“A one sentence definition of mythology? “Mythology” is what we call someone else’s religion”
That’s ok when we’re talking about traditions that aren’t ours, but it can get people fussed up when the topic is their own religious faith. Because “mythology” means something that isn’t true, right? Well, not exactly. Turning to Campbell again:
“Mythology is not a lie. Mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth — penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”
Put that way, it’s no wonder I’ve always loved mythologies. Lately, I’ve been reading about war-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and several of the authors have been referencing mythology. Why? Well, historically, PTSD hasn’t been easy to address, but Jonathan Shay (“Achilles in Vietnam” and “Odysseus in America“) and subsequent counselors have found it helpful to veterans.