Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dueling Dualities

I'm noticing some interesting similarities in religion. We have the already overused MMC trinity, but a less looked at concept seems to be the "twin" phenomena when looking at male archetypes. I'm looking at mostly American Indigenous faiths, (including South America) but the concept does seem to exist in other pantheons.


Quetzecoatl / Red Tezcatlipoca (Aztec)
Glooskap / Malsumis (Algonquian)
Sapling / Filnt (Iriquois)

Other countries

Arthur / Launcelot (Oak King/ Holly King)
Odin / Loki (Norse)
Zeus / Hades

Even more strangely, in the Christian faith, Cain and Able, although I don't think I would like the implications of this duality as a template of acceptable behavior and consequence.

Some of these pantheons - the Aztec in particular kaleidescope these figures out even farther, Quetzecoatl and Tezcatlipoca being two of four brothers. IIRC Zeus and Hades were from a batch of brothers rather than just the two of them.

Some pantheons, the American ones in particular seem to divide the siblings with concepts of acceptable behavior and destructive behavior. Some of these dualities are played out ritualistically, for example the mud head clowns of the Hopi.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I have noticed a lot of point and counterpoint siblings in mythology lately.

Is there any reason that we divide male deity based upon creation and destruction in some cases, or creation and repose in other cases? How does this fit into the ever overused MMC conundrum?

From a psychological perspective, MMC outlines a cultural set of expectations and ideals for female behavior. What does the twin/ brothers at odds seem to state? I can see the point blank obvious 'good/bad' division, but some of the stories are very careful not to label either brother to be good or bad, and to point out that they are inextricably intertwined, so to take away the commonly associated 'negative' half of the equation, just as much calamity would occur as would if the negative half was unleashed without the checking power of the creative sibling.

What less obvious aspects of the psyche are illuminated through this duality?

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