As I was a child, I was fascinated by the legends about how christianity was first introduced in the Basque Country.
According to several oral accounts gathered in rural areas by anthropologist J. M. Barandiaran, the basque pagans called Jesus Christ “Kixmi”, that is, “the monkey”.
Jesus Christ = monkey?!!!
What can that possibly mean?
I grew up haunted by this question, and a couple of years ago I started researching and documenting my research in this blog. I wanted to know if monkeys had ever been worshipped as gods in the ancient world.
First I came across Thot, the egyptian god of scripture and interpretation, which is represented both as an ibis (a bird) and as a baboon. Thot plays a role in the egyptian pantheon that is very close to that of Jesus Christ: he is mediator between the gods and the humans, and help in the trial of the newly dead in the other world.
But it was Hanuman who really struck me.
Hanuman, the Indian Superman
Hanuman the monkey is not a top-level god, but it is really interesting, because some avatars of his have surreptitiously made their way into so-called western culture, from christianity to pop iconography and, eventually, to the Internet folklore.
Hanuman is a hero from the Ramayana epic (500-100 BCE). He loves god Rama (and his feminine partner Sita) so much that he is ready to sacrifice himself for its (their) sake and to save the world from the menacing forces of evil.
Hanuman was born from a non sexual sinless intercourse (through a magic piece of cake dropped by a bird) between god Shiva and a woman that had been transformed into a monkey by a curse. His mother Anjana and his pater-putativus Kesari, the giant monkey, lived in “chastity”.
Hanuman’s super powers would decide the Ramayana War. Hanuman’s tail burned the entire island of Sri Lanka, and gave victory to the army of god Rama over the forces of devil Ramana.
Hanuman loves every human being. He is a mediator between humans and Rama (like Thot, or Jesus Christ). He sits next to Rama in the kingdom of heaven.
Many indian holy men have seen Hanuman in recent times. His image is used today against muslims, sikhs, christians and other indian minorities by the Bajrang Dal, a far-right hindu paramilitary youth group also known as the Monkey God’s Army.
This image is a virus in your DNA
Anyway, it is an image what makes Hanuman so interesting.
To give proof of his love, Hanuman tears open his chest with his own
hands to show his heart, in which the images of Rama and Sita are to be
From this image, it is possible to draw a genealogy of breast-opening gods
or half-gods. There we got the “sacred heart of Jesus”, worshipped from
the XI century on, and widely reproduced in catholic and anglican
iconography. In the XX century the image was (consciously or
unconsciously) secularized by the creators of comic character Superman.
Superman opens his shirt to reveal a heart shaped logo under which he
is ready to save the world.
The hearts of Hanuman, Christ and Superman are -possibly-sublimated
representations of ancient human sacrifice practices, in which the
breasts of propiciatory victims where sliced open and their hearts
extracted to be burnt or eaten. Of course, this is just a hypothesis to
be taken with a big grain of salt.
Anyway, this is a powerful image, a gestalt, an archetype, an iconic
virus installed in the human collective unconsciusness since
prehistoric ages and still at work. Today we could call it a strange
I think Nietzsche himself would really bask in the irony that the
übermensch might well be a monkey. Call it Hanuman, Superman, or just
Two short videos to illustrate this introduction.
On February 2007 I made this short video.
I wanted to show the evolution of the “sacred heart” icon from Hanuman
to the Internet-age folklore (read “goatse”).
Diabolus est simia dei (The devil is God’s ape) is a
statement by Christian Church father Tertullian made famous by Saint
Augustine. It refers to the idea that the devil is an imitator (ape) of
God and keeps creating fake worlds that resemble the real, only to
deceive humans. It is an idea that fascinated Sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick
because of its implications on paralel worlds and virtual reality. This
video wants to show the horror (and glory) of the monotheistic
Weltanschauung. It depicts a universe created and animated by a mad,
evil monkey; all terror, noise and entropy.
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