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Myth

  • Folklore is the boiled-down juice, or pot-likker, of human living.

  • Folklore is a collection of ridiculous notions held by other people, but not by you and me.

  • The question is always the same with a dragon: will he talk with you or will he eat you?

  • When the genuine myth rises into consciousness, that is always its message. You must change your life.

  • ... to change our realities, we also have to change our myths. As history amply demonstrates, myths and realities go hand in hand.

  • Legends have always played a powerful role in the making of history. ... Without ever relating facts reliably, yet always expressing their true significance, they offered a truth beyond realities, a remembrance beyond memories.

  • ... writers are makers, not just transmitters, of myths. Literature offers not only myths but counter-myths, just as life offers counter-experiences — experiences that confound what you thought you thought, or felt, or believed.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "Literature Is Freedom," At the Same Time ()
  • Nothing endures unless it has first been transposed into a myth, and the great advantage of myths is that they are ladies with portable roots.

  • Behind every myth lies a truth; beyond every legend is reality, as radiant (sometimes as chilling) as the story itself.

  • One of the great inventions of the twentieth century was the studied, methodical engineering of myth for political ends.

  • A myth is far truer than a history, for a history only gives a story of the shadows, whereas a myth gives a story of the substances that cast the shadows.

  • Ritual and myth are like seed crystals of new patterns that can eventually reshape culture around them.

  • The test of a true myth is that each time you return to it, new insights and interpretations arise.

  • Myths hook and bind the mind because at the same time they set the mind free: they explain the universe while allowing the universe to go on being unexplained; and we seem to need this even now, in our twentieth-century grandeur.

  • The bearers of fables are very welcome.

  • ... rummaging in the storehouses of religious or literary history for myth-matter for ideational uses is of the nature of spiritual vulgarity.

  • Myth is a tale once believed as truth; believed, it is not myth, but religion. A tale once religiously believed that has come to be called a myth is something of religion corrupted with disbelief. What are beliefs for some societies but myths for others cannot fill spiritual vacancies in the life of those others.

  • The rôle of myth in contemporary ideology is that of a substitute for lived spiritual experience.

  • Myth, legend, and ritual ... function to maintain a status quo. That makes them singularly bad in coping with change, indeed counterproductive, for change is the enemy of myth.

  • Mythology is like gravity, inconvenient at times, but necessary for cohesion.

  • There are fairies at the bottom of our garden! / They often have a dance on summer nights; / The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze, / And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.

  • Mythology is much better stuff than history. It has form; logic; a message.

  • Myth is someone else's religion.

  • Fairy tales are the stories a culture tells us about ourselves.

    • Grace Farrell,
    • afterword (1996), in Lillie Devereux Blake, Fettered for Life ()
  • Organized religion — whether Judaism, Christinity, Hinduism, or Maoism — is first of all myth and only secondly doctrine and practice. Myths, which are stories told to explain the 'why' of certain universal phenomena (for example, why the world was made, why there is evil and disease, why women can't do the same things as men), are composed of powerful images, symbols and archetypes, which find deep psychic resonances in those they affect. For this reason they are perhaps the most difficult societal constructs to change.

    • Sheila Collins,
    • "When the Veils Come Tumbling Down," in Maggie Tripp, Woman in the Year 2000 ()
  • All systems require myths for their longevity.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • "The Spiritual: Evolution of a Plaintive Message," Sacred Cows ... And Other Edibles ()
  • Rooted in the mythology of all primitive races is the belief in a land of peace and happiness, a sort of earthly paradise, once possessed by man, but now lost, and only to be attained again by the virtuous.

  • If the myth gets bigger than the man, print the myth.

  • A myth is more powerful — and more lasting — than reality.

  • Myths are early science, the result of men's first trying to explain what they saw around them.

  • Every new social structure strives to come up with some kind of mythology of divine origin for its values and aims.

  • Mythology is the mother of religions, and grandmother of history.

  • It is significant that people who refuse to tell their children fairytales do not fear that the children will believe in princes and princesses, but that they will believe in witches and bogeys.