Religion and Mythology

For those of you who are new to The Magical Buffet, you may not be aware that in October 2006, when we launched The Magical Buffet, it was actually a monthly e-zine. Once a month our subscribers would have all the content emailed to them. Since it was trying to follow a magazine-like format, I decided there should be a letter from the publisher, like most magazines have.

When we relaunched The Magical Buffet into it’s new blog format, all of the old e-zine articles migrated over. This means even if you’re new, with a little time you could read all the content you may have missed from the “old days”. However my opening letters to my readers did not make it over to the new blog. I didn’t worry about it because they’re “just letters”, they’re not “real writing”. But as time passed I started to wonder, was something missing by them not being here on the blog?

So recently I started to read them again. In truth, as a new reader you’re probably not missing out on too much. The letters were generally just filled with gratitude. Thank you letters of the most earnest kind, published in response to the surprising outpouring of support and faith that I received, and continue to receive today. I’ve always prided myself on loyalty, and it made me happy to see that many of the people who I thanked in those letters are people and organizations that I still interact with today. It felt good to think that maybe I’ve done all right after all.

That said, there were a few letters that stood out. These were letters that I found offered up a piece of who I am and what I believe to my readers. Things that I thought I would like anyone who reads The Magical Buffet at any point to know about me, the person behind the keyboard.

This is one of those letters……

“Religion without myth not only fails to work, it also fails to offer man the promise of unity with the transpersonal and eternal.” C.G. Jung

“BETHANY (rubbing her temples): Two thirds of me wants to forget about this and go home. You know, yesterday I wasn’t sure God even existed. And now I’m up to my ass in Christian Mythology.

RUFUS: Let me let you in on a little inside info. God hates it when it’s referred to as mythology.” Kevin Smith’s film Dogma

What is religion? What is mythology? Is there a difference? Not to me. They say history is written by the winners and it’s safe to say that Judeo Christian beliefs won over let’s say for example the pantheonic beliefs of the ancient Romans. That which is generally considered mythology, at one point was fervently believed in as religion, as much as Christianity or Judaism is today. Is it fair to say that just because a mythological deity isn’t actively worshipped in the mainstream that it’s mythology, while the epic stories of The Bible are most assuredly religion? Absolutely not, and I reckon that there are some Goddess worshippers reading this that will tell you that straight up! An individual’s faith and belief are what makes a group of mythological tales a religion. It’s in the stories of a faith that its tenants are demonstrated. A religion that is a rule book doesn’t work. It has to incorporate stories, myths if you will, to transform a set of rules into a living breathing creation.

So what is “Magical Buffet Mythology”? It’s where I retell some of the definitive stories of various deities, and perhaps events, etc. Last month was Artemis, this month is Kuan Yin. For most, Artemis is considered myth, for over half the global population Kuan Yin is considered religion. Both are called “Magical Buffet Mythology”. Why? Because for one, it’s safe to say that my particular interpretations shouldn’t be considered the definitive versions of these tales! I’m a sarcastic person and it’s in these columns that I let my snarky flag fly! Also, a myth is just one believer away from a religion in my book. Who am I to decide which one is which?

I hope that everyone continues to enjoy the “Magical Buffet Mythology” columns. I certainly enjoy doing them. I also hope that everyone keeps an open mind about religion verses mythology and that no one takes offense to my personal views on the topic. After all, it’s just one opinionated dish along the buffet line.

Until next month,
Rebecca Elson
Publisher, The Magical Buffet

This was the second letter from the publisher that I wrote. Everything was new, and much like l am in real life, I just wanted everyone to like me. I feared that a column known as “Magical Buffet Mythology” that I was planning on using to discuss all kinds of noteworthy and little known deities had the potential of insulting someone about their personal beliefs. That would be the exact opposite of what I was hoping to do with my newly founded e-zine. When I decided to follow up my Artemis article with an article about Kuan Yin, a personal favorite of mine and a deity actively prayed to by probably half the global population, I grew concerned. This letter was written to express my personal views on mythology and religion. Since I didn’t lose any subscribers, it must have done the trick. Or perhaps even better, my readers didn’t have those kinds of hang ups.

With the new blog format you see that I do in fact have a category for religion and for mythology. To be honest, I’m sure how what I call mythology or religion these days. Most of the time, I categorize the articles as both. However, when I write about a deity, even in this new format, I still title every one “Magical Buffet Mythology”. And hopefully my new readers also don’t have those kinds of hang ups.