Author Archives: Mary Filbin

Heaven, Hell, and the Gods


  1. Heaven and Hell are concepts of Christian, Judaism, and Islamic religions. All see them of a place of punishment (Hell), and a place of reward (Heaven). The biggest difference is that Christians and Judaism see heaven as a place where God resides, a place where you do not need subsidence such as food or sleep, and Islamic view it as a place of gardens, food, where they find unimaginable bliss and all desires are met. Depending on the religion there can be one or many different levels of each. Hell can also be temporary for those of the Islamic belief and is permanent for those of the Christian belief.
  2. Of course the Nativity and the Passion of Christ seemed familiar to the pagan audience. There are countless tales of demi-gods or offspring of the gods and human. Achilles was said to be such a man. Many times a story started with a god coming in the form of their choosing and laying with a woman, producing a child of great power. Then a sign was shown to bless this child. There were also many stories of martyrdom of these children of gods with the sacrifice being welcomed into the arms of the gods. Tales of being born again through trials to claim their namesake. Neither of these happenings seemed farfetched. Both the birth and the rise of Christ fit the mythology and folklore of pagan societies.
  3. The Gods of Gilgamesh and in the Iliad were vengeful, petty, jealous, and self serving. They had human qualities, faults, and egos. You would pray to the Gods, give tribute, and more often than not the Gods would answer. Mercy was not a quality associated with the gods and repentance a foreign idea. Gods were to be feared, unforgiving in nature, and vengeful. In Gilgamesh and the Iliad it was ok to laugh at the gods, cry with them, yell at them in anger, and worship at their alters. The New Testament shows a different type of God. One who is loving and kind. In Luke 15 it tells of a shepherd who lost a lamb and how he rejoices when that one lamb is found and saved. This is how Jesus said God rejoices over the repentance of a sinner, no matter if there are 99 righteous who need not repent. The return of one to the flock should be celebrated; in the Iliad I can see the one we just found becoming a burnt sacrifice to thank the gods we found our lost lamb. Irony at its best. The New Testament put God apart from humans. We can now sin and then ask forgiveness and still get into heaven. Instead of vengeful gods we have one of love and mercy, but only one. The Gods of Gilgamesh and the Iliad where like friends you shared a drink with, got into fights with only to embrace again later, this new God was more like a father figure with humans the errant children. The bond changed from being rowdy friends to honoring thy father, and with it the divine/human relationship. Heaven_and_hell-3

Who said a hero had to be good?



1. If Madea were only male, would that have changed the outcome or story? This we will never know. But what we can know is the madness in her heart and the depth of her sorrow. Madea is very similar to the previous character Achilles. Both are prideful of spirit, have a deep love, react out of emotion, and seek revenge.


Pride causes both characters to act rashly. When their honor is taken away, each character respond in very selfish ways. Each beseeches the Gods to intercede on their behalf to right the wrong as they see fit. Each lets their ego and emotions rule them.


Just as Achilles loved Patroclus, Madea loved Jason, and both in their own ways where lost. Patroclus was killed, while Jason gained a new wife in essence replacing Madea. Madea’s situation may not appear as severe as Achilles but in this woman’s world it was. She had killed her own brother to help Jason, betrayed so many out of love, to be thrown away like garbage when offered the hand of the King’s daughter. As a foreigner she had no rights, not even those of a wife. Jason was free to marry whomever he wanted because in his culture foreign marriages where not seen as binding. Madea was mistaken to think hers was different because of the oaths she made with Jason.


Both are so lost in grief and madness they do unthinkable, sacrilegious things. Achilles dishonors Hector’s body but Madea goes further. Madea kills Jason’s new bride and her father the King, plus her own children; just to spite Jason. She wraps herself so close in her own psychosis she cannot see the atrocities she is committing even when others point it out. Madea, unlike Achilles, has no one like Priam to pull her out of her own obsession.


Madea is a hero for the rights of women in a time where women had little to no rights. She did things and said things only a man had the right to. She stood firm, talked her mind, and took chances most women of the time would never have even considered. She was a voice screaming about the injustices and wrongs perpetrated on women by men who held all the power. I can see the play being a great scandal of the time. It is outrageous, masterfully played out, and leaves the reader shocked at how far the main character takes her madness to gain what she sees as poetic justice toward Jason. Madea is not what many would consider a hero, especially after she takes the lives of her own children to make Jason hurt as deeply and feel the betrayal she herself has felt at his hands. If the tale did not go to such extremes it would have lost its powerful undertone about rights, injustice, and the woman’s side of the society of that time. Madea is a hero for what she represents not for the deeds she executes. Her deeds make her a villain, ruthless and self serving. Who said all heroes had to be good?



  1. Job was a unique individual. He was the type of person who never questioned God’s will, like a young child who believes everything a parent tells them. He also had a pure innocence and accepted whatever in life happened.  He believed that you sow what you reap and kept his nose squeaky clean. Job was not one to be swayed by peer pressure or anyone else’s beliefs. He always was thankful to God and prayed for others. Job’s reply to his wife, “…should we accept the good from God and not accept the bad?’ (2) sums up his whole belief. It comes as no surprise with these simple seemingly naive beliefs that he would wonder why has this befallen him. But in response to Job’s questions, God asks Job who are you to question me? Where you there when the Earth was created? Job in his fear and awe of God, like a child accepts that there are things he does not know and does not understand. As a child with a parent he bows to the maker, he is satisfied with there being things beyond his limited scope. He understands he does not have the full picture. Job’s faith and trust in God is so strong even an ambiguous answer like because ‘I said so’, is enough for him. Job accepts that because he is mortal or as he said “…comfort for dust and ashes.’(42); he as a mortal cannot know the will of a God. He is satisfied knowing this.


I am satisfied with this answer only because I have more information than Job. I got a chance to view behind the curtain. As a human I am also satisfied with the outcome, I know there are things beyond my knowledge. Job understands that he is just a brush stroke in the painting of the Universe and that he cannot see the whole design. I really like how Job can accept the good and the bad, and still love God and trust in Him. I can relate to Job, my health has had many ups and downs, though nothing compared to Job, and I still am thankful to God. Those closest to me have asked, “Why do you still thank God and pray when he has never answered your prayers?’ Similar to Job I tell them I can’t know the mind of the Gods and look at all the experience my soul is gaining with these trials. That is faith. Faith is what Job had.

The Epic Iliad

Discussion 3 — The Iliadgrkborder_15762_lg


  1. Achilles was revered and feared by his fellow Achaeans. They saw him as favored son, a child of man and goddess. One who the gods cherish. They celebrated in his swiftness of foot, prowess in war, and god like attributes. But Achilles was fearsome, wild at heart, and easy to anger. They feared his wrath as they feared the enemy, for each could bring a swift death. The Greeks honored Achilles but few followed out of love, more out of awe or for favor. He was a chieftain and ruler in his own right as are all of the leaders in the Greek army. An assembly more than a singular fighting group. Anger, pain, and grief drive his actions. He is the ugly side of war.


Hector was also favored by the gods, though born of human lines only, and revered by his fellow Trojans. He was renowned for his prowess in war, level headedness, full of honor and virtue. Hector is loved by those who follow him, and he gave all for home and country. Even in the gravest of situations he has kind words for Helen who with Paris is the reason behind the war. He is not shown to ever be harsh or demeaning. A statesman and family man, he fights out of obligation to home and family as son of the ruler Priam. Driving his actions are the welfare of others, honor, and security of those he treasures. Hector was the only force that had a chance to save Troy. He was the bright side of war.


Both men are the stars of each side. Both are the epitome of what a warrior should be, with strength and success on the battle field. Both are blessed and cursed with a short but legendary life. Both are victims of someone else’s action. Paris’s actions draw Hector and Troy in to the war, Patroclus’ decision to ignore Achilles and pursue the Trojans brought about his death and drew Achilles back into the war, ending with the death of Hector. Ultimately you could not have one without the other, for they each play a major role in the story. In another world they could have been fast friends like Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but not in the Iliad. Here they are drawn together, caught up in conflict and war, till one stands alone if only for a short time.


  1. Achilles is consumed with grief and anger, his heart turned to unmoving iron. He is blinded to the religious observances and standards of the time, and only wants revenge and with it pain for those around him so they too can share in his sorrow. With the death of his friend and the slight of Agamemnon, Achilles sinks into madness and spreads his wraith to Hector the culmination of his hate. Try as he might he cannot despoil the body, for the gods have preserved it. So his grief and hate find not comfort in the sacrilegious actions he has taken. It takes words from his goddess mother, Thetis from the mouth of Zeus, to open his heart to hear out Priam and save the honor of both. Priam asks Achilles to think on his own father and in doing so humbles himself before the great runner. Priam kisses the hand of the man who killed his son, it humbles the king who came to Achilles, as a father, but also shows great honor and that he will not seek to avenge his son Hector’s death. This humbling act opens Achilles heart to find sympathy for someone other than himself. He finally sees that he is not alone in his sorrow and grief. Both find the common bond of humanity in each other. In Priam, Achilles sees his own father and what he will go through.  They mourn together and Achilles’ wrath becomes sorrow, and Priam’s grief becomes forgiveness. They both gain a better understanding of humanity. Achilles begins to heal. The transformation from seething madness to purification of self opens Achilles’ mind to the aspect of our oneness with each others. We all share the same emotions and are all part of the human race whether king, farmer, or runner. It opens the door toward empathy which can lead to peace, if only for a short time.


  1. The warrior code and the familial code are not mutually exclusive.     They can overlap. Any warrior who protects his home and is victorious, brings honor to his family with his great deeds. In the Iliad, some drew lots to see which member of a house would represent that family and fight at Troy. It was an honor to be chosen by some and a curse for others, but either way their actions could bring honor to their respective family. In being chosen they protected those who stay behind, so they can have a spouse and offspring and carry on the line. Their sacrifice was for the better good of the family. The tributes they bring home support their families. The divide happens when a warrior has to choose between country and family. When he has to choose between his own glory or the simple life of father/husband/friend.  When he opens his heart and realizes that his victory means the other man’s defeat and loss. Can he turn his back on those who depend on him in battle to be with those who depend on him at home? A man cannot fight on two fronts and win both battles. Each man has to choose their path, each holding its own reward. What is hard is finding a balance between the two. Depending on the culture and society, the warrior class is often set apart from the familial group. This making them seem exclusive. Those a warrior fights with become their family winning honor, victory, and a sense of belonging. A sense of home. These two codes can work together, though more often than not they are at war with each other.

Gilgamesh – Success or Failure

Discussion Question 2 — Gilgamesh

  1. Gilgamesh’s journey starts with him as an unruly youth who gains as a helper for part of his journey Enkidu. Gilgamesh gets guidance for his Mother, Ninsun the wild cow, who is a prominent goddess figure in the tale. After some conflict the two (Gilgamesh and Enkidu) become fast friends. Enkidu’s journey began when he was presented with Shamat the harlot and started down the path from wild creature to civilized man. Gilgamesh suggests the killing of Humbaba and the cutting of a great cedar tree as a way to demonstrate kingly power but Enkidu refuses this call, only later to agree and accompany his friend. Here the two meet many challenges from smiting Humbaba to killing the bull of heaven. Enkidu reaches the end of his journey before Gilgamesh. Enkidu taught Gilgamesh how to be a better man and ruler for Uruk, that was his gift. For a time Gilgamesh sinks down in depression and transforms from human to something beast like and is lost after the death of Enkidu. He searches out answers and eternal life thinking it is the answer to his fears. After some more trials he finds himself loosing what he thought he should have gained. The prize of immortality gone and the plant of internal youth which he spent all his resources on lost. Gilgamesh returns to ramparted Uruk without his prize, but he is a better man and celebrates in his humanity and the architectural legacy found in Uruk that will allow his tale to live on for generations yet to come.



  1. The four functions of mythology are very present in the story. This story has stood the test of time and still engulfs the reader in the mystery and universal truths, giving a picture of a past society. It also gives us a picture of the thoughts on life and death or transitions of life. The functions are very much alive, especially for those who study anthropology. The story is a glimpse into another time.



  1. To Gilgamesh it seemed a sorry ending and almost a joke that all he had to show for all he did was the ramparted city of Uruk. Personally I believe it was a success. He might not have won the treasures he sought but generations of people from around the world have shared his adventures and tales. He has gained the ultimate fame and become a legend. Many can relate to the loss of a true friend (soul mate), and the seeking of unobtainable treasure, the returning home without fanfare, and just learning to be a better person. To grow enough that you are satisfied with the life you have is a true treasure and Gilgamesh found that. I think that is a very worthy replacement for youth eternal.

Discussion Question 1- Hero’s Journey


OblivionThe Hero’s Journey can be found in all genres of movies. Some films seem to follow the cycle so closely that you know the outcome and what will happen next; from the beginning to end as in the 2013 action/adventure movie ‘Oblivion’. The revelation of finding himself nothing more than a clone brings on his transformation which leads toward our hero’s decision to right the wrongs of the human race. The formula was followed so closely it seemed contrite. The good guy just minding his own business till his eyes are opened to atrocities in his world, the need to protect and help those he now sees, till he sacrifices all for the better good only to return a better shade of himself.


300Another example is the historic/superhero film ‘300’ from 2007.     It follows the journey cycle very closely also. From the beginning and the rite of initiation, through the guardians of the gate where Leonidas seeks out Ephors who asks the Oracle for divine guidance, to ending with the reluctant return of Dilios who’s tale unite a nation. The Hero’s Journey is that of Sparta not just a single person in this film and broadens its use. The formula works very well here.


pitch blackIn 2000 the thriller/action film ‘Pitch Black’ we find the unlikely hero. A selfish loner, criminal, collected by a bounty hunter who ends up a survivor of a crash on an alien planet, and finds himself in a position to help or abandon those with him. Our antihero in this tale has many challenges and temptations. The formula is followed closer than initially realized. It hits home in the final scenes when another sacrifices her life for our hero’s and later when questioned by Jack what to tell others when asked about Riddick; the response of he died back on that planet is true in so many ways, representing death and rebirth. The cycle completes itself in the first of this trilogy and repeats in ‘Dark Fury’ and ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’. The formula is the same for each film, and works exceptionally well to tell the story and keeps a person entertained from beginning to end.


What dreams may comeOther aspects of the cycle are more apparent in the 1998 fantasy film ‘What Dreams May Come’.     In this movie we experience the transitions of life and death, rebirth, and salvation. Our main character has the classic two helpers (his children who were killed in an automobile accident) and a mentor (who was from his college days) to guide him through the challenges and temptations/trials of heaven and hell. In this touching movie we can see ourselves and our own hero’s journey, the cycle of life, how we affect others, and how we can make a difference. This clip shows our hero at the beginning of his transformation and opens his eyes to himself being more than just a brain or body. The cycle of a Hero’s Journey is well shown in this fantastic film.


gigiThe formula can even be found in the romantic/comedy ‘GiGi’ from 1958. The story can be summed up easily in the following words; “….the film, which can be seen as a romantic victory of love over cynicism.’ <Wikipedia> The two main characters of the film both go through transformations and have to break away from earlier ideas of self and society to find themselves and each other. The cycle is filled with comedy and lighter than an action/adventure film but nonetheless the pattern is evident and still works great.  The Initiation stage and part of woman as temptress is repeated several times in this film and definitely tests one of our would be heroes.

It just goes to show that the Hero’s Journey can be adapted to many types of films and still be effective. The Hero’s Journey is one of the more commonly used frames which every genre of movie can be built on.




2. Current cinema has the ability to meet most of our needs for the functions of mythology. The movies can transport us to other realms for a short time and present each of us with understanding of the world around us. They provide our need for mystery and explore the universe. Films show us how we affect others and how we are all part of the human race. They can help us explore the stages of life and the mystery of death and what may be on the other side. Movies have the ability to let you walk in someone else’s shoes. The cinema can bring the human race together and express the idea of belonging. There is power in mythology. It helps us see ourselves and other in new lights. As the cosmological and sociological orders change so can cinema to match it, while keeping the biology and psychological inheritance constant. Movies can meet several of the needs but not all. They can show us the outer world but only the watcher sees the inner affect in self. Ultimately, cinema is a tool with the ability to meet our needs for the function of mythology but only if we see the message and make the connection. Just because it can does not mean it will always meet this need.

I am Filbin. Mary Filbin.

Good day! My name, as you might have guessed, is Mary Filbin.   I am a domestic Goddess/Artist.   In other terms, a stay at home mom who is a Creative.   I am brutally honest, whimsical, and have a very twisted/abrupt sense of humor.

I grew up in northern Nevada, a fourth generation rancher, and avid equestrian.   I started riding before I could walk, and started competing at age 6 in local horse shows.   I have participated at the National High School Rodeo Finals, World Quarter Horse Show, and National Reining Competition.   I ride both English and Western, though currently do not have a horse unless you count my old Cutting mare who is retired at the family ranch in Nevada.   Working cattle and reading a cow are some of more impressive abilities.   I have lived in Nevada (of course), Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, and now Alaska.   Currently I am working toward finishing up an Associates of Arts Degree I started many years ago.   From there onward toward a Bachelors Degree (undecided major at this junction), lets not get ahead of ourselves, one degree at a time…baby steps.   I moved to Alaska this past May and am not sure I am ready for an Alaskan winter, but I love the state so far.

I am a huntress/fisherman, and in general an outdoors type of girl.   I am married with one kiddo, a boy age 14, so the domestic Goddess duties are changing as the little penguin finds his way in the new world of high school.   I shutter to think of what I have released into the world.

As per the wood chuck I think his hide would be a nice addition to my collection of taxidermy critters and furs, but until we meet he can chuck as much wood as he would like.   Have a blessed day!!

familyMe and my boys!