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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in myth

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Robin of Sherwood: An Appreciation

12th century England, the yeomanry crushed beneath the heel of their Norman overlords. Shooting a deer to feed your family is a capital offense. The people cry out to their ancestral god to free them.

And Herne, ancient god of the forest, hears his people's cry. He calls a dispossessed young English nobleman, Robin of Loxley, to be his son and to lead his people in their struggle against Norman oppression.

This is the heady premise of Richard Carpenter's landmark Robin of Sherwood, which aired in the UK from 1983 to 1985, the first television series to be shaped by the newly-emergent paganisms of the West. In the process, it transformed forever both the Robin Hood mythos and modern paganism itself.

That's a lot to say for one TV series.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well, I don't usually endorse non-pagan businesses,, there's this company named for a large South American river.... Loo
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Steven, where the heck did you get ahold of the series? I've been looking for it on DVD or Blu-Ray for ages, to no avail.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_256px-Moreau_Europa_and_the_Bull.jpgThough Terebus knew it was the time of his death, he gathered gifts of abundance to give each person. These were gifts that would help pass the cold season until he would return again: clay for making bowls, reeds for making baskets, glass and beads, paint and songs. Even knowing that he was to die, he pranced and tossed his horns, jingling the bells that had been tied there. When all the gifts were gone, he came and stood before Tellus, in her dark domain, mother of the soil who limits us all.

She spoke, “Terebus, we have spent and built, created and sold, grown and developed for a season. Now it is time to rest, to assess what we have done, to cherish what we have created, to enjoy the fruits of our labors.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_14_Religions.jpgI only know one person who is an open atheist and I don’t tend to have any opinion when I hear discussions about the existence of god. I’ll confess that I feel somewhat sorry for atheists. I think its kind of sad that they don’t get enough joy and satisfaction out of a religion to justify a bit of faith when needed. Most humans practice religion of some kind. It has been fashionable in the twentieth century to bash religion and declare it one of the major causes of human suffering. My father-in-law was one such. Culturally Jewish, his father fled the Czar when he was found to be a Communist. Harry believed firmly in an afterlife, but he had bad things to say about religion. All while participating in his Jewish community. This might seem a paradox, but it really isn’t. Judaism does not dictate belief, only behavior, and by all means debate away!

I didn’t agree with Harry, although I did agree that there had been religious wars and persecution. Religions must be part of our biology and thus serve us in a survival capacity, otherwise we wouldn’t make so many of them! It comes down to a few simple ideas. Our brains want to create stories about what happens to us. We have a biological need for meaning. (For more on this I recommend the works of Eugene D’Aquili and Andrew Newberg.) What survival need does this serve? It creates hope. Hope allows one to continue in the face of fear, anguish, and physical or emotional pain. Without hope, we are more likely to give up. For our ancestors, giving up would have, more often than not, meant death.

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    I enjoy this article. Lately I've been musing over similar things. I know that two things I especially value and appreciate in my

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Deer Wife

Here’s a tale, the story of the Deer Wife, and well it might be the oldest tale in the world.

One day a man takes his rifle and goes off into the woods, where he sees a pretty little doe. He takes aim, shoots, and hits her in the shoulder, but he doesn’t kill her outright. So he follows the blood-trail into the forest until he comes to a clearing.

But there’s no doe in that clearing. Instead there’s a woman standing there, naked and bleeding. Her hair is like red fire and her skin like apple blossom, and she’s got a bullet lodged in her shoulder.

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    In the Fenian Cycle, she is Sadhbh (Saba), mate of Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) and mother of Oisín (Osheen), meaning "faun."
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seal Clan for sure. Have you seen David Thomson's People of the Sea? The single most lyrical book I know about seals and selkies.
  • Carol Leary
    Carol Leary says #
    Oh, just prophetic in the sense that I have never liked getting out of the water, all the way from the time my mother would call
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    So mote it be!
  • Carol Leary
    Carol Leary says #
    So cool. For me, it was the story my grandmother told me when I was six, of the Selkie. She is the seal who took human form &
Songs for Ophelia by Theodora Goss: a Review

     I have been given an opportunity to read and review author Theodora Goss' newest book, Songs for Ophelia, due in stores soon. This is an exquisite volume of poetry, mystical, mythical, fantastical, even spiritual, a must-read, and I thought I would share my review here, so others might have the opportunity to read this volume themselves.


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  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery says #
    I love Goss's work! When I start tutoring a new student, my favorite first assignment is Goss's "The Wings of Meister Wilhelm." Th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_goddesseye.jpgIn the early days of Egyptology scholars took the attitude that a transcendent experience was only expected after death in ancient Egypt.  This fit well with the predominant Judeo-Christian background of virtually all of them, as well as the desire to demonstrate their new profession could be as scientific as any others.  But the record is plain as day that mystery schools flourished in at least the Late period, influencing other mystery cults all around the Mediterranean.  Contemporary Egyptologist Jan Assman even goes so far as to assert that ancient Egyptians could not have developed their own mysticism because that it would not have been based on lived real-life experience.  Really?! 

I do love Assman’s writing, but as an unabashed mystic myself I am all too aware that close encounters with another kind of reality, one we often call “god” or “the divine”, happen all the time.  It seems far more likely that Egyptians encountered this numinous, liminal reality enough times that they began to form, first mythologies, then theologies, around it. 

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  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    Isidora, I love Naydler! I also heartily recommend Rosemary Clark's books. She worked for the Oriental Institute at University of
  • Isidora Forrest
    Isidora Forrest says #
    Hi, Holli...couldn't agree more. I rather like Jeremy Nadler's take on it in Temple of the Cosmos.
Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit

"In Hunab Ku, you'll find seventy-seven images of home-multiple ways to view or earth and ourselves. These images, like the Hunab Ku itself, measure and move us and encourage us to embark upon our own sacred journey. The Hunab Ku lies at the very center of these images, reminding us to balance our intentions, to center our understandings, and to become more conscious of what ancient wisdom continues to teach all of us today." -- From Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-2-300.pngHunab Ku is an ancient Mayan symbol that represents the joining of opposites. Hunab means "one state of being" and Ku means "God". Masculine and feminine, analytical and intuitive, objective and subjective, yang and yin, conscious and unconscious, external and internal-the Hunab Ku speaks to the abyss between opposing forces and, in fact, serves as a bridge between them. The archetype of the Hunab Ku is the "space between" that reflects oneness with God and the unity of all things.

The Mayans constructed several detailed calendars and these calendars reflected cycles of the Earth and humanity itself. After each cycle of 5,125 years, the "universe takes a deep breath and begins again", and according to the Maya Long Count Calendar, humanity is posed on the edge of a great unfolding of balance and understanding. Many have called this the Age of Aquarius, but the Mayans called it the Age of Itza-Age of Consciousness. Some interpretations have set the winter solstice of 2012 as the time marking a gateway to the galaxies where Hunab Ku-the great mover-will pulse and fill us all with intelligent energy.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-1-300.pngAuthors Karen Speerstra and Joel Speerstra have presented 77 sacred symbols that create an interactive system for learning, healing, and meditation. These 77 symbols are archetypes that are universal, arising from the collective unconscious. As visual metaphors, the symbols reflect, like mirrors, the patterns that are deeply embedded in each one of us. These archetypes bypass the rational mind, arrive on the wings of synchronicity, and invite us to journey inward. Archetypal symbols like those presented in Hunab Ku can explode us into different dimensions of understanding, restoring balance, energizing creativity, and promoting healing if we but allow them entrance.

In the book, the 77 archetypal images are organized into groups of seven color palettes, each reflecting the seven chakras. Eleven archetypal symbols are associated with each chakra, depicting the energetic pattern of the image as it relates to the seven energy vortices and their corresponding issues, gifts, and challenges. The lower chakras--represented by red, orange, and yellow-connect to the physical side of life. The upper chakras-represented by blue, indigo, and violet-connect us to the spiritual side of life. In the center likes a field of green which connects to both the heart chakra and the Hunab Ku. This area marks our central union with one another and joins the images of the body and the spirit.

There are several ways Hunab Ku can be read:

* Conventionally, from beginning to end, as a mini ancient art history tour
* One color group of eleven images at a time
* As an oracle where you ask a powerful open-ended question and then turn to a random page
* Roll dice and generate random numbers for different types of intuitive readings
* Use a pendulum to dowse the Hunab Ku symbol for numbers/images that speak to your questions

Hunab Ku is an unconventional book that serves as a spiraling labyrinth of archetypal consciousness. The physical images span from Red 1 Great Bear (Solitude) to Green 39 Hunab Ku (Lover). The spiritual images span from Green 39 Hunab Ku (Relationships) to Violet 1 Unicorn (Unity). So one could move down a path towards the center (39) and then move back out towards the world again by passing through numbers 38 through 1.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-3-300.pngHere are a few symbols from the book:


Scorpion (Conflict)
Womb (Gestation)
Ouroboros (Unconsciousness)


Mother (Intuition)
Water (Movement)
Giant (Control)


Star (Inspiration)
Twins (Androgyny)
Wheel (Change)


Dolphin (Addiction)
Healer (Wholeness)
Phoenix (Hope)


Teacher (Knowledge)
Sound (Vibration)
Magician (Journey)


Moon (Dreams)
Wise Old One (Rest)
Chalice (Quest)


Scarab (Manifestation)
Double Spiral (Infinity)
Crown (Reward)

For each symbol there is a re-drawn color plate of a petroglyph, artifact, figurine, carving, wall mural, etc. These archetypes are from diverse areas such as the Americas, Africa, British Isles, Babylon, India and beyond. For example, Under Mystic (Violet 8), there is a picture of a stone labyrinth (1200 CE) from Chartres, France. For the Serpent (Red 7), there is a picture of the Great Serpent Mound (c. 1000 BCE) from Ohio, U.S.A.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-5-300.pngFor me, one of the most fascinating elements of this 330-page book is the symbol readings in the back. Each of these readings is comprehensive, combining a series of archetypes for an incredibly accurate and insightful reading. There's an Insight Reading, Work Reading, Rainbow Reading, Courage Reading, and The Bard: Telling Your Story. The authors provide easy to read charts if you want to generate numbers by throwing dice or by assigning number values to the letters of your name, for example.

Frankly, I am amazed at the depth of this book. It "speaks" profoundly on so many levels. 

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