Tag Archives: angels

Merry Mythology

This is the day that western culture celebrates my favorite of all myths, one which I regard as fact. I understand that not all of my followers share in this persuasion, and my sincere prayer is that one day you will. Until then, I hope you will continue to follow me since I think I have demonstrated that I am not at all overbearing in my treatment of this topic of mythology. We can all learn from one another.

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The Annunciation (1898) by Henry Ossawa Tanner

If we can get the cartoons out of our heads, it is possible to consider the more profound aspects of the Christmas story. That infinite divinity took on a form we can understand with our limited faculties is a concept of the highest order.

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Adoration of the Child (circa 1620) by Gerard van Honthorst

Think of what those shepherds must have felt when angels announced the birth of the Christ child. These angels were not fat babies with wings. So impressive was their appearance that scriptures almost invariably mention their need to say, “fear not,” to those who beheld them. We pay good money to see movies with imagery less impressive than that. Might this reflect an unrecognized spiritual need?

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The Annunciation to the Shepherds by Cornelius Saftleven

The Christmas story is only the beginning of a greater story. So let me go all Tiny Tim on you by saying, “God bless us every one.” Happy Holidays. I’ll be back with the usual fare next week.

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Journey of the Magi (1894) by James Tissot

The Modern Pantheon: Introduction

Characters from Avengers: The Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon
Characters from Avengers: The Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon

Since I like to create my own mythologies in the books that I write, I am fascinated by a modern pantheon that has really caught on in popular culture: the Disney Marvel franchise. For this next series of posts, I will limit my comments to what has been revealed in these movies up to this point in time. It would be foolish of me to reveal my woeful unfamiliarity with the actual graphic novels. The films are a bit of an anomaly for the superhero genre in that they feature outstanding writing, production, directing, acting, AND special effects. They work on several levels.

Characters from Thor, directed by Kenneth Branaugh
Characters from Thor, directed by Kenneth Branaugh

 What I would like to key on are some of the mythological elements in these productions, especially certain god-like characters. It could be argued that, while abnormally powerful, they are not portrayed as full-fledged spiritual beings, but this is not a foregone conclusion. Though they are somewhat “scientifically” explained, the Marvel characters I will mention in later posts are not unlike the members of the Greek pantheon. These gods were physical enough that they sometimes procreated with mortals to produce demigods. Nor is this concept of embodied spirituality foreign to Judaism and Christianity. In the book of Genesis, there is a description of Abraham entertaining angels, who actually ate the food he offered them. In the New Testament gospels, we can read of the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In these and other cases, the boundaries between the spiritual and the physical are described as rather fluid.