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10 of the Most Bizarre Myths from Different Cultures

10 of the Most Bizarre Myths from Different Cultures

As a definition, myths are traditional stories from a country or specific group of people, concerning the early origins of the world or groups of people. They may include explanations to natural or social phenomenons, which are often related to supernatural beings or events. It comes from the Greek mythos and, we could use words such as fable or legend to make comparisons.

We all love these, one way or the other. Maybe they were passed down from generation to generation or they were lucky enough to be preserved in writing. However, there are many stories that aren’t as famous as others. We all know about Zeus and his father Kronos. We all know about Horus and his quest for vengeance over his uncle Seth. And maybe we also know a little bit about Coyote, Vishnu, Thor or Sheng-Long. But what about the other gods? Or the deities who weren’t lucky enough to endure the test of time? The silent heroes who made big sacrifices that were left unspoken or the ones whose only desire was to help someone, no matter the consequences and asking nothing in return?

1. The Hindu Creation

brahma

    Before time began there was no heaven, no earth and no space in between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of the night. A giant Cobra floated on the waters and asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent, everything was so silent and peaceful that Vishnu slept undisturbed. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Ohm. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy. The night ended and Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma; and he patiently awaited the Lord’s command. Vishnu spoke to his servant: “It’s time to begin. Create the world”

    Brahma vowed, and a powerful wind came to swept the waters. Vishnu and the serpent vanished. Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean. Then split the lotus flower into three: stretched one part into the heavens and made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies but still the earth was bare, so his work was not yet done. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds and to all of these he gave feeling. Next he created animals and the insects to live in the land, birds for the sky and many fishes for the waters. To all these creatures he gave the sense of touch and smell and also the power to see, hear and move. The world was finally bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Creation and Brahma’s work was done.

    2. Sekhmet, the Lioness

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      Sekhmet, also know as Sakhet, Sakhmet or Sekhet, the fiercest hunter of Egypt. Her name comes from the word ‘sekhem’ (power), and her name means: “The One Who Is Powerful”. She is usually represented as a woman with the head of a lioness, dressed in red and sometimes with a Rosetta pattern located in her breast, but sometimes she is naked. She also wears the Solar Disk and Uraeus, the Pharaonic headdress, which associates her with Wadjet (the cobra goddess). Sekhmet was consider a warrior goddess and goddess of healing for Upper Egypt, in which she was the Patron of Physicians and healers. Her priestess where consider skilled doctors and healers. She would be invoked to fight against the “demons” of plague and disease, but people believed also she could send these demons against her enemies.

      Her myth goes like this: when Ra wanted to punish mankind for ignoring the gods, he sent the lioness-headed goddess (a variation says that she was created by the fire of Ra as a weapon of vengeance against humans), becoming the “Eye of Ra”. Once in land, the Goddess started a slaughter, killing men, women, and kids alike. Her blood thirst had no limits, and she almost extincted humankind. To stop her, the other gods tricked her. They flooded a field with Khakadi (a mix of beer and red color that looked like blood) and Sekhmet gorged herslef into it to drink, getting drunk and passing out. When she woke up, the first thing she saw was Ptah (the god creator), falling in love with him almost instantly. From this union, it was born Nefertum (Healing) and the peace between humans and gods  was re-established.

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      3. Hestia, the Virgin

      Hestia

        Her myth says that she is sister of Zeus. She is worshiped as the goddess of cooking, hearth and architecture; it was said that in every household the first offering was to be on her name by Zeus command. It is said she gave her place among the Olympians to Dionysus to stop a confrontation and for this gesture Zeus gave her the keys to Mount Olympus, making her the manager of this place. She was in charge of all weapons for the Gods and to take care of all the businesses that happened in there. She was wanted by Poseidon and Apollo but she asked Zeus to protect her saying that she wanted to keep her virginity for all eternity.

        There are not many myths of Hestia, mostly because she rarely left Olympus in search for adventures, but it is know that she was the one who created the concept of “sanctuary” to protect everyone in need, and this became something sacred for all of her followers. Her most known story tells how once someone tried to rape her: one night she was sleeping and Priapus (a minor god, who’s best known for having an erection 24/7) took a chance and decided to take her by force. He waited for Hestia to go to sleep and hauled into her room. Just when he was about to get on her bed, a donkey started to bray, waking her up. She screamed when saw Priapus, making him flee in embarrassment

        4. Apollo and Daphne

        apollo-and-daphne-1908

          Daphne was a beautiful nymph and the daughter of the river god, Peneus. She longed to remain free and unmarried, and prayed to her father to help her remain so. Apollo was the God of sun, music and knowledge.

          One day, he foolishly mocked Cupid for playing with bows and arrows – weapons which he believed should only be handled by experience warriors like himself. Cupid took revenge upon Apollo by striking him with one of his arrows the moment Apollo feasted his eyes upon the nubile and beautiful Daphne. This made him fall in love with her instantly. Apollo went into pursuit mode immediately, not realizing that he just fell in love with a girl who wanted to remain free forever. This was Cupid’s cruel revenge. Apollo chased after Daphne relentlessly. She teased him by flirting with him, only adding more fuel to his fire. One day, Apollo began running after Daphne and while running away, Daphne prayed to her father to turn her into a laurel tree. Just as Apollo caught up with her, her lower body began transforming into the bark and her arms into the branches. The story goes on to say that Apollo worshiped the laurel tree for the rest of his life.

          This particular story is quite well known but it is one of my favorites. Makes me think on: you might brawl and scratch all you want to get something, but in the end some things are simply not meant to be. In how many facets of your life can you apply that?

          5. Lakapati, the Hermaphrodite

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            Also known as Ikapati, is the god/dess of fertility, Protector of farm animals and crops, is also known as the one that gave agriculture to mankind. She/he is the Mother Goddess of the Tagalog, her name means “Giver of Food”. Her myth is quite simple and sweet: Bathala (the spouse) and Lakapati lived together on the heavens, but Bathala felt that something was missing in his life. Feeling this, the goddess decided to create something to make him happy so she/he took clay and banana blossom to create a ball, and gave it to Bathala. He was happy working and shaping the ball, creating rivers and mountains and when Bathala finished it, Lakapati was so happy for his job that she put the ball of clay on the sky.

            Isn’t it nice when things end happily?

            6. Mayari, the Moon Goddess

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              One very unfortunate day, Bathala (the supreme being and the omnipotent creator of the Universe, in case you didn’t know) died. His family noticed the old and wise king of the gods did not leave a will and, as siblings they were, Mayari and Apolaki wanted to rule the Earth on their father’s place. However, while Apolaki wanted to rule by himself, Mayari wanted equal rights and so they started a fight using bamboo clubs. During the fight Apolaki hit Mayari on the face, making her lose one of her eyes. When Apolaki saw what he had done, asked her for forgiveness and agreed that they both should rule together, but at different times, so he would do it at day and she would rule at night.

              Just in case you have ever wondered why the moon’s light is dimmer than the sun’s.

              7. The Bakuba Creation

              baku

                This myth says that darkness was over the earth which was nothing but water and Mbombo, The White Giant, ruled over this chaos. One day he felt a terrible pain in his stomach and vomited the sun, the moon and the stars. The sun shone fiercely and the water steamed up in clouds, creating dry land. Mbombo felt sick one more time, vomiting again, this time trees came out of his stomach, also came animals, people, the first man and woman, the leopard, the eagle, the falling star, the anvil, the monkey Fumu, the firmament, medicine, lightning and many other things.

                Yes, he vomited everything. Can’t help but wonder what he ate…

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                8. Morrigan, the Shape-shifter

                morr

                  She’s believed to be the goddess of death, strife, battle and incarnation. She is associated with life and death, female energy, night, revenge, prophecy and magic. It is said that she was part of a trio of powerful goddesses, but for all we know she might as well be three people in one. Morrigan could transform in an old lady, a crow, a horse, a wolf, a banshee and a falcon.

                  Her most recognized myth is as following: the goddess fell in love with a warrior named Cu Chuliann, and she tried to use her powers to draw Cu’s inner strength. The first time she appeared to Cu Chulainn, she took the shape of a bull and asked him to flee, but he didn’t do it and keep going his way. Again she appeared to the warrior, but this time as an eel, and tried to make him trip, to get more time and use her magic on him but failed. One more time she changed her shape, this time taking the form of a wolf and scared the cattle to make him stop, but the goddess was unsuccessful. Finally, she took the shape of an old woman that was milking a cow, and it was that finally Cu Chuliann recognize her. Morrigan then gave the warrior three drinks of milk, making him stronger. One day however, Cu Chulainn was riding his horse by the river, when he found Morrigan washing his armor -which was consider a death omen. During the battle, Cu was wounded really bad, and when he was about to die, he tied himself on a stone to die in an upright position. At a given moment, a crow landed on his shoulder and so everyone knew he died.

                  Maybe she was destined to have him only within her realm… #thingswedoforlove

                  9. The Rainbow Crow

                  Rainbow-Crow-2012-657x700

                    Snow fell constantly, and ice formed over all the waters. The little animals were being buried in the snow drifts and the larger animals could hardly walk because the snow was so deep. Soon, all would perish if something were not done. They decided a messenger was to go meet with Kijiamuh Ka’ong, the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be in Heaven and plead for the snow spirit to leave them in peace. But who? The Wise Owl could not see well during the daylight, so he could not go. Coyote was easily distracted and like playing tricks, so he could not be trusted. Turtle was steady and stable, but he crawled too slowly. Finally, Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful of all the birds with shimmering feathers of rainbow hues and an enchanting singing voice, was chosen.

                    It was an arduous journey, three days up and up into the heavens, passed the trees and clouds, beyond the sun and the moon, and even above all the stars. He was buffeted by winds and had no place to rest, but he carried on bravely until he reached Heaven. When Rainbow Crow reached the Holy Place, he called out to the Creator, but received no answer. The Creator was too busy thinking up what would be to notice even the most beautiful of birds. So Rainbow Crow began to sing his most beautiful song and the Creator was drawn from his thoughts by the lovely sound. He greeted Rainbow Crow kindly and asked what gift he could give the noble bird in exchange for his song. Rainbow Crow asked the Creator to un-think the snow, so that the animals of Earth would not be buried and freeze to death. But the Creator told Rainbow Crow that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be destroyed. “What shall we do then?” asked the Rainbow Crow. “We will all freeze or smother under the snow.”

                    “You will not freeze” The Creator then stuck a stick into the blazing hot sun. The end blazed with a bright, glowing fire which burned and gave off heat. “This is Fire” he told Rainbow Crow, handing him the cool end of the stick. “You must hurry to Earth as fast as you can fly before the stick burns up.”

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                    Rainbow Crow nodded his thanks to the Creator and flew as fast as he could go. The stick was large and heavy, but the fire kept Rainbow Crow warm as he descended from Heaven down to the bright path of the stars. Then the Fire grew hot as it came closer to Rainbow Crows’ feathers. As he flew passed the Sun, his tail caught on fire, turning the shimmering beautiful feathers black. By the time he flew passed the Moon, his whole body was black with soot from the hot Fire. When he plunged into the Sky and flew through the clouds, the smoke got into his throat, strangling his beautiful singing voice. By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black as tar and could only caw instead of sing. He delivered the fire to the animals, and they melted the snow and warmed themselves, rescuing the littlest animals from the snow drifts where they lay buried. It was a time of rejoicing, for Tindeh – Fire – had come to Earth. But Rainbow Crow sat apart, saddened by his dull, ugly feathers and his rasping voice. Then he felt the touch of wind on his face, he looked up and saw the Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be walking toward him.

                    “Do not be sad, Rainbow Crow,” the Creator said. “All animals will honor you for the sacrifice you made for them. And when the people come, they will not hunt you, for I have made your flesh taste of smoke so that it is no good to eat and your black feathers and hoarse voice will prevent man from putting you into a cage to sing for him. You will be free.” Then the Creator pointed to Rainbow Crow’s black feathers. Before his eyes, Rainbow Crow saw the dull feathers become shiny and inside each one, he could see all the colors of the rainbow. “This will remind everyone who sees you of the service you have been to your people,” he said “and the sacrifice you made that saved them all.”

                    I know it’s very long, but crows are my favorite birdsFor the original post, please visit this page.

                    10. Saint Valentine

                    stval

                      I know, this tale is also widely known, but February 14 is at the corner and I couldn’t just leave it out. What? I’m a romantic.

                      The origin of Valentines day goes all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire, when Emperor Claudius II was the ruler. In an attempt to have more soldiers for his army, he tried to recruit every man possible, but when he saw that the men refused to leave their wives and family, he decided that all marriages should be forbidden. But there was a priest who was loved in Rome by everyone, who thought it was unfair for young lovers not get married and share their life with the person they love. The name of the priest was Valentine, and he started to marry couples in secret. When Claudius II found out about the secret marriages, was furious and ordered that Valentine should be put in jail, where he spent the rest of his life. When he died his friends recovered his body and buried it on a churchyard in Rome.

                      It is believed that he died on February 14th. To honor him the Pope Gelasius set aside this date, but it was King Henry VIII who declared the day officially a holiday in 1537.

                      For more myths, feel free to click here. Thanks for reading!

                      Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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                      Last Updated on June 18, 2018

                      What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                      What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                      Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                      Video Summary

                      Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                      Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                      Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                      Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                      This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                      Sitting Is the New Smoking

                      Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                      The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                      Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                        Sit Properly

                        If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                        Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                          Credit: StayWow

                          Stand Up More

                          Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                          Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                          Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                          Or get a standing desk.

                          One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                          Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                          Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                          But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                          The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                          Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                          Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                          This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                          Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                          Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                          There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                          Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                          I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                          Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                          If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                          Where to Start

                          The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                          Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                          If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                          Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                          Keep a straight back.

                          Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                          Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                          I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                          If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                          Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                          Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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