Foetal Dystocia resulting from Watcher-Human Sex: Eric Ondina’s Art

In a piece entitled “Fall of the Watchers”, artist Eric Ondina has managed to capture an aspect of the myth of sex between Watcher angels and human women that usually gets glossed over in renditions of the story.

Eric Ondina, “Fall of the Watchers”

The Book of Watchers tersely summarises that the Watchers “took” the women, “went into” them, and “defiled themselves with” them (7.1ab). The twenty named Watchers are contrasted with the anonymous and unnamed women who they “choose for themselves”. The Watchers act, and the unnamed women are acted upon. Their identities are suppressed, irrelevant to their function within the plot. Their reactions here are limited to their childbearing function: they “became pregnant” and “bore to them gigantic offspring” (7.2).

But what did giving birth to “gigantic offspring” do to these women? The text falls silent, in contrast to the cries of anguish which would have accompanied such extreme foetal dystocia. The birth canal is only important in the story insofar as it satisfies the Watchers’ desires – for sexual intercourse and for children.

But in Ondina’s “Fall of the Watchers”, the effect on the Women is brought to the fore in the artist’s portrayal of an evidently painful, bulging womb. But this pain is combined with a comical characterisation of the women as obsessed with the jewellery that the Watchers gave to them. The combination of extreme discomfort and vain satisfaction is, of course, absurd. And this absurdity provides a visual critique of the tendency in the Watcher myth to belittle or even blame women for the actions of the Watchers.

Ondina himself comments:

I have extracted multiple motifs from this story and melded them into a dynamic composition. The piece is painted in oil on a hand molded, cresting, reinforced plaster slab, which is bordered by a deep cradle frame. It was my intention to make a painting which mirrors this mini-epic in scale, drama and abject gruesomeness. With this in mind I decided to invoke the compositional and painting techniques found in the dynamic baroque of the 17th century while emulating the decisive moment found in 18th century Romanticism. There is also a clear reference to the Northern European Renaissance in the detail, cathedral-esque shape of the substrate, insider humor, and violence. These fuse into a style I have developed in this series which is both contemporary and historically reinforced. While my painting seeks to provide a portal into the past, I seek to do so through a modern lens, injecting subtle to sardonic satire into my subjects. This is readily apparent along the bottom of the painting; in the lower right hand corner an oblivious woman pampers herself with gold and makeup, her stomach bursting at the seams as her hulking half-angel broodling slithers out. She is a sarcastic embodiment of how our contemporary sensitivities are want to perceive this story. The Abrahamic religions are not renowned for their justice towards women, and The Book of Enoch once again exemplifies this ancient trend. Women are the seductresses and the baby factories, the intermediaries and cause of the sinfulness pressed upon the world; because of their erotic allure, mankind suffered nightmarish consequences. My painted jezebel is a mocking testimony to this ancient fear-mongering.

In portraying this extreme foetal dystocia in this manner, Ondina’s “Fall of the Watchers” has drawn attention to an aspect of the Watcher myth that has escaped many commentators, as well as critiquing that very failure to take account of the effects on women implied by the Watcher myth.

Julius Thompson’s Grigori Anime

Julius Thompson is developing an anime film on the Grigori. The name “Grigori” is the Slavic for the Watcher angels who first appear in the book of 1 Enoch (ca. 300 BCE) and later in the biblical book of Daniel (ca. 163 BCE).

Thompson has an expanded definition of the grigori, however, including various gods, angels, monsters, giants and heroes mentioned in ancient literature from the ancient Near East and Greece. The Watcher angels Semjaza and Azazek are joined by the antediluvian patriarchs Enoch and Methusaleh, the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh (described as a giant in Enuma Elish) and the Annunaki, and the Greek Medusa and the Minotaur – among others. In recent decades, a number of writers influenced by ancient alien theories or speculation on the biblical end times have made connections between such diverse figures, and attributed supernatural powers to them. It will be interesting to see what Thompson does with these kind of traditions in his anime fiction.

As the first teaser trailer shows, Thompson’s Grigori will draw on the (spurious) accounts of the discovery of giant bones – stories told in ancient Greece 2600 years ago, as well as on the internet today:

Here’s Thompson’s illustration of Genesis 6:4,the highly allusive verse which – in the following two thousand years – has generated a mass of legends about Watchers, giants, and demons:

Grigori anime

It will be interesting to see how this project comes together. Looks like there will be lots of fighting, anyway:

epic_battle_scene__the_grigori

 

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah Film to include Giant Angels called Watchers

Empire has the latest on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah Film, scheduled for release in 2014:

Written by John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo and many more) and Aronofsky himself, it’s not a traditional retelling of the age-old bible story but a radical reimagining, complete with giant angels called ‘Watchers’.

Russell Crowe as Noah
Russell Crowe as Noah

Along with Russell Crowe as Noah, Jennifer Connelly will play Noah’s wife, Naameh, Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman play Noah’s sons, Shem and Ham (not sure what happened to Japeth), Emma Watson plays a close friend of Shem’s, Ila, Anthony Hopkins plays Noah’s grandfather Methuselah, and Ray Winstone plays “an as-yet unnamed character who acts as Noah’s enemy”.

“Watchers”, as fans of Remnant of Giants will well know, is the name given to the angels who descend from heaven to earth in 1 Enoch 6-16 (that is, in The Book of Watchers). 1 Enoch 6-16 is one of the earliest “retellings” of a curious episode which is narrated immediately before the story of the Flood in Genesis 6:1-4:

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then Yahweh said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

According to 1 Enoch 6, the Watchers were originally angels (i.e., “sons of God”) in heaven with God. But they were enticed by the beauty of human women to come down to earth. Under their leader Shemihazah, they take some of the women as wives and have children by them. Their children are half-breed giants, whose wreck havoc on the earth. However, the bodies of the giants are  later destroyed by the Flood, and only their spirits remain: these evil spirits become what are known as “demons”.

Yet there are at least three other explanations of the origins of the Watchers in ancient Jewish texts. In the Azazel-stratum of The Book of Watchers, the angels provide illicit knowledge to humans, such as metal-working, magic, and astronomical secrets. This is their main crime, rather than their sex with human women. The Life of Adam and Eve provides a third account of the Watchers, explaining that some angels, while in heaven, made a direct challenge to the authority of God, in an attempt to usurp his heavenly throne. What provoked them was their envy of God’s creation of Adam. A fourth account of the Watchers occurs in The Animal Apocalypse, also within 1 Enoch. Here the rebellious angels are first sent to earth by God in order to rule over humankind, rather than rebelling against God. But later on they abuse their legitimate authority, by using excessive force, tyranny, and exercising injustice. Later Christian accounts of the fall of the Watchers tend to emphasise the leader of the Watchers – and this leader becomes known as Satan. Many of the stories of the Watchers declare that, at the end of time, the Watchers will be destroyed in Hell for their rebellion against God. But from the time of the Flood to the end of time, 1 Enoch states that the Watchers were bound in chains in Hades, awaiting their final punishment.

Aronofsky takes elements of each of these accounts of the origin of the Watchers, but creates his own distinct version of why the Watchers came down to earth.

According to the biblical chronology in the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Bible, Methusaleh died in the year preceding the Flood, some 99 years after Yahweh told Noah to build an ark. The Masoretic Text dates Methusaleh’s death to 1656 Anno Mundi and the Flood to 1657 Anno Mundi. Things get more confusing in some Septuagint versions of the Bible, where  according to the chronology, Methusaleh survives some 17 years after the Flood.

The name of Noah’s wife doesn’t appear in the Bible, and neither do the names of the wives of Ham, Shem, and Japeth. But “Naamah”, identified as the daughter of Lamech and sister of Tubal-Cain, is the name given to the wife of Noah in Genesis Rabbah (בראשית רבה), traditionally dated to the third century AD. In the much earlier, 2nd century BC book of Jubilees (ספר היובלים), Noah’s wife is called “Emzara”, and she is identified as the daughter of Rake’el, son of Methusaleh (Jub. 4.33). The name “Emzara” also appears in a text from Qumran which retells the book of Genesis, 1QApGen (6.7).

See the trailer here:

Chuck Missler: Giants are the key to understanding the Old Testament

For many Evangelical Christians, if there is a new development in human technology, it must have been predicted or mentioned in the Bible. For Chuck Missler – Christian apologist and speaker, a “Dr” of a pseudo-academic institution, a Christian Zionist, and member of the right-wing Patriot Movement – genetic research is not only mentioned in the Bible, but ancient tampering with genetics gave rise to Giants. And Giants are therefore the secret key to understanding the Bible:

Is there genetic manipulation in the Bible? Yes! In fact, you will not understand most of the Old Testament unless you really understand who the Rephaim really were… This is coming on our society as the Bible anticipated it…. Has this happened before? Yes!
– Chuck Missler, ‘Ancient Alien Nephilim, Giants, Mutants, Genetic Engineering, and Hybrids’

In the Bible, and in a similar way within the Greek literature which influenced biblical texts, Rephaim (Giants) were the original inhabitants of Earth, the dangerous and chaotic force of an earlier age, to be defeated by the first conquering humans (e.g. Num. 13, Deut. 2-3; Josh. 14, 15). In addition, in the story of the “sons of God” or “Watchers” (Gen 6.1-4; 1 Enoch 6-20), the Giants are said to be hybrids, the offspring of divine fathers and human mothers. But Chuck Missler is not merely saying that the threatening world of medical and genetic breakthroughs is metaphorically creating new forces of danger and chaos, by reaching beyond its “proper boundaries”, creating life, and usurping God’s prerogative. His concerns go deeper than that. Missler believes that genetic science will literally bring back the Giants to Earth!

This was Satan’s strategy, to corrupt the human race, to prevent a Messiah… Why did God tell Joshua to wipe out every man, woman and child of certain tribes? Because they had a gene-pool problem. One of the things which brought about the Flood of Noah was a gene-pool problem.
– Chuck Missler, ‘Ancient Alien Nephilim, Giants, Mutants, Genetic Engineering, and Hybrids’

So for Chuck Missler, genetic research, far from being a means to improve medical treatment, is evil incarnate. Just as Giants were around in the “days of Noah”, so too in the End Times will Giants return (cf. Matt. 24.37) at the hands of evil, evolution-believing scientists and their Satanic genetic research.

Not only that, but as the Rephaim/Giants are said in Joshua 11.22-23 to survive in the Philistine cities – Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod – guess who else the evil Giants represent, for Missler?

It’s interesting that Joshua is told to wipe out every man, woman and child of those tribes. He does almost. But the places which he fails to do so – in the Golan Heights [sic], Gaza, Ashdod, and so forth – it’s the places that the P.L.O. have their conclaves today. Strangely. Strange stuff… I think that’s interesting.
– Chuck Missler, ‘Ancient Alien Nephilim, Giants, Mutants, Genetic Engineering, and Hybrids’

So, for Missler, not only should genetic engineering be stopped, but implicit in his equation is that the Palestinians should be wiped out as well.

Chuck Missler
Chuck Missler