Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MMC, GUM, and Other Myths of Neo-Paganism

I said here that I'd do it, and here it is. (There's quite a bit of discussion already; I'd like to see reposting of the substance here insofar as it can be done, but unless-and-until, the link is well-worth following.)

There are some ideas/concepts in (generally Wiccish/Wicca-influenced) neoPaganism that those of us of a more academic bent shy off from discussing, because of how strongly they've become associated with "Pagan fundies", those who insist on casting them as literal truth. But they're useful concepts - as myth, not fact - for many people.

Catja on myths - the long version, or more briefly,

Myths are *sacred* stories -- sometimes the very telling itself will be sacred -- that enshrine the Big Cosmic Truths of a culture: where the world came from, the relationship of humans to the divine, the foundation of sacred institutions like kingship or sacrifice, what happens after we die, and so forth. Myths are making a COSMIC truth-claim, which, depending on the culture and individul believer, can range from "metaphorical/poetic truth" to "literal/historical truth"; however, a myth's PRIMARY function is to convey a cosmic truth, so any historical truth-claim will be secondary.
Two well-known and widespread examples are the Great Universal Matriarchy often associated with Marija Gimbutas (though the form in which it's often found in neoPaganism goes farther than she did), and the Maiden/Mother/Crone triple goddess - I believe others were mentioned in the thread this is spun off from, and there are likely others that haven't been mentioned.

What myths of this kind are included in, or have influenced, your path, and how do they function in that context?

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