A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Third Sex - In other Mythologies

Reference to gods or goddesses like that of Bahucharaji is not very common to find in the other mythologies. But there are two different aspects to be observed in this case. One aspect is that of Bahucharaji as the universal mother goddess and the other is the aspect of Bahucharaji as the goddess of the third sex/trasvestites.

Similarity with Mother Goddess in other mythologies abounds and is not new to students of mythologies. One can compare Bahucharaji with any prime Goddesses of other mythologies.

What is of interest is parallels with Bahucharaji as the goddess of the transvestites. What does not exist is an exact replica or in the likeness of the goddess herself. However, there does exist references of gods or goddesses who are themselves of transgendered nature. References to ‘sex-less’, hermaphrodite, or castrated gods does exist in different mythologies, and some myths can get as gory as gory can be!

We will not get into details of all of them, but will refer to some of them by name and a brief description of them.

Issue of Male and Female – Hermaphrodite
In the earlier cultures some sort of a reproductive deformity or abnormality was seen as a state of blessedness. In the hunter-gatherer societies of the Neolithic era, such deformities were respected and were allowed to choose the sex that they wanted to play roles in and were considered to be a good omen. They were considered to be advocates of the gods and thus believed that such people were good.

In Babylonian culture such abnormalities were seen as gods way of reducing the population on earth, the basic reason of the flood, i.e the Flood of the Atrahasis, and thus were respected and never despised or looked down upon.

The Egyptians used the gods to symbolize the various combinations of gender and sex. According to their creation story, the first god, that was both male and female was Atum, which means asexual reproduction is divided in two, Shu and Tefnut, who in turn gave rise to Geb and Nut, Earth & Sky.

The Phoenicians worshiped the goddess Atargatis, who was hermaphrodite, whose priestesses, the kelabim, men were born, but had assumed a feminine role. The goddess, also known as Astarte, was transformed by Christianity in the devil Astaroth.

In classical mythology transsexual influence is evident in the description of the goddess Venus Castina as the goddess who attends and meets the aspirations of women's souls are in male bodies.

Some native American tribes had (and still do) the concept of the “two-spirited” person. These were considered both male and female. The female side was from the earth and the male side was of the spiritual world. Either way, both the male and female sides of a person are honoured and seen as both necessary for a person to be whole. In many cultures the “two-spirited person” is often valued as a shaman, a person who can walk in both the earthly world and the spiritual world. They are the “gatekeepers” to help people cross over to the spiritual world and back again to earthly, practical living.

Besides the above, there exist some very direct references of such Gods who we will describe in brief:

In Greek Mythology, Hermaphroditos was the god of hermaphrodites and of effeminate men. He was numbered amongst the winged love-gods known as Erotes. Hermaphroditos was a son of Hermes and Aphrodite, the gods of male and female sexuality.

Some say he was once a handsome youth who attracted the love of a Naiad nymph named Salmakis. She prayed to be united with him forever and a god, in answer to her prayer, merged their two forms into one. At the same time her spring acquired the property of making men who bathed in its waters soft and effeminate.

In Greek vase painting Hermaphroditos was depicted as a winged youth with male and female attributes: usually female thighs, breasts, and style of hair, and male genitalia.

This brings us the next step in this subject, the homosexuals. Is there a reference of homosexual relationship in mythology? Keep reading to find answers to this question.

1 comment: