Archive for the ‘Myth & Mind’ Category

  • Myth & Mind: Thor, Strength & sudden light

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Thor had a mind to go fishing. Striking the head off a bull to use as bait, he demanded the giant Hymir take him out in his boat. Far they rowed out to sea. Hymir caught two whales on his line. “We’ll turn back now,” he said. “It’s not good to go into deeper waters than this.” But Thor rowed on, and where there was no bottom to the sea and the sky closed grimly over the tops of black swells rearing higher than mountains, he cast his bait down on a long, long line and waited. Soon a bite nearly wrenched the line from his grasp. The giant’s boat juddered on the dark water, its planks creaking, as Thor braced himself and pulled with all his might. With a roar as if the very ocean rose against him, the terrible head of the Midgard Serpent breached the deep and yawned over the boat, Thor’s iron hook wedged fast in its jaw. They say that none have seen fearful things who did not see this: the massy weed-hung head of the world-encircling snake disorganizing the swells, deadly venom dribbling from its jaws, and Thor staring back in awful fury while thunder growled in the clouds overhead and lightning stabbed red from his eyes. As the thunder god reached for his hammer, Hymir, in terror, cut the fishing-line,

  • Myth & Mind: The drinking horn full of the oceans

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard What is myth? Raven stealing the light, Athena bursting fully-armored from Zeus’ forehead, and so on? Where did these stories come from and why? Well — once upon a time — our primate ancestors lived, ate, loved, and died just like other animals and needed nothing more. Like wolves and chimpanzees, we hunted cooperatively and communicated using indicative vocalizations. Then language happened, and from thinking largely in concrete facts we started thinking in symbols. We made the cognitive leaps from grunting when we saw antelope, to having a specific sound that meant “antelope,” to using it when there were none around. Suddenly we had more to think about apart from whether or not we could run the antelope down; now we were concerned with meaning, and lo, through one of evolution’s stranger vicissitudes the human consciousness was born. Language and the super-complex brains it built gave our sorry, furless ancestors the cooperative and imaginative edge they needed to survive. But now, those complex brains found equal complexity in otherwise straightforward struggles to get food, mate, fight, and resolve fights. Life had a new dimension for which meat and copulation alone were not enough (well, for some of us). We needed to find a working truce with the loneliness and fear that go hand-in-hand with speculative thought; we needed not just physical but psychological strength to outwit death

  • The sweet fruit of the dead: A consideration of life after death before birth

    Dec 30, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard The girl was called Kore, “maiden,” and Neotera, “younger.” She was full to bursting with youth, life, and beauty, and all adored her. One day the ground yawned under her feet, and Hades, lord of the dead, carried Kore down from the fields of grain and poppies to his realm deep within the earth. Without the maiden, seeds did not sprout, buds withered before they could turn to fruits or flowers, and crops died in the fields. There could be no new life, no food. Only age and wintry barrenness were on the grieving earth. Under the earth, grapes and persimmons, apples and pomegranates throve, perfumed and plump. Kore was hungry but dared not eat, for to eat the fruit of the realm of the dead would bind her to it. A beautiful pomegranate in Hades’ garden caught her eye. Its rind flushed like a dancer’s cheeks, and it swelled as tautly round as a belly about to give birth, so rich with ripe life it seemed to sing to her. Such a fruit could do her no harm. She reached out and plucked it, and hesitated, feeling its weight in her palm. Then with her nails she tore through the thick skin and bit a mouthful of slippery crimson seeds. Nothing in all the world was ever so sweet, so fulfilling, so good. The blood-red juice

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