Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Myths Matter

If you are a person who likes to read for pleasure and enlightenment, there is always something new vying for your attention. Of course, although new books are enticing, the old classics are often worth another look. There are layers of meanings that are revealed to a mature person that escape the younger person and mythology especially offers rewards upon additional reads.

Timeless themes in themselves say a lot about us humans. When the stories of the ancient ones were first told and then later written down, the values ascribed to the heroes were much the same as the values we look for in heroes today. What people wanted way back then is not so different from what we want now in terms of the comfort and safety of home, romantic love and peace.

What is even more intriguing is the complexity of the characters and their relationships when we contemplate the story lines. A cursory read displays action, adventure, magic and mystery. A more thoughtful reading reveals subtle truths that engage the adult mind, where the action adventure parts are mostly what the younger minds remember.

There are also unexpected gifts of humor as well as wisdom in the old stories. There are uncanny insights into the nature of the world and the flow of energies and how they interact. There are complex concepts of life and death.

Mythological themes present themselves over and over again in modern literature. Beowulf, the Sagas of the Norse, the myths of the Greeks, the Celts and more, all yield as much pleasure and wisdom as repeated viewings of Shakespeare's plays. What was powerful, insightful and well told hundreds of years ago, still is.

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