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Mythos I, II, & III

As a summation of his life's work, mythologist Joseph Campbell went on a speaking tour during the last decade of his life. The filmed three-part series Mythos, over fourteen hours, is available on YouTube. Mythos I Mythos II Mythos III. The series is also available on DVD. [more inside]
posted by cwest on Jul 18, 2014 - 10 comments

Having found the Minotaur, he killed him by smiting him with his fists

"In 1972 I created the concept of Mazes & Minotaurs, the world's first roleplaying game. Inspired by my fanatical interest in ancient Greek and Macedonian wargaming, coupled with a love of Greek myth and the 1963 movie, Jason and the Argonauts, it took the gaming world by storm." -- Paul Elliott. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 16, 2014 - 13 comments

Dedicated "to those who have held the bag on a Snipe hunt"

Published in 1910, William T. Cox's Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts is one of the earliest written accounts describing fabulous beasts of lumberjack lore, together called "fearsome critters." Read of tales of the peculiar wapaloosie, the spiky, hairless hodag that swallows trees whole, and the bizarrely violent splinter cat, which smashes trees with its head until it finds food. When you've been there a spell, take a gander through Paul Bunyan's Natural History, in which the goofang fish swims backwards to keep water out of its eyes and the teakettler walks backwards, nostrils steaming. For more harrowing yarns on yesterday's monsters, thumb through Henry Tryon's Fearsome Critters, which closes with a tantalizing snipet about an eternally elusive bird.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 23, 2014 - 27 comments

"If it thunders, the wild beasts shall undo the humans."

Three thousand years ago, more or less, a Tyrrhenian farmer was working his land when a little boy appeared before the blade of the plow, as suddenly as though he'd risen from below the ground, or had been transformed from a clod of earth. This boy, who was called Tages, had the wizened face of an old man and the gift of prophecy, and he immediately began to speak on how the future might be discovered. The twelve Etruscan peoples gathered around to listen to him and write down his teachings, from which two schools of divination would develop: haruspicy (the future read in the livers of sheep) and brontoscopy (the future read in thunder.) Translated excerpts from a brontoscopic calendar, which assigns meaning to thunder on every day of the lunar year, may be found here.
posted by Iridic on Mar 6, 2014 - 42 comments

Cancer and the mythical journey

"The experience of being struck down by cancer is very interesting. Assuming it doesn’t kill you very quickly (and it does sometimes kill speedily and without mercy) the cancer sufferer can find himself or herself launched on an heroic journey. By that I don’t mean that I’m a hero because I have cancer; I mean ‘heroic’ in the mythical sense, in that your life is suddenly propelled along a remorseless narrative that has the structure of all great mythical journeys." -- Graham Joyce, himself recovering from cancer, looking at recovery as a quest story.
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 22, 2013 - 10 comments

There and Back Again

To define the world of The Hobbit is, of course, impossible, because it is new. - C.S. Lewis reviews The Hobbit. Why Smaug Sill Matters. Tolkien, Alignment, Non-Violence, and Why Hobbits are Required for Middle-earth to Survive. "‘Smaug’ is about almost absolutely nothing". Scientist maps climate of Lord of the Rings.
posted by Artw on Dec 8, 2013 - 157 comments

Lil' Trickster

Loki's childhood, illustrated.
posted by Artw on Nov 16, 2013 - 25 comments

LOLympus

Olympus Overdrive is a webcomic in which the gods of Greek mythology compete to replace Zeus as the ruler of Olympus. Each deity is rebooted into the modern world and bound to a mortal companion, and together they must try to defeat the other teams. The winner immortal gets Zeus's Thunderbolt, while the winner mortal gets anything they desire. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 26, 2013 - 20 comments

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis. A short film retelling of Titian's Diana and Actaeon for The National Gallery, London, by Tell No One. [Possibly NSFW, Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 23, 2013 - 7 comments

Saturday Morning Hinduism

Introductions to major figures: Lord Shiva (8:55), Lord Ganesha (10:41), Lord Hanuman (11:25), and Lord Krishna (12:38). But it really doesn't end there. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Apr 20, 2013 - 17 comments

Moyer and Campbell's "Power of Myth" documentary now online for free

Joseph Campbell was well-known for his exploration of the monomyth, or the hero's journey, which posits that worldwide myths that have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure. Campbell's work inspired George Lucas to create the first Star Wars trilogy. In the mid-1980s, Bill Moyers spent many hours interviewing Campbell at Skywalker Ranch. The result was a now famous documentary called "The Power of Myth." The series has been available on DVD since 2001, but Moyers has just made the full series available for streaming and download on his site.
posted by ajr on Mar 16, 2013 - 29 comments

An image of a soundless voice

Only two works of Nonnus of Panopolis (fl. AD 400), arguably the last great poet of the Homeric tradition, survive complete. The first is his Dionysiaca, ostensibly an account of the adventures of Dionysus but embracing everything that touches chaos and fire and sound, "the longest surviving poem from classical antiquity and one of the most entertaining, outrageous and vivid epics ever conceived west of the Ganges." The second is the Metabole kata Ioannou [PDF]. It's a paraphrase of the Gospel of John into the idiom of Homer.
posted by Iridic on Feb 15, 2013 - 9 comments

How Grandmother Triode Stole Binary from the Sun

TRIODE.TXT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
a story of people[0xCF36] as told by shaman.Accumulator.Overflows(true)
In the beginning, there were too many numbers, and nobody could tell exactly what they were. Everybody was confused about what was big and what was small, because everything was kind of big, but also kind of small. Nobody knew anything for sure....
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 27, 2013 - 22 comments

Kindness killed, just as surely as the huntsman's knife

Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 27, 2012 - 53 comments

Zeus's Affairs

Zeus's Affairs - a visualization of all of Zeus's various affairs. The large black circles represent Zeus, the lines on the inside of the circles represent his 'lovers' (or victims), the colored lines connect them to their children on the outside of the circles.
posted by empath on Dec 12, 2012 - 35 comments

The Soundscapes of Ancient Cultures

Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. “Could the Maya have intentionally coded the sound of their sacred bird into the pyramid architecture? I think it is possible.Hear it for yourself in this video. While this is a pretty astounding feat of architectural engineering, it’s by no means the only example of archaeoacoustics that can be found at Chichen Itza, amongst the mayan people, or throughout the many other cultures who’ve built structures that integrate unique auditory phenomenon to stimulate the senses. [previously]/[previously] [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on Nov 29, 2012 - 23 comments

The Power of Boots Compels You.

Swiper no Swiping!: The Demonology of Dora the Explorer
posted by ursus_comiter on Nov 27, 2012 - 57 comments

Phillip Marlow's throbbing core of misogyny

Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses male mythology, biology and Raymond Chandler's Private Dick
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 26, 2012 - 45 comments

Be the chosen one, travel the ancient world and underworld to save your love.

The First Hero is a very short (~10 minutes) but wonderful point-and-click game set in the realm of the Greek gods, with lovely artwork and music.
posted by jbickers on Sep 26, 2012 - 5 comments

Neverending stories

Four Micro-Essays on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2009 (contains spoilers), a look at the concluding part of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's 3 part LoEG: Century series in which the league face off against a headline grabbing villain (extreme spoiler warning) and which spookily presaged some of last nights Olympic opening. Previous Moore and O'Neill. Obligatory annotations from Jess Nevins.
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2012 - 37 comments

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

He considered himself an artist, but his work, while popular and incendiary, showed little talent or originality. Later in life he took up working with precious metals, and that would be the craft he’s remembered for, but earlier in his career he printed his own engravings, or his version of the work of others. Earlier this year at Brown University’s John Hay Library, something very rare was discovered. One of Paul Revere’s prints depicting the Baptism of Christ was found tucked in an old textbook. While not a particularly valuable work or great art, this rare print does tell us a bit about the man as an artist, and about his faith. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on May 7, 2012 - 6 comments

What do you get when you cross ...

"Mythical Creatures" by Jim Unwin and Dylan Carline. [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm on Apr 20, 2012 - 16 comments

Everything is better with a bag of weed

Let's go smoke some pot! Started by a group of high school stoners looking for a pot field in the 70's, the 420 meme has propagated to cover the globe. 420 Tours, 420 communities, Senate Bill 420 which legalized medical marijuana in California, 420 is everywhere. Sure, there's plenty of 420 buzzkills; the 1775 Siege of Boston, the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, the day Americans learned about 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, and of course Hitler's birthday. But don't let it get you down man, everything is better with a bag of weed.
posted by dejah420 on Apr 20, 2012 - 183 comments

Battlestar Galatica's ending sucked and that's great

"Here, in my final post on the ending, I present the case that its final hour was the worst ending in the history of science fiction on the screen. This is a condemnation of course, but also praise, because my message is not simply that the ending was poor, but that the show rose so high that it was able to fall so very far." -Brad Templeton's dissection of the modern version of Battlestar Galatica and where it went wrong
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 12, 2011 - 275 comments

Turning the 4th wall in to guar-steaks

The Metaphysics of Morrowind: an essay series that looks at the deceptively deep lore that surrounds one of the best-loved open world games ever made, and incorporates not only the plot elements of the game world, and the supplementary books scattered for the player to find, but also the meta-narrative of the gameplay itself, including the player character and the construction kit. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4.
posted by codacorolla on Nov 16, 2011 - 92 comments

wear dogwood like it’s yo’ bling

Fuck Yeah Chinese Myths is a more sober, Chinese-centric version of Myths RETOLD (previously).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Oct 9, 2011 - 14 comments

Reading this post will destroy your soul

The Motif of Harmful Sensation (or as TV Tropes calls it, the Brown Note) is a recurring idea in literature: physical or mental damage that a person suffers merely by experiencing what should normally be a benign sensation. The phenomenon appears in both traditional and modern stories. [more inside]
posted by modernserf on Oct 4, 2011 - 87 comments

"In other words, Judah Maccabee, his father, and his brothers, are like the heroes of every Mel Gibson movie."

Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas have announced their latest, Warner Bros.-backed epic: a film about 'legendary Jewish warrior' Judah Maccabee. American Jewish leaders are plotzing. Rumors about a Maccabee movie were raised in 2004, but nothing ever came of them. Back then, at Christopher Hitchens' direction, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic met with Gibson to (sorta, but not really) talk him out of it. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 9, 2011 - 134 comments

yusi yese yari no neya neyana nia - the cassowary of Yusi Yese, I do not eat it

Sung Tales from the Papua New Guinea Highlands is a free download (PDF, Online and epub) from Australian National University E Press. To accompany the illustrated book are some mp3 format audio files. [via]
posted by unliteral on Aug 14, 2011 - 3 comments

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa, also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, was quite possibly the weirdest theme park on the planet. The first park was built in Hong Kong in the 30s, soon followed by another in Singapore. Built by brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who made their fortunes selling Tiger Balm, the park was really a sculpture garden devoted to all aspects of Chinese mythology. Weirdest and most surreal of all was the section of the park which depicted the the 10 levels of Buddhist hell, featuring demons dismembering sinners, and is best described as "if Heironymus Bosch built a putt putt course."
posted by puny human on Jun 20, 2011 - 30 comments

Zeus does not understand contraception

so the moral of the story is
always wear a condom
because otherwise
you are going to have to resort to an impromptu skull c-section
with a shovel

Myths Retold. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Mar 2, 2011 - 50 comments

Anu-Anulan & Yir's Daughter

Emily Carroll (previously and previouslier) has released a sweet new comic for Valentine's Day: Anu-Anulan & Yir's Daughter.
posted by overglow on Feb 15, 2011 - 12 comments

Luckily, my sign is unchanged: "Slippery When Wet"

The zodiac calendar has been corrected based on the original Babylonian setup. "When [astrologers] say that the sun is in Pisces, it's really not in Pisces," said Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon on Jan 13, 2011 - 154 comments

So, Mithras and Gaia had some children

Forming (NSFW - cartoon nudity) is a webcomic by Jesse Moynihan (NSFW) that tells the history of the evolution of man via the machinations of various alien entities whose familiar names (and unfamiliar stories) have been recorded in various religions throughout time. [more inside]
posted by lyam on Dec 16, 2010 - 24 comments

How Hou Yi Shot The Suns

In the time of the Chou Dynasty it was believed there existed Ten Celestial Suns. Each day, one sun would be harnessed to a jade dragon and drawn across the heavens, bringing life and light to the world. It was their duty, all they had known - but in their hearts a cold and secret fire grew... [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 6, 2010 - 22 comments

Lucio Bubacco

Lucio Bubacco is a master of the stunningly beautiful art of lampworked Venetian glass. His large freestanding work covers themes such as devils and mythology, Carnival, divine history, and sexual transgression [Potentially NSFW].* [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Nov 29, 2010 - 12 comments

Cosmology

The ancient Hebrew Conception of the Universe. Mayan Interdimensional Star Map. A scale model of the orbits of the planets in our solar system. More by Michael Paukner (via).
posted by Artw on Jul 14, 2010 - 28 comments

WOOF! Woof... woof... woo... woo boy

The dog days of summer are here. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Jul 7, 2010 - 89 comments

Left toin at Xibalba

Michal Brody's "Invoking the Ancestors: Edward Sapir, Bugs Bunny, and the Popol Vuh" [PDF] suggests that Space Jam is a product of the same mythopoeic impulses that pitted the Hero Twins against the lords of the Mayan underworld. [via]
posted by Iridic on May 29, 2010 - 11 comments

colours of passion

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), considered “the greatest painter of India,” “the father of modern Indian art,” and a “prince among painters and a painter among princes.” Varma became renowned both for his portraiture and his paintings of Indian mythology. The painter's life and times played a major role in the shaping of the women he painted and controversy over the way he painted them. Varma's images have not just survived, but due to his vision of making them accessible to the common man, they have thrived over a century and influence movies, television, the world's most expensive sari, theatre and everyday calender art.
posted by infini on Apr 10, 2010 - 7 comments

The Belly-Slitter's Knife: More Alpine Holiday Fun!

In alpine Europe, Perchta the Belly-Slitter (a.k.a Berta/Berchta/Frau Percht) roams during the Twelve Days of Christmas, and if you piss her off, she'll cut out your entrails and stuff you full of straw and garbage. And you thought Krampus was all you had to dodge to get through the holidays! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 4, 2010 - 24 comments

Search the Bible with Google Maps

Biblemap.org is an interactive map system for the bible, which is great for visualising where certain biblical events are said to have occured. It's also great for people who don't subscribe to any kind of organised religion but do like looking at maps (like me!).
posted by Effigy2000 on Jun 14, 2009 - 24 comments

The Jade Calendar

A Visitor's Guide to Hell - A translation of the Chinese version of what happens to the human soul after death [with some illustrations]. [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Feb 26, 2009 - 34 comments

Ancient Greece

Explore the History of the Ancient Greek World from the Neolithic to the Classical Period. Covering important topics, such as Art and Architecture, Mythology, Wars, Culture and Society, Poetry, Olympics, History Periods, Philosophy, Playwrights, Kings and Rulers of Ancient Greece.
posted by netbros on Feb 21, 2009 - 3 comments

Lévi-Strauss at 100

Anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss turned 100 on Friday. NPR's Frank Browning offers an appreciation of his work (audio). Anthropologist Dan Sperber (at OpenDemocracy) offers a succinct appraisal of his influence. Patrick Wilcken (TLS) writes about "the century of Claude Lévi-Strauss." [more inside]
posted by fourcheesemac on Nov 29, 2008 - 22 comments

Women and children, depending on credit rating

"Women and children, first," is a familiar cultural refrain, with its popular roots in the gallant sacrifice made by the male contingent aboard the doomed Titanic. Their sacrifice has inspired poetry, sculpture, male social clubs, and, of course, cinema. Yet, this sacrifice of near-mythic scale was in some respects a myth, with survival statistics skewing well in favor of men of higher social and economic class than children (and, to a lesser extent, women) of lower status.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 25, 2008 - 70 comments

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld Found in Mexico

Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld found in Mexico. Included in the underwater tunnels (video) are two underground temples and human bones - possibly the remains of human sacrifices. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Aug 23, 2008 - 17 comments

...robbed us of our souls and minds...

3d renderings of the zodiac signs.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 14, 2008 - 43 comments

Classic Tales and Fables

Over 2000 classic tales and fables including Aesop's Fables, Bulfinch's Mythology, Indian "Why" Stories, tales by Oscar Wilde, Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum and Harriet Beecher Stowe and stories about Abraham Lincoln, Robin Hood and Baron Munchausen. And more! The folk and fairytale collection is particularly rich, with hundreds of stories from all over the world.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 1, 2008 - 15 comments

Indigenous Australian Dance Ceremonies

Aboriginal dance (also known as a corroboree) helps indigenous Australians to interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume. Many ceremonies act out events from the Dreamtime. Many of the ceremonies are sacred and people from outside a community are not permitted to participate or watch. However, there are many ceremonies we've been allowed to witness (here's one of my favourites). And there's plenty of related pictures available at the National Museum's website. Naturally, any indigenous Australians reading should note that these links may include images or names of people who may now be deceased.
posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 13, 2008 - 11 comments

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