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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 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 appear to the scientific world to be 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.

Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

Featured in Dozens of Operas, Films, TV Series and Books, What Makes the Legend of the White Snake so Compelling?

The Legend of the White Snake (known also as ’Madame White Snake’) is a well-known legend from China. This fascinating tale is said to have been originally transmitted orally before being transformed...
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: The Departure of Väinämöinen

Väinämöinen: The Finnish Deity and Hero Who Inspired Tolkien to Create Gandalf and Tom Bombadil

J.R.R. Tolkien created remarkable stories that inspired Peter Jackson to make incredible movies. But it was his knowledge of literature and old legends which inspired the writer to use stories of...
The Fool with Two Demons / Master of the Ingeborg Psalter

Fantasies from Evil Spirits? Faeries in the Medieval Imagination

“There are also others who say that they see women and girls dancing by night whom they call elvish folk, or faeries, and they believe that these can transform both men and women or, by leaving...
The Chalice of Magdalene – Is this the Holy Grail?

The Chalice of Magdalene – Is this the Holy Grail?

On January 12th this year BBC News ran a story concerning Mary Magdalene, the woman depicted as a close companion of Jesus in the New Testament. The Vatican has elevated her status amongst the saints...
Ragnarok: The Rainbow Bridge that Connects Heaven and Earth at the Caribbean Basin – Part II

Ragnarok: The Rainbow Bridge that Connects Heaven and Earth at the Caribbean Basin – Part II

According to the Old Norse philologist Rudolf Simek and religious historian Mircea Eliade, Ragnarök marks the end of a cosmic cycle that will repeat ad infinitum. I argue that the Norsemen also...
Ragnarok: Norse Account of Strange & Wonderful Land Doomed to Destruction – Part I

Ragnarok: Norse Account of Strange & Wonderful Land Doomed to Destruction – Part I

Before the rise and spread of Christianity in the first millennium of the common era, paganism was the common religion of Europeans. Just as there is not a single Christian faith, but many...
Hanuman kneeling with tail encircling Rama and Sita in bed

The Sky, the Sun & the King: Mischievous and Divine Monkeys in Asian Myth

For the past few thousand years, the Indian Epic Ramayana has been among the most important literary and oral texts of South and Southeast Asia. Every autumn, Lord Rama's victory over the demon king...
Legends of Spring Heeled Jack, the Uncatchable Demon of Victorian England

Legends of Spring Heeled Jack, the Uncatchable Demon of Victorian England

Before Jack the Ripper began to kill, Victorian England was terrorized by another uncatchable demon: Spring Heeled Jack. It is not certain if Jack was a man or beast. Witnesses report him having long...
The Dramatic and Tragic Life of Ancient Greek Legend Daedalus

The Dramatic and Tragic Life of Ancient Greek Legend Daedalus

Daedalus is hailed as one of the most skilled artists and craftsmen in the Ancient Greek world. Said to be the son of the gods Athena and Hephaestus, as well as the son of the mortals Alcippe (...
Main: The Inca site of Machu Picchu. Inset: Golden sun

Inti, Sun God of the Inca, Spawned the First Rulers of An Unforgettable Empire

In the mythology / religious belief system of the Incas, Inti was the god of the Sun, and one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon. As a solar deity, Inti is closely associated with...
The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld: A 5,500-Year-Old Literary Masterpiece

The Descent of Inanna (known also as ‘Inanna’s Descent to the Netherworld / Underworld’) is a piece of work in the literary corpus of ancient Mesopotamia. This story, which was originally written in...
Taraxippus, the Terrifying Horse Scarer: Apparition Appeared Across Racetracks in Ancient Greece

Taraxippus, the Terrifying Horse Scarer: Apparition Appeared Across Racetracks in Ancient Greece

The Greeks had one word devoted to ghosts that frightened horses during a chariot race—a Taraxippus. This spectral spook, usually the ghost of someone involved with, or killed by, horses, appeared at...
Sculpture of child, deriv.

Swapping Babies: The Disturbing Faerie Changeling Phenomenon

The worldwide stories of faerie changelings come under a group of motifs recorded in the Aarne-Thompson folklore index as F321: ‘Faerie steals child from cradle and leaves faerie substitute.’ The...
Wailing Out the Lament-Filled Legends and Origins of Irish Banshees

Wailing Out the Lament-Filled Legends and Origins of Irish Banshees

To hear her harrowing wail tear through the night sky was an omen of certain death. The cry of the banshee implied that someone in your family had died or was about to– or, that you were about to...
Cannibalism in Scotland: The Dark Legend of Sawney Bean

Cannibalism in Scotland: The Dark Legend of Sawney Bean

Sawney Bean is a legendary figure from Scotland, who is said to have been a prolific cannibal. Together with his equally cannibalistic family, Sawney Bean murdered and robbed unfortunate victims from...
The Wold Newton Meteorite: An Extraordinary Stone and the Birth of a Superhero

The Wold Newton Meteorite: An Extraordinary Stone and the Birth of a Superhero

In a remote part of North-East England called the Yorkshire Wolds, an incident took place on Sunday 13th December 1795 that not only became talking point of late 18th century London society but also...
The Story of the Midgard Serpent: A Mythological Tailspin

The Story of the Midgard Serpent: A Mythological Tailspin

In Teutonic mythology the Middle Earth was wrapped round by the Midgard Serpent. Above this the gods built their mansions in the sky. Yet, curiously, in the lower world there lived all those people...
Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part 4 – Investigating the Castle Crags Petroglyphs

Legends of Mount Shasta: “The Abode of the Devil” Part 4 – Investigating the Castle Crags Petroglyphs

In the previous articles about Mount Shasta's J.C. Brown mystery, we explored the prehistoric lore of the area, which at face-value could suggest that Brown's claim of discovering a cave containing...
A Heart as Cold as Ice? The Japanese Legend of Yuki-onna, the Beautiful Yet Dangerous Snow Woman

A Heart as Cold as Ice? The Japanese Legend of Yuki-onna, the Beautiful Yet Dangerous Snow Woman

The legend of Yuki-onna (the snow woman) comes from The Land of the Rising Sun. This beautiful but dangerous character may be a personification of death in a severe snow storm. Japanese legends do...
A Boy, to Vei, to Venus? Piecing Together the Puzzle of the Etruscan Orvieto Necropolis

A Boy, to Vei, to Venus? Piecing Together the Puzzle of the Etruscan Orvieto Necropolis

Ancient Etruscan deities continue to puzzle researchers. Unveiling the truth about their cults and positions in the pantheon took decades, yet they still protect some of their secrets. One of the...
Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

Descent to the Underworld: The Little-Known Practices and Symbols in Ancient Mythology of the Great Below

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious...
Anahita and Ishtar: Connections to the Planet Venus

Anahita and Ishtar: Connections to the Planet Venus

Anahita was a goddess associated with water, fertility, wisdom, warfare, and eventually the planet Venus. During the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia, she became incorporated into the Zoroastrian...
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A History of Monsters, from Werewolves to Hippogriffs

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A History of Monsters, from Werewolves to Hippogriffs

The latest instalment in the Harry Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them , sees wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) entering New York in 1926, smuggling a briefcase full of...
The Mythology of Nut, Mother of Gods

The Mythology of Nut, Mother of Gods

One of the oldest goddesses in Egyptian mythology is Nut, the goddess of the sky ( nut means ‘sky’ in the ancient Egyptian language). It was believed that that the sky is, in fact, a star-covered...

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