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Author Topic: Troubleshooting mythography  (Read 983 times)

Eastling

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Troubleshooting mythography
« on: August 09, 2019, 03:25:58 pm »
From my time at the Cauldron, I know that at least some people here have either invented or pieced together the mythos of their paths rather than using an extant one wholesale. That is to say, they engage in mythography, the writing of myths--and as that's something I increasingly feel the need to do myself, I'm curious about the process. My own success with it has been touch and go so far.

A few specific questions: how do you know what you've written is what your Powers want? How do you write around the missing pieces so you can fill them in later when you figure them out? How do you overcome writer's block here of all places?

Beyond that, more generally--when creating or stitching together your own theogonies, cosmologies, and general myths, what works for you and what doesn't?
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
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TheGreenWizard

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 01:39:36 pm »
From my time at the Cauldron, I know that at least some people here have either invented or pieced together the mythos of their paths rather than using an extant one wholesale. That is to say, they engage in mythography, the writing of myths--and as that's something I increasingly feel the need to do myself, I'm curious about the process. My own success with it has been touch and go so far.

A few specific questions: how do you know what you've written is what your Powers want? How do you write around the missing pieces so you can fill them in later when you figure them out? How do you overcome writer's block here of all places?

Beyond that, more generally--when creating or stitching together your own theogonies, cosmologies, and general myths, what works for you and what doesn't?
Oooh this is a great topic, and I honestly do think you and Altair need to have a chat or talk over the phone about this.

For those that don't know, Altair is one of the eCauldron's members who has - over the past several years/decades (he's gonna kill me for saying that) - pieced together his Powers mythos and created a book of it, describing how his Powers came to be.

On a personal note: I honestly am not at the stage yet - though I think I want to be. It's something I need to discuss with myself, as I am currently reevaluating what works for my practice and what doesn't.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

ehbowen

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 02:30:03 am »
Beyond that, more generally--when creating or stitching together your own theogonies, cosmologies, and general myths, what works for you and what doesn't?

When trying to visualize timelines and the overall "tree" of possibilities, I like to play a little game I call "positive-negative." To see how it works, think back to the first Back to the Future movie. Yes, that movie ends on a happy note, with Biff receiving his comeuppance, Marty getting a healthy family and a tricked-out four wheeler to boot, and Doc off exploring the time stream. But, to be complete, we also need to recognize the existence of another timeline...one in which Doc has been murdered by terrorists, Biff is still a bully, George is a wimp and his family is borderline dysfunctional, and Marty is unaccountably missing without a trace. These timelines are going to be in tension with each other...a not easily resolved tension, were this not simply a fictional story.

Think also, if you've read it, about C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series. Here the split is more final and it's implied that the tension will never be resolved. The Last Battle ends with Aslan shutting the door on the old reality and the protagonists joyfully exploring a perfect new world. But, on the other side of that door, there is a world in which Narnia has fallen, the Calormenes and their god Tash are triumphant, and in which there is essentially no hope for anyone in that reality that things will ever get better, for Aslan has abandoned them forever.

See how it works? Turning to matters biblical, you can play the game with Genesis. "Positive"...Noah and his family, along with a selection of animals, survive the devastating worldwide Flood and succeed in re-establishing life and civilization on the new and harsher earth. "Negative"...a closed-minded nutcase who ticked off all of his neighbors was murdered, along with his immediate family, by roving bandits and forgotten as the world in general continued along without him. Personally, I think that those separate timelines were successfully re-merged a thousand years or so down the road. At the other end of the book, in Revelation, we see two Witnesses standing up to the Antichrist and the False Prophet, preaching a message of repentance and judgment, during a seven-year period of unprecedented worldwide devastation which is only resolved when Jesus comes back in person. In Islamic eschatology, you have the Mahdi and Isa leading all true Muslims to wipe out unbelievers (Edit To Add: For a period of seven years!); they are opposed by the Dajjal who poisons the minds of the unfaithful but is eventually killed and Islam reigns triumphant over the universe. Again, positive/negative.

Looking back in real-world history, I see evidence of these timeline splits in progress at several points, especially when you have a period of mass killing/death. World War II and the Holocaust is an obvious example, but WWI even more so...especially if you combine it with the Spanish Influenza plague which decimated world populations. You could also look at events such as the conquest of the Americas or Genghis Khan.

No, I don't have a good handle on how this has been/is/will be playing out. Insufficient data. But I find it an intriguing puzzle, and...who knows? There may be more information yet to find.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 02:33:23 am by ehbowen »
--------Eric H. Bowen
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Altair

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 07:25:47 am »
For those that don't know, Altair is one of the eCauldron's members who has - over the past several years/decades (he's gonna kill me for saying that)

That evil whore--OOPS! I mean The Green Wizard  ;)--does not lie. The first inkling of my mythos was born in the fall of 1984, and it was more than a quarter century before I completed it. ("Completed" being a loose term, since I anticipate I'll be writing these myths till the day I die.)

I'll try to address Eastling's questions directly in the next post.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2019, 08:32:47 am »
From my time at the Cauldron, I know that at least some people here have either invented or pieced together the mythos of their paths rather than using an extant one wholesale. That is to say, they engage in mythography, the writing of myths--and as that's something I increasingly feel the need to do myself, I'm curious about the process. My own success with it has been touch and go so far.

A few specific questions:

First off, Eastling, apologies for only seeing this now. Here's my perspective on the process and pitfalls:

Quote
how do you know what you've written is what your Powers want?

Instinct. My first attempt at the moon's myth gave an important god a motivation in that story that just felt...wrong. As a result, the whole myth rang false. Once I understood that, and addressed it to that god's satisfaction, the rest flowed like water.

I think particularly with myth, your subconscious will run way ahead of your conscious brain in figuring out what works, what's right, what's True. There were many clearcut examples for me where that was the case. So listen to those inner voices, and follow where they lead.

Quote
How do you write around the missing pieces so you can fill them in later when you figure them out? How do you overcome writer's block here of all places?

Here's where the nature of myth comes to our rescue! After all, myths are individual stories, even though the stories may interrelate and share a cast of characters. By treating each myth as its own short story, I was able to move around to the parts I'd figured out and backtrack to other parts later.

The evolving nature of myth helps one mentally navigate this too. Myths change over time, and while that's normally on a macro scale (across centuries, cultures), there's no reason that can't be on a personal scale. That myth I thought I'd finished yesterday? In light of the new myth I wrote today, I'll be changing that other myth tomorrow.

Note that it helps (is essential? I'm not sure) to have a broad idea of what you're doing. In my case, I knew I needed to update classic Western mythic tropes to a modern multicultural context, with a special emphasis on reflecting how science has changed our understanding of the world. And plot-wise, there's a central conflict in my mythos that helps shape the narrative (akin to how Lucifer's rebellion against God colors so much of the Christian mythos, from the temptation of Eve to the need for Christ to redeem sins). So that helped guide my hand in spots where I was unsteady.

For me, there was no overcoming writer's block (which is why it took about 30 years!). I just had to be patient; the tales would come when they would come.

Quote
Beyond that, more generally--when creating or stitching together your own theogonies, cosmologies, and general myths, what works for you and what doesn't?

Above all, speak your truth. If the myth isn't saying something profound about us, our world, our place in it, then it's not working as myth. You will be required to dig deep and examine your own beliefs closely, and to go to places you may not want to go. (For me, it was turning a god who was largely a hero into a rapist. I didn't want to do it; tough shit. It's what happened, and I had to tell it that way.)

Go there.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Jainarayan

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 10:08:43 am »
A few specific questions: how do you know what you've written is what your Powers want? How do you write around the missing pieces so you can fill them in later when you figure them out? How do you overcome writer's block here of all places?

I have to say that our mythologies are pretty much fleshed out... maybe too much so, given that we have multiple versions of any one story. I attribute to that to the non-linear nature of time, the multiverse, simultaneous existences, and the leelas (play acting, entertainment) of the gods. That right there is my UPG for filling in the blanks.

Tl;dr... "gut feeling".  ;)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Altair

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2019, 07:40:06 am »
Here's my perspective on the process and pitfalls:

One more suggestion (probably not the last, since I'm sure something else will pop into my head as this did)--

Be sure to tell your myths, and not just carry them around in your head. For most of us, that means writing them out in narrative form. When I started doing that--as opposed to being content with the mental outlines I'd stashed in my brain seemingly forever--it forced me to make certain choices, confront certain issues, examine beliefs, find more connections, and push deeper and further with the whole mythopoeic process. As a result, my mythos was greatly enriched from what it had been before.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Troubleshooting mythography
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2019, 07:53:40 am »
I'm sure something else will pop into my head

And as if one cue, as soon as I posted, it did. Another word of advice--

Think of writing myth as akin to writing poetry. Just as poetry puts words together in unconventional ways to evoke imagery and emotions that might otherwise be inaccessible, myth does the same thing in narrative form; through fantastical story, myth illuminates the big truths about ourselves and our universe that otherwise might be hard to grasp.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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