"Failte !" Welcome To Myth Beliefs!
"Failte!" is a Celtic/Irish word of greeting and welcome to visitors. Celts used this word as part of a welcome phrase full of warmth and cheer, as did the Scottish in a similar phrase ceud mìle fàilte. This spirit reflects my genuine joy and pride that you decided to visit my site.
Acknowledging that we all have limited time for learning or reading for pleasure, in a world of ever-increasing information overload, I thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy and learn from the site, find humor and heritage, and even share your own contributions as well.
Myth Beliefs focuses on understanding and interpreting history through ideas and stories brought to us through myth, legends and folklore. Although we acknowledge the "make believe" quality of myths and lore, and the shadowy facts behind many legends, we are, and our history is, influenced profoundly by such stories.
How We Understand Our World Is Often Shaped By Collective Beliefs Inherited From The Past
In fact, many myths, legends and lore are "archetypal" stories. Simply defined, an "archetype" is a typical example of a thing being represented in some way, as the case with story-telling or visual imagery. Still don't understand? Well, try this simple test that illustrates the concept. Close your eyes. You are in a room face to face with a nasty, evil witch. What do you see in your mind's eye? Quick, don't think about it!
Most of you saw a bent over, ugly, old woman, dressed head-to-toe in black, with warts, a broom, black cat, and maybe green skin. Most of you probably saw something that closely approximated the "Wicked Witch of the West" in The Wizard of Oz, right? Why? That character is an "archetypal" representation of witches, at least in Western culture.
|The archetypal Wicked Witch of the West|
But from where did Baum get such beliefs about wicked witches, if he did not invent the idea of the "wicked witch" character himself? What about his readers, most of whom were younger than he and from different parts of the world than he, raised in vastly different circumstances in many instances?
Interestingly, Baum also introduced us to another "witch," "Glenda the Good Witch of the North." The polar opposite of the Wicked Witch, we are, nonetheless, told she is also a witch. Hardly an archetype here, eh?
|Glenda the "Good Witch?" Which Witch is Which?|
With such imagery as seen here, how many children do you think argue, even now, that Glenda is a "fairy princess," and not a witch at all?
One argument, promoted by psychologist C. G. Jung, is that we understand our world through the lens of powerful, deeply-rooted, inherited psychological beliefs. We all possess them, utilizing them regularly to make decisions, form attitudes, interpret events and interact with others.
Jung argued that these fundamental beliefs, concepts, ideas and symbols, in turn, contribute to the formation of cultural norms, individual psychology, and group consciousness. We experience them subconsciously - many surface in dream imagery, e.g. - but they play significant roles in forming who we are, the world around us.
We Begin To Form Beliefs, In Part, Based On "Bedtime Stories" & Other Folklore
How does this process begin? Nursery stories, such as Snow White, offer one possible explanation. Snow White features a well-known, similar witch as a villain. Though relegated to nothing more than "bedtime stories," the imagery in nursery stories and rhymes form a powerful part of cultural folklore for much of Western culture. Some are even based on varying kernels of actual fact!
It is not too far-fetched, for example, to assume that Baum - and the vast majority of his young readers - all knew the Snow White story and its witch character before the arrival of The Wizard of Oz. That character already informed their understanding of what make some witches "wicked."
Our Modern World Is Not Immune To The Influences Of The Past - It Is A Reflection Of It
Even now, these "archetypal" messages shape our high tech modern world. Whether they are true or not, many of us continue to believe in God (sharing a common image of what "He" looks like), the Devil, demons & angels, and supernatural entities. Consider also the continuing vitality of pop culture characters such as vampires & werewolves. I hope to survey these, and many other topics, as part of Myth Beliefs.
Although one of my New Year's Resolutions was to focus more attention on Myth Beliefs, I have done only some sporadic posting. Still, I am thrilled by the interest the site has generated in spite of my efforts. This demonstrates to me that there are plenty of you out there who enjoy this subject matter as much as I.
So, we shall carry on! Please feel free to suggest any topics, suggestions for features or additions, or changes you would like to see in the site. In fact, I would welcome any regular contributors or guest bloggers who have some relevant content to share. If that is you, please contact me (See Contact page). It would be wonderful to have multiple voices speaking and writing as we travel on.
If you are interested to learn more about me, the easiest way to do that is to start with my About Me page. From there, you can link to many other sites featuring my photography, causes and concerns, and other blogs/websites I author and manage. Please say hello.
Once again, thank you for visiting Myth Beliefs!
Eric G. Young
This page was last updated June 21, 2014
This page was last updated June 21, 2014