Friday, July 22, 2011

Are the Smurfs Queer Pagans? Part One!

Although I'm too old to have watched the Smurfs when they first appeared on TV, I have always found them fascinating. Something about all those shirtless blue men living in loving harmony set off my gaydar.

In case you haven't heard, a new Smurf movie is being released later this month. My curiosity about these creatures, long dormant, has reawakened. Are the Smurfs queer? And on top of that, are they pagan as well?

Let's review the evidence.

Feeling Smurfy in a Phrygian cap!

1. Choice of headwear. 

The Smurf hat has a long and rich history. Technically known as the Phrygian cap, it can be traced back to Phrygia, and ancient kingdom in the area now occupied by Turkey, and home of famous city of Troy. The Phrygians were well-known around the Mediterranean for their peaked caps that drooped in the front.

Two major ancient deities are also identified with this hat.

The first is Attis, the lover/consort of the Phrygian goddess Cybele.

Bust of the god Attis

There are many conflicting myths about Attis, but my favorite tells how Zeus, while taking a nap, accidentally inseminates a rock. The rock gives birth to a giant super-strong hermaphrodite named Agdistis, who causes a lot of trouble. The gods trick Agdistis into castrating him/herself, and a tree grows from his severed phallus. Attis is born after a woman eats an almond from a tree that sprouts from the phallus. Attis grows up to be outrageously handsome and then falls in love with Agdistis, who may really be the goddess Cybele. Attis decides to marry a local princess, which so enrages Agdistis/Cybele that s/he disrupts the wedding and magically makes Attis castrate himself. He dies, Agdistis/Cybele mourns, Zeus causes a pine tree to grow from Attis's body, and decrees that his little finger (a euphemism!) will never die.

That myth's a real headspinner, and I don't need to point out the queer aspects. Definitely not something you'd see on an episode of the Smurfs. Attis was served by transgender priests called the galli.

Mithras slaying a bull.

The second god is Mithras, who was the object of an all-male mystery cult popular in the Roman Empire. Soldiers were particularly fond of him.

There were seven initiatory degrees in his cult, and the second degree was called "nymphus", which means "he-nymph." (Digression: I love that word! If I were a superhero that would be my name.) The he-hymphs were associated with the planet Venus, wore bridal veils, and served the higher levels. So, a little bit of cross-dressing is associated in my mind with the Phrygian cap.

2. Magic Mushrooms

The Smurfs live a in a village of mushrooms.

Smurf Village.

Mushrooms are well, you know, a little bit phallic. When a group of perpetually shirtless guys are living in phallic symbols, the neighbors are going to gossip. Who cares what those busybodies think?! Live your life the way you want to, Smurfs. You rock! Everyone's just jealous.

Fly agaric mushroom.

The spotted mushroom looks like a fly agaric mushroom, whose hallucinogenic properties were used by Siberian shamans to travel to the spirit world. (Note - Do NOT try this at home. Fly agaric is also poisonous.) Coincidentally, some powerful Siberian shamans were famous for being transgendered. I'm sure the Smurfs have a lot of shamanic power; I'm not sure if any are transgendered.

Next up: renegade Titans, Smurfette, and Narcissus!

1 comment:

  1. "Zeus, while taking a nap, accidentally inseminates a rock"...I hate it when that happens. You think you're just having forty winks, then suddenly there's some boulder wanting child maintenance.