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Thread: The role of mythology in your spirituality?

  1. #1
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    The role of mythology in your spirituality?

    Just thought I'd get some discussion going (hopefully!)--

    What role do myths play in your belief system, view of the gods and practice? What are myths to you and how exactly do you view them (metaphor, historical, etc)?

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    Well, I'll start... and say that I think myths are incredibly important.

    and also... I love myths. They are so great. They show an entire different universe, where anything and everything can happen.

    In my spirituality, many times myths help me to place a face onto Gods... and with those faces comes understanding. Myths help to tie the Gods down, and make them more Human. I don't think I am at the point yet where I can embrace a totally impersonal, detached God with no form or attributes what so ever.

    Myths also provide me with a reference point. I mean knowing that lord Shiva in mythology is associated with the Bull makes me respect cows more becasue in my mind there is that link. If that makes sense.

    Myths are also very powerful teaching aids. Someone can try to teach a person particle physics, but will only succeed if that person is able to understand it. Myths are like that, they are riddled with metaphors and symbolism that can be used to teach very complex beliefs and teachings in a way that is easily connectible. For example, the myth of the cosmic Dance is a metaphor for scientific creation. But wh


    असतोमा सद्गमय। तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमया।
    मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय॥
    ॐ Om Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyoti Gamaya, Mrityoma Amritam Gamaya ॐ

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    I find mythology to be a fair-sized part of spirituality and religion; it maintains core ethics by teaching lessons through parables and demonstrating cautionary tales. As long as one remembers that they're myths and not meant to be taken 100% literally, one walks away from the experience with some good allegorical information and entertainment.

    Particularly, the Wiccan Mythological Cycle is a parable of the earth's seasonal cycle as well as the cycle of the farming seasons, a central part of agrarian societies, which Wicca, through its Celtic influences), took much inspiration as a social model. As a whole, the Mythological Cycle demonstrates in a fanciful tale that the seasons, and thus nature and the earth, are sacred to the Gods, and (because of the farming cycle aspect of the mythology) that humans and the well-being of human society are also of interest to the Gods.
    Last edited by Louisvillian; August 2nd, 2008 at 02:32 AM.

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    Metaphorically, and I posted a bit about my thoughts on the subject in Advanced Paganism in a thread called Mythic Time. It was a really fascinating discussion so you may be interested to check it out.

    Otherwise, the myths are best used for me as a method to engage my more creative, less logical thinking. They help raise my vibration into sacred space, where mythic time and space can be used for magical and religious purposes. In other words, they are akin to meditation for me, allowing room for the Sacred to pour in. They help me connect with that Divine. I find reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, or the Lamentations of Isis, for example, to raise my energy to a more excited, almost ecstatic state.
    Om Namah Shivaya.

    "Im finding seeking the sacred, well, that its rather like falling in love, the harder you seek it, the less likely it is to happen." - Brightshores

    "When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise. When it is directed inward, it realizes its own Source and returns home into the Unmanifested." ~ Eckhart Tolle

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    What an excellent question!
    Now I have to think of a way to answer it..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Stimpson View Post
    Well, I'll start... and say that I think myths are incredibly important.

    and also... I love myths. They are so great. They show an entire different universe, where anything and everything can happen.

    In my spirituality, many times myths help me to place a face onto Gods... and with those faces comes understanding. Myths help to tie the Gods down, and make them more Human. I don't think I am at the point yet where I can embrace a totally impersonal, detached God with no form or attributes what so ever.

    Myths also provide me with a reference point. I mean knowing that lord Shiva in mythology is associated with the Bull makes me respect cows more becasue in my mind there is that link. If that makes sense.

    Myths are also very powerful teaching aids. Someone can try to teach a person particle physics, but will only succeed if that person is able to understand it. Myths are like that, they are riddled with metaphors and symbolism that can be used to teach very complex beliefs and teachings in a way that is easily connectible. For example, the myth of the cosmic Dance is a metaphor for scientific creation. But wh
    Quote Originally Posted by RainInanna View Post
    Metaphorically, and I posted a bit about my thoughts on the subject in Advanced Paganism in a thread called Mythic Time. It was a really fascinating discussion so you may be interested to check it out.

    Otherwise, the myths are best used for me as a method to engage my more creative, less logical thinking. They help raise my vibration into sacred space, where mythic time and space can be used for magical and religious purposes. In other words, they are akin to meditation for me, allowing room for the Sacred to pour in. They help me connect with that Divine. I find reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, or the Lamentations of Isis, for example, to raise my energy to a more excited, almost ecstatic state.
    I agree with Toby Stimpson and RainInanna, to me, Myths are very important, and I see them as helping me understand the Gods, see parts of their personality, character, etc. I don't view the Myths as being "historical" (meaning, I don't think Inanna, descended into Kur (the Sumerian underworld) on this plane/realm, but, I do think she did do it, just on another plane/realm of existence). I think, Myths can come down to us, through many means, maybe the Poets, seers, whatever, etc are granted a glimpse of the supernatural/spiritual realms, and put it down, maybe, it comes from the soul, like Joseph Campbell, and, I think, Jung, said (anyone correct me on that?), I think, it was Jung, or Joseph Campbell, who said Myths are public dreams, and dreams are private Myths, and I like that saying, maybe, they are, that doesn't mean, the beings, events, etc in Myths are all psychological, or symbolic of other things, etc, and that the events never happened, just that, they come down to us, through the human soul, or something like that (I hope that made some sense).

    Then again, some Myths can be historical, in part anyway, like Jesus, Buddha, etc, they existed, in an historical time, but, they've established mythic events, events that get repeated (like eating the body and blood of Jesus at Catholic (and other?) Churches, meditating, etc).

    To me, Myths are very important, I don't like it, when some Pagans seem to downplay the Myths, and say "they're not important at all", I mean, I guess, it suits them, but, to me, the Myths are quite important, you can learn about the Gods, their personality, characters, etc, you can get pulled into another world, you can learn about the psyches of the ancient people where a specific Myth was first developed, rituals, rites, etc can come from Myths (e.g. Passover in Judaism comes from the Exocus, etc). I also think that modern Myths are quite cool too (from Buffy, to Angel, to Supernatural, etc).

    Personally, I like this quoe from Aaron Leitch's article, 'Lilith: From Demoness to Dark Goddess' :

    I do not feel that any God or Goddess can be divorced from Their sacred mythologies. As I have stated elsewhere, a mythology is the soul of the God(s) it depicts. For instance, you and I both know today that the Gods did not build the city of Babylon with Their own hands. Yet, if one were to call upon the great Marduk, He would gladly share with us his full memory of constructing the city. Likewise, we know that Adam and Eve did not exist as the "first humans." Yet, Lilith has full memory of Eden, the Fall, and every other event depicted in Genesis and the various Judeo-Christian legends. It is thus that Lilith, though She is not now the vile and disgusting archdemon envisioned by the early Judaic peoples, is nevertheless affected by these conceptions of Her. Her darker aspects, even the nastiest ones, are a part of Her regardless of modern attempts to "liberate" Her from unpleasantness. Lilith was, in fact, not originally a benevolent Goddess who was raped by the patriarchy.
    Now, I'm not exactly sure, if Aaron is saying, the Gods are "influenced" by humans, I don't believe that (and, I don't think Aaron does either, I think he believes the Gods, spirits, demons, etc are seperate from humans, and not thought-forms, etc). I do think the description of Myths being the Soul of a God is quite cool, and I think he could be right, maybe, it's not humans influecing the Gods, spirits, demons, etc, but, the Gods, spirits, demons, etc influencing humans (e.g. Lilith's evolution from a demon to a God (not a "motherly, loving, full-of-light" Goddess) might depict Lilith's evolution from a demon to a God, and her journey, I think, it could be true for all Gods, spirits, demons, supernatural beings, etc, even modern ones (e.g. Cthulhu, and the Necronomicon entities, the Gods, beings, entities, etc from Buffy, the Gods, demons, supernatural beings, entities, etc from Angel, from Supernatural, etc). Again, hope this made some sense, and, if you want to think I'm crazy, or wierd, go ahead :inabox:.

    BTW, can I just say, thanks for starting this thread, I hope more people post, 'cause, I think this could be a very cool, and interesting discussion .

  7. #7
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    For me, myths (in the story form) don't really play a large role in my day to day life. There are many that I enjoy, immensley, from all belief systems, but none that I would put down as fact (in entirety...there are usually some truth in them).
    For me, myths and legends are either a persons interpretation of that particular god, hero, creature, etc....or they hold wisdom. I actuall put Aesop's Fables in the same category that I put some myths.
    They can be excellent stories, in an entertainment sense, and they can also hold important life lessons. I would personally be intensely interested to find out the TRUE versions of many myths and stories. Whether they were created out of an active imagination or whether they were based upon real events that have been embellished into their current form.
    I look at most myths in the same way I look at some of the books I read. Not as fact or fiction, but as an insight into my own mind. There is a book by Christiphor Pike that comes to mind immediately. The book is called *Sati*. This book, while meant to be merely entertainment, seriously made me reevaluate my entire life and belief systems.
    Some myths, I believe, are purely entertainment. But some really make you sit up and pay attention and THINK!! about everything.

    Just my thoughts
    Denikke

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    In Irish Paganism and I assume the same goes for all native forms of paganism the mythology is a fragmented written record of our ancestral religious beliefs. Its a cultural timecapsule giving us a view on how our ancestors viewed our land, its deities and some insight into the rituals they performed.

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    It helps me to know more about the gods and goddesses and because of that, I can be more social with them (even though I haven't started really learning mythology yet, but these are what I hope to do with it). It helps me to get to know the ancient culture that I'm reading about and to hopefully see what I can do myself in the newer day and age to please the gods and goddesses that I hope to worship one day. Mythology can tell you a lot about the cultures that it came from and it makes worship much easier and more fun to both the gods and the worshipper. Getting to know the mythology and history of ancient cultures makes me happy and it's fun to do as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agaliha View Post
    Just thought I'd get some discussion going (hopefully!)--

    What role do myths play in your belief system, view of the gods and practice? What are myths to you and how exactly do you view them (metaphor, historical, etc)?
    They are the best resource for learning about the gods (of Hellenismos) and how to practice the religion in the way the ancients did (or now not to) by case examples.
    ‘Αλεξανδρα Δοροθια βωνδ
    http://helleneste.wordpress.com/
    http://www.hellenion.org

    I begin to sing of Pallas Athene, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. From his awful head wise Zeus himself bare her arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad. And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis!
    - THE HOMERIC HYMNS - XXVIII. TO ATHENA

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