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Myths & Legends

All over the world there are extraordinary stories—stories that once upon a time were believed to be true but are today limited to the sphere of ancient myths and legends. The question remains, are those myths and legends stories something that existed in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? It is true that most of those ancient myths and legends stories appear to the scientific world as fictitious products of vivid imaginations whose goals were purely to explain phenomena beyond their comprehension. Yet is it not arrogant to accuse our ancestors of being uncivilised and ignorant in one breath, then offer them praise and admiration over their monuments, buildings, art, sculptures, and societies in the next? This only proves that our modern society has two contradictory attitudes toward our past.

In this section we will explore some of the most amazing myths and legends from around the world—legends that may hold truths that can unlock the secrets of our ancient origins.

Kukulkan as a snake deity at the base of the west face of the northern stairway of El Castillo, Chichen Itza

Kukulcan, the Snake God of the Maya, Remains as a Legacy of the Once-Powerful Civilization

Kukulcan was the all-powerful snake god worshipped by the Maya. While little information remains about the legends and mythology of Kukulcan – due to the tragic destruction of the Maya codices by the...
Chalchiuhtlicue final model.

Navigating the Realm of an Aztec Water Goddess and One of the Five Suns

The Aztecs placed an array of important life elements in the hands of Chalchiuhtlicue. She was primarily a goddess of freshwater, thus her domain included lakes, rivers, and streams. But she also...
Detail of ‘Xipe Totec.’ (Michael Jaecks/Deviant Art) Background: Aztec calendar

Xipe Totec: This Gory God Shows the Unique Way Aztecs Viewed Fertility and Renewal

‘Our Lord the Flayed One’ – following this god’s choice of attire, human skin - Xipe Totec would have been a terrifying sight. But this was an extremely important deity in the Mesoamerican pantheon,...
The solar gods of the indigenous cultures of the Americas have many names but share one radiant face.

American Gods: Rituals & Sacrifices to the All-Powerful Solar Gods

The ancients knew him well. He was as powerful as a god, as dangerous as a demon. He generously gave life – and he ruthlessly took it away. He appeared to all, from the darkest and most bone-chilling...
The Sirens and Ulysses, 1837, William Etty

Enchanting Women of the Odyssey: From Seductive Sirens to Wicked Witches

Of the monsters and mythological creatures Odysseus encounters during his long voyage from Troy to Ithaca, among the fiercest are female. Three of these are Circe, the Sirens and Calypso, who all...
A stereotypical depiction of a leprechaun

Fascinating Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Leprechauns

The leprechaun is perhaps one of the best-known creatures in Irish folklore. Leprechauns are popularly depicted as little men with beards dressed in green coats and tall green hats. Other well-known...
Samson and Delilah by Jose Etxenagusia, 1887.

Were Samson’s Superhuman Abilities Really That Far-fetched?

The story of Samson is one of the more far-fetched stories in the Bible. It’s like an ancient Superhero story; the story of a man whose magical hair gives such superhuman strength that he could kill...
Members of Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the mysterious 'Land of Punt' from this pharaoh's elegant mortuary temple at Deir El-Bahri.

Will We Ever Discover the Elusive Land of Punt?

The Land of Punt was an important location thousands of years ago. Ancient Egyptian writing suggests Punt was a rich location that prospered between 2450 BC and 1155 BC. People from the famous...
A painting of Lakshmi on the inner walls of the Tanjore Big temple. Gold is said to symbolize this goddess.

Gold, the Peacock, the Lotus Flower, and Other Sacred Indian Symbols Explained

India is a very beautiful country and it has a culture full of symbolism. In what follows, some of the more popular Indian symbols are presented. These are some of the icons that are very relevant in...
Melpomene in a painting ‘Hesiod and the Muse’ (1891) by Gustave Moreau.

Melpomene: A Tragic Mother of Sirens or a Misunderstood Muse?

The term muse is now almost synonymous with inspiration. This is because the Muses were originally the goddesses of the arts which often lead to inspiration. The Muses were daughters of Zeus who were...
An early morning view of the Mound City Group. (NPS Photo / Tom Engberg) Hopewell copper antler headdress on a mannequin. (University of Nebraska Lincoln/CC BY NC 4.0)

The Liverpool Mounds in Illinois: Part 2 - Rediscovering Hopewell Ritual and Meaning

In part 1 of this article, the features of the Liverpool Mound group in Fulton County Illinois were described. This second half focuses on the possible meanings of the mounds and their contents and...
Drawing of a werewolf in woodland at night. Main illustration for the story "The Werewolf Howls". Internal illustration from the pulp magazine Weird Tales

Why We Should Welcome the Return of ‘Old Stinker’, the English Werewolf

Sam George / The Conversation In 2016, there was something of a folk panic in Yorkshire, northern England, following reported sightings of an eight-foot werewolf with a very human face. The werewolf...
Paleolithic Venus figures

The Ideal Woman’s Body – a Gift of the Gods?

We all know what the perfect woman’s body looks like. Or do we? Is it Kim Kardashian, with her popular ‘internet-breaking’ big behind, or Marilyn Monroe with her voluptuous movie curves? Is it a...
A relief of Epona, flanked by two pairs of horses, from Roman Macedonia, foruth century C.E.

The Celtic Goddess Epona that Rode Swiftly Across the Ancient Roman Empire

The protector of horses, mules, and cavalry, Epona was one of the only non-Roman goddesses to have been wholly adopted by the Roman Empire. Often depicted astride a horse, Epona resonated in the...
Section of the Carta Marina, 1527-39

Magic Mountains and Sea Serpents: the Secrets of Early Arctic Maps

By Tom Harper / The Conversation What comes to mind when you think of the Arctic? Ice, I imagine, polar bears, a barren cold landscape. And most would assume that these associations have remained the...
Mahabharata War.

The Mahabharata: Unforgettable Lessons in An Indian Epic of Family Fighting

Poets have told it before, poets are telling it now, other poets shall tell this history on earth in the future. - (The Book of the Beginning), Mahabharata The Mahabharata (which may be translated...

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