Mudcat Café message #223526 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20846   Message #223526
Posted By: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere, tangentially)
05-May-00 - 11:24 AM
Thread Name: BS: More pagan stuff
Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
Changing the trend just a bit, I have just been reminded of the influences on the evidence that remains by seeing a colleague's display on the story of Pandora's Box. The standard school interpretation has Prometheus as the good guy, the "gods" as petty minded characters who shouldn't be let loose on terraforming a traffic island, and hope as a good thing. Apart from some interpretations suggesting that hope was the worst of the bad things in the box, which I think is fairly ancient (I expect T-bird has some idea of the sources for that) I hadn't seen anything else until the other year until I saw a cartoon version by an artist who usually does Bible stories, who had Prometheus as satanic, and visually monstrous, because he opposed Zeus, who ,as king of the gods, should be obeyed. Obviously the comparison between Pandora and Eve had been made much more evident, to the loss of a very subtle story in its own right.

What interests me is the contrast between the survival of that subtle story, and the way that Skarpi's heritage has been preserved, written down by monks. There are obvious comparisons between the Northern and the Southern European pantheons, though Odin/Othin/Woden seems to have taken the places rightfully belonging to Thor/Thunor and Tyr/Tiw, and the relationship between Loki and Odin seems similar to that between Prometheus and Zeus in a number of ways. Except that Loki, in opposing a leader with a number of dubious characteristics, which he claims himself (Stirrer-of-Strife-at-Things, for example)is made deeply satanic, wrong and evil, when the situation is much more subtle than evil Loki opposing good Odin. Has a more subtle story on the lines of the Greek one been hidden by being written down by Christians who inhabited a partially Manicheian(?sp)world of black and white?

I can't find a discussion about this anywhere (except odd implications by Harry Harrison in One King's Way etc, and Diana Wynne Jones in Eight Days of Luke) as books tend to write Loki off at face, evil value. One argument is that Loki had no temples. I am assured by an Indian friend that my claim that a god with an implicit association with fire does not need a personal temple as he is in all temples is exactly the position with Agni in Hinduism, a point I did not know before raising it with him. Incidentally, isn't Hinduism continuously practiced paganism?