Mythopoeia, Modern Myth, Cultural Appropriation, Reconstructivism And Buy One Shackle, Get Two


I bet i can create a perfectly “valid” (says whom?) system of religion and/or magic combining Myth from the past…..say Norse Mythology, Weirdos at better Nightclubs, Lamplight Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Hermeticism , Raja Yoga, 1920´s-1950´s Pin Ups, Movies and Jogging.

Question is, why would i?

Would it be a simple mental jack off, an exercise in symbologistic thinking or a searching and working within myth

of a contemporary nature?

Elder Sign, modelled after the version described by Derleth.
Open Source.
I know of magicians working with the Cthulu Mythos, AS IF it was “true” (it is NOT some historical Babylonian mythology. “REAL” Babylonian, Sumerian, Caanaanite, and so on worship is best described in Reconstructivist religions like Natib Qadish) and i have myself (intentionally) experimented with a blend of concepts from the roleplaying game “Mage: The Ascension” and historical/contemporary techniques from real world mystical/magical practices.
Intersting enough, WITH results….good ones. Enlightening ones.
It should be said that i dont consider myself a Cayote (Chaos Magician) but rather a Hermeticist.
I have earlier written on the, close to, hysteria over symbols:
“The War Of The Unholy Squiggle”
Cultural appropriation:
“Cultural Appropriation”  and “Gamigo´s Cute And Fun Racism”
Adaption of cultural and/or ancient religion/culture to your own circumstances:
“Orthopraxy, Living Custom And The Non Nordic Born Heathen”
Pagan and/or Esoteric dogmatism:
“International Order Of Wingnuts”

As well as about Mythopoeia:

https://marcelgomessweden.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-makers-art-part-1-defining-mythopoeia-in-the-context-of-fantasy-and-speculative-fiction/

https://marcelgomessweden.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-makers-art-part-2-refining-a-definition-of-mythopoeia-through-a-sample-exegesis-of-the-fantasy-corpus/

https://marcelgomessweden.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/the-makers-art-part-3-creating-mythopoeia-and-anthropological-artifacts/

AND “Fakelore”:

https://marcelgomessweden.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/fakelore/

So how do i reconsile those opinions?

Easy, it all comes down to acknowledgement, awareness and respect.

I have seen one of my Gods, Thor, both as a superhero, “flying” with his hammer [sic] and a skinny ass, grey skinned alien (Stargate).

Cultural appropriation or mythopoeia?

I leave that up to you.

In neither case is itt said that they are ACTUALLY presenting Norse myth or culture.

It is fiction, meant for enterteinement.

The real question, life imitating art, can it be valuable as a source of contemporary myth?

Does it represent the mind (and soul) of modern man.

Does these stories, together with contemporary myth, media, movies, comics as well as verbal myths tell a story from “within” man, explaining mans condition, nature and the nature of existance/the world, society and mans place in it?

Let´s start with some simple definitions:

1: The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths.  As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. A myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form, within the field of folkloristics.Many scholars in other fields use the term “myth” in somewhat different ways. In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any story originating within traditions.

2: Mythopoeia (also mythopoesis, after Hellenistic Greek μυθοποιία, μυθοποίησις “myth-making”) is a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional mythology is created by the writer of prose or other fiction. This meaning of the word mythopoeia follows its use by J. R. R. Tolkien in the 1930s. The authors in this genre integrate traditional mythological themes and archetypes into fiction.

Tolkien wrote Mythopoeia (the poem) following a discussion on the night of 19 September 1931 at Magdalen College, Oxford with C. S. Lewis and Hugo Dyson in order to explain and defend creative myth-making. The discussion was recorded in the book The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter.

The poem refers to the creative human author as “the little maker” wielding his “own small golden sceptre” ruling his subcreation (understood as genuine creation within God‘s primarycreation).

3:  Mythopoeia in litterature- William Blake‘s “prophetic works” (e.g. Vala, or The Four Zoas) contain a rich panoply of original gods, such as UrizenOrcLosAlbionRintrahAhania and Enitharmon. Blake was an important influence on Aleister Crowley‘s Thelemic writings, whose dazzling pantheon of invented deities and radically re-cast figures from Egyptian mythology and the Book of Revelationconstitute an invented mythology of their own.

The Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft was likewise taken up by numerous collaborators and admirers.

In this category are the Cthulhu Mythos of Lovecraft and literature by Henry Rider Haggard and George MacDonald; the latter two C. S. Lewis praised for their “mythopoeic” gifts.

The repeated motifs of Jorge Luis Borges‘s fictional works (mirrorslabyrinthstigers, etc.) tantalizingly hint at a deeper underlying mythos and yet stealthily hold back from any overt presentation of it.

The pulp works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard contain imagined worlds vast enough to be universes in themselves[citation needed], as does the science fiction of Frank HerbertE. E. “Doc” Smith and Michael Moorcock[citation needed].

T. S. Eliot‘s The Waste Land was a deliberate attempt to model a 20th-century mythology patterned after the birth-rebirth motif described by Frazer.

Neil Gaiman‘s novels deal with various mythologies, and combines them into a single, cohesive world.

Stephen King‘s novels and short stories form an intricate and highly developed mythos, drawing in part on the Lovecraftian, with characters such as the demonic Crimson King andRandall Flag appearing in several (otherwise unrelated) works, as well as a supernatural force known only as “The White”. The Dark Tower series serves as a linchpin for this mythos, connecting with practically all of King’s various storylines in one way or another.

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon is a rare attempt at a cohesive science fiction mythos.

Frank McConnell, author of Storytelling and Mythmaking and professor of English, University of California, stated film is another “mythmaking” art, stating: “Film and literature matter as much as they do because they are versions of mythmaking.” He also thinks film is a perfect vehicle for mythmaking: “FILM…strives toward the fulfillment of its own projected reality in an ideally associative, personal world.” In a broad analysis, McConnell associate the American western movies and romance movies to the Arthurian mythology, adventure and action movies to the “epic world” mythologies of founding societies, and many romance movies where the hero is allegorically playing role of a knight, to “quest” mythologies like Sir Gawain and the Quest for the Holy Grail.

Filmmaker George Lucas speaks of the cinematic storyline of Star Wars as an example of modern myth-making. He claims: “With Star Wars I consciously set about to re-create myths and the classic mythological motifs.” The idea of Star Wars as “mythological” has been met with mixed reviews by some reviewers and critics: Frank McConnell says “it has passed, quicker than anyone could have imagined, from the status of film to that of legitimate and deeply embedded popular mythology.” John Lyden, the Professor and Chair of the Religion Department at Dana College, argues that Star Wars does indeed reproduce religious and mythical themes: specifically, he argues that the work is apocalyptic in concept and scope.The Decent Film Guide’s Steven D. Greydanus agrees, calling Star Wars a “work of epic mythopoeia”. In fact, Greydanus argues that Star Wars is the primary example of American mythopoeia.

In classical music, Richard Wagner‘s operas were a deliberate attempt to create a new kind of Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”), transforming the legends of the Teutonic past nearly out of recognition into a new monument to the Romantic project.

In popular music, George Clinton‘s ParliamentFunkadelic collective produced numerous concept albums which tied together in what is referred to as P-Funk mythology.

The musical collective NewVillager constructed a mythology from Joseph Campell’s Monomyth of which all their music, art, and videos serve to express.

The band Rhapsody Of Fire have created and tell the stories of a full-developed fantasy world with tales of epic wars between good and evil, although many elements are taken directly from Tolkien and other authors.

Michael Jackson, King Of Pop. Photo: http://www.pophistorydig.com/?tag=michael-jackson-statue Fair Use

Comic books have been called the twentieth century’s version of the epic. In The Mythos of the Superheroes and the Mythos of the Saints, Thomas Roberts observes that:

“To the student of myth, the mythos of the comics superheroes is of unique interest.”
“Why do human beings want myths and how do they make them? Some of the answers to those questions can be found only sixty years back. Where did Superman and the other superheroes come from? In his Encyclopedia of the Superheroes, Jeff Rovin correctly observes, “In the earliest days, we called them ‘gods’.”

Superman, for example, sent from the “heavens” by his father to save humanity, is a messiah-type of character in the Biblical tradition. Furthermore, along with the rest of DC Comic‘sJustice League of America, Superman watches over humanity from the Watchtower in the skies; just like the Greek gods do from Mount Olympus.

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World” series, with the cosmic struggle between Darkseid‘s Apokolips and the gods of New Genesis and Mister Miracle and Orion as messiah-figures is another good example. Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman series created a mythology around the Endless, a family of god-like embodiments of natural forces like death and dreaming.

Role-playing games often include invented mythologies for their players to interact with. Examples include the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons, the world of White Wolf‘s Exalted, and the Elder Scrolls which boasts a mythology which could be argued is as detailed as Tolkien’s. Their computer counterparts, computer role-playing games, sometimes have elaborate fictional universes that continue to be explored over many sequels, such as the best selling Final Fantasy X which along with its sequel Final Fantasy X-2 sold 10 million copies and boasts a legion of enthusiasts of its Fictional Universe.

In the TV series Battlestar Galactica, an invented mythology is an important foundation of the plot. A vast majority of the humans, or Colonials, are polytheists and believe in the gods ofKobol, whose names and attributes are very similar to those of the Classical gods of Greece and Rome, such as ZeusAthenaApolloAres or Hera. One of the religious books of the Colonial canon was written by or named for the prophet Pythia. The Book of Pythia tells the story of the fall of the planet Kobol (where according to legend Humanity had first arisen), the exodus of the Twelve Tribes to their new planets (the Colonies), and the journey of a Thirteenth Tribe to a planet called Earth. The Cylons, a robot race, believe in one sole god and it has been suggested that the origins of their religion may be in the Temple of Five, a sacred place which appears in Pythia’s prophecy and was found by the Colonial and Cylon fleets.

[Personal note: Comic book superheroes are generally not the creators of existence or the universe and seldomly the upholders or destroyers of it either. They never have an immanent quality , they are “people” given powers from an “outside” force, science, magic, aliens or what have you, and thus in my view are more reminding of “Hero´s”, demigods or archangelic forces. Lesser than the creators, more than ordinary people,fighting for some “higher” cause]

The chaosphere is a popular symbol of chaos magic. Many variants exist. For more, see Symbol of Chaos.
Open Source.

4:

Belief as a tool in Chaos Magick

Chaos magic claims that belief can be an active magical force. It emphasizes flexibility of belief and the ability to consciously choose one’s beliefs, hoping to apply belief as a tool rather than seeing it as a relatively unchanging part of one’s personality. Various psychological techniques are employed in order to induce flexibility of belief. Other chaos magicians suggest that people do not need “belief” to work magic. Austin Osman Spare asserts in the Book of Pleasure and various other works that Will formulates Desire which promulgates Belief.

5:

Philosophy in Discordianism

There are as many interpretations of Discordianism as there are Discordians, centering around the words “Ancient Greeks”, “Chaos Worship” and “Anarchism”. This is an extremely debatable assertion as to what would define Discordian philosophy as a whole. Indeed, it is a notion directly confronted by the concept of the Eristic Illusion, as mentioned in the following passage, a summary of part of the Discordian philosophy which appears in the Principia Discordia:

Here follows some psycho-metaphysics.If you are not hot for philosophy, best just to skip it.The Aneristic Principle is that of apparent order; the Eristic Principle is that of apparent disorder. Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of pure chaos, which is a level deeper than is the level of distinction making.With our concept-making apparatus called “the brain” we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us.The ideas-about-reality are mistakenly labeled “reality” and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see “reality” differently.

It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T) True reality is a level deeper than is the level of concept.

We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids. A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The order is in the grid. That is the Aneristic Principle.

Western philosophy is traditionally concerned with contrasting one grid with another grid, and amending grids in hopes of finding a perfect one that will account for all reality and will, hence, (say unenlightened westerners) be true. This is illusory; it is what we Erisians call the Aneristic Illusion. Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.

Disorder is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like “relation”, no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is “absence of female-ness”, or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the Eristic Principle.

The belief that “order is true” and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the Eristic Illusion.

The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.

Reality is the original Rorschach. Verily! So much for all that.

—Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Pages 00049–00050

And this, from the Principia Discordia‘s very beginning, a Discordian koan:

Greater Poop: Is Eris true?Malaclypse the Younger: Everything is true.GP: Even false things?M2: Even false things are true.GP: How can that be?

M2: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.

Chao

Chao (pronounced “cow”) is a neologism for a single unit of chaos. In Discordianism, the chao is a symbol of the ‘pataphysical nature of reality. The word is a pun, enabling this quatrainfrom the Principia Discordia:

To diverse gods do mortals bow; Holy Cow, and Wholly Chao.

Sacred Chao

The Sacred Chao

The Sacred Chao is a symbol used by Discordians to illustrate the interrelatedness of order and disorder. It resembles a Yin-Yang symbol, but according to the Principia Discordia:

The Sacred Chao is not the Yin-Yang of the Taoists. It is the Hodge-Podge of the Erisians. And, instead of a Podge spot on the Hodge side, it has a pentagon which symbolizes the Aneristic Principle, and instead of a Hodge spot on the Podge side, it depicts the Golden Apple of Discordia to symbolize the Eristic Principle. The Sacred Chao symbolizes absolutely everything anyone need ever know about absolutely anything, and more! It even symbolizes everything not worth knowing, depicted by the empty space surrounding the Hodge-Podge.
—Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00049

The choice of the pentagon as a symbol of the Aneristic Principle is partly related to The Pentagon in Virginia near Washington, D.C., partly a nod to the Law of Fives, partially for the Golden Ratio references associated with the pentagon/apple allegory, and wholly for the five-sided pentagon from the “Starbuck’s Pebbles” story in the Discordia. The Golden Apple of Discordia is the one from the story of The Original Snub (below).

Law of Fives

The Law of Fives is summarized in the Principia Discordia:

The Law of Fives states simply that: All things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5 The Law of Fives is never wrong.
—Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia, Page 00016

Like most of Discordianism, the Law of Fives appears on the surface to be either some sort of weird joke, or bizarre supernaturalism; but under this, it may help clarify the Discordian view of how the human mind works. Lord Omar is quoted later on the same page as having written, “I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look.”

Appendix Beth of Robert Shea‘s and Robert Anton Wilson‘s The Illuminatus! Trilogy considers some of the numerology of Discordianism, and the question of what would happen to the Law of Fives if everyone had six fingers on each hand. The authors assert that the real Law of Fives is realizing that everything can be related to the number five if you try hard enough. Sometimes the steps required may be highly convoluted. Incidentally, the number five appears five times within the quote describing the Law of Fives, which is stated in 23 words.

Another way of looking at the Law of Fives is as a symbol for the observation of reality changing that which is being observed in the observer’s mind. Just as how when one looks for fives in reality, one finds them, so will one find conspiracies, ways to determine when the apocalypse will come, and so on and so forth when one decides to look for them. It cannot be proven wrong, because it proves itself reflexively when looked at through this lens.

At its basic level, the Law of Fives is a practical demonstration that perception is intent-sensitive; that is, the perceiver’s intentions inform the perception. To whatever extent one considers that perception is identical with reality, then, it has the corollary that reality is intent-sensitive.

The Law of Fives is related to the significance of the number 23 and the 23 Enigma in the Illuminatus!-trilogy, as 2 plus 3 equals 5.

6:

Otherkin are a community of people who identify themselves as non-human in all but outward form, contending that they are, in spirit if not in body, non-human animals or creatures traditionally associated with mythology or folklore. Belief in otherkin is related to the changelingconcept.

A regular {7/3} heptagram known as theElven Star or Fairy Star is used by some members of the otherkin subculture as an identifier. Open Source

The therianvampire, and draconic subcultures are related to the otherkin community somewhat, and are considered part of it by most otherkin, but are culturally distinct movements of their own despite some overlap in membership.[1]

Some may claim to be able to shapeshift mentally — meaning that they may experience the sense of being in their particular form while not actually changing physically. The existence of Otherkin is variably explained as being made possible through reincarnation, having a nonhumansoulancestry, or symbolic metaphor.

Otherkin identify with familiar creatures from mythology, folklore and religion along with various terrestrial animals: angelsdemonsdragons,elvesfairiesspritesaliens

The oldest Internet resource for otherkin is the Elfinkind Digest; a mailing list started in 1990 by a student at the University of Kentucky for “elves and interested observers”. Also in the early 1990s, newsgroups such as alt.horror.werewolves and alt.fan.dragons on Usenet, which were initially created for fans of these creatures in the context of fantasy and horror literature and films, also developed followings of individuals who identified as mythological beings.

On 6 February 1995, a document titled the “Elven Nation Manifesto” was posted to Usenet, including the groups alt.pagan and alt.magick. OnUsenet itself, the document was universally panned and considered to be either a troll or an attempt to frame an innocent party. However, enough people contacted the original author of the Elven Nation post in good faith for a planned mailing list to spin off from it.

The modern otherkin subculture grew out of these elven online communities of the early-to-mid-1990s, with the earliest recorded use of the term otherkin appearing in July of 1990 and the variant otherkind being reported as early as April 1990.

Now, i´m not implying that all those who burp out something about being an Atlantean vampire with the possability of Vulcan “Mind Meld” tecniques be taken seriously.

Neither am i saying WHOM should be taken seriously.

Neither am i saying that books, film or music are the only sources of modern myth.

As a matter of fact, i would claim that the main bulk of modern myth is in our mind, immanent, part of us, the way we see things, what we fantasize, the way we talk, dress and so on.

Photo: Brad Pitt- Interview With A Vampire. From:  http://www.vampires.com/interview-with-the-vampire/

I bet quite a few of us gets strangely touched by the fates of Louis, Lestat and Claudia in “Interview With A Vampire”.

There already is a folkloric and mythological theme in the vampire itself, via the Gothic Novel to more contemporary litterature and other medias (including roleplaying games).

Some has gone so far that one hardly recognize the loner, stranger, predator/parasite sexual figure any longer and even less so the “Draugr”, undead, walking , pest spreading corpse of medeaval times.

If this is the deluting, refining or diversifying of a symbol i leave up to you.

Why is the Middle Earth stories of J.R.R Tolkien the most sold (and copied in the genre) work of litterature save only the new Testament?

Perhaps because both are myth (NOT meaning “untrue”), touching something deeper than mere narrative.

In the circles (no pun intended) in which i have moved and i enjoy, all from Cybergoth, BDSM,LARP, Occult, Masonic, Goth, Vintage, Religous, myth is abound in the way people dress, behave, believe, pretend, talk ,but to a less visuable degree, so is it in society in general.

I once wrote:

” Often, when asked to describe “myth” people naively say something like “Myth was a primitive way of describing natural phenomena like thunder or fire”. Think of one of your ex´s. Think of the dreams you shared, your plans….how everything was going to be. Now think of that same relationship as you see it now. THIS is why we have (and always had) myth. If you are the sum of your experiences and your experiences are partly myth,you must be partly myth. It has immanence. More than anything, mythology describes YOU, helps you understand YOU”

And i stand by that.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock in “Star Trek”. The Vulcan greeting gesture inspired by Kabbalah and the Hebrew letter “Shin”. They say he got it from his Rabbi (Myth?).

I dont see ancient myths as “dead” as one writer called them.

I simply see the contemporary once as…well….contemporary.

The celebrity, The CEO, The Loser, The Conspiracy, The A Type Personality,Big Brother, arent they all figures of contemporary myth?

The Reconstructivist might say Eccletism and Syncretism is “throwing the baby out with the bath water”, not getting the full picture or cultural appropriation.

The Ecclectist might say that the Reconstructivist is the one not getting the full picture by not adapting beliefs and practices to oneself (most people in fact NOT being ancient Greeks, Norse sailors or Romans….unless they´re Othekin *Grin*).

The Syncretist may say that a mix of two (or more mythologies, beliefsystems or what have you is in fact not a mix….not anymore. It is a third NEW. The new concept is greater than the sum of the  components.

The simple truth is that every beliefsystem, Religion, Magical practice, Fashion, Music style, Dance style or anything else i can think of includes both tradition, ecclectism, syncretism and inspiration.

Thinking moves forward.

It also rests upon previous thinking.

Ideas of Relativism and later Existentialism and Absurdism are hardly new.

If i came home to someone who had an altar to the Avengers or the Justice League of America i might luagh at the inside, thinking of the person as either heckeling religion and/or magic or as a (probably teen) wannabe.

I might however have walked into a Magus who have trancended the absurd, the silly and immersed himself in the modern myths, even the rather tacky and colourful ones.

In Method Acting, acting becomes close to Invokation.

In the techniques of Igor Stanislawski, Lee Strassberg, Samford Meisner and Stella Adler acting becomes close to Invokation …..well…..since it is an inner art.

It differs from many other techniques since it is an inner art.

Assuming Godforms is no strange concept tp Ceremonial Magicians.

There is a concept akin to “group think” or the “collective consciousness” of Jung known to Esoterics of most western traditions:

Egregore (also egregor) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. The symbiotic relationship between an egregore and its group has been compared to the more recent, non-occult concepts of the corporation (as a legal entity) and thememe.

Many magicians and occultists think this is what you reach in your rituals concerning carachters from fiction.

Alternatives might be that some entety sees your description as “fair enough” and responds.

That all mythical concepts are archetypes.

Thus you bring forth archetypes from within.

And many more depending on beliefsystem.

I bet more of you recognize this symbol:

Bat Signal. Open Source.
….than this one:
sekhem style sistrum. Open Source.
The sistrum was a sacred instrument in ancient Egypt. Perhaps originating in the worship of Bastet, it was used in dances and religious ceremonies, particularly in the worship of the goddess Hathor, with the U-shape of the sistrum’s handle and frame seen as resembling the face and horns of the cow goddess.
Get my point?
Some favorite blogs right now:
Modern Mythology
The Valentines-black magic, rock and roll and sex

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