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Before I went to Phoenix, I finished Sean Kane's "Wisdom of the Mythtellers".

Basically, it's an examination of the structure and style of the story telling of pre-literate/pre-agricultural societies.

Among the interesting things I learned while reading it;

  • When a culutre establishes agriculture, and begins to domesticate animals, the animlas in their stories stop talking.

  • "Branwen" is Welsh for ""White Raven". A little looking online suggests that "brandu" is black raven, and "branrhudd" is crimson raven.

  • I need to find myself a good, readble (by which I mean, a story, not a text book) version of the Mabinogion (prolly spelt wrong), the Cattle Raid at Cooley, and the Ulster Cycle.

  • Before agriculture brings feudalism, the gods aren't lords over men - they live in thier own different world.

  • It's all about the boundaries.

  • Raven would never do that!

  • The author suggests that one of the uses of the rituals of the mythtellers was to cross-pollinate betwen the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, exchanign across that boundary, so that the conscious mind could access some of the perceptions of the data the unconscious is aware of, and to alter the direction of the unconscious to affect conscious behaviour. This is, in a sense, how I have been thinking about my own spiritual experimentation.



That is a very flip summary of a very thoughtful book. You might want to read it yourself.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
djinnthespazz
May. 15th, 2005 09:40 pm (UTC)
Sounds great. And when you find the other books, let us know!
crunchywitch
May. 16th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
I need to find myself a good, readble (by which I mean, a story, not a text book) version of the Mabinogion (prolly spelt wrong), the Cattle Raid at Cooley, and the Ulster Cycle.
If you like poetry, Seamus Heaney's got a lovely Cattle Raid out; otherwise Kinsella's version is the (rather dry) version they were using in Celtic Studies when I was there - it's a story rather than a text book, and includes a lot of the Ulster Cycle stories as well - try, in both cases, searching under "Tain" instead of "cattle raid", because thought they're in English they use the Irish title. Also, O.R.Melling's Druid's Tune is the Cattle Raid from the point of view of time-travelling teens from Ontario, but is a well-written YA novel.
Similarly, Alan Lee (of LOTR fame) did a gorgeous hardcover of the Mab a few years back, and the translation's pretty good, if very straight. Evangeline Walton's (70's or early 80s?) novels are more fantasy-ish, but are also not bad. Seems to me I've got another copy of the Mabinogion around somewhere, but I can't think who did the translating.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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