Angels, Sunsets, Demons and Vikings
Angels, Australians, Vikings, Demons and the Sea
Angels, Australians, Vikings, Demons and the Sea
Angels as messengers appear in Judaism, Christianity and also the Islamic faith. Winged humanoid creatures also have their place in other religions.
A list of the best movies made that deal with the subject of angels would have to include: Heaven Can Wait (1943) starring Gene Tierney, Angel on My Shoulder (1946) starring Paul Muni, Angels in the Outfield (1951) starring Paul Douglas, We're no Angels (1955) starring Humphrey Bogart, All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) and Michael (1996) starring John Travolta.
Today Australians are being called upon to take in more and more refugees from conflicts in the Middle East. Some of these if not most of these refugees are genuine. But Australians have to be on guard against those who are not or there will be no sanctuary in Australia.
Australians would like to play an angelic role in what is happening in the world today but caution is called for. And also better laws when it comes to weeding out the violent and the depraved. Australians haven't always had the best of roles in the Middle East. Even so, many Australians want a peaceful solution to what is happening in Syria right now.
In 1915 there was fighting in the Middle East. In 2015 there is also fighting in that region of the world. Some things never seem to change.
In 1915 the fighter aircraft in use in the Middle East were crude and the pilots, some Australian, were daring. In 2015 the fighter aircraft are a lot more sophisticated but the Australian pilots stationed in that region of the world are just as daring.
In 1945 there was the Nazi menace attempting to change our world and not for the better.
In 2015 we have Islamic State doing something similar through the media.
During the 2nd World War jet planes were invented. Today travel by jet plane has been a standard for so long we take it for granted. Very few places in our world nowadays are more than a few days at most away. In this way travel has lost some of its danger and also its romanticism.
During the middle ages many of the knights who came to the Holy Land to fight in the name of Christianity never returned home. There was the distance many of them had to travel plus the fighting. During the first Crusade many a knight ran out of provisions.
There was even cannibalism due to lack of food. Distance as well as clashes with Muslim enemies took its tole on these men. These Crusades were not completely born out of some sense of nobility and religious fervor. There was land to be grabbed from the non-believer. In the final analysis the Crusades were not a great success.
Today very little of the world is left to be discovered. We tend to look to the stars for something new. Yet the days of great discovery at sea are not that long ago. They are almost but not quite within living memory.
Around Greenland new islands are being formed all the time due to volcanic activity under the surface of the ocean floor. Some of these island quickly disappear through erosion while others before permanent fixtures in time and space.
In the depths of the Indian Ocean live creatures so used to great pressure that to bring them to the surface causes them to explode. We would be crushed if put under the kind of pressure such creatures are meant to endure.
It was once thought that beyond the setting of the sun was the end of the world where everything dropped off into space. This turned out not to be true except in certain works of fiction.
Back in the days of Captain Cook south sea natives marveled at the tall ships that brought Europeans long distances. Just as they wondered how such large structures could float, I wondered the same thing centuries later about an American aircraft carrier docked in Sydney Harbor. It was literally a city on water.
Back in the 1920s there were New Guinea natives who saw Europeans for the first time and wondered if they were their own dead returned to them. Yes, Europeans types were so white they could have been ghosts taking on the fresh and bone of the living.
Today, as in the past, the three most powerful religions in the word acknowledge the existence of angels.
There is also the belief in evil outside of man, therefore demons.
It is said that demons are fallen angels. To become a demon all an angel need do is taste human blood. There are of course other ways of breaking with God.
Both angels and demons seem to be most active once the sun has gone down. Both are represented in many a church and cathedral throughout Christendom.
Before the Vikings took up Christian beliefs there were creatures of the deep that they might well be afraid of.
The Vikings of course were fearsome enough in their pre-Christian days and were as close as you could get to demons to many a harassed monk living close to the coast in places such as Ireland and Scotland.
As the Vikings television show illustrates the Vikings, in their pre-Christian days, were not opposed to slaughtering whoever stood in their way and also taking people into slavery. They may not have had horns as shown in the accompanying piece of art work but they were scary.
There have also been tales of sea monsters and beautiful maidens with fishy tails called mermaids.
It has been said that mermaids did not originate with the present day Irish but with the race that was there in Ireland before they came to the emerald Isle. This, of course, could be just another tale among tales. There are also underground places of the dead in Ireland that date back to a time before the present day Irish.
In past centuries many tales came out of the sea. There were legends of mermaids so beautiful they could take a man's breath away just to look at them. And mermaids that preferred the company of human males to their own fishy men.
And also of demonic forces the ken of which were and are unknown to landlubbers.
There were even these beautiful female demons whose trick was to lure sailors onto sharp rocks with their song.
The discovery of the compass made journeys beyond the sight of familiar land masses safer. Before this it was a good idea to cling as much as possible to coastlines.
Away from the sight of land it was just too easy to get lost at sea without a compass and to drift until food and water ran out.
The compass gave the sailor a better chance of survival when the sea was wild or sight of land might disappear behind a low cloud bank.
The discovery that fresh fruit and vegetables were necessary for long voyages was also a help. The humble potato or spud could last a lot longer than other vegetables without going off and so was prized. Both Captain Bligh and Captain Cook knew the value of having fresh fruit and vegetables aboard ship.
Refinements in sail technology and then the discovery of steam power revolutionized travel by sea and ocean.
War at sea also came into its own with the improvement in sail technology. Then during the American Civil War there came the ironclads. First the South and then the North came up with ideas that would make every other nation's war ships at the time instantly obsolete. Metal plates instead of wood. For the North you can add steam power as well.
Out of this came the big battle ships that, in the early years of the 20th Century, made the British masters of the seas and the oceans. This mastery did not last long. The development of the submarine or U-boat and the development of the plane put it all into question.
During the First World War the big, bad battle fleet of Britain and the big, bad battle fleet of Germany only really came out to play once. During World War Two it was the aircraft carrier that won the major battles in the pacific.
In the time of Columbus there were many maps of virtually unknown areas of our world. Some of these maps rang true. Others had been created by those wishing to make a quid on those who were unfamiliar with the oceans and seas.
Some of these bogus maps had on them places marked where sea demons and water dragons had apparently been sighted as well as land masses that didn't really exist.
There were also often places marked on these strange maps where mermaids and other friendly creatures could be located.
Wouldn't it be great to lay hands on one of the more fanciful maps? Certainly not to study it for tips on how to get around the real world but strictly for the amusement one might garner from the content.
Wouldn't it be great if mermaids really did exist and they really did prefer the company of men to mermen?
On the other hand, it wouldn't it be a pity for the mermaid to give up the sea for the land in the name of love?
Wouldn't it be great to discover either Spanish or pirate treasure on some deserted island in the pacific?
There are stories of a wreck on the South Australian coast yet to be re-discovered. Does it still have its treasure?
Wouldn't it be great to see a great galloping sea demon though, of course, from a distance? Whale watching has become popular.
Nowadays there are accurate maps and we can laugh at tales of sea demons and mermaids. In doing so maybe some of the romance of the seas and the oceans have gone the way of all things. What a great pity if this is so.
Still we can relive to some extent these tall tales created by seafarers and imaginative mapmakers in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and disc world author Terry Pratchett.
So you'd like to explore the color and texture of fear then H.P. Lovecraft is for you.
So you want a flat world you can sail to the end of then Pratchett is your man.
For swordsmen fighting the forces of evil, including demons, you can't go wrong with Robert. E. Howard.
In the writings of Rod Marsden you will find the occasional demon. There's a beaut in Ghost Dance. There's also a rather large golem.
Undead Reb has vampires of the sea.
Disco Evil has the evil of the past visiting the present and then deciding to move in and set up house.
Desk Job explores the world of the office and the craziness that can be caused by lazy management and political correctness taken to extremes. It is also my salute to 19th Century British writer Lewis Carroll.
Check out Undead Reb, Disco Evil, Ghost Dance and Desk Job.
There's nothing like sailing into the unknown!
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