Thing on Thursday #4
At the top of our values poll results was relationship with mythology. This week, let’s dig into that idea.
We are not talking about simple falsehoods here, such as the “myth” that money brings happiness. We’re talking about something deeper. Here are a few famous definitions:
“Myths are things that never happened but always are.”
– Sallustius, 4th cent. A.D. (quoted in Carl Sagan’s Dragons of Eden)
“Myth is a traditional tale with secondary, partial reference to something of collective importance”
– Walter Burkert, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual
“Myths are public dreams; dreams are private myths.”
– Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By
Examples of myths include the stories of Perseus slaying Medusa, Thor fishing up the world-serpent, or Inanna descending to the underworld. They usually feature extraordinary figures, such as gods, spirits, or first people, and often describe a primordial time, or how something came to be.
Karen Armstrong notes myths are “usually inseparable from ritual”, so we may think also of the acts that may or may not accompany myths in your life: rituals, devotions, festivals, meditations, visualizations, and so on.
With this in mind, what are the top three ways mythology functions for you?
Remember, this is about myth in your life. Myths may have served some of these functions at one time without necessarily serving them adequately today or for you.
Please choose your top three.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
About Thing on Thursday
Each week until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday will explore a new controversy. Participation is open to all – the more minds that come together, the better. Those who have been vocal in the comments are as welcome as those quiet-but-devoted readers who have yet to venture a word. We value all constructive opinions.
There are only a few rules:
- be constructive – this is a council, so treat it as such
- be respectful – no rants or flames
Comments will be taken into consideration as we determine the new direction of Humanistic Paganism. This will also greatly shape the vision that unfolds in our upcoming ebook Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism.
So please make your voice heard in the comments!