Friday, 29 February 2008

Explore Mythology

Explore Mythology

Author: Bob Trubshaw
ISBN: 1872833621

For anyone outside of academia who wishes to learn about myths and/or mythology this is an amazing introductory book with which to start. I am so glad I purchased this book and so upset that I didn't read it the moment it arrived. I could have saved myself an awful lot time, energy and misunderstanding.

The book should have been subtitled: "Explore and challenge your understanding of myth". I have never had to many of my personal ideas challenged and changed by one book! Like most people, I normally have an aversion to my beliefs and ideals being challenged; it can be disconcerting. Mr Trubshaw makes the whole experience enjoyable by allowing you to think. He doesn't say "this is how it is" or "this is how you do it", but, rather, have you considered looking at it from over here? In other words, he positively encourages you to step into the shoes of another, be they from the ancient past or living just across the border from you. I revelled in the experience, oft times speed-reading through the chapters as I immersed myself in Mr Trubshaws words, changing my thoughts as I went.

I did have to slow my reading down, though, as I felt I was missing some very important points. Never have I learned so much, so quickly from so little. As Mr Trubshaw explains, once or twice, this book could have been so much larger; the range of topics could have been so much broader. As it is, this is a lovely little taster that will have you begging for more. Luckily, Mr Trubshaw has provided an extensive bibliography so the reader can follow up any of the ideas explored in the book. He also has a wonderful website dedicated to folklore, mythology, cultural studies and related disciplines - foamy custard.

Having read all but the last chapter (will finish it tonight), I now understand why I was having so much difficulty reading various myths from other cultures - I forgot that my mind was shaped by the cultural myths of the westernised society in which I live. Thanks to Mr Trubshaw, I can approach matters of time, sacred places, mindscapes, liminal space and my own cultural bias from hitherto unknown angles. I actually have a way of gaining insight into the meaning behind the myths of Ireland, Wales and Britain, whereas I had previously been struggling to gain even a toe hold.

I would encourage everyone to read this book and explore the foamy custard website. Why? So much of what Bob Trubshaw writes is relevant to day-to-day living. Having an understanding of the nature of politics, religion, the media, and the society in which we live and how these shape our personal myths, regardless of whether we live in a secular society or not, can enrich our understanding of our own values and, I believe, improve our quality of life.

Take the time to read this book. Although it can be used as a reference for all sorts of studies, it is probably be best read cover-to-cover in the first instance. Its not a hard book to read - Mr Trubshaw having simplified complex ideas so the reader may gain a tentative footing before embarking on an intense exploration.

I will certainly be looking at other titles by Bob Trubshaw, including his Explore Folklore. Oh, and if you do find this book refreshingly different and exciting, check out other titles published by Heart of Albion Press.

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