Rituals associated with Myth
Rituals can complement mythologies in giving insight into the psyche of a particular culture or people. The myth of a given people generally finds expression in their ritual which in turn reinforces their relationship to, and understanding of, the cosmos.
A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.
Joseph Campbell in "The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell," New Dimensions Radio Interview with Michael Toms, Tape I, Side 2
|Balder and Mistletoe||James Frazer in his Golden Bough argues mistletoe growing on oak trees was considered to contain the life spirit of the tree as it remained miraculously green in winter when the tree was otherwise bare of foliage. The myth of Balder would then reflect the killing of the personification of the oak god by the removal of the mistletoe.||Scandinavia|
|Bear Worship and Sacrifice||Campbell cited the Cave Bear as the first significant deity based on the finds at Wildkirchli, Drachenloch and Wildenmannlisloch in Switzerland and Petershðhle in Germany dating to over 50,000+ BC - the chapels belonged to Neanderthal Man. The Cave Bear, a bit like Neanderthal Man, became extinct about 27,000BC no doubt partly due to its vulnerability during hibernation.||Russian Far East|
|Demeter as Pig and Horse||Before taking on anthropomorphic elegance inthe Classic Period of Greece there is evidence to suggest that Demeter in her older forms could be a pig or even a horse.||Greece|
|Eating the God (Vegetation Deity)||The harvesting of a staple crop was comemorated by many traditional cultures by rituals in which loaves, in which it is understood the spirit of the crop-god/goddess resides, are baked and consumed with reverence and offerings.||----|
|Lithuania: Corn and Pigs||A brief overview of rituals of sowing, growing and harvesting in Lithuania associated with the pig such as were used up until the 17th century but which most likely have their origins in the European Neolithic.||Northern Europe|
|Navajo Blessing Rite||Maud Oakes describes a Navajo Blessing Rite carried out by Jeff King.||Mountain States|
|Processions with Sacred Animals||Of particular interest to us in this section of the Golden Bough are the accounts of the hunting of the wren around yuletide along with references to ivy, holly, mistletoe, and in other tales, the Robin Redbreast; namely animals and plants which ostensibly retain vitality even at mid winter when the old year dies and the new begins.||Northern Europe|
|Pygmy Hunting Ritual||A very illuminating hunting ritual observed by the German anthropologist, Leo Frobenius, whilst travelling in the Congo in 1905, about the ritual preparation by the hunters for the hunt and the subsequent follow-up ritual after a successful hunt.||Central Africa|
|The Corn-Spirit as a Pig||A rich mythology grew up after the onset of agriculture and in particular the seasonal sowing and reaping of cereal crops. This is turn is reflected in the many rituals associated with the seasonal calendar, some of which continue almost to the present day||----|
|The Fire Quest||Here have an actual ritual dance by the Kalahari Bushmen enacting the original search for, and finding of, fire.
It is worth noting that the myth Mantis stealing Fire from the Ostrich is not enacted in the ritual. As the dance carries on for many hours many of the dancers fall down in trance and have to be pulled away from the dance circle and watched over.
|The Myth and Ritual of Attis||James Frazer on Attis the Phrygian god of vegetation, in whose self-mutilation, death, and resurrection, is personified the bounty of the earth and its annual dying back in winter only to rise again in the spring.||Phyrgia|
|The Propitation of Wild Animals by Hunters||The fear of blood revenge from the animals they killed has induced hunters down through the ages to adopt a cunning variety of custom and ritual to appease the vengeful spirits of their victims. In Emile Durkheim's pithy phrase whatever is killed becomes father.||----|
|The Ritual of Adonis||James Frazer on Adonis the Syrian god of vegetation, in whose self-mutilation, death, and resurrection, is personified the bounty of the earth and its annual dying back in winter only to rise again in the spring..||Lebanon|
|The Ritual of Osiris||This overview by Frazer while dated still gives an introduction to the ritual surrounding the Egyptian god, Osiris.||Nile Valley|
|The Syrian Goddess||This is a translation of Lucian's Dea Syria by Prof. Herbert A. Strong and Prof. John Garstan. It contains the full article with headings added to try and order the content. Most of the information relates to The Temple at Hieropolis in Syria and the rituals carried out there circa 160AD.||Mesopotamia|
|The Worship of the Oak||The Oak tree is associated with the chief god of the Indo-European pantheons,Zeus, Jupiter, Perun etc. The deity is the wielder of the lightening bolt and also the giver or witholder of rain. The etymology of many of the Indo-European names of deities, their priests (Druid) and particular sacred places names, are all derived from the Indo-European root for oak.||----|
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