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Myths Everyone Should Know?

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    Another myth covered by  Google Doodle.

    Ne Zha Chinese mythology
    “In Chinese mythology, Nezha (哪吒) is a precocious teenage deity who serves as a patron saint of young adults. After gestating in his mother’s womb for three years and six months, Nezha was born with superhuman strength and the ability to speak. His Chinese myth is based off of the Hindu god, Nalakuvara.” What similarities does Nezha share with the Hindu god Nalakurva? It’s said that Nalakūvara often appears as a sexual trickster figure.  Ne Zha had a super long gestation period! Did that bring about his super human powers? But what about his sexual trickster powers?  Interesting.

    Image  Courtesy of Google Doodle


      Thanks for starting this thread Stephen.  Not sure if I can add much as the texts listed in your original post cover nearly all my favourites such as Odysseus, Athena, the Minotaur, Arachne, Procrustes, Harpies, Pegasus, Medusa & the Cyclops.  Across the Homeric texts there also many concepts with the one I quote the most being that of Xenia – ‘sacred hospitality’.  I often theorise on the kind of world we’d live in if this ancient Greek tradition had spread the earth with even half the success of the Greek alphabet!

      It might be worth adding some more snake-related myths – the Adam/Eve/Serpent & Medusa motifs are a bit negative.  For example, we could balance up the list with the Ouroboros regeneration myth.  From here in Australia there is also dreamtime myth of The Rainbow Serpent.  Although there are many variations of the myth the Rainbow Serpent generally depicts a creator related to natural cycles and regeneration.

      Another great Australian animal-related myth I teach all my children is of Tiddalik the Frog.  This myth is a great way to introduce younger children to the ideas of co-operation and sharing.  (Tiddalik is a bit greedy and drinks up all the waters leaving the other animals to work together as they’re dying of thirst.)


      Yes Stephan, thanks for this thread. The myth of ‘Kirti Mukha’ is just a super myth, and I love it more, as told by Joseph Campbell, in Myths to Live By. In Kirti Mukha’s face, I see empires, civilizations, nation states and ideologies.

      In his book “Myths to Live By”, Joseph Campbell narrates the story about Kirtimukha from Hindu mythology (Siva Puranam), that is highly symbolic of the self-destructive nature of the unbridled ego-self  in us.
      “Let me recount now a really marvelous Hindu legend to this point, from the infinitely rich mythology of the god Shiva and his glorious world-goddess Parvati. The occasion was of a time when there came before this great divinity an audacious demon who had just overthrown the ruling gods of the world and now came to confront the highest of all with a non-negotiable demand, namely, that the god should hand over his goddess to the demon. Well, what Shiva did in reply was simply to open that mystic third eye in the middle of his forehead, and puff! a lightning bolt hit the earth, and there was suddenly there a second demon, even larger than the first. He was a great lean thing with a lion-like head, hair waving to the quarters of the world, and his nature was sheer hunger. He had been brought into being to eat up the first, and was clearly fit to do so. The first thought: “So what do I do now?” and with a very fortunate decision threw himself upon Shiva’s mercy.
      Now it is a well-known theological rule that when you throw yourself on a god’s mercy the god cannot refuse to protect you; and so Shiva had now to guard and protect the first demon from the second. Which left the second, however, without meat to quell his hunger and in anguish he asked Shiva, “Whom, then, do I eat?” to which the god replied, “Well, let’s see: why not eat yourself?”
      And with that, no sooner said than begun. Commencing with his feet, teeth chopping away, that grim phenomenon came right on up the line, through his own belly, on up through his chest and neck, until all that remained was a face. And the god, thereupon, was enchanted. For here at last was a perfect image of the monstrous thing that is life, which lives on itself. And to that sun-like mask, which was now all that was left of that lion-like vision of hunger, Shiva said, exulting, “I shall call you Face of Glory, ‘Kirttimukha’, and you shall shine above the doors to all my temples. No one who refuses to honor and worship you will come ever to knowledge of me.”

      Joe’s message: “All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be. So if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that, no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is. That is the meaning of the monstrous Kirtimukha, ‘Face of Glory’, over the entrances to the sanctuaries of the god of yoga, whose bride is the goddess of life. No one can know this god and goddess who will not bow to that mask in reverence and pass humbly through.”



      Talking about Jiu Jiu festival in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, where the  the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) is observed as a sacred holiday. In European countries, the Great Goddess, is honored three times a day, morning, noon, and evening. One at 6:00, then at 12:00 and then at 18:00. It’s a very pleasing sound.

      Joe writes, ”  One of the functions of mythology is to present an image of the cosmos in such a way that it becomes the carrier of this mystical realization, so that wherever you look it’s as though you are looking at an icon, a holy picture, and the walls of space and time open out into the deep dimension of mystery, which is a dimension within ourselves, as well as out there.”

      (Campbell, Joseph. Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine) .


      ‘Underneath that Mystics all speak the same language’

      Today is that day in Chinese Mythology, which to Joseph Campbell readers would be, the day of the Great Goddess  of the world  whose number is ‘9’, or double ‘9’, or ’18’ or ‘432’ or many such combinations.

      Today, October 25th, in China, it’s the  Double Nine Festival (Chong Yang Festival or Chung Yeung Festival in China), and it falls on the  ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine). On this day, people who do observe the sanctity of double nine (Jiu Jiu = 9 9) hike,  or climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum liquor, and some wear the zhuyu, which  is a species of dogwood known also as Japanese cornel or Japanese cornelian cherry.  In present day China, it’s still celebrated, but without the mystery of 99,  and with a practical twist, and is called “The Seniors’ Day”. Young dancers dance and entertain the senior citizens, and the great mystery of number ‘9’ is all gone.

      In Japan, the  festival is known as Chōyō but also as the Chrysanthemum Festival (菊の節句, Kiku no Sekku) and it is one of the Japan’s five sacred ancient festivals (sekku). The Japanese Choyo festival does not follow the lunar calendar, but follows the Gregorian calendar, and so, Cheyo was celebrated in Japan last month on September 9th.

      Joe wrote, “The method of mythology is analogy, and that the artists of the Paleolithic age were competent in analogy is surely evident in the statement of the Woman with the Horn, where a triple analogy is rendered of (1) the growing horns of a bull, (2) waxing crescent of the moon, and (3) growing child, en ventre sa mere.” (In All Her Names)

      “By what coincidence of nature, however, can the numerology of the Paleolithic and Neolithic lunar reckoning of 3+3+3, as of the visible body of the universal Great Goddess, have been carried on, only amplified, in the Old Sumerian numerological reading of 4+3+2, to accord with an actual “Great,” or “Platonic” Zodiacal cycle of 25,920 solar years, where 2+5+9+2+0 = 18, and 1+8= 9, whose root, as Dante saw, is a trinity?”

      In All Her Names


        The numbers do coincide, but the coincidence is not from the numbers. Flat surface numbers do not explicate how things are and work, alas. Relativity and quantum mechanics (no relation to cause and response) rule the physical reality, but you’re free to believe anything – of course.

        Yet, these parallels are intriguing!


        Hello everyone,

        If you enjoy Greek mythology and want to understand it I suggest reading Hesiod’s Theogony. Remarkable book about the origins of Gods, Titans and pretty much everything.

        I am also looking similar books about Norse mythology if anyone has something in mind.


          The Edda pops in mind, but that’s obvious. Deeper roots are reconstructed by Wagner cum suis, but it is wacky (we brutal conquerers), alike Frazer’s Golden Bow. However, it points to another separate explanation of the origins which have puzzled mankind everywhere anytime. I’m inklined to dig even deeper, the early stone age, maybe from the stepstone dividing beasts from responsibleness, to find our curious dependency of a caring father, a nurturing mother. Why did Ötzi climb the high peaks of the Alps? Survival or Salvation?


          That’s perfect Mars, thank you. Now I need to find a book explaining the poetry lol.  And yes its wacky thats why I love Norse mythology.


            In oral traditions, rhyme and rithm (even more important) were the proven means to deliver stories through time. Many songs have lyrics to ‘sing along’. It is a synchronisation mechanism. There is a lot of wackyness hidden under the hood of any mythology. That’s the other role of myth, poetry, songs and (way less artistic, not to say perpendicular) commercial or political messages.

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