THE CREATION OF MYTH
("With things changed that should be changed")
Although a myth was not as a rule regarded by the community in which it functioned as open to replacement — the peoples’ mythos remained adaptable, mutable — generally open to further innovations and refinements — both to preserve historical continuity as well as communicative effectiveness.
In general, mythological worlds were built up only to be shattered again, and new worlds were built from the fragments of older traditions which were themselves based on older mosaics wrought from the crushed ruins of even earlier eras. ...
While it is certain that mythological themes are often directly related to the specific cultural environments in which they were narrated — when new mythic elements arose and needed to be incorporated into the tale of the tribe, this demanded both a revision, and a reactivation of the mythos. — Myths and rituals, as such, were generally subject to change over time. Variations preserved in the same cultural milieu often formed complimentary parts of a common heritage. Contradictory narratives were not ignored but rather presented side by side.
Moreover, between listening and repeating, the absence of a frozen, static or fixed “text” could never allow for exact word-for-word repetition. There was no “original version” that others could reproduce, or from which they could depart. ... Continually growing within their home traditions through new inventions and refinements, myth bloomed spiral-wise until the the more immediate impulses which impelled and produced it were exhausted.
Furthermore, because their general validity and authority was are the result of a collective, consensual effort which remained “open-ended” towards the future, traditional myth was not a static phenomenon — but instead underwent interpretive transformations, corresponding to changing epochs and their specific needs. Oral-based traditions would be modified so as to retain their direct immediacy according to the changing contexts of each successive generation. In this sense, myth further reveals its long-lasting durability through traces of its ever-ongoing iterative adaptability.
— Time after time the mythos was made new: brought up to date in order to remain relevant to the people of the present day. ... Multiplicity would quite naturally arise simply from the variety of possible analogies that a culture came up with, or absorbed or appropriated from neighboring or conquered peoples. As time went on, these sometimes included multi-linguistic references. Any material that could further expand and enrich it’s narrative reach could be appropriated and imported into the mythos. — The new material evoked new potential.
These modifications, as such, reflected the common consensus of the community rather than the imaginative whims of individual authors. Facts were worked loose and reintegrated and reassembled in a different order, in ever new variations on old universal patterns. Tales would change in the telling, bringing many variations down to us, but leaving the essential underlying substance and meaning intact.