If you’re already familiar with my writings, social media posts, or general conversations, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of mythology. And it’s definitely a hot topic among the Twitter writing community, proving that authors of all genres are still inspired by the vivid stories of the past. Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces and The Power Of Myth with Bill Moyers changed my life, altering all of my perceptions. The latter show is currently available on Netflix, and I highly recommend diving in. Anyone can benefit from Campbell’s theories which include insightful lessons on history, culture, and how stories have the power to save us from a fearsome world and our own destructive human nature.
Myth is fiction, of course. Massive men do not live in the sky, tossing thunderbolts of retribution and transforming into bulls to seduce unsuspecting nymphs and noble ladies. Myths were mankind’s first coping mechanism for the horrors of the unknown. Despite differences in culture and language across the globe, these ancient peoples somehow shared many of the same stories.
Every culture has a general creation myth. What makes that scary ball of sky-fire rise in the east and set in the west? Why does Mother Nature gift us with a nourishing bounty before taking it all away during the barren winter? What happens in the afterlife? Do we always face an intimidating judge who weighs our good deeds against our sins to determine the eternal fate of our soul?
These stories helped primitive humans understand the world around them. And the best stories were told through the eyes of fabulous characters – Heroes and Villains, or morality fables versus cautionary tales. These stories inspired us, offering a route to glory and survival which motivated us during the darkest times. If humble Perseus could kill the terrifying Medusa and use her severed head to conquer the unstoppable Kraken, then surely we can outwit our much smaller mortal enemies.
So, the next few weeks we’ll celebrate and analyze some of the most popular myths from a variety of cultures. My goal is to focus on the myths that might be most helpful to writers, artists, and creators. And if you have any suggestions for myths you’d like to see discussed, then send me a message! It will be a pleasant way to pass September, I hope. Enjoy, and take care 😊