Ten Functions of Spiritual, Religious Mythology


Here is a concise definition of mythology: sombody else’s religion.

A concise definition of religion is: misunderstood, concretized mythology.

To put it another way, human beings are, quite simply, born too early. We have to do nearly a quarter century of our development outside of the protective custody of the mother’s womb. In fact, humans don’t fully finish developing until their mid 20’s.

Spiritual mythology, or what we call religion, serves the function of an external placenta, an external womb, that gives a developing psyche more time to develop safely outside of the mother’s womb. A well rendered mythology is intended to guide a person through all stages of life.

Mythology serves 10 functions in the life of a human;

First, to orient the new, incoming being, in space and time. It tells the new being about the universe that she finds herself in. It explains where she has arrived, giving her a specific location in space and time.

Secondly, mythology orients the new being in the her surroundings, her physical universe. This aspect of mythology explains why things are the way they are in the external, physical reality. It tells of the unchanging physical laws of the universe. It tells the new being that she must unquestioningly accept those physical laws.

Thirdly, mythology orients the being in the rules and laws of the culture. In a well rendered mythology, ideally, the cultural rules and laws reflect the rules and laws of the physical universe. This is captured in the idea, “as above, so below”. Because of this, the religious rules and laws cannot be questioned any more than one would question the rising of the sun, or the changing of the seasons. It is the way it is so don’t question it.

Fourthly, mythology guides a person all through the various stages of life, from infancy, to old age, and into the great mystery of death.

Fifth, mythology helps a person make peace with their own inadequacies. Mythology helps us cover up, or suppress our darkness.

Sixth, mythology helps a person tell stories about his life and his past that keeps him from having to fully experience the trauma of his early childhood directly.

Seventh, mythologies structures the central nervous system and brain, to reflect the moral conditions of the society and system that you live in.

Eighth, mythology serves the function of hiding that which the society and system can’t explain, doesn’t desire around, doesn’t fit the social mores, or simply doesn’t understand. It does this by calling anything within the system good, and anything outside of the system bad. This allows for suppression of scientific ideas, technological advances, and individual freedoms.

Ninth, mythologies imbue us with an internal moral compass, what we call a conscience. It is enforced by guilt, shame, and blame from both our elders, our surroundings, and our inner feelings. However, the conscience is actually a human creation, one that reflects the system of the mythology that we are raised within. The use of mythology and unquestionable mythological stories and images to embed morality and conscience within our psyche makes it seamless, natural, incontrovertible, and gives the illusion that the feelings are coming from God who knows our every thought.

Tenth, mythologies give us a system of self inquiry, thereby allowing us to make sense of our lives, and who the Identity that calls itself us is. We can know who we truly are through the mythological symbols and images that seem to point to the bigger reality. We know who we are truly from the stories and mythologies of the system. The bottom line is, we understand ourselves through our inherited stories and myths. We compress years of experiences, thoughts, emotions, and histories into a few compact, energy evoking narrative lines that we tell ourselves and others about our lives.

Additionally, mythologies hide our morphology. Mythologies hide our inner impulses. Mythologies hide human nature. Many mythologies pit humans directly against nature. Mythologies hide the differences between men and women. Mythologies hide what is actually happening in physical reality by telling you that what you are perceiving is wrong.

Mythologies hide our hunting and gathering histories. Religious mythologies pit us directly against our evolutionary history. This is depicted in the mythological fight for good and evil, right and wrong. And this idea of a battle for good and evil, right and wrong, is just another system, another mythology.

For example, the mythologies of Adam and Eve type characters, try to hide our dirty, evolutionary past. We don’t want to have evolved from filthy animals — which are evil. So mythologies tell us creation stories, that we were put here, in bliss, by God, and we humans messed it up for ourselves. So we only have ourselves to blame. Oh, yeah, and the snake. We can blame the talking, all knowing, crafty snake.

Mythologies are the life blood of how to live within “The System” — that is whatever system you are born into, be it Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Communism, Capitalism, Racism, Prison, Drugs, etc. By being human, you must be bound by a system of order. Even if you are an outcast, you will still be bound by the outcast system of rules and laws.

As spiritual adults, beginning to realize that everything we know is a mythology, we must begin choosing our myths wisely, because, more often than not, our myths and systems that we live by are our prisons. Our myths and stories keep us from experiencing life directly, on its own terms.

Remember, mythologies structure your central nervous system and brain, and ultimately society.Mythologies structure your conscience, which is another way of saying that it structures your comfort zone, the box that you live inside.

In learning to detect, listen to, and understand our own mythological stories, we can begin to have an understanding about how to heal ourselves and how to connect to others in an empathetic way. To be human is to tell myths and stories about our lives to other people, and most importantly, to ourselves.


  1. Our cultural beliefs ‘bind’ us to how we see our universe. We have indeed created our’s to such a degree we can’t even fathom the depth of it. Breaking down those ‘myths’ as you call them is a constant activity if we are trying to remember that we are in them to begin with.
    Thing is, I like parts of it and of the other parts, well, I just don’t know what I don’t know so unless I’m traveling, taking sacred medicines, breathing and being ‘one’ with nature (trees, rocks, birds, etc.) and hugging and loving and generally breaking down constructs when ever I can I’m not seeing it as ‘myth’. The practice is to be able to switch and ‘see’ this as often as possible.
    Very comprehensive article! Got here by twitter.
    Thanks, Suzie

    (yoga – yoke)

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