27 April 2007

Pantheon

I blog here every couple of weeks and, as is typical, I leave it to the absolute last second. I don't know if I feel better or worse for admitting that I've been thinking about this post for several days and my subject only came to me this morning.

Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind, I always say.

But I did find a topic and it's probably something I'll expand on in the weeks to come. The pantheon of the gods.

Every culture creates its own gods. The Greeks, the Romans, the Norse, the ancient Mesopotamians, Native Americans, as well as various Eastern cultures. We might even say that modern Western civilazation is not immune from creating deities of its own.

But the myths of theism provide a fertile ground for paranormal writers.

Some of the first stories we learned came from Greek and Roman traditions. Zeus or Jupiter and his squabbling family: Hera/Juno, Apollo/Helios, Aphrodite/Venus, Ares/Mars, Artemis/Diana, Athena/Minerva. They provide stories of love, jealousy, infidelity, and life everlasting. The Elysian Fields for the good, the embrace of Hades for the evil.

The legends of them and their interference in human lives (how many bastards did Zeus spawn, anyway? Surely Hera didn't focus all her spite on poor Hercules) give us not only inspiration for plots, but also for emotional themes.

Bulfinch's Mythology is an invaluable resource for researching Greek and Roman myths. The Theoi Project provides information about Greek stories, while the Encyclopedia Mythica gives insight into several different pantheons.

Next time, we head north to Valhalla.
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