To re-write myths

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Astrid
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To re-write myths

Postby Astrid » 16 Apr 2010, 20:24

Hey everyone
I wasn't sure if i should put this here or in the writing forum but i chose here seeing as most mythology lovers must be here right :D

I absoloutly love Ancient egypts mythology and has it as my main mythology.

The problem is that the stories from egyptian mytholgy for the most part are between 2000-6000 years old and in between has been through an oral tradition for the most part and what is written down is mostly bits and pieces or summeries, and for the most part the stories are not connected very well.

So it's quie tricky... What i would like to ask you guys is how much "free hand" can i do to get them to make senes and connect? or should i just give it up and and write the stories independantly and leave them as an incohesive thing?

on top of that most of the gods represented are married and have sex and babies with their brothers and sisters. And while i think you can do that in one or two stories, like we do when we tell the story of the god and godess of the wheel of year. But as i would like to keep the stories in way that you could tell them to children I think it's the wrong messages to send that everbody should marry their sister/brother and have lots og sex and babies with them :huh:

I thought about bringing it up and metafhorical level like they are siblings of the soul... kinda like soulmates or simply come up with creative answers like them not being step-siblings and the like

what do you think?

thanks in advance :cloud9:
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Corwen » 16 Apr 2010, 21:50

Elias Lönnrot compiled the Finnish national epic the Kalevala from lots of oral fragments, if you don't know about the Kalevala already it might be useful to research the process her went through.
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Astrid » 17 Apr 2010, 09:16

This sounds like a fantastic project! You could go in all sorts of directions! :D

It could be a first person narrative from the point of one of the gods/goddesses about their interrelations, a story about the Gods/goddesses from a Human who interacts with them in some way and is some how involved with them on a continual basis. You could also tell the story from the priests/priestesses view (the plot being he is pressured by a certain Pharaoh to change the Mythology and while he is about to do it – KAABLAAMM! He is visited by Nut who gives him the real story and the Pharaoh in question has a rather sad end) TeeHee! :grin:

Oh, I could go on for days! Lots of potential there! |-)


Good Luck!
Thank you! some really nice ideas there! I think they are really nice stories and it would be such a great thing to bring them back to life so to speak :grin:
Elias Lönnrot compiled the Finnish national epic the Kalevala from lots of oral fragments, if you don't know about the Kalevala already it might be useful to research the process her went through.
Thank you for the great tip I just checked it out and seems like it could be a very helpfull thing to look at
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby mwyalchen » 17 Apr 2010, 11:43

I've spent a fair bit of time on Egyptian material.

As others have said, if you want to rewrite them and synthesise them for yourself, you can do as you please; if the gods really object, they can tell you!

You say, though, that you want to sanitise them. Well, if you are actually wanting to tell the stories to children, I guess you may have to! How concerned are you? Would you want to tell the story of Ra and Hathor to children? (Possible if they can cope with the slaughter, I suppose.) Is the story of how Isis gained her magic too unethical for you? Or the story of Isis and the scorpions? How would you deal with the content of the Cannibal Text?

If you are telling to adults, though, or for your own use, I wonder about this sort of retelling. The ancient Egyptians thought very differently from us. Their imagery was often highly violent and sexual - read the Conflict of Horus and Seth, for example! The pharoah (who, remember, was Horus on earth, and Osiris after his death) was very likely to have married his sister, or another close relative, since power, although held by men, followed the female line; so this part of the cosmology of Ra expressed an important unity between mythical time and the present. And their ideas of time, order and the nature of the cosmos were also not much like ours. There is a danger that by making the themes into a subject for child-friendly modern narrative, you lose something of what they were about.

My suggestion is that (if you haven't already!) you read as much as possible of the original texts, in good modern translations. You'll find that they are quite different from even the best modern condensations and retellings! Miriam Lichtheim's three volume "Ancient Egyptian Literature" is a good start; Faulkner's translation of the Book of the Dead is probably the best (and you can get it in a gorgous edition from Chronicle where it's united with the images of the Papyrus of Ani) and he has also done a good edition of the Coffin Texts. (Budge's translations are readily available on the internet, but are very outdated; I'd certainly use his work, but treat it with care.)

And there's a few books I'd thoroughly recommend. Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks, "Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods" will fascinate you with it's variety of amazing stories and facts. And Jan Assmann, "The Search for God in Ancient Egypt" is a classic, not an easy read, since it's academic, but the best look at the Egyptian world-view that I know of. For an easier read, Jeremy Naydlor's "Temple of the Cosmos" is good - he has a very good chapter on the gods in the landscape of Egypt, and the reality of the Gods - Shu and Tefnut are the air and the moisture.

Anyway, that's my tuppence-worth; good luck with your efforts.
Last edited by mwyalchen on 17 Apr 2010, 19:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Astrid » 17 Apr 2010, 13:21

I've spent a fair bit of time on Egyptian material.

As others have said, if you want to rewrite them and synthesise them for yourself, you can do as you please; if the gods really object, they can tell you!

You say, though, that you want to sanitise them. Well, if you are actually wanting to tell the stories to children, I guess you may have to! How concerned are you? Would you want to tell the story of Ra and Hathor to children? (Possible if they can cope with the slaughter, I suppose.) Is the story of how Isis gained her magic too unethical for you? Or the story of Isis and the scorpions? How would you deal with the content of the Cannibal Text?

If you are telling to adults, though, or for your own use, I wonder about this sort of retelling. The ancient Egyptians thought very differently from us. Their imagery was often highly violent and sexual - read the Conflict of Horus and Seth, for example! The pharoah (who, remember, was Horus on earth, and Osiris after his death) was very likely to have married his sister, or another close relative, since power, although held by men, followed the female line; so this part of the cosmology of Ra expressed an important unity between mythical time and the present. And their ideas of time, order and the nature of the cosmos were also not much like ours. There is a danger that by making the themes into a subject for child-friendly modern narrative, you lose something of what they were about.

My suggestion is that (if you haven't already!) you read as much as possible of the original texts, in good modern translations. You'll find that they are quite different from even the best modern condensations and retellings! Miriam Lichthim's three volume "Ancient Egyptian Literature" is a good start; Faulkner's translation of the Book of the Dead is probably the best (and you can get it in a gorgous edition from Chronicle where it's united with the images of the Papyrus of Ani) and he has also done a good edition of the Coffin Texts. (Budge's translations are readily available on the internet, but are very outdated; I'd certainly use his work, but treat it with care.)

And there's a few books I'd thoroughly recommend. Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks, "Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods" will fascinate you with it's variety of amazing stories and facts. And Jan Assmann, "The Search for God in Ancient Egypt" is a classic, not an easy read, since it's academic, but the best look at the Egyptian world-view that I know of. For an easier read, Jeremy Naydlor's "Temple of the Cosmos" is good - he has a very good chapter on the gods in the landscape of Egypt, and the reality of the Gods - Shu and Tefnut are[/] the air and the moisture.

Anyway, that's my tuppence-worth; good luck with your efforts.


HI again thank you a lot for the great books and litterature suggestions I've had a lot of problems finding original text translated in a proper way so that helps a lot :yay:

I love the egyptian stories in there original nature with all the slaughter and sexually content - so my intent is to make them a little more child friendly and make them more relevant for a modern context. Så i dont think they should promote incest when society has change and it's not really a custom we use anyway

The whole inspiration started from druidcast 35 where damh is interviewing one of the singers from imagined village and the talk about how traditional english folksongs are originaly meant to be used in an oral tradition and to evovle with the society.

So I thought it would be beautifull to bring those stories back to life in a sense. We all ready have them preserved in their original form so i thought as long as make my refrences clear and mark whats my interpretation and what's the original text, it might be somthing very enjoyable.

In first hand it's for me and my future children but of course that depends on how good awen i get while writing hehe :whistle:
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby mwyalchen » 17 Apr 2010, 19:50

Apologies for a spelling mistake: it's Miriam Lichtheim, not Lichthim! (I've now gone back and corrected this in my earlier post)

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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Dendrias » 18 Apr 2010, 19:33

What i would like to ask you guys is how much "free hand" can i do to get them to make senes and connect? or should i just give it up and and write the stories independantly and leave them as an incohesive thing?
You don't have to ask anyone, imo. Of course, You have got "free hand", because lives on and is changed as soon as it comes to people and is told another time. Naturally, it's Your myth to be told. - Well, You wouldn't sell it as "original Egyptian myth" anyway, would You?
if the gods really object, they can tell you!
:grin: Of course, and how they will!

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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Astrid » 19 Apr 2010, 17:15

What i would like to ask you guys is how much "free hand" can i do to get them to make senes and connect? or should i just give it up and and write the stories independantly and leave them as an incohesive thing?
You don't have to ask anyone, imo. Of course, You have got "free hand", because lives on and is changed as soon as it comes to people and is told another time. Naturally, it's Your myth to be told. - Well, You wouldn't sell it as "original Egyptian myth" anyway, would You?
if the gods really object, they can tell you!
:grin: Of course, and how they will!
Thank you so much Dendrias yout very encourageing :D :yay:
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Dendrias » 20 Apr 2010, 21:46

You know, a guy, perhaps Freud said, that myths have fallen into the sould of man and have stirred its deepest waters. When I read that in school, I realised that myth and fairytale are within ... well, us. So we have the freedom to express it.

Will You share with us, some day?

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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Astrid » 21 Apr 2010, 08:23

You know, a guy, perhaps Freud said, that myths have fallen into the sould of man and have stirred its deepest waters. When I read that in school, I realised that myth and fairytale are within ... well, us. So we have the freedom to express it.

Will You share with us, some day?

I completly agree myths were created by the people for the people hehe :grin: and I most definetly will! If they can bring joy to other people than me frankly that would be fantastic to me :D
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Welsh Mythology » 03 Mar 2013, 02:48

I think that myths are there to be interpreted as you see fit. No one reading is more relevanat than the next from a subjective position. But a word of advice, best not to transmit your inspiration to another as a version of the myth. There is too much of that kind of thing around as it is, and we must protect the integrity of what little fragments we have of native myth for future generations, so that they too can have the opportunity to be inspired by these texts in their unadulterated forms.
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Re: To re-write myths

Postby Dysgwr » 04 Mar 2013, 08:38

I think that myths are there to be interpreted as you see fit. No one reading is more relevanat than the next from a subjective position. But a word of advice, best not to transmit your inspiration to another as a version of the myth. There is too much of that kind of thing around as it is, and we must protect the integrity of what little fragments we have of native myth for future generations, so that they too can have the opportunity to be inspired by these texts in their unadulterated forms.
Dw i'n cytuno yn hollol.. I wholeheartedly agree. Be liberal with your interpretation but don't pass of your version as the real thing or you could end up like Iolo.
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