The myths range in theme from steadfast love to rivalry between warriors to victory over powerful forces, and in their unfolding lie powerful images of the innermost fears and aspirations that motivated the behavior of Algonquin, Iroquois, Pawnees, Sioux, and northwestern Indians alike. Lewis Spence relates each tale in a simple, direct way that will appeal to children as well as to adults. The book includes photographs and drawings that depict various tribes in their typical costumes and dwellings. It contains as well a map of the geographical areas where primary language families were spoken.
This fascinating book, a major forerunner of modern studies of myth, combines an appealing presentation of Indian legend with factual and illustrative material that gives each myth meaningful perspective. Students of anthropology and ethnology will enjoy the especially rich variety of mythical imagery in this generous collection, and general readers in search of a good story for themselves and for their children will find in these pages a treasury of suspenseful tales that reveal much of the spirit of North America’s original cultures.
In this classic study, a noted mythologist made perhaps the first serious attempt to review the religious history of ancient Egypt in the light of the science of modern mythology. Instead of regarding Egyptian mythology and legend as unique, "classic" and inviolate, as did many Egyptologists, Spence saw Egyptian religious thought as part of world mythology, rooted in primitive conceptions common to mankind as a whole and related to those of many other cultures. In supporting this thesis, Spence offers an immensely erudite in-depth survey of the broad spectrum of Egyptian gods and goddesses, cults, and beliefs, as well as a concise review of Egyptian history, manners, customs, and archaeology.
Animism, totemism, fetishism, creation myths, and other aspects of early religious beliefs are explored in an introductory chapter. The author then goes on to discuss the Egyptian priesthood, mysteries and temples, the cult of Osiris; Ra the Sun-God, Anubis, Horus, Thoth, and numerous other deities; the Book of the Dead, the birth of Hatshepsut, sacred trees, alchemy, the festival of Bast, Egyptian art, magic, and amulets, legends; and a host of other topics.
Enhanced with over 50 photographs and illustrations, this book belongs in the library of any student of ancient Egypt or of early man's attempts, through mythology and legend, to give order, meaning, and purpose to his world.
A major forerunner of modern studies of myth, this compelling book blends the legends with factual material, giving each myth a meaningful perspective. Students of anthropology and ethnology will prize the especially rich variety of mythical imagery in this collection, which features a simple, direct manner of storytelling that will appeal to children as well as to adults. All readers will find in these pages a treasury of suspenseful tales that reveal much of the spirit of North America's original cultures.
The dead man was practically at the mercy of the living for subsistence in the otherworld. Unless his kinsmen continued their offerings to him he was indeed in bad case, for his ka would starve. This ka was his double, and came into the world at the same time as himself. It must be sharply distinguished from the ba, or soul, which usually took the form of a bird after the death of its owner, and, indeed, was capable of assuming such shape as it chose if the funeral ceremonies were carried out correctly. Some Egyptologists consider the ka to be the special active force which imbues the human being with life, and it may be equivalent to the Hebrew expression 'spirit' as apart from 'soul.' In the book of Genesis we are informed that God breathed the breath of life into man and he lived. In like manner did He lay His arms behind the primeval gods, and forthwith His ka went up over them, and they lived. When the man died his ka quitted the body, but did not cease to take an interest in it, and on occasion even reanimated it. It was on behalf of the ka that Egyptian tombs were so well furnished with food and drink, and the necessities, not to say the luxuries, of existence.