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Slide Notes

Myths and myth have been given a bad rap. In fact, the word "myth" is often used as a substitute term to convey the meaning of "lie, falsehood, fantasy, or conjecture." This usage is lazy and misleading.

Actually, real myths are all about truth, reality, and the laws of nature.

10 Lies

Published on Nov 18, 2015

Mythologist Margaret Merisante, Ph.D. unveils the 10 most common lies about mythology.


10 Lies

You Might Believe About Myths
Myths and myth have been given a bad rap. In fact, the word "myth" is often used as a substitute term to convey the meaning of "lie, falsehood, fantasy, or conjecture." This usage is lazy and misleading.

Actually, real myths are all about truth, reality, and the laws of nature.
Photo by Leo Reynolds

Lie #10: Strictly Ancient

Truth: Myths Live Here. Now. All the time.
In general, when people are thinking about myths (as opposed to being told that a certain statement or claim is a myth), they usually consider myths to be stuck in the ancient past. Greek and Roman myths are what typically come to mind.

However, myths surround us! Myths are socio-cultural stories help explain our collective lives on Earth. Currently, our myths have been forced through the narrow funnel of patriarchy. (See more on that topic at mythwoman.com.)

The truth is myths are alive all around us.
Photo by SonOfJordan


Truth: Myths Permeate all Cultures
This is related to Lie #10. Greek mythology is seen as Mythology. Period.

That couldn't be further from the truth. All peoples from around the world have myths and corpuses of myth, i.e. mythologies.

Myths just got more interesting, right?


Ah, the argument that each or all religions contain no myths. Balderdash.

Religions are chock-full of myths⎯primarily because part of a religion's purpose is to express or explain our relationship to the Earth, each other, and the divine.

Absolutely the territory of myths and mythology. We all know stories⎯i.e. myths⎯ explaining creation, or natural phenomena, or grand stories of religious leaders.
Photo by Squirmelia

Lie #7: No ties to History

Truth: Myths contain historical facts
Part of the campaign to associate myths with lies is to claim that there is historical details or facts within myths.

And yet, as this image reminds us, one of the most popular myths still told today, the Iliad, contains numerous historical facts and artifacts. It has lots and lots of company.

Archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists, are now more cognizant of the importance of recognizing the interweaving of myth within their disciplines.
Photo by Tama Leaver

Lie #6: All Fantasy

Truth: Reality is the Foundation of Myths
Thinking that myths are fantasy or fairy tales or folk tales and, therefore, patently untrue is a big mistake.

Over millennia, myths were firmly anchored in the natural laws of Earth and the cosmos. In fact, myths were the best curriculum for understanding the "Reality Show" we were all born into.

Currently, they still show us our "reality show." That show has ceased to be about the laws of nature and the cosmos, and instead been about promoting patriarchy. Nonetheless, myths keep displaying the reality of our show.

Lie #5: Grade school stuff

Truth: Myth is anything but elementary, my dear
Myths are not simple, nor simplistic.

Jam-packed with symbols, metaphors, and poetic language, myths are complex and deep.

A person can read the surface rendition of any myth and gain something. However, delving into the metaphors and symbolism of a myth brings amazing riches.
Photo by readerwalker

Lie #4: A Yawn Fest

Truth: Myths =Drama, meaning, Secrets of Life!

Not myths! Myths contain all the stuff we find exciting: birth, death, sex, powers of nature, connections, relationships, grief, love, valor, humility, sacredness, and yes, the "ho-hum" details of everything called LIFE.
Photo by iman Khalili

Lie #3: Set in Stone

Truth: Myths Are Nimble & do change
Along with the idea that myths are static in time, there is the concept that myths are static in content. Again, no.

How much a myth changes may be determined by how much it relates to timeless principles or natural laws.

If it is simply about the foibles of humans, the myth may be continually updated in look and message dropping older regional contexts. Myths that relate something more permanent change less, but often adopt a modern feel.

Lie #2: Zero Power

Truth: Myths shape us and our cultures
Zero power=no meaning, no impact.

The stories we tell ourselves help to shape our actions, our thoughts, our perceptions, and our value systems. Myths are collective stories writ large. Large enough to encompass culture, society, nature, the cosmos, and us.

Myths are incredibly powerful. The more you know about them, the more this power is visible to you.
Photo by jaci XIII

#1 lie: Myths are Lies

Truth: Myths offer us deep truths, deep meanings
Here's the penultimate lie.

The more that we keep substituting the word "myth" for "lie," the longer we will be engaging in doublespeak.
Similar to the doublespeak mantras of "War is peace; freedom is slavery; and ignorance is strength", the concept or statement that "myths are lies" is designed to lead the reader/viewer/listener deliberately astray. Language of this type works to deceive and does so by pairing opposites and declaring they are the same.

Photo by CharlesFred

Thanks for Viewing!

There's more to myth than meets the eye
Thank-you very much for viewing this Haiku Deck!

This deck was created by Dr. Margaret Merisante, a feminist comparative mythologist.

I appreciate your interest in mythology!

Photo by Edgar Barany

wanna learn more?

check out mythwoman.com 
The website of Dr. Margaret Merisante.