Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures. However, others also include humans, animals, or combinations in their classificiation of myth. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are sometimes distinguished from legends in that myths deal with gods, usually have no historical basis, and are set in a world of the remote past, very different from that of the present.
Myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses and are closely linked to religion or spirituality. Many societies group their myths, legends, and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its later form. Other myths explain how a society's customs, institutions, and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and the enactment of rituals.
Since the term myth is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be highly controversial: many adherents of religions view their own religion's stories as true, and therefore object to those stories being characterized as myths, while seeing the stories of other religions as being myth. As such, some scholars label all religious narratives as myths for practical reasons, such as to avoid depreciating any one tradition because cultures interpret each other differently relative to one another. Other scholars avoid using the term "myth" altogether and instead utilize different terms like "sacred history", "holy story", or simply "history" to avoid placing pejorative overtones on any sacred narrative. (Full article...)
Prithu chasing Prithvi, who is in the form of a cow
Prithu (Sanskrit: पृथु, Pṛthu, lit. "large, great, important, abundant") is a sovereign (chakravarti), named in the Vedic scriptures of ancient India. According to Hindumythology, he is an Avatar (incarnation) of the preserver god—Vishnu. He is also called Pruthu, Prithi and Prithu Vainya, literally, Prithu — the son of Vena. Prithu is "celebrated as the first consecrated king, from whom the earth received her (Sanskrit) name Prithvi." He is mainly associated with the legend of his chasing the earth goddess, Prithvi, who fled in the form of a cow and eventually agreed to yield her milk as the world's grain and vegetation. The epic Mahabharata, Vishnu Purana, Shrimad Bhagvata Purana describes him as a part Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. (Full article...)
The phoenix is a long-lived, immortal bird associated with Greek mythology (with analogs in many cultures) that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Some legends say it dies in a show of flames and combustion, others that it simply dies and decomposes before being born again. In the Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, a tool used by folklorists, the phoenix is classified as motif B32.
Image 18The Deluge, frontispiece to Gustave Doré's illustrated edition of the Bible. Based on the story of Noah's Ark, this engraving shows humans and a tiger doomed by the flood futilely attempting to save their children and cubs. (from Comparative mythology)
Image 43Lord Vishnu took the form of Beauty Mohini and distributed the Amrita (Ambrosia, Elixir) to Devas. When Rahu (snake dragon) tried to steal the Amrita, his head was cut off (from List of mythological objects)
Image 48Opening lines of one of the Mabinogi myths from the Red Book of Hergest (written pre-13c, incorporating pre-Roman myths of Celtic gods): Gereint vab Erbin. Arthur a deuodes dala llys yg Caerllion ar Wysc... (Geraint the son of Erbin. Arthur was accustomed to hold his Court at Caerlleon upon Usk...) (from Myth)