The unification of mythological symbols

b1535
Theseus and the minotaur

When two groups decide to unify their practical affairs they also unify their cultural symbols, but do so not in a way that produces hybrid symbols but rather in a realist way that validates the existence of the symbols as discrete entities, as parts of the cosmos. [Example.  Imagine one group’s symbol is a hunter, while a different group’s symbol is a bear.  A merger of the symbols as symbols might result in something like a bear who is also a hunter.  A combination which treats the symbols as more real than what they symbolize might yield a hunter who is wrestling with a bear, or a bear who has eaten the hunter, or a hunter who wears the defeated bear as a pelt.]

Where the eclipse of one elite by another is decisive and permanent, the mythologies are likely to be made successive; one family of gods rules over one age of the world, but that age ended, their power eclipsed; now the new gods rule.  Where the eclipse is less total, there may be filiation; a more important or authoritative generation gives birth to a a generation of petty deities, or else a generation of children who overthrow their divine forebears without killing or expelling them.  In parallel unifications, different gods become brothers, or spouses; or else adjacent mythical realms are introduced, so that both myth-cycles can unfurl without too much interference.

Advertisements

One thought on “The unification of mythological symbols

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s