reply to post by Skyfloating
I used to be fascinated by the 'cross-pollination' of myths, legends and religions...less so nowadays. I guess the 'Flood Myth' is the one
we're all familiar with most. It's myth, legend, a part of religion and indicates a core belief that trails away until lost from sight in dim
prehistory. The evidence demonstrates this single myth to be found throughout many cultures. It's found from the Steppes of Russia, India, Africa and
the Americas. Naturally, the version widely held in Europe and the Middle-East is derived from Biblical accounts of one shade or other.
The Biblical Flood is probably not the original form of the myth. It was preceded by a small clay tablet from Mesopotamia some 4/500 years before the
earliest know Bible account...
Image of the flood
"O fence of reed, O wall of brick! Hear this, O fence! Pay heed, O wall! O man of Shurruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu, demolish the house, and build a
boat! Abandon wealth, and seek survival! Spurn property, Save life! Take on board the boat all living things' seed! The boat you will build, her
dimensions all shall be equal: her length and breadth shall be the same, cover her with a roof, like the Ocean Below." I understood and spoke to Ea,
my master: "I obey, O master, what thus you told me. I understood, and I shall do it, but how do I answer my city, the crowd, and the elders?"
This shows how one story can beget another and suggests that there may be an 'original' or 'root' account that holds the greatest authenticity or
perhaps, 'Truth?' Maybe.
While the clay tablet was being studiously created and fired, America also had its cultures and myths. The Flood Myth appears there too. In a book I
no longer own, Lewis Spence
the North American Indians
(1914) recorded the myths and legends of the Native Americans. One I recall is the flood myth of one tribe. Their
vessel was a cave, their dove a black crow. When the rains stopped, they sent out a jaybird and it didn't return. They then sent out a black
crow...it returned with a branch from a treetop in its beak. That's a cool story. Some more
Native American myths here
I've referenced three flood accounts from different times and places to show how they develop and can also do so without connection. Certainly, we
can't rule out cross-pollination from those damned missionaries, but Spence claims these accounts are native and untainted by European faith. The
Americas were settled by Clovis (maybe others earlier?) some 13000 years ago...way before Biblical accounts. In fact
was yet to get going in Turkey. Other diverse cultures share the same myths as
can be seen in this downloadable .pdf...Flood Stories from around the World
I'll try and come to my point
Joseph Campbell (another book gone!) was a great mind on comparative religion...he absorbed the subject until it permeated his view of us and the
world. Many ATSers would enjoy reading him. He influenced George Lucas and Star Wars & The Matrix. He took a similar approach to CG Jung and related
our myths to archetypes and themes. I tend to agree with his perspective on it all...
Joseph Campbell Wiki
Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a
distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to
reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives becomes
Campbell's interpretation of myth, and thereby religion, was that these concepts and archetypes are ingrained in our psyches. They colour our dreams
and define our life's experiences. He examined how the wise men of myth are featured in *all* myths. The Trickster is a feature of *all* myths. The
prodigal son is in *all* myths too. A lot of members are aware of these ideas, I know Sky is.
If we go back in time to around 40000 years ago in Europe we come to a point that some guys call 'the great leap forward.' It's a point in time
where complex thought is evidenced by burials, cave art, jewellery etc. As these early ancestors gathered in the caves of
and painted beautiful images of the
life around them
they probably had the stirrings of the myths
we have today. Evidence suggests they had language, they had surplus time, they had communities...they probably told stories to explain their world
using the same abstract archetypes our modern stories are slave to. Burying their dead is strong evidence of spiritual beliefs...afterlife, souls and
a higher power? I think so.
A recent thread of mine that typically bombed
tried to bring these guys to the attention of ATS...I love this image!
Mauricio Antón’s SUPERB
They lived and died in the mountains of Spain some 400 000 years ago. Again, science has indicated they also had speech. What's interesting is that
some of them put their dead in a pit in a cave. If, as some suggest, they were committing their dead to rest...we have an even earlier stirring of our
'God gene' or hard-wired tendency towards spiritual and/or religious beliefs.
I'm interested in anthropology, archaeology, psychology etc. I suspect any search for an original religion or pure core of beliefs will ultimately
lead only to ourselves. If the archetypes are carried in our DNA, like our innate ability to recognise language, form words (echolalia in infants) we
need look to ourselves. Some look to God for planting some seed of morality or wisdom within us. Some see enlightenment without God or take a more
spiritual path that doesn't depend on God. I'm frequently suspicious that there's something deep and meaningful about life...I just don't share it
often. It's an itch. For all I know, it's my built-in archetypal trickster/wiseman trying to tell me something
I guess the lost and hidden connection between religions may be an early human chipping away at a rock some 2 million years ago. As she sat on the
ground creating a stone tool, she may have looked at the group around her as an idea struggled to form in a mind that simply didn't yet have the
words to express itself?
If anyone reads this, I hope it wasn't too much of a ramble. It's a big question for a thread!
Edit to give credit for the 'family snapshot'
[edit on 12-4-2010 by Kandinsky]