What’s up Special Ed?!?!
It’s March which means we’re just about a month away from 2021 MOCK DRAFT SEASON!!! We know the real diehards out there are already rocking mocks and best ball drafts in March, but we usually wait 'til after the NFL Draft before we start mocking the upcoming season.
Right now we’re still enjoying our off-season, which is great cause there’s a lotta good streaming TV on right now. We just finished WandaVision and we dug it. All these magic spells and shit got us thinkin’ tho... There still might be a way for a Grand Champion such as ourselves to take our game to the whole ‘nother level:
In 2019 DYM brought you Fantasy Mythopoeia - this year it’s FANTASY DIVINATION!!!
We just thought of it last night and haven’t looked into it too much yet. But we can’t imagine we’re the first person that ever thought to use hexes and chaos magic in fantasy sports or gambling. It actually seems kinda obvious now that we’re thinking about it.
Anyways, for now we’re working on this Fantasy Football Tarot Deck. We figure it should be useful for draft prep even if we can’t get all the incantations figured out. Here’s a little preview:
Kyrie's gonna stop by for more coverage of the 2021 NBA Champion Nets, and the Mets are gonna be good too so we're gonna be watchin' baseball again, AND there's OLYMPICS this year!!
It's gonna be a HOT summer!!!!!
So before we return to our regularly scheduled DYM programming, we gotta finish off the long overdue conclusion of THE DYM ULTIMATE STAR WARS THEORY!!!
When we first wrote it 2 years ago, DYM Scholars surely recognized the irony of the "Ultimate" Star Wars Theory being concocted before the release of the last Star Wars movie. Let's be honest - we had no fucking clue what was gonna happen in Episode IX.
We actually thought broom boy was gonna be a thing.
But really the joke of the original USWT was the same one we always do - if we say we're gonna talk about something next week it'll likely never be mentioned again, and if we say this is the last word on a subject it most certainly is not. Which means we will never be filling in those blacked out [IX] boxes on the Hero's Journey breakdown.
The first edition of the DYM Ultimate Star Wars Theory was actually neither "ultimate" nor an entirely consistent "theory." Hopefully this post will be at least one of those things.
DYM ULTIMATE STAR WARS THEORY PART II:
THE LAST WORD ON EPISODE IX
A lot of things happened in Episode IX. Most of the time when someone asks us about it that's what we say. "It was a lot of things". The movie moves so fast - characters talk over each other, scenes cut frenetically between way too many different planets - it could easily have been 45 minutes longer without adding one line of dialogue. The first time we saw it, it was like a fever dream of a Star Wars movie. We recognized most of the characters and the scenes, but as we left the theater we felt like half the story was rapidly evaporating from our memory. But also like a dream, although we easily forgot the details, a few peculiar images persisted. Things we had never seen in Star Wars before, or never this intimately: A burial, a snake, and a woman in a gold helmet. And like a dream, we now believe those strange and persistent images are keys to the deeper meaning behind the story - the reason why it was told.
There have only been two gold helmets in Star Wars cannon and both of them first appeared in 2019. Our theory is that Zorii Bliss and The Mandalorian Armorer both represent the same mythic archetype - namely the Greek goddess Athena.
Athena is the guardian of heroes, she visits them on their quests, or appears to them in her temple, to bestow knowledge and gifts that they will need to complete their journey.
Precisely same role that Zorii and The Armorer play in Star Wars.
She is also the most powerful war goddess. She was born with a shield and spear in her hands. She killed giants in defense of Olympus. In the Iliad she fought alongside Achilles in the final battle and helped kill Hector to aide Achilles' escape, and even defeated Ares himself.
Perseus kills Medusa and brings the head back to Athena. She uses the head to make a shield and suit of armour.
She is a leader and voice of reason to the journeying hero - calming Achilles' rage when he threatens to kill his own men.
She is also a virgin goddess. The "Parthenon", which translates to "temple of the virgin goddess", was named for her.
When Medusa was beheaded blood poured out of her neck, and from the stream sprang the winged horse Pegasus. Athena was then the original keeper of Pegasus and it is said she invented the first bridle, saddle, and chariot. This is the etymological source of her epithet Hippia (Ἵππια "of the horses"), and the temple mentioned by Pausinias called the temple of Athena Chalinitis ("the bridler").
(Yes, Babu Frik is Hera. We'll do that one next month.)
Lest one think we're grasping straws with this rather opaque jumping off point of "a woman in a gold helmet", allow us to dwell on the minutiae of the aesthetic similarities as well:
Zorii's helmet has a crest extending above and behind her head, similar to the feathered crest of Athena's helmet (or perhaps reminiscent of the Pharoic crowns of Lower Egypt - more on that below).
Later images of "Pallas Athena" show the goddess with a more complex helmet design. Instead of the single crest, there are usually with five points along the top of the helmet.
The name Pallas Athena refers to her role in the war of "Gigantomachy" where the gods of Olympus battled for ten years against the ancient race of "Gigantes". There Athena killed the giant called Pallas, then skinned the giant and dressed herself in it's skin to make herself stronger. That's one weird trick she'd employ habitually throughout the tales of Greek heroes. The Pallas Athena in the statue pictured above has since afixed the face and hair of Medusa to the front of her robes.
The Armorer is the only Mandalorian we've ever seen (since the Clone Wars scenes on the planet Mandalor) that wears anything other than Mando armor. She appears to have at least two layers of armor and an animal skin on top. As of yet we don't have a cannon origin story for the Armorer's pelt, but we bet it's gonna be a trip.
The five "points" on Athena's helmet, as one can clearly see above, are actually a series of miniature figures: a sphinx, flanked by two griffins, and the wings on either side denote this as Hades' cap of invisibility (which she wore to battle Ares in the Illiad). The three figures in the center are interchangeable in Attic art and later antiquity: Sometimes it's a sphinx, sometimes it's an eagle, sometimes it's the dogs of hell - Cerberus and Orthrus, sometimes it's a hydra or sea monster.
She most often is shown wearing images of the serpentine beasts her heroes have slain. Athena continued to be depicted in this attire for the majority of the late classical period and throughout Rome (as Minerva). That's significant, especially considering the history of these gods' relationship with snakes.
SNAKES OF THE UNDERWORLD
Snakes, serpents and dragons are found in the mythology and religion of cultures across the world dating back to the late paleolithic era. For as long as human beings have been writing, they've been writing about snakes. Given the near complete ubiquity of mythic snakes one could say there are just two types of religions in the world: those who worship snakes, and those who fear snakes. Interestingly both sides tend to describe snakes the same way -
Snakes come from the ground, and while in the ground they commune with the dead. When dead people are buried, the snakes know the way to the afterlife.
Loosely interpreted, this image of the snake was part of the founding myths of native cultures of Bali, China, India, Syria, Greece, Egypt, Scotland, Norway, North and South America, and many many others. Snakes are always the keepers of the underworld, whether or not one worships them depends entirely on who is buried in the ground.
Joseph Campbell argued that settled, pastoral cultures have tended to have maternalistic myths where the serpent is more likely to be a helper or protagonist, and nomadic cultures tend to be paternalistic and anti-snake. Jung and Freud both discussed burial rites in classical mythology as being akinto a "solemn marriage" (legal marriage ceremony) between a people and the land on which they live. Once a people have settled in an area they lay a claim to the plot of earth by burying their dead along with sacrifices to their mother goddess. That piece of earth is then their earth, and only then are the snakes friendly to them. Campbell further demonstrated that for both types of culture there is a distinction between the gods of the "chthonic or under-earth, and the telluric or upper-earth, of which we think when we think of Mother Earth. These are the two aspects of the Goddess, appearing as two goddesses."
Campbell had not finished writing Goddesses when he died in 1987, but since then contemporary discoveries in archeology, linguistics, genealogy, and studies of the history of mythological syncretism in the Near East have continued to support his hypotheses.
In 2018 archeologists discovered the region's earliest known snake sculptures in the Ukraine at Kamyana Mohyla. The figures were carbon-dated to about 8000 bc - at least 4000 years before the Sumerians recorded the first written language.
This site, like Çatalhöyük in Turkey, is believed to have been a post-hunter-gatherer society. They were a long-settled, pastoral, and matriarchal culture. Findings at the site indicate they buried their dead in their own homes, even under their own beds, and they seem to have invoked snakes in their burial rites (see wall carving image above).
Historians today trace the roots of written Indo-European languages back to the mid-4th millennium bc when the nomadic Yamnaya warriors raided those pastoral natives and settled briefly in the river deltas north of the Black Sea.
Archeologically, the defining characteristic of the Yamna was their burial rituals - the word "Yamnaya" in Russian and Ukrainian means "related to pits."
In some of the world's largest neolithic burial sites, The Yamnaya are believed to have built underground tombs out in the hills away from their towns. These "kurgans" (burial mounds), unlike the private at-home burials of Kamyana Mohyla, appear to have been reserved for the elite warrior class. Notably, kurgans have been found to contain both human and animal remains, and graves are covered with giant tombstones cut in the shape of a person. They were also amongst the first people of Europe to record their religious fear of snakes.
Historians believe the Yamna conquered the pastoral nations of the region, destroying most records of their ancient goddess religions. Campbell retells the era in Godesses:
Archaeological research proved that the Indo-Europeans’ arrival was a comparatively late development; the modern dating of ancient Sumer and of Egypt, along with what we now know of Old Europe before these people came in—all this has changed the picture considerably. We now see that the Indo-Europeans came in as warrior-ravagers and that in each region they knocked down the civilization that was already there. Then they absorbed the influence of the earlier civilization and out of that synthesis came the high golden period of Greece. The earlier civilizations belonged to the goddess; the later to the gods. There is a perfect parallel in Southwest Asia, with the Semites arriving in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and so forth, as they had as their principal interest a kind of rough nomadic warcraft.
Archeologists and other folks much smarter than us have undertook thorough analyses of the opaque ancient iconography of the early these neolithic and bronze age tribes (check your local library!). Though we think for our purposes it will suffice to say that the Yamnaya, a culture of nomadic herders and warrior kings, did not feel the same kinship with this particular plot of earth as their predecessors had - and so the snakes they found in the Black Sea were not their snakes.
The Yamna split up and began to migrate across Europe and Southern Asia beginning around 3000 bc. This ancient nomadic culture is the earliest known ancestor of the Slavic, Celtic, Balkan, Germanic, Persian, Vedic, and Hellenic peoples. Hence, there are direct cultural and linguistic ties between the classical myths of all these cultures and the story now known as the Chaoskampf. This is a primordial mythic tale, shared in some form by all post-Yamnaya cultures where the national hero or god battles against the agents of chaos, in the shape of a giant snake or dragon.
Around 1000 bc Classical Greek culture as we know it was established. Their founding myth, the tale of Zeus claiming the throne on Mount Olympus, is a battle between he and a giant snake called Typhon. In this story, the snake was, or course, born from Gaia (the Earth) herself.
Zeus slays the beast and buries it under the mountains. Classical sources describe those mountains being in Africa (as the vision of most nomadic myths are oriented westward), but they also may be a reference to their ancestor's kurgans, where they buried their dragons in the hills far away from their cities.
Interestingly, in later Greek sources, we find another version of Typhon's birth where he is the rival of the Greeks national tutelary goddess, Athena.
HELM OF SNAKES
In 1903 archeologist Arthur Evans discovered the remains of the Pre-Hellenic Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. Until this time western history had no knowledge of the native people of the islands before the first millenium bc. Evans believes that they, like the Turkish and Ukranian natives, were a pastoral maternalistic culture.
Very little is known for sure about the role of this goddess, besides that she was very popular (at least 5 statues and several paintings were recovered from the Knossos site), and that she bears a striking resemblance to even older Syrian snake goddess and some older statues found in Mesopotamia. It's a reasonable assumption that this image, or the Neolithic image on that inspired it, helped shape the image of the Greek's saviour goddess as well.