Chaoskampf

"Destruction of Leviathan," Gustave Doré.

“Destruction of Leviathan,” Gustave Doré.

One of the many fun things about studying mythology is discovering the common themes that show up, over and over, from one culture to the next. Creation; the first man and woman; the great flood, or deluge; descent to the underworld, and return; the final cosmic battle.

The most intriguing to me is the Chaoskampf, the Struggle Against Chaos. Some great champion of law and justice, usually a human or a god in human form, does battle with a terrible spirit of chaos, generally a serpent. God and Leviathan, St. George and the Dragon, Thor and the Midgard Serpent, Christ and the Devil, Ra the sun god and Apep the primordial snake. The names and details and theological interpretations change, but it’s mostly the same story underneath.

Why is the Chaoskampf so fascinating to me? I guess I’m a sucker for anything primordial. The dawn of existence, the final battle, the creatures and beings too vast or dark or luminous to describe. Order and chaos seem more basic, more primal, than good and evil, though certainly there’s a strong link.

The Crane Girl will have a Chaoskampf. I’m so excited.

I should not be allowed near books.

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