Tuesday, March 20, 2007

of thunder gods and storm gods

It's amazing how things sometimes tend to snowball. A particular quality in the energy that would come and go over the years finally named itself. Energies tend to feel themselves, and it is better to just go along with the process and feel, be present in the body for them then to try to understand or figure them out.There was an explosive power that was associated with it, circular, smooth, somewhat effortless. Finally,I realized that the cirlularity and power were like a magic hammer. Bingo......Thor!

Of course Thor is the Norse God of Thunder. But to those privileged enough to be around for the birthing of Stan Lee's Marvel Age of Comics in the early 1960's he is also a super-hero.In fact for a period in the early '60's, he was my favorite over Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the Hulk.......I enjoyed the fact that even a god, who chose to hang out at least partially in this human dimension, would have problems and face limitations. The way Stan Lee wrote his dialog was very Shakespearean:"Thou facest the son of Odin, the god of Thunder and Storm!" I enjoyed his interaction with everyday people who had to face the fact that they were dealing not only with a super-hero, but quite possibly with a god as well. Stan Lee would have him interact with New York cab drivers and other ordinary folk.I really enjoyed this and I think this could have been more developped. As the series went on, it became more and more far out, going into the reaches of outer space and with lots of adventures set in Asgard and other more mythical climes. While those were good, I liked the contact with everday and this was lost more and more as the series went on.

About issue 100 of Journey into Mystery, which later became Thor's own comic, Jack Kirby took over the art work. Kirby's art and Stan Lee's scripts gave me hours and hours of enchantment when I was a teenager.The cover above is one of my all-time favorite comic book covers. A giant robot hand from the future carrying a sinester villain, with Thor swinging his hammer in anticipation. "The Return of Zarrko the Tomorrow Man!" says it all. To a boy in his early teens these books were gateways into another dimension, literally. Of power, beauty, and wonder.

In the movie "Adventures in Babysitting" there is a young girl dressed up as the super-hero Thor, with hammer and all. I remember seeing an old Brendan Fraser film where he had long blond hair, took people at a radio station hostage with squirt guns that looked like assault weapons, forcing them to play his band's music. My thought at the time was that I thought he would make a great movie Thor. I still do. More recently, the character has been featured in a straight to video animated series, "The Ultimate Avengers", re-telling the story of Marvel's early version of the Justice League. Thor as presented by Lee and Kirby was very androgynous. One of the best lines in the first movie is"Who is the chick with the hammer?" "I don't know, but I'm glad she's on our side!" Highly recommended!

So what ties might Thor have to aikido?Growing up in the Kumano region, which is steeped in Shinto history and magic, Osensei was often told that he was the re-incarnation of the Shinto Storm God, Susano. Of course Thor is the God of Thunder and Storm. So on the level of archetypes, they may be the same archetype. Carl Jung talked about archetypes as gods and goddesses, and probably one of the current most commom places to encounter these archetypes is in comic books or in comics inspired films.

On a sadder note, I found out at a comic book shop today that the Thor comic died about 3 years ago. Certainly he remains alive in the Marvel Universe. And the character has a pivotal role in both Ultimate Avengers movies.But it's almost like hearing that an old friend has passed on. But it is important for this energy or archetype to stay alive in aikido. So here's to a new generation, I hope, of Thunder Gods and Goddesses.


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