Monday 18 January 2021

The nature of giants

A giant helping to build Stonehenge

As I have previously noted; the original inhabitants of Britain were said to be giants; and there is considerable 'documentary' evidence for the reality of giants. 

But if we accept that there once were giants, then of what nature were they? Presumably not gigantic Men - since that seems biologically impossible - but if not that, what were they? 

Bearing in mind that the age of giants was also the age in which magic was a part of everyday life; one interesting idea comes from John Michell in his beautifully-written superbly imaginative New light on the ancient mystery of Glastonbury (1990) - edited excerpts of pages 51-2 follow:


The giants of old undoubtedly symbolized natural forces, but we are repeatedly informed by early historians that sometimes they were visible in monstrous and grotesque forms. They belonged, therefore, to the cryptic category of beings which includes the yetis, Sasquatch and Bigfoot.

These creatures are occasionally seen and heard, but essentially they are phantoms. They represent an aspect of the 'genius loci'; the indwelling spirit of certain mountains, lakes and wild places. Their forms are fluid and adaptable, being determined by the collective imagination of local people. 

In traditional societies, magicians and shamans know about such things, and are sometimes able to invoke them. 

It is often easier to produce phantoms than to dissolve them. Like all 'technologies' they had unwanted side effects. In the course of time, they become more solid and may even bleed when wounded. 

Therefore, not all the spirits raised by magicians were properly laid to rest, and some lingered about the countryside to establish a breed of monsters. This may be the origin of the giants which were apparently still to be found in Britain in the second millenium BC. 



Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

That's an intriguing possibility, certainly more plausible than the idea of giants as a very large species of human being.

Ego Sum Victor said...

Interesting, but I don't agree that "The giants of old undoubtedly symbolized natural forces" which then became more tangible and assumed coherent forms. This would put them into the category of tulpas or astral thoughtforms. There are stories of giant humanoids from all over the world. In 19th century America there are even stories of large skeletons being unearthed, and although I'm not certain whether or not to wholeheartedly believe these claims I do strongly suspect most of them to be true (If perhaps a little exaggerated).

I suspect that the giants of old did actually exist as a separate species of Man and that they were, as is recorded in the ancient stories from around the world, destroyed in wars with men and through the power of God (AKA The holy angels and the forces of Good). In order for Man to survive, these giants had to be annihilated.

According to just about every story I've read about the giants they were vicious, bloodthirsty, terrifying, ugly killers who often ate their human victims.

Whether or not these giants managed to pass on there genetic material is another question...

Unknown said...

Pre-flood mixed species

Bruce Charlton said...

ESV - I agree that Giants weren't really 'natural forces'. Michell was a Platonist and saw ultimate things in that abstract way; but since I believe that ultimate created-reality consists of Beings, I would need to construct an explanation on that basis. But the main point is that giants were probably a real thing - whatever they were.

Chip said...

They "sound" like the OT Nephilim. Pre-Flood as "Unknown" commented. One reason I suspect there was a number of severe floods in various locales rather than a 100% universal world flood is that remnants of the Nephilim giants still were encountered in foreign tribes after the flood(s).

Hatcher said...

I find the Orthodox treatment of the “Gigantomachy” pretty compelling. A very thorough explication can be listened-to here: