#AtoZChallenge: Myths #WritersWednesday

For those of us who were lucky enough, in our childhood, to have parents who could, and were willing, to spend time reading us stories, some of those stories have stayed with us forever: they illuminate our lives, draw a smile at a chance encounter, or a tear, at the sight of a disaster which brings us back to a long forgotten time. Such are myths: as ancient as mankind, the ground for both wisdom, and also terror, and of much wonder.

World Mythology, The Illustrated Guide“Nearly everybody loves a good story. Certainly every child does. Our sense of self – our notion of who we are, and from whence we came, and whither we are going – is defined by the tales we tell. We are, in essence, who we tell ourselves we are.” (Robert Walter, Director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, Foreword to “The Illustrated Guide to World Mythology“.)

What has always fascinated me is the permanence of some of those stories, across time, regions of the world, and cultures. There, I suspect, lies the eternal wisdom of mankind. Often, the rediscovery of that wisdom takes a lot of effort. “Antique texts have presented archeologists with formidable problems of interpretation. Understanding the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt became possible after 1799 with the discovery near Alexandria of the trilingual Rosetta Stone. Without that advance in knowledge, the riches of Tutankhamun, unearthed in 1922, would have lost much of their importance for our understanding of Egyptian thought. Decipherment of the so-called Linear B script in the 1950s gave us access to the myths of the ancient Mycenaean culture of Crete. But the script of the Indus Valley civilisation, in what is now Pakistan and India, still remains undeciphered.” (Introduction to The Illustrated Guide by Dr Roy Willis.)

I have some favourites: the she-wolf who brought up Romulus and Remus the founders of Rome, Artemis, the chaste goddess of the hunt, the Izumo cycle of Japan, Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, the Fenian myths of the Celtic world. And also: the malevolent spirits of the deep forests of central Europe, the shamans of Siberia, the Navajo and Hopis myths – all transmitted through generations by word of mouth – Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent, Eshu the Trickster, the myths of the Maoris, and so many more…

Perhaps this is the secret of good writing: letting the old stories submerge us…

Eshu the Trickster

Image: courtesy Myth Encyclopedia – This carved wood sculpture shows Eshu, the trickster god of the Yoruba people of Nigeria in West Africa.

order and disorder are forever paired, and neither can exist without the other.

Read more: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Dr-Fi/Eshu.html#ixzz3XI4ovAKz

2 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Myths #WritersWednesday

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  1. Oh I cannot agree more with you about the importance of stories for children. It is in fact sad to see how little time is now left in most classrooms for story time. Myths of all stories were also my favorites when I was a kid. I favored them to fairy tales. Myths tell of the origins of human life. They transport us to far away places and they never get out of fashion.

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