1. Androxine Vortex
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    Androxine Vortex Member

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    Creating Original Mythology

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Androxine Vortex, Oct 31, 2011.

    Mythology imo is the most interresting form of fiction to write about. You can say almost anything! Thats why in the novel i am working on it is heavily involved with mythology. But I wanted it to be original so I didn't want to use greek or norse or any other already premade mythology, so I wanted to create my own. This is no small feat for it has to be interesting and yet (to an extent) believable.

    *Keep in mind that the mythology in my book is actually "real" as in the people dont jsut pray and nothing happens, they pray and stuff happens so the gods are "real" in my story*

    Basically in the world of my novel, heaven is the sky, the stars, and space. The stars are the different gods and each constellation of stars is a different family of gods. Now there are not normal "seasons" in my book and instead priests use spells and rituals to alter the astrological positions of the stars. So for example they might draw a circle and inside it make very precise intersecting lines and runes. By blessing this star-diagram the blessed geometries will be converted into a spiritual language of influence over nature and the heavens to create the change. Its confusing I know.

    The main goal of a Star God is to be directly in front of the "sun-disk". When their star of power is alligned, they prettty much become the main central God and every God in their respective constellation gains power. And since the stars and constellations are different, when certain stars are alligned they create unique seasons and temperatures and skies different than our own.

    So basically all of my mythology revolves around the stars and the sky. I do have a creation myth set up but it would be a terrible spoiler for my novel, lets just say that ;)

    I like looking at different mytholigies from all over the world and some are very interesting while others are just plain silly. Like I love Norse myth to death, but they believe that the universe was created from an eagle that landed on a giantess's leg and the egg cracked open and there was the world. Or even in Egyptian Myth where the world was created on a pottery wheel.

    So if you had to make a mythology (original) what might it involve? How would the universe have been created? Do you associate certain Gods with elements? I want to hear your ideas!
    And let me know if you like my mythology idea. Of course I have not gone into deep detail, this is just an outline of how it works :)
     
  2. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I like the idea of priest being able to change the stars. Cool stuff.

    Myth doesn't have to be about gods or creation. It can be about Muadib, for example.

    In one of my novels, the main myth is about a species of humanoids that have a unique relationship with a species of tree. They burry their dead inside the trees. The trees store geneic memories of everyone burried in them, in the DNA, and passes this information on inside it's hard fruit, which is more like crystal. When they come of age, they receive one of these "staffs" the crystal fruit from the tree. Upon touching it, the DNA fuses with them, changing them, and giving them memories of their ancestors. It gets more complex than that as well.

    There is another fruit that keeps these trees growing, and those fruits are protected by Amisa Pria, a King-Kong sized gorilla-like species. They also hate technology, and will go out of their way to destroy it if its close to the fruits they protect.

    Their myth of how thee trees and fruit got there was by the gods, but it turns out they were aliens. My myths often center around gods being aliens.

    I've thought about using a creation myth that centers around a non-conscious machine that created the universe from it's own eternal attributes, then from those made emergent properties, and from those a more complex generation of emergent properties, etc, until it had the building blocks for the universe.

    People have false prayed to it, but it hears them not, for it thinks not. It just processes information.
     
  3. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I think if I was creating a mythology for a world I was creating I'd start by looking at the religious system they had in place.
    How many gods?
    What are the values of the religion?
    Do these values coincide with the values of the people and rulers?
    Are there previous religions that conflict with modern values?

    Then, I'd think about the population of the world.
    Is the world populated by a dominant race?
    Are there "supernatural" creatures? Are they prevalent, or meerly folklore?

    Then, with those questions answered, I'd look at creating the mythology from an analytical perspective.
    Are any of the religions 'True' religions or are they just belief systems?
    If one is 'True' how did it form? If they're just belief systems, what are their goals?

    From there I can create an origins story, and various tales with which to convey morals or warnings to
    the people. If for example the religion was a new religion and wanted to keep people out of the mountain
    shrines so that they wouldn't discover they were worshiping a 'False' religion, perhaps they'd have a tale
    about how a mighty hero was slain by some hideous monster in the mountains. This could foster superstition
    and folklore, resulting in an easily controlled population.

    I like your idea of playing with the formations of the stars and what not. The potential for corruption here has
    me fascinated. I'd love to see that explored.

    I'm a massive fan of Norse, Greek and Egyptian mythology. I also have a great love of folklore from all over the globe.
    That's the stuff I draw on when I'm brainstorming.
     
  4. Androxine Vortex
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    Androxine Vortex Member

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    @architectus
    I like that! Kind of reminds me of how on Avatar the Na'vi had their Ancestors dna stored in their holy tree. Very nice idea.

    @Jetshroom
    Those are all very good points you have to keep in mind, thanks for the tips. And its funny that you mentioned the potential for corruption because the Gods all were there to teach and guide humanity and they taught them how to harness magic through prayers and rituals. But there was a god among them who sought to use dark magic through violence and forbidden powers of darkness. Eventually all of the gods (save for one which plays an important role later in the story) became corrupt and obsessed with the alure of forbidden magic. They have an insatiable thirst for glory and worship and the normal rituals, monuments, and animal sacrifices are not enough. Since mortal humans can not comprehend this magic and it is associated with evil, the gods command their servants to fight and kill in their name. So by killing in a respective gods name, it strengthens that god but also weakens the god of the slain. So basically humanity's cities are all undivided and are at constant war with each other.

    And I like your idea about making tales of "propoganda" to convince them that their religion is the right one. My stories are loaded with preachers lying to the masses to win the hearts of the people or promising them salvation when they are just puppets to a greater scheme.

    I am now trying to get into detail about actual relationships between the gods and man. This is where I am trying to become creative. Like I have made this one Star God named Yithir. When you die and your soul goes heavenward, you are first taken to his foremost servant, Epkizaal. Epkizaal places your soul on a holy device called the Zylth. It is a scale and on the one side sits Yithir on his throne, on the other is your soul. The teachings of yithir say that wickedness is a burden on your soul that you must carry with it for all days to come. So with every wicked deed you have committed, your soul becomes more heavy. The further the scale tips downward, the further into damnation your eternal spirit goes.

    I also have a part of one story where a warrior must bury his father who just died in combat. He takes his body to the sea, which is a sacred thing in his god's eyes. He first burns his flesh and then throws his ashes into the ocean. "Go now. Travel to the halls of your fathers. Take the voyage to Hrudden's gates." So there is some Norse influence there.

    I find that making names for the Gods is very challenging because they need to sound important and divine and powerful, yet foreign. So I have taken a mixture of babylonian and nordic and iranian influences into naming my gods. I also didnt want to make the gods represent any elements or emotion in particular. So for example, there is no "god of fire" but a god may choose to associate himself with fire. Also am trying to make images of the gods. Sort like how their priests vision them. In a section of my book there is a part where a priest is in a holy trance and he is speaking what he sees to his scribe-slave. And an excerpt from their texts might say something like, "And I beheld him in all his majesty! Maleketh, he who who sits upon the Southern Star, wore upon his head three crowns: One to rule the Sky, one to rule the Earth, and one to rule the Sea."

    If you have any suggestions for names or anything I will take them into consideration and I might even use them!

    (And I'm glad you like the star-thing I've got going on. I am actually working on a part of my story where there is a city in a desert and their god should have ended his sun-eclipse cycle months ago but the corrupt priests do not change it. The god is selfish and only gives blessings to the high leaders and lets the poor people of the city die in famine. So there is an uprising in the poor districts where the people have visions from another god in the constellation who says that he will cast out the Star god from their constellation forever. So the people revolt and they take over the temple. They find the spells they need in the ancient texts and by destroying the monuments and statues giving him power, he is overthrown from the throne of the sun)
     
  5. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would like to add that myths and legends usually have a bit of truth as well as a bit of fantasy mixed into them. Or things may sound like fantasy depending on how the author/storyteller describes an event.

    For example, I could describe the sky raining fire. That may very well be what it looked like, but it could actually be a meteor shower or something similar. :)

    A lot of the stories in the Bible that are perceived as miracles are being proven scientifically possible with modern day science.
     

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