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Four Mythic Forms

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Storytelling articles > Four Mythic Forms

Metaphysical | Cosmological | Sociological | Psychological | See also

 

Myth is a woven tapestry that finds its way into many stories. Here are four forms that myth may take.

Metaphysical myths

Metaphysical myths help explain the origins of existence. They tell of the world's beginning or the start of man or maybe just a tribe.

They tell of gods and mystical beings, with such as night and day personified, with talking animals and living dreams. Magic in many forms may appear, including natural magic, 'high' magic, alchemy, witchcraft and so on.

Example: Aboriginal dreamtime stories

Cosmological myths

Cosmological myths emphasize that all components of the universe are part of single picture. They tell of journeys of enlightenment, of discovery and reaching final goals.

They take disparate jigsaws and join the pieces together in a meaningful whole. They may include all-powerful beings or mysterious forces that envelop and create unity.

Example: Creation myths

Sociological myths

Sociological myths maintain social order by authorizing a social code for a culture to follow. They tell of those who stray from the straight and narrow path of social conformance and the terrible woes that befall them.

They may also tell of regret and the high but worth-it cost of re-joining society. There may also be tales of conquest and rebellion, of uprisings and how people working together can move mountains.

Example: Patterns of gossip

Psychological myths

Psychological myths provide models for personal conduct. Their heroes embody social rules, seeking always to do good. They have clear personal values that align with ideal social norms. In contrast to the heroes, there are villains who have 'bad' values and embody all that is wrong.

Example: Cautionary tales

See also

Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' Monomyth, Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale

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