Ancient Religions

Dragons of South America: Bachue’!

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Bachue’ is a mother goddess from Muisca Colombian mythology. She is the mother of humanity, and emerged from Lake Iguaque with a baby in her arms, who grew up to become her husband. The two populated the earth, and after creating all of humanity, they turned into serpents and returned to the now-sacred lagoon from which they arose.

Her name means “she who has naked breasts”, and she also watches over the crops that sustain man.

It is believed that Bachue’ returns on occasion to guide her people.

 

 

Movie Monster Tributes: Q – The Winged Serpent!

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Sometimes just known as “Q”,  this is a 1982 movie starring David Carradine and Michael Moriarty. Shepard (Carradine) is a New York City Cop investigating a series of ritual homicides. Bodies turn up mutilated in ways such as having the hearts cut out. Meanwhile, Jimmy Quinn (Moriarty) is a piano player and petty criminal who gets caught up in a jewelry store heist. When things go awry, he flees with the stolen jewels, abandoning his fellow crooks. He hides the loot in a forgotten attic space at the top of the Chrysler building,  and there he finds an enormous nest near a hole in the roof.
The two plot lines come together when Shepard figures out that an Aztec cult priest has been convincing victims to be semi- willing human sacrifices as he prays the ancient Aztec  serpent god Quetzalcoatl back into existence. Quetzalcoatl nests in the top of the Chrysler building, flying out on occasion to snatch unsuspecting New Yorkers from rooftops. Jimmy lures the other crooks to the nest and cheers as Q devours them. Then, for a promise of immunity and one million dollars, tax free, he informs Shepard where to find the nest.

Dragons of Asia: The Sirrush of Babylon!

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The name “sirrush”is properly transliterated mûš-ruššû, but early researchers read it as sîr-ruššû, and this is the most commonly known name.
The Sirrush is a dragon of Babylonian and Akkadian mythology, which is pictured on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Its name is derived from an Akkadian word roughly translated as “splendor serpent.”
It resembles a dragon with hind legs like an eagle’s talons and forepaws like a lion. The Sirrush also has a long neck and tail, a horned head, a forked tongue and a crest. Sometimes it is even depicted with a small horn.

From AllAboutDragons.com:

  • German archeologist Robert Koldewey, who discovered the Ishtar Gate 1902, seriously considered the notion that the sirrush was real. He argued that its depiction in Babylonian art was consistent over many centuries, while those of mythological creatures changed, sometimes drastically, over the years. He also noted that the sirrush is shown on the Ishtar Gate alongside real animals, the lion and the rimi (aurochs), leading him to speculate the sirrush was a creature the Babylonians were familiar with.
  • Adrienne Mayor argues that ancient civilizations often took great care in excavating, transporting and reassembling fossils, raising the possibility that it represents a Babylonian reconstruction of sauropod remains. The griffin and other mythical creatures may have been based on similar reconstructions by this reasoning. However, Willy Ley wrote that, as of the late 1950’s, no fossil beds are known around Mesopotamia. Others have noted a resemblance to monitor lizards, speculating that Babylonians may have seen or captured monitors and based the sirrush upon them.
  • Willy Ley suggested that the sirrush could be based on an animal that the Babylonians have heard of but that did not live in Mesopotamia. Ley proposed that since bricks of a similar type that those of the Ishtar Gate have been found around Africa, this means the Babylonians could have heard of or seen the animal somewhere else in Africa. The cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans notes that the sirrush was similar to a type of dinosaur, the sauropods. Heuvelmans then suggested that the sirrush of the Ishtar gate and the persisting rumours of sauropod-like surviving dinosaurs in Central Africa, for example Mokele Mbembe is related, and that the sirrush is based on actual unknown reptiles living in Central Africa at that time and that may still be alive.

Monsters of Europe: The Pooka of Ireland!

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Don’t be fooled by the cute name. The púca ,pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca or púka–however you spell it—is considered to be a bringer both of good and bad fortune. In pookas’ various forms, they can help harvest or ruin an entire crop.
The pooka is a skilled shapeshifter, capable of assuming various pleasant or terrifying forms. A pooka can take a human form, but then will often have animal features, such as ears or a tail. It will most commonly appear as a horse, cat, rabbit, goat, or dog,or something in between, and almost always has a dark coat.
The pooka is a creature associated with the Samhain harvest festival, when the last of the crops are brought in. Often the reapers leave a small share of the crop as “The Pooka’s Share” to placate the beasts.

 

*Housekeeping note: This image was painted in ink, and for some reason refused to scan without being blurry. I had to take a photo of the page so it is a bit blurry for that reason as well, but believe me, it still looks better.
I should probably leave some grain out for the pooka.

Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Not a Model Of Everest!

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Even though my vertigo is too bad to ride the ride anymore, I love Expedition: Everest at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as displayed in this post from our annual trip last year.
But something has always bugged me…I have read a lot of articles and watched many documentaries about Mount Everest(I still can’t really explain my fascination), and I would always look at the ride and think, “That doesn’t look a thing like Everest”. NOW I KNOW WHY.

The ride’s mountain is a model, not of Mount Everest, but of the Forbidden Mountain, which was created specifically for the ride. Totally fictional location. It is guarded by the yeti in the story created by Walt Disney Imagineering that revolves around the attraction. Everest is actually present, however.  It is represented by the barren background peak on the far right, which is made to seem far in the distance in forced perspective. (see red circle) Now THAT looks like the north face of Everest, also known in Nepal as Sagarmāthā and in Tibet as Chomolungma.

Tada! Mystery solved!

Movie Monster Tributes: Vinz Clortho, TERROR DOG!

“Okay, who brought the dog?” ~ Louis TullyVinz.jpg

Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. What a monstrous demigod! He is a loyal minion who obeyed The Destructor, possessing Louis Tully in the movie  Ghostbusters.

He seems to be male, anyway, as he possessed a male host. He has noticeably longer horns than Zuul, the Gatekeeper, who is believed to be female. Vinz Clortho was worshipped by the Sumerians and Hittites in 6000 BC, alongside Zuul and their master.

 

Winston Zeddemore: Hey, wait a minute. Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Hold it! Now, are we actually gonna go before a federal judge, and tell him that some moldy Babylonian god is going to drop in on Central Park West, and start tearing up the city?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Sumerian, not Babylonian.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yeah. Big difference.
Winston Zeddemore: No offense, guys, but I’ve gotta get my own lawyer.

Gryphons: The Apkallu Gryphon!

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Babylonian tradition says that there were seven Apkallu who lived at the beginning of time before the flood, and were sent by the god Ea to teach wisdom to humans. By name, they were Adapa (the first man) Uan-dugga, En-me-duga, En-me-galanna, En-me-buluga, An-enlilda and Utu-abzu.
Apkallu protect people and sometimes hold a small, purse-like bucket(with a cone of incense inside) for purifying. In the Babylonian tradition, the Apkallu appear as griffins or simply as humans with wings. Some have the head of a bird, while others lack wings and are dressed in the skin of a fish.