THE CACTUS CAT
How many people have heard of the cactus cat? Thousands of people spend their winters in the great Southwest—the land of desert and mountain, of fruitful valleys, of flat-topped meas, of Pueblos, Navajos, and Apaches, of sunshine, and the ruins of ancient Cliff-dwellers. It is doubtful, however, if one in a hundred of these people ever heard of a cactus cat, to say nothing of seeing one sporting about among the cholla and palo verde. Only the old-timers know of the beast and its queer habits.
The cactus cat, as its name signifies, lives in the great cactus districts, and is particularly abundant between Prescott and Tucson. It has been reported, also, from the valley of the lower Yaqui, in Old Mexico, and the cholla-covered hills of Yucatan. The cactus cat has thorny hair, the thorns being especially long and rigid on its ears. Its tail is branched, and upon the forearms above its front feet are sharp, knifelike blades of bone. With these blades it slashes the base of giant cactus trees, causing the sap to exude. This is done systematically, many trees being slashed in the course of several nights as the cat makes a big circuit. By the time it is back to the place of beginning the sap of the first cactus has fermented into a kind of mescal, sweet and very intoxicating. This is greedily lapped up by the thirsty beast, which soon becomes fiddling drunk, and goes waltzing off in the moonlight, rasping its bony forearms across each other and screaming with delight.
(Excerpt and photo from WM. T. Cox’s Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods.)
Striking up conversation with my hot Mesopotamian farmer woman date: Yeah I’m really mostly into prehistoric beats, early homonid vibes, ancient cave dweller sounds. beating rocks together, slapping your thighs, tapping bones, “ooga boogas” and deep throat grunting. stuff from before agriculture. hunter-gatherer rhythms on OG drums made from animal hides a little, but more impromptu jam sessions centered around water dripping from a stalactite. I listened to a few hymns to the fertility godess with horse hair string on a gourd accompaniment but I think it’s pretty formulaic stuff from the temple priests who don’t really, like, care about the music more than they care about getting as much grain to offer as sacrifice, you know?
So I have some ideas about ancient Troll mythology (especially on Beforus where it’s not all nearly wiped out by the warmongering military industrial complex). So I’m going to share my mythology junk of the different mythos and such that each of the ancient Trolls were involved in.
Because of the repression of two-spirit roles, many American Indians and people of indigenous descent look to the past and present for traces of these roles or for inspiration that could help to re-create two-spirit ways. I trace my matrilineage to the seminomadic Rarámuri of my grandmother’s pueblo, Namiquipa, Chihuahua, and have noted that contemporary Rarámuri ethnography confirms continued two-spirit roles, such as that of the na’wi or man-woman. Concho, Apache, and Pueblo Nations also held sway over northern Chihuahua and likely interacted with the Rarámuri. The Rarámuri may have also made use of the trade routes that reached far into the Southwest and into Central Mexico from Paquimé centuries after the turn of the first millennium. Some archaeological records indicate a complementary rather than a hierarchical gender system at Paquimé from 1200 to 1450 c.e. and at other ancient pueblos of the Southwest. While Christine S. VanPool and Todd L. VanPool suggest that these complementary genders may have been echoed among ancient Paquimé dwellers, they find no decisive archaeological proof that speaks for or against two-spirit presence at Paquimé. What do the direct descendants of related ancient Pueblo cultures have to say about two-spirit ways?
Contemporary Native American historiographical debates help explain why Mexican and Spanish-era Southwestern literatures do not record the two-spirit traditions that later U.S. oral ethnographies show. Referring to Pomo survival of historical Russian, Spanish, and Euro-American attempts at genocide on the Pomo Nation, queer Pomo scholar Greg Sarris interrogates both historical relationships of non-native authors with their native subjects and the relationship of contemporary readers with these texts. Whether the author is a Spanish priest of the sixteenth century or a gay white activist recovering “his” gay American roots through Native American experience, Sarris reminds readers that “representatives from the dominant culture exploring the resistance of subjugated people are likely to see little more than what those people choose or can afford to show them.” For this reason contemporary indigenous authors may provide gender insights that could not have been shared easily during more homophobic periods of colonization. Historical native informants were sources of wildly clashing narratives about “sodomy” and transgendered ways. Depending upon the methodology and political stance writers choose, two-spirit histories can be interpreted as being nonexistent, oppressed, or exalted.
Working from oral tradition, Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko makes positive two-spirit statements that would have been very difficult to make during Spanish colonization. Silko confirms that Pueblo history is based upon stories and that “a great deal of the story is believed to be inside the listener; the storyteller’s role is to draw the story out of the listeners. The storytelling continues from generation to generation.” In this sense Pueblo history is ultimately best understood inside a storied Pueblo cultural context not available to nonPueblo peoples and researchers. While Silko demonizes two gay characters in Almanac of the Dead: A Novel, she articulates her own enthusiastic version of Laguna Pueblo two-spirit peoples in Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: “Before the arrival of Christian missionaries, a man could dress as a woman and work with the women and even marry a man without any fanfare. Likewise, a woman was free to dress like a man, to hunt and go to war with the men, and to marry a woman. In the old Pueblo worldview, we are all a mixture of male and female, and this sexual identity is changing constantly. In sacred kiva ceremonies, men mask and dress as women to pay homage and to be possessed by the female energies of spirit beings.”
A key element in this discourse is to note that all Pueblo are a mix of masculinity and femininity. Therefore it is not abnormal for anyone to express both masculinity and femininity in appropriate community arenas. By expressing complementary genders in one body, two-spirits exercise flexible gender rights that everyone can utilize as well when the need arises. Silko further notes that Pueblo men in sacred kiva spaces can become possessed by female spirits, momentarily and appropriately embodying mixed gender energy. Although Christianity and colonial laws made these fluid gender realities difficult to express publicly, this fluidity survives in oral traditions and among some Pueblo traditionalists. Given Silko’s celebration of the power and honor of female creativity in her Laguna Pueblo tradition, it is not surprising that men who commit to female ways would also be honored or that reversed female to male identification could also find a home in the Pueblo world. Community and partnership, not gender stratified domination and submission, are the values that she transmits about Pueblo marriage, noting that married people were free to have sex with other people if they so chose. Again Silko’s sources are mainly the oral traditions that she has gleaned from her own family and her medium of transmitting this two-spirit history is storytelling.
Gabriel S. Estrada
, “Two-spirit Histories in Southwestern and Mesoamerican Literatures,” Gender and Sexuality in Indigenous North America,
Thanks to talks with one @paragonrobits , I’ve been able to clarify some headcanons of mine about ancient Trolls and how some of them evolved.
These ones are mostly biological, plan on doing ancient history ones later.
- Though considered vestigial now, Trolls used to have an internal set of organs that allowed them to produce their own eggs. Two or more trolls could mate and a mix of eggs of whatever their blood colors were would come from the mix.
- The Troll concept of quadrants evolved from their natural inclination towards polyamory. It makes sense for one troll to carry the eggs at a time and protect the offspring, while the rest of their mates search out safe spots, gather food, and do whatever else is necessary to ensure their offspring and mates survive. Quadrants themselves may have come from a need for a social dynamic that would prevent too many scuffles and jealousy between multiple quadrant mates over one egg carrier.
- The general dynamic exploration period was to have warmer bloods avoid the ocean (for both danger and reasons of colder temperatures), while the cooler and stronger ones might walk the shore to find things like shells, gathering salt water to make into salt or use in healing, or to gather certain seaside foods like coconuts (or the Troll equivalent of such).
- Before becoming amphibious beings, sea dwellers were considerably more monstrous. Having fish or snake tails instead of legs, and being incapable of breathing unless submerged in water at least over to their chest gills.
- Ancient sea dwellers were typically separated into Shallow Dwellers (the ones who stayed in the zones where there was at least a bit of sunlight and might surface from time to time to catch low flying birds to eat or spy on the Land Dwellers near the shore [or to catch and eat said Land Dwellers]), or Depths Dwellers (those making their homes in the deep aphotic zone and feasting on deep sea squids, whales, etc., usually their tails might look like those of whales, or of squids/octopi).
- While a mature Shallows Dweller might grow to be twice as big as a Land Dweller, a fully grown Depths Dweller might grow to be three times that.
- Shallows Dwellers and Depths Dwellers both had phosphorescent markings over their bodies. Both also, over parts of their bodies, had hard scale-like armor on belly and chest, and undersides of arms.
- The first amphibious Violet Blood came from a union between a Shallows Dweller and a Land Dweller Cerulean. The mixture of DNA allowed the new Sea Dwellers to have the limbs of their Land Dweller parent and the gills and fins of the Shallow Dweller. Though all Ceruleans produced from this type of union remained relatively the same save for some inheriting luminescent markings from their seaborne heritage.
- Later on, Purple Bloods came from a union between Amphibious Violets and a land Dwelling Blue Blood. By this turn, Purples have some vestigial fins but lack any gills save by mutations that result in that gene becoming activated. Those that do have gills tend to have respiratory problems. So while they are inclined toward moist air, they could not breathe underwater. A good number of them could be born with phosphorescent markings, mostly around the face, but this gene tended to be repressed and became rarer in subsequent generations. Though vestigial fins remained.
- Amphibious Fuschias came from a union between a Depths Dweller and a Land Dwelling Lime Blood. Giving the amphibious Fuschia Sea Dwellers limbs and the like in a similar way to amphibious Violets through a form of convergent evolution.
- The union of the vague abilities of a Lime Blood, with the blood of a Depths Dweller, led to a fascinating biological change. The offspring of a union of Land Dwelling Warm Bloods and an Amphibious Fuschia had the Warm Blood genes for psionics and other psychic abilities (either turned off or weakly expressed) flipped on entirely. Giving Warm Blood offspring of this union usage of abilities throughout most of their population with a small number of exceptions. This also gave those who inherited these turned on genes a tendency towards having a few glowing markings.
- These genes, when made into the Jade Bloods, had an interesting effect on their genotype and phenotype which made those with that heritage resistant to sunlight, and began the line of them becoming Rainbow Drinkers after their heart stopped beating once.
- Later unions of Warm Bloods with powers and Cooler Bloods eventually led to the advent of the rare Cerulean who had mind control abilities, but had much more prevalence in Purples (possibly because of their Violet lineage) which gave them their characteristic chucklevoodoos.
- For reasons unknown, trolls such as Olives, Teals, and Blues were exempt from gaining these powers
Now this was an interesting project to make since it was the one with many ups and downs. From pitching the project to IAFT to the production process it was a wild ride for us. We’d like to do more to expand the world of “Duwende” in the future, Philippine folklore has so much potential and material for a great film! But for now it is as it is.
The film centers around a group of tourists who have traveled to the Philippines for some vacation time. Along the way the end up angering the ancient dwellers of the forest, the Duwendes (Nuno sa Punso), and must fight for their lives.
The Glade Sage is an ancient mystic forest dweller. She lies deep within the realm of slumber for thousands of years at a time, absorbing nutrients from the forest around her, she grows wiser and stronger ready for when she awakens.
So this has nothing to do with my normal blog content but I re-listened to some older episodes of Welcome to Night Vale and found a thing from History Week that made me feel ALARMED AND FILLED WITH DREAD FOR THE UPCOMING NEW EPISODE so I’m just gonna store that and some other Night Vale thoughts here so I don’t explode from storing them in my head.