I am reading a book entitled Parallel Myths by J.F. Bierlein. I have only read the first couple chapters. It is fascinating to discover how many everyday words are derived from mythology. Common words like cereal, chaos, chronology, days of the weeks, months of the year, and even the number of days in a year all have a mythological origin.
While stories are seemingly given preeminence in today’s postmodern culture, it is really only a reemergence of what as been common to humanity for centuries. We live in a culture that values creatively weaved stories over cold facts. Lectures, essays, research papers, and the like, pale in comparison to those who can weave their message into a creative story or recounting of a personal experience.
Just the same I have a love for both forms of communication. I enjoy the lectures, essays, and research papers as well as the eloquently fashioned stories and personal testimonies.
The etymology of many a word has a story behind it that gives it greater context and meaning than the definition found in a dictionary. These words traveled down through oral stories of mythic proportions into words we have no context for other than our common usage.
Pouring a bowl of cereal we do not give any thought to the Roman god Ceres meaning Mother of Barley. Nor do we think of the Muses (the patroness spirits of culture) when we enter a museum. Just the same, these words bear a history worth investigating.
The romantic as well as the brainiac in me beckons me to learn about the origin of words. Thus, I read on to discovery their history as I delve into a fascinating book concerning world mythology.