Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Notes on Preceding Post

I just did some checking. The Egyptians thought the heart did our thinking for us and were not much interested in the brain. However, that still leaves eyesight, hearing and speech in the head. Crowns went on the head, not on the chest. Though the Egyptians had some awesome pectorals.

Egyptian gods and goddesses were represented by animals as well as animal headed humans. Thoth, the god of writing and knowledge, could be represented by a man with an ibis head or an ibis or a baboon.

Some were mixtures of animals. Tawaret, the goddess of pregnancy and childbirth, has the head of a hippo, the arms and legs of a lion, the back and tail of a crocodile and the breasts and belly of a pregnant woman. She stands upright like a human, but does not look especially human.

The Assyrians had their wonderful guardian figures, with the heads of men, the bodies of cattle and wings. Chinese dragons are intelligent, talk and have societies similar of traditional Chinese society -- but they are not human in appearance. Rather, they were made of the parts of other animals: snake, fish, horse, cow, lizard, eagle and deer, per tradition.

Native American spirits often seem to flip back and forth between animal and human. Sometimes Coyote is a magical man named Coyote. Sometimes he is a coyote.

Something very interesting is happening here, and I don't think it is simply anthropomorphizing.

Rather, it is the merging of animals and humans, or the breaking down of an artificial barrier between them.


Blogger Foxessa said...

Assigning animal image to ideas and traits, even divinities, is a way to manage psychiatric systems of the mind and behavior before we invented those words and systems.

It's one of the many elements of the Yoruba religion that so attracts me: the ways, the paths, the orishas themselves, as they combine, as they are antagonistic, the patterns create a whole. It's another system that expresses that you must see and understand all the parts, and how these parts interact, intersect and combine to understand the whole.

Love, C.

10:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home