Ritual and Myth

Algor

Active member
Something Pixie said brought this to mind:

The relationship between a myth and an associated ritual can be complicated, but I think there are two major pathways:

1. The myth is created to explain the psychological power of the ritual (This is Frazier's thesis, elaborately illustrated though not "proven" in The Golden Bough) and

2. A myth is perpetuated by a ritual. Examples of this are numerous but well documented: one good example would be the Jewish Chanuka story, where the original miracle was the re-taking of the Temple, the ritual cleansing of which was celebrated by the lighting of candles , but then the myth of the miracle of the oil is added ( which many if not most Orthodox rabbinical sources agree is a made -up story). Note that a miracle IN THIS CONTEXT is simply a significant event or meaning: it isn't so much a complete suspension of the natural order as a highly meaningful, remarkable event.

The Jesus story in my opinion bears the fingerprints of BOTH processes. The myth (miracle stories like the virgin birth, and more abstractly the transubstantiation) backs up the miracles (radical spiritual redemption through sacrifice and humility) and the ritual (e.g the Eucharist) is explained by the myth (Jesus as the passover lamb).

In my opinion, it is unwise to neglect the power of mythological narrative in establishing relationships between narrative and ritual as important fact. The same is true, of course, in the political sphere (e.g. saving the planet by recycling, or attending earth day protests).
 

docphin5

Active member
Something Pixie said brought this to mind:

The relationship between a myth and an associated ritual can be complicated, but I think there are two major pathways:

1. The myth is created to explain the psychological power of the ritual (This is Frazier's thesis, elaborately illustrated though not "proven" in The Golden Bough) and

2. A myth is perpetuated by a ritual. Examples of this are numerous but well documented: one good example would be the Jewish Chanuka story, where the original miracle was the re-taking of the Temple, the ritual cleansing of which was celebrated by the lighting of candles , but then the myth of the miracle of the oil is added ( which many if not most Orthodox rabbinical sources agree is a made -up story). Note that a miracle IN THIS CONTEXT is simply a significant event or meaning: it isn't so much a complete suspension of the natural order as a highly meaningful, remarkable event.

The Jesus story in my opinion bears the fingerprints of BOTH processes. The myth (miracle stories like the virgin birth, and more abstractly the transubstantiation) backs up the miracles (radical spiritual redemption through sacrifice and humility) and the ritual (e.g the Eucharist) is explained by the myth (Jesus as the passover lamb).

In my opinion, it is unwise to neglect the power of mythological narrative in establishing relationships between narrative and ritual as important fact. The same is true, of course, in the political sphere (e.g. saving the planet by recycling, or attending earth day protests).
Interesting.

Myths and rituals may also represent an actual cosmic event, past, present, or future, —the intended meaning of the myth in the first place.

For example: baptism, a ritual may represent a myth which represents a cosmic event.

1) Baptism the ritual, represents

2) the myth of Joshua (aka Jesus) leading the saints into the promised land via the Jordan River.

3) interpreted by the Essenes of cosmic renewal (i.e., “new heaven and earth“, “temple of Adam”) and eternal life for the chosen of God.
 
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Algor

Active member
Interesting.

Myths and rituals may also represent an actual cosmic event, past, present, or future, —the intended meaning of the myth in the first place.

For example: baptism, a ritual may represent a myth which represents a cosmic event.

1) Baptism the ritual, represents

2) the myth of Joshua (aka Jesus) leading the saints into the promised land via the Jordan River.

3) interpreted by the Essenes of cosmic renewal (i.e., “new heaven and earth“, “temple of Adam”) and eternal life for the chosen of God.
I think ritual immersion is a fairly widespread practice: it seems more reasonable that the same ritual is at the root of the various myths than the other way round. IIRC, there is a widespread association between immersion and rebirth. I'll see what references I can find.
 
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