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23396Re: [mythsoc] How does myth "work"?

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  • James Curcio
    Oct 19, 2012
      Don't mistake the vaguely academic tone in some of that material for an overly logical approach in regard to myths, directly. But there is talking ABOUT something, and there is doing it. I do both, but when I'm in the analytical mode, how else does one write an essay? 

      Independently produced, genre-bending works of modern mythology: http://www.mythosmedia.net
      The Modern Mythology blog: http://www.modernmythology.net


      On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM, <scribbler@...> wrote:

      Well, considering that I've written a book about myth and storytelling (a
      reference for writers), I've given a lot of thought to its presence in our
      lives. And frankly, I think you're still being far to analytical in
      approaching the matter.

      As long as you stay in an analytic mode of thought in considering myth, it
      will stay exterior to you and feel rather dead.

      The major conclusion I came to while working on THE SCRIBBLER'S GUIDE TO
      THE LAND OF MYTH - is that myth is about meaning. The "truth" that myths
      convey all have to do with what things MEAN to us. The variances occur
      because some aspect of life may have a different meaning or priority to
      one group than it does to another. For instance, in arctic cultures, the
      sun is considered the fickle heavenly body because it goes away for six
      months of the year. The moon, even though it has a cycle, is constant.
      Thus, mythically, in arctic cultures, it is the sun that is feminine and
      the moon that is masculine. (Yes, we have an inherent biological
      inclination to regard "male" as the "stable, unchanging" quality and
      "female" as the one that goes through changes.)

      A personal myth will reflect what is importation to that particular
      individual, what has meaning and life to that person. It shows up in small
      ways in the way we as individuals personalize our space and possessions.
      For instance, people who name their cars and endow them with personality.
      Myth is about MEANING - and naming things is one way of creating meaning.
      What we name something, the significance of the name to us.

      Facts about things are straightforward and clear cut.

      Meanings about things are layered with many issues, and thus end up
      requiring a story to convey what is important.

      If you want to have or create a myth of your Self, then just start telling
      a story of meaning to you - or draw on some dream imagery that had such
      meaning for you. Dreams reflect our subconscious language for ourselves,
      and often are the source of the imagery for a personal myth.

      Here's an example of what I mean: My "personal myth" if you will, which
      became clear with a dream. In the dream, I was looking at a brick wall,
      but the bricks were the color of ash. And as I looked, I realized that the
      wall was actually encasing something. Whatever it was, moved, and the
      bricks fell apart, because they actually WERE ash. And underneath, I could
      see the gleaming, golden scales of a dragon - it was waking up, and
      beginning to break out of the encasement. And I knew that I was that
      dragon. This made me very happy.

      That's a "personal myth." I can break it down and analyse the significance
      of the elements of this dream/story. But I also happen to just like it as
      it is.

      A personal myth is what has meaning to you. You can't decide the meaning
      first and then concoct a story to follow. The meaning and the story are a
      unity, and the "truth" of it will not be obvious to you until you start
      telling the story. Don't try to work from the truth back to the story --
      that will only give you "facts." Just start telling the story and the
      truth will make itself known.

      That's my two cents on the issue.

      Best, Sarah Beach

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