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.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homosexuality and Mythology - Part 3

In the earlier part of the series, we have read about some well-known myths from the Greek Mythology. Let us see the treatment of such relationships from other mythologies –
Norse mythology does not have any specific references of homosexuality, as men were never expected to be a passive partner, which was looked down upon. However, one of the main gods by the name of Loki, the trickster, had the ability to change form or gender. According to one such myth, Loki changes into a mare and gives birth to a foal after a sexual encounter with a stallion. Though this might not be seen as a direct reference to homosexuality, but does hint at a lot more than just that!
A number of lesbian relationships exist in Hawaiian mythology. Mayan god Chin was associated with same-sex love, to the extent that the god was an inspiration for many a noble family to buy young men as lovers for their sons, thus lending a sense of legitimacy to such same-sex relationships through parental approval. Similarly, the Aztecs had Xochipilli as the patron god of homosexuals, which gives an indication of the existence of such alternate lifestyles and also had societal approval.
In the famous Sumerian epic, Epic of Gilgamesh, the two main characters, Gilgamesh and Enkidu are supposed to have a homosexual relationship. However, it is pertinent to mention that this view is purely of the modern scholars, since the remnants of the Epic do not indicate any such intimate moments or conversation, except for the fact that they were very close companions. This could have been due to the fact that two characters were quite similar in age and class and shared an open relationship – and modern outlook does not see things in its pure form.
Jonathan & David
The Bible too has oblique references to homosexual relationships between some characters, especially that of David and Jonathan.  Both David and Jonathan had wives, but they are supposed to have shared a ‘close friendship’. Jonathan’s father, King Saul, had serious reservations of Jonathan’s relationship with David, though, he did not object to giving one of his daughters in marriage to David. Some scholars have supposed that this dislike of David by Jonathan’s father could be due to the potential threat to his monarchy and offering a daughter in marriage could be more political, than anything else. At the same time many scholars have seen the relationship between David and Jonathan at a more Platonic level. Modernism has been more regressive than evolving in our thought-process and that is why what was earlier platonic, has now become gay-relationship. No explicit material is available, but some references have made modern scholars to ‘see things’ in a manner which is implicit!

St. Sebastian
This brings us the subject of St. Sebastian which is a very significant character under the present discussion. St. Sebastian is one of the oldest gay icons, in whom the modern artists saw a depiction of the pathos of a gay individual. His strong and muscular bare torso, with arrows pierced and blood dripping has been a near-true depiction of what the gay individual goes through in the modern society. His alternative preferences and his erotic desires are well portrayed by his tragic but homoerotic frame, as depicted by the artists while representing St. Sebastian, thus making him a modern-day gay icon.
Next time we will discuss some references of same-sex relationships from some Asian mythologies. Keep reading …….

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