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Myths and r o e t s B r oo pe

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Activities for 10 - 12 year olds ©based Read yE dPufrom bl i ca i o ns on myths at range •f orr evi ew ur posesonl y• of p cultures.

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Revised edition. Written by Jeanette Bates. Illustrated by Helen Goldberg. © Ready-Ed Publications - 2007 Originally published by Ready-Ed Publications (1994) P.O. Box 276 Greenwood Western Australia 6024 Email: info@readyed.com.au Website: www.readyed.com.au

COPYRIGHT NOTICE Permission is granted for the purchaser to photocopy sufficient copies for non-commercial educational purposes. However, this permission is not transferable and applies only to the purchasing individual or institution.

ISBN 1 86397 050 9


Myths and Magic r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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A fable is a legend or short story, especially one with a moral based on customs or traditions. Did you know that the word ”fabulous” (meaning legendary, incredible or wonderful) comes from ”fable”?

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A myth is a special sort of story, based on the religion of a group of people. It often tells where people came from and is usually about famous heroes and villains, gods or nature.

Myths and fables were told by storytellers before most people could read or write, and they were passed on from generation to generation. Greek myths are often about the love of beauty. Roman myths are often about wars and law and order. Hindu (including Indian and Balinese) myths are often about the good and evil forces of nature. Scandinavian myths are often about Arctic gods and animals in human form.

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Some of these myths and fables are explored in this workbook.

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Australian Aboriginal myths are often about nature, creation and the great deeds of ancestors in Alcheringa or the Dreaming.

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Internet References

All websites referred to in this book are linked from the Ready-Ed website listed below: www.readyed.com.au/urls/myths This saves the teacher and/or student from typing in the website addresses each time. The page above is periodically updated and checked for broken links, should websites disappear or modify their address after publication. It is suggested that teachers bookmark this page for ease of use. Broken links can also be reported to fixlink@readyed.com.au.

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Contents ...................... 2 .................. 4, 5 .................. 6, 7 .................. 8, 9 ...............10, 11 ...............12, 13 ...............14, 15 ...............16, 17 ...............18, 19 ...............20, 21 ...............22, 23 ...............24, 25 ...............26, 27 ...............28, 29 ...............30, 31 ...............32, 33 ...............34, 35 ...............36, 37 ...............38, 39 ...............40, 41 ......... 42, 43, 44 .................... 45 .................... 46 .................... 47 ...............48, 49 .................... 50 ...............51, 52 .................... 53 ...............54, 55 ...............56, 57 ...............58, 59 .................... 60

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Introduction Fables Aesop’s Fables Myths Egyptian Myths: Phoenix Egyptian Gods Aboriginal Myths Creation Myths: Your Own Myth Symbols Mythological Beasts 1: Sacred Places Mythological Beasts 2: Heroes Mythological Beasts 3: Other Beasts Theseus and the Minotaur Witches 1: Magic Brews Witches 2: Research Illuminations: Brigit King Arthur Roman Gods Poseidon Balinese Myths Balinese Puppet Templates Fire Gods: Background Notes Fire Gods 1: Loo-Wit Fire Gods 2: The Inca Trolls Odin Norse Gods: Background Notes Norse Gods: Days of the Week Saint Nikolaus Gremlins Modern Myths A Balinese Myth

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Fables

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he term “fable” comes from the Latin word “fabula”, which means “a telling”. It refers to a story in which animals and inanimate objects behave like humans in order to illustrate a moral point. The earliest fables came from Sanskrit culture. The famous Aesop’s Fables were based on these tales. Aesop was not an author, but a skilled storyteller, repeating tales from various sources. Aesop’s Fables were not collected in a written form until 200 years after Aesop’s death. The simplicity of fables was a major factor in their continuing popularity. Writers in the Middle Ages wanted to deliver moral messages in a simple and entertaining form, and found fables to be an admirable medium. The fables of Reynard the Fox, a character similar in many ways to our modern Bugs Bunny, originated in this era. These tales were written in verse and used various animals, especially Reynard and his arch-enemy, Isengrim the wolf, to comment on social conflict. Concurrently, fables were gaining popularity as a form of creative expression. Jean de la Fontaine, a 17th century fabulist, is considered one of the masters of fables. His moralistic tales used animals in natural settings to satirise French society and human folly.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• La Fontaine was criticised in later years for relying too heavily on the

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charm of the tale itself, rather than writing fables for the primary purpose of communicating a moral. In the 1800s fables returned to concentrating on moral messages. It is in this era that fables began being accompanied with an “application” – a one line summary drawing attention to the moral the fable holds.

In contemporary times fables are again becoming a form of entertainment, rather than a medium for preaching. Fables are now often expanded into the size of a novel, and the moral lessons take second place to the fiction itself – the style and “charm” of the work. One of the most well-known of the modern “fable novels” is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The substitution of animals for humans is emphasised in the ending, where the animals become physically and behaviourally indistinguishable from the humans that they usurped. Cartoons are another example of the modern fable. The focus in these fables is not the “moral”, but the style through which the moral is transmitted – the actions of Bugs et al. For example, in a cartoon where Elmer Fudd is hunting Bugs Bunny, the emphasis is on the slapstick actions of Bugs and Elmer, rather than on a message that hunting is wrong.

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Internet Resources:

www.umass.edu/aesop/fables.php en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesop’s_Fables

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Myths & Magic

Fables r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Title: ______________________________

A fable is a legend or short story, especially one with a moral.

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Using library books or the Internet, read two of Aesop’s fables and then retell them in your own words below. Include the moral for each one.

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Fables are often about animals.

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The events are usually not possible in the real world (e.g. talking animals). Many of our current cartoon characters are based on this idea (e.g. Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny).

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selfishness, greed or laziness) that the stronger character has. The smaller or weaker character wins by cunning, hard work or honesty.

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Write the names of some of these fables and characteristics.

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____________________________________ © ReadyE dPubl i cat i ons ____________________________________ Fables often point to bad •f orr evi ewMoral: pur posesonl y• behaviour or attitudes (such as _____________________________

Title: ______________________________

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Moral: _____________________________ 5

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Aesop’s Fables r o e t s Bo r e p o k A Su

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esop was an ancient Greek folk hero. His fame was won through his gift of story telling, a gift which apparently gained him his freedom from slavery when the king rewarded him for his entertaining tales. It is not possible to know what of Aesop’s life is myth, and what reality, but one recorded version places Aesop as living in the 6th century BC. He was apparently born in Thrace, and lived as a slave on the island of Samos before his dramatic promotion to freedom. As a free man, he enjoyed travelling, and finally met his death in Delphi, an ancient Greek city on the south slopes of Mount Parnassus.

Aesop is often accorded authorship of a number of fables. Fables are tales where animals or inanimate objects act in the manner of humans to illustrate a moral point. Fables have existed since early time, and Aesop was not the author of those attributed to him, but merely the medium through which they were transmitted. The fables which Aesop told were derived from Sanskrit tales. These fables were not recorded until the 4th century B.C., and the earliest surviving collection dates from 1 AD – a Latin transcription of Aesop’s Fables by Phadreus. Aesop’s Fables have maintained their popularity until the present day. Their simplicity and length made them ideal for reading exercises in schools, and their moral messages have passed into the realm of cliche, e.g. “look before you leap”, “all that glitters is not gold”, “slow and steady wins the race”, etc.

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Myths & Magic

Aesop’s Fables r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Aesop’s and other fables always have a moral. A moral is the point of the story and directs us to the right way rather than the wrong way to behave. Some examples of morals are shown below.

Read this fable:

It was a glorious summer. All the animals wanted to play in the sunshine. The ant wanted to play too but knew he must work and store food to prepare for the long winter months. He warned the other animals but they called him a spoilsport and continued to laugh and play all summer long. When the winter came, there was no food to be found. The ant, who had worked hard, had plenty to survive the winter but the other animals had nothing. They were sorry they had not listened to the ant.

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The most famous collection of fables comes from an ancient Greek man called Aesop who lived in the 6th century BC. He is thought to have been a slave who gained his freedom by telling his fables to the king.

Draw a scene from the fable © R e a d y E d P u bl i ca i onfor sit. Write what you think each and write at moral saying means. •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

• Look before you leap.

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• Slow and steady wins the race.

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• Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________

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Myths M

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yths were used by preliterate society to explain natural and social phenomena. They followed the family trees, lives and deeds of superhuman beings who had created, and now watched over, society.

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Capture the man-eating mares of the Thracian king, Diomedes.

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Obtain the golden girdle of Hippolyte, the queen of the Amazons. She offered it to Hercules as a love gift, but Hera spread a rumour Hercules meant to abduct Hippolyte, and in the following battle, Hippolyte was killed.

10) Drive the cattle of Geryon from far west to Greece. Hercules killed Geryon, who had three bodies joined at the waist, with a single arrow.

Kill the Nemean lion, which was invulnerable to metal or stone weapons. Hercules strangled the lion, and flayed it with its own claws.

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Kill the multi-headed Hydra of Lerna, which grew two new heads for each head struck off. He was assisted in this labour by his nephew Iolaus, who burnt the stump of each severed head to stop new ones from growing. Capture the golden-horned hind of Ceryneia, who was sacred to Artemis. Hercules tracked the hind for one year until it became exhausted, then pinned its forelegs together with an arrow so skilfully shot that it passed between sinew and bone, drawing no blood.

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11) Obtain the golden apples guarded over by the Hesperides (the daughters of Atlas) and the dragon Ladon. Hercules shot Ladon with an arrow, and asked Atlas to pick the apples for him, in return for which he would take on Atlas’s burden of supporting the Earth for an hour.

12) Capture Cerberus, the watchdog of the underworld. Hades told Hercules that he could take Cerberus if he could master him without clubs or arrows. Hercules throttled Cerberus, who had three heads maned with serpents, and a barbed tail. Hercules was protected by his cloak, and Cerberus, choking, was forced to yield.

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Capture the Cretan bull, which had sired the Minotaur, and which was currently ravaging Crete. Hercules caught the bull single-handedly, even though it belched fire.

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The labours assigned to Hercules were to:

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Hercules is the Roman name for a fairly wellknown Greek mythological hero, Heracles. His claim to fame is his incredible courage and strength, which was first demonstrated at his birth when he strangled two snakes placed into his crib in an assassination attempt. Hercules began life as a mortal, the illegitimate son of Zeus. He was the only man in the Greek myth structure to make the full transition to immortality. Greek and Roman philosophers considered Zeus a hero-saint, as he apparently chose virtue over pleasure during a lifetime of labour. Hercules’ labours were assigned to him by Eurystheus, the Mycenaen king, as punishment. Hercules had killed his own children in a fit of insanity caused by the witchcraft of Hera, the wife of Zeus, who was jealous of Zeus’s infidelity.

away by shaking a brazen rattle given to him by Athene.

Hercules was assisted in his tasks by magic weapons he gathered during his adventures. From the Nemean lion’s body he made himself a cloak and club, and from the blood of the Hydra he made a poison which could kill from a scratch, with which he coated his arrows. This poison eventually caused the death of Hercules, when he used it to shoot down a centaur who was abducting his wife, Deianeira. The centaur gave Deianeira a vial of his poisoned blood, telling her it would ensure Hercules’ eternal love for her. Deianeira sent Hercules a shirt dipped in the blood, which consequently poisoned him. Feeling himself to be dying, Hercules chose a hero’s death, leaping onto a nearby funeral pyre. As the pyre burned, he was carried up to Mt. Olympus, where he became a god.

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Capture the Erymanthian boar, a vicious creature living on Mount Erymanthus. Hercules drove it into a deep snow drift, and then sprang upon its back and chained it.

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Clean the stables of King Augeias. King Augeias owned the most livestock of any mortal. In one day Hercules diverted two rivers to sweep through the cattleyards and fields.

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Drive out the iron-feathered Stymphalian birds, who ate people, and who killed crops with their poisonous excrement. Hercules frightened them

Internet Resources: www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/religion/gods.htm www.ancientgreece.com/html/mythology_frame.htm


Myths & Magic

Myths

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Using library resources or the Internet, write some information about the gods and goddesses listed below.

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Library Research

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This is the outline of a famous Greek myth. Hercules was incredibly strong. The wife of the king of the gods was jealous and put a spell on him. He killed his own children, mistaking them for enemies. As punishment, the king of Greece gave him 12 deadly tasks including destroying dragons and monsters. Hercules completed the tasks and was pardoned.

A myth is a special story based on the religion of a group of people. It often tells where people came from and is usually about heroes and villains, gods or nature.

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Hercules

Artemis - _________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________

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Using another sheet of paper, draw Hercules either:

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Aphrodite - _______________________________ ________________________________________

a. killing the giant lion;

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b. collecting three golden apples which were protected by a dragon;

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c. capturing the three-headed guard dog of Hell.

Athena - __________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________

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Phoenix

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hoenix” was the Greek name for the Egyptian sacred bird of the sun-god. The phoenix had the appearance of an eagle, but with feathers of bright red and gold. The phoenix myth states that only one phoenix can exist at a time. It lives in a paradise land in the east, and eats no living thing, but gets its nourishment from air. Every 500 years the phoenix flies to Arabia and collects precious spices. It then flies to the coast of Phoenicia, where it builds a nest out of the spices in the top of the tallest palm tree. At the stroke of dawn, the phoenix begins to sing a song so beautiful, the stars stop to listen. When the first rays of sunlight hit the nest, it catches fire, and the phoenix sings its own funeral hymn.

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©LeftR eadyEdPubl i cat i ons in the ashes is a white worm, which grows, over three days, a new phoenix. This phoenix takes the ashes of the old phoenix •into f o rr evi ew pur posesonl y• to On-Heliopolis (a sacred Egyptian city), where funeral rites are

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performed. All of the birds of the world then accompany the phoenix to the border of Paradise, where it will live alone for the next five hundred years.

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The Egyptian phoenix is a bird of peace. Its appearance signals a year of good fortune and peace for the righteous, as well as death for tyrants. The Chinese phoenix symbolises a similar message. It appears when the Empire is prosperous and justly governed.

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The Chinese phoenix is named feng-huang. Its plumage is a blend of the five colours, and its voice is a harmony of the five notes. The Chinese phoenix is born from the sun. It is followed wherever it goes by the 360 varieties of birds (who symbolise the 360 days of year in the Ancient Chinese calendar). It sleeps in a dark cave (symbolising sunrise and sunset). The phoenix is one of the Four Benevolent Creatures: the Phoenix, chief of all birds; the Unicorn, chief of four footed beasts; the Dragon, chief of all scaly beasts; and the Tortoise, chief of all shelled beasts.

Internet Resources:

www.answers.com/topic/phoenix-mythology - The Phoenix www.touregypt.net/gods1.htm - Egyptian Gods

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Myths & Magic

Egyptian Myths lasted more than 3000 years.

The phoenix was a mythological bird worshipped by ancient Egyptians. It was said to live from 500 to 1000 years, then set fire to itself and rise – as new – from the ashes.

Facts About the Phoenix

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Te he PB hoenix r o t s r e oo The p Ancient u k EgyptianS civilisation

Research the Egyptian phoenix, the sacred bird of the sun god. List five facts below about this mythological bird. Use books in your library or check the Internet.

1. ____________________________________________________________

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4. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

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5. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

Extra! How many words can you make from the word EGYPTIAN (using each letter only once in each word)? Write them on the back of this sheet.

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Egyptian Gods r o e t s Bo r e ok S Sup

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tudy of the religion of Ancient Egypt is complicated by the fact that no unified doctrine of beliefs existed, although all of Egypt accepted fundamental concepts – creation, procreation, revival and unity. Egypt was divided into principalities which usually maintained their own mythology. Each principality, or community, worshipped one particular god as a universal god. The importance of “unity” in Ancient Egyptian religion is demonstrated in the theology of Memphis, which attempted to bring the mythological traditions of Egypt to their theological goal, but incorporated local mythological traditions into the text, rather than overriding or dismissing them.

The soul (Ba) of the god of each community was often identified with an animal. The chosen animal could be one cultivated by the community for meat etc., or it could be an animal ascribed a protected status due to its sacred soul.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Despite their totemic animals, had personalities. •Egyptian f o r r ev i ew ptheugods r p ohuman ses onl y• artwork illustrated the unified natures of the gods, depicting

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Anubis:

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(early God of the Dead) – Jackal.

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them as human figures with the head of their sacred animal. Some of these gods and their animal-totems were:

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Crocodile.

Horus:

(God of Sky) – Falcon.

Thoth:

(God of the Moon, Patron of Writing and Learning and the Sciences) – Ibis with pointed beak or dog faced baboon.

Hathor:

(One of main figures in Pantheon) – Cow.

Bastet:

Cat.

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Internet Resources:

www.sk4p.net/egypt/gods.shtml - Brief Biographies of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses www.ancientegypt.co.uk/gods/explore/main.html

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Egyptian Gods r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Egyptian gods were represented with human bodies and human or animal heads. Some animals and birds were thought to have important qualities like strength and cunning. Important animals included hawks, cats, lions, cows, jackals, vultures and bulls.

Write a profile for each. Include details of how they were represented in mythology and their connections to other characters in ancient mythology. God: ____________

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Choose an Egyptian god and goddess to study.

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_______________________________________________ © Read yEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr e vi ew pur posesonl y• Goddess: ____________ _______________________________________________

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Aboriginal Myths

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he Australian Aborigines were not a unified people sharing the same myths. Like the Ancient Egyptians, each Aboriginal community held its own beliefs. They all accepted fundamental concepts however – that the sky and earth existed from all eternity;that human life is part of the land and the animal life; and that the myths of a community are the means of “giving life” to individuals and groups, as they connect them to the Dreamtime, a period that is everlastingly present and is the source of all life. Below are three Aboriginal versions of the creation myth. Eastern Australia: The Father of all things is the sky hero: Baiame (also known as Paramulun or Nurundere). He lives in the sky in a place filled with fresh water and quartz crystals, which are the magic instruments of the medicine man. Baiame is also associated with puberty rites, and initiation rites of the medicine man.

North-East Arnhem Land: Creation was brought about by the Djanggawuls – a brother, and two sisters who were daughters of the sun. These three came from a land North-East of Australia. They crossed Arnhem Land from East to West, giving the countryside its contours and vegetation, and leaving behind them sacred objects for ceremonies. They also peopled Arnhem Land, the sisters spiritually conceiving and giving birth to the ancestors of the Aboriginal people.

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Eastern region of Great Desert: The totemic ancestors rose from the ground at the beginning of Dreamtime to create waterholes and natural features of the Earth, and to teach the people how to live – to protect their kin, the earth and the animals. They then sank back into the Earth.

Art of Aboriginal Australians

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Bark painting: This was one of the most common forms of art work practised by the Aborigines. Most of the time bark paintings were non-totemic, but done for educational purposes, or for pleasure. Bark was flattened by drying it over a slow fire, or by exposing it to the sun. Colours were ground from earth pigments. The colours were applied to the bark with a chewed stick or other brush, and detail was added in the form of cross hatching, done with finer brushes of grass or feathers.

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Cave Paintings: A famous form of Aboriginal art. Cave paintings denoted tribal sacred sites, and symbolised the spirit world from which tribal totems and legends received authority. Many cave paintings could only be viewed by those with the proper level of initiation. Those viewing without initiation were desecrating sacred knowledge. Techniques: Only earth pigments were used in Aboriginal artwork – no greens or blues are present. Animals and human figures are often drawn using lines, dots and crossed hatching. They can be “transparent”, showing the skeleton inside. Maps of the landscape can be drawn using lines and circles of dots. The circles represent waterholes or sacred sites, with the lines showing routes between them.

Internet Resources:

lowchensaustralia.com/names/aborgods.htm - Aboriginal Gods www.dreamtime.net.au/dreaming/index.htm - Stories of the Dreaming

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Myths & Magic

Aboriginal Myths r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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Australian Aboriginal myths are recorded in cave and bark paintings. They often use repeated patterns, dots and lines in drawing animals and birds.

Draw a character from the myth in Aboriginal dot and line style.

This is the outline of an ancient Aboriginal myth:

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1. There once was nothing but the Spirit of all life. 2. The Spirit dreamed of wind, fire and rain, then earth, sky, land and sea. 3. The secret of dreaming was passed from animal to animal, from barramundi fish to turtle to lizard to eagle to possum to kangaroo and then to man. 4. Except for man, none of the animals understood all of the dream; they only wanted to dream of the parts which concerned them (deep water, night sky, grass plains, etc.). 5. But man understood all the dream. He knew that he must protect all parts of the dream for his spirit cousins, the animals. 6. He knew he must pass the secret of the Dreaming on to his children and grandchildren. 7. That is why the Spirit of Life rests in the land and humans are its caretakers.

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Creation Myths

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yths explain and narrate the structures of a culture. They can be classified according to their theme – creation and origins; the birth of gods and divine beings; death and the afterlife; or the renewal and rebirth of the world.

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Creation myths explain how the entire world came into existence, and therefore are usually the most important myths of the culture. Almost all creation myths are “two-part”, with conflict or a rupture in the middle which separates the present human condition from the original human condition at creation. This rupture often results from the ignorance, forgetfulness or disobedience of the “pre-humans”. For example, the Judaeo-Christian myth of creation has Eve disobeying God’s order not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and by her act excludes humanity from Eden.

The birth of gods is often tied in with the creation of the world. The “oldest” gods can often pre-exist as part of the world – sky, earth, water. The earth can be born through a pairing of the “mother” and “father” of the earth, or it can be spontaneously created by one god alone. The family lines of the gods are often complicated, and can be incestuous. Often a myth can read like a modern day soap-opera, with constant betrayals, revenge, violence and trickery directed towards the achievement of (or revenge for) power or love. The gods themselves can often be associated with physical features of the earth, such as the Nordic god Thor, the god of thunder, or the Sumerian god, Dumuzi-abzu, the deity of the marshes.

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They can be gods of fertility, or guardians of the underworld. Gods can also be associated with techniques and crafts of the human community, such as agriculture or weaving. One such Greek god is Prometheus, who was said to have given fire to humanity, and demonstrated how to use it to cook meat. Myths can also be of renewal and rebirth. These myths were based on the view that the creative power of the world had to be renewed at regular periods, to cleanse it of the weight of human or godly “sins”.

The cyclicality of time underlies all the beliefs and social structures of culture. Its influence can be seen in the pervading belief in an afterlife. For example, a British myth exists about the resurrection of King Arthur. It was believed that Arthur had not really died as such but had withdrawn from the world as his role in that cycle of time was finished. In time of need however, he supposedly will rise again, to lead the Britons to victory.

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It can be hard to distinguish between a myth and a legend or tale. Mircea Eliade, a famous mythologist, maintains that one way to recognise a myth is by the form of time used. He argues that mythic time is qualitatively different and discontinuous from human time, i.e. gods are usually portrayed as immortal, so the passing of 500 years is a meaningless measure to them.

Internet Resources:

www.muddlepuddle.co.uk/Religion/creationmyth.htm - Creation Myths www.magictails.com/creationlinks.html - Creation Myths from Around the World

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Myths & Magic

Your Own Myth R r o e t s Bo r e p o Su

emember, myths usually tell about where people came from and may feature heroes and villains, strange beasts, gods or nature.

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Write the outline of your own myth and draw an appropriate picture in the boxes.

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Symbols

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symbol is something chosen arbitrarily to represent something else. Symbols have long been used by story tellers as both a means of abbreviation, and a way to make the story more visual. For example, a white dove flying away from the grave of a king or queen makes a pretty mental picture, and is much more economical in words than telling the reader “the King/Queen was pure in heart. This can be seen by this deed, and that deed, etc.”. By using symbols, the reader can divine things for him/ herself, rather than by being told by the author. Some symbols have taken on a life of their own. “Dragons” evolved from the symbol for rain storms. The storm clouds (the dragon) guarded a mighty treasure – the rain – which was needed for crops and for drinking water. The sky god would enter into battle with the dragon, who would growl, and shoot flames to defend itself (thunder and lightning). But the sky god would conquer the dragon, and the dragon’s treasure would be released. What began as a symbol took on a material life of its own, until no respectable knight in the Middle Ages could live without claiming to have battled and killed a dragon. Symbols today are used for the same purpose as in the past – to facilitate the telling of a good story. Some of the most cliched symbols are colours – white for purity, black for evil, red for danger. Other modern symbols are the red love heart, used to symbolise love and passion, and flowers, used for the same reasons.

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Symbols Represented

• Heart Stylised picture symbolising the seat of emotions, primarily love. “Broken“ heart picture symbolises deep grief. •Baby chicken Easter – Symbolises new birth. •Diamond ring Symbolises betrothment, perhaps originated in medieval days, when the dowry began to take the form of jewels or gold. •13 Unlucky number. •Eagle Strength, speed.

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•Fox Cunning, quite possibly from some of Aesop’s fables. •Turtle Symbolises slowness, but also persistence. Famous from the fable “The Hare and the Tortoise”. •Ant Symbolises strength, persistence and community spirit: ants labour for the good of the community. They are seen to be hardworking because they often carry crumbs of food much larger than themselves.

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Myths & Magic

Symbols What do these symbols represent?

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A symbol is a mark, emblem or thing which stands for something else.

e.g. According to Irish legend a pot of gold lies at the end of the rainbow.

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Myths and fables often use symbols to give meaning to the story.

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The dove and the rainbow appear in the Bible in the story of Noah’s ark.

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons f o rr e vi ew pur posesonl y• A dove• is the symbol of peace.

Draw symbols for the four most important things in your life.

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The unicorn is a symbol for purity.

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Mythological 1 Beasts r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su Cerberus

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he name of Cerberus is derived from “ker berethrou”meaning demon of the pit. He is the offspring of two horrific parents: Echidne and Typhon. Echidne was one of the Phorcids, the children of the sea. Her sisters included Medusa and the Gorgons, the Graeae, and the Hesperides. Echidne was half beautiful woman, and half speckled serpent. Her diet consisted of human flesh, which she ate raw.

Typhon was born from Mother Earth, as her revenge for the destruction of the giants. He was the largest monster ever born; his arms reached one hundred leagues, his head touched the stars, and his wings blocked out the light of the sun. From his thighs downwards, Typhon was a mass of coiled serpents, and his hands were replaced by countless serpents’ heads. He grappled with, and overcame, Zeus, but Hermes and Pan rescued him. Zeus subsequently trapped Typhon under Mount Aetna.

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The Sphinx

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Cerberus was the guard dog of Tartarus, the underworld. He patrolled the bank of the river Styx, to prevent souls who did not have the fee for Charon’s ferry from sneaking in. Cerberus had three heads, all maned with serpents, and his tail was a barbed snake. His brothers and sisters included the Hydra, the Chimaera, and Orthrus – the two-headed hound of Geryon. Cerberus was removed from Tartarus by Heracles, in the last of his twelve labours. The spittle of Cerberus, which dripped from his mouth when Heracles succeeded in dragging him out of the underworld, gave birth to the poisonous plant wolfsbane, which flourishes on bare rock.

he sphinx originated in Ancient Egypt. Its body usually took the form of a lion, while the head of the sphinx was that of the current pharaoh. Sphinxes were built to protect Egyptian sanctuaries and tombs. The most famous existing Sphinx image lies near the pyramid of Khafre, at Giza, though it is believed that many large-scale sphinxes existed in ancient times. It’s an impressive example of Egyptian masonry, despite the fact that its nose is missing. The nose is believed to have been shot off by soldiers who used it for target practise.

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The sphinx also appeared in other ancient cultures. In Greece, the sphinx was known to be the female offspring of Orthrus and Echidne (or Typhon and Echidne). In addition to a lion’s body, the Greek sphinx had an eagle’s wings and the tail of a serpent. She had settled next to Thebes, and was killing all travellers who could not guess the answer to her riddle. Oedipus solved the puzzle, and in humiliation the Sphinx leapt off a mountain and killed herself. Oedipus was proclaimed a hero, and made King of Thebes, where he fulfilled his cursed destiny by marrying his mother. (For notes on the BUNYIP see Page 24.) 20


Myths & Magic

Mythological Beasts 1 Sacred Places

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Teac he r

In many nations’ myths there are animals or mythological beasts which guard special or sacred places.

Research information about each of these mythological beasts. Draw each in the space provided.

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Sphinx

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(From Egyptian mythology)

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Cerberus Bunyip (From Aboriginal mythology) _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ © R e a d y E d P u bl i cat i ons _____ _____ •f orr evi ew pur p osesonl y• _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ (From Greek mythology)

Taniwha

(From Mäori mythology)

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Mythological 2 Beasts Saint George and the Dragon

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Saint George is said to have been born in Coventry, England. His mother died in childbirth, and Saint George was kidnapped by an enchantress called Kalyb. When Saint George came of age, Kalyb gave him an impregnable suit of armour. Saint George went off to make his fortune, and in his travels saved the Princess Sabra from an evil, formerly invincible dragon. They were married, and lived happily ever after.

Hanuman

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uropean dragons were wicked, ugly creatures. They came in two forms – huge, scaly, legless worms with a poisonous breath, and the ability to join themselves together again when cut in two; or heraldic dragons, who had two or four legs, breathed fire, and had wings. Both forms spent their time devouring maidens or guarding treasure.

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off Medusa’s head with, and by the Stygian Nymphs, who lent him the winged sandals, magic wallet and helmet of invisibility. Perseus reflected Medusa in the shield, and sliced off her head with the sickle. He placed the head in the wallet, and escaped from her sisters by flying away. He was hidden by the helmet of invisibility, preventing them from following him.

anuman was a loyal follower of Ramachandra. The Hindu religion is based on a cycle of life, death and rebirth, which is represented by the triad of Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer). When the ladder of Samsara (reincarnation) becomes too difficult to climb, when the evil mortals outnumber the good, it is Vishnu’s function to descend to Earth in an incarnation or avatar to restore balance. Ramachandra, or Rama, was the seventh avatar. He was born a human prince to overcome Ravana, the most powerful demon king who had ever existed. Ravana abducted Rama’s wife Sinta. It was Hanuman, the son of Vayu, the wind, who found Sinta. Hanuman is reported as tall as a mountain, with immense strength and agility. Some reports say that his father, Vayu, bestowed the gift of flight on him. Hanuman leapt the sea in a single bound, and discovered Sinta hidden at Lanka (Ceylon). A mighty battle followed, where Hanuman acted as general. Rama eventually slew Ravana singlehandedly, and was reunited with Sinta. Hanuman was rewarded for his loyalty with immortality.

Perseus and Medusa

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edusa was originally a very beautiful woman, one of the three Gorgons, the daughters of the sea god Phorcys and his sister-wife Ceto. Athene, the virgin goddess, punished Medusa for making love with Poseidon in one of her temples. Medusa and her sisters were transformed into horrific monsters with serpents for hair, claws of bronze, and the capability to turn anyone they looked at into stone.

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Perseus was a Greek mortal. He foolishly said he would attempt to win the head of the Gorgon Medusa for Polydectes, the King of the island of Seriphos, if the king intended to marry someone other than Danäe, Perseus’s mother, whom Polydectes had been pursuing. Athene overheard the conversation, and offered her help. She gave Perseus a brightly polished shield, and advised him on how to kill Medusa. Perseus was also helped by Hermes, who gave him an adamantine sickle to cut

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The real Saint George never saw England, and certainly never battled a dragon. He was probably an officer in the Roman army who is thought to have been martyred in Palestine in AD 303. King Edward III may have made Saint George patron saint of England when he founded the Order of the Garter in Saint George’s name in 1350.

Hanuman is greatly revered as the perfect worshipper because of his combination of powerful virility and total chastity. Hanuman is also renowned for his learning and wisdom, and for his loyalty. One myth describes how Hanuman, when given a gift of pearls, bit each one in half, and then threw them aside. When asked why he did this, Hanuman replied that the pearls were worthless, as they did not have his master’s name, Rama, inscribed within. He was mocked by the questioner, who suggested that Hanuman himself was worthless by that classification, at which Hanuman rent his chest to show the name of his master inscribed with letters of fire on his heart.


Myths & Magic

Mythological Beasts 2 r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Heroes

• In England, Saint George had to kill a firebreathing dragon.

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Heroes of ancient myths often had to conquer terrible creatures which were strong and sometimes had supernatural powers.

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Retell the story of either St. George or Perseus.

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• In Greece, Perseus had to kill Medusa, one of three evil sisters with heads of live snakes instead of hair and the ability to turn people to stone just by looking at them.

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© Ready___________________________________________________ EdPubl i cat i ons ___________________________________________________ •f orr evi ewDraw pu r posesonl y• Hanuman and his army of monkeys.

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• Other mythological beasts were heroes too, like Hanuman, the monkey general from a Balinese myth, who was incredibly strong. He could leap across the ocean and tear down mountains with his bare hands.

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Mythological 3 Beasts Demons

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emon” originates from the Greek word “daimon”, which in ancient times referred to any spirit or semi-divine being. The word was appropriated by the Judaeo-Christians to describe evil spirits. It is often used interchangeably with devil, though they can be used in differentiation, for example, calling the demon leader “the Devil”, and its followers demons. Each culture has its own devils and demons, though these often behave similarly, i.e. the Buddhist Satan, Mara, leads an army of demons similar in appearance to those depicted in European medieval art. Demons can play havoc with human lives – calling droughts and blighting crops, desecrating the human death ceremony, or torturing humans with visions and noises.

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protected from poisoning, stomach trouble and epilepsy. Furthermore the horn, when pointed at food, could detect the presence of poison. The unicorn could only be captured by a virgin. Attracted by her purity and beauty, the unicorn would come and lay his head in her lap, allowing knights to surround and kill it. This form of capture was used to symbolise the power of virtue over fierceness. Western mythology elaborated the myth of the unicorn into an allegory of the incarnation and the death of Christ. Eastern mythology portrayed the unicorn as the guardian of literature, and one of the ”Four Benevolent Creatures”.

© ReadyEdPu l i c at i on s he b griffin is an ancient mythological beast. It had the body of a lion, and the •f orr evi ew pur po s es nl y head and wings of o an eagle – two• fierce

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he bunyip is an Australian beast, who was first described by the Aborigines. It lives in waterholes, where it dines on the meat of crayfish, though it eats up naughty children when it can. The bunyip is described as the size of a bullock, with the head and neck of an emu, the mane and tail of a horse, and the flippers of a seal. This description shows many European influences however. An earlier bunyip may have looked quite different.

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Unicorns

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he unicorn exists in both Eastern and Western mythology. It is a beautiful animal, snow white in colour, resembling a horse but with a single long horn growing out of its forehead. This horn had magical properties – those drinking from it were

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and proud animals combined. The Greeks gave griffins the responsibility of drawing the chariot of the sun across the sky. They were also guardians of a golden treasure. The Arabs also believed that griffins guarded gold – the griffins were reported as living in the mountains of Scythia (Western Persia), and guarding the gold mines of the gods from greedy humans.

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Bunyip

Griffins

Pegasus

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egasus was a winged horse belonging to the Muses. He was born from the blood that spurted from the neck of Medusa upon her decapitation. Bellerophon tamed Pegasus, with the aid of a golden bridle given to him by Athene. He attempted to ride Pegasus to heaven. Zeus sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus, and Bellerophon was thrown to Earth, and became lame and blind, while Pegasus continued the ascent, and became a constellation.


Myths & Magic

Mythological Beasts 3 r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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Other mythological A Beastly Myth beasts included demons, bunyips, unicorns, In the space below, write your own myth or poem containing a griffins (lions with heads beast of some description. You can create a beast or use one you of birds), and Pegasus know of, e.g. unicorn, dragon and so on. (a flying horse). _____________________________________________

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Is your beast good or evil?

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List the magical or supernatural powers of your mythological beast.

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Draw your mythological beast.

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Theseus & the Minotaur r o e t s Bo r T upe ok S

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he Minotaur was a Greek mythological creature, half man and half bull, who lived in a labyrinth beneath Crete. He was sired by Pasiphae, who was bewitched by Poseidon to punish her husband, King Minos, for his failure to sacrifice a beautiful white bull to the gods. She fell in love with the bull, and bore the Minotaur as a result. Theseus was a heroic mortal. Like Hercules, six labours were assigned to Theseus, but his were labours of justice rather than strength: five of his tasks involved killing robbers and murderers by their own methods.

The killing of the Minotaur was only one of the many heroic deeds Theseus performed in his lifetime. Apparently, Theseus arrived in Athens at the nine-yearly sacrifice of seven youths and seven maidens to the Minotaur. The sacrifice was made on the order of King Minos, to requite the death of his son, Androgeus.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •Theseus f or evthe i e wp r p ose so nhel y• sor pitied parents ofu these sacrifice victims that

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Internet Resources:

www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/religion/myths/minotaur.htm web.ukonline.co.uk/conker/weird-beasts/minotaur.htm

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volunteered himself, on the condition that if he killed the Minotaur, the sacrificial tribute would be remitted. Theseus was assisted by Minos’ daughter, Ariadne, who fell in love with Theseus. She gave him a magic ball of thread that would unravel itself until it reached the centre of the labyrinth, where her half-brother, the Minotaur, slept. Theseus killed the Minotaur, and the group of young people escaped from the labyrinth, led by Ariadne and Theseus. However, during their return to Athens Theseus broke his promise to marry Ariadne, and abandoned her on an island while she slept.


Myths & Magic

Theseus and the Minotaur In the space below retell the story of the Theseus and the Minotaur in your own words. Use the website below as a starting point.

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First, read the story of Theseus and the Minotaur at this website:

greece.mrdonn.org/theseus.html

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Teac he r

In a Greek myth, Theseus, son of the King of Athens, had to kill the Minotaur which was half man and half bull and who lived in a maze.

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Witches

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he stereotypical image of a witch today reflects traditional assumptions (or constructions) regarding witches. They are evil, they wear black, they have (unlucky) black cats, and they call on Satan or other devils to assist them in their magic spells. They are usually old and ugly (as beauty is rarely synonymous with evil). Witches have a strong position in Western culture – every schoolchild can draw one. However, the history and structure of “witch culture” remains largely undocumented. This results from the fact that any person admitting to witchcraft in the past ran the very real risk of being tortured to death. Therefore, the images held today of witches arise mostly from the hostile perceptions of witch hunters. Witches appear to have become recognised beings in the Middle Ages. In 1427 the first major witch hunt occurred in Switzerland, and following this the awareness and fear of witches developed. Witches were often denounced for their differences, or as a result of a village quarrel. One theory maintains that many “witches” were actually midwives, denounced by doctors who did not appreciate female competition in the medical arena. Other witches may have committed the “crime” of using natural herbs as medicine. Still others may have been mentally or physically ill, or insane.

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Witchcraft was revived in the 1920s by groups considering it a legitimate pre-Christian religious practice. It has maintained a steady, if limited, popularity, though it is still ridiculed or condemned by many. Some witches today practise in the tradition of medieval herbalists and lay healers. “Black witches”, often described as satanic cults, are periodically “exposed” in tabloids and the like, and occasionally criminals will attribute their acts to their membership of such cults. However, again because of the punishment accorded upon those who admit to practising such rituals, the true extent of black witchcraft can not be ascertained.

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Internet Resources:

www.timelessmyths.com/norse/witches.html - Witches in Norse Mythology en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch

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Myths & Magic

Witches 1

Make up your own spell. Write your purpose: e.g. to grow toadstools in the garden; to create eyes in the back of your head.

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Magic Brews

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: __________________________

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In England, centuries ago, people believed in evil spirits and witches. They believed that witches had magic powers and could cast evil spells or curses on people, often by boiling up herbs, insects and other things in a cauldron.

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_____________________________________________ © Ready EdPubl i cat i ons _____________________________________________ •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Words to be said Draw the ingredients in the cauldron below.

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while stirring the cauldron:

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Witches

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The papal Inquisition was one court which fanned the Middle Ages witch-craze. It was established in the 12th century by Pope Gregory IX, who followed the Roman civil law that ordered that convicted heretics be burned at the stake. The Pope established a travelling court to actively seek out heretics – people who acted in an anti-Christian way. Sorcery was officially identified with heresy in 1320, and following this time, witches could be convicted and burned by the Inquisitorial process. This process permitted torture in obtaining confessions. Evidence was minimal, with heretics allowed to give evidence against each other, and hearsay and children’s evidence accepted. Spiritual evidence was also accepted, where a person suffering from witchcraft testified about the visions they had seen, visions which could not be seen by others.

against the State. Spiritual evidence also came to be regarded as slightly suspect, as it was known the Devil could falsely use an innocent person’s image to condemn them. Witches were often identified by their association or family attachment to other “known” witches, as it was obvious that witches, especially female witches, would indoctrinate their children into the Devil’s worship. The relationship between the witch and the Devil could be proven by finding “witch’s marks”, where the Devil or demons had suckled from the witch, or by the presence of a “familiar”, which could be any domestic or rural animal. The accepted “motive” for witchcraft was often economic in nature, for example if the witch was refused food or lodging, or if property was stolen from the witch.

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he medieval witch hunts are quite famous now for their persecution of often innocent females. Germany, Austria and Switzerland were at the centre of the witch burning rituals: more than 3000 witches were executed in South Germany alone. All European countries, and America, following colonisation, experienced their share of witch hysteria, with the peak occurring between 1580 and 1660. The last witch to be legally executed died in 1782.

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• The Salem witch trials are the most

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The recognition of witchcraft by the ruling class would have contributed to the peasants’ fear of witchery. Often a person’s acts were interpreted according to the prior belief that they were a witch. A woman could be tried as a witch therefore, if the milk in a household went sour after her request for a drink was refused. Later trials used execution as a punishment only in cases of treason. Treason was defined to incorporate a woman killing her husband or employer, as well as the modern meaning of regicide, or acts 30

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famous of the witch hysterias in America. In March 1692, two girls in the town of Salem Village, Massachusetts, began acting strangely. The girls had participated in an attempt to read the future through a magic spell. They were examined by doctors, ministers and magistrates, and pronounced bewitched. Within two and a half months, one hundred people had been jailed awaiting trial for witchcraft. The suspected witches had no legal counsel. Evidence accepted against them included “spectral evidence”. By September, 27 people had been convicted, 20 had been executed, 50 people had confessed, 100 people were still imprisoned and awaiting trial and a further 200 people had been accused. The prisons were overflowing, and the witch hunt was losing the support of the church. Abruptly, the government intervened and freed all those imprisoned, including those awaiting execution. Jurors, a judge and a religious minister all later publicly admitted culpability.


Myths & Magic

Witches 2

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Sometimes people were unfairly accused of being witches. Disabled or deformed people were often put to death because others feared them to be evil. Witches were supposed to own black cats and fly on broomsticks. Male witches were called warlocks. They flew on pitchforks.

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Research to find information on these aspects of witches.

• The Salem Witch Trials in the USA (1692): Old meaning: _____________________

• Witch hunts:

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New meaning: ____________________

• Modern Witchcraft:

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The Middle Ages: __________________

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• Witches and the Spanish Inquisition:

• White Witches:

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Illuminations

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lluminations got their name from their function of “lighting up” a page. They are pictures or decorations, drawn in bright colours on hand-written manuscripts. The earliest surviving illuminations are Egyptian papyrus rolls from the second millennium BC. These, and later manuscripts from Ancient Greece and Rome, intersperse the text with small paintings.

The Greeks and Romans named these paintings miniatures, from minim, a red-orange lead pigment they used to paint them. In the 7th and 8th century AD, new forms of illuminations began appearing in gospel books produced in British monasteries. These were given the name Insular. They involved decoration rather than narrative illustration. Large initials were embellished with intricate decorations, involving geometric patterns, animals and humans, and elaborate frameworks.In the following centuries illumination flourished.

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Internet Resources:

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www.enluminure.com/englishhistory.htm - History of Illuminations www.yesnet.yk.ca/schools/projects/middleages/illuminations/illuminations.html en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illumination_%28manuscript%29 - Images of Illuminations www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ASaints/Brigit.html - Brigit Information Page

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century, production was largely shifting away from the monasteries to urban workshops, to accommodate the great demand from wealthy individuals. By the 16th century, the rise of the printing press had made the art of illumination largely a thing of the past.


Myths & Magic

Brigit n Ireland, Brigit was the name of a great woman who was a protector and goddess of fire, fertility and poetry. In some stories she is also the goddess of work and art. Some say she was the mother of eight children and the founder and abbess of a monastery kept by women who promised to keep an everlasting fire burning in their isolated location. At that time writers used to decorate books with beautiful letters called illuminations.

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B R I G I T

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Decorate the letters of Brigit’s name, then list some adjectives you might use to describe her life, starting with the letters of her name.

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King Arthur r o e t s Bo r K upe ok S

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ing Arthur was probably a Celtic king or chieftain of 6th century AD, who fought against the Saxon invaders of England. It is thought that his life and deeds may have been enlarged by early historians confusing him with a mythological Celtic God.

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The legend of King Arthur was elaborated upon by poets and authors throughout the ages, and was moulded by the principles of courtly love and chivalry. Sir Thomas Malory set down the basic ingredients for the Arthurian legend as it is known today, in his epic prose Morte d’Arthur. The modern legend has Arthur born to Igraine and King Uther Pendragon. Due to intrigue and treachery in the court, the magician Merlin hid Arthur in the household of a humble knight, to be brought up as one of the knight’s sons. Arthur received training from the knight, but was unaware of his royal background until he pulled the enchanted sword, Excalibur, from the rock in which it had been set.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Some versions have Arthur attempting to pull out the sword as part of fête day inw whichp all u comers were given the chance toy• •ashow f o rcompetition, r evi e r p os es onl themselves as king. Other tales recount that Arthur was acting

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as page for one of his older (foster) brothers, who was fighting in a fête. When his brother’s sword broke, Arthur was sent to get a new one, and, not wanting to miss any excitement, Arthur grabbed the first sword he saw, which happened to be Excalibur.

When crowned as King, Arthur went on to gather a band of knights around him, who were sworn to act according to the principles of chivalry and honour. From the 13th century onwards, the Knights of the Round Table increasingly acted according to Christian principles also. Some of Arthur’s knights included Galahad, Lancelot, Gawain, Gareth, Kay, Bediver and Tristam. Sir Galahad is famed for his purity, Sir Lancelot for his affair with Guinevere, and Sir Gawain for his battle with the green giant.

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Internet Resources:

www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/history/earlymiddle/arthur.htm - King Arthur's Britain www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/kids/arthur.html www.kingarthursknights.com/ - Knights of the Round Table

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Myths & Magic

King Arthur Research the legend of King Arthur to find out the names of the Knights of the Round Table. Write their names around this table.

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Each of the Knights of the Round Table had to swear to be noble and brave, fight for just causes, and help the weak and those in distress.

Arthur

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In England, during the 6th century AD, Arthur became king and led a council of knights. They met once a year, around a round table at a place called Camelot, to tell of their adventures (such as slaying dragons).

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In the space draw a knight performing one of his duties. Give him a noble name.

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What was “Excalibur”?

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_________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________ _________________________

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Roman Gods Juno

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King of the gods, Lord of life and death. Son of Saturn and Rhea, and the father of Minerva. Sacred animals: eagle and ox. Most celebrated temple: on Capitoline Hill, Rome. Depicted in art sitting on an ivory throne and holding a sheaf of thunderbolts. Greek counterpart: Zeus, though, unlike Zeus, Jupiter never visited humankind on earth.

Venus

Obscure deity until identified with Greek goddess Aphrodite in third century BC. Various roles as maternal ancestor of the Romans (as claimed by Julius Caesar), bringer of good luck, bringer of victory, protector of female chastity, and patroness of sensual pleasure.

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God of war and agriculture, and of the state. Parthenogenetic son of Juno, husband of Bellona, lover of Venus, paternal ancestor of Romans, father of Romulus and Remus. His festivals in March and October marked the start and end of the military campaign season. Greek counterpart: Ares.

Egeria

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Minerva

Goddess of childbirth; counsellor of Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome. One of the fountain nymphs, frequently identified with Diana. In modern times, Egeria refers to a woman counsellor, especially a female political counsellor.

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Goddess of wisdom, of arts and crafts, and of war. Daughter of Pallas, a giant, whom she killed when he tried to rape her. Greek counterpart: Athene. When Minerva was associated with Athene, she too was said to have been born, fully armed, from the head of Jupiter (Zeus).

Neptune

Originally a minor water deity, became chief god of the sea when Romans became seafarers. Greek counterpart: Poseidon. Originally a forest and woodland deity. Sacred totems: hind and cypress. Identified with Greek

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Messenger of the Gods. God of merchants and commerce, of science and astronomy, of thieves, travellers and vagabonds, and of cleverness and eloquence. Depicted as young man with winged hat and sandals. Greek counterpart: Hermes.

© ReadyEdMars Publ i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

Associated with the Greek god Eros. Played many roles, among them god of creation, having, in different versions, fertilised Gaea (Mother Earth) to produce Uranus (heaven), the sea, and the mountains; or fertilised Chaos, who gave birth to the ocean, the heavens, earth, and all the gods. He is often depicted as the God of Love, whose absence will be responsible for all destruction, and whose presence is responsible for all creation. Artists throughout the ages have drawn him with wings and a bow and arrow, with which he causes mischief by piercing beings with love.

Diana

Mercury

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Jupiter (AKA Jove)

Cupid

Artemis, and henceforth known as ardent huntress, patron of women and chaste goddess of the moon.

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Queen of Heaven, wife and sister of Jupiter. Goddess of marriage and protectress of women. Also presided over the finances of the Roman state – her temple on Capitoline Hill contained the mint. The Matronalia Festival was celebrated in her honour on March 1. Greek counterpart: Hera.

Saturn

Ancient God of Agriculture. Settled on Capitoline Hill and taught the Romans agriculture and other arts. Brought the onset of the Golden Age (age of prosperity). One day, disappeared from the Earth. Festival: Saturnalia, held in December. During this festival masters and slaves would sit at the same table in memory of the Golden Age, when all people were equal. Identified with Cronus in later years, legend that Cronus fled to Italy, and took new name of Saturn, after his dethronement by Zeus as King of the Universe. Greek counterpart: Cronus.


Myths & Magic

Roman Gods

The Romans prayed to many gods including those listed below. Of what was each god or goddess? JUNO

r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su _______________________________

JUPITER CUPID

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NEPTUNE

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DIANA

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MERCURY

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VENUS

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MARS

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MINERVA

© Re adyEdPubl i cat i ons _______________________________ f o rr e i e winp ur po ses onl y• Find• the names ofv the gods the word search below. EGERIA

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SATURN

They can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal or backwards. E

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The remaining letters make up the name of the places where Roman Gods were worshipped.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Poseidon r o e t s Bo r e ok P Sup

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Teac he r

oseidon was a violent and powerful “third generation god”. One Greek account tells that Mother Earth emerged from Chaos, and bore a son, Uranus, as she slept. Uranus, in fondness for his mother, showered fertile rain upon her, so that all the forms of nature were born, and the lakes and seas came into being. Uranus then fathered the Hundred-handed Giant, the one-eyed Cyclops, and the Titans upon Mother Earth. To revenge the Cyclops, who had been thrown into Tartarus by Uranus for their rebellion, Mother Earth encouraged Cronus, the youngest of the Titans, to attack Uranus. Cronus won sovereignty of the Earth, and married his sister Rhea, who bore him Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus. Zeus led the children of Cronus in a war against the Titans, which they won. They were assisted in battle by the Cyclops, whom Zeus had released from prison. The Cyclops, in gratitude, gave the sons of Cronus weapons to assist them in battle – Zeus, a thunderbolt; Hades, a helmet of darkness; and Poseidon, a trident. Cronus was overthrown, and banished to the British Isles. Zeus, Hades and Poseidon shook lots in a helmet for the lordship of the sky, sea and underworld, with Zeus gaining the realm of the sky, Poseidon gaining the realm of the sea, and Hades gaining the realm of the underworld. Earth was left as common to all.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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Poseidon has control over the sea and earthquakes. He is described as equal to Zeus in dignity, though not in power, and his nature is apparently surly and quarrelsome. Poseidon lives in an underwater palace near Aegae in Euboea, where he stables his chariot horses, white beasts with brazen hooves and golden manes. At the approach of Poseidon’s golden chariot, violent storms cease, and sea-monsters rise to pay homage to their master. Despite Poseidon’s rule in the sea, he is greedy to gain further kingdoms on Earth, and this has involved him in many battles with his fellow gods. Poseidon is also an ardent lover, to the jealousy of his wife, Amphitrite. One of his progeny was the winged horse Pegasus, who was born from Medusa’s neck when she was decapitated. The Roman equivalent of Poseidon is Neptune, who was a minor water deity until the rise of the Romans as seafarers. Poseidon’s sacred animal is the horse, and the sport of horse racing is attributed to him.

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Internet Resources:

www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/religion/poseidon.htm www.theoi.com/Olympios/Poseidon.html www.messagenet.com/myths/bios/poseidon.html www.mythweb.com/gods/Poseidon.html

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Myths & Magic

Poseidon The Greek god of the sea was called Poseidon. The Romans called him Neptune.

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Poseidon: A Profile

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The sea is the basis of many myths. Name and outline a myth or legend that has its source in the sea.

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Teac he r

Read about Poseidon and then write your own profile listing as many facts as you can about his strengths, powers, character traits, connections to other mythical beings, etc.

Title: ___________

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© ReadyEdPu bl i cat i ons ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• ______________________________________ ______________________________________

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How many words can you make from the name POSEIDON POSEIDON? Write them on the back of this sheet.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Balinese Myths W

r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

The wayang kulit lasts for nine hours – from the end of evening prayer to sunrise. Before the opening of the performance, the dalang usually offers prayers and burns incense to invoke spirits from the other world, and to reach a state of common meditation with the mythical ancestors. He then takes his place behind the kelir (screen) – a large white cloth edged with blue, green or red, and traditionally lit by the blenchong, an oil lamp in the shape of the “Garuda”, the King of Birds. The dalang must have great physical endurance. He must maintain the tension of the play for all nine hours. He must also be able to recite the entire myth, in verse, from memory, while adding humour, and providing different voices for the range of puppets. The dalang also has the job of conducting a gamelan orchestra which accompanies the performance, and of providing sound effects from a drum which he beats with a drumstick held in between his toes.

“comedians” Gareng, Petruk and Semar onto the stage. This trio is inseparable. Semar is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom, and is the father of Petruk and Gareng. Their job is to verbalise the conclusion of the previous act, and to link the play with the “real” world through allusions to current events. The origin of the wayang kulit is still a subject of controversy. One theory suggests that Indonesian shadow theatre was inspired by the theatre of “Chaya Nataka”, which existed in ancient Indian times.

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ayang” is an ambiguous word which is often associated with the Indonesian word “bayang”, or “bayangan”, meaning shadow. “Wayang” is also often given the meaning “play” or “performance”. “Kulit” means leather. The wayang kulit is an Indonesian puppet play in which the dalang (puppeteer) labours to eliminate the distance between the living and the dead. The dalang becomes part of a mythical world outside time, and describes this world through the voices of his marionettes. The mythical ancestors that the dalang, and the audience, are communicating with are eternal and supernatural beings, whose presence can be symbolised by shadows.

Teac he r

The appearance of a wayang character is structured by tradition, and by the personality of the character. This appearance can change from region to region, according to cultural influences. For example, the Javanese wayang kulit puppets are much more stylised than the Balinese puppets. The Javanese puppets are elongated, and their arms are often as long as their bodies. The Balinese puppets have more proportionate figures. The puppets are usually constructed with their bodies facing forward, but their heads in profile. The puppet’s arms are movable at the elbows and shoulders, but the legs are fixed into one pose. Distinctions between sexes, and between humans and demons, are made through the size of the puppet, with females around 30 centimetres tall, nobles around 50 centimetres, and demons reaching sizes of up to 80 centimetres.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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The wayang kulit has three parts – the prologue, which lasts until midnight; the drama, which runs from midnight until three o’clock; and the epilogue. The resolution of the wayang arrives at dawn. The dalang often signals the end of an act by bringing the

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There are two types of wayang, which are reflected in the types of puppets. The wayang kulit uses marionettes made of untanned leather, which, it is said, must be prepared from the skin of a young male buffalo having never been whipped. This form of wayang relates the famous Hindu epics: the Ramayana (24 000 couplets) and the Mahabharata (100 000 couplets). The wayang keruchil, or kelitik, uses marionettes cut from wood without volume. The movable arms of the marionettes are cut from leather. This wayang mainly deals with stories about the heroes of the Majapahit kingdom. Both types of wayang puppets are painted in various colours. In total, there are about 400 different characters.

The colours, costumes and body shapes of the puppets all contribute to identifying the puppet as a specific character. The heroes and heroines are identified by their manner, rather than by traditional Western values such as strength. They act with dignity and righteousness. They usually have magic powers. Physically the heroes and heroines are slender. They usually have gilt skin, a fine, elongated nose and almond eyes. The demons and witches are usually depicted as fatter than the noble characters, and, of course, they are exceedingly ugly. Their skin colour is ruddy, and their noses can take extraordinary shapes. Their eyes can be flattened, or protrude from their face. Their teeth can be pointed, to the extent where they can have tusks. Semar is the exception to the rule of beauty equalling nobility. He is fat and ugly, but is acknowledged as the symbol of wisdom and knowledge. He acts in a trinity with his sons Petruk and Gareng, but is superior to both of them, and usually is the one who points out their, or other characters’, foolishness. (See page 60 for a Balinese myth.)

discover-indo.tierranet.com/wayang.html - Wayang Kulit Info


Myths & Magic

Myths from Bali, in Indonesia, are based on Hindu (Indian) myths. The main characters are played out in dance dramas, carved in stone temples and passed on to future generations by art work (painting, woodcarving, statues) and shadow puppet plays. The shadow puppet play, or wayang kulit kulit, is a popular form of entertainment. The characters are leather or metal puppets on sticks and the puppeteer acts out famous myths. Heroes are always thin; villains or clowns are always fat.

r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Cut out the characters on pages 42-44. Paste these onto cardboard and tape a stick on the back.

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Teac he r

Balinese Myths

Plot Outline: ___________________________ ________________________________________________

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Perform your own shadow play by sitting behind a white screen (a sheet is good for this) with a light set up behind you. Add some of your own characters to make into puppets.

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Decide the general theme of your ”shadow play” and outline its plot.

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Semar r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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Teac he r

A magic monster; very smart, pot-bellied. Because of his knowledge of magic, Semar saves every situation but makes the young hero appear to be the winner.

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Teac he r

Princess

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Teac he r

Young Hero

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• Teachers'

Background Information •

Fire Gods r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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Native Americans: Loo-wit

Teac he r

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ative Americans, like most cultures, were not a homogeneous group, but a number of sub-cultures which had different beliefs and rituals. However, they shared belief in a universe controlled by superhuman beings, and saw such beings as inhabiting natural objects, such as rocks, waterfalls, caves, mountain tops, stormclouds, etc.

Native Americans believed in a supernatural power, or force, that existed through the universe. They named this power Mana. If the balance was upset between the spirit forces and human needs, the power would react unfavourably upon the violator, causing anything from pimples to death. Mana could also be tapped into by shamans, who could use it to cure illness, to celebrate and guide rites of passage, to seek guidance and help in times of crisis, and to maintain the balance between humans and the spirits. Mana was accessed through ceremonies, through self-mutilation or self-privation, and through use of drugs to gain visions.

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The Inca

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• he Incas were the largest indigenous culture of the Americas. They lived in South America, and were estimated to reach a population of twelve million people. In 1532, the Inca culture was invaded and slaughtered by the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro.

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Religion was one of the fundamental structures of Inca society. Different social groups were associated with specific huacas (natural locations of significance), with the most powerful social class, royalty, believed to be descendants of the sun gods, and therefore divine beings. The Inca religion revolved around the sun. Gold was mined extensively, as the symbol of the Sun God. It was used for rituals and religious decorations. Internet Resources:

volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/msh/llc/hr/hrho/nam.html - Loo-wit Myth from the Puyallup Tribes www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/mshbefore.html - Mount Saint Helens Story cybersleuth-kids.com/sleuth/History/Ancient_Civilizations/Incas/ - The Inca 45

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Myths & Magic

Fire Gods 1

Illustrate the myth by drawing in the action described.

r o e t s Bo r Loo-Wit e p o Keeper k Su of Fire

This is a story from the Native American people called the Nisqually:

Two brothers were quarrelling over their land. The creator said “Each of you shoot an arrow in the air and you may have the land where it falls”. The brothers did this but they still envied each other’s land and fought.

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Teac he r

1. The brothers shoot arrows in the air.

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and asked Loo-wit to share her fire. She agreed, on the condition that the Creator make her young and beautiful. He did this but both brothers wanted her for their wife so they argued again. The Creator was angry and turned them into two mountains, known today as Mount Adams and Mount Hood.

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Loo-wit was sad about this so the Creator changed her into the most beautiful mountain (Mount Saint Helens) and let her keep the fire inside her as a volcano. He placed her between the other two to keep the peace. The Nisqually people believe that if people don’t treat the land with respect, Loo-wit will wake up and erupt as a warning. Mount Saint Helens last erupted in 1980. 46

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© ReadyEdP2.u bl i cat i ons The brothers argue about the land. •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Later, the Creator regretted his punishment

As punishment the Creator took fire away from all the people except for an old woman called Loo-wit who did not join in the quarrelling.

On the back of this page complete scenes 3-6.

3. The old woman is the only one with fire. 4. Loo-wit becomes young and beautiful. 5. The three are transformed into mountains. 6. Mount Saint Helens erupts as a volcano.


Myths & Magic

Fire Gods 2 Draw an arrangement of shapes to match the bold type words in the boxes below.

The Inca r r o e t s Bo e p o k Su

Teac he r

Mamaquilla was the MOON GODDESS and wife of the sun.

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The Inca people lived on the west coast of South America, originally in Peru. Their chief god was Viracocha, whom they believed to be the creator and ruler of all living things. They prayed to him when they were in deep trouble but not much during their day-to-day lives.

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consisted of placing shapes in an arrangement. Here is an example. It is from a golden charm showing the face of Inti, the sun god who ruled everyday life.

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The Incas believed that spirits lived in special places called huacas. Almost anything could be a huaca: a CAVE CAVE,, MOUNTAIN MOUNTAIN,, WATERFALL WATERFALL,, ROCK ROCK,, TREE or HOUSE HOUSE. (Choose only one of these to illustrate.)

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© ReaThere dy E dgods Pu i ca t i onsgoddesses STARS WEATHER were also of b the l and of the EARTH and the SEA SEA.. •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Inca art often

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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Teac he r

Trolls

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he Scandinavian troll is very similar in nature and appearance to the Scottish brownie. The troll’s evil reputation results from its bad temper, and its habit of stealing food, women and children. Trolls live underground. They are ugly beings and are often deformed. They have no separate fingers or toes, or no nose, or a large distorted nose but no mouth. They usually wear little clothing, and it is well known that a gift of clothing can be used to get rid of them.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •Trolls f o rmagical r ev i ew r p ose soatn l y• have powers. Theyp canu make themselves invisible will, which is why it’s so hard to ever see a troll. They can also see into the future, and, if in the mood, can bestow gifts on humans such as extraordinary strength, or great wealth.

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Internet Resources:

www.cyberclip.com/Katrine/NorwayInfo/words/troll.html en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_folklore elt.britcoun.org.pl/elt/m_azcreat.htm - The A to Z of Mythical Creatures

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Trolls can be kind to humans, and help them with their work. However, they are easily offended, and an angry troll can be very malicious and vindictive.


Myths & Magic

Trolls r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Trolls (or dwarfs), elves and giants feature in Scandinavian myths. Scandinavia refers to the countries we call Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Trolls were usually evil creatures. You may remember one lurking under the bridge in Hans Christian Andersen’s Danish fairy tale, The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Good trolls

Myth

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Evil trolls

Myth

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Teac he r

In what other myths do similar little people appear? List them as being either “good“ or “evil“.

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Draw a troll below.

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Trolls were stumpy little people with long beards, hump-backs and feet of goats or geese. They hated noise.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Teac he r

Odin

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sgard was the home of the Nordic gods. It existed in the heavens, and could only be reached by crossing the rainbow bridge, Bifrost. There were many beautiful halls and palaces in Asgard, but the most impressive was Valhalla, the home of Odin, Chief of the Gods and the Ruler of the Universe.

Valhalla was populated by the souls of dead heroes. These heroes were brought to Valhalla by the Valkyries, nine semi-divine virgins who were priestesses of the mother goddess Freya. The Valkyries were warrior maidens. In times of warfare, they would ride to the battlefields to decide who would live and who would die. Half of the dead heroes were then carried back to Valhalla, where the Valkyries – led by Brunhild – would wait upon them. During the day the warriors would ride out to a battlefield, and fight each other until they were all cut up into little pieces. Then, at nightfall, they were restored to health and would return to Valhalla to feast on the boar Schrimnir and the goat Heldrun. Odin would preside over these feasts.

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Nordic myth states that at Ragnarok, the “twilight of the gods”, Odin will lead his army of warriors against the giants and the demons, who, led by Loki, the traitor-god, will attack Asgard. The attack will be heralded by a blast from the horn of Heimdall. The resulting battle will destroy all of the gods and the giants, and in the process, destroy all of creation.

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Internet Resources:

www.historyforkids.org/learn/germans/religion/odin.htm - Odin www.historyforkids.org/learn/germans/religion/index.htm - Ancient German Religion encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/no/Norse_mythology todd.reimer.com/norse/story.html - Norse Stories

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Myths & Magic

Norse Gods Characters of Norse Mythology

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Use your research skills to find out information about the following mythical beings and places. Write descriptive notes for each. Asgard -

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Loki -

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Brunhild -

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Freya -

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_________________________________________________________ Draw in the rest of the Valkyries image below. Colour.

Odin . te o c . che e r o t r s super

In Norse Mythology, Valhalla was the hall of heroes who had died. It was ruled by Odin, Chief of the Gods and God of War. Odin was also to become known as Woden. The roof of Valhalla was made of shields. The hall was enormous with 540 doors, each of which could open to let in 800 warriors walking side by side. Warrior maidens, called Valkyries, wore brilliant armour and flew through battles to choose and transport the souls of dead heroes to Valhalla.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Norse Gods

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The two groups of gods work together and peacefully coexist. At the beginning of creation however, they were at war with each other, as Odin and Thor refused to acknowledge the Vanir as rightful gods. The war only ended when both sides became too exhausted to continue fighting. To make peace, the two groups exchanged members, with Njord and his son Frey joining the Aesir, and Mimir and Hoenir becoming part of the Vanir. The peace was then celebrated by the creation of a giant, Kvasir, who was formed from the combined spittle of the gods, and who symbolised peace and harmony among the deities. Later, however, Kvasir was sacrificed, and his blood was used to make a potent drink with which the gods could get inebriated.

anir god. God of fertility, peace and prosperity. Vanir had magical possessions, one of which (a sword) he exchanged for his wife, Gerda – the most beautiful woman in the world.

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blood for the seas. Odin is tall and bearded, and has only one eye, having exchanged the other for wisdom. His sacred bird is the raven, and his principal weapons are his runes (magic spells) and his spear.

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Frey

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he Nordic gods are classified into two groups – the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir is dominant to the Vanir, and contains the powerful gods Odin and Thor. The Vanir are associated with the sea and the land, and symbolise wealth, fruitfulness and fertility.

© ReadyEdPub l i cat i ons od of Thunder, principal war god. Son of Odin. Generally portrayed •f orr evi ew pur paso es onl y • as crude, middle-aged warrior

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Odin

he Chief of the gods, the Ruler of the Universe. Son of the frost giant Bor and the giantess Bestla. With the help of his two brothers, Vili and Ve, Thor killed his grandfather Ymir, who was the first giant. With his grandfather’s remains, he made the world, using Ymir’s skull for the heavens, his body for the earth and his

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with a red beard, who preferred fighting to thinking. One of Thor’s “talents” was his ability to drink vast amounts of alcohol. Weapons – a hammer named Mjolnir, that returned to his hand once thrown, a belt that doubled his strength when he wore it, iron gloves that helped him use the hammer effectively.

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Thor

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Freya

ister of Frey, and in later myths, wife of Odin. Goddess of love and beauty. Depicted as beautiful, blonde, blueeyed and young. Freya claimed half of the heroes slain in battle, carrying them to her realm of Folkvang in Asgard. Most of the myths involving Freya revolve around attempts by giants to abduct her.


Myths & Magic

Norse Gods Our days of the week were named after Norse Gods

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Woden (Odin): Chief of the gods and god of war, wisdom, poetry, magic. Thor: Frey:

God of prosperity and sender of sunshine and rain.

Freya

Sister of Frey and goddess of love and healing.

Tyr:

Son of Odin, god of war and athletic activities.

Draw a symbol for each god’s special duty.

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God of thunder. Also the god who protected people and gods from giants.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y• Frey

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Draw a symbol for what you do on these days.

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Tuesday

Thor

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W oden

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Thursday

Friday

Write the name of each god in the space provided above to match the day of the week named after him or her.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Saint Nikolaus Teac he r

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r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

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he original Saint Nikolaus was the Bishop of Myra (in Lycia, now part of Turkey) in the early years of the fourth century AD. Through his works, he became accepted as the patron saint of Russia, along with Saint Andrew. The rise of the Reformation movement in the sixteenth century led to the eclipse of his popularity in all European countries except for Holland. In Holland, Saint Nikolaus evolved into a mythical being – Sinter-Klaas. Sinter-Klaas is a saintly bishop who comes to Holland from Spain on the sixth December every year to leave presents for children. He is assisted in his task by Zwarte Piet, his faithful Moorish servant.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons The myth of Sinter-Klaas was taken to America in the seventeenth century by r thee Dutch colonists. It developed intos the myth of Santa •Claus: f oar v i e w p u r p o e s o nl y• jolly man who lives in the North Pole, travels by reindeer, and

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is assisted in his tasks by his faithful wife, Mrs Claus, and by his troop of trusty elves. Santa Claus continues in the tradition of Sinter-Klaas however, in his continuing work to reward good girls and boys with presents. It is thought that the legend of Saint Nikolaus developed from a story of how he saved three sisters from prostitution by throwing bags of money through their window to provide them with a dowry. The money happened to land in their stockings, which had been hung by the fire to dry. In another story, Saint Nikolaus brought back to life some children who had been murdered by their uncle, and concealed in a barrel. Saint Nikolaus is also known as the patron saint of children.

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Internet Resources:

www.udel.edu/fllt/faculty/lisat/Niklausabend.html - Legend of Saint Nikolaus www.stnicholascenter.org - Click on Traditions Around the World

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Myths & Magic

Saint Nikolaus is the patron saint of children. His feast day is on December 6th. He is nicknamed Santa Claus and has come to be associated with Christmas.

Imagine you are a television reporter or journalist and you have the chance to interview Santa Claus.

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What are four questions you would like to ask him? Write these questions below and the answers you think he would give.

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Saint Nikolaus

Question 1: ___________________

Question 2: ___________________

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© ReadyEdPu bl i cat i ons ______________________________ Answer: ______________________ Answer: ______________________ •f orr evi ew pur pose sonl y• ______________________________

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Question 3: ___________________

Question 4: ___________________

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Answer: ______________________

Answer: ______________________

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Gremlins r o e t s Bo r e p o k GSu

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remlins achieved fame as “evil meddling creatures” through the efforts of Steven Spielberg. They should not be dismissed, however, as “merely movie monsters”. Horror movies can be read as the modern equivalent of ancient fireside tales about giants and trolls. They verbalise modern myths, which are disbelieved in their material form, but which reveal how our culture thinks, and the beliefs it holds. One example is the popular horror movie series “Nightmare on Elm Street”. Few people believe that there actually is a Freddy Kreuger type figure existing, able to gain entry to our dreams. But this series, and others like it, are based on the fundamental belief that there is some form of life after death, that the soul exists separate from the body. If these beliefs were not accepted as a possibility by our culture, then such movies wouldn’t exist, as viewers would not be able to comprehend how the “monster” could exist. Similarly, it is this willingness to believe in life after death that enables viewers to be scared by such movies, as, for the period in which they are watching the movie, they accept the basic premise that the existence of such “spiritual” and otherworldly creatures is possible.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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Gremlins are another attempt to explain the inexplicable. In ancient times, the inexplicable was nature itself – what causes lightning, how does pregnancy occur etc. In modern times, the inexplicable includes why a machine is not working, when every single part seems to be fine, or why the computer suddenly decides to reject a file for no good reason whatsoever. Nobody actually believes that there is a little green monster sitting in the machine, playing with wires. But “gremlin” is useful as a label, to put a name on something that is nameless and inexplicable. And, as horror movies indicate the existence of belief in the soul, the mythical gremlins indicate the existence of a lingering belief that some “force” exists to cause things to go wrong when they shouldn’t.

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This is similar to the force of Mana believed in by Native Americans. People of our culture try to ward off gremlins, the “hit men“ of the force, by sweet talking our machinery, i.e. “Come on baby“ to a car reluctant to start. Internet Resources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremlin www.ancientfantasies.com/mythicalcreatures.htm - Other Mythological Creatures

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Myths & Magic

Gremlins

Gremlins was the name given to gnome-like creatures – little beings with pointy ears – who were blamed as the cause of mechanical trouble in aircraft operations. Today gremlins are used to explain any sort of unexplained interference in electrical, technical or mechanical equipment.

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Daily News

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In the imaginary newspaper article below, draw a picture of your choice of machinery being overrun by gremlins. Write a brief report of what happened. Don’t forget to include a headline, date and location.

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Tea ch ers’ Ba ckground Information each chers’

Modern Myths r o e t s Bo r e p o k Su

Here are a few examples of how “stars” are expected, and accepted, to be beyond mere humanity. Their behaviour can be seen as “superhuman”. Sports

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Music Madonna: Worshipped to the extent that she has to have bodyguards to go jogging. Her image is plastered on walls, and her private life is faithfully recorded by gossip magazines. Analogy: Aboriginal cave art, depicting the Dreamtime ancestors; Greek myths, following the love affairs and actions of the gods. Elvis: Similar lifestyle to Madonna. Introduced a new form of music. Revered so much, people abandon their own personalities to become Elvis impersonators. Stories still circulating that he is not really dead. Analogy: Greek god Prometheus, bringing fire to mankind; Priests and priestesses who give up their lives to pay homage to their gods; the immortality of gods.

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John McEnroe: Was famous for his temper tantrums on and off the tennis courts. In “real life”, such as in the workplace, such temper tantrums would not be tolerated. Analogy: Gods drawing up violent sea or thunder storms on a whim, i.e. Nordic God Thor.

white t-shirts, and a new “form” of language. Analogy: Immortality of the gods; Wayang kulit – communicating with mythical ancestors who are eternal, yet have human characteristics. They are symbolised through shadows on a screen. Politics John F. Kennedy: Worshipped as the leader of America. His death provoked widespread mourning and became the subject of books, songs and movies. His faults, including his numerous affairs, did nothing to detract from his appeal. Analogy: Panji, Balinese god, the Eternal Lover, who is depicted as charming, handsome, brave and wise. His philandering ways are interpreted positively, as testifying to his virility.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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Cinema James Dean: Film star of the forties: Despite having completed only three films, James Dean remains a cult figure today. Always described as “intense” and “rebellious” in the media. Symbolised teenage rebellion. Spawned a fashion statement of black leather jackets and

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Television/General Paris Hilton: Millionaire heiress whose wealth comes from the Hilton Hotels chain. Seen as a “playgirl“ and constantly in the news for her behaviour, including alcohol abuse and associated drink-driving charges. Generally spoken of in disparaging terms by the media – “the heirhead“, etc. Parodied by such programs as South Park. Famous for being famous. Analogy: The fallen Christian deity Satan, who is always depicted as depraved and evil, and who delights in making mischief and causing trouble. All of the above stars are most similar to ancient myths in that they live public lives – every move of theirs is followed by the media. They are also all looked up to, even worshipped, by thousands of people, and their actions are interpreted as meaningful by their fans.


Myths & Magic

Modern Myths r o e t s Bo r e p o Sport k Su

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Today’s “stars“ are created by the media who convey a public image which makes us think that the stars are above the trivial concerns of daily living. Just as ancient people saw their gods as superhuman, we see celebrities as very powerful or talented. They attract huge numbers of fans and set fashions in their particular fields.

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List as many modern “stars“ as you can in the following categories:

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© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons Music •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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Politics

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• Teachers'

Background Information •

A Balinese Myth

From the translation and narration by Dr C. Hooykaas.

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The hero of this story is Panji, the Eternal Lover. He wanders the world, having love affairs and then abandoning his sweethearts. Because of his constant adventures, he is required to adopt a variety of disguises. In this story, he is named Bagus Umbara.

Meanwhile, Bagus Umbara, accompanied by Semar, is journeying in disguise. Because of his good looks and charm, he is accepted into the court of Matahan. The King of Matahan sends Bagus Umbara to ask for the hand of the Crown Princess of Kadiri, who is currently betrothed to Bagus Umbara himself. However, as Bagus Umbara has “disappeared”, the proposal from the King of Matahan is accepted. The King of Kadiri requests that the betrothal gifts be “The Sea of Honey”, and “The Mountain of Frankincense”. The King of Matahan asks Bagus Umbara to obtain these treasures for him.

The concluding verses of Bagus Umbara

Rahadèn Galuh ngandika: “Lah rèrènang tityang kaki”. Mandeg Sang Garuda nyongkok. Rahadèn Galuh tumurun, Sareng Kèn Sangit Kèn Bayan. Radèn Dèvi. Sampun prapta ring sang lina.

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The Crown Princess of the Javanese kingdom of Jong Biru has a dream where she is introduced to Bagus Umbara, Prince of Koripan (a Balinese kingdom). This dream so haunts her that she begs her father to have two images made for her, one representing the Prince of Koripan, and the other his inseparable companion, the clown-like Semar. Her request is granted and she worships the Prince’s image as though it were that of a god.

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The story of Bagus Umbara.

Gelis Ida abresihan, Rahadèn Dèvi anangis, Mirah adi anggon monmon, Kereb sutra satus kayun.

© ReadyEdPubl i cat i ons •f orr evi ew pur posesonl y•

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Bagus Umbara undertakes the sea voyage to Java and arrives safely. In the royal garden he and Semar find the images of themselves which the Princess worships. They substitute themselves for the images, but the Princess soon realises the deception. She agrees to give the Prince “The Sea of Honey” and “The Mountain of Frankincense”, if he, in return, will marry her. He agrees.

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Hearing her father coming, she commands the huge stone door of the hermitage to open, so that Bagus Umbara and Semar can hide within. To get rid of her father, she commands him to find her a hundred pearls. However, he soon returns. She then commands him to wash a piece of green silk until all the colour disappears. The ogre, being stupid, obeys her command. While he is thus involved, the Princess invokes the help of the God Vishnu, master of the Holy Garuda bird. Vishnu fulfils her wish and the Princess, Bagus Umbara and Semar mount Garuda and fly away. When Garuda’s huge wings cast their shadow on the earth, the ogre realises he has been tricked and sets off after the fugitives. He is just about to catch up with them when the Princess throws down one of her pearls, which changes into a dense forest of bamboo. He hacks this down with his sword and continues to chase them, so the Princess throws down another pearl. Each pearl she throws becomes another obstacle which the ogre surmounts. Finally, the Princess throws down the “soul” pearl and the ogre dies.

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Then the Princess Galuh spoke: “Grandfather mine, do halt for me”. Garuda stopped and then knelt down And descended Princess Galuh with servants Sangit and Bayan. The Noble One There stood beside the ogre dead.

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On his quest, Bagus Umbara meets a dukuh (hermit) and asks for his advice. The dukuh discloses that the treasures he seeks are in the possession of the Crown Princess of Jong Biru. He also tells Bagus Umbara that the King of Jong Biru has been cursed and transformed into a maneating ogre.

Sampun mangkin binasmiyan, Putus mangkin, Sang Atma dadi Bhatara.

Then the Princess quickly laved him, And wept the Noble One the while. A precious ruby was his ring And silk, a hundred bolt of it, Was used as shroud around the corpse. He was reduced to ashes now. The mourning done, The ogre’s soul became a god.

Myths and Magic  

Children have a fascination with myths and fables and consequently their study can provide stimulating investigation and activities. Buy no...

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