The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum (Archive Board)
October 21, 2021, 11:43:53 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: This is our Read Only Archive Board (closed to posting July 2011). Join our new vBulletin board!
 
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2021, 11:43:53 am

Login with username, password and session length
Donate!
The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.
TC Staff
Important Information about this Archive Board
This message board is The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum's SMF Archive Board. It is closed to new memberships and to posting, but there are over 250,000 messages here that you can still search and read -- many full of interesting and useful information. (This board was open from February 2007 through June 2011).

Our new vBulletin discussion board is located at http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/ -- if you would like to participate in discussions like those you see here, please visit our new vBulletin message board, register an account and join in our discussions. We hope you will find the information in this message archive useful and will consider joining us on our new board.
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
Author Topic: Understanding mythology and folklore  (Read 7438 times)
Collinsky
Adept Member
*****
*
*
Last Login:July 03, 2011, 11:33:09 pm
United States United States

Religion: Celtic/Heathen, ADF, UU
TCN ID: Collinsky
Posts: 1026


I was made from the ninefold elements...

Blog entries (0)

Collinsky CollinskyCo
WWW

Ignore
« Topic Start: February 09, 2010, 08:40:03 pm »

This was inspired by a recent interesting thread; instead of hijacking that one I decided to post a separate question. Link to the original is here:

I know that myths are often used as sources of info on the nature of the gods and interacting with them. But does anyone here incorporate the stories themselves into ritual? How do you decide which of a god's many myths you'll focus on? Or, in everyday life, do you find yourself returning to some myths as touchstones of faith?

I'm really craving some good sources to begin more seriously studying mythology and folklore in general - not just the stories, but the ideas, meaning, etc? I know there are a few here who are quite educated in this area and I'd love to get some suggestions for reading - books or sites - that will help me get more from the myths and the lore. I'd appreciate any resources or advice!


Logged

~*~Colleen~*~
When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.
http://colleenrachelle.livejournal.com/
"Let's not confuse your inability to comprehend what I do with my ability to do it."

Welcome, Guest!
You will need to register and/or login to participate in our discussions.

Read our Rules and Policies and the Quoting Guidelines.

Help Fund Our Server? Donate to Lyricfox's Cancer Fund?

Star
Message Board Coordinator
Senior Staff
Grand Adept Member
****
Last Login:January 12, 2013, 08:36:08 am
United States United States

Religion: Hellenic Reconstructionist
TCN ID: star
Posts: 9033


Etcetera, Whatever

Blog entries (0)

ilaynay starcr
WWW
« Reply #1: February 10, 2010, 07:25:13 am »

I'm really craving some good sources to begin more seriously studying mythology and folklore in general - not just the stories, but the ideas, meaning, etc? I know there are a few here who are quite educated in this area and I'd love to get some suggestions for reading - books or sites - that will help me get more from the myths and the lore. I'd appreciate any resources or advice!

Just to clarify:  I'm assuming from the religion you list in your profile that you'll be primarily interested in Celtic mythology and folklore?

(I ask because you've left it rather open-ended, and what resources are good will probably vary from one culture's mythology to another.  Wink  )
Logged

"The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced."
-- Aart Van Der Leeuw

Main Blog:  Star's Journal of Random Thoughts
Religious Blog:  The Song and the Flame
I can also now be found on Goodreads.
Ilan
Senior Newbie
*
Last Login:April 12, 2010, 12:55:41 pm
Israel Israel

Religion: Self Searching
Posts: 10

Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #2: February 10, 2010, 09:44:16 am »

I'm really craving some good sources to begin more seriously studying mythology and folklore in general - not just the stories, but the ideas, meaning, etc?

I can't say I'm very educated, but some names come to mind:

Burkert - especially greek mythology and ritual, though through him you can get tools to apply on other myths.
Eliade - The master. Really.

Jung - though psychologically oriented, very helpful for pagans and other magic practitioners.

Joseph Campbell - though in later years had a allegedly a more christian attitude, it is worth it.
Frazer - almost the father of anthropology. Though today many would claim, probably rightly, that he got many things wrong, "The Golden Bough" is still precious.

These writers in all their books not necesarrily deal directly with mythology, nor do they deal with the entire spectrum of mythology, yet their works will give you an in depth understanding of how to understand mythologies.

Just an important point - they're human. They made mistakes. The beauty of mythology that there is also a lot of space for individual interpertations. In a nutshell - not every dying and resurrcting hero is a corn or summer god, not every young goddess is a maiden...

Sometimes it is possible to over-rationalize mythologies and that's just plainly ruining them. Keep that in mind. Sometimes, those who wrote the mythologies didn't think of something very profound, they just wrote a story or a play Smiley
Logged
Darkhawk
Chief Mux Wizard
Staff
Adept Member
***
*
Last Login:September 16, 2021, 07:20:16 pm
United States United States

Religion: Kemetic Feri Discordian
Posts: 2485

Blog entries (0)

WWW
« Reply #3: February 10, 2010, 03:43:40 pm »

I'm really craving some good sources to begin more seriously studying mythology and folklore in general - not just the stories, but the ideas, meaning, etc? I know there are a few here who are quite educated in this area and I'd love to get some suggestions for reading - books or sites - that will help me get more from the myths and the lore. I'd appreciate any resources or advice!

One thing you can do is start to do cosmogenic readings of myths.  (This is like English lit class, only less obnoxious.)

Consider a myth.  Look at the players, what they do, how they interact, what happens.  What is that illustrating?  What does it mean about the world if this is true?


So some fragmentary bits of Celtery:  What does it mean to burn your thumb on the Salmon of Wisdom?  What does that suggest about the nature of knowledge and its acquisition?  What do Arianhrod's curses on Lleu suggest about the nature of masculinity and adulthood?  What does the regeneration of Manannan's swine suggest about the nature of the liminal realms that He is associated with?  Etc.
Logged

Melamphoros
Staff
Grand Adept Member
***
Last Login:March 28, 2015, 11:01:26 pm
United States United States

Religion: Informed Eclectic with Hellenic Overtones
TCN ID: Melamphoros
Posts: 13621


Kiss My Scythe

Blog entries (0)


« Reply #4: February 10, 2010, 03:55:42 pm »

Jung - though psychologically oriented, very helpful for pagans and other magic practitioners.

However, this only applies to those who view Gods as nothing more than archetypes.  It wouldn't do much good for a hard polytheist,

Quote
Joseph Campbell - though in later years had a allegedly a more christian attitude, it is worth it.
Frazer - almost the father of anthropology. Though today many would claim, probably rightly, that he got many things wrong, "The Golden Bough" is still precious.

I would NEVER recommend Campbell to anyone.  Having a Christian attitude isn't the half of it.  He basically took myths from all over the world, ignoring varients that didn't support his little mold as well as historical and cultural context, and shoved them through a very Christian, very Western lens.  This is a big no no in actual mythology/folklore scholarship and those who professionaly study the field look down on him.

IIRC, the same applies to Frazer but since my brain doesn't seem to be working today I can't pinpoint the reason why.
Logged



Jesus saves, Allah forgives, Cthulhu thinks you will make a great sandwich.
My Spiritual Blog
gorm_sionnach
Journeyman
***
Last Login:January 14, 2011, 11:19:41 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Fálachus, Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheist
Posts: 222

Gravatar

Blog entries (0)

WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5: February 10, 2010, 04:07:26 pm »

This was inspired by a recent interesting thread; instead of hijacking that one I decided to post a separate question. Link to the original is here:

I'm really craving some good sources to begin more seriously studying mythology and folklore in general - not just the stories, but the ideas, meaning, etc? I know there are a few here who are quite educated in this area and I'd love to get some suggestions for reading - books or sites - that will help me get more from the myths and the lore. I'd appreciate any resources or advice!

I am making the same inference as others, but if you are interested in more of the Celtic myths, you're options are the Irish and the Wlesh. Certainly there are aspects of a more pan-Celtic nature, but the details tend to be important.

The other things to keep in mind is that the mythics texts we do have, were all written (or recorded depending on who you read) during a period in Irish/Welsh history where the scribes were all Christian, so to try and tease out any deeper meaning, especially concerning deities, requires some degree of comparison with continental sources (which have their own issues) and other IE cultures, the Greeks and Norse being two favourites.

There are several books which try to explain the Celtic myths, or at least models.

Celtic Gods and Heroes by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt is a concise text exploring the broader (if some now outdated) tropes, and trying to establish a "Celtic" view of deity and myth.

Celtic Heritage by Alwyn and Brinley Rees is a sort of core text (especially among CR's) which goes into great detail, and explores some of the meanings, symbolism, cosmology, etc. of the existing Celtic (in this case Irish and Wlesh) mythic texts. They favour a comparitive approach, especially to the Vedic models, and many have commented that they may go too far in trying to fit the Celtic stuff into a Vedic mold. Generally, the best advice is to read it (because there is a lot of good stuff) but to take it with a grain of salt... or better yet Cattle Lords and Clansmen by Nerys Patterson, which provides a contextualized account of early Irish social structures to ground a reader from jumping too brashly into the Vedic model...

I'm also finding [http://www.amazon.com/Myths-Legends-Celts-James-MacKillop/dp/0141017945/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265835898&sr=1-1]Myths and Legends of the Celts[/url] by James Mackillop to be an excellent survey text, covering most of the major mythological cycles in Irish (and a great deal of Wlesh sources as well) and providing a decent explanatory outline which provides some background to his rather brief summaries of the tales.
Logged

Due civility never broke a mans head, and great is the pity to be at any time without it.

Have a gander at my blog: Three Shouts on a Hilltop
Collinsky
Adept Member
*****
*
*
Last Login:July 03, 2011, 11:33:09 pm
United States United States

Religion: Celtic/Heathen, ADF, UU
TCN ID: Collinsky
Posts: 1026


I was made from the ninefold elements...

Blog entries (0)

Collinsky CollinskyCo
WWW

Ignore
« Reply #6: February 10, 2010, 05:21:43 pm »

Just to clarify:  I'm assuming from the religion you list in your profile that you'll be primarily interested in Celtic mythology and folklore?

(I ask because you've left it rather open-ended, and what resources are good will probably vary from one culture's mythology to another.  Wink  )

For this and others who mentioned it, I left it open intentionally - I didn't want to specifically limit it to Celtic myth and lore if there were good resources for understanding mythology in general. The spiritual role it plays, the social, etc. I want some direction for getting more from the myths and lore that I read. My focus is definitely primarily Celtic and Heathen, and any reading that I do I want to enhance my study of those.

I am not adverse to reading Jung and Campbell (in fact kind of braced myself for the possibility that everyone would suggest Campbell's books, and was wondering how to phrase it to get other suggestions! LOL First lesson: there's no consensus on that, apparently. Cheesy) but I don't currently hold an archetypal view of gods or the idea that "all myths are one myth"... I'm not closed to those possibilities, but it's just not my belief. That said, I absolutely don't have a problem with people discussing Christian or Jewish mythology, and comparative mythology is fine with me - if it's helpful in understanding things and just generally useful to read.
Logged

~*~Colleen~*~
When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.
http://colleenrachelle.livejournal.com/
"Let's not confuse your inability to comprehend what I do with my ability to do it."
Collinsky
Adept Member
*****
*
*
Last Login:July 03, 2011, 11:33:09 pm
United States United States

Religion: Celtic/Heathen, ADF, UU
TCN ID: Collinsky
Posts: 1026


I was made from the ninefold elements...

Blog entries (0)

Collinsky CollinskyCo
WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7: February 10, 2010, 05:24:58 pm »

One thing you can do is start to do cosmogenic readings of myths.  (This is like English lit class, only less obnoxious.)

Consider a myth.  Look at the players, what they do, how they interact, what happens.  What is that illustrating?  What does it mean about the world if this is true?


So some fragmentary bits of Celtery:  What does it mean to burn your thumb on the Salmon of Wisdom?  What does that suggest about the nature of knowledge and its acquisition?  What do Arianhrod's curses on Lleu suggest about the nature of masculinity and adulthood?  What does the regeneration of Manannan's swine suggest about the nature of the liminal realms that He is associated with?  Etc.

Embarrassingly, I never found English lit classes to be obnoxious. I like these ideas here, I'll look into this. Thanks!
Logged

~*~Colleen~*~
When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.
http://colleenrachelle.livejournal.com/
"Let's not confuse your inability to comprehend what I do with my ability to do it."
Collinsky
Adept Member
*****
*
*
Last Login:July 03, 2011, 11:33:09 pm
United States United States

Religion: Celtic/Heathen, ADF, UU
TCN ID: Collinsky
Posts: 1026


I was made from the ninefold elements...

Blog entries (0)

Collinsky CollinskyCo
WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8: February 10, 2010, 05:27:21 pm »

This is a big no no in actual mythology/folklore scholarship and those who professionaly study the field look down on him.

What would those scholars recommend for someone wanting to start a study of the subject? 
Logged

~*~Colleen~*~
When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.
http://colleenrachelle.livejournal.com/
"Let's not confuse your inability to comprehend what I do with my ability to do it."
Collinsky
Adept Member
*****
*
*
Last Login:July 03, 2011, 11:33:09 pm
United States United States

Religion: Celtic/Heathen, ADF, UU
TCN ID: Collinsky
Posts: 1026


I was made from the ninefold elements...

Blog entries (0)

Collinsky CollinskyCo
WWW

Ignore
« Reply #9: February 10, 2010, 05:36:43 pm »

I am making the same inference as others, but if you are interested in more of the Celtic myths, you're options are the Irish and the Wlesh. Certainly there are aspects of a more pan-Celtic nature, but the details tend to be important.

Specifically Irish - I will look into the titles you shared and add them to my monstrosity of a wish list LOL   Grin They look like what I am looking for!
Logged

~*~Colleen~*~
When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.
http://colleenrachelle.livejournal.com/
"Let's not confuse your inability to comprehend what I do with my ability to do it."
Ilan
Senior Newbie
*
Last Login:April 12, 2010, 12:55:41 pm
Israel Israel

Religion: Self Searching
Posts: 10

Blog entries (0)



Ignore
« Reply #10: February 10, 2010, 05:39:32 pm »

However, this only applies to those who view Gods as nothing more than archetypes.  It wouldn't do much good for a hard polytheist,

I disagree. I consider myself a hard polytheist, and I still like, and use the idea of the archetypes. One doesn't have to look on it as an explanation of "what are the gods", rather one can see with what parts inside one's own psyche (and the unconscious self and the collective unconscious) resonate with the gods. I'm pretty sure that my own mother and father are real human beings, yet they are also inside "The father" and "the mother" archetypal images within me.

Quote
I would NEVER recommend Campbell to anyone... the same applies to Frazer

I think the word "never" is a bit too harsh. If I were to see only them recommended, I would probably have written a warning to take both with a lots of grains of salt. I have written the litlle list I wrote with a reason - the more serious&correct scholars, IMO, are at the top. After them - the psychologist, and at the end the more "romantic" scholars. The two latter ones, no matter how wrong they are, made a huge contribution to the field of mythology, I think, and read by a serious and intelligent reader they can benefit and contribute to the arsenal of that reader.
Logged
Melamphoros
Staff
Grand Adept Member
***
Last Login:March 28, 2015, 11:01:26 pm
United States United States

Religion: Informed Eclectic with Hellenic Overtones
TCN ID: Melamphoros
Posts: 13621


Kiss My Scythe

Blog entries (0)


« Reply #11: February 10, 2010, 05:51:52 pm »

I disagree. I consider myself a hard polytheist, and I still like, and use the idea of the archetypes. One doesn't have to look on it as an explanation of "what are the gods", rather one can see with what parts inside one's own psyche (and the unconscious self and the collective unconscious) resonate with the gods. I'm pretty sure that my own mother and father are real human beings, yet they are also inside "The father" and "the mother" archetypal images within me.

I think the word "never" is a bit too harsh. If I were to see only them recommended, I would probably have written a warning to take both with a lots of grains of salt. I have written the litlle list I wrote with a reason - the more serious&correct scholars, IMO, are at the top. After them - the psychologist, and at the end the more "romantic" scholars. The two latter ones, no matter how wrong they are, made a huge contribution to the field of mythology, I think, and read by a serious and intelligent reader they can benefit and contribute to the arsenal of that reader.

Eh, different strokes for different folks, I guess Undecided
Logged



Jesus saves, Allah forgives, Cthulhu thinks you will make a great sandwich.
My Spiritual Blog
catja6
Board Staff
Staff
Adept Member
***
Last Login:November 28, 2020, 08:41:38 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Posts: 1119


Blog entries (0)


« Reply #12: February 11, 2010, 01:58:52 am »



I'm a folklorist, and your statements about Frazer and Campbell are not exactly accurate.  They were both FAR more influential among creative writers and excited amateurs than they ever were among professional scholars.  Frazer did gain some traction in UK scholarship for a while; the Americans were never all that impressed by him, and he got tossed out in the 1960s pretty much everywhere, except as historical background on the field.  Campbell, while beloved of pop authors, male pop-culture auteurs, and a few scholars in other fields who know nothing about the academic study of mythology and folklore, inspires pretty much universal eye-rolling. 

Eliade isn't exactly the number-one go-to guy, either -- he's used and referenced more, and with a bit more respect, than is Frazer or Campbell, but the vast majority of recent work cautions the reader to take him with a massive pile of salt.  He shares the same uncritical, universalizing tendencies as Frazer and Campbell, but is considered somewhat useful for those who buy his overall approach.
Logged
catja6
Board Staff
Staff
Adept Member
***
Last Login:November 28, 2020, 08:41:38 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Posts: 1119


Blog entries (0)


« Reply #13: February 11, 2010, 02:10:51 am »

What would those scholars recommend for someone wanting to start a study of the subject? 

First, go over to Foamy Custard, and, if you can stand the orange background, read everything.
http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/foamycustard/index.htm

It's one of the flat-out best, most readable crash courses in the basics of folklore and mythological theory I have ever seen.  Then, if you want more, get a copy of William Doty's Mythography -- it is HUGE and dense, but worth it.  Once you've read those, you'll have a MUCH better idea of the various approaches, and can decide if you'd like to explore any particular theoretical positions further.  To understand how folklore and myth are intertwined, I'd also grab a copy of Folk Groups and Folklore Genres:  An Introduction (ed. Elliott Oring); pay special attention to Oring's essay "Folk Narratives."

Those are the big overviews I recommend.  After that, you'll have to be more specific -- which culture, which religion, which theoretical approach, which time period, etc.  Smiley
Logged
catja6
Board Staff
Staff
Adept Member
***
Last Login:November 28, 2020, 08:41:38 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Posts: 1119


Blog entries (0)


« Reply #14: February 11, 2010, 02:18:34 am »


Oh, and you should also look at Greek and Roman myth:  pretty much every single scholarly theory of mythology in the West got tested out on classical myths first, or immediately after Christian myths.  Morford and Lenardon's Classical Mythology is great -- it was designed as a textbook for undergrad courses, so it is very readable.   
Logged

Donor Ad: Become a Silver or Gold Donor to get your ad here.

Tags:
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Add bookmark  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
  Portal   Forum   Help Rules Search Chat (Mux) Articles Login Register   *

* Share this topic...
In a forum
(BBCode)
In a site/blog
(HTML)


Related Topics
Subject Started by Replies Views Last post
help on understanding our moon please « 1 2 »
Magic and the Occult for Beginners
celticemerald 21 6586 Last post September 25, 2007, 04:05:05 pm
by RagingClue
Understanding Greek Drama
Ta Hiera Hellenic Polytheism SIG
Star 4 2849 Last post February 11, 2009, 05:46:01 am
by Morag
Celtic Folklore
Hazel and Oak: A Celtic Polytheism SIG
Figment99 3 2230 Last post February 25, 2009, 12:47:02 pm
by Figment99
Good Folklore Courses at Universities in the UK? (Catja?)
History and Religion
Kasmira 4 2348 Last post March 01, 2009, 12:20:41 pm
by SunflowerP
Understanding the Inquisition
Books and Other Resources
anaise 2 1960 Last post May 28, 2011, 10:09:19 pm
by SeaShine
EU Cookie Notice: This site uses cookies. By using this site you consent to their use.


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.11 seconds with 51 queries.