Monday, April 13, 2020

Gods of Eternia

Gods and titanic monsters are not uncommon in Eternia's Masters of the Universe mythology, but very little genuine Eternian religion is revealed in the stories. What little we know of what gods were actually worshipped only comes from the post-Great War epoch, though it sometimes purports to detail events from before that era, from the time referred to as "Preternia."

Eternian myth is only passingly concerned with cosmogony. There is the vague notion of primordial, creator gods, but these are either destroyed or sacrifice themselves at the dawn of the universe. They leave things in the hand of custodial beings, which may in fact represent an advanced civilization the ancient Eternians encountered. These beings, called Trollans, occupy a space between archangels and trickster gods. By the time of the legends of the Randorian court, the Trollans had been diminished to elfin beings and comedy relief, perhaps a reflection their decreasing importance next to Goddess worship.

Serpos was titanic, three-head serpent worshipped by the Snake folk, a people said to have been created by a renegade Trollan. The Snake folk are said to have unless their god to level entire cities in their bid for conquest. The Snake folk dominated much of Eternia in the Preternian period and after their defeat and purported exile, Serpos was reinterpreted as either a destructive primitive aspect of the Goddess or her offspring.

The Goddess
The Goddess was typically depicted wearing a cobra headdress and sometimes with green skin. While some scholars have connected the headdress with Serpos and the Snake folk, others view it as predating the Snake folk's arrival. The green skin possibly links her with vegetation and life, allying her with the forest deity who appears in the mythos as Moss Man.

The serpent-themed Goddess initially seems predominant in the Eternos region, but immigrants from the northern plains identified her instead with an Eternian bird of prey. By the Randorian era, the Sorceress of Grayskull, held to be the Goddess' living incarnation and oracle, was garbed in feathered raiment.
Art by Gerald Parel


Anne said...

It is kind of interesting, right, how Teela uses a snake motif, just like Snake Mountain, and an entire group of villains, and also how she's sometimes depicted as being the Sorceress's secret identity?

And how the skull motif is used for both the hero headquarters and both Skeletor and Horak?

I'm sure these are more like inconsistencies or mistakes than they are like intentional postmodern polysemy, but it kind of reminds me of the messiness of real world religions, which invariable involve groups adopting each others iconography and even sacred figures, but rewriting their meaning or retconning their origins.

Trey said...

Why is the Skull motif both a place of goodness (Grayskull) and the visage of the main villain? Why does Skeletor reside in a place with a snake theme, and the Sorceress and the Snake men have them too.

Yeah, that was something I had mentioned on discord. The "make it up" as we go along, careless concern for continuity of the toyline actually winds up seeming more "real world" than a carefully planned fiction.

JB said...

Or it just seems like too many cooks in the kitchen. In the case of MotU, you had the toy-line, the comics that came with the toy-line, and the later cartoons, ALL of which were at odds with each other. To me, it's just too many creative types screwing up each others' ideas and making the whole thing a hash (and I mean that in a very non-complimentary way).

Not that everything has to be nailed down and sensible to be "good." But in this particular instance, I find the whole MotU thing to be a huge, steaming mess.

Trey said...

That's certainly a reasonable assessment, but it would also be a reasonable assessment of say, Greek Mythology.

Jason Galterio (Legionair) said...

How about how the Castle Greyskull wasn't to scale with the figures?

The figures couldn't fit through the jaw door... and, if I am remembering correctly, couldn't sit in the throne or fit through the trapdoor.

It absolutely drove me crazy when I was little.

Azafuse81 said...

Just remember that the Goddess - at least according to one of the most recent - has 3 faces/incarnations, quite Hindu-style:
- the falcon/Zoar, related to Preservation and Eternity
- the snake/Serpos, related to Creation and the Dawn of Time
- the bat/Horokoth, related to Destruction and Entropy

Trey said...

Yeah, that was DC Comics recent take.