Mythology lab: What fascinates you about Mythology?

Convener(s): Chthonic Rewind (Kai Irina Hahn)

Participants: Sharon Matthews, Isabel Carr, Chris Wootton, D. Campbell, Jennifer Pearcy – Edwards, Niamh Mc Cann, Laura Hayes, Andy Harmon, Thomas Hescott, Ellis Kertchoven

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Chthonic Rewind runs a free Mythology Lab every Wednesday from 7-9.30pm at the Thanet in Camden. We research mythological patterns, structures and characters with different methods: acting, role play, painting, singing, dancing, martial arts and writing. It’s a free workshop, but participants are asked to be generous with their skills. With one character of your choice you travel with us through the ages meet gods, heroes and monsters, adventure after adventure learning with and from each other. Any artist interested in Mythology can join.

Send me an email if you want to participate:

 [email protected] (Kai Irina Hahn)

You’ll also find us on Facebook: Chthonic Rewind, Mythology Lab


Infectious Stories is giving a story telling workshop on the following dates:

13th, 15th and 21st Febuary

Contact: [email protected]


  1. What fascinates you about mythology?

Mythology gives answers to the big questions:

Who we are? Where do we come from? and What are we here for?

It  explains the unexplainable, gives a name and a face to the mysteries of our world and makes us connect to times long gone through stories. It gives us guidelines, rules and models how to live, shows us visually how we are punished when overstepping these rules.

Myth doesn’t make excuses for being perverse, dirty, grotesque or raw. It shows a rawness and purity that we still respond to today. There’s a charm and magic surrounding the age of the stories that were retold so many times, many times focusing on different aspects of a character or tale. Layer for layer we’ll find, while digging into mythological stories, that characters were changed completely to their opposite: Medea once was a wisdom goddess and became in the turn of time a wicked sorceress, who killed her own children. But there are older stories in which the Corinthians killed her kids. Through the shift from matriarchy to patriarchate, Medea, who was heir to the throne of Corinth, became a threat to the newly established patriarch society and needed to be presented as a bad person, while in older stories she is a positive figure. So myth is very rich through its different versions and facets that tell you about developments in society, religion and politics.


  1. Are new myths different to old myths? I. e. Neil Gaimann?

Not really. They use the structures and richness of the old ones, having gods, monsters and heroes as protagonists and fate as a major source for why things are happening and why we do certain things. You’ll find that concept also in cosmic ordering and Buddhism.


  1. What about free will?

There are even myths about how we received free will.


  1. Does it make bad things more bearable to believe in Gods?

There is a strange sort of comfort to the thought that everything is the way it should be. It’s relaxing as it’s not your own responsibility. Also it’s comforting to be part of a bigger story. It makes you connect to the generations of ancestors, their stories, tragedies and adventures. All the people who fought for a better life for future generations had us in their minds, so shouldn’t we think of them as well? In the long story of life itself our story is only a chapter embedded in the stories of our ancestors and future generations. We create our little section and all of us affect each other.

Having monsters and gods as representatives for our dark side gives us the distance to face this part in us without the restriction and censorship of what society allows. It’s less serious. The gods are not all virtuous, we were shaped in their image, so all our weaknesses and failures we‘ll find in them as well. Having these colorful creatures is also food for the brain that thinks in images. They are so real. And of course the hunger for adventure, fight and battle, that these days games satisfy. By reading these stories (for example a Russian story name unknown) you are having the adventure. The hero meets all those characters he will never see again at the end of having read all of them you feel you’ve come a long way.

5.Which mythological theater plays have you seen that you liked?

His Dark materials

Lilly through the Dark

Puppetry makes it easy to give the supernatural characters a believable shape.

Especially if there’s human interaction with them

Hotel Medea, an all night experience

The Team

  1. Which were the first myths that fascinated you:
  • G. Jungs Archetypes in Psychoanalysis

There was a resonation that was transported, I responded to

  • Bedtime stories, the stories take place in a unknown time and place, it’s not clear, no continuous narrative
  • Fairytales, Films like “The Labyrinth”, Superhero – movies, Star Wars, Christian Mythology, Creation Myths, the book “All my friends are superheroes”, Egyptian afterlife, Greek Mythology: the use of a female chorus, very powerful, because of fate
  • Viking Mythology, Norsgaard
  • Mythology was never taught in school, Irish legends, where do I fit into the world, natural ancestry: making a connection to the land you are living in, it becomes part of you, you belong to something, the bigger sense, legends about why the land looks the way it does, landscape

Tír na nÓg (roughly meaning "Land of Youth") is the most popular of the Otherworlds in Irish mythology. It is perhaps best known from the story of Oisín, one of the few mortals who lived there, who was said to have been brought there by Niamh of the Golden Hair. It was where the Tuatha Dé Danann settled when they left Ireland's surface, and was visited by some of Ireland's greatest heroes. Tír na nÓg is similar to other mythical Irish lands such as Mag Mell and Ablach. Tír na nÓg was considered a place beyond the edges of the map, located on an island far to the west. It could be reached by either an arduous voyage or an invitation from one of its fairy residents. The isle was visited by various Irish heroes and monks in the echtrae (Adventure) and immram (Voyage) tales popular during the Middle Ages. This otherworld was a place where sickness and death do not exist. It was a place of eternal youth and beauty. Here, music, strength, life, and all pleasurable pursuits came together in a single place. Here happiness lasted forever; no one wanted for food or drink. It was the Irish equivalent of the Greek Elysium, or the Valhalla of the Norse. Tír na nÓg plays a major role in the tale of Oisín and Niamh. To get to Tír na nÓg an adventurer needed a guide; in Oisín's case, Niamh plays the role. They travel together on a magical horse, able to gallop on water, to the Blessed Realm and the hero spends some time there. Eventually homesickness sets in and Oisín wants to return to his native land. He is devastated to learn three hundred years have passed in Ireland since he had been with Niamh, though it seemed to him only one. He goes home on Niamh's magical horse, but she warns him not to touch the ground, as the weight of all those years would descend upon him in a moment. While Oisín is helping two men move a stone, he falls from the horse and ages in an instant. It is suggested that Oisín fell from his horse in the area of Elphin, County Roscommon. This story bears a striking similarity to many other tales, including that of Urashima Tarō.

For me mythology is very much about the question of belonging

a definitive compendium of African myth and folktale, retold in rich, vibrant prose, Indaba, My Children is a stunning literary and ethnographic achievement. As a young man, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a Zulu from the South African province of Natal, was determined to follow in the foot-steps of his grandfather and become a tribal historian in order to keep the rich oral tradition of his culture alive. In this book, begun in response to the injustices against Africans and their culture, he sets these legends down in writing.He begins with the creation myth, when Ninavanhu-Ma, the Great Mother, created the human race. From there, an epic unfolds, an intricate and vivid cultural tapestry populated by gods and mortals, cattle herders and supreme kings, witch doctors, lovers, grave diggers, warriors, and handmaidens. The story continues all the way up to the colonial era, when a Portuguese Kapitanoh and his crew arrive on the African shore. Indaba, My Children is a classic and indispensable resource for anyone interested in the cultural life of Africa and the human experience as it is filtered into myth.

  • Independent People (Icelandic: Sjálfstætt fólk) is an epic novel by Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, published in 1946. It deals with the struggle of poor Icelandic farmers in the early 20th century, only freed from debt bondage in the last generation, and surviving on an isolated croft in inhospitable countryside.
    The ancient Icelandic sagas are still alive in the stories and fables that the characters live with on a daily basis. Bjartur is a talented poet, a living embodiment of the great oral tradition of the sagas.
  • BBC series “Claudius”
  • Teachings about the duality of good and bad