Merriam-Webster defines “mythology” with four different definitions. One is an allegorical narrative with allegory meaning something that can be interpreted and have a hidden meaning behind it. The second is as a body of myths specifically referencing gods or legendary heroes, etc. The third definition is simply a branch of knowledge with the fourth being a belief or ‘myth’ that has grown up around a person or thing or a place.
“Myths tell us much about the past, present, and sometimes the future. They form a digest of sorts about humanity and the part it plays in the natural world.”
World Mythology page 17
There are many different types of myths. Some of my personal favorites are the various stories about the sun and the moon. Such as the Native American story of Coyote where he kills nine of the sun’s brothers, thus saving the world. However, he then has to kill nine of the moon’s brothers because people almost froze to death.
Another is the story of Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon. She was married to the archer Houyi who shot nine of the 10 suns, leaving one and saving the people from hardship. Houyi was granted an elixir of immortality but did not take it since he didn’t want to leave his wife. Chang’e took the elixir to keep it from someone else who tried to take it. She became immortal and went to live on the moon so that she would not be far away.
Mythology varies from country to country and across cultures. However, everyone has had their own myths or some version of them. Everyone has a version of how we got here or what this or that god did. An example could be Ares and Mars or Aphrodite and Venus. While not exactly the same, they were still the gods of war and love, respectively. In this case, this is more like “borrowing” but we’ll let that go. Stories are amazing and how people seem to come to the same or similar conclusions about things has always amazed me, too.
- World Mythology: From Indigenous Tales to Classical Legends by Tamsin Hughes
- Mythology definition – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mythology
- Chang’e Chinese Goddess of the Moon: A Guide – https://mythologysource.com/change-chinese-goddess/
- Image – original painting from 1815 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mythology_collage.jpg#/media/File:Protected_by_Ares,_Achilles_Overwhelms_Hector.png
- Image – original painting dated from 1368 and 1644 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Anonymous_-_The_Moon_Goddess_Chang_E_-_1981.4.2_-_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art.jpg