What I’ve Learned from taking Mythology in the Summer . . . so far

  1. There is more than one perspective when looking at life. When you look at this picture, what do you see? You could say “a dragon.” Looking through this world in a mythical lens, you could possibly see a dragon. Not a fire-breathing dragon, but a dragon. A reptilian creature of power, that can grow to massive size. Or through a scientific lens, you could say an alligator, for that is what science has labeled this beast (Alligator mississippiensis to be exact). Both are correct, yet different. One providing a more magical feel, an awe for something that would otherwise be seen as ordinary, while the other defining what this creature is. This world can be seen by many perspectives, a world which opens up by seeing with many eyes, yet can be very limited if seen by one. For if you say instead, “It’s just an alligator,” you place a limit upon what this beast can be, making it something common. Or if you say, “It’s a dragon, but I know it’s really an alligator,” then you don’t see the dragon at all, only pretending that it’s a dragon instead of really seeing it in a mythical way. Not one eye is more right than the other, though sometimes we act as such, for both are merely different ways of looking at creation, and a balance should be used in using them both.
  2. Beans are dangerous. Pythagoras, (an ancient Greek famous for the Pythagorean theorem) was a vegetarian, for he believed in reincarnation, that the spirit of an animal could be the spirit of an ancestor. However, he also believed that you shouldn’t eat beans. Beans create gas. Pythagoras, thought of wind and spirit as the same, which was a common thought for many ancients; however, he took this idea a step further, applying it to the wind (gas) in the body. So he truly believed and was afraid that if you ate beans, you were endangered of farting your spirit out of your body. Wouldn’t that be a way to go? Haha.
  3. “‘Two ravens sit on Odin’s shoulders, and into his ears they tell all the news they see or hear. Their names are Hugin [Thought] and Munin [Mind, Memory]. At sunrise he sends them off to fly throughout the whole world, and they return in time for the first meal. Thus he gathers knowledge about many things that are happening, and so people call him the raven god. As is said:
    Hugin and Munin
    fly each day
    over the wide world.
    I fear for Hugin
    that he may not return,
    though I worry more for Munin.’ (The Lay of Grimnir. 20) [1]
    Odin, the Norse god of Wisdom has two ravens. One which is named ‘Thought’ and the other ‘Memory.’ He fears for both of them when he sends them out, yet isn’t it interesting how he worries more losing his ‘memory’ over his ‘thought?’ Which do you fear to lose the most? or which do we lose first? The ability to think, or your memories?
  4. In one of the myths, Loki has a contest with the dwarves to make the best artifact to present to the other gods, betting his head. One of the three artifacts which the dwarves forge for this contest is Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer. As the dwarves are forging, Loki disguises himself as a fly and bites one of the dwarves:  “Loki immediately stung Brokkr’s eyelid, and the blood blocked the dwarf’s eye, preventing him from properly seeing his work. Sindri produced a hammer of unsurpassed quality, which never missed its mark and would boomerang back to its owner after being thrown, but it had one flaw: the handle was short. Sindri lamented that this had almost ruined the piece, which was called Mjollnir (‘Lightning’[2]. The dwarves won the contest by creating Thor’s hammer, the mightiest weapon of all of Asgard, and yet it had a flaw. Inspiring, for it mirrors how we are capable of accomplishing such mighty things, even though we ourselves are not perfect, but have flaws of our own.
  5. The Bifrost [the rainbow] is described of having “three colours” in Norse mythology. (The only one which is revealed is red, fire which keeps the frost giants from attacking the gods.) The Norse did not see ROY G BIV, but instead three colors instead of seven. It’s interesting, for they were looking at the very same rainbow which we see after a storm, yet they saw it differently than how we see it. For it’s truly amazing how each of us can look at this world in various lights, with different eyes. Seeing the same things, yet seeing them differently.

 

*Inspired from lectures by Dr. Hunt

~Photos Obtained

[1] Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda. New York: Penguin Group, 2005. Print (47-48).

[2] “The Creation of Thor’s Hammer.” Norse-Mythology.org. 2016. Web. 13 May 2016.

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