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Portal:Myths

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The Myths Portal

1929 Belgian banknote, depicting Ceres, Neptune and caduceus

Myth is a genre of folklore consisting primarily of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society. For scholars, this is very different from the vernacular usage of the term "myth" that refers to a belief that is not true. Instead, the veracity of a myth is not a defining criterion.

Myths are often endorsed by secular and religious authorities and are closely linked to religion or spirituality. Many societies group their myths, legends, and history together, considering myths and legends to be factual accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form. Origin myths explain how a society's customs, institutions, and taboos were established and sanctified. National myths are narratives about a nation's past that symbolize the nation's values. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and the enactment of rituals. (Full article...)

Bhikshatana (Sanskrit: भिक्षाटन; Bhikṣāṭana; literally, "wandering about for alms, mendicancy") or Bhikshatana-murti (Bhikṣāṭanamūrti) is an aspect of the Hindu god Shiva as the "Supreme mendicant" or the "Supreme Beggar". Bhikshtana is depicted as a nude four-armed man adorned with ornaments who holds a begging bowl in his hand and is followed by demonic attendants and love-sick women.

Bhikshatana is considered a gentler form of Shiva's fierce aspect Bhairava and a gentle phase between Bhairava's two gruesome forms, one of which decapitates one head of the four headed god Brahma and the other of which kills the god Vishnu's gatekeeper. Bhikshatana is the form of Bhairava that Shiva assumes to atone for his sin of severing Brahma's fifth head. He wanders the universe in the form of a naked Kapali mendicant, begging for alms with Brahma's kapala (skullcup) as his begging bowl, until his sin is expiated upon reaching the holy city of Varanasi. (Full article...)

Did you know? - show different entries

Chhinnamasta

  • ... that the self-decapitated Hindu goddess Chhinnamasta (pictured) standing on a copulating couple signifies that life, death and sex are interdependent?


Did you know?


Mythical dog

  • ... that in Mesoamerican folklore, it is believed that a dog (mythical dog pictured) carries the newly deceased across a body of water into the afterlife?


Cerberus


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Selected creature - show another

Painting of Thor fighting serpent
Thor in Hymir's boat battling the Midgard Serpent, by Henry Fuseli (1788)

The stoor worm, or Mester Stoor Worm, was a gigantic evil sea serpent of Orcadian folklore, capable of contaminating plants and destroying animals and humans with its putrid breath. It is probably an Orkney variant of the Norse Jörmungandr, also known as the Midgard Serpent, or world serpent, and has been described as a sea dragon.

The king of one country threatened by the beast's arrival was advised to offer it a weekly sacrifice of seven virgins. In desperation, the king eventually issued a proclamation offering his kingdom, his daughter's hand in marriage, and a magic sword to anyone who could destroy the monster. Assipattle, the youngest son of a local farmer, defeated the creature; as it died its teeth fell out to become the islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Faroes, and its body became Iceland. (Full article...)

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