What is your favourite myth? And what or who is your favourite mythological character(s)? Personally, i love mermaids and Faeries in general. I have no favourite 'type' of myth (meaning Greek/Roman/Egyptian etc) and i love to read about each countrie's own folklore as they all tell us a huge amount about our history, which is important.

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I LOVE Celtic mythology! Arthur is of course fantastic! I think that i really like the story of Cu Chullain best though!

I am also very much interested in Sumerian culture - it's so mysterious!

National Geographic this month have a fantastic article on ancient Persia! I recommend it!
Do you ever look through the sources of the books of Arthurian legend? I did a little bit of that. The sources are great, if a person can get them. I don't think Arthur is a myth. i think it might be based on real people and events. Did you ever read 'The Green Knight?' I think it must have some kind of pagan, fertility, agriculture related symbolism like the song 'John Barleycorn Must Die.' But I'm not sure. I could go on and on about stuff like this. I'm just afraid I would bore people or wear them out.
I have to say I really like Swedish folklore (no, I don't mean vikings in this case :P).

Basically, Skogsrået, trolls, giants and brownies. Skogsrået is a pretty cool story, she is told to be a very beautiful woman living in the woods (we have very DEEP woods) when looking at her front, and she often tried to seduce young men passing through her woods where she lived, but when she turned her back, she looked just like an old gnarled tree. She would kill the men by strangling them with bits of her hair, looking like sort of branches and stuff.

Trolls in Sweden are vastly different from what is being told in the rest of the world. Here, trolls have tails and could transform looking like humans. There is a great song inspired by Swedish trolls written by Edward Grieg (the Apocalypica version of Bergakungens Hall is amazing!)

Anyway, there are numerous stories about Swedish trolls abducting children to eat, and then they didn't have the heart to kill them and were raised as trolls etc.

Giants are also rather funny, they were told to be stupid as fuck, and they liked to compete with each other throwing huge boulders. That's how the boulders left after the ice were explained.

Here is some great art by famous John Bauer, to give you an idea of how Swedish trolls were imagined to look like:


Brownies, correctly translated into hustomtar (house santas really, but should not be confused with Santa Claus) were imagined as small Santa Clauses living and helping you to take care with your house. It was common practice to put out some porridge cold winternights, so hustomtarna had something to eat. If you didn't treat them well, they could become mean and destroy things for you.

Hah, I found a great site, http://hem.spray.se/ingegerd.ivarsson/elves2.htm but turn off the music, drives you nuts.

Native folklore can be really interesting, since it's not commonly known outside your own country.
Well, no. Brownies just live underneath your house whether you like it or not. If you treat them kindly and take well care of your house, they will help you to take care of it too and if you treat them badly and taking bad care of your house, they will also destroy things for you.

They don't look like house elves either. Brownies are small humanoid like creatures, more or less like Santa Clauses, have red pointy hats, huge white beards (they are mosten often males) and the rest of their clothing is often gray, made out of wool.
I've been fascinated by myths since HS, to me they really provide a window into the thought process of a particular culture and era.

I don't favor one cultures myths over another. I suppose Asian and African fables appeal to me most. What I find fascinating is how similar many myths can be despite being from different parts of the world. As for characters, I've always liked Pandora. For more modern character I love vampires.

I'm currently searching out creation myths to read to my son. There are a few beautifully illustrated picture books that really bring the stories to life. I'm not even opposed to reading the biblical creation myth as long as it's presented as a story and not the truth. I believe that by presenting many different creation stories the biblical creation story becomes one among many, making it very hard to see it as anything special.

All in all, I have to say that reading myths were probably one of the biggest factors in my rejecting all religion.
Completely agree with you on that point Dawn - i actually think it is important to teach these stories to kids; just that it is also highly important that they appreciate them for what they are - a story - the fact that they are stories makes them all the more fascinating in my opinion - the mind is a wonderful thing.

If kids are taught several different stories from all around the world, they SHOULD understand that it is simply a part of cultural evolution rather than take it literally.
I can tell you that I really appreciated all those bedtime stories my parents read to me when I was a kid. It all ranged from typical fairytales of all kinds to more childrens like books with fantastic elements such as Astrid Lindgren. I now realize afterwards that those stories really laid out the foundation of who I am in certain aspects, for example my love for fantasy, horror and science fiction as well as my love for language.
I don't think I have a favorite myth, there are so many I like. I think the myth I've delved into the most is that of Odin sacrificing himself on Yggdrasil to get the secret of the runes, it's a powerful image so I used it in a sculpture and I'm thorough when I'm researching a project.

Among the myths and folklore I find fascinated are Arthur, Icelandic Sagas, Celtic myth, Greek Myth, Medieval folklore, Native American folklore (living in Maine, the stores of Glooskap are fascinating), Gilgamesh, Japanese folklore, the list is huge and even includes a few bible stories such as Sampson and Delilah and King Solomon. The stories are fantastic and illustrate how incredible imaginative people are.
Yes I have, great story but not so easily translated into sculpture.
Well, you could just make him pose holding his eye in his hand while having Hugin and Munin watching him :)
Because we studied Greek and Roman mythology in school, I couldn't stand either. However, there's one genre that always fascinated me, creation myths, which I also studied in high school and much later. I liked different kinds of creation myths, such as the earth-diver myths, and as an adult I was taken by the emergence creation myths of the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, etc. In high school I used to make up my own creation myths and religions, mostly satirical. Inter alia, I founded the Church of Universal Cynicism. At this point, I have no particular favorites. I'm more interested in newer ideas that could not have existed in pre-modern societies, hence new mythical structures such as one could find in science fiction. For example, The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany, which has quite an interesting take on myth.
In my youth I imagine games like Dungeons and Dragons helped expose me to myth, along with tame books like James Frazer's The Golden Bough, perhaps out of derision of popular Christian culture I eagerly read up on any alternative religion or mythic tale I could tolerate and find.

The most fascinating ones, for me, are narratives that convey meaning that can be understood, difficult with most ancient ones since we’re so alienated from the cultures they sprang from. Although this has changed a lot for me since I’ve discovered folk like Hubert Dreyfus and his views on ancient Greek religion, for example. Hearing some of his lectures opened my eyes to, perhaps, a more authentic conception of polytheism I haven’t ever considered before.

Eventually my attention had been brought back to Christianity, in accepting the scriptures as purely mythical stories, written in an ancient and Jewish perspective, I’ve learned to appreciate it, I feel, way more than I ever could taking it as literal true historical account. I know there are many here probably sick and tired of Christianity, me included and couldn’t care less to read another line of a gospel, but these days I think it’s been a knee-jerk reaction that has restricted real appreciation of what is expressed therein.

So I would say my favorite myth, these days, are ‘Christian’ ones, within the Tanakh or the Gospels, and not just the canonical ones.




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