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#26 | Back to Top03-03-2007 04:41:43 PM

Romanticide
Cow Bellhop
From: Mazatlan
Registered: 10-18-2006
Posts: 447

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

rhyaniwyn wrote:

- I like Romanticide's take; that part of Anthy's problem is the possibility of being rendered obsolete as a goddess due to the rise of Paternalistic culture.  Sabotaging Dios would be revenge for this.  It also offers the hope for an escape of the role of slave/wife to the now-asendent male god.  This would be an alternate explanation for her role as the Prince's sacrifice--not that it was a side effect of something she chose, but rather something that was forced on her.

Thank you Im glad the indoeropean mith class served for something.

Oh and I found out another thing. In some cultures a rite off passage consisted in being buried or stay in a closed place, it was meant to die to be reborn. What if Anthy hid Dios so he could rest and renew himself? And since humanity stabed with their hate Dios died, or turned into something different? (Akio)
Also in some legends similars a monster ate men and the people got mad and killed the monster only to discover the men eaten weren't suppose to be taken outside the monster yet because inside they were iniciated.

mmm... I need to take my Mircea copy to take some quotes...


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#27 | Back to Top03-07-2007 12:20:35 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Raven Nightshade wrote:

So when Anthy wasn't a goddess anymore, Dios wasn't a prince anymore, thus their "fallen" state.  They lost everything, which could be representative of the log cabin/shack/barn that they're hiding in during the flashback.

That cabin puzzles me and that explanation makes sense. Or could it be that they have given everything they could and are now living in poverty? (That might explain Akio's addiction to luxury and unwillingness to risk losing it.) Or that the unglamorous reality of being a travelling Prince includes bedbugs and splinters and barns? Or Anthy dragged them there trying to hide him from pursuing mankind?

It is interesting to picture Anthy as having to live buried alive for a while before she could re-emerge as a new being.

I have read claims that in Ancient Japan women had more status than they did later. An early Chinese epithet for Japan was Queen Country.

Last edited by brian (03-07-2007 12:24:19 PM)

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#28 | Back to Top03-08-2007 11:31:24 AM

Hiraku
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From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

brian wrote:

Raven Nightshade wrote:

So when Anthy wasn't a goddess anymore, Dios wasn't a prince anymore, thus their "fallen" state.  They lost everything, which could be representative of the log cabin/shack/barn that they're hiding in during the flashback.

That cabin puzzles me and that explanation makes sense. Or could it be that they have given everything they could and are now living in poverty? (That might explain Akio's addiction to luxury and unwillingness to risk losing it.) Or that the unglamorous reality of being a travelling Prince includes bedbugs and splinters and barns? Or Anthy dragged them there trying to hide him from pursuing mankind?

It is interesting to picture Anthy as having to live buried alive for a while before she could re-emerge as a new being.

I have read claims that in Ancient Japan women had more status than they did later. An early Chinese epithet for Japan was Queen Country.

Yeah, their most revered deity was Amaterasu, who is a woman. In fact, a LOT of African societies were originally maternalistic, as far as I can remember. And, Africa is believed to be the origin of human civilization.
So, somewhere along the line, we have a mysterious gap where paternal society just suddenly takes over? This has always been a mystery to me...emot-confused

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#29 | Back to Top03-21-2007 02:31:56 PM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Not really sudden, or mysterious in specific.  Greek culture was more paternalistic and became ascendant over (I believe) Mycenaen culture on Crete, which was more maternalistic.  Similiarly, Roman culture (which was both paternalistic and more hetero-oriented than Greek culture) became ascendant Etruscan civilization, in which women had more freedom and respect.  I imagine this is the pattern everywhere when you examine history.

In winning their wars, the belief that male-run civilizations were inherently better was repeatedly vindicated.  Though we know that just because those two things were true doesn't mean one caused the other. emot-smile

I have often heard the rise of paternalistic cultures attributed to greater understanding of reproduction.  I doubt there's a good explanation for why they became popular, for why they repeatedly were able to absorb the maternalistic cultures around them, or for why there isn't a cycle of ascendency.  Not something I've done a lot of reading on, just seen incidentally mentioned.

That initiation rite, Campell would say, symbolizes birth/rebirth.  The darkness and constriction of the womb before being born into the light and chaos of the world.  The darkness of death/the underworld/being buried (though it would be important to know whether that culture buried their dead), prior to being able to rejoin life.  The idea that Anthy's act of "witchery" would have been temporary, to allow Dios to recharge, is in line with the dying god theory I mentioned above.  (The idea that Dios was at the point in his myth cycle where he was supposed to die.  The thing being that gods pretty much never die permenantly and he would have been reborn to the greater benefit of all.  This puts him in the same category as Osiris and many others.  Anthy could have just been doing her job.)

There is some evidence that early cultures sacrificed their rulers as part of their religion--repeating the patterns in their mythology and in the natural world around them.  So I would agree with brian that Anthy is less a Kumari either (a) the goddess who enters girls to make them Kumari or (b) perhaps the template for Kumari/original Kumari--an original avatar.  Similarly Akio wouldn't be just a Prince who tried to avoid being sacrificed, but rather the archetype that Princes are sacrificed in reverence to.

As for the barn, I would ask for associations.  Is it a cabin, or a barn?  There's hay, right?  So I'd say barn.  My first thought being a middle-class Caucasian American raised by Baptists is "the birth of Christ," which raises all kinds of, ah, interesting questions.  Are there any prominent myths in Japan in which hay or barn-in-the-woods figure prominantly?  I bought this book on Japanese myth, but I haven't finished it because it pretty much sucks at telling any of the stories.  The hay could be grass, which would remind me of Kusanagi.  Barns hold animals, are rustic, you'd only live in one if you were very rural and likely poor...  The barn doesn't speak to me very much, I'm afraid.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (03-21-2007 02:37:57 PM)


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#30 | Back to Top03-21-2007 08:06:41 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8793
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Is it a cabin, or a barn?  There's hay, right?  So I'd say barn.

It's a log cabin with hay in it, but there's a chimney, so it really ends up looking more like a house in the wildness from the outside. On the inside we see the pitchfork and hay and boxes strewn about though. It looks much more inviting from the outside, but...perhaps that's in an of itself something to read into? That it looks like a house, inviting, from outside but inside it's just a barn; minimal living facilities. Just like on the outside the prince is all nice and shiny but inside there's nothing there of his own, he simply exists because he must be there to serve others.

As for jumping the Biblical references, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. I can't account for the amount of Japanese lore in the series, but there's quite an excess of Western influence in SKU, right down to the art references. And the series rubs Judeo-Christian mythology right in our face as it is with the whole Lucifer thing.


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#31 | Back to Top03-22-2007 03:36:27 AM

Etrangere
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From: Paris
Registered: 10-22-2006
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

giovanna wrote:

And the series rubs Judeo-Christian mythology right in our face as it is with the whole Lucifer thing.

I always wanted to make an analysis of SKU through the Gnosticist PoV. The whole illusionary, fake-reality-controlled-by-Akio aspect of Ohtori, the thematics of the coffin that imprisons everyone far from real reality. Anthy as Sophia, Akio as the Demiurge.

Last edited by Etrangere (03-22-2007 03:36:54 AM)


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#32 | Back to Top03-22-2007 08:02:39 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Yeah, I remember reading somewhere that "people" "often" liken Anthy to the Demiurge, but I felt Akio fit that position much better.

Thanks, Gio, I'm going to mull over that some. emot-smile


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#33 | Back to Top03-30-2007 02:11:05 PM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

The Kumari wears red stockings?  So does Utena.  The only person I noticed that wears red socks.


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#34 | Back to Top03-30-2007 03:55:55 PM

purplepolecat
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From: Vancouver, B.C.
Registered: 03-26-2007
Posts: 570

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

It occurred to me that Anthy's "rescuing" of Dios is an allegory for the Christian myth of Original Sin, where Eve damned herself and Adam by eating the forbidden fruit. This resulted in their both "falling from grace", which is represented in SKU by the end of the idyllic world of princes and princesses; and also condemned the human race to worldly suffering, ESPECIALLY WOMEN. Yes, the bible is very misogynistic. Anthy's eternal torment represents the condemnation of all women for committing Original Sin. Ohtori represents patriarchal religion, which I guess would make Akio the pope emot-biggrin, so Anthy must be liberated from Ohtori to end the suffering. Does this make any sense ?


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#35 | Back to Top03-30-2007 04:36:00 PM

Hiraku
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From: Singapore
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Yeah, purplepolecat, it does emot-smile
But, on my part, I still feel that Anthy represents either Mary Magdalene or Judas, well, more for the latter because of her betrayal to her savior.

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#36 | Back to Top03-30-2007 04:40:36 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6027
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

purplepolecat wrote:

It occurred to me that Anthy's "rescuing" of Dios is an allegory for the Christian myth of Original Sin, where Eve damned herself and Adam by eating the forbidden fruit. This resulted in their both "falling from grace", which is represented in SKU by the end of the idyllic world of princes and princesses; and also condemned the human race to worldly suffering, ESPECIALLY WOMEN. Yes, the bible is very misogynistic. Anthy's eternal torment represents the condemnation of all women for committing Original Sin. Ohtori represents patriarchal religion, which I guess would make Akio the pope emot-biggrin, so Anthy must be liberated from Ohtori to end the suffering. Does this make any sense ?

Along with the other strong references to Christian mythology, I'd say we'd be remiss to ignore it. I've seen it referenced in stories-- I wish someone would write an essay about how closely the series can parallel Christian myth.


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#37 | Back to Top03-31-2007 02:45:36 AM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Hiraku wrote:

Yeah, purplepolecat, it does emot-smile
But, on my part, I still feel that Anthy represents either Mary Magdalene or Judas, well, more for the latter because of her betrayal to her savior.

Actually, the one Christian figure Anthy resembles more than anyone else is...Christ, himself. Think about it: she sacrifices herself and as result gets to bear all the burdens of the world. Except that in her case, this causes way more harm than good and in the end, the lesson is that the world musn't lay everything on one scapegoat. Ofcourse Dios could be seen this way, as well...


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#38 | Back to Top03-31-2007 03:56:11 AM

allegoriest
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From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

...Anthy never bleeds, does she? Which only adds to her Kumari qualities, as well as Utena (assuming engaged = married) dies/disappears after what we can assume is a short while.


On a note to Utena-Buddhism, I don't think it counts since people's desires cause them pain in real life, not just in Utena. I don't think Utena could be a bodhisattva seeing as she even admitted she didn't really pay attention to Anthy and was just concerned with her own possible princeliness.


...And not as related, here's a fun Akio/Kiss Me, Son of God AMV I found.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seHdxG_e-5Y

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#39 | Back to Top04-02-2007 10:11:37 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Myths to Live By (Joseph Cambell) and this thread.
Re: Buddhism themes

'Myths to Live By' pg. 70 wrote:

(UTENA!)
The universe from which we are to strive thus for release is to be known as an ever-appearing-and-disappearing dreamlike delusion, rising and falling in recurrent cycles.  When it is known as such and when one has learned to play one's part in it without any sense of ego, of desires, hopes, and fears, release from the ever-lasting rounds of meaningless reincarnations will have been attained.

'Myths to Live By' pg. 73 wrote:

(more UTENA)
And since at the source of this universal order there is no personal god or willing being, but only an absolutely impersonal force or void, beyond thought, beyond being, antecedent to categories, there has finally never been anyone anywhere responsible for anything--the gods themselves being merely functionaries of an ever-revolving kaleidoscope of illusory appearances and disappearances, world without end.

Akio, Anthy, and everyone else are effectively stuck in the illusory world (Ohtori).  They repeat cycles of duels meaninglessly, and repeat the same mistakes endlessly.  Repetition is a major element of the series.

Akio calls himself the world's end.  He is, however, walking ego in the sense of egomaniac.  In a Freudian sense, he is nothing but id and desire that causes suffering.  He seeks his own pleasure and the power is simply a tool to gain more control over the illusory world around him in order to have more pleasure.  This could be an allusion to Mara.  I wonder if it is, in fact, possible for him to have any more control than he already does (even if he were able to obtain the Power of Dios)?  What revolution would he have created?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

None of these mythologies fit all the details of the storyline; they are all, however, thematic elements that are present in it.  Utena is NOT a bodhisattva.  She is like a bodhisattva in some ways.  So far as "people's desires in the real world," one of the ideas of Buddhism is, basically, that the "real" world and desire is all illusion.  What you are calling the "real" world wouldn't be the real world within this paradigm.  The real world outside Ohtori would either be Nirvana or a major step closer to it (your last incarnation, perhaps).

Akio (Mara) -
Mara: Mara is a tempter, distracting humans from practicing the spiritual life by making the mundane alluring or the negative seem positive.
Akio: Akio is a tempter.  He uses illusions of ideals to lure duellists in, then manipulates their better inclinations into negatives.  Dios represented the "spiritual" life or idealistic youth, while Akio is the opposite and disdains spiritual ideals, finding value only in material comforts and status symbols.
In Buddhist myth, Mara attempts to distract Buddha from reaching enlightenment by tempting him.
Akio's seduction of Utena can be seen as an attempt to undermine her progress toward revolution.

Utena (Bodhisattva) -
Bodhisattva: A being who is dedicated to assisting all sentient beings in achieving complete Buddhahood. Conventionally, the term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment. Another common conception of the bodhisattva is one who delays his own final and complete enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings out of his enormous compassion. He is on a mission to liberate all sentient beings, and only then will he rest and complete his own enlightenment.
In brief and in general, an individual of great compassion, and high spiritual evolution whose mission is to help others find Nirvana.
Utena: Utena is a fool, and her motives aren't pure.  But she is an individual of great compassion who is certainly on a different, possibly "higher" level, than the other duellists.  She realized as a child the illusory nature of the world but chose to live within it to save Anthy.  She was "tempered" by the repetition of the duels (many lives, coming closer to enlightenment), and is the person who inspires Anthy leave Ohtori (the illusory world).

The "Real" World -
There isn't complete consensus on this subject, but in general, Buddhist thought is that the world we live in is an illusion.
Ohtori is certainly a world of illusion.  One in which Mara runs rampant, tempting and manipulating the student body.  No matter how often people realize their mistakes within Ohtori, they seem incapable of making real progress at changing them.  Ohtori is a world of endless repetition.  Within this context, Ohtori is our world.  The world that Anthy is stepping into is akin to Nirvana, in that she is shaking free of Ohtori's illusion.
Now it's probably not true Nirvana as of yet, but it's a major step for her and all who leave the way she does.

Anthy (Buddha) -
After Anthy leaves, the other characters seem to begin to shake free of some of Ohtori's illusions, temptations, and chains.  It's as if her "release" has wrought some major change.  Some statements imply that Anthy stuck around for a while after the duel.  What was she doing during that time and why didn't she leave immediately?  Possibly she was helping the other duellists.  They're not leaving Ohtori yet, revolution is not something that can be imposed from the outside.  Neither can the way to Nirvana be truly taught by words or example, but has to be attained by each person.

And a note regarding parallels.  Some of the statements in the Wikipedia article on Maya reminded me of Gnostic philosophy regarding the world as created by the Demiurge.  And it could have some relevance to the Kumari, since Durga is mentioned.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (04-02-2007 10:51:31 AM)


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#40 | Back to Top04-03-2007 01:31:18 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6027
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Lightice wrote:

Actually, the one Christian figure Anthy resembles more than anyone else is...Christ, himself. Think about it: she sacrifices herself and as result gets to bear all the burdens of the world. Except that in her case, this causes way more harm than good and in the end, the lesson is that the world musn't lay everything on one scapegoat. Ofcourse Dios could be seen this way, as well...

And so could Utena herself, though that goes almost without saying. I'm just not up on my christian myth enough to pull the pieces together, although Akio tempting Utena has always reeked of a more realistic version of the devil tempting Christ.

Oh, and rhyaniwyn? You're fucking awesome. Seriously. emot-aaa

Once I finish The Hero with a Thousand Faces I'll have to post some parallels.


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#41 | Back to Top04-04-2007 08:39:32 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

emot-biggrin Thank you!


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#42 | Back to Top04-05-2007 10:18:55 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

rhyaniwyn wrote:

-
Some statements imply that Anthy stuck around for a while after the duel.  What was she doing during that time and why didn't she leave immediately?  Possibly she was helping the other duellists.

It has occured to me before that maybe she was sticking around to help the others or see how they are doing. There may be a hint of that in the original manga.

Re-edit: In the original manga the turning point comes when Anthy announces she does not need a Prince any more. Utena thanks her for "waking up" and then transforms into, well I am not exactly sure what, it's almost more startling than turning into a car. But, spite of what Anthy just said, she announces she will save her anyway and destroy Akio. She will forsake her love for the sake of friendship and idealism. In one sense Utena is like a guardian angel sent to earth on a mission, but getting distracted by the World. It seems to imply that Anthy is the person with a great gift to give to the world and Utena was her guardian. It is after all the corolla and not the calyx that gets most of the glory.

It may not always be enough for people to realize that they must save themselves; malignant influences must be removed, at least temporarily, perhaps like putting netting over a young plant so it won't scorch in the sun. The paradox is that when Anthy chooses to live her own life with her own strength then help appears from unexpected places. That is an extremely common motif from many fairy tales.

It may be like a medieval romance. Anthy learns to live independently without waiting for an outside rescuer. But that does not leave Utena off the hook. She pledged herself to her Lady and to her quest and must keep her pledge. Her challenges become increasingly complex, starting with physical courage and culminating in humility and self-abnegation, perhaps in a sense the archetypical feminine principle, but a path she has chosen for herself, as a way to be true to herself. In episode 38 she turns her back to Touga and Saionji and strides off into the sunset. The view lingers on her very graceful feminine walk but we can also see she is dressed in boy's clothes. She is a paradox of girlishness and bold warrior. Perhaps it is her gender that makes her into an exceptional Prince.

Another Celtic/Medieval story is of the knight who has been forced by his sense of honor to pledge himself to marry a repulsive hag. After he passes one test of nobility she reveals herself to be a beautiful woman under a curse. She can be beautiful by day or by night but not both. Which will he choose? When he chooses to let her decide, the curse breaks totally.

In the series Akio is alive and kicking and dreaming up new plots to start the game again. The other characters are starting to heal and grow and so Anthy removes herself as her most effective way to protect them from Akio. In one sense the series is deeply unsatisfying compared to the other three version in that Akio is left alive and that raises awkward questions. In another way it makes sense because The World is always there and there is no final total victory.

Last edited by brian (04-07-2007 01:48:52 PM)

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#43 | Back to Top04-08-2007 04:07:59 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

There may be a hint of that in the original manga.

"Original" manga? Haven't we gone through with the manga's relationship with the anime already? They're made at the same time, neither is the original to the other.

Other than that, good stuff. Agreeing with almost everything.


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#44 | Back to Top04-08-2007 07:31:08 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

brian: Seemed like you were certainly onto something in the first version of your post.  I liked the imagery of the blooming rose.  emot-smile  Mentioning that the Celtic fairy tale reminded me of something, but by the time I got to typing this, I forgot what it was.  Um, maybe I'll remember later... 

Lightice: Probably he means original as opposed to the movie version of the manga...


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#45 | Back to Top04-08-2007 09:22:29 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Probably he means original as opposed to the movie version of the manga...

Yup, just careless syntax on my part.

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#46 | Back to Top02-25-2008 08:35:13 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Giovanna wrote:

As for jumping the Biblical references, I wouldn't hesitate to do so.

Reviving to note something about their residence.

We mentioned before that Dios laying in the hay of the barn/cabin reminded us of the birth of Jesus in the manger.  Dios is made visually analogous to Jesus.  Interestingly, it is the scene of his death, not his birth. 

When Jesus is born, in the Bible, it is supposed to be the birth of the messiah, who will help humanity gain God's grace and enter heaven.  I have often noted that the pattern is glossed over by the denominations in which I was raised.  In the Old Testament, humanity sacrificed animals to Yahweh as part of religious rituals.  I was always clearly given the impression that the sacrifice of the animal was a gesture that could be used as a request (or was even a requirement) for the absolution of personal sin.  When Jesus is crucified, meeting his ultimate destiny, the language used is "took all the sins of humanity upon himself"/"died for our sins", and by his death, he gave all future generations an alternative absolution.  So now humanity can pray to Jesus, the penultimate sacrificial lamb, for the forgiveness of personal sins.

We've explored in the past that everyone in the world lacked personal responsibility while they relied on Dios to save them.  With Dios alive, being saved was a passive assurance.  When Dios died, becoming Akio, it made life harder for everyone because they were no longer being saved by a benevolent external force.

In some Christian denominations, the Trinity of God has more prominence than in others.  It's interesting for a nominally monotheistic religion to have a Trinity, a three-in-One God, but hey.  That Trinity is the Father (OT God & NT God), Son (NT Jesus), and the Holy Spirit (mentioned from time to time).  From the perspective of the Trinity, when Jesus was born on earth and went willingly to the crucifix, that was God becoming incarnate in human form, living as a man, and being killed.  In a sense, it was God sacrificing Himself.

In the manger, Dios was dying: killing himself by wearing himself out with Saving.  Now, we can't be 100% sure, in Utena-mythology, if Dios's ultimate destiny was to die.  Yasha's Eros/Thanatos essay (http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=199) and musings by myself & others in prior posts seem to suggest that that, yes, there is compelling evidence that the ultimate mythological destiny of the Prince is death via sacrifice.  The fact that Anthy interferes and that Dios does not complete his sacrifice harkens back to my "Displaced Gods" theory (above) and gives us some explanation for the warping of Akio and the punishment of Anthy.  (Of course, that death would likely have been temporary, much like how Jesus dies, but returns to life and then bodily ascends to Heaven--the 'bodily' part is given more emphasis in some denominations, too.) 

So, anyway, there's no telling what might have happened had Anthy not interfered.  Anthy, however, did interfere.  She was able to alter the process of Dios's death, and he became Akio instead.  Anthy became the sacrifice.  However, this isn't a situation of willing sacrifice, where God sacrifices Himself.  This is a situation of Anthy doing something she shouldn't have done.  She becomes a villain for ruining Dios and a victim eternally punished by humanity.  It's also a situation of God losing his nerve and seeking to preserve Himself.  Dios, too, becomes a villain (using Anthy & humanity for his own selfish ends) and a victim of his own cowardice.

The reason I mention this, how Jesus's birth is compared to Dios's death is this...  Jesus's birth was the beginning of his destiny, heralding his position as savior (and the route to/nature of salvation).  Dios's death was the beginning of his destiny, changing the nature of salvation.  One is a religious grace, however, and the other is very much a personal grace.  Jesus's birth is generally supposed to be an aid to salvation--not making it easy, no--but making it more accessible.  Dios's death makes salvation harder, but human.

Ultimately the thing that breaks the twisted tableau created on the day Dios was 'sealed' is Anthy's own will to save herself.  Instead of being saved, we are enjoined to save ourselves.  To forgive ourselves our own sins and forge our own destinies.  Utena is an anime with a lot to say about personal responsibility and self actualization.  That's why it is symbolic that the event heralding salvation isn't the birth of a savior, but is rather the day a savior God repudiates all he once was.

It may be interesting to note that what is truly "sealed" by Anthy could be all "grace" or "save-ability."  In a way, Anthy represents all of humanity in that coffin.  When she sealed Dios away, she sealed herself away.  She has denied Dios, in a way, consigned herself to a wretched fate and then denied that she had any power to change it.  By extension, humanity is trapped so long as she is, without any recourse.  When Anthy leaves her coffin, she is saving herself and freeing the power of Dios.  Essentially, she is able to free herself because she finally has the will to recognize and use the power of Dios within herself.  Anthy becomes her own rescuer the same way she used to be her own persecutor. 

(And she had to first accept her responsibility for both, I think...  There are signs that Anthy was hoping the whole time for a Prince to save her.  However, she made it an impossible task, because the only Prince that could save Anthy was a Prince she could believe in.  Basically Anthy sets up an impossible dilemma, makes herself into the victim in an untenable situation, then wants someone else to help her out of it.  She's a victim, but she contributes to her own victimization--something that's only possible so long as she displaces ultimate responsibility onto other targets.  Because Anthy's not stupid, however, she knows she made certain bad choices.  She feels keenly that she is also at fault.  It's these conflicts in Anthy that led her to identify as the Witch.  But I think that's probably a post for another day, cuz I've gone on long enough and I feel certain I've meandered far away from my point.)

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (02-25-2008 08:41:24 PM)


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#47 | Back to Top02-26-2008 07:48:39 AM

Stormcrow
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

rhyaniwyn wrote:

(And she had to first accept her responsibility for both, I think...  There are signs that Anthy was hoping the whole time for a Prince to save her.  However, she made it an impossible task, because the only Prince that could save Anthy was a Prince she could believe in.  Basically Anthy sets up an impossible dilemma, makes herself into the victim in an untenable situation, then wants someone else to help her out of it.  She's a victim, but she contributes to her own victimization--something that's only possible so long as she displaces ultimate responsibility onto other targets.  Because Anthy's not stupid, however, she knows she made certain bad choices.  She feels keenly that she is also at fault.  It's these conflicts in Anthy that led her to identify as the Witch.  But I think that's probably a post for another day, cuz I've gone on long enough and I feel certain I've meandered far away from my point.)

I hope I don't offend, as I'm very much an outsider when it comes to Christian iconography, but this sounds to me like the situation Saul of Tarsus found himself in. Unable to fulfill the Law and wracked by guilt, he came to realize that the Law was unfulfillable by any normal human. And so he reinvented Jesus as a savior who would free him from the Law, which had become the coffin he was sealed into...or something...


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#48 | Back to Top02-26-2008 07:58:00 AM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

I'll have to look that up!  You won't bother me with it; I've offended my Christian family with my comparison of Jesus to the lambs sacrificed in the Old Testament...which is, I feel, an inarguably self-evident pattern in the religion.... Oh well :-)


Edit:
This is interesting.  It mentions Saul and the nature of blood sacrifice in Christianity.  The author takes a slightly different angle on it and argues that this interpretation was influenced/magnified by Mithraism.  http://dim.com/~randl/tarsus.htm

If you or anyone else finds a good summary of the story you mention, please share!

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (02-26-2008 08:14:55 AM)


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#49 | Back to Top02-26-2008 08:12:20 AM

Stormcrow
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

...but...I thought Jesus was the lamb? I thought that was kind of the point? emot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confused


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#50 | Back to Top02-26-2008 08:18:28 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
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Re: Religion, Mythology, and Utena

Actually, if you read that link I just edited in, you'll see what I mean:

http://dim.com/~randl/tarsus.htm wrote:

This is to say, "If goat's blood will get you some spiritual energy, then the blood of a messiah will get you even more." Paul is reasoning with blood-sacrificing Pagans, trying to appeal to their particular belief system.

But in order to believe the second part of that, you have to believe the first; You have to believe that blood is an effective tool, adequate payment, and that some sacrifices get better results than others from the mysterious "Gods."

Contemporary Christians are not likely to admit this, or even to admit the connection. The idea of actually slashing the throat of a lamb would horrify them; it would be seen as a vile Pagan act; not as what it is, the root of their religion. Church propaganda claims that the whole idea of blood payment was transcended with the crucifixion of Jesus, making it less messy and more profound. Perhaps, but it's still the same Pagan, barbarian recipe.

That may be a bit harsh, but it does explain why some Christians shy away from the comparison.  Depending on your denomination and the depth of your religious instruction, you may or may not have had Christ's sacrifice phrased the exact same way I did--and you might never have heard of the sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament.  You get different emphasis in different churches, though I think that this is, objectively, a notion that should be universal in Christianity.


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