older goddesses who are incorporated and demoted or representations/figures with superimposed identities from before i.e. avatars. The same goes for the males who were goddesses or added for the sake of public theatre/politics/religion, some are still known for their sex changing and gender bending ways. Many of these altered goddesses or later versions were from mafioso style families/pantheons rampant in religion worldwide and later omitted or masculinised or changed to consorts/figureheads or further demoted to saints with one major exception, Shakti-ism – get to that in a bit. Goddess culture came to be known as fertility cults, sex cults, with sacred prostitutes, ritual killing – all a bunch of bs, and things both obvious and harboured in patriarchal systems. Amazing how those systems have been so visibly anti-homosexuality and incest yet so many male gods and deities were at it with everyone/’thing’ and each other and many of their human counterparts aka the upper echelons saw mating with females as a chore but necessary to keep the bloodlines ‘pure’.

Modern priestesses, nuns etc in major systems where some feminine presence or iconography is still in use are not representatives of Mother Goddess/divine feminine culture, and chanellers of anybody/’thing’ are an issue. Not even Shakti priestesses are representatives proper, if you can find any let alone many brahminis (though according to modern lore there’s supposed to be a male and female practitioner for major rituals). Shakti-ism is one of the major parts of modern Hinduism and when I say modern I mean post-vedic mainly (though also post-diluvian) since most translations of the well known scriptures came from/were sponsored by other cultures e.g. British and there are scores and scores of scripture all throughout India not in English or common. It’s in modern Hinduism where the former almighty Shakti force is demoted to a branch and where the male triad plus 1 come into prominence; the manliest having a feminine name, the ganymede being his part-time lover and the other claiming the personification of Brahma (again feminine). Calling Isis the Mother Goddess (and then associating her with anti disciples) is like calling durga et al Lalita aka the primordial Mother Goddess, the ParaBrahma, MahaKali etc. It’s total crapola. Durga and friends are umbrella goddesses who’ve been added and shape shifted to fit. They’ve done it to an extent with Kali, the only primordial who survived into public consciousness but as a mirror of shiv(a), it’s claimed she is part of durga and basically a feminine version of shiv(a) but she pre-dates them. People include her because they’re scared not to – though again with her adjusted image it’s easy to confuse and attach things to her. Speaking of adjusted image – reptilian themes became prevalent in modern Hinduism. Parts of goddess culture also remain in parts of modern Buddhism but less obviously since they are no longer referred to as any of the many goddesses carried over from Hinduism and already made locals like Quan Yin (the Daughter, and Queen of Heaven – there was no king), later demoted to bodhisattvas, dakinis and then streamlined to yin as a ‘balance’ to yang. That yin/yang business is what’s been latched onto in the Western idea of Buddhism but much of the remaining in Asia think of women as inferior beings or at least practise it that way. There are parts in Hinduism and Buddhism that consider being female as an advantage/ahead on the road to enlightenment and spirituality but even their practise has been corrupted like thinking of the left hand as dirty/impure and feminine which doesn’t help with ideas about eating, going to the bathroom, palm reading or doing yogic practise that say women should do certain mudras on the left hand and men on the right hand.

I’ve written about various goddesses because it’s important to know they exist/ed. If the use of history continued in the same way even the modern female tools would be seen as relics of the past or forgotten, most not even incorporated or in this case further abused. The further forward (newer/later) in history we go the less history we have yet the further back we search the more history they had. Older Indians said Earth was over 4 billion years old, the older Lebanese said the crust was over 3 billion years old. They were right. The later religions allow for races and potential time periods before them yet don’t really talk about them (not in the obvious streamlined, mainstream versions anyway) or at least not in context with their interactions with other races, their lens is very focused. Why, because they don’t know or is it easier to say time began or really began or it’s only important to think of history from when they took over? Older people talk a lot more about beings from the stars, other planets and other Earth land and underground habitants – these allowed for other races in modern religions show them as the pantheons & divine hierarchies e.g. god and angels. The G in the compass and the square from a system rife with mixed symbolism are just tools eh. Some infer it’s sexual intercourse others say it represents the Goddess and/or nature, or nature and/or a personification of hence captured, caged and conquered. Many have called it Satanism due to goddess symbolism rather than the behaviour of those partaking, blaming the wrong parts in a twisted context because otherwise they’d have to acknowledge system similarities and what they want to believe can’t be bad. (Let’s get this straight, I had been told to worship Shiva from a young age, then I liked Kali but then went off religion early preferring to peel back layers, theories, times and let that lead me to comparisons, contrasts, lies, part lies and ‘truths’ (grammar marks used because I can’t be certain on those, I’d need to be near omnipresent for that and belief doesn’t come easily for the sake of it to me.) I talk about Mother Goddess culture because it’s important to know and because it’s there; hidden, trodden on, stolen from, convoluted but it’s there and has been throughout known past, it’s a culture that goes beyond tribe, it’s unwelcome and puts people on auto-defensive.) It’s really no wonder goddess culture and girls/women have been and still are a massive underclass, when allowed to be thought of as people with thoughts/feelings at all and not property of male members of the family who are aided by females disposed to tradition (remember it was only a handful of years ago in here that women could be legally raped by husbands because it wasn’t considered rape as they were property and were apparently always up for it and they couldn’t testify against husbands.)

The Earth Mother and Mother Goddess/Galactic Mother also have a blurred line, sometimes seen as separate, sometimes as one but either way not from the religions common now and prior to the ones people call ancient. Her/their presence goes back tens of thousands of years at least. The known remnants of Her are through the names Gaia, Dea, Lalita, Kali, Bala, Sophia. Though it’s easier and less racial to say Mother, Dark Mother, and Daughter (later known in a sometimes sexist way as Maid, Mother and Crone).

On a sidenote – I don’t dislike all later goddesses, I feel sorry for many in that the male family members loved raping them, human and non-human females. But I don’t like those that ordered/orchestrated the rape of other females or who were generally power hungry, treacherous pieces of crap that put me in mind of the idea of the Orion queens. That said I’ve never found a male deity I could like for being caring or nice, male characters from people and supposed other races yeah a few like anyone else but from the divine/’down there’ lot? No way.

Is(is) seems to be mainly an English speaking Western media term. If the actual group/s is using it now then it just adds to the nonsense. A misogynistic grouping using a major goddess name from a rival empire in its known and popular rival form as a straight up banner… That happens when people are using goddess belief/energy/culture whilst degrading and subverting it – oh wait they are patriarchal so they could be doing that but then they’d change the name again, or give it some hidden meaning (unless they’re going along with it for the overarching goal of goddess desecration but it’s looking like the name is going to be cut to IS – or is that only after the damage is done?). Why not use one of the many male or masculinised names. Funny how it fits in with the re-emergence/remembering of the Mother Goddess or divine feminine. Gotta drag the idea through the mud, but just in case use a ‘fake’/morphed identity (version linked to a prior character(s)/theme) anyway from one of the later goddesses that was superimposed on and background/story confused. (I knew a guy who has an ancient goddess based tattoo over his heart but would denounce and be scared of the goddess the shapes come from/are really associated with but wanted to benefit from anyway hedging his bets. That attitude describes the pack behaviour regarding goddess culture throughout history.) Does Isis have any link to the group (who are being publically denounced by many in the same areas and neighbours)? No, unless a figure associated with the former use of Isis is helping with the battle plans but that can be said of all ‘sides’. Just stop calling them a goddess already, a wannabe goddess maybe but still that’s too confusing. They don’t deserve the title and those of us who are interested in goddess culture even the his-story don’t need the extra helpings of shit to plough through for remnants of truth, growth & natural harmony. I don’t mean manure when I say shit, manure is important.

You want a link? Ok much earlier people would say the Great Mother Goddess (more than or including the Earth Mother) created everyone/body/thing including all the bastardos whether domestic or alien and all those who love the divide and conquer and control way of life. They weren’t made on purpose but an abnormality/mutation, not as some idea of free will to be f* ups. She’s different to the later interpretations that became masculinised and/or monotheistic in which it seems the creator wandered off somewhere, is disinterested, perhaps died, is an overlord, had a child that somehow wiped out all sin by being sinned against & then sin continued or perhaps started afresh afterwards hence needing another ‘coming’, or is everywhere yet ineffectual. Oh wait that link applies to everybody regardless of colour, creed, nation doesn’t it. Whoops how inconvenient and demonizing her is to everybody/one/thing’s detriment. Those much earlier people also believe/said she was taken advantage of, tricked, enslaved and violated by her own children/creation. Many modern people are thinking the same of each other let alone the Earth, non-human animals or a Celestial Mother; we ain’t one big happy family. Unlike the fathers from newer religions she gets angry out of fierce protective love, she doesn’t rape her children or advocate it, she doesn’t sleep around like some vampire ‘creator/parent/lover’ or impregnate and call it an honour, she’s not spiteful and is generous to a fault. What have we done with her, where is she? That’s the problem. Knowledge of her is being remembered/found but of course it’s being buried and shamed at the same time. Some speak of a ‘correction’, her correction of this situation, but that doesn’t mean a ‘reset’ or continuance. Mother goddesses in the various religions have consistently been seen as eternal whereas other deities even so-called and self proclaimed creator deities die, find another host or morph/clone. Egyptians and others ‘mummy’-fied (a pun) themselves albeit in different ways to ‘live forever’ (then there’s cryogenics and transhumanism) or maintain their individuality after passing on from this reality, to cheat yet be a part of source. Using Mother ethos whilst seemingly being jealous of her/wanting to be her hasn’t stopped.

Too much confusion and distraction, this is just a reminder – amnesia isn’t cool.

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Read A Book Day

Whilst I’m not currently reading a book comprehensively i.e. one at a time consistently, I have finally just finished reading the draft script for the final and unproduced episode of Dungeons & Dragons (80’s popular cartoon, ‘D&D’).

LtR: Presto the magician, Diana the acrobat, Hank the ranger, Sheila (behind) the thief, her younger brother Bobby (in front) the barbarian and his best friend Uni the infant unicorn, Eric the cavalier.

LtR: Presto the magician, Diana the acrobat, Hank the ranger, Sheila (behind) the thief, her younger brother Bobby (in front) the barbarian and his best friend Uni the infant unicorn, Eric the cavalier.

The script is available here: http://web.archive.org/web/20110720142026/http://www.michaelreaves.com/pdf/requiem_sec.pdf

Reading it confirmed suspicions I had at the time; mainly:
1) I don’t remember any notable mention of dungeons, nothing to warrant the title of the cartoon, unlike the dragons of which there were aplenty and of course their nemesis the multi-headed Red dragon (with different coloured heads) Tiamat (alot of interesting names & info in this cartoon). So I thought the realm itself may be a dungeon (like the phrase ‘prison planet’ for Earth).

2) I never liked the way Dungeon Master (DM) used to bait the kids with the prospect of going home (almost every episode) when he seemingly knew it wouldn’t happen and had overarching plans for them. This was confirmed to me before reading the above script when he said Venger (Vr) was his pupil and that group of soldier corpses in Vr’s maze had also been his pupils. Whilst DM’s position wasn’t clear at the time, especially with the episode where he made Eric an honorary version of himself and how difficult it is to convey prophecy in a way that those you’re trying to warn is understandable and believable, it did seem to me that he used the possibility of going home like dangling a carrot before them to string them along. All whilst knowing that they were the type of people who wanted to help others and who would endure their own situation longer and/or worsening to do so anyway.

That was emphasized to me in later episodes where he said they’d now taken their first step to going home and that they were now worthy. So what about all those times before when he made them honestly think they had a chance, no matter how slim or when his riddles were more likely figured out in hindsight?

3) Vr was DM’s son. I’m not going to say that is a spoiler because I remember him calling Vr that in one episode.

From the script it’s strange comparing his reactions to what happens to Vr in the finale to what happened to Vr’s sister and presumably his daughter Karena in the latter part of the cartoon. He doesn’t seem anywhere near as moved by her release nor it seems had a big tribute/alter for her.

Dungeons and Dragons DungeonMaster Venger

Interestingly enough Micheal Reaves said this about rumours that were circulating about D&D:

Until I received several pieces of email recently, the combined gist of which is that there are rumors abounding on the Net and the Web about a last episode of the show, either scripted and never produced, or produced and never aired, in which we learn that the kids actually died on the rollercoaster that supposedly took them into the Realm, and that they are, in fact, imprisoned in Hell and being tormented with a complex fantasy (as if just being in Hell wouldn’t be torment enough) by the Devil masquerading as Dungeon Master, and do I have any words to share with the masses about this issue?

Yes: Bushwah, poppycock and balderdash.

http://web.archive.org/web/20110720142014/http://www.michaelreaves.com/requiem_preface.htm

Interesting. Whilst I never thought they’d died on the roller coaster or that they’d gone to ‘Hell’ or that DM was the ‘Devil’ – after reading the script I think that the last two points are a matter of semantics. The dialogue itself, specifically from Hank and confirmed in the last scenes show that the realm is a prison and so comparing it to Hell or a dungeon world or dimension isn’t far off. In addition to what I’ve described above, the final game/bet DM plays with Vr with the kids as pawns very much insinuates that DM is a kind of trickster/taunter/manipulator/orchestrator/false light or what have you. I guess if you’re saying the realm and DM are the biblical Hell and Devil (though then you’d have to get into the various personalities described under the umbrella term ‘Devil’) it’s easy to say no they’re not; but the symbology is there. If the episode had been made and aired under the tenuous title ‘Redeemer’ instead of ‘Requiem’ it could have fueled the critics more.

He went on to say:

There is no such episode, as even a moment’s rational thought would reveal. D&D was a very dark, edgy show for its time — sort of the Gargoyles of the Eighties — and credit must go to Judy Price, then president of Childrens’ Programming for CBS, for taking a chance on it and not playing it safe and slapping another Care Bears clone on the air instead. We took the show about as far as you could go on kids’ TV at the time; as an example, the script for The Dragons’ Graveyard (a second season episode I wrote), in which the kids contemplate killing Venger in order to find a way home, caused a battle royale with Broadcast Standards and Practices. The chances of an episode with a plot like the one described above even making it past an initial three-line pitch were — and still are — about as likely as Superman snorting Kryptonite.

I actually thought the 80’s had alot of dark and edgy or serious cartoons along with the sweeter, cuter ones of which many still had sensitively handled serious issues. For example I and other kids I knew were into The Mysterious Cities of Gold, She-Ra, He-Man, Thundercats, Captain Planet, Ghostbusters, David the Gnome, Teenage Mutant ‘Hero’ Turtles, X-Men, Spiderman, Beetlejuice, Transformers to name some. Then ongoing greats from before the 80’s like TinTin.

Plus I remember times when the kids in D&D wondered if Vr had been killed, or it seemed that way (certainly by the way he would be disintegrated or exploded) as opposed to defeated but still alive , either by their or the actions of others. Heck he and many other characters from the same and other cartoons were getting pummelled and destroyed in numerous and varied ways.

Anyway to this day D&D remains popular, watchable & intriguing and there are the games, magazines, books etc as well as memories that help keep the fandom going.