From as far as we can remember there have been myths about Gods and Goddesses that have been passed from generation to generation. These myths were derived within several different cultures and places yet many are very similar. Although there are some similarities in these myths there are also differences as well. Therefore a thorough discussion of both the similarities and differences of Gods and Goddesses myths will allow you to identify with the history surrounding them. Also knowing the elements and functions of these myths will give you a better understanding. Elements and functions of Goddess myths
Hear the word Goddess and one will most likely imagine Venus, Goddess of Love. This image may come from a storybook or a song, perhaps a television commercial. Wherever the image comes from, Venus is the image of beauty. Venus is a Roman Goddess associated with love and beauty. Her image is that of a tall slender, well -proportioned female figure. Her hair could be long and wavy or straight and silky. Her hair could be blonde or brown. This image is that of the beholder and guided by their preference. No matter, Goddess is a word that is synonymous with beauty, but there is more to a Goddess than meets the eye.
Besides beauty, goddesses have other attributes and functions. Goddesses are associated with The Earth, life, and regeneration. Some Goddesses are associated with war, death, and protection. Goddesses are also associated with reproduction cycles as well as the changing of the seasons. The Goddesses of life is referred to as the Mothers of Earth. Life Goddesses feed, cloth, and protect their people or children. Life Goddesses are maternal. Goddesses of death live in the underworld and take care of the bodies after death.
Goddesses of death are associated with fall and winter, the seasons in which the Earth is sterile and “dead. Goddesses of Death are not depicted to be beautiful. These Goddesses are linked to skulls, snakes, and the occult. The regeneration Goddesses are linked to beauty and are responsible for fertility. Goddesses of Regeneration are the stimulating force behind the seasons of spring and summer, in which plants grow, flourish, and set seed. Regeneration Goddesses are the definition of feminine- attraction and female magnetism. So whether the image of a Goddess is that of Venus, in all that is beautiful or that of Medusa with snake hair, be aware, Goddesses are not only beautiful. Goddesses have many functions.
Goddesses have the power over life, death, the seasons, and love. Comparing two myths from different Cultures of female divines The Greek and Roman myths are basically the same. The Romans changed the names of the Greek Goddess’ and Gods’ such as Zeus became Jupiter, Athena became Minerva, and Poseidon became Neptune. Although some of the stories of Athena and Minerva are basically the same, there were a few differences that are explained below. Both Minerva and Athena was the Goddess’ of Wisdom and War. The Greek Goddess Athena and the Roman Goddess Minerva were very similar.
Athena was born from her father’s head, fully mature and wearing armor, as was Minerva. Both Athena and Minerva never had a lover, were both symbolized by an owl, and both was their fathers favorite daughters. They both are also responsible for the invention of the olive tree, within these cultures. Unlike Minerva, Athena had a mother, Metis, who was swallowed by her father Zeus, when he learned that Metis was pregnant and feared that she could overthrow him. Athena was the protector of the city of Athens, as Minerva protected nothing. Although both were virgins, Athena was the virgin mother of Erichthnonius, and Minerva never had children.
According to (2010), Athena competed with Poseidon, they were asked to give a gift worthy of the city that could be used. Poseidon struck the Acropolis, and water ran out of it, this was beautiful but the water was salty like the oceans. Athena touched the Acropolis with her spear, and an olive tree grew. This is how Athena could name the City of Athens (The Parthenon, paragraph. 2). According to (2008), Minerva was in competition with Neptune. Cecrops founded Athens, and told them whoever gave the best gift to mankind could name this city.
Neptune with a stroke of his trident formed a horse, whereas; Minerva caused an olive tree to spring out of the ground. (Minerva Goddess of Wisdom, paragraph. 2). Although Minerva won this competition, the city is still called Athens. These stories are almost the same, as is the birth of Athena and Minerva. In addition there are several different stories about Athena, and while researching them, one found that some of the stories had been confused completely. Medusa is a Greek Goddess yet there are stories about how Minerva caused her hair to turn into snakes.
Describe the elements and functions of God myths God myths consist of masculine, powerful male figures that control the heavens. These male gods range from the gods of Greek mythology to the God most Americans worship. Mankind has worship many gods for many different reason. The origin of these gods can be attributed to explaining where we come from and why certain events take place. “The myth-makers then explain symbolically how to live, as Radin notes: “A myth is always explanatory. The explanatory theme often is so completely dominant that everything else becomes subordinated to it . . . ” (370).
Myths serve to explain and encourage worldview and good action within society. Many other theorists of myth concur that it has a functional dimension. ” (Magoulick, 2003) Male deities are normal credited for the creation of earth and it is inhabitance. “Almost every culture has a creation myth. On Biblical creation presuppositions, they are all basically variations of the core theme of the God-given creation account found in Genesis. A number of researchers have concluded that the source of all creation myths stems back to a common point, probably actual historical events in history (Van Over 1980; Roth, 1981).
They all come from one early source and are different only because time and local cultural circumstances have embellished or altered them. This is the reason why the details in the creation myths vary, but either the basic outline is similar, or at least they share common elements. ” (Bergman) While in most myth, female deities hold a instrumental part of the maintenance of the world, male deities are usually the controlling figure. Since societies that created the myth were control by men, it would be expected that they would place their male god counterparts in control.
If societies were controlled by women, myth creators would have had a different perpective. Male deities are not usually portrayed as being as gentle, nurturing, or caring as the female deities within history. Male and female deities tended to reflect the temperament and characteristics of the people they rule over. Compare two myths of the male divine from different cultures In distant cultures there is a God and his name is Legba the African male deity; his name is Krishna the Indian God. The male divine has been around for centuries, every nation has its own belief of the creator.
Within all cultures the male divine creates the world and life and it begins with darkness until light commanded. The African God Legba is known as a trickster who acquaintance came in disguise as an elderly man who meets his target with confusion and frustration (Lemming & Page, 2009, paragraph. 2). Legba also operated in the world of voodoo maintaining the same personality (Lemming & Page, 2009, paragraph 2). In India deity, Krishna, who I would say was the opposite of Legba; “Lord Krishna is the embodiment of love and divine joy, that destroys all pain and sin” (Gruenwald and Marchand, n. . ).
Krishna’s uncle was a demon king that killed off his older siblings and Krishna was secretly exchanged for cowherd’s daughter (Gruenwald and Marchand, n. d. , paragraph. 2). The God of romance and love Krishna’s Goddess spouse Radha sometimes became jealous of Krishna. She once got jealous of his flute and took it away because it touched his lips, (Gruenwald and Marchand, n. d. , paragraph. 7). The Myths of divine presented in this article both display a mystical life of either trickery or life fulfillment. Both divines have an attended purpose that they have power over.
The cultures that created the myths tailor them to their own customs and apparel, gracing them with either the beauty of their culture or the fearful ugliness of their nightmares. The pattern of the life and adventures of each divine is always filled with influencing and interactions with humans. Elements and functions shared by the female and male divine There are several functions shared by the male and female divine. Some of those functions between Gods and Goddesses are beauty, purity, light, music and poetry but also the storms of the sea for example God Poseidon and Goddess Amphitrite.
As another example, the Greek and Roman God Apollo was an important God, as the son of Zeus that is the king of all gods. Apollo was the God of light, purity, and the sun. He also played music and wrote poetry and functioned as a patron of musicians and poets. He was considered as the ideal of manly beauty as Aphrodite was the Goddess of womanly beauty and love in Greek mythology, as was Venus in Roman mythology. Aphrodite functions with a dual nature to the Greeks. She functioned as the patroness of physical love, when she had the nature of Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite of all the people).
However, as Aphrodite Urania (Aphrodite of the skies), she functioned as the Goddess that inspired spiritual and intellectual love (Hassam, 2010). As God and Goddess of the sea, Poseidon was also the God of horses, earthquakes, and storms at sea, whereas his wife, Amphitrite, was the sea Goddess. However, they both functioned as God and Goddess of the sea. Today Gods and Goddesses act in similar ways, as they explain aspects of the world that makes little sense. For example God cause the storm so there must be some good that will come of it, which also relieves anxiety.
Some cultures use the divine to explain human sickness in terms of the will of the divine to teach a lesson or as punishment from evil spirits. In Conclusion, the myths about Gods and Goddesses vary from culture as well as their beliefs. Although these myths may vary throughout the different cultures their main purpose is the same. For instance most myths about the female portray her as being a loving figure that takes care of the family. Not all of women are this way in actuality but mythology gives us an idea of the ideal woman from centuries ago.