Essay on Mythology Across Cultures

Submitted By Freddy N Linda-Mosqu
Words: 1652
Pages: 7

Linda S. Mosquera
Professor Janet Spencer
English 123B
28 February 2015
Mythology across Cultures Mythology, as what I’ve understood it to be has always been the stories passed down through the generations upon which legends and fables were built. As a Mexican-American, I learned about myths in both of my cultures, Mexican and American, giving me insight into both worlds and learning how each culture saw the world and its wonders. Today, I’d like to explore the mythology found in the culture of others, with the two that peak my interest being African and South American culture. The mythology in these two countries can be very diverse so to be more specific we will discuss West African voodoo and South American Incan deities. To begin with, as said before, both cultures are wide spread across the country. “The foundations of Voodoo are the tribal religions of West Africa, brought to Haiti by slaves in the seventeenth century. [The slaves from these] tribes shared several common core beliefs: worship of the spirits of family ancestors; the use of singing, drumming and dancing in religious rituals; and the belief the followers were possessed by immortal spirits. Once living in Haiti, the slaves created a new religion based on their shared beliefs, at the same time absorbing each tribe's strongest traditions and gods” (Brandstotte). Incan mythology on the other hand, is fueled by dieties who represent the spirit of nature, beauty and life and according to the Encyclopedia Mythica, “…is known mainly from the oral tradition and the written records composed from them after the Spanish conquest in 1532. According to their tradition, the founder of the Inca dynasty was Manco Capac”. I found that there are many variations to the Incan origin. In one myth, it says that Manco Capac and his sister Mama Ocllo were sent out by their father Inti (the sun god), “to teach the people how to improve their way of life. He gave his children a golden rod and told them to push it into the ground wherever they stopped to rest. When they reached a spot where the rod sank completely into the ground with a single push, they should build a sacred city of the sun, to be named Cuzco” (Myths Encyclopedia). In another myth, it says that Manco Capac deceived people into thinking he was a god “…by standing on a mountain wearing silver plaques that shone in the sun and made him look like a god” (Reyes). One last variation is that “the land was divided between four kings when the waters of the flood subsided. One was Manco Capac who took the north; the others were Colla, Pinahua and Tocay (“Manco Capac”). Either way the story is told, Manco Capac is the founder of the Incan dynasty and is said to have ruled for 40 years. As ruler of the Inca, Manco Capac set up a code of laws, whom some believe abolished human sacrifice. Another law forbids Inca siblings to marry except if you were part of the noble class, which is why he is said to have married his sister Mama Ocllo. “By the time of his death, Manco Capac had four hundred children to carry on his bloodline” (Reyes). In contrast, the origins of Voodoo comes from the unity of the Haitian slaves and their various religions combining. The supreme deity is Bon Dieu. “However, this Supreme Being is too far away for personal worship, therefore devotees serve the loa, or lesser deities, who they form very close and personal relationships with” (Brandstotte, “The Real Religion”). “Bon Dieu is the universal power and primordial God. He created all the original deity's and is the epitome of universal power. He gave the deity's order in power in the world. His word is law, even for the deity's. Believers of Voodoo almost never contact Bon Dieu directly, it is the job of the Diety's to take care of the worries and concerns of believers” (“Voodoo History”). So, following Bon Dieu, “Voodoo followers divide godly creatures into loa [meaning] god, divine being, good spirit. [There are two loa], Loa