A Myth is a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, or exemplary deeds of the gods. The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung saw the ancient gods as archetypes of human behaviour, and mythology as the personification of subconscious forces at work in the human psyche, mixed with real events. As such it is cultural.
I have always felt empathy with the myth of Persephone, the maiden forced to live for a period in the underworld, separated from her mother, Demeter. See the post on this blog for more information.
Another favourite of mine is Narcissus, because of its relatedness to current recognisable personality types, even within my own family! Narcissus was the son of a river god and a nymph, but he rejected those who loved him, causing some to die for love of him. Nemesis noticed his arrogance and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell deeply in love with it. Having developed an unrequited love that could never be reciprocated, Narcissus lost his will to live and committed suicide. In some versions of the myth, Narcissus stared into his reflection until he withered away. In all versions, his body disappears and all that is left is a narcissus flower.
Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance or public perception. With the increasing importance of psychology as a discipline, Narcissism is today recognised as one of the main Personality Disorders by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is just one example of how ancient myths often relate on a deep level to problems that persist today.