SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Minthe in Mythology

The Herb Society of America has this to say about Mythology:

Mythology is the handmaid of literature, and literature promotes happiness. Myths were told or sung to people at least 5,000 years ago. They were told to explain dreams or reasoning for certain happenings or to understand their gods.

The website gives a brief outline of many herbs and also the myths/stories behind these herbs

But the story I find most fascinating and filled with Jungian interpretations is the story of Mint...

Minthe or Mentha was a beautiful naiadian (naiad), a water maiden who lived near the river Cocytus. The lord of the underworld Hades (otherwise known as Pluto), falls in love with her and seduces her easily, as she is completely mesmerized by the handsome God and his golden chariot. 

Hades has committed great folly; his wife is none other than the mighty Persephone. The spurned wife captures the hapless lover and has her crushed. Hades unable to stop his wife transforms the crushed soul into a plant which released a fragrant aroma with every step.

So that's how this weak herb received it's aroma.

Once again this story can be traced back to Ovid's Metamorphoses, the same book that gave us the story of Cupid and Psyche...

Can we see this Husband and his vice in a different context?

 So when his wife tries to destroy it, the repentant Husband converts his vice to one that gives pleasure to all!

Hmmm...very simple interpretation...but we can delve deeper...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Story Words: SONDER

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Poetic indeed...
Another meaning 
The realisation that every random person is living a life as vivid and complex as your own....

This word (or non-word) is a relatively new entrant into the world of words and has not been actually accepted by any Dictionary of repute...

It was used on a blog on Tumblr first and was created by "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows"

The origin is interesting and so is its meaning....

"As she sondered upon the moonlit walk, she pondered upon the pointlessness of life"

Here is a nice article on SONDER

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stories in words: Serendipity

Life is a series of accidents...You can either agree with me or disagree.

On one side you have the Achiever, who plans and plots his path, sticking to goals and getting there or striving to get there. On the other hand is the Achiever who walks a path, that he/ she is willing to take as it comes and goes; the inadvertent adventurer.

I fall into the second category...

So as I found a definition for events that unfold in my life by virtue of accident, I also found something else by accident...
Some words in the dictionary have beautiful stories to tell!!

So my first word to you readers is "Serendipity". 
It comes with such a rich background, I am truly stumped at how it has landed on my plate, and embarked me on this journey...

Sir Horace Walpole created this word after reading the story of  "The Three  Princes of Serendip".
It is a Persian fairytale of 3 princes who embark on a journey and make many discoveries by accident; discoveries of wisdom and learning that they were not actually looking for.
The word Serendip is used for Srilanka and has its origin from the old Arabic name of Sarandib. Parts of Srilanka was ruled by the Chera kings, who were from Cheranadu ( India) and called this island Cherandeep and so was called Sarandib by the Arabs.
( source: Wikipedia)

Apparently Sir Horace called the story a silly fairy tale and in all probability was intrigued by the idea of discovering things by accident rather than calculated wisdom, and so chose to coin this term. It is a long story and starts this way
"In ancient times there existed in the country of Serendippo, in the Far East, a great and powerful king by the name of Giaffer. He had three sons who were very dear to him. And being a good father and very concerned about their education, he decided that he had to leave them endowed not only with great power, but also with all kinds of virtues of which princes are particularly in need."

It goes on to tell us that the 3 Princes refuse their Father's wealth an dset out in search of their own fortune  and destiny. On the way they meet a Camel Owner who has lost his camel, and through a serious of deductions help him find it. Impressed, the King of the state, asks them to help him out, and again, through a series of deductions and lucky guesses, they solve all problems....and so on...

It is obvious that Horace Walpole had a stroke of genius to create this word Serendipity from all these convolutions and meanderings.

So that is a story well used!
You can read the synopsis of that story here

Then I came across this word: 
and another one
BIBLIO BURRO (Well this one is not English, and actually means The Donkey Library)

But I will come with more of that in the next post...


Friday, December 6, 2013

Anansi stories

I am always on the look out for stories to perform...and 

Anansi the Trickster spider is a great story to perform especially in Tandem.

This character of Jamaican origin, is a spider, but upto all kinds of tricks as he tries to become a human in many ways...

Anansi and How wisdom Spread is a great story, with multiple versions available, each ending in a different way. The story can be performed with a nice African chant to begin with...

These stories can also be adapted as sensory stories..."Why Anansi has Thin legs" is a great story to tell with sensorial material