Sunday, November 24, 2013

Legendary, Mythical, Mystical, Historical and Magical Reality


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"The Ancient Egyptians viewed reality as multi-layered in which deities who merge for various reasons, while retaining divergent attributes and myths, were not seen as contradictory but complementary."….Oxford Guide to Egyptian Mythology, Donald B. Redford (Editor), p. 106,

Myth ….A traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events….."the heroes of Greek myth"

Legend….A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated……"the legend of King Arthur"….A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude (the appearance of being true or real.)….. In its earliest English-language usage, the word indicated a narrative of an event.

"Historical reality" refers to the real facts and events of the past as they occurred historically, whether they were external or internal to the subject confronted by them. In general, historical reality stands opposed to wishful fantasies"….International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, by the Gale Group, Inc.

Folk Tale…..The Brothers Grimm defined legend as folktale historically grounded…..Folklore (or lore) consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs included in the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group.

Fable…..a story, typically a supernatural one incorporating elements of myth and legend….Fable is a literary genre. A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities such as verbal communication), and that illustrates or leads to an interpretation of a moral lesson

Fairy Tale…..A children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands….A fairy tale (pronounced /ˈfeəriˌteɪl/) is a type of short story that typically features European folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described)[1] and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.

Mysticism….a religion based on mystical communion with an ultimate reality….. (from the Greek μυστικός – mystikos- 'seeing with the eyes closed, an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries; μυστήρια – mysteria meaning "initiation") is the pursuit of achieving communion, identity with, or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, the Other, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight….Practices associated with mysticism include meditation and contemplative prayer. Mysticism can be distinguished from ordinary religious belief by its emphasis on the direct personal experience of unique states of consciousness,.

"Herodotus (/hɨˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Hēródotos) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484–425 BC). He has been called "The Father of History" (firstly conferred by Cicero), and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent, and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. The Histories—his masterpiece and the only work he is known to have produced—is a record of his "inquiry" (or ἱστορία historía, a word that passed into Latin and acquired its modern meaning of "history"), being an investigation of the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars and including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information."…..New Oxford American Dictionary, "Herodotos", Oxford University Press

"Epic or Saga?…..The word saga is the Norse word for a song or recitation detailing the acts of founding members of a lineage or society, including the circumstances of those events. A saga often includes accounts of intrigue, betrayal, and bloody battle……An epic is similar, but the word has an ancient Greek origin. The current connotation is that the action has a divine or higher context, although it may be no less bloody. We have included these definitions here because more than one web author considers the term "epic" to be disparaging when used with regard to The Mahabharata, The Ramayana and other such long poems."…..

"The Epic of the Poet Ferdowsi Tusi……The Shahnameh, Book of Kings, is an epic composed by the Iranian poet Hakim Abul-Qasim Mansur (later known as Ferdowsi Tusi), and completed around 1010 CE. ….[Ferdowsi means 'from paradise', and is derived from the name Ferdous (cf. Avestan pairi-daeza, later para-diz then par-des or par-dos, arabized to fer-dos). Tusi means 'from Tus'. In the poet's case, the name Ferdowsi Tusi became a name and a title: The Tusi Poet from Paradise.] …..The epic chronicles the legends and histories of Iranian (Aryan) kings from primordial times to the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century CE, in three successive stages: the mythical, the heroic or legendary, and the historic."…..

"Sanskrit literature (such as the epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Puranas, and the Vedas)…..In the period of Classical Sanskrit, much material is preserved in the Sanskrit epics. Besides mythology proper, the voluminous epics also provide a wide range of information about ancient Indian society, philosophy, culture, religion, and ways of life. The two great Hindu Epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata tell the story of two specific incarnations of Vishnu (Rama and Krishna). These two works are known as Itihasa. The epics Mahabharata and Ramayana serve as both religious scriptures and a rich source of philosophy and morality."….

Legend of Avalon or Ynys Afallon in Welsh (probably from the Welsh word afal, meaning apple) is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend. It first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 1136 pseudohistorical account Historia Regum Britanniae ("The History of the Kings of Britain") as the place where King Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and later where Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. Avalon was associated from an early date with mystical practices and people such as Morgan le Fay.

Homer's Iliad…."The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles….The Iliad is paired with something of a sequel, the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer. Along with the Odyssey, the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the eighth century BC.."…..

Legendary Warrior King, Gesar of Ling…."Gesar of Ling is considered the world's last living epic. In primarily oral traditions, specific people (such as the bards of the ancient Celts) are charged with the duty of remembering and narrating the legend….there is no single version of King Gesar's deeds. The Gesar repertoire, known throughout the vast Himalayan region, contains material that could fill 37 volumes. And, like the Homeric epics, it existed in the oral tradition for generations before it was ever written down."….

"One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة‎ Kitāb alf laylah wa-laylah) is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age……The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, South Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (Persian: هزار افسان‎, lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements.[…..What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial frame story of the ruler Shahryār (from Persian: شهريار‎, meaning "king" or "sovereign") and his wife Scheherazade (from Persian: شهرزاد‎, possibly meaning "of noble lineage"…..Ulrich Marzolph, Richard van Leeuwen, Hassan Wassouf,The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia (2004)

"Pilgrim to the West in the Tang Dynasty: a book Xuanzang and Bian Ji compiled. It recorded geography, people, customs, history, religions, languages and cultures of about 140 countries, which provided precious data for studying history and geography. It is another big travelogue after Records of the Buddhist Kingdoms written by Fa Xian, a respectable monk in Jin Dynasty (265-420). In Pilgrim to the West in the Tang Dynasty, besides the descriptions of many Buddhist sites such as Bamiyan's Buddha and Nalanda Temple, dozens of Buddhist legends were also recorded. Due to its comprehensive and vivid content, it was translated into English, Germany, French and Japanese and widely spread. It is the precious document for the research of China and the world cultural exchange, Buddhism history and national history. In archaeological excavation, experts referred to the clues provided in the book and successfully discovered the sites of many famous temples such as Nalanda Temple, Rajagaha and Sarnath Temple, which fully shows that a great deal of information was accurately placed on record."

Shambhala…."In Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Hindu/Buddhist traditions, Shambhala (also spelled Shambala or Shamballa; Tibetan: བདེ་འབྱུང་; Wylie: bde 'byung, pron. de-jung; Chinese: 香巴拉; pinyin: xiāngbālā) is a mythical kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient texts of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. The Bön scriptures speak of a closely related land called Olmolungring…..Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birth place of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age (Satya Yuga)…..Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist Pure Land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached the West, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers — and, to some extent, popular culture in general."…..

"Magical Realism is a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment..... "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe".....The existence of magical elements in the real world provides the basis for magical realism. Writers don't invent new worlds but reveal the magical in this world, as was done by Gabriel García Márquez who wrote the seminal work of the style, One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the binary world of magical realism, the supernatural realm blends with the natural, familiar world."


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2013


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