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Post by Guano on 21.01.19 11:32

Would anyone think it may be a good idea, due to the influx of people seeking mythological vampirism interpretations, for me to create a topic on such creatures? Just as it is my area of "expertise" and would make dealing with their inquiries easier, having a condensed source to go to to get them on the right path and to direct them away from the forum in a constructive manner. Just a thought. Hopefully then it would get them of your backs and would hopefully educate them on what they want to know, maybe making the process of misunderstanding a more educating one. May take me a while to compile it all but, I'm sure it'd be fun. All suggestions welcome of course.
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Post by Lynskha on 21.01.19 11:44

I think it is a good idea, and it would be about mythology, where some people could just find this info. That is nice.
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Post by MysticLightShinethForth on 21.01.19 12:01

Sounds like a good idea and I am not talking merely out of practical utility - might be somewhat stimulating and fun for yourself. So I always encourage writing or creative art. Smile
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Post by Guano on 21.01.19 14:02

Thanks, I'll get compiling. Should take a week or so, weekend might be a good "Deadline" we'll see anyways.
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Post by Guano on 22.01.19 12:38

Was ill today so got it all done today while at home, bit long but, there was a lot to include:

Where the concept originated.
The first vampire started out as not a vampire at all, but as a human man named Ambrogio. He was an Italian-born adventurer who fate brought to Delphi, in Greece.

Specifically, it began with the sun god Apollo (Greek mythology), who in a fit of rage cursed Ambrogio so that his skin would burn should it ever touch sunlight again. Ambrogio's bad luck followed when he ended up gambling away his soul to Hades (Greek mythology), the god of the underworld. The next curse came via Apollo's sister Artemis (Greek mythology), the goddess of the moon and hunting, who made it so that Ambrogio's skin would burn if he touched silver.

The blessings came soon after when Artemis, taking pity on the poor young man, gave him the gift of immortality. He would carry his curses - his skin burning by sunlight or silver, but he would live forever in his current form. Not only that, but Artemis also gave him the speed and strength to become a hunter whose skills were second only to her own.

Blood-sucking (which, by the way, is called "hematophagy" in case you were curious) is also included in this "blessing". In the vampire original story, Ambrogio hunts swans and uses their blood as ink to write love poems to his lady Selene. While this may be considered a little creepy by our standards, it wasn't all that unusual in ancient Greece to make do with what you hunted.

The first supposed clan.
Ambrogio later moved back to Italy, now as a full-fledged vampire. Legend traces him to the city of Florence (Firenze), where he creates the first Vampire Clan.

We don't know a whole lot about this clan, other than they were most likely willing volunteers - humans who wanted power and immortality, and were willing to trade their souls for it. It was believed that the curse would continue for any vampire where their souls would remain in the Underworld (aka Hades aka Hell), where they could return to claim them, but then could never leave.

From what we know of the history of vampires, the clan grew in size and strength, until infighting created something of a "civil war" within the clan, and many vampires left to form
their own clans.

What happened to Ambrogio and those who stayed with him is largely unknown, though many believe that he still resides somewhere in Florence.

Common interpretation.
The most famous vampire is, of course, Bram Stoker's Dracula, though those looking for a historical "real" Dracula often cite Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), after whom Stoker is said to have modeled some aspects of his Dracula character. The characterization of Tepes as a vampire, however, is a distinctly Western one; in Romania, he is viewed not as a blood-drinking sadist but as a national hero who defended his empire from the Ottoman Turks.

The vampires most people are familiar with (such as Dracula) are revenants — human corpses that are said to return from the grave to harm the living; these vampires have Slavic origins only a few hundred years old. But other, older, versions of the vampire were not thought to be human at all but instead supernatural, possibly demonic, entities that did not take human form.

Matthew Beresford, author of "From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth" (Reaktion, 2008), notes, "There are clear foundations for the vampire in the ancient world, and it is impossible to prove when the myth first arose. There are suggestions that the vampire was born out of sorcery in ancient Egypt, a demon summoned into this world from some other." There are many variations of vampires from around the world. There are Asian vampires, such as the Chinese jiangshi (pronounced chong-shee), evil spirits that attack people and drain their life energy; the blood-drinking Wrathful Deities that appear in the "Tibetan Book of the Dead," and many others.

Vampire Analogies in Ancient Cultures

Tales of the dead craving blood are found in nearly every culture around the world, including some of the most ancient ones. Vampire-like spirits called the Lilu are mentioned in early Babylonian demonology, and the even more ancient bloodsucking Akhkhar in Sumerian mythology. These female demons were said to roam during the hours of darkness, hunting and killing newborn babies and pregnant women. One of the demons, named Lilitu, was later adapted to Jewish demonology as Lilith.

In India, tales of vetalas, ghoul-like beings that inhabit corpses, are found in old Sanskrit folklore. A prominent story tells of King Vikramaditya and his nightly quests to capture an elusive vetala. The vetala legends have been compiled in the book Baital Pachisi. The vetala is an undead creature, who like the bat associated with modern day vampirism, hangs upside down on trees found in cremation grounds and cemeteries.

The hopping corpse is an equivalent of the vampire in Chinese tradition; however, it consumes the victim's life essence (chi or qi) rather than blood.

The Ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet in one myth became full of bloodlust after slaughtering humans and was only sated after drinking alcohol colored as blood.

The strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood is mentioned in Roman tales. The Romanian word for vampires, strigoi, is derived from the word, as is the name of the Albanian Shtriga, but the myths about those creatures show primarily Slavic influence.

As an example of the prominence of similar legends in later times, it can be noted that 12th century English historians and chroniclers Walter Map and William of Newburgh recorded accounts of revenants that arguably bear some resemblance to East European vampire

It is difficult to make a single description of the folkloric vampire, because its properties vary widely between different cultures. Here are the main similarities.
The appearance of the European folkloric vampire contained mostly features by which one was supposed to tell a vampiric corpse from a normal one, when the grave of a suspected vampire was opened. The vampire has a "healthy" appearance and ruddy skin, he is often plump, his nails and hair have grown and, above all, he/she is not in the least decomposed or in anyway pale.
The most common ways to destroy the vampire are driving a wooden stake through the heart, decapitation, and incinerating the body completely. Ways to prevent a suspected vampire from rising from the grave in the first place include burying it upside-down, severing the tendons at the knees, or placing poppy seeds on the ground at the gravesite of a presumed vampire in order to keep the vampire occupied all night counting. Chinese narratives about vampires also state that if a vampire comes across a sack of rice, s/he will have to count all of the grains. There are similar myths recorded on the Indian Subcontinent. South American tales of witches and other sorts of evil or mischievous spirits or beings have a similar aspect to it.
Apotropaics, i.e. objects intended to inhibit or ward off vampires (as well as other evil supernatural creatures), include garlic (confined mostly to European legends), sunlight, a branch of wild rose, the hawthorn plant, and all things sacred (e.g., holy water, a crucifix, a rosary) or an Aloe vera plant hung backwards behind the door or near it, in South American superstition. This weakness on the part of the vampire varies depending on the tale. In stories of other regions, other plants of holy or mystical properties sometimes have similar effects. In Eastern legends, vampiric creatures are often similarly warded by holy devices such as Shinto seals.
Vampires are sometimes considered to be shape-shifters not limited to the common bat stereotype depicted in cartoons and movies. (Rather, vampires are said to morph into a wide variety of animals such as wolves, rats, moths, spiders, and so on).
Some Vampires in European folklore are said to cast no shadow and no reflection, perhaps arising from folklore regarding the vampire's lack of a soul. However this was not universal as the Ustrel (Poland) and Vrykolakos/Tympanios (Balkans) did supposedly cast shadows and reflections.
Some traditions hold that a vampire cannot enter a house unless invited, although they only have to be invited once after this they can come and go as they please without further permission.
Roman Catholic tradition holds that vampires cannot enter a church or holy place, as they are servants of the devil.

These are the main derivatives of traditional european vampires as we know the today.

Slavic Vampires
In Slavic lore, causes of vampirism include being born with a caul, teeth or tail, being conceived on certain days, "unnatural" death, excommunication, and improper burial rituals. Many Serbians believed that having red hair was a vampiric trait. Preventive measures included placing a crucifix in the coffin, placing blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, putting sawdust in the coffin (so that the vampire awakens in the evening and compelled to count every grain of sawdust, which occupies the entire evening, so he will die when at dawn) or piercing the body with thorns or stakes. In the case of stakes, the general idea was to pierce through the vampire and into the ground below, pinning the body down. Certain people would bury those believed to be potential vampires with scythes above their necks, so the dead would decapitate themselves as they rose.

Evidence that a vampire was active in a given locality included death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbors; an exhumed body being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair; a body swelled up like a drum; or blood on the mouth coupled with a ruddy complexion.
Vampires, like other Slavic legendary monsters, were afraid of garlic and were compelled to count particles of grain, sawdust, and the like. Vampires could be destroyed by staking, decapitation (the Kashubs placed the head between the feet), burning, repeating the funeral service, sprinkling holy water on the body, or exorcism. The most famous Serbian vampire was Sava Savanovic, famous from a folklore-inspired novel by Milovan Glisic. As mentioned above, the Old Russian anti-pagan work Word of Saint Grigoriy (written in the 11th or 12th century) claims that polytheistic Russians made sacrifices to vampires.

Romanian Vampires
Tales of vampiric entities were found among the ancient Romans and the Romanized inhabitants of eastern Europe, Romanians (known as Vlachs in historical context). Romania is surrounded by Slavic countries, so it is not surprising that Romanian and Slavic vampires are similar. Romanian vampires are called Strigoi, based on the ancient Greek term 'strip' for 'screech owl', which also came to mean demon or witch.

There are different types of Strigoi. Live Strigoi are live witches who will become vampires after death. They have the ability to send out their souls at night to meet with other witches or with Strigoi, which are reanimated bodies that return to suck the blood of family, livestock, and neighbours. Other types of vampires in Romanian folklore include Moroi and Pricolici.
Romanian tradition described a myriad of ways of bringing about a vampire. A person born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hair was doomed to become a vampire. The same fate applied to someone born too early, someone whose mother encountered a black cat crossing her path, and someone who was born out of wedlock. Others who became vampires were those who died an unnatural death or before baptism, the seventh child in any family (presuming all of his or her previous siblings were of the same sex), the child of a pregnant woman who avoided eating salt, and a person who was looked upon by a vampire or a witch. Moreover, being bitten by a vampire meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death.

The Varcolac, which is sometimes mentioned in Romanian folklore, was more closely related to a mythological wolf that could devour the sun and moon (similar to Skoll and Hati in Norse mythology), and hence later became connected with werewolves rather than vampires. (A person afflicted with lycanthropy could turn into a dog, pig, or wolf.)
The vampire was usually first noticed when it attacked family and livestock, or threw things around in the house. Vampires were believed to be most active on the eve of two religious holidays, the Feast of St. George (Julian calendar, May 4-5 Gregorian calendar April 22-23) and the Feast of St. Andrew . (Julian calendar, November 23-24. Gregorian calendar, November 29-30) The explanation of two calendar dates are given because Romanians used the old Julian calendar, while as displayed in Stoker's novel, the modern Gregorian calendar was used. The difference in time between the two calendars was 12 days. Also, it should be noted that the lag time between the old Julian calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar increases one day every century.

The Feast of St. George was a very important festival in honor of St. George. Also known as the Great Martyr, George was a beloved Saint. Not only was he acknowledge as the patron of England, but many other countries as well. He was also the patron of horses, cattle, wolves, and all enemies of witches and vampires. It was on St. George's eve that vampires all the forces of evil were most exquisite. People would remain in their homes with continuous light throughout the night.

They placed thorns across thresholds, painted crosses on their doors with tar, put thistles on windows, lit bonfires, and spread garlic everywhere they could. Through out the night, prayers would be recited repeatedly and naked blades placed beneath their pillows. If the night went well without any occurrences , the saint's feast was celebrated with much exuberance that day. The thorns and garlic were then replaced by Roses and other flowers. Bram Stoker, having done his research on vampire lore for his 1897 novel Dracula, included the fear of the villagers on St. George's Eve to warn Jonathan Harker that at midnight "all the evil things in the world will have full sway."

The Feast of St. Andrew, accompanied with the Feast of St. George and Easter was acknowledged as one of the most feared times of the year in Romania. The Feast of St. Andrew was in honor of St. Andrew who was the patron of wolves and donor of garlic. It was on St. Andrew's Eve, in certain parts of Romania, that the vampire was believed to be the most active and dangerous, the vampires was also believed to continue their activity throughout the winter and rest at epiphany (January). During these perilous times, it was considered wise to rub garlic on the doors and windows to protect families within the residence from any vampire attacks. Livestock was also at risk of an attack, so precautions were taken with them as well by rubbing them down with garlic.

A vampire in the grave could be discerned by holes in the earth, an decomposed corpse with a red face, or with one foot in the corner of the coffin. Living vampires were identified by distributing garlic in church and observing who would refuse to eat it.

Graves were often opened three years after the death of a child, five years after the death of a young person, or seven years after the death of an adult to check for Vampirism.

Measures to prevent a person from becoming a vampire included removing the caul from a newborn and destroying it before the baby could eat it, careful preparation of dead bodies, including preventing animals from passing over the corpse, placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave, and placing garlic on windows and rubbing it on cattle, especially on St George's and St Andrew's day.

To destroy a vampire, a stake was driven through the body, followed by decapitation and placing garlic in the mouth. By the 19th century, one would also shoot a bullet through the coffin. For resistant cases, the body was dismembered and the pieces burned, mixed with water, and administered to family members as a cure.


Greek Vampires
Belief in vampires was common in nineteenth century Greece.[20] Greek customs may have propagated this belief, notably a ritual that entailed exhuming the deceased after three years of death, and observing the extent of decay. If the body was fully decayed, the remaining bones were put in a box by relatives and wine poured over them, a priest would then read from scriptures. However, if the body had not sufficiently decayed, the corpse would be labelled a vampire.

According to Greek beliefs, vampirism could occur through various means: excommunication or desecrating a religious day, committing a great crime, or dying alone. Other more superstitious causes include having a cat jump across the grave, eating meat from a sheep killed by a wolf or having been cursed. It was also believed in more remote regions of Greece that unbaptized people would be doomed to vampirism in the afterlife.
The appearance of vampires varied throughout Greece and were usually thought to be indistinguishable from living people, giving rise to many folk tales with this theme. However, this was not the case everywhere: on Mount Pelion vampires glowed in the dark, while on the Saronic islands vampires were thought to be hunchbacks with long nails; on the island of Lesbos vampires were thought to have long canine teeth much like wolves.
Vampires could be harmless, sometimes returning to support their widows by their work. However, they were usually thought to be ravenous predators, killing their victims who would be condemned to become vampires. Vampires were so feared for their potential for great harm, that a village or an island would occasionally be stricken by a mass panic if a vampire invasion were believed imminent. Nicholas Dragoumis records such a panic on Naxos in the 1930s, following a cholera epidemic.

Varieties of wards were employed for protection in different places, including blessed bread (antidoron) from the church, crosses and black-handled knives. To prevent vampires from rising from the dead, their hearts were pierced with iron nails whilst resting in their graves, or their bodies burned and the ashes scattered. Because the Church opposed burning people who had received the myron of chrismation in the baptism ritual, cremation was considered a last resort.

Roma and Indian Vampire Beliefs
Even today, Roma frequently feature in vampire fiction and film, no doubt influenced by the Bram Stoker's Dracula, in which the Szgany Roma served Dracula, carrying his boxes of earth and guarding him.

Traditional Romani beliefs claim that the dead soul enters a world similar to ours except that there is no death. The soul lingers next to the body and sometimes wants to return to life. The Roma legends of the living dead have indeed enriched the vampire legends of Hungary, Romania and the Slavic world.

The ancient home of the Roma, India, describes many vampire entities. The Bhut or Pret is the soul of a man who died an untimely death. It wanders around animating dead bodies at night, attacking the living much like a ghoul. In northern India, there is the Brahmarak Shasa, a vampire-like creature with a head encircled by intestines and a skull from which it drank blood. Vetala and pishacha are other creatures who resemble vampires to an extent. Since Hinduism believes in reincarnation of the soul, it is supposed that leading an unholy or immoral life, sin or suicide, will lead the soul to reincarnate into such evil spirits. This kind of reincarnation does not arise out of birth from a womb, but is achieved directly, and such evil spirits' fate is predetermined as to how they shall achieve liberation from that yoni, and re-enter the world of mortal flesh in the next incarnation.

The most famous Indian deity associated with drinking blood is Kali, who has fangs, wears a garland of corpses or skulls and has four arms. Her temples are located near cremation grounds. She and the goddess Durga battled the demon Raktabija who could reproduce himself from each drop of blood spilled. Kali drank all his blood so none was spilled, thereby winning the battle and killing him.

Sara, or the Black Goddess, is the form in which Kali survived among Roma. Some Roma believe that the three Marys from the New Testament went to France and baptised a Gypsy called Sara. They still hold a ceremony every May 24 in the French village where this is supposed to have occurred. Some refer to their Black Goddess as "Black Cally" or "Black Kali". One form of vampire in Romani folklore is called a mullo (one who is dead). This vampire is believed to return and do malicious things and/or suck the blood of a person (usually a relative who had caused their death, or did not properly observe the burial ceremonies, or who kept the deceased's possessions instead of destroying them as was proper).
Female vampires could return, lead a normal life and even marry but would eventually exhaust the husband.

Anyone who had a horrible appearance, was missing a finger, or had appendages similar to those of an animal, was believed to be a vampire. If a person died unseen, he would become a vampire, likewise if a corpse swelled before burial. Dogs, cats, plants or even agricultural tools could become vampires. Pumpkins or melons kept in the house too long would start to move, make noises or show blood. (See the article on vampire watermelons.)

To get rid of a vampire, one could hire a Dhampir (the son of a vampire and his widow) or a Moroi to detect the vampire. To ward off vampires, Gypsies drove steel or iron needles into a corpse's heart and placed bits of steel in the mouth, over the eyes, ears and between the fingers at the time of burial. They also placed hawthorn in the corpse's sock or drove a hawthorn stake through the legs. Further measures included driving stakes into the grave, pouring boiling water over it, as well as decapitating or burning the corpse.

According to the late Serbian ethnologist Tatomir Vukanovic, Roma people in Kosovo believed that vampires were invisible to most people, but could be seen "by a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday who wear their drawers and shirts inside out." Likewise, a settlement could be protected from a vampire "by finding a twin brother and sister born on a Saturday and making them wear their shirts and drawers inside out. This pair could see the vampire out of doors at night, but immediately after it saw them it would have to flee, head over heels."

Also, some believe that vampires may have the attributes of aliens thus some think they are not of Earth at all. They would rather be considered demons as the 13th century folklore may have suggested.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is about as condense as it gets.


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Post by Lynskha on 22.01.19 13:40

That was a nice research. I did not read it all , but I will. Thanks.
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Post by Rael on 24.01.19 3:09

"Measures to prevent a person from becoming a vampire included removing the caul from a newborn and destroying it before the baby could eat it, careful preparation of dead bodies, including preventing animals from passing over the corpse, placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave, and placing garlic on windows and rubbing it on cattle, especially on St George's and St Andrew's day. "
"preventing animals from passing over the corpse" This paragraph.

"We have such a saying on our side,that is, someone in the family died, The older generation will tell us, don't let the cat jump over the corpse,  especially black cats, Otherwise it will be very bad."

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Post by Guano on 24.01.19 10:25

Hmm interesting, who knows where this idea may have originated. Similar events most likely.
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 25.01.19 8:56

Guano, it is nice to see you still around and posting. One thing does confuse me however. Haven't you said in earlier posts that you don't even believe in vampirism? If you do not believe vampirism is real, why bother compiling so much about them? Your sentiment is nice, compiling something to keep people just interested in mythology and not occultism to one area. But that sort of thing has never really worked here, it is an open place so there will still be the misguided ones popping up.

I do think people should do their own research if they wish to know about folklore and not be lazy about it expecting others to do that for them, but I see you put some effort into your post, which is nice.
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Post by Guano on 25.01.19 9:04

Why bother? Just because I don’t believe in something doesn’t mean I’m not interested in it intently. I explore all aspects of vampirism just because it’s interesting. I mean don’t you find things inherently interesting even if you don’t believe in them? Mythology is interesting, even if it may not be real and plus I have no strong opinion on the fact, everything on here may be true but, who knows. But that doesn’t matter or shouldn’t anyways I can still be interested and invest time into something that I do not believe to be true. And yes do course it won’t work but, it’s there so it may have some effect. It’s a good exercise and I’m simply enthusiastic about sharing things I’ve always been interested in and forgive me if I’m wrong but, others here appreciate it too. You may not see the point but, there doesn’t need to be one and it doesn’t need to be a successful endeavour for it to have been a fun project.
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Post by Lynskha on 25.01.19 9:11

I do not need to believe Greek Gods, Nordic Gods, to be interested in their mythology.

That was a nice research Guano.
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 25.01.19 9:19

Yes Guano, I do see where you are coming from, all I was interested in was simply an elaboration of your point of view, so you and others can feel free to avoid getting worked up over my question. Smile
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 25.01.19 9:22

I am familiar with the tale of Sekhmet, interesting to see you mention it here. One of my favorites.
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 26.01.19 10:33

Guano:
Found this while reading. I believe it ties in.

"There are two movements afoot at the present time with regard to mythology. One is to explain it away by means of depth psychology, which is an exploration in the right direction but which, in the last analysis, does not go deep enough. The other is to explain it away by attributing it to the history of the movements of tribes with the subsequent rise and fall of various deities of worship. This no doubt has some truth in it but is a very shallow approach.
The majority of myths hold a wide diversity of meaning, natural and artistic, moral and ethical, philosophical and metaphysical, religious and theological, mystical and occult. They may apply to man or the Universe or both. What appears to be a simple story can lead to an apprehension of infinite truth with applications in all realms of consciousness."

-Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism
Page 10
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Post by Guano on 27.01.19 16:10

Seems to just support the idea that myth can't be made up if so many are similar, though I get why this may have some grounding I'd personally have to disagree with his statement. Though it is written rather sporadically, I may have misinterpreted.
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 27.01.19 16:16

I believe what he is saying is that there are occult truths embedded in myths, which are used as a medium to express encoded messages.

Like the legend of Seth locking Osiris in a box of pure gold.
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Post by Guano on 27.01.19 16:24

Ahh yes, every myth contains a moral message of some sort.
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Post by Rhea Kaye on 27.01.19 21:12

I also think there is a definite possibility for a myth to be made up even if many others repeat the same myth. The catch is that it depends on the myth of course. Many of the ancient ones are encoded messages disguised from uninitiated eyes. A myth repeating itself throughout different cultures could also signify that the stories are coming up through some kind of collective memory or subconscious.
One thing that is fascinating are the creation stories and how they vary between cultures. Through that lense one could probably get a very good idea of how the priesthood and/or those in power reshaped ideas depending on their own agendas and the tides of war. That isn't an area I've become well-versed in yet, but it is interesting.
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