12 April 2014

Flood Legends: Global Clues of a Common Event

Flood Legends is currently #98 in Amazon's "Historical Studies" category for Kindle.  With the new movie, Noah, out, people are confused as to what the Bible says about Noah and his ark.  What better way to help them sort it out than by purchasing a copy for them!  Let's get this book to #1 in "Historical Studies"!

17 March 2014

The Myth of St. Patrick

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.  Today, he is celebrated as the Apostle of Ireland.  He was born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387 A.D., to Roman parents.

Around the age of fourteen, Patrick was taken by a raiding party of Celts ("barbarians" to the Romans), who returned to Ireland with him, forcing him into slavery as a shepherd.  Ireland at this time was populated by Druids and pagans, and while Patrick quickly learned the language and practices of the people who held him, he never forsook his faith.  In fact, he once wrote, during his captivity:

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. . . . I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick remained in Ireland for six years when, after receiving a dream from God, he made his way to the southern coast.  There, a group of sailors agreed to take him back to Britain, and, after reuniting with his family, he made preparations to enter into the priesthood.  It was during this time that he felt the call of God on his life, telling him to take the Gospel to Ireland.  After being ordained a bishop, he returned to Ireland (433 A.D.). 

There are many legends surrounding Patrick, but what we do know is that in the thirty years in which he traveled through Ireland, he preached the Gospel, started churches, and converted thousands.  His favorite object lesson was the shamrock, which he used to explain the Trinity (three separate and distinct leaves, but only one plant).  His life of poverty and suffering eventually caught up with him, and he died on March 17, 461.

For more information on St. Patrick of Ireland, see www.catholic.org.

21 December 2013

Thor and The Mountain Giant

Thor awakened in a mood, for he desired to take Utgard, the great fortress inside of Jotunheim.  So he took his two servants, Thialfi and Roskva, along with his brother Loki, and they travelled to Jotunheim.

It was a long journey, and as the sun set, the four companions vowed to settle down for the night.  They were in forest, and came across a cave that was quite a marvel, for it was not made of rock, but of iron, and had five deep tunnels.  So, tired from their long day’s journey, they settled into one of the chambers and fell deeply asleep.  But their sleep did not last, for in the middle of the night they were awakened by a terrible shaking of the cave.  They immediately rushed outside and found a frost giant lying next to the cave, snoring and slumbering, quaking the ground.

Thor called up to the giant, “Awaken!  What is your name?”

The giant’s eyes slowly opened, and he looked at Thor.  “My name,” he said slowly, his deep voice rumbling in the night, “is Skrymir.”  He looked at the group, and then at the cave.  “Why,” he asked, “were you in my glove?”  As he asked this, he picked up the cave and placed it over his hand.

Thor and his companions much marveled that they had spent the night in a glove, and were sore afraid that the giant might exact revenge, but Skrymir did not appear to be angry, and merely asked instead where they were going.  When they told him they were going to Utgard, he asked if he might travel with them, for he, too, was going to Utgard. 

Thor did not like the idea, but consented.  Skrymir, without another word, grabbed their provisions and placed it in his own bag, and began leading them through the forest.  They followed him until night fell once more, when Skrymir placed his bag upon the ground and without eating or speaking promptly went to sleep.

The four men were hungry, however, and so Thor tried to open the giant’s bag.  It was sealed, as if by magic; Thor was unable to open it.  His rage at last increased, and taking his hammer, he rushed upon Skrymir, striking the giant on the head.  But the hammer bounced off of it, and the giant said, “Did an acorn hit my head?”  He fell back asleep, and Thor tried again, but Smrymir only asked, “Did a gnat strike my head?”  Thor tried once more, and Skrymir stood up and said, “I believe dirt from a tree branch has fallen on me.”  Then he took up his bag and strode off into the woods, leaving them without provisions. 

Thor held his hammer aloft, and marveled at what had occurred.  He greatly feared that his hammer had lost its magic, and he would be unable to wield it any longer against the frost giants.  Loki placed his hand on Thor’s shoulder, however, and offered comforting words.  Thor, encouraged, led them on through the woods.

At last, near the day’s end, they reach Utgard.  They entered the Great Hall, where the giant king was holding a feast.  When the four companions entered, all revelry stopped, and the king demanded, “What has brought you here?  No one can enter my Great Hall unless he can prove himself in some fashion!”

Thor, who did not expect this response, stammered, “Loki can eat faster than anyone in the kingdom!”

The giant king laughed, and said, “Then let us hold a contest!  I will call my loyal subject, Logi, to hold an eating match.”

Soon, Loki and Logi were seated at either end of a long table.  In between them stood plate after plate of food.  The king raised his hand to signal the contestants to be ready, and then he swiftly lowered it with a word:  “Begin!”

Loki ate with all of his might, and when he had finished what was set before him, he looked at the giant, assured that he had beaten Logi.  But to his dismay, Logi had eaten, not only the food, but all of the plates, as well!

Thor thought quickly, and said, “Thialfi here is the swiftest runner in the kingdom!”

So the king called for Hugi, a young giant boy, and everyone went into the courtyard.  The two stood at one end, and the king announced the beginning of the contest.  Thialfi ran fast, but before he was halfway across the courtyard, Hugi had already finished. 

Thor was afraid for their lives, and said, “I shall prove my skills at drinking!”

So the king had a horn full of mead brought out, and Thor set about drinking.  But no matter how much he drank, the horn never emptied, and Thor flung it aside, exhausted.  “You may kill us now, for we have failed.”

The king laughed and said, “I will give you a challenge of my own.  Try to lift my cat from the floor.”  He placed an old gray cat on the ground, and Thor tried to lift it.  But the cat arched its back, and appeared to be a rainbow over Thor’s head, and Thor was only able to lift one paw from the ground.

The king laughed again and said, “Perhaps I should bring you an old woman with whom you can wrestle!”  But the old woman quickly pinned Thor to the ground.  Thor knew, at last, that it was the end.  He knelt before the giant king, awaiting death.

But the giant king only laughed once more and said, “I will not kill you, for I had to use many magic spells to defeat you.  For I am Skrymir, the giant from the forest.  When you tried to strike me in the woods, I made your hammer strike the ground.  When you held these contests, I placed a spell on my servants so that they would win.  When you drank from the horn, it had been dipped in the sea, and you drank an endless supply of seawater.  My cat was the Midgard Serpent, which encircles the world, and I am astonished that you lifted what you did.  And the old woman was Old Age herself, whom no one can cheat.  It took a great amount of magic to humiliate you, and I am deeply impressed.”

Thor, at hearing this, grew angry and leapt upon the giant king, swinging his hammer in full force.  But the king had disappeared, so Thor swung his hammer at the great walls of Utgard, hoping to tear it down.  But he found himself in an empty field, swinging only at air.  This was the first time Thor had ever been defeated by a giant.

-Norse Mythology

20 November 2013

Myth of the Week: The Fire God

Yen-chung Hsien the priest did not divert from his Toaist ways.  He resided on the island of Huo-Lung, which is called the "Island of the Fire Dragon."  He had a long red beard, and his red hair was shaped into the image of a fish tail.  His ruddy complexion and round face made him an amiable-looking priest, and the villagers crossed the waters to the island just to see him.

One day, a terrible war came to the land, and the son of the Emperor called all men to his service.  In the midst of the battle, Yen-chung suddenly grew larger.  He grew two extra heads, and four extra arms.  His horse stamped its feet and flames flew from its nostrils.  In each of his six arms, the terrible giant held weapons and magical devices.  In one hand, he held the great wheel of the five fire-dragons.  In two hands, he held two great swords, which floated above his outstretched palms.  In another hand, he held the powerful discus, engraved with the images of earth and the heavens.  In his fifth hand he held a gourd in which rustled the ten-thousand fire-crows.  In his sixth hand was a column of smoke, and in the smoke were great and terrible swords of fire.

From this moment, Yen-chung Hsien was known as Lo Hsuan.

-Chinese Mythology