Mythology & Mystery

English Folklore: The Forgotten Death of Mischief Night

In the United Kingdom, nestling midway between the early autumn “Back to School” sales promotions and the consumer spending bonanza that is Christmas, we now have the retail opportunity of Halloween. Fancy dress costumes, pumpkins, plastic skeletons, scary witches’ masks and plenty of sweets to dish out to Trick-or-Treaters.

Each year, Halloween’s approach is also greeted with complaints in the popular press about the “Americanization” of English customs and how Halloween has displaced our traditional mid-autumn Fifth of November / Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes Night celebrations....Read more

Creation Stories of Africa: The Children of Kings

Africa is a vast continent full of contrasts, and as one would expect, has many and varied stories of creation. Most countries in Africa are made up of different tribes of people, rather than one specific race, so it makes more sense to look at regional stories as opposed to mythologies based on individual nations.

 

The Children of Oduduwa, West Africa

The Yoruba people from West Africa call themselves the Children of Oduduwa. Oduduwa is held to be the first of all the kings, who came from the east and ruled over ancient Ife, where, with Obatala, he began the creation of the world. Obatala created the first humans out of clay, while Oduduwa became the first divine king of the Yoruba. He sent his sons and daughters out with crowns to rule over all of the other Yoruba kingdoms and all the Yoruba royal families claim descent through them back to Oduduwa...Read more

The Strange Origin of the Kappa: Japanese Water Imp

Many supernatural creatures are depicted in Japanese art and literature.  Some seem realistic and might actually exist, since there have been witness sightings, while others are clearly composite creatures.  Still others might have been created by storytellers to explain seemingly inexplicable phenomena.  Such creatures include yuki-onna (snow women), who lure young men out of their beds at night and into the mountains where they freeze to death, and kitsune (foxes) which are thought to be shape shifters, often assuming the form of beautiful young women.  Even today in northern Japan, some...Read more

The Sacred Three in Asian Beliefs: Triple Gods, Tridevi, and the Three Treasures

Number three has been considered sacred for over many centuries throughout the world. Its depictions of the triads, triplicates and trinities have also existed in many cultures with various interpretations.

The possible oldest interpretation of the number three is that it represents completion, and many cultures today still interpret it as such—that is, something which has gone through its beginning, middle, and its end. The number three could then be interpreted as the number of reproduction or the continuation of things. From the union of oneness (1) and duality (2) comes the...Read more

The Origins of Evil: The Story of Human Spirituality and Belief Systems

Evil is as old as humanity. We live in a world of duality. Darkness and light. Good and evil. Up and down. In and out. Heaven and Hell. But which came first—or did these dual concepts evolve side by side as our primitive understanding of the world around us became more sophisticated over time?

The concept of evil has changed over time to mirror our own evolving behavior as human beings...Read more

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