Tag Archives | Mythology

The Myth of the Lazy Youth

As we have seen time and time again, one of the challenges of modern myths is their relative invisibility. It is the outsiders of any age, those who are alien to their own times, that make the best artist shamans, and the same goes for mythic explorers. If you are too close to a culture, you will very frequently mistake the truisms of culture, the myths, as a fact. This is true with “human nature” (as we have seen), and it is also true with our myths of labor and work.

Let’s consider the example presented when one generation judges another,

“Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-old Americans since 1976. They compared the answers to key questions given by high school seniors in 2005-2007 to those provided by previous generations.

To measure materialism, the youngsters were asked to rate on a one-to-four (“not important” to “extremely important”) scale how vital they felt it was to own certain expensive items: “a new car every two to three years,” “a house of my own (instead of an apartment or condominium),” “a vacation house,” and “a motor-powered recreational vehicle.” They were also asked straightforwardly how important they felt it was to “have a lot of money.”

To measure their attitudes toward work, the seniors rated on a one-to-five scale the extent to which they agreed with a series of statements, including “I expect my work to be a very central part of my life,” and “I want to do my best in my job, even if this sometimes means working overtime.”

The researchers found a couple of disturbing trends.

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Sinister Yoga

From Modern Mythology:

“Breathe in, hold in, breathe out, old, focus on purifying the mind and body with white light” — how many of you have heard this before? (Quite possibly while internalizing thoughts of lighting the teacher on fire as they use words like “sensation” as code for “agonizing, excruciating pain” as they twist you into a pretzel.)

Here at Modern Mythology we are often looking at the origin myths behind what has become rote practice. This may involve delving into etymological history or just conjecture about the possibilities that have since been forgotten. However, in this case, it seems that our work has been done for us. If you’d like to check out an alternative perspective on yoga and the myth of the yogi, check out David Gordon White’s “Sinister Yoga.” (This is not to say that alternative myths are not myths themselves.)

This approach challenges many of the preconceived Western notions of yoga.

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Ancient ‘Gateway To Hell’ Unearthed In Turkey

Ancient oracles approached the ancient portal and received hallucinations and visions from the noxious fumes belching forth, reports Discovery News:

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced. Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors. “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death,” the Greek geographer Strabo (born 64/63 BC) wrote.

The site revealed a vast array of broken ruins once it was excavated. The archaeologists found Ionic semi columns and, on top of them, an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.

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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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