Saturday, 23 August 2014

CLOWNS and FOOLS : The great warrior gods of antiquity


The great warrior gods of antiquity stood out for their impact on the early cultures. With their magical weapons they vanquished monsters and dark forces threatening the world. Numerorus warrior kings on earth modeled their self images after these celebrated gods.

Strangely, many astronomical traditions identified these cosmic warriors as the planet Mars. Equally strange is the repeated portrayals of the revered warriors as celestial dancers.

In their capricious aspects these gods often presented a feared, darker countenance, giving rise to cultural ambivalence toward these figures.

Ancient storytelling across the centuries reduced many such cosmic warriors to a demigod or a Hercules figure, a dragon slayer and world savior with a tendency to slip into madness or a drunken frenzy.

The transformation of these popular figures continued as cultures lost all connections to their origins in earliest-remembered times. From the warrior-trickster, the heroic figure was progressively diminished to assorted versions of the dancing joker or fool, an evolutionary sequence culminating in the rise of the modern clown. Such “transformations of myth through time” (to borrow from the title of a book by Joseph Campbell), always invite us to follow a mythic theme backwards to the original human experience, in this case the events that provoked the first expressions of the warrior-hero archetype.

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