Myth, Legend, and Symbolism

termite

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Hello!!
In reply to an early question about the location of Raiatea... I believe it is an island in the Society Islands of French Polynesia, to which Tahiti belongs. The Marquesas are another group of islands in French Polynesia. I happened to pick up a slightly older travel guide called "Tahiti and French Polynesia a travel survival kit". I have found it very interesting. I gather from the book that the Marquesas were established first and then Hawaii, New Zealand, Easter Island, and Tahiti were discovered and established from there. I wonder if Maori and Tahitian mythology concerning octopus and squid would be similar? It seems that might be true since the cultures share similar creation mythology and such. No mention of cephs. :(
 

Steve O'Shea

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Re: Myth, Legend, and Symbolism

Tintenfisch said:
TaningiaDanae said:
KAT: The Good God of the Banks Islanders, who taught the people how to hollow out a tree trunk and make a canoe.
I thought everyone knew this... ? :mrgreen:
Cough, choke, splutter, spit, gasp! She could hollow out a tree trunk and make a canoe with her wit, but that 'good God' business is taking it too far!!! :mrgreen:
 

nanoteuthis

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This work of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was posted on the old board many moons ago, but as the ultimate Archi poem, it deserves a special place in any anthology of classical ceph literature:

THE KRAKEN

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by men and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
 

Tintenfisch

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Yes, they like to use that poem in various squid films... most recently a crew of students from Auckland doing a Master's in film spliced little bits of it into their production. Sets a nice mood. :)
 

nanoteuthis

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While the following is not an ancient legend, it is more accurately included here than under a regular "Pop Culture" forum due to its source -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, a massive 1888 compendium of the world's esoteric traditions, by Theosophical Society founder Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, who in turn quotes another author below:

Victor Hugo was ridiculed for . . . . his marvellous word-painting of the devil-fish, and his description of a man becoming its helpless victim. "The thing was derided as an impossibility; yet within a few years were discovered, on the shores of Newfoundland, cuttle fish with arms extending to thirty feet in length, and capable of dragging a good-sized boat beneath the surface; and their action has been reproduced for centuries past . . . . by Japanese artists." ("Mythical Monsters," p. II Introd.).

-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE by H.P. Blavatsky, Vol. 2, pp. 440-441 (ellipses and italics by author)

While perpetuating the sensationalist image of Architeuthis as a ravenous monster -- and tacitly accepting the quoted author's inaccurate description of Archi as a cuttlefish rather than a squid -- HPB at least regards its existence as fact rather than fabrication.
 

WhiteKiboko

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What would Jung say? Freud? Any and all contributions of ceph legends, and commentary/analysis by TONMOers, would be most appreciated.

i shudder to think what freud would have to say about squid, with the shape, ink and what not.... and im sure he'd have a field day about dying after mating...
 

nanoteuthis

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WhiteKiboko said:
i shudder to think what freud would have to say about squid, with the shape, ink and what not.... and im sure he'd have a field day about dying after mating...
:lol: Either that, or he'd take a couple of puffs on his cigar and say, "Sometimes a squid is just a squid."
 

nanoteuthis

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While Tennyson's poem "The Kraken" evokes a vivid image of vastness and awe, the following work (by a great 19th century American Transcendentalist) uses the most beautiful of cephs as an extended metaphor for the spiritual growth of the human individual. Enjoy!

THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main --
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed --
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!


-- by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)


It is of interest that Holmes was apparently accused of confusing the Chambered Nautilus with the Paper Nautilus (Argonaut), as the following critique suggests:

"We need not trouble ourselves about the distinction between this [the pearly Nautilus] and the Paper Nautilus, the Argonauta of the ancients. The name applied to both shows that each has long been compared to a ship, as you may see more fully in Webster's Dictionary or the Encyclopedia, to which he refers. If you will look into Roget's Bridgewater Treatise you will find a figure of one of these shells and a section of it. The last will show you the series of enlarging compartments successively dwelt in by the animal that inhabits the shell, which is built in a widening spiral. [This poem seemed to share with Dorothy Q. Dr. Holmes's interest, if one may judge by the frequency with which he chose it for reading or for autograph albums. He says on receipt of an album from the Princess of Wales, `I copied into it the last verse of a poem of mine called The Chambered Nautilus, as I have often done for plain republican albums.']" (p. 149)

"I have now and then found a naturalist who still worried over the distinction between the Pearly Nautilus and the Paper Nautilus, or Argonauta. As the stories about both are mere fables, attaching to the Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war, as well as to these two molluscs, it seems over-nice to quarrel with the poetical handling of a fiction sufficiently justified by the name commonly applied to the ship of pearl as well as the ship of paper." (p. 341)


-- from REPRESENTATIVE POETRY ONLINE by Ian Lancashire


Though I personally love the spiritual aspects of the poem, IMHO it can be appreciated by anyone who has fallen in love with the mystical grace and beauty of either species.

Tani
 

WhiteKiboko

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"uses the most beautiful of cephs" ? ..... i see objectivity has gone right out the window....
 

nanoteuthis

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WhiteKiboko said:
"uses the most beautiful of cephs" ? ..... i see objectivity has gone right out the window....
Oh all right, so I used a little "poetic license"! But if I were being totally objective, they'd accuse me of personal bias, or at least nepotism:

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty...."

Link 1

And I'm not the only one who thinks so:

Link 2

These are my baby pictures -- was I adorable, or what?

Link 3

Even Richard Ellis thinks I'm cute:

Link 4

But you're entitled to your opinion -- my motto is, "Chacun à son teuth"!

:nautilus: :octopus: :squid:
 



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