The first main point in chapter one I see, is that myths are stories. The difference between mythology and stories is that mythology is used to represent culture, religion, and/or the complexity of nature before science was as advanced as it is now. Myths may be fiction, but most were believed to be true at one time or may still be believed in some cultures. Researchers of mythology believe that by studying these myths, we can get an insight to the culture of where the myth originated. We can understand why they believe some of these myths to be sacred and a source of worship. I think there can be a lot taken and learned from myths. Most myths have years and years of history behind it. I think you can take something away from every myth, even the most abstract ones. Because myths are so old, I believe that some of them have truth to them. They get changed throughout history. An example would be, the Trojan War. One archeologist believes they found the city burned, but another believes there was a different reason the city was burned and it had nothing to do with the Trojan War. I think the great thing about myths is that some of them are hard to prove true or false. It makes it more interesting to study. I do think there are exceptions and that a lot can be scientifically proven false. For example, the myth that thunder is two clouds colliding has been proven false by science. Myths show me that people can be very imaginative. It also shows the difference in every culture. I think it’s interesting to see how different the cultures’ myths are. For example, Greek myths and Native American myths are very different. Greek myths have a lot of stories about gods and goddesses. Native American myths consist of spirits, nature, and animals.
There are many myths about creation. I think the fact there are so many and that people need and want a creation story to believe, shows how humans want to believe in a greater being or purpose. I think it’s hard for people, including me, to believe that creation is random and that there is no reason for existing. I think that brings up a lot of questions for people. If you have a simple science class in high school, it makes it hard to believe that it wasn’t purposeful. The human body is complex and amazing, and that alone makes it hard to believe. I do find it easier to believe in the Genesis story than other stories. It makes as much sense as to me as it can. I don’t know that I would believe it if there weren’t more Bible stories to back it up. If Genesis was the only book in the Bible, then I think it would be much harder for me to believe, and I would probably brush it off like the other creation myths. I think a lot of creation stories are like that. The myth is only about creation, there isn’t anything after it. There may be other myths in that culture, but they’re not an extension of the creation story. The creation myths I really enjoyed learning about this week were the Native American creation stories. I think it says a lot about their culture, and it’s so different than the other creation myths. Most of them had to do with animals doing all of the work. For example, a turtle swimming up from the ocean and carrying the mountains and valleys on its back. It’s an interesting story and a creative one, but how did the turtle exist? Where did the ocean come from?
I think there are two reasons that there is incest in creation stories. One reason is that most of the incest stories are about gods, so a lot of them had children with their brothers and sisters. I think it has something to do with the fact of power and that in some cases they might have been the only gods or people that existed.
Greek mythology is depicted throughout the world. Sometimes it’s noticeable and other times it’s not. It is seen in poems, movies, advertisements, video games, books, and paintings. There are so many structures that are named after gods or beings from Greek myths. An example would be, Hydra the Revenge roller coaster in Pennsylvania. It is coiled like a serpent, and it represents Hydra coming back to life to seek revenge on Hercules. The interesting thing is that most people who ride the roller coaster have no idea about the history or meaning of it. It just shows that Greek myths are represented in plain sight and people don’t realize it. My favorite Greek myth representation is the constellation Scorpio, which was named to represent the scorpion that attacked Hercules. I wasn’t sure why Greek mythology is still prevalent today. I knew it was interesting, but so are Norse myths and they’re not as engrained in our society. I learned that Greeks myths impacted literature, architecture, and fine arts. That helped me to understand why Greek myths are still so prevalent.
In the video, “Ancient Greece Cultural Geography” I learned that Greece was divided into city-states. They were basically very small, individual countries. The interesting thing to me is that they didn’t really communicate. Because of that, they all had different governments and laws, but they all worshipped the same gods and passed down the same myths from generation to generation. The next video I watched was, “25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Greek Gods”. One interesting thing I took away from this was about is Ares, the god of war. Despite being one of the most well-known Greek gods today, he was not popular in ancient Greece and was not among the widespread worship. Lastly, in “Greek Mythology Gods and Goddesses Documentary” I found it very interesting that the reign of the gods of Olympias began when Zeus grew up and attacked his father who had swallowed his siblings. Zeus’ mother had tricked his father and hidden him away, so he wouldn’t also be swallowed. When Zeus attacked his father, his siblings emerged and they began their reign.
One of my favorite myths from this week was about Scotland and Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway myth is about an Ireland giant, Finn McCool, falling in love with a giant woman from Scotland. Finn McCool decided he would build a stepping stone bridge to Scotland, so his love could join him in Ireland. She also started building from her side. When another giant from Scotland, who also was in love with the giantess, found out about their causeway, he started to throw rocks across the ocean at Finn McCool. Their feud ended, as well as the building of the causeway, when McCool through a giant rock in the ocean. This rock is said to be the Isle of Man. The causeway was never finished. I think this myth is so different than the others. It has a lighter feel to it. It’s sad that the giants were never united, but the idea of the myth is beautiful. The video also mentioned how the natives love to tell the tale to all the tourists. The Giant’s Causeway really is beautiful, and I would love to see it in person someday.
From Norse mythology, I’ve always found the myth of Asgard fascinating. I love the idea that there is another world in the sky and that is connected to earth by a rainbow bridge, Bifrost. It was home to the Norse gods such as Thor and Odin. Odin is the most powerful god in Norse mythology. Odin was known for his wisdom, which he paid for by giving up an eye. He traded his eye to drink from the Well of Uror, and he earned knowledge and wisdom of the world by doing so. His son Thor was the most beloved god in Norse mythology. He was best known for his strength and his hammer, Mjolnir.
Pat Soloman asked in his TED talk if we were being heroes of our own story. He didn’t mean to be a hero we have to save a certain amount of people or save the world. He said, “Are you living with fear, or are you living with courage and compassion?”. I think that courage and compassion are something everyone should strive for in their life. I try to do this as much as possible, but in reality, everyone fears different things. As a child, I was way too concerned with what everyone thought of me, and I feared that for years. It wasn’t until I graduated high school and went to college, that I consciously moved that to the back of my mind. I realized that it’s not important. If I’m being compassionate, kind, and the best I can be, then the people who are meant to be in my life will except me. I think that transition to college helped me and put me on a different path. I went to the same private school from kindergarten to senior year. It was almost like I didn’t have the space to change, because I never had the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things. I do think I am creating my own journey now. Joseph Campbell said “Follow your bliss. Find where it is and don’t be afraid to follow it”. I think that’s the part of the journey I’m in now. I’m really excited about my future now, and I think I was too scared in the past to be excited. Right now, I’m following my bliss. If my path changes, I hope I still have the courage I do now to follow it, and push new fears away. Because fear is the only thing holding you back from being the hero of your story.
A trickster is a person, god, or animal who tricks or deceives people. They are both intelligent and foolish, irresponsible, selfish, funny, and loveable. They are known to break the rules and find joy in it. They live to fool people, and they are almost always one step ahead. They are often underestimated, because they put off an air of foolishness. Depending on the myth, the trickster may be considered a hero, others are considered evil. There are differences in the myths about tricksters based on culture. For example, the Native American myths have multiple animals that are seen as tricksters, the Raven and the Coyote. The Norse myths have Loki as a trickster, who is a shape shifting god. They both have most of the same characteristics, like all tricksters do. The difference is because of the culture of the origin of the myth. The Raven is not seen as a god, because Native American people do not believe in deities but in spirits. The Norse myths are filled with deity, so that is why their trickster would be seen as a god. My favorite trickster from the reading would be Loki. I’ve always loved the Norse myth about Thor and Asgard, and Loki is definitely my favorite to learn about. Loki is dramatic and impulsive, but he’s not seen as evil. He is focused on himself first, like all tricksters, but he also is there for his kingdom when he is needed. He did mess with people for fun though. He would challenge anyone and cheat and trick his way to a victory. He would use his challenger’s weaknesses to keep them coming back to challenge him and continue to beat them. I think it was less about beating someone for the end result alone and more about making them look foolish during the process.
“Myths and fairy tales encompass our common human desires and experiences, and human desire is ultimately fulfilled in Christianity.” I fully agree with this statement from one of the articles from this module. I think a lot of Christians think that by letting their children read or watch fairytales they are going to believe in that and not in the religion they want them to believe. Children have a big imagination, and fairytales are what they are interested in. Fairytales can teach children important life lessons that they may comprehend better by watching or reading about it in a language they understand or are interested in. The article also mentioned the Chronicles of Narnia. That movie has a lot of references to Christianity that children relate to. They like the idea of another world, and children their age getting to go there through a closet. Besides the fact it was an imaginary world, it was filled with life lessons and the basics of Christianity.
“The lessons that are hidden (in plain sight) in fairy tales aid in children’s education.” I think the great thing about children watching and reading fairytales is that they get a different life lesson from each one. Every one of them has a different main point that is vital to success and happiness as adults. They teach children to be kind, tell the truth, except people’s differences, stay true to yourself, and fight for what you believe in. I think these characteristics are the basics of what you want your child to learn, and they’re doing that while being entertained and focused.
“Reading is a way of thinking about yourself. You become a better person because of it and it aids in maintaining your intellectual and ethical integrity.” I’ve always loved to read even as a kid, and of course I started off with fairytales. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t love reading and writing as much as I do now. It puts you in another world when you need to get out of yours. You put yourself into the character’s shoes, and you can see things in a different perspective. I think that is very important. We all grew up a certain way, and we were taught certain things. I think reading makes it easier to relate to people who aren’t like you, because you’ve seen different perspectives.
I think urban legends and monster stories are very interesting. I don’t personally think that vampires and werewolves are real, but I love fiction books and movies about them. I think there are many reasons people are interested in these types of stories. Vampires and werewolves are the most talked about monsters, in my opinion. I think that has something to do with the interest. Books and movies romanticize them, which is something that almost everyone is interested in. Also, I think people are naturally drawn to superior beings. Vampires and werewolves are known to be faster and stronger than us. To me, it relates to how we think, and not everyone has the same interests. One person might be interested in urban legends while another person is more interested in sports. I think the two interests correlate though. For example, a die-hard soccer fan would be fascinated by their favorite player because of their talent, strength, and speed. To them, their favorite player is superior. In general, I think that the interest in urban legends shows how imaginative humanity is, and how sometimes everyone needs an escape from reality. Urban legends and monster stories are one of many ways people can do that.
I would say I’m gullible in some situations. I tend to trust people very easily. My first instinct is to believe someone is telling me the truth. I’m more gullible about realistically possible situations though. If someone spoils my favorite show before I watch the finale and says my favorite character dies, I’m going to believe them. If someone tells me that they have proof that aliens are real, I’m not going to believe them. My best friend is the most gullible person I know, and she’s the first person that came to mind because of that. I would say she’s more gullible with people she knows. She would believe the craziest things I tell her, but not a stranger. I would say I would believe anyone if it sounded realistic, but not even my family if it sounds like an impossible situation. To be less gullible, I could acknowledge that people do lie even if there is no reason for it. I could look into what they told me if it is important to my life and the choices that I make.