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perceval23
January 18th, 2011, 10:51 PM
Expanding on some things from other posts...

Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
Over park, over pale,
Through blood, through fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moone’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I’ll be gone:
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Our modern conception of the Goddess combines two previously separate concepts, the Nature Goddess and the Moon Goddess. They were combined by the Alchemists, symbolizing the Great Work, the Philosopher's Stone, the Union of Opposites, Sol and Luna. The Sacred Marriage of Sol and Luna is from Hermeticism. Added to Luna was the Nature Goddess, the archtype being the Fairy or May Queen. Her union was with the Nature archtype that was the Green Man or the Stag. The Green Man/Stag was combined by the Alchemists with Sol, working nicely into traditions that saw Christ as both Solar deity and Stag.

As such, the Goddess has been with us for a very long time, now, touching our lives, even though we don't recognize her, at first. This is because of how we first encounter her.

It's been said many times that certain concepts and higher truths are best communicated through Myth, stories, poetry, song, dance, and other forms of art. And that is where we first meet the Goddess. Sometimes, she ends the story united with her Sol/Green Man/Stag. Sometimes, she's his spiritual guide on his Journey. Sometimes, she's just doing her own thing on her own Journey.

Here, I'd like us to discuss the Goddess in popular culture. I'll start us off with something that's a major part of most of our childhoods, Disney.

When you're in a shop that carries Disney Princess or Tinkerbell merchandise, watch what young girls do. They make a beeline for it. They've been touched by the Goddess and the Fair Folk, and they're enchanted.

Wait, you may be saying. Yeah, Tink's a fairy, but what do the Princesses have to do with the Goddess?

The Disney Heroine is an Archtype, an aspect of the Goddess: The Child of Nature. She is usually to be found in the woods, Nature her true mother. She has a special, spiritual, connection with the forest and it's animals. She's usually considered a strange girl by the "civilized" folks surrounding her. She often longs for her Sun God/Green Man/Stag, or she just wants "a world of my own" or "adventure in the great white somewhere." It's not good for her to be locked behind stone walls.

The evolution of the Disney Wood Nymph (Or, is she becoming more primal? Notice she stops wearing shoes in the woods by the fourth clip)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQZ6zzLpoNQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjIssqHQJ6o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq3DJABVmgw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VcTCaDGqeM

"But we've met, before." Yes, you meet him every year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjTtQ_p9qNs

Has there ever been a better cinematic depiction of the Meeting With the Goddess than that? There are some that equal it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkV-of_eN2w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXrKX4n-3mM

Now, that's a Stag.

Disney Fairies first appeared prominantly in the first Fantasia, being responsible for the turns of the seasons. We follow them through Spring, then Summer, then Autumn, then Winter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVqvH4PBF00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnQb19yTaL0

Disney's most famous fairy would come years later, in Peter Pan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1rQp_Kfx2I

She'd become more familiar to decades of children than her Green Man due to her hosting The Wonderful World of Disney TV show. This was back in the days before cable and home video, let alone distractions like the Internet and Playstations. You had to watch whatever was on TV, in those days. So, for decades, every Sunday night, kids were glued to this show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JJ9Ei-2C5Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1N7X1W4Qzo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kBBVcgvMZU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4UBhDxG3yc

In recent years, Tink has gotten her own series of features. Bringing things full circle, she has the same job the fairies in Fantasia did...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LLviHPAKNE

It's interesting to see things from an outside perspective. What would another culture notice that we don't? In Japan, there's a strong interest in European Myth, and the stories that are created from it. They aproach these stories from their Mythic perspective.

We learned what the Japanese see in Disney's characters with Kingdom Hearts, a series of video games they produced combining Disney characters with their own Final Fantasy series. The plot of the first game centers on the Princesses of Heart, seven maidens with hearts of pure light. If they are brought together, the Door to Darkness will be opened, and all the power of the Universe will be released. The symbolism is, since it's from a Japanese perspective, more direct. Especially, note the stained glass look of the platforms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL5fQJVMt9k

Disney isn't the only place you've encountered the Goddess/Fairy Queen figure. She's been featured in all sorts of stories you've read and movies you've watched. Many songs have been written for her, and about encounters with her...

perceval23
January 21st, 2011, 05:55 AM
"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."
 
-Madeleine L'Engle


To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said,
"I've a sceptre in hand, I've a crown on my head;
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be,
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me."

Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea --
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!

"O Looking-Glass creatures," quothe Alice, "draw near!
'Tis and honour to see me, a favour to hear:
'Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!"

Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink,
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider, and wool with the wine --
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!

-Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

 
One of the oldest of Myths is the Goddess Descending into the Underworld. Here's a modern Wiccan version...
 
http://www.paganlibrary.com/stories/descent_goddess.php
 
The earliest version of the Myth that we know of is Sumerian, and centers on Inanna, their Goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Her name means Lady of the Sky. Her symbol is an eight pointed star or rosette.
 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Kudurru_Melishipak_Louvre_Sb23_Ishtar-star.jpg
 
The animal associated with her is the lion, and the planet associated with her is Venus. Her consort is the shepherd Dumuzid. During the Vernal Equinox festival, the king would establish his legitimacy by taking on the role of Dumuzid, spending a night in the temple with the High Priestess in the role of Inanna.
 
She descended into the Underworld to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law. However, at the instructions of her sister, Ereshkigal, the dark goddess who ruled the Underworld, Inanna had to remove a piece of clothing or jewelry at each of the seven gates, thus stripping her of her power. By the time she'd passed the seventh gate, she was naked. Ereshkigal took advantage, killing Inanna and hanging her corpse on a hook.
 
For three days she was left hanging there, as tends to happen to deities in that situation. She had, however, left instructions before her journey just in case something like this happened. Her corpse was recovered and removed from the Underworld, and it was sprinkled with the food and water of life, thus reviving her. However, demons followed from the Underworld, demanding someone else take Inanna's place. They took Dumuzid.
 
His sister, Ngeshtin-ana, convinced the demons to allow her to take his place six months of the year. Inanna misses him during those months, so her fertility fades, to be renewed upon their annual reunion. Thus, the turns of the seasons.
 
Lisa Thiel - Song to Inanna
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_b8YpS7uWw
 
The Goddess Descending Myth would have many variations, including Ishtar and Persephone. The Persephone version sees her kidnapped by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Her angushed mother, Demeter, Goddess of Fertility and Grains, searches for her. In her anguish, life comes to a standstill. Hades is forced to return Persephone by Zeus. However, Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranite seeds. If you eat the food of the Underworld, you have to remain there. So, she had to return for the months equating the number of seeds she ate. When Mother and Daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation. When they are apart, it becomes barren and cold once more.
 
The most familiar version of the Goddess Descending in our modern era, however, came in the 19th Century.
 
 
"Oh, how glad I am to get here! And what is this on my head?" she exclaimed in a tone of dismay, as she put her hands up to something very heavy, and fitted tight all around her head.
 
"But how could it have got there without my knowing it?" she said to herself, as she lifted it off, and set it on her lap to make out what it could possibly be.
 
It was a golden crown.
 
-Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
 
The influence of 19th Century fantasy writer and theologan George MacDonald, not only on fantasy literature, but modern Christian and Neo-Pagan thought can't be overstressed. He revived Celtic Christian spirituality with a dose of Alchemical concepts. It was Nature based, centered on groves of trees. The Celtic Christians honored the female nurturing side of God as well as the male creator aspect. Some MacDonald quotes, to give you an idea...

http://www.macdonaldphillips.com/fromtheheart.html
 
Especially important was the concept and Mythology of Fairy and the Celtic Fairyland/Otherworld. A little on that...
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Otherworld
 
MacDonald would be the single biggest influence on J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle, as well as a famous protege. The protege had written a book as a Christmas present for a young girl, based on the Goddess Descending Myth and the Celtic Fairyland/Otherworld, with the girl in the Goddess role. She suggested he publish it, so he went to MacDonald for advice. MacDonald shared the book with his family, who loved it, and agreed it should be published. The protege was Lewis Carroll, and the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll would later write a sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
 
Alice Liddell as the May Queen, photographed by Lewis Carroll
 
http://www.alice-in-wonderland.biz/Alice_Liddell_flowers.jpeg
 
In the first book, Alice enters the Fairyland because of her curiosity. She follows a strange white rabbit to a hole, falls into it, and finds herself in Wonderland. Wonderland is very disorienting, so much so that Alice loses her sense of identity. She remembers she was Alice when she woke up that morning, but isn't sure who she is, now, or who'll she'll be when she returns home. The theme of Death and Resurrection myths and rituals symbolizing it is the old Self must die so the new Self can be born. Alice must discover who she is.
 
Another bit of symbolism is impending puberty, and how disorienting an experience that is.
 


 
'Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
 
`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'
 
`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'
 
`I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.
 
`I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, `for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'
 
`It isn't,' said the Caterpillar.
 
`Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet,' said Alice; `but when you have to turn into a chrysalis--you will some day, you know--and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?'
 
`Not a bit,' said the Caterpillar.
 
`Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,' said Alice; `all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME.'
 
`You!' said the Caterpillar contemptuously. `Who are YOU?'
 
Ultimately, Alice has to grow into a mature, wiser, person, while retaining her child-likeness. The ending of the first book...
 


 
But her sister sat still just as she left her, leaning her head on her hand, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderful Adventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was her dream:--

First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again the tiny hands were clasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up into hers--she could hear the very tones of her voice, and see that queer little toss of her head to keep back the wandering hair that WOULD always get into her eyes--and still as she listened, or seemed to listen, the whole place around her became alive the strange creatures of her little sister's dream.
 
The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by--the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool--she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution--once more the pig-baby was sneezing on the Duchess's knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it--once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard's slate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.
 
So she sat on, with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality--the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds--the rattling teacups would change to tinkling sheep- bells, and the Queen's shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy--and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all thy other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard--while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle's heavy sobs.
 
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
 
This concept comes from MacDonald...
 

THERE IS A CHILDHOOD into which we have to grow, just as there is a childhood which we must leave behind. One is a childishness from which but few of those who are counted wisest among men have freed themselves. The other is a child-likeness, which is the highest gain of humanity.
 
WHEN WE FORGIVE our neighbor, in flows the forgiveness of God's forgiveness to us. For God to withhold his forgiveness from the one who will not forgive his neighbor is love as well as necessity. If God said, "I forgive you," to a man who hated his brother, what would it mean to him? How would the man interpret it? Would it not meant to him, "You may go on hating. I do not mind it. You have had great provocation, and are justified in your hate." No, the hater must be delivered from the hell of his hate, that God's child should be made the loving child that he meant him to be.
 
MANY ARE SO BUSY understanding with their intellects that they miss the better understanding of thought of a thing that they miss the thing itself-whose possession, not its thought, is essential.
 
TO MANY WELL-MEANING PEOPLE with small natures, theology must be like a map-with plenty of lines in it. They cannot trust their house on the high tablelands because they cannot see the outlines bounding the land. It is not small enough for them. They cannot take it in. Such people, one would think, can hardly be satisfied with creation, seeing there is no line of division anywhere in it.
 
WHEN GOD DRAWS LINES, they are pure lines, without breadth and consequently invisible to mortal eyes, not walls of separation such as many Christians are fond of constructing.
 
Carroll expanded on his Fairyland concept in his follow-up to the Alice books, Sylvie and Bruno. One can enter Fairyland in another state, which he describes as "eerie," without losing conciousness of events in the real world. Time can stand still or reverse, and the Fae can appear in our world, as the title characters do.

The first Alice book was set on May 4, Alice's birthday, just after Beltane, and very much embodies Summer. Through the Looking Glass, set exactly six months later, just after Samhain, very much embodies Winter.

Alice returns to the Fairyland she may or may not have created through a mirror. At first, she's an invisible god, trying to help the chess pieces who don't understand what's moving them around. She then tried to communicate with them by taking control of their pencils as they're writing, but that just confuses them more. So, she enters the garden and becomes a part of the game. The novel follows her Journey from Pawn to Queen, having to pass through seven squares along the way, this being a chess game. It reflects the seven gates Inanna had to pass through, as well as the Seven Stages of Alchemical Transformation.

The number 42 recurs throughout the books. In Alchemy, the number represents the Creative aspect of God.

She encounters people from her previous Journey, like the Hatter, the March Hare, and her old adversary, the Queen of Hearts, though they've changed.

In her essay, Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Catherynne M. Valente wrote...



Alice almost immediately encounters the Ereshkigal of Wonderland: the Red Queen. It is this enigmatic woman that Alice pursues across the chessboard with all the fervor of a knight pursuing a maiden. She is the black kitten to Alice’s white kitten, the Jungian shadow-self which must be integrated into the hero in order to create a cohesive whole. No real motivation is given for Alice’s fascination with the Red Queen, for the urgency of her pursuit. None is needed. The hero must seek out his shadow, the life-instinct must seek out the death-instinct, and the self must seek out the other. Gawain is drawn to the Green Knight, Odysseus cannot help but challenge Polyphemus, Arthur must eventually fight Mordred—and Alice must reach the Eighth Square where her Queen waits.

In the grand tradition of medieval ladies, the Red Queen is rather callous and cruel. She is a cold, distant figure, the ideal object of courtly love. The famous line Disney gave to their caricatured Queen of Hearts properly belongs to this Queen: “I don’t know what you mean by your way, said the Queen; all the ways about here belong to me.” Alice must prove herself in order to enter the Red Queen’s company, and the entirety of the subsequent narrative is taken up with Alice’s striving towards this scarlet woman, accomplishing feats in order to become worthy of her.

Along the way, the Tweedle twins dispute Alice's assumption that Wonderland and all in it is her dream. They assert that she, and our world, is the dream of the Red King's. In the Seventh Square, she meets the White Knight, who accompanies her to the threshold that will take her to the Eighth Square. He can take her this far, but not further. He has a large bag, in which she places a serving dish she'd carried from the previous chapter. The White Knight has items that either are or represent things from earlier in the book as well as the first one, like carrots for the White Rabbit, the rattle the Tweedles were fighting over, an empty wine bottle representing the non-existent wine offered by the March Hare, etc. All these things she must leave behind as she takes this final step.



Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been only yesterday -- the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight -- the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her -- the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet -- and the black shadows of the forest behind -- all this she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes, she leant against a green, watching the strange pair, and listening, in a half dream, to the melancholy music of the song.

`But the tune isn't his own invention,' she said to herself: `it's "I give thee all, i can no more."' She stood and listened very attentively, but no tears came into her eyes.

Once she's crossed into the Eighth Square, she becomes a Queen, and is brought into a Feast with the Red and White Queens. Here, chaos breaks out, the White Queen is attacked, and Alice realizes the Red Queen is the cause. Alice turns the Red Queen into a kitten, Checkmating the Red King, and winning the game. She then returns home. But, she's left pondering what the Tweedles told her. Is the Fairyland her dream, or is our world the dream of the Red King?

 
This version of the Goddess Descending has become our greatest modern Myth. The Alice books are the third most quoted works in the English language after Shakspeare and the Bible. So much of our modern culture is influenced by Alice. The books influenced several songs by the Beatles. As John Lennon said...
 

Oh, Lewis Carroll. I always admit to that because I love 'Alice In Wonderland' and 'Alice Through The Looking Glass.' But I didn't even know he'd written anything else. I was that ignorant. I just happened to get those for birthday presents as a child and liked them. and I usually read those two about once a year, because I still like them.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDl0qPfkSRw
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG73Pk1yUj8
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He2EZ6-VOOk
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueBUFUWSXHs
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPAB3VaRmPc
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axb2sHpGwHQ
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsPcGCAgvvE

The cover of The Ballad of John and Yoko

 
http://beatlestrivia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/ballad-of-john-and-yoko-beatles-single01b.jpg
 
The Beatles weren't the only musicians influenced. Here's a sample...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR8LFNUr3vw
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6U9rtFkuuY
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJM7TdshUbw
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TKwoHVKUiM
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft66WCqL4nI
 
Franz Ferdinand and Omnia have made songs just taking passages from the books and setting them to music.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycbOAwO1KpA
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hH2JFSGMiM
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac186kDfHP8
 
The Alice statue in Central Park, New York City
 
http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/monument_pics/manhattan/2/alice_in_wonderland_central_park_manhattan.jpg
 
The stained glass windows at All Saints Church, Daresbury
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/lewis_and_alice.gif
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/alice5.gif
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/alice3.gif
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/alice2.gif
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/alice4.gif
 
http://daresburycofe.org.uk/uploads/assets/images/alice6.gif

Like the original Inanna version, this Myth has had many variations. Some of these have become modern Myth, themselves...

perceval23
January 22nd, 2011, 01:07 AM
Aunt Em once said she thought the fairies must have marked Dorothy at her birth, because she had wandered into strange places and had always been protected by some unseen power. As for Uncle Henry, he thought his little niece merely a dreamer, as her dead mother had been, for he could not quite believe all the curious stories Dorothy told them of the Land of Oz, which she had several times visited. He did not think that she tried to deceive her uncle and aunt, but he imagined that she had dreamed all of those astonishing adventures, and that the dreams had been so real to her that she had come to believe them true.

Whatever the explanation might be, it was certain that Dorothy had been absent from her Kansas home for several long periods, always disappearing unexpectedly, yet always coming back safe and sound, with amazing tales of where she had been and the unusual people she had met. Her uncle and aunt listened to her stories eagerly and in spite of their doubts began to feel that the little girl had gained a lot of experience and wisdom that were unaccountable in this age, when fairies are supposed no longer to exist.
 
-L. Frank Baum, The Emerald City of Oz
 
 
The first major variation of the Alice Myth came in 1900, with the first book in what would be a series, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Like Alice, it began with someone telling a story to entertain a group of children, only to have the children suggest it be published.

If you only know the Land of Oz and Dorothy Gale from the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland, then you don't know Dorothy or Oz. MGM took a lot of liberties. For one, combining two separate characters in the book, the Witch of the North and Glinda, created a major plot hole regarding the slippers. The Wicked Witches of the East and West weren't sisters, but rivals and sometimes uneasy allies. The biggest change was in the character of Dorothy, herself. In the books, she's not the helpless, crying, wimp MGM made her into. In the books, Dorothy is smart, brave, compassionate, and very resourceful. Since she doesn't have the brawn of the traditional Hero, she relies on her considerable wits. She's unfazed by all the strangeness she encounters, taking a pragmatic view of her situations. Baum's idea was to tell girls that they didn't have to be just the Damsel in Distress or the Hero's Love Interest, that they could be the Hero. It was a pretty radical concept in 1900, and, it seems, still too radical a concept for MGM in 1939.
 
Dorothy also has a bit of a temper. MGM!Dorothy would have gotten on Book!Dorothy's last nerve, very quickly.
 
Another huge change MGM made: In the books, it isn't a dream.
 
The Alice versions of the Goddess Descending Myth have their own archtypes associated with them. The central figure is the Strange Girl.
 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrangeGirl
 
The main story is Down the Rabbit Hole.
 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DownTheRabbitHole
 
The Goddess figure in these stories has to face, like their counterparts Inanna and Persephone, a Dark Goddess or Lord of the Underworld figure. Dorothy, over the course of the Oz books, faces both. But, the Dark Goddess and Lord of the Underworld discover they've bitten off more than they can chew with this Inanna/Persephone. After they've captured her, she winds up trouncing them.
 
It's been said that, when a then contemporary story was set in the American prairies and Old West, you could tell if the writer had actually been there by how they depicted it. If they portrayed it as idealized and romantic, they'd never been. Baum had been there, as we see in the book's opening. The first paragraphs establish just how bleak a place Dorothy is in, and how out of place this strange girl is.
 



Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar--except a small hole dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.


When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as everything else.


When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober gray; they had taken the red from her cheeks and lips, and they were gray also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child's laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy's merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.


Uncle Henry never laughed. He worked hard from morning till night and did not know what joy was. He was gray also, from his long beard to his rough boots, and he looked stern and solemn, and rarely spoke.
 
 
You'll notice how often the word "gray" is used, here. Colors associated with locations will be significant.
 
A tornado comes and sweeps the house, with Dorothy and her dog Toto in it, away. They land in a strange place, full of very nice little people. Oh, and it seems they landed on someone, killing them. The little people are actually pleased by this, as the person crushed was the tyranical Wicked Witch of the East. The Good Witch of the North arrives, dressed in white and purple, and explains things.
 


"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.
 
"Oh, no, that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have killed one of them, there is but one Wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz--the one who lives in the West."
 
"But," said Dorothy, after a moment's thought, "Aunt Em has told me that the witches were all dead--years and years ago."
 
"Who is Aunt Em?" inquired the little old woman.
 
"She is my aunt who lives in Kansas, where I came from."
 
The Witch of the North seemed to think for a time, with her head bowed and her eyes upon the ground. Then she looked up and said, "I do not know where Kansas is, for I have never heard that country mentioned before. But tell me, is it a civilized country?"
 
"Oh, yes," replied Dorothy.
 
"Then that accounts for it. In the civilized countries I believe there are no witches left, nor wizards, nor sorceresses, nor magicians. But, you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. Therefore we still have witches and wizards amongst us."
 
The Witches of the North and South are each archtypes, the Witch of the North being the Wise Woman, and Glinda the Good of the South being the Fairy Queen. In the Oz books, "Witch" is a title and position. There are plenty of magic users in Oz, but a Witch has specific duties. In Oz, Witches wear white, and only they do. Their clothing is white with the color of whatever region they represent. The East's color is blue, the North's purple, the West's yellow, and the South's red.
 
Dorothy's clothes have been damaged by the tornado, so she's given the Wicked Witch of the West's silver slippers, and goes into the house to change into another dress. She chooses the familiar blue and white one, and tries the slippers on, which magically adjust to fit her. When she re-emerges, she learns that she has, quite unknowingly, taken on the title and responsibilities of the Witch of the East, wearing the colors and the powerful magical silver shoes.
 
Oops. Well, that's what happens when you're a Child of Destiny, as everyone in Oz now recognizes her to be. The name "Dorothy" means "Gift of the Gods," and "Gale" how she arrived. What that Destiny is is clear. She's set events into motion. As evil as she was, the previous Witch of the East was part of what was keeping the ambitious and power hungry Witch of the West in check. The Wicked Witch of the West has enslaved and despoiled her territory, and seeks to do the same to the rest of Oz. She has a lot of power and resources, but lacks that final thing: The silver slippers. The Witch of the North doesn't know what the slippers do, just that they are very powerful, and the Witch of the West will stop at nothing to gain them.
 
Dorothy wants to return home, but Oz is surrounded by the Deadly Desert, which turns any who touch it into sand. The Witch of the North consults a magical slate she has, which says to send Dorothy to the Emerald City. But first, she gives Dorothy something.




"Won't you go with me?" pleaded the girl, who had begun to look upon the little old woman as her only friend.


"No, I cannot do that," she replied, "but I will give you my kiss, and no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North."

She came close to Dorothy and kissed her gently on the forehead. Where her lips touched the girl they left a round, shining mark, as Dorothy found out soon after.

 
On her journey to the Emerald City, she gains companions, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Lion. They each represent things Dorothy will have to cultivate to complete her Quest: Wisdom, compassion, and courage. But, the trip to the Emerald City is not without danger. Valente writes, in the essay quoted earlier...
 

Like Persephone, Dorothy is inextricably tied to the land, even if that land is infertile and spent. She will always return to Kansas, and always return to Oz. She shuttles between the two with all the regularity of the Corn Maiden. Indeed, it is perhaps her attachment to Kansas that marks her out as a hero in the Campbellian sense: "The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life. Why re-enter such a world?"
 
Yet, despite that attachment, and unlike her sister Alice, Dorothy is not at all shy about eating the food of her strange new surroundings, the food, that is to say, of the dead. Once the food from her own house’s larder runs out, she happily eats the fruit she finds in roadside orchards—and perhaps this is an underlying cause of Dorothy’s continual journeys between the two worlds. By the time she reaches the field of poppies, she is subsisting on nothing but the food of Oz.

The poppies themselves are reminiscent of the threatening flowers Alice first encounters—both heroines tread on the distant cousins of the asphodels of Hades. However, Dorothy’s flowers, as the source of opiates, are an even darker menace. The link between the magical sleep they affect and death is made quite clear: if Dorothy does not wake up, she will die. In the film, this is the work of the Witch, but in the novel, the poppies are simply the natural flora of the area around the Emerald City. Dorothy, unlike Alice, does symbolically die, falling under the spell of the scarlet flowers and waking only after she is dragged from the field by the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow, as they do not breathe. Interestingly, Dorothy only wakes once the kingdom of the field mice have been assembled to rescue the still-slumbering lion, so that she loses consciousness surrounded by symbolic asphodel, and wakes overcome by mice, the symbol of the sun-god Apollo, brought back into the land of the living by her allegorical half-brother.

In the Emerald City, she's given her task by the Wizard of Oz that was pretty much inevitable from the moment she arrived in Oz: Destroy the Wicked Witch of the West. Before she and her companions leave the Emerald City, she has changed into a dress of pure white. The West, they discover, is a desolate land after years of the Witch of the West's domination. The Dark Goddess figure of this Goddess Descending Myth embodies many social ills, such as greed, slavery, tyranny, and animal cruelty.

The Witch of the West sees them coming, as she has a telescopic eye. She sends three armies after them, one of crows, one of wolves, and one of bees, all of which are destroyed by Dorothy's companions. The Wicked Witch then sends an army of her Winkie slaves, but they turn and run when the Lion roars at them. The Winkies have no love or loyalty to their cruel Mistress, and aren't going to put their lives on the line for her. The Winkies aren't a different race than the Munchkins like the MGM film makes then, BTW. They're the same little people. They're just called whatever they are based on where they live, like New Yorkers and Californians.

The Wicked Witch is down to her last resort, her Golden Cap, which summons the Winged Monkeys. She can only call on them three times. The first time she used them was to gain control of the West. The second time was in a failed attempt to take the Emerald City, thwarted by the Wizard. The Monkeys tear apart the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman, leaving their pieces in the woods, and bring Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion. The Wicked Witch sees the mark on Dorothy's forehead and realizes she dare not harm Dorothy... directly. But, she thinks, "I can still make her my slave, for she does not know how to use her power." She sees Dorothy's innocence as a weakness. So, she makes Dorothy a slave, and locks the Lion in a cage and starves him, hoping to break him.
 

Wih Dorothy hard at work, the Witch thought she would go into the courtyard and harness the Cowardly Lion like a horse; it would amuse her, she was sure, to make him draw her chariot whenever she wished to go to drive. But as she opened the gate the Lion gave a loud roar and bounded at her so fiercely that the Witch was afraid, and ran out and shut the gate again.
 
"If I cannot harness you," said the Witch to the Lion, speaking through the bars of the gate, "I can starve you. You shall have nothing to eat until you do as I wish."

So after that she took no food to the imprisoned Lion; but every day she came to the gate at noon and asked, "Are you ready to be harnessed like a horse?"
 
And the Lion would answer, "No. If you come in this yard, I will bite you."
 
Dorothy's companions are lost to her. They were able to take her this far, but, locked in the Wicked Witch's castle, she must face her adversary, alone.
 
Dorothy discovers things about the Wicked Witch during her captivity. For one thing, the Witch of the West isn't all-powerful. Everything she has gained through her use of the darkest magics has come at a price. Her telescopic eye allows her to see over vast distances, but she has almost no night vision, thus allowing Dorothy to roam the castle as she will at night, and bring food to the Lion. The Winkies, hating the Wicked Witch, don't interfere with Dorothy's nocturnal activites, nor do they report them. The Wicked Witch has also used up almost all her resources in her attempt to gain the silver slippers. Her fearsome armies are now destroyed, and she can no longer summon the Winged Monkeys. Dorothy notes that the Wicked Witch avoids water. She doesn't bleed, as Dorothy discovered when Toto bit her after the Witch had struck him. She has no bodily fluids. Her abuse of the darkest magics in her selfish quest for power for it's own sake has taken it's toll, and the dark magic is now all that's holding her together.
 
The only times Dorothy would remove the slippers was when she was asleep or bathing. The Wicked Witch couldn't take advantage of either of these times, due to her issues with darkness and water. So, she made a bar invisible and placed it where Dorothy would walk, causing her to trip, with one of the slippers faling loose, snatched up by the Wicked Witch. Dorothy throws a nearby bucket of water on the Witch, knowing the Witch's fear of it, but doesn't guess it will be deadly. It melts the Wicked Witch, to Dorothy's horror. She didn't want to kill the woman, even though she was destined to do so. As she's melting, the Wicked Witch of the West tells Dorothy the castle is hers, now.
 
Dorothy is now the Witch of both the East and West.
 
Dorothy immediately frees the Lion, and the Winkies. Then, she needs to help the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman. The Winkies are only too happy to help, and the companions are recovered and restored. The four are given the Golden Cap and return to the Emerald City. There, they discover the Wizard isn't a true wizard at all.
 
He'd actually crashed there in a balloon. He was an illusionist, and had landed right in the middle of a civil war. He used his skills at trickery to convince the Wicked Witches of the East and West that he had power enough to keep them out of the Emerald City, and this bluff had been what had kept them at bay. Now, he could return home (having repaired his balloon in the meantime) and was going to take Dorothy back to our world with him. Unfortuately, as the balloon was taking off, Toto got loose, Dorothy retrieved him, and the Wizard couldn't bring the balloon back down.
 
Someone suggested they seek out Glinda the Good, the powerful Witch that lived in the South. It would be a difficult journey to reach her, leading to more adventures, where the group was able to put in practice everything they'd learned from the previous journey. Dorothy did have to summon the Winged Monkeys, though, and learned of how they became enchanted and enslaved to the Golden Cap. Dorothy decided she needed to find a way to release them from it.
 
Glinda provides that, as well as explaining how the slippers can take Dorothy home. Dorothy is happily reunited with her Aunt and Uncle, who'd thought they'd lost her. But, as we learn in subsequent books, Dorothy cannot stay there. Oz keeps calling her back. She comes to see it as her true home.
 
The original edition of the first book, reprinted with the original coloring in The Annotated Wizard of Oz, begins each chapter with the first sentences in the color of wherever Dorothy happens to be. The colors of her Journey follow the turn of the seasons, starting with Kansas gray, representing Winter; East blue, representing Spring; Emerald City Green, representing Summer; West yellow and South red, representing Autumn; and finally back to Kansas gray, and Winter.
 
But again, Dorothy had to return to Oz. On her next trip, she meets her soulmate, the young Queen Ozma, and is abducted by the resident Lord of the Underworld, the Nome King. However, she has brought with her a hen, which the Nome King fears. Why would a Lord of the Underworld fear a hen? Well, he represents Death, and what do hens do? They lay eggs, symbols of renewed Life. Thus, Dorothy is able to overcome the Nome King and renew the Land.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaTGNIsEXGY
 
Ozma makes Dorothy a Princess, and wants her to stay. But, Dorothy can't abandon her Aunt and Uncle. To be able to enter the Fairyland of Oz, one must be "as a child," again going back to MacDonald, as all these variations of the Goddess Descent Myth do. The goal is to become mature and wise, while retaining your child-likeness, your ability to truly feel the magic of the world, and your idealism.
 
Mythology is more than just entertaining stories. The purpose of Myth is to guide and inspire us, to show us how to be better, wiser, people.
 
Em and Henry become less hardened in their views, after Dorothy has repeatedly disappeared and returned, with an Otherworldly wisdom. Eventually, after a Leap of Faith brought on by a crisis, they are able to see, and enter, Oz. Thus, Dorothy is able to bring them and her beloved animals with her, and take her place as Ozma's companion and Champion.
 
Like Alice, that it's a variation of, Dorothy's story has become a modern Myth in it's own right. It's influence is huge. George Lucus drew heavily on it, and said that Leia's bun hairstyle in Star Wars was inspired by the poppies in Ozma's hair.
 
Dorothy and Ozma... Oh, Dorothy's a blonde in the books.
 
http://www.ozzywiz.com/images/Ozma_of_oz.jpg
 

Another thing we see that we saw with Alice is Moon Goddess symbolism. The animal most associated with the moon and Moon Goddesses is the Hare or Rabbit. Alice first enters Wonderland chasing the White Rabbit. Dorothy befriends a whole town of them (a town that is, naturally, part of Glinda's dominion, our resident Fairy Queen figure).

http://www.halcyon.com/piglet/bk04cov.gif

Oz fan Tim Burton based the two leads of A Nightmare Before Christmas on two characters from the books, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Patchwork Girl.
 
It's biggest influence has been on subsequent variations of Alice, which draw from it as much as they do the original. It's become a major part of the larger modern Myth...
 
 

perceval23
January 23rd, 2011, 06:27 AM
Fairy stories are not, in normal English usage, stories about fairies or elves, but about Fairy, that is Faerie, the realm or state in which fairies have their being. Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons: it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky, and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree, and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted.

- J. R. R. Tolkien
 
The term Green Man is actually fairly recent, coined in 1939 to describe carvings on many churches depicting the face of a man surrounded by leaves or other vegetation, with the vegetation often being a part of the man.
 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Green_Man_carving.jpg
 
This particular archtype has been connected to many deities, such as Odin and Christ. It's connected to figures from Myth and Folklore such as John Barleycorn, Robin Goodfellow, Puck, the Green Knight, Green George, Cernunnos, Silvanus, even Robin Hood and Father Christmas. He represents rebirth, the cycle of growth each Spring.
 
The 16th Century gave us Jack in the Green, who became a part of Beltane celebrations. He eventually developed into a Trickster and the consort of the May Queen.
 
The archtype is also connected to Tammuz, the Babylonian God of Vegetation. Tammuz is the Babylonian version of Dumuzid. He's the consort of Ishtar, the Babylonian name for Inanna, the original Goddess Descending into the Underworld.
 
So, it was inevitable, when the modern version of the Myth, Alice, started having variations, that this figure would eventually be brought together with her Green Man. This being the Celtic Fairyland/Otherworld, though, he was going to be more Jack in the Green than Tammuz. The year was 1904...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCH8xULFigg
 
 
J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy began, like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as verbal stories told to entertain a specific group of children. It became a play, and then a novel. Tolkien's Middle Earth stories also started this way. That's four classic literary Fairylands. Something's lost today, I think, with the way parents just put their kids in front of the TV and their video games.
 
 
Wendy Darling is a girl who tells stories to her brothers. Peter Pan, a boy who had been lost by his parents and brought by the pixie Tinkerbell to the Otherworld of Neverland, has secretly been listening to her stories at the window. Wendy is at a crossroads. She's told by her stern father that she needs to grow up and put aside these childish things. Peter, though, wants to bring her to his world, and tell her stories to the Lost Boys, other boys who wound up in Neverland. She agrees to go with him, but insists on bringing her brothers along, while their parents are at a society party, Mr. Darling thinking appearances and the social ladder are the most important things.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7Vfwh22W1Y
 
Tinkerbell, in love with Peter, is very jealous over his affection for Wendy, and tries to harm her. Peter casts Tinkerbell out.
 
Many adventures are had, as they battle pirates led by Captain James Hook. Here, the Lord of the Underworld is a Dark Father figure. Traditionally, in plays and films, the same actor portrays Captain Hook and Mr. Darling. Back in our world, the Darling parents are distraught. Mrs. Darling remains in the nursery keeping the window open, desperately hoping the children will return the same way they left. Mr. Darling realizes what's truly important. Now, he just wants his children back.
 
Time is something all the main characters are trying to escape. Peter refuses to grow up, Wendy is having to deal with the same question, while Hook is relentlessly pursued by a crocodile who'd swallowed a clock that's always loudly ticking. This reflects the situation the Mad Hatter found himself in in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
 



Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'

`If you knew Time as well as I do,' said the Hatter, `you wouldn't talk about wasting IT. It's HIM.'

`I don't know what you mean,' said Alice.

`Of course you don't!' the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!'

`Perhaps not,' Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.'

`Ah! that accounts for it,' said the Hatter. `He won't stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!'

(`I only wish it was,' the March Hare said to itself in a whisper.)

`That would be grand, certainly,' said Alice thoughtfully: `but then--I shouldn't be hungry for it, you know.'

`Not at first, perhaps,' said the Hatter: `but you could keep it to half-past one as long as you liked.'

`Is that the way YOU manage?' Alice asked.

The Hatter shook his head mournfully. `Not I!' he replied. `We quarrelled last March--just before HE went mad, you know--' (pointing with his tea spoon at the March Hare,) `--it was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at!"

You know the song, perhaps?'

`I've heard something like it,' said Alice.

`It goes on, you know,' the Hatter continued, `in this way:--

"Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle--"'

Here the Dormouse shook itself, and began singing in its sleep `Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle--' and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop.

`Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse,' said the Hatter, `when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, "He's murdering the time! Off with his head!"'

`How dreadfully savage!' exclaimed Alice.

`And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, `he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now.'

A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked.

`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.'

`Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice.

`Exactly so,' said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.'

`But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask.
 
Other stirrings are complicating the situation...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RexSlaSnFrk
 
 
Peter wants Wendy to stay with him in Neverland, forever. She realizes, though, she must return home, and grow up, as heartbreaking for them both this will be. 
 
Hook captures Wendy, her brothers, and the Lost Boys, while laying a trap for Peter, a poison, distilled from his own tears, "a mixture of malice, jealousy, and disappointment." Tinkerbell rushes in and sacrifices herself by drinking the poison, instead. Peter collapses in grief, and Summer in Neverland turns into a harsh, bleak, Winter.
 
Peter, refusing to give her up, calls on the world's belief to resurrect Tinkerbell.
 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFnul4k5hUM
 
 
Spring returns, and Peter and Tink fly to the rescue. The crocodile finally catches up with Hook, and Wendy and the rest return home, bringing the Lost Boys with them. Peter and Tinkerbell, though, return to Neverland.
 
While Wendy will grow up, she will retain her child-likeness. Neverland will always be a part of her, and, in time, she will share it with her children, who will, in turn, share it with theirs. Her father, too, has been transformed, having rediscovered what he didn't know he'd lost.
 
At Oxford, Lewis Carroll created a Myth, which was expanded on by L. Frank Baum and J. M. Barrie. In a few decades, two friends at Oxford would conclude that our modern culture needed it's Myths as much as the ancient ones did. So, they set out to create new ones, using the archtypes and symbols of the old, to serve for our culture what the ancient Myths did for theirs...

Circe3
January 23rd, 2011, 08:35 AM
It is interesting. I have never before thought of aspects of the Goddess being in popular culture. Having it described in that way I can see certain characters having those aspects but I wouldn't say the original disney princesses remind me of any way of the goddess. I see the goddess as strong, self-sufficient, knowing when to ask for help when necessary but not in any way as needy as most them. Although I could see newer princesses having more goddess aspects.

Alice in Wonderland is a great book and movie but I have to honestly say I have never given it that much thought after I passed ten years old. Back then I just figured it dealt with portals to other dimensions and fairy worlds. Your ideas make much more sense but then they seem very well researched. I have to say that even though it did go over my head to look at myths in modern culture that it doesn't suprise me that older ideas would be modernized.

perceval23
January 23rd, 2011, 05:12 PM
It is interesting. I have never before thought of aspects of the Goddess being in popular culture. Having it described in that way I can see certain characters having those aspects but I wouldn't say the original disney princesses remind me of any way of the goddess. I see the goddess as strong, self-sufficient, knowing when to ask for help when necessary but not in any way as needy as most them. Although I could see newer princesses having more goddess aspects.

Persephone was pretty passive, too, when you get down to it. Even Inanna/Ishtar needed to be rescued.

Until writers like MacDonald and Carroll wrote original stories, fairy tales were old folk tales passed orally from generation to generation. That's why there are so many versions of them. It's also important to note, as with any Myth or Folklore, that they would have to reflect the times and culture they were told in.

That said, the Brothers Grimm, who collected many fairy tales, thought that most if not all had pre-Christian ritualistic roots. You'll note the Death and Resurrection theme of both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. This both represents Nature's cycles and Initiation rituals.

Then, there's Snow White's physical description: "Skin as white as snow, lips as red as as blood, hair as black as ebony." White represents innocence, red represents livelihood and maturity, and black death. She goes through all of this through her Journey, leading to her rebirth and her union with her Sol/Stag/Green Man. The Prince in these stories isn't even really a fully fleshed out character. He exists to serve and be the Consort of the Heroine. But then, that's Tammuz's and Jack in the Green's job, too, really.

By the 1990s, the folks at Disney were being more direct about things, having been (They've acknowledged this) using Joseph Campbell's structures on Myth to craft their stories. Walt was aware of the archtypes he was using, though. In one case, he added Mythic archtypes to a film adaptation that weren't there in the books. He took a minor character and expanded him into a Jack in the Green figure for the character he depicted as the May Queen. We'll be getting into that one in a bit, when we explore the Fairy Queen/May Queen aspect.


Alice in Wonderland is a great book and movie but I have to honestly say I have never given it that much thought after I passed ten years old. Back then I just figured it dealt with portals to other dimensions and fairy worlds. Your ideas make much more sense but then they seem very well researched. I have to say that even though it did go over my head to look at myths in modern culture that it doesn't suprise me that older ideas would be modernized.

The Alice books are the most complex "children's books" ever written. They're so layered that, as many scholars have noted, they're almost different books every time you re-read them. Something new jumps out at you, every time.

Every generation embraces, and finds inspiration in, Alice, no matter how different these generations may seem, such as the Psychedelic movement of the 1960s and the Goth movement of more recent years. Such is the power of Faerie. And, that's what Myth should do.

perceval23
January 25th, 2011, 03:18 AM
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

-C. S. Lewis


 
Starting in the early 1930s, and for almost twenty years, a literary group of friends at Oxford met at a pub called the Eagle and Child. They were called the Inklings.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Birdandbaby.jpg
 
The two most famous writers to emerge from this group were J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. A favorite subject was Tolkien's concept of mythopoeia, the creation of Myth. Tolkien and Lewis were especially influenced by George MacDonald (Lewis said he never wrote a book that didn't quote MacDonald at some point), and understood the importance of Myth in the healthy function of a culture. Myths are more than just stories. They're guides on our Paths. They illustrate higher Truths. Their archtypes and symbols represent many things. They show us how to become wiser, mature, people.
 
The old Myths were very much a part of the day to day lives of the ancient cultures. Unfortunately, in the modern world, we have difficulty relating to the old Myths that Tolkien and Lewis so loved, as we don't live in those ancient cultures. So, they decided to do intentioanlly what MacDonald and Carroll had done without meaning to, create new Myths, using the archtypes and symbols of the old, that would serve for our culture what the ancient Myths did for theirs.
 
They drew heavily on the concept of Faerie, like MacDonald and Carroll at Oxford before them. The woods near Oxford seem a good place to be enchanted by the Fae.
 
Tolkien, starting with The Hobbit, wrote his Middle Earth books. Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which he would go on to expand into The Chronicles of Narnia.
 
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the next major variation of the Alice version of the Goddess Descending Myth. The Alice figure here is Lucy Pevensie. During the air raids of London during World War II, Lucy and her older siblings, Peter, Susan, and Edmund, have been relocated to the large country house of the mysterious Professor Kirke. During a game of Hide and Seek, Lucy finds a wardrobe.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMYU5vSaal8
 
She hides there, and while backing further and further up, discovers she's in a forest in Winter. She encounters and befriends a fawn, Mr. Tumnus. He warns her of the Ereshkigal of Narnia, Jadis, who has brought eternal Winter to the land. Jadis wants any young humans who enter Narnia brought to her, but Tumnus has decided not to do that, and sends her home. She, and her siblings, wind up back there, anyway. First Edmund goes, encountering Jadis, who makes an offer to him.
 
It seems there is a prophesy in which Jadis's power will be broken by two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve, who are to fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel. They are told the Great Lion Aslan, the Lord of the Forest, is on the move, and they set out to join him. Along the way, Edmund is separated, but the other three are given magical weapons by Father Christmas, as well as a healing elixer to Lucy. Father Christmas hasn't been in Narnia since Winter became eternal. His arrival signals renewal is to come.
 
The ice begins to melt, and the trees begin to bloom, awakening the Dryads, the Nature spirits that Lucy discovers she has a special affinity with. They meet with Aslan and his army, and prepare for the coming battle. However, Jadis arrives, announcing she's going to execute Edmund. Aslan offers to be killed in his place, and Jadis accepts. He is bound to an ancient stone, and ritually executed.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0u90NYqTCk
 
Lucy and Susan are there until the next morning, when Aslan is ressurected, due to "deeper magic from before the dawn of time" allowing someone who has willingly sacrificed themselves for another to return to life.
 
Like Tolkien's Gandalf, Aslan is a Christ figure, but also many other things, drawing on many Solar and Nature deities (But then, so did Christ). He's freed from his bonds by the field mice, sacred to the Sun God Apollo. As we recall from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it was the field mice that rescued the Lion and who Dorothy woke up to during their symbolic Deaths and Resurrections. And, as we recall, Inanna's sacred animal is the Lion. So, Lucy is naturally the closest of the Pevensies to Aslan.
 
The final battle sees Jadis defeated and the Pevensies taking the thrones.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIZ43JzIdDM
 
For years, they reign. But, while hunting the White Stag, they find themselves back through the wardrobe and home, at exactly the same time that they left, and exactly the same ages they were when they first entered Narnia. The White Stag, as those familar with the Myths that Lewis drew from recognize, is another form of Aslan.
 
Some songs from the movie soundtrack... Imogen Heap - Can't Take It In
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2o13iEZPw
 
Alanis Morrisette - Wunderkind. This song is about Lucy, but the lyrics apply just as much to Queen Alice's and Princess Dorothy's Journeys. It's pretty much this version of the Goddess Descending Myth put into song.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGS_5mGfkfg
 
Tim Finn - Winter Light
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDDtJv5iU4o
 
In Narnia, 1300 years pass, and the time comes when they're needed, again. In Prince Caspian, the title character, the rightful heir to the throne, has had it usurped by his uncle. He finds Susan's horn, and summons the Kings and Queens of old. Unfortunately, both the BBC and Walden film adaptations cut the Bacchus sequence, in the BBC's case to avoid controversy, in Walden's case because it wasn't action oriented enough. What the BBC found too controversial is something that confuses many about The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and the Alice books. How are these books by Christian writers Christian? Well, it's not a take on Christianity that's common, but draws heavily on MacDonald, very Celtic, spiritually and Mythically, and drawing from Alchemical traditions. Bacchus, here, is the Green Man archtype.
 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/PrinceCaspian%281stEd%29.jpg
 
By cutting out Bacchus, though, the BBC and Walden missed the entire point of the story. It wasn't just about removing a tyrant. What Miraz has done is worse than that. An overview of the Bacchus sequence, for those who haven't read the books.
 
http://stefanie-bean.livejournal.com/124313.html
 
The MacDonald influence is also why our Goddess figure is a child or teen. God's nature, in this theology, is child-like, so Alice, Dorothy, Wendy, and Lucy are closest to God. So, they are the ones who must lead us into Fairyland.
 
God's nature being child-like was illustrated in Kevin Smith's film Dogma.
 
In that film, Metatron, the Voice of God, appears to Bethany Sloane, a young woman who's lost her faith in God to to infertility and the divorce that resulted from it. Two fallen angels seek to force their way back into Heaven, though if they succeed, the results would be Apocalyptic. God is currently unable to prevent it, due to a love of playing skee ball. God sometimes enters people to indulge in this bit of fun. Unfortunately, the man that was entered was beaten by thugs into a coma, and is being kept alive by machines, thus keeping God trapped.
 
Aiding Bethany in her Quest is a Muse, the previously unknown 13th Apostle, and two Prophets, Jay and Silent Bob (recurring characters in Smith's films). The climax... Warning: Some very foul language. It's Jay, after all. And, Alanis Morrisette, again...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwZ_gh1k3YA
 
The Waterboys are heavily influenced by George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis, especially on the This is the Sea album. "The Whole of the Moon" is, in part, about Lewis.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu7AR0-FRro
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyDnvT27rus
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hztAzxNdL8c
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnU3Isc00yc
 
 
The Goddess figure in these stories reflects our modern times. She chooses her actions. Note that, rather than the actions of the distraught Demeter figure, Aunt Em or Mrs. Darling, or the Zeus figure, Uncle Henry or Mr. Darling, bringing their daughters home, it's Dorothy and Wendy that make that choice.
 
The next major variation of the Alice version of the Goddess Descending Myth would draw on a Scottish version of Fairy lore...
 
 

sparrowspirit
January 25th, 2011, 04:12 PM
I find this all so fascinating and would LOVE to know more!! keep it coming :)

perceval23
January 26th, 2011, 06:01 AM
"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

-C. S. Lewis

In Scotland, it was said that there was a great dispute among the Fae, that led them to divide themselves into two warring Courts. The Seelie Court was benevolent towards mortals. The Unseelie Court was hostile. While helpful to mortals, it was still best never to offend the Seelie Court. The Unseelie Court, however, didn't need to be offended to harm you. In the seasonal turns, the Seelie Court is identified with Summer, the Unseelie Court with Winter.
 
Each Court has it's own Fairy creatures. The Seelie Court has Pixies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Selkies, and Leprechauns. The Seelie Court has a fondness for pranks and practical jokes, and often play them on mortals. They never take it too far, though. The Seelie will help humans, and sometimes seek help from them. The most famous Pixie is, of course, Tinkerbell. The most famous Hobgoblin is Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Brownies have been the subject of much Folklore, including the fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker. They're the basis for the House Elves in Harry Potter. The junior version of Girl Scouts is named for them, and they are even the mascot of Cleveland's Professional Football team.
 
http://www.clevelandseniors.com/images/cleveland/browns-mascot.jpg
 
The Fairy Godmothers of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc, are of the Seelie Court. One generally sees the Seelie Court at Twilight.
 
The Unseelie Court Fae are known to attack travelers at night, and kidnap children. Creatures of the Unseelie Court include Goblins, Boggarts, and Redcaps.
 
In 1986 came another variation of the Alice version of the Goddess Descending Myth, that would put the ruler of the Unseelie Court in the Lord of the Underworld role (which makes sense, since it's the Fairylands these girls are always entering); Jim Henson's Labyrinth.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT_xpFZe20A
 
It begins with 15 year old Sarah Williams rehearsing a book in a park. She can never quite remember one line, much to her frustration. She also doesn't notice an owl observing her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwgm1L8tFlI

When a bell rings, she realizes she's lost track of the time. She rushes home, as she's supposed to watch her baby brother Toby while her father and stepmother go out for the evening. After an argument with her stepmother, they leave. As Sarah is looking at a photo album containing pictures of her actress mother, she notices her favorite teddy bear is missing, only to discover it in Toby's crib. She snaps at Toby, causing him to cry. To get him to stop crying, she begins telling him the story she was rehearsing, earlier. As we see from her bookshelf, she has a lot of books, including Alice and The Wizard of Oz. This will become significant, later on.
 
The story she begins telling Toby is about a maiden, with whom the Goblin King had fallen in love, and given special powers. In the story, the girl can no longer stand the cries of her baby brother, and wishes the Goblin King would come take the child, who he would turn into a goblin. Toby keeps bawling, though, so she finally puts him back in the crib, turns off the light as she leaves the room, and says she wishes the Goblin King would take him away, right now.
 
She notices Toby has stopped crying. Worried, she rushes back into the room to discover he's missing. The owl from earlier flies in, and transforms into Jareth, the Goblin King, who tells her he's done as she wished. She begs him to return Toby. Jareth tells her that if she can solve his great maze, the Labyrinth, within thirteen hours, Toby will be returned to her. If she fails, he'll keep Toby forever and turn him into a goblin.
 
The Labyrinth isn't easily solved, as nothing is as it looks, there. It's also filled with all manner of puzzles she must solve, and other dangers. She does have the advantage, from those books on her bookshelf, of knowing she's playing out a Mythic cycle. Unfortunately, that old method of marking your path in a labyrinth doesn't work, here. The Alice Myth has become meta-narrative.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqmocK-L1ik
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQUeK7nYxBQ
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU_6l1kwu7Y
 
Like Dorothy, along the way she's gained companions; Hoggle, a grouchy dwarf; Ludo, a gentle giant beast that can summon rocks; and Sir Didymus, a chilvarous fox knight. And, of course, she's learning maturity and other life lessons along the way.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekZiFrMUyiY
 
Sarah is tricked into eating poisoned fruit, drugging her. While in this state, Jareth enchants her. Toby isn't who he's really after.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR4uZjP0tbI
 
After breaking free of the enchantment, Sarah and her companions raid the Goblin City, then storm the castle. Again, knowing what Myth she's acting out, Sarah tells her companions that she must face Jareth alone. When they ask why, she answers "Because that's how it's done." She must take a very literal Leap of Faith. Then, she must finally not only remember that line she was rehearsing, but truly understand it.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQaNfeBooH4
 
And we see how much the Goddess has changed since she was Persephone in ancient Greece. She can have an equal, but none will have power over her.

Or, maybe it's just the Fairyland setting. The ancient Celts, unlike the ancient Greeks, practiced sexual equality. So, when they're transported into the Celtic Fairyland, Persephone isn't going to put up with Hades trying to dominate her. :)
 
Toby is safe and sound in his crib, and sleeping peacefully. Sarah places the teddy bear in the crib.
 
She returns to her room, and sees her friends in the mirror.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgLGyHTugn0
 
She will always have them, keeping that child-likeness.
 
A fanvid...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U9nihYGPSg
 
 
The Alice version of the Goddess Descending Myth has continued to be revisited...
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6az9wGfeSgM
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqYiSlkvRuw
 
One criticism Pan's Labyrinth has gotten that bothers me is people not understanding why the Heroine always chooses to do the right thing. "What's her ulterior motive?" they ask. I think it a sad commentary on our times that people think one must have a selfish ulterior motive to choose to do the right thing in any given situation. Joseph Campbell was right.
 
When asked what happened to a culture that wasn't guided by Myth, he answered "Look around you. You see it in the newspaper, every day." Campbell agreed with Tolkien and Lewis that modern Myths are needed, to show us the way. That these modern Myths disturb our Nihilistic culture so much just proves how much they're needed.
 
Some of that mindset have argued that Terry Gilliam would have been a better director for Alice in Wonderland than Tim Burton because, unlike the positive Burton, Gilliam would have made it cynical, and Nihilistic. That's actually why Gilliam would have been absolutely wrong for the material. Wonderland isn't about cynicism and Nihilism. You have to have that child-likeness that Burton has.
 
Neil Gaiman has revisited the Alice version of the Goddess Descending Myth twice, now.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3n67BQvh0
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA1iawlsKLg
 
The Close to You scene, very Baumian, or as Oz fans would say, "Ozzy."
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re-6eOhrejE
 
But, what is our Maiden Goddess growing up into?...

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 07:23 AM
It's too early in the morning for this, but your Inanna information is mostly crap. The Wiccan version is... well... it's painful to read. Basically, it's a modern creation that makes people feel good, and is no where near accurate compared to the original. Modifying myths because it makes you feel good does not accuracy make. The original can be found at templeofsumer.org

Secondly, Inanna was killed because she broke sacred laws, one of the most important being hospitality. Ereshkigal didn't "take advantage" of Inanna in any way, shape or form. Inanna made the choice to descend, and then proceeded to break all kinds of rules and laws. She was stripped her of her power, but here's why!



22 Biting her lip in concentration she considered the words of Neti. Inanna had been the goddess who had commanded that her husband be sent against Gilgamesh in the first place, and Ereshkigal had not forgiven her. In the eyes of the queen of the underworld Inanna did not have the right to even attend the funeral.

23 "Let her through, but bolt each of the doors before and after she comes through." Instructed the vindictive widow. "At each gate take an item of her fine clothing from her. It is improper for her to be dressed in such finery in the land of the dead."

24 Heading back to his post Neti secured each of the seven doors. With the preparations made Neti opened the gate to Inanna on Ereshkigal's orders. "Come and enter."

25 Stepping through the doorway Inanna was shocked when the gate was closed and secured behind her. Neti forcefully took Inanna's rod and cord.

26 "What is the meaning of this?" Demanded Inanna of her attacker.

27 "Quiet! This is according to the custom of the underworld. You must not raise your voice against the rules of the underworld." Inanna had broken two different rules. She had raised her voice and she had taken fine clothes into the underworld.

28 At the second gate she was again assaulted by the gate keeper. The door that she entered was only open long enough for Inanna to go through it. This time the gate keeper removed some of her jewelry. Again Inanna was outraged at the transgression against her.

29 With each passing gate another thing was taken from her. Finally at the seventh gate her cloths were taken from her. She stood naked and powerless before the land of the dead. Inanna crouched down after her cloths had been taken away.

30 Inanna of the east was no wilting flower to shy away from danger simply because she wore no clothing. She boldly entered the underworld, and headed straight for Ereshkigal's home. None of the dead rose a finger to stop her. She entered into the city of Urugal.



The best part? Ereshkigal didn't touch Inanna! Well, not to kill her anyways.




31 Inanna who, as one of the great seven, was still more powerful than Ereshkigal. She demanded that Ereshkigal stand up from her throne. Once the queen of the underworld had stood up Inanna placed herself upon the throne of Ereshkigal.

32 She intended to take the realm of the underworld for her own, but the seven judges of the underworld had witnessed what she had done. They rendered their decision against the queen of heaven. They looked at her with a look of death, they shouted at her angrily speaking of the guilt that she should feel for her actions. Inanna had removed herself from the place where she belonged and had attempted to take a place where she didn't belong.

33 Namtar came up to Inanna and carried out the judgment against the goddess Inanna. She had broken the most sacred laws of hospitality and had stolen from her host. Namtar turned Inanna into a corpse and placed her on a hook for his mistress. His mistress then fashioned a water skin out of the flesh.

34 Three days passed and Inanna's minister Ninshubur had grown concerned. The funeral of the bull of heaven came and went. Had things gone according to plan Inanna would have come back by now.

35 In the time that Inanna had been gone, domesticated animals did not mate. Men didn't seek out prostitutes. Romantic couples slept in their own room. throughout civilization nobody sought out intercourse. Inanna's power was gone from the land.



Crazy how actually looking at myths is so different from what people like to claim they are.

sparrowspirit
January 26th, 2011, 03:24 PM
I found that link and the description on Inanna's descent interesting! I've never read that version before. thanks, RoseKitten!

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 03:28 PM
I found that link and the description on Inanna's descent interesting! I've never read that version before. thanks, RoseKitten!

That... makes me sad. It's sad to me that ancient texts are re-written, and so far from the originals. Why do they change them? So the have a better ending? So people will read them? It just doesn't make any sense. If you don't like an ancient culture, or like it's myths... just leave them be, but don't bastardize them. *sigh*

Gaudior
January 26th, 2011, 03:37 PM
That... makes me sad. It's sad to me that ancient texts are re-written, and so far from the originals. Why do they change them? So the have a better ending? So people will read them? It just doesn't make any sense. If you don't like an ancient culture, or like it's myths... just leave them be, but don't bastardize them. *sigh*

Kinda like how people bastardize Kali into this croney old vampire man hater; "She represents death and destruction, she must be Crone!" She's a Mother Goddess. MOTHER. At any rate, she isn't a Wiccan Goddess or even relatable to Her.

/endrant

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Kinda like how people bastardize Kali into this croney old vampire man hater; "She represents death and destruction, she must be Crone!" She's a Mother Goddess. MOTHER. At any rate, she isn't a Wiccan Goddess or even relatable to Her.

/endrant

Oh... you don't want to get me started on bastardizing deities... and glorifying demons. *shakes angrily*

sparrowspirit
January 26th, 2011, 04:23 PM
That... makes me sad. It's sad to me that ancient texts are re-written, and so far from the originals. Why do they change them? So the have a better ending? So people will read them? It just doesn't make any sense. If you don't like an ancient culture, or like it's myths... just leave them be, but don't bastardize them. *sigh*

I understand what you mean. it's like right now I'm trying to find some Orphic hymns to Hekate and Demeter, that aren't annotated or horribly translated!

perceval23
January 26th, 2011, 05:25 PM
That... makes me sad. It's sad to me that ancient texts are re-written, and so far from the originals. Why do they change them? So the have a better ending? So people will read them? It just doesn't make any sense. If you don't like an ancient culture, or like it's myths... just leave them be, but don't bastardize them. *sigh*

That's the nature of Myth. It changes to fit the times and culture it's in. Always has, always will. And yes, a culture's Myth draws on Myth that came before it, often from a different culture. Again, always has, always will. Even Inanna might well be a "bastardization" of something from earlier. It's just the oldest version we know of. After over 5000 years of Myth constantly doing this, I think it's a bit late to suddenly object to it, now.

The modern Wiccan version is a changing of the Persephone story, so your anger is misplaced. It would be the Greek version they'd be "bastardizing", in your words. But then, following that line of thought, the Greeks were "bastardizing" the Sumerian Myth theirs was based on in the first place. So were the Egyptians with Isis and Osiris, which was a variation of this same Sumerian Myth. So, why aren't you complaining about the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, as well, along with anyone who uses those Pantheons in their systems? Why just the Wiccans? Why was it OK for the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to make variations to reflect and speak to their culture and times, but not the Wiccans?

The modern Wiccans are just doing what the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and many others did before them, drawing on earlier Myth to create their own. We're not living in an ancient Summerian culture, today, any more than the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were. We're even further removed from that way of life, now (And thank God, or Goddess, or whoever, for that. I like indoor plumbing and electricity). You might want to avoid the Cohn brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, as it takes Homer's variation of the anicent Greek Myth of his time, The Odyssey, and sets it in 20th Century America, reflecting and speaking to our modern culture. This would be "bastardizing," following your argument. But then, Homer did some "bastardization," himself.

Of course, I don't see why whether a Myth's parents were legally married at the time of the Myth's birth is a big issue, but... (shrug)

For a Myth to be anything other than some dusty old fairy tale, it must be a part of the culture and times. It must speak to the culture and times. So, new Myths are created, drawing on older ones for it's archtypes and symbols. Myth evolves as cultures evolve.

Inanna, in that form, isn't touching or inspiring anyone, today. Alice is. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter... They're all serving the purpose Myth is supposed to. They're the ancient archtypes and symbols told for modern times and our modern culture. That culture has many different religions practicing alongside each other, rather than a single cultural one. So, modern Myth speaks in a universal way, one that all Faiths can embrace. One of my favorite examples is the musical Godspell, a retelling (You'd call it a "bastardization") of the Gospel of St. Matthew set in modern day New York. A telling of Christian Myth, it's loved, and performed, by Christians and non-Christians alike. It speaks to and inspires people, whether they're part of the Christian Faith, or not.

perceval23
January 26th, 2011, 05:38 PM
I understand what you mean. it's like right now I'm trying to find some Orphic hymns to Hekate and Demeter, that aren't annotated or horribly translated!

You're not going to find anything "pure," if that's what you're looking for. Even the earliest surviving texts would have gone through a lot of changes from where they started. And, again, those Myths drew heavily on earlier ones.

Besides, you're not an ancient Greek. You don't live like one or think like one. You can't. That's not the culture we live in. All you can do, all we ever do, is adapt the ancient Myths and practices to our modern life.

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 05:43 PM
That's the nature of Myth. It changes to fit the times and culture it's in. Always has, always will. And yes, a culture's Myth draws on Myth that came before it, often from a different culture. Again, always has, always will. Even Inanna might well be a "bastardization" of something from earlier. It's just the oldest version we know of. After over 5000 years of Myth constantly doing this, I think it's a bit late to suddenly object to it, now.

The modern Wiccan version is a changing of the Persephone story, so your anger is misplaced. It would be the Greek version they'd be "bastardizing", in your words. But then, following that line of thought, the Greeks were "bastardizing" the Sumerian Myth theirs was based on in the first place. So were the Egyptians with Isis and Osiris, which was a variation of this same Sumerian Myth. So, why aren't you complaining about the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, as well, along with anyone who uses those Pantheons in their systems? Why just the Wiccans? Why was it OK for the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to make variations to reflect and speak to their culture and times, but not the Wiccans?

The modern Wiccans are just doing what the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and many others did before them, drawing on earlier Myth to create their own. We're not living in an ancient Summerian culture, today, any more than the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were. We're even further removed from that way of life, now (And thank God, or Goddess, or whoever, for that. I like indoor plumbing and electricity). You might want to avoid the Cohn brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, as it takes Homer's variation of the anicent Greek Myth of his time, The Odyssey, and sets it in 20th Century America, reflecting and speaking to our modern culture. This would be "bastardizing," following your argument. But then, Homer did some "bastardization," himself.

Of course, I don't see why whether a Myth's parents were legally married at the time of the Myth's birth is a big issue, but... (shrug)

For a Myth to be anything other than some dusty old fairy tale, it must be a part of the culture and times. It must speak to the culture and times. So, new Myths are created, drawing on older ones for it's archtypes and symbols. Myth evolves as cultures evolve.

Inanna, in that form, isn't touching or inspiring anyone, today. Alice is. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter... They're all serving the purpose Myth is supposed to. They're the ancient archtypes and symbols told for modern times and our modern culture. That culture has many different religions practicing alongside each other, rather than a single cultural one. So, modern Myth speaks in a universal way, one that all Faiths can embrace. One of my favorite examples is the musical Godspell, a retelling (You'd call it a "bastardization") of the Gospel of St. Matthew set in modern day New York. A telling of Christian Myth, it's loved, and performed, by Christians and non-Christians alike. It speaks to and inspires people, whether they're part of the Christian Faith, or not.

A few things. When a myth is adapted to a culture, it becomes part of that culture. Inanna is a Sumerian creation. The Sumerian myth is appropriate to Sumer, and Sumer only. The Abrahamic adaptation of what came before it created it's own thing, based off of others. However, I can't re-write the Bible and still call it the Bible, it'd be something new. So, to say that an ancient myth correlates in any way to modern stories, without actually comparing the ancient myth to the modern story, is wrong. The Wiccan myth that you posted, is some person's creation from modern society. So, if you want to say that a modern creation compares to modern stories, feel free. You can't say it compares to the original though, because it doesn't.

In fact, changing myths, and still calling them of whatever they came from, is wrong. Adaptation is great, but completely changing something in order to make it relevant to today is just bad form. Ancient myths were relevant to ancient society. If it's not relevant to modern society, there's no reason to change it, you just create something new the suits your needs or desires.

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 05:44 PM
You're not going to find anything "pure," if that's what you're looking for. Even the earliest surviving texts would have gone through a lot of changes from where they started. And, again, those Myths drew heavily on earlier ones.



That's a cute assumption, care to provide sourcing for it? Or, are you just saying it to justify the fact that you're "sourcing" of ancient texts is inaccurate?

Twinkle
January 26th, 2011, 06:25 PM
You're not going to find anything "pure," if that's what you're looking for. Even the earliest surviving texts would have gone through a lot of changes from where they started. And, again, those Myths drew heavily on earlier ones.

Besides, you're not an ancient Greek. You don't live like one or think like one. You can't. That's not the culture we live in. All you can do, all we ever do, is adapt the ancient Myths and practices to our modern life.


What's interesting is that you fail to note that the Greeks did not view their myths as literal text, and therefore didn't adapt them to anything. The myths are allegorical in nature and require contemplation in order to glean hidden truths.

While we can't *live* like the ancients, we can certainly adapt without making crap up just because we want to. We adhere to the worldview, which we can certainly understand because there is a plethora of information out there that gives us that info in one is inclined to look for it.

Adaptation does not mean one changes the worldview or praxis.

perceval23
January 26th, 2011, 08:42 PM
A few things. When a myth is adapted to a culture, it becomes part of that culture. Inanna is a Sumerian creation. The Sumerian myth is appropriate to Sumer, and Sumer only. The Abrahamic adaptation of what came before it created it's own thing, based off of others. However, I can't re-write the Bible and still call it the Bible, it'd be something new. So, to say that an ancient myth correlates in any way to modern stories, without actually comparing the ancient myth to the modern story, is wrong. The Wiccan myth that you posted, is some person's creation from modern society. So, if you want too say that a modern creation compares to modern stories, feel free. You can't say it compares to the original though, because it doesn't.

You'll need to point where in my posts I declared the Wiccan version of the Goddess Descending, or any other version (including the Greek Myth of Persephone) was exactly the Sumerian version, as you're insisting I have. You won't be able to, because I never said that. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why do you think I keep using the words "variation" and "version" and "culture"?

If you disagree with something I've said, fine. But please stop insisting I'm saying the opposite of what I'm saying, then following with a Straw Man counter-argument. Did you even read the entire post, or did you get angry over the link to what I specified, and I quote, "the modern Wiccan version"?

By "modern Wiccan version," I meant exactly those words. It's a modern Wiccan version of the Goddess Descending Myth. Again, that's not saying it was the Sumerian version, or any other. It's "modern," "Wiccan," and a version. That's a simple fact. It doesn't have to be your preferred version. It's not mine. I prefer what the Christian writers have been doing with it for the last century and a half, myself. I find theirs much deeper, more complex, and, frankly, better written (with much less concerns about being Politically Correct). But then, that should be obvious by the amount of time I devoted to those Christian writers while leaving the Wiccan version with a single link. :)

And since you mentioned the Bible...

There's a perfect example of different versions of the same Myths published within the Canon. Jesus's ancestory changes from Gospel to Gospel, and the compilers of our modern Bible saw no need to fix that. Look it up, and count the generations going back to Adam. The annotated Methodist edition of the Bible points out that this is the case, even in Genesis. The first few chapters tell the Creation Myth as told by the Southern tribes, the next chapters the Myth as told by the Northern tribes. If you have an issue with that, take it up with the Methodists.



In fact, changing myths, and still calling them of whatever they came from, is wrong. Adaptation is great, but completely changing something in order to make it relevant to today is just bad form. Ancient myths were relevant to ancient society. If it's not relevant to modern society, there's no reason to change it, you just create something new the suits your needs or desires.

What else would you call the Wiccan version (or the Greek version with Persephone, for that matter)? You've got a Goddess, and she's decending into the Underworld. It obviously draws it's archtypes, symbols, and some of it's actions from earlier Myths, just as Myths have always done, and always will. And again, I must ask... Since that is how Myths have developed for thousands of years, why was it OK for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to do it but not for modern Christians or Wiccans? Why aren't you condemning the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for "bastardizing" the earlier Myths? Is it because we now see those as ancient cultures? Well, they didn't see themselves as an ancient culture, at the time. That was modern culture, and modern Myth, back then. We'll be seen as an ancient culture, one day.

If you object to the entire process of creating Myth, fine. Just say so. But also remember how our Atlantis Myth developed. Plato told a story to illustrate a point, and look at what it's turned into (something not really resembling what Plato described, too much). We don't know whether Plato created the story of Atlantis to illustrate a point he was making, or if he heard a legend and adapted it to illustrate his point. Nevertheless, it's a genuine Myth, now, though it seems more based on Scottish songwriter Donovan's version than Plato's. There those Celts go, again, taking everbody's Myths and rewriting them, making the Atlantians into something resembling the Tuatha De Danann... But then, there's that recent theory that Atlantis was based on Ireland... :)



That's a cute assumption, care to provide sourcing for it? Or, are you just saying it to justify the fact that you're "sourcing" of ancient texts is inaccurate?

Sure, just look at the different versions of the Greek Myths. There are differences in different tellings and perspectives. How the conflict between Agamemnon and Cytemnestra went depends on who's side the person telling the story took. Aeschylus completely demonizes Clytemnestra. Homer's portrayal is more subdued, and her involvement in Agamemnon's death unclear. She killed Cassandra in some versions, not in others. She was avenging the murder of her first husband and infant son by Agamemnon, who then forced her into marriage, in some versions. In others, Agamemnon was her first husband. She had three daughters and a son with Agamemnon, or just a single daughter and son. If it's three daughters and one of them is Iphigenia, then Clytemnestra is avenging her murder by Agamemnon as a sacrifice to appease Artemis.

So it goes with most Greek Myth. That's because, like Genesis, these started as oral tales that were passed down. Naturally, there were going to be variations once they were written down, and the perspecitve of the person doing the writing would be a factor. And yes, other cultures influenced the Greeks. The roots of the Andromeda Myth are also in Ishtar. In turn, elements of Andromeda's Myth found their way into the Myth of St. George and the Dragon.

RoseKitten
January 26th, 2011, 08:58 PM
One of the oldest of Myths is the Goddess Descending into the Underworld. Here's a modern Wiccan version...
 
http://www.paganlibrary.com/stories/descent_goddess.php
 
The earliest version of the Myth that we know of is Sumerian, and centers on Inanna, their Goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Her name means Lady of the Sky. Her symbol is an eight pointed star or rosette.
 
The animal associated with her is the lion, and the planet associated with her is Venus. Her consort is the shepherd Dumuzid. During the Vernal Equinox festival, the king would establish his legitimacy by taking on the role of Dumuzid, spending a night in the temple with the High Priestess in the role of Inanna.
 
She descended into the Underworld to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law. However, at the instructions of her sister, Ereshkigal, the dark goddess who ruled the Underworld, Inanna had to remove a piece of clothing or jewelry at each of the seven gates, thus stripping her of her power. By the time she'd passed the seventh gate, she was naked. Ereshkigal took advantage, killing Inanna and hanging her corpse on a hook.
 
For three days she was left hanging there, as tends to happen to deities in that situation. She had, however, left instructions before her journey just in case something like this happened. Her corpse was recovered and removed from the Underworld, and it was sprinkled with the food and water of life, thus reviving her. However, demons followed from the Underworld, demanding someone else take Inanna's place. They took Dumuzid.
 
His sister, Ngeshtin-ana, convinced the demons to allow her to take his place six months of the year. Inanna misses him during those months, so her fertility fades, to be renewed upon their annual reunion. Thus, the turns of the seasons.
 


You'll need to point where in my posts I declared the Wiccan version of the Goddess Descending, or any other version (including the Greek Myth of Persephone) was exactly the Sumerian version, as you're insisting I have. You won't be able to, because I never said that. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why do you think I keep using the words "variation" and "version" and "culture"?



You claim it's one of the "oldest" myths, and yet you post a modern bastardization, which, as I've already shown, is no where *near* the same as this new "version" that you seem to like.

If you're going to claim there are connections to "one of the oldest myths" as you already have, then you should... oh... I don't know... compare the older myth? By using a modern creation and comparing it to modern literature, you've done nothing but show that modern culture is the same as modern culture.

As can also be seen by comparing the original myth to the "new" myth, you can see that they are completely different texts, with different meanings, different purpose, and about the only thing they have in common is names.

So, once again, if you're going to say you're comparing one of the "oldest myths" you should probably use that myth, and not the one that is most convenient to your purpose.




If you disagree with something I've said, fine. But please stop insisting I'm saying the opposite of what I'm saying, then following with a Straw Man counter-argument. Did you even read the entire post, or did you get angry over the link to what I specified, and I quote, "the modern Wiccan version"?



I'm insisting on nothing, but merely reading your words. If you want to say "this modern writing is similar to this modern writing" then go for it. When you preface it with "based on one of the oldest" you are being misleading. To those that aren't familiar with the actual history of the myth, they will not see that you are being misleading, and will assume that the modern myth at least resembles the original. That, is not the case, however, and you've been called out on it.





What else would you call the Wiccan version (or the Greek version with Persephone, for that matter)? You've got a Goddess, and she's decending into the Underworld. It obviously draws it's archtypes, symbols, and some of it's actions from earlier Myths, just as Myths have always done, and always will. And again, I must ask... Since that is how Myths have developed for thousands of years, why was it OK for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to do it but not for modern Christians or Wiccans? Why aren't you condemning the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for "bastardizing" the earlier Myths? Is it because we now see tose as ancient cultures? Well, they didn't see themselves as an ancient culture, at the time. That was modern culture, and modern Myth, back then. We'll be seen as an ancient culture, one day.



Because there is a difference between an evolution of a culture, and an outside culture just changing what suits them. It is one thing for a group of people to change and adapt, it's how society grows. It is not the same thing to, thousands of years later, decide that those cultures weren't good enough the way they were, rewrite their texts, and pass it off as evolution of myth. Or, can you not see that distinction?





Sure, just look at the different versions of the Greek Myths. There are differences in different tellings and perspectives. How the conflict between Agamemnon and Cytemnestra went depends on who's side the person telling the story took. Aeschylus completely demonizes Clytemnestra. Homer's portrayal is more subdued, and her involvement in Agamemnon's death unclear. She killed Cassandra in some versions, not in others. She was avenging the murder of her first husband and infant son by Agamemnon, who then forced her into marriage, in some versions. In others, Agamemnon was her first husband. She had three daughters and a son with Agamemnon, or just a single daughter and son. If it's three daughters and one of them is Iphigenia, then Clytemnestra is avenging her murder by Agamemnon as a sacrifice to appease Artemis.

So it goes with most Greek Myth. That's because, like Genesis, these started as oral tales that were passed down. Naturally, there were going to be variations once they were written down, and the perspecitve of the person doing the writing would be a factor. And yes, other cultures influenced the Greeks. The roots of the Andromeda Myth are also in Ishtar. In turn, elements of Andromeda's Myth found their way into the Myth of St. George and the Dragon.

Greek culture is something I am not at all educated on, so I will pass this off to someone who is. I can't comment on any of it, because I don't know how accurate your words on this subject are to begin with. Toodles.

RubyRose
January 26th, 2011, 09:45 PM
I can't really comment but with the prospect of two different versions of the Inanna myth... along with the Bible, which we all know has been re-written, or else there wouldn't be the Old and New Testiments...

I can't help but be reminded of Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet, it's been redone so many times over the years that each one has strayed a little further from the original text. So why not Myths? They are just stories handed down verbally through the ages right? Surely, something is bound to get lost along the way, even if the original Myth is retained somewhere, it's easy to see why the other version could replace it.

As for Modern Wicca... well Wicca is what it is. I hardly find the need to attach the label "Modern" when it relationship to Wicca. Certainly it's revival in 1960 brought it to the forefront more than in the years before 1960, in which the term "Witchcraft" was more often used.

Of course I am by no means a Traditional Wiccan, I take what suits me from a variety of paths... I'm merely just offering up my opinion.

Either way, I did enjoy looking at the stories in a new light.

perceval23
January 26th, 2011, 10:43 PM
You claim it's one of the "oldest" myths, and yet you post a modern bastardization, which, as I've already shown, is no where *near* the same as this new "version" that you seem to like.

I described the Goddess Descending as one of the oldest myths, which is a fact. I said it had many variations over the years, which is a fact. I linked to what I called, and again I quote, a "modern Wiccan version". Are we having a problem with definitions? By "modern," I mean present day, not ancient. By "Wiccan," I mean the practice of the modern religion of Wicca, not ancient religions practiced by ancient cultures. By "version," I mean the version of the Myth the modern Wiccans tell.

I really don't see what's confusing you, there. Again, never once did I declare it the old Sumerian version, nor did I ever imply it. All I said was it was their version of the Goddess Descending Myth. And that's what it is, their version. And yes, it draws from earlier versions, such as the Sumerian and Greek, as well as Celtic concepts. Just reading it would make that obvious, I think.

Again, if you so strongly object to cultures adapting old Myths to speak to their own culture, say so. But, I don't understand this denying that that's what they're doing.

And why do you keep saying I especially like the Wiccan version? If you'd read the posts, you'd have noticed I mentioned it once, and didn't elaborate on it, just linked to it. I then made the focus of that post a Christian take, followed by four more posts on Christian takes. Surely you noticed them, with all those video links.

Now, granted, the Wiccan version is like the Christian versions in that they're filtered through Celtic spirituality, and blended with the Celtic Fairyland/Otherworld concepts. If you had read the posts, you'd have noticed I'd stressed how the Celtic influence altered things. Given two major causes of modern times, the Green movement and sexual equality, it's natural that Celtic spirituality would gain an influence.


If you're going to claim there are connections to "one of the oldest myths" as you already have, then you should... oh... I don't know... compare the older myth? By using a modern creation and comparing it to modern literature, you've done nothing but show that modern culture is the same as modern culture.

As can also be seen by comparing the original myth to the "new" myth, you can see that they are completely different texts, with different meanings, different purpose, and about the only thing they have in common is names.

No, that's all you can see, as in you, personally.

The themes are something they have in common. The archtypes are the same, though those archtypes have developed over the years. The old Myths are their roots. Details and locations change, as the culture telling the story does. My focus in this thread is how our modern Myths developed, where they came from, how they've evolved, and how old concepts are told, today.


So, once again, if you're going to say you're comparing one of the "oldest myths" you should probably use that myth, and not the one that is most convenient to your purpose.

Sigh... I opened with a version that people who might happen to be in, say, a largely Neo-Pagan forum would be familiar with. Actually, I just linked to it. You may have noticed there are quite a few Wiccans that frequent these boards, and with many, their view of Mythology is based on their own practices. If this was a predominantly Christian forum, I'd have used something Christian as my introductory point.

Plus, when you Google "Goddess Descent," it's the first thing that comes up after Inanna. And, it has more entries on the first page than Inanna does. So, obviously, the modern Wiccan take has become pretty widespread.



I'm insisting on nothing, but merely reading your words. If you want to say "this modern writing is similar to this modern writing" then go for it. When you preface it with "based on one of the oldest" you are being misleading. To those that aren't familiar with the actual history of the myth, they will not see that you are being misleading, and will assume that the modern myth at least resembles the original. That, is not the case, however, and you've been called out on it.

Do I really have to explain what the words "based on" and "rooted" mean? Are you saying the Wiccan version isn't based on or rooted in the Sumerian and Greek Myths? Well, let's take a look...



But our Lady the Goddess oft grieved deeply for the fate of her creations as they aged and died. She would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death, and so journeyed to the underworld.

The Guardian of the Portals challenged her: 'Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught may you bring with you into this our land, for it is written that your True Self is the only fitting adornment for those in the realms of Death.'

So she laid down her garments and her jewels, and was bound, as all living must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One.

Now, let's see... Goddess descending into the Underworld, having to remove her garments and jewels... Now, where do I get this strange notion that that's based on the Inanna Myth? And Death being male and in love with the Goddess... I suppose it could be an amazing coincidence, and this part isn't based on Persephone and Hades, at all, but I doubt it.

By "based on" and "rooted," I mean just that, nothing more and nothing less.


Because there is a difference between an evolution of a culture, and an outside culture just changing what suits them. It is one thing for a group of people to change and adapt, it's how society grows. It is not the same thing to, thousands of years later, decide that those cultures weren't good enough the way they were, rewrite their texts, and pass it off as evolution of myth. Or, can you not see that distinction?

But again, that's how Myth has developed for thousands of years. Every culture has drawn from others that came before, or they had contact with. You're about 5000 years too late to put a stop to it. The only way to have prevented it would have been to find a way to prevent any cultures from ever having any contact with other cultures.

In other words, if you're going to condemn Christians and Wiccans for "bastardizing" earlier Myth from other cultures, then you need to be consistant and condemn the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for doing the same thing in their time. Why the double standard?



Greek culture is something I am not at all educated on, so I will pass this off to someone who is. I can't comment on any of it, because I don't know how accurate your words on this subject are to begin with. Toodles.

Just Google "Clytemnestra" to see just how many variations there were to her Myth at the time. As for now... May I suggest avoiding anything written by Marion Zimmer Bradley. She Wiccanized everything. I've had to explain that no, The Mists of Avalon and The Firebrand weren't how those cultures and their religions were. Still good reads, though, I thought.

Louisvillian
January 3rd, 2012, 02:50 AM
To address the OP: Thing is, the concept of all goddesses being part of one great goddess is relatively new. There might be traces in ancient times of syncretism and there were certain typical goddess forms. But they were all clearly delineated as specific beings. The "single great goddess" thing is very much an eclectic neopagan thing. Though not really rooted in Wicca, necessarily, considering it wasn't soft polytheism when Gardner was around.

PS)

In other words, if you're going to condemn Christians and Wiccans for "bastardizing" earlier Myth from other cultures, then you need to be consistant and condemn the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for doing the same thing in their time. Why the double standard?
This is my standpoint. Granted, I don't like when people mix cultures and deities without considering the implications and nuances of them. But that's not what this is. The simple fact is, yeah, these myths have been adapted for various cultures in ancient times, and continue to be so in modern pagan religions. Wicca is just a modern revival of pagan religious concepts, strongly rooted in British folklore and variations on ancient mythology. As long as a practitioner recognises the fact that those myths are based directly on older ones, I don't see any problem with them adapting those archetypes and stories to new contexts.

Gaudior
January 3rd, 2012, 09:25 AM
To address the OP: Thing is, the concept of all goddesses being part of one great goddess is relatively new.

This is true to some extent, yet Shaktism (Hindu sect that worships the Goddess (Devi) as Supreme) does just that, and its roots are very old.

perceval23
January 3rd, 2012, 03:45 PM
To address the OP: Thing is, the concept of all goddesses being part of one great goddess is relatively new. There might be traces in ancient times of syncretism and there were certain typical goddess forms. But they were all clearly delineated as specific beings. The "single great goddess" thing is very much an eclectic neopagan thing. Though not really rooted in Wicca, necessarily, considering it wasn't soft polytheism when Gardner was around.

PS)

This is my standpoint. Granted, I don't like when people mix cultures and deities without considering the implications and nuances of them. But that's not what this is. The simple fact is, yeah, these myths have been adapted for various cultures in ancient times, and continue to be so in modern pagan religions. Wicca is just a modern revival of pagan religious concepts, strongly rooted in British folklore and variations on ancient mythology. As long as a practitioner recognises the fact that those myths are based directly on older ones, I don't see any problem with them adapting those archetypes and stories to new contexts.

The archetypes and stories associated with them are what it's all about. Different cultures had different gods and goddesses, all defined in their differences by their culture and time. But, the modern concept of the Goddess is the archetypes. I think it important that modern pagans recognize this. But, I don't think these modern versions of the archetypes are less legitimate for being modern. The old ones were personifying the archetypes for their times and places, after all.

As far as building new Myths to serve the purpose for our times that the classic ones did for the old, I do think Carroll, Tolkien, Lewis, etc, did it better than the Wiccans. But, after all, it was Carroll, Tolkien, Lewis, etc. The purpose of Myth is to show us higher truths, and get us in touch with however we perceive the Divine through these archetypes.

As for modern Religion being syncretic, that's the world we now live in. I doubt many of us here only have daily contact with people of our own ethnic and cultural background. And, with modern communication technology and social networking... This very board is a coming together of people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The modern Myths presented in literature and popular culture speak to almost everyone, regardless of ethnic and cultural background. The old Sumerian version of the Goddess Descending into the Underworld doesn't speak to Buddhist and Shintoist Japan, but the versions with Alice and Dorothy do. Those two are very popular, there, and led to Spirited Away, a Japanese version of the old Myth.