Under the influence! is dedicated to publishing myths, legends and folklore from around the world. We also look at the history and traditions of different cultures in time and place and famous people and events that have become legendary. Many of these myths, legends and traditions are hundreds or even thousands of years old and their original meaning, or purpose has become obscured through time as societies change.
“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.” ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Make up your own mind!
We do not claim that versions we present are the definitive ones because in most cases there are many different and widely varying versions of the same myth or legend. Therefore, although we may offer our own interpretation we urge the reader to make their own from their own knowledge and experience and to think about how relevant they are today.
The hero with a thousand faces
In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campell explores the idea that important myths and legends around the world all share a structure which he calls a monomyth:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” – Joseph Campell
This same formula is present in many modern stories that are not fantasy or of the fantastic, science fiction or supernatural. However, Campell gives just one example of a structure while there are many folk and fairy tales that have different structures entirely. These structures are woven with themes and motifs that are found in many different societies and crop up again and again from place to place with variations.
We take the view that myths, legends and folklore helped our ancestors make sense of the world around them They passed knowledge through the generations from early times to modern times and they are the threads that connect us to the past which we will pass on to future generations. The original story may change and vary over the centuries but the archetypes: the heroes and villains and the components of the tale stay surprisingly consistent. The same can be said of the myths and legends we are creating today for ourselves and those of the future. Captain Kirks and Luke Skywalker are none other than Beowulf or Jason and the Argonauts, King Arthur, Hercules and other legendary and mythical characters. The slaying of the dragon, the fight against overwhelming forces, the battle between good and evil and the inner struggle of the hero to evolve into a more perfect being continues throughout the ages.
Myths, legends and folklore connects present society with past society and is passed on to future society. So much of our daily lives are still under the influence of these myths, legends and folklore that our ancestors created to help them make sense of their world and although we take them for granted we remain very much, under the influence!
Always remember you are the creator of your own mythology so make sure what you create is good!
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Folklorist that you are, I’m wondering if you have anything in your files about the Black Angels – these are found in some cemeteries as statues, with some mythos attached. I’ve posted about the one in Iowa City, IA and will be posting a PS about one in Council Bluffs IA – a reader and fellow blogger mentioned one in Peterborough, Ontario which I’ll mention as well. I couldn’t find more in a cursory search, but I thought perhaps something, perhaps from the UK, may be under your radar! Anyway, if you know of anything, please do share, you can email me at the “contact” button on my blog and I’ll be glad to add it to the mix.
Thanks in advance!!
Jan O. (of BookemJano blog)
Black angels, how interesting! Now you have aroused my curiosity and I will see what I can find. Will be in touch.
Many thanks! Appreciate it – and can’t wait to learn what you might discover! 🙂
Hi. I just popped by to wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, 2018, and thank you for your supportive likes on my blog. X
Thank you and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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Just came by to say thanks for following my blog – I think I’m going to find yours fascinating! I’m really interested in British folk traditions and how they continue to be celebrated, so I’ll be doing some digging.
Your welcome and its a great blog you have!
How wonderful to have you follow my blog, and how fortunate for that to have brought me here! I am not imaginative, but a good reader – and so my offspring have been filled with wonder through olden rhyme, myth and legend. As well a thesaurus full of words.Perhaps if such were shared more in schools, kids would be engaged.
Lovely to meet you!
Speaking of Jason and the Argonauts, I can highly recommend Tim Severin’s “The Jason Voyage”, in which he works with a Greek shipwright to build a recreation of a Greek galley – and then he proceeds to sail it to Georgia as a way to study the source of the legend. Of course, as stories are expanded over time, it’s hard to separate what really happened (was it one voyage? many voyage? was Hercules one of the crew), so this is Severin’s brilliant technique of distilling the elements of the voyage down to what was really possible. Another fascinating read is “The Brendan Voyage” in which he builds an Irish curragh, and sails it to the Americas (actually, Newfoundland) to prove, as the legend goes, Irish monks (not just vikings) may have made it to America before Columbus. Wonderful stuff.
Fascinating! Thanks for commenting, appreciated.
Hello! I am writing a paper over one of your articles and I’m trying to cite it but I cannot seem to find your publisher/sponsor information? By the way, I love your work 🙂
Thank you! I have not got a publisher but if you want to cite just do so in the way that is required for your work or just cite in the way you would like to be cited yourself. My sources are at the bottom of each post if you require them. Which one is you are interested in?