Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Giant - As A Symbol
(Mythology, Metaphor, and Archetype)

"If I have seen further than others,
it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."

- Isaac Newton

As was mentioned in the article on Devolution, nearly all ancient
texts tell of a Time, in the distant long-ago, when Giants walked
upon the earth and lived among mankind.

The question these texts arouse in us is: Who were these Giants?

To answer this question, it is important for us to understand
what the term "Giant" means in Symbolism, Mythology, and

Even today we have metaphors which refer to Giants, such as:
"He was a giant of a man", "He was a giant among men", and
"He is a giant in his field".

As we can see from these metaphors, the term Giant does not
refer to supernatural physical size, but to greater than normal
talents and abilities.  In other Words, the term Giant, when
used in these contexts, refers to an exceptional person.

Therefore, metaphorically speaking, a Giant is any man or woman
who possesses powers, talents, abilities, creativity, or insights
beyond that of the average and ordinary person.

And as we live in a realm of Duality, the term Giant can be applied
to any person possessing an above-normal trait or aspect which is
either positive or negative. This means that a Giant can be either
a gracious benefactor or an evil monster.

In its negative aspect, the Giant Symbolizes any person who is
feared and loathed by mankind.

In this category of Giants we find the bullies, thugs, hoodlums,
mass murderers and tyrants. We also find forcefully dominating
individuals and factions along with brutal parents who appear as
Giants to a small child.

And as evil will always make itself more visible than good, Giants
have been historically portrayed and associated with evil and
dominating brutes and ogres.

In this category, the Giant is depicted as the oppressive tyrant
who is eventually overthrown by the citizenry...the little folk.
It is also associated with the neighborhood, or schoolyard, bully
who finally meets his, or her, come-uppance by mis-judging the
strength and valor of their adversary.

Ancient texts give us a very graphic description of these kinds
of Giants in the tale of David versus Goliath whereby the brutal
barbarianism of Goliath is slain by the nimble Wisdom of David;
reminding us that humble Wisdom is the slayer of brutish

Giants can also Symbolize the savage elements of nature which
areeventually conquered (albeit temporarily) by mankind, and
civilization, in the never ending battle of humanity (mortals) versus
the elements (immortals).

In its positive aspect, the Giant Symbolizes any person who is
revered and honored by mankind. Some examples are:

The enlightened minds and subtle Genius found in visionaries,
Trailblazers, and those who pursue new Horizons and unimagined
Dreams.  These individuals possess the reasoning, understanding,
fortitude, Awareness, and foresight not found in the average person.

These are the Einsteins, Newtons, Pythagorases, Platos, Socrates,
and Columbuses whose accomplishments are forever emblazoned
upon the eternal pages of history.

The great benefactors such as are Symbolized by the Giant stature
of Saint Christopher carrying the Christ child upon his shoulder.

The Heroes of mythology, legend, folklore, and history who perform
noble deeds, pursue untarnishable Quests, and almost single-
handedly slay the negative essences and evil forces which are
forever attempting to dominate freedom-loving peoples in all parts
of the world, and at all Times of history.

The advanced beings and superior races who occasionally present
themselves to worthy and well qualified individuals in order to nudge
these persons along in their Quest; which also allows society to move
forward. Into this class of enlightened beings fall extra-terrestrials,
Angels, Divine Messengers and Spiritual Guides.

Giants, both positive and negative, have always been, and will
always be, with us. For, as long as we have the schoolyard bullies,
neighborhood thugs, and societal tyrants, we will also have the
far-seeing, creative, imaginative, heroic, and beneficent Giants of
progress, evolution, heroism, and enlightenment to slay the Goliaths
which brutally, but temporarily, stand in the path of Truth, Wisdom,
and Enlightenment.

Comments and Emails: I welcome comments and emails from
people with similar thoughts and feelings. My email address is
located in the upper-left area of this page. Comments can be
posted by using the "Comment" link located below each article.
Also: If you found value in this article please feel free to forward
it to other like-minded individuals, organizations and sites.

Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2011
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Ama Nazra said...

Hello Jospeh,

Great article. I think you inferred these types of giants but you didn't mention them clearly, but since they are a topic I have been discussing on another site .. there are the Nephilim of the bible, created by the breeding of human women with fallen angels. And, interestingly enough, we now have giant skeletons being unearthed by archeologists ... I hope wonders will never cease. :-)

Unknown said...

I searched metaphorical Giants and found this when I searched for it. Before this I've been imagining myself sat on top of a 'metaphorical giant' and use this as a source of inspiration and state of comfort or security so to speak. Thanks for the info 😊👍🏻