Poppy

(Caution: This text talks about sexual matters and drugs. For readers under the age of 14 parental advise is recommended)

Poppy-flowers are called “Moon-flowers” (Mohnblumen) in German. Does it have to do with the moon? Maybe, because Selene, moon-goddess (others say Artemis or even Isis or the cow-eyed Hera are moon-godesses) (note: all women!) are connected to them. The legend is: one day when the moon went down she saw Eros and Psyche doing their job behind a bush. Selene blushed. To remember this we have red Poppies every year. There are various kinds, some are grown in Afghanistan, from them you can understand why we say “lunatic” or “moonstruck”….

Gelincik

Almanya’da “Mohnblumen”,”Ay-çicekleri” diyorlar. Neden? Dinle: Selene, antik Ay-tanrısı (Başka bilgilere göre, Artemis, İsis veya inek-gözlü Hera bile olabilir) bir akşam gök yüzünden ayrılırken, Eros ve Psyche’nin çalıların arkasında beraber olduklarını gördü. Selene’nin yüzü kızardı. Bu olayı hatırlamak için gelincik çiçekleri her yıl açarlar. Gelinciklerin bir kaç çeşidi var. Bazıları Afganistan’da yetişiyor, bundan ötürü, neden “lunatic” veya “moonstruck” (ay-çarkması, deli, çılgın) dediğimizi anlayabilirsiniz.

Mohnblume

Immer eine Zeit nach den Anemonen fangen die Mohnblumen hier an zu blühen. Schon dem Namen nach sind sie eng mit dem Mond verknüpft. Und das tatsächlich nicht umsonst: Mondgöttin Selene, die einige für Artemis, andere wiederum für Isis oder gar die kuhäugige Hera halten, näherte sich eines Tages, wie allabendlich, dem Horizont. Aber was sah sie da? Hinter einem Busch lagen Eros und Psyche und waren kongenial beschäftigt. Selene errötete tief. Zum Gedenken an dieses Ereignis blühen alljährlich die Mohnblumen. Es gibt viele Arten. Manche davon werden auch in Afghanistan angebaut. Diese machen uns anschaulich, warum es “mondsüchtig”, “lunatic” oder “moonstruck” heisst.

Pleiades

Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra mit Pleiaden, Bronzezeit) 

The Pleiades are nymphs too. One of them is Merope. But the other six have been dogged by Orion too. First they transformed into doves and flew away. In vain. Then Zeus put them into the sky. Soon there was Orion too, still following them. But he lost all hopes, ever to catch them.
We can see the Pleiades with naked eye. We call them Seven Sisters, in Babylon they called them Mulmul, in Anatolia Süreyya or Ülker, in the Arab countries Atr-Thureyya, in Persia Nahid, in Japonia Subaru. Former civilizations new from their appearance and decline begin and end of the rainy season, and even the Blackfoot-Indians adjusted the Buffalo-hunt after them.

Die Pleiaden

Die Pleiaden sind auch Nymphen. Eine von ihnen ist Merope. Doch auch die andern sechs wurden von Orion verfolgt. Sie verwandelten sich in Tauben und flogen davon. Aber Orion liess sich nicht so leicht von seiner Beute abbringen. Da versetzte Zeus sie an den Himmel, wo sie noch immer von Orion verfolgt werden. Dieser aber hat alle Hoffnung aufgegeben, sie jemals einzuholen.
Wir können sie noch immer am Himmel sehen und nennen sie auch das Siebengestirn. In Babylon hiessen sie Mulmul, in Anatolien Süreyya oder Ülker, in Arabien Atr-Thurayya, in Persien Nahid, in Japan Subaru. Die meisten Kulturen erkannten Beginn und Ende der Regenzeit an ihrem Auf- und Untergang am Nachthimmel, selbst die Schwarzfuss-Indianer richteten die Bisonjagd nach ihnen aus.
(Th.K., Kleine Mythen und Lopper)

Lethe

Yeraltı dünyasında Styx’dan daha çok su var; Acheron, Eridanus ve Lethe, unutmak-nehri, Mnemosyne, hatırlamak-gölcüğü. Çok şey daha var, ama unuttum…Profesör Alzheimer, Tübingen’li; o da Lehte’den içti, ama sonra Mnemosyne’den de içip, her şeyi unutmak hakkında not yazdı. Tom Waits’te hakkikatan yeraltı dünyasını biliyor, çünkü şöyle söylüyor: “I will always remember to forget about you…”

Myths: River Lethe In the underworld ruled by Hades there are more waters than Styx, the river of no return: Acheron, Eridanus, Lethe, the river of forgetting and pond Mnemosyne, which makes remember everything. There are much other things there, but I forgot….Professor Alzheimer from Tübingen drank, when he came to the Orcus, from river Lethe, but after that he had a drink from Mnemosyne too and after that noted everything about forgetting. Tom Waits has for sure been in the underworld too, otherwise he couldn’t sing: “I will always remember to forget about you…” (Image: River Lethe, Valley of the Thousand Smokes, Alaska)

Daphnis and Chloe

Daphnis was a shepherd and he loved Chloe. One day they were rowing on a lake surrounded by high mountains. As Chloe called out she heard a voice like hers from the rock walls, repeating her last syllables (let’s scream like her her: where is a rose? And the Echo might repeat: is a rose, is a rose!). Daphnis saw the girl full astonished. “This is Echo!”, he said, “Give me ten more kisses and I’ll tell you the story of Echo!”. Chloe agreed, and Daphnis started to tell: Echo was a nymph too, but not a water-nymph like Cyane, Arethusa and Dahpne, but a mountain-nymph. Up there she got acquainted wit Zeus and his wife Hera and as Zeus had lots of love affairs, he asked Echo to meanwhile entertain Hera, what she did with a lot of useless talks. But after a while Hera discovered the plot. Immediately she punished Echo. From then on Echo lost her speech, she could only repeat the last words or syllables others said to her.

“What happened to her later on?”, asked Chloe. For some more kisses Daphnis went on: Soon after Echo fell in love with Narcissus, but as this beautiful boy just loved himself he didn’t return her love. She went so sad about this, that she retired in a cave, went thinner and thinner from grief and finally lost her body. Only her voice remained.

“Alas!”, cried Chloe, “what a sad story!”

Daphnis, who still wanted more, resumed: Other story-tellers have quite different versions. In one of them shepherd-god Pan himself wanted Echo, because, ehm, she was singing so nicely, but she ran away. Pan made all her friends go mad: they torn her apart, but the parts of her body still sang. Gaia, mother goddess like Demeter, pitied her and took these parts inside her. From there, you can still hear them.

In another version, said Daphnis, who still wasn’t satisfied, Echo and Pan even went to be a couple. They had kids, Inyx and İambe. İambe was the ancient goddess of humour. She vanished completely, that’s why nobody’s got humour any more. Others say she created the İambus-verse. It is even told that she had beautiful legs….

Waiting for Robert Capa

“Your search ‘waiting for robert capa’ was automatically translated into ‘waiting for robert capa.’

“Now! That story about Robert Capa and Gerda Taro is a real love story in the times of war, with all ingredients for a contemporanean mythology.

They met on a day to remember in 1934: In Paris, the struggling Hungarian photographer has to take the portrait of a young woman for a Swiss insurance-company. He convinces the Swiss refugee girl Ruth Cerf, which takes with her her best friend Gerta Pohorylle, who would later be Gerda Taro. So begins the love story in between Capa and her.

Here what is written about the novel “Waiting for Robert Capa” by Susana Fortes (originally in Spanish):

“A gorgeously written, ENGLISH PATIENT-style novel about the real-life romance between the war photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro during the Spanish Civil War. Already optioned to be the next film by Michael Mann (PUBLIC ENEMIES, THE INSIDER, MANHUNTER, COLLATERAL).Love, war and photography marked their lives. They were young, anti-Fascist, good-looking, and nonconformist. They had everything in life, and they put everything at risk. They created their own legend and remained faithful to it until the very end…A young German woman named Gerta Pohorylle and a young Hungarian man named Endre Friedmann meet in Paris in 1935. Both Communists, Jewish, exiled, and photographers, they decide to change their names in order to sell their work more easily, and so they become Gerda Taro and Robert Capa. With these new identities, they travel to Spain and begin to document the Spanish Civil War. Two years later, tragedy will befall them – but until then, theirs is a romance for the ages.Based on the true story of these legendary figures and set to be the next film by award-winning director Michael Mann WAITING FOR ROBERT CAPA is a moving tribute to all journalists and photographers who lose their lives to show us the world’s daily transformations.

“Gerta Pohorylle is born in Stuttgart to a Jewish-Galician family. She will die 26 years old near Madrid, smashed in full retreat in between a car and a tank. Really? Even her death is a myth. Willy Brandt, later on chancellor of the Germans, claims, that she was eliminated by Stalinists, not having “the right belief”.

Robert Capa, born in Budapest as Endre Friedman, a heavy drinker, rogue and womanizer (he even had an affair with Ingrid Bergman), founds together with Henri Cartier-Bresson “Magnum Photos”. Capa and Taro initiated war-photography and were always quite keen in between the lines. Capa even went to be famous by photographing himself soldiers at Omaha Beach when the allied invasion took place. Later on, like Taro too, he died “in the foxholes”: 1954 he was blown up by a land-mine in Indochina.

Salmakis

Salmakis is a nymph living in a fountain near the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos in today’s Bodrum. Note: every running water has its nymph and though they are rather shy lonely wanderers might see them – or in high noon or at midnight – mainly bathing naked. Nabokov clearly saw one. Trees or caverns ore special places might have their nymphs too. The Romans called them “genius loci”. Nymphs live very long but are not immortal, though they give birth to immortal children, if a god approaches them. Note: Nymphs differ only in one letter from human lymph.Now to Salmakis. She fell in love with Hermaphroditos and united for ever with him. Thus her waters are said to effeminate… I visited the well of Salmakis some years ago with my friend Freddy. “Fuck off with all that mythological rubbish!” he said. Then he drank of that water. A group of tourists passed. “Who is that lovely young girl?” they asked.

Arachne and Athena – a widely remembered competition

As Athena rambled once on earth – like the Christian god today does in France – she met a young lady, called Arachne, who was just weaving and spinning a large carpet. “But I can do better!” said Athena. Arachne, unaware that she spoke with a goddess, replied: “The bet is on!”, and the two started weaving.Athena put heaven and earth and everything in between into her work, Arachne but span a story about the misfortunes and adventures of the Olympians, her carpet was showing Hephaistos underneath the bed of his wife Aphrodite, Zeus as a a golden rain or carrying someone in his hip, Apollon pursuing poor Daphne or getting mad about Niobe, Artemis caught naked near a fountain, Dionysos leaving Ariadne on a lonely island, and so on…..

A fair-minded jury evaluated the two carpets and the price was given…..to Arachne! Athena, furious about that decision, changed Arachne into a spider. “Now you may weave and spin your nets until lassitude!” she shouted scornfully. And poor Arachne is spinning her nets up to today.

Arachne und Pallas Athene – ein denkwürdiger Wettbewerb

Als Athene einst auf Erden wandelte – wie es heute noch der christliche Gott in Frankreich tut – begegnete sie einer jungen Weberin namens Arachne, die gerade an einem grossen Teppich arbeitete. “Ich könnte das besser!” meinte die Unsterbliche. Arachne, die Frau nicht als Göttin erkennend, antwortete: “Die Wette gilt!”, und die beiden Frauen begannen ihr Werk.Athene bildete Himmel und Erde und alles dazwischen auf ihrem Kilim ab, Arachne aber spann eine Geschichte über die Missgeschicke und Abenteuer der Götter, ihr Teppich zeigte Hephaistos unter dem Bett seiner Gemahlin Aphrodite, Zeus als Goldregen oder mit jemandem in seiner Hüfte, Phoibos Apollon, der die arme Daphne verfolgte oder zornig auf Niobe wurde, Artemis, nackt an einem Brunnen erwischt, Dionysos, der die weinende Ariadne auf einer einsamen Insel zurückliess, undsoweiter.

Eine unabhängige Jury sollte die Werke beurteilen, und siehe da, den Preis erhielt….Arachne! Pallas Athene, zornig auf diese Entscheidung, verwandelte Arachne sogleich in eine Spinne. “Jetzt kannst du bis ans Ende deiner Tage weben und spinnen!” rief sie. Und so geschah es. Noch heute sind alle Spinnen damit beschäftigt.

Women XXXVIII: Medea (Greek: Μήδεια, Mēdeia, Georgian: მედეა)

Unknown woman? She should be known to us! Much poets, philosophers and historicians are depicting her (Ovidius, Herodotus, Seneca, Pindar, Hesiod, Euripides, Apollonius Rhodius, Gaius Valerius Flaccus, Jean Anouilh, Hans Henny Jahnn, Geoffrey Chaucer….and others). And yet nowbody today knows much about this heroine. Here is her story:Was this princess a witch? A granddaughter of sun-god Helios? A niece of Circe? A priestress of Hekate? An innocent young girl? A cold blooded murderer? A loving companion and helper of heroes? A good mother? Maybe all of this. When Jason and the Argonauts came to Kolchis on their talking ship Argo to retrieve the Golden Fleece, Jason and Medea fell deeply in love. She agreed to help him, but only under condition that he would take her home with him and marry her. While he was half asleep she sang to him:“I put a spell on you because you’re mine…” (Thanks to Screaming Jay Hawkins for the English version, thanks to Marilyn Manson, Bette Midler, Annie Lennox and Nina Simone for performing it too).Medea and Jason fled – pursued by king Aietes of Kolchis – across the Black Sea (then dominated by Apollon) and up the river Danube – then called “Ister” – until they came to its source in Istria, went even underground and reappeared near Trieste in the “Fonte del Timavo”.After many more adventures they came home to Corinthos, she moved even to Thebes and Athens and at the end of her life to the Persian Lands, where she gave name to the “Medes”.

Horses III.

Horses in mythologies and history (this could be a whole book too)

Even in Altamira cave-paintings from about 15000 years ago horses are shown, and I am quite sure that there are even elder effigies…

The horse is narrowly tightened to nomads, these were even called “horse-people”. Nomads are always moving, the most important thing for them is the freedom of travelling. In contrary the agricultural civilisations tend to adore “my home is my castle”. Nomads are rather herdsmen, hunters and collectors while we tend to be sitting producers (and vegetarians) (but for the time of holidays or emigration we become nomads again: Nomads with the deep wish to settle down).

Horses are a part of all mythologies, to start with the chinese, were they are in the zodiac.

Hindu religion shows much horses. Women were imitating horses with their bodies.

Kanthaka – as we know – was the favourite (white) horse of Siddhartha Gautama, he rode it to get away from his luxurious life and to become the Buddha. The white horse – known everywhere – must be seen as a symbol of “passage”

Unconciously this white is used up to today in the names of taverns (“The White Horse”, “Zum Weissen Rössl”) and merry-go-rounds, where the wooden horses used to be white, with red bridles and saddles.

Mixed information about horses

Why has the horse-shoe always and everywhere been a symbol for luck? Superstitious sailors even used to pin horse-shoes to their ship masts, believing the vessel would avoid storms then…

horse-radish
horse-kicking (in German it says “horse-kiss”…)
“Crazy-Horse”, “Running Horse”, Kicking Horse” etc., as native Indian names
Cossacks, Hussards,“Kürassiere”, “Kataphrakten”, Cavalry (Peter Steinbrück wanted to send them to Switzerland)
In German a tit-for-tat-response is called “Retourkutsche”

“Wild horses” Rolling Stones
“Fliegende Pferde” Achim Reichel
“Dark horse” Kate Perry
“Lady Godiva” Simply Red

The Appaloosa horse, even if the patches are not to be seen, will be recognized by its human eyes.

“All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again”

The theatre-play “Equus” by Peter Shaffer. Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Leonard Nimoy (Mr.Spock), Anthony Perkins, Peter Firth played in it. The main hero (a psychopath) is getting religious and sexually attracted by horses…

Catherine the Great aka Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst, born in Stettin, then Prussia, now Poland.
She was empress of Russia in the “Golden Age” of that empire. She won much lands, in the south against the Ottomans, in the west against Poland and Prussia, in the east she even created “Russian Alaska”.
She brought enlightenment to the country (ehm, to the aristocrats). She had about three official lovers among them Prince Potemkin, known for his villages and who gave his name to a famous armoured cruiser), and many unofficials. There are legends about her erotic appetite for horses.

In ancient times most transports were done by horseback, carriage or coaches
In my childhood in front of my grandparents’ house were huge stables full of cold-blood-horses: Guyer- and Ruckstuhl-Transporte. In those times you used to do your moving by horse-carriage. Today only huge beer-carriages are used as a folklore….

In our dormitory we once had female twins, a bit fat, which by everybody were called “The post-coaches”

The evolution of the horse is tightly linked to humans. Like theirs it went from east to west (horse-people like the Huns and Mongols, the Turks, the Skyths, the Ostrogoths and the Wisigoths did it, later imitated on the American continent in the run to the “Wild-West”…)

Ay! Hold your horses, dear!!

Şahmeran

Şahmeran or Şahmaran is the queen of snakes. She is all-knowing, beautiful, and leads with grace. People in East-Turkey, In Iraq and in Iran admire her up to nowadays. Along the legend Cemşap, a poor wood-seller from Taurus one day went to the wood for honey with his friends. They found a cave. While his friends went for more honey he explored the cave and found a beautiful garden full of snakes. Their queen is Şahmaran. He falls in love with her and stays for many years in that subterranean garden. But he’s longing for his family and wants to see it again. Şahmaran allows it, under the condition not to tell anyone about the garden and her. But when the sultan gets ill his vizier says, that only eating Şahmaran could cure him. Cemşab betrays her, and the wise Şahmaran says: “make me boil in an earthenware dish. Let the sultan eat my meat and make vizier drink my boiled water.”. The sultan gets healthy and the vizier dies. Cemşab himself is promoted vizier. The snakes though, learning that their queen has been killed, invade Tarsus.Up to today Şahmaran is to be seen as an image on the walls, bringing luck and wisdom. I saw several ones, one in a small café in Sazköy (“saz” = reed). Şahmaran is just one of the rich bestiary of our phantasy (these hybrid creatures are often seen today as monsters in online-fantasy-games). We have the Persian Simurg, we have Vogel Gryf and Basilisk, we have the Jewish Ziz and the Tartaric Zilant (not difficult to recognize our word “yılan” for snake), the official arm of Kazan, not to talk about Chimera, Phoenix, Sphinx, Turkish Konrul or Kurdish Simir. Nearly everywhere these beings are sitting – changed to stone – on our buildings. In much fairy-tales and legends they appear. In Grimms collection alone we find their appearance and motives in plenty of places, let’s only mention “Die weisse Schlange”, “Vogel Gryf”, “Des Teufels Grossmutter” “Das Meerhȁschen”….