Table of contents
- “For nothing is impossible with God.” (22 November 2013)
- On the wings of a butterfly (18 November 2013)
- HACK YOU! (1 November 2013)
I have updated my old Gabby article (written before playing SMTIV) with more trivia and a SMTIV section and post it again since SMTIV players might be interested as well and since it’s kinda the counterpart to my Lilith article (http://artemis-maia.tumblr.com/post/61341122783/adam-did-not-eat-the-apple-because-he-desired-it-he)
Gabriel (גַּבְרִיאֵל,) which means “God is my strength, man of God, power of God” is the messenger of YHVH, angel of communication (this role is also used outside of the Christian faith), connected to the color blue, the zodiacs Aquarius and Cancer, water/ice as well as the moon.
Also connected to announcing pregnancies and depicted with a feminine face in Christian artworks.
Gabriel’s symbols are lillies and in artworks Gabriel very often appears with a dove (holy spirit) in front of Mary. The dove symbolizes Jesus virgin birth and almost artificial insemination like conception.
Gabriel according to tradition saved Jesus several times and is the only angel that interacts with another angel (namely Michael. Apparently Michael and Gabriel are friends which is probably why she always feels obligated to fight by his side in SMT).
Gabriel is said to be the angel that is blowing the trumpet during the Judgement announcing Jesus’ return which was mentioned in Paradise Lost.
According to Jewish mythology there is a “tree of souls” that produces new souls, which fall into a Treasury of Souls. Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his/her hand.
Lailah, the Angel of Conception, watches over the embryo teaches them the Torah etc. until the child is born and then Lailah strikes the child above the upper lip which results into the Philtrum.
Some Jewish sources say that Gabriel consists of fire and that Michael consists of snow. Gabriel is also connected to gold and Michael to silver.
Christian sources depict it the other way around: Michael is connected to the sun/fire and Gabriel is connected to the moon/water/ice.
Megaten uses the Christian interpretation since Gabriel is an ice lady.
In SMT Gabriel is just like in the Old Testament (Book of Daniel and Book of Ezekiel). A male archangel who doesn’t differ from the rest actually. In the Book of Daniel an angel (who people believe is Gabriel) appears to Daniel and explains to him the visions he saw (namely that he saw visions about the Messiah).
Michael is said to have joined Gabriel in a fight against a “prince of Persia”.
Gabriel in SMT is no different to the rest of the archangels and attacks you just like the rest. Gabriel doesn’t have characteristics in SMT yet since SMT is based on the Old Testament after all (due to the Adam and Eve plot) and Gabriel hardly appears in the Old Testament.
From SMTII onwards Gabriel’s portrayal is based on the accounts of the New Testament.
Gabriel’s tasks are fully explained in the New Testament since Gabriel is depicted as a female most of the time (due to the connection to pregnancy) and being an angel of communication and the messenger of God.
Gabriel is closely connected to the story of these two men:
Jesus (on the left) and John (on the right).
Gabriel according to the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of James (also known as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James) announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias and told him to name his son John (Johannes means YHVH is merciful/shows mercy). Zacharias doubted this since both him and his wife Elisabeth were of advanced age. Since Zacharias doubted God, Gabriel said he would be struck dumb “not be able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed”.
Then half a year later Gabriel visited Mary a young engaged girl who was related to Elisabeth and told her that she, a virgin, will give birth to the Messiah who is also the Son of God and that she should name her boy Yeshua/Jeshua (Jesus, which means YHVH saves/brings salvation (saviour)).
I always thought that the contrast between Elisabeth and Mary is interesting. Regarding the names for the kids: Names is the Bible are actually very often supposed to hint at the roles the characters will play.
The angel who appeared in Joseph’s dream in Matthew’s gospel and managed to convice him to take Mary as his wife and accept Jesus since he is the Messiah is very often believed to be Gabriel.
Gabriel is also said to be the angel that warned Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt shortly before the Massacre of the Innocents.
Basically Gabriel saved Mary from being abandoned by Joseph or stoned by people who would have considered Jesus a bastard thus she saved Jesus two times.
Uriel is said to have saved John the Baptist from the Massacre of the Innocents thus both kids survived.
Gabriel is also said to be the angel that comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when he was scared since he knew that he was going to die the next day.
Gabriel’s portrayal in SMTII is interesting since she is the only angel that doesn’t attack you and is sent on missions by God. I always thought that the reason for this is that SMTII is based on the New Testament (Messiah, Millenium etc.) since Aleph and Hiroko are based on Jesus and Mary (confirmed in Kaneko’s artbook and by Zayin/Satan).
In DDSII Gabriel actually asks you to defeat her and the rest of the archangels which I thought was interesting as well.
Her role hasn’t changed all that much since SMTII but I think her story is the most interesting of all angels and I like how she gained more and more characteristics (though Michael is close to the source material as well).
I really like Gabby’s human disguise in SMTIV and her character.
She is still the messenger and left hand of God and is the most talkative of the angels since she is the angel of communication after all.
The archangels being the secret rulers of Mikado is a reference to SMTII which I liked.
The redesigned angel form can be seen as a reference to the Vision of Ezekiel and depictions of angels in the Old Testament since these depictions differ from the winged people portrayals of angels but I think that using the archangels is streching it and I think that they should have rather added the Cherub(im) (who draw Merkabah) and the Orphanim (Merkabah’s wheels) instead and they should have left the archangels with their renaissance like designs.
The Butterfly motif is what unites all Persona games even though the interpretation is different (they are all correct though).
Persona and Persona 2:
Let’s start with Philemon’s butterfly motif:
Cupid and Psyche is a story from the novel The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century AD by Apuleius.
Psyche means (“Soul” or “Breath of Life”) and Cupid/Eros (“Desire”) and it’s a Märchen/fairy tale similar to Philemon and Baucis where Philemon’s name comes from.
Psyche’s symbol being a butterfly says a lot about Philemon’s butterfly symbolism since Philemon does represent the balance of the soul after all.
The greek word for the soul (psyche) was by the way also the word for butterfly.
There is also a butterfly called Leptosia nina, or Psyche butterfly
The story is similar to Beauty and the Beast and fairytales with evil sisters.
Venus becoming jealous since Psyche is called Second Venus is also very fairytale like as well as the marvelous house, Psyche breaking Cupid’s trust (not to look at him) since the evil sisters tricked her, Psyche going to the Underworld since Venus forces her to do several tasks and falling in a deep sleep.
It ends in a good way with Cupid awakening her with a kiss, she is given ambrosia and they marry with Venus’ acceptance.
Cupid’s and Psyche’s daughter is also born and called Voluptas (pleasure).
In Persona 3:
Let’s look at the butterfly symbolism:
A butterfly normally depicts metamorphosis or transformation as well as the cycle of transformation, birth and death.
They are also said to represent those who have died, or it’s said that they ‘carry’ souls of dead people.
Butterflies are sometimes also seen as harbinger of death (for example it’s said to be a bad omen if you see a butterfly at night (death is near).
Sometimes they are seen as messengers (*cough*Philemon*cough*) and it is said that following them will lead to a problem’s solution.
For example in the game Fatal Frame II (Zero II Akai Chou) by Tecmo crimson butterflies represent the souls of dead people of a cursed village.
Butterflies are also very popular in Japanese family crests (Kamon, for example see the Ageha crest of the Taira/Heike) and are said to symbolize spring, maidenhood, and happiness within marriage.
Sometimes they also symbolize star crossed lovers, or the souls of lovers who have committed suicide.
It is very interesting to connect the Butterfly symbolism to Ryoji/Pharos/Death/Thanatos:
Thanatos has been depicted as a grim sword fighter, a winged young boy looking very much like Eros with crossed leg, a winged infant in Nyx’s arms and an old merciless man.
You could kinda see the sword fighter as Thanatos, Ryoji as the young man and Pharos as the child.
Thanatos is often depicted carrying a butterfly in his palm (even mentioned in Thanatos’ entry in P3) or a wreath of poppies or an inverted torch (holding it upside down) which also represents death.
Instead of using Jung’s psycho analysis P3 uses Siegmund Freud’s theories about the urge for life (Eros) and the urge for death (Thanatos) which is why I think that Ryoji’s S-Link is the best since it gives you the choice of favoring the death urge.
It was confirmed by Atlus that the save points in P4 are actually Philemon watching over Yu Narukami so he is still active.
This time I wrote an article about the North American legends in Soul Hackers.
The story of Nemissa, Algon and Moowis can all be found in Lewis Spence’s “The Myths of the North American Indians” for example and in many books about North American legends.
I tried to summarize the legends as briefly as possible and also researched about Manitou, Malsumis and Winpe and added my thoughts on the Phantom Society and Naomi’s route:
The name Nemissa derives from the algonquian legend of the star maiden and the Cloud-carrier.
Her name means elder/older sister and she is of the Star-folk and basically a fairy.
She lured the mortal, Cloud-carrier, to her home, the star country and married him.
He became homesick and she allowed him to return home however she said that he should not marry again.
He readily agreed, however ended up soon forgetting Nemissa and his promise and married a girl of his tribe who as a punishment died four days later.
He married a third time and then disappeared never to be seen again.
It’s said Nemissa recalled him to the star country.
Cloud-carrier and the Star-Folk
Cloud-carrier, a handsome youth lived with his parents on the banks of Lake Huron.
His parents were proud of him and intended that he should become a warrior. He grew old enough to prepare his “medicine bag” and went to a forest.
He grew weary and lay down to sleep. While he slept he heard a gentle voice whisper :
“Cloud-carrier, I have come to fetch you. Follow me.”
He muttered to himself that this was just an illusion and gazed at the owner of the voice, who was beautiful damsel.
“Follow me,” she said again, and rose from the ground and he began to rise as well.
They went, into the sky, passed at length through an opening and Cloud-carrier realized that he was in the country of the star people and that his companion was one of them.
She was sweet and gentle and he followed her to a large lodge.
It was filled with weapons and silver ornaments which he admired.
Suddenly the woman cried :
“My brother approaches! Let me hide you. Quick!”
Cloud-carried crouched in a corner, and the woman threw a scarf over him. She had scarcely done so when her brother entered the lodge.
“Nemissa, my dear sister,” he said, “have you not been forbidden to speak to the Earth-people? Perhaps you think you have hidden the young man, but you have not.”
Then he turned to Cloud-carrier:
“If you stay long there you will be hungry. Come out and let us have a talk.”
Cloud-carried did so, and Nemissa’s brother gave him a pipe and a bow and arrows and even Nemissa for his wife.
For a long time they were happy.
One day Cloud-carried accompanied Nemissa’s brother since he was curious what Nemissa’s brother business was.
His brother-in-law consented and they travelled the star country.
Cloud-carrier became very hungry and his brother in law reassured him that they would get something to eat soon.
They came to a large opening and could see the lodges and lakes and forests of the earth.
They saw some hunters, some women at the river and a number of children who were playing.
“Do you see that boy down there in the centre of the group?” Nemissa’s brother asked and threw something at the boy. The boy fell down instantly, and was carried to the nearest hut.
Cloud-carrier was much perplexed and saw the medicine-men gather round the child chanting prayers. “It is the will of Manitou,” said a priest “that we offer a white dog as a sacrifice.”
A white dog was procured, skinned and roasted and put on a plate. It flew up in the air and became a meal for Cloud-carrier and Nemissa’s brother. The child recovered and continued playing.
Nemissa’s brother said that the medicine men get a reputation for wisdom simply because they direct the people to him and that it is him who recovers the sick.
Cloud-carrier thought that is was interesting however he soon longed for returning to earth. He begged Nemissa for permission to return to earth. She reluctantly consented.
“Remember,” she said, “that I have the power to recall you when I please, for you will still be my husband. Above all do not marry an Earthwoman, or you will taste of my vengeance.”
He promised, went to sleep, and awoke, lying on the grass close by his father’s lodge.
His parents were happy since he had been absent for more than a year.
He soon forgot his wife and married a young and handsome woman from his village. She died four days after the wedding.
Cloud-carrier didn’t learn his lesson and married another woman.
One day he was missing and never again heard of.
It was believed that Nemissa recalled him to the sky.
After reading this story I think that Nemissa reminds me a lot of other heavenly maidens who appear in every culture like nymphs, fairies, angels, Apsaras, or the Japanese Tennyo (especially the story Hagoromo comes to mind).
I think that Nemechi’s angel form is really cute and I like that it remsembles Nemissa’s true form a lot.
The Snow man husband Moowis:
In a certain tribe in the far West there was a maiden who was very beautiful (called Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa).
Many young hunters and warriors wanted to marry her but she didn’t want and listen to any of them.
A handsome young man called Beau-man (because of his beautiful dresses. Also known as Ma-mon-dá-gin-in-e) fell in love with the maiden, but when he came to see her, she would not listen, and when he tried to overcome her indifference, she made a motion with her hand which means contempt.
His pride was wounded and since many people including his friends laughed at him, this made him so very angry that he went to his tent and lay down.
He beame moody and remained there without eating anything for week.
His parents and friends coaxed him to get up, but he would not.
When the summer arrived everyone left the camp and went back to the village.
Beau-man still remained there and after everyone left he got up. He had a powerful spirit/manitou with whose help he planned revenge.
He gathered cloth, beads, feathers that were wet with snow.
He put them all in one pile, and then restored them.
He made moccasins from scraps as well as a leggings and a coat and a frontlet with feathers sticking in it for the head.
The filled the coat and moccasins with snow, bones and dirt and gave it life.
Thus Moowis (Dirt-and-Rag Man) the image of a man was created and Beau-Man led him to the village where the woman lived.
Moowis was kindly accepted at the village and became the center of attention.
The woman fell in love with him at first sight. Moowis was offered the prominent seat at the fire however this would have almost destroyed him.
He however put a boy between himself and the fire, and avoided the heat.
Then Moowis was even offered the bridegroom’s chair meaning that he was married to Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa.
When he told her that he has a long journey to make she begged to go with him.
He asked his master Beau-man what he should do.
Beau-man did nothing to prevent what was about to happen since his plan worked:
Moowis and the woman set out. He walked so fast that she had to run and she became tired.
They walked all night, and when the sun rose Moowis was almost out of sight.
His snow began to melt and the clothes began to turn back into rags and fell off.
Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa found them and kept wandering, wondering where Moowis might have gone.
“Moowis, Moowis, oh, Moowis, where have you gone?”
She was said to have wandered on for years.
Kaneko’s design depicts Moowis being an image of a man as well as him consisting of dirt and rag quite well.
The name of the AlgonSoft company is a reference to a story about a star maiden as well:
Algon a Cloud-carrier found a fairy-ring on the prairie and saw twelve star-maidens descending from the sky in a basket.
He tried to catch the youngest star-maiden with whom he was immediately smitten, without success, and then turned himself into a mouse.
She tried to kill him and he used the chance, returned to his normal form and carried her off. She fell in love with him as well, they married and had one son.
Years later, she made a basket and ascended to the star country with her son since she missed her family.
Years later the boy wanted to see his father so they returned to earth in the basket now taking Algon with them.
Algon brought fragments of animals and birds with him (from the bear, he took a claw; from the eagle, hawk, and falcon, a feather; from the raccoon, its teeth; and from the deer, its horns) which the chief of the sky-people asked for and which the star people took to become these animals.
Algon, his wife and son became falcons since they took the falcon feather.
Their descendants still fly over the prairies.
In the game is turns out that AlgonSoft is actually coorperating with the Phantom Society since they are extracting souls to transport them back to Manitou through computer networks.
He is actually called Redman in the Japanese version but I think that the name Kinap was a really good choice.
also known as Kenap, Ginap, Genub
In Mi’kmaq folklore, a Kinap is a mortal human gifted with brilliant strength, skills and other powers. Often conntected to solving conflicts (for example leading raids against neighbours that caused havoc in the area).
In some legends depicted as a child-hero or as an adult slaying terrible monsters.
Algonquians said that Manitou is an unpersonal Great Spirit which every being, thing, action, doing consists of.
Manitou was neither positive nor negative. A Manitou could appear in dreams or give protection or special powers.
Very often sick people asked for Manitous’ help. He however wasn’t a superior god originally.
The Kitchi-Manitu/Gitchi Manitu was used to explain the Abrahamic God as the highest spiritual being by Christians when they explained what YHVH was like.
In shamanistic traditions the manitous are also known as manidoog or manidoowag and Fox Indians believed that manitou dwelled in the stones of the sweat lodge.
The giant Winpe appears in Mi’kmaq legends.
He is a wizard with magical powers and an enemy of the hero Glooskap.
He is said to have captured Glooskap’s grandmother Nukumi and his adopted brother Abistanooj.
In some versions Winpe is just evil and killed by Glooskap, while in others he is still honorable and is defeated by Glooskap in a series of tests.
Glooscap was said to have brought many good gifts to his people from Winpe’s island: forests, streams, fish and animals.
The most beloved gift was a game called “tokhonon” which Winpe is said to have invented and which was said to have later turned into the game Lacrosse.
Malsum(is) is a god of the Abenaki tribe often depicted as a wolf spirit.
After Tabaldak created humans, the dust from his hand created Glooskap/Gluskab and in some versions he also created Glooskap’s twin brother, Malsumis.
Glooskap had the power to create a good world and is connected to protecting people.
Malsumis however was the exact opposite since he used his power for evil and trickery even though he was able to do good things so he willing did evil things like giving plants thorns or insects stings.
He is the personification of night, darkness and negative forces.
Usually a foil to his twin brother, trying to destroy his good doings.
Naomi route is kinda awesome since the same thing that happened to Apsu and Tiamat in the original myths happens again.
Someone wakes them up.
In the myth the younger deities woke them up which in fact led to Apsu’s as well as Tiamat’s death.
Descent of Amel?
I have researched a lot about what Tiamat might have meant with descent of Amel since I couldn’t find anything at first and several people have wondered what she could meant.
I didn’t find anything useful either just this:
Amel-Marduk (Amēl-Marduk; “man,” or “servant, of Marduk sometimes written as Evil-Merodach) was the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.
The name derives from Marduk the god who in fact killed Tiamat.
The Phantom Society:
The Phantom Society in my opinion is part of the Illuminati like groups in the Devil Summoner series which was later continued with Persona 2 Eternal Punishment and Nyarlathotep turning NWO rumors into reality.
Originally groups like the Illuminati were a big part of the plot for the Devil Summoner series (in the first two games at least).