Showing posts with label monsters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monsters. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Hunting Hydras Might Still Be A Pastime

All of His Labors were terrifying and near impossible, but one that seems to be remembered easily by most people is that of the Hydra. I have said in the past that monsters are still monsters even if we've grown used to their presence and call them by different names than in times of old. In fact, a monster is simply defined as an animal of great size or ugliness that incites fear and panic into people. So in search of the truths behind ancient Greek stories, I began to study the second Labor of Herakles in a bit more detail, and what I found piqued my interest greater than ever. But before I begin, let me briefly describe this Labor in order to familiarize the reader.

The monster was more specifically called the Lernaean Hydra, after the coastal springs and fresh lake area that formed the waters, known as Lerna Lake. Today, the water source is extinct. It sits right near the ocean shores east of Arkadia. The monster that lived there was said to have nine or ten heads, depending on the source, and that each time one was cut off, more would regrow. Not only was the beast of immense size and power, it possessed deadly and poisonous breath and blood. Herakles managed to defeat the creature by cutting off eight heads and burying the ninth under a rock.

In the picture above, we see an ancient depiction of Herakles fighting the Hydra. We may not think at first glance that the Hydra looks a lot like an octopus. Octopuses have eight arms and one head, making nine ends, and if they lose an arm, it can regenerate the lost limb in pristine condition. The arms even have their own minds. The animals can also grow to immense size and possess incredible strength. They also carry very painful and deadly venom that can be inflicted upon prey or opponents. Is it possible that the Hydra was exactly this, and that Herakles managed to kill after it had haunted the inhabitants of the area with deadly attacks and/or harassment? They can most certainly kill a human very easily with their poison, and depending on size, might even be able to drown a victim. I think the evidence all points to a very menacing, multi-limbed water monster that we today call the octopus, and to take out one of this magnitude on its own turf with bear hands and sword, would be something most definitely unique and Heroic. The only setback is the fact that the Lake was a freshwater source, and these animals cannot live in that. But who knows? In ancient times, there might have been a part that flowed into it from the sea, or perhaps the inhabitants just thought that the creature came from the Lake but didn't always live there. Maybe the actual battle took place in the sea.

Assuming I am correct, these monsters still live with us today in abundant numbers. The hydras have even become a favorite meal, interestingly, in the Mediterranean, and far East. But generally, they are simply beautiful and fascinating creatures to watch and study. They've even been known to create their own communities. They are very intelligent and resourceful, and have been here for nearly 300 million years, which predates modern humans by a long shot. If only they had been able to talk and take notes, what a world of fascination they could reveal to us.

So the next time you take a dip at the beach, don't forget that the Hydra may still be watching, and in the case that you encounter one, it's probably not a good idea to try to be another Herakles if you can avoid it. There was only one.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

We Can Sometimes See Where The Gods Threw Monsters

As a philosopher and a Greek mythologist, I do a lot of thinking about the latter with the maps of the former. One area that has always interested me is seeing how the tales of old still prove true today.

The Greek myths and Greek stories often require more than just a surface analysis. Most modern scholars, historians and even mythologists have yet to realize this. I think that some of the things the Gods did, were things that they kept doing as time went on, a progressive action like evolution itself. It wasn't a one and done kind of thing. Just as order has remained a constant, so have the actions of the Gods to maintain that order, balance and preferred universe. One of the most well known among these actions was the banishment of rebellious Titans and monsters, often imprisoned in the depths of the Earth away from humanity and the light above. In their prisons, they are kept from bringing harm, chaos and disorder to the surface of civilization and the world itself. That which was an affront to the Gods, or abhorred, was locked away. In the event that the monsters were still able to remain a threat to humanity, such as with the Minotaur, the Gods sent Heroes to kill them, such as Theseus.

The more we learn about the science of remote places far in the depths or the corners of the Earth, the more we see monstrous creatures even to this day. Let's take a dive into the ocean for instance. At one thousand meters, light can no longer reach the water, which means there is nothing but absolute darkness from this point onward. This depth also means that humans could not reach it in their natural form, nor could anything at this level or onward reach humans or general life above. By the time two thousand to four thousand meters is reached, which is double and quadruple the depth of when the light ceases, we start to see the monsters of the water, such as the angler fish, dragon fish, viper fish, fang tooth fish, and the giant squid - hideous and deadly creatures kept from the sight and reaches of the world above. And these are just the monsters we know of. Only 5% of the ocean has been explored and mapped. 

All over the world, there are still places humans have not been, deep in caves or miles beneath the surface of the crust. What else has been put away in the bowels of the Earth or the universe itself, and for what reasons? All round us, each and every day, we still live with the ancient Greek stories and beliefs. They are not bound to an ancient past which is alien to us. They still form the realities of our world.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

Courage and Honor,

Chris Aldridge.