Continuity of comparitive creatures in mythology

EachPeachPearPlum

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Continuity of comparitive creatures in mythology

I find it fascinating that across diverse cultures, despite periods of societal isolation and different contructs of time, myths concerning similar creatures become imbedded into local folklore, and given an identity that is built around the said culture (this explains the conflict of how each evolved into a separate tradition).

Take for instance the Chimera; which is loosely interpreted as a creature composed of disparate parts from several animals that genetically exist. It appears under various names in the cultures of the Greek, Japanese (Nue), Chinese (Qilin), Persian, Egyptian (Manticore), and Hindu (Yali) cultures. Yet, I find it interesting that (to my knowledge) no such entity appears in the early American mythologies. This could be a difference due to religious constructs and the emphasis that was placed on agriculture vs. a hunting society.

More prevalent is perhaps the iconography of the dragon. Which has gained reverance in Chinese mythology, but is treated with fear and a need to conquer in the European folklore of the Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic (amongst other) traditions. It's origins in the West, however come from the Hellenistic and Babylonian application. Though not entirely the same, dragon-like creatures are incorporated into Aztec (strongly associated with the Gods), Mayan (centripetal to rituals), Aboriginal (connected to the water element) and Polynesian (death) tales. Interestingly enough, in Ghanan and Malian mythology dragons are associated with ceremonial wedding practices (once again, I am only naming a few cultures).

These two, are of course not the only that exist and it is not reserved for mythological creatures alone, but that is all this forum deals with.

If anyone has anything insightful to add, please don't hesitate to do so.
 

Harte

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

Welcome to the forum Eachpeach.

Can you elaborate?

You do realize, don't you, that several of these cultures had contact with each other and that this explains the similarities?

There is a theory out there about dragons that says the archetype comes from our genetic memory - being that snakes, eagles and large cats are mostly what ate us before we became modern (even before we evolved into humans.)

Harte
 

kcwildman

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

while they didn't take on the traits of a dragon the AMERICAN version is or was called a thunderbird and was said to have magical powers. there was also the phenix which was said to be reborn of the ashes from the dieing of it's earler self.
 

EachPeachPearPlum

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

Harte said:
Welcome to the forum Eachpeach.

Can you elaborate?

You do realize, don't you, that several of these cultures had contact with each other and that this explains the similarities?

There is a theory out there about dragons that says the archetype comes from our genetic memory - being that snakes, eagles and large cats are mostly what ate us before we became modern (even before we evolved into humans.)

Harte

I could have elaborated but it was 1 am and I was tired of typing. :)

Yes, of course I realize that these societies would have traded with each other and what-not, this is why the various interpretations that exist are so interesting.

As for the theory, that is called the "Collective Unconscious" and I am very familiar with it. It is what binds all mythologies together, and just thinking of its implications is very exciting.
 

kcwildman

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

let us not forget that there is always the poss. that all the myths and ledgens started at the same point, and were changed little by little as the people spread out across the earth, and retold the same storys. getting better each time a new person told it. and thats why they are so much alike.
food for thought
all myths and ledgens are based in fact
 

Num7

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

Interesting. KC makes a point here. All the unbelievable and crazy stuff we ear in mythology, legends, is based on actual facts.
The creatures and "things" described, were in that time things that couldn't be understood by people with the level of knowledge those guys had. So, they translate what they see, in words and concept that they understand. After few centuries, we get dragons, chimera, etc.

Num7
 

Chip Lewis

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

In many cases we are never sure of the hallucinogenic substances that these cultures may have partaken in rituals, or social gatherings. Add this to what Num said and then contribute the factors of respect that many tribes had and have for nature itself...
 

gonzogirl

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

kc wildman said:
let us not forget that there is always the poss. that all the myths and ledgens started at the same point, and were changed little by little as the people spread out across the earth, and retold the same storys. getting better each time a new person told it. and thats why they are so much alike.
food for thought
all myths and ledgens are based in fact

Myths are more based on a historic event or events that becomes stories.
When I studied myths about other cultures I found that they all had a simalar theme...First the creator, ..then some sort of event w/ a punishment (like the apple and eve thing)then free will then the destruction of the area(earth). All had punishment for bad deeds and they all had a kind of "heaven".
I think that when contemplating who we are and what we do and how it will end..even the real ancient cultures had these...simalarities..
I found that real interesting and wondered just how it happend.Were all these thinkers all on the same page (in their mind) or just out of travelling and talking with one another?
I mean some of the myths were real ancient.......I mean old!
Some see modern religion as nothing more than another myth.
I dont know but it is a subject that I love....
 

kcwildman

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3,049
Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

Chip said:
In many cases we are never sure of the hallucinogenic substances that these cultures may have partaken in rituals, or social gatherings. Add this to what Num said and then contribute the factors of respect that many tribes had and have for nature itself...


good piont, after a couple jugs of jungle juice. I see all kinds of wierd shit too. normaly don't recall to much about them the next day.
seems a fair statement to me.
I know that the AMERICAN INDIANS for sure use these type of drugs when going into the sweat lodge. for the sole perpose of haveing a vision
 

EachPeachPearPlum

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Re: Continuity of Comparitive Creatures in Mythology

kc wildman said:
good piont, after a couple jugs of jungle juice. I see all kinds of wierd shit too. normaly don't recall to much about them the next day.
seems a fair statement to me.
I know that the AMERICAN INDIANS for sure use these type of drugs when going into the sweat lodge. for the sole perpose of haveing a vision

The Native American's regulate the use of hallucinogenics and it is completely ritualized-It is not used irresponsibly or without preparation.
For example, the retrival of Peyote is done over a span of days. With what is called the "Peyote Road" by current society, Peyote is collected and then internally taken whilst meditation follows. The following day, Peyote is once again retrived, but from a further distance. And so on and so forth until the Peyote ritual is complete. It is a long process of endurance with an opening up to enlightenment at the end. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Drugs, paired with rituals and meditation have a long history of being a doorway to experiences of divinity. Refer to Coca to the Incas, Soma to the Vedas, and Ambrosia to the Greeks (amongst many others). Only in modern society has it been misused and not given a context to operate in, thus you have the misuse of substances and people who are totally dependent.
 

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