Quotations About Myth and Story

It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.
— Joseph Campbell

Myth is no fiction, but a reality; it is, however, one of a different order from that of so-called empirical fact.
— Nikolai Berdyayev

Mythology is the realm in which reality and imagination meet, where future and past make the present, where humankind and god make a person, where body and spirit make the heart beat.
— Sergio Cruz Duran

A nation without her myths is solitary, a land without its legends is barren, and a people without their folktales are devoid of creative power.
— Shin Bum Shik

Considering the condition of the world and how we’re so caught up in the media and music and all this other stuff, we’ve forgotten as human beings how to talk to one another, and communicate instead of doing it through text messages and through email and instant messages. We’ve got to get back to this one-on-one face-to-face communication, and I think the best way to propagate that is through storytelling.
— Lopaka Kapanui

The most we can do is dream the myth onward and give it a modern dress.
— CG Jung

Regardless of how we define myths, the myths are available to us. In their daily lives, people often search for explanations for their existence and identity, for the origins of their activities, for the plans of gods, and for certain truths to emerge. Myths are able to give answers that modern knowledge systems cannot afford to give. In postmodern times and beyond, myths help to stretch the boundaries of the prevailing worldviews and modes of thought.
— Elina Helander-Renvall

To stake your claim over culture, your cultural practice, you have to tell your stories. Ultimately, mythology is about place and belonging.
— Monica Mody

“Let me tell you a story.” When I hear those words, I relax and put aside whatever it was that I was thinking about or doing. I prepare to concentrate on that which I’m about to hear because those words are a special invitation to step into another reality, into another time or into another way of thinking…I may become more sensitized to the feelings of others as I find myself experiencing the world from another perspective. Hopefully, I will learn something new.
— Kay Olan

The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Dreams of progress and reason are haunted by nightmares. Shakespeare warns us that the triumph of the Renaissance did not lay the ghosts of the medieval world who appear on the ramparts at Dunsinane or Elsinore. At the height of the Enlightenment, Sade and the Gothic novel appear.
— Italo Calvino

When you look at books of traditional stories, they’re called folk tales, they’re literally tales for the folk. That’s all of us….These old folk tales like Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood, or the other versions of them, you can find them the world over. Take Cinderella, there’s a Vietnamese version and various north African versions, a North American version, a European one …
— Sita Brand

We have to bring back the power, the honour and the role of the storyteller in society again. We have to teach ourselves what a storyteller is.
— Pauline McLeod

Every positive statement about ultimate things must be made in the suggestive form of myth, of poetry…Myth is a symbolic story which demonstrates the inner meaning of the universe and of human life.
— Alan Watts

Stories help students imbibe language skills, life skills and help them gain knowledge on history, life stories and on various subjects that they learn as part of daily school lessons. One chemistry lesson was supposed to be on carbon. So I told the students a story about a diamond from South Africa, which ended up being brought to England to be part of a crown. Not only did the students ask about diamonds and structures, they also started questioning about ownership and why jewels can’t be given back to the countries they come from.
— Ola Henricsson

Storytelling is part of the oral tradition of indigenous peoples. Stories impart values, language, memories, ethics and philosophy, passing them to the next generation. A lot of people think of storytelling as just entertainment for kids, but for the Diné [Navajo] it helps maintain tradition and language.
— Laura Tohe

Since the language of myth is close to the language of poetry and does not belong to the genre of rational and reasoned-out discourse, it takes a different disposition from the common, run-of-the-mill prosaic mind of 20th century man to understand it fully. But the power of the mythopoetic mind of ancient Vietnam was such that we can still feel its reverberations.
— Ngoc Binh Nguyen

I’m interested in the rhythm of stories, because I really care about the rhythm – like in a film. I don’t want it to feel boring. It’s a change in the rhythm, to put the story to another person. And also maybe because, in Iraq, everyone wants to tell a story – because they have lived through forty years of violence.
— Hassan Blasim

I have always wanted to tell through my art, stories that have not been told. I always want to breathe life into someone else’s words. This is what makes me wake up in the morning: the passion to step into others’ shoes as a reader, to wear their jacket as a playwright, to put on their hat as a director and to embrace their lives as a performer. I am a storyteller by nature.
— Napo Masheane

Through migration and assimilation many of my Caribbean relatives forgot their history or chose to not remember. I see this to be detrimental to preserving our history and culture. I think this is why telling the stories of T&T’s [Trinidad and Tobago’s] folklore was so important to me. There was power in the story. The story is what got us through slavery, made sense out of chaos and allowed us to be free and creative in a constricted world.
— Marjuan Canady

Storytelling used to be very a popular art form in the Arab world. The Hakawati, the Arabic word for the storyteller, would sit in a cafe, sip tea and tell amazing stories to people belonging to any age or color. My aim in life is to bring that human contact back into the people’s lives through storytelling.
— Abeer Soliman

Talented singers or storytellers can also be important bearers of mythological tradition. When the Dong people in southern China offer sacrifices to their ancestors, they gather together to sing songs and dance to entertain the gods….As a traditional genre that was primarily created in the ancient past and has been transmitted for thousands of years, myth has deeply influenced people’s ordinary lives throughout history. It often helps to shape people’s attitudes toward the world, provides evidence and reasons for their behaviors, and supplies meanings and models for their current lives.
— Lihui Yang

We could be sitting in Belfast, and I could remember it clearly in the middle of the city center on an evening of storytelling. Catholic, Protestant, no religion, all together sharing stories, and you could be hearing a bomb going off or shooting outside, but somehow or other stories brought us together. …Storyteling is very powerful, and if we work with stories, it promotes a greater understanding.
— Liz Weir

Reality consists of countless layers. Only in daily life does it appear as a unity with a single layer which will never threaten us. However, deep layers can break through to the surface before our eyes. Fairy tales have much to tell us in this regard: the mansion that suddenly appeared and the beautiful lady who lived there are good examples of that type of experience. Heroes of fairly tales often encounter curious existences when they have lost their way or when they have been left by their parents.
— Hayao Kawai

Depend upon it, there is mythology now as there was in the time of Homer, only we do not perceive it, because we ourselves live in the very shadow of it, and because we all shrink from the full meridian light of truth.
— F. Max Muller

Myth speaks to the extraordinary in us and to the innate nobility of our souls. Hearing a mythic story awakens the myth living in each of us. As the story enters us, we enter the timeless territory of myth. We become mythic again, a knowing participant in our own story and a seeker near its source.
— Michael Meade

The friend of wisdom is also a friend of myth.
— Aristotle

Storytelling encompasses a vast heritage of lore, myths, epic tales, folk tales, traveller’s tales; tales of the creation of the world, tales of its destruction; sagas of Gods and men; all the great traditional legends from around the world. It includes personal stories and yarns.
— Jay Menes

To create a myth, that is to say, to venture beyond the reality of the sense to find a superior reality, is the most manifest sign of the greatness of the human soul and the proof of its capacity for infinite growth and development. –
— Louis-Auguste Sabatier

That no deity can exist without an ecosystem of consorts, children, servants, assistants, friends, plants, animals and minerals is a reminder that nothing exists in isolation. We are part of a web, and depending on the context, one deity becomes more important than the other, more significant that others, but only until the context lasts.
— Devdutt Pattanaik

My mission in life as a storyteller is to share the importance of story and of telling of your stories… In order for our world to be healed, we need to reach back into the past, and reach back to our stories to reconnect and to find those connections through stories that aren’t being told now.
— Hohepa “Joe” Harawira

….Myth also gives expression to the knowledge that we are not lords of ourselves, that we are not only dependent within the familiar world but that we are especially dependent on the powers that hold sway beyond all that is familiar, and that it is precisely in dependence on them that we can become free from familiar powers.
— Rudolf Bultmann

Myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless pattern, the religious formula to which life shapes itself.
— Thomas Mann

I want to transform reality into something less real.
— Kiki Dimoula

…Stories are important because the circle is not always there for people to share their story. So in meeting somebody new and in them sharing their story; in us sharing our story we have already created a bridge that is safe for each on of us to walk on. And also for us to be able to open and to share what is that gift is that we are bringing. That is what is so beautiful in this time when its possible for people to basically be able to travel everywhere. To meet new people and to share their story. And every single time that they have shared with somebody and they have also listened and received this story of the other person something new is born out of them.
— Sobonfu Some

They say when the heart overflows, it comes out through the mouth.
— Joel ben Izzy

Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme
of things not found within recorded time.
It is not they that have forgot the Night,
or bid us flee to organized delight,
in lotus-isles of economic bliss
forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss
(and counterfeit at that, machine-produced,
bogus seduction of the twice-seduced).
Such isles they saw afar, and ones more fair,
and those that hear them yet may yet beware.
They have seen Death and ultimate defeat,
and yet they would not in despair retreat,
but oft to victory have tuned the lyre
and kindled hearts with legendary fire,
illuminating Now and dark Hath-been
with light of suns as yet by no man seen.
— JRR Tolkien

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