Okay, this was going to be about cultural Christianity, but the idea of creating your own mythology has been on my mind this week, so that’s what you’re getting. I might do a separate non-PBP post on cultural Christianity later, though, because I have Feelings about it, and I kind of want to talk about it. But for now, mythology, and creating it yourself.
I was going to put this off a while, until I could perhaps think about it more clearly, but I’ve got an urge to do it now while it’s still fresh in my mind, so excuse any vagueness and ‘I don’t know’s, because I’m still figuring all this out.
I suppose I should start with why I feel a need to create mythology in the first place. It stems partly from the fact that, if there were any ancient myths about Sobek way back when, they have not survived to the present day, at least not that I am aware of. Because of this, and because of this call to be His scribe that I talked about partly last week, I feel like it’s down to me to give Him some myths of His own. Not with the aim of writing the One True Story™ of His existence and awesomeness, but more … well, there needs to be something there, and if spreading Sobek’s name to the wide world is what I’m trying to do, myths seems like the best way to do that.
For a long time, I didn’t try writing myths at all. I didn’t have enough confidence to do it back then, but now seems the right time to take that plunge, particularly once I had one myth already under my belt. I’d done my version of Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset as Creator Gods a year or so ago, and I liked it enough to feel like perhaps there was something to be done now, that I could do this myth-making stuff, after all.
I also got a little confidence from seeing mythology fanfiction around, and I slowly developed some ideas of mythic fics I wanted to write. One was going to be about bi/all-gendered Nit as Sobek’s parent, and Hir experiences in bringing Him up. The other was a queer take on the Contendings of Heru and Set, with the premise that Heru-sa-Aset had always planned to take Sobek as His consort when He took the throne after He had avenged His father, Wesir, and didn’t expect there’d be so much of a fuss about it. As I explored the Horned Goddess and trans* deities, I also wanted to write a queer/trans* version of Wesir’s myth, writing Him as a trans* deity.
If you hadn’t noticed the queer theme in those ideas above, well, yes, it’s there. And that may well be the driving force behind why I want to create mythology, apart from writing myths about Sobek because reasons. I’m genderqueer, and I like the idea of playing with stories and myths and queering them up, to tell a different kind of story. It also played into my desire to write a queer Wheel of the Year mythos that didn’t involve heteronormative reproduction, but did include queer and trans* deities and bodies creating life and dealing with death in their own way.
These are still ideas in development, though. I have written the story of Sobek’s birth, thanks to Nit, but there is still more to write. Ideas still in development that need more time to settle before they are ready to write. Yes, most of these ideas will involve much UPG on how I see these Gods, and I don’t apologise for that, but I think it would be the same for anyone who tries to create or rewrite myth. They are not meant to be the One Truth™ in any sense of the phrase. They tell a single story about the Gods, one person’s story about the Gods and what they feel is important to mythologise. I mean, if you look at the voice offering on Per Sebek, it’s pretty much a creation myth involving Djehuty as Creator with Sobek as the first mound of land that emerges from the Nun. It is just as true as the one I wrote involving Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset, and as true as the one about Ra I wrote my daily devotional rites around. Nit -Tem-Amun are Creators too, with Their own myth and method for creating the world. These stories are all true, and all not true. Where myth is concerned, there is no one single absolute truth. The stories I tell will be my own, and concerned with how the Gods relate to me and how I perceive Them and Their role in the world.
That some are going to be queer or trans* mythologies doesn’t bother me, either. I think there needs to be more queer myth in the world, modern queer myth about the old gods that speaks to us as modern people who are searching for ourselves in the old gods. Wesir can be a trans* god, He can die and in death, transition, and it can be just as meaningful as the old myths, but to another audience. No better or containing more truth than the old, but a different truth.
These aren’t the same reasons I just want to write more Sobek myth, though. The way I see it, myth helps spread the name of a God around, to spread Their cult to new places. So Sobek needs myths, because that’s how His cult spreads. That’s how more people will know His name. I can’t say I’m absolutely going to reach more people and spread His cult all across the world. I’m not so arrogant to say I could do that. I can’t even guarantee one person will read His myths and be affected by Him. All I can really do is write them and put them out there, and hope maybe one person learns of Him because of them.
I also think myth helps to show what a God is like, and for me, that’s important, particularly with Sobek. There are writings that demonise Him because they were written at a time when Set was demonised, and Set’s associations with crocodiles damned Sobek as well. I don’t say that to invalidate that, either, or to even suggest that Sobek is a nice fluffy crocodile god. Sobek is a crocodile, and He owns His reptilian form very much. He can be a very alien presence because of that, because there isn’t as much of a ‘human’ feel to Him. It can be hard to relate to a crocodile. But if I can explore and show what He’s like in myth, maybe it might make someone understand Him a little more.
They might better understand Sobek’s fierce side, how The Rager protects and His temper not invoked against you, as well as how He tends to His own, tends to the baby Heru-sa-Aset, just like a mother would. Understanding crocodile behaviour helps to give insight into Sobek’s personality. You begin to understand why He is the way He is, and it’s much easier to digest in myth form, than in dry Wikipedia entries.
Like, I could rattle off a thousand facts about saltwater crocodiles, how they build nests and tend to their eggs, how they hunt and swim and attack and fight, but it’s not going to reveal anything about Sobek unless I give it context, and that context comes from mythology. Then you understand why Sobek is a crocodile, and why that animal is exclusively used to symbolise Him.
I sometimes think that my desire to write these myths stems from my attraction to obscure gods. Ones that may not have much myth written about them, if any exists at all, so I feel like it’s my responsibility to get Their names out there and make more people aware of Their names and what They do. If that means writing brand new myths about Them, so be it.
That said, not everything I write about the Gods in a mythological sense is, well, it’s not always pure myth. Like I said above, I came to this from mythology fandom, from fanfiction circles, and I will admit that I have written some pieces of fanfiction that could be taken to be modern myth, in the sense that they are stories of Gods and mortals. The one fic I wrote about the Mousai Titanides could be taken as myth, but it’s also fanfiction. And then there’s this fic I wrote that’s in the style of a spell from the Book of the Dead, which I am still wtf-ing about because I’m not certain I haven’t just written an actual new myth that describes the rebirth and establishment of an actual new god of the dead, so.
(I think Shiva was ultimately responsible for that last one, but I still don’t really know why. I felt Him smiling knowingly at me as I finally understood what had happened at the end, and what the whole point of everything that had happened in that particular fictional universe was. And yet, it still feels more significant than just a piece of fanfiction, though I couldn’t really tell you why.)
For me, the line between myth and fiction is incredibly blurry, and I can’t say I keep them separate at all. I know I can’t separate the two easily, though I respect anyone who can. Perhaps I should refer to them as fictional myths, then, or mythic fiction, as opposed to mythology, though I am not entirely sure that actually addresses the problem of trying to separate them in a meaningful way.
I think part of it is my conscious awareness that heka is words and speech and they have power. Even fiction can have its own power. I think that heka makes myth-writing even more powerful to me, because in a way, it is a form of creation, of magic. But I’m still not sure if that’s enough to separate myth and fiction for me, and I think I’m risking trampling into fiction-writing meta at this point, which might be better served elsewhere than here. Or at least, it could wait until my thoughts on that particular aspect of this topic are a little more well-formed.
This is kind of where we cross over into popular mythology, as well. Things like Xena, or any other fictional media that involves Gods and mortals and mythology. I have trouble seeing them as not!myth as much as I have trouble seeing them as myth. They are both, and neither is particularly incorrect. But then I think this may be a reflection of my view that myth makes a god’s name known throughout the world, and I can’t expect anyone else to adhere to this same definition, which may be why I have such a broad concept of what mythology is. If someone uses a different definition, they’re going to see things differently.
I think my view is also clouded by the fact that I met the Mousai Titanides by writing fanfiction about Them. I met Ha-Shem by writing fanfiction about Him and His angels. Other Gods have turned up to prod me to write not!myth for Them too, so I can’t say that my Gods only want me writing myth, because that’s not my experience at all. It’s not all myth-writing, but the Gods still seem to notice, and sometimes, I meet Them because of that process of writing fiction. This also makes it incredibly hard for me to separate myth and fiction in any meaningful way, so perhaps my experience is just unique in this manner, and this affects my view of mythology so much that it is hard to see it any other way.
I mean, even my old Oxford dictionary thinks myths are pretty much just fictional stories involving supernatural things, so in that sense, I may not be entirely unique in my view of mythology. I wouldn’t dare say that this is the correct way to see it, either, because I don’t feel qualified to even dare suggest that. But I may be tapping into a way of seeing myth and fiction that feels right to me, and that is broad enough to encompass many of the stories I want to tell. But I’m not worried if someone disagrees. I do have enough of an ability to separate them to the point where I know whether this story about the Gods belongs on Per Sebek with the other myths, or on AO3 as fanfiction. But the lines are incredibly blurry nonetheless, and I’m not sure there is any concrete answer as to where that line falls.