Myth Maker: Modern Mythopoetics

A tour of a variety of spirits, and the stories they want to tell.

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Sara Mastros

Sara Mastros

Sara L. Mastros teaches Witchcraft, Greek and Near Eastern Mythology, Jewish Kabbalah, Pythagorean Mysticism, and Practical Sorcery in Pittsburgh, online, and at festivals all over the East Coast.  Check out her personal blog at or follow along with all her witchy shenanigans on facebooking by "liking" Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire" at . In addition to writing and teaching, Sara offers hand-compounded incenses and oils, as well as custom sorcery, hand-made magical tools and altar ware, consultations, divinations, and one-on-one teaching at

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Okeanos: The Waters Above

The most ancient Greek gods, the gods before the Olympians, are less anthropomorphic than we are accustomed to thinking of Greek gods as being.  They are huge and impersonal; more places or states of being than they are people.  Just as Gaia is the Earth, and Tartarus is both the Underworld and the Lord thereof, Okeanos, the eldest of the Greek water gods, is place and god and archetype rolled into one.  Some say he is the firstborn son of Gaia and Uranus, but in other tales, he self-created, like Gaia, arising out of primordial Chaos before time began.  

Okeanos is the great river (some say sea) that encircles the world, the source of all water on earth, from icebergs to rivers to the great seas, and even the clouds full of rain above.  The sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars all lie inside his embrace.  From his eastern reaches, the sun daily rises, and into his western waters it recedes at night.  He is the outer boundary of the universe; beyond him, there is only chaos and void.  Okeanos represents the boundary between the known and the unknown.  Originally, some scholars say, he was represented by the Mediterranean, with Poseidon the god of the Aegean.  Over time, as Greek navigational technology improved, and their geography became more accurate, he expanded to the Atlantic. He is the ever-expanding liminal zone between known and unknown. He is that place of which we say "here be dragons". Today, he is the depths of outer space.  However, it is important to remember that he is not a personification of any place in our world, because he is not fully of our world at all.  Like Tartarus, he stands at the boundary of our world and the Other Place.  In battles for supremacy on Earth, such as that between the Olympians and the Titans, Okeanos stays neutral.  And yet, he is the protector and defender of life on earth, standing guard between us and the Outer Darkness.

Thales, whom Aristotle calls the Father of Science, taught that Okeanos (here not just the mythological figure, but Archetypal Water) was the source of all that is.  Aristotle tells us that “Thales, the founder of this type of philosophy, says the archê (first principle) is water, for which reason he declared that the earth rests on water, getting the notion perhaps from seeing that the nutriment of all things is moist, and that heat itself is generated from the moist and kept alive by it (and that from which they come to be is a principle of all things). He got his notion from this fact, and from the fact that the semina (seeds, also semen) of all things have a moist nature, and that water is the origin of the nature of moist things.   Some think that even the ancients who lived long before the present generation, and first framed accounts of the gods, had a similar view of nature; for they made Okeanos and Tethys the parents of creation...”

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Hello, and welcome to my new blog “Myth Maker: Modern Mythopoeia.”

In the next post, I’ll get to the meat of this blog, introducing you to a variety of lesser-known spirits from around the world and telling you the stories and teachings they tell to me. But I thought I’d start off by talking a little about mythopoesis as an art and a magical practice. The English word mythopoesis comes from the Greek μυθοποιία, and literally means “myth-making.” The second part of the word, “poeia,” is the root of our word “poet.”  Historically, the word was an obscure technical term, describing, as Victorian historians would tell it, that period of time when humans made myths “instead of science” to explain the world around them. However, in 1931, J. R. R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings) published a poem titled Mythopoeia, which was a direct response to his frenemy and Oxford colleague C.S. Lewis’s skepticism about the value of myth.  Lewis (at the time, although his views softened with the wisdom of age) believed that  myths are "lies and therefore worthless, even though 'breathed through silver.”'  Tolkien's poem replies...

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sarah Keene
    Sarah Keene says #
    One of the best explanations for the importance of myth that I have read comes from the Discworld novel Hogfather by Terry Pratche
  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    Sarah: That's lovely! Thank you for sharing it.

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