Fred Patten on mythical creatures and Mandaean religion of Iraq.

by Patch O'Furr

From the archive: Fred Patten, who passed away in late 2018, was a furry fandom founder who was also key for importing anime to the USA in the 1970’s and preparing it for English speaking audiences. As a historian and fan, Fred spoke to fellow researchers overseas. This led to discussing obscure traditions and customs. Occasionally they would come up about stories he was considering, but were too footnotey to add to the main articles. Previously posted was the first of two interesting side topics, Happy Science of Japan. Below is Mandaean religion of Iraq, with 60-70,000 members worldwide. Fred suggests its mythology could be “a whole new area for furry artists and writers”. – Patch

Mandaeism is a living religion bursting with fascinating mythology and magic (and loads of magic realism). I contend this Gnostic religion provides some forgotten gods that could be very useful for today’s culture where imagination, inventiveness, and wonder are evanescing under the crushing gravitational pull of global idiocracy caused by the Archons of this age. – (This Forgotten Gnostic God Could be the Cure for Today’s Idiocracy – by Miguel Conner)

Fred’s Mandaean religion story (8/10/15)

Dear Patch;

On March 20, 2015 the astronomical community put out a call for new names, and votes for names, for the features of Pluto and its moons since the New Horizons space probe was due to fly past and send back the first closeup pictures of it soon. (This happened in July.)  The traditional names of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses used for astronomical features have been used up.

Rutgers professor Charles Haberl started a campaign to begin using names from Mandaean mythology, since the astronomical community had never used Mandaean names before.  I had never heard of the Mandaeans, but Wikipedia says, “The Mandaean community of Iraq and Iran is one of the few communities from the Middle East that still preserve the ancient Babylonian tradition of divination by the stars and heavenly bodies (Astrology), directly from its source, even retaining the traditional Akkadian names for the stars and the visible planets. Despite this unique distinction, the Mandaeans had previously been unrepresented in astronomical place-names.”

Haberl’s campaign has been successful, and one of the newly-discovered features on Pluto has been named Krun, after the leading Mandaean lord of the underworld.  The Mandaean religion recognizes five lords of the underworld, listed in the title.  Only Krun is described, as an anthropomorphic giant louse.

He is represented by the image of a lion on the skandola talisman, which is used to seal the graves of the newly dead, but according to an oral account collected by E.S. Drower, his appearance is that of a giant louse. – (Miguel Conner)

This seems to be a whole new area for furry artists and writers, who have been focusing on Anubis, Bast, Actaeon, and the other animal-headed gods and goddesses of Egyptian mythology, the humans turned into animals of Greek and Roman mythology, and the African and North American trickster spirits like Anansi the spider and Nanabozo the giant rabbit.  (Unfortunately, only Krun is described on Wikipedia.)

Wikipedia says that the Mandaeans are highly secretive and dwindling, although some have recently emigrated to the U.S.  “During the last decade the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60-70,000 persons, has collapsed due to the Iraq War, with most of the community relocating to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan and forming diaspora communities outside of the Middle East. According to a 2009 article in The Holland Sentinel, the Mandaean community in Iran has also been dwindling, numbering between 5,000 to 10,000 people, with approximately 1,000 Iranian Mandaeans emigrating to the United States since 2002, after the State Department granted them protective refugee status, which was not accorded to Iraqi Mandaeans until 2007. However, Alarabiya has put the number of Iranian Mandaeans as high as 60,000 in 2011.”

Assuming that I can find out anything else about Mandaean anthropomorphic mythological figures, is there a feature in this?  Or would you be interested in all of the various anthro mythological characters that furry writers and artists have used and might be interested in?

Best wishes;


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