Saturday, March 8, 2008

the beast from the sea

I don't know if you've ever taken a look at the Book of Revelation, but, frankly, it's kinda freaky. Its bizarre cascade of images is reminscent of nothing so much as the visions produced by a bad bag of magic mushrooms. I mean, so I've heard. Anyway, I came across the following passage.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads were blasphemous names.

Revelation 13:1
Having given up on finding any coherent spiritual meaning in the words, I was thinking that this raised an interesting question. Ignoring the crowns and blasphemous names, if there are ten horns, but only seven heads, how are the horns distributed among the heads?

To help conceptualize various alternatives, I've drawn some sketches below of the beast as it might have looked before it rose from the sea. The horns are colored red for easy identification. Please pick the option you think is most likely and vote in the poll below.






27 comments:

m said...

I truly, truly love the way your mind works....

slouching mom said...

you crack me up.

painted maypole said...

oy. i've studied this, although I would have to pull out my bible to remember what it all means in context. the numbers all mean something and there's a lot of "hidden" references to what was happening at the time, and Revelation was actually written to encourage Christians at the time, although unfortunately now it is usually used to scare the bejeesus out people.

Lori said...

Somehow this beast is able to divide 10 into 7 and get whole numbers, thereby signaling the apocalypse.

I'm going to vote for #3, though. Horny is cute!

Tash said...

Laughing far too hard to contemplate horn distribution.

Magpie said...

I'm glad that's how you spent your Saturday afternoon.

Ahuva Batya said...

I chose "other" in the poll, because I have always invisioned the horns distributed thusly:
2 trombones each
2 trumpets each
2 alto saxs
4 french horns played by one head who has 4 mouths.

I think it's part of the insidious and dark nature of these visions that the end of the world is heralded in by the Tower of Power.

My Reality said...

I picked other. But I cannot put my vision into words, I would have to draw it. My vision has fewer necks.

Heather said...

Who isn't intrigued by a mohawked beast? I chose #3.

Kymberli said...

I'm one of the people maypole mentions - I lost my bejeezus a LONG time ago thanks to Revelations. Actually, I think it was my early childhood viewing of The Omen trilogy that made Revelations something of a scary bedtime story for me. I choose option three, because the thought of one horny beast is more absurd than it is frightening.

Manda said...

I'd like to see more of a side to side distribution rather than the front to back mohawk style. Like an underwater triceratops with the middle one being bigger.

niobe said...

Manda: I absolutely agree with you, but, alas, my drawing skills don't extend to 3-dimensional pictures.

crazymumma said...

I love when we can get concrete evidence as to the imperfection of faith.

cinnamon said...

You're hilarious. I voted other, for a very conventional vision: five heads with two horns each, two with none, and the two hornless heads would be in the middle and the horned heads on the outside.

Bon said...

see, what i want to know is what, exactly, IS a blasphemous name?

i'm thinking Dystynee or one of the other wonders i saw in the local paper recently should count...

Pamela Jeanne said...

There are some scary, crazy passages aren't there? My demons seem positively tame by comparison.

Christine said...

how does one wear a blasphemous name?
Running on empty

Elizabeth said...

when I was a kid I used to read the scary parts of the Bible whenever I got bored during church. Revelation, and disturbing stories about rape and incest.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking the beast is going to pop out of the water photo on the top of your blog page. Nice drawings by the way.
Ally Pally

Monica H said...

Ha, this is hilarious! I had to go drag my husband out of the garage to read him this post. I wonder if there was 1 neck, with one major head that wore all the horns and 3 smaller heads on each side of the longer neck. Hmmm?

Antigone said...

Does a horn have to be on a head. Maybe the horns were on some other part. Just a thought.

Antigone said...

So I just googled horn and Revelations and I'll be sleeping with the lights on tonight. Thanks a lot.

Angela said...

I. Love this. I voted for the first option, but I must say I like the ten horns all on one better, myself.

Amanda said...

Ten horns on one head -- that's my pick. I'm all about the oddball.

Beck said...

Hahaha! I can't beleive you asked that - I read the Book of Revelations out loud to my husband one night and he asked EXACTLY THE SAME QUESTION.
Going to go freak out now.

Julia said...

Put down the mushrooms. Slowly back out of the room. Combinatorics is not a good subject for contemplating in conjunction with millennia-old literature. Or mushrooms. Just saying.

a- said...

Niobe, you are incredible. I haven't truly laughed in weeks. I'll be back after I'm sober to contemplate this more.