death_gone_mad: Shhh (Default)
[personal profile] death_gone_mad
Sooo, I was googling random stuff... well, not random stuff, just a phrase that popped into my head... and it lead me to a very interesting article on Kali that just totally resonated with some ideas I had for Amascut's future-plot/past-plot

Anyway, the article mentioned the Romani patron saint, Saint Sarah, or Sara-la-kali. In one story, she was the dark skinned Egyptian (the Roma, or Gypsies, were once thought to be originally Egyptians) maid of one of the Three Marys. The Three Marys and their companions were refugees from Judea who made the trip to Gaul during the first century AD on a boat without sails, oars, or rudders and included Mary Magdalene and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, Lazarus himself (Yes, the same Lazarus that was lamented and resurrected by Jesus), Mary Salome, mother of James and John, Mary Jacobe, or Mary of Clopas, and Maximinus, one of the 72 given power over demons by Jesus, often conflated with various later saints of the name Maximin. Another story states that Sara-la-kali was the chief of the the Rom tribe living at the mouth of the Rhône. The Rom at the time had the tradition of carrying a statue of Ishtari or Astarte to the sea to receive the goddess' blessing. One day before one of these benedictions, Sara received a vision informing her of the arrival of "Saints who had been present at the death of Jesus" and that she should rescue them from their distress. Sara was there when the Three Marys and their companions arrived and rescued them on a raft constructed from a cloak of Mary Salome's which had been thrown overboard and floated onto the beach.

Another version, popularized by recent novels, especially The Da Vinci Code, claims that Sarah is the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Interesting.

Anyhow, the 'Kali' in the name 'Sara-la-kali' is something more than coincidence. The Rom/Roma/Romani have had their origins sorta pinned down to the Indian Subcontinent were Sara/Kali/Durga worship was common and practiced in much the same way described in versions of the story of Saint Sarah as Ishtar/Astarte worship. In fact, ceremonies performed at shrines to Saint Sarah in France are very similar as well. Sara-la-kali could be interpreted as Sara the Black, in reference to her dark skin. Kali is derived from Kāla apparently, a Sanskrit word associated with black, time, and death. Kali is sometimes known as "the black one", and is seen as an aspect of/conflated with/confused with Durga who is at times depicted with a black face.

Now for a whole mess of connections to Amascut as she's depicted in canon, fanfiction, and by me in Milliway's bar. Amascut is a goddess of destruction and death in a mythology that vaguely represents Egyptian mythology. Her closest analogue in Egyptian mythology is Ammit, although Ammit doesn't take an active role in destroying the world as Amascut did in her last days as a goddess. The god/demon Ammit just destroys the souls deemed unworthy of going on to the afterlife by Anubis/Inpu (who is a very close analogue to Amascut's brother, Icthlarin. Both are jackal headed and gods of the dead and the afterlife) after weighing the heart against the feather of Ma'at. Ammit does this in some traditions by devouring the hearts and souls of the unworthy. The most popular name for Amascut in game is The Devourer, presumably because she does something similar to the dead if she can get to them before Icthlarin does. The connection between Amascut, Ammit, and the Sara/Kali/Durga entity here is only that they are all goddesses of destruction.

Amascut is depicted in places as a woman with a lioness' head. Ammit herself is sometimes depicted as having a lion's mane. Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte (goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex), mentioned above in the stories of Saint Sarah, was also depicted as a woman with a lioness' head. Now, those wanting to keep the analogies between the game's Menaphite pantheon and real world mythologies pointing at the Egyptian pantheon point to depictions of Sekhmet (A warrior goddess, Avenger of Wrongs, Lady of Slaughter, Bringer of Plagues) and Bast (also a warrior goddess, goddess of protection, ointments, and cats) and say Amascut was like Bast before she went mad, and like Sekhmet after, almost succeeding in destroying the world as Sekhmet almost did.

Funny thing about Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte, she has stories that are very similar to some of those of Demeter/Kore and Aphrodite. Ishtar once descended into the underworld and was imprisoned there, causing everything to become unfertile and all sexual activity to stop. Kore, Demeter, and the explanation for winter anyone? The difference, though, was that Ishtar forced her way into the underworld by threatening:
If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.

which the fanfic Age of Zaros has Amascut do in her attempt to destroy the Empire of the Empty God, Zaros. Incidentally, Durga of Hindu mythology creates a similarly massive army to defeat Mahishasura and his army. In Aphodite's case, Ishtar is a goddess of love and sex, but had a series of disasterous relatonships, one of which eventually turned into the story of Aphrodite and Adonis. Ishtar is also a prostitute, a route I was thinking of sending Amascut down. Now if only I could find out who operates the Milliway's brothel. X-23 only seems to be a bookkeeper and bouncer of sorts.

Before this derails further into more discussions of parallels between and mixing of the polytheistic religions (and even monotheistic religions) of the Indian subcontininent, Persia, the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea (Heck, I can even involve the Norse with this with an Asura/Ahura/Æsir connection, among others), I'll stop right here. The rise and fall of empires and the movement of people like the Roma across these particular lands makes such discussion deep, involved, and at times confusing.

Onto pseudonyms for Amascut. Well, Amascut itself is interesting. In fact, the name for the Menaphite deities seem Latinized or Hellenized, much like the way some Egyptian deities had their name Hellenized. The Runescape wiki points out that Amascut carries the meaning "to gather, hoard, enlarge" in Latin. Perhaps this is an allusion to Amascut gathering souls and devouring them? Anyway, because the Sara-la-kali story, I think Sarah would make an awesome pseudonym filled with just the type of deep and not so obvious symbolism I love using. It has an awesome connection with everything I have mentioned up above. Plus, Sarah is a pretty meek name, despite its historical significance. Tis a perfect cover.

I know there is a Kali coming into the bar. I know her app was accepted or something. (Batya, when is [livejournal.com profile] forewarned_is gonna walk into the bar?) I know I shouldn't use that one, nor Ammit nor Sekhmet nor Ishtar nor Durga. That is just pushing Amascut's knowledge of a foreign universe which I already decided she knows nothing about too far. But Sarah and Sara is commonly used in her world, I am sure (in fact, Sarah was the name of the first herblorist and medicine maker in her world).

In a thread with Naruto, Amascut was given the psuedonym Red or Aka, perhaps short for Akane. Akane translates into 'red root', or Rubia cordifloria, the madder plant. The meanings of Akane, red, and madder have been confused/played with for comedic effect in animes before, so why not use it as a possible pseudonym? Besides, why not play to the anime trope of the dark skinned red haired woman? It fits Amascut somewhat.

Date: 2010-07-11 03:08 pm (UTC)
batyatoon: (chibi!)
From: [personal profile] batyatoon
I'm not sure exactly when, but hopefully soon! There's some backstory to put up first. *cheerful*

Also, this is kind of fascinating.

Date: 2010-07-11 11:46 pm (UTC)
aberrantangels: (oh my!)
From: [personal profile] aberrantangels
Akane translates into 'red root', or Rubia cordifloria, the madder plant.

Y'mean as in Rose madder?

Date: 2010-07-12 11:02 pm (UTC)
aberrantangels: (fucking 19)
From: [personal profile] aberrantangels
Remember, coincidence is a 19-letter word. (-8

Date: 2012-04-14 10:46 pm (UTC)
not_my_sandbox: A flock of green sheep (Default)
From: [personal profile] not_my_sandbox
Another in Chinese

qiàn cǎo 茜草 - which is the Madder plant

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███████ , devourer of souls

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