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Download e-book for iPad: A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

By Karen Armstrong

"Human beings have regularly been mythmakers.” So starts off best-selling author Karen Armstrong’s concise but compelling research into fantasy: what it's, the way it has developed, and why we nonetheless so desperately want it. She takes us from the Paleolithic interval and the myths of the hunters correct as much as the "Great Western Transformation” of the final years and the discrediting of delusion by means of technological know-how. The background of delusion is the historical past of humanity, our tales and ideology, our interest and makes an attempt to appreciate the realm, which hyperlink us to our ancestors and every different. Heralding a massive sequence of retellings of overseas myths by means of authors from all over the world, Armstrong’s normally insightful and eloquent booklet serves as a super and thought-provoking advent to fable within the broadest sense—and explains why if we push aside it, we achieve this at our peril.

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Extra resources for A Short History of Myth

Example text

Finally, all mythology speaks of another plane that exists alongside our own world, and that in some sense supports it. Belief in this invisible but more powerful reality, sometimes called the world of the gods, is a basic theme of mythology. It has been called the ‘perennial philosophy’ because it informed the mythology, ritual and social organisation of all societies before the advent of our scientific modernity, and continues to influence more traditional societies today. 1 And every earthly reality is only a pale shadow of its archetype, the original pattern, of which it is simply an imperfect copy.

Inanna is, however, rescued by the other gods, and her return to earth, accompanied by a horde of devils, is triumphant and terrible. When she arrives home, she finds that her husband, the handsome young shepherd Dumuzi, has dared to sit upon her throne. Enraged, Inanna passes the sentence of death upon him, Dumuzi flees, pursued by devils who force him down into the underworld to take Inanna’s place, but a deal is made, whereby the year is divided between Dumuzi and his sister Geshtinanna, each passing six months with Ereshkigal in the underworld.

In other parts of the world the earth was not personified, but was venerated as sacred in herself. She produced all things from her womb in the same way as a woman gave birth to a child. 32 Where once people had imagined themselves ascending to the heights in order to encounter the divine, they now made ritual contact with the sacred in the earth. 33 These creation myths taught people that they belong to the earth in the same way as the rocks, rivers and trees do. They must, therefore, respect her natural rhythms.

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A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

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