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Random Acts of Senseless Myths

Random Acts of Senseless Myths Jeri Castronova

Excerpt from Paint the Sky and Dance: Women and the New Myths

The stories of King Arthur and Luke Skywalker may be separated by centuries, but they have a strong connection in many ways. They are two heroes whose exploits transported them along similar paths. Both began in obscurity and embarked on journeys in which they encountered wise mentors, dark forces, and maidens who needed rescuing. Then they returned from their quests in triumph. Typical heroic models exist in all cultures—male models.

As ancient civilizations rose and fell, their people have told and retold beloved stories. These ancient myths stand as testaments to the human spirit and the timelessness of victories, defeats, and glories through the ages. These were stories of real people and events, their gods and goddesses, their wars and victories. In living out the inner conflicts of their heroes, the people achieved what we today call authenticity, one’s sense of inner identity and the quality of being in touch with one’s own spirit.

The Song of the Universe

Myths gave meaning to people’s lives in a complex, difficult-to-understand world and provided an underlying reason for the just and unjust events happening around them. The Illiad and Odyssey, the Aeneid, the Mahabharata, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and other mythic quests can be read as fictional stories or as ancestral histories of diverse people. These were originally passed down orally from parent to child, shaman to apprentice, and then finally written down by poets and scribes.