Shape Shifter Picture

(a long comment )
An old drawing. Made it into a part of a playing card deck. It was the King of Spades.

<nerdy talk>

Shape shifters are part of the mythology of many cultures. The Philippines is no exception. The Asuang or Strangers of old would take ominous forms. Such forms would be of animals that have an uncommon characteristic: unusually large or black coloring or a large specimen. Ignorance and superstition play with imagination to create many of these creatures out of mundane animals.

What you see above is one of them, a man and a spider. In Mahadlika, there are those who look at the old ways. The old gods and the simplicity of a time when faith was not one of the factors that enforced the social order. Matters of Men were dealt by men, Even priests of old did not speak with the Authority of Gods, instead they spoke of their wisdom and man's choice to heed it or not.

This disillusion was present through out Philippine history (check out Aglipay movement). Babaylan, "companions" would lead people to revolt. This was the case of two particular revolts (the Dagohoy revolt and one I just can't remember).

Despite their charismatic involvement, is not a matter of zealotry that spurred them, unlike their opposition. It was the decadence and corruption that the clergy exercised. The Dagohoy incident, particularly was over his kin who was disallowed a proper burial over a very trivial matter. A kind of thinking then and still alive today today: "anything is better that what we have now".

Many of these men and women, these leaders, would propagate tales of supernatural powers. Some being able to shape shift others become mud and transmit through it ("bernardo'ng Putik").

But in Mahadlika, there is a grain of truth in the tall tales of men and monsters. As men can be much more monstrous than creatures of myth, these are times when myth takes on that challenge.

My brother's High School Friend "cholo" would play this particular shape shifter, my brother had one before, a snake shape shifter (although i can't find that very old drawing).
the Firebird
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