Tag Archives | Mythology

The Underworld of the Periphery: Countercultures of the Future

From Modern Mythology

Those that just don’t fit, the underclass or outcast, those of the periphery, the counter-culture — these are popular topics around here, and for good reason,

“Peripheries are often border zones where peoples or things are thrown into unexpected contact, hybrid spaces yielding new possibilities for social and cultural organization.”

Think of the musical genres, poetic innovations, and linguistic creoles of the Caribbean; or think of the social “margins” or the “queer periphery,” where disenfranchisement and stigmatization give rise to relatively free experimentation in social practices and cultural life. Though centers may seem more advanced or more privileged than peripheries, decisive change and innovation often begin at the fringes. Yet the very tendency toward difference and transformation out on the margins often meets with a violent reimposition of norms from the center: Soviet tanks rolling into Prague, or the Janjaweed and Sudanese military sweeping through Darfur, or the police descending on Stonewall.

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The Words of Traitors: bridging expectation, mediums and genres

Announcement from Modern Mythology:

Described as “Beautiful!” by award-winning sequential artist and author David Mack (Kabuki, Daredevil, Dexter), Words of Traitors is an attempt at laying bare the inner workings of hope and loss, love and despair, with the raw fury of a complete mental breakdown. At the brink of death, our life flashes before our eyes. Are those memories nothing more than lies? Our memories construct our sense of identity, but can we rely on them?

This work explores the fallibility of memory and how much our memories change over time and ultimately betray us, becoming “words of traitors.” Each story is based on a jigsaw of real memories told by a fictional narrator. The combination of magical realism and real life allows both the writer and the reader to explore the language of the  subconscious.

The production process was an intense alchemical experience, much of which was documented behind-the-scenes on the Words of Traitors website.

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John Major Jenkins on Mayan Cosmology and 2012

Joe Moore presents episode 40 of the Occult Sentinel Podcast:

This is a recording of a talk that John Major Jenkins gave to Evolver Boulder on December 6th 2012. He discussed the trajectory of his work, his key findings, and how he found them. I personally think his work is pioneering and foundational to Mayan studies.

He is the author of a number of books including:

- Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date
- Galactic Alignment: The Transformation of Consciousness According to Mayan, Egyptian, and Vedic Traditions
- The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History
- Pyramid of Fire: The Lost Aztec Codex: Spiritual Ascent at the End of Time

John also helped to translate and edit The Key to the Kalevala by Pekka Ervast.

See his website for more information – http://www.alignment2012.com

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The Labyrinth: Slaying the Minotaur of Ego

Picture: "Theseus Fighting the Minotaur" by Etienne Jules Ramey – Photo by Jastrow (PD)

Mark Dotson at Soul Spelunker deciphers the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in the context of transformational psychology and Western culture. You might enjoy it, provided you’re not too bull-headed.

Soul Spelunker:

The Labyrinth is like the infinite depths of Soul. If one falls into it, it can very difficult to find one’s way out again. Many do not and must spend the rest of their lives in asylums. The Minotaur is like the out-of-control Ego we are so accustomed to seeing in Western society, especially in America. Its self-aggrandizing hunger for power and wealth is insatiable. Its name is Asterios, or “Star.” Ego loves the spotlight. It wants to be the brightest star in the human psyche. Many so-called stars in our culture are egomaniacs. It is the nature of Ego to tend to over-inflation.

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Jonathan Zap on the Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution


This episode of the Occult Sentinel Podcast with Joe Moore features Jonathan Zap giving a presentation at an event hosted by the Boulder “Spore” of the Evolver Network:

Jonathan Zap is an author, photographer, teacher, paranormal researcher and philosopher who has written extensively on psychology and contemporary mythology. Jonathan has done numerous radio and television interviews including four three-hour shows on Coast to Coast AM. Reality Sandwich, the popular online magazine, has published numerous of his articles. His book is titled Crossing the Event Horizon: Human Metamorphosis and the Singularity Archetype.

Jonathan Zap gives a talk titled “The Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution.” The talk is broad ranging and touches possible futures, SciFi, 2001: A Space Odyssey  Carl Jung, 2012, Near Death Experience, Rupture Plane Events, Out of Body Experiences, traveling through event horizons, Singularity, and much more.

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Connecticut Vampires in a Naive Skeptic’s Court

Can you trust skepticism that isn’t based on a firm grasp of our collective history? After just penning a piece for The Teeming Brain on the serious case of cultural amnesia that our media representatives seem to enjoy regarding Isaac Newton’s mystical proclivities, I run across Sharon Hill, a leading cultural critic and skeptic with a background in Geology, writing for Doubtful News, and her brief dismissal of historical depth in a post that links to a Smithsonian article on 19th century vampire beliefs. Hill’s commentary shows a similarly stunted viewpoint as the authors of the Newton articles, only she is not just a journalist, but someone who claims to be working to educate the public on scientific rationality:

“In 1854, in Jewett City, Connecticut, townspeople had exhumed several corpses suspected to be vampires that were rising from their graves to kill the living. Yes. 1854.”

Now, I admit I’m a bit biased because I’d rather have my Forteana reported in sober academic fashion, or by a breathless Keelian storytellers (the Smithsonian article that Doubtful News links to is a nice mix of both.)  However, stories filtered through naiveté, like the pontification surrounding this one on Doubtful News, show why a passive skeptical attitude can get in the way of deeper encounters with the churning waters of the cultural mythosphere.… Read the rest

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“Joseph Campbell’s Vision for the Internet Age”

Picture: Joan Halifax (CC)

Beams and Struts examines the Singularity in a Campbellian context. The results are fascinating, even if you’re of a mind that Ray Kurzweil’s vision of a Geek Rapture is more wishful thinking than likely future.

Joseph Campbell would have been the first to point out the dangers of reading such science fiction as literal truth. In Campbell’s work, mythologies are never reduced to mere prophecy, belief, or individual religious sect; instead, stories often point toward underlying psychological phenomena that have universal significance and arise from a universal source, despite manifesting in specific cultural contexts. In other words, the cast of characters may change, but the essential plot remains the same. Read in this context, The Singularity could simply be a contemporary expression of an ancient mythological motif: the quest to cheat death. This theme, central to the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic, has been around for at least 3,000 years in literature.

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Eleven Scary Evil Monsters from World Religions

Picture: J.A.S. Collin de Plancy (PD)

Via Mental Floss:

Terrifying monsters have lumbered, lurched, stalked and devoured their way through many world religions for untold millennia.

They were sometimes devised to frighten for purposes of cultural control – or as mythologic personifications of harsh, inexplicable forces. In the case of the Book of Revelation, monsters often symbolized the oppressive political tactics of the Roman empire.

Today’s religious monsters might well include: a ghoulish pedophile Priest with scaly-gropy fingers; or a polyester-swaddled fire-breathing Baptist Preacher; or maybe a grinning Televangelist that spews fundamentalist bile from its jack-o-lantern head; or a shape-shifting Republican p

olitician that can somehow take the form of & draw hateful power from every pitchfork wielding mob it encounters, no matter the religion.

Now if only Sam & Dean from “Supernatural” would hunt THEM!… Read the rest

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Hunting the Basilisk: The Historical Record of a Mythical Beast

There’s an interesting story at The Smithsonian’s Past Imperfect blog regarding the peculiar history of the mythological basilisk. Those of you who spent your teenage years playing Dungeons & Dragons in your basement might already know what a basilisk is. However, for the rest of you, here’s a description:

The basilisk remained an object of terror long after the collapse of the Roman empire and was popular in medieval bestiaries. It was in this period that a great deal of additional myth grew up around it. It became less a serpent than a mix of snake and rooster; it was almost literally hellish. Jan Bondeson notes that the monster was “the subject of a lengthy discourse in the early-13th-century bestiary of Pierre de Beauvais. An aged cock, which had lost its virility, would sometimes lay a small, abnormal egg. If this egg is laid in a dunghill and hatched by a toad, a misshapen creature, with the upper body of a rooster, bat-like wings, and the tail of a snake will come forth.

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