Mythology is the physique of sacred tales
that serve to clarify the idea system of a tradition. These conventional tales, known as myths, happen in all societies world wide. The phrase mythology additionally refers merely to the examine of myths.
Myths describe every tradition’s beliefs in regards to the acts of supernatural beings to create Earth and all facets of nature, together with celestial objects, geography, animal and flora, and human life, progress, and dying. Myths additionally clarify the social facets of a tradition, together with morals, roles, and customs. Thus, myths file shared beliefs that assist communities preserve a standard identification.
Myths serve many capabilities, from the final to the speciﬁc. General capabilities might lie within the psychological help they supply. Myths might reply such questions as “What is our purpose?” or “Why must we die?” More speciﬁc capabilities might include offering a mannequin for tactics of residing which might be acceptable to society.
Myths as Sacred History
The sacred historical past of a tradition typically entails a previous through which supernatural occasions occurred in an otherworld and occasions involving gods or supernatural beings formed present actuality. Mythic historical past gives justiﬁcation for customs which might be based mostly on their origin in mythic occasions. In rationalization of a practice, elders of many cultures may merely say, “We do now as we have always done, since the beginning of time.”
The sacred previous is represented in fantasy and ritual. What the gods or different primordial beings enacted way back is resurrected within the current. This might achieved be by way of the efficiency of ceremonies that may be fairly elaborate or so simple as the Christmas story carried out as a youngsters’s play. Such myths and rituals assist preserve societal order by retelling the acts of the gods, reafﬁrming group beliefs.
Myths narrated in public rituals throughout occasions of upheaval, equivalent to famine, conflict, or the succession of a brand new chief, might have a chilled impact. A disaster issues society. The cosmic and social fashions preserved in myths might assist to emphasize peace in time of conflict or serve to legitimize political succession, thus restoring a way of social cohesion.
Mythic characters exemplify the beliefs of a society. They both create or reside in a world that resembles the mortal world and behave ideally in that world.
Some deities, equivalent to Thor, the Norse god of thunder, are exemplary and true to their tradition’s social values. Thor is a totally reliable protector of the Norse cosmos. In the Norse fantasy of Thor’s hammer, the gods lose the hammer and conspire to get it again by marrying off the goddess Freya to the Giants. Freya refuses, sustaining the sexual honor of her society.
But supernatural beings can not all the time be placed into the categories of fine and evil. Many myths are much less simple and inform of imperfect acts by the gods, as within the double requirements of Zeus or the machinations of Odin. A personality additionally may make a mistake that leads to a penalty. For instance, Aries and Aphrodite are caught in an adulterous union by the humiliating entice of Hephaestus and, whereas in his web, are mocked by all the opposite gods.