A to Z Challenge — C is for Chimaera

The Khimaira (Chimera or chimaera) was a three-headed monster. If ya Google it without the mythology tag, most options will be links to ghost fish or sharks. This is no fish story.

Like so many monsters of Greek mythology, The Chimaera was the offspring of couple of monstrous sweethearts named Typhon and Echidna, a pair I envision as sort of an Adam and Eve couple of the Greek Mythological Monster class.

This bizarre, fire-breathing cat had the body and head of a lion (good so far). But peeking over its shoulder was a goat’s head rising out of its back. The beast had udders like a goat (no idea why). Away from the business end, the ubiquitous mythological snake rounded out the creature’s tail, with serpent’s head at the very end.

Since nothing good could possibly spring from the union of Typhon and Echidna, this beast ravaged the countryside of Lykia (Lycia) in Anatolia, which is on the southeastern end of Turkey. Contemporary Turkish history does not jibe well with older Greek myth, but at the time it all fit nicely, if fearsome.

As the story goes, this Chimaera cat was just kickin’ ass all over that part of the world until a hero named Bellerophon came on the scene. He was either asked or commanded, depending on who is doing the telling, by King Iobates to kill the beast.

Bellerophon rode into battle on the back of the winged horse, Pegasus, of course. He sought and found Chimaera and drove a lead-tipped lance into its flaming throat. So, the big cat-goat’s fiery breath melted the lead tip, promptly choking the beast on hot molten metal. Lead poisoning for sure. So, the beast died from sucking on a lead popsicle, Greek Mythology style.


Turkey has never been known for its geological stability. So, later classical writers believed the Chimaera creature was a metaphor for a Lycian volcano, of which there almost certainly were several.

The Chimaera can look both ways at the same time
and the snake can keep its eyes looking backward.
So, mind the gaps.

A to Z Blog Challenge Theme Reveal (2018)

Let’s roll out monsters, goblins, ghouls, and all the fantastic creatures that existed in the minds of men and women from before anyone could write until the present day. Fantasy is not fake when we believe it; and we have for over 100,000 years of human imagination from which to draw. Unfortunately, writing is only about five or six thousand years old. But going way back in time, our innate human ability to imagine is phenomenal. That is my reveal: fantasy creatures displayed front and center.

From angels to zombies, I will select fantastic creatures from legend, fairy tales, fables, and myth. From poems, books, and stories, and from cultures around the world; I will package up those delectably stunning and enchanting fantasy life forms and bring them to you in words and forms.

During April we all do a lot of reading and writing. If you count taxes, arithmetic too. It is a busy, but fun-filled month. I shall attempt brevity and will only present one or two creatures per day beginning with “A” on Sunday, the first day of April, for the 2018 A to Z Blog Challenge.

As my trailer here, I present two Celtic kings: The Forest King, better known as the Oak King or sometimes as Green Man, along with his nemesis, The Holly King, often depicted as a woodsy version of Santa Clause.

The Forest or Oak King
The Holly King

Semiannually, these two battle and fight to the death for supremacy. One time per year, each defeats the other. Depending on the culture and beliefs, a final battle is on summer and winter solstices, or, and more logically, at the time of the Fall or Spring equinoxes. During summer, the Oak King reigns. The Holly King kills the Oak King and reigns in the winter. It is the classic holly vs. ivy symbolic battle called out in King Henry VIII’s, Green Groweth The Holly.

The Oak and Holly Kings Battle

The battle is also echoed many times in other myth and folklore such as the fights between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or Lugh and Balor in Celtic legend. In all cases, one must die for the other to triumph.

Regarding such battles and the killing of one king, god, or man, George Frazer wrote,”But we have seen that the very value attached to the life of the man-god necessitates his violent death as the only means of preserving it from the inevitable decay of age.” They are two essential parts of the whole (seasonal reality) that battle all year long. Despite being enemies, without one, the other would no longer exist. Sort of reminds one of yin and yang, doesn’t it?

Look both ways in all seasons of life. Mind well the gaps.

Note: I will be participating in the National Poetry Writing Month challenge separately. Those poems will be identified as NaPoWriMo. This means that during April “Our Literary Journey” will have two posts each day, and one on Sundays after the first.