artemis-maia’s musings (September 2013)

Table of contents


Law and Chaos

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
My thoughts on the leaders of the Law and Chaos faction:

YHVH, JHVH; Yahweh, Yehovah, Jehovah is the Tetragrammaton – Greek for “four-letter word” which is claimed to be the Hebrew name of God.
It is mentioned that he tells Moses his name and that it means “I am what I am,” or “He who creates existence”
Other names for him are Elohim/Elauhim (in singular it means “the God”), El Shaddai (God Almighty) and Agla (Atah Gibor Le-olam Adonai,”You, O Lord, are mighty forever” which is used on the SMT Logo).

You write Elohim like this:
אֱלֹהִ֔ים
Also interesting that the letter Aleph (א) is in the name as well as in “I am who I am” (Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh אהיה אשר אהיה)

However most people use Adonai (Lord) when talking about him which Christians do as well.

The name most likely derives from El, the head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon whom YHVH replaced. There is however a hypothesis that YHVH was already worshipped way before the emergence of Israel (the Kenite hypothesis).


-El


-Asherah

YHVH was originally a minor storm/warrior god.
There is said to be a covenant under which Yahweh will protect Israel, and Israel will not worship other gods.
The royal courts promoted him as the supreme god and he basically “got rid” of Baal, El, and Asherah (who according to several sources was originally his consort, statues and poles of her in YHVH’s temples are even mentioned in the Bible and are said to have been destroyed and she is said to be the original Queen of Heaven).
El was the original head and Asherah originally El’s consort and Baal and other deities formed the pantheon. YHVH absorbed El’s role; Asherah became Yahweh’s consort, and Yahweh and Baal at first co-existed and later competed.

His worship was about the welfare of the weaker members of society , and purity of conduct, dress, food, were regulated.
He more and more absorbed all abilities and good stuff of the other gods and more and more gods of the Pantheon were discarded to promote him as the “One True God”.

When the monarchy was destroyed and land was lost at the beginning of the 6th century (Babylonian exile) YHVH became the monotheistic God.
The fun fact is: Just like in SMT he claims to be the “One True God” even though there is the Ugaritic pantheon, Sumerian pantheon, Egyptian pantheon, Greek pantheon etc. who are called imposters by him and his worshippers.
However ironicallly nothing mentions that they don’t exist (why else would YHVH ask not to worship other gods) just like in MegaTen.
YHVH just gains more and more worshippers and power and is more and more seen as the God of the entire Universe.

Some of his “charming” curses:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

He basically punishes the humans for actually eating from that tree which gives you the ability he also has (differing between Good and Evil) with death and several curses.
Then why does he even put that tree there and flips when they eat the fruit if his creation is so perfect as he claims/if he is so all-knowing as he claims.
To me this story is essentially about humans becoming independent and living their own lives.
The only silver lining YHVH ever gave is the Messiah actually.
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.
Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.”

The very first humans are said to have been more than several hundreds of years old.
As a punishment he reduces the lifespan of humans more and more since they are so “wicked” in his opinion.
This story is shortly before the Great Flood and is basically the Nephilim story.
In the end he only let descendents of Seth survive (Noah and co.). This story is similar to Zeus flooding the world as well as several other myths in which a God destroys the World for a fresh start.
The Flood story is used in SMT with Tokyo being nuked and later on flooded and the Cocoon story in SMTIV (basically the Cocoon is the Ark).
Just like the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado everyone after the Great Flood is said to have been related to the survivors.

My interpretation is that the God in the Old Testament puts “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and being worshipped above everything else.
In fact I think that’s even fitting since I never really understood why a God would actually bother with humanity at all. However that might be since I think that Cosmicism is realistic.
And he has actually succeeded which was ironically with the “help” of the Messiah.
Without the New Testament Monotheism would have never spread this far and perhaps more Pantheons would still exists.

The New Testament however rarely portrays him though:
Mary is just used by him for his Messiah plan.
He just calls Jesus his beloved son and doesn’t really answer when Jesus asks him not to let him die (he just sends Gabriel to comfort him and does nothing).

I think that his portrayal in SMT couldn’t be closer to the source material actually.
He even says himself that he is the wrathful God.
It is all about order, balance, protecting the weak one. However it is also blind following and no second chances like Jesus offers in contrast in the New Testament.
Lucifer:

Ok his character is just like the Devil in Paradise Lost however here is the myth behind Lucifer:

Lucifer was basically the forerunner of Helios and he is also the Phosphoros (bringer of the dawn) Lucifer is the translated version of Phosphoros: lightbearer = lux („light“) and ferre („to carry/bear“).
This is were the lightbringer stuff/planet Venus in the Morning stuff comes from.
That’s why the name Hikaru (“shining one”) is really fitting in SMTIV.

Eos/Aurora is said to be his mother. Venus is sometimes also called Lucifer and is said to have guided her son Aeneas in the form of the Morning Star.
The Morning star was also a symbol of Ishtar.

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
-Isaiah 14:12

That’s the only time Lucifer was used in an bad way in the Bible since otherwise the Devil is called Satan.
This line is actually about the arrogance of the „King of Babel“

In “De principiis Prooemium” Origenes combined Lucifer and Satan for the first time and Dante also combined them in the “Divine Comedy”.

In the Revelation Jesus calls himself „shining bright Morning star“ and some thought that is was a byname for him.

There was even a bishop called Lucifer Calaritanus so it was even used as a name originally.

Lucifer in SMT has several characteristics of the Devil in Paradise Lost who was screwed over, but he still has the selfish pride Satan is always said to have which screwed over humanity since he involved humans in that mess.
He is connected to independence and knowledge but his world view is just as catastrophic as YHVH’s is since “doing whatever you want” is certainly not freedom for me, he just sugarcoats it
If you “do what you want” you attack the freedom of others which robs them of their freedom ironically.
Only the strong would survive in this world and the rest would certainly not be able to live how they want to and basically are eaten.


“If you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me…”

Jesus’ role in SMT is rather subtile (except in SMTII), however his influence is still there in SMTI, SMTII, Nocturne and Persona 2 Innocent Sin.

His portrayal is mostly faithful and he is one of the few major Bible/Judeo-Christian characters that are not portrayed in a catastrophic way in SMT (However I in fact do think that YHVH is close to the Old Testamental portayal as well as the angels as mindless servants).

I rather consider Ajora from Final Fantasy Tactis an insulting depiction of Jesus. The only time Final Fantasy portrayed religion in a fitting way was the Yu Yevon religion in FFX since it portrayed the flaws of the Catholic Church pretty well (as well as the worship of martyrs with the Aeons.)

In contrast SMT does not portray Jesus in a bad light at all since
Aleph is likeable and actually does have several of Jesus’ characteristics and fulfils the role really good actually.

Oh dear a really, really long article and lots of waffling … and really hard to write for me I admit that.
The next ones are going to be much better I promise since it’s easier to write about Hiroko and Mary, YHVH and Lucifer than Jesus.
I will also write about Strange Journey and Gnosticism and Nocturne’s connection to the Apocalypse pretty surely as well.

SMT:

The Law Hero Yuji in SMT was originally a good person and helpful for the team until his demise (he even saved the Hero from Black Baron and died for him thus is connected to self-sacrifice) in contrast to the Chaos Hero who ditched the group after he fused with a demon.
However he then joins God. He is resurrected and returns as an undead.
Ironically undead are common in the Christian faith:
In the Transfiguration story Jesus summons the deceased Moses and Elijah in front of Peter, John and James.
Then Lazarus’ resurrection.
Jesus taught about the Last Judgement which is basically EVERY human returning as an undead to be judged.

He also returns resurrected three days after his death and shows himself to his disciples however behaves just like before.

Jesus is also an armor in SMT (crown of thorns included xD).

SMTII:

Aleph’s design and influences:

Kaneko basically designed Aleph after Jesus since the haircut he gave Aleph is supposed to look like a standard depiction of Jesus.
The poster of SMTII even depicts Aleph in a Pieta position.

Some old depictions of Jesus:

source: http://blog.theeyegame.com/2011/04/23/the-son-of-god/

Jesus looks are never described in the Bible at all. He is neither described as handsome nor as ugly and is said to have fleed from the Pharisees several times since they took some stones to stone him and he just runs and vanishes into masses of people.
He is said to look like an average Jew and Judas has to tell the Romans who Jesus is since he looks similar to the Apostles.
Early depictions of Jesus depicted him as a beardless young and handsome man and mixed him with Greco-Roman figures: Helios, Apollo, Hermes (especially with the lamb) and Orpheus.
Aleph’s design reminds me of the original young Jesus depictions along with the typicial Jesus haircut.

The name Jesus was actually a common Jewish name back then.
Jeshua/Yeshua means YHVH saves/brings salvation, savior which fits his role. Mary and Joseph were common names as well.

Another thing adapted from other religions/myths:
Mithras is connected to the winter solstice (sol invictus).
The German festival Jul/Yule was also for a sun god and the festival was celebrated on… you guessed right: December 24.
Christmas comes from Germany and Scandinavia actually. They just took the Jul (yes just like the FFXIII-2 Yeul xD, apparently it either derives from a month’s name or Odin’s name) festival since the sun theme also fits Jesus.
The trees are leftovers of the Norse mythology since you can still see symbols of their myths.
Adam and Eve were also originally commemorated on December 24 so you can also see it as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Jesus in the Bible has no birthdate at all and was most likely born in summer or autumn.
Since Jesus died in April, Easter also has several symbols of festivals of the Goddess Ishtar/Inanna by the way.

It is not unusual that in art and myths several things are combined.
Michael for example is the angel most worshipped in Germany since Michael replaced the god Wotan/Odin.
Aleph/Alef:

Ālaph Aleph, Alef, Alif is the name of the first letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet.

The shape of the letter derives from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph which looks like an ox head.

In midrash Aleph is connected to humililty and humbleness since it does not demand to start the Bible since the Bible begins with Bet(h).
Aleph however starts the Ten Commandments and it begins the three words of God’s name in Exodus, “I Am who I Am” (Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh אהיה אשר אהיה)
The letter Aleph was also carved into the head of the golem which ultimately gave it life.
It’s also part of amulets.

It’s also connected to the element of air, the Tarot arcana Fool, the color yellow, breath and the Sun (all fitting).
Why does Aleph work against the Center and even the Old Testamental God?

-Jesus added: “But the truth is, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.”

Several things Jesus said and did do not fit the teachings of the Old Testament at all and he depicts God in a totally different way than in the Old Testament.
He didn’t care about the Sabbath and points out the hypocracy if people criticize him for this since they also take out their cattle etc. on Sabbath.
He loves to eat and drink and is called a glutton and drunkard (however he still fastens in the desert) and he says that people are never content since John the Baptist who hardly ate anything is called a possessed guy.
He touched sick and lame people and outcasts who were shunned and drank from a well from the Sameritans and depicted a Sameritan as the only helpful person in a parable.
His behavior towards women was unusual as well: The first person Jesus told that he was the Messiah was a woman (Woman at the Well) and Mary of Bethany was allowed to sit by his feet and listen to his teachings which was unusual for a Rabbi. The ones who stood by his side during the crucification were mostly women in the end.
He also healed the servant of a Roman centurion who in fact is hinted to be in a relationship with the centurion so he didn’t care where someone comes from and which sexuality somebody has.
But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”

In fact this line almost sounds like stuff Aleph sometimes hears from lawfully aligned characters.

Some considered Jesus a criminal, an outlaw, a whore, an heretic, fake Messiah or the personification of evilness (the devil in disguise).
However there were also some High Priests who in fact supported him.
The Romans coped with him the same way they coped with Spartacus and his followers.

It does make sense that the Law faction does not see Aleph in a positive light since he even though he is the Messiah and a lawfully aligned person he does not agree with YHVH’s way.
The canon ending of SMTII is unclear however you fight against YHVH in all routes.
The true lawfully aligned characters are Satan/Zayin and Gabriel who are also fed up with God’s ways.
I think that Aleph most likely chose Neutral in the end since you can get rid of both YHVH and Lucifer this way for some time especially since Lucifer will always go against you if you don’t chose Chaos.
Aleph and Hiroko are also depicted as extremly helpful people (they have many quests to help out some NPCs) they end YHVH’s rule and Gimmel’s rule.
Aleph being cursed reminds me of what some of the Romans said during Jesus crucifixion:
“Why can’t he who helped so many other people save himself?”

I think that there are many contradictions if you compare the Old Testament with the New Testament and it’s still debatable if they should even be read together. It’s kinda like Bizzaro World.
Nocturne:

In Nocturne Aleph returns as Hijiri a reporter who “announces” the end of the world with a magazine. This is similar to Jesus role in the Apocalypse regarding the Second Coming.
Hijiri means holy man, saint, hermit and can be used for wandering priests.
A really fitting name.

Since Isamu let Hijiri die in a crucifixion position this symbolism was included in SMT as well.
While it was used before, crucifixion was mainly used as a punishment from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. In the year 337, Emperor Constantine I abolished it in the Roman Empire.
I never understood why the main motif of the Christian faith is the crucifixion rather the the resurrection or even Ascension.
Several of Jesus’ disciples are said to have been crucified as well (Andreas and Peter) and even several saints like St. Julia of Corsica.

Other New Testamental references: the Three Wise Men in Strange Journey and the Agony demon as well as the Thousand Year Kingdom.
Persona 2 Innocent Sin:

Persona 2 IS is basically using the 1999 Grand Cross which caused a lot of Apocalypse rumors similar to the Maya Apocalypse last year. It was totally easy for Nyarlathotep to use this due to several reasons.

The Tetramorph (human/angel, leo, eagel/scorpio and taurus) is old as dirt. It was already used in sphinx motifs and for the Cherubim.

Later on these symbols were used for the Evangelists surrounding Jesus.
Since Tatsuya, Lisa, Eikichi and Jun all belong to the fixed zodiacs and since it’s called “Cross of Christ” and since they can use the Grand Cross as an special attack this means:
Tatsuya takes Marc’s place, Jun Matthew’s, Lisa Luke’s and Eikichi John’s. Maya ironically takes Jesus’ spot.

These fours symbols also appear in the Apocalypse hinting at the terrible outcome of IS:

Revelation of John: ”And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”

The Holy Lance:

 One of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.
—John 19:34

The Holy Lance appears in the Gospel of John. The Romans planned to break Jesus’ legs, however just before they did so, they realized that he was already dead. To make sure that he was dead, a Roman soldier (known as Longinus) stabbed him in the side.

This legend was used for several spears however the most well known is the Heilige Lanze/Longinusspeer/Maritiusspeer from Germany.
German Kings and Emperors like Heinrich I and Emperor Otto I owned it and it became one of the insignia of the German Emperors. They claimed that owning the Holy Lance makes you invincible and are said to have used it in battles against Hungary and claimed that they won because of the Holy Lance.

Later it was hidden in a museum in Vienna to hide it from Napoleon.
Along with the other insignia it was brought back to Nürnberg by the Nazis. In the end it was saved by the Allies and brought back to the museum in Vienna.

I’m pretty sure that Atlus got a lot of ideas for the spear from Trevor Ravenscroft’s book The Spear of Destiny.

Mashiach/Messiah:

Messiah means the Anointed One. He is foretold to come in the Old Testament in countless prophecies.

The world portrayed in the game is truly like the year 0. It’s the world just before Mary would give birth to the son of god.
Just like the prophets of old were telling of coming change this game is now telling of something being born.
I’m giving my all to draw out the lawful element in this.
-Aya Nishitani, author of the Megaten novels

He is right, that’s exactly the main basis for the Christian faith. It’s all about prophecies.
The Evangelists even tell you which prophecy was fulfiled when they quote the old Testament.
Jesus even claims that what Moses and co. foretold was all about him.
There are several scenes in which it is shown that he exactly knows that he will die and when.
I consider him to be extremly suicidal since he just runs into his demise.
He is characterized as a human who is unfortunate enough to be half god/half human.
His character can be gentle especially towards women (he is depicted as crying along with Martha for example) and children, strong in the desert, but also furious and there are also scenes in which he is a wreck.


“Adam did not eat the apple because he desired it. He ate it because it was forbidden.”

The Lilith myth is very interesting and versatile. Here is my article on Lilith’s myth and her role in SMTI and SMTIV.

Her design is based on this picture by John Collier and Gozer from Ghostbusters
Lilit(h) (לילית‎) appearently derives from a class of female demons called Līlītu in Mesopotamian texts of Assyria and Babylonia.

There is a story about a female demon called Lilitu living in a branch of the Huluppu Tree but after Inanna asked to fell the tree she had to flee.

Lilith is sometimes described as a mixed creature but is always described as beautiful.
Inanna, Ishtar, Asherah, Venus and Isis are all kinda related and Lilith due to her Sumerian influence was pretty surely influenced by Ishtar and Inanna.
Sometimes she is also said to be a handmaiden of Inanna.

Her connection to owls apparently derives from the tree story and since Lilith’s name is also connected to the word for night (lailah). Even in texts from the Bible she is connected to owls.

Her name can also be translated as female night being/demon or wind demon.

Lamia:

Lamia was a very likely influence for later depictions of Lilith and is very often even said to be an alternative name for her.
Lamia was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon.
She was a mistress of Zeus which caused Hera, to kill all of Lamia’s children (except for Scylla) and transform Lamia into a monster that devours children of others. Another version has Hera hiding Lamia’s children and Lamia herself starting to steal and devour others’ children out of envy.

Some accounts say she has a serpent’s tail below the waist and a distorted face.
Later traditions are the lamiae who are vampire and succubus like creatures.

From the 8th–10th century Alphabet of Ben Sira onwards, Lilith becomes Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time (Rosh Hashanah) and from the same earth as him. She is his equal unlike Eve who is less intelligent and was created out of his rib and is said to be docile.

Lilith left Adam since she didn’t want to be subservient to him (she particularly didn’t want to lie at the bottom during intercourse). She said God’s name and flew away (she is usually described with wild hair) and then would not return to the Garden of Eden despite Adam and the angels (Sanvi, Sansanvi und Semangelaf) asking her to return.
Her new mate was the archangel Samael (angel of death and seventh heaven) who is sometimes described as good and as evil and is very often connected to Satan and the snake.
Asmodeus is sometimes also said to be her new mate.
Lilith is sometimes also said to be the snake that convinced Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Later on the child-eating demonized Lilith was introduced.

Midrash ABKIR:
Midrash A.B.K.I.R. (ca. 10th century) depicts Adam seperating from Eve, and fasting for 130 years. Lilith, also known as Pizna came to him against his will.

She is sometimes depicted as begetting offsprings from Adam as well as Cain, bearing numerous spirits and demons.

According to Gershom Scholem Lilith and Naamah (sometimes Naamah is also used for Lilith) found Adam, desired his beauty and lay with him. The issue of these unions were demons and spirits called “the plagues of humankind”

Connection to Wicca:
Lilith is also a wiccan figure.
Interesting for Nocturne: Charles Leland associated Aradia with Lilith: Aradia is Herodias and Herodias comes from West Asia, apparently as an early form of Lilith.
Herodias in the New Testament is the woman who along with Salome (her daughter who danced before Herod Antipas not to be confused with Jesus’ female student Salome) brought the downfall of John the Baptist.

SMT:

Her chosen name Yuriko means lily.

I think that it is interesting that Lilith does what she wants in contrast to Yuka/the Heroine who follows Kazuya wherever he goes. Lilith does not consider what the Hero/Kazuya/Adam wants at all and tries to force herself on him just like in several texts.

Her being Louis’ co-worker is great and reminds me of her connection to Samael and Asmodeus.

Another plot point I loved: She disguises herself as an evil version of the Heroine and calls herself Rie the Chaos Heroine.
Both Kazuya and Yuji do have love interests. Kazuya has Yuka and Yuji has his deceased girlfriend (who would have surely become the Law Heroine if she would have lived) however the Chaos Hero doesn’t have a female partner.
Thus she just uses the Chaos Hero and he foolishly believes her and ends up disappointed since she just wants Kazuya who ironically just kills her in the end.

SMTIV:

As many people suspected right from the beginning Lilith is the Black Samurai because she spreads books thus she is the “snake” giving people knowledge this time.
Lilims (daughters of Lilith) also appear and she is once again Lucifer’s co-worker and uses the name Yuriko again.
This time her form looks like an owl which fits since several texts connect her with owls and since the woman from the Burney relief is also sometimes said to portray Lilith (other suggestions are Ishtar, Inanna etc).
The plot of the Chaos Hero once being tricked by women is used again:
Of course it doesn’t sound bad that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado become more intelligent and independent but Walter just blindly uses this for his “I want to do what I want” ideals and he stops caring for other people entirely and forgets that Lilith also turned people like Issachar into demons.
Walter also seems just as crazy regarding women as Takeshi since he is also tricked by Hikaru/Lucifer.
Lilith dies once again and can last be seen if you choose Chaos and she laughs at you becoming Lucifer’s newest tool

Lilim:

Lilin/m are hostile night spirits that attack men. King Solomon, apparently had the lilin dance before him.
Their father is either Adam or Samael and their mother is Lilith.
Similar to Lilith they are also succubus like.
My opinion: The Lilith myth is very interesting and obscure. She was not always depicted in a bad light and has some interesting characteristics.
Similar to Lucifer (who originally was the son of Aurora and just the planet Venus in the morning) her myth has been warped over the centuries.
Christians see Mary as the good and admirable woman and Eve as the airhead. Jews see Eve as the docile one and Lilith as the wild one.
Sometimes Eve and Lilith are both portrayed in a very bad light though. I have read several depictions of Eve being portrayed as a disgusting harlot who is not trustworthy and a cheater (thus making Cain an illegitimate child of Samael for example).
I guess Eve and Lilith have both been terribly misused in several texts.


On the cocoon

Ok I might read too much into something once again but it’s kinda interesting:

According to a certain Bible story and similar myths and stories all over the world every human today would actually kinda be…

an inhabitant of a similar “kingdom” to Mikado.

The Great Flood myths and flood myths appeared all over the world (also see Gilgamesh, Greek flood myths, Chinese flood myths or flood myths of America). Many people think that the Great Flood actually happened and that these myths were created all over the world due to the survivors.

It’s not uncommon that a God decides to flood or destroy the world in myths for a fresh start.

Greek myth:

Zeus had determined that humanity was essentially wicked and flooded the world to start fresh. One couple was chosen to ride out the flood and when it was over they would help to repopulate the world. Their names were Deucalion, son of Prometheus, and his wife Pyrrha daughter of Pandora who escaped with a wooden chest.
After 9 days and 9 nights they landed on Parnassus
At the bidding of Zeus, Deucalion threw stones behind him, and they became men, and the stones Pyrrha threw became women.
Other survivors were people who escaped on mountains.

Bible story:

YHVH decided that people are evil and choses some descendants of Seth (Adam’s and Eve’s third son who was similar to Abel) like Noah to survive. Cain’s lineage perished along with everything they achieved.
All people today are said to be related to Seth: Thus this story claims that we are all related to the surviving lineage of the Flood.

This is similiar to how in SMTIV the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado are all related to people who were chosen 25 years ago and rescued with the Cocoon.
However as a crazy twist the destroyed and nuked Tokyo is still there though. Basically a hidden Tokyo under an Utopia.

As a Bonus: It totally does make sense that Mastema appears since he is mentioned in stories that happen before the Flood. The Nephilim appeared shortly before the Flood and Mastema supervised them and asked YHVH to let some of them live to test humans.


Shades of Paradise Lost and on the alignments

Maybe it is just me but I always thought that someone from Atlus probably read Paradise Lost by John Milton since Lucifer is so similar to how this poem portrays the Devil.

Paradise Lost:

The Devil who is called Satan in this poem is unwilling to be subjugated by God and God’s son/Messiah. He says that all angels are “self-begot, self-raised” and that God should not rule over them. He is jealous of God’s Son and also argues that God is a tyrant and that the angels should rule which persuades some angels to follow him (they of course end up as fallen angels).

Him trying to become an usurper has always been similar to other myths anyway like the 12 Olympians banning the Titans for example (however in contrast to him they were successful).

Most people who read Paradise Lost characterize him as a mixture of an anti-hero and antagonist who is arrogant and charismatic. He is cunning and deceptive and really reminds me of SMT’s Lucifer who I would characterize very similar: Kinda actor-like and deliberately leaving out details of his plans and kinda screwed over by God.

After the Son of God single-handedly defeated the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishing them from Heaven God created the World.
His favorite creations are Adam and Eve and he gives them total freedom and power to rule over all creation with one exception: Not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (punishment if they eat from the fruits of the tree: the death curse).

The biggest part of this poem deals with Adam and Eve’s temptation and fall.
Eve wants to get more knowledge since she is less intelligent than Adam (knowledge is also very often mentioned in SMT). She is fascinated with her mirror image and the Devil uses her vanity to make her eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Adam follows Eve in an apparently heroic manner since they are connected and he doesn’t want to leave her alone however since he has more knowledge than her he knows that what they did was wrong.

After having sex and falling asleep they have terrible nightmares and guilt feelings.
Archangel Michael is sent by God to throw them out of the Paradise. Adam is shown several visions by Michael for example Cain and Abel and the Great Flood which upsets him.
Michael however mentions the potential redemption through the “King Messiah” as a silver lining.

Both God and the Devil are 3 dimensional in this poem. God is not depicted as entirely good and the Devil is not entirely evil.

Also interesting: Moloch, Astoreth/Astarte, Adonis/Thammuz, Osiris, Isis are all rebels. Some of them are former worshipped gods and goddesses.
Paradise Regained:

Paradise Lost also has a sequel mini-epos. Paradise Regained deals with the Devil trying to tempt Jesus in the desert with food, kingdom, wealth etc. just like in the New Testament. However in contrast to Adam and Eve Jesus turns out to be a tough nut to crack and the Devil fails to corrupt him just like in the Bible.
I think that the shades of Paradise Lost in SMT are interesting. Many people see Satan as an ambiguous anti-hero/antagonist in Paradise Lost. However he more and more loses this heroic characteristics and becomes more and more spiteful and it’s actually him that involves humans in his private war with God.
SMT kinda characterizes Lucifer in a similar way.
Law and Chaos in SMT:

The theme of God as the embodiment of order/law and the Devil/an “Anti-God” as the embodiment of Chaos/destruction first appeared in Zoroastrianism. This is the first time the light and darkness theme was used.

Ahura Mazda is the creator of the universe and Angra Mainyu/Ahriman
is the source of all sin and misery in the universe. They are not equals though since the creator Ahura Mazda is superior.

Basically this theme is as old as dirt.

How I see Law and Chaos:

Law: 
Is blind obedience. However it tries to protect the weak ones and uses suffering and hardships as an advantage (with questionable methods).
As YHVH said: When a crisis is there people will always turn to him hence why Law is always the alignment that gets all the power (see SMTII and SMTIV).
Law usually gets power since they work together as a group and don’t rely on the strenght of an individual.
Law is also the alignment that uses science very often.
It could also be seen as society in general: If you don’t fulfill the expectations you are a failure and society will look down on you.

Chaos:
Do whatever you want (kinda like Walter describes it). There is no person who rules over you but you will have to prove your strenght everyday otherwise this world will eat you.
Crimes and misbehavior will be unpunished.
Chaos is usually connected to knowledge (lampshading the Devil’s role regarding the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) and also includes the maternal goddesses in Strange Journey and with the Gaian theme.

Neutral: 
Taoism particularly in SMT with Laozi/Taishang Laojun.
Kinda lampshades the Adam and Eve plot in SMT.
Neutral tries to take elements from Law and Chaos to find a balance with taking the positive aspects.
However Neutral fails regarding a longlasting peace which is why Law and Chaos are able to use their chances over and over again thus only making the suffering and hardships longer.

I’m probably in the minority but none of the alignments are good in my opinion :/. Actually everything is also ambiguous and not a black and white portrayal which actually is not a bad thing since it makes things much more interesting.


It’s all in the stars: Gemini 21 May – 21 June

This time Baofu’s zodiac Gemini.

Gemini:


Number: 3
Ruling Body: Mercury
Nature: Positive
Quality: Mutable
Element: Air
Symbol: Twins
Colors: Yellow, Rainbow
Metal: Mercury

Gemini is the sign of communication and represents intelligence .

They are connected to the environment, learning, knowing and exchanging ideas. They love exchanging ideas with other people of an intellectual nature and value knowledge and everything intellectual.

They are versatile, logical, brilliant and are seldom what they seem to be. (see Kaoru Saga) They are said to be Chameleon like and to be very curious. They often change their minds from one day to the next.

They think that routine is boring and are rather restless, with an active imagination. Since they love communication they tend to pick up new languages quite easily and they are great story tellers.

They can also be cynical, biting, moody and quickly angered.

Baofu if you put his revenge plot aside mostly joined the party for amusement and is said to occasionally do things like gambling or going to baseball games for amusement.

He does kinda change once his Hanged Man arcana is normal and after he got over Miki’s death (kinda like his Persona Prometheus was freed from his chains by Heracles) and he is very intelligent since he passed the Department of Justice examination in one try (Odysseus is also always described as a very intelligent character).

Typical Gemini career:
translator, novelist

Myths:

Also called The ‘Two Stars’ and sometimes depicted as peacocks.

Greeks recognized Gemini as Castor and Polydeuces also known as the Dioscuri, or Heavenly Twins who were brothers of Helen of Troy.
Polydeuces was the son of Leda and Zeus (who came to Leda disguised as a swan) and Castor was the son of Leda and Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.
In their youth they sailed with Jason to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini.

Sometimes also depicted as Heracles and Apollo.

In Hinduism they can be seen as Yama and his sister Yami.


It’s all in the stars: Sagittarius 22 November – 21 December

This time Ulala’s zodiac Sagittarius. Another fitting one. The next ones are going to be Katsuya’s and Baofu’s then Yukino’s, Nanjo’s and Eriko’s.

Sagittarius:


Number: 9
Ruling Body: Jupiter
Polarity: Positive
Quality: Mutable
Element: Fire
Symbol: The Archer, Centaur
Color: Dark Blue, Purple
Metal: Tin
Gem: Topaz

Sagittarius is the sign of progress.
Sagittarians are ambitious and positive people since they have a bright outlook on life, are versatile and full of energy and vitality. 
They are adventurous and enjoy travelling and new experiences.
They also tend to be avid, loyal and independent.

They are also described as intuitive and original thinkers and they have a good organization ability (Ulala often cleans up Maya’s pigsty and takes care of her make-up and clothes).

They can get angry fast and too demanding and are said to rush into new directions way too fast (often risk a lot) and can be extravagant.

Ulala’s story is all about progress and moving on similar to the Star arcana and the theme of Sagittarius. She has been tricked by Makimura just like her Persona Callisto was tricked by Zeus (ironically Jupiter is connected to Sagittarius).
Her ultimate Persona is Asteria who rejected Zeus thus showing that she dumped Makimura.
She also got over her inferiority complex and became Baofu’s new partner.

Typical Sagittarius career:
scientists, theologians

Myths:

In Greek mythology connected to Crotus who was a daimon or satyr who consorted with the Muses on Mount Helikon. He was a great hunter and musician. The Muses awarded him a place amongst the stars.

Sometimes also connected to Centaurs especially Chiron who became a teacher to Achilles, Patroclus, Aeneas, Theseus, Actaeon, Perseus, Jason and Heracles.
Chiron was wounded with a poisoned arrow by his student and friend, Heracles. Since he was immortal he gave up his immortality since he couldn’t heal himself. Zeus set Chiron’s image in the night sky.


On Makai and the Amara labyrinth

I think that Makai and the Amara labyrinth are really interesting:

SMTII:

Makai:
means Demon World but can be used as Underworld as well.

The spheres of Makai in SMTII are named after the branches of Sephirot(h) (tree of life) in Kabbalah which is used in both Kabbalah as well as Christian Cabala (Tiphereth which is connected to self-sacrifice is connected to Jesus in this case for example).
There are 10 spiritual principles (Keter and Da’at are interchangeable), arranged in 3 columns.

SMTII mentions:

Tiphereth-Beauty
Yesod-Foundation
Netzach-Eternity
Hod-Dignity
Chesed-Compassion
Geburah-Majesty
Binah- Insight
Chokmah- Wisdom
Kether-Godliness

Yetzirah, Atziluth and Briah are worlds in the tree of life. World of Emanation (Atziluth), the World of Formation (Yetzirah) and the World of Creation and angels (Briah).
Nocturne:

Matador – Candelabrum of Foundation – Yesod
Daisoujou – Candelabrum of Eternity – Netzach
Hell Biker – Candelabrum of Dignity – Hod
White Rider – Candelabrum of Compassion – Chesed
Red Rider – Candelabrum of Insight – Binah
Black Rider – Candelabrum of Wisdom – Chokmah
Pale Rider – Candelabrum of Majesty – Gevurah
Dante/Raidou – Candelabrum of Knowledge – Da’at
The Harlot – Candelabrum of Beauty – Tipheret
Trumpeter – Candelabrum of Godliness – Kether
Hitoshura – Candelabrum of Sovereignty – Malkuth

Menorah:
In the Japanese version they actually called them menorah which is a seven-lamp (six branches) lampstand used in the ancient Temple and as a symbol. The seven-branched menorah is a traditional symbol of Judaism.
God is said to have revealed the design for the menorah to Moses. The picture above is a reconstruction.

Amala is a mistranslation is actually called Amara:
In mythology Amaravati (Sanskrit: अमरावती “city of Immortals”), also called Devapura »city of gods« is the city of the god Indra located on Mount Meru. It’s full of palaces and the Maruts/rudra storm gods live there.
Several cities in India are actually called like this.

In philosophy the term Amaravati is connected to Nirvana „sphere of not dying“

There was also a temple called Temple of Amara in Ethiopia:

http://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Remains-of-the-Temple-of-Amara—Ethiopia/809AB6015488E8B6

Kalpa (कल्प kalpa):
means an aeon, or a relatively long period of time in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology.
It’s the time a universe needs to be created, to be destroyed and to return to the cosmic ocean. Then a new cycle begins.


It’s all in the stars: Scorpio 23 October – 21 November

This time Eikichi’s Zodiac Scorpio.

It’s actually quite fitting.

Scorpio:

Number: 8
Ruling Body: Pluto
Nature: Negative
Quality: Fixed
Element: Water
Symbols: Eagle, Scorpion
Colors: Maroon, Dark Red
Metals: Steel, Iron
Gem: Opal

Scorpio is considered the success sign since they are said to be self contained and self centeredand usually succeed.
It’s also the sign of Sex (it’s the 8 house the house of Sex) and Death, the “beginning and ending” symbol.

They are said to be willful and proud which is why they can feel insulted quite easily. They are also said to be rather calm and their personality is rather intense.
Their willpower, deep character and passionate conviction make them a loyal friend. However it can also make the Scorpio a treacherous enemy.

They are said to be dignified, reserved, secretive and suspicious. Scorpio does nothing in half measures (“All or nothing”) and want to live life to the fullest and are said to never settle .

Like the death arcana Scorpio is also about transformation which is why the shy chubby Eikichi turned into Visual Kei Eikichi due to willpower. However the character hasn’t changed at all.
Typical Scorpio career:
detective, espionage, law,

Myths:

The myth of the Phoenix is associated with the Sign of Scorpio. The Phoenix regenerates from the ashes of its death, and rises into the sky, reborn.
This derives from the Eagle as a symbol for Scorpio since it is also seen as a symbol for Ophiuchus and fits Eikichi’s character well since his old image had to die.

Scorpio can be seen as the serpent in Genesis as well since it was also known as the serpent in Egypt.

In Greek myth a scorpion killed Orion the hunter since he claimed that he could kill every animal which is why Gaia or in other myths Artemis killed him with a scorpion (or sometimes versions Artemis with arrows).
Both Orion and the scorpion were placed among the constellations.

Scorpio as a fixed sign is another part of the Tetramorph, Cherubim etc. and represents the eagle.
In the Christian faith it represents the Evangelist John whose symbol is also the eagle (part of the Grand Cross) which symbolizes Jesus’ Ascension and divine nature and since John describes many things with a “higher” level than the other Evangelists and uses different sources. He claims to have been a disciple of Jesus and tradition depicts him as John the apostle.

Scorpio is also used for Judas when Jesus and the 12 disciples are depicted together.