All myths are connected to each other in some way or another. Whether its because everything started from a void, or because gods created everything, or because the myth show humans worshipping the gods. Those tiny details can connect a whole bunch of myths.
A lot of myths about creation start off with a void. For example, today’s Big Bang Theory starts with a void. Even the bible story begins with a void, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was without form, and void; And darkness was upon the face the deep”. What is void exactly or nothingness? Human beings can’t properly perceive nothingness because if we imagine it then it turns into something, so we don’t exactly know what void is. However, a mythologist named David Leeming found a better way to define the void that comes before everything: Choas. He defines chaos as “the primal void or state of uniform nondifferentiation that precedes the creation of the world in most creation myths”. David Leeming wasn’t the first one to use the word chaos instead of void. According to the poet Hesiod who wrote The Theogony, a Greek myth about creation and the gods, he wrote, “Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth”. So it seems that chaos is what is around be anything comes into existence and brings order. Also, in other myths, it seems that to get order, light must come from darkness.
Another thing that all myths have in common is how mortals are tempted to do things. For example in the bible the first woman created, Eve was tempted by a snake to eat from a tree. See, god let Adam and Eve live in the garden of Eden as long as they did not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, because the snake tempted her and she and Adam then ate from the tree, god threw them out of the garden. Another story about temptation is Pandora’s Box. According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman and was created after Prometheus stole fires from heaven and gave it to humans. In order to counter the blessing of fire, Zues asked Hephaestus to make a woman who they would then give a box the contained all evil and misery. Pandora was told to never open the box and because of that she got curious and was tempted to open it. Another story from Greek mythology about temptation is the story of the sirens. Sirens are said to be half-human and half-bird who would sing to tempt sailors closer to them. If the sailors were successfully tempted by them then they would be sailing to their doom.
Something else that myths have in common is that there is a place after death. Some afterlives are better than others. For instance, in the Mayan afterlife, people had to travel through the dark underworld where gods would torture and torment them to reach heaven. The only people that started the afterlife in heaven were woman who died while giving birth or people who were sacrificed to please the gods. Another example is in Norse mythology. Although the Vikings don’t have any formal writings about their afterlives any writings that have been found show that there are certain ways the Norse thought of death and the afterlife. For the most part, there seems to always be an underworld of some sorts. Two that are mentioned the most are Valhalla and Hel. Valhalla is where the god Odin and his valkyries live like heroes and will live there until they are called by Odin to fight by his side at Ragnarok. Ragnarok is the fall of the gods and the universe. We would consider Valhalla as heaven whereas we would consider Hel as purgatory. Hel is ruled by a goddess named Hel and the dead that go to Hel do what they did while they were alive. They eat, drink, fight, sleep and practice magic and they tend to stay with the family that they did when they were alive. However, because they are almost nothing written about the Norse afterlife, we don’t know how one is chosen to get to Valhalla instead of Hel. But it is mentioned a lot in burial writings of people who fell in battle that they would go to Valhalla. Another afterlife that is mentioned a lot in mythology is the Greek afterlife. Their afterlife was known as Hades and was ruled by the god of death, Hades. Within Hades, there were multiple places you could go but that depended on what they did during their lifetime. If they were wicked while they lived then they would be sent to Tartarus or the Fields of Punishment where they would be forgotten. If they were good during their lifetime they would be sent to Elysium where they would be remembered forever. The person also had a choice to be reborn. If they were reborn 3 times and each time they were sent to Elysium, then they would be able to go to the Isle of the Blessed. Because Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome have myths that are similar, the roman afterlife is alike to the greek afterlife. The Romans believed that if you were a warrior or hero you would be sent to Elysium. If you were an ordinary person you would be sent to the Plain of Asphodel and if you had committed crimes against society you would be sent to Tartarus where you would be tortured until you were deemed forgiven. Another mythology that has an afterlife story is the ancient Egyptians. However, unlike the other afterlives, in order to reach the Egyptian afterlife, your heart would be weighed in the Hall of Truth against the feather of truth. That means that even if you did something bad in your life but you had good intentions you would still be able to go to the Field of Reeds. If your heart was lighter then the feather of truth then you would be sent to the Field of Reeds. The Feild of Reeds was similar to earth except that there was no sickness, no disappointment, and no death. The people in the Feild of Redds live by the streams and beneath the trees with the ones that they loved during life. However, if your heart was heavier then the fether of truth then it would be devoured by Amut, a god that had a face of a crocodile, the front of a leopard and the back of a rhino. Once the heart was devoured then the person’s soul no longer existed. The Egyptians had no ‘hell’ because a fate worse then death was no longer existing.
Afterlives, being tempted and creation from a void are only some of the connections in myths. They are many more, so many in fact that it’s almost impossible to review all of them, especially here. However, the few connections here al least prove that there are connections to be found. There many more, for example, humans worshipping gods, being able to be reborn again and re-experience life.
- “Creation from the Void: Crash Course World Mythology #2.” YouTube, CrashCourse, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eVFgfQ2694. The Deluding of Gylfi, www.blight.com/~sparkle/ring/prose/gylfi.htm.
- Dhwty. “Popol Vuh: The Sacred Narrative of Maya Creation.” Ancient Origins, Ancient Origins, 18 Sept. 2018, www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-ancient-writings/popol-vuh-sacred-narrative-maya-creation-002893. Infobase Learning – Login, online.infobase.com/HRC/Search/PrimarySourceDetails/7?primarySourceId=6824&q=Creation.
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Pandora.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 18 Apr. 2019, www.britannica.com/topic/Pandora-Greek-mythology.
- Chaffey, Tim, and Midwest Apologetics. “Giant Speculations: The Bible and Greek Mythology.” Creation Today, 30 Oct. 2019, creationtoday.org/giant-speculations-the-bible-and-greek-mythology/.
- “Maya Civilization.” Ducksters Educational Site, www.ducksters.com/history/maya/religion_and_mythology.php.
- “Death and the Afterlife.” Norse Mythology for Smart People, norse-mythology.org/concepts/death-and-the-afterlife/.
- Mark, Joshua J. “The After-Life In Ancient Greece.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 4 Nov. 2019, www.ancient.eu/article/29/the-after-life-in-ancient-greece/.
- Nancy. “Ancient Romans.” AllAboutHistory.org, All About History, 13 July 2005, www.allabouthistory.org/ancient-romans-faq.htm.
- Mark, Joshua J. “The Egyptian Afterlife & The Feather of Truth.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2 Nov. 2019, www.ancient.eu/article/42/the-egyptian-afterlife–the-feather-of-truth/.