Wednesday, May 04, 2011

365 Doodles - Day 124

We're nearly at the end of my run of 'Odd Gods' so here is a small selection of mini-deities starting with an unnamed mole and bee.In Romanian mythology, God made Heaven and then, after measuring the space underneath it with a ball of golden thread, he began to make the Earth. A mole asked to help so God gave him the thread to hold while he got on with his world-building. But the mole wasn’t very good at holding thread (the claws probably) and the measurements soon went all awry and the Earth got too big for the space below Heaven. The mole was quite upset by this and hid underground. But God was having none of that and sent a bee to ask the Mole’s advice. The Mole laughed at the idea of giving God advice, especially after his cock-up. But the bee hid inside a flower and overheard the mole mumbling to himself about what he would do to make things right. ‘I’d squeeze the earth,' mumbled Mole, ‘That would make mountains and valleys it is true, but it would make the Earth smaller at the same time.' The Bee flew back to God who took the advice and everyone was happy. Especially the mountaineers.

In the mythology of the Oceanic peoples, the world began with an Old Spider. All that existed was Darkness and the Sea. The Old Spider found a giant clam and crawled inside. Finding a snail already in residence, the Old Spider persuaded it to go west into the sky where it became the Moon. Then, with the help of another snail, the Old Spider pushed very hard on the top of the clam shell, raising it up, and it became the Sky, which it called Rangi. Then the Old Spider pushed down on the clam’s lower shell and it widened out to become the Earth. Confusingly for English speakers, the world was named Papa, which means ‘Mother’. The space between land and sky was then increased by the simple expedient of opening the clam shell wider.

Glycon was a snake god, worshipped until the fourth century by a small but dedicated cult. Centred upon the Roman Empire, Glycon’s followers erected temples and even had coins struck in the serpent’s name. Notable followers included the governor of Asia, Publius Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus, who declared himself protector of Glycon's oracle and who married the daughter of Alexander of Abonutichus, the leading Greek prophet of the cult. In time, even people like Marcus Aurelius sought prophesies from Alexander and Glycon. Abonutichus, which had been an insignificant little fishing village became an important centre for religion and took on the name Ionopolis.

Although the cult is long since dead, residual superstition remains with local people believing in a ‘magical snake’ that lives among the hills. The writer Alan Moore has declared himself a follower of Glycon and that he enjoys the idea of worshipping a ‘probable fraud.’ This is because the writer and satirist Lucien believed that Glycon was ‘created’ in the second century by Alexander as a hoax, with Glycon existing only as a glove puppet.

Final selection tomorrow. x

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