A Short History of Myth – Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong suggests the history of myth is the history of humanity; our stories and beliefs link us to our ancestors and each other. This wonderful book takes the reader from the Palaeolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to modern times when myths have almost all been discredited by science.

Armstrong makes the point that today we still seek heroes but that this adulation is unbalanced. The myth of the hero was never intended to provide us with icons to admire, but was intended to tap into the vein of heroism within all of us.

We need myths that will help us to identify with all our fellow-beings, myths that help us create a spiritual attitude, and myths that help us venerate the earth as sacred once again, otherwise we will not save our planet, if we just regard it as a resource.

Armstrong also makes a great point about the early hunters who felt a kinship with the animals that they killed. They expressed their distress in the rituals of sacrifice which honoured the beasts which had died for the sake of humanity.

Superb book. Recommended.