Friday, May 1, 2009

Pagans and toys

Living in Asia you get to see what the west may have been like if it was not forcefully converted to Chritianity. In Taiwan and Japan there are temples around every corner. They still do their traditional festivals, and those festivals were not covered up Christian names and ideas to appease the church. It is a great feeling of release to not have to worry about Christians constantly trying to convert you (like they used to do to us in Korea,) or harassing you just for being non-Christian.

I like to see and experience the panganism here. My son and I visit many temples. We like to collect the charms they offer and make prayers to the gods and buddhas for their blessings. My son collects toys here (I will admit that I do as well.) The toys are of the gods, lucky animals and mythic creatures. It is easy to find them and a great way to teach your children about the gods and mythic creatures. It reminds me of how the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other Pueblo indians used to give their daughters Kachina dolls as a way to help teach them about the spirits and gods.

Kachina dolls

Here you see a set of my sons toys from Taiwan. In the front are the mythic beasts of the Lung: the dragon, Ki-lin: the dragon unicorn, and Xuanwu: the dragon Turtle. In the middle are lucky animals, the leopard, a 3 legged toad, a mouse from the year of the mouse and a golden cow from the year of the cow. In the back are Buddha and the god of fortune.

This is a group of god toys. They were give to me by one of my students parents. They are part of a collection offered from a minimart here last summer. I recognize 4 of them, but I don't know who the other 2 are.

Here is the add for the toys
This is a wrathful buddha statue made for a child to use for devotion.
When I return to America and get my own place again, I want to help my son set up and altar and he can use some of these toys for it. It is a kids altar and shouldn't be so serious, so having toys of the gods is a great way for him to learn about altars and devotion. That is what they do here and it is a good lesson learned. I haven't seen any pagan parents mention this, though it doesn't mean they don't do this. Most set up nature altars and let the kids put whatever they want on it, and this is a great way too, but I want my son to grow up with the gods and know them as he would any member of the family, as kids did in the ancient days. Also, as toys, the kids can play with them and carry them around and the gods will be with them always.

I wish there were more toys like this in America, but all I have seen were some Greek and Egyptian ones, and only of the well known gods and goddesses. I actually got some Egyptian ones before I moved overseas, when being a father was just in the back of my mind, and am happy that they will be used as my son likes the Egyptian god Horus. There is also the comic book version of gods, like Thor. Though he doesn't "look like" the original god, it could still be used for and altar and devotion. (a god can look like whatever it wants and are often pictured with a variety of appearences, while most people imagine the god Thor being a burly redhead with a beard, there is nothing wrong with him looking like a handsome, blond, cleanshaven Nordic man. Think of it as his modern updated appearance.) I can't find a whole lot of others though. It may be hard to find what you are looking for. If all else fails, you can make your own (just remodel an action figure.) Final Fantasy has some gods and mythic creatures to use. Also there other games, like Warcraft, where some of the figures can be used. The Night Elf druid could be used as an image of the horned god, as an example. Japan makes many god toys, you have to hunt for them though. Good job Japan, stepping up to supply other pagan peoples with toys and minitures of their gods and mythic creatures. I was lucky enough to go to Japan several times, and I always checked out the toy stores, whether new or used, looking for things like this, and luckily found several.
Horus, from a group of educational toys, which is what I bought(see above)
Ares, from DC comics
Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, as a toy or model
Odin and Sleipnir, from Final Fantasy
Cthulhu, which I would use as an image of the undefinable elder gods, rather than the horror story cult figure.
If you have a baby or young child, then maybe you could get a plushy, so that they can truly grow up with the gods and if you can't find the god(s) that you are looking for, then learn how to sew and make your own.

Anubis plushy
Marvel Comics Thor plushy
Ganesh plushy
Cthulhu plushy, for all the cultists out there


Anonymous said...

yeaahhhh your korean rant was a bit intense. the reason why elves tend to look "asian" (when you say elf assume you mean by western european standards) is that asian men (yes yes the women too)look exotic. what i mean by that is they almost have an etheral beauty and "elves" or fairies (no the victorian kind that are tiny with wings) are not of this world so their beauty would be intense i would imagine. i usually find that people who practice "wicca" know not much of real magic and it comes from a neo feminist view. i mean after all, who still uses the word "oriental". why not take a look at the west and how we force our ideals of beauty on those to the east and then ask yourself "why are koreans copy cats". after all didn't the japanese during world war 2 rape and belittle them? didn't the japanese force some koreans to change their korean names to japanese names? so why don't you sit there with your neo wiccan ways and self help new age crap and stand aside for those who seek to know the history of REAL magic. ELVES are depicted by the west to wear silk, eat the finest food and to show refinement, why do you think the japanese and chinese can relate to that? look at old asian artwork, where do you think the west got their "look" for elves?

Darshan said...

anon, First, you posted this comment on the wrong post. I am going to guess you are Korean. Your post was so full of young male anger, it made me laugh. I know all about what the Japanese did to the Koreans, and it was evil, but what you said still didn't answer anything, it was more of a meaningless rant than mine was. And when people say elf, or course they mean western elves, that is where the idea came from, as well as the name. While some other peoples have beings similar to Elves, they aren't the same. And Oriental just means the "east" which does fit with my blog, which you read by the way. When I was in Korea, they used the term quite often, they even call tradtional medicine, Oriental Medicine and its practitioners, Oriental Doctors. Also, most baby boomers still use the term, so your attempt to mock me didn't work. I am interested in what you think real magic is though, probably some satanic mumbo-jumbo blood sacrifice crap.